Friday, January 24, 2020

A Tart With Meyer Lemon and Olive Oil


Cook's Illustrated magazine for March/April of 2019 has a wonderful recipe for a lemon tart using olive oil instead of butter.

Of course what you'll get here isn't their recipe since I rarely do a recipe as written, even the first time. This tart looks like sunshine, mostly because there are lots of egg yolks in the filling. It tastes like springtime because of the lemon. Although the original recipe uses an olive oil crust, I just used a sheet of pie pastry from the fridge, folding the excess pastry down along the sides inside the tart. I blind baked it at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes and then removed the lentils I used for the blind baking (and the parchment) and let it sit another 5 minutes in the hot oven. Not sure if it still qualifies as a tart or becomes a pie, but I did use a tart pan with removable bottom and wavy sides, so I think it is still a tart.


The rest of the recipe follows the one given pretty closely. I did skip the straining of the filling through a fine-mesh strainer because I like having the lemon zest in the filling for texture and the residual flavor. If you prefer a silky smooth filling, then strain the filling into a bowl after the olive oil has been incorporated and then put the filling into the tart shell for the short bake required to firm up the filling.

Do allow the full two hours for the tart to cool at room temperature. It firms up as it cools and you'll get nice slices if you wait the full time. If you don't have access to Meyer lemons, the ones you find at the market are just fine for this recipe.



Lemon-Olive Oil Tart - "An Easy and Modern Lemon Tart"
From Cook's Illustrated magazine, March-April 2019

Crust   (I used a Pillsbury ReadyCrust round sheet of pie pastry instead and baked at 400 degrees F)
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons (2 1/4 oz.) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water

Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whish flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Add oil and water and stir until uniform dough forms.
Using your hands, crumble three-quarters of dough over bottom of 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough to even the thickness in bottom of pan. Crumble remaining dough and scatter evenly around edge of pan. Press crumbled dough into fluted sided of pan. Press dough to even thickness. Place pan on rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is deep golden brown and firm to touch, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Filling
1 cup (7 oz.) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks (save whites for another use)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (3 lemons) (I used two Meyer lemons and one Eureka lemon)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Have all the ingredients ready and at room temperature. About 5 minutes before crust is finished baking, whisk sugar, flour, and salt in medium saucepan until combined. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks until no streaks of egg remain. Whisk in lemon zest and juice. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly and scraping corners of saucepan, until mixture thickens slightly and registers 160 degrees F, in 5-8 minutes.
Off heat, whisk in oil slowly, until incorporated. Strain curd through fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Pour curd into warm tart shell.
Bake at 350 degrees F until filling is set and barely jiggles when pan is shaken, 8 - 12 minutes.
Let tart cool completely on wire rack, at least 2 hours.
Remove metal outer rim of tart pan. Slide thin metal spatula between tart and pan bottom to release the tart, then carefully slide tart onto serving platter.
Cut tart into wedges, wiping knife clean between cuts if necessary, and serve.
Leftover can be wrapped loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Polenta


In Napa County, CA there is a State Park which includes a working grist mill. They have refurbished the old building that has been there since the 1850s and served as the community mill then. The waterwheel turns, although the flume that used to bring water to it no longer works (water is piped in), the grinding stones turn when engaged, and the grain is milled. When they put in dried corn, the output is coarse polenta. It is a whole grain, so there are flecks of tan along with the beautiful corn yellow. It's packaging is a brown paper sack and, because the state hygiene standards for food prep are so stringent in California, it says its not for human consumption. There is no way to have an authentic mill with a grinding stone to grind the grain and meet those standards, but I assure you, we have consumed the products of the milling and have in no way been harmed.

If you get to Napa, do check out the Bale Grist Mill. It's near Calistoga. They often have events. Here is one that sounds like fun:
Napa Valley’s historic Bale Grist Mill is one of the last mills that still grinds grain on the old pair of stones brought here by ship from “the old country”. At Old Mill Days people can visit the mill and experience the shared hard work and resulting sense of community that bound our forefathers together when they try some traditional farm chores: corn husking and shelling, wheat threshing, butter making, apple pressing, hand sewing, bean seed shelling or rope making.
The next one is in October of 2020 which is still far enough away to plan a trip!

