Sunday, November 28, 2010
Just Desserts (and bread too!)
Yeah...yesterday got a little crazily project-oriented! Anyway, so this post will include the Thanksgiving desserts and my first attempt at baking bread. I think I'm addicted to bread baking - it was so much fun once I got past the freak out of "will the yeast work?" "is that frothy enough to add the flour?" and of course the hysterically happy dance of "THE BREAD IS RISING!" My husband was very entertained.
Parker House Rolls
- 1 1/4 ounce packet of active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 7 - 8 cups all purpose flour
- 12 tbsp. melted butter
- 2 cups whole milk (at room temperature)
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
1. Measure out 1/2 cup warm water and check the temperature. It needs to be between 110 and 120 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast into a large bowl, add the warm water and whisk in the sugar. Let it sit for one minute (let it bubble and froth slightly), then gently stir in 1 cup flour. Set aside in a warm place while you prepare the dough.
2. Mix the melted butter and milk in a mixer with the hook attachment on low speed. Add the eggs and mix until just blended. Scrape in the yeast mixture and mix until incorporated. Add 6 and 1/2 cups of flour and 1 tbsp. salt. Mix until the dough forms a ball around the dough hook (2-3 minutes), adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough seems to wet and sticky.
3. Brush a large bowl with softened butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place (I set it next to the stove on the counter while I made the rest of the Thanksgiving dishes) for about 2 and a half hours. The dough should double in volume. This photo is of the dough pre-rise...and I got so excited when it actually rose and doubled in size that I forgot to take a photo of it risen...oops!
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Dust a clean flat surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Flour your hands and gently press the dough into a 16 x 8 inch rectangle, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick...do NOT use a rolling pin!
5. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then slice it crosswise in 12 strips. One at a time, fold each strip of dough unevenly in half so the top part slightly overlaps the bottom half - then tuck the overhang underneath. Place the rolls seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet in tightly packed rows.
6. Bake until the rolls are bursting at the seams and golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with softened butter, then sprinkle with salt and serve while hot.
The bread was delicious - tender, buttery and flaky. We ended up wrapping up one of the loaves and freezing it for later and used half a loaf to make fabulous french toast the next morning - yum!
Next up are desserts! I made Fresh Lemon Mousse and the only think I would change is leaving out the lemon zest. The lemon flavor was perfect without the zest and all it seemed to do was mess up the otherwise smooth creamy texture of the mousse. Of course I also made a pumpkin pie which turned out to be yummy too...love desserts!
Ina Garten's Fresh Lemon Mousse
- 3 large whole eggs
- 3 large separated eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated white sugar
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest (optional)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup bottled lemon curd (at room temperature)
1. In a large heat-proof bowl (I used glass), whisk together the 3 whole eggs, 1 cup sugar, lemon zest (if using), lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook - stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 10-12 minutes. Once it starts to thicken, switch over to a whisk and keep stirring until it is thick like pudding. Remove it from the heat and set aside to cool, then cover it with plastic wrap, being sure to press the wrap down right onto the surface of the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
2. Pour the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer filled with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed and add the remaining 2 tbsp. sugar, continuing to beat until the whites are stiff and shiny. Carefully fold the beaten whites into the cold lemon mixture with a rubber spatula - be gentle!
3. Next you want to whip the cream - pour the cup of heavy cream into a bowl and whip on high speed until it forms stiff peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the lemon mixture - once it is incorporated, add the lemon curd. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Spoon into dishes and top with fresh whipped cream!
And of course what kind of Thanksgiving would it be without the quintessential Pumpkin Pie? I used my standard crust recipe that I've posted previously on this blog, but the filling was a new recipe. We loved it - it seemed to be a great balance between the pumpkin and spices.
- 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin
- 3/4 packed dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1. Pre-bake the crust at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until the crust is completely golden. Transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely before adding the filling.
2. Whisk the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, half-and-half, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves together in a bowl.
3. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until the edges are set but the center quivers (about an hour), then cool completely on a rack and serve with whipped cream.