Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lemon Ricotta Doughnuts

I cheated here, I added a dollop of leftover filling to the doughnut !

I wasn't paying attention the other day when I placed my order with Amazon Fresh and ended up ordering twice the amount of Ricotta I needed. So here I am with extra Ricotta , what should I do with it?  Off to Google Land I go. After searching and searching this recipe caught my eye : Baked Lemon Ricotta Doughnuts. Hmm,baked doughnuts-well that's healthier than fried, right ? Filled with a Lemon Ricotta filling-yum that will use up my leftover Ricotta.  Dusted in lemon sugar-okay I'm sold.

This is what they really look like out of the oven, the filling permeates the center of the doughnut, so you have a moist ricotta center.

Next time I make these I will do a few things differently.  #1 Freeze the little scoops of ricotta filling-being a soft cheese the ricotta melted into the doughnut,still delicious, but I prefer to find a nicely filled center when I bite into a doughnut.  I think if the ricotta filling is frozen to a truffle type consistency-not rock hard-it would soften nicely while baking. #2, I would not mix the lemon zest with the sugar until I dried out the lemon zest a bit.  The moisture in the lemon zest makes the sugar clump. Either that or wait until the very last minute to mix up the zest and sugar.  And #3, I would probably try a nice lemon glaze instead of the sugar and sprinkle the zest over it while the glaze was still wet.

The doughnuts are delicious straight out of the oven, but then again what isn't ?  The next day they were a little dry but a quick 30 seconds in the microwave solved that problem.  This is a really good recipe and I love the dough-seems like you could make some really good savory doughnuts with it. It bakes up  like a fluffy biscuit. Maybe I'll try some feta filling with spinach and work some sun dried tomatoes into the dough.  Oh the possibilities are endless.

After coffee and a doughnut I'm off for a long, long walk.  Maybe if I add another mile to my walk I can justify a doughnut for dessert tonight.  Remember  I'm the  Queen of Rationalization !   Bon Appetit.

Baked Lemon Ricotta Doughnuts

5 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
½ cup plus 3 Tablespoons super fine sugar (Baker’s Sugar in grocery stores)
1 package of yeast
Zest  of 2 lemons
1 cup lukewarm whole milk plus  extra for brushing
1/3 cup buttermilk at room temperature
2 eggs at room temperature
2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) butter, melted

Lemon Ricotta Filling
8 ounces Ricotta
1/4 cup sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 large egg

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup super fine sugar
Finely grated zest of  2 lemons

Prepare one large or two medium sized baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
Combine flour, sugar, yeast and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer-use a whisk to combine. Once combined fit the mixer with a dough hook. In a separate bowl whisk together warm milk, room temperature buttermilk and eggs and the melted butter. With the mixer running on slow, add the liquids to the flour mixture, then mix on medium speed until dough is smooth and elastic (about 4-5 minutes). Shape the dough  into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size (1 – 1 1/2 hours).

Lemon Ricotta Filling
Whisk together ricotta, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and egg just until smooth. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and chill for at least 1 hour.
The Dough
Gently punch down the dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness or just slightly under (5mm thickness). Cut out 24 rounds using a 3” cutter. Cut out another 24 rounds using a 2” cutter. Place a heaping teaspoon of lemon ricotta filling in center of 24  2” rounds. Brush edges of the 2” rounds with milk, cover with the remaining rounds 3” rounds and press firmly to seal the edges. Trim with the 2” cutter. Transfer to baking sheet(s), cover and let stand in a warm place for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the doughnuts for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms are golden-the tops will bake up with just a blush of brown.

For the finishing garnish, melt the 4 ounces of butter and set aside. For the lemon sugar, place the sugar and lemon zest in a bowl of a food processor and pulse until the sugar is aromatic. Pour into a bowl and fluff with a fork or a whisk.

Once you remove the doughnuts from the oven dip the hot doughnuts immediately in the melted butter and then toss in lemon sugar. Serve warm.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Abracadabra Magic Custard Cake

Have you seen this cake on Pinterest yet ?  I don't know how you could miss it-everyone has been pinning it for days.  When I first spotted it I immediately went to the blog :White on Rice Couple, since they had just posted it.  I love everything that Diane and Todd do on their blog.  I probably have more of their recipes bookmarked and saved than anyone else's on the web.  And their pictures of this cake are absolutely gorgeous.  So of course I had to try it out.  The recipe is fairly simple. And after coming off my marathon Cubano Croissant recipe I needed something simple and sweet.  If you don't like custard I wouldn't recommend this cake-it is after all a custard cake !   I took Diane & Todd's advice to beat the egg whites in a copper bowl, but if you don't have a copper mixing bowl just add the vinegar to the egg whites as called for in the recipe.

