I must say, I've outdone myself. It's not often that I praise the things I make - I always seem to find something that can improve, but these are simply marvelous.
These danishes are deliciously sweet and hearty. The sweet potato is perfect with a hint of spice and brown sugar and the cream is delicately tangy and light. These are the ultimate in rustic breakfast pastry. They do take a little time to prepare, but it is well worth it. Serve them on a snowy Sunday morning with a hot cup of coffee and eggs. For an explanation about Strained Yogurt, check out my previous recipe, Strained Yogurt and Almond Tart.
The dough recipe is courtesy of Williams Sonoma Baking Cookbook.
What You'll Need
For the Pastry:
1 package active dry yeast
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 whole egg plus 1 yolk
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 cups all purpose flour
For the Butter Package:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/8 cup all purpose flour
For the Filling:
2 medium or 3 small sweet potatoes
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup heavy cream
For the Topping:
1/4 cup strained yogurt or cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
To make the dough, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and a punch of the sugar in warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining sugar, salt, melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined. Add the yeast mixture and then add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix just until the dough clings together in a rough mass. If it is still very soft, add an extra 1/4 cup at a time until it is no longer sticky.
Turn the dough onto a floured cookie sheet and pat into a rectangle, about 1" thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, make the butter package. Use a rolling pin or the heel of your hand to knead the butter on a work surface. Flatten it and warm it so it is pliable but not mushy, adding the flour as you work to keep it from sticking to your hands. Shape the butter into an 8" by 7" rectangle. If the butter becomes too soft as you work, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator.
Time to laminate the dough. A laminated dough is simply a dough that is created by pressing together alternating layers of pastry and butter. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a rectangle, roughly 10" by 16". With the short side facing you, place the butter package on the lower half, leaving a 1" margin. Fold the upper half over the butter and press the sides together. Next, roll the dough out into a 12" by 20" rectangle. With the short side facing you, fold the bottom third up and the top third down, as you would a letter. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat this rolling and folding process 3 more times. After the 4th turn, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight before shaping.
While the dough is chilling, let's make the filling. Bring a large pot of boiling water to boil over high heat. Peel and half the sweet potatoes and place them in the boiling water. Cook until very soft, about 30 minutes. When a fork is inserted in each potato it should go all the way through with ease. Strain the potatoes and place them in a medium sized bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla and allspice and beat with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
As the potato mixture chills, in a small bowl, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Remove the potato mixture from the refrigerator and add a forth of the cream and mix it in to lighten the potatoes. Once fully incorporated, add the remaining cream and gently fold it into the potato mixture until fully incorporated.
Time to form the danishes. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it into 16 equal pieces. Form each piece into a disk and roll it out until it is about 1/4" thick. Place about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of each disk, leaving about a 2" margin on all sides. Using your fingers, twist the margin of dough along the edges to bring it up to the filling. This is not a science, you can really do whatever you think looks best. Repeat this until all the danishes are formed.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover the danishes with a warm kitchen or tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 45 minutes. Place in the oven until the pastry becomes golden, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let cool slightly.
As the danishes cool, prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, combine the strained yogurt or cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and continue to beat until the mixture is very airy. Scoop the mixture into a plastic bag and snip the tip.
Pipe the filling over the danishes - you can do swirls or stripes. Top with a few sliced almonds and powdered sugar.
Yield: 16 danishes
"What is strained yogurt?" you may be thinking. "And why would it make a good tart filling?" All of these are good questions. My wonderful sister, Jen, has recently been exploring fermenting vegetables as a way of preserving them. the main ingredient in this process is whey. So she purchased a 16 oz. container of yogurt and strained it through cheesecloth to separate the whey. Once the whey is strained out, the remaining milkfats and cultures are called, simply, strained yogurt. The consistency is a cross between greek yogurt and cream cheese and the flavor is light and somewhat tangy. My sister abhors anything that even remotely resembles cream cheese, so she gifted the strained yogurt to me...and then it dawned on me - why not use this delicious cream cheese-like stuff to make an almond tart!
What You'll Need:
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon heavy cream
For the Filling:
1 cup (or 8 ounces) strained yogurt*
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-pupose flour
2 large eggs
1/8 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
*Any yogurt will do - you can even use low fat yogurt. Simply place a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl and strain the yogurt through cheesecloth. Reserve the whey and use it to make my Sweet Whey Bread recipe.
To make the crust, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl or food processor and whisk or pulse to combine. Add the butter cubes and using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse and resembles cornmeal. If using a food processor, pulse a few times until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Combine the egg yolks and heavy cream in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Drizzle the egg mixture over the flour and butter mixture. Using your hands, work the egg into the dough until the dough comes together to form a ball. Again, you can also just pulse the processor a couple times until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disk, wwrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
To prebake the crust, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a clean, floured work surface. Gently lay the crust over your tart pan and press it into the pan. Be sure the pastry is securely up against all edges, otherwise the pastry will shrink. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the crust and fill with rice, beans or pie weights. Place the crust back into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove the crust from the fridge and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Once the 15 minutes are up, gently lift one corner of the foil. If it sticks, the crust is not ready. Return it to the oven and check thereafter every 2 minutes. If the foil does not stick, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes with the aluminum foil and weights in place. After 5 minutes, remove the foil and weights and let cool. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
While the crust is cooling, let's prepare the filling. Combine the strained yogurt and sugar in a bowl and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. The longer you beat, the fluffier your tart will be. Beat in the flour. Add 1 egg at a time and beat after adding each one until fully incorporated. Add the cream and extracts and beat until the mixture is light and smooth.
Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and sprinkle the almonds on top. Place the tart in the oven and bake until filling is set, about 35 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool. The tart will puff up substantially as it bakes, but it will fall as it cools - this is what you want. Serve chilled with blackberry preserves.
It seems the only thing my body craves in the wintertime is comfort food - something hot and delicious. Something that tastes best with a glass of wine and a woolen blanket wrapped around my shoulders. Sweet potatoes are great for the wintertime and this is the ultimate comfort dish for a drear mid-winter's meal. The potatoes offer a hearty sweetness and the leeks are buttery and soft while turmeric and rosemary give this dish a lively and unexpected flavor. Try serving this dish with roasted chicken or salmon on a bed of arugula.
What You'll Need:
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium sized, trimmed leeks
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup grated toscana cheese*
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
*I love using rosemary encrusted toscana. You can find this at any Trader Joe's grocery store.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes. Dice the potatoes into small, 1/4" cubes. Place the potatoes in a bowl and coat with the olive oil. Sprinkle the turmeric, rosemary, salt and pepper over top and toss to coat. Place the in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
When the 15 minutes are up, reset the timer for 15 minutes and start on the risotto. Chop the leeks into rounds about 1/4" thick. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook until soft and slightly brown - about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the rice and, stirring constantly, roast the rice until golden brown and fragrant - about 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of broth to the pan. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Next, add 1 cup of the white wine. Wait to add the wine until the broth is almost completely absorbed. Once the wine is absorbed, add another cup of broth. Continue this process, switching between broth and wine, until all liquid is absorbed and rice is soft (add 1 cup of liquid, wait until it is absorbed, add another cup and so on). Be sure to constantly stir the mixture so it does not burn.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven when the timer goes off and set aside (this will probably happen while you are adding liquid to your risotto).
Once the last cup of liquid has been added and absorbed, add the sweet potatoes and stir to combine. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Salt and pepper to taste.
Let me start by saying Happy New Year! This year is sure to bring new flavors, tasty dishes and fun DIY projects, so let's dive in.
I was lucky enough to spend this past holiday with my husbands family in Montana. When I returned home, I couldn't get over how the food we ate during the trip was s so inspired by the beautifully stark landscape and harsh climate. We ate elk sausage and kale for breakfast most mornings, dried fruits for snacks and bison and potatoes for dinner. I loved the rustic simplicity of each dish we tasted especially in this rustic pear tart my mother-in-law made. When you sit down to eat this deliciously sweet and flaky tart, think of wild roaming bison, towering white mountains and wide open plains pouring into the slate blue sky.
What You'll Need
For the Crust
2 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup ice water
For the Filling
8 sweet, ripe pears*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup apple cider
1/4 cup brown sugar
Raw sugar for sprinkling
*Even though Bosc is the standard baking pear, I prefer Bartlett for this recipe.
To prepare the crust, whisk together the flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl (You can sift it together, but whisking works just as well and takes a fraction of the time). Scatter the butter pieces throughout the flour and toss to coat them. Using 2 knives or a pastry cutter, "cut" the butter into the flour. This can also be done in a food processor to speed up the process - just pulse the ingredients together a few times. Once the mixture is coarse and resembles corn meal, sprinkle the water over the dough and either pulse a few more times in the food processor or bring the dough together with a fork until the dough forms a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
To prepare the filling, peal each pear. Using a paring knife, cut strips of the pear as thinly as possible. They do not all have to be uniform - this is a rustic tart, after all.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the pears cinnamon. Cook the pears, stirring occasionally until just soft, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, cider and brown sugar. bring the mixture to a boil and cook until liquid is mostly evaporated, stirring constantly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a circle until it is about 1/8" thick. It is okay if the ends are rough and if the circle is not symmetrical. Transfer the rolled out dough to the baking sheet on top of the parchment paper.
Carefully spoon the pears into the center of the dough. Fold the edges up over the pears. If your dough cracks, just tear a piece off from the edge and patch it.Sprinkle the raw sugar over top.
Place the tart in the oven until the crust is golden brown, about 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve with warm ice cream. To reheat the tart, place in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes.
This is one of my favorite afternoon snacks in the late fall, early wintertime. The spice of the parsnips pairs wonderfully with the delicate sweetness of the caramelized onion and buttery crust. Serve it warm with just wilted arugula and a balsamic reduction drizzled over top.
If you have left over pastry dough, roll it out as thin as you can, cut into small squares and skewer with a fork. Salt and pepper and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes and you'll have delicious little crackers!
