Baking Chez Moi: Laurent’s Slow-Roasted Pineapple

So I’ve actually made this slow-roasted pineapple a few times since I first bought Baking Chez Moi.  Fortunately I remembered to have Scott take pictures during the winter months I was making this as it’s already pretty hot here in Phoenix. The thought of having my oven on for a few hours is pretty unpleasant.DSC_0071.jpgPretty simple ingredients and oranges are in season here in the winter so I didn’t have to purchase anything except the preserves and pineapple.  Pineapples are always pretty cheap here in colder months.DSC_0073.jpgI ended up with pretty groovy pineapple slices since the eyes were pretty deep and I didn’t want to cut off too much of the good stuff. DSC_0079.jpgDSC_0088.jpgDSC_0116.jpgDSC_0119.jpgYou can see the pineapple start to soften and change colors as it roasts.  The house has smelled absolutely heavenly every time I’ve made this.  Love all the spicy, sweet smells wafting around.DSC_0145.jpgDSC_0143.jpgDSC_0138.jpgServed with some vanilla bean ice cream the pineapple is fantastic.  I really enjoy this recipe both for it’s simplicity of ingredients yet complexity of flavor.  I tend to have bulk spices around, especially around the holidays and it’s fun to try different ones.  The only things that is really a pain is processing the pineapple.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Lemon (Grapefruit) Meringue Tart A New Way

My trees are all out of lemons right now so I thought what the heck I’ll make this with white grapefruit which I still have plenty of.DSC_0790.jpgMost of my grapefruit are giant now, on the sweet side and extremely juicy.DSC_0791.jpgThe pastry cream was pretty typical except it was citrus flavored.  This was my favorite part of the tart as the cream had such a delicate floral and citrus flavor.DSC_0795.jpgDSC_0799.jpgI kept the extra egg white for the meringue.  I know the preference in our household is for a lot.DSC_0801.jpgthumbnail_FullSizeRender.jpgMy meringue was pretty browned but it tasty yummy and not burnt.  I liked the overall idea of this tart but after tasting it both myself and Scott thought  that we would have preferred a regular tart base rather than the cream.  The grapefruit flavor was great and I think I’ll be experimenting with making a traditional-style grapefruit meringue.  The grapefruit pastry cream was incredibly tasty, just didn’t care for it so much in the tart.  I think it would be pretty sensational in an éclair or maybe as a base for a tropical cream pie with hibiscus flowers.  It’s made me want to experiment with a grapefruit cheesecake, maybe with a sour cream topping?  While this tart wasn’t my favorite combo it did spark some good ideas so I’m glad to have made it.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Black and White Marbled Madeleines

I’m a little out of energy this week but I did manage to get the madeleines done.  I decided to brown my butter because I love the smell and find it oddly comforting. I liked how these turned out and they were a pretty great portion size.  I called these chocolate lime madeleines to everyone who wanted to taste them since I thought that was a bit more accurate.DSC_0050.jpgDSC_0051.jpgDSC_0052.jpgDSC_0057.jpgDSC_0060 8.49.25 PM.jpgDSC_0061 8.49.30 PM.jpgFor some reason Scott only shot the backs of the madeleines so it’s hard to see how pretty they came out even if they were a little full.  It was a rough weekend so I’m glad this recipe got done and it tasted good too.

Baking Chez Moi: Nun’s Beignets

Trying to catch up a little with my baking. I decided to make the nun’s beignets before work one day.DSC_0023.jpgMy pictures are a tad dark because it was early.  The only thing I had to buy was the grapeseed oil since I don’t fry all that much.  DSC_0026.jpgThe dough came together pretty easy.  A quick boil of the milk, water, sugar, butter, salt and a last minute addition of flour and then into the mixer for eggs and vanilla. DSC_0031.jpgDSC_0046.jpgI’ve never used a dutch over for frying before and it worked out pretty great.  I only used about 2 inches of oil but that was more than sufficient. They bobbed and fried for about 8-9 minutes before I took them out. DSC_0038.jpgDSC_0034.jpgI got some nice cracking and puffing on these.  I really love the beautiful golden brown they turn.DSC_0037.jpgDSC_0036.jpgI did both a vanilla sugar and a cinnamon sugar.  I liked both flavors and thought both were nice.  Scott did most of the sugaring and I can tell you he likes a pretty thick crust of it.DSC_0040.jpgDSC_0043.jpgDSC_0042.jpgI think these beignet’s got one of the best reviews yet from Baking Chez Moi.  Guess you can’t really go wrong with what is essentially fried dough. The size was perfect if you just wanted a bite.

