Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake

The other day I asked my friend what food should I wave in front of her in case she falls into a coma. You know, just regular lunch time conversation. Hey, come on, it can happen...look at soap operas!

She instructed me to wave little squares of Scharffen Berger chocolate in front of her.

Dear friends, please take note. Please present the following to me should I have a medical emergency (Treats listed in no particular order):

a. Fresh lemon tartlets
b. Mochi (especially kinako and pink with white beans)
c. Wasabi mashed potato salad from Delica in San Francisco (I also think the powerful smell of wasabi might help wake me too)
d. Carnitas burritos. Hello, wouldn't you wake up for this?
e. Pumpkin bread
f. Kettle Corn (only made a Farmer's Market, not from the store. Dude, I'm in a coma and only want the best :)
g. This Gingerbread Apple-Upside Cake

Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs mentioned this cake to me and she had me at Ginger. I'm all about the Ginger. And Apples. And Cakes without Frosting. And Cakes that are upside down.

I found that Smitten Kitchen adapted the recipe. She cut the molasses and added honey in the cake, and caramelized the sugar for the topping. I just cut the molasses some, but followed her technique for the topping. That change added a really nice caramel flavor to the apples.

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
After pouring the brown sugar/butter topping on the bottom of the pan, Fuji apples were placed on top.

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
This has a LOT of batter. The recipe calls for a 10" pan. I baked it in a 9 x 3 inch pan, and I think it would go way up to the top (if not overflow) a 9 x 2 inch pan. So, if you don't have the recommended 10" pan and use a 9 x 2, I wouldn't add all the batter (make a little mini cake to go along with this cake!)

I actually made it twice. The first time I put it into a 10" cast iron skillet, added all the batter and it way, way overflowed. Luckily I had some foil under the skillet!

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
Because I was using a 9" pan, I had to bake it a lot longer than the recipe...65 minutes.

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
This cake is delicious! It takes like fall on a plate. I loved the gingerbread cake so much I could just eat that without the apples...but that would be silly because the apples rock it too.

Recipe:
My adaptation - click here for printable recipe
Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Karen Bates at the Philo Apple Farm via the New York Times (published: October 27, 2009) and Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake (blog post: Monday, November 23, 2009)

Topping
2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing pan (This is different than NY Times and Smitten Kitchen's versions)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

Batter
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup molasses (This is less than NY Times version)
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Note: This has a LOT of batter. The recipe calls for a 10" pan. I baked it in a 9 x 3 inch pan, and I think it would go way up to the top (and might overflow) a 9 x 2 inch pan. So, if you don't have the recommended 10" pan and use a 9 x 2, I wouldn't add all the batter (make a little mini cake to go along with this cake!)

Make the topping: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan (I used a 9" x 3 cake pan). Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring until thick. I forgot to add the salt but Smitten Kitchen says to swirl it in. The New York Times recipe doesn't caramelize the sugar and butter in a pot; I really liked the nice caramel flavor. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of your cake pan. Make circles of overlapping apple slices on top of the caramel.

Make the batter: Using a mixer with paddle attachment, beat 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter and the sugar on medium-low speed. Increase the speed to high and cream until light and fluffy.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, honey and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Alternate mixing the flour and molasses mixtures into the butter mixture, adding the next once the last has been incorporated.

Pour the batter into the pan. New York Times says to bake for 45 to 50 minutes (in a 10" pan) or until a wooden tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (It took me 65 minutes in a 9 x 3" pan.) Let cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a platter.

NY Times suggests serving warm or cool with very softly whipped cream. (I didn't top it with anything...and it was still delicious!!!)

You may be interested in:
Smitten Kitchen's recipe (adapted from NY Times)
New York Times recipe ("Ginger-Apple Upside-Down Cake" Adapted from Karen Bates at the Philo Apple Farm, Published: October 27, 2009)
Pin It!

