Posts made in August, 2020

Bready or Not: Jam and Cream Brioche Tart

Posted by on Aug 26, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, cheese galore, French, yeast bread | 0 comments

This Jam and Cream Brioche Tart is probably among the most extraordinary things I’ve ever baked, and that is saying something.

Bready or Not: Jam and Cream Brioche Tart

First of all, the end result is gorgeous. Golden, thick crust freckled by pearl sugar. Marbled cream cheese and contrasting jam, with flecks of vanilla bean throughout.

Bready or Not: Jam and Cream Brioche Tart

The tart is as delicious as it looks, too. The enriched dough is sweet and soft, providing a luscious base for the different kind of sweet-and-soft offered by the filling.

This is a showstopper of a dessert or breakfast.

Bready or Not: Jam and Cream Brioche Tart

The only unusual ingredient involved is the Swedish pearl sugar. I bought it on Amazon. I consider it a worthwhile investment, as there are a number of other pastry recipes I want to try that also use it. Plus, heck, you could even throw them on waffles or fruit or whatever.

Bready or Not: Jam and Cream Brioche Tart

Another not-quite-so-obscure ingredients I suggest you use is vanilla bean paste. This is VERY useful if you’re making fancy desserts because you get the flecks of vanilla beans without the high cost of using actual vanilla beans.

Bready or Not: Jam and Cream Brioche Tart

In a cream cheese filling or frosting, those flecks really stand out, and they add a lot to the WOW factor. Which this tart already has, many times over.

Bready or Not: Jam and Cream Brioche Tart

Recipe modified from Bake from Scratch, Sep/Oct 2019.

 

Bready or Not: Jam and Cream Brioche Tart

Don't be intimidated by the lengthy instructions! The actual process is fairly straightforward, and the result is gorgeous. Use vanilla bean paste for the filling, if possible, as the flecks of bean add a lot to the prettiness of the finished tart. Modified from Bake from Scratch, Sep/Oct 2019.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: cream cheese, french, yeast bread
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • 9x9-inch pan
  • parchment paper

Ingredients

For Brioche

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk or half & half
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature and divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened

For Cream Cheese Filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or substitute vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

To Finish

  • 2 Tablespoons fruit preserves use good quality stuff with nice chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Swedish pearl sugar

Instructions

  • Using the microwave and a safe dish, heat the milk to between 120 and 130 degrees. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the flour, white sugar, yeast, and salt at very low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Slowly add the warm milk to incorporate. Add 2 of the eggs along with the vanilla, and beat for about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  • Add butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time, letting each piece incorporate before adding the next, about 8 minutes total. (If it refuses to incorporate, switch back to the paddle for this stage.) Beat until a smooth and elastic dough forms, about 6 minutes.
  • Lightly flour a stretch of counter or tabletop and dump the dough there. Knead it for a minute or so and form it into a smooth round.
  • Apply cooking spray inside a large bowl. Place the dough inside and give it a spray, too, to prevent sticking. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap in a warm spot to rise until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Cut parchment paper to line pan going up all four sides. Apply nonstick spray to pan, then lay both strips inside the pan and spray the top-most sides.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 11-inch square. Score a 9-inch square in center of dough (using the pan as a reference, if needed). Fold outside 2 inches over score mark, creating a crust around edges.
  • Place dough in the prepared pan, making sure it is even and fills corners of pan. Cover and let rise until puffed, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese filling. Beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla bean paste (or extract), and salt until well combined. Gradually add cream cheese, beating until smooth. Add egg to incorporate, followed by the flour.
  • Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Using your fingertips to dimple the center of dough back down, leaving outside crust as is. Pour the cream cheese mix into the center of dough. Make small indentations in the cream cheese then add dollops of the preserves. Use a knife to swirl the fruit in a bit more.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the 1 tablespoon water and remaining egg. Brush the crust with the egg wash, then finish by sprinkling the pearl sugar all over the edge.
  • Bake until the crust is golden brown with the filling set around outside edges, about 35 to 40 minutes. (If desired, check the temp: an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of filling should register 175°F.)
  • Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then use the parchment sling to lift up the tart onto a serving plate or rack. Eat fresh, or let cool.
  • Tart keeps for days well-wrapped in fridge. Eat slices cold, or make pieces even more delicious with a short zap in the microwave.

OM NOM NOM!

    Read More

    Listen to “Toilet Gnomes at War” at The Overcast

    Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in anthology:story, Blog, podcast | 0 comments

    Are you taking proper care of your household gnomes? You’ll find out the hard way if you don’t!

    My story “Toilet Gnomes at War” is an old favorite for many of my readers, and it has now been podcast for the first time! If you want to start your week with a story that is fun and whimsical with a lot of genuine heart, this is the story for you.

    Listen to it at The Overcast!

    #SFWAPro

    Read More

    Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

    Posted by on Aug 19, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies, maple, nutty | 0 comments

    These Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies mix maple sweetness and warm spices and chocolate with the wonderful crunch of macadamias. They are perfect for fall–and throughout the year.

    Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

    A food processor will be a big help in this recipe. The nuts and chocolate need to be in fine slivers. If the chunks are too big, the sliced cookies won’t be cohesive.

    Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

    These are fridge cookies. Form the dough into tube shapes, wrap up well, then stash them in the fridge or freezer. Then thaw, slice, and bake when you need cookies.

    Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

    If you do the full batch at once, you’ll likely get a lot of cookies, depending on your tube size and how you slice them. I got about 70 cookies.

    Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

    These are perfect cookies to warm up your belly on a cool autumn or winter night (or in Arizona, to make-believe in such a temperature shift).

    Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

    Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

    These sliced cookies are a delightful blend of sweet maple and warm spices with added nuance from chocolate and crunchy macadamias. Mix up the dough and stash in the fridge or freezer for future baking! Makes about 70 cookies.
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: chocolate, cookies, macadamia nuts, maple
    Author: Beth Cato

    Equipment

    • food processor

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter 3 sticks, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 3/4 cup real maple syrup
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon allspice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 cup macadamia nuts
    • 3/4 cup chocolate chips semisweet or dark or mixture
    • 1/3 cup candied ginger finely chopped

    Instructions

    • In a food processor or by knife, finely chop macadamia nuts, followed by the chocolate chips. Set aside. (If these are not in fine pieces, the dough will fall apart when sliced.)
    • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in maple syrup.
    • In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda. Gradually work this into the creamed mixture. Fold in the nuts, chocolate, and candied ginger until incorporated.
    • Divide dough in half and shape into foot-long logs. Encase in plastic wrap. Chill at least two hours, or freeze for later baking.
    • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Unwrap log and cut dough into 1/4-inch thick medallions, reshaping with fingers as needed. Place spaced out on parchment-covered cookie sheet.
    • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until set with a firm, golden base. Cool on pan for 5 minutes then move to rack to completely cool.
    • Cookies keep for at least 3 days in sealed containers at room temperature.

    OM NOM NOM!

      Read More

      Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

      Posted by on Aug 12, 2020 in apples, Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, cookies, pumpkin | 0 comments

      I present to you my Chewy Filled Bars: a versatile recipe that can use any number of fruit preserves, fruit butters, or other sweet filling, combined with different nuts or seeds, all to unique, delicious result.

      Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

      These pictures display the recipe using Sprouts Cherry Preserves (with slivered almonds and almond extract) and Sprouts Maple Pumpkin Butter (with pepitas and almond extract).

      Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

      However, I also made the same recipe using Trader Joe’s cinnamon bun filling (with chopped pecans and vanilla extract) and Apple Cider Spread (with chopped walnuts and vanilla extract). Every single version was awesome.

      Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

      The jarred filling I used varied from 12 to 14 ounces. All worked well, though the Cinnamon Bun Filling required a 40 minute bake to set. I liked mixing in different nuts or seeds to pair with the filling, but you could also omit that ingredient completely, if desired.

      Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

      No matter the mix-ins, the result is a pleasantly thick, chewy bar that is just sweet enough.

      Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

       

      Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

      This versatile base recipe can accommodate many different fillings, all of them delicious. Pick a jar of fruit preserves, fruit butter, or other sweet filling. Pick a complementary nut or seed. Pick an extract. Mix up. Enjoy!
      Course: Appetizer, Snack
      Keyword: almond, bars, oats, preserves, pumpkin, walnuts
      Author: Beth Cato

      Equipment

      • 13x9 pan

      Ingredients

      • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
      • 2 cups brown sugar packed
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1 large egg
      • 1 teaspoon almond extract or substitute vanilla extract
      • 2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
      • 1/2 cup slivered almonds or sliced almonds or substitute other nuts or seeds
      • 12 to 14 ounce fruit preserves or fruit butter or other sweet filling; possibilities include cherry preserves, pumpkin butter, cinnamon bun filling, etc

      Instructions

      • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick spray or butter.
      • In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add brown sugar and baking powder. Follow up with egg and almond extract. Gradually mix in flour, oats, and sliced almonds.
      • Set aside 1 cup of dough. Press the rest into the bottom of the prepared pan. A piece of waxed paper and heavy glass will help to compress it into a form, even layer. Spread preserves over top. Crumble the reserved dough over the fruit.
      • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until top is lightly brown and no longer wobbly in the middle. Completely cool at room temperature, speeding process in the fridge, if desired. Use foil to lift contents onto cutting board to slice up.
      • Store in sealed containers with waxed paper or parchment between the layers. Keeps at room temperature for days, and can also be frozen for weeks.

      OM NOM NOM!

        Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

        Read More

        Recent Poetry Publications

        Posted by on Aug 7, 2020 in anthology:poem, Blog | 0 comments

        I’ve had a bunch of poems released in the last month. If you have a spare few minutes and need to escape this dreadful world, perhaps give these a read!

        – “I Make Myself a Dragon,” The Book of Dragons
        “Great-Great Grandmother’s Recipe,” Polu Texni
        – “The Luck Eaters” (co-written with Rhonda Parrish) and “When the Company Pays,” Star*Line 43.3
        “The Way is Long and Fraught with Perils,” Polu Texni

        book of dragons

        Read More