Irish Leek & Cheddar Tart

March 9, 2014

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There’s more than one day to a weekend. At least that’s what I’ve been told, even though it often feels like the weekend only spans a couple of hours, whereas the work week seems to go on for a bit shy of eternity. Well yesterday, I gave you a great brunch recipe for that Caramel Apple & Irish Whiskey Clafoutis, but I’ve got another great one all lined up for today and since the weekend seems to still be lingering around a bit, maybe you could jump on into the kitchen and whip up this Irish Leek & Cheddar Tart.

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Though this delicious tart should not be relegated to the breakfast/brunch time slot by any means. Truth be told though, we’ve added a simple green salad and eaten this tart for lunch or dinner just as many times as it has appeared in the morning. We are big leek fans around here and will gobble them up in no time flat even when they are just simply sautéed in butter, but once you add some stout beer, nutmeg, and thyme into the mix. Look out!

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The stout adds a real depth of flavour to those leeks. And the sharp Irish cheddar perfectly completed the dish, turning a tart with very simple ingredients into an indulgent delight. Categorize this recipe under “eat anytime” and often!

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Irish Leek & Cheddar Tart

recipe adapted from: Wee Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of Perfect Flaky Pie Crust recipe (recipe found below…or use store-bought if pressed for time)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. leeks, white and pale green parts, washed and chopped
  • 4 oz. ( 1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup Guinness or Murphy’s Stout beer
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 1/2 ounces mature Irish Cheddar Cheese ( I used Kerrygold)

Directions:

Make batch of shortcrust pastry, or open box if using store-bought. Roll out shortcrust pastry on lightly floured work surface. Line 9″ tart pan with the dough. Cover the dough with a piece of aluminum foil and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place dough-lined pan on a baking sheet with aluminum foil in place. Fill foil with beans or pie weights. Bake dough for 20 minutes, or until dough is beginning to turn golden.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In large saucepan melt the butter. Add the leeks and cook until tender, about 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir the flour into the leeks and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Add the stout beer, stirring continuously until combined. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme. Let mixture simmer until beer is reduced and a thick sauce remains. Remove from heat and set aside.

In bowl, whisk milk and egg together.

Set tart pan on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle half of grated cheddar over the pastry dough. Add the leek mixture and top with remaining cheddar cheese. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the tart pan over the leek/cheese filling. Return tart pan to oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until filling is puffed and golden brown.

Perfect Flaky Pie Crust

Originally adapted from: Inspired Taste but also appears in my Mushroom, Onion & Thyme Galette

Ingredients:

(this recipe makes dough for two pie crusts – you will only need 1 for this tart recipe)

  • 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water

Directions:

This recipe will make enough dough for two pie crusts. You will only need one for this tart recipe. You can either half the recipe or go ahead and make the whole thing and freeze half so you’ll be ahead of the game next time you need shortcrust pastry.

Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).

Enjoy!


Caramel Apple & Irish Whiskey Clafoutis

March 8, 2014

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Have mercy! Is it the weekend yet? I’ve got just the perfect weekend lazing around and drinking early brunch dish for you. A Caramel Apple & Irish Whiskey Clafoutis! Wowzers right?!! A clafoutis is a french dessert that consists of baked fruit (usually cherries) in a flan like batter. I found this wonderful whiskey splashed Irish twist on that classic French dish over at Edible Ireland  (love that site! – great recipes, beautiful photography – what more could you want)and just couldn’t wait to make it. (as if the weekend could mosey on up any slower…)

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Now I know of few of you folks out there are probably smirking and thinking “Yeah, so much for her lazy weekend if she was making some sort of French thing, which you just know has to be time-consuming, complicated and annoying!” Oh I am so happy to say that you would be wrong. This dish, impressive – yet rustic – as it looks was quite easy to make and delicious to boot!

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But if you’re still being a doubter, perhaps you would perk up a bit knowing that you can make the apple caramel mixture up the night before. That way when the weekend arrives, you won’t have to spend one more extra precious moment than necessary “slaving away” in the kitchen. You just heat the apples up, mix up the batter, add the apples in and pop it into the oven . Easy peasy. Then you can just sit around sipping your mimosa (or Buck’s Fizz). Before you know it that decadent brunch treat will be ready and your weekend will be off to a fantastic whiskey-caramel-apple-y start!

