Chocolate Pistachio Sables

I could try to write a long post here:

  • about how my sister-in-law introduced me to the wonder of a versatile cookie that is a sable last Christmas, a tender French sugar cookie that can be endlessly varied and which never wears out its welcome-

Chocolate Pistachio Sables (6 of 6)

  • about how I finally managed to make beautifully circular roll cookies rather than flattened tires (wrap your cookie roll tightly in parchment, cut the inner tube of a paper towel roll, slide your misshapen cylinder inside and roll it to cookie perfection and chill on a flat surface in the freezer, turning a bit in the first half hour or so to make sure it sets)-

Chocolate Pistachio Sables (2 of 6)

  • about how these cookies are beautiful and festive all on their own–studded with glistening chocolate and green pistachios–without need of mixing up seven shades of frosting nor a steady decorative hand-

Chocolate Pistachio Sables (3 of 6)

Chocolate Pistachio Sables (4 of 6)

but we know I’m not so diligent about my posting these days.  I trust you prefer a slightly abbreviated post now to a mid-January missive, so it’s time to get to the point and get you the recipe (from this month’s Bon Appetit).    Absolutely a must make.

Chocolate Pistachio Sables (5 of 6)

Chocolate Pistachio Sables
Recipe Type: cookies
Author: Adapted from [url href="http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/chocolate-pistachio-sables"]Bon Appetit[/url]
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¼ cups (lightly packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon salt).
Instructions
  1. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, kosher salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients; mix just to combine, then mix in the egg white. Fold in chocolate pieces and pistachios. (While you want these to be roughly chopped, don’t worry if you have a few larger chunks. When you slice the cookies you’ll cut through any too-large pieces of chocolate or nut).
  3. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into an 8”-long log about 1½” in diameter, pushing dough together if it feels crumbly. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. (The colder your dough, the easier it will be to slice.) As I noted above, roll inside a paper towel tube to get a uniform shape, and chill immediately.
  4. Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Working with 1 log of dough at a time and using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut logs into ¼”-thick rounds and transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing ½” apart. Be extra careful to keep up the sawing motion near the base of the cookie log as it otherwise might tend to break off with an uneven rough finish.
  5. Sprinkle cookies with sea salt and bake, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until set around edges and centers look dry, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
Notes
Per Bon Appetit, the dough can be made 1 month ahead; freeze instead of chilling. Slice frozen logs into rounds just before baking.

 

Czech Plum Dumplings

I’ve never been a big fan of fresh plums.  I have always wanted to like them, little orbs of summer that they are, and occasionally would try one or two from the fruit drawer in the fridge where my mom stored them.  Like the peaches we got, they always disappointed, but we also knew that the produce that made its way to our local grocery stores was also the most lackluster.  But even now, when I’m able to grab a few from a farmer’s market (so, as tree-ripened and as sweet as one could hope for), I never have any desire to eat them raw.  Cooked, roasted, baked, simmered, or jammed, however, they’re, at least for me, perfectly irresistible.

Czech Plum Dumplings (2 of 11)

Over ten years ago now (ugh) when I lived in the Czech Republic, I soon learned that plums were such an important fruit there that different words existed for the different varieties–to a Czech’s mind, then, an Italian prune plum and a sugar plum are perhaps as different as a peach and a nectarine.  And that late-summer-to-early-fall Italian prune plum is the key component to a whole range of delicious things:  from slivovice (plum brandy) to povidla (plum butter) to plum dumplings.  I’ve made the first two from that list, and have long been meaning to make the final entry.

