Cinnamon Almond Pistachio Danish Ring

If you think “Cinnamon Almond Pistachio Danish Ring is a mouthful to say, Just wait until you taste it! When I made it, we were lucky to have an event to go to that evening. I sliced it, (ate one, well OK, two; one later though, not two at once ) and took it along to answer phones at the WTVI PBS fundraiser.

DSC_0001To make the dough, I used a yeast raised sweet dough from Peter Reinhart’s book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. While this dough isn’t as rich as a brioche, it is much easier to handle.

To make the dough you will need:

  • 6 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, fine
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature (Do not exceed 100°F or it will kill the yeast)

Cream the sugar, salt and butter together using a paddle attachment, add eggs and lemon zest, whip until smooth.

Add the flour, yeast and milk, mix on low-speed until it forms a ball. Be sure to scrape down the bowl as you work, the dough may stick to the bowl, and there may be “forgotten” flour on the very bottom, scrape it all down and mix together.

Either using a dough hook or by hand, knead the dough until it is smooth and not tacky and sticky. If needed, you may need to use a bit of flour or water during this process.

Coat a bowl with a small bit of oil, place the kneaded dough into the bowl, make sure the dough ball is also covered with a light oil coating to prevent sticking. Cover the bowl with plastic and allow to double in size. Usually this can take up to 2 hours or more, depending upon the warmth of your kitchen.

If you oven has a proofing setting, use it. If you have a gas oven, the pilot light is often enough to maintain about 100°F. If you have an electric oven, turn your oven on the lowest setting for 5 minutes, turn it off and it should be good to go. Check it though as you do not want a hot oven, just slightly warm.

Risen dough about to hit the work bench

Risen dough about to hit the work bench

When the dough has doubled, transfer it to a lightly floured counter and roll it out into a rectangle as best you can.

Adding the cinnamon sugar gives you a couple of options. First you can spread soft butter over the dough and then sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the butter OR you can mix the cinnamon sugar with the butter to make a spread.

This is what I did for this roll.

Mix 1/2 cup of cinnamon sugar with 1/3 cup soft butter. Combine until the mixture is uniform. You can also decide to add additional flavors like ground ginger, cardamom or other ground warm spices.

Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough, leaving a slight edge for sealing the roll.

Roll into a log

Roll into a log

Starting with the long edge, roll the dough into a large, long log.

Bring the ends of the log together and form a ring.

Bring the ends together to form a ring

Bring the ends together to form a ring

Note: If you want to pre-cut the ring, do it before it rises.

Place the ring on a parchment lined sheet pan. Brush with egg wash and cover with a well oiled piece of plastic wrap.

Allow to double in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F

Egg wash again and sprinkle the surface with sliced almonds and chopped pistachios and sanding sugar if desired.

Sprinkle the top with almonds and pistachios

Sprinkle the top with almonds and pistachios

Bake the ring in the 350°F oven for 30-45 minutes. The internal temperature of the very center of the thickest part of the ring needs to read at least 190°F or else you will end up with raw dough, which isn’t very pleasant.

If the ring is getting too brown before it is done, cover it with either tin foil or parchment.

Remove the baked ring from the oven, place on a rack and allow to cool. Once cool, make a vanilla glaze by combining confectioners sugar with vanilla extract and a bit of milk to drizzle consistency. Drizzle it over the ring, slice and serve.

This is fantastic with a nice cup or coffee or tea. I like to serve it with fresh berries on the side.

Serving the danish ring

Cranberry Cornmeal Cookies with Lime Glaze

This is an unusual combination with cornmeal, pistachios and cranberries, but it works! These are more of an adult cookie because they really aren’t very sweet, just sweet enough. The touch of pistachio is a nice crunch, the chewy cranberries tart lime glaze create fantastic tastes and textures;  these are addicting!

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To make the cookie, you will need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup organic yellow corn meal (non-GMO if possible!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 ounces room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts
Lime Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Lime juice – start with 1 Tablespoon and add drop by drop after stirring well

Use lime juice as needed to make a drizzle consistency. Add it slowly as it does not take a lot to reach the consistency you want.

