Tuesdays with Dorie: “Butt”ermilk Crumb Muffins

Whaaaat?

 

These muffins were quick, easy, and delicious – though somewhat depressed.  How is it that everything I bake deflates, crinkles, puckers, or recedes?

I follow directions, I swear that I do, but my muffins resembled navels – all innies it’s true!

It’s unnatural I say

How they overflowed and refused to budge from their tins

So I sliced the tops off, mutilating the delicate crumb

I don’t why but my bread always looks dumb

If anyone has a word of advice, maybe this is a muffin I will attempt twice!

A baker most expert at http://downhomedesserts.blogspot.com/ can be found

With the recipe for the tastiest muffins around.

 

 

Tuesdays with Dorie: Bagels

When I first saw that we were baking bagels, I thought why?  We have perfectly good bagel places here in Charlotte (not like New York), but I don’t buy bagels for the most part because I don’t need more bread in my life.  Yes, that’s why I am doing a baking blog…I digress…I will say that after I made them, I may never buy a bagel again.  I won’t be baking them all the time, but perhaps for that NYC friend who visits or as a special treat for the family, I will get this recipe out.

I went ahead and mixed the dough in my KA – it only required medium speed for 6 minutes of kneading, so I wasn’t concerned about burning out my motor.  Though the dough was a bit sticky, I lifted it out of the bowl using a spatula and turned it into my buttered bowl.  After brushing it with butter, I let it rise.  When it had doubled in volume, I deflated the dough and stuck it in my fridge overnight until I could bake them off.

The boiling and baking was a process, but with a little organization (lots of parchment paper) it went smoothly.  Per the recipe, I divided the dough in half and stuck the other half back in the fridge.  I could have gotten 5 good-sized bagels out of each half of dough, but I made some mini bagels for the kids as well.  Shaping the bagels was fun – drawing the dough over itself to form a knot, turning the knot over and smoothing it into ball and plunging my index finger through to make the hole.  Using your thumb and forefinger, you rotate the dough until it looks more like a donut with a really big hole!

While preheating the oven to 500 degrees, I made my water bath of boiling water, a bit of sugar and baking soda.  I took another baker’s advice and only boiled each side for 60 seconds.  They came out smooth (ok maybe a few wrinkles – you know me and my wrinkled bread) and looked like bagels!

I lined my baking trays with parchment paper and after a quick brush of vegetable oil and a light dusting of cornmeal, I moved my boiled bagels over.  I used an egg white glaze and then sprinkled  sesame seeds over the top.  I slid the tray into the oven and as instructed, threw a small amount of ice water into the bottom of the oven to create steam. I closed the oven door quickly and lowered the temperature to 450 and baked the bagels for 25 minutes.  At that point, I turned off the oven and let them sit in it for 5 minutes.  The last step in baking is leaving them in the oven for another five minutes with the door open.  I imagine that this helps make them chewier.

As I laid them out on a baking rack to cool, I marveled at how professional they looked.  This is definitely a recipe for impressing your friends!  We enjoyed a feast that evening of smoked salmon, capers, and cream cheese.  I loved the flavor and the texture was great – chewy, but not doughy.  I will make these again!  If you want the recipe, please visit our host, Heather’s blog, http://www.heathersbytes.com/.

Shaped bagels

Boiled bagels

My lovely bagels!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Blueberry Nectarine Pie

This Blueberry Nectarine Pie is a blue ribbon winner!  The recipe can be found on the websites of this month’s hosts: Liz, http://thatskinnychickcanbake.blogspot.com/ and Hilary, http://manchegoskitchen.typepad.com/.

First off, a homemade pie deserves a homemade crust.  The recipe for the pastry in “Baking with Julia” called for butter and Crisco. Lard (or Crisco) is known for making a really flaky crust. I took a pie-baking class at Charlotte’s own Harvest Moon Grille and the chef rendered her own lard for the crust.  I am not, however, completely comfortable with Crisco or lard in my kitchen.  So instead of using the recommended recipe for pie crust, I used Martha Stewart’s pate brisee instead, which uses all butter.  Two sticks worth.I used my new food processor to make the dough – a Cuisinart 9-cup, literally out of the box (Happy Mother’s Day to me!)  I probably needed a bit more ice water though my dough came together.  I wrapped my two dough discs in plastic and put them in the fridge to work on my filling.

This is the first blueberry pie recipe I’ve come across where you cook down the fruit in a saucepan.  Martha’s “Perfect Blueberry Pie” goes through many stages of chilling to keep the fruit from getting soupy when you bake it.  But this pie practically has you making preserves!

Image

Half the fruit was placed in the saucepan (a pint of blueberries and one and a half nectarines), with sugar, a bit of flour and lemon zest.  Even this looked pretty (see above).  The fruit was to be brought to a slow boil over medium heat while stirring constantly.  I should have known that whenever a recipe says that you will be stirring constantly for a very long time!  It felt like 20 minutes and my beautiful fruit did look like the most perfect jam.  I poured my cooked fruit into a bowl and added the rest of the fruit and allowed it to cool.  It smelled heavenly!

As I let the fruit come to room temperature, I took out my dough discs and floured my work space.Rolling chilled dough is tough enough, but I found my dough cracked easily and it was difficult to roll it thin.    I managed to get the bottom into the pie plate without too much fuss.  I spooned in the cooled fruit and rolled out my top crust.  This should have been a breeze, but again I had trouble getting it to the desired thickness and keeping it in some semblance of a circle. I wonder if the cracking was because I didn’t use enough ice water…isn’t there a trick to using a little bit of water to prevent dough from cracking?

I just barely got my topper on and tried to seal all cracks.  I sealed them as best I could, but I noticed they weren’t completely repaired after baking:(  I chilled the put-together pie for twenty minutes as directed, then baked it off.

Image

I read everyone’s comments thoroughly, so I knew to let the pie cool completely before cutting.  It actually sat for several hours until it was served with a scoop of cherry vanilla ice cream.  If anyone has advice on how to deal with the cracking crust – please let me know!