Czech Plum Dumplings (11 of 11)

I’ve made them before, in fact, but not on my own.  The village I lived in for one year as an English teacher had previously housed a Czech language school for foreigners.  During the old communist days, students came from the so-called “nonaligned” countries to study at Czech universities–usually technical subjects like engineering–but needed an intensive crash course in Czech before they started.  Hence they lived in language school’s dorms for a year before they were off to Prague, Brno, or other Czech university towns.  Today the institute runs preparatory courses (for Czech students) to prepare them for their college entrance exams.  If I remember correctly, you sit for an exam in the program of your choice–medical, legal, general studies.  If you don’t get in, you can come to this program and spend another year preparing to retake the exams.  (Yeah, no pressure). Anyway, “Cestina pro cizince” (Czech for foreigners) is no more, but one of the program’s teachers, Alena, still live in the town–and lucky for me, she took me on for lessons.  Not bad to have “CSL” (“Czech as a second langauge?) teacher with twenty years of experience introducing you to the insanity that is Czech grammar. Since I was there in the evenings, Alena also took it upon herself to make sure I had a good grounding in Czech food.  She was one of those people who can whip up any number of things from scratch (of course she was!) and while I sadly must admit I haven’t retained all that much, I do remember making these dumplings with her.  A big bowl of blue-purple oval fruits, tvaroh (Czech “farmer’s cheese”, also known as quark), milk, flour, and butter.

Czech Plum Dumplings (1 of 11)

Czech Plum Dumplings (3 of 11)

First we mixed and kneaded the soft pillowy dough–me and Alena by hand, today me and little H with the stand mixer–

Czech Plum Dumplings (4 of 11)

An assembly line was set up, and we wrapped each fruit in its own little package–

Czech Plum Dumplings (6 of 11)

moistened the edges to create a seal–

Czech Plum Dumplings (7 of 11)

and set them aside while we waited for the water to boil.

Czech Plum Dumplings (8 of 11)

We slipped them into  boiling water to poach, and a few minutes later, carefully fished them out, hot and slippery.

Czech Plum Dumplings (10 of 11)

Drizzled with butter, powdered sugar, and poppy seeds.  My favorite type of lesson about culture–via the stomach.

Czech Plum Dumplings (11 of 11)

Note:  you’ll notice that it took me a while to get this post up as these plums, even if early fall fruits, are no longer in season. However, you can use other fruits so you don’t have to wait until next September.

Czech Plum Dumplings
Recipe Type: breakfast, dessert
Cuisine: Czech
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2T butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup “pot cheese” (farmer’s cheese, quark, tvaroh, tvarog).
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups cake flour or a combination of cake and regular flour. (I used 240g cake and 30g regular flour).
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 – 1 1/2 pounds fruit (prunes, apricots, cherries, apples or other firm fruit; I used 16 plums)
  • melted butter, poppy seeds, additional quark, and powdered sugar for serving
Instructions
  1. Cream butter, egg and cheese together. It’s OK if it’s a bit lumpy. Add the salt, flour, and milk to make a medium firm dough. Depending on the firmness of your cheese, you may have to add more milk. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil while you make the dumplings.
  3. Break off pieces and form into balls–you’ll want 16 or so. Let rest 15 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. On a floured surface, roll dough out into rounds and place a pierced fruit in the center. Dab the edges of the dough to create an adhesive edge, wrap around the fruit, and pinch together, sealing the edges well. Set aside on a floured surface, sealed side down, while you make the other dumplings.
  4. Gently slip into boiling water one at a time but as quickly as possible. Cook for 5-8 minutes turning once. Remove with a skimmer or slotted spoon.
  5. To serve, tear open a dumpling with two forks, and drizzle with melted butter, more cheese, poppy seeds, and powdered sugar

Herb Pie from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem

It’s that time again on the blog, when I wax all lyrical about the Yotam Ottolenghi/Sami Tamimi collaboration.  Instead of repeating myself I’ll point you herehere and here.  And is that me talking about then in the Globe?

Yeah, I’m kind of a fan.  You may have heard about their latest book, Jerusalem, which came out about a year ago.  There’s been plenty of press on it (including that recent Globe article), and with good reason–it’s amazing.  I have a lot of cookbooks, and there are very few I cook from nearly every week, but Jerusalem is one.  I always have to do a quick scan around the house for it because it never makes it back on the bookshelf–it’s in the sunroom, or the TV room, or the living room as often as it is in the kitchen, because I’m daydreaming and planning what I’ll be making next.  The hummus recipe‘s exceptionally smooth puree, the chocolate babka utterly decadent, the mejadra (lentils and rice) fragrant with coriander, the helbeh (a fenugreek cake) a surprising delight…

I could go on.  But I’ll limit myself for the moment to herb pie.

