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What are you baking these days? Part IV [old]

(Note: There's a newer "What are you baking these days?" thread started. If you have a question or comment about something below, please go ahead and post it. But if you want to add a new thing you're baking to the list, please find the newest thread from this list: http://www.chow.com/search?query=&amp... -- The Chowhound Team )

Since we were almost to the magic 200-post mark, thought we could do with a new thread. Despite the heat on the Eastern Seaboard, we bakers are still baking up a storm. How about you in your "little corners of the world" as our great-aunt used to say?

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  1. Hey fellow bakeaholics, let's get going on this thread, shall we?
    If I get ambitious tonight I have that dreamy-sounding Caroline1 recipe burning a hole in my pocket...didn't do it over the weekend because dinner guests are of the if it ain't chocolate it ain't dessert mindset...

    8 Replies
    1. re: buttertart

      If you're talking about the Armenian cake, it's delicious! My husband is part Armenian and I thought it would be a nice treat for Father's Day. After a quick search online, I found similar recipes that include walnuts, pecans or cinnamon.

      1. re: robyn76

        That's it, this weekend for sure. Armenian cake or bust!

        1. re: robyn76

          Recipie or link please? Thanks

          1. re: geminigirl

            Caroline1's recipe can be found over here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7140... (thanks maplesugar)

            1. re: buttertart

              Thanks !

        2. re: buttertart

          Made Caroline1's cake - dreamy and quite unusual - I put walnuts in with the crumbs (chopped them fine in the flour, did the crumb mixture in the FP) because himself is not overfond of caramel/brown sugar but loves walnuts, and I didn't want to have to eat the whole thing myself or see it go to waste (or waist, in the first scenario). Made me wonder if it was originally intended as a simulacrum of a cake made with katayifi (shredded phyllo dough) before its general availability in the States - there's a Turkish dessert with katyifi that's served warm and has an unsweetened cheese filling.

          1. re: buttertart

            The Turkish dessert - is it "Ekmek Kataifi"? I had one in Montreal made with custard, Chantilly, and walnuts, and it was amazing.

            1. re: souschef

              Ekmek is cream I think, this is cheese, like supermarket mozzarella, melted between the layers of katayifi. The salt and sweet is nice.

        3. Well, I made the animal "cracker" recipe off the Williams Sonoma animal cracker-cookie cutter box. I was hoping they'd be somewhat similar to real animal crackers, but they were just sugar cookies. Disappointing.

          1. Alice Medrich's melting chocolate meringue tarts and RLB's Bernachon parfait au chocolat for you doubting Thomas (you know who you are)...

             
            12 Replies
            1. re: buttertart

              lovely - delicate - ethereal. do I dare?

              1. re: Cynsa

                Simple, really. The only fussy bit is getting the dough into the tart tins (muffin cups).

              2. re: buttertart

                oh they look delicious and light, explain the little parfait of chocolate? What is this like?
                Thank you for the photo!!! It's wonderful, believe me when I tell you, I have no idea what a chocolate meringue is. For years I've hated sweets, hence I never really baked much other than birthday cakes, cookies a few appetizers that involved cream cheese pastry, and now..well I want to learn all of it. I've been doing breads, pizza now for a few years, cookies, sweet breads, muffins and light weight things.

                Can you bake the meringue tarts, and fill them with the parfait?

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  The parfait is an egg yolk enriched frozen chocolate ganache, not baked. You put 6 oz chopped dark chocolate in the food processor, get it as fine as possible, and add 2/3 cup heavy cream that's been heated to boiling. Let it rip until the choc is melted, then add 2 egg yolks (the tarts called for 2 egg whites so it pleased my little parsimonious heart to use the yolks up this way). I added a tsp of vanilla and a shake of salt. You let this cool in a medium bowl until a bit thickened (I let it sit about 2 hrs), then fold in another 2/3 cup of heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks. Freeze at least 3 hrs in ramequins (I've had mine, in pic, since we got married) or other small dishes of around 6 oz capacity. You can add a tsp or so of Kahlua or other booze and it will apparently freeze a bit softer per the recipe, I didn't, it was firm but very nice indeed.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    I think I got it, in my mind I was thinking the two recipes go together for one dessert. Guess I dreaming chocolate cream pie taken to the top level. This all sounds so good. I'm saving your recipe and instructions, What a lovely dessert!

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      PS there were 2 parfaits left and I had one last night. They hold up perfectly in the freezer.

                2. re: buttertart

                  Yum! Very nice! Recipes from my two favourite bakers presented together. Sounds like a great combination.

                  What type of chocolate did you use (% cocoa)? I like to use a maximum of about 70%; any more and it is a bit too bitter for me.

                  BTW did you get the Hermé book on chocolate desserts?

                  1. re: souschef

                    This was dark chocolate from Croatia I got at a store selling eastern European foodstuffs, around 60% I'd say. The friend I was making these for likes chocolate that's not too dark (milk preferably, no chocolatier than a chocolate chip), so I figured I'd use this one. Medrich gives varying amounts per percentage in the tart recipe (which I will post if people want it, I just don't have it by heart).

                    1. re: souschef

                      Hey souschef, earthquake near you? All OK??? Weird!!!
                      (Hermé, not yet.)

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Hey buttertart, thanks for your concern. I missed the quake (epicenter in Gatineau) as I was on the road, driving to Toronto for a reunion Thursday and Saturday. No wonderful meals envisioned, except perhaps one in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Friday.

                        Sorry for the thread hijack.

                    2. re: buttertart

                      NIZIA! What'samatta, couldn't get Liam to pose? ;) No doubt here!!!

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Liam was preoccupied with his other important kitty business pursuits at the time. Also not much on desserts.

                    3. I found this article called "The Science of Cake" by Andy Connelly in the Guardian UK. His descriptions were so lovely, I decided to try the classic English pound cake. It is terrific: buttery and beautifully crumbed. I finished it with a caramel (butter, sugar, cream) glaze.

                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blo...

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: mnosyne

                        Nice article, I like the way the process is described, with tastes.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Yes, nice article, but butter or (gasp!!) margarine ! Perish the thought. Also, I didn't think anyone used self-raising flour anymore.

                          1. re: souschef

                            They do in the UK and in the southern US (odd British Isles carryover in some southern cooking). The margarine lept out at me. I once as a (broke) student tried making shortbread with margarine, better no cookies than those cookies. (My mom used it quite a lot, in things she thought had enough flavor to make its use undiscernable. Shortbread was not one of those things.)

