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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Cherries at Borough Market

It’s true: I’m in the midst of a torrid love affair.

I’m consumed with desire, can’t think of anything else.

Morning, noon and night.

24/7.

My mind and heart are racing.

And the cause of my affliction? Why, a deep red fruit with a tiny hole punched through it (if you’re as obsessed as I am, I can’t recommend this enough).

I’m hopelessly devoted to the sweet cherry (and there’s little doubt I would be equally devoted to the sour cherry if I could find it in London).

Stewed cherries in red wine on top of fresh Greek yoghurt, candied cherries over ice cream, cherry brown butter bars, cherry pies, and cherries stolen straight from the punnet. I have had and dreamed about them all over the past two months. And now I’ll document a few of my favourite concoctions, so that when the season draws to a close (no, no, no!), I can look back and remember our whirlwind romance in the summer of 2010.

Cherry Brown Butter Bars

Cherry Brown Butter Bars
From  Smitten Kitchen

For the crust:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat over to 375°F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet.

Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to your prepared pan, and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until golden, about 18 minutes (it will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.

For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 pound sweet cherries, which will yield 12 ounces of pitted cherries, which yielded some leftovers, perfect for snacking (alternately, you can use 12 ounces of the berry of your choice)

Cook butter in heavy small saucepan (a lighter-colored one will make it easier to see the color changing, which happens quickly) over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often and watching carefully, about six minutes. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup to cool slightly.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.

Arrange pitted cherries, or the berries of your choice, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake bars until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (though, of course, this took less time in my hyperactive oven so please watch your baking times carefully). Cool bars completely in pan on rack.

Use the parchment paper overhang to carefully remove cooled bars from pan and place them on a cutting board and cut them into squares with a very sharp knife.

Yield: I made 9 fairly large bars (for gluttons like me), but Deb was able to swing 16 2-inch square bars. The choice is yours!

Cherries in Red Wine Syrup

Cherries in Red Wine Syrup
From David Lebovitz

1 pound (450g) fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130g) sugar
1 1/4 cups (310ml) red wine
2 teaspoons corn starch or potato starch
2 tablespoons red wine or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 tablespoon kirsch

Put the cherries and sugar in a large, wide saucepan.

Mix one tablespoon of the red wine with the corn or potato starch in a small bowl until it’s dissolved and set aside.

Add the rest of the wine and the vinegar to the saucepan. Bring the heat up to a boil, then reduce the heat so it’s at a low boil and cook, stirring frequently, for about 12 minutes, until the cherries are completely wilted and softened through.

During the last moments of cooking, stir in the starch slurry and let the mixture boil the additional minute or so, to thicken the juices.

Turn off the heat and stir in the almond extract and kirsch.

Storage: The cherries will keep up to one week in the refrigerator. They can be frozen for up to six months.

Yield: Makes 2 cups (500g). I was able to spoon this over Greek yoghurt for breakfast for a week, and it might just be my favourite way to consume cherries. I will go back to this recipe again and again.


Quick Candied Cherries

From David Lebovitz

This recipe wasn’t quite as exciting as the one above (read: I so enjoyed downing cherries soaked in red wine for breakfast at work), but it’s so simple and so, so good. I promise. You can’t go wrong with a David Lebovitz recipe.

1 pound (450 g) fresh sweet or sour cherries, rinsed
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Remove the stems and pit the cherries.

In a large non-reactive saucepan (at least 4 quarts/liters) bring the cherries, water, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil.

Reduce the heat so the cherries are cooking at a low rolling boil. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently during the last 10 minutes of cooking to make sure the cherries are cooking evenly and not sticking.

Once the syrup is mostly reduced and a brilliant ruby-color, similar to the consistency of maple syrup, remove the pan from the heat and cool the cherries to room temperature.

After the cherries are cool, they can be refrigerated for up to one week, or frozen in zip-top freezer bags for up to one year.

Cherry Brown Butter Bars

P.S. See that beautiful wooden cake stand above? It’s from Nikole, and it’s perfect. It has stood alongside the cherries as a staple in my life this summer. Thank you, Nikole!

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Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

As I mentioned last time, pumpkin is a fall friend of mine. Up until this fall, however, it had never occurred to me to add a bit of pumpkin to those great American breakfast staples, pancakes and waffles. Am I ever glad I took the plunge this year, and not once but twice: first in preparation for a day of apple picking at home in NY and then a few weeks later, when the piles of fallen leaves in the Fields were in their prime and I was finally ready to break open the precious bottle of real NY maple syrup I brought back from home (which makes all the difference, as far as pancake/waffle-eating goes – and that means alot coming from a former Aunt Jemima-holic). I’m going to go out on a limb and say the pancakes were my favourite of the two variations, but it was a close call. There’s something much more subtle about the waffles, and I think the cinnamon sugar I poured on top of the pancakes gave them an unfair advantage. Subtle, at least in the sweetness department, they certainly were not. Rest assured that whether you’re a fan of waffles, like most of my family and friends, or the lone person in your household to beg for pancakes on a Sunday morning (that is, until you somehow find a fellow pancake lover out there in the vast, waffle-loving world who will share one or two or twenty with you over the course of the day) one of these recipes will suit you. And both will certainly suit the season.

