Tuesdays With Dorie: (Not-So) Tropical Napoleons

Each month brings two recipes to make from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking With Julia. Group members choose recipes, which are then narrowed down and made official by the moderators. As a participant, I should make at least one of each month’s entries. May’s first recipe was for phyllo dough wrapped, pesto-d scallops. I was under the impression that we were to make phyllo, so I decided to abstain. Come LeaveYourLink day, everyone had used ready-made phyllo. That would have been so easy!

May’s 2nd recipe called for a coconut flake meringue wafer, layered with rum-infused whipped cream, and slices of tropical fruits. I was SO not doing that! But wait, 2 recipes in a month! I need to make 1! With only slight pangs of guilt, I was still going to skip this recipe until realizing that tomorrow’s Wednesdays With Kids has us separating eggs and beating egg whites. I decided today, on LeaveYourLink Day, some fresh meringue-making in my arsenal would help with my class. I began to rummage for ingredients.

Eggs are easy right now, the chickens are all laying, and Scotti is even broody. Sugar & salt-check. Sesame seeds-suprisingly-check. Sweetened flaked coconut? Nope. We are not overly fond of coconut here. Coconut milk in curries or whipped for allergen-free desserts, and some uses for coconut oil are as far as we go. On to Google for coconut flake substitutions. Between some helpful Paleo sites and an Alice Medrich meringue recipe from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, I settled on replacing the coconut with finely chopped nuts. The only nuts I could find in my freezer were cashews. A few food processor pulses later and voilà! I give you my mise en place:

Collected
Collected

The wafers are meant to be thin, so the author instructs to cut a template from a plastic lid. My template is between 3 1/2- and 4-inches in diameter.

I chose to use my 7-speed hand-held mixer since I was only working with 3 egg whites, though using the Kitchen Aid would have been easier to photograph. As an aside, when the chickens are laying, I only use their eggs in my cooking and baking. We have a variety of breeds, providing different color, and different size eggs. Most of the chickens give us extra-large eggs, requiring I juggle sizes and numbers of eggs to get as close as I can to the egg requirement of any recipe.

Separating
Separating

The fresh, room temperature whites whipped up nicely.

Foamy
Foamy
Ready for sugar
Ready for sugar
Post sugar
Post sugar

I added the sugar after soft peaks begin to form, gradually poured in while the mixer runs. The final peaks were “shiny and firm”, the goal stated in the recipe.

At this point, a loyal recipe follower would fold in half of the coconut flakes, saving the rest to be sprinkled on each wafer before baking. I folded in my finely chopped cashew.

Cutting into the middle
Cutting into the middle
Bringing spatula around and turning over
Bringing spatula around and turning over

The meringue had a beautiful consistency. I’ve never been overly fond of eating meringue cookies-no substance and far too sweet-but folding this “batter” was a thrill.

To form the wafers, I placed the plastic template onto a buttered/floured baking sheet. Greasing the pan is necessary to remove the wafers after baking.

A generous tablespoon of batter
A generous tablespoon of batter
spread thin with an offset metal spatula
spread thin with an offset metal spatula
repeated
repeated
sprinkled with more cashew & sesame seeds then baked.
sprinkled with more cashew & sesame seeds then baked.

 

I baked until the wafers began to color. I have no experience with meringue outside of using it to top a pie. Determining doneness was a bit tricky. One wafer was thicker in places so it came off the baking sheet in pieces.

After whipping some heavy cream, finishing the dessert went as follows:

Cream to hold dessert to plate
Cream to hold dessert to plate
Wafer 1
Wafer 1
covered with cream and fruit
covered with cream and fruit
followed by wafer 2
followed by wafer 2
on top of which was more cream and fruit and wafer 3.
on top of which was more cream and fruit and wafer 3.

I used the fruit I had: sliced fresh strawberries and some frozen blue & blackberries. I only used vanilla in the whipped cream, not rum, and sweetened it only slightly. Though skeptical, this dessert was delicious. I think almonds would have provided a deeper flavor, and I am sure for those who love coconut, this dessert, properly made, would be amazing.

Not easy to eat but tasty!
Not easy to eat but tasty!
1 more view
1 more view

Tropical Napoleons • Baking With Julia • Contributing Baker: Charlotte Akoto • pages 393-394

Einka Meets Waffles

Known in Germany as Einkorn, and in Italy as Farro Piccolo, Einka comes from Bluebird Grain Farms in Winthrop Washington. I had tried a bit of einkorn grown by Lentz Spelt Farms, available in Seattle at Big John’s PFI, but the price tag of $6.75/lb kept my quantity low. It was enough, however, to see, feel, use, and taste the difference. After receiving my order from Bluebird less than 24 hours ago, I have been on a bit of an einka bender: pasta, chocolate chip cookies, and now waffles.