                      2. Apple pie

                        Cherry rustic pie

                        Black forest cake

                        Something pumpkin puree (since I opened the can for my cats)
                        Something blueberry maybe since I got some on hand

                        Got a few things lined up..

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: BamiaWruz

                          Strawberry shortcake. Living in northern Ontario - the berries are just coming into season......Yummy - yummy - yummy. I use bisquit - and because DH like the berries mashed - I mash them - I would rather have them jut sliced. Also made 2 bathches of jam (so far)...going to make a couple of more batches to give away to my sons.

                          1. re: eaglelake

                            I bet those strawberries are wonderful, I'm from London (Ont) originally and have never had ones to match them in the States. And your wild blueberries are beyond compare, my dad used to have his niece send them to London when they were in.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Buttertart (WBTW) - is SOOOOOO Canadian - I make mine with real local maple syrup. The strawberries are sooooo sweet - and delicious. The wild blueberries are just coming to ripe - right now...I guess it will be blueberry desserts next week. Summer is so great in Canada.

                              1. re: eaglelake

                                I chose my screen name in honor of my mom who was was the very best butter tart baker ever. Not that I don't expect yours are sublime too!

                        2. My mom found wild black raspberries on the edge of the parking lot this afternoon as she was waiting for me, so we picked several...enough for me to try a different twist on the cherry almond cake I made recently. Now it's a black raspberry pecan cake...swapped almond extract for vanilla, almonds for pecans and added a l'il bit of cinnamon. Boy, the house smells fab. I'll have pics and specifics tomorrow, but I do think--and mom agrees--this is even better than the cherry almond one. Though the cherry one was much more photogenic!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            Here 'tis! I think I like it even better than the cherry almond version:
                            http://kattyskitchen.wordpress.com/20...

                            It has a pleasant crunch--both from the pecans and the berries.

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              Beautiful, miss!

                            2. re: kattyeyes

                              ohhhh, there is nothing better than wild blackberries, they are so good. They make the most wonderful jam just take the seeds out or you'll be picking them out of your teeth.
                              But really the best jam ever.

                            3. I think this qualifies - baked for two hours: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...

                              these were great with Champagne ... and, beer

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Cynsa

                                Wow...just wow. They're like the radical inversion of the English toffee caramel matzo/saltine thing!

                                1. re: Cynsa

                                  Those do take forever don't they? Every party we have those are requested and gobbled up.

                                2. Let's see: I've made several clafoutis this month, Martha Stewart's recipe, but I subbed ingredients as I'm lactose intolerant. Have also baked 2 blueberry/raspberry cakes from elise.com (it's listed as blueberry cake on her site, but I used 1/2 raspberries as that is what I had on hand - great little recipe - and yesterday, I baked my banana chcolate chip bundt cake, a family favorite, moist and delicious.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: addicted2cake

                                    How about sharing the banana cc bundt cake recipe? And what did you use in the clafoutis since it's milk-based? Thanks!

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      I used Soy Delicious Coconut Milk, original flavor, in my clafoutis - comes in a carton that WF sells in the dairy case. I've also used almond and soy milks, but I like the coconut milk best. Recipe for cc banana bundt cake:

                                      Preheat oven to 350 degrees, generously grease and flour 10 inch bundt pan.

                                      Ingredients:

                                      3 cups ap flour
                                      2 tsps. baking soda
                                      2 tsps. baking powder
                                      1/2 tsp. salt
                                      1/2 tsp. cinnamon
                                      1 cup veg. oil
                                      2 cups sugar
                                      4 large eggs
                                      2 cups banana puree (several large, ripe bananas mashed to make 2 cups)
                                      1 cup chocolate chips
                                      1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

                                      In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk ingredients together, set aside.

                                      In a stand mixer, combine oil and sugar, beat on low speed for a minute. Add eggs, one at a time till all combined, also on low speed. Alternate flour mixture with banana puree in 3 additions, beating still on low speed till all combined. Remove mixing bowl, add chocolate chips and/or nuts by hand to batter till all combined. Gently spoon into bundt pan. Bake for one hour or a little longer, checking around 50-55 minutes for doneness. Toothpick should have a few moist crumbs clinging to it as opposed to clean. Let cake sit in pan 10-15 minutes, then tap sides and bottom to loosen cake, carefully invert onto cooling rack. Takes a couple hours to completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

                                      p.s. you can also make this cake with a hh mixer, or, if you're strong, all can be mixed by hand. I find the stand mixer too easy not to use.

                                      1. re: addicted2cake

                                        Sounds v good!

                                  2. Last week I made 2 recipes from links posted in Part III.

                                    1st posted by LauraGrace when I mentioned I was on a rhubarb kick: Big Crumb CoffeeCake with Rhubarb. http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/02/big... Brought it to work and it was inhaled with raves soon as it hit the table. I didn't even get to taste it myself, but will try it again. Should have doubled it, but I'm not a baking pro and never sure about sizing up in pan unless the recipe tells me what's appropriate. I need to get 2 8x8 and 9x9's.

                                    2nd Amazinc shared one s/he was making: Sweet & Salty Butter Pecan Cookies: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe....
                                    This time I stashed away a few cookies for myself and man these were so good! Again, gobbled up in no time and I will make them again. The recipe notes you can play with the ratio of sugar and salt the cookies are rolled in and also when you bake them, immediately, after chilling, delayed, etc, will alter the texture. Since it was the first time I made them I didn't play with the ratio and I baked immediately without chilling.
                                    Amazinc I was wondering what you prefer, chill or not, alter the sugar/salt?

                                    Thank you both for the great recipes and introducing me to 2 recipe websites I didn't know about, Smitten Kitchen and King Arthur Flour.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Island

                                      These both sound wonderful, thanks for re-referencing them. The rhubarb crumb cake would be good with blueberries or other fruit too.

                                      1. re: Island

                                        Doubling a recipe meant for an 8x8-in pan works out pretty well in a 9x13 (and you can usually halve a 9x13 recipe and bake in an 8x8). This goes for brownies, bars, and casual cakes.

                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                          Thanks Caitlin! Very helpful and I've got that pan. Now, any suggestions on how to adjust the baking time?

                                          1. re: Island

                                            I'd just start checking earlier on. There might not be that much difference, because the cake will be about the same depth.

                                      2. It's just too hot to bake right now. I would *love* to make something meringuey in particulary, but given the humidity, that's really out lol. I did make a chocolate cake, with chocolate ganache frosting last weekend, along with strawberry shortcake and lemon bars (making lime next time ...)

