This Week’s Baking Project was Gougeres – a cheesy version of Pate Choux. In this version the Pate Choux is made with Fat Free Milk instead of water and there is also the addition of Cheese. I used Gruyere but Parmesan or other types of semi-hard or hard cheeses can be used. This Project was fun and seemed to have been participated in by more members than any of the others. At least there certainly was a lot of feedback and posting of photos. Not only was this one fun but it was relatively simple and took very little time as compared to the first few projects that we did, especially the Lemon Chiffon Cake (which I loved). The recipe for the Gougeres is posted in the recipe section of this blog but it came from the book “Tartine” which was named after the Restaurant of the same name.
For anyone who has not made Pate Choux before or even for those of us who have, it is always fun to see the marvel of the Choux Dough Puff Up and form these marvelous pockets which can be filled with anything from an Appetizer, to a Main Course or Dessert. I used mine for Sunday Morning Breakfast with Herb and Tomato Scrambled Eggs along with a Fruit Salad dressed with Fresh Basil and Sweet Mint.
Below are the preparation photos:
The Recipe calls for 1 cup Skim (Fat Free) Milk – I had only 2% so used half milk and 1/2 water. I may have gotten better height in the Puffs if I had only used water.
The Milk or Water (whichever you use) is brought to a boil along with the Butter over medium heat. Then the Flour is added all at one time and vigorously beaten until the mixture all comes together. At this time, the mixture is then placed in a Standing Mixer Bowl and the Eggs are added one at a time. If you don’t have a mixer, this can be done by hand with a wooden spoon, but it will take some energy to do so because the Eggs need to be thoroughly beaten into the Dough.
You can also use a Food Processor, but I have found when making Pate Choux n the Food Processor that you usually end up using 1 less Egg than called for. This is because the speed of the Processor is so fast that the ingredients get incorporated more thoroughly and at a faster speed.
Once all the Eggs have been incorporated then you add the Cheese, Chopped Herbs and Pepper. Beat these items in by hand with a wooden spoon.
Next you can form the Gougeres on a lightly greased (I don’t usually grease the pan because there is plenty of butter in the dough but the recipe in mention does say to do so. You can also line the pan with baking parchment or use a Silicon Baking Sheet, which is my preference.
The Puffs are baked at 350 degrees for at least 25 minutes but if you want a darker and crisper puff 45 minutes is recommended. (The older recipes call for a 400 degree oven but they do seem to rise alright at 350 degrees.
If you make the small size they can be eaten warm as Appetizers or accompaniment to Soup or Salad. If you make the larger ones, the tops can be cut off and they can be filled with a creamed mixture or scrambled Eggs as I did. I made Soft Scrambled Eggs using the double boiler and added diced Tomatoes, Baby Spinach and Cilantro just before the Eggs were done. Serve with Bacon or Sausage and a fresh Fruit Salad.
Below are the Members Photos.
Since Cherry Season is in full swing in Southern California it was decided that a second week of baking products with Cherries was in order. So this weeks project was Cherry/Cornmeal Upside Down Cake. The title implies that there is a lot of Cornmeal in the batter, but there was not. However, the Cornmeal was prominent in feel and in taste. Many of the participants like or loved the Cornmeal but I did not. Maybe I was the only one who didn’t like – no one else said anything negative about it. Of course, I am not a Cornbread Lover, so it figures that I would not be too found of the Cornmeal in this recipe. All that being said, it does give a little different feel and taste to the texture of the cake.
One thing that I did like about this recipe was the addition of Balsamic Vinegar. i do love the taste of Balsamic and I for one think that even a little more than the recipe called for could have been used. I do use Balsamic a lot with fruit, especially summer fruits such as berries and melon.
By the way, just because I am not fond of the Cornmeal in the recipe does not mean that I didn’t like it – I did like it – in fact I loved it, probably because of the Cherries which I can’t stop eating when they are in season. They are my ‘All-Time Favorite Fruit’ and there are many fruits which I absolutely love, especially Summer Fruit. My Husband loved the Cake – in fact we ate it for Breakfast at least two times. This cake is a 10″ cake and offers up quite a few pieces. One of my Sons had it for Dessert one night and one of my Stepdaughters also had it for Dessert one night – both on a different night. The Cake keeps well and needles to say everyone who ate it loved it!
