Saturday, November 17, 2018

Steamed Apple -Raspberry Pudding with raspsberry compote

I'm so excited about learning to make steamed fruit pudding, which are cake-like desserts poured into a mold, covered and then steamed in a boiling water bath on top of the stove. The process is ancient and started as a savory food preparation that was stuffed into an animal stomach or intestine and then boiled. "Black pudding" (blood sausage) is an early iteration of a pudding. As modern sugar production started in the 18th century and made sugar accessible to the average consumer, sweet fruit puddings developed.

British puddings are nothing like American chocolate or vanilla pudding, which are related to custard.  The batter for puddings have a higher egg to flour ratio than cake and the resulting texture is reminiscent of firm bread pudding. I'm psyched about how beautiful this one looked, but compared to some of the puddings I've seen on the Great British Baking Show this one is elementary. 

Thank goodness for my friend Norma, who explained that a "pudding basin," is basically a 2 quart heat proof glass mixing bowl. Via Facebook messenger she guided me through the process of creating this incredible dessert. The recipe is a modification of an steamed apple pudding from the British food bloggers, Hairy Bikers' and the BBC food website. 

The process of greasing the glass mixing bowl, mixing the batter , covering the uncooked batter and steaming takes a bit over 2 hours, most of which time the pudding is steaming. 

  • Grease a 2 quart glass mixing bowl (like a Pyrex bowl) with neutral oil or margarine 
  • Mix the batter until blended. Don't overmix, you don't want to create a gluten web, this is not bread
  • Line the bottom of the bowl with a piece of parchment paper and add fruit 
  • Cover with the batter, seal the bowl with parchment paper and then aluminum foil 
  • Set in a large stockpot, fill the pot with water so that it reaches about 1/2 the way up the bowl. Cover and gently simmer for about 90 minutes. 
  • Turn off the heat and cool the pudding in the water (much like you would cool a cheesecake baked in a water-bath) until cool enough to handle
  • electric mixer or stand mixer, mixing bowl, scraper, measuring equipment 
  • 2 quart pudding basin OR 2 quart glass (tempered/baking type) mixing bowl 
  • large stockpot
  • silicon mat that can sit at the bottom of the pot , between the pot and pudding basin. A silicon canning basket works well because it has side handles and will make it easy to remove the bowl after the water has cooled 
  • parchment paper, string
  • aluminum foil 
Pudding batter:
  • 1 pint (about 14-16oz) raspberries, blueberries or blackberries 
  • 6 oz  (1 stick plus 2 tbsp) margarine 
  • 5 oz sugar 
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced 
  • 1 tsp vanilla or Lor Ann oil's butter vanilla bakery emulsion (the flavoring is pareve)- optional, but adds an interesting twist 
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 6 oz (1 1/4c) self-rising flour 
    • if you don't have self rising flour, use 1 1/4c all purpose flour, a pinch of salt, 1.5 tsp baking powder 
  • 2 large firm apples, peeled, cored and diced 

