Tuesdays with Dorie – Croissants!

Wow…what a recipe! As soon as I saw that the next recipe for us to venture into was croissants, I jumped at the chance because I’ve been meaning to try making these buttery, flaky morsels for a long time, especially given my recent trip to Paris. I spread mine out over three days rather than two but it was definitely a lot of waiting around. Overnight, four two-hour rests AND a four hour rest… I kept saying ‘these better be worth it’ and unfortunately, I don’t think mine were. I don’t quite know what went wrong but in the final proving stage, a considerable amount of butter oozed out of my croissants and the dough didn’t rise at all. Given the amount of time I’d already invested in them, I popped them in the oven anyway and they didn’t turn out as badly as I thought. I made both croissants and pain au chocolats; the croissants were small, greasy and only had a few flakes so I was a bit disappointed. HOWEVER, somehow, using the same dough, my pain au chocolat turned out really well! Golden, flaky and butter oozing into melted dark chocolate – heaven! The crisp shell broke easily into the silky flakes as rich, thick chocolate spread across the palette – YUM! Two pastries at opposite ends of the scale but from the same dough – very strange! My only complaint about the pain au chocolat was that they really had to be eaten on the day they were baked, which seeing as I had about 12… I didn’t quite manage!

I don’t think I’d try this recipe again but I’d definitely look for a different croissant recipe and try them again; possibly less stress and anxiety would make for a better croissant and they do say that practice makes perfect – what a shame, I’ll have to keep eating croissants.

Amanda at http://www.girlplusfood.net/ has hosted this recipe and her croissants look delicious! A lot nicer than mine, that’s for sure! Check out the other bakers’ attempts at http://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/

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Tuesdays with Dorie – Boca Negra

I’ve been so ridiculously busy with work recently that I haven’t had any time to bake or blog! I know, very upsetting. However, thankfully, I was organised and made this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe last weekend and I’m glad I did because it was well worth it! I decided to pop home to see my parents for the weekend and to make this dessert for them and none of us are particularly keen on strong alcohol in desserts so I decided to replace the bourbon with half brandy and half water. I’ve made dessert cakes like this one before, a recipe by Donna Hay seems to produce particularly similar results but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. Very rich and decadent, we served it with vanilla ice cream to balance the palate but we all preferred it cold surprisingly as the texture was closer, like fudge but more delicate, and wasn’t as sickly. I even managed to take some for lunch the next day! So here’s my Boca Negra, or Moulin Bouche as my dad called it, which seeing as it was just a joke because he couldn’t remember the name, I think it’s a brilliant name!

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Tuesdays with Dorie – Pizza with Onion Confit

This is the first Tuesdays with Dorie of the new year and what a way to start! There were two elements to this dish, the pizza dough and the onion confit. When I read that this was this week’s recipe, I couldn’t wait to try it. My boyfriend and I both love caramelised onions or anything close to them and we will eat anything with goats’ cheese so this was clearly the topping of choice to go for. What made me most excited about trying this recipe though was that I love pizza but I am allergic to tomatoes. They won’t kill me or anything, I’m just intolerant, but it means I have to be careful and I was buzzing with anticipation that there might be a tasty alternative. I haven’t made pizza dough in years and the last time I did, it was a scone based dough and just didn’t taste like pizza so I was a bit dubious about trying this but I’m glad I did. There was a lot of waiting for the dough to rise (I don’t think my kitchen was warm enough because the first rise took around 2 1/2 hours rather than the suggested 1 1/2) but it was essentially very easy to make. I also appreciated how easy it was to shape; most pizza doughs that I’ve tried before spring back very quickly and you can’t get a decent shape. I ended up having to make mine rectangular to fit into the baking tray.

Now, ‘confit’ is something that has many meanings and I always thought it was something that essentially had two meanings, one for meat and one for other things. However, after trying this recipe, I’ve discovered that it essentially means a food that has been put into some kind of substance to add flavour and/or preserve the food. Essentially, this was caramelised onions that took a hot bath in red wine, red wine vinegar, sugar, butter and thyme. Sounds simple? Well the process of cooking it was but the flavour wasn’t… I used red onions and the sweetness from these combined with the sharp tang of the vinegar and a swirl of red wine. Delicious! All of this ended with a slight hint of thyme and I will definitely be using this confit recipe again – I’m addicted!

After shaping the dough, I topped the pizza with a considerable amount of the onion confit and followed this with a generous helping of goats’ cheese, sliced black olives and a sprinkling of parmesan. The aroma was incredibly enticing but I managed to stave off eating it before it was ready. It was incredibly filling but we both loved it. The flavour of the dough really balanced well with the onion confit and it wasn’t dry, which I was afraid it would be. We will definitely be trying this one again.

A really simple recipe, great taste and my house still smelled of pizza dough this morning, which is just a huge plus! Thanks to Tuesdays with Dorie for this great find! If you’d like to read about the others’ attempts at this recipe, head to http://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/ or http://theboycanbake.wordpress.com/

Thanks to the boy can bake for hosting this week! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Tuesdays with Dorie – Gingerbread Baby Cakes

So even though I posted this morning about snow and advent calendars (and this post only just published for some reason), I haven’t felt very Christmassy at all today. Even watching a co-worker put up the Christmas tree didn’t put me in the festive spirit but baking these little cakes did! This is my first Tuesday with Dorie and I think it’s been highly successful! I chose to make muffin sized cakes because I didn’t have small cake pans and I also chose to omit the espresso powder and black pepper because I didn’t have any espresso powder and black pepper always makes me cough. I think the omission of these made the amount of molasses in the mixture too much for me so if I were to make them again, I’d put less molasses in and a little more of the ginger perhaps. I coupled mine with vanilla ice cream and it was a delicious combination… like an adult brownie and ice cream dessert. If you’d like to see how everyone else’s turned out then please visit the Tuesdays with Dorie blog and if you’d like to try the recipe yourself, either buy the book or have a look at this week’s host blog Karen’s Kitchen Stories; thanks to Karen for hosting!

Here’s a couple of photos just to tempt you as well:

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