• Tart Cherry Clafoutis

    Alright folks, I’m here to talk to you about clafoutis. If you’re not familiar with what that is, it’s a type of baked French dessert with a thin, eggy batter that bakes into a custard-y cake studded with the fruit of your choice. This was my first attempt at clafoutis and let me tell you, I am a changed woman. The recipe I followed, which you can find here, used pitted sweet cherries, but because I had 2 jars of tart cherries I decided to try those out instead and let me tell you I was not disappointed. A generous sprinkling of sugar caramelizes into a crisp, top layer, while the vanilla-almond scented batter is perfectly offset by the slight sourness of the cherries.


    It reminds me slightly of a more substantial Dutch Baby, and I am not joking when I say this was the easiest baking project I have ever undertaken. You have 50 minutes total? You can make this, and 45 of those minutes are spent baking anyway. It’s crucial that the batter is completely mixed without lumps, so the entire thing should be blended before baking, preferably with an immersion blender, but it can also be done in a regular blender as well, never fear!

    I know this picture doesn’t do it justice, but i needed everyone to see how thin it baked up and the LAYER of custard it produces.

    I think I’m finally off my rhubarb kick, so thank you all for sticking with me! I also realized that it’s been ages since I’ve posted a savory recipe and for that I apologize, I find myself cooking the same meals lately (I’ve been in a bit of a dinner rut), and branching out more into baked goods. The good news is that with the warm months comes fresh produce, so some new dishes will be coming soon, never fear! But until then, I really suggest that you bake this dish up at your earliest convenience, most fruits can be substituted for the tart cherries, and it becomes the easiest (but also still impressive) dessert.
    Let’s get baking!

    Makes: 10-12 servings
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Bake Time: 45 minutes
    Total Time: 50-60 minutes

    Ingredients
    Adapted from “David Lebovit’s Cherry Clafoutis” on Food52
    2¼ cups (1¼ lbs) pitted cherries, I used tart, but sweet will also do! (Can also be done with berries, pears, peaches, etc.)
    3 eggs, room temperature
    ½ cup all-purpose flour
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ¼ tsp almond extract
    ½ cup + 3 tbsp white sugar, divided- ½ cup is in the batter, remaining tablespoons go on top for baking
    1 1/3 cups milk
    Softened salted butter, for greasing the dish

    Steps

    1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF and generously grease a 2 quart baking dish (mine was roughly 9″x13″). When I say generously I really do mean it, I thought I had done enough and there was still some sticking in the corners.

    2. If your cherries are fresh, wash and pit them, or if they are jarred in juice, drain. Spread the pitted cherries on the bottom of the dish evenly, but don’t obsess over it because they will shift when the batter is poured in.

    As a side-note, look at this fun summer tablecloth!!!!

    3. In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, white sugar, and milk. Using the aforementioned immersion blender (or regular blender), blend this batter thoroughly until smooth, so that all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

    4. Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle the top with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.

    5. Bake for 45 minutes until the top is brown and crisp, and a knife comes out ~mostly~ clean.

    This can be served warm, room temperature, or cold, with ice cream, whipped cream, but it’s also perfect on its own!
    xoxoxoxoD

     

     

  • Cinnamon Birthday Cake (with Marzipan Succulents!)

    Hello! It’s been a bit since I last posted, I’ve been all over the place but I’m back now, never fear. Today’s recipe is brought to you once again by my love of cinnamon, in case you haven’t sensed the theme here. I turned 23 on Monday, and because I know who I am, I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own birthday cake. It works because I can experiment and pick my favorite flavors, but no one complains because it’s a cake for me anyway! (As if anyone could complain about eating cake though.)

    So to start, I use a classic birthday cake recipe from a Williams-Sonoma Cake cookbook that I’ve had for years now, and it’s simplicity is its greatest asset. But because I can never leave anything alone, I added a few tweaks here and there in the form of some cinnamon, almond extract, and a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, and boy it went well. As my mo remarked, the cake smelled like snickerdoodles as it was baking, and was moist and amazing when iced and sliced. To complete the cinnamon masterpiece I covered this cake in a cinnamon-y buttercream and free-handed a few marzipan succulents for decoration. I, of course, know that they could be cleaner if I used cookie cutters or stencils, but I simply didn’t have any so I made do!

