Monday, November 24, 2014

Pie Stone a 12" Round Marble Pastry Board

This is the bee's knees.  I have wanted a 12" round marble piece to roll my pie dough on for some time.
 This is perfect.

Click on this
Wayfair Byzantine-Marble-Round-Board-in-Champagne

Place this thick, round, marble stone in the cooler overnight and you are ready for rolling out the perfect pie dough for a typical Pyrex glass pie dish. The cold stone will keep your butter from melting. Roll out the bottom crust and trim off excess using the stone as a guide, place in pie dish then trim to the edge to the pie dish. Put the trimmed dough under the top crust dough and roll out past the edge of the stone. Trim using the stone as a guide to make a perfect 12" round top pie crust. Lay on pie then tuck the top under the bottom.  Best pie tool ever.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Japanese Fruit Cake

Here is my version of Japanese Fruit cake.  It is a simplified version of the following recipe from my Grandmother's recipe box.  She got it from the local newspaper when wood stoves were still common.  I made a single layer using a 10"X10" pan but the original recipe is to make four short layers.  Do a google on images

Original Japanese Fruit Cake
Taken from the small town paper during the wood stove days

Prepare four 9” pans                                         

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 cup sweet milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 pound (unshelled weight)English walnuts
1/2 pound (unshelled weight)Pecans
1/2 pound (unshelled weight)Brasil nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup white raisins (opt)

Mix nuts, spices  and a little bit of flour together set aside.

Cream butter, and sugar.  Separate the yolk from the whites. Add Yolks. Sift flour, baking powder together.  Alternate flour mixture and milk into creamed ingredients.  Add vanilla.  Fold in nuts and spices.  Fold in egg whites 
Cook at moderately hot oven in 4 layers for 25 - 35 minutes.

1 whole coconut grated
1 whole orange grated
1 whole lemon grated
1 big can pineapple
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch or flour
mix and cook until stiff but not very long.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


I built this pit especially for ribs and barbecue chicken.  I burn the winter prunnings from my apple and peach orchard.

I Q mostly spare ribs because they have such a wonderful flavor.

The rub recipe I use Is one Walmart had on their website.

Walmart Dry Rub
1/4cup dark brown sugar
4tsp. garlic salt
4tsp. chili powder
2tsp. salt
1tsp. black pepper
1/2tsp. celery salt
1/4tsp. red pepper
1/4tsp. cinnamon
1/4tsp. white pepper

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pizza American Style

The weather has turned cool and that means homemade pizza.  A really good flour like King Arthur bread flour and an  overnight rise in the fridge is the key to a great tasting pizza.  For final shaping I have a mix I keep that is equal parts flour, cornmeal and semolina.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall in the South

Satsumas, are just coming into season.  This one I picked this morning.  They are much like Clementines but much larger.  Even though
they are a citrus, they have a very narrow growing window in the South they can reach best flavor.  The optimum location is just far enough north that they are not damaged by a heavy freeze.  Too far South and it is too warm to develop that wonderful sweet flavor.  They are mostly seedless but some of pollination comes from my Meyer Lemon tree so those Satsumas can have seeds.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Danish Braid

I have been working on a Danish dough recipe that would be easy for the average person to work with whether they have a mixer or not.  It is also important for the recipe to of a size that the average, home baker can work with in a timely manor.  I have a change I want to try then I will post the recipe.

Size wise I wanted the recipe to fit a pound of butter that comes in four sticks.  This gives a recipe that is large enough to make quite a few pastry items so you can store them in your freezer.

Danish Dough by Romina Rasmussen was my starting point.  She is quite well published and owner of
Les Madeleines in Salt lake city.  The changes I made were to accommodate an overnight cooler rise and a change to allow proper baked color without using an egg wash albeit you do lose the shine.  If you wanted to use Chief Rasmussen as is it is perfect without any changes.
I do take a single batch dough and make it two different laminated doughs.  This gives the home baker a size that is easy to work with as well as limits handling time which can detrimental to laminated dough.

Notice too the larger amounts of Cardamon which is balanced with a lemon zest.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Confederate Rose

I always thought the origin of the name Confederate Rose came from the flower color cycle.  It starts white representing the glory of the Confederate states rise then, it turns blood red, then dies.

These flowers are quite large. Maybe 6" across.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Here is a good picture of an emerging banana bloom.  As the bloom drops, under each bloom petal will be a hand of bananas.   As the bloom goes down the hand of bananas will get bigger pushing the petal up and away till it falls so the next hand can develop.

 The next picture shows about six of the trees.  I have eight but will soon narrow that down

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A lot of Dough for Croissants

If you are new to laminated dough, this recipe is quite large but well documented on their web page.

 You need a pretty good size work space for this recipe.  You need a large bowl, no, that is not right, you need a very large bowl to mix it in by hand.

If this is your first rodeo, you might want to use a smaller recipe then come back to this one.  The point of making a large recipe like this is if you are going to spend the time, get a good payoff.

