Baking

Taste of WGBH: 100 Years of Holiday Food and Drink

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
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Recipes For Apple Lovers

By Toni Waterman   |   Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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Oct. 18, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Oct. 13 on WGBH's Greater Boston.


BOSTON — For food writer Amy Traverso, apples are, well, the apple of her eye. She says she was always fascinated by the storied fruit, but became obsessed after getting married in an apple orchard. For the past five years, Traverso has been crisscrossing the country, learning about varieties and how best to cook them. And she shares it all — along with 100 recipes — in her new cookbook, The Apple Lover's Cookbook. Recipes range from the traditional apple pie, to a stuffed apple pork loin, to the adventurous pickled apples (get the recipe below).

Amy Traverso recently sat down with Greater Boston's Emily Rooney to talk about her favorite dishes from the book. Watch the interview and take a look at some of the recipes she shared with WGBH:

Dutch Baby
Free-Form Apple-Pear-Cranberry Tart
Quick Bread-and-Butter Apple Pickles

Free-Form Apple-Pear-Cranberry Tart

By Amy Traverso   |   Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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Apple Pear Cranberry Tart (Squire Fox)

I love the rustic look of this tart filled with sliced apples, pears, and cranberries. Rather than baking it in a pie plate, you simply roll out the crust into a circle, fill it with fruit, and fold the sides up around the filling. It's sweet and tangy, doesn't require any fussiness on your part, and makes an impressive Thanksgiving centerpiece.

It's best served with vanilla ice cream.

Apple Notes: Consult the Cheat Sheet on page 30 for a list of firm-tart apple varieties. Any will work very well here.

Equipment: Parchment paper; large rimmed baking sheet

Makes: 8 medium servings, 6 large servings 

Active time: 45 minutes  

Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time

Ingredients
For the crust
1¼ cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick; 113 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling
2 medium (or 1½ large) firm-tart apples (about 12 ounces total; see Apple Notes)
1 large ripe pear, such as d'Anjou or Bartlett
½ cup (103 g) plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
? teaspoon ground cloves
? cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 large egg, beaten well

Directions
1. First, make the crust:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar until well combined. Sprinkle the butter cubes on top and use your fingers to work them in (you want to rub your thumb against your fingertips, smearing the butter as you do). Stop when the mixture looks like cornmeal with some pea-sized bits of butter remaining (try to work quickly so the butter doesn't melt). Sprinkle the egg yolk–water mixture on top and stir with a fork until the dough begins to come together. If needed, add one more tablespoon water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead three times. Gather into a ball, then press into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400ºF and set a rack to the second-from-the bottom position.

Peel, core, and cut the apples into ¼-inch-thick wedges. Peel and cut the pear into ½-inch-thick slices. Gently toss together in a bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, orange zest, and cloves; set aside.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle about 16 inches wide and ? inch thick.

The circle doesn't have to be perfect — this is a rustic dessert — but try to get it as round as possible, even if that means cutting a little dough off one side to add to the other. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Arrange half the apple and pear slices over the dough, leaving a 2½-inch border all around. Sprinkle half the cranberries over the apples. Sprinkle half the sugar-cornstarch mixture over the fruit, then repeat with the fruit and then the sugar mixture. Fold the sides of the dough up and over the edge of the filling, allowing the dough to drape over itself at each fold. Brush the dough with the beaten egg, and sprinkle all with one teaspoon of sugar. Bake for 10 minutes; lower the temperature to 375ºF, and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes, then transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.

Dutch Baby
Quick Bread-and-Butter Apple Pickles
Main Greater Boston story


Reprinted from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso
Copyright © 2011 by Amy Traverso
Photograph © 2011 by Squire Fox
With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Dutch Baby

By Amy Traverso   |   Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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Dutch Baby (Squire Fox)

Also called a German pancake, this egg-leavened breakfast dish is like a sweeter version of Yorkshire pudding and a close cousin of the popover. I love it because it solves my eternal breakfast dilemma, providing the sweetness of pancakes, without the sleepiness that follows an all-carb feast. It also takes very little time to make, but looks so impressive, all golden and puffed up, when you bring it to the table.

Apple Notes: A sweeter apple pleases my morning taste buds better than an acidic one. Favorite firm-sweet varieties include Baldwin, Ginger Gold, Gravenstein, Honeycrisp, Jazz, and Piñata. Equipment: 12-inch cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet

Makes: 4 servings
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients
¾ cup (110 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons (43 g) unsalted butter
1½ large firm-sweet apples (about 12 ounces total; see Apple Notes) peeled, cored, and cut into ?-inch-thick rings
5 large eggs
1 cup (240 ml) whole or 2% milk
Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling
Lemon wedges

Directions
1. Sift the flour into a medium bowl, then stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk for about 1 minute; the mixture should be frothy and drizzle from the whisk in a thin stream. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 425ºF and set a rack in the middle position. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Lay the apple slices in the butter and cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes. Gently flip the slices and cook until tender, about 2 more minutes.

3. Working quickly, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk just to combine. Pour the batter into the hot skillet with the apples, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately from the skillet, with lemon wedges to squirt over the top.

