Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jasmine Cherry Pistachio Galettes

One of my favorite blogs is Tartlette. A beautifully photographed food blog, where, I think, almost every recipe is gluten-free. I am inspired by her artistry, both visual and culinary.

It was on this blog where I first met the galette. It is basically a rustic tart or pie... the crust need not look pristine, which to me is brilliant! You basically pleat the dough by pinching little folds...and if it tears - who cares! Finally, all of the pie fillings I've always wanted to make but never attempted because of my propensity to massacre pie dough, I can now attempt, experiment, make!

Inspired by Tartlette's Peach Blueberry Lemon Thyme Galette, I came up with a jasmine tea poached cherry pistachio galette. My version is NOT gluten-free!

I love the smell of jasmine tea. Such soft and subtle floral notes... it is what late afternoon sunshine, rolling hills and ocean views would taste like if you could put flavor to them. Summer in a tart...a rustic tart.

3 Jasmine green tea bags
1 cup of sugar
2 cups cherries
2-ish cups water
1 cup pistachios (chopped)
Puff pastry (10"x10")
1 egg (for egg wash)

I first added 2 jasmine tea bags to a small sealable container of sugar and let "infuse" for a day or two.

When it came time to make the galettes I removed stems from about 2 cups of cherries, put them in a pot and just covered them in water. I added 2 tablespoons of jasmine green tea infused sugar and a jasmine green tea bag. When it reaches boiling turn off and let steep until cooled.

Slice cherries (remove pits), and let drain in a sieve or colander while chopping pistachios and preparing the puff pastry.

Now, I buy the puff pastry...I know it's a short cut and I'm quite opposed to short cuts. However, puff pastry, though not terribly difficult to make, requires a great deal of time and patience. And since it is available in the freezer section of most grocers, and it tastes almost exactly the same, I choose to buy it. I saw an episode of the Barefoot Contessa where Ina Garten uses store-bought puff pastry and it gave me great relief - if it's good enough for Ina, it's good enough for me!

The puff pastry needs to thaw completely in the fridge, but once you take it out you must work quickly. The brand I buy, when rolled out is about 10x10 inches. I cut it into 4 squares using a pizza cutter. It's usually rolled in parchment so I just lift the parchment with the 4 cut squares onto a baking sheet.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of sliced cherries into the middle of the squares. Sprinkle a teaspoon (or so) of the infused sugar onto the cherries and sprinkle chopped pistachios on top. Pull the pastry up and over outer edge of the cherries leaving cherries and pistachios in the centre bare and pleat the pastry as you pull it up.

Work quickly, because the warmer the dough gets, the stickier and harder it is to pleat.

Brush an egg wash (one egg whisked) over the pastry and sprinkle a little more infused sugar over the pastry.

If the pastry has softened too much by the time you've finished put it back in the fridge to firm up.

Place it in a 375 F degree oven - middle rack - and bake for about 19 minutes. the pastry should be a deep golden brown.
I didn't put these ones in the fridge to firm up a little before baking. The sides puffed out and away from the centre...this will happen even if they are firm, but not to this extent. They still taste delicious no matter what they look like!
Serve warm or cool...preferably in the late afternoon sunshine, sitting on a rolling hill with a view of the ocean.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh for the love of Pete!

Heads up those east of Quebec...when you do a name search for your business from a group called NUANS (as per the instructions from Canada Business), the federal name search is unnecessary unless you plan to go national. So I cannot register my business name until I have a NUANS report for the Atlantic provinces, according to the business registry in Fredericton.

My question: why wouldn't a federal name search suffice since it includes the Atlantic provinces in the report...especially when it comes from the same source?


I need a cup of tea and an episode of BBC's Not Going Out to cure the grumps...maybe two episodes. I'm pretty pipped.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Interviewed by Shannon May Photography!

Yesterday, my dear friend Shannon and I registered our little businesses at the same time...well sort of, I forgot my name search report so I had to return later to officially register...somewhat anticlimactic, yes, but I cheered her on while she signed her credit card slip.  After celebrating over a latte at our local Bistro I can't help but feel that I'm in good company and not on this journey alone.

Shannon May is an incredible photographer. She came over one evening to take some head shots for me to use as profile pics, then sat with me while I baked a chocolate raspberry birthday cake, and interviewed me for her blog. Now, even if you don't feel like reading the interview, at least look at her photos! Seriously stunning.

Click below to read the interview:
Shannon May Photography, St. Stephen New Brunswick - Wedding Engagement Family Graduation Portraits: passing on the love [interview]: sugar:

By the way, this is what the cake looked like when it was finished...but my photo is no where near the caliber of Shannon May's...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Farmer's Market Glow and the Nag of Second Guessing

SUGAR made it's debut at the St. Stephen Farmer's Market on Friday and sold out (except a couple scones)! The market was heaving with people celebrating our little town's annual Chocolate Festival. The bread was a big hit, as were the chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon twists and galettes. The scones fared well and the cupcakes sold just seconds before they were a melted mess. It couldn't have been a better start to SUGAR's local exposure. I was beaming for most of the day.

