Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

I always do a pumpkin mouse pie for Thanksgiving, it's kinda like my thing.  And in my days as a pastry chef with my own restaurant I made way too many of them.  I like to say I bought my house with pumpkin mouse pies!  But this year I wanted to come up with something a bit different and this is it.  I tweaked this recipe for no-churn ice cream and gave it a pumpkin spin.  Poured into a ginger-graham cracker crust and frozen it made the best, easiest, most differenter Turkeyday sweet ever!

It has all the elements of my signature dessert; pumpkin, because Thanksgiving, heavy cream, because umami, and graham cracker crust and spices because pumpkin. I realize this is a circular reference but cut it into 10ths or 12ths and everyone will be happy! Happy Thanksgiving!

pumpkin ice cream pie

1 can pumpkin
1/3 cup raw can sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
 whipped cream (optional for garnish)
candied walnuts (optional for garnish)

In a large bowl whisk together pumpkin, sugar and spices.  Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk to combine.  Whip heavy cream to soft peaks and fold in to pumpkin mixture.

Pour mixture into prepared pie crust, cover and freeze for at least 5 hours, or overnight.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sourdough Milk Rolls

Just in time for Thanksgiving, this month's Sourdough Surprise is Fluffy Dinner Rolls.  I found this one kind of intriguing because although the ingredients seem simple enough, it's the method of kneading the dough that produces the fluffy effect.  Coincidentally I've been noticing a lot of recipes for Japanese Milk Bread like this recipe and this one. 

It turns out the method for Japanese Milk Bread is strikingly similar to that of Fluffy Dinner Rolls.  It's all about the kneading.  (I gave the dough a solid and enjoyable 10 minutes of hand kneading.)  With Japanese Milk Bread you start by  cooking a milk and flour starter.  While this seems to be the defining element in milk bread, I wondered what it would be like if I substituted my sourdough starter.

Taking my cues from the recipes above I came up with what I think is a pretty good mash up that produced same darn fine rolls.  Of course, they do have yeast in them.  As I may have said before, I'm not ready to take the training wheels off yet when it comes to my starter.  Wanting to highlight the fine texture, I kept the rolls very plain, just a quick brushing of melted butter before and after baking.  They turned out perfectly light and fluffy, just begging to be torn apart and smeared with butter or soaked in some gravy!  Gobble, gobble!

sourdough milk rolls

2 & 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup freshly fed starter
4 tablespoons soft butter (plus more for the pan and finishing)

In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook combine flour, sugar and salt.  Stir yeast into warm milk and add to flour along with beaten egg and starter.  Mix on medium until dough comes together.

Slowly add the butter a bit at a time until it's all incorporated.  Beat on medium for 3 or 4 minutes.  Turn dough out on to lightly floured surface and knead for ten minutes.  You should be able to stretch the dough to the point of transparency with out having it break.

Place dough in lightly butter bowl, cover and refrigerate over night.

The next day turn the dough out on work surface and knead briefly.  Butter a 9 by 12 inch baking pan and set aside.  Divide dough into 12 equal portions and roll each into a ball.  Place in pan, evenly spaced.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush rolls with melted butter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  When rolls come out of the oven give them another brush with butter.  Turn out of pan and cool on a wire rack.

Friday, November 14, 2014


I love learning about new recipes and sharing them with you.  File this post under "learning new recipes and sharing them with you".   Sbrisolona is a totally unfussy, crunchy, crumbly  almond torte/cookie that comes from Northern Italy.  (I can be excused from never hearing about it before because my people hail from the southern part of the country.)  And when I say unfussy, I mean unfussy.  Some bakers don't even bother to cut the torte but rather just break it and serve it up as sweet, almond studded shards.

Being unfussy it's one of those recipes that lends itself to interpretation.  Some bakers play it straight up and simple, and some add a bit of pizazz by sandwiching in a sweet filling.  For the most part sbrisolona are made with chopped almonds, that's the crunch part, and corn meal, that's the crumbly part.  I used all almond flour instead of chopped almonds so this version has more of a snap than a crunch.  But the traditional vanilla, lemon and almond favors shine through and it still retains it's traditional corn meal crumble.

However you make it, just make it.  I know the Holidays are coming up and this recipe is going to compete with your many baking obligations.  Fair enough, so please bookmark this page and return to it in the New Year because by then something delicious and unfussy will be exactly what you'll be needing. 


1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup unbleached AP flour
6 tablespoons corn meal
1/3 cup raw cane sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9X9 inch, or 9 inch round, pan and set aside.  In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Cut in the cold butter until the mixture is crumbly.  

In a small bowl combine yolk, zest and extracts.  Add the yolk mixture to the large bowl and stir just to combine.  Transfer mixture into prepared pan and lightly pat it into an even layer.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the torte is golden.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Once cool either remove from pan with a spatula and break into pieces, or cut into squares.  Makes 8 to 16 servings.

(For something fancier, make a double batch and layer with a filling of raspberry jam or Nutella.)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potatoes

I may not be original, but I will be the last to spot a trend.  If the internet isn't broken yet with the flood of posts about roasted broccoli, then it might be after this one.  How, in heaven's name, have I never tried roasting broccoli?  I mean, I love broccoli, I always buy organic broccoli on market outings.  It's so good for you, right?  Unfortunately, it can't do much for your health just sitting in your crisper, and steamed broccoli or even sauteed broccoli, kinda gets tired after so many tastings, super healthy or not.

That's why this roasted broccoli is so brilliant!  Roasting brings out a smokey-sweetness that you never knew broccoli could bring to the table.  Combined with sweet potatoes, chic peas and golden raisins, and tossed with a zesty gremolata, it's a side dish or vegan main dish that'll leave your crisper empty and your belly full!  

The key to success with this recipe is getting the veggies to roast at the same time.  This might take some practice, but it's worth it.  I cut the potatoes into inch squares and mistakenly cut the broccoli a bit larger thinking they would take longer to roast.  That was not the case and I ended up cutting them in half and roasting them for a bit longer by themselves.  The bottom line is, keep an eye on the oven and test for done-ness half way through roasting, adjusting your time accordingly.

roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes

1 head of broccoli florets, cut into roughly one inch squares
2 sweet potatoes, cut into one inch squares
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon course salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup golden raisins, plumped in boiling water and drained
1 cup canned chic peas, rinsed and drained


2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used sage, thyme and parsley)
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss cut veggies in olive oil, course salt and pepper.  Arrange on baking sheet in one layer.  Bake until tender, about 15-25 minutes.  (You can also toss the broccoli and sweet potatoes separately and roast on separate pans, or on either side of the same pan, if your not confident they will be done at the same time.)

In the mean time, prepare gremolata by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and whisking together; set aside.  

Once veggies have finished roasting, combine in a large bowl with raisins and  chic peas.  Add gremolata and toss to evenly coat veggie mixture.  Makes 4 servings.