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Caramel Apple & Irish Whiskey Clafoutis

recipe from: Edible Ireland

Ingredients:

for the batter:

  • 80 g (2/3 cup) flour
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder (optional – but it will keep the clafoutis from sinking as quickly when removed from the oven)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100 g (6 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

for the apples:

  • 30 g (2 tablespoons) butter
  • 4 crisp eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 60 g (1/3 cup) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey*

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Butter a 25 cm (10 inch) pie plate or cast iron skillet or large individual ramekins.

To make the caramel apples, melt a knob of butter in a large pan over a medium-high heat. When it’s sizzling, reduce the heat to medium and tip in the apples, sugar and cinnamon, stirring to coat the apples in the butter and sugar. Cook the apples for about 5 minutes, until they have softened and the sugar has turned syrupy. Keep warm.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, melted butter, milk and vanilla. Pour half of the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking until it looks like a paste, then add in the rest of the liquid, whisking until the batter is smooth and well blended. (Alternatively, you could just place all the batter ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.)

Place the pie plate or skillet on a baking sheet to catch any drips when the clafoutis is cooking in the oven. Pour in the batter, then using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to the plate or skillet, leaving as much of the caramel sauce in the pan as you can and making sure the apples are evenly distributed. Bake the clafoutis in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the clafoutis is puffed up and golden brown and the centre is set.

About 5 minutes before the clafoutis is done, reheat the caramel in the pan to loosen it again, then stir in the whiskey and allow to cook for 1 or 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Serve the clafoutis warm with the caramel whiskey sauce drizzled over.

*If you’ve had a “whiskey incident” and know you couldn’t smell, much less taste whiskey first thing in the morning, switch it out for some brandy or calvados.

** This is also a great dessert recipe. Just imagine serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with that caramel whiskey sauce. Yum!

Enjoy!

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Scotch Egg Pie

January 24, 2014

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So I can’t believe it, but apparently it’s the New Year! And quite a few days into it I must admit. Hmmm….I seem to have been a very neglectful blogger. In my defense, I have had quite a bit going on around here recently, you know, the usual Thanksgiving/ Christmas hysteria, but I also had several vacations, a family health scare and a small house fire…I will tell you all about those things a bit later, I promise. But enough excuses. Let me start anew by saying “Happy New Year” to all you folks out there on the “interwebs”. I would go on to tell you some nonsense about how I had made a resolution to blog faithfully every Tuesday and Thursday, but I think we all know that would be quite optimistic, bordering on delusional. Life just has a way of making a mess of those types of declarations, so I think I won’t bother. I’ll just get back into the swing of things with this great recipe for Scotch Egg Pie,  just in time for the upcoming Robert Burns Night celebrations on January 25th!

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Throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, folks will be celebrating with a Burns Night Supper to mark the occasion. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. I’m quite a Burns fan myself and will certainly be raising my glass to The Bard this weekend. I have given you some great Scottish recipes in the past in case you might be planning a Burn’s Night Supper of you own. Last year it was Cock-a-leekie soup

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which I served with delicious, crusty Struan. Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly.

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The year before it was Deviled Scotch Eggs.

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And I had also previously given you the traditional Scotch Egg recipe. If you don’t know what Scotch Eggs are, believe me it is time that you find out! Basically it is  a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage and then deep-fried. Good Lord Have Mercy!

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Now, the Scotch Egg Pie we’re about to discuss was not deep-fried, it was baked. But I just knew from the get-go that it was going to be amazing! I mean how could it not be with the list of ingredients it was sporting…spicy sausage, hard-boiled eggs all wrapped up in a buttery flaky pie crust?!! My husband could hardly contain himself when I teased him with a description of the culinary creation which would soon be arriving on his dinner plate! I think I’ve mentioned before that he absolutely loves any sort of meat pie, pasty, empanadas, etc. He also seems to really have an egg thing. He never tires of them, any and every way you fix them. Now this Scotch Egg Pie checked all of the boxes for him. He knew it would be awesome. And I am happy to say it did meet, if not exceed his expectations. Just delicious!

