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.
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!
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).
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!
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.
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.
For the past few weeks we’ve been having homemade soup and home-baked breads for dinner on Friday nights. It’s perfect for those evenings when the four of us aren’t able to all sit down to eat at the same time. Here are a couple of boules I made from the master recipe in Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day.
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.