                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                          Ok, I'm back ... it's been in the 70s-80s the past couple of days! So far I've made Dorie Greenspan's fabulous peanut butter cookies: http://areyouhungryyet.blogspot.com/2...

                                          We're going raspberry/black raspberry picking today, so next on the list is a peach-raspberry crostata, followed by black raspberry ice cream (with chips) ... and probably many other raspberry-themed items. Peaches are in season here, and they've been AMAZING, so if I ever stop just eating them (dripping over the sink), I'll start baking with them as well.

                                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                            Peaches over the sink are the only way to fly when they're that good.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              I have a recipe for peaches poached in Champagne, and served with a strawberry mousse. It looks really good, but I'm too cheap to cook with real Champagne. Maybe I'll try it with a sparkler.

                                              1. re: souschef

                                                I'm the same way. The real stuff goes down the gullet not into things. Speaking of peach desserts, one of the top 10 desserts of my life was white peaches poached in some sort of wine with lemon verbena ice cream and tuiles. It was suggested by our waiter when I said I felt like something really fruity after our 25th anniversary lunch at Taillevent. A dreamy day.

                                            2. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                              Five pounds of raspberries later ...

                                              Raspberry tart:
                                              http://areyouhungryyet.blogspot.com/2...

                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                5 lbs of raspberries = 1 tart, 1 qt of black raspberry-chip ice cream, 2 qts of limeade, 3 big jars of raspberry-lime jam, 1 batch of chicken marinated in honey, yogurt, raspberries, and lime, 1 batch of crepes with raspberry whipped cream and fresh raspberries, plus about 30 leftover for cereal and/or yogurt. Busy day today!

                                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                  Holy cow! I hope you took a break to eat some of that--yum!!!! :)

                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                    Wow, busy indeed. How wonderful to have access to berries to pick. I would have eaten a pound of them! :>)

                                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                      Busy day in paradise!

                                                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                        Too late you've used them all, but here's a recipe you might use next time. Simple raspberries in a chocolate tart shell. Looks tasty.
                                                        http://pastrystudio.blogspot.com/2007...

                                                        I'd like to try these cherry tarts too. Adorable.
                                                        http://pastrystudio.blogspot.com/2010...

                                                        I was lead to this link for info on tempered chocolate. Didn't find it yet, but spotted these 2 cuties.

                                                        1. re: Island

                                                          Ooh, those look great! Thanks for the links Island!

                                                2. If the weather should cooperate tomorrow, I may make a sticky toffee pudding for a get-together with some friends tomorrow night. I've got a huge container of dates languishing in my fridge and a big double batch of sticky toffee pudding seems like the right use for them.

                                                  BUT. In ten days I leave for Australia, where it is midwinter, and I can't wait to bake all manner of puddings and pies and unique cakes from these threads for my lovely hosts. Hooray!

                                                  1. The weather in my area has been above 90 to nearly 100F. degrees for almost two weeks so not much baking getting done around here but I did make a fresh peach tart last weekend, some zucchini bread on Thursday and tomorrow, I'm planning to make Bon Appetit's (June issue) Lime Tart with Blueberries & Blackberries.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Cherylptw

                                                      That lime tart sounds wonderful and I love blackberries.
                                                      Today I think I'm going to make this raspberry buttermilk cake. The recipe popped up on my internet homepage and I noticed that function before. Looks easy and for once I already have all the ingredients.
                                                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                      1. re: Island

                                                        Both recipes look divine, thanks for pointing them out.

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          maplesugar made that tart as tartlets - she posted about it in part III (with photos).

                                                      2. re: Cherylptw

                                                        I made that yesterday- so delicious and refreshing!

                                                         
                                                        1. re: barcelonabites

                                                          Hello, gorgeous! Nice going! :)

                                                          1. re: barcelonabites

                                                            I'd like a piece of that ;^)

                                                        2. 58°F here in SF - easy Vegan Banana Cookies - for my across-the-street neighbor who shares her delicious Indian dishes with me - yesterday she brought a warm pudding made of cream of wheat-butter-sugar-coconut milk-cardamom that was so good it was devoured in seconds! She doesn't bake and I am making vegan cookies/cakes for her.
                                                          Recipe: Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash 1 ripe banana with fork. Stir in 1/3 cup vegetable
                                                          oil, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add 3/4 cup all-purpose flour + 2 Tbl. flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon; mix together just to moisten. Add 2 cups of rolled oats or quick-cooking oats (not instant) with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup chocolate chips - I also added 1/2 cup of raisins. Mix well with hands. If this mixture is too wet, add another tablespoon of flour - it really depends on the size of the banana. Roll balls of dough in wet hands - just a scant smaller than a golf ball, and flatten slightly; place 2 inches apart (they don't spread) on a parchment-lined baking sheet (I used Silpat) and bake for 10 - 12 minutes until lightly browned - I baked them just for 10 minutes, browned on bottoms and firm to touch on top but no color, moist and chewy inside. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to finish cooling. For breakfast cookies: substitute 2 Tablespoons of ground flax seed for the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
                                                          It's Pride weekend, and I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies for neighbors decorating bicycles yesterday to ride with the SF Bicycle Coalition in today's Parade at 10:30 am.
                                                          It was the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips... behind schedule and rushing out the door, I needed "quick and easy". What do you bake when you need something last-minute... easy technique and easy ingredients?

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                                            I think I've got you all beat -- when we go back to Cairo from rainy and chilly Italy, the temperature the day we returned was 113F. It has since "cooled down," and it was "only" 94 today, but with the late afternoon sun hitting the kitchen, I think my baking days here are done. Can't wait to get back to NY for some normal hot weather and a kitchen with an exhaust fan!

                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                              To Cynsa: Brownies, always brownies, Nick Malgieri's Supernaturals, natch.
                                                              To Roxlet: It's not 113 deg F here but there have been entirely too many 90 and over deg days for my tastes. 58 in SF? remind me why I left Berkeley please? ;-)

                                                            2. This morning, I made the super-simple summer fruit cake that I found from back in 2005 here....used peaches an blueberries....turned out very nicely, tho not as attractive as Dave's (whom I believe is the one who posted a photo).

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: jenscats5

                                                                Here's a link to the recipe: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/279043

                                                                I didn't see DaveMP's query or post w/photos before, but I knew you had to be referring to the Sir Gawain cake. There were a million threads/reports about that cake in the ensuing months of 2005!