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I found this recipe on BBC Good Food. The original version called for Lincolnshire sausages. Lincolnshire sausages are a type of pork sausage that is associated with the English county of Lincolnshire. These sausages have more sage spice than the usual peppery or thyme flavours you might find in sausages which hale from other locales. Furthermore, they are coarsely ground rather than minced which gives them a much more chunky texture. Well, I couldn’t find any authentic Lincolnshire sausages here in good old Virginia, but believe you me, there was no scarcity of coarsely ground pork sausage around here, so I just made do. And while I was at it, I bought some really hot spicy sausage, because we definitely like a bit of heat! Red pepper flakes, habañero sauce, jalapeños, or Sriracha…bring it on! I did customize the sausage mixture a bit further as well with the addition of some Worcestershire sauce and parmesan cheese. Oh and I used my favourite short crust pastry recipe which creates the most buttery flaky pie crust imaginable. I’m telling you it is the pie crust of your dreams, is really easy to make and has vodka in it! (Always a welcome addition in my opinion). I suppose just grabbing a box of premade pie crust of the supermarket shelf is easier, but if you do have the time, I highly recommend you try this particular recipe. If you are anything like me, this will be your go-to pie crust recipe from that point on!

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Although I served my Scotch Egg Pie with a lovely green salad and a pint or two… for a casual, simple dinner, I’ve been told that Scotch Egg Pie is normally seen as more of a picnic food than sit down dinner entrée. Indeed I can see how it would be fantastic for a picnic in that it is easy to eat with your fingers, though perhaps a bit messy and tastes equally good at room temperature or piping hot from the oven. It would be great for breakfast, brunch or in a packed lunch as well. And I think it would be a well received addition to any Burns Night Supper. I hope I’ve managed to inspire you with these lovely Scottish dishes. If so, whip some of them up and raise a wee dram and drink a toast to Scotland’s Favourite Son this Saturday.

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Scotch Egg Pie

recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 lbs. sausage
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme, leaves only
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 grams panko
  • 1 batch of short crust pastry (recipe below) or 500 grams of store-bought pie pastry
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

If you are planning to make your own short crust, remember that it will need to chill 1 hour in the fridge before you plan to roll it out into the pan. You can make the pastry the day before if you are a super-organized, type A planner or if you are pretty laid back and usually just wing-it, start production on this recipe at whatever time a bit earlier than usual would be for you. If you are using store-bought pastry, move on to the next step.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 8″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Or, if you don’t have a springform, just use a regular 8″ round cake tin. Criss-cross two long strips of baking parchment in the tin to aid you when you are ready to lift out the pie.

Place 6 of the eggs in a large saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let the eggs stand in pan for 5 minutes, then run cold water into the pan to cool eggs. Peel when cool enough to handle.

Place the sausage in a large mixing bowl. Add the nutmeg, thyme, 75 grams of the panko ( a heaping cup), 1 egg, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan, pepper, salt and mix well. Set aside.

Roll out half of the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Line the baking tin. Scatter the remaining Panko over the base of the pastry.

Pat about one-quarter of the sausage mixture into the bottom of the tin. Arrange the peeled eggs on top, spacing them evenly. Gently pack the remaining sausage mixture around and over the eggs.

Roll out the remaining pastry dough and cover the pie, crimping the edges. Cut a steam hole in the top of the pastry. Beat the remaining egg lightly. Glaze the top of the pastry dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place tin on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour or until the pork registers 160° F.

Remove pie from the oven and lift it from the tin, or remove the sides if using a springform pan. Place the pie back on the cookie sheet and return it to the oven for 10 minutes or so to brown the sides. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!

Perfect Flaky Pie Crust

Originally adapted from: Inspired Taste

Ingredients:

(this recipe makes dough for two pie crusts)

  • 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water

Directions:

This recipe will make enough dough for two pie crusts. You will need both for this Scotch Egg Pie.

Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).


