Saturday, November 26, 2011

Skating and scones

Made these during the ice cut and the warm up before the Cup of Russia Free Dance event:

Pumpkin spice scones
 2 cups flour 
2 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
 4 T cold butter 
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 egg, beaten 
3 Tbsp brown sugar 
3 T sour cream 
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon maple extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients and cut butter into dry mixture using a pastry cutter or two knives. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, beat the liquid ingredients until well mixed and fold into dry ingredients. You may need to knead it lightly to moisten it entirely. 

 Roll out the dough to about 3/8" thickness, cut into discs. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then drizzle with the glaze.

1 1/2 T light brown sugar
1/2  teaspoon white vinegar
1T butter
1T heavy cream
2 teaspoons maple syrup 
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan, add the vinegar and bring to a boil stirring constantly (the vinegar will keep the sugar from crystalizing). Ad the milk and maple syrup and whisk until blended.

Cut into 8 equal wedges (a pizza cutter works brilliantly for this). 

Bake for approximately 15 minutes 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Last strawberries of the season

Don't really have enough to make even a jar-ful of preserves, so I turned them into sweetener for this pretty-in-pink scone.

Strawberry drop scones

2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 pint whole strawberries
½ cup honey
1 large egg
½ cup sour cream or yogurt + ½ cup milk, whisked

Optional-dried strawberries or other dried fruit

Pre-heat over to 400F/200C

Put the strawberries, 1 T of the honey, and 2-3 tablespoons of water in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries break down. Beat them lightly with a fork to create a jam-like consistency. Allow to cool in the saucepan.

Mix the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, knife or your hands until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir the dried fruit, if any, into the flour mixture. Lightly beat the egg, honey, and dairy into the jam (using the same cooled saucepan--why add to the dishes), then add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined, combining the last loose flour by hand.

Remove from the mixing bowl and knead lightly. Dough should be spongy but not sticky. Divide into two equal sections. Roll each out to 10" circle (about ½ inch thick) and cut into 8 equal wedges.

Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet about 1 inch apart and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack and let them cool slightly before serving.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Testing for the holidays

Pie #3. Getting crazy, now I'm messing with the pastry. Where will it end.

1 1/4 cup pastry flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup + 2T shortening
1 ½ T dried orange zest
₁⁄₈ teaspoon orange-seasoned black pepper
3-4 T orange juice or liqueur

Whisk dry ingredients; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or knife until shortening is the size of peas. Add OJ a tablespoon at a time, blending with a fork until liquid is absorbed. Roll out into a disc about 1/8" thick, and lay in a pie plate. Fold and crimp crusts. Put in fridge to chill.

1 ½ to 2 cups pumpkin or pumpkin+squash puree
3 large eggs +2 yolks
1 cup heavy cream
2 T liqueur or brandy (I used honey liqueur)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 T finely chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
₁⁄₈ teaspoon ground cloves
₁⁄₈ nutmeg, grated

Mix the spices together. Whisk together the wet ingredients then fold in the spices. Pour into the chilled pie shell and bake at 325 for at least 20 minutes or until it starts to set. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Do not turn the oven off. While it is baking, make:

Caramelized pears
2 medium Anjou (or other firm) pears
2 T butter
splash of liqueur
2 T sugar

Melt the butter in a medium skillet, then lay the pears in a single layer. Splash with liqueur and bring to a simmer; sprinkle with sugar. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar starts to carmelize. Gently turn pears so both sides have some caramelization. Allow to cool.

Take the cooled pie and very gently lay the pears in a nice pattern (or randomly, I don't care) on the surface. Return to the hot oven and finish baking, about 10 minutes.