Thursday, November 20, 2008

Apple Pecan Tart

This is the tart I brought to the pig roast, lifted from the Nov. 12th Dining section of the New York Times. I might try making it in a pie dish next time, since a good portion of the filling ended up leeching out of the tart pan.

1 1/3 cups flour, plus extra for rolling
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk plus 3 large eggs
2 medium tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract [I used about a tablespoon]
1 cup heavy cream, whipped, for serving [if you feel like being fancy]

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Pulse to blend. Dice 8 tablespoons butter, place in food processor and give it about 20 quick pulses, until butter is in tiny lumps. Beat egg yolk with 4 tablespoons ice water. Open cover of machine and sprinkle in egg mixture. Pulse briefly. Ingredients should start to clump together to form a dough; do not allow ball of dough to form. If dough is too dry to hold together, add another teaspoon or two of water and pulse again.

2. Transfer dough mixture to lightly floured work surface and gather together to form into a flat, smooth disk. Roll to a circle about 13 inches in diameter and fit into a 10-inch fluted tart pan. Line with foil, weight with pastry weights and bake 10 minutes, until dry-looking. Remove foil and weights, prick bottom of pastry in a few places and bake until golden, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven.

3. While pastry is baking, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Add apples and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Stir in brown sugar, then add pecans. Saute another minute. Remove from heat and spread in baked pastry. Beat eggs, stir in syrup and vanilla and pour over apples and pecans.

4. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until set and browned on top, about 25 minutes more. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Garrrrlic Bread

Talk Like a Pirate Day is, unfortunately, several months past but this is what I would eat if it were that day. Or any other day, actually, because this is my absolute favorite bread recipe! 

If you want to only make the topping and spread it on a nice loaf of store bought bread it'll still be super tasty. But, if you do the whole nine yards and make the bread too it will be oh so chewy and amazing. The dough can also double as pizza crust and focaccia so use it whenever possible. After all, how often do you get to make pourable bread??

Garlic Topping:
9-10 medium garlic cloves, skins left on(!)
6 TBS unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper
1 loaf bread, sliced in half lengthwise (or see below)

Preheat oven to 500F 
Toast garlic cloves in small skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally until fragrant and the skins darken, about 8 minutes. When cool enough, skin and mince the cloves. Using a dinner fork, mash garlic, butter, cheese, and salt in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. 
If using pre-bought bread: spread cut sides of loaf evenly with garlic butter mixture; season to taste with pepper. Place loaf halves, butter side up, onto baking sheet; bake until surface of bread is golden brown and toasted, 8-10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve immediately. 
Just to admit, I don't know if these are the exact right ratios of cheese and butter. I usually add a lot more cheese just because I love it so! Feel free to adjust for your own palette. It gives you an excuse to eat more!

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups water, room temperature
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp sugar
5 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 TBS rosemary leaves (optional)

If you can't find instant yeast (as I can't) just warm 1/3 cup of water and bloom a package of active dry yeast with the sugar. Then add only 1 1/3 cups water to make the dough.
Mix flour, water, and salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed until no patches of dry flour remain, 3-4 minutes. Turn off mixer and let dough rest for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast and sugar over dough. Knead on low speed until fully combined, 1-2 minutes, occasionally scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Increase mixer speed to high and knead until dough is glossy, smooth, and pulls away from sides of bowl, 6-10 minutes (don't worry, the dough will still be gloppy and fall back to the sides of the bowl when not agitated!)

Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 TBS oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl and pour 1 TBS oil over top. Flip dough over once so it is well coated with oil; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until nearly tripled in volume and large bubbles have formed, 2-2 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 500
Coat rimmed baking sheet with 2 TBS oil. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto baking sheet along with any oil in bowl. Using finger tips, press dough out toward edges of pan, taking care not to tear it. (Dough will not fit snugly into corners. If it resists stretching, let it rest 5-10 minutes and try again.) Let dough rest in pan 5-10 minutes. Using dinner fork, poke surface of dough 30-40 times and sprinkle with kosher salt. 
Bake until golden brown, 20-30 minutes. If you are putting toppings on, let the bread bake 15-17 minutes, remove from oven, adorn with toppings, and return the bread to the oven. 

Serve hot!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Smoky Scalloped Potatoes

These are the scalloped potatoes I brought to this evening's pig roast. They're from an America's Test Kitchen recipe. I like to add a bit of synthetic hickory smoke, but the potatoes are delicious without it.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup minced onion [I like to use a bit more]
4 garlic cloves, minced [I use 6-8, depending on size]
4 teaspoons powdered mustard
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme [dried thyme works fine, if you don't have fresh on hand - the rule of thumb is 1/3 the fresh quantity, but I use somewhat more...]
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
[1-2 teaspoons liquid hickory smoke flavor]
5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven [any thick-bottomed pot works fine] over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mustard, thyme, salt, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the potatoes, cream, buttermilk, baking soda, and liquid smoke and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and transfer the mixture to a 13 x 9" baking dish.

2. Bake until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Do ahead option: You can prepare the potatoes through step 1 and refrigerate, covered with foil, for up to 25 hours. Bake covered at 400 degrees until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking until the top is golden brown, another 30 minutes.