Search
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
    by Barbara Kinsolver and others
  • Ad Hoc at Home
    Ad Hoc at Home
    by Thomas Keller
Tuesday
Apr062010

Because there is not enough butter and sugar in our lives..........

Kouign Amann

This classic Breton pastry is made in a fashion similar to puff pastry. Salted butter , sugar, flour yeast and water are used to produce this layered, puffed and sugar crusted delight. Though it is a bit time consuming, most of the time is spent waiting for the dough to rise, rest and chill. Total time spent with the dough itself is well under 30 minutes. 

The smell of the baking was sweetly distracting. The baking time - 45-55 minutes was much too long for us. Our stomachs grumbled as we watched the minutes tick by. Oh my.....it was worth the wait. 

Fully risen, the beautiful dough is a bit on the sticky side, requiring careful handling. 

The sugar and chilled butter are placed in the middle third of the dough. 

Here's the dough, folded in thirds twice and ready to be refrigerated for another 60 minutes.....sigh.....

Ready to bake. Only an hour to wait now!

The deceptively simple ingredients produce a delightful result. We ate it hot with coffee. Then we had "just a little more." Then we ate it cold. (just as good) Now I am putting the rest on a plate and taking it to our neighbors before we eat the rest of it. Experiments with French food are definitely a good thing.

Kouign Amann 

Recipe from David Lebowitz:  http://tinyurl.com/5aokql

Ingredients:

1 TBL dried yeast (he specifies "not instant", but I used SAF instant yeast)

3/4 cup room temp water

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup sugar (which will be divided) You will need additional sugar to roll out the dough

1 stick salted butter - cut into slices and well chilled. Use the very best butter you can find. 

2 TBL additional butter melted. 

Procedure:

1. Dissolve the yeast in water with a pinch of sugar. Stir and let stand 10 minutes or until foamy. 

2. Stir in the flour and salt. 

3. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will be sticky. Add no more flour than you absolutely need. 

4. Brush a bowl with butter. Put dough in bowl; cover & let rest in a warm place for an hour. 

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12" by 18" with shorter sides at your left and right. Using a metal bench scraper will make this process easier!  Be patient........

6. Distribute the chilled butter pats in the center of the dough & sprinkle over 1/4 cup of the sugar. (Another way to do this is to whip the butter and 1/4 cup of sugar together, spread into a rectangle on parchment or film wrap approximately 12" x 6" & then chill it prior to using)

7. Fold the dough into thirds (see photos above. )

8. Fold dough in thirds again. Now you have a lumpy little package of dough that needs to be covered and chilled for another hour. 

9. Remove from refrigerator & remove plastic wrap. 

10.Sprinkle another 1/4 cup sugar over the top of the dough. 

11. Roll into a rectangle as before on a sugared surface. 

12. Fold into thirds, cover and refrigerate for the last time for 30-60 minutes

13. While the dough is chilling, heat your oven to 425 degrees & prepare a pie plate or non stick skillet (with a heat proof handle!) with a tablespoon of melted butter. 

14. Remove chilled dough from refrigerator & roll into a round the approximate size of your pan. 

15. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar & drizzle with 1 TBL melted butter. 

16. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until dark golden brown & crisp. 

Cool on a rack, slice and eat. Share with friends. Share with strangers and make more friends.......

 

 

 

Friday
Mar262010

Evening Sky

Thursday
Mar252010

Sunny Faces

 

 

 


Thursday
Mar252010

Masala Chai

I became curious about spiced Indian teas when I first began experimenting with Indian cooking. This was years before the evolution of Oregon Chai which was mass marketed to the public beginning in the 1990s. I had never heard of Masala Chai and was intrigued with it’s complexity. 

 My first experiment with this concotion came from a recipe in one of Madhur Jaffrey’s first cookbooks in the mid 1980s. This paperback book, simply titled “Indian Cooking” was printed in 1982 to accompany the BBC series “Indian Cookery.”  Her tea recipe for Masala Chai is simple, including cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, milk, sugar & black tea. I substituted honey for the sugar & served it to my family as an after dinner treat on chilly nights one misty winter in Carmel.  

The weather warmed, spring brought flowers and warm weather & our tea drinking turned to various iced teas. The slightly sweet Masala Chai was forgotten for a time.  

When we moved to Portland, Oregon , the land of a zillion coffee houses, we found Chai tea everywhere. Most often it was the Oregon  Chai concentrate, a creation of native Oregonian, Heather Howitt. In 2000 this product had sales of about $30 million a year!  Wow....why didn’t I think of that?  Heather’s blend includes vanilla, cinnamon, tea and honey. It is a less spicy & much sweeter than the Indian tea I remember, tailoring it perfectly to the American palate.  

My taste in Masla Chai runs more to the spicy and less sweet. Though I have never found a commercial blend that is quite what I like, I have found many recipes and have created one blend that my family and I love. 

 


Find lots of  recipes and more Masala Chai information here:

 

http://www.chai-tea.org/recipes.html

 

Masla Chai a la Wikapedia:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chai

 

 


 

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

sliver of fresh gingerroot

6 Black peppercorns

1” piece of cinnamon stick

8 whole cardamom pods

8 whole cloves

1-2 tsp honey or agave syrup

1 TBL black tea

1/2 cup milk

Optional: Add a tiny bit of orange zest added at the last minute.

 

Place the water in a sauce pan & add all spices. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add milk and bring back to a simmer. Sprinkle with the black tea and allow to steep for 2-5 minutes. Strain into two warmed tea cups & sweeten with honey or agave syrup. 

 

The strained mixture may be chilled and served over ice too!

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Mar042010

Happy Birthday March Sunflowers for Nora

Little volunteer sprouts appeared in our yard in the fall & it was pretty clear that they weren't weeds. As Steve watered our garden, walking from place to place, these little plants came up. In January it became clear that they were sunflowers & what a shock that was!  Just this week they have begun to open. Clearly a birthday gift for my sister Nora.

Little sunflowers and blossoming sage. 

Happy Birthday Norie!  

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 7 Next 5 Entries ยป