Kitchen Therapy


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Maple – Star Anise Cookies

This week’s choice for Tuesday’s with Dorie was my favourite cookie so far!
The recipe from Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan was a little fiddly. I bought my own spice grinder for the Star Anise. (I also managed to lift the lid off the grinder while it was grinding and Star Anise flew everywhere!)
I’m not a fan of liquorice, however mixed with the cinnamon (which I love), ginger, maple syrup and orange rind, the cookies were delicious. Especially straight out of the oven. I had to stop eating them!

I made the cream cheese frosting the next day and I think I might have eaten a bit much of it straight out of the bowl, my tongue became very tingly!

I don’t have a cookie scoop, that’s next on my list of things to buy! So I experimented and made different sized cookies for the first batch and what I thought was small size turned into Cookie Monster sized cookies! These really do spread. I do like their soft, almost cake like texture though, and the larger cookies were great on their own!

The star anise flavour blended wonderfully with the rest of the spices to make one of the best cookies in the book in my opinion!
Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group made!


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Kirsch Babas with Pineapple

I had “TRIFLE!” in my head going in to this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe by David Lebovitz.
I don’t know why… I know what Rum Babas are and I love them.
I think the pineapple, along with being sick for weeks now, made me long for all things summery, fruity and tropical!
So I tried to pretend my glass a mini trifle bowl and I layered the recipe. The sautéed pineapple at the bottom, a dollop of cream, the kirsch baba and then spooned extra juice over the entire thing.
I made a few glasses and placed them in the refrigerator, ready to eat after dinner. No plating required, it was all there in there ready to go!
There was a good hit of alcohol in this dessert!
The layers mixed in my cup and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Everyone loved it!

Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Cook the Book Fridays group thought of these Kirsch Babas!


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Hazelnut, Ginger and Olive Oil Cake

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It is winter here in Sydney, Australia.
And even though the days are sunny and mild, you can see the people sniffling, coughing and blowing noses when you’re out and about.
The past couple of weeks we have all had sore throats, blocked noses, nausea and even some vomiting. I made last week’s Dorie’s Cookies recipe however I only had the energy for a quick photo on Instagram. It made me feel like I still participated in some way 🙂
My daughter is in her last semester and uni and my son is locked down studying for his trial HSC exams before the real deal begins in October! Once the HSC exams are finished (November 9th) his high school days will be over! However until then it’s a crazy time for him trying to stay away from the sick people in the house while preparing for the celebrations of finishing high school (which still need to be organised even though none of the boys can think beyond the exams!)
So I guess it’s just a lot of hunkering down in our house.
Which made this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe ideal for us!
It’s basic, it’s tasty and it comforting. And most importantly we can all eat hazelnuts 🙂
Even the pickiest eater in the house (my 18yr old son) tried it and said it’s unusual but good!
Looking forward to seeing what everyone though of this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipes!


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Fruit Tart

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I really enjoyed making this week’s recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking Chez Moi.
I love pastry cream. It is one of my favourite things in the world to eat.
I made this part of the recipe first, a vanilla flavoured pastry cream.
Next I made the crust which turned out wonderfully delicate and flaky. I’m getting to know my new ovens and following directions, I removed the base at 25 minutes to take the weights off the pastry and found the base darker than I had hoped. Luckily there was no burnt taste. Other than that, I had fun making and decorating this tart.
Everyone loved it. What is there not to love?!

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To see the what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this week’s recipes you can click here.


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Cast Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies is for Cast Iron Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.
These are caramelised and crispy around the edges, soft and chewy in the centre.
The dried apricots soaked in hot water and the shredded moist coconut in the recipe add sweetness and depth of flavour.
It tastes like a wonderful chocolate chip cookie yet has the texture of a moist, chewy, muesli bar.
I found this playful and delicious.
The whole family loved this week’s recipe!
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It is the first day of school holidays for us here so I don’t expect these will last long in our house!
To see the rest of the group’s thoughts on this week’s recipes click here!

 


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Neopolitan Baked Alaska

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I love Baked Alaska, in fact I love anything with meringue on top 🙂

So… when I saw that the recipe for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie was a Black and White Baked Alaska, I was excited!
And a little hesitant.
There’s a flourless chocolate cake base that Dorie describes as “a fallen souffle, with a brownie like texture.”
Then there’s a layer of ice cream, Dorie recommends buying your favourite flavour, which did take some pressure off. However I was more concerned about the assembly and baking of the ice cream and how it would hold it’s shape under the meringue cloud…
I chose a white chocolate and raspberry ice cream which I let soften, then mashed and spooned onto the chocolate base.
I placed my double layer cake in the freezer for two hours and it held well!
The meringue was definitely my favourite part of the recipe, I could happily just sit and eat it, on its own, with a spoon… by myself… 🙂
I placed the Baked Alaska in the oven and then sliced it, however I had to be quick, the ice cream did start to melt…
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My baked Black and White Baked Alaska looked more like a Neopolitan Baked Alaska!
The family was definitely impressed.
It looked great.
I thought there was too much chocolate brownie base and wished I had more meringue. Towards the end of my slice of cake, I was looking for more ice cream as well (even though I used twice the amount of ice cream stated in the recipe).
Even the chocolate lovers in the family thought the chocolate base was a little overpowering!
If I make this again, I was thinking of making half the chocolate base, so it’s thinner. Using a  vanilla ice cream and adding a layer of sour Morello Cherries to break through the sweetness… A Black Forest Baked Alaska!
To see how this recipe turned out for the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group, click here!

