Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hamantachen with almond flour (NOT gluten free)

This recipe is a pareve version of the recipe printed in the on-line edition of The Forward from the fabulous bakery, Breads Bakery (located in New York and Tel Aviv). 

Breads Bakery is a fabulous bread and pastry bakery located in Tel Aviv ("Lechamim") and Manhattan (Union Square). In addition to bread, they also have a wonderful assortment of Jewish pastries (both European and Middle Eastern). This dough is different from any hamantachen dough I've ever made: no baking powder/soda, low ratio of eggs to flour and the addition of almond flour. Unlike the original recipe, I used margarine (Earth Balance) instead of butter. 

The filling in the cookies pictured above is Fred's (my husband and one of my taste testers) rendition of Surinam Haroset  adapted from the New York Times Passover Cookbook . Yes, he made the haroset last Pesach, I double wrap a few containers and use it over the year for baking. 

You can use your favorite filling, canned, jarred, or homemade. 

This dough is different than any other hamantachen dough I've worked with - it feels and acts more like marzipan.  It must be chilled for several hours (up to 24 hours).  You must let it come to room temperature before using (20-40 minutes) or it will be impossible to roll out. 

Use a biscuit cutter or glass to cut circles. I use a glass with a 2.5" diameter, forming a smallish cookie (makes it easier to eat 2.........or 3!) 

measuring equipment (spoons, cups, scale)
stand mixer or hand mixer with large mixing bowl 
cookie sheet (s)
parchment paper 

6.6 oz margarine (13 Tbsp)- cut into small pieces
1.6 oz granulated sugar (1/4 c)
2.7 oz powdered sugar (very scant 1/2 c)
pinch of salt
2 large eggs (one for the cookie dough, one for the egg wash)
1.4 oz almond flour /meal
10.6 oz pastry flour OR all purpose flour (2 3/4 c + a bit more flour)

1. Combine the two sugars, making sure there are no lumps
2. Cream the butter, sugars and salt. Continue beating 3-4 minutes until very creamy
3. Add the egg and mix
4. Add the almond flour and mix
5. Add the wheat flour and mix until the dough forms a ball around the mixer blade (this will happen quickly.)  The dough will feel like a cross between play-doh and marzipan. Gather into a ball, place in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 2 hours up to 24 hours. 

6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature (30-40 minutes).       Divide into 3-4 pieces (for ease of working and rolling out the dough). Preheat your oven to 350 
7. Lightly flour-dust your work surface and roll out one piece of dough to about 1/16" . Using a
    biscuit cutter or glass, cut out circles.  Use a spatula to help lift the dough circles if they are sticking
    to the surface

8.Brush off any excess flour and brush the circles with egg wash 

9. Spoon a small amount of filling onto the center of each circle. Fold three points of the circles, 
    keeping the filling in the middle to form a triangle. Pinch the seams. Move to a parchment lined 
    baking sheet and brush each cookie lightly with egg wash. 

10. Bake for 13-17 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before moving to a 
     cooling rack. Cool completely before packaging. The cookies will stay at room temperature for a
     few days, but I prefer to store them in the refrigerator.  You can also double wrap them and freeze 
     for up to several weeks. 

If you're looking for other dough recipes, click here: Traditional Hamantachen  or Yeast Hamantachen

Monday, February 27, 2017

Very Lemon Loaf Cake

This recipe is adapted from the "Lemon Cake" recipe from the 
Essential NY Times Cookbook. The original is dairy and relies on both a finishing syrup and glaze. 

This lemon cake is a very simple loaf cake, in this case made with soured non-dairy milk. The hot baked cake is reinforced hot with lemon syrup. The sparkly top is created by sprinkling sparkling sugar on top of the cake batter prior to baking. Sparkling sugar is available from King Arthur Flour  and Bob' Red Mill . I've found instructions to DIY sparkling sugar at the blog Two Sisters Crafting. The original cake uses fresh lemon zest, I opted for lemon oil. Use a good quality lemon oil. If you can't find it locally, it can be ordered from LorAnn Oils or Boyajian . Order the larger bottle and store in the refrigerator. 

