For the pastry- (adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum)
6 ounces cold, unsalted butter cut into ½” pieces, placed in the freezer for 30 min.
4½ ounces Philadelphia brand cream cheese, cold cut into cubes and placed in the freezer for 30 min.
1 cup pastry flour
½ cup rye flour
½ cup cornmeal
1½ teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons ice water combined with 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pastry and rye flour with the cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Transfer the mixture to a large zip-loc bag and freeze for 30 minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the dry ingredients. Add the cream cheese to the flour mixture, pulsing just until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is no larger than the size of a pea. Transfer the flour/cream cheese/butter mixture to a large bowl. Gradually drizzle the ice water/cider mixture over the flour (start around the outer edge of the bowl) tossing the mixture with a fork. The pastry will be shaggy; continue to toss the mixture using your fingertips, until the liquid is absorbed and you can gather the dough together. Divide the dough in half, knead each half a few times until the mixture feels slightly stretchy. Shape each half into a disc and flatten slightly. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight, before rolling out. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out one circle of dough to a diameter of about 12”. Ease the dough into a 9” glass pie plate. Turn the edges under and crimp decoratively. Place the pie plate in the refrigerator. Roll out the top crust (on the same sheet parchment paper, lightly dusted with flour) into a circle about 10” in diameter. Place the top crust (still on the parchment) on a baking sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
For the filling-
3½ pounds ripe/firm pears (preferably Bosc or Anjou) rinsed, peeled, halved, cored
2 tablespoons pear eau-de-vie, orange liqueur, or fresh orange juice
3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, depending on the sweetness of the pears
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
⅔ cup walnut pieces
3 tablespoons candied ginger, diced
⅓ cup golden raisins (optional, but they are a lovely addition)
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped with tip of a paring knife
2 tablespoons Minute tapioca, finely ground in a food processor
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk or cream
coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the pears in chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the liqueur (or juice), maple syrup, zest, cardamom, walnuts, ginger, raisins, vanilla bean seeds, tapioca, and salt. Toss well to coat using a rubber spatula. Retrieve the pie shell and top crust from the refrigerator and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Turn the pear mixture into the pie shell and dot with the butter pieces. Drape the top crust over the fruit, tuck the edges of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust, pressing together to seal. Crimp decoratively. Apply egg wash to the top crust (not the edges)
and sprinkle with sugar. Use a paring knife to cut several slashes on the top crust to allow steam to escape. Place the pie in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set the crust. Just before baking, cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent the crust from getting too dark.
Bake the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, move the pie to the middle rack of the oven and back for an additional 45-50 minutes, until the crust is deeply golden and the pie bubbles around the edges and from the center. Set the pie on a rack to cool completely before slicing. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days.
makes one 9” loaf
from Leslie Mackie
for the Dough-
½ cup whole milk
1½ teaspoons dried yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup barley flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
seeds scraped from ¼ vanilla bean
In a small saucepan, warm the milk slightly then pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top of the milk, mixing with a whisk to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes allowing the yeast to bloom. Add the eggs, flour, barley flour, salt, melted butter, and vanilla bean seeds to the yeast mixture. Place the dough hook attachment on the mixer. Mix on low speed to combine ingredients, then increase speed to medium and mix for approximately ten minutes until the dough becomes satiny and stretches easily. Transfer the dough to an oiled, medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
for the Apple Butter- (this makes a little more than you will need; measure out ¾ cup of cooled/strained apple butter to assemble the bread. Serve any extra alongside.)
2 large Granny Smith apples, rinsed, peeled, cored, cut into ½“ pieces (2 cups)
⅓ cup sugar
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
seeds scraped from ¼ vanilla bean
zest of 1 small lemon
pinch of salt
Place the apples, sugar, butter, vanilla seeds, lemon zest, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 25-30 minutes, until the apples soften and the mixture begins to caramelize. Remove from heat, mash with a fork and let cool completely. Transfer the apple butter to a fine mesh strainer to remove excess liquid which you don’t want when rolling up the bread.
for the Spiced Sugar-
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together to combine.
To assemble the bread-
Prepare egg wash from 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9”x 5”x 2½“ loaf pan, then line with parchment paper and butter again. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Transfer the dough from the bowl to a floured work surface, flattening the dough with your hands. Dust your fingers with flour and shape the dough into a rectangle, measuring roughly 6” x 14” x ¼“ thick. Spread ¾ cup of the apple butter (it is a thin layer) over the dough. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the spiced sugar to sprinkle over the completed bread. Sprinkle the remaining spiced sugar evenly over the apple butter. Roll each of the 6” sides inwards until they meet in the center. Gently pinch the seam together. Carefully turn the loaf over so the smooth side is on the top and place the bread in the loaf pan, seam side down. Cover the bread with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm room for 1 hour, until the dough fills approximately ¾ of the pan.
Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle with the reserved spiced sugar. Place the bread on a baking sheet and place on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top of the bread is golden brown (the internal temperature measured with my instant-read thermometer registered 195 degrees.) Let the bread cool for 15 minutes. Use a small offset spatula to loosen the bread from the pan, carefully transferring the bread to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing. Serve with additional apple butter. Any leftovers can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for 2 days; they also makes sensational French toast.
makes 6 dumplings
6 apples (between 7-8 oz. each) peeled, cored, leaving the bottom intact, brushed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I use either Honeycrisp or Cortland- something sturdy, but not Granny Smiths- too tart)
2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups finely chopped skinned hazelnuts
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together flour, hazelnuts, brown sugar and salt. Add butter, pulse just until mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn this mixture into a large bowl. Combine ice water and cider vinegar, add to flour/nut/sugar/salt/butter mixture, one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a piece of parchment paper. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Cherry Hazelnut filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped skinned hazelnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons tart Montmorency dried cherries
In a small bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar, hazelnuts, cinnamon and dried cherries. This will be the filling for the cored apples. (Prepare 1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of cream or milk as an egg wash.)
Working with one disc of chilled pastry at a time, roll out the dough onto parchment paper, 1/8" thick. You can cut out an 8" square of parchment to use as a template, or simply use a ruler to mark 8" squares. You should get three 8" squares from each disc of rolled pastry with extra to cut out decorative leaves. (Chill the leaf cutouts on parchment while you are wrapping the apples in dough.) Place one apple, right side up, in the center of each square of dough, and fill the apple with 1 generous tablespoon of the brown sugar/hazelnut/dried cherry mixture. Brush the edges of the dough with a bit of the egg wash, then bring one corner of the square up to the top of the apple, pressing gently to hold it in place. Bring the next corner of dough up to the top, slightly overlapping, pressing it into place. Continue with the remaining two corners of dough. The dough should be overlapping, and it's fine to pinch it with your fingers to adjust the creases. Brush the entire pastry wrapped apple with some of the egg wash. Continue the process with the remaining apples, placing the completed apples 1 & 1/2" apart on a rimmed parchment lined baking sheet. Dab the leaf cutouts with egg wash and attach them to the dumplings. You must refrigerate the apples before you bake them, at least an hour, to ensure that the pastry is cold and doesn't slip down during the baking. I've kept them covered with plastic in the fridge overnight and baked them in the morning and they are delicious hot of the oven for breakfast. Before you are ready to bake them, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a small knife to poke a hole in the top of each pastry, allowing steam to escape. (The leaf cutouts brown faster than the rest of the pastry, so you may want to cover them with foil halfway through.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the apples feel tender when pierced with a knife. Serve with the Cider Caramel.
2 cups good quality apple cider, reduced to 1/4 cup
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
5 tablespoons salted butter (the salt deepens the flavor of the caramel, balances the sweetness)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
Reduce the cider down from 2 cups to 1/4 cup. This takes a little time and patience- keep an eye on things here; you can start with a high heat but as it reduces, you will need to lower the flame. Measure the reduced cider into a pyrex measuring cup- if it's more than 1/4 cup, reduce it a bit more. When you have 1/4 cup of cider reduction, place it in a medium sauce pan. Add the brown sugar, salted butter and heavy cream, stir to combine and cook over low heat. Continue cooking the caramel until the mixture thickens; this can take about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and the sea salt. Stir and set aside to cool. The caramel will continue to thicken as it cools down. Refrigerate the cooled sauce.
Fills one 9” square cake pan OR two 7½” x 2” fluted cake pans with removable bottoms
(From A Slice of Heaven)
For the cake-
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1¾ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon peeled, freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1¾ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely minced crystallized ginger
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ cup + 2 tablespoons molasses (I don’t use blackstrap molasses in this cake; it’s a touch too bitter)
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons honey
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
¾ cup boiling water
additional finely minced crystallized ginger
Poached Pears (recipe follows)
Mascarpone Cream (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease cake pan(s) with vegetable cooking spray or softened butter. Line the bottom of the pan(s) with parchment paper that extends ½” larger than the pan bottom. (This serves two purposes; it helps release the cake from the pan after baking and prevents the batter from seeping through the bottoms of the fluted pans.) Grease the parchment paper, dust cake pan(s) with flour and tap out excess.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ground and freshly grated ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, and salt. Add the crystallized ginger to the dry ingredients, tossing to coat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the canola oil, brown sugar, molasses, and honey until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until incorporated. Add the orange zest and orange juice. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, whisking just until combined. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a rubber scraper. Whisk in the boiling water.