One of my favorite things to do with this lovely polenta is to cook it up into soft cooked polenta. I found a very simple recipe in The Vineyard Kitchen by Maria Helms Sinskey. It really helps to use high quality polenta meal because the only ingredients are the polenta meal, milk (I used soy milk), butter (I used cashew based vegan 'butter') and salt, plus water, and with a little pepper at the finish. You do have to stir for quite a while, but maybe you will be sharing the dish with someone who will take a turn stirring?

Polenta makes a great base for a vegetable stew or roasted veggies (which is what I used), for Italian flavored ragu sauce, for sauteed mushrooms and onions, for a meat stew with greens braised with the meat (pork works really well), and many other winter toppings. You can also serve it as it, or with some butter or cheese on top to melt into the soft hot goodness.

If you let the polenta cool overnight in the fridge, you can cut it into slices or sticks and pan fry for a tasty addition to breakfast.

I was sure that I had taken a photo of this delicious dish, but can't find the photo, so I'm posting one I found on the internet. Next time... Doesn't Jennifer Davick's photo make the polenta look delicious?



Photo by Jennifer Davick

Simple Soft Polenta
Serves 8
(recipe is easily divided in half for 4 servings, which is what I did)
From The Vineyard Kitchen by Maria Helms Sinskey

3 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup coarse polenta
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring the milk, 2 cups water, and the butter to a boil in a large pot; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the polenta slowly. Place the pan back over low heat and stir the polenta with a wooden spoon until it is smooth, tender, and creamy, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and cover until ready to serve.
Reheat if necessary; add a little water to thin if the polenta has stiffened.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Bread With Chickpea Flour



When I was doing gluten free baking I made some bread with chickpea flour, but there was also rice flour, tapioca flour, and another flour, probably almond, so I didn't really get a chickpea flavor.

The Bread Baking Babes are baking Artekena, a loaf with chickpea flour both in the dough and in the sourdough starter. We could have made the starter with only chickpea flour, but I already has a wheat based starter in the fridge, so I just added some chickpea flour to the third feeding. I needed to do that many feedings because it had been a couple of months since I had used the starter and it needed to get those yeasties back in action.

Our Kitchen of the Month is Elizabeth and I think she picked a winner. I enjoyed the process, which is extensive, and the product. Do go to Elizabeth's blog, blog from OUR kitchen, to read her process and many interesting notes. That's one of the great things about baking with the Babes...I learn a lot!

Fortunately the Babes are not wedded to rules. Not only did I use my wheat starter as the base for the chickpea starter, but I also didn't do the folds version of kneading. I kneaded the risen leavener dough into the measured flours and waters of the dough with my stand mixer in the morning the day before I baked, turned it off to sit for 40 minutes, kneaded the salted water into that dough with the mixer, then turned it off to sit for a couple of hours. Once I was back home, I kneaded it with the mixer again until a soft, smooth dough formed. I left it in the mixer bowl, sprayed with a thin film of olive oil and capped with a clean shower cap, overnight in a cool place. The thing to remember is that it was sitting in a pretty cool place, temperature-wise, the whole time.

In the morning it had risen some and was cold. I turned it out on a lightly floured board and kneaded in some poppy seeds (fennel is a flavor I don't care for), then pre-shaped it as the recipe required and let it sit as instructed. It never really rose and it spread quite a bit.


I tried to create a good skin before I put in the center hole, but the dough was really slack, so the hold filled in and the circle spread while rising while the oven heated up. It rose a bit while baking, but not a lot. The crumb was a bit dry but there were nice air holes here and there, it was chewy, and the flavor was lovely. I really liked the crust and sesame seeds on the outside. "If you like bread with a hefty crust, chewy crumb and intense flavour, this one is for you. It is like french Country Bread gone rustic. It is amazing what a difference the addition of chickpea flour can make to a bread.", Andrew Whitley, 'Arkatena Bread', Bread Matters, p. 190


I think the next time I make this that I'll add more flour to make a slightly stiffer dough. Other than that I think the chickpea/wheat starter experiment was successful. Thanks for the adventure Elizabeth!

To be a Buddy, bake the bread and email Elizabeth with a photo, URL of your post and a few words about your bake.

Do check out the Babes who baked this month. Fun to see what each has done with chickpea flour!

