Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TWD -- Brioche pockets to die for

Baked pockets ready to eat
I have a confession to make. I didn't use the brioche recipe in Baking with Julia. It looked like a heap of dough, so I debated cutting the recipe in half or consulting "Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads." If you are a break-baking enthusiast, this book is a bible and one that should be on your shelf. Clayton has a food processor brioche recipe that makes about half as much brioche as the Baking with Julia formula and is easy as pie to make.

1/4 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
1 1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, melted. 
Proof the yeast in the water. Put everything in the food processor with the steel blade except the eggs and butter. Pulse a couple of times to aerate. Drop in first the eggs and process about 5 seconds. Then pour the melted butter through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process 20 seconds. The dough is sticky, like batter, but that's OK. Scape dough in a buttered bowl and let rise about 3 hours. Then refrigerate.

From here on out, I followed the Baking with Julia recipe. I found the dough easy to work with and used a hamburger press to cut my rounds.

Brioche before seeding and baking

I stretched the top rounds a bit before placing them over the filling. The edges were easy to turn over and crimp. I did use the full filling recipe and if I had not, the pockets would have been scantily filled.

My version made eight pockets -- perfect for a back yard drinks party. Everyone loved the combination of the brioche dough, the caramelized onions, the potatoes, goat cheese and asparagus. I will definitely make this recipe again!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TWD -- Delicious but ungainly

The rhubarb upside down cake assignment for Tuesdays with Dorie couldn't have come at a better time for this Ohioan. Our rhubarb patch is at its peak, so there was no problem getting enough of the stuff for the upside down cake.

I debated whether to make this recipe using the baby cake pans, which my daughter kindly gave me for Christmas. However, I had four pans and the recipe called for eight cakes. The other option was to use the 12-inch skillet, which I happen to have and rarely use.

The recipe went together without a hitch. But getting the cake turned upside down using a 12-inch skillet was a feat that could only be accomplished with an assistant. Luckily, my husband was handy, and he helped me turn the ungainly pan upside down. However, with all our careful planning, the cake missed the mark by a couple of inches and some of the dessert was hanging over the edge of the plate and dangerously close to breaking off. By jerry-rigging a device using a spatula and two dough scrapers, I was able to prop up the cake until it cooled and I could gingerly shove it over until it rested securely on the cake plate. This took several attempts before I could manipulate the ungainly cake into a secure position.

The finished product after jerry-rigging and much manipulation
I will take this treat to the bakery where I volunteer and we'll serve it during our coffee break tomorrow. I must confess I snitched a wee bit of the cake and topping and it was delicious, perhaps the best yellow cake I have ever made. This will now be my go-to recipe for yellow cake, but when doing the upside down cake again, I would cut the recipe down by one-third and use a nine-inch skillet which would make it much, much easier to turn. Most of my recipes for pineapple upside down cake call for a nine or 10-inch skillet.