Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm a Pastry Chef

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Also, Katie has updated her blog and you can the read the latest HERE!

Now,I am not a fancy, shmancy cook or baker, BUT I do love to eat so I  have a few great recipes up my sleeves. in my arsenal.
Today I will start with that Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book. I really do love the book, and I am the mom who grinds wheat and bakes that healthy stuff a few times a week. There is something about the ease of the book that makes me want to sing. Don't worry, I won't sing. I really do not sing all that well but I can do the Moon Walk. Ask my kids. They LOVE when I do the Moon Walk for them.:-)

Remember a while back I posted on the Artisan Bread? If not, you can read about the yummy stuff HERE. I am using the same book as the basis for my fancy, schmancy bread today.

This bread is what I picture a French pastry to be, especially if you were in France. Perhaps I should say that it is more like the yummy pasrties I see at Sam's Club and Costcos, but I truly believe that we need high goals to reach for so I am going to keep it fancy and French.
***Disclaimer: I know nothing about French food or culture or even language, except what I have learned while watching "Beauty and the Beast" with my children.***

Let's start with dough, and the dough I am using is the Brioche dough in this book.
Brioche is French and it has tons of butter and eggs in it. What's not to like???

In your bread dough container mix these things:
1 1/2 C warm water
1 1/2 TB yeast
1 1/2 TB kosher salt
8 eggs
1/2 C honey
1 1/2 C butter (use REAL butter!)
7 1/2 C all -purpose flour

OK, remember that you need to mix the dough in and incorporate it but DO NOT knead it. This dough is very sticky  and wet. It might also have some clumps in it, but don't worry about it.
Leave it on your counter about an hour and then stick it in the fridge. I HIGHLY suggest you leave it in the fridge overnight. Sticky dough is easier to work with when it is cold.

Now, pretend it's the next day and you are craving a fancy French pastry. Since you are a cultured person who knows how to bake such fancy and wonderful treats you go get your dough out of the fridge.

Now go and get some parchment paper. Actually this Braided Pastry Bread will make 2 loaves so get 2 pieces of parchment paper and sprinkle some flour on it.

Sprinkle some flour over the top of your dough and grab a grapefruit sized portion  and wrap it into a ball around itself. Place it on a piece of floured parchment paper. Repeat these steps for the second loaf.

Now, roll the dough out into a rectangle that measures about 12 inches by 6 inches. It needs to be about 1/4 inch thick. Don't obsess too much over it. Roll out both dough balls. If you need to lightly sprinkle some flour on the dough, go ahead.

Now, time to make the filling.

There are 2 items to make.
Raspberry Jam Filling:
Combine 1/2 C raspberry jam with 2 TB flour. Mix well.

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 TB butter, softened
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 TB flour
1 egg
Mix these well, until creamy.

Now, take the cream cheese filling and spread half on each rolled dough. Keep it in the middle and about 1/2 inch from the top and bottom edge.
Take the Raspberry filling and put half on each section of cream cheese filling. Again stay in the center.

Now fold the top and the bottom over the filling.
Here comes the fancy braided part. Make slices in the dough all the way down the sides so that you have strips to fold over the filling.

Starting at the top, fold one slice over, then the next slice...alternating between sides. This will give it a braided look.

This is seriously easy but the results are fabulous and it will look like someting even Belle would be proud of!

Let's make it extra special by creating a shiny, sugary crust.
Combine an egg with 1 Tb water and brush it all over the top of the dough then sprinkle some sugar on top.

Okay, this might be a little TOO much sugar, but this is what happens when you let your 11 year old sprinkle sugar. By the way, kids are also this generous with glitter while doing craft projects as well as sprinkles on cupcakes and cookies.

Bake these loaves for about 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let the crusts get a nice golden brown.

Allow it to cool. It is really good warm as well as cooled off.
French Pastry. You are now an official pastry chef, at I think so. Don't feel like you must only use raspberry jam, either. This would be good with almost any jam or even lemon curd. I once made it with apple pie filling and omitted the cream cheese filling. It was very good.
5 minutes is all it takes to whip up this yummy and rich Brioche dough. Try it!

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