With all that Hyperbole out of the way let’s get to the recipe and finished product itself.
The recipe can be found at the web site of Epicurious
The Ingredients that you may not have on hand are 3 cups of Cherries (most of us used Bing), Balsamic Vinegar and Cornmeal. Everything else in the recipe is pretty common in most kitchens. The recipe does say to use an ‘oven-proof skillet’ but if you don’t have one that can be used as a baking pan, just use a 10″ layer pan or other similar container which is what I did.
You will need to wash and pit your Cherries before starting the recipe but everything else in the recipe is pretty straight forward. Below are some photos of the different steps in the process:
Measure and Wash your Cherries, then remove the pits with either a Hand Cherry Pitter or a Multiple Pitter. (See last Weeks’ Post – Cherry Clafoutis)
Pitters can be found at your local Culinary Store or at Amazon.com.
Or you can do as one of our members did and use chopsticks. You can also do it the very ‘old-fashioned’ way and use a darning needle to push out the pits.
The next thing to do is to melt the Butter with the Brown Sugar and then add the Cherries and bring them to a boil. Shut off the heat after about a minute or so – just to give the Brown Sugar a chance to melt.
Now make your Batter – it is easiest to do this in a Food Processor but if you don’t have one then use whatever would be easiest for you. Then whip the Whites in a Standing Mixer or with a portable mixer. DO NOT TRY TO WHIP THE WHITES IN THE FOOD PROCESSOR – They will just get overheated and not whip properly.
Next gently fold the Whites into the Batter. You can do this in the Food Processor but only use the Pulse Button so that you do not over-mix.
After the Whites are folded into the Batter it is time to pour the Batter over the Cherries and finally to bake the cake.
The Cake is baked when a toothpick or cake tester is inserted into the cake and comes out clean.
Allow the Baked Cake to cool for at least 5 minutes before inverting onto a large plate. In the Photo above right, you can see that the Cherries gravitated towards the edges, but it still tasted good and when sliced and served with Ice Crema or Whipped Cream one cannot see that the Cherries are not completely covering the cake.
Serve warm with Ice Cream or Whipped Cream. The Cake also tastes good cold or at room temperature.
MEMBERS PHOTOS – Featured Photo this week belongs to Kristy Gobright
Cherries are a relatively expensive fruit but when you consider that their season is so short you may be a little more inclined to spend the money on them if you can. I can remember when the price was way lower than they are now but things have changed and Farm Workers are now making more of a ‘living wage’ when they were decades ago. And if you think you are paying a lot of money for Cherries just look at what Christine Rola Biskaduros had to pay for them. (Photo above right) Christine lives in Shanghai and I guess the Cherries were imported although I did think that Cherries do grow in China but I may be wrong.
Elizabeth Bernhardt Mockapetris
June is Cherry Season in California and they are plentiful indeed! All the Markets are featuring them and they are readily available at your local Farmer’s Market where you know they have recently been picked – no shipping, no mishandling – just great fresh Cherries. Both Bing and Ranier are available but for today’s recipe we are using Bing. Bing provide much more color and flavor and are perfect for baking.
If you are lucky enough to be close to Cherry Orchards (we used to go to Cherry Valley in Beaumont) to pick Cherries when I was growing up and I won’t tell you what the price was then – you would flip as you compare it to what we are paying today. When my sons were young we went to Leona Valley which is North of the Conjeo – prices were still good then as compared to today. One of the great things about taking your children to pick Cherries is that (at least when we did it) the owners said you could eat what you want as you were picking them. Don’t worry – it didn’t hurt the farmers as you can only eat so many as you are picking.
To make the Cherry Clafoutis, you have to pit the Cherries. When I was growing my Mother and I used to use a darning needle to push the pits out of the Cherries. You can imagine how long that took. Today you can buy Cherry Pitters to help you do the job. I have one that pits the Cherries one at a time and one that does it in multiples. The one that does it in multiples is from Germany and does a great job, but you do have to sort through the pitted Cherries to make sure that all the pits were removed. it is easy for one or two to get through the chute without having their pits removed. There are multiple Cherry Pitters available at Amazon – enough to confuse you about which one to buy.
The recipe for the Cherry Clafoutis is available at ‘Bake from Scratch’. Just click on the previous ‘Cherry Clafoutis’ and you will get there.