Cocoa-Nana Bread - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cocoa-Nana Bread - Tuesdays with Dorie
For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Steph of Obsessed with Baking chose Cocoa-Nana Bread on page 46 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Speaking of Dorie Greenspan, she announced exciting news! Dorie and her son Josh are opening a pop-up store COOKIEBAR!
It's in New York from Monday, February 8 until Saturday, February 13. If you are in New York, pick up some cookies for me, okay? ;)

Cocoa-Nana Bread - Tuesdays with Dorie
Of course, I made it into a small 6-cup Bundt and a couple mini loaves. If it can fit into a Bundt, I'm going to make it.

Cocoa-Nana Bread - Tuesdays with Dorie
I made this as soon as the January recipes were announced, and have no memory of it! This is why I take photos...so I can remember a few things in my life. :) I don't remember it knocking my socks off, so I think I'll stick to regular banana bread or banana bread with chocolate chips if I want some chocolate.

Be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers!

Recipe:
Steph's blog: Obsessed with Baking
Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours, page 46
Pin It!

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking 1 - Class 6: White Cake with Italian Meringue Buttercream

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New School of Cooking - Class #6 Cakes & Buttercreams
Classic White Cake with Raspberry and Vanilla Italian Buttercream

I'm taking the Pro Baking 1 series at the New School of Cooking in Culver City (Los Angeles) this fall/winter. For Class 6, we talked cake and frosting!

We made a lovely white cake and I. Made. Italian. Meringue. Buttercream. Did you catch that? I made something I'm way scared of...Italian Meringue Buttercream!

Italian Meringue Buttercream involves heating up a sugar syrup to 235 degrees (soft ball stage) and pouring this into a whirling meringue - being careful not to hit the whisk or the side of the bowl. Pouring this boiling liquid into a KitchenAid is nerve racking, but (whoo hoo!) I did it! I've made Swiss Meringue Buttercream in the past, but this was the first time for the Italian. I'm like the United Nations of Meringue buttercream at this point!

After pouring in the hot sugar syrup mixture into the egg whites, beat until cooled. Then we added a pound of butter...4 sticks of butter. (I think it is self-preservation that I don't care for frosting and usually scrape it off...and save a zillion calories!) The biggest mistake people make is that after the butter is added, the frosting looks curdled and they think it is ruined. However, just keep beating and it will eventually work itself out and become smooth.

We took 40% of the Buttercream and added some of this delicious raspberry fruit puree.

New School of Cooking - Class #6 Cakes & Buttercreams New School of Cooking - Class #6 Cakes & Buttercreams
The rest of the buttercream was flavored with vanilla.

New School of Cooking - Class #6 Cakes & Buttercreams
We made two 8" white cakes and split them. The raspberry buttercream filled the layers...

New School of Cooking - Class #6 Cakes & Buttercreams New School of Cooking - Class #6 Cakes & Buttercreams
...and the vanilla buttercream frosted the outside. The offset spatula is a must for frosting! Instead of a turntable, you can put the cake on a cake pan.

New School of Cooking - Class #6 Cakes & Buttercreams
Remember in Class 5 we made Chocolate Cupcakes? Well, with all the leftover cake batter, a couple cakes were made...affectionately known as the "friendship cake"! :) Chef Carol, the instructor, whipped some ganache for the filling (oh. my. god. to. die. for.) and used the vanilla buttercream to demonstrate how to frost a cake. This cake was delicious!!

New School of Cooking - Class #6 Cakes & Buttercreams
Whoo hoo! Yummy cake! Dude, I love this class. It is a lot of fun, and I'm gaining a lot of confidence in my baking.

I'm not posting the recipes from class but they don't have special powers or ingredients...the class is more about technique (like I needed adult supervision for my first Italian buttercream! ;) These recipes by Martha Stewart for Italian Meringue Buttercream and White Cake are very similar to what I made in class. Cheers, Mary

Recaps of the New School of Cooking, Pro Baking 1 course:
Baking Therapy: Going back to school
Class 1: Quick Breads
Class 2: Custards
Class 3: Soufflés & Pate a Choux
Class 4: Tarts, Pie, Crisps and Cobblers
Class 5: Chocolate
Pin It!

Mapo / Mabo Tofu with Pea Sprouts

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pea Shoots with Mapo Tofu

As part of Ten in 10, I'm trying to find easy, delicious and quick dishes. Here is a simple, healthy, vegetarian dish that you can whip up in a second, has no cholesterol, and is spicy yummy.

