Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Very Sticky Honey Pecan Buns

I recently took on my first challenge with using yeast.  I've been meaning to bake the challenging cinnamon bun for quite some time and finally did.


As delicious as cinnamon buns are, they are not at all easy or simple to make.  Baking these treats requires you to make the dough a day in advance so the yeast can rise (and your buns will be soft and delicious).  I never baked with yeast, so testing these buns out was an interesting surprise.  I made the dough Friday afternoon and it was quite a workout.  
The dough was simple: yeast, flour, sugar, salt, butter, and milk.  However, I had to knead the dough by hand for ten long minutes (considering that I don't have a stand mixer).  I'm pretty sure that I developed carpal tunnel from those ten minutes.  Anyway, once the dough is mixed I watched it rise and patted into down every half hour for two hours.  Then the dough needs to sit refrigerated overnight.  After that the dough should be set.
As I said it should be set, however, that was not my case.  Unfortunately, my refrigerator was too cold and the dough froze! Yikes!
I managed to recover the dough by letting it thaw out but I had to finish the baking at Emmit's considering I was suppose to be at work at 11 in the morning.  I wasn't sure how the buns would turn out because of the freezing.  I baked them longer than the time required but that could have been because I was using the oven at Emmit's.  Either way they came out delicious!


I was very surprised at the results considering this was my first attempt but they were amazing.  They tasted like french toast with a sticky glaze and a pecan crunch.  Overall, my success was encouraging and everyone enjoyed them.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blueberry Pie

The Secret Life of Pie

After multiple requests from one of Emmit's favorites, Tom Forde,I baked blueberry pie for this Saturday at Emmit's.  As always I woke up early to bake a delicious fresh pie.

Blueberry pie is a double crusted pie (there's pie crust on top of the pie) and baking can be difficult.  However I've developed a few tricks that make the crust come out better.  Because I make everything from hand, I don't use a food processor to prepare the pie dough which is generally standard.  As I've written before, using cold ingredients is really important for the pie dough.  Pie dough requires a lot of butter and cold butter can be difficult to work with.  I've found that using a cheese grater and grating the butter gets a perfect consistency and texture for the pie crust (so that's my little secret I'll share with all of you whom I've inspired to start baking pie!). So I just grate the butter into the flour and sugar mixture and then work the dough with my hands.

I also cover my pie with aluminum foil while baking it.  This prevents the edges of the pie crust from burning.  The aluminum foil will bake the crust but not allow it to brown so for the last few minutes of baking the pie I put it in the broiler and it browns the pie crust.  Just a little note about ovens: gas ovens and a lot better for baking than electric ovens so next time you buy an oven, I'd recommend gas. 

When it comes to the filling, fruit pies are really easy to make. Pick a fruit and add sugar and that's basically all you need.  (Of course I chose to add some lemon juice to my pie).

Living Up To T. Forde

Tom Forde, a friend of Emmit's owner Ron, is quite the difficult customer- he's very hard to please and is generally critical of any baked good I give him.  So Tom told me blueberry pie was his favorite and I thought I'd take on the challenge.

Drumroll please...

So what did Tom Forde think of my blueberry pie?

T. Forde's response was as classic as blueberry pie.  He mumbled a few words but I'm pretty sure he enjoyed it.  I'll admit that as weary as I am about fruit pies, I am proud of my blueberry pie creation.