Equipment :
measuring equipment
stand mixer or electric hand held mixer and large mixing bowl
2 medium size loaf pans 
small bowl to mix dry ingredients 
small sauce pan for making the syrup 

14 oz all purpose flour (3 cups)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
8oz margarine  I used Earth Balance baking sticks. (1cup) 
14 oz sugar (2 scant cups)
4 extra large eggs 
1 Tbsp lemon oil 
6 oz c non-dairy "milk" (e.g. almond, soy or rice), soured with 2 tsp white vinegar 
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract or Buttery Sweet Dough Emulsion from LorAnn Oils

Lemon syrup
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c fresh  lemon juice (don't use bottled juice)

2-3 Tbsp sparkling sugar 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (330 degrees in a convection oven). Grease and flour 2 medium sized loaf pans. "Sour" the "milk" by mixing with vinegar 
2. Sift or mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder in a small bowl 
3. Beat the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes)
4. Beat the eggs one at a time into the sugar-butter mixture
5. Combine the lemon oil with the "soured" milk 
6. Add the "milk" and dry mixture alternately to the butter, continue slowly mixing , ending with the flour. Mix only until blended.  
7. Using a spatula , divide the batter between the two prepared pans 
8. Shake the pan to even out and sprinkle the sparkling sugar over the top of the batters
9. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 45-55 minutes (start checking for doneness and rich color after 40 minutes) 
10. While the cake is in the oven, prepare the lemon syrup by squeezing fresh juice, mixing with sugar and bring to a slow boil. Shut off and set aside. 
11. When the cakes are finished, leave the cake in the pans, place the pans on the racks and pour 1/2 of the hot syrup over each of the cakes.  Cool the cakes completely before removing from the pans. The top of the cake will remain sparkly and shiny from the sparkling sugar.
12. Wrap the cakes loosely.  They will stay well, covered, at room temperature for 2-3 days. Otherwise, double wrap the cakes and freeze up to 4 weeks. 

Serving suggestion: slice thinly, serve with vanilla ice cream or frozen non-dairy dessert. 

Another loaf cake you make like to try: Double Chocolate "Sour Cream" Loaf Cake

Happy Eating!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Savory Cheese - Olive Puff Pastry Braid (savory "Danish")

This is a puff pastry dough (Danish dough) with a savory filling.  The dough recipe comes from King Arthur Flour 's baking school.  My husband and I took a Danish baking class in January (a visit to Vermont in January that had nothing to do with skiing!) The class was lots of fun and although I may not choose to make Danish frequently, it's definitely something that can be made for "special occasions" and with a variety of unusual fillings. 

This dough has a goodly amount of butter. It was explained that "European style" butter, with a slightly higher fat content and slightly lower water content is preferable. At some point I'm going to try to create a non-dairy version, but in the meantime, here is the recipe as taught at KAF. 

Danish dough is a laminated dough, meaning that butter is worked into the dough in layers. The dough in the photo has over 75 layers - a process that will take several hours. That's the scary news, the good news is that you can prepare laminated dough and freeze it for later use. This is NOT rocket science, it's time consuming. 

Step 1: Make the yeast dough, chill a minimum of 5 hours or overnight. 
Step 2: "Lock" the butter into the rested dough, roll fold and turn 3 times. Rest time between each set of roll, fold, turn is 30 or more minutes a(either chilled or in a chilly room). After the third set of folds, chill and rest for 6 hours up to overnight (Allow 20-30 minutes to come to room temperature when you are ready to use it.)
Step 3: Shaping and filling danish. Let rest 1-3 hours. Fill, egg wash 
Step 4:  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes. Optional wash with melted apple jelly or strained apricot jam. 

-Electric mixer (you can choose to stretch and fold by hand)
-A flat surface to roll out the dough. Marble, because it is cold, is the best, but any flat surface can work. Try to work quickly in a cooler room so that the butter doesn't melt
-Baking sheet, parchment paper 
-Scale, measuring cups, spoons, flexible dough scraper, bench knife (or sharp knife)
-mixing bowls 


This recipe will make 8 large individual Danish, 12 small Danish or 2 Danish braids.  Photos displayed show the procedure for forming a Danish braid. 

Basic Dough ("le detrempe") 
9 oz all purpose flour 
1 oz sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast 
1 egg
2 oz milk
2 oz water 
(my variation: 1/2 tsp lemon or orange zest, optional) 

Butter: 4 oz unsalted butter 

jam, sweetened cream cheese, farmer cheese/sour cream, etc.

Filling pictured:  8 oz farmers cheese, 4 oz full fat unflavored yogurt, 1/2 c chopped pimento stuffed olives and 1/4 c very finely diced scallion (mostly green portion). 

