Baking with Julia – Berry & Pear Galettes

This recipe snuck up on me again – I had no idea I was running late with it until my friend Susan stopped into the store yesterday and asked me if I had made my galette yet. I was like “Whucka whaaa? I thought it was next week!” A quick check of the TWD site proved me wrong and now here we are. There were absolutely no raspberries or strawberries at the store so I went with a summery fruit (blueberries & blackberries) and kind of a wintery one (red pears). I whipped up the crust last night and was a bit skeptical. It seemed very dry. I mixed it up by hand because I don’t have a big girl food processor and I just didn’t know about it but again, I just have to learn to trust Dorie/Julia. They kinda know what they’re talking about, huh?

The directions said that the honey was optional but I don’t consider it an option. When the recipe says honey, I use the honey. Why wouldn’t you, really? I may have also used a little extra sugar….

I thought this dough was actually pretty dreamy to work with but (and I never thought I would say this ever) possibly a teensy smidge too gritty when it came to eating it. Normally I really like things gritty, but if I were going to make this again, which I most probably will, I will use a finer ground cornmeal I think. I wanted to just use up the dough because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the greatest at halving so I made a pretty little red pear galette to go with the summery berry one.

Yum! I LOVE me some red pears! I actually liked this one better than the blackberry/blueberry one but they’re both really pretty!

If you want to make a few of these for yourself visit Lisa at Tomato Thymes or Andrea The Kitchen Lioness for the recipe!

Baking with Julia – Blueberry Nectarine Pie

So this one had me doubting the recipe again and I want to say right off the bat that I was wrong to do it. I mixed up the dough on Friday night and I decided to just do the whole recipe because it didn’t seem easily halvable (math is not my strong suit peeps) and I checked the book about 6 times before I put in the shortening because it just seemed like SO MUCH! I also decided to follow the instructions and use my paddle instead of the whisk attachment that I normally use when making pastry in my stand mixer and that seemed wrong to me as well. I like using the whisk because it seems like it acts more like a pastry cutter while the paddle seems more meant for blending. Looking at the dough in the bowl I was very, very doubtful. I make pie a lot and my pie dough doesn’t usually look anything like the cookie-doughish consistency that this one took on. But I separated it into four pieces and wrapped it up to wait for a day when I had time to bake.

The fruit portion of this was a cinch – after I managed to de-pit the nectarines that is. I don’t have a lot of experience with stone fruits. My parents never bought them growing up and I never seem to think to do it myself. I maybe should have cooked the fruit a little longer because I didn’t feel like the juice ever really thickened. I didn’t end up adding any lemon juice at all because I thought it tasted very nice without it. Then I took out the dubious crust and guess what, it rolled out like a charm! Oh me of little faith! I did think it was a little floppy and hard to manipulate decoration-wise though. I usually like to make mine look a little fancier but it wouldn’t cooperate with me very much even after the 20 minute chill. I slipped it into the oven with an aluminum foil lined baking sheet on the rack underneath with a little bit of worry. I just was not sure that this crust was going to work out, but as you can see I was totally wrong:

Perfectly golden and crusty looking, no? I didn’t cut it until this morning and everything about it was delicious. I distributed it to all my regular taste testers at work and the vote was unanimous – it’s a winner! I never would have put these two fruits together on my own and I’m so glad I’ve tried it now because I know I’ll make it again. This is definitely one of my favorite pies I’ve made this year. I hope all the rest of the TWD bakers liked it as much as I did! If you want to have one for your very own, check out Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake or Hilary at Manchego’s Kitchen for the recipe.

French Fridays with Dorie – Blueberry-Mascarpone Roulade

Let’s get something straight – I was very afraid to make this recipe. The directions seemed eerily similar to my last kitchen failure. No leavener, lots of whipping, lots of folding. Pretty much sounds like my nightmare. But I left work at 4 today, ran over to the store to get blueberries and marcarpone and got ready to rock this bitch! I figured if I showed great enthusiasm and positivity there was no way I would end up with a horrible brick-like thing this time. The blueberry step was relatively painless so I was feeling pretty good. Then it was time for the scary stuff. The egg whites whipped up beautifully and since the directions said they should be “quite firm” I really made sure to get them to that point. I was pretty impressed with how they totally kept their shape when I plopped them into the bowl with the egg yolks

After this simple step, the real fun began – the endless folding. I tried to be very Zen and calm while folding. Plus I thought about how ridiculously mad I was at myself over the genoise failure and really, really tried. I used my biggest, fanciest spatula and I think I did okay.

I spread it on my baking sheet and got it as level as I could:

There were no scary bubbles or anything but I was pretty timid about spreading it out. I was afraid of pressing down too hard and deflating it so some parts of it are a little thicker but oh well – it was my first sponge. Can we talk about how that’s a disgusting name for a cake? Sponge cake….sponge cake. The more I say it, the grosser it sounds. It makes me think of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine is very upset about not being able to find her favorite method of birth control

I know this is not a picture of Elaine looking for her sponges but I will literally use any excuse to bring up the Elaine dance. In fact my cousins and I talked about it several times this last weekend. Anyway, back to this cake roll. After only about 9 minutes in the oven it looked how Dorie said it should (puffed & lightly golden) so I took it out and began the slightly scary process of flipping it onto the sugared towel. Only resulted in one burn.

I thought the directions were a little confusing when it came to the whole cake in the towel thing but after consulting Bek, I think I made the right decision. Here’s my little cooling cake roll:

Kind of unattractive huh? Looks much better when unrolled and spread with a mixture of mascarpone, blueberries, and whipped cream, doesn’t it?

Then I very carefully rolled it back into my very sugary towel (she said to be generous, right?? I used like a whole 1/3 cup!) and put it to bed in the fridge for about 4 hours. When we got home from our night on the town I took it out and tried to get a decent photo. It’s kind of hard to get a pretty shot of a log, don’t you think? I tried though.

These are actually the end pieces. I didn’t even cut into the pretty part of the roll. This is a really big dessert, y’all.

Tristan and I shared the end pieces and the first thing he said was “tastes like a cream puff.” I heartily agree. I hope that’s how it’s supposed to taste. I would say it was a success because this is what we had by the end

Yum! I wouldn’t say this is my favorite dessert just from a texture standpoint but I did really like the flavor. What did the rest of the Doristas think?