There's always time to make a memory.
There's always time to make a memory.
We don't always sell out of doughnuts. We also have trim from cutting doughnuts. And I hate waste. To solve these problems we created Doughnut Bread Pudding.
We make a custard base with brown sugar, buttermilk, cream, eggs, milk vanilla and salt. We put the custard over the fresh doughnuts and fried trim. We let the custard soak into the dough. We fill bundt pans with the mixture and bake the bread pudding for one hour and forty minutes at 350°F. The internal temperature is 190°F. We cool the bread pudding in the pans for 30 minutes and then un-mold them. We cool the bread puddings down and refrigerate them overnight.
We like the flavors to blend and the custard to set in the doughnuts. We bring the bread pudding to room temperature and cut it into thick slices. It is delicious on its own and even better with frozen custard and hot fudge.
I was looking for a new crumb topping to add to our cluster doughnuts. We started with a cocoa crumb recipe from Eric Plescha over at Charcoal BYOB. When we follow a recipe we can become blind to the opportunities it offers. When we break a recipe apart and disregard the ingredients, instructions, and direction we miss out on the story being told. We started with the original. Then we broke it to suit our vision. Both versions were tasty. And not quite right for us. It is in the tinkering where we discover. As we tasted and observed the results we began to see clearly. Our biggest breakthrough was blending brown sugar and cocoa. The other key was using whole eggs in the mix. As I reflect on the crumbs it appears we took a streusel and evolved it into a cookie. And the idea of cookie crumbs is one we had been planning to get to but hadn't, till we had.
There are hidden gems in any landscape. For many of us, the pleasure is in the search. Easy treasure is rarely given the attention that it deserves. In fact, the ease of acquiring something is usually directly related to it's perceived value. Things that we have to work for leave an impact. Failure teaches us lessons that are not easily forgotten in ways that crossing the finish line without effort will never do. Recipes are easy. Google will instantly give you 4,956,327,042 recipes for any given dish and most of them will work. It's the stories that reel us in, the small challenges and complexities that color our perspective. While we do write recipes, they are not the crux of what we do here. For us blogging is about sharing ideas. Recipes can be illustrative but are not always necessary here because in many cases the actual recipe isn't the point. The process is what compels us and once we figure it out, it can be applied to any recipe that works. This space is for our pursuit of ideas and our books are where most of the recipes reside.
There's a window of time when something is perfectly cooked and that window is different for everything you cook. One of my instructors at culinary school loved to teach first year students. He would always begin by demonstrating a perfectly cooked chicken breast. He would have us taste them straight from the pan and then after a 10 minute rest so we could really understand the magic of the resting period. We talk about resting periods for meat all the time, and resting periods for breads and cakes and pastries are equally important. While we are easily lulled by the idea of warm bread or doughnuts, in reality, the time spent cooling off is vital to the finished texture and flavor of any pastry. It allows the crumb to reabsorb fats, it cools the temperature so flavors can bloom, and it allows for evaporation so that you get a crispy crust or a crunchy topping. Never underestimate the importance of a resting period in baking. It is the difference between experiencing something amazing and something that just doesn't live up to the hype.
Well, to answer my recent question about pumpkin pie, Alex made pumpkin pie doughnuts. These were stuffed with a pudding made with canned pumpkin, eggs, marshmallows, maple syrup, a touch of butter, and salt. The marshmallow acted as both the sweetener and the thickener. We stuffed this into vanilla yeasted doughnuts, topped them with Betterscotch glaze, and finally sprinkled brown butter streusel over the top. A new tradition is born.
Amaya was eating thumbprint cookies last night. I saw her enjoyment and new we needed to turn them into a doughnut. Today we took our New Fashioned dough and rolled it out. We cut it using our doughnut cutter. Except we didn't remove the hole. We cut it and pressed into the hole to form a permanent indentation during frying. After frying the doughnuts we rolled them in brown butter sugar. We blended 80 grams of pressure toasted milk solids with 2000 grams of sugar. After rolling the doughnuts in the aromatic sugar we pressed the indentation down a bit more to make a nice hollow to put preserves. I tapped our friends at Eat This in the Stockton Market. We used raspberry preserves and blood orange marmalade. Both versions were delicious. My bitter side preferred the marmalade. The thumbprints were born and have made the menu. Next weekend we will be making the blood orange marmalade version for sure and another inspired by a late in the day tasting of the other amazing creations from Eat This.