But then the little nagging voice creeps in, the pebble-in-my-shoe voice that second guesses everything. What if they didn't like the bread? What if I can't pull this off? What if no one buys anything next week? I'd like that voice to"if-off" quite frankly. I'd like to say it doesn't affect me, but tonight was an off-night for baking. I burnt pastry, over-floured bread dough, planned to make things with ingredients I didn't have...most likely because of this pebble in my shoe throwing me off my game. A practical person would tell me to shake out my shoe, and really I should just do it. But I sometimes think this pebble is my friend, goading me on to strive to do better. Then again, would a friend give me blisters? (Have I carried this analogy too far?)

So tonight, at this very late hour I am shaking out my shoes. I simply have no room for pebbles right now. At least one person is coming for my bread on Friday and even if that's the only thing I sell I want to be sure it was baked with all the joy and delight I get from baking with an unfettered mind...and very comfortable shoes.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Needy for No Knead Bread

In one episode of my all-time favorite show, Gilmore Girls, Lorelei Gilmore asks "Where have all the anvils gone?" Well, I can answer this question. They melted them all down because they didn't need them after I baked my first loaf of bread. Oh yes, the bread anvil, harder and heavier than lead...and possibly uranium.

Baking bread had eluded me all my days...until I met Bonnie Stern's No Knead Bread recipe. I was rescued by this glorious artisanal bread that not only looked cool, but tasted delightful! And it's so ridiculously easy. You need time, flour, yeast, wine vinegar, salt, a good sized bowl and a cast iron pot with lid. Don't attempt this two hours before your guests come for dinner. You need at least six hours for this. (The first Bonnie Stern no knead recipe I used required 18 hours, so six seems like a dream!)

Recipe adapted from Bonnie Stern's No Knead Artisanal Bread
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (or multigrain bread flour)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp instant yeast (fresh is best)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 tsp white wine vinegar
  • extra flour for stages of rising
  • seeds, oats, cranberries, cinnamon, herbes de Provence - anything you want to add to it to make it yummy! 
  • cast iron pot with lid. I use 3.5 liter pot.
In a large bowl combine flour, salt and yeast. At this point you would add your dry or fresh herbs or cinnamon or lemon zest (oh yes I did - with cracked pepper and it was amazing with seafood chowder). Combine warm water with vinegar in a measuring cup. Stir liquid into the flour mixture.

Once you combine the ingredients, the dough will be a bit shaggy and wet - it's supposed to be. Cover with plastic wrap.
I made 5 loaves at once to test different herbs and grains. This is unbleached all purpose flour.
Let it rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours. It will be bubbly when it's ready:
When it comes time to let it rise again, she suggests using a generously floured tea towel. Perhaps my tea towels are too grabby, but it doesn't seem to matter how floured my towels are, a good chunk of dough often remains on the towel and I've had to throw out a few as I've tested different towels.

I find it easiest to flour a piece of parchment, scrape the dough out onto the parchment, flour it and work it into a ball. You don't need to knead it at this point...but sometimes I do for about 30 seconds, especially if using multi-grain or whole wheat does help to make it a little more airy. But don't feel pressure to do so. Your bread will still be delicious.

Then let the ball of dough rest on the floured parchment...then flour the top of the dough and place another piece of parchment on top instead of placing a tea towel on top.
Herbes de Provence
  After about 2 hours it will double in size. It's quite a wet dough, so I find that peeling back parchment works better than the tea towel method...almost all the dough is freed from the parchment. You may need a dough spatula to help it out a little.
Herbes de Provence
About 30 minutes before your dough is at this stage, turn your oven to 450 F and put in your cast iron pot with the lid on. This is imperative. Your cast iron pot needs to be hot hot hot before you drop your dough in.

I made the mistake of leaving my pot out too long. Once it had finished baking, the pot wouldn't let go of the bread! I had to rip it out and spend an hour chiseling the rest of the bread off the bottom. I could imagine it would be similar to cleaning barnacles off a boat. So, don't take the pot out until you're ready to put the dough in!

I add poppy, sesame and sunflower seeds to my multigrain loaves just after I've placed the dough in the pot. Put on the lid and put it in the oven for 26-30 minutes. It should have a light golden crust to it. Then take the lid off and leave the bread in for another 5-10 minutes until it is a caramel color.
front: herbes de provencal and roasted garlic on top
Mulitgrain with seeds
Herbes de Provence
If you, like me, have run the other direction when it came to baking your own bread - stop. Turn around.  Give Bonnie Stern's recipe a go. It takes time, but very little effort!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Order Online!

**UPDATE**  The SUGAR Bakery is not fulfilling any orders for the time being. We're moving so all of my supplies are packed up or sold! I'll still be contributing to the blog when I can. I'll let you know when and where we next settle!**

I have set up an online form for folks in the area to order yummy treats from (drrrummm roooolllll, puhlease!) The SUGAR Bakery (insert confetti explosions and kazoo blowing here), woot!

If you're in St. Stephen, or surrounding area and have a hankering for scones, or perhaps would like a little (or big) cake to take to your next dinner party...just fill in the form and submit it!

If there is something you are craving and it's not on the menu, ask for it in the "special instructions" box at the bottom and I'll get back to you on price.

Here's to sweet treats! (and other yummy things...)