Raspberry compote: 
Blackberries or Blueberries can be substituted 
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1/3-1/2 c raspberry preserves 
  • 2-3 Tbsp red wine (preferably sweet)
  1. Generously grease the pudding basin or mixing bowl 
  2. Cut 2 pieces of parchment, one for lining the bottom of the pudding basin and another one that is large enough to cover the bowl. You'll fasten the paper onto the top of the bowl with a piece of cotton twine (the kind that ties bakery boxes or trusses a turkey will work.)  Cut a hole in the center of the parchment paper which will allow the pudding to vent itself as it cooks 
  3. Tear a large piece of foil that is large enough to cover the bowl from the bottom UP to the top of the bowl. This piece of foil will fold up and then be loosely pleated at the top of the bowl to keep water from splashing onto the parchment paper. Don't close completely, you want the vent to allow steam to escape from the pudding 
  4. Place a small piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the bowl, forming it to cover the bottom and along the side for an inch or so
  5. Beat the margarine, sugar, lemon zest until fluffy and light. 
  6. Beat in half of the egg mixture , flavoring and then gently beat in half the flour
  7. Add remaining egg mixture and flour. Don't overmix. 
  8. Stir the apple pieces into the batter
  9. Boil several cups of water in a kettle (not in the stock pot)
  10. Drop the silicon mat into the bottom of the stock pot
  11. Drop the berries into the bowl, arranging in a single layer 
  12. Gently pour the batter into the  pudding basin, covering the berries
  13. Place the parchment paper, with the hole on top of the basin, tie around the top edge 
  14. Wrap the bowl in foil, loosely pleating at the top. Place in the stock pot.
  15. Slowly add the hot water to the side of the pudding basin, bringing the water to about half the height of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer, cover the pot and steam for 90 minutes. Monitor the pot and add additional hot water if necessary 
  16. Turn off the heat, partially remove the pot cover and allow to cool. I've seen video of using the string tied around the bowl as a means of lifting the pudding, but it looks treacherous to me. My silicon mat has handles, which allow me to life the bowl out of the water, if yours doesn't have that, let the cool a bit before removing the hot bowl 
  17. Remove basin from the water , open and remove the foil and parchment. The pudding should be solid, but a bit spongy
  18. Gently side a knife between the pudding and side of the basin to loosen
  19. Place a cake plate on top of the basin and invert. The pudding will slide out. The parchment will likely come out with the pudding, remove the parchment by peeling off the pudding
  20. Gently pour the compote on the pudding, allowing some to drizzle down the side . Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store the pudding covered in the fridge, covered loosely with plastic wrap 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Lemon Filled Yeast Braid

This is a yeast "braid," adapted from King Arthur Flour's "Braided Lemon Bread."
Unlike the original, this version is pareve (non-dairy). It's a delicious not-too-sweet cake that reminds me of Danish for breakfast, without the fussy dough. 

This is a yeast cake, so it will look a bit fussier to make than a cake made with baking powder. If you follow the instructions this is actually a good recipe to use if you want to start learning to bake yeast cakes. The cake dough (rather than a batter) is constructed in steps, first a "sponge" ( a starter), then the dough. The dough requires two proofing periods (rising). The cake can be made over the course of a day or stretched out to fit parts of 2 days. Instead of a straight procedure, I'm describing the creation of this cake as "steps" with approximate time frames.  I use a KitchenAid stand mixer. This is a soft bread dough; however, if you are using a hand held mixer it may not be strong enough to handle this dough. In the event that you are going to mix and knead by hand you will knead, stretch and fold for several more minutes than the KitchenAid. Look at any YouTube videos on bread stretching and folding if you have any doubts. 

Sponge (Starter)
3/4 c barely warm water
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp. instant yeast
1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour)

The entire sponge
3/4 c faux sour cream or plain non dairy yogurt
1/2 c (one stick) margarine or shortening (I used 1/2 Fleishmann's margarine, 1/2 Earth Balance) . 
    Soften the margarine by leaving it out while the sponge is resting. 
2 large eggs, beaten and 1 egg white mixed with a tsp of cold water for an egg wash
1/2 c sugar 
2 tsp kosher salt 
2 tsp extract flavoring - I used 1 tsp LorAnn oil lemon baking emulsion and 1 tsp LorAnn oil Buttery      Sweet Dough flavor. You can also use a combination of vanilla and lemon extract or just vanilla.
     LorAnn oil flavors are available on line at their website as well as Amazon or King Arthur Flour 
 5c all purpose flour 
pearl sugar or sparking white sugar for sprinkling on the braids 

  • First filling: 2 cups lemon curd (it's hard to find a ready made pareve product, Blake Hill, from Vermont, is a grea product, but it's dairy. I tried this with home made non-dairy curd as well as My-T-Fine brand pudding and pie filling. When used as a cake filling, the difference is not really discernable 
  • Second filling: 1/2 c faux sour cream mixed with 4Tbsp. sugar 
The fillings can be made right after you build the dough. Cover and chill until you are ready to assemble the cake. The pie filling should be mixed gently with a spoon when you are ready to use it 