My waffles originated with Joy of Cooking, with separated eggs, whipped egg whites, and melted butter. Trying the recipe this morning with the einka flour was, again, successful. Waffles start with these ingredients,

Mise en place
Mise en place

plus baking powder and salt. I melt the butter on my stove top rather than in a microwave, seasoning my tiny cast iron pan every time I do. The batter turned out nice,

Ready to bake
Ready to bake

with the same consistency that I have come to expect. One 4-ounce ladle is just enough to fill our thrift store waffle iron. For me, the most difficult part of waffle-making is the waiting for the iron to thoroughly do its job; an undercooked waffle tastes eggy and not in a good way. Given enough time, the waffles did not disappoint:

Yum
Yum

If you are unable to consume all the waffles in a batch, let them cool on racks, wrap in parchment, and place in a freezer bag. They thaw and re-crisp under an oven broiler. Adding a scrambled egg and some fresh fruit, gives Junior a break from our usual breakfast routines. Oh, and just so you know, waffles do NOT need any added sugar in the batter. Enjoy the baked waffles with Grade B Maple Syrup!

Einka Waffles
8 ounces einka flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp melted butter
13 ounces milk
Method:
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, combine the egg yolks and milk. Whisk together while adding the melted butter in a steady stream. Whisking will keep the eggs from scrambling if the butter is too warm.
In a small bowl, beat the egg whites until peaks form. Don’t overbeat as the whites will become dry and difficult to incorporate.
Add the milk mixture to the flour, mixing until just moistened, but leaving some lumps. Gently fold in the egg whites.
Bake.
Adapted from Joy of Cooking

Toe•may•toe, Tah•mah•toe

Bluebird, having a summer sale of 10% off any order, had me crunching numbers for emmer and einka. I can source emmer at my coop, but einka, the name Bluebird uses for einkorn farro, is harder to find. I was happy indeed that ordering einka from Winthrop, including USPS shipping, was less money than the one Seattle source that I know of. I ordered 10 pounds.

IMG_2786
a box of beauty

Fast forward 2 days. It’s Saturday, Farmer’s Market day. I haven’t been doing the Saturday market, opting for the closer-to-home, a-little-less-expensive Sunday market. However, the Saturday market is where you score excellent clams and amazing kombucha, so with clams & pasta on the menu, I went. I make a clam & pasta dish originating with Mario Batali’s Simple Italian Food, a book I bought before ever knowing who Mario Batali was. Since it’s summer and warm out, I brought home some whole wheat linguine to boil up rather than mix up handmade pasta. When the mail carrier brought me a box from Winthrop, however, my plans changed.

I thrilled that my order from receipt Thursday mid-morning had grain at my door Saturday mid-afternoon! Wasting no time, I loaded the mill, knowing we’d be trying Einka pasta with our clams.

Nutrimill at the ready
Nutrimill at the ready
Einka and backyard eggs
Einka and backyard eggs

I’ve not used a lot of gluten-free flours, but the einka does remind me in texture of oat flour, even the way almond flour looks and feels. I found 1 recipe for einkorn flour pasta and it was essentially identical to how I always make pasta so I did 3 heavy cups of flour and 3 eggs. The flour is very loose when processed in the Nutrimill, the air has not been compressed out of it via packaging/storage. The dough came together nicely, and I left it to rest for 30 minutes.Kneaded, ready to rest

I use a pasta machine for rolling but I do knead the dough before it rests, per Marcella Hazen’s insistence. I got the moisture level just right, with little sticking and no crumbling.

Dough, folded into thirds, making its way through the rollers
Dough, folded into thirds, making its way through the rollers

While the rolled dough waited for cutting, I got the water boiling, and proceeded with the other items on dinner’s menu: clams, kale, green peas for Junior, green salad, and baked-this-morning sourdough bread. When the dough is perfect, I love using the cutting attachment on the pasta machine.

Fettuccine
Fettuccine
A busy stove
A busy stove

The pasta turned out great. The texture and bite of the noodle seemed like the other whole wheat version I make. For a low-gluten grain, the final product was not slimy, and it held together in the sauce. I look forward to more recipes with my new stash of Bluebird Farm Grains Einka.

Bon appetit!
Bon appetit!

Chicken Math

Answer the following:

Scotti

1. The small urban farm has some chickens. Scotti and Bernadette lay dark brown eggs daily. Robbi, Dizzy, and Beatrice lay every other day. Robbi’s eggs are creamy tan, Dizzy’s are almost white, and Beatrice lays beautiful greenish blue eggs. How many eggs are in the farmer’s refrigerator?

Beauty

2. If the farmer has 2 eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, how long will it take for her to become tired of eating eggs?

3. If pasta uses 4 eggs, waffles use 3 eggs, and egg salad for one uses 2, how much weight will the farmer gain?

4. If  the farmer found a recipe calling for 9 eggs, how often would she need to make it to keep ahead of the backyard abundance?

Yum!

(answer key: 1. A lot 2. Not very long 3. Badonkadonk 4. As often as folks would come share  it with her)

Cracked Chocolate Earth
(Flourless Chocolate Cake)

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 stick unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 9-inch springform pan.
Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl, set over, but not touching, about 1 inch of simmering water until melted.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs – this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then unmold.
Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar and serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Tyler Florence and the Food Network