Martha

Roulade Marquis — Gluten-Free!!!

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Here’s something that might be good to make for Memorial Day weekend. I think it’s a great choice for summer picnics and grilling get-togethers because it’s fun and it’s actually cool and refreshing. It helps that this cake is stuffed with whipped cream and raspberries.

What’s a little crack(ing) amongst friends?

I got this recipe from Martha, who got this from chef Michel Roux. The one change that I made is that I replaced the potato flour with coconut flour, mostly because I had the coconut flour. I also didn’t dust the pan with the all-purpose flour but used cocoa instead. Otherwise, everything is the same. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. butter, room temperature, for baking sheet
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa, for dusting
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 4 medium egg whites
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. coconut flour
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. raspberry coulis (see note at the end)
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; butter the parchment and dust with cocoa. Set aside.

Since I didn’t make this for myself, I couldn’t really cut into it, and take some pics of the pretty slices. But I did get a pic of the last little bit.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat yolks and scant 1 cup confectioners’ sugar in a bowl until ribbons form; set aside. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites until they reach soft peaks; add a scant 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.

3. Whisk in one-third of the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Fold in remaining yolk mixture using a metal spoon until it is almost fully incorporated. Sift the 1/2 c. cocoa and coconut flour into bowl. Gently fold with a metal spoon until just combined.

4. Using an offset spatula, spread batter on prepared baking sheet to form a 10 1/2-by-12-inch rectangle, about 5/8 inch thick. Transfer to oven and bake until cake springs back when touched, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, line a large wire rack with a clean dish towel. Turn cake out onto prepared rack and carefully peel off parchment paper. Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

6. Now in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat heavy cream with remaining 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar until ribbons form. Set aside.

This is what Martha’s looks like. Of course, it’s too pretty for words. I got this from her recipe posting on her website.

7. Carefully transfer cake to a large piece of wax paper. Using a pastry brush, brush 1/4 cup coulis over cake. Using a serrated knife, carefully trim edges from all four sides. With an offset spatula, spread whipped cream over cake, leaving a 5/8-inch border all around. Top with raspberries. Starting from one of the long sides, gently roll up cake, using the wax paper to help you. Transfer cake to refrigerator and let chill 2 to 3 hours.

8. Slice roulade crosswise and serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar and drizzled with coulis.

Notes — Whenever I make roulades / jelly rolls, sometimes (like in this case) I end up cracking them. Most of the time it doesn’t matter because you’ll be putting frosting or whipped cream or whatever on the outside. That can help cover up stuff that’s not ideal. This cracked as well, but you serve it up sliced covered with powdered sugar and raspberry sauce and it’s still fabulous. . . As for the a quick and simple Raspberry Coulis, take a cup of simple syrup, 3 cups of raspberries (I used frozen), and the juice of a lemon. Put everything in a blender and pulse until smooth. Run through a sieve to remove seeds. But you can also check what Martha had listed; there is a link to a coulis recipe on her roulade post.

Quick cocktail party appetizers #2 — Cheese and Endive

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This is round #2 of my cocktail party appetizers.  Now I don’t necessarily recommend making all of these at once, especially if it’s just you hosting because there is a lot of assembly involved with everything I made (check out my last post for the full listing).  Even if all the prep work is done, getting things to look right takes time.  But taking these in small steps and you should be alright.  Or you could be better at planning than me even though timing really was a non-issue since everyone was at least an hour late!

Anyhoo, the  quick recipes in this post revolve around goat cheese.  One is a double cheese Napoleon and the other is Endive with Herbed Goat Cheese.  What makes this easy is that the goat cheese filling is the same for both!  So I don’t know if this then actually qualifies for 2 recipes, but I’m going with it.

Endive with goat cheese.

This serving tray seemed like it was designed especially with this dish in mind.

The big step here is making the herbed goat cheese.  Which, again, is also a step for the napoleons, so essentially one step = 2 appetizers.  And it’s not even a big step — you just mix everything in a bowl.  This one I adapted from Martha (again!  but that’s a good thing!).  Here’s what you need:

  • 1 11-oz. pkg. goat cheese
  • 1/2 c. cream
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 T. chopped herbs (I used oregano and tarragon)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 heads endive, washed and separated into leaves

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together the cheese, cream, and oil until smooth.  You can use a food processor if you like or even a hand mixer, but I didn’t want to have to wash extra things afterwards.

