I’m not really a big fan of chocolate cake – a lot of times I think it can be rather boring and dry – so I wasn’t sure I was going to like this recipe. I am a huge fan of raspberries though so I figured it was worth a try. It was really great – the combination of the raspberries, chocolate and bruléed sugar were terrific – my niece said she thought it was the best dessert she’d ever eaten. It was surprisingly easy to make – my only difficulty was that I didn’t get the sauce thick enough. It still tasted great but it was a little thin. On the bright side though, I have a lot of raspberries and eggs in the refrigerator so I have plenty of supplies to make it again – practice makes perfect.
I think when I made this recipe it can officially be considered baking improvisation. Initially I wasn’t going to attempt it because it required the use of a bread machine which I don’t own but I figured I’d give it a shot – thought I’d make the dough the same way I’ve made bread or gnocchi. It was actually pretty easy to put together and it rose just like bread so I figured the hard part was over. Not quite. I’m not sure why but when I read the recipe I thought it called for a nine inch springform pan which I own and not the twelve inch springform pan that I do not own. I figured out my mistake when I was getting ready to put the quitza together so I opted for making a flat pizza which was one of the options listed. So, I got the baking stone out, put it into the oven and formed the quitza on my trusty pizza peel. Everything was fine until I realized that my baking stone, and my oven, were too small to handle something this large. So, I made the crust a little thicker and slid it into the preheated oven. Parts of the quitza were still kind of hanging over the side so for the first few minutes I had to keep shoving it back onto the stone until it was firm enough to stay in there on its’ own. In the end everything turned out fine – a little thicker than I’d planned but very tasty. Here are a couple of photos of the intermediate steps.
The quitza dough formed into a flat pizza:
The dough with all the toppings:
I think next time I do this, I’m going to split the dough into two portions and make a couple of smaller flat pizzas which my oven will hold. I have to admit though it was kind of fun doing the large one – made me feel a little like MacGyver.
Rye bread is one of my favorites – I love it toasted with eggs in the morning, for lunch as part of a corned beef sandwich with swiss cheese and mustard or as a snack with smoked salmon and crème fraiche. I’ve never really tried making it before though so I was a little nervous about attempting this recipe but I shouldn’t have been. It was actually a lot of fun and the bread was so much better than most I’ve bought at the store – very moist, nice caraway flavor and a great crust. The dough was very easy to work with as well even when it was hanging from my skillets in towel slings!
Here are a few photos of the bread being put together. The first is the dough rising:
The dough formed into a loaf:
The dough resting in the dishtowel hammocks:
I really enjoyed making this recipe and i have to say it made some of the best rye toast and corned beef sandwiches I’ve had in awhile.
I’ve always liked the combination of chocolate and mint so I thought the recipe for these Nightcaps sounded really delicious and it didn’t disappoint. What I was surprised about was how rich and sophisticated they taste for very little work. The cookie batter and ganache both came together really quickly and even baking them took less than half an hour. Here’s a photo of the cookies after they came out of the oven:
Here’s a photo of the platter with the majority of the finished cookies – have to admit I sampled a couple before they could be photographed:
I can definitely see these as a great finish to a nice dinner paired with a red dessert wine and some vanilla ice cream. Perhaps an entree of Beef Wellington – have to start planning that party…
I’ve owned the Baking with Julia cookbook for several years now and I hate to say it but it’s been sadly underused. Not for any good reason – I think the variety of recipes is really impressive and they’re all very well explained. So although this isn’t the first recipe I’ve tried, it’s definitely going to be the start of me using this book to greater advantage.
I’ve always really liked amaretti cookies – I’ve used them as an ingredient for other desserts several times – but I’ve never really made them from scratch before. I was amazed how easy the recipe was – the hardest part for me was locating the almond paste because our local supermarket doesn’t stock it surprisingly.
Here’s a photo of the cookies ready to go into the oven:
Here’s one of the finished product:
The cookies were delicious with a much fresher taste than the ones I’ve bought in the past. I’m also a big fan of pine nuts so adding some on top before baking made these even better.
As an aside, these were served as dessert for an all Dorie Greenspan dinner that I made last night. I fixed two recipes from her Around My French Table cookbook for the main course – Chicken B’stilla and Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good. Both great recipes that I’d highly recommend.