goodies to go

Here is a better picture of the pastries, taken after I got home (using my usual camera and not my phone). Here’s what the boys got to see and eat… the rest of the pieces of pastry ended up in a dining room at school.

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pictures from class

Here are some pictures from my day in Classic Pastry class yesterday:

Above is the Jalousie I made. A Jalousie is made with puff pastry and is filled with frangipane (almond cream) and slices of apple.

Next is my Band de Fruit. Similar to an open-faced Jalousie, the Band de Fruit has a layer of pastry cream and is topped with strawberries, orange slices, raspberries and kiwi.

And last is my favorite — the Pithivier. Between the two sheets of puff pastry is a smear of apricot jam and a mixture of frangipane and pastry cream. I love how it looks!

nick of time cranberry-white chocolate (and a whisper of oatmeal) drops

One of the perks of being a habitual baker is that I usually have a fairly well-stocked pantry. And even when it’s not well stocked, there are usually enough odds and ends that I can pull something together in a pinch if necessary. Case in point — this morning I received the call to send in a sweet goodie with L. for tonight’s teen book group. After perusing my pantry, I managed to cull enough oatmeal, dried cranberries and white chocolate for this recipe from the King Arthur Flour site. I didn’t have a ton of any of these particular ingredients so I halved the batch (just as well — we have a lot of other baked stuff in the house already).

blueberry muffins

The best blueberry muffin recipe yet! This one was from the King Arthur Flour website and is simplicity itself — no spices, no lemon peel, no almond extract, just blueberries. I took the King Arthur Flour folks’ suggestion and used Wyman’s Wild Maine Blueberries instead of the whatever-brand frozen blueberries I normally use when it’s not blueberry season. Wyman’s blueberries are consistently sized (small) and this allows each muffin to have a nice, even distribution of berries. The muffins were moist and tender — so good!

diplomat cup

One of the items I made as part of my practical exam last Sunday. This was one of several Diplomat Cups I made — two layers of Diplomat Cream (equals parts Pastry Cream and whipped cream) with bits of poached pear in the middle, topped with a Chantilly Cream rosette and a chocolate filigree that I piped. Not the most beautiful specimen but the other filigrees got a bit smooshed in the box on the ride home.

on-the-fence brownies

Another in my quest for homemade brownie perfection (or “just like it came from a box” which is C.’s criteria for the perfect brownie). The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion features three different basic brownies — fudgy, cake, and this one — on-the-fence, for those who like something in between. I think they’re wonderful — nice rise like a cake brownie, but moist and fudgy too. And I love the extra boost of chocolatey goodness from the chocolate chips.

trying to get caught up

I made this Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread last month when we had a bumper crop of zucchini, including one 2 1/2-pound zuke. The recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book. It has all good stuff in it — zucchini, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins and grated lemon zest — not to mention it’s good for you. On paper, it’s a wonderful bread; it was moist and flavorful, qualities one doesn’t typically associate with whole grain baked goods. Sadly, for some reason it just didn’t hit the spot for me.