Friday, March 30, 2012

Sour Cherry Strudel

Sour Cherry Strudel (from

Strudel Dough:
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cold butter
Melted butter
Flour for rolling
Cherry Strudel Filling:
8 cups washed, stemmed, pitted sour cherries
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (optional)
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar or to taste
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a small bowl, mix water, vinegar and salt. Place flour in a large bowl and cut the butter in as for pie dough. Add water mixture and stir by hand for about 5 minutes or until dough becomes smooth.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding as little extra flour as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the cherry filling by combining the cherries, lemon rind, if using, and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.

Cover a large table with a clean cotton tablecloth (it will become stained from the fat in the dough, so use an old tablecloth). Sprinkle the cloth generously with flour. Place the dough in the center of the cloth and brush it with melted butter. Roll the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness.

Begin stretching the dough either over the backs of your hands or palm-side up, whichever works best for you. Work quickly, continually lifting the dough and stretching it by pulling your hands apart until it is almost paper thin and drapes over the sides of the table. See Serbian Cheese Strudel Making to get the idea. Using kitchen shears, trim off the thicker outer edges of the strudel dough.

Place rack in middle of oven and heat to 400 degrees. Brush the dough liberally with melted butter. Place the cherry filling along one long edge in a 3-inch-wide strip, 2 inches from the edges.

Use the tablecloth to roll the strudel away from you, jellyroll fashion, until it is completely rolled. Brush the top of the strudel with melted butter. Cut into sections that will fit your baking sheets and tuck in ends of strudel.

Place parchment on baking sheets and transfer strudel sections to them, seam-side down. Bake 10 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until strudel is crisp and golden.

Remove from oven, cool slightly and then cut on an angle into slices. Dust with confectioners' sugar. You may also cool completely to make the slicing easier and then rewarm in a microwave. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve as is or with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.

David Lebovitz's Toasted Almond Candied Cherry Ice Cream

Three things taste like almonds in this ice cream: the almond-infused custard with a faint hint of almond extract, the toasted almonds themselves, and the candied cherries.

The cherries from the jar, we feared, were not the sour cherries that the recipe called for so a lemon was hastily grated and squeezed into the syrup to up the tangy ante. It turned out that yes Morello Cherries are indeed sour cherries, but the extra zing only made this ice cream vanish from the bowl ever faster.

Recipe credit to David Lebovitz in that lovely ice cream book of his, The Perfect Scoop.

Dorie's Pear Tart, Take Two

European butter produced a wonderfully light, flaky, verge-of-burnt brown crust.

Changes from Dorie's recipe:
-in frangipane: ground toasted almonds instead of ground blanched almonds, almond extract instead of vanilla
-in crust: European butter (85% butterfat)
-in poaching syrup: 1/4 cup bourbon
-glaze: reduced bourbon/lemon/pear poaching syrup

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mapo Tofu Noodles with Brussels Sprouts

Handcut noodles with mapo tofu sauce and blanched brussels sprouts laced with olive oil

Double Matcha Macarons

Matcha shells filled with matcha white chocolate ganache.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rákóczi túrós

A Hungarian "cheesecake" with a shortbread crust and meringue topping.

Rákóczi túrós

Dough (Rick's Shortbread from Flour Bakery cookbook)
1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter, room temp
75 g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 g) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Cream butter and sugars on medium speed for 5 min, or until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat at medium for 2-3 min until thoroughly combined. In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, salt. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and mix for about 15 seconds, or until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and dough is evenly mixed. Scrape dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap the dough in plastic wrap to form a disk. You may also divide this into two disks if you plan to make two 9X9 tarts later. Refrigerate 30 min (keeps for up to 5 days, take out 20 min at room temp before using).

100 g granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
225 g farmers' cheese (I used queso fresco)
225 g quark (Vermont creamery)
80 ml sour cream
40 ml mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup raisins
zest of 1/2 lemon, grated

2 egg whites
30 g icing sugar
apricot jam

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll chilled dough into a squarish piece about 1 cm thick. Fit it into the bottom of a 9x9 glass Pyrex baking dish. Dock the surface several times with a fork. Bake on center rack 20 min or until top is lightly golden. Spread with a layer of apricot jam.

In a large bowl cream the yolks with the sugar until well incorporated. Mix in the the cheeses, lemon zest, sour cream, mascarpone, and raisins. It will be a little crumbly.

Spread the cheese mixture over the base and bake until set at 350F (about 50 minutes). Reduce the oven temp to 320F. Whisk the egg whites until stiff (add sugar when whites are foamy). Gently fill a piping bag with meringue (be careful to not deflate) and pipe meringue into a grid on the surface using a rose tip. Using a small spoon, drop apricot jam in the grid squares. Bake for 20 minutes until just lightly dried. Let completely cool and cut into squares.

Notes for next time:
-make turo from scratch (texture of queso fresco was too dry, quark was too moist), use 500 g turo, 100 ml sour cream
-for topping, use 50 g granulated sugar with 2 egg whites for a stiffer meringue

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ispahan cupcakes