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  That sounds good too. I'm currently into making breakfast worthy cakes, coffee and crumbcakes with fresh fruit to take to work.....so we don't eat it all here. :>)
                                                                  Other than changing the fruit, did you guys make it as stated in the recipe? I ask because it looks like thouse who added to the thread had some variations. Hmmmm maybe will try peaches and blackberries...

                                                                  1. re: Island

                                                                    Do you have a bit of time to read? As I noted, this cake was all the rage when it hit the board in 2005, and there were many reports and discussions: http://search.chow.com/search?query=s...

                                                                    It is really a quite similar recipe to the raspberry buttermilk cake you linked upthread.

                                                                    Do you get sour cherries where you are? If so, I also recommend another Chowhound classic: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/281699

                                                                  2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                    Caitlin - Thank you for finding & posting the link!! I can see why it was so popular when it was first posted - it was easy, delicious & pretty to look at.

                                                                    Island - I used peaches & blueberries myself. Otherwise, yes I followed the recipe as stated. However, as mine was baking, the peaches around the edges looked like they were beginning to dry out, so I brushed them with some melted apple butter. And due to my oven, mine baked in 45 mins.

                                                                    1. re: jenscats5

                                                                      caitlin thanks for those links and jenscats5 for the tips. This one will have to wait. I really want to try it with blackberries and peaches except the peaches in the grocery stores are horrible right now. Shouldn't this be peach season?

                                                                      1. re: Island

                                                                        it is in CT...is it in CA? Get to a farmers' market or farm stand, stat, Island! ;) We have peaches a'plenty in the Land of Steady Habits! Which is making me think of a very tasty Penzey's recipe for peach shortbread squares...something like that...that I should revisit!

                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                          Lots of peaches around, but all tastless rocks at the moment. Don't you hate it when produce looks so good on the outside and not so tasty on the inside? That's my husband's typically lament over tomatoes and mine for fruit.

                                                                          1. re: Island

                                                                            Absolutely. Gotta check out our local peaches and see how we're doin' here. I feel like making something peachy.

                                                                2. SO's Birthday is Tuesday and he loves pie so sweet cherry pie it is. I made the crust dough today and tomorrow I'll wrestle pits and lattice and what not. I think the neighbor will be gone so I can hide it in his place. I like to bake, but pie crust is not my favorite thing to attempt ... but when he's happy the dimples show and it's hard to resist.

                                                                  22 Replies
                                                                  1. re: corneygirl

                                                                    My husband is a pie man so I have to break down occasionally and make him a pie too even though piecrust is my bugaboo. Sour cherries are in in NY so time for a cherry pie in our house.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      Yep, my husband is a pie man too. He claims not to like sweets, but is known to wander into the kitchen in the evenings saying, "Shame there isn't a piece of pie in the house."

                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                        Do they know each other and put each other up to it? ;-)

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          lol! I may have to check...

                                                                      2. re: buttertart

                                                                        SO must be part of the secret men's pie society. Every time he sees pie on tv or at the store or something he says, "I like pie." As though I haven't discovered this in 6 years. Funny!

                                                                        1. re: corneygirl

                                                                          It definitely seems to be a man thing. I far prefer cake myself.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Nah, I'm a guy and I prefer cake too. The dough in the pie gets in the way of the good stuff !

                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                              I'd just as soon have a bowl of the filling myself. Never really liked pastry...except in mea pies and butter tarts!

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Pie is more forgiving than cake when it comes to being served at the wrong temperature (cold); besides, you can always nuke the darn thing, something that can be precarious with a cake.

                                                                                I just realized that I have never baked a pie, unless Tarte Tatin counts. Tells you how much I like pie. French tarts and cakes on the other hand .......

                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                  I've baked 10 tarts (and at leat 25 cakes) to each pie I've made.

                                                                                2. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Never heard of a buttertart. I'll have to investigate.

                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                An unscientific but amusing look at the pie vs. cake gender divide: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/299928

                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                  Good thread, wonder why I didn't weigh in on that one at the time???

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    Here's another fun one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/328028

                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      So it is! Thanks, Caitlin!

                                                                                2. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Whether it's gender specific or not I'm done with my pie baking for another year. At least it wasn't 90+ today. The blob in the middle is supposed to be a fish (fave hobby). Why doesn't he just LOVE carrot cake?

                                                                                   
                                                                                  1. re: corneygirl

                                                                                    "Why doesn't he just LOVE carrot cake?"

                                                                                    Because carrots have no business being in a cake. I dislike carrot cake; the taste is not consistent with what I consider dessert. Much as I like cheese, who wants a cream cheese frosting on a dessert? Does not compute !

                                                                                    I once made carrot cake for a relative who requested it for his birthday. He loved it; I hated it.

                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                      To each there own... I see your logic but I still love it. Even better is stale carrot cake crumbled up, soaked in burbon and shaped into balls.

                                                                                      1. re: corneygirl

                                                                                        Come on, admit it - the reason you like that combination has to do with the bourbon, not the cake ;)

                                                                                        1. re: corneygirl

                                                                                          Funny thread. My husband prefers pie too so count this as another vote for "it's a guy thing". He will frequently groan when I'm craving cake and want to buy or make one and remind me he doesn't like cake, but hmmmm he always seems to manage to choke down a piece with the excuse that it's the only sweet to be had. However he loves brownies and his all time favorite is a carrot cake recipe with chocolate chips in it, but somehow that doesn't count as cake. He thinks that's in a category of it's own.

                                                                                      2. re: corneygirl

                                                                                        Awwwwwww...nice try with the fish. I gave up on pies when I was a teenager and tried (and failed) to make a very elegant one that was on the cover of Bon Appetit. It had a spun sugar dome over it--well, it was supposed to, anyway. Cake all the way here, too...and I love your bourbon ball carrot cake idea.

                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                          @ souschef I'll never admit to it!

                                                                                          @kattyeyes Thanks, he got a kick out of it (I'm no good at suprises - I was going to wait till today to give it to him but at exactly midnight I couldn't take it any more.

                                                                              3. bacon and blue cheese pizza
                                                                                chocolate scones from one of those humongous toblerone bars you get from the airport

                                                                                =) good day for chowing down.

                                                                                1. I made a flourless chocolate cake today, same recipe as usual, but this was only my third time using the convection oven. Wow! totally new experience: the batter puffed up on one side, and I remembered finally to rotate the pan. But the cooking time was touch and go. The result was delicious but not as moist as usual, and it cracked a bit during unmolding. I live and I learn.