2.  Gently mix in the herbs, salt, & pepper.  Place a teaspoon on the individual endive spears and serve.

Double Cheese Napoleons.

These definitely look pretty. Tasted pretty good, too!

The two cheeses here are parmesan and goat cheese.  You make tuiles of parmesan and have some herbed goat cheese in between the layers.  I am not really sure how I came up with this one, but i really wanted something with some height.  These look a little rough, but again, I felt pressed for time since I had several things to assemble.  No real specifics here; I just grated some parmesan and kept on making crisps until I ran out.  You can use any extra ones as croutons on salads or in soups.  Or just eat them as is.  Here’s what you need:

  • herbed goat cheese (see above)
  • grated parmesan

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Drop 1 t. grated parmesan onto Silpat lined baking sheets.  Slightly flatten the cheese and bake for about 5 minutes or until nice and golden.

3.  Allow to cool for about a minute and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

4.  Assemble napoleons starting with a parmesan crisp.  Place a small amount of the goat cheese, about 1/2 teaspoon.  Gently press another crisp on top and repeat until you have three layers of each.  You can put a garnish of herbs on top, but I just served them as they are.  If you want to be extra fancy, you can use a pastry bag with a star tip to place the goat cheese.

Quick cocktail party appetizers #1 — Tartlets and Bourbon

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So I’ve been a little preoccupied lately (and that’s why, but that’s because I’ve been busy planning a cocktail party).  But I’m back now and these are some of the things that I came up with.  I wasn’t sure what to serve even got some suggestions from other bloggers like The Breakfast Bachelor (I ran out of time to make his suggestion of Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries).  Since it was a cocktail party I wanted to do things that were easy to eat — finger foods, really.  Here’s what I had decided on serving (in addition to 2 big main course type things [pulled pork sandwiches and tater tot casserole] which I hope to discuss soon) — smoked salmon tartlets, leek and artichoke tartlets, double cheese napoleons, salami crisps, endive with herbed goat cheese, chocolate dream cake — black forest variation, Deviled Eggs, gougère, and Kale – radish – fennel salad.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures for everything, but I do for most things.

Alright so it wasn't a cocktail party -- it was a bourbon tasting. This is what we had. And I am aware that Rye is not Bourbon.

Here, I’ll focus on the tartlets.  These are easy and quick to make.  If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll already know how to make the shells (so visit me on Facebook).  But since that includes only 13 of you, I will go over it here.  This idea I adapted from Martha, but she used mini cupcake pans and cut the wrappers into small circles.  I don’t bother with cutting and I use a standard cupcake / muffin pan.

Such a quick step. These can last on the counter in an airtight container for about 2 weeks or in the freezer for 2 months or so.

Here’s what you need:

  • one package wonton wrappers (square or round), mine had 4 dozen in it
  • vegetable oil

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush both sides of the wrapper with oil and stuff it into the cups of a muffin tin.

2.  Bake for between 8 – 10 minutes until golden.  If you use a darker pan, it will darken faster.  Allow to cool on a rack before filling.

Artichoke and Leek Tartlets.

For the artichoke and leek tartlets:

This is a quick and easy version of an artichoke and leek lasagna that I make.  Here’s what you need:

  • 4 leeks
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts; chopped, drained, and rinsed
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 – 3 T. olive oil

1.  Cut leeks in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/4 in slices.  Soak those in water to make sure that you clean out any sediment and then spin it dry.

2.  Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the dried leeks.  Stir to coat; add salt and pepper.

3.  Cover and cook for five minutes on medium heat.  Uncover and raise the heat to medium high and sauté for about 10 minutes or until tender.  Add the artichokes off the heat and allow mixture to cool.

4.  Spoon into prepared wonton cups.

Smoked Salmon Tartlets. I probably could've sliced to pickle thinner but they still tasted good.

