Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pain au Raisin

So unbelievably good. This version from my pro baking class is made with brioche dough.

Brioche dough always needs to slow rise for twelve hours in the refrigerator, so plan on making the dough the night before.

One recipe brioche
pastry cream
3/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. brandy or rum


In a Kitchen Aid bowl, combine:
1 T. dry yeast (not rapid rise)
1/2 c. warm water

Let rest for 5 minutes.

3 1/2 c. AP flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
5 eggs

Mix on low for ten minutes...

...until smooth, and mix in 8 oz. butter until fully combined.
Put the very sticky brioche dough in a ziplock plastic bag. Place in the refrigerator to rise for about 12 hours.

After rising the dough for twelve hours, squeeze the dough out onto a floured work space. Gently flour the outside of the dough, being very careful not to knead additional flour into the dough.

Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make pastry cream (can be made the day before).

1/3 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 c. milk
2 t. vanilla extract

Combine cornstarch, sugar, yolks, and salt in a bowl.

Heat the milk in a small non-reactive sauce pan to just below a simmer. Temper (slowly add the hot milk so as not to cook the eggs) the hot milk into the cornstarch mixture until smooth. Add the mixture back to the sauce pan. Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat, then add the vanilla. Strain and cool.

Soak the raisins in brandy or in 1/2 c. hot water.

Roll the brioche dough out to an approximate 12x15 rectangle.

Spread the pastry cream evenly over dough.

Sprinkle the brandy-soaked raisins evenly over pastry cream.

Roll the dough from the widest end.

Cut the dough cylinder crosswise into 8-10 pieces (depending on how large you want your pan aux raisins). Arrange on a parchment-lined sheet pan.

Let the pan aux raisins proof for an additional hour, then bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes. Check the pain aux raisins at the 10 minute point, and if they are not browning at all, increase the baking temperature to 350 and decrease the cooking time by 5 minutes.

Cool and serve room temperature.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Short Rib Tinga

This dish can be served in many different styles. The short ribs can be cut into large pieces and plated with a starch such as rice, mashed potatoes, or polenta, or served in the braising pot family style. They can also be shredded and served in a taco, burrito or enchilada (for enchiladas, remove and shred the meat for the filling, use the sauce on top, and garnish with cotija cheese).

4 lbs. boneless short ribs
3 dried chipolte chilis, stems and seeds removed
5 dried pasilla chilis, stems and seeds removed
1 t. cumin seeds
1 t. dried Mexican oregano
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 c. cider or white vinegar
2 T. vegetable oil
3 white onions, diced
2 quarts water

Remove seeds and stems from chilis.

Heat a saute pan for 30 seconds. Add the chilis and cumin and heat for 1 minute. Add the oregano, tomatoes, garlic and enough water to cover the chilis (about 1 1/2cups)...

...and simmer for 30 minutes.

Spoon chili mixture into a blender with the 1/3 cup vinegar.

Blend smooth and set aside.

In a large dutch oven, saute the onions in oil until translucent and brown. Season the short ribs with salt and brown slightly with the onions as well.

Pour in the chili mixture and add about two quarts water.

Simmer the tinga for 5 hours on low heat, adjusting the liquid (water) if necessary. Periodically stir the bottom to prevent burning. However, don't over-stir.

5 hours later...

Season to taste with salt.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! Old School Turkey Stuffing

Traditional bread stuffing two ways: Inside the turkey or outside the turkey

This recipe will stuff a 14-16 lb. turkey. If your turkey is smaller, just bake the leftover stuffing in a 9x13 oven-proof dish.

8 c. cubed bread: egg(challah), white, sour dough, corn bread. My all time favorite is half corn bread, half egg bread. Don't bother cutting the corn bread into cubes, just crumble it.
6 oz. butter (if you are stuffing the turkey), 8 oz. if the stuffing will be baked separately
1 small bunch celery, diced, leaves included, about 1 1/2 c.
1 large onion, diced
2 T. fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme & sage
2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper

To make the stuffing:

Toast the bread at 300 degrees for 40 minutes.

While the bread is toasting, sweat the onions and celery in the butter on low.

After 30 minutes, add the herbs.

Always remove the leaves from herbs and discard the stems.

Mince the herbs. If you have extra, combine with salt and pepper and use as a turkey spice rub.

Add the soft celery and onions into cubed, toasted bread and season with salt and pepper.

If you are stuffing the turkey, press the loose stuffing in the front neck cavity as well as the middle of the turkey. Don't stuff the turkey the night before (this is a food safety issue). You can make the stuffing the day before and keep in the refrigerator.

If you are baking the stuffing separately you will need to add:

2 eggs, lightly mixed
2 c. chicken or vegetable stock

Bake in a buttered, oven-proof dish in which you will serve the stuffing. Cover the stuffing with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue to bake for 20 more minutes.

Additions that I think go well with this traditional stuffing:

1 1/2 c. fresh chestnuts, roasted, shelled, and chopped
1 c. toasted pecans, cut into large pieces
2 c. sliced and sauteed mushrooms: button, crimini, chanterelle
1 1/2 c. diced apples

Friday, November 4, 2011

Orange and Date Salad with Feta Cheese

6 c. mixed greens, washed and dried
3 navel or cara cara oranges
1 c. pitted dates, sliced into strips
4 oz. feta cheese (or soft goat)
3/4 c. pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped

2 shallots finely diced (about 3 T.)
1/4 c. white wine, red wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
1/8 t. orange flower water (opt.)
salt and pepper to taste

Soak shallots in vinegar for 10 minutes. Add the oil, orange flower water, and salt and pepper (expect to add at least 1/2 teaspoon of salt).

To prepare the orange, peel it with a knife, then cut it in half length-wise. Next, with cut side down, slice into quarter inch half moons.

I have both navel and cara cara pictured here (too early for cara caras right now).

You can pre-cut the oranges and dates an hour before, but...

...don't toss with the greens, nuts and cheese until just before serving.