                                                                                  1. Actually turned on the oven today and have CopyKat's pound cake in there for strawberry shortcake tonite. It's 110 degrees here but I've got a butt load of strawberries and my (semi-new) oven pre-heats in three minutes. I can't even tell it's on unless I actually touch the surface. My last one used to pre-heat for at least 30 minutes, so I'm good.

                                                                                    Edited to add:
                                                                                    I just pulled it out of the oven - why oh why do I not have toothpicks?? I used a straightened paper clip to check the doneness. It looks and smells great! And I just now realized that I failed to put in the lemon juice it calles for. "Sigh" That's what I get for cooking / baking w/ a busted rotary cuff.

                                                                                    My apron hook fell down too - I don't currently have the upper body strenght to get it back up there, so I'm taking off my apron and hanging it on a breakfast bar chair and calling it quits. - Goes to freezer for some vodka and an ice pack -

                                                                                    1. Your turn, buttertart.

                                                                                       
                                                                                      49 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                        Is that (gasp! Gateau Ste. Honore? Complementi a lo chef!

                                                                                        1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                          Thank you!

                                                                                        2. re: souschef

                                                                                          How do I know you just made that, mister? Kidding. Did you make the puff pastry too?Thank goodness I have until the 14th.

                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                            As the puff pastry takes secondary role in the cake I bought it. Unfortunately the caramel kinda ran away when I was making it, and it ended up being too dark. I did not have the time to redo it.

                                                                                            BTW buttertart there is a special nozzle for piping the filling. It is called a (tadaa!) St. Honoré tip.

                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                              And the cream is creme Chiboust, right? Only used in this cake. I have a tip that has one flat side and one toothed, is that it?

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                This one:

                                                                                                http://cooksdream.com/Merchant2/merch...

                                                                                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                  Hmm. NY Cake and Baking this weekend I guess. Considering I've never made choux pastry before (!) this is going to be interesting.

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    Oh, a choux pastry virgin? It's really pretty simple and fun, I'm sure you'll be successful. Do you have a stand mixer, btw?

                                                                                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                      Yep, a KA from 1987.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        Ok, easier to beat in the eggs with a KA then a hand mixer or, God forbid, by hand. After the St. Honore, I see lots of profiteroles in your future, amongst other delights.

                                                                                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                          Cream puffs are my MIL's big specialty (the swan ones) - I've been intimidated! (She always did it with a handheld mixer). Her birthday's tomorrow - will be 87 and is still cooking/baking up a storm for a whole gang of people. What a woman!

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            Nice, the swans are cool, floating on a "lake" of chocolate sauce or berry coulis. This will open up a new world for you.

                                                                                                            The handheld mixer works ok, it's just the by hand method of beating in the eggs that is a killer, especially for a big batch. Of course it depends on the strength of your wrists. When are you making the St. Honore, this weekend?

                                                                                                            Btw, I saw Beatrice Ojakangas on Baking with Julia yesterday; she made Danish dough from scratch look like it was a walk in the park.

                                                                                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                              I'd love to see that episode, she's another one of my heroines.
                                                                                                              souschef and I have a challenge - I have to come up with mine by Bastille Day. I'm planning to have people over for dinner on the 12th, maybe make it for then since it's a lot of gateau for 2 peeps only.

                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                You have a recipe and assembly instructions in mind, yes? It is a pastry for a party, that's for sure. I checked out St. Honore photos when I was looking for a link for that tip. There's wide variation in finishing this cake; aside from the classic structure and appearance, the rest of it is seemingly up to the baker. This one has chocolate ganache and chocolate shavings topping it, just to gild the lily:

                                                                                                                http://dessertfirst.typepad.com/photo...

                                                                                                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                  It's the cover photo on the Nick Malgieri Perfect Pastry PB edition, I've been eyeing it for a long time and think it'sthe one I'll go with. Is it in JC too? I'll check. And the RLB Bernachon book also has a choc one on the cover...I want the trad one first.

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    Ok, I looked, it's very nice, the tip will be perfect for the piping, and you're doing the caramel threads?

                                                                                                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                      (Sighing) I...guess...so... (another first).

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        Watch the humidity with those!

                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                          I know, great time to embark on this, isn't it?

                                                                                                                  2. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                    The Hermé version has poached pears, chocolate pastry cream, and ganache. The most unique one I have seen. The most traditional (breaks no rules) is the one by Gaston Lenotre.

                                                                                                            2. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                              I always beat in the eggs by hand; that way I can control the texture of the pastry. I add the last egg a bit at a time, and find that in a 5-egg recipe I never use the whole egg. A bit too much egg and you can't shape the thing.

                                                                                                              Yes, besides the profiteroles you will go on to Gougeres, Salambo, paris-Brest, etc.

                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                A multi-part challenge! I'm mainly concerned about the assembly/decoration part because that is NOT my strong suit.

                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  It is actually far easier than it looks. Once you get the choux right you are all set.

                                                                                                                2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                  By hand? I've done it by hand under duress, but it's not easy to get that egg worked into the dough mass, takes more than a few minutes per egg; don't tell buttertart to do it by hand the first time (or ever.) God made stand mixers so that pate choux could be invented.;-))

                                                                                                                  Btw, I use 4 eggs per in my basic recipe and don't necessarily increase them at the same rate when tripling the batch or more.

                                                                                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                    You HAVE to eat your wheaties before attempting it by hand. I'm not by any means muscle-bound, and always do it by hand. I have even done a 10-egg batch by hand. It does take time, but I am more comfortable doing it that way.

                                                                                                                    Ok buttertart, bushwickgirl asked me to not tell you to do it by hand, so consider yourself told !

                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                      Yes, Wheaties, I guess I'm not as tough as I used to be. I think it's more time consuming than anything, but ok if you have some wrist and upper arm strength, or if you want to develop it.

                                                                                                      2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        I made creme Chiboust once, and found it too sweet, so instead I use pastry cream lightened with whipped cream.

                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                          Chiboust has gelatin in it too I think?

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            No, Chibouste has no gelatin. It is just pastry cream and Italian meringue.

                                                                                                      3. re: souschef

                                                                                                        Whose recipe is this again?

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          I didn't use a recipe as such. But I do use recipes for choux and pastry cream, from "French Cookery School" by Anne Willan and Jane Grigson. BTW I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It took me from a cooking and baking virgin to a decent cook and baker. It's available on Amazon for under 5 bucks.

                                                                                                          The decoration idea I took from Miche Roux, but his looks better than mine, but he is a professional pastry chef whereas I am not. The chocolate cream recipe was from Pierre Hermé.

                                                                                                          I used straight pastry cream in the puffs, and the lightened cream in the base and decoration.

