Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blueberry Cream Biscuits with Blueberry Sauce

Last week I was sitting in my dentist's office waiting for my name to be called.  I hate the dentist. It took me forever to get up the nerve  to make my appointment.  I take care of myself so I thought I was going to skate by. Unfortunately that was not the plan my teeth had for me. Two crowns-one upper and one lower-did I tell you I hate the dentist ?  My dentist is a very sweet and a nice guy-I don't hate him-just the process.  So while I was waiting, with high anxiety, I tried to distract myself with the usual waiting room reading material. I started flipping through the pages of Better Homes and Gardens, whoa..what is that-blueberries ?  I wanted to run home and try the recipe immediately.  Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that I was looking for any reason to run out of the dentist's office.  Too bad, they called my name, and for the next  2 hours I endured the drilling and water squirts down my throat.  I'm not afraid of drills, I just don't like having tools and hands in my mouth.  I start to get very anxious and have to remind myself to breath.  I don't do laughing gas, it just makes me more anxious and doesn't make me laugh !  So I sat there thinking about these biscuits in order to distract myself. The recipe seemed far too simple.

Two hours later and finally out of the dentist's chair I was finished.  Thanking my dentist and his assistant for the torture they inflicted on me-why ?  I mean really, thank you for making me sit with my mouth opened for 2 hours while you drilled and scraped and suctioned out my mouth ? Needless to say I just about ran out of the office.  On the way home I did manage, (in spite of the swollen tongue and mouth), to stop for fresh blueberries and whipping cream .  As soon as I got home I suddenly felt very tired.  Stress will do that and dental work is at the top of my stressors.  So instead of baking I took a nap.  These could wait one more day.

The next morning I looked over the recipe and about 45 minutes later I was pulling these babies from the oven.  This really  is  a super simple recipe and oh so good.  Another one to add to my "go to recipes ".  Even the blueberry sauce was easy peasy !  You should make these.  Run out to the grocery store right now and get your blueberries and any other ingredients you might need.  And if you go to the Better Homes and Gardens site and read the review saying that these were horrible,too sticky, only the tops baked, etc. etc., ignore it.  It couldn't be further from the truth.

Now please don't let my dentist know that 48 hours after he finished I was eating teeth staining blueberry biscuits with blueberry sauce.  Just kidding ! No stains , nothing but sweet deliciousness-enjoy !

Blueberry Cream Biscuits with Blueberry Sauce
Yield: 12 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  In a large bowl thoroughly mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Toss blueberries with the flour mixture. Stir whipping cream into the flour mixture until just moistened.
Turn out dough on a floured work surface.( In order to not overwork or over flour the dough , I turned it out onto my parchment lined baking sheet. Didn't have to worry about it sticking, just gently formed it into the 7 inch square. And I used the edges of the parchment paper to help gently lift and fold the dough)  Gently lift and fold dough four or five, making a quarter turn between each fold. Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Form dough in a 7- to 8-inch square, approximately 1 inch thick. Using a floured pizza cutter or knife, cut 12 to 16 squares in dough, leaving biscuits intact. Bake in upper half of oven for 17 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut through or pull apart biscuits. Serve warm with Blueberry Sauce.

Blueberry Sauce:
    2 cups blueberries
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons water
    1 teaspoon vanilla 

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of the blueberries, the sugar, and water. Bring to simmering; cook and stir until blueberries pop and sauce has thickened. Remove from heat, then stir in the vanilla and remaining blueberries. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Creme Brulee Eclairs Set on Fire

I was in the grocery line on Valentines Day doing some last minute shopping for our camping trip .  We would be celebrating Valentines Day over the long President's Day weekend.  The grocery clerk was making small talk and asked what plans I had.  Of course I was bubbling over with enthusiasm about the upcoming trip and told her we were going to a new campground on the Washington Coast that we had never been to before.  When I told her the name -Cape Disappointment-her mouth dropped and she said: "Oh" with a sad frown face. Then she added that it didn't sound like a very good place to be celebrating.  Isn't it funny how we allow people to interfere with our happiness ?  As I walked out of the store I realized I had allowed her to steal my joy. By the time I got the groceries loaded into the car I realized how silly I was.  Shame,shame,shame on me for allowing her to be a black cloud over my happiness.

Cape Disappointment ? No! More like "Cape could never be disappointed" because it's so beautiful .

 Cape Disappointment or Cape Happiness,the name didn't matter-it's what you make of it and we always try to make the very best of it.  So smile back on my face,to do list in hand and groceries packed in Ruby.  Now to decide what special dessert to make for our camping celebration.  I had to think about what would keep well and still look pretty and very special when it came time to eat. Cupcakes?  Mmm,a little too mundane for this trip. Cake? Too much for just the two of us. Pie? Nahh,wasn't in the mood for rolling dough.  Doughnuts? Doughnuts are always a good idea but best eaten fresh out of the frying pan and I wasn't plan on heating up a pan of oil inside Ruby our camper. Eclairs ?  Yes I know the last post I did was on eclairs-but they are so lovely and so special.  And they keep very well.  Now what could I do to make them even more special.  I started thinking about flavor combinations and after looking at a zillion eclair images on Google I thought -Creme Brulee ?  Why not,it's a pastry cream filling and I could torch the sugar at the campsite with little or no effort. And what a fabulous surprise it would be-sitting on the beach eating Creme Brulee eclairs to celebrate our good fortune and our being together !

These Creme Brulee Eclairs were definitely a challenge.  I knew the creme brulee pastry creme would be less firm than regular pastry creme .  I decided that I would slice the eclairs in half and fill them that way, rather than trying to fill them with a pastry bag .  My reasoning was that I was fearful that the torch to brulee the tops would melt the filling.  I should have been more fearful about burning the tops of the eclairs !  Since I had a rounded surface to work with, the sugar kept falling off . And the nooks and crannies associated with eclairs started to burn around the edges. I set quite a few on fire ! Trust me,burnt sugar and burnt pastry are not very tasty.

I decided I wasn't going to have a four alarm fire going inside Ruby down at the coast so I opted to finish these off at home.  And I opted to give up the torch and use my copper caramel making pot !  I burned a few finger tips while dipping the tops but we all have to make sacrifices-and well worth the pain for the taste. The creme brulee filling was creamy and tops were caramel crunchy.  Just like a spoonful of creme brulee with the added taste of crispy pastry.

I used my new go to recipe for eclairs from Tom Douglas's book: The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook.  His recipe produces perfect eclairs every single time ! And I used Joe Pastry's recipe for the creme brulee.  For the hard crack caramel topping I cooked 2 cups of sugar with 1/2 cup water over medium high heat until it turned a nice amber color-about 15 minutes.  Once you take the caramel away from the heat you have to work quickly because it's still cooking in your pot-be careful , it's extremely hot !  I dipped each top into the caramel very carefully.  After the caramel hardened I filled the other half of the eclair with the creme brulee filling and placed the two halves together-Voila !

Oh, I almost forgot to share with you the good fortune that came my way this week !  The HuffPost Taste Section used my photo of my Kouign Amann posting  from April 2011.  When I got the email from them I thought it was a scam or virus and almost didn't open it . So glad I did-that news was like the icing on the cake after our wonderful weekend ! Thank you Huffington Post !