This conversation between Marie Forleo and Elizabeth Gilbert is a little longer than most of the videos that we put up here but it is worth watching to the very end. It will make you laugh and it will inspire you to do more, and maybe, download GIlbert's new book on creativity: Big Magic. That's what I did.
We have finally gotten our New Fashioned Doughnuts dialed in. We have reduced the amount of milk paste we add to the dough. We have also gone back to using flour rather than cornstarch for the pastes structure. We have increased the overall hydration in the dough. We utilized Trickling Springs eggnog as the primary liquid in the dough. We balanced the sweet richness with our go to doughnut staple, buttermilk. The milk paste adds a tender structure to the dough. The doughnuts split and form rough cracks and crevices. The exterior forms a delicate crisp crust. The inside crumb is moist and tender. The eggnog flavors the dough. It does not overpower the doughnut with nutmeg. We ate the first few dredged in our cinnamon-cardamom sugar. As we continue to play I foresee an eggnog glaze. And the vanilla-buttermilk custard was a delicious compliment to the decadent doughnut.
I have been adding grapefruit and hops bitters to my Clausthaler beer to increase its flavor and provide a bright crispness to the beverage. And now Clausthaler is making a dry hopped NA beer. It is rich and the hops add a spicy bitter floral citrus backbone to the beer. It is a delight to drink and I am thoroughly enjoying it as I write. I hope other beer makers begin to explore the importance of full flavored non-alcoholic beers. Till then I'm doing great with Clausthaler and its newest beer to market.
What's in your bundt pan?
The dark horse at Curiosity Doughnuts is our frozen custard. We have one flavor, vanilla buttermilk, and we offer a variety of sauces to accompany it from Ciderscotch to Hot Fudge. The Curiosity Doughnut is actually an ice cream sandwich. We take the doughnut of your choice, split it in half, and stuff it with frozen custard.
Our other custard creation is the freeze brain. Alex is notorious for getting ice cream headaches and is always mumbling about brain freeze when we go out for ice cream. The first time we showed Amaya the ice cream machine, she said: "That's great, but what about Daddy's freeze brain?" With that a new name was born. The freeze brain is an ice cream sundae (Alex's favorite thing to order) studded with doughnut holes. It's decadent and indulgent and totally worth the risk of an actual freeze brain because it's just that good.
We started with our vanilla doughnut clusters, made with 6 doughnut holes fused together. We coated the tops with a glaze made with cold brewed coffee, instant coffee, powdered sugar, and salt. Finally we sprinkled our brown butter streusel over the doughnuts. The little nuggets of streusel stuck to to the glaze and filled in the nooks in the clusters. The combination of doughnut, coffee, and rich, sandy streusel became the ultimate exploration of coffee cake with the coffee on the cake.
Took Amaya to the movies and introduced her to that classic combination of Milk Duds and popcorn. She thought I was a little crazy at first.
"You want me to chew on a Milk Dud and then put some popcorn in my mouth? And eat it all together?"
"Yes I do."
"We-eell, okay." As Amaya added the salty popcorn to the warm caramel in her mouth and began to chew, a smile broke out across her face. "Mom, this is good!" Now I just have to get Dad to turn it into a doughnut.
I've been working on a recipe for Japanese milk bread and in the process I pulled out my buttermilk powder. It's a roux-based dough based on the Tang Mian method (often used for sponge cakes) which has led to some interesting doughnut explorations. Adding a cooked starch paste to the dough helps give it a unique firm-tender crumb. I grew up loving Japanese milk bread. It was only an occasional treat because I could only find it at Asian bakeries and supermarkets. To me it was practically a meal in itself, so sweet and tender. Asian white bread was so much better than packaged loaf bread we used for sandwiches and so different from the fresh Italian breads we bought from the Sicilian bakery every weekend that it always seemed like a special treat when we had some.
As I played with the recipe, I found that many versions out there were good but somewhat flat, either lacking salt or a bit too sweet. Many of the recipes out there call for adding nonfat milk powder to the bread dough. This Organic Valley buttermilk powder happened to be on my shelf right next to the nonfat milk powder, When I saw it a light bulb went off in my brain. It's actually a blend of buttermilk and non-fat milk powder. When I added it to the dough, that tiny hint of tang gave it just the boost it needed to reach full flavor. It's like a secret weapon because you'd never even know it was there. Now that buttermilk powder is back on my radar I'll have to find other recipes where its subtle impact will be welcome.
I was working on a new variation of our starch paste for our New Fashioned Doughnuts and I wondered why we hadn't made a roux with cornstarch. I melted butter in a pan and added the cornstarch. I cooked the mixture until the butter was absorbed and for a few minutes beyond that, until the mixture had thickened and smoothed.
Then I added a cup of cider to the mix. The cornstarch roux easily dispersed in the cider and as it cooked, the starch hydrated and gelatinized the liquid. It was a simple solution to make a smooth, flavored paste, ideal for adding structure and texture to our doughnuts and for other ideas yet to be explored.
November 6, 2010
We called on our pressure toasted milk solids to bring a rich full flavor to a brown butter streusel.
Brown Butter Streusel
225 grams soft butter
225 grams all purpose flour
225 grams sugar
50 grams toasted milk solids
3 grams salt
54 grams / 1 large egg
10 grams vanilla paste
Put the butter, flour, sugar, toasted milk solids and salt in a bowl and knead the mixture together until the butter is distributed and the mixture forms fine crumbs. Add the egg and the vanilla paste knead it into the crumbs. Refrigerate the mixture to firm up the butter and allow the flour to absorb the egg. Spread the streusel mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 300°F. Remove the streusel from the oven and allow it to cool. Break the cool streusel into crumbs. Reserve in a zip top bag or lidded container.
Last weekend we adapted our funfetti doughnut idea to our drop doughnuts. We folded the sprinkles into the cake doughnut batter. We piped our sticks and they fried into delicious crispy treats. The sprinkles studded the batter and decorated the dough. The idea of a birthday cake-cake doughnut made us smile with delight. The sign of a great idea.
Were they good? People came back the very next day looking for more. Come see us this weekend to try them for yourself.
I love my cast iron pots and pans. They cook evenly and hold heat well. They are naturally non-stick too but sometimes they can be hard to clean. I'm not above using a small amount of soap in my pans, despite the rule that you should only use water, but even with some extra effort, sometimes the pans are just sticky. When that happens I throw them in the oven and leave them there until the next time I do any baking or roasting. A little time in the hot oven is all the pan needs to absorb any excess oil and when I pull it out it's smooth and happy once again. Easy-peasy, no scrubbing required.
Is it a muffin or a cupcake? That's always the question. I added maple icing and some Halloween sprinkles to these because I was sending them into school on the day before Halloween. For a normal breakfast muffin I leave them plain. The super moist muffins don't actually need the icing but it does give them a festive touch, possibly turning them into cupcakes, depending upon your thoughts on the matter. Either way these muffin are easy to make and absolutely delicious. The pumpkin not only adds flavor, it keeps them moist for days, which, if you have a small household as we do, is a very good thing.
Makes 24 muffins
1.5 cups / 225 grams all-purpose flour
1 cup / 113 grams white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons / 12 grams baking powder
1 teaspoon / 5 grams baking soda
1.5 teaspoons / 9 grams salt
1.5 teaspoons / 3 grams ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon / 1.5 grams ground ginger
0.25 teaspoon / 0.5 grams ground mace
2 cups / 540 grams pumpkin puree (we use canned organic)
1 cup / 225 grams vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
1/2 cup / 115 grams plain yogurt, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
1.75 cups / 375 grams light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spray 2 muffin tins with pan spray and line them with paper liners.
