Following Inspiring Footsteps

Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought- Matsuo Basho

All of my life I’ve sought to impress or keep up with society and what others might see as successful. Still to this day I struggle with “needing” that validation, or even just perceiving that I am on the right path or am attaining what I “should” have attained by the age of thirty. After some soul searching, and just taking time for myself, I have come to the realization that as important social influence has and continues to be to me I still have to have that happiness in myself and peace in my soul. Baking and cooking allows me to almost escape myself and gives me that peace I need. It is just an added bonus that after creating something with my hands I am able to share it. (And hopefully it turns out delicious and pretty)

“For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, then preparing something delicious and nourishing for the people you love.” –Cooked –Pollan, M.

IMG_1346

I have kept this newspaper article that was written about my maternal grandfather since I was young. Having the same feelings towards cooking and baking as he had motivates me to experiment and continue to just simply enjoy the act of creating in the kitchen. My grandfather enjoyed cooking and it was relaxing to him. As he shared all he cooked and baked with friends and family, I try to do the same. He has sadly passed in spring of 1993. A few weekends ago I decided to recreate the recipe of his that made it to print. I decided to share it with my grandmother and my boyfriend. I know this isn’t a dessert like my normal posts but this was an experience close to my heart. So here is my attempt to make Apple Stuffed Pork Loin with cider sauce and wheat dinner rolls.

img_1345.jpg

Wheat Dinner Rolls (24ct)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tb. active dry yeast (instant works, too)
  • ½ c. warm water
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • ¼ c. honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup lukewarm buttermilk or milk
  • 4-1/2-5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt

Directions

  • Dissolve the yeast in the ½ cup warm water in a glass measure. Set aside.
  • Cream the butter and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs and mix, scraping the sides. Add the milk and yeast mixture.
  • Add 4-1/2 cups of flour and the salt, mixing until combined. Change to dough hook and knead for 2-3 minutes only, just until no longer tacky, adding a tablespoon or two of flour, if needed.
  • Let sit in bowl, covered, to rise for one hour. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times, then let rest 3 minutes.
  • Divide into 24 equal pieces, shaping each into a ball and placing in a buttered 13×9-inch baking dish with the pieces touching.
  • Let rise, covered for 1 hour. (I let it rise loosely covered with plastic wrap. Make sure to watch on and off while it rises, the rolls could expand and just become one big mass of dough)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

(Rolls-Adapted from anoregoncottage.com)

IMG_1347

 

 

Orange Glazed French Madeleines

In my attempt to be fancy, once again, here is my second recipe for French Madeleines. These soft French desserts are pretty and sweet and can be made with many different flavors. This time I made orange glazed French Madeleines. With orange juice in the batter and in the glaze it was full of awesome flavor.

These sweet little cakes turned out great. But I may experiment with adding sour cream or crème fraiche to make them more moist. I am a sucker for orange flavored anything. I will later put up a recipe for my favorite cinnamon roll made with carrot cake and orange juice stay tuned. Enjoy!

img_1339.jpg

Orange Glazed French Madeleines

INGREDIENTS

  • For the orange Madeleines
  • 1 orange, rinsed, dried, microplane for the zest and then juiced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ounces salted butter, melted and still warm

For the orange glaze

  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • Enough orange juice to make spreadable glaze (about 3 tablespoons)

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar to combine. (Make the batter by hand rather than with an electric mixer to ensure tender madeleines.) Whisk in half the orange zest, 1 teaspoon orange juice, and the vanilla. Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir just until combined. Pour in the butter and whisk just until thoroughly incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (This ensures a good rise and gives that dome appearance that is the signature of the French Madeleine.)
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter and flour madeleine tins or mini muffin pans and place them in the freezer until ready to use.
  • Pour the batter into the madeleine tins or mini muffin pans until each indentation is just barely completely filled, trying to make a mound in the center. Bake until puffed and golden brown on top, 8 to 10 minutes if you’re using small madeleine tins and 14 to 16 minutes if using large madeleine tins or mini muffin pans.

IMG_1341

  • Let the madeleines cool in the tins for 2 minutes before turning them onto wire racks to cool for at least 20 minutes before glazing. (If you do not wait for them to cook the glaze soaks through into the cake)
  • Make the orange glaze
  • Mix the confectioner’s sugar with just enough orange juice to make an opaque, thick, yet spreadable glaze.
  • Assemble the madeleines
  • Spread some glaze over each madeleine with a pastry brush, immediately sprinkle the remaining orange zest over the tops, and let rest for about 30 minutes before serving. (I just dunked the tops) 🙂

(adapted from leitesculinaria.com)

 

 

Lemon Curd Cheesecake

Lemon is one of my all time favorite flavors. There are endless recipes turning this tart fruit into sweet and sour desserts. During my week of vacation, I played around with this recipe. (knowing my grandmother, my boyfriend and I all love lemon.) For being a baked cheesecake this is surprisingly light. Most of the cheesecakes I make are heavier and closer to New York style. This cheesecake has lemon zest and lemon juice in the filling and a wonderful lemon curd on top. Enjoy!