Place the cake pan (or pans) on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack of the preheated 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes, or just until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake(s) tests clean. (Every oven is different- start checking the cakes for doneness at 40 minutes.) Remove the cake(s) from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool while you prepare the poached pears and mascarpone cream. (Cooled cakes should be wrapped in plastic wrap if not serving that day.)
For the poached pears-
2 pounds firm/ripe pears, rinsed, peeled, and halved
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1½ cups (12 oz.) dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1½ cups water
¼ cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
orange peel strips from one large, thick-skinned navel orange
1 vanilla bean pod, split
Use a melon baller or small spoon to remove the core from the pears. Leave the stems intact. Sprinkle the pear halves with lemon juice. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together the wine, water, honey, cinnamon stick and orange peel. Using the tip of a small paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the poaching liquid; add the pod as well. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring to dissolve the honey. Place the pear halves in the poaching liquid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pears with a circle of parchment paper. Poach the pears just until tender, turning them occasionally. Poaching time will depend on the size and ripeness of the pears; it should take about 15 minutes. (Better to undercook just the slightest rather than end up with overly cooked pears.) Use a small paring knife to test for doneness. Remove the pears from the liquid using a slotted spoon. Cool the pears in a baking dish that accommodates them without crowding. Reduce the poaching liquid over medium heat just until it becomes syrupy, about 8-10 minutes. Let the syrup cool completely before pouring it over the pears. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.)
For the mascarpone cream-
4 oz. mascarpone
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Cointreau
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
In a chilled bowl, combine the mascarpone and heavy cream. Use a handheld electric mixer to beat the mascarpone and cream just until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, vanilla, and Cointreau, beating on low just until thickened. Be careful not to over beat or the cream will become grainy. Use a rubber scraper to fold in the orange zest. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.)
(from Stella Notte)
For the dough-
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
9 tablespoons (4.5 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3½-4½ tablespoons ice water
1½ teaspoons cider vinegar
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold butter pieces to the flour mixture, pulsing just until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger pieces of butter. Be careful not to over mix. Transfer the flour/butter mixture to a large mixing bowl. Combine 3½ tablespoons ice water with the cider vinegar. Drizzle the liquid over the flour/butter mixture, tossing with your fingers. If the dough is a bit dry and does not hold together add up to 1 more tablespoon of ice water, just enough to create a shaggy dough. Gather the dough together, shape it into a disc, flatten it slightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling out. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out the chilled dough into a 14” circle, about 1/8” thick. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
For the filling-
(I prefer to use black plums in this -such as the El Dorado- rather than Italian prune plums.)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons ground almonds
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2¼ pounds plums*—rinsed, halved, pitted and cut into ¼” slices (generous 6 cups)
1/3 cup demerara sugar (if the plums are very tart, add 1-2 tablespoon(s) dark brown sugar)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
zest of one small orange
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup good-quality plum or raspberry preserves, strained if chunky or seedy
egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
additional sugar for sprinkling
1/2 cup toasted, sliced almonds
In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup sugar with the ground almonds and flour. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the demerara sugar, (brown sugar if using) cinnamon, orange zest, and vanilla. Add the plum slices, tossing with a rubber spatula to coat thoroughly with the sugar/spice mixture. Retrieve the dough from the refrigerator. Leaving a 2” border, sprinkle the sugar/almond/flour mixture evenly over the dough. Arrange the plum slices decoratively over the sugar/almond/flour mixture, staying within the 2” border. Dot the plums with the butter pieces. Fold the edge of the dough up over the plums, creating a 2” ruffled border. Refrigerate the galette for 20 minutes. Remove the galette from the refrigerator. Brush the pastry edges with egg wash, sprinkle with sliced almonds and sugar and bake on the lowest rack of the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. The galette is ready when the fruit is tender and the crust is deeply golden. Warm the jam slightly on top of the stove or in the microwave. Remove the galette from the oven and brush the plums with the melted jam. Let the galette cool to room temperature before slicing. Leftovers can be covered in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for a day.