Sponge: mix the sponge ingredients together in the bowl of  the stand mixer OR in a large mixing bowl. Cover with a damp cloth, away from drafts and allow to bubble and rest for anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes 

Creating the dough
  • Mix the 2 eggs, sugar, flavorings and salt in a small bowl. Mix the faux sour cream, shortening and egg mixture into the sponge. Slowly (speed 2) mix until well blended, about 1 minute. You can do this by hand with a wooden spoon
  • Add the flour in three additions. It will look rough in the beginning, keep at speed 2 and after everything is blended increase to speed three. The dough will begin to come away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough doesn't begin or organize and come away from the sides of the bowl add another 2-3 Tbsp flour. Mix until smooth - about 4-5 minutes. If you are doing this by hand, turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently until well blended. The dough will be sticky

  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap, place in a warm, draft-free spot (your oven or an oven heated- and shut off- to about 80 degrees or a proofing box will be perfect). Let this dough rise for about an hour OR place in the fridge and let rest for 4-12 hours. If you are chilling, bring the dough back to room temperature, for about an hour, before continuing 
  • Stretch and fold once or twice , divide the dough into thirds and let rest on your work surface for about 10 minutes 
  • Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper 

  • Roll out one piece of the dough to a rectangle that measures roughly 8x14 . Lightly score 2 vertical lines, about 1/3 in on both sides. Then cut vertical "wings" of about 1.5 inches along the two sides. The rolled out dough does not have to be a perfect rectangle, you'll be able to stretch and move the dough a bit  
  • Spoon 1/3 of the lemon filling along the center and then top with a strip of the faux sour cream
  • Vertically fold 1/2 - 1 inch from the top of the rectangle so that it is just covering the filling and then begin to uses the vertical wing strips diagonally over the center. Press the edges down. If you find that the ends of the strips don't "stick" use a pastry brush to paint a bit of egg wash to attach the strip edges. Continue to end, folding in the bottom edge. Using a large cookie spatula move the strip onto the parchment lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. 

  • Repeat the process with the remaining 2 pieces. Place in a draft free place and allow to rest/rise for 40-50 minutes. The rising breads will be puffy and increase in size by about 1/3
  • While the breads are rising, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Brush with egg wash (one egg white, stirred with 1 tsp cold water). Sprinkle with sugar slip into the upper shelf of your oven. Lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness after 25 minutes.  Cool completely before moving. 
  • The cooled baked bread can be double wrapped and frozen for up to a month or a bit more. 

  • The cake stays well at room temperature for a day or two (cover with wax paper or plastic wrap. If you are keeping it longer, it will keep in the fridge for another day or so. Because the filling makes the center of the cake moist you will need to use it within a few days or it will start to mold!  

Other "braided" cake you may like to try: Cheese Filled Babka

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti (Mandelbread)

Crispy double baked lemon-poppy seed cookie. 
The cookie recipe is inspired by Judy Zeider (The Gourmet Jewish Cook)

Biscotti and Mandelbread are easy to make. No special equipment required other than mixing bowls, spoons, parchment paper and a baking sheet. No need to own an electric mixer. 

Choreography: Easy!! Mix the dough, no waiting, shape, bake, slice, bake again and voila! The best biscotti you've ever had. 

1 c sugar
1 c neutral oil (I use canola)
3 large eggs 
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon oil 
zest of one lemon
4 c all purpose flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c poppy seeds 
1/2 c lemon baking chips (optional) 

  • Measure all ingredients, preheat the oven to 375 degrees 
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Mix the sugar and oil completely. Add the flavorings, salt, and zest and continue to mix
  • Combine the flour and baking powder

  • Add the flour into the egg mixture. Stir until about half integrated and add poppy seeds and chips. Mix well

  •  Divide into 3 portions. Form into logs on parchment lined cookie sheet
  • Slip the cookie sheet into the oven, lower the heat to 350 degrees and partially bake for approximately 25 minutes 

  • Remove the cookie pan and working quickly, slice the cookie bar into 1/2 inch slices. Slip back into the oven and continue to bake for 15 minutes.  Turn off the oven and cool the cookies in the oven. 