Combine the flour, white wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and mace in large mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Put the pumpkin, oil, yogurt, eggs, and brown sugar in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until you have a smooth batter. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way to the top, about 2/3 cup of batter. Any extra batter can be baked in a small greased loaf pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the muffins are firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into a center muffin comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then turn the muffins out of the pans and cool completely on racks.
November 2, 2009
We unleashed floats on market today. I still like to call them cows. I remember the brown cows and black cows from my childhood. Such whimsical names for these very indulgent treats. Every once in a while I would have a purple cow. We are using Boylan sodas to complement our Vanilla-Buttermilk custard, we have orange, grape, and birch beer on hand to finish these delicious treats.
Have a safe and happy Halloween and remember to hug somebody you love!!!
At Curiosity Doughnuts we serve doughnuts and frozen custard. I love pie. I love the fillings and the crust. In order to weave pie into our world we use classic pies as the inspiration for our filled doughnuts. We opened with apple pie. The filling was made with apples from our trees. As the seasons change and we begin to get our feet underneath us we are able to do a bit more. This week we are unveiling pumpkin pie. And while not a true pie, we have added Boston Cream pie to the mix. The pumpkin pie filling is flavored and thickened with marshmallows. The vanilla pudding for the Boston Cream is sweetened with condensed milk. It is exciting and interesting to narrow our focus and then play with the available resources.
We have been working on relocating back to PA from NH. Our house has been on the market for too long. Recently we changed realtors. The new team's first action was to bring in a home stager. She went through the house with fresh eyes. She made notes. She had ideas. Her goal, to make the house look its absolute best. It amazes me how the fresh look changes what we see. It helps clear the fog and bring clarity to the subject. I would not have sought out a home stager on my own. And that was short sighted. There are specialists for a reason. Taking the leap to work with them is something that is essential to elevating ourselves.
First we work on ideas. Then we sift through the ideas and work with what we think are good ideas. We don't discard the other ideas. They are set aside in a separate pile. We work with and tinker with the good ideas. We let them bounce around our minds. Then we introduce them to other ideas, both old and new. Occasionally ideas are drawn together like magnets. And sometimes they repel each other, also like magnets. We don't always have to be working, tinkering, and developing. We do need to be open to new ideas in order to make way for new combinations.
There are books that I reach for when I'm feeling exhausted and in need of a little comfort. Home Cooking and More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin are those books for me. I read them for the first time so long ago that I couldn't tell you how old I was, though it was definitely before I hit my twenties. As a New Yorker and a home cook, they touched me on many different levels. Colwin wrote of places that I had been to and people who were amazingly similar to the ones I knew. Her approach to coking was casual, and yet, the food was thoughtful and she understood why people ate. It's not as though hunger is the only thing that drives us, or at least not physical hunger. The books are entertaining and inspiring and written in this friendly, matter of fact tone that is implicitly hers. Every time I open them it's like visiting an old friend, one I've never met in person. They are books that make me happy and one day I hope to write something that will make someone, who I'll never meet, happy too.
Turns out you can deep fry sprinkles. We folded rainbow sprinkles into the trimmings from cutting doughnuts. We let the dough chill again and rolled out the doughnuts. We cut them and fried away.
The sprinkles in the doughnuts browned a bit. Inside they melted into the doughnuts.
The color vibrantly stained the tender interior. And a new doughnut was born.
When we added our frozen custard the doughnut got an upgrade.
We were recently re-introduced to filet mignon served on the bone. We cooked up a traditional filet beside one on the bone and people unanimously chose the one on on the bone. It looks larger and more impressive and it cooks beautifully. It's interesting to see how size adds value in the eyes of the diner, even when you are dining at home. A perfectly cooked steak is a thing of beauty and this one is easy to carve with almost a 100% yield. It's definitely a cut worth looking into and exploring more.
Alex was trying to get the barn door open the other day and found it surprisingly difficult. Once he got in, he found out why. The squirrels have adopted out barn for their future winter home and every protected nook and cranny is filled with walnuts.
