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.
When browsing through Costco’s Produce Section the other day, I came across a package of 4 large Portobello Mushrooms. These are the size that Mushroom Burgers can be made from and they are also great for a ‘Stuffed Mushroom Entrée’. After picking up the mushrooms, I then went over to the Seafood Section and purchased a King Crab Leg. The other ingredients that were needed were already at home.
To make the Stuffed Mushrooms, the first thing that I did was remove the meat from the Crab Leg. King Crabs have unforgiving shells; there are little bumps or thorn-like protrusions on them that make it difficult to handle. The best way to do this is to take a pair of kitchen shears and cut the shell lengthwise from top to bottom. If this doesn’t help to split open the shell, do the same thing on the other side of the leg. You can then pull the shell apart and remove the meat. If you were lucky enough to have the meat come out in large pieces, you will want to cut them up into smaller pieces. You should have about 1 cup Crab Meat.
You will also need about ¼ cup of chopped Onion and ¼ cup of chopped Celery. Remove and discard the stems from the Portobello Mushrooms. Wipe the Mushrooms off with a damp paper towel and place them skin side down in a baking dish.
To make the stuffing, melt about 2 Tablespoons of Butter in a sauté pan and then add the chopped onions and celery. Sauté the vegetables in the butter until they are limp and the onion just start caramelize. Then add 2 Tablespoons of Flour and stir into the Butter. Once a paste forms, stir in 1 cup of milk or half and half and continue to cook and stir until the mixture thickens. Add about ¼ tsp. -1/2 tsp. Salt and ¼ tsp. White Pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary and then stir in the prepared Crab Meat. This preparation is enough to fill two large mushrooms.
Top the mushrooms with shredded Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese. Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the tops become lightly browned. Then place on a lower rack in the oven and continue baking for about 5 minutes more. Serve with a vegetable or green salad.
Our mushroom dinner was served with very young asparagus that I sautéed with just a tiny amount of water and sea salt and then drizzled with mushroom oil. Garlic bread was the final addition. This makes a very rich and filling meal. If you are preparing this meal for 4 people, just double all the ingredients mentioned above. If you are only preparing it for two people, then you are going to have two large mushrooms left over. On another night, you can make Mushroom Burgers. Keep posted to this blog to look for the directions for the Mushroom Burgers.
When you make your stuffed mushrooms, don’t feel that you have to stuff them with crab. You can use just about anything else that you prefer, including spinach, tofu or chopped mushrooms. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with.
While my brother and I were growing up, my Mother did a lot of baking and cooking. One of the favorite things that everyone remembers about my Mother were her buns. My sons, grandchildren, nephews and niece remember Grandma’s buns. That was one of the favorite things about visiting my parent’s home or when the grandparents visited ours. What the younger generation doesn’t know is how those buns came into being.
Every weekend as far back as I can remember, my Mother made what she called coffee cake. Her coffee cake was nothing like the coffee cake that is normally called coffee cake. Most coffee cakes are made with baking powder and are crumbly. My Mother’s ‘coffee cake’ was more like everybody’s favorite – Cinnamon Rolls, made with a yeast dough.
My Mother usually made it in a ring style. The dough was rolled out like Cinnamon Rolls, buttered and dressed with Cinnamon Sugar and sometimes with raisins or candied fruit. Then the dressed dough was rolled into a tube. This is where the difference came in – my Mother’s roll wasn’t cut into individual pieces. The tube was fastened into a circle and pinched together at the ends. Then the tube was partially cut about every 2-3 inches. It was placed on a greased baking sheet and then each partially cut section of dough was turned so that the layers of cinnamon could be seen.
Essentially the rolls were shaped into a flower-like pastry. During the winter holidays my Mother made these and topped them with a Vanilla Glaze and put Cherries on top. My Mother would wrap these cakes up in cellophane wrap and my Father brought every one of his co-workers one of my Mother’s creations for their holiday gift.
My Mother Naomi made these rolls every Friday and they were our Saturday breakfast. We usually ate them spread with butter, not frosting. I cannot remember a Saturday morning that we did not have these rolls. The year that I was nine my Mother had surgery for a hernia and could not make the dough. I convinced my Mother to let me do it and while she instructed and supervised, I made the dough for our weekend rolls. I don’t remember how they turned out, I only remember making the dough, but I do remember that my Mother talked about it to her friends and family members for a long time afterwards so they must have turned out pretty well.
As the years went by and the grandchildren were born, my Mother’s ‘coffee cake’ somehow evolved into little twisted buns that were always available for the grandchildren to eat when they visited or were brought to the children’s homes when my Mother visited them. In my home, we always had to watch out for my second eldest son Joel, who would have eaten the whole batch if allowed.
The dough is a rich butter dough and melts in your mouth. My children always had fond memories of these buns and all of the sudden one year it dawned on me, why don’t I make them. I knew exactly how my Mother made them and I had been making Cinnamon Rolls for years so now when there is a family event, I make ‘Grandma’s Buns for the grandchildren (my children and niece and nephew) and of course my grandchildren.
