A Recipe for Basic Shortcrust Pastry

 

There is quite a simple rule of thumb when it comes to making pastry at home. You should know that the type of crust you can buy from the stores is by no means as tasty or as healthy as the crust you can make at home. And the best part is that it takes very little time to make your own and you can skip all the preservatives and extra salt and sugar mixed by manufacturers into the crust they sell in stores. Today is the day when we will learn how to make the simplest recipe of shortcrust pastry, so you will never need to use the refrigerated type ever again.

I will give you a tip first, so you can obtain the best results, and cook pastry like a chef, while at home, in your kitchen. Shortcrust is best when left to sit in the refrigerator for an entire day. So, if you are planning a party or there are celebrations around the corner, I strongly suggest that you make the shortcrust a day before you get to fill and cook the recipe you want.

Let’s get to the actual recipe now. You will need the following ingredients: about one cup of flour (the all-purpose type works just fine), half of teaspoon of salt, a quarter of a pound of unsalted butter and three tablespoons of water (make sure it is ice cold, it is an important aspect of this recipe).

Use a food processor or a mixer for combining the flour with salt and add butter so that the composition begins resembling a coarse meal. Add the tablespoons of ice water and mix for another half a minute, until the dough you obtain is soft. Take the dough out of the food processor, shape it with your hands into a thick disk, and wrap it in plastic. Like this, send it to the refrigerator for a couple of hours. You can even leave it overnight if you are too busy with other chores.

 

When you roll the dough, make sure to do so gently and gradually. By letting dough gain its shape, you make sure that it will not shrink when you are baking it. Create a round shape, as thin as possible, and all the trimmings send back to the fridge, as you will use them for patching and decorating. Place your dough in a tart pan and let it sit. Lift the edges and press them lightly against the edges of the pan, to obtain the desirable crust shape. Keep in the fridge until you want to bake it. Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes, and, if it is not golden enough, keep it there for a few extra minutes.

 

 

 

 

How to Make the Perfect Danish Braid

 

 

What’s not to like about the Danish braid? It is so flaky, so tender and it melts in your mouth. It is one of my personal favorites, although I tend to think that each time I think about one particular recipe, it instantly becomes a favorite of mine. While you may be taken a bit aback by the fancy appearance of the famous Danish braid, I can assure you that there is nothing to be worried about. You can do your Danish braid at home, and you can do so easily.

One of the things I highly recommend when working with the dough for Danish braid is that it needs to be chilled enough. So, I advise that you make the dough and you let it cool overnight in the fridge so you can work it properly the next day. Especially if you have big plans for a Sunday brunch, getting a little busy on Saturday is the way to do it right. I know people who even prefer to make their dough well in advance and keep it in the freezer until an occasion arises for them to cook their favorite Danish pastry.

Now, let’s get to the recipe, and I will give you a few more tips later. For the pastry, you will need two and a half cups of flour, one quarter of a cup of warm water, one standard package of dried yeast, half a cup of milk (make sure it is at the room temperature, and not directly from the fridge), one egg (should be at room temperature, too), 14 tablespoons of butter (the unsalted variety), a quarter of a cup of sugar and half a tablespoon of salt.

Mix the yeast with the water in a bowl and let it react. Add the milk, the egg, sugar, and salt. In a different bowl mix the butter and flour. Use a food processor for best results. Bring the two mixes together and combine them with gentle moves. A good trick for making great Danish braids is to leave the butter in small chunks. Once you obtain the dough, wrap it in plastic and send it to the refrigerator until the next day.

Take the dough out of the fridge, and began rolling it, making sure you have plenty of flour around since this is quite a sticky type of dough. The trick is to roll and fold three times, making sure to obtain a rectangular shape. Leave the dough to rest wrapped in plastic for at least half an hour in the fridge. The amount used in this recipe is good for two braids, so you need to cut the dough in half, and keep the one you are not working on in the fridge until it is its turn.

Cut the corners and create slanting strips. Pour the filling in the middle and bring the strips over, alternating. Bake everything in the oven preheated to 400F. If you want your Danish braid to have that amazing, beautiful sheen, make some egg wash from one egg and a bit of milk and brush it over the braid, once you see it turn it golden in the oven.