Though clearly some of them are not waiting for winter to begin enjoying their provisions...
Check out this interesting video on what the industry is doing to define the term "natural."
At Curiosity Doughnuts we currently have 2 styles of doughnuts: yeasted and dropped. To round things out we have been working on our version of Old Fashioned Doughnuts. In our quest we have borrowed from our past experiences and the inspirations of others. We have explored using gelatinized starches to add structure to noodles. In Japanese and Chinese baking, this technique is exploited to create a more tender crumb with a sound structure. As inspiration would have it, Aki was working on Japanese Milk Bread for our next cookbook. The texture of the bread was soft and decadent. And it held together beautifully.
Old Fashioned Doughnuts often crumble and splinter. I'm not a fan of this attribute. The goal for our Old Fashioned was to get the tender crumb of the cake doughnut combined with the structure and decadence of our yeasted doughnut. I made a starch paste similar to the beginnings of a pate choux. I blended the paste into our Old Fashioned Doughnut recipe. I rolled the dough and chilled it. When it was cold we cut and fried the doughnuts. The crumb is moist and tender. The doughnut is full flavored and has a bit of bite. It is not our cake doughnut and it is not our yeasted doughnut. It is a new template for flavors and textures. Today we achieved the delicious results. And New Fashioned Doughnuts were born.
It's fall here in New Hampshire and this year, for the first time, I went on an actual hayride. There were a couple of stacked hay bales directly behind the drivers of the cart, instantly claimed by the experienced riders, and the rest of us settled into the blanket of hay layered on the cart floor. It was a whole new experience, bumpy and fragrant, with amazing views of the farm and the surrounding countryside. It wasn't the most comfortable ride but it was compelling. It was a reminder of how far we've come and how limitless our horizons are. Looking back over the last hundred years or so it's amazing to see how technology has simply sprouted, seemingly out of thin air, transforming our world from log cabins and outhouses into a place where we all carry miniature computers in our back pockets. Kitchens have evolved tremendously and yet some things remain the same. Those of us who love to cook are nurturers. We pursue flavor and comfort in equal measure and have an endless desire to take care of the people we love. It's nice to know that some things don't change.
A friend of mine asked me if I liked sesame cookies and of course I said yes, because I adore sesame cookies. There are several different kinds out there and they all tend to be crisp and crunchy and full of that rich nutty goodness that is a sesame seed. As a kid I had to be coaxed into trying those brown sesame candies that are basically honey and sesame seeds bound together into one delicious bite. It took a while for the flavor to grow on me but once it did I was hooked. As I got older and began cooking I discovered the deep flavor of roasted sesame oil and how a few drops could make a huge difference in the flavor of a finished dish. As with many ingredients, I go through phases, using them often and then losing them to new passions and relegating the sesame seeds to the back of the shelf.
The very next day she brought me these cookies. They are Lebanese sesame cookies, with her own special twist, only slightly sweet, spicy, thin, crispy, and totally delicious. The spices were a surprise for me, reminding me vaguely of ras al hanout, and adding a haunting depth to the flavor to the cookies. She's promised me the recipe, though I'm still waiting, and in the meantime I've added making my own version of these cookies to my list of things to do. Seed cakes and cookies were very popular in Victorian times though have mostly fallen out of favor. I'm thinking it's time for a renaissance.
With the weather turning cold we turn to braises. A favorite combination is duck legs braised with sofrito and olives. The olives add a fruity salinity to the sauce. The duck meat is rich, decadent, and luxurious. The sofrito: slow cooked onions, celery, carrots and garlic, is the backbone of the sauce. We use red wine to add structure and then the duck adds its rich, earthiness to round everything out. It's definitely one of those occasions where the end result is so much more than the sum of its parts. As the winter approaches it's time to start playing with deep, complex flavors in the kitchen.
My favorite lamb chop is the last chop off the roast. Same goes with pork. The chop in mention is the first cut chuck. It is the same cut as the first cut chuck shoulder of beef that we are smitten over.