This cake goes into the oven in an 8 x 8 pan almost filled to capacity-I thought it was a little too thin of a cake batter,but oh boy was I wrong.  When it was finished baking it had souffled higher than the pan edges.  By the time I got my camera the cake had sank a little.  I checked Diane & Todd's pictures and I wasn't worried.  This cake looks so unassuming coming out of the oven-don't let that fool you.

The smell of the vanilla custard was hard to resist and before it had a chance to properly cool, I was cutting a little tiny piece out of the corner to test it. Holy Custard Cake Batman-this is indescribably delicious.  Addictive, not too sweet with the puffy top cake layer, the creamy firm custard layer and a very thin bottom cake layer. Swoon.  When you make this,here is a winning bet for you; bet the other person that they just can't eat one piece-you will win-trust me.  I had to quickly wrap up little packages of this deliciousness for my neighbors.  Otherwise it would have been about 3 hours on the treadmill for me.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I can't wait to try it out when we are camping and see how it bakes up in Ruby our camper van.  I know one thing, sharing this around the campground will result in friends for life.

Yummy custard

  Go ahead, try it, so very good with a hot cup of espresso. Head over to Diane & Todd's blog for the recipe : White on Rice Couple.   Bon Appetit !

A party without cake is really just a meeting"-Julia Child

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cubano Croissants ala Christina Tosi

I was casually reading the HuffPost Taste section Friday morning when the title "Christina Tosi's Cubano Croissant" caught my eye.  I am absolutely crazy about Cubano sandwiches and when I saw the chance of making it as a croissant-well my little heart skipped a beat !  Add to the fact that it was a recipe from Christina Tosi,  the 2012 James Beard Rising Star Chef- it couldn't get any better. Christina is the founding chef of Momofuku Milk Bar and if you haven't made her crazy delicious Crack Pie  yet, you should.

Warning-this is a very time consuming but "simple" recipe. Simple meaning basic cooking and baking methods-nothing fancy required. Time consuming yes - 15-20 minutes to make the dry rub; 6-12 hours to roast the pork shoulder; 20-30 minutes to make the mojo marinade; 30 minutes to make the relish butter;a minimum of 3 hours to make the croissant dough;and about 1 hour to fill and bake the croissants !  Would I do it again ?  Not next week, but yes I will make these again-they are freaking incredible.  You can't believe the taste.  A buttery,flaky croissant dotted with dill relish,a schmear of yellow mustard, then filled with ham,Swiss cheese and the mojo marinated pulled pork. We ate these for dinner Monday night and all we could do while eating was make those mm mm sounds between bites.  I lost count of how many times J said this was the best sandwich he ever had.  I second that !

I started this recipe on Saturday-cooked the pork for about 9 hours.  On Sunday I made the relish butter and on Monday morning I made the croissant dough.  By Monday afternoon I was ready to roll these little beauties and pop them in the oven.  The recipe stated that they should be baked for 2-25 minutes at 375degrees.  My oven has been calibrated so I know it's accurate-my baking time was more like 45 minutes until they got that beautiful caramelized brown color. (I've listed a few other changes I made to the recipe below).  I could barely wait for them to cool down before that first test bite.  OMG , that is all I can say.  The recipe appears at the end of the You Tube Video.  Christina Tosi uses her "mother dough recipe" for the croissants and if you have her Milk Bar Cookbook you can find the recipe there.  Otherwise,use your favorite croissant recipe.  My policy is not to list a recipe unless it's on the Internet already and the Mother Dough isn't. You might be able to find it here.  Buy the book,it's filled with wonderful scrumptious recipes !

I made a few changes to the recipe:
  1.  I used dill relish in the relish butter and a combination 1/2 dill relish and 1/2 of sweet relish in the marinade.
  2. I added Swiss cheese to my layers when putting the croissant together-one below the pork filling and one on top of the pork filling-I've always had my Cubano's with cheese.
  3. And the next time I will use my slow cooker to make the pork-the oven dried it out too much-I should have trusted my instincts.  When I put it in the oven a little voice said use the slow cooker but I ignored it. 
  4. I chopped the pork mixture into smaller pieces-made it more manageable to form into the little mounds before rolling the croissants.
  5. I quadrupled the ingredients for the marinade-the amount the original recipe called for barely gave a tiny hint of taste to the 6 lb pork shoulder I made.
  6. I used a full recipe for the "mother dough"-that gave me enough dough for 12 nice sized croissants and I still had lots of pork left over (very good as Cubano sliders on those Hawaiian buns !)
Happiness does not come from doing easy work
but from the afterglow of satisfaction
that comes after the achievement of a difficult task
that demanded our best.
-Theodore Isaac Rubin

Honestly, I will definitely make these again- and there was a huge amount of satisfaction when I completed these !