What you find here is my experience in making this very large recipe.  It was a challenge but well worth the effort.

The key to making laminated dough is maintaining the butter layer integrity.  It is the water in the butter that will turn to steam and blow up the dough as if it were tiny flat balloons.  During this process, don't hesitate to pick up your dough after the butter layer is added and go back to the fridge for a few minutes.  Always check to see if the dough is sticking.  Too much flour can be brushed off.  As you gain experience you will see the warning signs.  Laminated dough needs a cool temperature in your house.  If you feel comfortable then your dough will too.

I use a very good home baking scale called a KD8000.  It has the capacity to handle these weights.  The bowl is about 14" across and about 4" deep.

Following their recipe I add the water.  A point here.  Next time I am switching to whole milk instead of using the dry milk powder.  If I use whole milk the crust will be a bit darker without an egg wash.  If you prefer an egg wash then by all means stick with the dry milk powder.

After you start mixing you are sure to have doubt in your mind ranging from, "Oh my!" to "Maybe this was not such a good idea."  Persevere. It will work out.  There will be bragging rights that goes with this.

If your dough looks something like this, you are done.  Shaggy they say and they be right.  Now another tip.  If you have a 9x13 cake pan, especially nonstick. you have a perfect storage place for the fridge.  Now the battle is getting it in the pan.  Its like picking up five pounds of pudding.
 It will grow in the fridge so allow room above the dough.  A piece of plastic wrap will help hold in the moisture.

Now for the butter layer.  I used stick butter so I had 5 sticks at a 1/4 pound each.  I cut those in half length wise so now I had 10 half's.  I keep on hand those cheap gallon bags from Walmart that come with the little twisty wires.  They are perfect for the butter size slab the recipe calls for

Put the butter eight half's from the top to the bottom with the last two on the side.  Now use your roller to fill the bag.  Chill as needed remembering their suggested 55F.

Take the dough from the fridge and put it on floured surface that is big enough and low enough so you can but a bit of muscle into the roller.  I use my kitchen table.

Roll it out per their instructions for size.  I use a pair of scissors to cut open the butter bag then lay it on the dough then fold and seal the edges with your fingers.  Now it is starting to look like something.  Use you hands to stretch the corners to maintain the rectangle.
Then make the first fold.
Notice the tea strainer in the picture I use as a flour duster.

After all the folds are done with chill times in the fridge, I divide the dough into thirds for easier handling.  I made the croissants, then place on a parchment sheet then into the freezer.  Once frozen, they are bagged for latter use.  I used some of the dough to make Danish shapes albeit this recipe is not a purest Danish dough.  That is another post.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Apple Pie Filling

Even though this is called apple pie filling, it is perfect for your fruit pastry like Danish or a braid. 
Equally as suited for an apple crisp.

 First prepare the apples.  About one quart of peeled and cutup apple chunks.  I have a hand crank peeler but this economical, hand press slicer is my favorite way of cutting them into wedges that are easy to peel and slice.  I add one oz lemon juice to the apples to help reduce browning.  Put them in a bowl large enough to mix in the apple stuff below or put the apple stuff below in a large enough pan to mix in the apples.

I weigh everything on my KD 8000 scale.  Really saves on clean up.  I just put the pan on scale and measure right into it with no mess and no bother.
To the pan I add:
6 oz of regular sugar or Raw sugar.
1 oz regular Clear Jel(I order mine from the internet)
1 teaspoon good cinamman
One twist on my nutmeg grinder 
4 0z water
6 oz bottled apple juice

Heat the mixture on medium-high heat stirring constantly.  After a while you will suddenly lumps of brown things.  This is the first of the thickening action.  With in just a minute or so, the whole thing starts to get thick.  Remove from the heat and pour over the apples or pour the apples in the pan and stir.  Your done.

I tried using all apple juice this time  instead of the listed apple juice water mixture but as you can see from the picture the filling is just a little darker than I would like.

If you like this then when apples are plentiful you can apple pie filling using the National canning center recipe.  Note follow their recipe.  My recipe is for immediate use only and not for canning.  My recipe is a simpler version of theirs but I follow their recipe when I can apple pie filling.  Note too they also have several other fruit pie fillings recipes.  I have tried the cherry and it is super.

National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia

Here is where I get my Clear Jel from.  I buy a couple of pounds at the time.

Barry Farms.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


This is my second attempt at making croissants.  I used a recipe by Fine Cooking.

Here is the Link.
Fine Cooking Croissants Recipe

The recipe went very smooth.  They are a super flavor held together with a crispy crust and a nice, pull apart center.

I made some and the rest were stored in the freezer before they rose.  The one in the picture was baked after several hours from the freezer.  Matter of a fact, one of the best ways is to put the unbaked, frozen croissants in your cold oven or microwave just before you go to bed,  Next morning they will be ready to bake.

Notice how light these are.

I did break with tradition.  These do not have an egg wash.