Another herb pie from #TastingJrslm.  Assembly 1

This tart is right up my alley.  I love savory middle-eastern pies–bureks from Bosnia and the Balkans, Greek spanakopita and variations thereon, you get the idea.  So what makes this one special?  The  generous handfuls of parsley, cilantro, arugula, and chard.  Herbs are the heart and soul of the tart, not just an accent.  That’s for the cheese to do.  Olive oil binds the phyllo together rather than butter (which is easier to work with, as you don’t have to guesstimate at how much butter to melt, leaving your leaves of phyllo to dry out while you melt more butter).   And the magic of lemon zest.  All this makes for a lighter, fresher finished product that disappears quickly.  Too fast, apparently, for me to remember to take pictures.  For that (and another take on this recipe), check out Sparrows and Spatula’s post here.

Another herb pie from #TastingJrslm.  Assembly 2

As you scan the ingredients, you’ll note that the recipe calls for anari cheese, which is not even carried by the fancy-schmancy Whole Foods cheese department.  Ricotta can be used as a substitute (and like anari is a cheese made from whey, so it is a very close substitute from what I can tell).  The second time, I tried ricotta salata, and both attempts were delicious.

Another herb pie from #TastingJrslm.  Assembly 3, ready for the oven.

When assembling the pie, you are instructed to layer the oiled leaves of phyllo together and then place them all at once in the pan:  once for the bottom crust, once from the top.  Maybe it’s nothing revelatory in the grand scheme of things, but for me it certainly was–I’ve always made spanakopita by buttering each phyllo leaf and then haphazardly transferring the delicate sheet to a pan.  So much easier to build up the layer on the countertop and then place it the baking dish.

Another herb pie from #TastingJrslm.  Cooling!

Because I have so many cookbooks, and so many things I want to try, I don’t normally repeat a recipe only weeks after trying it for the first time.  This is the exception– and there’s more phyllo squirreled away in the freezer for the next time.

Finally–a moment for the blogosphere.  If you want to see other great things that are being made from this cookbook, check out the Tasting Jerusalem blog group here (featured in the New York Times article linked to above).  This is also my first contribution to the Let’s Lunch group–thanks to Cheryl (author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family, a great book I read when it came out) for inviting me along!

Herb Pie from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem
Cuisine: middle eastern
Author: adapted from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem, also available [url href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/20/herb-pie-recipe-vegetarian-ottolenghi"]here[/url]
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing the pastry
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 lbs. Swiss chard, stems and leaves finely shredded but kept separate
  • 3-4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions (green onion), chopped
  • 1 3/4 ounces of arugula
  • 1 ounce flat-leaf parsley, chopped (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
  • 1 ounce fresh mint, chopped (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
  • 2/3 ounce dill, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces of anari or ricotta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 1/2 ounces aged cheddar, grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 9 ounces filo pastry
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Pour the olive oil into a deep frying-pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 8 minutes without browning. Add the chard stems and the celery and continue cooking for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chard leaves, increase the heat to medium-high and stir as you cook for 4 minutes, until the leaves wilt. Add the scallion/green onion, arugula and herbs and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and transfer to a colander to cool.
  2. Once the mixture is cool, squeeze out as much water as you can and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the three cheeses, lemon zest, eggs, salt, pepper and sugar and mix well.
  3. Lay out a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with some olive oil. Cover with another sheet and continue in the same manner until you have 5 layers of filo brushed with oil, all covering an area large enough to line the sides and bottom of a 8 1/2-inch pie dish, plus extra to hang over the rim. Line the pie dish with the pastry, fill with the herb mix and fold the excess pastry over the edge of the filling, trimming the pastry as necessary to create a 3/4 inch border.
  4. Make another set of 5 layers of filo brushed with oil and place them over the pie. Scrunch the pastry a little to create a wavy, uneven top and trim the edges so it just covers the pie. Brush generously with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes, or until the filo turns a nice golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
You can also use spinach–see Sparrow and Spatula’s post [url href="http://sparrowsandspatulas.blogspot.com/2013/01/in-instagram-coffee-pie-ottolenghi-and.html"]here[/url]

Check out the other Let’s Lunch creations!