    This whole recipe is great because without my flavor additions, they serve as basic templates for cake and buttercream that can be changed as you see fit. I’m including stars next to the ingredients that I added so that the following recipe can be two in one! Let’s get baking!!

    Makes: 1 2-layer 9″ round cake or 1 9×13″ sheet cake
    Prep Time: 1 hour+ (depending on how into decorating you get!)
    Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
    Total Time: 1.5-2 hours

    Cinnamon Cake Ingredients
    adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Cake

    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    ¼ tsp kosher salt
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon*
    ½ cup whole milk
    ½ vanilla bean (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
    ½ tsp almond extract*
    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1½ cups granulated sugar
    4 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten

    Cake Steps

    1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour your desired cake pans, or grease and line your pans with parchment paper (which is my preferred method, to keep the consistency correct and to prevent sticking mishaps).

    2. In a large bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

    3. If you’re using a vanilla bean, add the milk, almond extract, and scraped vanilla bean seeds + pod to a saucepan and heat over low heat (do not boil the milk!), until the vanilla has infused with the milk. Remove and discard the pod. If you’re using vanilla extract instead, add both extracts to your milk at room temperature.

    4. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or large bowl + hand mixer), cream your butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add in the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

    5. Drizzle your eggs into the bowl of the mixer on low speed, a little at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding more.

    6. Next you’re going to be adding your flour mixture and your milk mixtures alternatively, starting and ending with the flour. Add your flour in 3 batches, your milk in 2. Mix until just combined.

    7. Pour the batter into your pans and spread evenly. Before baking, tap your pans on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    8. Allow the cakes to cool almost entirely in their pans, trying to move cakes around when they’re still warm makes them way more likely to crack or break! While they’re cooling, you can make your frosting.

    Cinnamon Buttercream
    adapted from Domino Confectioners Sugar
    *you may have to do this in 2 batches if you have a smaller mixer like me! If so, just divide these amounts in half*

    7 cups (2 boxes) confectioners sugar
    1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
    ¼-1/3 cup whole milk
    ½ vanilla bean, scraped, or 2 tsp vanilla extract
    ½ tsp almond extract*
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon*

    Buttercream Steps

    1. Cream together your butter and sugar. Slowly add in the milk, little by little until your frosting has reached the desired spreadable consistency.

    2. Add the extracts (or extract and vanilla bean seeds), and cinnamon, and mix to combine.

    3. Once your cakes have cooled, generously frost the top of your first cake and stack the second cake on top, so that both domed tops are in the center and the top and bottom of your cake is flat.

    4. “Crumb coat” the cake with a thin layer all over and chill for 15 minutes. Finish with a second, thicker coating of frosting. Dip your spatula in warm water and run it along the sides and the top to smooth.


    Decorations

    Almond paste (marzipan)
    Food Coloring
    Cocoa powder
    Chocolate Shavings

    or any sprinkles/ extra frosting you want!

    Steps

    1. To color your marzipan, break off a large chunk and make a well in the center, adding in a few drops of the color you want. Knead it around in your hands until the color is evenly distributed. Warning, you WILL dye your hands this way, I looked like Elphaba from Wicked for quite a while.

    2. To make a succulent, I cut out star shapes in gradually smaller sizes, starting with the largest and then 3-4 more, getting smaller each time. I layered them on top of each other one at a time and pressed the center in until the pieces were stuck together.

    3. Brush the edges with a little cocoa powder and arrange them on the top of the cake. Cover the area with chocolate shavings if you feel like it, I thought the cake needed to look a little more like a garden you know?

    Then, take at least 600 pictures to brag to your friends about your masterpiece, and enjoy!!!

    xoxoxoxoxoD

  • Almond Paste-Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Custard (Butterkaka!)

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Bread mystifies me. Something always goes wrong, whether it’s the rising or the rolling or the texture, it has taken me years to perfect. Today however, my friends, I have done it. It all started when I came across this recipe from the blog Call Me Cupcake, where cinnamon rolls got the ultimate upgrade with almond paste and ALSO vanilla pastry cream. As if cinnamon rolls weren’t incredible enough, they have now become the most decadent treat that goes beyond your morning pastry and coffee.