Mapo Dofu/Doufu/Tofu (Chinese name) or Mabo Tofu (Japanese name) is a spicy Chinese dish that is usually a combo of ground meat (beef or pork), tofu and chili paste. It is commonly served over rice, but I used these very healthy pea sprouts or shoots.

Chili Paste for Mabo Tofu
The key is a jar of this Chili Bean Paste (Toban Djan). This Chinese product is made by Lee Kum Kee. I've never used it before but saw it on the shelf of my local Japanese market. It has directions to make Mapo Tofu, and it instantly went into my cart. There are only 5 calories and no fat in a teaspoon.

(Oh yes, I'm all Sandra Lee semi-homemade about this...but I cook for one and don't have time to assemble all the ingredients for the spicy paste......I need time to bake people! :) Please search the web or a cookbook for a proper recipe from scratch and enjoy!)

Pea Shoots with Mabo Tofu Pea Shoots with Mabo Tofu
I picked up Pea Sprouts from the Japanese market. I haven't seen them in other markets, so check out your Asian market if you have one near you. This package was $2.99. (Today I saw fresh pea sprouts at my local farmer's market).

My version Mapo Dofu/Doufu/Tofu (Chinese name) or Mabo Tofu (Japanese name) over Pea Sprouts

You could easily add ground meat to this dish!

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a hot wok or pan and stir fry the washed pea sprouts/shoots until wilted. It will only take a few moments! Transfer to a dish.

Heat another teaspoon of oil in the pan, and add the Chili Bean Paste (to taste). You can add garlic at this point too. Add cut up pieces of firm tofu, some water, and heat through. Serve onto of the pea shoots and enjoy!
Pin It!

Ten in 10 Healthy Challenge

Oh man, this post was supposed to go up January 2, not January 23. Sorry for being 3 weeks late!

Lori of Recipe Girl is organizing Ten in 10: Healthy Challenge. Do something healthy for 10 weeks in the first 10 weeks of 2010!

My goals are:
1. Lose 10 pounds
2. Stop eating food from the vending machine at work
3. Exercise with a heart rate monitor so I can improve my cardio health

Normally, I eat lots of fruits and veggies - probably about 80% of my diet. However, it's the other 20%...

So far, I've stayed away from the vending machine, found my heart rate monitor (um, no, I haven't used it yet... :), and lost 3 pounds by tracking my food and increasing my exercise. This past week was hard because it rained like CRAZY in Los Angeles (yes, there was a canoe in Long Beach).

Here is a bloglisting of the group of people who are in the 10 in 10. I hope to post some recipes for foods and snacks that are healthy and easy to make. Here's to a more healthy 2010!
- cheers, mary the food librarian
Pin It!

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking 1 - Class 5: Chocolate

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brown Sugar Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I'm taking the Pro Baking 1 series at the New School of Cooking in Culver City (Los Angeles) this fall/winter. For Class 5, it was all about the Chocolate! As you can imagine, no one was absent from class! :)

We learned about cacao seeds, nibs, and the history of chocolate. We had a chocolate tasting with a bunch of Tasting Chocolates (these are expensive and NOT for baking). My favorites were the single origin chocolates of Michel Cluizel. These chocolates are made from a single plantation, not a combination of many growers.

Hint: The Trader Joe's Pound Plus blocks of chocolate are repackaged high end chocolate from Belgium. Get it. It's yum and way way cheaper. (By the way, you can usually find this chocolate above the freezer and near the little boxes of mini peanut butter cups and chocolate covered sunflower seeds, it is not in the baking section)

New School of Cooking - Chocolate Class New School of Cooking - Chocolate Class
We made brown sugar chocolate cupcakes (made with Dutch-processed cocoa) and had a selection of frostings and toppings. So-called "Buttercream" (next week we'll make an Italian Meringue Buttercream - the real buttercream): Vanilla and Chocolate, and a chocolate gananche. We used jumbo cupcake holders to hold a nice topping of ganache.