 


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Crack Pie

fullsizeoutput_112e.jpegThis is what I love about cooking.
You can bring the world home.
I don’t have plans to visit New York any time soon, so to be able to open a cookbook and recreate an iconic recipe, from a chef I admire so much, is such a wonderful thing.
I have wanted to make Crack Pie for a long time now and watching Chef’s Table: Pastry gave me the push I needed.
I found freeze dried sweetcorn powder online from the Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot and as soon as it arrived on my door step I was ready!

The recipe, other than sourcing that one ingredient, has a few steps. However, every step is simple and the entire thing can be made over a few days (I really liked that Tosi gave instructions on how to store each step as well).

I wasn’t sure if I would like this. When there are rave reviews and hype, I think expectations rise and then I never know if I genuinely don’t like the thing in question or if I have built it up to such huge proportions in my mind that nothing could ever live up to what it has now become! So going into this I was cautious to not get too excited.

I also wondered what on earth I was going to do with TWO pies!

The family were confused about what was in the pie. I think in their minds they were thinking apple pie has apples, meat pie has meat… crack pie has…crack???

They were not keen to try it. I had to force them. It took one bite for them to finish off the entire pie in a few hours. So now we all understand why Crack Pie is called Crack Pie 🙂

And I am glad there was a second pie in the freezer to eat at a more leisurely pace, once we calmed down from the frenzy that surrounded our first experience with this pie.
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How lucky am I to be able to experience a treat from the other side of the world in my own kitchen.

Crack Pie by Christina Tosi from the Milk Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook
This recipe makes 2 pies (which you think you don’t need but in hindsight you realise was genius!). The recipe can be found easily on the internet so I’ve added it here with slightly modified wording.
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1 recipe Oat Cookie (recipe follows)

15g or 1 Tablespoon tightly packed light brown sugar
1g or 1/4 teaspoon salt

55g butter, melted

1 recipe Crack Pie Filling (recipe follows)

Icing sugar for dusting

1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand.
3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the butter and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball.
4. Divide the oat crust evenly between two 25cm pie tins. Using your fingers and palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are even covered. Use the pie shells immediately or wrap well in cling film and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
5. Put both pie shells on a baking tray. Divide the crack pie filling evenly between the crusts. The filling should fill them 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.
6. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 170C. Depending on your oven, it may take 5mins or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven reaches 170C close the door and bake the pies for 5 minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s eye centre but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.
*In hindsight I should have left mine for another 5 minutes, I only realised this once I cut into them. As my slices sat there they slowly turned into a puddle. But who cares! The taste was still there.
7.Gently take the tray of crack ones int if the Ives and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. Then freeze your pies for at least 3 hours or overnight to condense the filling for a dense final product – freezing is the signature technique  and result of a perfectly executed crack pie.
8. If not serving the pies right away, wrap well in cling film. In the fridge, they will keep fresh for 5 days. In the freezer they will keep for 1 month. Transfer the pies from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost for a minimum of 1 hour before you’re ready to get in there.
9. Serve your crack pie cold!
Decorate your pies with icing sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.
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Oat Cookie Recipe 
115g butter at room temperature
75g light brown sugar
40g granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

80g bread flour
120g porridge oats
0.5g or 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
0.25g or a pinch bicarbonate soda
2g or 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Non stick cooking spray

1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a free standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle or flat beater attachment and cream together on medium high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy an duple yellow in colour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium high land beat for 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white. 3. On low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix for a minute until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Spray a 25x31cm baking tray and line with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Plop the cookie dough in the center of the tray and with a spatula, spread it out until it is 5mm thick. The dough won’t cover the entire tray and this is OK.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie – caramelised on top and puffed slightly but set firmly. Cool completely before using. Wrapped well in cling film, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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Crack Pie Filling
* Tosi states for this recipe you must use a free standing electric mixer with a paddle or flat beater attachment. Also the mixer is to be kept on low speed through the entire mixing process. If you mix at a higher speed you will incorporate too much air and your pie will not be dense and gooey – which is the essence of crack pie.
300g granulated sugar
180g light brown sugar
20g milk powder
24g freeze dried sweetcorn powder
6g or 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

225g butter, melted

160g or 180ml whipping or double cream
2g or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 egg yolks

1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, sweetcorn powder and salt in the bowl of a free standing electric mixture fitted with the paddle or flat beater attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended.
2. Add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
3. Add the cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
4. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine. Be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low speed until it is.
5. Use the filling right away or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.