For the smoked salmon tartlets:

No real recipe here.  I just made a batch of my smoked fish spread #1, but omitted the capers.  Instead I put slivers of pickle on top.  It would have been better if I used cornichons, but I don’t normally have those in my fridge.  Besides, those are just small pickles anyway.

The tartlets went quick. Good thing I had lots of extra shells.

Pisco what now?

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It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m sick again.  So I’m here on the sofa drinking tea and watching Martha Stewart.  And for whatever reason I start thinking to myself, “Waterlily, we certainly have a lot of Pisco.”  Now what else can you do with Pisco that isn’t a Pisco Sour?  If you don’t know, Pisco is essentially a brandy made from grapes that is particular to Chile and Peru.  Kinda like champagne, there is debate about what can be called pisco, depending on the origin of the grapes.  According to Chilean law, for a spirit to be called pisco, it must be made from muscat grapes from particular regions of Chile (regions 3 and 4 to be exact).  Anything else will not be recognized as pisco.  Of course, don’t tell that to any Peruvians since there is an actual town called Pisco, which is the origin of the brandy.

After a trip through the kitchen, I came up with some rhubarb syrup, pisco, cognac, rum, and lime juice.  What I can up with is kinda like a Sidecar.  And since it’s Valentine’s Day, I christen this drink the Rhisco Kiss.  Here’s what you need:

  • 2 oz. Pisco
  • 2 oz. Rhubarb syrup
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. rum
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • ice

Line the rim of a martini glass with some sugar.  Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker to combine.  Strain into the glass and drink up!

Rhubarb syrup
I just like to colors of the drink and the rhubarb syrup

Notes — I get a lot of my booze know-how from drinking experience and from the program Three Sheets.  It aired on the Mojo network a few years ago, and after that network went belly up, it made the rounds on several other channels.  I lost track of it after that, but what I liked about the show was that you got a chance to actually learn about different cultures, traditions, and the booze that they drink.  I’ve seen a couple of newer versions of the program, but they focus more on drinking than on culture.  I haven’t been as enamored about those shows as I am with Three Sheets.  If you get a chance check them out.  It’s on Hulu and YouTube and the like.  I’ll post a video of the Chilean show on my Facebook page, so go visit me there and like my page.  I’m up to five likes now!

Rhisco Kiss

Martha’s Eggnog

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It's got bourbon, cognac, and rum! Nothing wrong with that!

This is one of several “holiday menu” installments, so brace yourselves!  Alright, so let’s start the holidays off right with some eggnog.  The recipe that I’ve been using for the past couple of years has been adapted from Martha Stewart.  Now I was looking on her website a couple of weeks ago and I really couldn’t find the right recipe.  I found one for her “Classic Eggnog” but the amount of booze seemed a lot lower than I remember; even if you made a double batch it still didn’t sound right.  Luckily I found one on Food.com which was a lot closer to what I remember.  Of course, I changed it a little — I changed it from 1/2 c. rum to a full cup because why would you just put 1/2 c. of rum into anything?

In addition to a nice large serving bowl, here’s what you need:

  • 12 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 c. superfine sugar
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 1/2 quarts heavy cream
  • 3 c. bourbon
  • 2 c. cognac
  • 1 c. dark rum
  • freshly grated nutmeg
If you drink too much, then chaos ensues!

1.  In a very large bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and pale yellow.  Gradually add sugar to the yolks, whisking to combine.  Gradually whisk in the milk and 1 qt. of the cream.  Now add your bourbon, rum, and cognac, stirring constantly.  You can make this base of the eggnog a day or so in advance.

2.  In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff (you can add a little bit of sugar if you like).  Gently fold that into the mixture.

3.  Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks and dollop or fold into the mixture.  Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve!

Notes  — There is a caution at the bottom of the recipes that I found stating that “raw eggs should not be used in food prepared for pregnant women, babies, young children, the elderly, or anyone whose health is compromised.”  It’s probably a not to let pregnant women, babies, or young children to drink something this boozy!. . . supposedly this serves 24.