Annabelle‘s Chocolate Pie at Glass of Fancy

Anne Marie‘s Apple Pie Sandwiches at Sandwich Surprise

Betty Ann‘s Calamansi Pie at Asian In America

Grace‘s Easy Apple Pie with Lard Crust at HapaMama

Jill‘s Guava and Cream Cheese Empanadas at Eating My Words

Lisa G‘s Sweet Ricotta Noodle Pie at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Lisa K‘s Great-Grandmama’s Chocolate Pie at The Little Good Ride

Linda‘s Biscoff Banana & Pear Galette at Spicebox Travels

Lucy‘s Sweet Potato Custard Pie at A Cook and Her Books 

Mai‘s Caramel Apple Pie Sundae at Cooking in the Fruit Bowl

Margaret‘s Cushaw (Squash) Pie at Tea and Scones, Too

Nancie‘s Edna Lewis’s Tyler Pie at Nancie McDermott

Naomi‘s Huckleberry Pie Ice-Cream at The Gastro Gnome

Rebecca‘s Summer-Fall Hand Pies at GrongarBlog

 

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake

It’s hard to find delicious apricots in Massachusetts–usually I’m limited to whatever the grocery store has shipped in from California, and while  plenty large these are often mealy  and flavorless.  Apricots are notoriously poor travelers, and much like strawberries, flavor gets sacrificed for sturdiness–and the ability to travel cross-country.

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake (3 of 4)

So I go a little crazy during those few short weeks when the Red Jacket Orchard apricots from upstate New York come in at the grocery store, and even crazier when the farmer’s markets have apricots on display.  (It’s a good year for fruit!).  So it was that I bought about seven pounds of apricots and carried them home on the commuter rail–the majority dedicated to an apricot-cardamom jam.  True to their delicate nature, a few still remained for eating fresh out of hand, but the rest were bruised from their commute–feeling, perhaps, much as we all do after a long day?  No way could these be wasted, so little surprise what comes next:  I found myself baking!

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake (2 of 4)

As you know, I love baking with ricotta–it adds a wonderful springiness as well as sturdiness to baked goods.  More prosaically, we were about to go on vacation and the expiry date on the tub was nigh.  There’s plenty of cheesecake-apricot recipes on the web, but I had the urge to make one of those snacking cakes that can acceptably be eaten at breakfast.  I found this recipe on the blog Seasonal Desserts, and made a few tweaks of my own, adding a bit of whole grain flour and a splash of rose water.

Apricot rose ricotta cake, assembled.

As you can see from my shoddily-lit instagram photo above, the cake looks rather flat and unsubstantial in batter form–be not dismayed, as you have ample proof it bakes up beautifully.  You can also see that no matter how unphotogenically you’ve arranged your apricot halves, the result is nonetheless stunning.  Don’t you love it when that happens?

I’ve provided Maria Teresa’s suggested amount of apricots (six to eight) but if you are using local fruits you might have a variety of sizes.  Just fit as many halves as you can over the surface, bake, and enjoy.

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake (1 of 4)

 

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake
Author: Adapted from M[url href="http://mariateresaskitchen.blogspot.com/2011/07/torta-di-ricotta-e-albiccoche-ricotta.html"]aria Teresa’s Kitchen[/url]
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons, divided
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 250 grams ricotta []
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 6-8 apricots, washed, divided in half and stone removed
Instructions
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a 9-inch round cake or springform pan and place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Place the eggs, zests and the sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  4. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale and thick, about 3 minutes.
  5. Set the mixer to its lowest speed and beat in the ricotta.
  6. Add the sifted dry ingredients, beating only until they are incorporated.
  7. Pour about the batter into the prepared pan. Place as many apricots as you can fit on top of the batter and sprinkle them with the extra sugar.
  8. Bake the cake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.
  9. Carefully remove the sides of the springform pan and let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake (4 of 4)

Gooseberry Tart

For me, gooseberries are one of those quintessentially British fruits, like damson plums or sloes, that I nonetheless never managed to try while I lived in London.Gooseberry Tart

To rectify this, I’ve been on the lookout for them  for the past several years, only to be disappointed.  But this year’s fruit crop in Massachusetts is proving to be amazing–tons of sour cherries have now given way to red, black, and even golden raspberries, along with red and black currants and yes, gooseberries.

