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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Savory And Sweet Puff Pastry Treats

 

 

Puff Pastry is a staple in my house. I use Puff Pastry for both sweet and savory recipes. I’ve been making these two for many years.  Ina Garten, from the Food Network, also had an episode where she made these recipes. What was crazy about it was, my recipe for Elephant Ears was close to Ina Garten’s recipe. The Cheese Straws, well they were a bit different. I used Grana Padano cheese with mine, whereas she used two kinds of cheese, Parmesan and Gruyere. When I made this recipe, I added the Gruyere to mine too and they were delicious. Two kinds of cheese are better than one!

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 16 elephant ears
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, parchment paper, and rolling pin

Ingredients: (for one sheet of puff pastry)
1 cup of granulated sugar divided into 2 bowls (1/2 cup per bowl)
1/8 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry

Directions For The Elephant Ears:
Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.

The first thing is to move the puff pastry to the frig the day before so it will thaw out overnight. You want to work with it as cold as possible. Set up two bowls, one with granulated sugar mixed with a pinch of Kosher, and one with sugar and cinnamon combined.

Spread the bowl with the sugar and salt mixture all over a flat surface like my cutting board. A marble surface is fine too. I unfold the pastry and lay in right on top of the sugar mixture. The top of the pastry, pour the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly all over covering the top. So now there’s sugar on the bottom surface of the pastry, and cinnamon sugar on the top surface.

You need to move quickly so the dough remains as cold as possible. Take a rolling pin and roll the pastry out into a rectangle, about 12 inches square. Doing this it allows for the sugar to be pushed into the pastry on both sides. Next, fold the sides of the square towards the center so they meet in the middle. Repeat this process again with those halves to the folds meet in the middle, as shown in the pictures above. Then fold both halves on top of each other making 6 layers.

Next, slice the dough into slightly under 1-inch slices. Place the slices, cut side up onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake the pastry for 5 minutes, or until the bottoms are caramelized and brown, then flip them over with a spatula, and bake for another 4 to 5 minutes. This will allow for the other side to caramelize. Carefully move each one to a rack to cool.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 24 cheese straws
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheets pans, food processor parchment paper, pizza cutter

Ingredients:
2 sheets of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry thawed overnight in the frig
1 large egg for the egg wash (beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
1/2 cup of freshly grated Grana Padano cheese ( divided into two bowls)
1 cup of freshly grated Gruyere cheese ( divided into two bowls)
1 teaspoon of freshly minced basil leaves
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions For Cheese Straws:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
First, grate the cheese in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Once all the cheese has been grated, then roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board. You want it to be a rectangle, about roughly 10 by 12 inches.

Divided equally into two bowls add the grated Gruyere, Grana Padano cheese, chopped basil, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Brush egg wash over the top surface of one of the pastry sheets.  From one of the prepared cheese bowls, spread the cheese over the top of the brushed pastry.

Using a rolling pin, press the cheese mixture into the pastry. Next, use a pizza cutter to slice crosswise the pastry into 10 strips. Twist each strip and lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each one over and bake for another 2 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on them, watching that the cheese doesn’t burn.

Cool and serve at room temperature.

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Fresh Peach Cake Topped With Pistachios

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Family and friends always ask me if it took me all day to make my Fresh Peach Cake Topped With Pistachios. Truth is it doesn’t. I’ll show you how easy this dessert is to make.

The sweetness from the fresh peaches with and that kiss of saltiness from the pistachios gives this cake great flavor and texture. This cake is so moist you’re not going to believe it! I do have a secret ingredient and I’ll explain that in a minute.

I start with making the batter.

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Fresh Peach Cake Topped With Pistachios

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: Stand Mixer, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, offset spatula, 9 x 9-inch baking pan

Ingredients:
1/4 pound of unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar (reserve 1/2 a cup for the cinnamon sugar mixture)
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
4 ounces sour cream, room temperature
4 ounces of ricotta cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups of sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sifted baking powder
1 teaspoon of sifted baking soda
1 teaspoon of sifted Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of pistachios, roughly chopped
garnish with powdered sugar or a dollop of fresh whipped cream

Directions:
Butter a 9 x 9-inch baking pan really well.

In a Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, start by adding the room temperature unsalted butter. With the mixer on low speed, add the sugar and turn the mixer up to medium speed for about 3 to 4 minutes until the butter is light and fluffy.

Next, reduce the speed to low, add the vanilla and two room temperature eggs, one at a time. Let that mix together for a minute before adding the room temperature sour cream. To that add, my secret ingredient, the ricotta cheese. Let that all combine. Turn the mixer off scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and Kosher salt. Turn the mixer back to low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until just combined, Turn the mixer off. You don’t want to over mix the ingredients once the dry has been added to the wet. Remove the paddle attachment and scrape as much batter off the paddle as possible. You want all that delicious batter for the cake.

Next, I’ve peeled, cored and then sliced five peaches in a medium-size bowl. In a small bowl add the ground cinnamon and sugar, whisk to combine.

Add half the batter to the bottom of the greased baking pan. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter out evenly on the bottom of the pan.

Arrange half of the sliced peaches into the batter, sprinkle them with a dusting of the cinnamon sugar. Next, add the remaining half of the batter and spread that over the sliced peaches. Arrange the rest of the sliced peaches, pressing them gently down slightly into the batter. Once more with the rest of the cinnamon sugar, really sprinkling it all over every part of the cake.

Finally, sprinkle the top of the peach cake with chopped pistachios. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator for 15 minutes to rest.

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, if a toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready. Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting.

Serve my Fresh Peach Cake Topped With Pistachios warm or at room temperature. Maybe with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar, YUM!

 

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French Vanilla Cupcakes

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I have to say that in your local grocery store, there are so many varieties of box cake mixes available today and they’re really good. The brand of cake mix I’m partial to is the Duncan Hines French Vanilla. All you have to do is to add a few of your own secret ingredients and Voila!

If you’re looking for an easy dessert to make, my French Vanilla Cupcakes will work in a pinch!

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Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Equipment: 2-12 non-stick muffin tin pans, large mixing bowl, whisk, 2 small bowls, hand-held electric mixer, 1-quart saucepan

Ingredients:
1 16.5-ounce box Duncan Hines French Vanilla
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of water
4 ounces of ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, seeded
2 sticks (1/2 pound) of unsalted butter, melted
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F
Start by spraying the muffin tin pan with liberally with a non-stick cooking spray. Lightly flour each of the muffin tins.

In a large mixing bowl add the eggs, water, vegetable oil, vanilla seeds, and ricotta cheese, mix to combine. Slowly add the cake mix into the wet ingredients whisking together until moistened, about 30 seconds.

Switch to a hand-held mixer. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Pour cake batter into the muffin tins.

Bake in the center rack of the oven for 17 to 20 minutes. Note: Add 3 to 5 minutes to bake time for dark or coated pans. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cupcakes in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing.

Topping:
Melt 2 sticks of unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Transfer the melted butter to a small bowl. In another bowl mix 1 cup of sugar with 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, stir to combine.

Take a cupcake and dip the top into the warm melted butter and then into the cinnamon sugar mixture, place back onto the cooling rack. I promise you won’t be able to eat just one of my French Vanilla Cupcakes because they are so darn good.

 

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