Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Traditional English Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

For those that don't know, a "traditional British pudding" is a dessert that is cooked by steaming. It's more cake or pie-like than it is like typical American-style pudding. Esther also added a very interesting ingredient challenge, suet, a solid fat that comes from cows.

I wasn't quite up to using the suet as-is, since I didn't know the good parts from the bad, so I heated it until the fat liquefied then I strained it through cheesecloth. Below you can see the suet raw, after straining, and once it's had a chance to harden back up.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by how beef-ish my house smelled afterwards.

OK, so far, so good. I decided to mix the suet crust in the food processor. Here you can see pre- and post-processing (say that three times fast).

I lined my Pyrex blow with the crust and added apples mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice to the brim.

I have to admit I had my doubts when I noticed my crust tasted ever so slightly beefy.

Oops, didn't have quite enough crust left to cover the top properly. But, since the top would eventually become the bottom, I didn't sweat it.

I sprinkled the top with sugar and a little bit of Lyle's Golden Syrup.

It was at this point that I sadly realized that this particular "pudding" isn't actually steamed. It's baked. D'oh! Looks like I'm only only half finished with this challenge. But anyway, here's the pudding after baking and unmolding.

Isn't it pretty? It was delish too. The pastry was pleasingly flaky and crumbly, and didn't taste like beef after all. It was very good with apples. I would definitely try this again.

I chose to made the Toffee Apple Pudding from The Pudding Club website (recipe is---> HERE.)
OK, that's all folks. Thanks so much, Esther! I really enjoyed trying this most interesting dessert.

TWD: Chockablock Cookies

Dear Reader,

I'm sorry I haven't had any witty observations about life to share with you lately.

I'm sorry I don't have any progress photos that entice you to run into the kitchen (right now!) and bake these.

I'm sorry I don't have any heart-warming stories about how these cookies remind me of my grandma.

All I have is cookies, chockablock full of chunky, chewy add-ins...

... like dried figs, sliced almonds, chocolate chips, and oatmeal.

Every time I ate one, I thought about how I like chocolate chip cookies better. Somehow, though, that thought didn't stop me from eating about 20 of them.

Hmmmm... now I'm not so sure.

Sorry readers. Life has been busy. Focus has been elsewhere. But I'm still here, waiting for that full-on blogging urge to hit.

Thanks so much to Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet for choosing these make-them-your-own cookies for this week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe. If you'd like to see the recipe, please visit Mary's blog or find yourself a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking, From my Home to Yours".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TWD: Sweet Cream Biscuits

Melissa of Love At First Bite chose Sweet Cream Biscuits for this week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I am thrilled to report that I finally got light, fluffy biscuits. First time ever! The only downside was that they were a little crumbly. With all the talk about not over-working the dough, I suspect I might have been too easy on the dough (hard to believe, I know).

Never mind, though. Next time I make these, they'll have a healthy dose of these:

and some of this:

Yepper, there WILL be a next time.

If you'd like to see the recipe, please visit Melissa's blog. Or you can get your hands on a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, from My Home to Yours".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

TWD: Swedish Visiting Cake

This week was a mini-cake double header for me, since we were out of town on spring break last week (more on that later). This week's official cake was Swedish Visiting Cake, chosen by Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs. I also made last week's cake, Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake, brought to us by Erin of When in Doubt…Leave it at 350.

In a word, I thought they were both terrific cakes, and if I had to pick a favorite? Well, it's kind of like asking me whether I liked Sammy Hagar's version of Van Halen better or David Lee Roth's. My answer would be, whichever one I was listening to at the time. Whichever one of these cakes I was noshing on right then, that one was my favorite.

I made the Swedish Visiting Cake as written in the book.

I did change up the Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake since I'm not a fan of either coffee or walnuts. Mine was coffee and espresso-less and I used ground almonds in place of the walnuts.

My youngest, who is notoriously picky, really liked the bundt cake too. I made two minis from a quarter of the recipe and he ate 1 1/2 of them.

I'm going to try to get a few pictures of our trip to Washington D.C. and surrounding area up in the morning, but for now, mom needs some sleep.

If you'd like to see either recipe, please visit Nancy or Erin's blog. Or you can get your hands on a copy of Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, from My Home to Yours".