We were very spoiled for choice at this month’s bakers meetup. I shall start with the so-pretty display of Belinda’s Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup with Parmesan Wafers, served in beautiful, delicate teacups:
4 lbs. tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
6 garlic cloves, left unpeeled ( I used a whole head of garlic)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp salt and pepper ( or to taste)
1 medium onion finely chopped
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
- Arrange tomatoes cut side up in a large baking pan ( I used a large cookie sheet) Add garlic to pan.
- Drizzle tomatoes with oil, salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes at 350F for 1 hour. Cool in pan on rack, peel garlic.
- Cook onion, oregano and sugar in butter in big pot over med heat until soft, about 5 min.
- Add tomatoes, garlic and stock. Simmer covered for 20 min.
- Puree soup in blender/food mill. Force through sieve in a clean pot, discarding the solids. Stir in cream, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 2 – 5 minutes and serve.
Parmesan wafers: These wafers can be made 2 days ahead and kept apart between parchment paper.
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated parmesan regiano
1 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp pepper and cayenne pepper (optional)
- Heat oven to 350F. Place oven rack in middle position. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Stir together cheese, flour and spices.
- Make mounds about 1 Tbsp. each, about 2 inches apart and spread to form a 2 inch (approx) circle.
- Bake until golden about 10 min.
- Leave 2 min. on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack. Continue with the rest.
Belinda’s note: I got 13 wafers. You can make larger ones – using 3 Tbsp each, about 5″ apart to form a 4 – 5″ circle.
Important note: Make sure your pastry case is like Alcatraz, or else when you pour in your custard, it will leak out and ruin the tart tin you borrowed (sorry, Christine!) The recipe is from BBC Good Food.
Jennifer’s Grape Cake with Lemon Icing
Now, you may notice a small cavern that has been filled with grapes. Jennifer’s first two attempts were not to her standards, and the third cake was put under some intense…scrutiny…to ensure it was just right.
The icing from this recipe is not the one she used with the cake, and of course I can’t find the link to the correct one. So just find the best lemon icing recipe you can and slather it on there.
Christine’s Upside Down Pear Cake
Check out the recipe on Canadian Living.
Jan’s Butternut Squash Samosas
1 butternut squash; baked, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons of olive oil and 2 T butter
1½ teaspoon fresh dill, chopped (optional)
1 beaten egg to brush on the samosas before baking – this will give them a golden, shiny top
24 puff pastry dough squares (You can use the large sheet dough and just cut to size.)
To prepare the filling:
1. Put entire squash in a Dutch oven and bake at 350 for an hour. Remove. Peel. Cube.
2. Fry the onion in oil and butter until golden brown.
3. Add the butternut squash, cumin, salt and black pepper. We will bake the samosas, so, the
butternut squash does not have to be fully cooked.
4. Remove from heat. Add dill (if you have it). Allow to cool a bit.
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry. Cut into 3×3 inch squares.
3. Place approximately one tablespoon of filling into the middle of a pastry square. **repeat**
4. Take one corner of the square and pull across to the opposite corner. This will give you a triangle shape.
5. Dab the edges with egg
6. Seal the sides of the samosa tightly by pressing them together.
7. Put parchment on the baking sheets (or oil the pans if you have no parchment).
8. Place the samosas on baking sheets with ½” between them.
9. Brush the tops of samosas with the beaten egg.
10. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes (til golden brown)
11. Serve the samosas at room temperature.
12. Serve with chutney (Sophia’s note: Or you can just devour them by themselves because they are delicious!)
Zucchini cheese pie:
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup of pancake mix
½ cup vegetable oil
Fist full of fresh parsley or basil, chopped (freeze in sandwich bags; crush bag while frozen)
4 eggs ; whisk together.
Salt and course black pepper (use lots!)
- Using grater disk, shred zucchini using food processor (keep the skin on the zucchini, but if the zucch is large, cut out the spongy centre and seeds). Using same disk, grate cheese.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Blend well with spoon (no need for mixer).
- Pour into a greased casserole dish, or deep pie plate.
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour (‘til knife comes back clean when poked into the centre).
From the book, A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes by David Tanis
Dorthea’s note: I reduced the amount of sugar in the batter from ½ cup to about 1/3 cup, and used almond milk (Almond Breeze unsweetened, which is what I had on hand) instead of whole milk.
Introduction to the recipe:
The Italian plums I prefer are small and dark-purple-skinned, with crisp amber flesh. They ripen at the end of summer, and they’re sometimes called prune or Stanley plums (How could you not love a plum called Stanley!). I used to eat them by the bagful as a kid. They make delicious jam and wonderful tarts and pies. Here they’re baked in an almond batter.
1 cup unblanched almonds
½ cup sugar, plus about ¼ cup for topping
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
2 pounds Italian plums, pitted and sliced thickly
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch tart pan or springform pan. Put the almonds and ½ cup sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and pulse once more. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Beat the eggs with the milk and stir in the melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the almond mixture and whisk for a minutes or two until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan ans smooth with a spatula. Arrange the plum slices on top in a circular pattern. Sprinkle sugar generously over the plums.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden and a paring knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
The cake is best served within a few hours of baking.
Dorthea’s Castagnaccia (also from A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes )
Castagnaccia is a rustic, traditional, not too sweet Tuscan cake made from chestnut flour. In Florence, you can find the cake in some old-fashioned trattorie, looking a bit like cracked slabs of brown earth. Chestnut flour can be purchased in many Italian markets or online.
3 cups chestnut flour
2 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
¼ cup pine nuts (I used about 1/3 cup)
A few rosemary springs, leaves roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the chestnut flour in a large bowl. Whisk in the water and mix well to remove lumps. Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil and the salt. The mixture will resemble thick pancake batter.
Grease a 12-inch cast-iron skillet generously with olive oil. Pour in the batter. Sprinkle the raisins over the batter, then the pine nuts and rosemary. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and cracked. Cool slightly, then remove from pan.
The cake tastes best slightly warm.
For this French style pear tart, you will need one pre-baked pastry shell in a pie plate 10 to 11 inches in diameter and 1 ½ inches deep.
For the pears:
Place 4 cups water, 1 ¾ cup sugar and 4 vanilla pods, split and scraped, into a large skillet or sauce pan and bring to boil. Turn down heat to low, add 4 ripe bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and halved lengthwise, and simmer for about 10 minutes until soft but not mushy.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Meanwhile, combine in mixer:
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup finely ground almonds
Beat until well mixed and add, one at a time:
- Remove from mixer and fold in 1/3 cup all purpose flour.
- Spoon almond cream into the pie shell and arrange the pears, flat side down and pointed ends toward the middle, on top of the almond cream.
- Bake in a 325F Oven for 30 to 40 minutes until almond cream is golden and puffed – (you might want to stick a cake tester in the centre to be sure it is cooked).
- For glaze, place 1/3 cup apricot jam in a bowl and microwave on medium heat. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and brush over hot tart to glaze the top.
Serve with whipped cream.
I only photographed one of Julie’s two versions of this cake. The first one had a little more…modern art feel to it. However, it was the first version with inclusion of the orange zest that proved the most popular among our group. Which just goes to show, Delicious comes in all shapes.
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup mashed cooked butternut squash
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Optional: Orange zest
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional confectioners’ sugar, optional
Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper; grease and flour the paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs for 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar; beat for 2 minutes or until mixture becomes thick and lemon-colored. Stir in squash. Combine the flour, baking soda and cinnamon ingredients; fold into squash mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with walnuts.
Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper.
Roll up cake in the towel, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly over cake to within 1 in. of edges. Roll up again. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.
Yield: 10 servings.