01 December 2014

Squash Chiffon Cake

Awhile ago, I made the Espresso Chiffon Cake from Smitten Kitchen, and I was really impressed with how it turned out. So when I saw a recipe for Pumpkin Chiffon Cake as I was deciding what dessert to make for Thanksgiving, I knew that I would have to try my hand at that, too.

There were a few tweaks: I halved the recipe, used acorn squash rather than pumpkin, substituted pastry flour, and used the same number of yolks as whites. Oh, and I made up some cream cheese frosting for the cake. Because: Cream Cheese...

It turned out phenomenally. It was certainly denser than the previous chiffon cake I made, but with the squash puree and not cutting some yolks out, that was more than expected. The beaten whites still gave it so much lift and tenderness! I will be doing this again!

Squash Chiffon Cake
adapted from Alice Medrich via Food52
makes 1 - 8" round cake

1/2 cup sugar, divided
4 eggs, divided
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup squash puree (I used acorn)
100 grams (~3.5 ounces) pastry flour (cake or rice work, too)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Line an 8" round cake pan with parchment paper (optionally, grease)

2. Preheat oven to 325°F

3. Set aside 1/8 cup sugar (to stiffen egg whites)

4. In a large mixing bowl, mix remaining sugar with yolks, oil and puree

5. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves

6. Mix flour/spices into the puree/yolks

7. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until they hold soft peaks; add the sugar that was set aside, then whip eggs until stiff but not dry

8. Fold half of the whites into the batter until no streaks remain, then do the same with the second half

9. Pour into prepared cake pan, set in the bottom third of the oven, bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (30-40 minutes)

10. Cool, then slide a knife around the sides to release from the pan; Peel off the parchment paper

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 - 8 ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature (leave out ≥1 hour)
1/2 to 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt

1. Once the cream cheese is at room temperature (softened), whip until light and fluffy

2. Whip in a pinch of salt, and the powdered sugar to taste (start with 1/2 cup, add until you like it)

25 September 2014

Esquites Con Tostados

Chris and I have gone to Oakland's Eat Real Festival for a few years running now, and naturally they have amazing food. This year, I think the winners (in our eyes, at least) were the lamb poutine and the sweet potato waffle pie (with salted bourbon butterscotch syrup). We ate so much of those that we didn't have room for an old favorite of mine, NIDO's Esquite Placero.

Now, I tried translating "Esquite Placero" (via Google, of course), and apparently it's meaningless drivel. As far as I can figure, it is referencing esquites, which is a roasted corn dish with cotija cheese. NIDO's "Placero" is served up on a plate, unlike (so I read) esquites. But the major points of roasted corn and cotija cheese are definitely met. And it is delicious. What more can you ask for?

My take is certainly a bit different then NIDO's; hitting up the highlights of roasted corn and pepper, toasted pepitas, crumbled cotija, all served over some excellent tortilla chips. I, however, went the route of tomatillo salsa rather than aioli.

Esquites Con Tostados (Roasted Corn with Tortilla Chips)
serves 4

2 ears of corn
2 red bell peppers
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Tomatillo Salsa
1 pound tomatillos
4 jalapenos
4 cloves garlic
handful of cilantro
salt to taste

Cotija cheese
Tortilla chips (I made oven-baked chips: day-old tortillas tossed with canola oil and salt, baked [in a single layer on a cookie sheet] at 350°F for 12 min)

1. De-paper and blend the tomatillos with the rest of the salsa ingredients

2. Broil the bell peppers and the corn*

3. Once charred, remove from the oven and cover the peppers with a damp cloth for a few minutes

4. While the peppers are steaming, turn oven to 350°F and toast the pumpkin seeds (in a single layer in a metal pan with a rim) for 10-15 minutes (if making home-baked chips, you can put them in the oven with the seeds)

5. Cut the corn off the cob

6. Remove the charred skin from the peppers, then mince coarsely

7. Once the pumpkin seeds are toasted, toss together with the corn and the pepper

8. Crumble the cotija

9. On a plate, layer the tortilla chips with the roasted veg & seed mix, the cheese and the salsa

* Note: I just read a suggestion to cut the corn off the cob and fry it up in some oil until pleasantly brown rather than broil it. I'll try this next time.

27 June 2014

Korvapuusti (Pulla Rolls)

Chris went to Finland recently and loved some of their breads and pastries. In particular, he was enamored with the various cardamom breads. Among these were korvapuusti, which means "a slap on the ear" or some such (named, I assume, because of how you cut them; they look a like an ear).  Korvapuusti are a rolled pastry with lots of cardamom, both in the dough and in the filling.

Naturally, we decided to try to make these at home. We adapted a recipe from Kinfolk, though they just call the recipe Pulla.

makes 8


For the dough:
1 tablespoon yeast (~10 grams)
8-7/8 ounces of milk (250 grams)
17-1/2 ounces ap flour (500 grams)
5-1/4 ounces sugar (150 grams)
1/2 tablespoon cardamom seeds (I did 3 grams ground cardamom)
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened

For the filling:
9 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams)
2-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (7-1/2 grams)
1-1/2 teaspoons cardamom (3 grams)

To top with:
1 egg, beaten
Pearl sugar (or regular if you don't have pearl)

1. Warm the milk to about 95°F (warm but still touchable)

2. Add the yeast to the milk and let stand about 5 minutes

3. Mix in the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt

4. Add butter, then knead until smooth, elastic and only slightly sticky, at least 10 minutes by hand

5. Cover and let rise until doubled (1 hour)

6. Mix the sugar and spices for the filling together, then beat into the butter until creamed

7. Lightly flour a surface, if necessary, then turn out the risen dough and roll into a 10" by 16" rectangle (should be ~1/4" in height)

8. Smooth the creamed butter out to the very edges of the dough

9. Beginning with the 10" side of the rectangle, roll the dough into a tight cylinder

10. Position the flap at the top of the roll (you'll be pinching it closed or placing it on bottom in a moment, to make sure it will stay closed during baking), and cut into 8 triangles (scalene at the sides, isosceles in the middle of the roll...and well, mostly triangle I should say, because you want to leave the outer most roll layer attached to itself, so really, a trapezoid with one edge really tiny...)

11. Pinch the top point of the triangle and bring toward the center (the bottom of the triangle ends up on the bottom of the korvapuusti, and the top gets pushed down into the center so that it really quite looks like an ear)

12. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper, and place the korvapuusti ~2" from each other; cover and let rise until dough is doubled

13. During last 15 minutes of rising, preheat oven to 400°F

14. Brush the korvapuusti with egg and sprinkle with sugar

15. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown