Monday, September 28, 2009
Do you remember when bread machines were all the rage? I do. Back in the 1990s, I bought a cheap, no frills bread machine. I loved it so much that I made bread about every other day for my kids school lunches. I never acquired that knack of making homemade bread from scratch, so the bread machine did all the work, and I looked like a great cook. One day, I picked my kids up from school and they asked if they could have the skinny, good bread like the other kids. Imagine that! So, I complied and the bread machine gathered dust. Until last week. I dug the machine out, washed it off and turned it on. A little bread flour, milk, butter, yeast and soon the house filled with the aroma of fresh baked bread. My now grown children flocked to the kitchen, grabbed butter out of the frig and devoured the warm loaf of bread.
This recipe is versatile. You can make traditional pretzels or shape the dough in rolls. The rolls are great with grilled brats or chicken salad. Today, I shaped the rolls in a round sandwich roll and filled it with a homemade chicken salad.
Bread Machine Pretzels
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups flour
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1egg white, slightly beaten
Place all ingredients, except salt and egg white, in bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle and press start. After the machine has completed the cycle remove the dough onto a very lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 parts. Shape each part into a round roll. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise, uncovered, until puffy, about 20 minutes. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine 2 quarts of water and 1/3 cup baking soda; bring to a boil. Lower 1 into the saucepan; simmer for 20 seconds on each side. Lift from water with a slotted spoon. Return to greased cookie sheet. Let dry briefly. Brush with 1 egg white slightly beaten. Sprinkle with course salt or sesame seeds or leave plain. Bake at 425°F for 6 minutes; then turn cookie sheet around and bake 6 more minutes.
This makes 4 large rolls.
Divide into 4 parts. Divide each fourth into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into an 18-inch rope. Shape rope into a circle, overlapping about 4 inches; from each end, leaving ends free. Take one end in each hand and twist at the point where dough overlaps. Carefully lift ends across to the opposite edge of circle. Tuck ends under edge to make a pretzel shape; moisten and press ends to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise, uncovered, until puffy, about 20 minutes. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine 2 quarts of water and 1/3 cup baking soda; bring to a boil. Lower 1 or 2 pretzels into the saucepan; simmer for 10 seconds on each side. Lift from water with a slotted spoon. Return to greased cookie sheet. Let dry briefly. Brush with 1 egg white slightly beaten. Sprinkle with course salt or sesame seeds or leave plain. If you leave them plain, after they bake dip into melted butter then in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake at 425°F for 4 minutes; then turn cookie sheet around and bake 4 more minutes.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Recently, I had some unexpected time on my hands. So, my niece, great niece, and my daughters headed to the apple orchard. We picked apples, enjoyed the cool brisk air, and laughed. Nothing better than the great fall weather to get you in the mood for home cooking.
This recipe for Apple Pie is one that I created after doing lots of research and testing about different techniques for the filling. I wanted to eliminate the space between the crust and apples after the pie is cooked. The apples are compact yet still in tact. The bottom crust is tender and flaky, the top crust tender yet crunchy. Yummy! And, what goes better with Apple Pie than vanilla ice cream. Needless to say we pigged out!
Now, I am thinking about a pumpkin pie. What can I do to be creative with pumpkin?
8 to 10 Medium Apples (I like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp)
1 Cup Sugar
Peel apples. Cut apples into wedges. Place in large bowl and add sugar. Toss to combine. Place apple mixture in a colander and then place the colander into a large bowl. Let rest for about 1-½ hours.
Double Crust Pastry
3 Cups Flour
2 tbls. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Nutmeg
½ cup Crisco Shortening (well chilled)
½ cup Butter (well chilled)
¼ cup Ice water
Place all dry ingredients in the food processor. Pulse 5 or 6 times. Add chilled butter (I cut it into small pieces). Pulse 5 or 6 times. Add shortening (I cut it into small pieces) and pulse 5 or 6 times.
Drizzle half of the water and pulse fix or six times. Add remaining water and pulse until mixtures in course crumbs. At this point, I test the pastry to see if it hold together well. If it is not moist enough add water 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide dough in half and shape into disks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Back to the Filling
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 cup Flour
1 tbls. Cinnamon (more or less according to taste)
½ cup Apple Cider
Put apples back in a clean bowl. Reserve liquid that drained from apples. Mix apples with flour, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside
Place reserved liquid in a saucepan along with apple cider in a small saucepan. Reduce until you have a thick syrup.
Roll piecrust and place in a 9” pie pan. Place apples in pie crust. Roll and top with second piecrust. Cut three vents in top crust. Brush with reduced syrup.
Place pie in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 1 hour or until pie crust and golden and the apple are fork tender.
Cool completely before slicing. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Vanilla Ice Cream
8 Egg Yolks
2 cup Sugar
2 cups Half & Half
4 cups Heavy Cream
4 tbls. Vanilla Extract
10 Pounds Ice
Ice Cream Salt or Rock Salt
Combine eggs yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined and a light yellow color. Pour Half & Half in a medium saucepan. Heat milk until it bubbles gather around the edges of the pan. Do not boil. Gradually add the warm milk to the egg mixture, stir while adding to prevent eggs from cooking.
Return mixture to saucepan, cook over medium heat, until thick. This should take about 7 to 10 minutes. Chill mixture in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour. I usually cool it overnight.
Just before your ready to freeze the ice cream, add the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Stir until well mixed. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according the manufacturers directions.
This recipe makes 2 quarts.