Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Halva with Salted Chocolate

 


I was a little intimidated at first to make halva, given that the process is more like making candy than like making cake, but it was worth it. I definitely recommend a candy thermometer here! I would only make one change, which is to reduce the amount of sesame seeds on top – I was supposed to use 2 tablespoons, but I used 1 1/3 tablespoons and, even then, I felt it was a bit too much. I’d say no more than 1 tablespoon, and even that is optional; I’ve made the change below. That being said, this was absolutely delicious! It was a big hit with our family, and I’ll have to make it again. 

1 ½ cups tahini 
¼ tsp. kosher salt 
3 Tbsp. black and white sesame seeds, divided 
1 ½ cups sugar 
½ cup water 
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate 
¼ cup dried edible flowers (such as cornflowers and/or roses; optional, and I did not use them) 
flaky sea salt 

Lightly coat an 8½x4½" loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2" overhang on both of the long sides. 

Mix tahini, kosher salt, and 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds in a medium, heat-resistant bowl to combine; set tahini mixture aside. 

Cook sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula, until sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and fit pan with candy thermometer. Cook syrup, brushing down sides of saucepan with a wet pastry brush as needed to dissolve any crystals that form, until thermometer registers 250°, 7–10 minutes. Immediately remove syrup from heat and gradually stream into reserved tahini, mixing constantly with spatula. Continue to mix just until halva comes together in a smooth mass and starts to pull away from the sides of bowl (less than a minute). Be careful not to overmix or halva will be crumbly. (I think I may have overmixed by one or two turns of the spoon, but it did was still great.) Working quickly, scrape into prepared pan and let cool. 

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not let bowl touch water), stirring often. Remove from heat. Invert halva onto a wire rack set inside a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (honestly, I would just reuse the parchment from the pan here, after inverting the halva out of it); peel away and discard parchment. Pour chocolate over halva and sprinkle top with flowers (if using), sea salt, and remaining sesame seeds. Let sit until chocolate is set before serving, about 30 minutes. (Halva can be stored at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for a few days.)






Monday, May 10, 2021

Brioches jambon-fromage

 


On arrive à la fin de l’année scolaire, et si vous êtes comme moi, vous aimeriez un peu d’inspiration pour les lunchs d’école (et même si votre enfant est encore à la maison, on commence tous à être essoufflé, là). Alors je partage ces brioches jambon-fromage que j’ai vues sur le fil Instagram de 3 fois par jour. Je n’ai pas badigeonné les brioches de beurre (pour limiter le gras) ni utilisé de ciboulette (j’avais peur que mon fils n’aime pas). 

Quand je suis allée chercher le Petit Prince à sa sortie de l’école ce jour-là, dès qu’il est monté dans l’auto, il m’a tout de suite parlé des brioches, pour me dire qu’il adorait ça! Il en a eu dans son lunch lundi, mardi et mercredi. Vendredi soir, il m’a demandé pourquoi ça faisait longtemps que je n’avais pas fait son dîner préféré. Confuse, je lui ai demandé c’était quoi, déjà, son dîner préféré. Et c’était ces brioches! Ça faisait DEUX JOURS qu’il n’en avait pas mangé et il se plaignait! À refaire, donc. Je pense doubler la recette la prochaine fois et en mettre au congélateur. 


Pour la garniture 
2 c. à soupe de beurre sans lactose 
1 poireau, haché en demi-rondelles (les parties blanche et vert pâle seulement) 
1 gousse d’ail, hachée finement 
2 c. à soupe de farine tout-usage 
¼ tasse de bouillon de poulet (ou de vin blanc) 
1 tasse de jambon coupé en petits morceaux 
1 tasse de fromage suisse sans lactose râpé 
sel et poivre, au goût 

Pour la pâte 
½ tasse de lait sans lactose 
1 sachet ou 2 ¼ c. à thé de levure instantannée 
1 ¾ tasse de farine tout-usage 
¼ tasse de sucre 
½ c. à thé de sel 
1 œuf 
2 c. à soupe de beurre sans lactose, fondu 

Pour la garniture 
Dans une poêle, à feu moyen, faire fondre le beurre, puis faire revenir le poireau et l’ail 3 ou 4 minutes. Saupoudrer la farine et poursuivre la cuisson pendant 1 minute. 

Ajouter le bouillon de poulet, puis cuire pendant environ 1 minute, ou jusqu’à ce que le liquide soit évaporé. Transférer ce mélange dans un bol de taille moyenne, puis ajouter le jambon et le fromage. Assaisonner, bien mélanger, puis réserver au réfrigérateur. 

