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Posts Tagged ‘cream’

I’ve never broken a bone in my life.  Never a fracture, never a sprain.  Probably because I’m too much of a scaredy-cat to partake in the majority of activities that would result in such pain.  But our friend Chris managed to break three bones in her leg while on a walk with her beloved Golden Retreiver, Beanie.  She stepped in a gopher hole and was down-for-the-count.  One…two…three.  She said that she heard the pop before she even realized what was happening.  Ugh.  But she’s a trooper.  One of those eternally happy people.  In fact, we had her ordained for a day so she could marry us.

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That’s how great she is.

Her cozy little house has too many narrow turns and nooks and crannies for her wheelchair to be a viable option, so she’s left to hop around on one foot, pushing her walker ahead of her.  (Maybe it should be called a Hopper in this case?)  For the time being, cooking is pretty much impossible, and since her husband finds it impossible too, we took it upon ourselves to bring her sandwich makings and a heat-and-serve dinner.  A few days later we showed up on her door step with dinner ingredients and beer.  We grilled lamb-kabobs and zucchini, and served them with tzatziki and an orzo salad.  All around, pretty good.

But I also made strawberry shortcake for dessert.  And those biscuits?  Really good.  Now, before I go any further, I’d like to mention that I didn’t think these were the best biscuits for strawberry shortcake, mostly because they’re much better warm than room temperature.  But the next morning I put them under the broiler for a quick reheat and served them with butter and home-made plum jam.  I couldn’t have been happier.  They were fabulous.  I want to make them again right now.  And maybe tomorrow too.  And maybe the next day too?

Shirley Corriher’s Touch of Grace Biscuits adapted by Rose Levy Beranbaum from the Pie and Pastry Bible
yeilds 9 2-1/2 by 2-inch high biscuits (though mine yielded 19 smaller biscuits)

The recipe recommends using a #30 (2 Tablepoon) cookie scoop, but I think that may actually be too small, as it yielded twice as many biscuits!

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening (I used Spectrum organic)
  • 1-1/4 liquid cups heavy cream or buttermilk (or a combo) (I used all cream)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour for coating
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan or an 8-inch square pyrex dish.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and set an oven rack at the middle level.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Add the shortening in 1-teaspoon-size pieces and, with your fingertips, work the shortening into the flour until pea-size or smaller.  Mix in the cream and/or buttermilk.  The mixture will be very soft, like mashed potatoes.  Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes; it will stiffen slightly.

Place 1 cup of all-purpose flour in a small pan.  Using a #30 cookie scoop, or a large spoon, scoop out a biscuit-size lump of wet dough (a heaping spoonful) and drop it onto the flour.  Sprinkle the top lightly with some of the flour, then pick up the biscuit and shape it into a round, gently shaking off any excess flour.  (Hold the biscuit in your left hand, with your fingers partially closed so that thumb and index finger form the letter C;  with your right hand, tamp down the top of the dough so that the biscuit is 1 inch high and 2 inches in diameter.)

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As soon as it is shaped, place the biscuit in the baking pan.  Repeat with the remaining dough, placing the biscuits snugly up against each other so that the soft dough rises up instead of spreading sideways.

Brush the biscuits with the melted butter and place them in the oven.  Immediately raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake for 5 minutes.  Lower the heat to 475 degrees and continue baking for 10-15 minutes, until the tops are lightly brown.  Allow the biscuits to cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes before unmolding them onto a plate.  Split the biscuits in half, preferably using a fork.

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The month of May is like a gift-giving extravaganza in our family.  It all started with me, naturally.  Well, I was the first born!  ONE.  And then came the little brother (who was due on my birthday, thank-you very much).  Lucky for him he was born 3 days late!  TWO.  And of course, he happened to show up on Mother’s day.  THREE.  Then I went and married this crazy Aries, and with only three weeks between our birthdays, he just gets shoved into the extravaganza too.  FOUR.  And now look at me.  Not only do I have to share with that pesky kid brother, but with my mom and husband too!  Where is the love I ask you?  Where is the individual attention?  The doting quality time?  Oy.

Well, this year, I’ve volunteered to make dessert for the aforementioned extravaganza.  “You can’t make your own birthday cake!” my mom whined.  But who else could possibly make it?  Dad’s really just a cookie-maker.  Lars, well it’s his extravaganza too.  Laura’s working, and Scott…well, we’ll have a conversation about the five gallons of chocolate mousse another day… But ahh, I reminded her that I love making dessert, and with 9 people attending the extravaganza, we were pretty much guaranteed to eat it all, foregoing the possibility of having too much left-over.  Truly, a great situation to be in!

So I’ve planned to make this cool strawberry pie-like, cake-like thing-a-ma-bob, accompanied by home-churned cardamon ice cream.

I made my regular ice-cream recipe, and added 4 pods-worth of mortared cardamon while it was cooking.  I also threw in a “spent” vanilla bean, leftover from a different project.  I’ll be churning in the morning and the pictures will follow!

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Basic Ice Cream Base
yields approximately one quart

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Before starting, prepare a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl large enough to accept the ice cream base.

Combine the cream, milk and sugar in a 2 quart saucepan.  Warm the mixture until the sugar has dissolved.  Turn off the heat.

Separately, whisk the egg yolks to just mix them.  Then whisk a few ladles of the warm cream mixture into the yolks (this method is called “tempering”).  Pour the yolk mixture back in to the cream mixture, whisking as you pour.

Turn the heat back to low and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula, cook the base until it “coats” the spoon.  I always cook it until it reaches 160 degrees for safety’s sake.  Cooking the base too long, or too aggressively will coagulate the egg proteins and result in scrambled eggs.

Strain the base through the mesh strainer and then pour into a storage container.

Refrigerate over-night, or until it is thoroughly chilled.

Churn!

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