Category Archives: Pastries

Tropical Napoleons

This week our TWD baking group is having a Tropical stay-cation. We are baking Tropical Napoleons by contributing baker Charlotte Akoto.

The Napoleon is made by layering paper-thin meringue wafers, rum flavoured whipped cream, and tropical fruits. Since there is quite a bit of coconut in the wafers, I decided to stay true to the coconut theme. Instead of using whipped cream (not a fan as you know), I whipped some full fat coconut milk. I also replaced the sweetened flaked coconut with regular flaked coconut and the desert was still on the sweet side.

tropical napoleon

The challenge with this recipe is shaping and baking the meringue wafers. You do need to make your own plastic template so you could spread the meringue batter in concentric circles on the baking sheet. Here is a link to the video showing this interesting technique. I simply loved doing that!

napoleon

I baked the wafers on parchment paper – no flouring and buttering, that is. The challenging part was trying to remove the wafers once they were baked. You need to slip a metal spatula under each wafer and push the spatula against the baking sheet, not the wafer. Two slightly broke. I blamed it on the late night baking…So I left the wafers on the baking sheets in the still slightly warm oven and I started imagining what am I going to do with crumbled meringue wafers. When I got ready to assemble the Napoleons, the wafers pulled out from the baking sheets as magic!

napoleon layers

Tropical Napoleons with whipped coconut milk, mangoes, and kiwis were our special desert for Victoria Day! The wafers tasted more like macaroons than like meringue cookies but we loved the sesame seeds and extra coconut on top.

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

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Scallop and Pesto Purses

If you are looking for a fancy appetizer, you might be in luck with this week’s recipe of our TWD baking group. How does Scallop and Pesto Purses sound? The recipe is by contributing baker Gale Gand and it is for a crispy buttery phyllo dough with a savory filling. Kinda like tiny spanokopitas.

Phyllo Purses

The original recipe is using scallops and pesto. Not fans of scallop here so I went with a vegetarian option and made the purses with a thick paste of sun-dried tomatoes (sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, parmigiano, and basil), roasted eggplant, green onion, and creamy goat cheese. Hello Mediterrenean Purses! Eaten hot from the oven, the purses were delicious!

And  a view from the top

Phyllo Purse

The only con is that the purses were not bite-sized. I counted at least three bites ☺ Not sure how well this will fare off at a cocktail party when the crispy phyllo starts flying around. Just saying…

The recipe could be found in Baking with Julia. If you decide to try the recipe, I would recommend:

1. Buttering well the phyllo dough with a pastry brush.
2. If you are using any pesto for the filling, go with a really thick one, otherwise you will end up with soggy purses.
3. Baking the phyllo purses at lower oven temperature – 325F or 350F for a shorter amount of time. Mine were ready in less than 10 minutes.
4. Skipping the string to tie the purses. Maybe using chives instead?
5. Clarifying the butter is also optional, at least for me.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Cheese and Tomato Galette

Our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group made this recipe from Baking with Julia back in June. It is by contributing baker Flo Braker. Since we are lucky to have one extra Tuesday this month, I am trying to catch up on the recipes that I have missed over the summer months.

The recipe uses basic galette dough that is topped with yellow cheese, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and basil. Sounds like pizza? Oui, mais non. C’est une galette!

ceci

After I started making the dough, I had a déjà vu that we had used this basic dough in the past. There was nothing resembling dough in my food processor. It looked like I was trying to make home-made glue… So, I kept sprinkling flour until the dough was not super sticky and was imagining turning it into a galette. I will be honest and say that I was ready for disaster. I was not sure how I will be able to stretch the dough into a circle, but it worked.

tomato galette crust

Our galette was topped with roasted cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and spiced with thyme, olive tapenade, thinly sliced fresh zucchini, and asiago cheese. The final result was a super crunchy and delicious pizza, I mean galette. The crust was a little bit too buttery for my taste but the crunch factor saved the day. The galette was baked in less than 30 minutes.

We did not have a chance to test if the dough will stay crisp when the galette is at room temperature. It was gone in no time!

tomato galette green

Looking forward to another month with an extra Tuesday. What should I pick from the summer recipes? Which one was your favorite?

Savarin

This week our group of dedicated bakers is busy trying to find new baking molds to our constantly expanding kitchen collections of tools and accessories. We are baking a savarin by contributing baker David Blom.