For the recipe, go to Elizabeth's blog, blog from OUR kitchen.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Past Is Never Really Gone - Maybe Not Pumpkin Spice Either


In January we always talk about fresh starts and new ways. There is truth there since each moment provides a place/time for change and really everything is changing all the time. Still, the past never really goes away either. What we each do or don't do, the experiences we have, the love we give...all that has led us to today, to now. I've been thinking a lot about this since my older brother died in December. How did I become who I am? Have I been a good person, wife, mother, friend? What experiences have led me to be who I am? Which ones do I value?

This blog is, for me, a gateway to the cooking and baking experiences that have led me to this point in time. They are something that I value. I can look back and see how and where I developed skills in the kitchen. 2011 was a year where bread was a big influence (enough so that I created a post with links to all the breads I baked that year) and in the fall of 2008 I tried my first sourdough starter from grape skins, which was huge; I became a much better bread baker since I had a starter 'toss off' to use every week! I've now been blogging more than 13 years and baking with sourdough starter for over 11 years.

The Daring Bakers began with a handful of bakers who wanted to make the same recipe, together. It started in the beginning of 2007. I joined in March of 2007 when there were only 16 bakers, but it grew quite quickly as a baking group and later as a cooking and baking group. I only started blogging in the fall of 2006, so this was the first group I joined. We had a monthly challenge. Without the Daring Bakers I would never have learned to make choux paste (for things like eclairs and profiteroles), to make French macarons, to make a mirror cake, and much, much more. I also made good virtual friends through that group...I bake with some of them as a Bread Baking Babe. Later I joined the Cake Slice Bakers for a monthly challenge. These kinds of groups can be lots of fun as well as stretching me in the skills department.

I was looking at past posts on this blog last night. Somehow I settled on 2013 and looked at the heading for just about every post that year, and often at the post itself. There were 92 posts that year, so I had a real treasure trove of recipes to look at and, of course, some I'd forgotten about and some I wanted to make right away, like last night! Since I've discovered that as my brain gets older I don't cook or bake as well at night, I ignored those impulses. Still, I hope to soon make some of those recipes, starting with this one: Spicy Pumpkin Muffins with Creamy Filling. Of course I'll have to sub plant-based cream cheese and ricotta, but that should make it more interesting. I guess that is one of the major changes - no dairy - which makes baking more of a challenge. Of course, I've always loved a challenge! Will add photos of the actual bake here once it's done.

Look on the blog in 4 days for the latest Bread Baking Babes post, too. Still baking with the Babes since July, 2010!


Spicy Pumpkin Muffins with Creamy Filling
started with basic muffins in Joy of Cooking, then went wild

Batter:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs ( or ½ cup egg substitute)
1 cup canned pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt (Almond milk yogurt can be found now)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Filling:
4 oz. softened cream cheese (cashew based cream cheese is delicious)
4 oz. ricotta cheese (Kite Hill almond milk ricotta is wonderful!)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Sparkling sugar (sanding sugar) for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour (or use baking spray) one 12- cup muffin tin. Set aside.

In a large bowl or on a large sheet of waxed paper, measure out all of the dry ingredients and spices: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg. Mix together with a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, pumpkin, oil, applesauce, brown sugar, molasses, yogurt and vanilla.

Put the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture bowl. With as few strokes as possible, combine the wet and dry ingredients. Do not over mix


In a small bowl, stir the cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sugar together until thoroughly mixed.
Fill the muffin cups about one third full with the batter, then, dollop on about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of the filling, then top the filling with more batter, dividing evenly among the cups. Sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven 20 – 25 minutes, or until muffins spring back when the center is gently pressed. Filling may peek through. That's O.K.

Makes 12.


Thursday, January 09, 2020

Fruit Salad and Funerals


This past week I've been with family in the Denver area laying my oldest brother to rest. He's the second sibling to go, but since he is the oldest I'm now closer to the 'top' of the sibling group. It gives one pause. How many more years do I have on this earth? What will I leave behind?

Jim was very involved in a group called SHARE and he has been an organizer and presenter over the years. They have large conferences twice a year and I learned at Jim's wake that one of his legacies is that he created the system that they use for organizing everything about the conferences and that they will likely use that system for many years to come. I had no idea. It's meaningful to know that something he cared about will continue on.

Of course his most wonderful legacy, in my opinion, is his family. His wife is a treasure and his three sons are good and kind men and a credit to their parents. He was very proud of them and of his grandchildren who are grown, three independent, smart and beautiful women. The youngest grandchild still has some growing to do before we can see how he will turn out, but he is a delightful little boy. It was good to spend time with Jim's family.