Peach Drop Cookies

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So just to continue with the peach theme, I found a recipe for some drop cookies on Martha’s website.  I did make some minor changes to it because I ran out of vanilla.  Of course, it’s not an equal substitution since I used 1 T. of rum instead of 1/2 t. of vanilla (I can get a little enthusiastic when it involves rum and bourbon).  Also, I didn’t peel any of the peaches.  I like the contrasting color that the skin provides.  Here’s what you need:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, plus 2 T.
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T. rum
  • 2 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/3 c. peach jam or preserves
  • 2 T. fine sanding sugar
  • 1/8 t. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.  Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.

2.  Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Reduce speed to low.  Beat in egg and rum.  Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined.  Add peaches and jam, and beat until just combined.

3.  Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing about 2 inches apart.  (If not baking all of the cookies at once, refrigerate dough between batches; dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)  Combine sanding sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle each cookie with 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar mixture.

4.  Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 13 to 15 minutes.  Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Notes — The fresh fruit does add a lot of moisture to the batter and the cookies, so they will get softer after time.  These are best on the day that they are baked.  That way you’ll still get the softness of the cookie with the crunchiness of the crust.  But they will still taste great otherwise. . . Like I said before Martha’s recipe uses vanilla instead of rum, but I was out of vanilla.  And I was surprised about how much I really liked the flavor of the rum in the cookie.  I will have to see what else I can cram some rum into. . . I did forget the cinnamon in the topping, but I was happy with the end product because the rum flavor really stood out :)

Labor Day with the family

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Batten down the hatches!!!  My parents and my brother are driving up from Florida to visit me for Labor Day.  Plus I got some other cousins and aunts and uncles coming in from about an hour away.  Lord help!  It’s not that I don’t want them to visit — it’s the planning that can be tricky.  And figuring out a menu isn’t going to be easy.  Maybe I can talk my cousin into bringing something to help with the menu.  What would be nice is having a whole roast pig, but since that ain’t gonna happen I’m going to have to improvise.  And too bad my grill just busted.  Good thing there’s still the trusty Smokey Joe. . . and as a side note, here’s what the Department of Labor says about Labor Day.

Luckily, another aunt and uncle (also from Florida) came in for a visit a few weeks ago so the meal they had here was essentially a trial run.  But since there’s gonna be more people, I’m going to need to expand a bit.  I do want to make some stuff focused on local goods and made in Michigan things, but I also want to make some things that I know they’ll like.  I did find some Labor Day ideas at Grilling.com, Martha, and Yum Sugar.  So here’s what I might end up doing (which I hope to post on these new ones soon):

Roast pork shoulder

Sautéed green beans with mushrooms

Ratatouille

Grilled corn

Fresh Lumpia

Bibingka

Zucchini Ribbons with Garlic Confit

Empanadas

Steamed Mussels with Glass noodle

Koegel’s viennas

Something with Rhubarb (probably a Raspberry and Rhubarb tart)

San Miguel

Oberon

_______________

Of course all this planning might just go out the window, so I’m going to wait until the last minute to do any shopping.  There’ll probably be a trip to Windsor in the making.  Or maybe a quick jaunt to Toronto (if I’m lucky)!

Chocolate Truffles Cake

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This is inspired from one of Martha’s wedding cakes.  I’m not sure what her recipe is, but I just love the concept of it — it’s a cake encased in truffles!  That has got to be good!  Now this is for that birthday party that I was talking about a while ago; it went with the raspberry cupcakes.  And since I made extra raspberry buttercream for the cupcakes, I used that to fill the cake.  So because it was for a party, I couldn’t cut it open to take a picture of a cross-section.  You could just use more ganache for a filling, or whatever buttercream you like.  Maybe a nice orange curd would be good.  Might be a good Halloween cake with the colors.

Like I mentioned before, this party was supposed to be pink and purple.  So I rolled some of the truffles in some purple dragées to keep in the theme.  This made 2 tall 6″ cakes.  I split the cakes in half so there’s four layers to it.  They did rise in the middle, but they settled after cooling.  Be aware that this is one of my more involved cakes.  Not that it’s difficult; it just has a lot of steps.  Here’s what you need:

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. Dutch process cocoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. warm water

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray two 6 inch cake pans with cooking spray.  Line with parchment rounds; spray the rounds as well.  Sift together the dry ingredients twice (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).  Set aside.  Sift the cocoa powder into a small bowl and set aside.