Herbed Chickpea Frittata

April 10, 2012

So while you are still thinking about eggs after Easter, I thought I’d share a recipe for Herbed Chickpea Frittata. What an absolutely perfect Spring dish! It is chock full of a ton of fresh herbs which give it it’s lovely spring-green colour. And I must say, in this house, chickpeas get top billing. We love those little guys! So when I saw a recipe for Herbed Chickpea Frittata, I just knew I had to make it.

I did alter a couple of things from the recipe which inspired me. I did not add any mint into the mixture, having none on hand. And I added feta cheese sprinkled liberally over the top of the frittata. The Mess in the Kitchen blog also recommended serving it with fresh squeezed lemon juice, which I’m sure would be lovely and go along fantastically with the whole Spring feel of the dish. We actually served it up with some Tzatziki sauce, which was also quite tasty.

The dish is very easy to prepare, comes together quickly and tastes wonderfully fresh with all of those chopped herbs. I thinks you can even feel somewhat virtuous about eating something which must be healthy. I mean, just look at all those herbs! If you want to just take it over the top healthy, to make up for all of that Easter candy you’ve been eating, serve it for brunch with a green salad. Healthy and delicious! Try it today!

Herbed Chickpea Frittata

recipe adapted from: Mess in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 500 g canned chickpeas
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 20 g cilantro
  • 2o g parsley
  • 60 g chives
  • 10 g dill
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • two pinches saffron
  • 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 8 eggs
  • salt (about 1 tsp)
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, roasted
  • 1/2 Cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • tzatziki sauce for serving if desired

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Rinse Chickpeas and set aside.

Roast pine nuts until golden and set aside.

Chop all the herbs and put them in a food processor with eggs, onion, garlic and chickpeas.

Pulse until everything is well combined but not totally pureed.

Add the other ingredients and pulse.

Line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper.

Pour the frittata batter into your pan. Sprinkle Feta Cheese evenly over the top.

Place fritatta on a baking sheet and insert it  into the oven. Bake it for about 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!


Deviled Scotch Eggs

January 23, 2012

O thou! whatever title suit thee,–

Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie!
Wha in yon cavern, grim an’ sootie,
Clos’d under hatches, 
Spairges about the brunstane cootie
To scaud poor wretches!

*Spairges:to bespatter by flinging/Brunstane cootie:BrimstoneBowl

Robert Burns “Address to the Devil”

That’s Right! Robbie Burns Night is coming up soon. Traditionally, Burns Night celebrations are held near the poet’s birthday, January 25th. It was through a post about a Robbie Burns Night last year that I first learned about Scotch Eggs. Having never encountered one before, I nearly couldn’t go on until I made them. I think I instantly fell in love. Are you kidding me, a hard-boiled egg, enrobed in sausage, rolled in Panko and deep-fried?!! Be still my heart!

So this year I decided to step it up a bit and make Deviled Scotch Eggs. (Hence I thought an excerpt from the Burns poem “Address to the Devil” appropriate – if you haven’t read this poem before, it’s pretty amusing, if you can manage to get past his Scots dialect. I provided some translations.) Basically, I made the Deep Fried Scotch Eggs that I did last year, but then I cut them in half, took out the yolks, deviled them and stuck them back in and sprinkled them with paprika. I wanted to sprinkle them with bacon bits, but I didn’t have any on hand. Oh dear Lord! What has gotten into me? These Deviled Scotch Eggs are awesome.! I will say, if you’re feeling a bit more healthy, Edible Ireland has some awesome Oven Baked Scotch Eggs, you might want to check out. If you’re interested in the history and origins of the Eggs, check out my Scotch Eggs blog from last February. This year I served them along with a salad, fresh fruit, and of course, chips.

I mean I already had the deep-fryer fired up. How could I not throw a few potatoes in? I think I might just feel my arteries clogging as I type. But really folks, sometimes you just need to let go and enjoy some awesomely bad for you comfort food and my Deviled Scotch Eggs are just what you need! (if not what the doctor ordered :) )

Deviled Scotch Eggs

yield: 12 Deviled Scotch Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. bulk sausage-we prefer “hot” but  country-style or herbed would work just fine.
  • 6 hard-boiled large eggs-shells removed
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 raw eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 Cup Panko
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying

For the Deviling Process:

  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Coleman’s English Mustard
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • paprika and crumbled bacon to garnish

Directions:

For the Scotch Eggs:

Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer to 365° F.