It was also really good to spend quality time with all my living siblings and with many of their children. We shared stories about the past and learned more about the lives at present of these people who are dear to my heart. Along with the grieving there was laughter and adult beverages...a typical Irish wake.

Jim was my guest blogger, called NoHandle, and you can see his posts here for curry, and here for Banofee Pie, and here for corned beef, and here for chocolate chip cookie comparisons. One of my favorite is here for Pfeffernuesse cookies. Then there is the post for a lazy baker's pizza here. The one that his SHARE compatriots mentioned at the wake is for racing cherries here. Apparently there were numerous experiments to see what fruit had the specific gravity to work. Well NoHandle, you have left a nice food legacy, too.

For the lunch after his burial, I took care of getting everything set up, plus I made a veggie tray and a bowl of fruit. Lots of other foods were served, but many were from Costco or otherwise pre-made. I enjoy making fruit salad. This one had watermelon, apples, mandarins, raspberries, and bananas. The watermelon took the most prep time, followed by the mandarins, but it's a pretty fast collection of fruit and a nice thing to have when many of the other offerings are fatty, salty or processed (or all three in the case of Kettle chips!).


Fruit Salad for Jim

1 small seedless watermelon
3-4 apples
6-8 mandarin oranges
1 pint fresh raspberries
3-4 bananas

Slice the watermelon into rings about two inches thick. Remove the rind and cut the flesh into bite sized chunks. Put into a large bowl.
Cut the apple off the core, leaving the stem and blossom end with the core. Cut into bite sized pieces. Toss in a mixture of citrus juice and water to keep them from browning (I used the juice from a couple pieces of mandarin and some water, mixed). Drain and add to the watermelon.
Peel the mandarin oranges and separate into segments. Add to the watermelon and other fruit.
Rinse and dry the raspberries and add to the watermelon and other fruit.
Peel the bananas and slice. Toss in a mixture of citrus juice and water to keep them from browning (I used the juice from a couple pieces of mandarin and some water, mixed). Drain and add to the watermelon mixture.
Gently toss the fruit together to distribute fairly evenly, then chill until ready to eat.

You can, of course, add other fruits like grapes, blueberries, pineapple, etc.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Bread Baking Babes Year in Bread

2019 was a good year for baking bread with the Bread Baking Babes, although I had the challenge of baking while Sweetie was dieting and asking me not to bake bread!

Here, for your pleasure, are breads baked and links to the recipes, usually on my blog but sometimes on the blog of the Kitchen of the Month.


January started things off with Elizabeth's whimsically named Elbow-lick Sandwich Bread. This delicious bread had sweet potatoes and cooked onions in it. Great for sandwiches and with soup.


February was inspired by the Great British Baking Show and Chelsea buns. Mine were shaped into a heart shape...for Valentine's Day, natch.


For March our challenge bread was a Moroccan flatbread Ksra. Mine was a bit off course from the recipe, but very tasty with some pasta.



April brought a lovely Easter bread. "The Ciambella Mandorlata is an Italian Easter bread that originated in Bologna in the Emilia Romagna region. It is typically baked in the shape of a ring which is supposed to represent the unity of the family." It is basically a brioche type bread with lots of butter and eggs. Most of the sweetness comes from the topping and even that isn't very sweet, so this is a primarily breakfast bread but I think that that you can eat anytime of day with enjoyment. It had some fun shaping, too.



May brought a Multigrain Sourdough Sandwich Loaf, which was a challenge for me because I had to make new sourdough starter (having let my previous starter go when Sweetie started his weight loss) Be sure to allow a few days to create your starter before beginning the bread. If you do, you'll have starter for lots more sourdough breads over time.



June let me use the sourdough starter again.  This fantastic bread was Rosemary Raisin Sourdough. This was an easy bread to work with.  I think the part I like best is the combination of the sweet golden raisins and the zingy fresh rosemary.



July was more free form than usual with no Kitchen of the Month. We could choose a past July bread to bake, so I chose Panmarino. With a huge rosemary shrub on the property, it's easy to enjoy recipes using fresh rosemary and this bread is a winner.



August always has sunshine around here and we baked a bread shaped like the sun.  The Sourdough Sunshine Loaf takes a little more time than a simple bread but it is worth it.





September's bread was a pull apart loaf with garlic and cheese. I passed because can't do cheese and post-surgery digestion didn't welcome garlic. The Babes who baked the bread liked it alot!