 

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Honey-Yogurt Mousse

I was excited to try the honey yogurt mousse this week since it sounded like a perfect Arizona summer recipe and the heat will be here before you know it.DSC_0014.jpgPretty simple ingredients and a pretty uncomplicated recipe.  Strained yogurt mixed with honey, gelatin and whipped cream.  Pretty easy to whip up.DSC_0021.jpgDSC_0017 (1).jpgI wasn’t thrilled with the end result of this.  It was so incredibly sweet and there was a large amount of honey in each serving.  We tried it with some berries that were on the sour side so it worked out ok.  I kept thinking that I wish I would have made Bill Grainger’s Yogurt Panacotta.  It’s a similar idea with a little more effort.  I’ve made it several times and in large quantities for parties with pretty good results.  I think I’ll be sticking to that for my yogurt goodness come summer.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Granola Cake

I’ve been kind of dreading making granola cake since I first got Baking Chez Moi.  For some reason it just didn’t seem very appetizing.  So glad my fears were completely misplaced for this one.DSC_0002.jpgThis recipe had a bit more ingredients than usual with the strangest being granola.  Fortunately I had recently made a batch of Garland’s granola from Sharing the Table.  It is so, so good and simple to make.DSC_0005.jpgI tried to break up the biggest clumps in my granola and I used the unsweetened coconut flakes you can get at Sprouts.  I love the unsweetened flakes, they have a great taste without the scratchy texture of sugared and shredded coconut.DSC_0009.jpgEverything came together pretty quick and I was starting to feel hopeful about the taste because everything smelled so good.  My batter was the consistency of a chocolate chip cookie dough.DSC_0012.jpgI was pretty nervous after getting this into the pan because I really had to spatula the batter into the pan rather than pour it.DSC_0013.jpgI took the cake out before the timer went off because it just smelled ready to me.  It kind of looked like a giant cookie in the pan.DSC_0017.jpgDSC_0020.jpgThe cake came out of the pan looking a lot more like a cake or maybe kind of like a bar.  I had it with some early gray tea and the cake was so good.  Dense and chewy texture with great flavor.  Almost like a brownie in a way.  This recipe will definitely go into my rotation for when I have some homemade granola hanging around.

 

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Chocolate Truffles

DSC_0450.jpgI’ve made holiday truffles a few times over the years with varying success.  The best were probably my own inventions of an almond coconut flavor and one I made with a passion fruit liquor Scott had bought me on his travels.  I thought I’d try the suggested alternate version with earl gray tea and raisins except without the raisins. These were pretty standard excepting the corn syrup which I’d never used in my truffles before.DSC_0454.jpgDSC_0462.jpgDSC_0464.jpgMelty chocolate, some cream, butter and early gray and things were ready to go in the fridge.  I pretty much knew that the proportion of earl gray was too much without the stability chopped raisins would have added. DSC_0473.jpgGot a little fancy and added a little white chocolate to stick on some lavender flowers.  The tea really softened these a bit too much and I ended up freezing my mix to get it to form right.  I couldn’t really taste the tea so I think if I go that route again I’ll steep more tea and boil the liquid down till it’s a very strong flavor.  I always kind of feel like I’m eating ganache frosting with truffles. The fun thing about them is all the different flavors that you can try to make.  Not sure I will replace this with my regular base recipe but these were pretty simple to make and fun to try a new flavor.