Lemon Curd Cheesecake

IMG_1330
Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated zest and ¼ cup juice from 1-2 lemons
  • 1½ pounds (3 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, cut into 1 inch chunks, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature (Room temp helps with a fluffy bake)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Lemon Curd

  • ⅓ cup juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup (3½ oz.) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Place the oven rack in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until they are fine crumbs. Add in the sugar and pulse again. Add the butter in a steady stream and continue to pulse until the mixture starts to come together, about 10 1-second pulses.
  3. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until it is golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, wrap the pan with 2 18-inch pieces of foil. Set in a roasting pan and set aside.
  4. To make the filling, place ¼ cup of the sugar and the lemon zest in a food processor and process until the sugar turns yellow and fragrant. Add in the remaining sugar and pulse a few times to combine.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese for about 5 seconds. With the mixer on low, add in the lemon sugar in a steady stream, then switch to medium and beat until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, 2 at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions. Add in the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add in the cream and beat to combine, another 5 seconds. Scrape the bowl again to make sure everything has been incorporated and pour into the springform pan.
  6. Place the pan in the oven and carefully add enough water to the roasting pan to make it halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center is slightly giggly and the sides start to puff and the surface is no longer shiny, about 55 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a towel or wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from the roasting pan, remove the foil from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. Run a small paring knife around the edges of the cake and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours
  8. IMG_1328
  9. While the cheesecake is baking, make the lemon curd. Heat the lemon juice in a small pan over medium heat until it is hot, but not boiling. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Gradually whisk in the sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture, then pour the mixture back into the pan. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170°F. (Until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon) Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until it is melted. Stir in the cream, vanilla and salt.

(make sure to strain the curd in a fine mesh strainer to ensure not lumps on top of your cheesecake)

  1. Pour the curd into a small nonreactive bowl. Cover the surface of the curd directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  2. When the cheesecake is cool, top it with the lemon curd while still in the springform pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, but 24 hours is better.

(I just added sliced lemons for decoration)

 IMG_1329

(Adapted from tasteandtellblog.com)

French Macarons 3 More Ways!

Lavender White Chocolate, Raspberry Cream & Rainbow Buttercream French Macarons

Cooking is my meditation, (not medication; that’s sugar) but I also like to have fun in the kitchen. I love creating new tastes and experiment with old and new recipes. So today I made French Macarons. The first being a light purple cookie with a lavender white chocolate filling. The second, pink colored cookies filled with a basic buttercream icing and a dollop of raspberry seedless preserves. Lastly, I made a half purple, half blue cookie filled with an almond buttercream filling. These cookies, even though difficult to master perfectly every time, are a fun little show stoppers. It is fun to try new recipes and mix colors with different fillings.  Enjoy!

IMG_1312

I use this universal recipe for a fail proof French Macaron. To see full recipe and step by step instructions see my earlier post for “French Macarons” where I Cover Lemon macarons  https://pottsboilingover.com/2017/06/23/the-french-macaron/

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
3/4 Cup Ground Almonds
2 Large Egg Whites, room temperature
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
gel food coloring

Lavender Macarons:

After making the purple batter, while the macarons are setting, one hour before baking, begin the white chocolate filling: ½ cup heavy whipping cream heated to boiling in the microwave and poured onto 2 cups white chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap for 2 minutes. After, remove wrap and stir until all chocolate is melted and then add ¼ tsp to ½ tsp food grade lavender. Stir and let cool before piping into cookies. I say start small and gradually add more the lavender to taste. A little goes a very long way. Keep in fridge to store.

img_1084.jpg

Raspberry Cream Macarons:

After the pink macarons are cooled here is how to finish them off: make a simple icing with powdered sugar and either milk or water. You want it on the thicker side as you want to give height to the macarons. Using the pastry bag with a small tip make small circles along the edges to create a well in the middle for just a dollop of raspberry preserves.

img_1086.jpg

Rainbow Almond Buttercream Macarons:

Depending on how many cookies you want to make, make either one batch or two full batches (one color each). For one batch spit the white batter in the end between two bowls  and stir in one color each. Be careful not to over stir or flat cookies you’ll get. Then scoop each bowl into pastry bag one spoon of each at a time. Then swirl onto parchment. Before you let the macarons set for the hour you can dress the cookes up with sugars or sprinkles. Be creative. The way I make the cookies was made one whole batch of purple and set aside and made one while batch of blue because I wanted over two dozen cookies. Then scooped into a pastry bag.

IMG_1313

img_1307.jpg

Secret time: While the colorful cookies are sleeping, before the oven, I mixed store bought buttercream with a little bit of almond flavoring, for taste, and filled the cookies with that for a light colored filling. 😉 Shhhhh.

 

Mary Berry’s Bakewell Tart

Sticking with my love of The British Baking Show, here is a tasty tart I made during my week of vacation last week. I used one of my new favorites, Mary Berry’s recipe for a Bakewell Tart. This pastry has a basic vanilla tart crust with a small hit of fruit preserves in the bottom with a sweet almond and sugar frangipane filling and topped with slivered almonds and a sweet icing drizzle. Enjoy!