Let me just say that with the exception of baklava, I am not particularly fond of syrupy desserts. My childhood memories of savarin did not help to put me in the right baking mood. Savarins were always the last ones to be sold out in our local coffee shop and when you got one you knew that this is just not your lucky day. They were super sugary from the syrup and had that fake whipped cream rosette on top with the fake cherry…Pathetic, I know…

Yes, I was not looking forward to this recipe. I enjoyed watching the video at PBS and learning the technique of how to cut the dough when making small shaped savarins. This is my first time baking savarin and the results were quite disappointing.

savarin

The recipe does not make sufficient amount of dough. I am guessing that the amount has to be increased by 1.5 to 2 times. In the final product I could taste the egg – almost like having the crust of a fried egg. It was not even similar to the savarin dough I knew. I went through my cookbooks and these are the ingredients that are used, if you would like to experiment and try a different savarin recipe. The technique is the same, the first rising is for one hour and the second is for 30 minutes. For the dough: 0.5 cup milk, 2tbs sugar, 1 1/5 cup flour, 3 eggs, 125gr butter, 1 tbs yeast.

It was a totally whatever dessert and the one enjoyed the least from Baking with Julia. No, it did not help that I made honey syrup and sprinkled the baked savarin with pistachios. But I got a brand new Bundt cake mold 🙂 All is good on the Western front!

Savory Brioche Pockets

This week our Tuesdays with Dorie group is trying a new recipe from Baking with Julia using brioche dough – Savory Brioche Pockets by contributing baker Nancy Silverton.

Boiled potatoes, caramelized onions, asparagus, and goat cheese are piled high on a circle of brioche dough and covered with another circle of brioche dough. Kinda like half an empanada or a giant ravioli.

savory brioche

This time around I followed the recipe word for word. Well, on a second thought I simplified the making of the brioche dough and used:

asparagusroasted asparagus instead of boiled asparagus,

garlic

fresh garlic from our garden instead of chives,

purple sage

and purple sage from our herb garden.

The pockets baked beautifully! Unfortunately, we were not fond of the brioche dough combo with the savory filling. Kinda could not wow our taste buds…

If you would like to see for yourself, if a savory filled brioche is your thing, please visit Carrie of Loaves and Stitches who is the host for this week’s recipe.

* If you are interested in simplifying the brioche dough making, keep reading… I skipped the sponge making step and I just proofed the yeast with the warmed milk and a little bit of sugar for 10 min or so. Then, in the mixer bowl of my mixer I mixed the eggs with the proofed yeast and added the flour and sugar (used powdered) at once and beat for 1-2 min. Incorporating the butter after that was so much easier – I was adding two tablespoons of butter at a time and mixing for 2-3 min after each addition. The whole mixing took 10 min!

Pizza Rustica

This year the Easter preparations are on the way Italian style!

Traditionally, Pizza Rustica has been prepared all over Italy and is part of a celebratory Easter meal breaking the 40 days of Lent fasting.

In Umbria, it is known as Torta Pasqualina, in Campania as Pizza Chiena, in Central Italy as Pizza di Pasqua. No matter the name and the different dough and filling ingredients, this robust pastry is a showstopper with a flaky double crust and a savory filling.

If you are still deciding on your Easter menu and you are contemplating Pizza Rustica as an antipasti, please visit Emily and Raelynn who are hosting this week’s recipe of our Tuesdays with Dorrie baking group. You might be speaking Italian in no time!

Buona Pasqua a tutti!

This is the slice of my pizza rustica tricolore. Go veggies!

I omitted the meat and added feta cheese to the cheese filling. I divided the mixture into three and made the following additions to each part:

Verde: Spinach, parsley, lots of chives

Bianco: Nothing extra was added.

Rosso: Pureed sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers

 Also, skipped the sugar in the crust. Could not get used to the idea of sugary tasting spinach…

Note: For a flaky crust and easier rolling, the dough needs to be chilled for a couple of hours. I chilled it overnight to allow for that full relaxation of the gluten strands.

If you are like me and you are not doing the lattice crust and you have decided on a double crust pie, make sure that you cut several slits in the top crust to allow the steam to escape.

For a rich and golden color of your pie, brush the top crust with an egg wash made from one egg yolk and 1 tbs water. I brushed with water only, hands the pale crust…

If you are adding any veggies to the filling, cook them prior and squeeze as much water as you can out of them. I use cheesecloth to get the water out and it works like magic. Ditto for the ricotta!

Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

Our second recipe for February is created by David Ogonowski and is an elegant trio of chocolate pâte brisée, chocolate filling and biscotti (I used chocolate bourbon biscotti.). The recipe is hosted by Steph, Spike, Jaime, and Jessica from our group of 300+ dedicated and passionate food bloggers. It not only calls for three chocolatey components, but also features three chocolate varieties. The balance of flavours is amazing! For the filling I used Callebaut chocolate: bittersweet, milk, and white. The final result is a rich, multilayered, and decadent chocolate extravaganza tartlet that is meant to be savored slowly! Great with a ristretto or a glass of Prosecco!


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