Free-Form Apple-Pear-Cranberry Tart
Quick Bread-and-Butter Apple Pickles

 


Main Greater Boston story

 


Reprinted from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso
Copyright © 2011 by Amy Traverso
Photograph © 2011 by Squire Fox
With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Quick Bread-and-Butter Apple Pickles

By Amy Traverso   |   Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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Quick Bread-and-Butter Apple Pickles (Squire Fox)

Okay, this relish is actually a bit different from the bread-and-butter pickles you may know from childhood. It's also much simpler. It does have a similar flavor profile, though: sweet and bright, with warm spices.

It's a quick pickle in every sense — just a thirty-minute bath in the vinegar before it's ready to serve, and I simply keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, rather than canning it. It never lasts long enough to put up, anyway. Serve as a side salad, or on sandwiches and burgers, or chop up and mix into potato salad.

Pairs well with the Apple and Mustard Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on page 107.

Apple Notes: Red-skinned apples look prettiest here, so consult the apple portraits on pages 31–60 to find some red firm-sweet apple varieties. I often use Jazz, Baldwin, and Melrose here.

Note: To make this pickle truly pretty (and easy), the mandoline and biscuit cutter are essential. The mandoline because you want paper-thin slices, and the biscuit cutter so you can create apple slices that are the same size as the cukes. You don't need anything fancy, though.

See my recommendations for affordable tools on pages 71–72 of the cookbook.

Equipment: Mandoline; 1½-inch biscuit cutter (see Note)

Makes: About 4 cups 
Active time: 25 minutes 
Total time: 60 minutes

Ingredients
1 large seedless (English) cucumber (about 14 ounces or 400 g), unpeeled
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 large firm-sweet apples (about 1 pound total; see Apple Notes), unpeeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 medium shallots
1 cup (240 ml) rice vinegar
½ cup (120 ml) water
½ cup (120 ml) honey
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 sprig fresh tarragon, cut into 4 pieces

Directions
1. First, prep your cucumbers: Cut off the ends and discard, then slice on a mandoline. Put in a colander and toss with the salt. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prep the apples: Trim the seeds and core from each apple half, then set, cut side down, on a cutting board. Use a biscuit cutter to push down into the flesh, extracting two little cylinders from each apple half. Because the apples are round, the cylinders won't be perfectly level. That's fine. Thinly slice each cylinder on the mandoline (again, don't worry if some slices are not perfect circles). Slice the shallots on the mandoline as well, then put in a medium bowl with the apples.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, honey, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon stick and tarragon, and pour the mixture over the apples and shallots.

4. Rinse the cucumbers well and lightly blot dry (still in the colander) with paper towels. Add the cucumber slices to the bowl with the apples and stir well. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Dutch Baby
Free-Form Apple-Pear-Cranberry Tart
Main Greater Boston story


Reprinted from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso
Copyright © 2011 by Amy Traverso
Photograph © 2011 by Squire Fox
With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Irish Soda Bread By Annie Copps

Monday, March 14, 2011
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sliced irish soda bread

Any leprechaun of note will tell you that the key to good soda bread is not to get yourself or the dough overworked in the process. Kind of like a giant biscuit, soda bread is easy and quick to make, but if not made properly it can be dry and tough, or undercooked in the middle. The line between a pleasant pastry fit for a smear of butter and jam and a leaden block of cooked flour fit for the garbage bin, can be a fine one.

Like any dough or batter, gluten, the protein in flour (activated by water) gives baked goods their structure. In the case of traditional bread, the gluten needs to be worked into long strands, via kneading, so that hot air can get in between those strands and puff it up. In the case of cakes, muffins, and “quick” breads it is important to mix the ingredients together, just until they are combined and holding together so things don’t get too tough inside.

Traditional Irish soda bread is made from only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and milk, for this recipe I added some baking powder, to really keep things light. Whisk together some flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Add in melted butter, caraway seeds, and some golden raisins. In a separate bowl combine some buttermilk and egg and combined JUST until incorporated—remember, don’t overwork things. Form into a round and make an “X” on top. Bake and you’ve got yourself a pot of gold waiting to come out of the oven.

Yield: One loaf
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes; active time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
2 tablespoons caraway seeds, optional
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add butter, caraway (if using) and raisins; combine just until incorporated.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg; add to dough and mix just until incorporated. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and fold it over onto itself 2 or 3 times, shaping it into a round, 8-inch loaf. Transfer loaf to a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Score an “X” on the top of the dough. Bake 45 minutes until well-browned and a toothpick plunged into the center emerges clean.

Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Serve with butter and your favorite jam or preserves.

Baking Soda and Baking Powder
Both baking soda and baking powder are variations on sodium bicarbonate which produces carbon dioxide, which gives baked goods a bit of rise.

Baking Soda
Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. And is a quick to cause bubbles when combined with moisture, especially when heated.

Baking Powder
Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, as well as cream of tartar (an acidic) and cornstarch (which keeps things dry). Baking powder has a bit more staying power without as much acidity.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

___________________________________________________________
annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

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