Pumpkin Waffles

Pumpkin Waffles
(from Smitten Kitchen)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron. Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks (as in, far softer than the over-beaten whites you’ll see in my picture above). Folk them gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.

Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter (about 2 cups for four 4-inch Belgian waffles) into waffle iron, spreading quickly. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
(from Joy the Baker)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

Whisk together flours, salt, spices, sugar and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg, pumpkin and vegetable oil or melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Don’t worry if you have a few lumps. You don’t want to over beat the batter, it’ll produce tough pancakes.

Let the batter sit for 10 minutes while you heat the skillet. Over low-medium heat melt a tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil . Once skillet is hot, spoon a heaping 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake into the skillet. When pancake starts to bubble slightly, carefully flip over.

Once browned and cooked through place pancakes on a oven proof plate and place in the oven set at 200 degrees F to keep warm while the rest of the pancakes are cooked.

Serve with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar.. or maple syrup.

Yield: 14-18 small pancakes.

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Belgium

A guest post from the formidable FDW:

Do you remember those waffles in the college cafeteria?  The ones you lock into an industrial waffle maker and wait to hear the delightful “bing” indicate your waffle is ready so you can cover it in whipped cream, sprinkles and maple syrup? This is not one of those waffles!  These require no compliments…except the ones from your taste buds, that is.

I remember the first time I visited Belgium. I arrived into Bruxelles Midi and began the long walk to my hotel near the Grand-Place, all the while knowing that this town (and I use town, here, to refer to the entire country of Belgium) had four major gustatory treats to offer – frites, mussels, chocolate, and waffles – and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to get one as soon as possible, even though I had stuffed myself on the Eurostar on the way in.

Belgium

Belgium

Belgium

Belgium

The street advertisements didn’t fail to excite my stomach. Everywhere I looked, there were large billboards crying out that THIS particular frites shop was better and less expensive than the one about a half a block away (even though the portion sizes were different and one restaurant was fast-food while the other a sit-down affair), or that these mussels were more fresh than the ones across the street (even though I’m pretty sure they come from the same place) or that this chocolate shop had a higher quality of chocolate (I guess that depends on where the cocoa beans are from, but as far as I could tell this was just an expression). On my left and right were wooden carts with fresh waffles being sold by little old ladies in colorful aprons, and poking out of would-be windows were walk-up chocolatiers. With all of these treats surrounding me, I had to start my day with a healthy sandwich of… frites and cheese in a bun (you know, just to make sure I got my dairy, bread and vegetable servings in that day before dessert).

Belgium

Belgium

When I had scarfed down the last poor frites, I headed for what Merry and Pippin would call “second breakfast” and which was to be my first waffle in Belgium. Not far from where I had the frites sandwich, there was a pretty rickety looking truck with waffles piled up inside. Now I know I just mentioned that there were cute old ladies with push-carts selling waffles, but I have always been of the belief that if something is dressed up and made to seem cute and authentic, then the quality of the food from said source is probably lacking. If you put that much effort into selling your product based on image, then there must be some reason. I have always found that some of the best food I have ever had has been from run-down, old restaurants or simple little nooks that make what they make and do it well and don’t worry about whether or not their patrons are going to be concerned that the tables aren’t the right color or the chairs aren’t all matching, because invariably, if the food is good, people are going to enjoy it and they are going to come back. So, I walked up to the dented and bruised waffle truck, across the street from a group of renaissance-looking musicians and simply asked for a waffle, thinking it to be similar to the ones I had in college, and expecting to lather it in sauces and whipped cream.  Oh, how wrong I was.

Belgium

When he handed me this heavy, golden waffle, I was surprised to see that it was slightly sticky and pulled apart like a doughy treat, like a Grands croissant. But the appearance and feel of this waffle were nothing in comparison to how it tasted. Little bits of sugar inside the yeast dough carmelized in the waffle iron, giving a distinct taste that I can only refer to as perfectly Liege. No matter where I went, the smell of those waffles was enough to get me to avoid a full meal, perhaps even moules et frites, in favor of that golden delicacy. Never, in my memory, had something so normal, something I had eaten since childhood and loved, been turned on it’s head.

