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Pide: Rockin' boat-shaped bread

Friday, June 13, 2014

This dough contains vinegar. The smell is strong but only through the kneading and proofing process. Once the dough is baked, the smell dissipates. It's a tip I got from a Dan Lepard recipe for bagels. The dough is more pliable, but it can also be a little sticky. There's very little handling though so I don't add any extra flour. The bread is cooked in a hot pan on the stove and then grilled/broiled in the oven so the top browns. Little pockets of air form in the crust, which is lovely. This bread is based on a Turkish pide, which should be long and narrow ~ they should resemble a sampan or canoe. Mine is more like a Vietnamese round fishing boat.

In Turkey, they use uncooked but spiced minced meat as the filling. I've used cooked ingredients ~ caramelised onion, which Ivy gave me, grilled discs of zucchini and eggpkant, and grated emmental cheese. But just about anything works if it's good. Nothing with too much sauce or gravy though ~ a dry chicken curry would be quite nice.

To make the Pide dough, combine in a bowl: 2 cups bread flour, 1/2 tsp instant yeast, a large pinch of sugar, a large pinch of salt, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon neutral flavoured oil, and 3/4 cup water. Stir until the mixture clumps together, adding extra water if it is too dry. Form into a rough ball, cover the bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.

Knead the dough using the fold and stretch method (a 10-second knead three times every 10 minutes) until smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl again and leave until well-proofed and springy. Divide into three or four fairly equal portions. Form into balls. At this stage, the dough balls can be individually sealed in lightly oiled plastic bags and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Assembly and cooking
Turn on the oven grill. Heat a heavy-based oven-proof pan on the stove over high heat. Add a little oil to the pan.
Flatten out a ball of dough into an oblong shape. Place cooked filling in the centre and cheese along the outside edge. Roll the edges in over the cheese and form into an oval with high sides and tapered ends. If desired, spoon a little beaten egg over the filling.
Carefully place the pide into the hot pan. Turn the heat down and cook the bottom until brown and the dough puffs up, about 1 minute. Transfer the pan to oven and cook until the cheese has melted and the edges of the bread are golden and done, 8-12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Eat while the crust is crisp.

Custard-based buttercream

Sunday, June 8, 2014

This German-style buttercream, based on a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, starts out with a custard made from egg yolks. It is then added to whipped butter. It is not as light as a Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream, but there's no need to make a sugar syrup as in those. If you're making a dacquoise (nutty meringue layers sandwiched with buttercream), this is a great way to use both the egg whites and yolks. The buttercream can be flavoured as desired ~ my recipe here is a coffee flavour.This buttercream remains stable for quite a while, which is great for our very warm room temperature. I have also tried making this style of buttercream with custard powder instead of eggs. Both recipes follow.

German-style Coffee Buttercream
Makes about 2 cups. Based on a Cook's Illustrated recipe.

120g egg yolks (about 4 large)
60g sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
175ml full-cream milk
2 tbsp water
1-1/2 tbsp instant coffee
225g unsalted butter, softened

Whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. 
Place milk in a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Pour half the hot milk into the yolk mixture, all the while whisking until smooth, then add this to the milk in the pot. Return the pot to the stove and continue whisking until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Transfer custard to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until set, about two hours. Before using, let custard warm up a little.
Stir water and instant coffee together; set aside.
Using electric beaters or a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy. Beat in the custard in three batches until just combined. Add coffee mixture and continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.

With custard powder
Place 175ml milk in a small pot and stir in 3 tablespoons custard powder, 60g sugar and a pinch of salt until well mixed. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat, whisking until  the mixture bubbles and thickens. Transfer custard to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until set, about two hours. Before using, let custard warm up a little. Using electric beaters or a stand mixer, beat 225g softened unsalted butter until light and creamy. Beat in the custard in three batches until just combined. Add flavouring to taste and continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.

Holy moly! Thai basil chicken stir fry

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I don't use enough Thai holy basil in my cooking ~ but I aim to make up for that omission by cooking this stir fry as much as I can. It's called pad kra pao gai in Thai, and according to this site (from which I also got the recipe), the chicken can be substituted with pork, prawns and even tofu. Being a stir fry, it is a quick dish to make. The chicken is flavoured with common ingredients, and it is the Thai basil leaves that really give it that extra bite. I have added chunks of boiled potatoes to the dish and probably more basil leaves than the recipe called for. It was a hearty meal.

Ginger: naked, cordial, and in a cookie

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Continuing my use of Australian-made ginger products, I've made madeleines. They have three types of ginger in them ~ crystallised, powdered and cordial ~ as well as almond meal. The recipe is the result of blending a number of different ones to come up with something that works for me and with the ingredients I wanted to include in this cookie. I've used a silicone mould ~ each of the nine scallops in it is 7cm long and 4cm at its widest.

Three-times-the-Ginger Almond Madeleines
Makes 17

Prep: Mince 75g crystallised ginger. Melt 75g butter and cool.
1. Stir together 50g all-purpose flour, 50g almond meal1 tsp ground ginger and the minced ginger until well combined.
2. Beat 2 medium eggs and a pinch of salt until foamy. Add 75g caster sugar, and whisk until the ribbon stage, 12-15 minutes. Whisk in 1 tbsp ginger cordial.
3. Fold in the flour mixture quickly but gently, and then the melted butter. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease a silicone madeleine mould well (I used coconut oil). Fill the moulds three-quarters full of batter (place mounds in the centre of each mould; they will spread out naturally) and bake until madeleines are springy and brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from the mould and cool. Best eaten the same day.
Note: If using only one mould, allow to cool slightly and grease it again before filling. Refrigerate the batter while one batch is baking.