Mary Berry’s Bakewell Tart

IMG_1292

For one  9″ tart

Ingredients

Tart Shell

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • one stick butter
  • (1½ tsp sugar -my addition)
  • 4 to 5 tbsp ice-cold water

Filling

  • 3 to 4 tbsp raspberry jam, or any other flavor (I had strawberry seedless on hand, YUM!)
  • 1½ stick butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup ground almonds
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • ½ cup (3 oz bag) flaked almonds

Icing

  • ⅔ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water or milk

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F

PASTRY-

  • Place the flour and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, then the water and mix gently to make a soft dough.
    • (Food processer does just as well. I have used both in the past and a food processer is awesome! Pulse/combine until crumbly and sticks together. Do not combine until it forms one big ball. It will not make for a good flaky crust)
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, then line a 9″in tart tin. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Using a fork, press the tines into the bottom and sides of the pastry in the tin, then bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked, but not completely (it’s going back in the oven.) Remove and set aside.

FILLING-

  • Spread the jam on the bottom of the crust then make the frangipane filling.
  • Melt the butter in a pot, remove from heat and stir in the sugar, ground almonds, egg and almond extract. Pour the mixture over the jam and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes. If the almonds begin to brown too quickly, cover the tart loosely with aluminum foil.

ICING-

  • Place the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl. Stir in cold water or milk. Using a knife or spoon and drizzle the icing all over the cooled tart (make sure it isn’t warm or the icing will not look as pretty as it should.) Allow the icing to set before serving.

Cut into slices and enjoy! 

IMG_1294

( To be honest I was baking a few desserts the day I made this and I absolutely forgot the icing. It was still a pretty and delicious dessert. Enjoy )

(adapted from http://christinascucina.com)

Lavender Madeleines

After following a local bakery on Facebook, I was intrigued by these small sponge cake textured desserts Madeleine cookies are a pretty dessert that aren’t too hard to make and the result is worth the effort. I tried them for the first time this week and doing so, I made three different kinds. I started with lavender, followed by honey, and finished with orange. Here is the recipe for the lavender madeleines. Other recipes to follow! Enjoy!

IMG_1279

Lavender Madeleines

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp culinary lavender (crushed to release its fragrance)
    • (I used a ½ tsp food grade lavender liquid)
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature to ensure a fluffier result)
  • ⅓cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (melted)
  • all-purpose flour (for greasing and dusting pan)
  • unsalted butter (for greasing and dusting pan)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting *(see note on bottom)

IMG_1277

Instructions

  1. Grease a standard size Madeleine pan well. Dust with flour. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in lavender. Set aside.
  3. Beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add flour mixture and melted butter.
  5. Gently fold in flour and butter until well incorporated.

(place batter into fridge for 30 minutes to rest! This helps ensure a good rise as well. As seen in the picture below)

  1. Spoon batter into each mold cavity until almost full.
  2. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched. Do not over bake.
  3. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in pan. Turn the pan over and give it a light tap to unmold.
  4. Cool on rack, shell side up. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with tea or coffee.

(I made a basic glaze with milk and powdered sugar. I couldn’t taste enough of the lavender in the madeleine so I added another ½ tsp of lavender liquid to it.)

IMG_1280

(recipe adapted from justonecookbook.com)

 

Peach and Raspberry Clafoutis

Here I am again, mixing a little bit of me with some inspiration from Julia Child and a little bit of a recipe I found. Her recipe for a “Cherry Clafouti” inspired me to make this warm dessert that is a combination between a flan and a custard. With fresh Georgia peaches from my mom and raspberries from the local store I found a recipe combining all the sweet and sour attributes. Lemon gave this soft dessert an awesome tartness. This dessert made for a special dinner with my grandmother. The Peach and Raspberry Clafoutis.

 img_1233.jpg

Clafoutis

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar for dusting the baking dish
  • 4 medium-large fresh peaches, cleaned and sliced thin. (It might be prettier with peals but it tasted great without)
  • 1 heaping cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Butter an 8 cup flat shallow pan, or combination of smaller baking dishes for individual servings. Lightly sprinkle granulated sugar the buttered dish(s) to lightly coat. Set aside. (I used one large 2 qt. baking dish)
  • IMG_1229
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the sliced peaches, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and raspberries. Gently toss to coat the fruit. Set aside.
  • In the carafe of a blender combine ½ cup granulated sugar, almond and vanilla extracts, eggs, milk, heavy cream, flour and salt. Blend for 1 minute until frothy.
  • Pour the fruit and any juice into the baking pan(s). Gently pour the custard mixture over the top of the fruit and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. (uncovered)

IMG_1230

Cool the clafoutis for 15-20 minutes then serve warm lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar and soft whipped cream if desired. (If you put the powdered sugar too early it will soak into the clafoutis.)

(originally adapted from savingdessert.com)