October brought apples, as October often does. In this case it was Apple Bread with Cider and Calvados. A keeper!


November's  Danish Crown could be savory with hearty onions or it could be sweet and ready for the holidays with dried fruit, which is the way I did it. Sweetie liked this the best of most of the breads I baked this year. It looks dramatic, but is pretty easy to do.


December I was Kitchen of the Month and I chose the perfect pastry for Christmas morning, a Kringle, American version. I give two versions; King Arthur Flour's Butter Pecan version with caramel sauce and the one I love, a Raspberry and Marzipan version. Either one is a great way to end the year.

It's been a good year with the Bread Baking Babes. If you like these, follow the link and give them a try. Each month we bake and post on the 16th. If you bake that month's bread by the 29th and contact the Kitchen of the Month, you will receive a Buddy Badge and a place in the round-up. Happy Baking!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Pleasure of Showing Some Baking Tricks


Over the holidays Sweetie and I were blessed to have not only our wonderful daughter at home, but also her Sweetie and his 10 year old son, Raine. The whole time together was a delight, but I particularly enjoyed showing Raine some baking tricks and skills.

He was an enthusiastic companion in decorating gingerbread cutouts and also in making the pastry for Christmas morning. In particular, we made choux paste and he produced the lightest choux paste topping yet. Next time we'll do eclairs.


His part was stirring the butter into the water and bringing it to a boil, then adding the flour and stirring until a ball of the paste formed and a film coated the bottom of the pot. He seemed fascinated with the process and watched carefully as I gradually added some egg to the slightly cooled paste until it was just the right consistency...which left some of the egg unused. I think that may have been my mistake in the past...using too much egg. I really got a kick out of his interest and questions and skill building. Everyone enjoyed the Christmas pastry so much that there was only one piece left by the time breakfast was over.


Here is a photo of the plate showing some of cookies we decorated. I particularly like that the gingerbread girl turned into an angel. I look forward to further cooking and baking adventures with Raine.

The recipe links can be found HERE for the pastry and HERE for the cookies.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas - Have Some Eggnog!


I'll bet you have lots of holiday traditions that you follow year after year. It makes you feel good to know that this year, many years before, and many years after your family will put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving...or on Christmas Eve. A favorite Christmas movie will be seen...Home Alone anyone? Die Hard?? Of course there are always food and beverage traditions. One of ours is to drink eggnog while decorating the Christmas tree. Usually it's eggnog from a carton with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top and maybe some whipped cream if we are feeling decadent. An added shot of bourbon was welcome for the adults.

The trouble with that, for me, is that the eggnog in the carton from the market is usually made with dairy products, which meant that I couldn't imbibe. This year I decided to do something about that by making my own eggnog. I really wasn't sure if it would still be good eggnog, but it turned out to be better than the usual.

I used Alton Brown's recipe from Good Eats as a starting place. It uses egg yolks and whites, and sugar, and nutmeg for flavor, plus it calls for both whole milk and cream. I substituted Soy creamer for both the whole milk and the heavy cream. You could also use another non-dairy creamer. I think that Ripple makes one from pea shoots. Just make sure that it is a creamer not a milk because the creamer has the thicker consistency that you need.

We actually do some cooking with this recipe. The yolks and sugar get beaten together until the sugar dissolves and the yolks become lighter in color. Mine became fluffy, too. The soy creamer gets heated up to a boil with the nutmeg. Then comes the fun part...tempering the egg yolks.You do this so that the yolks don't become hard cooked eggs. Tempering means that you add a small amount of the hot liquid and stir it into the egg yolk/sugar mixture. Then you add a little more and stir it in, then a little more. Then the whole mixture, now warmed by the addition of the hot creamer, gets added back into the pot with the rest of the hot creamer and you stir it well and cook until the mixture thickens a bit.

Bourbon is added, the mixture is cooled (hopefully overnight in the fridge) and when ready to serve you beat up the egg whites with a bit of sugar until soft peaks form, then you fold that into the cold eggnog and serve it up. This is quality stuff my friends! Certainly worth the effort of making it.

The recipe below makes 6-7 cups but it can be doubled (which I did) for more eggnog.

Merry Christmas!