New School of Cooking - Chocolate Class

New School of Cooking - Chocolate Class
Chef Carol, our instructor, also demonstrated making a Chocolate Decadence Cake or Flourless Chocolate Cake with a mound of chocolate ganache. The white lines are a combo of powdered sugar and heavy cream. You need heavy cream so you made the texture of the ganache...if you used milk, it would harden.

New School of Cooking - Chocolate Class
The next day, I practiced by making the cupcakes again and frosted them with some cream cheese frosting (just for you @justjennrecipes!) The little balls? Those are delicious Valrhona Crunchy 55% Chocolate Pearls (available at Surfas)

Recaps of the New School of Cooking, Pro Baking 1 course:
Baking Therapy: Going back to school
Class 1: Quick Breads
Class 2: Custards
Class 3: Soufflés & Pate a Choux
Class 4: Tarts, Pie, Crisps and Cobblers
Pin It!

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars (Tuesdays with Dorie)
Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm picked Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars, pages 114 and 115 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars (Tuesdays with Dorie)
I followed the directions except I subbed dried cranberries for the raisins. These cookies are really rich so I cut them into small squares.

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars (Tuesdays with Dorie) Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars (Tuesdays with Dorie)
These cookies have a bunch of candy-bar like ingredients: peanuts, oatmeal, raisins (or dried cranberries), and a chocolate center.

Be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers!


Recipe:
Confectiona’s Realm's blog
Baking: From My Home to Yours (pages 114 and 115)
Pin It!

Martha Stewart's Coconut Cupcakes - MS Cupcake Club

Monday, January 18, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes - Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart's Coconut Cupcakes

MS Cupcakes Club

For this month's Martha Stewart's Cupcake Club, Jennifer from Cinema Cupcakes chose Coconut Cupcakes on pages 28-29 of Martha's fantastic book: Martha Stewart's Cupcake Book. Sorry for the delay in the post...I feel asleep instead of making these on Friday!

As I've mentioned on the blog several times, I have a love/hate relationship with coconut. Love the flavor, hate the strands. I knew these would be going straight to work! :)

Coconut Cupcakes - Martha Stewart
This cupcake uses coconut milk and food processed coconut flakes. I didn't feel like making the frosting. Yesterday in my baking class (post coming soon), it was all about frosting and I was kinda frosted out. Also, several on-time bakers thought the cupcake was perfect without frosting...so I took their advice and just dusted them with some powdered sugar.

We are about to enter a week of lotsa rain in Los Angeles. A place where we flood because our poor drainage system is made for the desert and not a downpour. I think celebrities are going to line up two-by-two at the Hollywood sign! ;) Wish us luck!

Coconut Cupcakes - Martha Stewart

Recipe:
Martha Stewart's Cupcake Book: Coconut Cupcakes, page 28

The Martha Stewart Cupcake Club doesn't post the recipe. You can use WorldCat to see if your library has it in their collection (I need to put the Librarian in the Food Librarian sometimes! :)

Be sure to check out the other Martha Stewart Cupcake Club members and their version of the recipe! Yes, you can actually see frosting! :)
Pin It!

MS Cupcake Club...delayed

Saturday, January 16, 2010

You are supposed to be seeing a Coconut Cupcake...but my schedule got messed up (um, I fell asleep instead of baking them!). I should have them up on Monday. Cheers, Mary
Pin It!

Gingercake from the Culinary Institute of America

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gingercake - Culinary Institute of America
Gingercake

As part of the tuition for my Pro Baking 1 class at the New School of Cooking in Culver City, we got a chef's coat and the book: Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America

The instructor doesn't assign any of the recipes, but we are encouraged to make similar recipes to the week's topic. She picked this book because the recipes have been tested by the CIA...the Culinary Institute of America, not the bunch of spies. I made this gingerbread awhile back and found the photos in my Flickr account, and thought, "Oh, I forgot to post that." Does that happen to you too?!

Gingercake - Culinary Institute of America
This recipe is easy to assemble. The middle of my cake fell (see here), but I'm sure I must have done something wrong in the mixing or baking.