                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                            06/30/10 14:42 : news of a book I don't have that Jane Grigson cowrote posted by souschef.
                                                                                                            06/30/10 14:48: book already ordered on Amazon (around $8.00 with shipping).
                                                                                                            Ain't life (and the internet) grand??? THANK YOU!!!
                                                                                                            I am thrilled to find out about another book by Jane Grigson, she is my absolute idol. I have a photo of her on my fridge!
                                                                                                            (ps is the sous in your name perhaps from Sue's? as in Sue's chef?)

                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              You will not regret buying that book. I suggest that you make the veal sweetbreads. It also taught me how to make soufflés and puff pastry. It has a great section on choux and how to gauge when to stop adding eggs. It will take you from a choux vigin to a choux lush !

                                                                                                              I chose "souschef" when I was not at my smartass best and lacked imagination; it has no special meaning. I just thought of the ideal handle, but it is too late for me to change. How does "BarneyGrubble" sound ? My name is in there somewhere.

                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                I love sweetbreads but have never made them, it's about time, isn't it?
                                                                                                                Looking forward to the challenges involved.
                                                                                                                (Thought perhaps Mrs souschef's name was Susan since you're her chef!)
                                                                                                                Don't change the handle, I like souschef and I've seen others do as well.)

                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  If you are antsy to make the sweetbreads, I posted the recipe today in the "How do you cook lamb thread" - one thing led to another. I once made the sweebreads and incorporated them into a pithiviers - pictures and discussion here somewhere; just do a search on pithiviers (hard for me to do a link via my iPhone).

                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                    I saw that posting. Thanks!

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      I don't want to change the subject at hand, but here's a link from Michael Ruhlman with a few comments and a little instruction for pate choux:

                                                                                                                      http://blog.ruhlman.com/2009/01/pate-...

                                                                                                                      Now I've said enough about that and I do expect to see photos in the near future!

                                                                                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                        I just looked at the link, and must say I don't like the pictures of how the choux are piped. I prefer a smooth overall surface, i.e. more like a flattened ball than the spirals shown, especially for something like the St. Honoré puffs.

                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                          Well, that wasn't what I was pointing out; ahem, there was a comment about making the choux paste with a mixer rather than by hand.

                                                                                                                          It looks to me like the photoed choux were for profiteroles. You can certainly smooth out the paste; I've used a finger dipped in a little water; For the St. Honore, the choux are traditionally rather round and slighly flattened.

                                                                                                                          The piping doesn't really hold up after being baked anyway, that is to say, if you, for example, used a large star tip to pipe, you wouldn't get much obvious definition in the baked product.

                                                                                                                          You really dont even have to pipe it; a cookie scoop or soup spoon for portioning works just fine.

                                                                                                                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                            Heh! Heh! I ignored that comment just to aggravate you !

                                                                                                                            If the mixer method is better, I should try it, well, at least once...but one more bowl to wash, and we do know that buttertart hates to dirty more bowls than necessary.

                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                              True, but how did you know that?

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                You mentioned it here before......and I pay attention.

                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                  Must watch what I say! ;-)

                                                                                                    2. re: souschef

                                                                                                      OMG - too lovely for words.

                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                        Wow! Was this difficult?

                                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                          If you can make pastry cream and choux paste, the cake is ...ahem....a piece of cake. It is not difficult, just very time consuming, and is best made over two days to allow for the creams to cool before you can use them. I made it in a rush yesterday, and it took me 3 hours or so.

                                                                                                        2. re: souschef

                                                                                                          Holy Pastry Wizard!! That is just too beautiful to eat! Does it taste as good as it looks? Oh I'm not worthy to feast my eyes on that little gem.

                                                                                                          1. re: Island

                                                                                                            My family liked it. My sisters had two pieces each (as did I) !

                                                                                                            NOTHING is too beautiful to eat !

                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                              My philosophy exactly! Chinese saying: you eat with your eyes first, then your mouth.

                                                                                                        3. easy peasy, I followed the instructions from CH marthasway for Apricot Pie at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7169... - really GOOD PIE

                                                                                                          1. Happy Canada Day, all! Remember Expo 67? I do!
                                                                                                            "It's a hundred happy years of Confederation, everybody sing together, CA NA DA, we love you!" (OK, calm down...deep breath...)
                                                                                                            In honor of this auspicious day, and since apparently you Yanks still haven't gotten with the program and started making that most Canadian of treats, the (eponymous) butter tart, herewith a link to me dear old and now sadly departed mom's recipe:
                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/658814

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              Oh, and Happy Canada Day to you, thanks for the buttertart link, I hadn't seen it before and always wondered...will give them a try! Maybe we can finally bring the buttertart treat and tradition to the States.

                                                                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                It's a worthy cause!

                                                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                Did I see the word "butterscotchy"? Oh Canada! I'm so with the program. That sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your your dear mom's recipe.

                                                                                                                1. re: Island

                                                                                                                  My pleasure. They are really, really good.

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    Buttertart -Do you prefer it with currents and always add the vinegar? Make the same pastry as your mom did? I have a can of Lyle's Golden Syrup I bought specifically for these which were a bust. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                                                                                    Made from cane sugar rather than corn I believe. Will it work instead of the corn syrup?

                                                                                                                    1. re: Island

                                                                                                                      I prefer the currants and always add the vinegar, yes. I wouldn't use Lyle's in these because it's too viscous and thick, you need corn syrup really. Happy baking!

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        Great thanks. I'll pick some up and maybe give this a try this week. I haven't made many pies and tarts; cake and cookie girl here. Anyone have any tried and true suggestions for easy foolproof pastry recipe for this?

                                                                                                                        1. re: Island

                                                                                                                          Dare I say it? You might consider premade?

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                            True. The only type I've noticed are the frozen pie shells, but I think there are frozen sheets. Have you ever made it as a pie rather than 12 tarts?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Island

                                                                                                                              No, it's the charm of these that they're small. When they're right, they're really too soft to cut as a pie. There are other recipes out there for butter tart squares (check Canadian Living magazine website for example) which is what I make once in a while.

                                                                                                              3. I made a simple fresh white peach crostata last night. The kitchen smelled of butter and sugar, and when I sliced those peaches, I experienced a moment of perfect happiness. It was a delicious treat! Summer really is peaches!

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                                                  Oh, yum! I picked blueberries today and wanted to grab some native peaches, too, but not a whole quart (?) of them. Went to a different farm and they were not native. Was kinda looking forward to making something with both fruits, but I guess my next baking endeavor will be a blueberry one. Your crostata sounds fantastic...

