Sunday, May 19, 2013

Baking Brave for World Baking Day May 19th 2013 - unusual flavours was my self imposed bake off!!

I've always loved the idea of intriguing flavours in puddings/desserts - it started off with my realizing you could use certain flowers in sweet dishes, rose, violets, lavender - and it grew from there so when I heard about Baking Brave for World Baking Day I thought to myself - hey this is an open opportunity to bake something intriguing and different for a good reason - so I tried two desserts which I found on Pinterest and which most certainly tied themselves together with the unlikely savoury flavour of Stilton Cheese - yes folks you read that right Stilton Cheese - the King of British cheeses and my all time favourite cheese, I can eat a pound of said magnificence in the blink of an eye, - along with rhubarb, also a favourite of mine and a very unsung spring delight - so I did keep with my blogs mission of baking British Puddings but this time with a twist.

I invited friends along too and so far I have been joined by Anne Heflin of Carrington Lane Bakery fame - an amazing professional baker with a wonderful International Delights bakery on Etsy - you can find Anne's shop here: CARRINGTON LANE BAKERY
and Nancy Harmon Jenkins, famed writer | traveler | food authority | historian whose blog can be found here:

Shall we begin?
The inspiration for the tart comes from Baking Obsession HERE - So my tart comes in three stages - the walnut crust - a good foil for the Stilton as it is often paired with such as the cheese course of a smashing dinner, the creamy Stilton pie filling and a rhubarb curd for the top layer, as such it is an experiment and you may if you have the baking skills change according to your taste - this pie as done here is very mild, not so sweet and also not too Stilton-y - it is in fact quite bland which is not what I was expecting at all.

Make the crust first: This was my first time trying a walnut crust and it did come out a little oily and not as sweet as I had imagined but it would be wonderful as a savoury crust so I will leave the recipe as I made it and if you choose you can add maybe an ounce more sugar:

Pre heat oven to 350F

Enough for one regular sized tart case 9” diameter or I used a deep, nearly 2", 71/2" diameter pie tin as I like my tarts with lots of filling

1 cup/4ozs of sifted unbleached white flour

2oz toasted ground walnuts
(I grind mine by toasting them first for about 5 minutes in a 275F oven - allow them to cool - break into small pieces and the put them in a coffee grinder with some of the flours and this stops them from getting greasy - if you grind the walnuts on their own they can get very greasy and we don't want that!!)

1/2 cup/2ozs confectioners/icing sugar

1 stick/ 4ozs butter VERY COLD

1 large egg yolk

1. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium sized bowl.
2. Grate the butter into the dry ingreds., and rub in until like breadcrumbs.

3. Add egg yolk and blend and squush carefully until the dough sticks together. This may take a little time but despair not it will come together - just don't let it warm up - pie crusts pastry should always be kept as cold as possible to make it flaky and divine.

4.Tear dough into big chunks… strategically in pie pan and start squushing to a create a smooth even covering of the entire pan…the beauty of this crust is that it does NOT shrink at all…it stays put…good crust!!

5. Bob into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
As you can see my pie crust is not perfect - a it lumpen and uneven but that's OK!!

Remove from the fridge and prick the pastry all over with a fork - this is to prevent bubbles forming when you bake. Next I lined the pastry with parchment paper and weighed it down with split peas - you can use beans or pie weights but don't go down the road of popcorn as I did once - you can guess at those results.
Bake for about 15 minutes, remove from the oven, genteely lift the paper and weight from the shell and bob pastry back into the oven for about another 15 minutes - don't worry when you take the weights out if the pastry looks soggy and sad - it will improve by the next time you take it out of the oven :))

Keep your eyes peeled - you want the crust to be evenly golden and not too brown on the top edges - the bottom does want to look dry though and not greasy as it does when you first remove the paper and weights - in my experience with pie crusts this time can vary from pie to pie so just do as long as you need to to get the shell looking evenly golden. Remove and allow to cool - don't put it in the fridge though as that will make it damp.

Next make the RHUBARB CURD - from a rhubarb meringue pie by Martha

I originally cut this recipe in a quarter but on reflection and if you look at the thinness of the layer of rhuabrb curd on the pie I have doubled MY recipe to this amount below...
This amount of rhubarb curd was too little for the flavour of the cream part of the pie so the recipe below is for double the amount I made. 

RHUBARB CURD - worthwhile to make on it's own - I would double this recipe if you were making this just as stand alone curd.
1lb rhubarb cut into small pieces

1. Put into the jug of a blender and use the highest setting to make the rhubarb into a sauce - you may have to add a little bit and a little bit of water as you go and keep pushing the rhubarb down - you want to add as little water as possible so you don't, literally, water the flavour down. Then drain the 'sauce' through say a coffee filter until you get 8 fluid ounces of rhubarb juice.
6ozs/3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch/flour
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons/1 oz butter
2. Whisk the cornstarch/flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl and then whisk them into the juice.

