Monday, June 27, 2011

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Everybody loves cupcakes. They are fun, cute, and endlessly customizable. Cupcakes with beer and hard liquor = even better. Although I  do love a good cupcake like the next person, they are truly the remedial treat of the patisserie world. If you can make cake batter, you can make cupcakes. So it irks me that so many classically trained pastry chefs have settled by just making cupcakes, and only cupcakes day in and day out. We don't even make cupcakes in my patisserie program because they are so simple and many of my chefs have mocked said cupcake makers. So since cupcakes are so simple in nature, but so fun to make, one should thrive for perfection and come up with creative flavor combinations that really can outshine a plain chocolate, vanilla, or red velvet cupcake.

Adam's birthday was on Monday, I offered to make him a birthday treat. I wanted to try something I don't bake often, and then a light switch went off. I thought about chocolate stout and how its used in baking and then remembered Adam's obsession with Guinness and it was settled, my birthday treat was born.

A Guinness cupcake with Bailey's Irish Cream Buttercream. And it was delightful.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mini Lattice Cherry Pies

Summer is upon us, and that means its pie season. The best fruit pies are always made in the summer with fresh, ripe, in-season fruit. However, this post doesn't have that. This post is about the cutest little mini cherry pies I made yesterday, with pre-made pie filling ::gasp::. While this normally goes against every fiber of my culinary being, I took home some cherry pie filling that was used in class when we scratch-made Danishes last week, and I had been dying to practice a lattice-topped pie so I went with it. At first I was a little apprehensive about doing a lattice top and kept thinking how am I supposed to weave the dough under and over without making such a mess with the filling? Well, thats not the case at all- you'll see.
 For a store-bought pie filling, it was actually very good. Sweet and tart with bright red juicy cherries. I did make the pie crust and this was such an easy, busy weeknight dessert to create. I do not own mini pie dishes, so I swapped them for mini tart shells. These unconventionally wonderful tartlet pans gave the pie crust a pretty fluted design and they popped out so easily, making them almost hand-held. I think I'm going to always make individual pies in these from now on.

Just a side note- I did buy a beautiful box of peaches at Trader Joes recently, which are almost ripe and I will be making a peach pie with it very soon.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Turkey Sausage Pizza

I'm really enjoying the bread class that I'm currently in, so much that I go home and like to make more of the breads I've learned that morning.  In the past when I've made pizza, I would buy the pre-made bagged pizza dough that Trader Joe's sells, but since I made pizza in class a few weeks ago, I decided to not be lazy and just make the dough. It was much quicker than I thought, especially using my kitchen aid mixer versus all the kneading we do by hand in class [its my daily upper body work out!]. I let the dough slow-ferment in the fridge and by dinner time, it was ready to roll out and become a pizza. Usually when I order pizza out, I looove the stuffed crust ones and since I bought some amazing Italian truffle cheese the other day, I turned that into a delicious crust.

I don't know why many people are so intimidated by making yeast doughs. There are only a handful of mixing methods for doughs, and usually its a straight dough method aka everything in the bowl + mix. Taking 15 minutes to make a dough sure beats spending $10 on a pre-made dough or buying those already baked cardboard "pizza crusts". Once you make doughs a few times, you should get a feel for how its supposed to be.