2.  In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter for about 1 – 2 minutes.  Gradually adding the sugar, mix for about 3 – 5 minutes until fluffy.  Add the cocoa powder and mix for another minute.

3.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition (scrape down the sides, too!).  Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

4.  On low, gradually add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of the water.  Scrape the sides and mix evenly.

5.  Pour half the mixture into each pan.  Bake for about 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pans for about 15 minutes before turning them out onto cooling racks.

For the ganache frosting:

  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2 c. confectioners sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla

1.  Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a double boiler.  You could just put it in the microwave for 20 seconds at a time since tempering the chocolate is not as important.  After completely melted, set aside.

2.  In another bowl, beat the butter until creamy for about a minute or so.  Gradually add in the sugar, mixing well to combine.  Beat in the vanilla and the melted chocolate.  Mix until smooth and well combined.  Set aside.

For the truffles:

  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 lb. dark chocolate, chopped
  • cocoa powder
  • dutch process cocoa powder
  • purple dragée

1.  Place chocolate in medium-sized heat-proof bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil.  Once the cream starts to boil, pour the cream over the chocolate.  Let sit for about 5-7 minutes and stir to combine.  Cool in the refrigerator for around 30 minutes, until set.

2.  Using a small ice cream scoop, form balls around 1 1/2 in. wide.  Roll the truffles in either of the cocoa powders or the dragée.  Place in the refrigerator to harden for about 10 minutes.  Cut each truffle in half, and place back in the refrigerator until needed.

Assemble the cake:

1.  After cooling, cut out a small notch or sliver out of the sides of the cakes to act as a marker.  That way you can match up the marks when assembling the cake.  Split the cakes in half lengthwise so that you will have four even layers.

2.  Place a small dab of frosting on top of a cake round (or a serving dish) and place the bottom layer of one of the cakes.  Line the edges of the round with strips of parchment that are tucked underneath the edges of the cake.

3.  Spread about 1/2 c. of the frosting on the bottom layer and smooth out almost to the edge.  Top with the top layer of that cake, lining up the notches on the side.  Smooth out another 1/2 c. of the frosting on top.  Repeat with the other two layers.

4.  Frost the sides of the cake starting with the top and bringing the frosting down to smooth out the sides.  Smooth out the top.

5.  With a small palette knife or the back of a small spoon, place a dab of frosting on the back of a truffle half and attach it to the cake.  Repeat until the sides of the cake are covered in truffles.  You could try to make a fancy pattern here, but I just stuck with columns of the different truffles in random order.

Notes — As I mentioned earlier, the filling for the cake that I made was a raspberry buttercream, so if you just use the ganache frosting, you’ll probably need a double batch, depending on how much you use in between the layers. . . you could just make things easier on your self and use store-bought truffles, or maybe some Baci chocolates. . . I did (begrudgingly) eventually put some purple sugar flowers on top of the cake since those were part of the party theme.  I prefer to just have a smooth top of the cake. . . although I prefer the more irregular shapes of truffles, you could make perfectly round truffles for this.  That might be appropriate for a more formal event.  But they are called truffles because, after you roll them around in the cocoa, they look like those things that you pull out of the ground!

Fresh Raspberry Cupcakes

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So I had to make some cupcakes for a birthday party and I thought to myself, “Waterlily, what’s fresh today?”  I don’t refer to myself as “Waterlily” like Blanche Devereaux; I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.  Raspberries was the answer!  Seemed like a nice safe thing to do since my “weirder” concoctions don’t always go over so well (but I still love my Lavender Cupcakes with a Honey Buttercream which really isn’t too weird. . . not like some of my other ones).  Plus the colors of the party are supposed to be pink and purple (at least, that’s what I was told but wasn’t exactly true) and raspberries fit the bill nicely!

