November recap – biscotti

We had lots of samples of biscotti. All expressed their gratitude that the recipe was so quick and easy, yet produced really outstanding results.

Take a look at them…

We tasted five different samples - all different, all great

Now look at what was left *wink*

There weren't many leftovers after we finished dipping our biscotti.

As soon as I figure out how to get the other pix of actual participans off of my cell phone, I’ll post those.

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Biscotti! Next meeting: Nov. 7

Here’s the recipe from Monica. She has started a McMinnville Baker’s Dozen Facebook page and the recipe is also posted there.

Basic Biscotti recipe

A basic dough mixture of butter, sugar, and flour is all it takes to make authentic biscotti in your home kitchen.

Ingredients:

¼ pound butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup toasted almonds, chopped (or your favorite toasted nut, or skip the nuts)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325°F.

2) Cream butter in a medium mixing bowl until creamy; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until mixture is smooth.

3) Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into egg mixture; beat until just mixed. Stir in almonds.

4) Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a long roll about 1½ inches wide and 10 inches long. Place rolls on a baking sheet, leaving 3 inches space between each.

5) Bake 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes, then slice diagonally into ½-inch thick slices. Return to baking sheet; bake an additional 10 minutes. Flip biscotti over; bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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Great time had by all this month

First the pix, then the commentary.

Lemon Pie


Three more Lemon Pies

There were four brave bakers who undertook the day-long task of baking the pie from the same recipe. As usual, results varied.

One baker didn’t have any lemons, so used bottled lemon juice. We all found it tasted fine. Another baker had lemons, but not enough so she added some water. That tasted pretty good, too, but the lower acid content seemed to leave the lemon custard a bit watery.

The small pie did not lose any flavor or texture by being so small, but the baker herself wasn’t happy with her meringue. All bakers agreed that the cooked cornstarch mixture presented quite a challenge to incorporate into the meringue. All of the buttery pie crusts were beautiful and delicious.

The best part of the event was that the four other people attending who did not make a pie were able to give impartial evaluations and they did so without hurting any feelings. A truly valuable talent! Thank you!

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October’s recipe: Lemon Meringue Pie

This picture is not based on the recipe linked below – it’s just to inspire you!

Click on the link to the pie recipe below, follow the prompts to the printed recipe, and print out the recipe. Or, if you prefer, just copy and paste the published recipe below into your word processor and print that.

Thank you, Monica!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie
From Baker’s Dozen by Carolyn B. Weil and Kathleen Stewart
Makes one 9-inch pie

Make Butter Pie dough (below)

Filling
1-1/4 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks (save the 4 whites for the meringue)
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
¼ tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, thinly sliced

Meringue
¼ cup water
1/2 cup superfine or granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup egg whites (around 4 large), at room temperature

1. Line a 9 inch pie pan with the pie dough and flute the edges. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
3. Remove the plastic wrap and line the pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil, then fill with pie weights. Bake until the pastry seems set, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking until the crust is golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
4. To make the filling, whisk the sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and yolks and whisk until pale yellow. Whisk in the juice, zest, and salt. Add the butter. Transfer to a medium saucepan.
5. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula, over medium heat until the mixture bubbles, then stir for another 30 seconds to be sure the filling reaches its optimum thickness. Whisk to smooth the filling. Strain through a wire sieve into a medium bowl to remove any bits of cooked egg white.
6. Pour the warm filling into the pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the filling. Pierce a few slits in the wrap with the tip of a knife a few times to allow the steam to escape. Refrigerate until completely chilled and set, about 3 hours. Discard the plastic wrap.
7. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
8. To make the meringue, pour the water into a small saucepan, add the cornstarch, and whisk to dissolve. Whisk over medium-low heat until cooked into a thick, opaque, and gooey paste, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
9. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cream of tartar. In a medium bowl, using a hand-held mixer at low speed, whip the egg whites until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high. One tablespoon at a time, add the sugar mixture to the egg whites as you whip them to soft peaks. Add the cooled cornstarch mixture and continue whipping to form stiff, shiny peaks.
10. Heap the meringue on the filling, spreading it with a metal icing spatula to touch the crust. Swirl the meringue into peaks, if desired. Bake until evenly colored to a light gold, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let stand until completely cooled. The pie is best served the day of baking