Eggnog
Alton Brown, Food Network, Good Eats

Ingredients

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon
3 cups soy creamer - I use Silk original
3 oz. bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites *
         Cook's Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.
         In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

         In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the soy creamer and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees  F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the     refrigerator to chill.
          In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add  the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled    mixture.
*Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Bread Baking Babes Bake Holiday Perfect Pastry


It's always a bit of a challenge coming up with a recipe for December because there are the twin pulls of 'let's do something festive' and 'let's do something easy' given that the month is often crowded with events, parties, and family festivities. As Kitchen of the Month for the Bread Baking Babes this was actually something I had to figure out.

After considerable thought I decided to go with something that I hope covers both. Although the recipe looks complicated, it's really just a buttery base, some choux paste, some purchased marzipan, some purchased jam or caramel sauce (although you could make your own), and some purchased flaked almonds or pecan halves and an easy glaze. You can actually do the baking part in advance and then put on the toppings and glaze right before serving. You can also do the whole thing in one go if that works better for you. Since there is no rising time needed, you can get on with holiday decorating, wine drinking (or something stronger), and package wrapping and things like that.



This is an American Kringle. I made this for Christmas last year and although it would probably have been better if I chose something new to me for our challenge, this year has been and promises to be more stressful than usual for me, so I'm taking the easy way out. I can tell you that this makes a delicious pastry that looks impressive and it may become your new Christmas tradition. I realize that it is a departure from our yeasted breads, but we've done that before, and I hope this is fun for everyone!

According to Wikipedia, in the Netherlands the kringle is pretzel shaped but in the United States kringles are a Danish pastry using dough that has been rested overnight before shaping, filling, and baking. Many sheets of the flaky dough are layered, then shaped into an oval. After filling with fruit, nut, or other flavor combinations, the pastry is baked and iced.
Racine, Wisconsin has historically been a center of Danish-American culture and kringle making. A typical Racine–made kringle is a large flat oval measuring approximately 14 inches by 10 inches and weighing about 1.5 pounds. The kringle became the official state pastry of Wisconsin on June 30, 2013.
I discovered a wonderful kringle recipe on the King Arthur Flour site and adapted it, using raspberry jam and some marzipan instead pecans and caramel. 
King Arthur website says, "This layered pastry is a great favorite in the Midwest. Our version combines a buttery base with an easy, piped-on layer of pâte à choux, baked to perfection and finished with a lavish caramel pecan topping and a sweet glaze." The buttery base isn't layered so this isn't really a traditional Danish pastry, but it goes together fairly quickly and is quite delicious. I'm going to give you both the King Arthur caramel version and my raspberry version, but you are welcome to create your own version, with or without marzipan. If you make this to be a Buddy, I would ask that you use this type of buttery base and pate a choux, although you may choose to use other flours. Be as creative as you like with toppings. 

To be a Buddy, just bake the Kringle and post about it by Dec 29th and by that date send me an email about your baking experience. Include the post URL and a photo so I can include you in the roundup. My email is plachman *at* sonic *dot* net.

Be sure to visit the other Bread Baking Babes sites to see what they have done to make the Kringle their own. I'm sure you'll be inspired!

Here is a link to Kelly of A Messy Kitchen, the first post I've seen. HERE. She includes some notes on making choux paste that will be very helpful.

These links are from last month, but still get you to their blogs. Happy Baking!





King Arthur's Butter Pecan Kringle
Base
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 113g) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour, preferable unbleached
1/2 teaspoon salt*
 1/4 cup (57g) cold water
*Reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon if you use salted butter.

Pastry
1 cup (227g) water
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 113g) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt*
1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour, preferable unbleached
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon butter-rum, eggnog, or vanilla-butternut flavor, optional but delicious
*Reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon if you use salted butter.

Topping
12 ounces caramel, cut from a block (about 1 cup, packed); or about 3 dozen individual caramel candies*, unwrapped
 2 cups (227g) toasted pecan halves
*Use fresh, soft caramels. If using harder, supermarket-type caramels, add a couple of tablespoons milk or cream when melting, to keep them soft on the kringle; or substitute caramel sauce.