To make the cookies:

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, add the butter and sugars, beat until well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each thoroughly before adding the next one. Scrape down the bowl, make sure nothing has been ‘forgotten’ on the bottom of the bowl.

Add the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients next 1/3 at a time. As soon as the dry ingredients have been incorporated, add the dried cranberries and pistachios, stir just enough to combine it all together.

Don’t mix it too much as you want a tender cookie. over-mixing causes them to get tough, not steak tough, but tough for a cookie.

IMG_5398You can chill the dough at this point and bake the cookies off later. the dough keeps very well, freezes well too. or scoop it out and bake the cookies at 350°F for about 12 minutes. The cookies are done when they have a light golden brown edge along the bottom of the cookie. The tops will still be a bit soft, that’s what you want.

Remove the cookies from the oven, allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a rack to finish cooling.

Place the parchment paper from the baking sheet under the rack. It will catch the lime glaze as you drizzle it over the cookies.

Make the glaze and drizzle it over the cookies. Let the glaze dry before storing the cookies.

I like to store these under a glass dome. it keeps them from becoming too soft or too hard and they are quite nice to look at too.

The glistening cranberries, wink of green from the pistachio and the crumble of the cornmeal makes for a real treat.

Cranberry Corn Meal Pistachio Cookies

Cranberry Corn Meal Pistachio Cookies

Try them!

Roasted Tomatoes Provençal

These slow roasted Tomatoes Provençal are a wonderfully delicious way to enjoy the full ripe flavor and natural sweetness.

TomatoesI do this to use up any extra tomatoes we don’t get around to eating fresh. One week both Robert and I brought home an arm load of fantastic heirloom tomatoes from the local farmers market.

Being February when we bought them, I knew they weren’t local but they sure looked and tasted great.

Roasting Cornish Hens for dinner one evening, I decided to also roast some tomatoes.

Here’s how:

Tomatoes Provençal

  • Good quality ripe tomatoes
  • Kosher salt or French Grey Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Herbs d’ Provence
  • Olive oil
  • Pinch of sugar (Optional)

Slice the tomato in half. Slice it across the middle, rather than top to bottom, to expose all the seed pockets.

Gently press out the seeds, catching them in a wire mesh strainer.  Place the cut and seeded tomatoes in the strainer, cut side down. Allow them to drain for about an hour or so.

Reserve any juice and press out any additional juice from the seeds. Set this aside for later.

Use a shallow baking dish. Place the tomatoes cut side up into the dish. Don’t crowd them as we want them to roast and concentrate all around. If they are crowded together, only the outside edge will get thoroughly roasted.

Sprinkle salt, pepper, herbs and sugar is using over the tops of the tomatoes. If you like, you can also add garlic, I chose to leave it out this time.

Seasoned, ready to roast tomatoes

Seasoned, ready to roast tomatoes

Drizzle a light bit of olive oil over the tomatoes and roast them, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for at least an hour and one-half. Keep an eye on them as you do not want a dried up leathery tomato (good sometimes, not here).

When the tomatoes are done roasting, allow them to cool before serving. Their full flavor potential is best at room temperature or slightly above.

Here we served them along side of grilled cheese sandwiches and butternut squash soup.

Lunch!

Lunch!

Be prepared! They will go so fast so be sure to roast more than you need.

If, by chance, you have any left over, you can make great roasted tomato marinade or  roasted tomato vinaigrette or even roasted tomato soup.This afternoon, I am putting some on grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. YUM!

Typically though, you have to roast the tomatoes specifically for these dishes as there never seems to be any left over.

Butternut Squash Soup Sautéed Apples and Rosemary Flowers

I made butternut squash soup in the vita mix for lunch today. Tasty!

Processing the soup for about 8 minutes heats it and leaves quite a delicate texture.

Put the ingredients in a blender, except the cream

Put the ingredients in a blender, except the cream

The texture actually seems to evaporate as it hits your tongue leaving a wonderful rich flavor and aroma behind. It is like eating essence.

Even though it is butternut squash, this elevates simple into the sublime!