I like to bring in treats to my co-workers in easy to grab/carry/eat sections. I buy these cupcake cups in bulk at Surfas! :)

Gingercake - Culinary Institute of America
It was a nice cake...soft and moist. It goes well with tea or coffee...and perhaps a cold day. Which, by the way, is something we haven't had that much of in Los Angeles. It has been in the 70's this January (especially for the Rose Parade, Rose Bowl and BCS Championship...it is all part of the tourist industry's plan to keep the visitors coming ;)

P.S. And if you are a fan of Gingerbread, tune in next week for a post about a delicious Gingerbread Apple Upside Cake that is sooooo good you must make it! Really. It was yummmmmmy.

Recipe:
Gingercake
Adapted from Gingercake on page 85 of Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America. Purchase here or see if your library has the book here on Worldcat

Printable Recipe here

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t ground ginger
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c buttermilk
2 large eggs (I always use room temp eggs for baking....leave out for awhile or place in warm water for 15 minutes before using)

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. (I place a piece of parchment in the pan and spray with Pam with Flour).
2. Sift together flour, ginger, baking powder & soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar in stand mixer with paddle attachment until light in texture, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the molasses and buttermilk and beat until evenly blended, about 1 minute.
5. Increase speed to medium and cream until smooth and light, about 2 more minutes.
6. Add eggs one at a time on medium speed.
7. Add the sifted dry ingredients on low speed until evenly blended and smooth.
8. Pour into cake pan and bake until center springs back when pressed lightly, about 45 minutes.
9. Let cool on wire rack. Slice and serve...dust with powdered sugar.
Pin It!

Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben - Tuesdays with Dorie
Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Teanna of Spork or Foon? selected Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben, pages 157-159 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Fried dough.
Sweet.

I'm running way, way late on this one so I rushed home and totally made the dough wrong - added the ingredients out of order. I have to remind myself to actually READ the directions next time. Please see Teanna's great blog to see how to properly make the dough - she has cool step-by-step photos. I didn't let it sit long enough in the refrig and used the freezer to speed things along. They ended up too thick...but that's okay. You know what you get then? Thick fried dough. Still pretty sweet.

Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben - Tuesdays with Dorie

Be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers! Some baked 'em and I've seen a lot of pretty shapes out there today!


Recipe:
Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben on
Spork or Foon? blog - Please see her great step-by-step photos!
or page 157 of
Baking: From My Home to Yours.
Pin It!

Los Angeles Times Upside-Down Meyer Lemon Cake

Friday, January 8, 2010

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake

The Los Angeles Times Food Section is opening its vault and has the Top 10 recipes of the past 25 years on the website. See the listing here. Earlier, I made the Cafe Beaujolais' Buttermilk-Cinnamon Coffeecake from 1985.

And the LA Times Food Section will be moving to Thursday (from Wednesday). This will be tough! The Wednesday Food Section is such a "hump day" treat...oh well, it used to be on Thursday and it's going back. I know the Los Angeles Times staff has taken a beating in this economic climate...I can't imagine life without the LA Times, especially the Food Section. I've been reading the paper forever...and will run out to the driveway on Thursdays now to grab the Food Section. Thanks LA Times Food Section and @latimesfood for all the great recipes and articles!

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
My dad has a lovely Meyer Lemon tree. It's old, short and stout. Hum, that kinda sounds like my dad too. :) Anyway, when I saw the Upside-Down Lemon Cake on the LA Times website, I knew I had to use my dad's Meyer lemons.

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
I just bought a new cast iron pan for the TWD Tarte Tatin, and was happy to use it again! A layer of brown sugar and butter is topped with the lemon slices. Then a cake batter is cooked on top.
Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Although difficult to cut because of the rind (make sure you use a sharp knife), this was a fan favorite at the library. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Check out the other LA Times favorites over the years here: Opening the vault: 25 years of our best recipes. This recipe was part of: Top 10 recipes of 2007

Recipe:
Lemon Upside-Down Cake
From Los Angeles Times test kitchen director Donna Deane. Published March 14, 2007.