 

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Caramel Tart

Temps have finally cooled down in AZ and it’s really great oven-baking weather. As strange as this tart sounded my love of caramel had me hoping this tart was going to work out. It’s great how many recipes from this book call for ingredients I usually have on hand but still manage to surprise me. My pre-baked tart looked a little extra crispy but it ended up tasting pretty great.DSC_0113.jpgNo matter how many times I make caramel I always get a little nervy.  Anyone who’s had a crystallization incident probably feels my pain. Luckily this turned out on the first try and went pretty smooth.DSC_0118.jpgDSC_0120.jpgMy caramel started getting pretty dark so I took it off the burner a little before the recipe called for.  DSC_0121.jpgDSC_0123.jpgWhipping up the yolks and adding the caramel was super quick.  I was already looking forward to trying to outcome based on the great smell of the caramel sauce. I didn’t bother skimming the foam.DSC_0126.jpgDSC_0128.jpgWasn’t really the best looking tart straight out of the oven but nothing a little whipped cream couldn’t fix.DSC_0132.jpgDSC_0131.jpgDSC_0135.jpgThe color of this was lovely and I ended up liking how the top almost looked bruleed after being sliced.DSC_0136.jpgDSC_0137.jpgI tend to like whipped cream on everything but the flavor of the tart was pretty good on its own.  Makes me wonder if I could layer the top with pecans and get away with passing this off as pecan pie.  This is definitely a great holiday recipe and I think ends up looking more impressive than the ease of making it.

-Christie

On a side note: I feel very privileged to have been able to write this blog mostly about baking and hiking.  However, that was truly a privilege and after a recent trip to North Dakota its clear to me that it’s one I can no longer afford.  I won’t stop baking but be prepared for some more serious posts in the near future.

Baking Chez Moi: Apple Speculoos Crumble

Grateful to have a simple recipe to kick off November.DSC_0087.jpgSimple ingredients that I already had on hand excepting the cookies.  I really regret not making the cookies from Dorie’s recipe.  All of the packaged kinds I could find had at least a small bit of palm oil and my skin is still trying to recover from the few pieces of Halloween candy I snacked on. I went with the package that seemed to have the least in it. Using store bought cookies did make this super simple and quick.DSC_0088.jpgDSC_0089.jpgQuick butter of the pan and crumbling of cookies.DSC_0091.jpgDSC_0094.jpgI chopped up the apples while Scott made the topping.  Next thing you know this was in the oven and the house was smelling great.DSC_0096.jpgDSC_0103.jpgThis came out quickly and was pretty easy to make.  While the store bought cookies were easy I think next time I might make this with some day old homemade speculoos.  Scott served me some up with bourbon vanilla ice cream and it was great.

DSC_0107.jpgDSC_0110.jpgIt felt good to have something turn out right.

Not sure what is going on with me but life keeps throwing me curve balls and I am just completely exhausted.  My road trip vacation was pretty much just destroyed by an impaired driver who rear-ended me.  My car won’t be fixed in time to go and it isn’t something I can reschedule.  I’m at a loss.

 

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Custardy Apple Squares

Yay for fall!!  I may be pushing it calling it fall in Phoenix when I still have daytime highs in the 90s.  I love to visit just to the north of us and catch the changing leaves and indulge in the apple stands on my way back to the desert.DSC_0380.jpgDSC_0268.jpgDSC_0247.jpgSo wonderful to feel cool air and actually see a season change.  It was a pretty quiet day in Coconino National Forest and the drive back down 89A in Sedona was a beautiful canopy of falling oak leaves.DSC_0052.jpgAfter picking up my apples in Sedona I didn’t have to purchase anything else for this recipe.  I love that I can just whip this up with my fall fruit and what I have on hand.DSC_0061.jpgThis recipe was incredibly simple to make.  The hardest part was peeling the apples which really wasn’t hard at all.  Scott set up the food processor to slice simplifying this even more.DSC_0066.jpgA quick 2 minute whisk of a simple batter.DSC_0069.jpgThen a quick coat of all the apple slices.  I added a few extra apples since mine were a bit on the small side.DSC_0073.jpgPat it all down and get it in the oven.DSC_0076.jpgDSC_0078.jpgSuch a simple and quick prep with such a pretty result and heavenly smelling kitchen.DSC_0079.jpgDSC_0083.jpgDSC_0080.jpgThe apple squares are almost magical in that something so easy could end up so elegant and flavorful.  I loved how the creamy custard contrasted again the bit of crunch still in my apples slices.  It was a great way to feature the apple flavor without overwhelming it.  I can see why Dorie has made this or a version of it so many times.  The one comment I got from Scott was that he wanted just a little bit more.  I’m planning on browning the melted butter next time so we can get just a smidgen of that delicious nutty taste complimenting the vanilla and apple.

-Christie