Yesterday I tried two new cookie recipes, both of which were made in the food processor. (I’m lazy – if I have to wash the food processor, I might as well make good use of it while it’s out). The first is a chocolate oatmeal cookie from the Jacques Pepin Celebrates cookbook. It’s particularly interesting in that the recipe has no egg in it, and only 1/4 cup sugar. It’s a shortbready treat, studded with currents and lacquered with dark chocolate.
The second is a French cookie (over here we’d probably call it a biscuit), the recipe for which I found in Dorie Greenspan’s archives (I’m currently working my way through her blog). It’s called a “Punition”, although I really don’t know why, unless you’re going to be punished with an enlarged rump for eating too many of them, as they’re pretty addictive. In this recipe, the quality of the butter is very significant, as the flavour dominates the finished cookie. I thought this was a great opportunity to use a batch of Pete’s homemade butter, which he made just last week. It was made with heavy cream (10.5% fat and pure, no thickeners added) which we allowed to sour a week or so past its expiry date, and had just the tiniest bit of crushed Maldon salt added to it. The recipe made a huge batch of crisp, delicious butter cookies which I’m shovelling into my mouth as I type. 🙂
It’s been ages since I’ve made fruit cake, but a chance purchase of 2L of black rum inspired me to make one yesterday. Unlike the “old days” (e. 15 years ago when we were making fruit cakes regularly), this one was baked in a large bundt pan. Because of that, it cooked in only 1.5 hours rather than the specified 2.5hrs. Gorgeous flavour from a mix of treacle and fruits boiled in rum and butter. Dead easy recipe, didn’t need a mixer (note to Dan! :)). I found the recipe online here, it’s an old Women’s Weekly one.
I sub’d rum for brandy, and, as I didn’t have any mixed peel or glace fruit on hand (or raisins for that matter), I used golden sultanas, dark sultanas, currant and cranberries (which I did have on hand). I also only used lemon peel, and threw in a little tart plum jam for good measure. Usually baking requires a rigid compliance with the recipe, but I’ve always found fruit cakes allow a little flexibility. To me, the most important thing about baking a moist, successful fruit cake is to give the hot cake a splash of alcohol, then cover it with foil and wrap it in a tea towel and allow it to cool in its tin. This can take all night, but it’s worth the wait!
Tried a new yoghurt cake recipe today which was joyous in its simplicity – it didn’t need a mixer, it didn’t need butter, and it produced a very interesting, fine textured cake which was almost a cross between cake and bread. The other thing that was particularly nice about it was that we were able to make it using Pete’s homemade yoghurt and his homemade apricot jam, my vanilla extract and bake it in my black steel breadpans which have been largely unused since I discovered how much fun it was to shape bread.
The recipe is by Dorie Greenspan, and it’s a winner.
Couldn’t resist this new bundt pan at the sales…
…filled with a few marinated olives left over from the last pizza night. The mix is 50:50 light rye to bread flour, and even though the hydration was very high, it still produced a dense, fine crumbed loaf, albeit with great oven spring. This is small boy’s new favourite loaf!
We found something exciting to do with Pete’s plum jam!
Matt requested “pizza bread” today, so we made the standard yeasted olive oil dough, let it rise, and then rolled it out thickly onto a large oven tray. This was topped with pizza toppings, allowed to rise again for a little bit, then baked at bread temps (220C) rather than pizza temps (250C) for about 15 – 20mins. The result is a bit like the stuff they sell at the school canteen, and the boy was very happy. Here is a photo of the leftovers – the wolves devoured the rest of it before I had a chance to take a picture!
Hungarian shortbread filled with Pete’s gorgeous nectarine conserve :
And some agar-agar jellies for Christmas Eve – I’m really happy with these!
This is one reason I make my own bread. A$0.35 per loaf for ciabattas – you can’t beat that. Loaves were a little overproved, so I didn’t giant holes this time, but the bread is delicious.