I do have a confession though — the raspberries weren’t quite freshalicious.  They were bought the week before I needed them (at the local farmers market) and I wasn’t quite sure that they would make it.  So I froze them!  Which was fine since they were being baked in the oven anyway.  They would have been freshalicious if I had a chance to go to the mid-week farmers market.  The ones on top were very fresh, of course.

The inspiration for this is from Martha of course and her strawberry cupcakes.  It seems if you ever need some gold standard for something, it never hurts to turn to Martha.  I did change some stuff around though.

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen.  Here’s what you need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. cornstarch
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. raspberries, coarsely chopped

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Line cupcake / muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

2.  In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy and gradually add your sugar.  Mix well for about 5 minutes.  Now add your eggs one at a time, mixing to combine after each addition.  Then, mix in the vanilla.

3.  Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.  Now add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with 1/2 of the milk.  Mix until just combined.  With a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the raspberries.

4.  Fill cups about 2/3 full with the batter.  Bake for about 20 minutes until nicely golden.  Cool on racks.

For the buttercream:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 t. cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 sticks of butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 1 c. raspberry preserves

1.  Over a water bath, mix the egg whites and sugar until warm (about 140 degrees F) and the sugar has dissolved.

2.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a mixer and whip on high until it reaches soft peaks.  Add the cream of tartar and salt and mix on high for about 5 minutes until you get stiff peaks and the meringue has a nice sheen.

3.  Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the butter one piece at a time, making sure to combine well.  The buttercream will probably lose a little bit of its volume.

4.  With the mixer on low, add your preserves and whisk to combine.

Notes — I had put in some fresh raspberries into the buttercream at first, but it did cause some problems.  They separated too easily and may have had something to do with the buttercream breaking a little bit.  But with a little extra whisking, everything came together.  Thankfully I don’t have to whisk everything by hand anymore (which I still highly recommend to any aspiring baker). . . It’s best to use the buttercream immediately but it can be refrigerated.  Just let it come to room temp before you use it.

Gougere (aka Cheezy Poofs)

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Happy Bastille Day!  So to celebrate I thought I’d make some Gougere.  That’s just French for “cheese puffs”.  Well, probably not, but that’s what they are.  But I was thinking one day about making certain sweet items more savory.  Cream puffs came to mind, so I was thinking about what would be a way to make them less sweet.  And — Bam! — cheese would work.

After doing some digging, it turns out I’m not all that much of  an innovator.  Looks like the French did this like millions of years ago.  Maybe I should read more French cookbooks.  This recipe basically follows your simple pate-a-choux recipe which is essentially a 1-1-1-4 combination.  That is 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of flour, and 4 eggs.  Plus any salt, pepper, and sugar you might add.  This makes about 40, depending on how big you make them.

Anyhoo, here’s what you need:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. grated Gruyère
  • 1/2 c. grated cheddar
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 T. fresh herbs
  • 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Make an egg wash by mixing together one egg and 1 T. heavy cream; set aside.  Bring 1 c. water, the salt, sugar, and butter to a boil in a saucepan.  Cook until butter is melted.  Add in the flour all at once and stir to combine.

2.  Cook the flour combination for about 5 minutes, until there is a film covering the bottom of the pan.  Transfer to a bowl.

3.  Add the cheeses to the mixture and mix well.  One at a time, add 4 eggs, mixing after each addition.  Now add the herbs and black pepper and incorporate.

4.  Using a piping bag, pipe out 1 – 2 inch rounds onto a lined baking sheet.  If needed, dip your finger into a bowl of water and smooth out the tops.  Brush the puffs with the egg wash and top with a little cheese if you have any leftover.

5.  Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until golden and puffed.  Serve immediately.

Notes — A couple of things:  (1) Now I was watching a clip on-line from Martha and they said that you could bake these and freeze them.  I certainly hope that’s the case since I will have a lot leftover.  I have frozen some pies before with no problems so I’m guessing it should work out fine.  (2) Also, you can just drop the puffs if you don’t want to pipe them out.  Just smooth out the tops to get a nice uniform shape.  (3) You can substitute a variety of cheeses, but I’d figure you want some kind of good melting cheese at least.  I wonder what using a Stilton would be like.