Gooseberry Tart

The price, unfortunately, reflects the fact that these gooseberries are so hard to come by.  So even though I splurged on two generously filled half pints at the farmer’s market, I came home to find I didn’t even have the four to five cups required for a pie.  Fortunately, I had enough for pie’s rustic French cousin, a galette.

Gooseberry Tart

While you thankfully don’t have to chop gooseberries (which must be as tedious as cutting up grapes or cherry tomatoes for toddlers) they do require a bit of prep work–they need to be topped and tailed, which is really just removing the stem from one end and the blossom from the other.  It’s easy enough to do, but given how these tiny bits tend to stick to your fingers, and then rub off on the next gooseberry you reach for, you’ll want to wash your berries after this process.  Once done, the gooseberries look much like grapes, albeit rather veiny ones.

Then it’s just a matter of assembly.  It’s easy to find helpers who will enjoy sprinkling the cinnamon sugar over the berries and the crust.

Gooseberry Tart

Gooseberries are surprisingly tart, and are said to taste a bit like strawberries–which is true, but not something I would have noticed had I not already been aware of the comparison.  They cook down into a juicy filling, and have a surprising richness–making it easy to see why gooseberries complement savory dishes so nicely.  For dessert, however, a tart yogurt ice cream or dollop of creme fraiche would nicely accompany this galette, with the fruit’s juices swirling together with the melting cream.

Gooseberry Tart

Gooseberry Tart
Author: Adapted from Lindsey Shere, via [url href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/gooseberry-tart"]Food and Wine[/url]
Ingredients
  • Pastry
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
  • About 3 tablespoons ice water
  • Filling
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint gooseberries (about 3 cups), stems and tails removed
Instructions
Make the crust.
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender (or two knives or forks) or your fingers, cut or rub in the butter until the mixture resembles a mix of coarse cornmeal with larger particles the size of peas. (I.e. you’ll still have a fair amount of larger chunks of butter). Stir in the ice water with a fork. When the dough holds together, knead it a few times against the side of the bowl to smooth it out. (If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a few more drops of ice water.) Pat the dough into a disk, and wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Flour a surface and roll out the dough into a round about 14 inches in diameter. (You may have to wait a few moments for the dough to soften). It need not be perfect around the edges as this gives it its rustic look. Lay it on a large baking sheet or pizza pan lined with parchment paper and refrigerate briefly while you prepare the filling (but no longer as the crust will get to hard to fold over the filling later).
Make the filling and assemble the tart
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Mix 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar with the flour and sprinkle this mixture over a 9-inch area of the pastry. Spread the prepared gooseberries on top. (I rolled out the dough before prepping the gooseberries; the dough chilled while I topped and tailed the berries). Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar and sprinkle the remainder over the gooseberries. Fold the edges of the pastry up over the berries to form a 9-inch free-form tart, making pleats and pressing them together lightly. Brush the pastry with water and sprinkle with the reserved cinnamon-sugar.
  2. Bake the tart in the center of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the gooseberries are bubbling and lightly browned and the pastry has caramelized in spots and is well browned on the bottom. Cut the tart into wedges with a sharp knife and serve.

Gooseberry Tart

Kim Boyce’s Ginger Peach Muffins, lightened up

To start things out, I’ll admit that I can be a bit repetitive.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (6 of 8)

First, you’re right that I have made ginger peach muffins before (even if I didn’t report about it on this blog).  My co-worker certainly remembers this:  when I brought the muffins in this post into work to share,  she asked, “are these the ones from the blog that are really cupcakes?”  They aren’t–and I like to think these muffins I am about to tell you about are a lot healthier, and just as delicious.

