Wednesday, February 29, 2012

sweet potato latkes

Thought I'd post something a bit new for this blog, since I haven't posted in eons. When I started the blog, the intent was to focus on improving my baking, and I definitely did. Now that I don't have access to an oven, I can't really share any baked creations (and boy am I missing it!). So, I decided I might share a few meals. Who knows if anyone is interested in this, but I am going to share anyways.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, but it's important to combine that with some fat in your meal to ensure uptake. That's what these delicious latkes are perfect! Plus, they are ridiculously easy. Other than the sweet potato grating part - that made me miss my food processor.

Sweet Potato Latkes

1 large sweet potato, grated
1/3 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Heat about 3 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Cook latkes on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. Remove onto paper towel to remove excess oil. Enjoy! I ate mine with greek yogurt.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts

There's something about the end of winter that makes me crave food that would more ordinarily associated with fall.

There is also something extremely rewarding about baking something that I had previously thought could only come from a package. And without all the preservatives and stuff, it's like totally healthy. Plus it means that I rock at life. Right?

Going into this, I was not entirely convinced that this would be worth the extra effort, but having them fresh from the oven makes them much better, and for me the satisfaction of making something from scratch is worth the extra effort.

Recipe - Slightly adapted from Joy the Baker:

For the Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg (for brushing the dough)

For the Filling:
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Maple Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk
Cinnamon for dusting


For the crust:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter and break it up in the flour mixture using a pastry cutter. Work it in until only pea sized lumps remain in your mixture.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk. Add the mixture all at once to the dry ingredients and stir to make sure that moisture is introduced to all of the flour mixture. Lightly dust a clean counter with flour and knead the dough on the floured counter for a few turns until it really starts to come together. Divide the dough in two, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

In a small sauce pan, heat pumpkin puree and spices over medium heat. Just heat through until the spices become fragrant. This helps to bring loads of flavor into the filling. Remove from heat and place spiced pumpkin in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in egg, salt and sugar and place in the fridge to rest while you roll out the dough.

Putting it together*:

This would probably work better if you are into measuring and being precise. I'm not. I just rolled the dough out until it was to the desired thickness and then cut into equalish looking pieces. 

1) On a well floured work surface, press dough into a 3×5-inch rectangle, roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thickness. Trim dough with a pizza cutter, creating a rectangle. Using the pizza cutter, cut each side into thirds, creating 9 squares. Place dough squares in the fridge while you roll out the second piece of dough in the same way.

2) Brush half of the squares with beaten egg. This will act as the glue for the top layer of dough. Spoon about one tablespoon of pie filling into the center of each non-brushed dough square. Top with a piece of brushed dough and use a floured fork to crimp the sides closed. Using the tines of the fork to create vent holes in each tart.

3) Let tarts rest in the fridge for 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden (mine took 22 minutes).

4) While tarts are baking, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze until smooth. Once the tarts have completely cooled, pour over the tarts and dust with cinnamon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nutella Tart

Did you know that February 5th is World Nutella Day? I didn't and I feel pretty embarrassed about that. World Nutella day has been around since 2007, so I decided I needed to do something to make up for missing FIVE years of world nutella day. My first thought was to sit down with a jar of nutella and a spoon and not stop eating until it was finished but somehow that just didn't seem right (although would have been glorious).

This nutella tart the perfect way to make up for five lost years of nutella celebrations.

And as the recipe doesn't call for that much nutella you'll have plenty left over to continue celebrating the deliciousness that is nutella.

For the Sweet Tart Dough:

Taken from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From my Home to Yours"

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 large egg yoke

1) Put the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are well combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. Stir the yoke and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. Pulse the ingredients until the dough begins to form clumps and curds. Turn the dough out and knead the dough lightly just to ensure that all ingredients have been incorporated.

2) Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan - save a little dough in the refrigerator to patch any cracks that may appear after the crust is baked. Press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it will loose it's crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.

3) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of tin foil and fit the foil buttered side down against the crust. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes. Allow the crust to fully cool. This can be prepared a day in advance.

For the Filling:

Taken From "Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme"

2/3 cup Nutella
4 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
7 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large egg at room temperature, stirred with a fork
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature, stirred with a fork
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup hazelnuts toasted, skinned and cut into large pieces

1) preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2) Spread nutella evenly over the bottom of the crust and set it aside. Melt the chocolate and butter in separate bowls and allow them to cool until they feel warm to the touch.

3) Using a rubber spatula stir the egg into the chocolate, stirring gently in ever-widening circles, be careful no to agitate the mixture. Slowly add in the yolks and sugar. Finally stir in the warm butter. Pour the ganache over the nutella and scatter the hazelnuts over the top.

4) Bake for 11 minutes - the center will shimmy if jiggled. Allow the tart to cool for at least 20 minutes or until room temperature

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baileys Marshmallows

First, I have to apologize for my prolonged and unexplained absence. Sometimes, life gets in the way and I just haven't been baking very much.

I decided to get back into baking by turning my kitchen into a big sticky boozy mess and really think that you should too. These are delicious!!!! Particularly when left on top of a big mug of hot chocolate and left to melt.


3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold, baileys, divided in two

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1) Grease a 9X13 pan and then dust with powdered sugar.

2) Mix 1/2 cup of baileys and gelatin in the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment.

3) Over low heat add remaining 1/2 cup of baileys, sugar, salt and corn syrup until the sugar has dissolved. Turn heat up to medium and let boil until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.

4) Add the sugar mixture to the gelatin and continue to mix at medium until it begins to grow in size. While this is mixing, use a hand mixer to whisk egg whites until they form solid peaks. Add egg whites and vanilla extract to sugar mixture until well combined.

5) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. You will likely need to grease a spatula to be able to get everything out of the bowl - it will be a very sticky mess. Dust with powdered sugar and let the marshmallows sit for 3-5 hours or overnight until firm. Remove from the pan and cut into desired size.