Egg wash

Make the basic dough (le detrempe).
Step ONE:

  1. Combine the dry ingredients
  2. Combine the liquid ingredients and stir to combine.  Add a bit more water IF you need it to create a cohesive dough
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about a minute. Or combine in a stand mixer and combine for a minute or so at low speed.  This dough will NOT be smooth.  Place the dough in a plastic bag, or a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 5 hours or up to 10 or 12 hours. 
Step TWO (Locking in butter and laminating)
  1. Take a 4 oz piece of cold butter and let it soften a bit at room temperature (NOT too soft - you should be able to just make a slight indentation with your finger. 
  2. Place on a clean surface, pound down with a rolling pin, it should be pliable. Using the straight side of a bench scraper or knife, push into a 5 inch square. Slide a blade underneath the butter and let rest on a piece of waxed paper while you attend to the dough. 
  3. Remove the chilled dough and on a lightly floured board, roll out into a six inch square. Brush away any loose flour. Place the butter square at an angle (like a diamond shape on the square of dough). 
  4. Starting at any corner of the dough, pull and stretch toward the middle of the piece of butter. Repeat with the adjacent corner, pinching and sealing the edges of the dough, so that you are "sealing in the butter."  Repeat 3x so that you have a square of dough that resembles and envelope with a center of sealed butter. 
  5. With the butter locked in, roll the dough out to a rectangle, approximately 8x16.  Fold the upper 1/3 of the dough down toward the center and then fold the bottom 1/3 up toward the center. The piece will be a layered piece of dough, about 1/3  Turn so that the folded edges are to the right and the smooth edge to the left. At this point you've made the first of three folds. Cover or slip into the plastic bag and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes (up to several hours).  The rolling out and folding process is repeated two more times.  This process is called LAMINATING the dough (creating butter-flour layers). 

             6.  The dough should rest for several hours before you proceed with making the pastry. You c
                   can double wrap and freeze the dough at this point.

Step Three: prepare the filling.
            1. You can use a number of different fillings. The filling pictured is a combination of
                 8 oz farmer cheese , 4 oz full fat unflavored yogurt, 1/2 c chopped pimento stuffed
                 olives and 1/4 c finely diced scallions (use more green parts than white). Mix well.
             2. Other filling ideas:  lemon curd  or lemon curd mixed with flavored cream cheese (12 oz
                 cream cheese, 2-3 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla or lemon extract, mix well), good
                 quality preserves, sweet- Sephardic style harsoset ( see our haroset filling )

Step Four: braiding

  1. Dust your work surface with a bit of flour. Working with cold (but not frozen) dough, roll out a 8x16 rectangle. Brush away any excess flour. 
  2. Divide the dough vertically along the length - forming two 4x16 pieces of dough.  
  3. To form the braid: Along the length of the dough, lightly mark the piece into thirds. Cut strips emanating from the inside border of the right or left third, out to the edge of the dough. You are essentially cutting "ribbons of dough along the right and left thirds. 

  4. Spread a thin layer of filling along the center third An bring a thin strip of the dough over the edge of the cheese and fold over the top ribbon at an angle. Press into place. 

5. Continue folding over the ribbons of dough, by alternating sides and pressing the edges onto the dough. 

6. Continue until the bottom strip, folding a thin strip up to enclose the cheese and tucking the last ribbon of dough.  Move the braided loaf to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for 2nd loaf. 

7. Cover and let rise in a draft free place for 1- 1.5 hours. Rising time varies, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. The dough will look puffy when risen, although it will not double in bulk. Preheat the oven, 400 degrees. 

8. Egg wash: 1 whole egg, 1 Tbsp water, pinch salt (optional). Lightly spread egg wash over the dough. You can sprinkle with a non-melting sugar.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan after 10-12 minutes.  The pastry should look well cooked, not pale brown. 

9. Remove from the oven and cool. You can optionally brush with water-thinned apple jelly to create a shiny "skin" on the pastry. 

Baked pastries can be double wrapped and kept in the freezer for a month or two. 

Other delicious yeast-dough pastry on this blog include: Walnut- Maple Rugelach and  Yeast Hamantachen .  Happy Dessert Eating. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Viennese Style Fruit Tart (Fig- Orange variation)

Viennese Style Fruit Tart 
Fig-Orange Variation 

Fresh figs!  Picked and frozen at the end of the summer.  What a treat in February. 

Defrost frozen, whole figs, halve the fruit. Substitute a good quality orange marmalade for the preserve in the original recipe. 

Find the recipe at :Viennese Style Fruit Tart