From the article (Hello, I'm a librarian and had to get the citation :)
Blingtime for lemons; Let this season's precious fewer fruits sparkle and shine in desserts that make the most of every sweet-tart bit of golden citrus. Susan LaTempa, Donna Deane. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Mar 14, 2007. pg. F.3

Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Printable recipe here or on Los Angeles Times

4 small lemons (about 4 ounces each) - I used Meyer lemons
One-half cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, divided
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split - I used 1 tablespoon of vanilla paste instead
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

2. Cut 3 of the lemons into one-eighth inch thick slices. (I ended up using 4 smaller Meyer lemons) Remove seeds and set aside. You will have about 30 lemon slices. Grate 1 teaspoon lemon peel from the remaining lemon. Set aside the grated peel; save the lemon for another use.

3. Heat 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or an ovenproof 10-inch saute pan until melted. Brush the sides of skillet with a little of the melted butter. Add the brown sugar, stir until it is moistened with the butter and spread it into an even layer. Arrange the lemon slices, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom of the skillet. Set aside.

4. Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons butter into a mixing bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with the point of a knife onto the butter. (I used 1 Tablespoon of vanilla paste). Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until creamy. Add the sugar and grated lemon peel and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

5. Add half the flour mixture and beat until blended. Add milk and beat until combined, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until blended.

6. Spread the batter over the lemons in the skillet to cover evenly. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and the center tests done. Let the cake stand 5 minutes, then invert the skillet onto a platter. To serve, slice into wedges with a sharp knife. (It is difficult to cut so make sure your knife is sharp to get through the rind).
Pin It!

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking 1 - Class 4: Tarts, Pies, Cobblers and Crisps

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm taking the Pro Baking 1 series at the New School of Cooking in Culver City (Los Angeles) this fall/winter. For Class 4, it was all about the Tarts, Pies, Cobblers and Crisps. I'm okay with three out of four of these...but pie crusts make me shake in fear.

However, I did it! I made a pie! From scratch! With my own hands! Oh yes, Pies Rock and I'm not afraid of you anymore!!!

Apple Pie - New School of Cooking
We made an all butter pie crust by getting carpal pie syndrome...blending the butter and flour mixture with our fingers until the butter bits were small and the consistency of wet sand. Then we quickly added ice water and mixed it together for a bit. All done by hand with just one bowl. After a rest, I rolled out a crust with a French rolling pin (the only one to use for pie per the instructor). We used 6 very tart Granny Smith apples for the filling.

In class, the instructor emphasized that the artistry of baking is adjusting the flavoring to highlight the ingredient, or do the best with what you have. If you have a fresh-picked apple from the Farmer's Market, you need to leave it alone. If it tastes great, don't be adding flavorings to cover it up. However, if you have cold storage apples and cheaper ingredients, then you might need to bump up the cinnamon and vanilla. Knowing how to highlight something naturally delicious, and flavoring something that isn't at its peak...that's the art of baking.

Apple Pie - New School of Cooking
The edge is simple - just pressing the edges together with a finger. I like the motto...pay more attention to the center and not the edges!

Apple Pie - New School of Cooking
I made an Apple Pie! Whoo Hoo!

Lemon Tart - New School of Cooking
Citrus Tart (Lemon and Lime)

Lemon Tart - New School of Cooking Lemon Tart - New School of Cooking
We made a sweet tart dough by hand as well. Obviously, the sweet tart dough is a bit more forgiving. It can get ripped up and you can press it into the pan. I learned that it is better to press in pieces than re-roll. Don't re-roll. We blind baked the tart shell.

Lemon Tart - New School of Cooking
I love this photo of our tarts out of the oven! There are 12 people in the class.

Crisp & Cobbler - New School of Cooking Crisp & Cobbler - New School of Cooking
The instructor also demonstrated making a crisp and cobbler...that we all ate with homemade ice cream! I've made both in the past so I'm glad we concentrated on the crusts in class.

Next class...we move onto Chocolate and Cakes. Sweet. After a two-week holiday break, I'm looking forward to going back to class on Sunday. :)

Recaps of the New School of Cooking, Pro Baking 1 course:
Baking Therapy
Class 1: Quick Breads
Class 2: Custards
Class 3: Soufflés & Pate a Choux
Pin It!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Ads that help me buy some ingredients