Pour la pâte 
Faire chauffer le lait au four à micro-ondes afin qu’il soit tiède. Ajouter la levure, puis laisser reposer pendant 10 minutes. 

Dans le bol d’un batteur sur socle, mélanger la farine, le sucre et le sel. Ajouter l’œuf et le beurre fondu, puis mélanger de nouveau. Ajouter le mélange de lait et de levure, puis pétrir la pâte avec le crochet de 5 7 minutes, ou jusqu’à ce qu’elle ne soit plus collante. (On peut ajouter un peu de farine au besoin.) 

Former une boule avec la pâte, puis la déposer dans un bol huilé couvert d’un linge humide ou d’une pellicule plastique. Laisser lever la pâte pendant environ 2 heures à température ambiante (je la mets toujours dans le micro-onde, la porte ouverte), ou jusqu’à ce qu’elle ait doublé de volume. 

Graisser un grand plat allant au four de 9"x13", puis réserver. 

Sur un plan de travail légèrement fariné, abaisser la pâte de manière à créer un grand rectangle. Étaler la garniture froide sur la surface de la pâte en laissant une bande de 1" tout le tour. Rouler la pâte de manière à former un rouleau serré, puis couper 9 brioches. Placer les brioches côte à côte dans le plat graissé. Couvrir d’un linge humide ou d’une pellicule plastique, puis laisser lever de 1 heure à 1 heure 30 minutes. 

Préchauffer le four à 375 °F et placer la grille au centre. 

Cuire au four de 20 à 23 minutes afin que les brioches soient dorées. Servir tiède (délicieux!) ou froid (comme dans la boîte à lunch de mon fils).





Friday, May 07, 2021

Chocolate Pudding Pretzel Pie

 


The other new dish that I made for Easter was chocolate pudding pretzel pie, which was a hit! The version below is vegan; it can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free pretzels and nut-free if you use another type of vegan milk. If you have some chocolate pretzels on hand, they would be great to decorate! 

The original recipe had you place the pretzels into a plastic bag and crush them into small pieces with a rolling pin, the goal being that you could still visibly see that you were eating pretzels. However, I found that to make for an unwieldy crust, and the texture was both slightly unpleasant and impractical. I therefore recommend turning the pretzels into crumbs, the same as you would with graham crackers, for example. They may no longer be obviously pretzels, but the salty taste will still be there. I’m also increasing the amount of chocolate in the ganache to 4 ounces, as I found the previous version a bit scant. 


For the crust 
5 ½ oz pretzels (roughly 3 ½ cups if crushed slightly; see note above) 
¼ cup brown sugar 
6 Tbsp. vegan butter, melted 

For the chocolate pudding 
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
¼ cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder 
½ cup cane sugar 
1 pinch of salt 
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk 
1 cup unsweetened almond milk 
2/3 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free if making it vegan) 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
1-2 Tbsp. vegan butter (optional) 

For the ganache 
4 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (or ½ cup chocolate chips; dairy-free if you wish) 
2 tsp. coconut oil 

For topping 
1 container So Delicious CocoWhip (or equivalent) 
chocolate curls or cocoa powder, for garnish 


For the crust 
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease a 9” pie pan. 

Place the pretzels in the food processor and blitz into crumbs (I think this will work better than crushing them into small pieces). Add the brown sugar and butter and process until combined. 

Pour into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 10-12 minutes until toasted. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before filling. 

For the chocolate pudding 
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, cornstarch, cane sugar and salt. Over medium heat, while whisking, add the coconut milk and almond milk. Whisk until totally smooth. 

Continue to whisk until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Once the mixture bubbles, continue to whisk and cook for another 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in chocolate chips, vanilla, and vegan butter (if using). Pour into a bowl and let cool to just about room temperature, stirring often. 

For the ganache 
Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave at 50% power for 30-45 seconds, stopping to stir every 15 seconds (I prefer doing this in a double boiler). Stir until totally smooth. Pour and spread over the bottom of the prepared crust. Let set slightly before adding the pudding. 

Pour the pudding into the crust. Smooth, then refrigerate until set, about 2 hours or up to 12 hours. 

For the topping, place the CocoWhip in a bowl and use a hand mixer to whip until smooth, about 10-20 seconds (I did not bother). Spread over the pie and garnish with chocolate curls. Serve and enjoy!






Thursday, May 06, 2021

Bacon and Chive Deviled Eggs

 


This Easter, I tried my hand at deviled eggs again. I had messed them up two years ago (by following the instructions, mind you), and I couldn’t make them last year because eggs were too scarce in the early part of the pandemic. This time, I decided to take a shortcut and use store-bought hard-boiled eggs as an ingredient. It saved me a lot of time and effort and made the process not-at-all overwhelming! We all really liked them, but I think the Engineer liked them most of all, and he had to use self-restraint not to polish them off in one sitting. The Little Prince was also a big fan! 

 The recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated, though I doubled the amounts and reduced the vinegar slightly; you could also add sage and shallots in the fall. The recipe below calls for 12 eggs, which means 24 egg halves. I piped the filling in the eggs because I thought it was prettier than spooning it in; you can use either a plain tip or star tip. 

4 slices bacon, chopped 
12 hard-boiled eggs (homemade or store-bought) 
4 Tbsp. mayonnaise 
2 tsp. Dijon mustard 
2 tsp. distilled white vinegar 
¼ tsp. salt 
1 pinch cayenne pepper (I feel like paprika would be more classic here) 
2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives 

Cook bacon in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons fat in the pan. (Once the bacon has cooled, you can crumble it more finely.) 

Slice each egg in half lengthwise with a paring knife (to do this, sweep the blade cleanly down the center, and wipe the knife after each egg). Transfer yolks to bowl; arrange whites on serving platter. 

Mash yolks with fork until no large lumps remain. Add mayonnaise and mustard and use rubber spatula to smear mixture against side of bowl until thick, smooth paste forms, 1 to 2 minutes. Add reserved bacon fat, vinegar, salt, and cayenne and mix until fully incorporated. Stir in three-quarters of bacon and chives. 

Transfer yolk mixture to small, heavy-duty plastic bag (I used a large star piping tip). Press mixture into 1 corner and twist top of bag. Using scissors, snip ½ inch off filled corner. Squeezing bag, distribute yolk mixture evenly among egg white halves. Sprinkle each egg half with remaining bacon and chives and serve.






Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Lemon Ginger Scones

 


I made these dried cherry scones a while back and was on the fence about them. I got fewer than the recipe said I would, and they came out so much darker than in the photo that I thought they were ruined. But, BUT, they were actually delicious! 


Then I happened to listen to Spilled Milk’s episode about scones and was again inspired. I made Molly Wizenberg’s apricot scones, which I thought were delicious, but my family thought they were just okay, and the Little Prince tasted them but preferred having toast for breakfast. 


Soon after, I made the lemon-ginger scones in her first book, A Homemade Life. I was a little afraid that the boys (and husband) wouldn’t like the heat of the ginger, but it turns out that they *loved* these! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Bonus: I typically have everything I need to make these on hand already. 

2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 tsp. baking powder 
½ tsp. salt 
4 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, cut into ½” cubes 
3 Tbsp. sugar 
2 tsp. grated lemon zest 
¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger 
½ cup lactose-free half-and-half (I mixed lactose-free milk and coconut milk), plus more for glazing 
1 large egg 

Preheat oven to 425 °F. 

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture, squeezing and pinching with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and there are no butter lumps bigger than a pea. (I like doing this in a food processor, though I now transfer to a to add the wet ingredients.) Add the sugar, lemon zest, and crystallized ginger and whisk to incorporate. 

Pour ½ cup of half-and-half into a small bowl or measuring cup and add the egg. Beat with a fork to mix well. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir gently to just combine. The dough will look dry and shaggy, and there may be some unincorporated flour at the bottom of the bowl – don’t worry about it. Using your hands, squeeze and press the dough into a rough mass. Turn the dough, and any excess flour, out onto a board or countertop, and press and gather and knead it until it just comes together (do not overwork it). 

Pat it into a rough circle about 1 inch thick. Cut the circle into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Pour a splash of half and half into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the scones with a thin coat to glaze (I think I didn’t bother this time; if you do, you could also sprinkle some coarse sugar on top). Bake 10 to 14 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer scones to a wire rack to cool slightly, and serve warm. (If you are going to eat them within a day or two, they will keep in an airtight container at room temperature. Longer than that and you should freeze them.)