What You'll Need:
For the Crust
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into 1/2" cubes
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream, plus extra
For the Filling
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 red onion, sliced into thin half circles
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 medium sized parsnips
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- Salt and pepper
To prepare the crust, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over top and toss to coat them. Using 2 knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse and resembles corn meal (this can also be done in a food processor to speed up the process - just pulse it a couple times). In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and cream with a fork until smooth. Make a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Using the fork, start to beat the egg mixture into the flour until the dough starts to come together. If the dough is still too dry, add a little extra cream. Form the dough into a ball and flatten it into a disk with the heal of your hand, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
When the crust is thoroughly chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and place the disc in the center of a tart pan. Using the heal of your palm, press the dough into the pan, filling up the bottom and sides, until the dough is about 1/8" thick. Cut off any excess. Place the crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
When the crust is chilled, line it with tin foil and fill the foil with rice, beans or pie weights. Place the crust in the oven for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes are up, check to see if the crust is dry by gently lifting up one corner of the foil. If the foil sticks, it is not ready - return the crust to the oven and check every 2 minutes. Once the foil stops sticking, remove the foil and weights and return the crust to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature down to 375.
To prepare the filling, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is just golden brown, add the onions. When the onions begin to soften, add the brown sugar. Cook the onions until they are dark in color and fragrant, about 5 - 7 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. Remove the onions from the heat.
Chop the peeled parsnips in half and again lengthwise into longish strands, about 4" long and 1/4" wide. Arrange the parsnips in the bottom of the crust so they cover the bottom. Try to arrange them in an attractive pattern. Set aside
In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, cream, eggs, yolk, salt, pepper and thyme until the mixture is smooth. Pour the milk mixture over the parsnips into the crust. Arrange the onions on top.
Place the tart in the oven until the center has set when you give it a little shake, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm.
This is the perfect morning breakfast for a sunny, autumn Sunday. These pancakes are light and airy (not to mention low in calories) and the persimmon and plum compote offers a seasonally sweet alternative to syrup. Try adding fresh blackberries to the mix.
What You'll Need
For the Pancakes:
2 eggs, separated
3 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
1 tablespoon flour
1/8 cup milk (I like to use Vanilla Almond milk)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the Compote:
2 teaspoons turbinado (raw) sugar
- Let's make the compote first. Peal the persimmon and the plum. Cut the plum in half and remove the pit. Chop the top off of the persimmon. Dice each fruit into small 1/4" cubes. Add the cubes and sugar to a small saucepot and heat over medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Set aside.
- On to the pancakes. Add the butter and the lavender flowers in a microwave safe bowl and cook in the microwave until the butter is melted, just about 1 minute. Let the butter cool. Once cooled, strain out the lavender flowers.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of the sugar on medium high speed until they are light in color and thick.
- Add the butter mixture and the flower to the egg yolks and continue to beat at medium high speed. Beat in the milk until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl with the egg whites, add the cream of tartar and the last teaspoon of sugar. Using and electric mixer, beat on medium high speed until stiff peaks form. (Note: if you are using the same electric mixer, be sure that the beaters are completely free of any egg yolk whatsoever. The presence of egg yolk will prevent your egg whites from fluffing)
- Add 1/4 of the whites to the egg yolks and fold in, just to lighten the yolks. Once that is fully incorporated, add the rest of the egg whites and gently fold in. Be sure not to fold too rigorously else the batter will lose air and your pancakes will not puff when cooking.
- Place a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Use either a light cooking spray or butter to grease the pan. Scoop out 1/4 cup full of batter onto the pan. Let cook until you see little bubbles appear in each pancake. Once the bubbles appear, flip the cake over to cook the other side. Remove the cake once each side is golden brown and the puffed sides are cooked through.
- Remove pancakes from heat and arrange on a plate. Serve with the Persimmon and Plum Compote.
First, I want to apologize to my readers for my long summer break. I am back and ready with more delicious recipes and fun crafts for the fall season... so let's jump right in!
I have been on a huge kale kick recently. It's delicious when prepared in the right way and it is extremely healthy, often referred to as a super food. As most of you know, fall is my favorite season - I love the abundance of color and rich flavors that are associated with autumn. This is a hearty meal perfect for a crisp fall evening. I may even try to serve it with oven roasted rabbit. Enjoy!
What You'll Need
1 acorn squash
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 andouille sausages
2 medium trimmed leeks
10 ounces kale
1/4 cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Brush 1 tsp of olive oil on each half. Salt and pepper each half to taste. Place the squash on a cookie sheet or in a roasting dish and roast in the oven for 35 minutes.
- After the squash is done roasting, remove from oven and let cool slightly for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the green skins, watching out for escaping steam. Chop the squash into large chunks and return to the sheet or dish. Sprinkle the brown sugar over top and return to oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Next, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet.
- Cut the leeks and sausages into rounds and add the skillet. Cook until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the kale, red wine, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid and let sit on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven and serve the kale on top of the squash.