  • Cool and store in a closed container for 2-3 days at room temperature. If the cookies are left for longer, store, covered, in the refrigerator. Alternately, double wrap and freeze the cookies. 

  • Other biscotti and mandelbread recipes found on Breadandbabka: Chocolate chili biscotti and Maple Walnut Biscotti

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Whole Wheat- Walnut Sour Dough Bread

This bread, adapted from a recipe in Amy's Bread, is a chewy whole wheat bread,
filled with walnuts and cracked wheat with a hint of maple. 

This sour dough bread requires a ready, ripe, medium stiff sour dough starter (rye , white or a combination).  The bread ingredients are mixed,  can be hand stretched & folded, covered, and left to enjoy a slow cool rise  (8-10 hours).  The nuts and cracked wheat are kneaded in after the first proofing period. The second proof should be carried out in a warm draft-free location (a less than 100 degree oven or proofing box is perfect) for about 90 minutes. Bake in a very hot oven, preferably on a baking stone, with steam. 

2 oz warm water mixed with 3/4 tsp instant yeast 
9 oz whole wheat flour
4.5 oz bread flour 
1 oz corn meal
1 scant Tbsp kosher salt 
8 oz cool water
8 oz sour dough starter  (see: Sour Dough Starter ) 
2 Tbsp maple syrup (dark is best)
6 oz chopped walnut pieces (toasting is optional)
5 oz cooked and  cooled cracked wheat (4 oz boiling water mixed with 3 oz cracked wheat)
2 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil for greasing the bowl 
Additional all purpose flour to dust the kneading surface and to dust proofing basket (if one is used) 

  • Combine and stir 1/4c water and yeast. 
  • Combine flours, corn meal, salt in another bowl 
  • Add the 8 oz water and maple syrup to the yeast mixture and then mix in the dry ingredients
  • Mix to form shaggy dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface 
  • Stretch and fold to form an organized dough that is stretchy. The dough will be slightly tacky. (About 5-8 minutes)  or knead in a stand mixer for 3-4 minutes until a smooth stretchy dough is formed 
  • Grease the mixing bowl, place the smooth dough into the bowl, turn so that all sides are greasy and cover with plastic wrap  

  • Place in fridge and allow to proof for 8-10 hours 
  • IN THE MEANTIME, chop the nuts and prepare the cracked wheat , set aside 

  •  Fold the walnuts and cracked wheat into the dough. Deflate and stretch & fold several times to evenly distribute the ingredients. 
  •  Divide the dough into two roughly equal pieces. Roll into a round shape
  • Flour a lined proofing basket and place the dough seam up. Place in warm draft free space and allow to rise for 90- 120 minutes, until the dough is approximately doubled in bulk 

  • When the dough has been proofing for about an hour preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, heat it in the oven.  Place a pan of water, or fill the oven steam pan with water 
  • When the oven is hot, turn the proofed dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and slip onto the hot baking stone.

  • Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 400 degrees and bake an additional 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing.
    This bread stores well at room temperature for 2-3 days. Re-heat for a few minutes to re-crisp the crust.  As the picture shows, this bread slices beautifully. 

Other sour dough recipes on Bread and Babka include Sour Dough Oatmeal Loaf  and Sourdough Honey Challah

Friday, January 5, 2018

Sourdough Olive and Artichoke Bread with six grain flour mix

Sourdough baking requires time. The starter needs to be fed and then given 8 or more hours to rest and mature. The bread itself takes about five hours to prepare, proof and bake. It's not difficult to do and there is leeway in the proofing times, you just need to prepare yourself for a process that can't be rushed. I baked this during a snow storm in January, 2018, it was a very good snowy day project. It yields a bread with a wonderful crust and moist crumb. The flavor is a bit salty with a complex cereal flavor.