                                                                                                                2. Have a look at the black currant shortbread squares recipe from the excellent "the Complete Canadian Living Baking Book" I posted on the black currant thread. Sounds pretty darn good!

                                                                                                                  1. Your friend with the pointy hat here is about to find out what happens when you forget to put baking powder in a cake (DAMMIT!). The recipe I was playing with called for self-rising flour--something I failed to notice till the cake was all mixed up and baking away...or not baking as I will soon find out. Anyone ever do this? Grrrrrrrrrr.

                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                      Oh yeah. Did it have separated eggs in it with the whites being whipped stiff? You should be OK. Or there's always trifle...

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        Nope, not separated eggs. I just googled "cake flour" which another recipe called for. Maybe frangipane cake doesn't need (necessarily) baking powder? Here is the first recipe I saw. Even the sugar girl I am, I freaked when I noticed how much sugar in addition to the almond paste, which is plenty sweet in and of itself...not to mention butter. But this one doesn't have BP.
                                                                                                                        http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

                                                                                                                        So maybe I'm OK. What I did is a radical hack of this one from Bon Appetit:
                                                                                                                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                        I will mention, regardless of my error, my house sure does smell good. I am sooooooooo grateful for AC, too!

                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                          I bet it smells good. With the marzipan and sugar it may be dense but will still be mm mm good.

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                            Just one more minute and it's done...and it doesn't look like a mistake. It's the maiden voyage of my cool springform pan with heart shapes on it. Can't wait!!! Thank you. :)

                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                              And how did it work out??? Pics?

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                Just fine 'n dandy, thank you! I worried for nothing. I did find other frangipane recipes with no BP. New pan works like a charm. No need for parchment paper or complication. All is right in Katty's Kitchen--pics here!
                                                                                                                                http://kattyskitchen.wordpress.com/20...

                                                                                                                                This would be so yummy as a blueberry peach combo, too...

                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                  Looks like a success to me! Like the idea of adding the marzipan.

                                                                                                                    2. Hi all. I made an Ina Garten chocolate cake that I'd made before, whch I like. But I bought a bag of King Arthur Flour's cake improver and it did make the cake better. They said it would make it moister and tenderer and it did. They also say it will make it stay fresh longer, and it looks like that's panning out, too. I like the stuff, I'll use again.

                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: runwestierun

                                                                                                                        RWR, what's in that cake improver?

                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                          Yes, I would like to know what makes it "tenderer".

                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                            Me too, they have bread improvers too and I've always wondered about them. Since they're a food product they must have ingredients lists - rwr, what does it say?
                                                                                                                            Professor souschef, may I have an extension on my project? My dinner guests are coming on the 17th and I'd like to make it for then. Also, it's in the high 30's here and will be all week, and I'm having issues with my oven...please, kind sir?

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              Perfessor ? I thought this was a challenge of equals! Oh well, I can understand not wanting to turn on the oven - it's 41 or 44 degrees here with the humidex. But I have to make biscotti (almond/pistachio/chocolate) before the weekend.

                                                                                                                              Oh yeah, your extension. Whenever you get to it is fine. BTW one thing I can't help but think about when I see the Malgieri picture is a statement Tom Collichio made on Top Chef: "Pastry should be baked not till it's beige or blond. It should be brown". I find Malgieri's a bit pale. But then some of my puffs should have stayed in the oven a bit longer.

                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                I bow to your superior powers of concentration and stamina in being able to make things like the chocolate chestnut torte without (apparently) having to go to bed for a week after doing it (as I almost had to after making an Opéra for my husband's birthday a while back)...I have to have a deadline otherwise will continue to dither about it forever. The 17th it is.
                                                                                                                                Looked at the photo again - the bottom crust is just flaky butter pastry (per the recipe), you wouldn't want that to be too brown, I shouldn't think?
                                                                                                                                If I get really industrious I'll make the easy puff pastry in the Canadian Living Complete Baking Book (2008, title doesn't allow for another book any time soon, does it?) I just finished going through. Nice book!

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  Believe me, my stamina is not what it used to be. I now think twice before taking on anything. But, the 17th it is.

                                                                                                                                  I don't have the Malgieri book; just going by the picture on Amazon. The colour I was commenting on was the choux pastry base. I like to bake choux a bit darker, especially since a local German baker to whom I took some Salambos told me that my choux was too light. What are Salambos? Choux puffs filled with rum pastry cream, the top dipped in caramel and then drizzled with chopped pistachios. Really yummy ! The same baker also told me that I had too much rum in my pastry cream. Yes, I know, bushwickgirl is probably thinking that you can never have too much rum !

                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                    Oh man those sound good. A (German or Austrian) bakery in London (Ont.) Covent Garden Market used to make a rum cake pyramid on a thin hard meringue base covered in dark choc. Awfully good.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                      Is that cake anything like Medrich's Marjolaine from Cocolat? BTW I have made Lutece from Cocolat. Very nice.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                        Similar - the recipe was in Dorie Greenspan's "Paris Sweets". Another swell book for you if you don't have it.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                            I don't know what is in the cake improver, and they don't say, understandably. It's a white powder and you add 1/4 cup to the cake batter at the creaming stage. But it works, I am very happy with the results. I always use their bread improver for whole wheat and rye bread.

                                                                                                                            oh, ingredients list for cake improver:
                                                                                                                            rice starch, polyglycerol, esters of fatty acid, mono and diglycerides of fatty acids.

                                                                                                                            Yum!

                                                                                                                            1. re: runwestierun

                                                                                                                              It sounds as if my assumption about it was correct. The rice starch lowers the overall protein and gluten content, which will give a softer and more tender crumb, especially if you're baking with unbleached AP flour, vs. bleached AP or cake flour, and I assume the other ingredients are there to help prevent or slow staling.

                                                                                                                        2. I made a nectarine and blueberry slump. A slump is like a cobbler, but made on the stovetop, so the biscuity part cooks like dumplings. So not technically baked, but close enough - and a good way to not heat up the kitchen with the oven if it's hot where you are. Anyway, it's good. Sweet, warm fruit, cakey dumpling topping. I'm happy it's local stone fruit season.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                            I'd love the recipe if you have one to recommend! I can't bear the thought of turning on the oven (in NY) but I have a ton of cherries that look like they could be happy in a slump. :)

                                                                                                                            1. re: 4Snisl

                                                                                                                              Sure. The one caveat is that this really best freshly made. Refrigeration makes the dumplings a bit dense (though not inedible - I had leftovers for breakfast), and storing overnight at room temp, they'd probably get soggy. With cherries, I'd add a little bit of almond extract to the fruit mixture, as it really plays up their flavor.