We have created an obstacle with our creativity. We have explored, examined and explained the first cut chuck shoulder of beef. We use it in burgers. We braise it. We slow cook it sous vide and in CVaps. Unlike lamb and pork we have not seared and slow roasted it to medium rare. Why? Because we thought we already knew what to do with it. We thought the meat would be tough. We thought the whole cut needed a variety of times and temperatures to break down the connective tissue. We thought it was more interesting to break the cut down into its individual parts and serve them separately.
Tonight we thought differently. We seared the 2 inch thick steak in a cast iron skillet and roasted it in a 250°F oven until it reached an internal temperature of 130°F, relying on our thermapen. We removed it from the pan and let it rest. We carved the meat off the bone. We removed the fat pockets, connective tissue and sinew. The meat was amazing. It was juicy. It was beefy. Each cut from the shoulder had its own texture. They were all tender and delightful with a rich, meaty flavor. Good thing we questioned ourselves.
It is all around us, if we remember to look. One of the things I enjoy about foliage is its transitory nature. There are loose parameters for when it will occur and it changes from day to day and hour to hour. Forget to look and you may miss the best moments. It's sort of like life that way. We're racing around right now, juggling two businesses and a family life, and its important to remember to take a minute to pause and appreciate what's happening in our environment. We're never to busy to stop and take a breath, in fact it makes us stronger and more efficient. So, whatever the season it is where you are, look outside and soak it in. This moment will never be here again.
We are making a lot of yeasted doughnuts. We knew we would be creating a lot of doughnut holes. We use lots of doughnut holes in the sundae named the Freeze Brain. Others are sold in six packs. Still, we knew we wanted to do something different with the doughnuts holes. Mid-day on Sunday we finally brought out our doughnut clusters. The first few looked like pretty flowers but the holes were falling off the edges. To make them more functional as a full scale doughnut, we fused them together before frying. They cook up into beautifully individual shapes. As we got better at making them their aesthetic improved. When they are fried and glazed they are an amazing pull apart doughnut and so much fun to eat. Sharing a bite has never been so easy and difficult at the same time.
I find it interesting the different rules we have for foods. And when we switch the foods around the results are questioned. Sure occasionally we see blueberry shortcake. But in the back of our minds the question rings, why not strawberry? And look at pancakes. Blueberry pancakes are part of the breakfast lexicon. And when we put strawberries in pancakes heads turn. We need to question. It is the catalyst for discovery. And we need to test the questions and the boundaries. We can't let the rules hold us back. They are essential to driving us forward.
It is essential to be the filter. What we let through and what we hold back defines the results. We have found that our filter is directly related to our internal compass. It is not always easy to be the filter. There are compromises. Understanding why we make the decisions helps. And when we don't know and can't find the answer we pause to look at both sides of the filter.
We put the rice flour streusel to work on a batch of rice flour doughnuts.
We baked the doughnuts for 15 minutes at 425°F. The doughnuts were moist, tender and rich.
The streusel was crisp and crunchy. The crumb was light and delicate. We had a delicious and simple gluten free rice flour doughnut. Look for new additions to the menu at Curiosity Doughnuts at Stockton Market this weekend.
Streusel delivers flavor and provides textural contrast. In the interests of improving flavor and texture, we should focus on streusel and its basic elements. Today we we began working on things. We combined equal parts butter, sugar, and rice flour. We added 0.3% salt to season the streusel. The first variable we played with was the flour. We substituted white rice flour for our go-to all purpose flour. The raw streusel has a sandy crunch. The butter, sugar and salt remain neutral. While the dough chills we write. Tomorrow will reveal what that small change does to the finished result. From there we can continue our exploration adding flavors and playing with different types of sugar in the rice flour blend.
Cornbread has always fallen into that category of things that I wanted to like more. The idea of cornbread has always appealed to me. I have visions of Laura Ingalls in the prairie and Southern kitchens full of cornbread and good will. The reality tended to be disappointing. Either dry and tasteless or overly sweet and sticky. It's a recipe I've been chasing for years.