Belgium

It’s funny, because eating that Liege waffle sort of ruined normal waffles for me. I can honestly say that I haven’t had a single, normal Belgian waffle (at a diner, for brunch, as a dessert…) since that fateful day. I haven’t again enjoyed that dimpled dish because, well, there’s almost nothing left to enjoy! How can I justify the time making, or the money spent to buy, a waffle like that when it just won’t, can’t satisfy me?

So what does one do when he can’t find a waffle worth squat, but craves the golden ridges more with each passing day? I knew that I could maybe go to the waffle truck that I had heard so much about in Manhattan, but realistically, who wants to go to a makeshift version of the real thing?  “Oh, how wonderful this little truck is! Thank you sir for selling me something that you market as original and different and chic because you don’t have an actual storefront, but realistically you and I know you simply visited Belgium and stole their idea, truck and all.”  I wanted to go directly to the source and get the waffle I deserved (over a year of waiting had put me in a bit of a mood).

Belgium

Liege Waffles
(From Waffle-Recipes.com)

2 cups flour
1 cup pearl sugar*
1 cup melted butter
3 eggs
1 (¼ ounce) package yeast
⅓ cup lukewarm water
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt

Take the lukewarm water and mix in yeast, 1 ½ tablespoon sugar and salt. Let the yeast develop for 15 minutes. In the meanwhile you can melt the butter, but be careful – do not burn it.

Now take a large bowl and put in the flour, make a hole in the middle, pour in the yeast that you made in step one. Also add eggs and melted butter and knead until you get nice and even dough. Then let it rest so the yeast does its magic and the dough doubles.

Now take pearl sugar and gently mix it in.

Again, let it rest for 15 minutes, in the meanwhile you can turn on the waffle maker so its nice and hot.

All there is left is to pour the waffle dough into the waffle maker and bake for 3-5 minutes. Because we mixed in the sugar late in the process it will melt and caramelize and give that special Liege waffle taste. Just be careful when you take them out of the waffle maker, caramelized sugar can make them sticky.

*Note from B&R: on my most recent trip to Bruges, my very favourite waffle maker in Belgium assured me that the secret to her success was in the pearl sugar, which can be obtained from most Belgian grocery stores.  FDW, however, can attest to the fact that those of us poor souls who don’t have regular access to a Belgian grocery store/pearl sugar can get by just fine with the plain old granulated variety.

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  • Yesterday at Wimbledon, amidst all the Pimm’s and strawberries and cream and prawn and avocado salads (oh, and the tennis, too), it was the yeast doughnut covered in strawberry glaze that had me at hello.  It’s been ages since I’ve last seen the inside of a Dunkin’ Donuts or a Krispy Kreme and I was in desperate need of a fix.  Alas, the minute I awoke this morning I had one thing on my mind: to turn my kitchen into a doughnut plant.  A few hours and a few (dozen) doughnuts in my belly later and I’d say the mission was accomplished.  Brightly colored American doughnut chains, eat your hearts out.

  • Yeast Doughnuts: Dunkin’ and Krispy Style

  • For the doughnuts:
  • (adapted from Alton Brown)

  • 1 ½ cups (360  ml) milk
  • 2 ½ ounces (70 grams) vegetable shortening, approximately ⅓ cup
  • 2 packages (14 grams) instant yeast
  • ⅓ cup (75 ml) warm water (105 to 1115 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 32 ounces (910 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (approximately 1 quart/960 ml, depending on fryer)

  • Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

  • In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  •  
  • On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to ⅜-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 ½-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a ⅞-inch ring for the center hole, if desired (I found it much easier/less sticky not to make a hole, but I like the look of both). Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

  • Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to between 350 and 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing/filling.
  • Yield: Alton says 20-25 doughnuts, but if my output was anything to go by, I’d say at least 30.

 

  • For the glaze:
  • (from Recipezaar)
  • 3 cups (300 grams) confectioners’/icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup cold water 
  • Mix all ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment. Pour into medium bowl and  set aside until doughnuts have cooled.  Dip each doughnut in glaze and place on wire rack to harden.  

Yield: enough to glaze 20-25 doughnuts.

½  cup (125 grams) butter*
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (200 grams) sifted confectioners’/icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder

Cream butter and shortening. Gradually add sugar ½ cup at a time. Add milk and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy. Beat in cocoa powder. When cool, make small hole to insert frosting . Take a knife and carefully make a large cavity inside of the doughnut to hold the frosting. Fill the doughnuts generously with frosting using a pastry bag fitted with a large, round tip (I used Ateco #804) and dust heavily with powdered sugar.

Yield: enough to fill 10-12 doughnuts.

 * The original recipe called for ¼ cup butter and ¼ cup vegetable shortening, but I ran out of shortening making the doughnuts and sadly the only place I can find Crisco in this country is at Selfridges in Oxford Circus, a place to be avoided at all costs on the weekend.  Considering the fact that I’ve already devoured half a dozen, I’d say either way would work just fine.  

 

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