Thursday, July 31, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Dough after first rise
Dough after filled and shaped into a jelly roll

Baked product

So this was attempt #2 at the yeast apple cinnamon rolls. I did two things differently. This time I started at 9:30pm and let the rolls have a "cool rise" overnight. The second thing was that I used probably 1/2c more sugar and 1/2c less flour. Still used the same old yeast that expried in 2007 = )The results were much better this time. Not (as) sour !!! I used the following site to get good tips. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ginger-Fruit Tartelettes

Fruit tartelettes with a ginger-cardamom tart-crust and ginger pastry cream, adapted from Pichet Ong's "The Sweet Spot".

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Apple Cinnamon and Almond Yeast Bread

Loaf before 2nd rise. Loaf after baking.Inside of baked loaf.
Same thing, different shape before 2nd rise.
Samething, different shape, after baking.

Took the whole day !!! Started at 9:30 am and was finally finished at 7:30 pm. I decided I needed to use my yeast which expired June 2007. So just a tad over the exipry date. Did the proof test and the little guys did just fine. The only thing though ..... ummm ..... kind of tasted like sourdough. Probably because I used very little sugar. Those little yeast guys must have been super active. Okay I just went to the fleishmann's yeast page to figure out why it might be sour. They said old yeast can do that. Soooo, even though the little guys were super active, no good if trying to make a sweet bread.

Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Roast Apple Filling

Adapted from Pichet Ong's "The Sweet Spot: Asian-inspired desserts"

There is so much confusion over the term "sweet potato" and "yam" that I had a little trepidation before deciding to try and make Pichet Ong's "Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Roast Apple Filling". When I was a cashier, and needed to be able to recognize produce, I was told that sweet potatoes were white on the inside, whereas yams were orange on the inside. Other than that, I deduced that sweet potatoes must have less moisture than yams, based solely on what happens when you try and roast them - yams start oozing moisture, but sweet potatoes don't.

The problem is that, not everyone agrees on this distinction between yams and sweet potatoes. When I moved to Toronto, I didn't seem to be able to find the white sweet potatoes everywhere, and the orange kind was usually marked as "sweet potato." Further research on Wikipedia informed me that both of the vegetables I was considering are "sweet potatoes", and that true yams are not readily available in North America.

I didn't really care that much - I just wanted to make/eat some baked goods. So I bought some orange "sweet potatoes", as these were the only ones available to me, and began making the dough.

At first things were going well - the yeast was foaming, I had all the ingredients...the problem came with the yams. Or sweet potatoes. Whatever they are. I strongly suspect that I was supposed to use the dryer white "sweet potatoes," because the dough was ridiculously wet! Like pancake batter! Although Ong mentions that the dough is soft and wet, I have no idea how on earth I was supposed to shape a dough that wet. Either the amount of sweet potato Ong refers to in the recipe (343g) is supposed to correspond to the post-steamed sweet potato, as opposed to the pre-steamed sweet potato, or I did something else very wrong (but I was careful this time! I used a kitchen scale!), I have no idea how I was supposed to form such a wet dough into balls. So I added about an extra cup of flour, and stuck it in the fridge for two days. The original recipe just asks for a 1 hr rise, but since I am a bad planner, I realized I didn't have enough time to finish the recipe.

Two days later, I took the dough out of the fridge to let it unchill (it was still very, very wet - my hopes that it would dry out a little, like the infamous no-knead dough, were squashed), and got to work on the apple filling, which was quite straightforward.

I spooned 2-3 tbsp of dough into tartelette tins, and then tried to "pinch the top seam" of each doughnut, although it was rather more like gathering dough together and letting it stick to itself. In the end, however, I did manage to surround the apple with dough. Trying to get these guys into the oven was fun - the tartelette tins all slid around on the cookie sheet, so that the separate doughnuts were stuck together at their edges. Trying to separate them was an exercise in futility, so I ended up just sticking them in the oven,stuck together and all.

I was supposed to bake them for about 20 mins, until "puffed and golden brown", but considering that the dough started off ORANGE (another clue that I should have used the non-orange variety?), I was not quite sure the "golden brown" part. I baked them for 25 minutes.


The extra flour made the doughnuts more chewy than I think they were supposed to be. Perhaps if I had a stand mixer, instead of doing this by hand, the texture would have turned out differently. Or perhaps if I used less sweet potato - I used 343 g, as per the directions, but this wasn't "1 medium sweet potato" as Ong suggests, but more like three sweet potatoes.

Would I make them again?

Not the same way - I would definitely try the dryer variety of sweet potato, and hopefully wouldn't need to add the extra flour. But actually, I like Uncle Jack's apple tarts much more than these, in general, so perhaps if I was taking the effort to make filled-pastries, I would just make those instead.