Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Puff Pastry Apple Tart

I am an amateur, simple home baker.  This is what worked for me.  I know that I broke some rules while making this puff pastry.  Therefore, I ask that you watch some videos and read some blogs of professional bakers to get the true and right way of making puff pastry.  This method worked for me, however, I want you to get the best possible results.

1 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3-1/2 cup ice cold water (I used 1/3 cup, you may need 1/2 or even more so fix at least 1 cup)

Toss the salt and flour.  Toss the butter with the flour mixture.  Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers.  You will have several butter chunks and that's okay but get it worked in the best you can.

Pour about 1/3 cup ice water into the flour and butter mixture.  Toss and press with a fork or spoon.  Do this until the dough forms into a ball.  Add more water as needed. If it gets too sticky, just add a bit of flour.

Wrap your dough ball with clear wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place dough on a floured surface (I use a white cloth for this), form it into a rough rectangle.

Roll dough into a large rectangle.

Fold top third down, stretching the dough so it is doubled even to the corners.

Fold the bottom third up over the top third.  Make sure there are three layers everywhere.  Turn the dough like this...

Place dough short edge toward you and roll into a large rectangle.

Thanks to my daughter who grabbed the camera, here's an action shot.  I really don't think you are supposed to roll the dough side to side like this but I needed to widen it a bit.

Big rectangle

Fold top third down.

Fold bottom third up.  Wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

You will repeat the rolling, folding, rolling, folding process after the 20 minutes in the refrigerator. After the final fold, wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.

Place dough on floured surface, short edge toward you and roll into a large rectangle.

Now your dough is done.  You can divide it however you wish to.  Use immediately or you can wrap it and refrigerate it or freeze it.  Use as your recipe directs.

For the Apple Tart...

Divide dough into 4 rectangles.  Place two on a large greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper).

3 cups diced apples (I used red delicious)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
dash of salt

1 egg, beaten
Brush the outer edges with egg.

Place half of the apples on each piece of pastry, leaving an edge around the pastry.

Cover with the reserved pieces of pastry and crimp with a fork.  Cut slits in the top of the pastry.  Brush tops with the egg.

Bake at 400 until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.

If desired, ice with powdered sugar and milk.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Veggie Bites (cool veggie pizza)

2 cans crescent rolls, patted out onto a cookie sheet, seal the cut pieces, and bake until done

Mix together:
2 blocks cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 package dry ranch dressing

Spread over cooled crust.

In food processor or chopper, finely chop...
About 1/3 head broccoli florets
About 1/3 large bell pepper
Small handful matchstick or shredded carrots
You can add green onion or whatever other veggies but you want dry ones that aren't going to be too juicy.  The goal is to have about 1 cup chopped veggies.

Sprinkle this mixture over cream cheese mixture.

Finely grate 3/4 cup cheddar cheese and sprinkle over the veggies.

Cut and serve!

* Cut into thin triangles to resemble Christmas trees.

Martha Washington Balls

2 pounds powdered sugar
2 sticks salted butter, melted (no substitutes)
1 cup well packed coconut
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla or maple flavoring
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix together well.  Roll into balls, freeze until firm.

2 bags chocolate chips
2/3 block paraffin, grated finely

Melt in a glass or metal bowl over simmering water, dip candies, dry on wax paper.

 I do one bag chocolate chips and 1/3 block paraffin first and add more as necessary.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fudge Icing

This is great on chocolate cake but also yummy on yellow cake.  Pretty easy too!

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter (no substitutes)
1/3 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips (semi sweet are my favorite for this)

Combine first three ingredients in saucepan.  Place over medium heat, stirring to prevent scorching.  Bring to a boil and boil for one minute.  Remove and add chocolate chips.  Stir until melted.  Pour over cake.

Enough to frost one 9x13 cake.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

Preheat oven to 325.

6 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 cup flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a food processor, blend together crust ingredients until the mixture is tiny, fine pieces.
Spread the mixture into 9x13 baking pan and press evenly into bottom of the pan.  Bake for 12 minutes and remove from the oven.

Cream Cheese Layer:
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the cream cheese with mixer until smooth.  Add sugar and mix well.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth.  Pour over warm crust.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn the temperature down to 300.

Lemon Layer:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4  cup lemon juice
1/3 cup flour, sifted

Whisk together eggs and sugar until well combined.  Stir in lemon juice and flour.  Pour over semi-baked cheesecake (it’s okay if it breaks up the cheesecake…it is wonderful marbled!).  Bake at 300 for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle top with powdered sugar (optional).  Cool until room temperature (about 1-2 hours).  Refrigerate.  Serve warm or cold.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Smothered Pork Chops

This is an easy dish, just be patient on the baking time.  Very tasty and worth the time they take to bake.  These could also be placed into a crockpot and cooked for 5-7 hours on low or about 3-5 hours on high.  This recipe makes a lot; feel free to half the recipe.

8-10 small pork chops (I used boneless ones but the ones with bones would be more flavorful)
Favorite seasoned salt
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil for browning the meat
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
1-2 medium yellow onions, cut into thin wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup flour
1 can beef broth

Season both sides of the pork chops with the seasoned salt.  Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add the coconut oil.  Quickly brown the pork chops (don’t get them done, just browned) in the melted coconut oil.  Place them in a medium roasting pan or dutch oven.  Put the onions into the hot pan and sauté for a few minutes, just to brown a bit.  Pour them over the meat. 

Add the bacon drippings and garlic, stir to combine.  Sprinkle the flour over the bottom of the skillet and stir to combine.  Allow to cook until slightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.  Slowly add the broth.  Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until it’s bubbly and starting to thicken.  Pour over the meat and onions.  Put the lid on the pan.  Bake at 350 for 1 1/2-2 hours, until desired tenderness (this will depend on the size of the chops).  Be sure to check them after one hour and every 20 minutes or so after that.

Serve with vegetables and mashed potatoes or rice.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Strawberry Cream Cheese Cake

I got this idea from a Cook’s Country episode.  I altered it because I’ve never had much luck making my own strawberry layer cake.  I was afraid of the layers sliding since there are sliced strawberries between the layers so I made 9 inch square layers instead of round.

To me, this is a cross between a strawberry shortcake and a strawberry cake.  The fresh sliced strawberries really add a great taste!  And the cream cheese frosting isn’t as sweet as plain strawberry frosting.

2 layers of your favorite strawberry cake (I chose Pillsbury strawberry cake mix), baked and cooled
8 ounces washed strawberries
2/3 to 3/4 cup strawberry solids (I chopped strawberries with my food processor, then strained them—you probably need about 1 1/2 cups strawberries, then you will have some juice to use for something else)
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
10 tablespoons butter, softened
3 ½ to 4 cups powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter.  Add the strawberry solids and mix until combined.  Beat in the powdered sugar a little at a time.  Place frosting in the refrigerator.

Hull and slice the strawberries.  Lay the slices out on paper towels to get some moisture out of them.  Use another paper towel to place over the strawberries to pat the tops dry.

Level the cake layers.  Place one layer, cut side down onto a platter.  Place a thin layer of frosting on top.  Arrange sliced strawberries over the frosting.  Place another layer of frosting over the strawberries.  Cover with the 2nd layer, cut side down.  Frost the rest of the cake.  Arrange sliced strawberries on top as desired.
Store in the refrigerator until serving.

You will probably have frosting leftover.  I put the cut tops from the cake on a plate and frost them.  It would probably be good on toasted English muffins too.  Or strawberry shortcakes. Of course, eating with a spoon is good too.  I'm thinking it would even taste good on cardboard!