Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Fruit Galette

Hmmmmm......soooooooo.....apparently I'm not the greatest baker in the world. OK, I can accept that. Apparently there is indeed a village somewhere missing it's idiot. Ahem.....HERE I AM!!!! 5 hours later, I present to you, my very own proving ground, the Summer Fruit Galette. I would first like to welcome the new food processor to the family -- sorry you got the short end of the stick on that soon as I learn to use you properly, I promise we will communicate on a higher level. Say hello to my little friend.....

Until this challenge, I had never made pie dough. In fact, I am scared of pie dough. Turns out, it's with good reason. Since the pie dough needed to set up in the refrigerator for at least an hour, I made the pie dough the night before making the remainder of the galette. I apparently developed an inconvenient case of A.D.D. sometime between removing the pie dough from the refrigerator and rolling it out. I completely breezed over the section of the recipe that said to roll on a WELL-FLOURED surface. Oops. I also abandoned my dough for some time while I was in search of a measuring tape to ensure that I had rolled to the correct dimensions. Well, if you roll warm dough on an unfloured surface, it just turns into a big sticky mess. I finally was able to scrape the pie dough up and call a re-do.

I decided on my re-do round I would roll directly onto an overly well-floured baking stone. It was 13", as the recipe called for. I thought it would be easy to roll it out and then flip it to a larger baking stone. Yeah....guess how that went. I flipped the dough, and low and behold....there it remained on the smaller baking stone. It was like one of those bugs that hangs out on your ceiling for 12 straight days and you wonder if it's ever just going to fall off. It was almost like it was being held in place by some invisible was a battle between good and evil at that moment in my kitchen. Well, evil won that one. Well, here I am again, standing here with a warm lump of re-do dough. So, I decide to just roll it onto the bigger stone and not worry about it being perfect, and that way I wouldn't have to transfer it to anything. Finally, I had a roundish dough thingy on a surface I could bake it on. YAY. Now, on to the next task at hand.....

That's right - pie dough drove me to drink. It's all fun and games until Jules here has to roll out some pie dough. I'd like to thank my good friends at Crown Royal and also my buddies at PhillipMorris. Without them, something ugly may have just happened here. Don't worry, I'm under the skillful care of a certified professional.

Thoooo now I'm dwunk and I got a big knife and smashed apart some damn fwuit and put it in this thing and make my new best friend the pie dough reach up and hug it. I cook it and then custardededed it an cook it sum more. At thum point it ended up out of the stove and I ate it.

On a serious note, this is quite delicious and I will definitely make again. It's the kind of thing you hide in the laundry room because you know you're the only person that's actually going to go into the laundry room so the rest of the food thieves you live with will just have to starve. It's so good, in fact, that the dog is looking at me and licking his chops. Or, maybe he thinks I'm so drunk that I'm an easy target to take out.
My good friend Peggy of Pantry Revisited has now joined TWD thanks to my friend Amanda of Beckett Bakes It. Be sure to check them out. My thanks again to Amanda whose massive overpurchase of produce this week provided me with nectarines and plums.
Homework: Figure out my mental deficit when it comes to rolling out dough
Coming up next week: Black and White Banana Loaf....I think there's rum involved.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My First Challenge: Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

This week's recipe of Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler was chosen by Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake. I was very excited about it as I love fresh cherries! So excited, in fact, I painted my toenails Very Cherry in celebration of the event. I have never used rhubarb for anything, so I didn't know what to expect. As a welcome-to-my-cult gift, Amanda of Beckett Bakes It gave me whole wheat flour, ginger and a pound of cherries. YUM!!

She also went to four different stores to try to buy rhubarb. As it turns out, rhubarb is a tough find in Alabama in July. After thinking of what I could possibly substitute for rhubarb ........ strawberries, apples, blackberries, blueberries, I called four more stores and finally was tipped off that the Publix in Trussville had it (thank you, Peggy!). After cruising the produce section for 20 minutes or so, I finally found's red celery.

On to my challenge. I halved and pitted the pound of cherries. Martha Stewart suggested I use a metal paper clip to loosen the pits -- total waste of time -- go back to prison and learn some useful tricks, sugar. I used a paring knife and halved the cherries and then twisted them apart and picked out each pit. My hands looked like they had just committed a heinous act. Next time I think I'll wear gloves - my fingernails are still stained. I then had to "peel" the rhubarb. I don't really know exactly what that means, but I am confident I didn't do it correctly. I tasted a piece of raw rhubarb....bleeeeeeck.....what person ate this the first time and said "ahhhhhh, a delicious new vegetable!" Moreover, why the cult following for this plant? I think I could have just cut some weeds out of my yard, "peeled" them and gotten the same effect. Better yet, I could have gone out into the yard and picked wild blackberries and not spent $4.99/pound. To the cherry / rhubarb mixture, I added sugar, ginger and cornstarch. It looked pretty delicious in the bowl all glistening in its syrupy goodness.

The topping for this cobbler is a whole wheat biscuit dough. The recipe provides instructions for preparation in a food processor. I do not yet own a food processor, so I thought I'd try to mix it in the blender. GENIUS! Wrong. After I spent the next 10 minutes trying to scrape pea-sized chunks of butter off the blender blade, I decided it was best to try to make by hand. The instructions stated it should look like most clumps and curds. I got something that looked like oatmeal ...... I think that might be correct. I then formed 20 balls out of the dough and placed in rows on top of the fruit mixture.

I was unimpressed by how little my biscuits rose. Maybe it's time for new baking powder. I think mine expired in 2006. The recipe suggested waiting 20 minutes for the cobbler to cool after cooking before eating. I had my bowl waiting for the 20 minute mark as it smelled pretty delicious. I was delighted in the cherries (not a big shock), but the rhubarb just tasted like a mush of somewhat crunchy nothing - should have gone with a berry. The whole wheat biscuit topping was pretty boring. I guess I have a preference for desserts whose sugar content is so high that you're confident you just rotted out a few teeth. I think I would have adored it if it had a streusel topping. Overall, cherries - YAY!, rhubarb - Boo!, and whole wheat biscuits don't belong on a cobbler.

My Baking Blog

I was encouraged by my friend, Amanda of Beckett Bakes It, to start a baking blog. I love to cook and bake and haven't been doing enough of it lately. Upon Amanda's suggestion, I have joined her group at Tuesdays With Dorie. Once a week, a group member chooses a recipe from Dorie's cookbook, Baking: From My Home To Yours, we bake it from scratch and post a blog about it on Tuesdays (I might be a Monday night poster). I hope you enjoy my blog!