October 26, 2019

Conchas


If you've been inside a Mexican supermarket you've probably seen Conchas, a sweet brioche bread with a crunchy streusel topping, in the bakery section.   I'd never eaten them before but was always intrigued by the beautiful shell colors of the buns.  It wasn't until I saw Thida Bevington give A Cozy Kitchen's recipe a try did I feel compelled to make them myself. 


Admittedly, the first batch of conchas I made did not impress me at all.  Granted, they looked fantastic, and even authentic I would say, but the taste wasn't to my liking.  The bread itself was too dough-y and felt quite dry.  I was in search of the light and fluffy interior that you would get from breads made using tangzhong, a water roux.  

On my second attempt I swapped out the dough for the pineapple bun (bolo bao) recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  Eureka!  The conchas came out fantastic!  Purists, pardon this blasphemous variation but I challenge you to have a taste and tell me they buns aren't amazing!  


October 6, 2019

Pumpkin Swirl Bread


It's finally fall, y'all and I for one am elated!  It's one of my favorite seasons and really gets me inspired to bake.  Pumpkin bread is a classic autumn treat but this time around I decided to mix it up a bit by adding in a cheesecake swirl.  The creamy, rich filling pairs beautifully with the spice-enriched quick bread.  And I just love how the sliver of white stands out against the auburn background.  To finish it off I added a generous sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.  Delicious!


September 19, 2019

Churros


I'm a big fan of Churros but never really thought to make them at home.  Why?  Because it requires deep frying and I prefer not to do that in my kitchen.  Plus, anytime you go to Costco you can easily buy one for $1 each.  But let's be honest, the Costco variety don't hold a candle to the best ones I've ever tasted which are the ones in Spain.    


When I found myself with some leftover frying oil I decided to bite the bullet and make some of these delicious pastries.  The dough is basically pâte à choux, very similar to what you'd use for cream puffs.  The only difference being you pipe the dough in to long strips and then deep fry.  Once they are nice and golden brown they are then rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture.   My favorite way to eat them is dipped in a chocolate sauce like they do for breakfast in Spain, churros con chocolate.


For the recipe I turned to one I found from Cook's Country.  Once you pipe the logs of dough you let them sit in the fridge for a while to firm up.   I had no trouble with piping, except towards the end when the dough was so stiff the bag burst!   As the churros were frying all seemed fine until they all developed this strange little hump on one end, as if air was trying to escape.  I'm not sure why the humps formed but at least it was consistent across all my churros.  Once cooled and rolled in cinnamon sugar all they needed was a dip in the chocolate sauce.  I'm telling you nothing compares to homemade churros - crispy and delicious!

September 10, 2019

Rigó Jancsi



For someone who's traveled quite extensively throughout Europe I never managed to make it to Hungary.  Had I known earlier about their famous cake, Rigó Jancsi, I might have made it more of a priority to visit.   Named after a famous Hungarian violinist, the cake is composed of two layers of  chocolate sponge filled with a whipped chocolate cream then covered in chocolate ganache.  A true chocolate extravaganza!


I had no idea this classic dessert existed until I saw it included in the latest volume of Bake from Scratch.  To be honest I'm not the hugest fan of chocolate but there was something about the sharp, clean lines of this entremet that really stood out to me.  Plus, the fact that it didn't use too much sugar is always welcome in my book.  For any chocoholic in your life this dessert is right up their alley.  Light and creamy but still decadent it's the perfect companion to a cup of coffee or tea. 

 
For portioning the cake I started with long rectangular slices, but after having a taste of how rich the cake was I ended up cutting the rectangles in half.  This yielded 36 perfectly sized pieces that can easily feed a crowd. 
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