This morning I felt like baking so I reached for the corn flour. There was a bag of smoked corn flour in the drawer so I added some to bread. That's my first tip right there, corn bread made with corn flour will have a softer, less gritty texture than corn bread made with cornmeal. Bob's Red Mill is my go-to for this and I have never had any motivation to find another brand. Smoking the corn flour will give it a deeper, richer flavor. We cold smoke our corn flour in a shallow container for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.Just be judicious in the amount of smoked flour you add to your mix. A little goes a long way and too much can be overpowering.
I used buttermilk for the liquid in the bread because I wanted a bread that moist and tender. That little bit of tang also helps balance out the sugar in the recipe. I used 1/2 cup of sugar. I'm thinking that I could easily take that down a tablespoon or two, though Alex and Amaya loved it, so maybe not. Quick bread recipes are always warning you not to over-mix things but I'm here to tell you that cornbread needs a certain amount of stirring to develop structure or it just falls apart when you slice it. Thirty to forty strokes is just about right. Lastly, don't over bake it or it will dry out. Cornbread should be just firm to the touch and a cake tester should come out clean. Don't over think things and leave it in there for an extra few minute or your bread will suffer for your caution. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
The finished cornbread was light and tender, sweet and savory, with a buttery corn flavor that lingered on my palate. This bread is happily eaten warm, straight from the pan, possibly with a pat of sweet butter, if that's how you roll. It tends to disappear quickly, though, if you happen to find yourself with a reasonable amount of leftovers, roast chicken with cornbread stuffing could be a wonderful thing on a chilly autumn evening. It's a quick recipe that only took a few decades to get right.
4 ounces / 113 grams unsalted butter
1/2 cup / 100 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon / 3 grams fine sea salt
2 large eggs (cold)
1 cup / 240 grams buttermilk (cold)
1 cup / 150 grams all purpose flour
1 cup / 150 grams corn flour (sub in 1/4 smoked corn flour for a more savory bread)
1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 grams baking soda
Preheat oven to 375°F. (190°C.)
Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
Cut the butter into slices and put it in a large microwave safe bowl. Cover the top with plastic wrap and put a vent hole in the wrap. Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds until the butter is melted. Remove the plastic wrap and use a silicone spatula to stir in the sugar and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring the first one into the mixture until it is fully absorbed, before adding the second. Once both eggs have been incorporated, stir in the buttermilk. Once it is mostly mixed in, there may still be streaks of buttermilk in the mixture, add the flour, corn flour, and baking soda. Stir the mixture together, giving the batter 30-40 strokes with your spatula, until it looks creamy and smooth, with just a few small lumps here and there. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, it will have the texture of soft whipped cream. Use the back of a spoon to smooth it into the corners and spread it in an even layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown and the bread is cooked through. It should feel feel set when you gently press a finger against the center of the bread and a cake tester will come out clean. Do not over cook the cornbread. Remove from oven and let the bread rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
There's something about picking apples from a tree in sight of your kitchen window. We've watched them ripen all season long and wondered what they would be like. There's nothing quite so wonderful as seeing something evolve and then finally getting to taste it.
We barely made a dent in the number of apples on the tree. I'm sensing more applesauce in our future. Maybe applesauce doughnuts?
Processing the apples was a great project to share with Amaya. With so many apples to deal with, she was able to hone her skills and get very comfortable with both peeler and paring knife.
We're not entirely sure what kind of apples are on our trees. Someone mentioned Macouns and it's a definite possibility. They have a strikingly sweet-tart bite. So I added apple cider to the pot when cooking them for a little extra sweetness and enhanced apple flavor.
Once they were close to becoming sauce, I adjusted the seasoning with salt and BLiS maple syrup, to taste, stirring well to break up any big lumps of apple.
Amaya's first apple sauce. This batch came out beautifully. It's thick and almost chewy, which may sound strange, but tastes delicious. I didn't blend, strain, or puree it because I like a bit of texture in the sauce. It lets people know it's homemade and it seems to taste better that way. It feels more substantial somehow. This sauce is full of rich, savory apple flavor with just a hint of sweetness. Yum.
October 4, 2008