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Monday, August 30, 2010

Mushroom Quiche

A great quiche for any occasion and the dough is simply perfect.
Not available in English
Taste 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty 2 (out of 5)
For the dough
- 2 cups all purpose flour (910 cal)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 170 g sour cream (365 cal)
- 75 g margarine (535 cal)
- pinch of salt
For the filling
- 1 tbsp canola oil (120 cal)
- 2 large onions (120 cal)
- 2 cloves garlic (10 cal)
- 500 g chopped mushrooms (125 cal)
- 2 tbsp milk (15 cal)
- 2 tbsp white wine (25 cal)
- 2 eggs (140 cal)
- 4 egg whites (60 cal)
- 170 g sour cream (365 cal)
- 200 g shredded cheese (805 cal)
- salt and pepper to taste
Total 3595 cal, 6 individual quiches or 2 9” quiches, 600 cal / individual quiche
1. Mix all the dough ingredients and knead until uniform. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. 
2. Roll the dough and line the pie pans (this dough should be enough for 2 9’’ or 6 individual pie pans).
3. In a large frying pan saute chopped onions and the crushed garlic with 1 tbsp of oil, until the onions brown. Add the mushrooms and saute for 10-15 more minutes. Pour wine and milk and season with salt and pepper. You can also add dill and / or basil if desired. Saute for 5 more minutes. 
4. Lightly beat the eggs and mix with the sour cream and the cheese. Pour over the sauteed mushrooms and transfer the filling into the pie pans. 
5. Bake at 375F for about 50 minutes until the filling is firm and golden brown.
- A very good quiche, and presentable too. Better warm, but can be also served cold. 
- The dough is very easy to make and is pretty tasty: not too crunchy and not too gooey. Even fills a bit like a puff pastry in the finished quiche. It also does not stick to the pie pan. One of the better pie doughs I’ve tried so far. 

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Petit Fours

My first attempt at petit fours
The Daring Bakers August 2010 Challenge by Elissa of 17 and Baking with small adjustments and without the ice cream

Taste 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty 3 (out of 5)
Brown Butter Pound Cake
- 275 g unsalted butter
- 200 g sifted flour 
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 185g light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Jam
- 250 g of jam (I used sour cherry)
- juice of 1/2 lemon (optional, if your jam is too sweet)
For Chocolate Glaze
- 250g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup/ 250 ml heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour or line with silicon an 11”x13” pan or deep cookie sheet.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter and light brown sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 11”x13” pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
For Chocolate Glaze
8. Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.
9. In a blender mix the jam with the lemon juice (if using the lemon juice). 
10. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, cut it in half, spread the jam on top of one half and place the other half on top.
11. Make the chocolate glaze and while it cools trim the sides of the cake to make it perfectly rectangular and then cut into 1.5”x1.5” petit fours.
12. Place each petit four on a fork and with a spoon pour a glaze over it. Put the coated petit fours on the parchment lined cookie sheet and let cool in the refrigerator until the glaze is firm.

- Thanks, Elissa, for the great challenge. I wanted to make petit fours for a while, and this was a perfect opportunity. I did not make the ice cream though, because I had an overdose in the last months challenge :-). 
- I used a 9”x11” pan and did not realize I needed to half the cake horizontally, so my petit fours turned out quite big (more like grand fours). Next time I will simply use a bigger pan (11”x13” or something similar), because I am really bad at cutting cakes horizontally.
- The cake tastes really good all by itself. I am just wondering if so much butter is needed, and how the browning of butter impacts the taste. Next time I might try using less butter, for calories’ sake.
Blog checking lines The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Pelmeni - Russian Dumplings with Meat and Cabbage

The Daring Cooks August ‘10 Challenge called them Pierogi, but I believe that the original Russian name is Pelmeni :-)
Adapted from August 2010 Daring Cooks Challenge by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen
Taste 3 (out of 5)
Difficulty 5 (out of 5)
For the dough
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp salt
-  3/4 cup lukewarm water
For the filling
- 250 g cooked meat, minced or cut very finely
- 100 g sour kraut, drained
- 1/2 onion, diced and fried
- 1 cloves garlic
- 1 medium egg
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
If frying the dumplings
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 3 tsp butter
Total: 30 dumplings
1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling (it’s best to use one’s hands to do that) put into the bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge until you have to use it.
2. Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (you might need from 1/2 to 1 cup water). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.
3. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass (I used 4-inch/10 cm cutter and got around 30 of them and 1 full, heaped teaspoon of filling is perfect for that size). Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pelmeni, not too many, only single layer in the pan! Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pelmeni rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more ( usually about 5 minutes). Remove one dumpling with a slotted spoon and taste if ready. When satisfied, remove remaining pelmeni from the water.
5. Serve immediately preferably with sour cream or fry. Cold pelmeni can be fried.  Boiled Russian pelmeni can be easily frozen and boiled taken out straight from the freezer.
- I have to admit that dumplings are not one of my very favorite foods, and in addition it always seemed way too much work. So I was glad to see this challenge, because it without it I never would have tried making dumplings from scratch :-).
- Maybe my dough was too hard, but it was just extremely difficult to roll out and it kept shrinking. As a result I think it was too thick compared to the amount of filling I managed to squeeze in. The only good thing about my dough was that it did not stick to the surface and the pin even without the flour. 
- Frying the dumplings in butter certainly helped improve the taste, but added an extra 1/2 hour and quite a few calories. 
- Overall, I probably spent 5 hours on these 30 dumplings, which makes it 10 minutes per dumpling (kneading the dough, rolling the dough, filling the dumplings, boiling and frying in batches, preparing the filling). And 2 days later my wrists still hurt from all the rolling :-). And I think the best part is the filling, anyway, which is really quick and easy to make. So why not just meatballs, and save all the extra work and calories from the dough? 
Blog-checking lines 
The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling.

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