This bread is worth the trouble if you like working with sour dough bread. The dough does have a bit of commercial yeast, which helps the process move along.

The evening before you plan to bake. Refresh your starter, allow to rest and proof for 8-12 hours at room temperature. When ripe, measure off 12 oz for baking.

On the day you bake, mix the dough. Allow to rise in a warm location for about 90 minutes. Add the olives and artichokes, mix , and allow to further proof for about an 30 - 45 minutes. The dough will remain loose and sticky.

On a flour dusted work surface, stretch and fold the dough 6-8 times. Divide into four portions. Shape into rounds and proof for about an hour. Slash top of each loaf and bake in a hot oven. Cool completely before slicing.

For a good demonstration on the stretch and fold technique see Peter Reinhart:

12 oz fed and ready sour dough starter (fed and rested 8-12 hours)
2 iz warm water mixed with
1/2 tsp instant yeast
8 oz room temperature water
4 oz  grain mixture (e.g. six grain mix, ancient grain mix, 10 grain cereals)
       for the bread pictured, I used King Arthur six grain mixture
13-14 oz all purpose flour
1 Tbsp kosher salt
4 oz roughly chopped kalamanta olives
6 oz roughly chopped canned artichoke hearts
cornmeal for sprinkling baking surface


  • Feed your starter and set aside at room temperature (around 75 or 80 degrees if you can arrange this). Let rest for 8- 12 hours or overnight.

  • When the sourdough starter is ready, measure 12 oz and place in a bowl with 8oz water. Mix.
  • Mix the yeast and 2 oz water and add to the starter. Mix well and allow to rest for approximately 10 minutes. 
  • Combine the flours and salt. Mix. Add starter and begin to mix at slow speed. Increase to medium speed and knead for approximately 4-5 minutes. The dough will be on the soft side and sticky, but it will pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a dough ball. 

  •       Cover and proof the dough for approximately 90 minutes. The dough will not quite double in bulk. 

  • While the dough is proofing, roughly chop the olives and artichoke hearts. Set aside until the dough has proofed.

  • Add the olives and artichokes to the dough. Mix well. The dough will become a bit raggy and sticky. Cover and allow to rise for about 30 minutes. It will increase in volume, but not double. 

  •  Sprinkle flour on a work surface. Place dough on the surface and rather than knead, you'll stretch and fold 6-8 times. The dough will begin to hold it's shape and become stretchy. See link above for Peter Reinhart's tutorial on the stretch and knead technique. 

  •  Line a baking pan with parchment paper. 
  • Divide the dough into quarters. Stretch and fold to form 4 small balls of dough. 

  • Allow to proof in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until almost doubled. Your oven can be heated to 100 degrees and then shut off or if you have a proofing cycle or a proofing box, these are good options.  Wild yeast is more sensitive than commercial yeast to ambient temperature - your dough won't rise well if you place it in a spot that is too chilly or drafty. 
  • You can bake these breads on a parchment lined baking sheet or a lined ceramic baking slab. 
  • About 15 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and slip a pan of water onto the bottom shelf. A hot, humid oven is key to baking a crispy crust. 
  • Slip the bread into the hot oven, lower the temperature to 400 and bake for about 35 minutes. Check for doneness, the crust should be golden brown and on the darker side and the outer dough will be hard , crisp and sound hollow when tapped. You can take the temperature of the baking bread - you want the thermometer to register between 190 and 195 degrees. If you plan to cool, wrap and freeze the bread for a later use, 190 degrees is fine. This will allow you to defrost and re-heat the bread. 

Cool completely before cutting into this bread - the inside will be gummy if the dough is hot. 

The bread slices nicely when fully cooled. You can store , covered loosely in a bag for a couple of days; otherwise, double wrap and freeze for up to a month. Always remove from wrappings before defrosting.

Another bread that I have on the blog that uses a starter is Korn Bread (Kornbroyt) a delicious type of rye bread.