How to Make French Pastry Pie Crust

 

 

Anyone who has ever tasted French pastry can vouch for the heavenly taste of French specialties. In the post I am sharing with you today, let’s learn together how to make French pastry pie crust, one of the most common, yet delicious, recipes offered to the world by this extraordinary cuisine.

As is the case with every recipe in the universe, different chefs and even home cooks use their very own tricks when making this type of pie crust, but, for the sake of offering you the basic information needed for cooking French pastry, I will stick to a classic version that you may want to alter on the go, or when you see fit.

First, let’s see what ingredients we need for our recipe. The main ingredient, as in any pastry, is flour, from which you will need a solid full cup (about 5 ounces). It is preferable to use unbleached flour, but any flour will work if you do not have anything else at your disposal. Next on your list should be 3 ounces of butter, the unsalted variety, so that it does not alter the taste of your pie crust, or make it too salty. One tablespoon of oil, one tablespoon of unrefined sugar and three tablespoons of water complete the list of ingredients. Add a bit of salt, up to half a tablespoon, but no more.

Before starting to make the dough for the pie crust, make sure to preheat the oven at 410F. Use a tart tin on a baking sheet, the removable kind, so you can obtain the beautiful crust you want without any troubles. These are the preliminary preparations. We will get to work right away.

In a bowl, place the chomped pieces of butter with the salt, and put the bowl in the oven, until the butter is completely melted and it starts making bubbles on the surface. This should not take longer than 15 minutes, using a preheated oven. Take the bowl with the butter out of the oven and pour all the flour over it. Add the water and oil. Make sure to use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients, to avoid burning your hands. The dough you obtain should not be very hard and easy to spread on the tart tin you put aside at the beginning of this recipe.

To give your crust a nice look, once you can touch the dough with your hand, as you pour it and spread it on the tart tin, raise its edges and press them against the edge of the tart tin. Bake your pie crust in the oven for about 15 minutes. You can fill your pie crust with anything you like, for delicious pies that the entire family will love.

 

A website I really recommend is: https://www.easy-french-food.com

What Is Cloud Bread?

 

 

If you have checked your social media lately and you are usually up to date with the latest trends, you might have heard about cloud bread and wondered what it is, exactly. Practically, it is a type of super fluffy bread that contains fewer carbohydrates. People seem to be quite crazy about this type of bread, and they consider it ideal for cutting on carbs while enjoying the delicious taste of bread.

The thing with cloud bread is that it is completely grain-free. I know for anyone who loves baking at home, this may sound as close to a sacrilege as possible, but for people with gluten intolerance, who cannot enjoy eating bread in a classical way, this is a great alternative. This type of bread is rich in protein, and it is made with eggs, cream cheese, cream of tartar and some sweetener that lends it the pleasant taste that this bread is already famous for.

The fluffy texture is obtained by whipping the whites from the eggs with the cream of tartar. After that, you are just mixing in the yolks, the cream cheese and what you are using for sweetener. All this process must be done very gently so that you do not disturb the fluffiness of the original mixture. In case you find cloud bread to look pretty much like meringue, you are not far from the truth. The fluffy bread remains soft, and its chewy taste is loved by many.

This recipe is easy to make, and it has its advantages, in terms of how many carbs and protein you get. As far as the content of protein is concerned, cloud bread is superior to other types of bread, and it contains only very little carb content. You also get a great deal of vitamins and minerals that you do not get from regular bread, because of the ingredients used. The best part is that if you follow a special type of diet, such as Paleo or gluten-free, you will find this type of bread a great addition to your pool of recipes.

However, health experts recommend that you do not forget the importance of carbs in your diet altogether. Carbs have the great property of slowly releasing energy needed for the body, and they play an important role in feeling balanced and well fed throughout an entire day. So, if you opt for cloud bread, make sure that you have other options in your diet for carbs, such as fruits, and high-fiber cereals.