Glaze
 1 cup (113g) confectioners' or glazing sugar
2 tablespoons (28g) heavy cream, half & half, or milk, enough to make a thick but pourable glaze
1/8 teaspoon butter-rum, eggnog, or vanilla-butternut flavor, optional but good
 pinch of salt

Instructions
1.   Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a baking sheet that's at least 18" x 13"; or a 14" round pizza pan.
2.   For the base: Mix together the butter, flour, and salt in a medium bowl until crumbly. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing in between until you’ve made a soft, sticky dough. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll each piece into a 9" rope. Connect the pieces into a 12" x 8" oval on the prepared baking sheet and, with wet fingers, flatten the dough to 1 1/2 ̋" wide, retaining an oval opening in the center.
3.   Wet your hands, pick up the dough, and shape it into a 12" x 8" oval ring on the sheet pan; or a 10" ring in the pizza pan. This will be messy going, but just keep wetting your fingers and pushing it into a ring. An easy way to approach this is to first divide the dough into four pieces; roll each piece into a 9" rope, then connect the ropes and shape them into a ring.
4.   For the pastry: Place the water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture is cohesive and forms a ball. Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is absorbed before adding the next. Add your choice of flavoring at the end.
5.   Spread or pipe the pastry over the ring, to make an oval of pastry that completely covers the oval of dough. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
6.   For the topping: Melt the caramel in a heatproof measuring cup at half power in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring after each round, until the caramel is smooth. Pour the caramel over the pastry and immediately top with the toasted pecans. Let cool.
7.   For the glaze: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, salt, flavoring, and enough cream (or milk) to make a pourable glaze. Drizzle over the kringle before serving.
8.   Store at room temperature, lightly tented with plastic wrap, for a day or so; freeze for longer storage. Kringle is best served the same day it's made. If you plan on serving it the next day, add the caramel, nuts, and glaze just before serving.

9.   Want to get a head start? Bake the base pastry up to two days ahead, then cool, wrap, and store at room temperature. Top with filling and icing just before serving.

Here is my version which is non-dairy:



Almond Raspberry Kringle
Based on a recipe from King Arthur Flour
BASE
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) non-dairy margarine, cut into pats
  • 1 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 oz. almond paste
PASTRY TOPPING
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) non-dairy margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
FILLING
  • about 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 2-3 tablespoons sliced almonds
GLAZE
  • 1 cup confectioners'  sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk, enough to make a thick but pourable glaze
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • pinch of salt
Instructions

1.    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a baking sheet that's at least 18" x 13"; or a 14" round pizza pan.

2.    To make the base: Combine the margarine, flour, sugar and salt, mixing until crumbly. I used a pastry blender to cut the fat into the flour mixture. Add the water, and stir to make a soft, sticky dough. I used a fork and added the water slowly as I do for pie crust.

3.    Wet your hands, pick up the dough, and shape it into a 12" x 8" oval ring on the sheet pan; or a 10" ring in the pizza pan. This will be messy going, but just keep wetting your fingers and pushing it into a ring. An easy way to approach this is to first divide the dough into four pieces; roll each piece into a 9" rope, then connect the ropes and shape them into a ring.



4.    Once you've made the ring, flatten the dough so it's about 1 1/2" wide; basically, it'll look like a train or NASCAR track. Make a thin rope out of the almond paste and put it over the dough, connecting the ends so that the whole 'track' has a ring of almond paste in the middle of the track.

5.    To make the pastry topping: Place the water, margarine, and salt in a saucepan, and heat over medium heat until the margarine is melted and the mixture is boiling.

6.    Immediately add the flour, stirring with a spatula until the mixture is cohesive and starts to form a ball.

7.    Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the almond extract at the end.

8.    Spread the pastry along the ring, covering it and the almond paste completely; you'll now have a much wider ring, though it won't be completely closed in the center; it should still look like a ring.

9.    Bake the kringle for 50 to 60 minutes, until it's a deep golden brown. When the kringle is done, remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool completely on the pan.



10. To add the filling: First, have the sliced almonds all ready beside the pan of kringle; you'll be sprinkling them atop the jam as soon as you put it on.

11.    Stir the jam with a fork to break it up and then spread it over the kringle in a thin, even layer, mostly in the middle. Sprinkle sliced almonds atop the raspberry jam, pressing them in gently. Allow the kringle to cool completely.

12.    To make the glaze: Stir together the confectioners' sugar, salt, almond extract and enough soy milk to make a pourable glaze. Drizzle it over the kringle.

13.    To serve, cut the kringle in 2" slices.




If you prefer, you can bake the base, almond paste and cooked dough topping the day before serving, then wrap well and let sit on the counter overnight. In the morning add the jam, almonds and glaze.