Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Eye of the Tsetse Fly

This weeks TWD recipe is Whole Wheat Loaves.  The recipe makes two lovely flavorful loaves of whole wheat bread with a slightly crisp crust and a delicate crumb.  The bread is perfect for toasting and slices nicely for sandwiches.  The recipe is quite easy to follow, however, tracking down one of the ingredients, barley malt extract, is akin to going on a quest for the eye of a tsetse fly.  Barley malt extract enhances wheat flavor, adds sweetness and, quite frankly, it’s seeming elusiveness presented a procurement challenge to this tenacious consumer.   After trips to two natural food stores and several trips to Whole Foods, I finally found it.  

Granted, I could have substuted molasses, maple syrup or honey but why settle for practically when you can lengthen your “to do list” and complicate an already stressful life.  Hard to find ingredient aside, I give this recipe two enthusiastic thumbs up!   Go to Tuesdays With Julia/ Baking With Julia or better yet buy the book Baking With Julia for the recipe.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stone Fruit

Nectarine Chiffon Upside Down Cake is a perfect recipe to segue from summer baking to autumn baking.  Here in the Northeast, nectarines are still available, but just like summer, sadly, the summer stone fruit season is nearing an end.  So, what better way to bid farewell to summer with a dessert featuring the last, sun kissed, local crop of nectarines accompanied by a crunchy cinnamon, almond, oatmeal strudel, reminiscent, like sweaters and turtle necks, of autumn.  This recipe successfully marries a buttery layer of summer fruit, a strudel layer full of fall flavors on top of a delicate chiffon cake.  Although the recipe calls for nectarines, fall fruits such as apples, prune plums, pears, cranberries or a combination of the above would be delicious as well. Testers in my household, including a four year old, gave this recipe an enthuastic thumbs up. 

One problem I had with this recipe, however, was the cooking time.  I baked this sucker 20 minutes over the longest suggested cooking time and it still came out a tad soft in the middle and deflated in the center.  One of the bakers in the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group, where you can find the recipe, cut the recipe in half and baked it in an 8-inch pan.  According to that baker, it baked perfectly. I plan to try that method the next time I bake this cake, since this recipe, makes a rather large buttery cake and served with ice cream, as suggested in the recipe, is rather rich (not that I’m complaining).  Visit Tuesdays With Dorie/Baking With Julia for the recipe.