1 whole butternut squash, washed

1/2 Granny Smith Apple

1/4 sweet onion

1 teaspoon rosemary needles

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 cup heavy cream

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly pierce the squash with a knife in a couple of places. Place the whole squash on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast the squash for 1-2 hours or until done. You can tell when it is done by piercing the squash with a knife. If it goes in without resistance, the squash is done. Remove from the oven and cool.

Peel and remove the seeds from the center of the squash.

Place the squash, and remaining ingredients except the cream, into the blender and process. Begin on low variable and move up to number 10. The mixture should form 4 mounds inside the work bowl. If you want, thin with chicken stock or water at this point.

Process for 7-8 minutes or until the mixture releases steam.

Blend madly for 7-8 minutes

Blend madly for 7-8 minutes

Add the cream and process for another minute.

In the meantime, dice some of the apple and saute in a very small amount of butter. Using a light hand, sprinkle them with cinnamon and nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Set aside to garnish the soup.

saute the diced apples for garnish

saute the diced apples for garnish

Rosemary Flowers

Rosemary Flowers

Harvest some rosemary flowers, also for garnish and a great flavor burst.

To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls, garnish each with sautéed diced apples and a few rosemary flowers.

Butternut Squash Soup with Sauteed Apples and Rosemary Flowers

Butternut Squash Soup with Sauteed Apples and Rosemary Flowers

Enjoy!

In My Kitchen, March 2013

In My Kitchen this month are many things.

Freshly made croissants

Freshly made croissants

Croissants, Hamentashen, Almond Cakes, so much to give away!

My hairdresser got the croissants (some had lovely chocolate in them),DSC_0043 Hamentashen went to many Jewish friends, IMG_5083Almond cakes went with the TV crew and one got scarfed by us smothered in lovely berries and vanilla yogurt.

There is a Peruvian Blue potato that has  sprouted so I decided to try to grow it. So far, there are at least three areas

Sprouting Blue

Sprouting Blue

“rooting”.  I think these may get grown in a bag, if I can find one, to help with harvesting later.

There is a Vita-Mix in my kitchen this month, to “play with” for school. Also included is the large Whole Foods Cookbook they produce for using the Vita-Mix.

My assignment is to come up with something to use it for next semester when my class is “Global Cuisine”. One thing I have learned is that I really like my food with texture, and I like to chew my food rather than drink it.

Visiting Vita-mix

Visiting Vita-mix

I made a wonderful tasting marinade – Citrus Ginger Marinade – that we really liked the flavor but not the emulsified texture of the marinade,sauce or dressing it could be used as. I’ll play with it for a little while longer to see what else it can do, but so far, while I like a powerful blender, it isn’t something I’d really use that often. Smoothies aren’t really my thing, eventually pureed soups need something more interesting than a smooth texture. My opinion, you may love your Vita-Mix! If so, please comment on how you use it!

Perennial herbs are beginning to show signs of growth as winter wanes.

Emerging Garlic Chives

Emerging Garlic Chives

We only had one good afternoon of snow last Saturday and it was all gone on Sunday. But, the tarragon, chives and rosemary are all showing signs of Spring.

I love eating Rosemary flowers! Right now the plant is bursting with the pale purple flowers.

Rosemary Flowers

Rosemary Flowers

Sage flowers are next and then chive flowers. Gather a bunch of them from your herb garden and pop them onto vegetables, salads or garnish almost any dish with them. The flavors are amazing, be sure to linger over it, notice it and enjoy.

Shout out to Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly In My Kitchen Posts!

There are many more things simmering away in my kitchen so I’d better grab my camera and get busy documenting.

March 2 and it has been snowing all morning. 2 weeks ago we had “thunder snow”. Local weather lore says if you have thunder snow, you will have another snow 10 days to 2 weeks later.

We had thunder snow 2 weeks ago and this morning we have lovely big fluffy flakes that have been falling all morning. The ground is far too warm for anything to stick so it is really nice to watch.

IMG_5103

Butternut Squash Soup and Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches for lunch.

Spring is near!

And that is what is happening in my kitchen this month.