I used to teach this recipe to my International Food Classes – there are a few differences between the one I used and this one. I think that I prefer this one more because I love Cream and this is what this one uses. My old recipe used Milk and this one uses Cream. In addition, my old recipe just had you putting the Cherries on the bottom of the pan and this one has you baking a thin layer of the Custard before adding the Cherries. This makes it much easier to serve and get those luscious cherries on each serving.
One you get the Cherries pitted, it is quick and easy to make – the Clafoutis is best served warm but it can also be served cold. We like it with Whipped Cream but Ice Cream is good too or you can just serve it as is.
When you read the recipe you will be amazed that originally the pits were left in the Cherries – you can imagine what eating it must have been like! The reason that the pits were left was for the flavor but today the flavor of the pits is replaced with Almond Flavoring. The reason for this is that Almonds, Peaches and Cherries all have similar flavor characteristics. Just compare a Peach Pit with an Almond and you will see the similarity. I know a Cherry Pit does not look like an Almond or a Peach but the flavor profile is very similar.
BELOW ARE PHOTOS OF THE PREPARATION PROCESS:
We love Pancakes as I assume most people do. When I was cooking for 7 or 6 or 5 and so on – there were not usually any leftovers when I made Pancakes or Waffles. Now that we are only 2, making a small batch of Pancake or Waffle Batter is almost impossible and rather useless. You can always use the leftover Waffle Batter to make Pancakes or more Waffles the following day or two and you can always use the leftover Pancake Batter for more Pancakes. Unless you make your Pancake Batter somewhat thick, you’d better not use it for Waffles the next day. I like my Pancakes on the thin and light side, so the leftover batter does not do well in the waffle iron. So this morning for Breakfast, I took yesterday’s leftover Pancake Batter and made Pancakes and Eggs with it. A very simple thing to do.
I used my Omelet Pan and made two Pancakes, one for my Husband and one for myself. Next I made Easy-Over Eggs and put one on top of each Pancake. Add a couple of strips of Bacon, a glass of Juice and a cup of Coffee or a glass of Milk and Voila, you have Breakfast. Easy, Simple and Fast and no wasted Pancake Batter. The Pancakes take the place of Bread. Very simple, like 1 – 2 – 3 and you are done!
This Week the project was Brioche Buns as a follow-up to the Brioche Bread Pudding that was last week. There was a Brioche Bread Recipe along with the Pudding and some of our members elected to make that bread for their pudding. I did not – I used a partial loaf of Challah (Egg Bread) that I had made. Egg Bread is very similar to Brioche but does not have quite the same amount of Eggs and Butter – but still is close enough.
This week’s recipe was from King Arthur and it was chosen so that the members could compare this recipe with last weeks recipe. Both were rather simple – last week’s was made into a loaf and this week’s was made into buns. The recipe was small – it used only 2 3/4 cups of Flour but a large amount of eggs and butter in relation to the flour. This is typical of brioche recipes. I for one love Egg Bread and Brioche – both of which make excellent French Toast. Not wanting to go to all the work of making this Brioche and only having 6 buns out of it, I doubled the recipe and made the 6 buns and a loaf of bread. I used part of the bread for French Toast for Breakfast one morning.
Some of us found this recipe very easy to work with and others had problems with it – I think some of this depended on the baker’s experience and maybe on the equipment used.
We used some of the buns for sandwiches and then just ate the rest with scrambled eggs one morning.
The Brioche Dough is very rich and is best made in a standing mixer with a paddle beater or dough hook.
Once the Dough has been kneaded it is then put in a greased or floured bowl, covered and set in a warm place to rise. (For a quick rise heat your oven to 200 – open the door and let it cool down for 5 or 10 minutes then place the bowl of dough inside the oven. Keep watching it so that you will take it out when it has doubled in bulk)
Once the Dough has risen, divide it into 6 portions and then place them on a Baking Sheet or in large muffin or hamburger roll cups.
Let the rolls rise and then bake in center of oven
at 375 degrees until nicely browned.
Since we are only two in our household at the present time we had more buns than we could eat for one meal so I made a little different version of the English ‘Eggs in the Window’. Normally I don’t microwave eggs but couldn’t think of any other way to do this without overbaking the bread. This is the Egg before it was microwaved. It actually turned out very good and the yolk was not over cooked so that some of it could seep into the bread. I quite enjoyed it.
Shown below are some of the member’s photos.
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