Cover counter top with large sheet of waxed paper.

Divide the sausage into six equal portions.

Flatten the sausage into thin circles.

Place an egg in the center of each round. Enclose each egg completely in the sausage.

Dredge the sausage-coated eggs in flour, dip them in the raw egg and then roll them in the Panko until they are entirely coated.

Fry Scotch Eggs two at a time for 10 minutes.

Transfer to paper towels and allow to cool to touch.

To Devil them:

Halve the Scotch Eggs lengthwise and remove the yolks.

Mash the yolks with a fork and then place them in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and mix until smooth.

Using a pastry bag or sandwich bag with an end snipped off, pipe the yolk mixture back into the Scotch Eggs.

Garnish with paprika and bacon crumbles.

Enjoy!


Harvest Apple French Toast

October 24, 2011

I’m happy to say the Fall weather held through the weekend around here! We went for a great hike on Saturday in a local park. The temperature was great (could’ve been a bit cooler…) and the changing leaves were gorgeous. On Sunday morning I decided to make some French Toast with a bit of the Harvest Apple Challah bread that I had made earlier in the week. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision mind you. I had thought about it shortly after I had my first bite of that fantastic bread. I knew if I didn’t squirrel a couple pieces away for French Toast, there would be none left. So I acted quickly before we gobbled it all up!

Having that secret stash of bread was brilliant, just like this french toast turned out to be! All French toast is pretty great in my opinion, but the Apple Challah bread made this French toast particularly stunning. The recipe below is a basic french toast recipe with a little nutmeg thrown in as well as some “maple sugar”, to give it a nice fall, mapley taste. Maple Sugar is a sugar prepared from the sap of the sugar maple tree. It is sweeter than granulated sugar, so a little goes a long way. I found mine with all the other sugars in my local grocery store. It’s a bit pricey, but I really like it. It would be fine to substitute in granulated sugar and rely on Maple Syrup to provide the maple flavour. To each his own.

So, to sum it up, I guess I’m saying that you really should whip up some of that Harvest Apple Challah bread, if only to have it for the Harvest Apple French Toast. But if your family is anything like mine, you better think ahead and hide some before it’s gone. To let you in on a little secret… I have a bit more stashed away and will be making some Harvest Apple Bread Puddings soon. Stay tuned and in the meantime, enjoy the Harvest Apple French Toast!

Harvest Apple French Toast

yield: 2 pieces of French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick slices of Harvest Apple Challah Bread (for recipe click here)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple sugar (or granulated sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Directions:

Place milk, egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and maple sugar in bowl. Whisk until well combined. Place Harvest Apple Challah slices in bowl and allow bread to soak up some liquid on one side and then flip bread over.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in frying pan over medium heat. Place soaked bread slices in pan and cook, flipping as necessary, until both sides are golden brown.

Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Enjoy!


Harvest Apple Challah

October 5, 2011

This past weekend really felt like Fall! I can not tell you how thrilled I am!!! That goes double for Gimlet. He pranced the entirety of our walk and I was prancing right along with him! (a sight to see, I assure you) Yeah, we did get a bit of rain, a guess quite a bit of rain, over saturday and sunday. That just didn’t matter to me. The air was crisp and even though it was raining that horrible muggy oppressive air had moved on. As much as I loathe summers in Virginia, (and this one particularly sucked what with the Hades-like heat and humidity, hurricanes and earthquakes and all manner of bad news), I LOVE Fall! I love the nip in the air and the smell of wood fires, I love the colour change in the leaves, I love the holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving) and I love the food… Think maple syrup, gingerbread, a plethora of pumpkin dishes, chilli, pot pies, stews and maybe best of all fresh apples. That’s right, we are heading into apple season and my favourite fruit is…you guessed it… apples! Yippee…I think it’s finally here! What better way to celebrate than with some yummy Harvest Apple Challah.