3. Put into a saucepan and gently heat until boiling and boil for about 1 minute until it clears and starts to thicken.

4. Put egg yolks in a bowl and slowly whisk the hot rhubarb into it until evenly blended.

5. Add butter to rhubarb mix and whisk until blended - now put aside to cool.
My rhubarb curd ended up very orange as you can see in the pan above because I used the fantastic yolks from Farmetta Farm eggs :)
STILTON CREAM PART: this has a very nice consistency and could be made as a cheesecake without the stilton but maybe add in 2 more ounces of sour cream
2ozs Stilton cheese - you can use any blue cheese but I find  lot of blue cheese soapy - I LOVE Stilton - it's tangy and complex and creamy - and it keeps in more within the realm of a British Pudding 
4oz cream cheese
1/2 cup/3ozs sugar (you could add another ounce if you want this a bit more sweet which I think it could have done with)
2ozs sour cream
2 fluid ounces half and half
a goodly grating of nutmeg if you are of the nutmeg persuasion as I am
1 whole egg 
1. Blend all the above together in a food processor or blender so there are no lumps - that's it.
2. Pour into your pre baked pie shell:
3. Bob into the 350F oven for about 30 minutes until you can jiggle the pie and it only moves a very very little - you don't want it to be baked too hard or it won't be creamy but you do want the top to be able to hold up the rhubarb curd for the next part:
4. Pour the cooled rhubarb curd over the top and bob back into the oven for about another 20 minutes until the rhubarb is set - again jiggle the pie a little and you can tell - this part will vary from oven to oven and rhubarb to rhubarb and pie to pie so you just need to keep  baking until ti's set - if need be and the crust is browning too much make a tent of foil to cover and stop the crust from browning.
Ta dah - you have a Stilton and Rhubarb Pie for World Baking Day 2013.
I liked this pie but not half as much as I'd hoped - it needs a lot of tweaking to get it to the flavour I had in my mind of how it tasted but do let me know if you make it for a sophisticated mellow dessert after a divine heavy on the flavours dinner party.
I did also make Stilton Ice Cream from this recipe at Serious Eats but again it just didn't hit the spot and I wish I'd kept my Stilton to eat with some good Samuel Smiths Yorkshire Cider and crackers!!
Now here are some more intriguingly flavoured desserts for World Baking Day 2013:
from Carrington Lane Bakery in Maine
Click HERE for the lovely recipe 


Spiced Olive Oil Cake with Quinces and Candied Ginger
by famed cook book author Nancy Harmon Jenkins of Maine and Italy - used with permission - thank you Nancy :)
 Recipe link HERE
 There'll be more recipes added as they come through today and tomorrow -

and from Sally in London:
STICKY PRUNE CAKE a la fabulous Cranks 
 Sally's Recipe:
125g/4ozs  prunes, pitted
2 eggs
½/4oz cup raw sugar
100ml/4 fl ozs vegetable oil
100ml/4 fl ozs buttermilk
1 cup/5ozs  wholemeal plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
½ tsp mixed spice

thick yoghurt or cream to serve

¼/2ozs cup raw sugar
1 tbsp buttermilk
1 tbsp molasses/honey
a few drops of vanilla essence/extract

Preheat oven to 180 C/360F 
1. Grease and line a 9” sandwich/cake tin.

2. Place prunes in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain and chop.

3. Place eggs, sugar and oil into a large bowl and whisk ‘til smooth and creamy.

4. Sift dry ingredients and add. Beat well. Stir in prunes and buttermilk.

5. Pour mixture into prepared cake tin and bake for 30-45 minutes until skewer inserted in the middle comes out cleanly.

Place sugar, buttermilk, molasses and vanilla essence in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring frequently. Prick warm cake all over with a skewer. Spoon topping over cake and cool completely in a pan.

.......and here's a wonderful Pie-in-process - well the recipe is in process from Elizabeth Loonan in New York - this is her first attempt and the recipe needs tweaking - thus no recipe link here but hopefully I'll be able to give it you when the perfection is complete!!:
Bacon Bourbon Apple Pie, in honor of World "BACON" Day - ha ha tongue in cheek Betty!
Elizabeth's crust looks PERFECT!!!!! These baconlicious photographs were taken by Elizabeth's talented husband Antonio M. Rosario
HAPPY WORLD BAKING DAY 2013 - what did you bake today??

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