                                                                                                                              Stone Fruit Slump
                                                                                                                              (Mostly adapted from a recipe in Rustic Fruit Desserts)
                                                                                                                              Serves 4-6

                                                                                                                              About 2 pounds stone fruits, pitted and sliced (or just pitted in the case of cherries), plus a cup or so if berries if desired
                                                                                                                              1/2-3/4 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit
                                                                                                                              1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
                                                                                                                              1 tablespoon lemon juice
                                                                                                                              1/4 teaspoon salt

                                                                                                                              1 cup flour
                                                                                                                              1 tablespoon sugar
                                                                                                                              1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                                                                                                              1/4 teaspoon baking powder
                                                                                                                              1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                              1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
                                                                                                                              2 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut in dice-sized pieces
                                                                                                                              1/2 cup cold buttermilk

                                                                                                                              In a wide saucepan (2 1/2 or 3 quarts is about the right size, I guess) or deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, gently mix the fruit with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside while you make the dumpling batter: Whisk together the dry ingredients, then toss the butter into them until the pieces are coated. Use fingers, a pastry blender, or two knives to cut the butter in until it's roughly pea-sized. Stir in the buttermilk. Put the pan on the stove and bring to a simmer, then simmer for a couple of minutes, until the juices start to thicken up a little, stirring gently from time to time to make sure the juices don't cook onto the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer and drop the batter on top of the fruit in spoonfuls, spacing as evenly as you can. Put the lid on the pan and cook for 15 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through (use a toothpick or skewer to test). Take the lid off, remove the pan from the heat, and let cool 15 minutes before serving.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                Thank you so much, Caitlin! I'm preparing dinner for a lovely family this weekend,a and now know what to make for dessert. :)

                                                                                                                          2. House sitting so I don't much want to mess around with somebody elses kitchen. Plus they have carpet in the kitchen so I'm fearful of my messy ways. I did make cornbread the other day with green chilies and corn bits that would have been good if I'd remembered the salt. I blame the different kitchen. Now to figure out a catnabbing scheme since my empty home shows evidence of mouse...

                                                                                                                            1. For some reason, I thought I posted this, but don't see it.....oh well....

                                                                                                                              For the 4th of July holiday, I took the morning to make red, white & blue cupcakes - very festive!

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                                                Next time, post a photo, always welcome!

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  I'm planning on making these divine chocolate cookies that a local chocolatier is famous for:
                                                                                                                                  Thomas Haas Chocolate Sparkle Cookies

                                                                                                                                  * 1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate
                                                                                                                                  * 3 T butter, room temp
                                                                                                                                  * 2 eggs
                                                                                                                                  * 1 T honey
                                                                                                                                  * 1/3 c sugar, plus more for rolling
                                                                                                                                  * 3/4 c ground almonds
                                                                                                                                  * 2 tsp cocoa powder
                                                                                                                                  * pinch of salt
                                                                                                                                  * powdered sugar for garnish

                                                                                                                                  Melt chocolate on top of a double boiler, over simmering water. Cut butter into small pieces and mix into the heated chocolate until melted. Beat eggs with mixer, gradually adding the sugar and honey until light & the mixture falls in thick, smooth ribbons from the beaters (about 10 minutes). Fold into the chocolate-butter mixture. Add the cocoa powder and salt to the ground almonds & mix; gently add to the chocolate mixture.

                                                                                                                                  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

                                                                                                                                  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a small ice cream scoop to form the dough into 1 inch balls. Working quickly, roll the balls in granulated sugar. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 12 minutes, until the centres are most, but not wet. Cool slightly. Dust lightly with powdered icing sugar.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: VanGrrl

                                                                                                                                    These do sound good, thanks for posting the recipe. Lots of chocolate hounds on here will be happy to see this!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: VanGrrl

                                                                                                                                      Could you please describe the consistancy of the finished cookie? Is it cakey, crisp, chewy, etc. Thank you.

                                                                                                                                2. And shake a leg over to Part V for a special twist on this baking and sharing adventure!
                                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7193...

                                                                                                                                  1. All of this zucchini is keeping me busy, I'm trying everything and anything. This morning after looking at several zucchini muffin and bread recipes I went to the Martha Stewart Baking book. I love the blueberry muffin recipe, and she also has some really good bread and biscuit recipes. Anyway, I was able to get 11 good size muffins and she says 10.
                                                                                                                                    I did bake them in my convection oven which is in the garage (too hot to heat the kitchen up!) and they came out lighter than I would think of a zucchini muffin. Oh well, they are really good and very moist. In fact, so good dh wants me to send about 30 with him for coworkers in the morning.

                                                                                                                                    I was wondering though, are you suppose to peel the zucchini for muffins or bread? The recipe calls for 1 cup of grated zukes but doesn't speicfy to peel?

                                                                                                                                    Martha Stewart's Cranberry and Zucchini Muffins with sugar sprinkle tops - definitely a keeper!

                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                      I used to make zucchini bread a lot when I lived in CA - don't recall peeling ever having been called for in any of those recipes.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        Just checking, recipes I've looked at say just to grate the zucchini fine. Imagine there is some healthful benifits to the peel being in there.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                          I would suppose. Z bread was promoted as a healthful thing back then - too bad about the 3/4 to 1 cup oil with the kajillion calories in it.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                            Well, as Julia might have said: "If the oil bothers you, substitute butter!" See you in Part V!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                                                                              Butter has fewer calories, anyway! Brava Julia.

                                                                                                                                    2. I've been wanting to make pie, but in the heat I made a tart instead- it was incredible! Fresh blueberry tart, where half the berries are cooked first to make the filling more velvety. It was super easy because of the pat-in crust, although I did have to keep the oven on for 20 mins to bake it... here's a photo if anyone's curious.

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: onecaketwocake

                                                                                                                                        Beautiful!

                                                                                                                                      2. Zucchini Bars with browned butter frosting; Blueberry everything - bread, muffin, buckle,waffles, pancakes (ok waffles & pancakes no oven involved teachinically speaking) - it's Jersey blueberry season in full swing baby! Yes!

                                                                                                                                        1. Part V is up and off to the races! See y'all over there...

                                                                                                                                          1. http://tiny.cc/ke753
                                                                                                                                            Monkey bread

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: BamiaWruz

                                                                                                                                              Hi Miss Ladyfingers, come on over to Part V:
                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7193...