Monday, April 2, 2012

TWD: Baking with Julia- Pizza Rustica with Italian Sausage

We are heading over to Italy today with a delicious savory pie recipe called Pizza Rustica.   Very similar to a quiche, this deep dish pizza pie has a crumbly sweet pastry crust and a savory filling and definitely challenges what you may think of when you hear the word "pizza". The filling can be made with all sorts of cold cuts-prosciutto, salami, capicola and mozzarella, fresh Italian sausage or- gasp!-just veggies and is combined with pecorino romano and mozzeralla cheeses.  Pizza Rustica is traditionally prepared during carnevale (Mardi Gras) in February or served in wedges as an antipasto before Easter dinner.  But it also can be an everyday dish served year-round. This recipe is a wonderful blank canvas for many flavor combinations, my husband already requested I incorporate tomatoes in the pie, so I am thinking sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olive combination with fresh rosemary and thyme might be a winner. 
The dough was very easy to handle, it's soft and buttery and doesn't shrink back when you roll it out. And have no fear if a tear does occur, the dough's very easy to patch up.  Next time around I would decrease the sugar in the dough- 1/3 cup is alot!  Other recipes I researched called for about 2 or 3 tablespoons which sounds like the perfect amount. Check out the recipe on my fellow TWD baker Emily's website
For this holiday weekend, Pizza Rustica is a fabulous way to start off your Easter celebrations.  Felice Pasqua!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD: Baking with Julia- Irish Soda Bread

Dried cherries and cranberries, toasted walnuts, dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar- this isn't your ordinary Irish Soda Bread, ladies and gents. Very simple to make- four basic ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk, and then choose your add-ins, mix, knead and bake a little and ta-da! Beautiful hearty bread in under a hour. For the recipe check out Carla @ Chocolate Moosey.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fourth Time's the Charm!

Practice practice practice!  Yes that's the key to any I have been told.  Well gosh darn it turned out to be true with the White Loaves recipe.  Check out these babies.

The trick to that beautiful crust was an invaluable suggestion from my wise mother in law- a serious coating of egg wash and now they glow!
Someone else was excited too about the new loaves...

TWD: Baking with Julia- Rugelach Cookies

Rugelach cookies just happen to be some of my all time favorite- top ten- can't live out cookies, so I was more than thrilled to learn this recipe was next for the first week of March.  Feeling a little adventurous, I decided to make three different variations of the cookie along with the original - one with orange marmalade and mini chocolate chips, one with raspberry jam, salted pistachios, and dries cherries and the last one with semisweet chocolate, shredded coconut and toasted almonds.   The original version was made with the apricot lekvar (an apricot almond butter), toasted walnuts, and raisins.  They all turned out wonderful with the buttery cream cheese dough, sprinklings of cinnamon and brown sugar and delectable fillings. If you have any other flavor combination ideas for rugelach, please share! You can find the recipe on Jessica's My Baking Heart.  I love her photo of the three cookies on the plate with the rest of them on the cooling rack in the background- great shot!

The Original Version with Apricot, Walnuts and Raisins
Three Scrumptious Variations

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Powdered Sugar Makes Everything Prettier

Even my brown blog of a chocolate tart! Ok, so the chocolate tart has grown on me after rave reviews from friends and co-workers.  Plus I prettied it up with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar and now she is presentable.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TWD: Baking with Julia- Chocolate Truffle Tart

Not sure what to quite make of this recipe yet- it's definitely not a looker- reminds me of a big brown blob.  I have yet to taste it but I think there is still hope it will turn out delicious.  Nuts or chopped toffee bits would also be fabulous additions.  This filling has white chocolate and almond biscotti in it, so I suspect it will be a crunchy yet creamy experience. You can find the recipe on page 382 in Baking with Julia.  Going to take it to work tomorrow if all goes well after the first bite- fingers and toes are crossed!

Update - Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia- White Loaves

Well after checking out all the fabulous white loaves photos on other blogs, I came to the realization that my loaves were pretty funky with all the wholes.  Upon further investigation and a second disasterous attempt,  the problem revealed it's ugly self- I was proofing the loaves in a too warm oven- the horror!   A third attempt and using all self restaint to turn on the oven, I produced two beautiful white loaves with just proofing with the oven light on and-bonus- just in time for my wonderful mother in law's visit!   This time I used all purpose flour and braided one loaf which is very easy to do.  After the first rise, divide the dough into three sections and roll each other out to about 10-12 inches long.  Pinch the three sections together at the top and proceed to braid and pinch the bottom and tuck under.  Place in pan and proceed with the second proof.  Now to resist eating all the second loaf by myself...