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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rose Ice Cream with Candied Pistachios

I'm not exactly sure why, but I kind of have a thing for desserts that taste like soap. Rose water, orange flower water, violet. I love it all. I just want to eat anything that tastes like it fell out of Bath and Bodyworks. They feel a little exotic and awfully romantic, like something Marie Antoinette might have eaten. 

Usually, this relegates me to the realm of Middle Eastern desserts or macarons. Don't get me wrong, I love Turkish delight, Persian fairy floss, and nougat. And I'd never turn down a good violet-blackcurrant macaron or two. But flowery desserts are a bit harder to come by than most. You can't just walk into any bakery and buy a rosewater cookie. Lucky for me, I'm heading out to the Middle East in March. 

Unbeknownst to the friends who I'm traveling with, my trip is centering around desserts. It will be a whirlwind tour of floral sweets and little else. Forget riding camels in the desert. Forget lying on the beach in Dubai. Forget wadi bashing. It's all about the dessert.

Rose Ice Cream with Candied Pistachios
Makes about 1 quart

6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 egg yolks, whisked slightly
1 1/2 teaspoons rosewater
2 drops red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and water. Toss pistachios in sugar mixture until completely coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool and harden. Scrape from baking sheet and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, whole milk, and sugar. Heat until just warm to the touch. Pour a little of the milk mixture into the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Scrape egg yolks into saucepan and stir to combine. Heat on medium-low heat until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, stirring occasionally. Stir in rosewater and food coloring. Pour mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Chill bowl in fridge until completely cool. Once cool, freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Once the custard has solidified, fold in candied pistachios. Transfer to a container and freeze until ready to eat.

More Floral Sweets

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sugar Buns

If you were to ask just about anyone who knows me, they would likely wholeheartedly agree that 'all black everything' is a pretty apt description of my wardrobe. My brothers have taken to calling me the Princess of Darkness, and dressing up as Wednesday Addams for Halloween wasn't all that much of a stretch for me. Normally, I don't really notice my monochromatic wardrobe. When I'm in London or St Andrews or New York, I am swimming in a sea of black. But when I come home? Well that's a different story all together.

It comes a shock to all of my friends at home that I still tend to dress like I could be dashing to a funeral at any moment. If pressed, they might even call it drab. While I avoid looking too delicate or sweet when I dress, I have all the time in the world for sweetness and delicacy when I bake. I can't resist anything tiny and dainty and adorable- macarons, palmiers, you name it.

When I was trolling the internet for a recipe to make and spotted these beauties, I was hooked. I couldn't get the idea of them out of my head. They were just too prettttttyyyy. Don't you think? They are tender and flaky, made with a Danish dough, and are softly spicy. The diaphanous pastry unfurls to reveal a sticky center heady with butter. I promise, just one won't do.

Sugar Buns
Adapted from Seven Spoons
Makes 12 buns

For the dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bread flour
1 packet active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup warm water
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
16 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

For the buns:
6 tablespoons butter, browned and cooled
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
All-purpose flour for dusting
Granulated sugar for dusting
1 recipe Danish dough

To make the Danish dough: In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar and salt. In a measuring cup, whisk together milk, water, egg, and almond extract. Scatter the cubed butter over the flour mixture and, using a snapping motion, work the butter into the flour until it is in pea-sized clumps. The dough will be shaggy. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in milk mixture. Sweeping your hand in a figure-8 motion, incorporate wet ingredients into dry ingredients until it forms a dough and comes together in a ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, bring the dough to room temperature. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20-inch square. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter, turn the dough 90 degrees, and roll out again to a 20-inch square. Repeat the process 3 more times. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes before using.

To make the sugar buns: In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg. Brush the inside of a 12-hole muffin tin with browned butter and sprinkle generously with sugar. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the Danish dough to an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Brush with browned butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the sides. Sprinkle sugar mixture over top and press into dough. Roll dough into a tight log and slice into 12 equal pieces. Place one piece in each hole of the muffin tin. Put muffin tin in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375. Once the buns have doubled in size, bake for 25 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden brown. Remove from oven and turn out onto a baking sheet. Roll each bun in granulated sugar and place right-side up on baking sheet. They're best eaten still warm.

More Morning Treats

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pear and Almond Galette

For any of you that have been reading Baking the Book for any significant amount of time, you might remember my culinary enemy: the food processor. I know, I know. It makes so many laborious kitchen tasks a breeze. Even I will admit that I used a pastry that called for a food processor this morning, as I was feeling far too lazy to cut in butter by hand (I'll claim jetlag and use that as an excuse until the end of my days), but for some reason I just despise my Cuisinart.

 Every time I have to pull it out of the cupboard, it's like a Wild West standoff. I angrily wrench it out of the cabinets and set it up on the counter. The Cuisinart gives me the side eye, as I grab the butter out of the fridge. The feelings are mutual. It's truly a shared hatred.

 Beyond my displeasure at using the food processor, this recipe comes together in a snap. It's super adaptable, so you can really use any fruit you have on hand. And, if you're feeling particularly lazy, skip the almond base and just sprinkle sugar over the fruit. It'll do just fine.

  Pear and Almond Galette
Makes 1 tart

For the crust
1 1/2 cups pastry flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
9 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 large egg yolks

For the almond filling
2/3 cup blanched almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 large egg

For the galette
2 pears, cores removed and cut into thin slices
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Heavy cream
Turbinado sugar

To make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, powdered sugar, and salt until combined. Scatter butter over top and pulse until the butter is in pea-sized clumps. The mixture will have a texture similar to oatmeal. Add egg yolks and pulse until the dough comes together in a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the almond filling: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse almonds and flour together until almonds are finely ground. Add sugar and pulse until combined. Add butter and blend until smooth. Add egg and pulse until fully incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the tart: Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge. Flour the dough, the counter, and your rolling pin. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Spread almond filling over top of the dough. Layer pear slices to cover the tart. Sprinkle sliced almonds over pear slices. Fold the sides of the dough over the pears to form a rough tart. Brush the exposed crust with heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, and the pears have softened. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.