Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

Time for the second recipe on Tuesdays with Dorie. This week we baked chocolate truffle tarts and our hosts are awhiskandaspoon, spikebakes, good eats n sweet treats, and cookbookhabit.

First I had to make the chocolate tart dough. I was glad to see there were directions for making the dough by hand, not just in a food processor. The directions said to make it on a smooth, preferably cold surface, so I made it right on the granite counter top. It was extremely messy but ultimately came together ok and cleaned up easily enough. I probably should have added a bit more ice water since it was still very crumbly when I wrapped it in plastic, but I thought it would become more cohesive after a chill.

Two days later I was ready to bake the tarts. I bought some mini tart pans just for this and I think they were 3 inches. When I rolled the dough out I had enough for 7 pans plus a bit left over. The dough was still crumbly, so I just rolled each piece into a ball, tried to roll it out flat, and then pressed it into the pan, patching as necessary. I found it a little difficult to press the dough into the pans with the bottoms out, but I just tried not to press too hard so the dough wouldn't push through the bottoms. I baked them and they set them aside to cool while I made the filling.

Tart shells ready for the oven.

The directions for the filling were pretty straight forward. The only thing I had a question about was how long to beat the eggs & sugar. Beating the yolk until they "form a slowly dissolving ribbon when the beater is lifted" doesn't really cut it for me as far as instructions are concerned. I had to stop a check a few times before I got to what I thought was the right consistency. 
I used ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips, callebaut white chocolate chunks (from the bulk section of the "health foods" store) and chopped Hershey's bars for the milk chocolate. The grocery store surprisingly didn't have any milk chocolate in the baking isle so I grabbed those Hershey's bars at the checkout. I used Nonna's biscotti and they were large so I used three and still thought maybe it was too much.

White chocolate, milk chocolate, and biscotti waiting to be mixed into the tart filling.

After the filling ingredients were all mixed, I used a 1/4 cup measure to scoop into the tart shells. I had a little left over so I baked the rest in a small dish. I baked them for about 18 minutes. They didn't look completely dry on top but I didn't want to overbake them. I had read from others that these were brownie-like, so I thought better to be under done than over. 
Finished tartlet
These came out really well. My husband and I split one, topped with a bit of whipped cream. Definitely rich and yummy! 
Chunks of white chocolate in the middle

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie: The Beginning--White Loaves

I'm starting this blog primarily to follow along with the group on Tuesdays with Dorie. Tuesdays with Dorie is a group of bloggers who bake the same recipe every other Tuesday. I found out about the group after I received Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours and I was googling recipes before I made them. It was too late for me to join in then, but I was excited when I found out they were starting again with one of Dorie's older books Baking with Julia. I've developed an interest in baking and I thought this was a great way to challenge myself and make sure that I'm continuing to bake on a regular basis.

Our hosts this week are Laurie and Jules. The first recipe is great one to start with: White Loaves. I have to admit I haven't actually made real bread before. Sure, I've used a bread machine, but to bake a loaf from scratch with the rising, in the loaf pan, no, I've never done that. My baking leans toward the sweet category.

I won't post the recipe here, but check it out in Dorie's book. It is well worth the investment!

I was on a time crunch, as usual, when I started making this bread. I bought the only yeast in the grocery store and it turned out to be "fast rise," but that worked out ok since I was in a hurry. I used King Arthur "Special Bread Flour" from the bulk section of my health food market. Side note: that flour was less than $1/lb!

I got out my trusty KitchenAid and proofed the yeast as instructed. Then in with the first batch of flour and the water, then the rest of the flour. I turned the mixer on and it was fine at first, but as it churned, I noticed a burning smell, and it really looked like it was struggling. I turned it off for a bit, then back on, then off, just trying to give it some time to rest in between working.

Finally the kneading was done and my mixer was still standing. I formed the dough into a ball and sat it aside to rest. This was all pretty familiar me because I've made pizza dough several times before. Because I had used the quick rise yeast, the dough didn't need the full 45 minutes to double in size. It was ready in about half that time. I beat it down and pulled out half to form my first loaf. I had to re-read the instructions several times but once I got it, it was easy. I thought for sure the seam would turn out weird, but the loaves came out perfect. I baked them for about 30 minutes then took the loaves out of the pans to brown in the oven for about 10 more minutes. Only one minor imperfection--my loaves were not the same size. I guess I'll get better at portioning as I go along.

I gave the bread time to cool, but it was hard. Man, that bread smelled so good! When I cut into it, honestly I thought it seemed a little hard, and a little dense, but when I tasted it, yum! My husband loved it also. Now that I know baking my own bread is so (relatively) easy and so tasty, I don't think we'll be going back to the grocery store bread!

If you've been intimidated by making your own bread, I definitely recommend that you give this recipe a try.
The delicious finished product!