Monday, May 03, 2021

Chocolate Truffle Pie with Strawberries

 


The Engineer and I decided to have a seder this year for the first time, and it went really well. To me, this meal is particularly fun because it’s not just about traditional foods, there are a whole lot of traditional activities as well (examples here for newbies); we also took some liberties with the Haggadah, mostly adapting (and greatly shortening) from this one, though I was partial to this 10-minute virtual version as well. 

Making a meal that is Kosher for Passover can be intimidating if it’s your first time, but I knew which dessert I wanted to make. I had torn out this chocolate truffle pie recipe from Bon Appétit what I thought was 4 or 5 years ago, but it turned out to be exactly 10 years ago. Well. I had to make it for dessert now that we wanted an “official” Passover meal! 

(We haven’t nailed down our go-to menu yet. The Engineer made a plate of smoked salmon and crudités as well as chicken schnitzel crusted with matzo meal. I made a simple apple cinnamon charoset, and we had the mandatory matzo. But it feels like there should be a matzo ball soup in there somewhere! I might reread this for inspiration next year. We served white grape juice – juice because I like it better than wine and we have kids; white because I’m the one laundering linens and children’s clothing in this house.) 

The original recipe was also served with orange-champagne sabayon, but I didn’t bother making it. I mean, if the truffle pie had called for a bunch of whipped egg whites, thereby leaving me stuck with a bunch of egg yolks, I would totally have gone for it, but that just wasn’t the case. Strawberries were plenty as an accompaniment. I’m not sure that “pie” is the right term for this dessert; even though it’s baked in a pie dish, it’s more like a cake to me. And despite what the original recipe said, serve this at room temperature, not chilled! 

While this was very good, I think that nobody truly loved it. Maybe next year I’ll make my poppy seed cake or my flourless chocolate cake, both of which are pareve as well. There are more dessert ideas here. Puddings are also typically a good choice for Passover, like this peanut butter pudding

For the truffle pie 
¼ cup almond meal (or very finely ground almonds) 
¼ cup matzo cake meal 
¼ tsp. salt 
1 lb. + 1 oz bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped 
6 Tbsp. (¾ stick) + 1 Tbsp. pareve stick margarine 
3 large eggs 
¾ cup sugar 
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract 
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest 
sliced almonds, lightly toasted 

For the strawberries 
¼ lb. strawberries, hulled, sliced 
2 Tbsp. sugar 
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest 

For the truffle pie 
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease a 9-inch glass pie dish with margarine (I think mine is 10 inches). 

Whisk first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Combine 1 pound chocolate and 6 tablespoons margarine in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20- to 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring often. Set aside to cool. (I did this in a double boiler.) 

Beat eggs in large bowl 1 minute. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat until thick and pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in orange peel, then chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low; beat in dry ingredients. Transfer batter to pie dish; place on rimmed baking sheet. 

Place baking sheet with pie in oven. Bake pie until cracked on top and tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes (mine was more like 37-40 minutes). Cool to room temperature (center will fall). 

Combine 1 ounce chopped chocolate and 1 tablespoon margarine in microwave- safe bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals until glaze is smooth, stirring often. 

Drizzle glaze over pie. Sprinkle with almonds. 

For the strawberries 
Toss berries, sugar, and orange peel in medium bowl to blend. Chill until ready to serve, up to 4 hours. 

Cut pie into wedges; place on plates. Serve with strawberries.



Friday, April 30, 2021

Batch of links

- How 1971 changed the way we eat forever – Bon Appétit really found a lot of things that started that year! 



- I enjoyed this newsletter about trusting your child to eat (and navigating food allergies within a family). 

- Waffles + Mochi is out! I really like this kids’ show produced by Michelle Obama, about where our food comes from. It’s a little advanced for the attention span of the Fox, but hopefully we can get back to it next year. 

- Someone made garum at home. Garum is basically the ancient Roman recipe for fish sauce, and it reminded me of this episode of Spilled Milk

- I found The Ghosts of Brooks Brothers both interesting and disheartening. It’s about how small service providers are left dealing with the consequences of large corporations filing for bankruptcy. 

- My last link is a personal recommendation: I bought a butterfly garden with live caterpillars from Insect Lore last month. We got a little cup containing five tiny caterpillars, along with a pop-up mesh “cage” and detailed (but simple) instructions. We watched the caterpillars grow over the course of a week and a half, then they turned into chrysalises. We waited patiently, and one morning, we had painted lady butterflies! We observed them for a few days, then released them outdoors. It was a really fun experience, and not just for the kids! The caterpillars ship to the continental U.S., and Insect Lore also has ladybug larvae.