Secondly, you’re also right that I’ve been caught enthusing about Kim Boyce in this space.  Enough that the last time that Molly was over and looking to borrow some cookbooks she said “I know you won’t lend me this one as you’re always using it.”  She was right.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (1 of 8)

A few weeks ago, when Marie was visiting with new baby M, I bought a few peaches at the grocery store.  Some were nearly ripe, others still unappealingly green and firm around the pit.  I was roasting some eggplant and threw these in the oven at the same time, each half with a pat of butter in the hollowed out pit, and with a light drizzling of honey.  (I threw in some apricots that were about to go for good measure).  A perfectly ripe peach may be impossible to improve on, but a roasted peach, caramelized around the edges and lusciously soft in the center, comes close. It also perks up the less ideal specimens, which let’s face it, is often what you get at the grocery store (or if you just can’t be patient enough to let them fully ripen).

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (3 of 8)

When Molly asked me the next day for some ideas for oat flour–her email started out, “Hey Quirky Flour Lady”–I was reminded of this recipe.  (I’m sure Molly was not shocked to have me bring up Kim Boyce again.  Since the exchange was over email, maybe she even shook her head a little).

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (4 of 8)

I don’t know what Molly’s made with her oat flour, but I immediately knew what I was doing with the leftover roast peaches, despite the fact that in the same email exchange I told Molly that I had declared a muffin moratorium due to my sons’ messes while eating them.    Not a lot of willpower there on my part.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (2 of 8)

I’m evidently the Quirky Flour Lady, so I already had the oat flour, but if you don’t, you can also made it quite easily by running oatmeal through the food processor.  In fact, I had all the ingredients in hand except for the sour cream, but I had another acidic dairy product in my fridge:  low-fat kefir.  Suddenly I realized (due to no virtuous impulse on my part, but rather luck) that these were going to be a “lightened up” version of the recipe in Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours:  roasted peaches rather than peach slices sautéed in butter, low-fat kefir instead of sour cream.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (5 of 8)

As you can see, they turned out perfectly.  Kefir, I’ve noticed, seems to produce an exceptionally lofty rise in baked goods (though I’d happily have used buttermilk or yogurt as well), and the blackened edges of my roasted peaches nestled in the crumb ensured my muffins were as pretty as they were delicious.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (8 of 8)

Kim Boyce’s Ginger Peach Muffins, lightened up
Author: adapted from Kim Boyce’s [url href=”Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours “]Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours[/url]
Ingredients
  • For the Roast Peaches
  • 2 ripe but firm peaches peaches, ripe, but firm
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 T. honey
  • Dry mix:
  • 1 c. oat flour
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t. kosher salt
  • Wet mix:
  • 3 oz (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, then cooled slightly (just melt the butter first, and let it sit while you do everything else)
  • 3/4 c. whole or 2% milk
  • 1/2 c. plain kefir (substitute buttermilk or plain yogurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T. finely chopped crystallized ginger
Instructions
Make the roast peaches
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Slice the peaches in half around the equator and remove the pits. Line a rimmed (preferably) baking sheet with parchment paper (this will substantially speed cleanup). Place the peaches, cut side up on the baking sheet and divide the butter between the hollows of each half. Drizzle lightly with honey (but remember that the oven will bring out the peaches’ sweetness). Roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Remove, and when cool enough to handle, slice each half lengthwise into 6 slices.
Make the muffins
  1. Reduce the heat of the oven to 350. Rub your muffin tins with butter or line with muffin cups.
  2. Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Stir the wet ingredient together in another bowl, and add these to the bowl along with the chopped candied ginger and stir together gently until combined. The batter will still be lumpy. This is ok.
  4. Scoop the batter into 11 muffin tins using a spoon or ice cream scoop. The batter should be slightly mounded over the edges. Lay a couple of peach slices over each muffin, nestling them gently into the batter.
  5. Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. The muffins are ready when the they smell nutty and are golden. Take the tin out of the oven and as soon as you are able, twist the muffins and lay them to cool on their sides in the tin. This allows the muffins to cool without getting soggy.