Another thing that is missing from this type of bread is fiber, so you are advised to get the much-needed amount every day from consuming beans, peas and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Why I Fell in Love with My Betty Crocker Quesadilla Maker

 

Quick recipes are the best to start cooking at home because they practically make everything easy. From the ones I like best, I must say, hand on heart, that quesadillas are among the most delicious out there and they are easy to cook. What makes them even better is that they can be made with the help of a special cooking device that I discovered not so long ago: a quesadilla maker.

The model I decided to purchase is from Betty Crocker, and it is a great quesadilla maker that I use every time I am in the mood for making quesadillas with zero headaches. First things first, I need to tell you that this quesadilla maker is quite versatile and it can be used for making a wide range of tasty snacks, such as frittatas, quiches, nachos and, of course, quesadillas. Whenever I have a craving for a home-cooked meal, and I don’t have a lot of time on my hands, all I need to do is to fire up my quesadilla maker and get it to work. In just a few minutes, I have fresh quesadillas, with minimum effort and maximum flavor.

Especially when I am in a hurry, I find the Betty Crocker Quesadilla Maker to be a great helper in the kitchen. The ready to bake indicator light comes in handy, because I usually start preparing the food while I turn on the machine, and I am grateful for not having to keep an eye on it. What I like extremely about this cooking appliance is the fact that its thermostat regulates temperature so that it creates the perfect baking environment for making quesadillas, without burning them or leaving them insufficiently cooked.

After I am done with the cooking, I am pretty thankful for the non-stick cooking plates this quesadilla maker comes equipped with. Besides the fact that I never burn my quesadillas, I know for a fact that cleaning is a breeze. All that I need to do is to wipe them clean, and the quesadilla maker is as good as new, and ready to be used the next time I am in the mood for these delicious Mexican snacks.

The Betty Crocker quesadilla maker is very compact in size and easy to store away. I am pretty concerned with a number of cooking appliances I have around, since cooking is my life, so I am pleased with seeing products that are made to be easily accommodated in a kitchen cabinet. The cord wraps at the base, and the appliance does not take up a lot of room, so, all in all, I think this is a great quesadilla maker.

Homemade Churros – A Recipe

 

 

I honestly believe that there is no easier dessert to make at home than churros. The Mexican recipe is straightforward, easy to make and incredibly delicious. The fact that churros work best when dipped in chocolate practically raises this pretty simple dessert to a degree of decadence that I doubt many other desserts can dream of.

 

Today let’s see how churros can be made at home. I bet you have tried churros at a Mexican restaurant and thought they were heavenly. This recipe is easy to make, and that is why I recommend anyone who wants to start cooking at home, to try out this specific Mexican delight, because their efforts will be quickly rewarded and they will fall in love with cooking right away. The only thing you need to worry about is adding inches to your waistline if you plan on making churros too often. But, what spells comfort better than enjoying a few churros next to a cup of hot cocoa on rainy or cold days?

The recipe I am going to present to you is a very close version of the original, and it is intended for making 16 churros (that you can split with your loved ones as you see fit). For this recipe, you will need a cup and a half of water, a bit of salt, one tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon of olive oil, one cup and a half of flour, and one teaspoon of baking powder. I will tell you more about the chocolate sauce a bit later. Now, let’s get to making churros.

Use a small saucepan to mix the water with salt, sugar and the tablespoon of oil. Place the pan on the medium heat and bring the mix to a boiling temperature. Remove from the stove and add the flour and the baking powder. Use a wooden spoon to avoid burning your hands. Use extra oil for frying. A pot with a thicker bottom is recommended for the frying part of this recipe.

I recommend using a pastry bag with a star tip for creating churros with the same pattern as those you see in restaurants. Of course, you may want to experiment at some point. Just place the dough you obtained earlier in the pastry bag and squeeze medium size strips into the heated oil in the frying pot. Let the churros turn golden, and flip them from one side to another, without leaving them for more than a couple of minutes on each.

Place the fried churros on some paper towels over a plate, so that excess fat can be easily absorbed. Spread some sugar for dusting. If you like dipping them in chocolate sauce, mix half a cup of heated heavy cream with four ounces of dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces. Dunk your churros in this chocolate sauce and enjoy the heavenly taste.