Several years ago I flew to Ohio with my son Joel, my granddaughter and grandson to attend the graduation of my eldest grandson who was attending school there. I made a batch of buns to take on the trip and to bring to my grandson in Ohio. The buns never made it all the way to Ohio. Between my son and grandchildren, they disappeared while we were on the plane. Since we were staying at my Grandson’s home in Ohio, I was put to work right away making another batch. Fortunately I know the recipe by heart. For my version of Grandma’s Buns check our recipe section. The recipe will be under Baked Items and then under Bread. http://sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/breads/baked-productsbread/ So, this is the story of ‘Grandma’s Buns’. Anybody else out there have stories like this. It would be fun to hear them.
What do you do with one leftover portion of mashed potatoes and a small amount of frozen spinach? Well, here is what I did with them.
Mashed Potatoes -whisk them up really well to get out all the lumps and then add one beaten egg and mix well.
Spinach – Thaw and drain well.
Combine the foregoing ingredients with ¼ cup chopped onions and 2 Tbsps. shredded Parmesan Cheese and then add salt and pepper to taste.
Butter a 1 quart casseroleand transfer the Potato/Spinach mixture to the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the mixture is hot.
Place under the broiler for up to 5 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
Serve immediately. This amount will yield 2 medium portions. For more portions, just increase the ingredients.
This dish is very tasty and you do not have to wait for leftovers to create it. Just mix up some mashed potatoes and spinach (fresh or frozen), chopped onion and season to taste. This is a good way to get your starch and vegetables all in one dish.
Other vegetables that you can add to this dish are sautéed mushrooms, chives, green onions, or other vegetables that you may have such as chopped broccoli or cauliflower. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with.
If anyone does come up with a similar creation, please let me know. [email protected]
It will be interesting to see what other palates will create.
A decorated Valentine Cake is a delightful way to say “I Love You” to sweethearts, husbands, parents and children. Your cake can be baked in a heart-shaped pan or in just a round pan and then decorated to be like a heart.
If you make your own cake, be sure and allow it to cool completely before frosting it. To give added stability to the cake, you may even freeze it before frosting and decorating it. This will ensure that you are less likely to tear the cake when frosting it. If you don’t have time to bake your own cake, purchase a ready –made cake from your local bakery and frost and decorate it yourself. To avoid having to make the frosting you can purchase ready-made frosting in the baking products section in your supermarket.
If you want to tackle the job of making your own frosting and decorating your own cake, please read on. For instructions on mixing and baking your cake, please see our previous article on ‘Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day – Cakes”. You will find a Buttercream Frsoting Recipe under our Recipes Section.
Make your frosting ahead and have it ready before following the steps below. If you are going to decorate it, be sure that you have the equipment that you will need also. Listed below are the items that will make frosting and decorating your cake easier to do.
Pastry Brush– for brushing off any excess crumbs
Off-set Spatula – for frosting the cake
Decorating Bags – the bags will hold the frosting and the couplers will allow you to switch tips without having to prepare another bag or empty out the one you are using.
Cake Board – to put the cake on
Foil – for covering the board
The first step in frosting and decorating your cake is to prepare a cake board to place your cake on. Choose a board that is the same shape as your cake and at least 1” larger in diameter. The board may be covered with plain aluminum foil or colored foil that can be purchased in your local craft or cake decorating store or even at a florist’s shop.
Step Two is to brush off any loose crumbs that may be on the cake.
Step Three is to crumb coat the cake. This will entail, taking a small portion of frosting (about 1 cup) and thinning it out so that you will be able to smooth a very thin layer of frosting on the cake.
Step Four is to give the cake its final coat of frosting; you want to make sure that the frosting is as smooth as you can make it – to do this have a glass of warm water handy and use it to dip your spatula in. This will help to smooth the frosting. Keep a paper towel handy, in case your spatula gets too wet and also to wipe off excess frosting as you are working with it.
Step Five is to decide how you want to decorate your cake. If you are going to use colored frosting, decide how many colors you want and estimate approximately how much you will need of each color. Place each color in a separate bag that has been fitted with a coupler and decorating tip.
For decorating ideas, please see my photo page. You will see cakes that have been decorated by parent/child teams at last years’ Valentine Cake Decorating Class. For different decorating techniques you can find on-line help.
If you are making a cake that has been baked in a pan that has designs molded into it, you will want to skip the crumb coating and top coating steps. Instead, you will simply decorate right from the beginning using star tips to fill in the various segments. Star tips come in many sizes and in open and closed form. If you have never done cake decorating before, it would be easier to use the open star tips rather than the closed star tips. The open star tips, allow for more ease in squeezing out the frosting for decorating.
If you want to keep it simple, use cupcakes and frost them in a swirl effect and then top them with candy hearts. The delight from your family will be almost the same and these take very little time. Allow your children to help with the decorating or cupcake frosting. When it seems to you like it would be too much trouble to have the children help, just remember that you are teaching them skills and creating family memories that will last a lifetime.
‘Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Cake Decorating! We would love it if you would show us your finished products. You can e-mail us at [email protected]
Deliciously hot fresh breads deserve delicious flavorful spreads. There is butter and then there is butter. The first is soft, fresh dairy butter with nothing to hamper its taste. The second is butter that has been flavored with ingredients that will compliment its companion breads. Whichever you choose, make sure your ingredients are pure and fresh. Listed below are some recipes for you to try with those fresh breads you just made or are about to make. These are very good for holiday brunches or just for snacks. Try them and see which ones will be your favorites!