This Challah is very easy to make. I used to be afraid of any recipe that included yeast. But I’m way over that now. The only problem I have with the whole yeast bread preparation is getting the dough to rise in the amount of time indicated in the recipe. We like to keep it fairly chilly in the house, so all of my yeasty baked goods seem to take double the time to proof that the recipes actually call for. Luckily, I’ve figured that out and just plan for it to take longer than indicated. Patience is a virtue I’ve been told. After you let the dough rise until doubled in size, you roll it out into a rectangle. Add half of the apples which you have cored, but not peeled

Cored Honey Crisp Apples

and tossed with cinnamon a sugar.

Cinnamon and sugar coated apples

Fold the dough over the apples once – like you would a letter -

Getting ready to make the first fold

adding more apples and then folding it over again.

Folded apple stuffed dough

Then you cut the apple filled dough the long way, down the center and then across which forms little apple filled dough bits.

Messy!

Yup…this is messy as you can see, but as those apple bits fall out, just toss them into your prepared springform pan. No worries!. Once the pan is filled, you cover and let that dough rise again for about an hour.

In the pan and ready to rise for a second time

I know, that is a lot of rising time. You’d have to get up pretty early in the morning if you wanted to serve this for breakfast. Maybe you should adjust your plans and aim to serve it for afternoon tea.

Apple Challah - Hot out of the oven! YUM!!!

Or serve it for breakfast the next day, it is very tasty reheated ( or cold in the middle of the night for that matter…not that I’d know anything about that…)

Remember that thing I said about patience. Believe me, this bread was worth the wait! I couldn’t believe I had actually made this it was so perfect. Full of red, ripe, cinnamon coated honey crisp apples and drizzled alluringly with honey, (if you should choose to do so… go on, you know you want to!), every bite is a little taste of the long-awaited perfect Fall season.

Harvest Apple Challah

recipe adapted from Janae Monir blog who adapted it from the King Arthur Flour site (I love King Arthur flour! It is the only kind I will use!)

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt

For the apples:

  • 2 medium-to-large apples, NOT peeled; cored and diced in ¾” chunks
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

For the glaze:

  • heavy whipping cream
  • demerara sugar to sprinkle over the top

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or other bowl), mix the water and honey together until honey dissolves.  Sprinkle on the yeast and lightly mix.  Let stand 10-15 minutes until slightly foamy and activated .

Add the rest of the dough ingredients to the yeast mixture and mix with the paddle attachment (or by hand) until the mixture just comes together.  Replace paddle attachment with dough hook and knead the mixture until a cohesive dough forms.  If you’re not using a stand mixer, you can knead it by hand.  The dough should be smooth. Form the dough into a ball in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise about 2 hours, until doubled and puffy.

Toward the end of the rising time, coat a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray.  Coat a piece of foil with cooking spray and wrap it around the outside bottom and sides of the pan. So that the juices don’t leak out.

Core and slice the apples into ¾” pieces.  (Do not peel them.)  Toss apples with cinnamon and sugar.  Set aside.

When dough is ready, gently deflate, transfer to a lightly greased surface, and flatten into a rough rectangle, about 8×10″, with the short side facing you.  Place half of the apples down the center of the dough, and fold the left side over the apples, sealing the edges.  Place the rest of the apples on top and to the side of the folded over dough.  Fold the remaining half of the dough over the apples (like folding a letter) and seal the edges.  Now, the messy part: using a knife or bench scraper, cut the dough in half the long way.  Then, cut the dough crosswise eight times, resulting in 16 pieces.  Don’t worry about the pieces being the same size or keeping it neat.

Squeeze the dough pieces into the pan in a single layer.  You don’t have to put them in any sort of pattern or design; place some in sideways or flat or on their sides, and jumble it all up; it doesn’t matter.  Apple chunks will fall out, just put them on top.  Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise again about 1 hour, until puffy and about 2″ high.  Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 325º.

When ready, brush the heavy cream over the surface of the bread.  Sprinkle demerara sugar (coarse sugar) over the top to give it an extra sweet crunch.  Bake bread about 55 minutes, or until bread reaches an internal temperature of 190º F.  Remove from oven, let sit 5 minutes, then carefully remove from pan.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, preferably drizzled with honey.

Happy Fall!


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