    This is the perfect baking project for a Saturday morning, because keep in mind that it takes a super long time from start to finish. But I always love taking on big projects on an otherwise slow day; I get to make a cup of tea, set up some Netflix, and get into the baking zone! I realize that at this point it’s Tuesday which may feel like a bit of a bummer, but now you have something to look forward to for the weekend to come! This recipe works in steps, with rising time in between them, so it gives you some free time for making the filling and the pastry cream, plus some time to put your feet up and enjoy a cup of coffee and an episode of The Office. I don’t know about you but this sounds like my dream Saturday morning.

    So, wherever you are on this Tuesday, hang in there a little longer and dream of these fancy rolls to come. Love, D.

    Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    Makes: 10-12 rolls
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Inactive Time: 2.5 hrs
    Bake Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: ~3.5 hours

    Dough Ingredients

    1 package (¼ oz.) dry yeast
    1 cup whole milk
    5 tbs salted butter, softened
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    Scant ½ tsp ground cardamom
    2¾ to 3 cups all purpose flour

    Dough Steps

    1. Add the yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer (or large glass bowl). Heat the milk in a small saucepan to approximately 98ºF (be careful not to overheat because it will kill the yeast!), and add to the stand mixer and mix to combine.

    2. Add butter, sugar, cardamom, and the first 2¾ cups of flour, and mix with the dough hook attachment or with your hands. At this point you can add the rest of the flour if your dough is too sticky, I myself used the full three cups but it may vary! Knead this dough with your mixer for about 15 minutes (20 by hand), until it has become soft and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let rise in a warm place, like under kitchen lights or in an off oven, for between 60 and 90 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size. Meanwhile, you can make the custard and almond fillings.

    Custard Ingredients

    1/3 cup + 1½ tbs heavy cream
    3 tbs milk
    ½ vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
    1 large egg yolk
    1½ tbs granulated sugar
    1 tbs cornstarch

    Custard Steps

    1. Add the milk and the cream to a heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Scrape the seeds out of the half of the vanilla bean and add the seeds plus the scraped bean into the milk mixture. Whisk constantly until the mixture is steaming and hot, but not boiling.

    2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, sugar, and cornstarch until the mixture is light yellow. Add a little of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture first, whisking constantly to temper without cooking the eggs. You can then add the rest of the milk mixture, whisking until fully combined. Remove and discard the vanilla bean at this point.

    3. Return this mixture to the saucepan and turn the stove on to low heat. Stir this mixture constantly until it becomes thick, but do not let it boil!

    4. Pour this mixture into a small bowl and press plastic wrap to the surface as it cools, to prevent a skin forming. Set aside. I know this looks like a small amount of custard, but I promise it will be enough, only a little goes into each bun anyway!

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    Almond- Cinnamon Filling

    1/3 cup almond paste
    4 tbs softened butter
    1 tbs cinnamon
    1 tbs water (if needed)
    1 tbs brown sugar
    Pinch of kosher salt

    Filling Steps

    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the almond paste, softened butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Mix to combine. If the mixture looks dry or difficult to spread, add water here until it can be spread over rolled out dough. Set aside.

    Processed with VSCO with c3 preset


    Additional Assembly Ingredients

    1 egg, beaten
    Demerara or Pearl sugar, for sprinkling

    Assembly Steps

    1. Roll your dough out into a 10 in. x 20 in. rectangle. Spread an even, thin layer of your almond filling over the whole thing. Roll the dough tightly from one long side to the other, so that you end up with a roughly 20 inch long roll.

    2. Cut this roll into 10-12 slices, and place in your desired baking dish, lined with parchment paper or generously greased with butter. Today, I used a large cast iron skillet lined with parchment paper. At this point, cover the baking dish with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for another 45 minutes or so, until the buns have grown in size.

    3. Preheat the oven to 390ºF (I realize this is a random temperature, but the recipe was adapted from celsius so this was the best match!).

    Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    4. Poke a hole in the center of each bun using your finger or the end of a wooden spoon, and pipe a blob of custard into each one.

    5. Brush the top of each roll with the beaten egg, being careful to avoid the custard, and sprinkle each with some sugar.

    6. Bake the rolls on the bottom rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Be sure to check often because they brown quickly, and if they look like they’re browning too much before the cooking is done, cover the tops with aluminum foil to keep from burning.

    7. Remove from the oven and let cool fully before reheating to eat. Best with a fresh cup of coffee!

    xoxoxoxoxD