Butter Pie Dough
From Baker’s Dozen by Carolyn B. Weil
Makes one 9-inch pie shell

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (dip and sweep)
2 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (one stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼ inch cubes
2 Tbsp. ice-cold water, or as needed

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, with a few coarse, pea-sized pieces of butter. Sprinkle in the water and mix with a fork, adding just enough until the mixture is moistened and begins to clump together. Gather up the dough and form into a flat disk. You can use this dough immediately.

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October, November, December picks for coming Mac BakersDozen meetings

At the September meeting, we picked recipes for the next three months. First selection is a Triple Threat: Lemon Meringue Pie (see the next post).

The next meeting will be on Monday, October 3, 7 pm, at the Red Fox Bakery on NE Evans Street just behind the McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon. The recipe will be from the Bakers Dozen Cookbook. Monica will post the recipe.

This will be perhaps our biggest challenge in our almost two years of meetings of McMinnville Bakers Dozen.

We liked this idea because there are three challenges: meringue, lemon custard, pie crust. Each of these elements requires different skills and most of us want to brush up on (or learn!) each one.

After that decision, we were on a roll. Before we knew it, we had ideas for the next six months. Herewith, our recipes for the following two months:

For November 7, same time and location, we’ll make Biscotti, Italian hard-toasted bread for dipping in cappuccino or cafe latte. No particular recipe selected, but we’ll decide that in October.

For December 3, same time and location, we’ll make Brioche – a holiday-type bread. Again, no specific recipe selected yet. Opinions and suggestions welcome.

Stay tuned for the next three! Of course, we are open to new ideas, or, as several of us suggested, perhaps cycling through our past efforts. Not all of us were able to participate in those and some were both challenging and delicious. Specifically mentioned were the layered dough of croissants.

Please do come and bring your friends. We’re a friendly group of people who love learning more about baking.

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September – cornbread

Another warm summer night found us at an outside table at McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon last Tuesday, testing and tasting our cornbread offerings.

Polly chose a recipe from Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food,” but she added bacon on her own. She was disappointed at how crumbly the cornbread was, but everybody else just loved it. Group consensus was that the crumbly-ness was due to the large size of the bacon bits. She also honored the great Southern tradition of pouring the cornbread batter into hot bacon fat in a hot cast iron pan to make a crisp crust.

Sandy took her recipe from Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glezer. It was a high-rising yeasted bread with a beautiful egg-glaze. As usual, the rest of us loved it, but Sandy thought her corn meal should have been a finer grind. She also put whole kernel corn in it, which gave added sweetness and texture.

Monica selected a recipe by John Phillip Carroll, from the Bakers Dozen Cookbook, titled “Melt in your Mouth Cornbread” and it was. She brought the book with her for further inspiration, since we are considering taking a more focussed approach to our get-togethers.

After enjoying the cornbread samples with butter, we turned to planning what to make for the next meeting. Please see the following post, “October, November, December selections” for our choices.

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Next get-together – this Monday, Aug. 1

Thanks to Monica for reminding us that the next meeting of McMinnville Bakers Dozen (MBD) is coming up soon! This coming Monday, Aug. 1, at 7 pm at Red Fox Bakery in downtown McMinnville.

How did the marshmallow-making evening go?  Can anyone who was there tell us about it in the comment field?

Hope to see you Monday at Baker’s Dozen with bar cookies or brownies. A quick, short survey of a few MBDs revealed that at least three of us had forgotten what we “decided,” but we did remember talking about both bar cookies and brownies, so let’s just go with a choice of either one.

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