Orange Spiced Cloudberry Galette

This was a big day for me.  Why?  Today, I ran my first 10km race.  In fact, today I ran 10km for the first time ever.

Well, actually, I probably should clarify that statement.  When I say run, I in fact mean a jog-so-slow-you-inevitably-have-people-constantly-passing-you.  And when I say jog, I mean my level of exertion when not taking absolute and complete advantage of a well-deserved rest every now and again at water stops along the way.

During my race, I tried to keep my mind distracted.  Once I start thinking about what I am actually doing, the game is up.  Not surprisingly, I thought about baking.  I pondered that I would prefer to be making pâte feuilletée for six hours, rather than run for just over an hour.  I then also thought about my outstanding pastry for the month.  Pâte brisée.  More specifically, I was creating these mini galettes in my mind.

Recently, I found some cloudberry jam.  My first experience of cloudberry was last year, in Finland.  I sampled cloudberry ice-cream – a popular local favourite – and instantly loved the unique flavour.  The orange coloured berry has a distinct tartness, and paired so well with creamy vanilla ice cream.  In Finland, they often eat cloudberry with Leipäjuusto, a squeaky cheese similar to haloumi.  With this in mind, I was originally planning of complementing the cloudberry jam with ricotta, in a similar manner to a crostata di ricotta e marmellata (jam and ricotta tart).

But then I remembered the recipe for Orange-Spiced Pâte Brisée in Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking.  The idea of a spiced pastry that could carry the flavour of a seasonal fruit (Sherry’s recommendation), ultimately won me over.  This simple combination ended up as my must try for the cloudberry jam.

I was happy I kept it straightforward.  In fact, it was quite fortuitous – given the exertion of the day – that the simplest pastry and dessert brought my pastry month to an end.

I made half the recipe to produce four 10cm (2.5 in) galettes.  To increase the Scandinavian twist, I also substituted ground cardamom for the recommended ground ginger.

The result?  Simple but delicious.  The cloudberry jam was sweet, but still permeated strong tart overtones.  With minimal sugar and a strong spice in the pâte brisée, the pastry balanced the jam filling perfectly.  I will definitely make this quick and easy pastry again to pair with a multitude of fresh fruits and other mouth-watering jams!

{ Orange-Spiced Cloudberry Galettes }
Pastry adapted from Sherry Yard

* Ingredients *
250g or 2 sticks of cold unsalted butter
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cold water
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 large egg, at room temperature

* Directions *
Cut the butter into pieces and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Sift together the flour, sugar, spices and salt into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the frozen butter.  Mix on low speed for 2 minutes.  Stop the machine and by hand pinch flat any large pieces of butter that remain.  Whisk together the water, juice and egg in a small bowl.  Turn the mixer on low speed and add the liquid all at once. Mix just until the dough comes together, about 15 seconds.  The dough should be tacky but not sticky.  Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic film.  Chill for at least 1 hour.  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.  Quickly roll out each piece into 15cm (6 in) circles.  Chill again for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).  In the centre of the dough, place the jam of your choice.  Fold up 2cm (about 1 inch) around the edge and pinch gently to adhere the folds.  Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar.  Baked for 30 minutes.

Makes eight 10cm (2.5 in) galettes

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gingerbread

In my bread quest this month, I could not go past brioche.  There are many egg-based breads.  Brioche :: Challah :: Panettone :: Stollen :: Pulla.   Brioche is probably the richest of them all.  In Sherry Yard’s, The Secrets of Baking handbook, she explains the foundation brioche recipe and its versatility to make flavoured brioche, lean and rich brioche, sticky buns, as well as fried brioche in the form of beignets and doughnuts.  When flicking through the pages, I stopped on her Gingerbread Brioche recipe.  I simply nodded and knew it would be where I would start.

As breads go, the recipe was actually quite simple.  Well, if you have a stand mixer, that is.  You simply make a sponge (yeast and warm milk added with a little sugar and flour to make a batter) that rests for about half an hour.  Then you add that with the rest of the ingredients into a mixer and gently work the dough for a few minutes.  Once that is done, it simply needs to proof a couple of times.  At the end, you shape into your favoured tin, and voila, you are done!

I only made half the recipe suggested as I was light on brioche à tête molds – I only had two medium sized available.  Even when I filled those I had some dough left over.  I looked around for some alternative pans / molds that would take the remaining dough.  I pulled out some little pudding molds which were perfect for the job.  For these mini gingerbread-y versions, I wrapped up the dough around a little square of dark chocolate.  What could be better?

The end result was fabulously light, buttery, rich and soft all wrapped up together.  The texture just perfect.  The only thing I would change next time would be the amount of nutmeg.  The flavour was a little overpowering compared with the other spices included.  When I was adding the spices I did pause when reading the quantity of nutmeg (thinking it was too much), but shrugged, figured Sherry knows best, and continued on.  I would probably reduce it by half or even a quarter next time.  But I have retained the original quantity in the recipe below, in case you are a nutmeg nut!

Sherry makes this bread specifically for French toast.  She serves it with orange butter and walnut-maple syrup.  After tasting the bread, I think she is on a winning combination.

{ Gingerbread Brioche }

* Ingredients *

Sponge:

½ cup whole milk at room temperature (see note)
1 tbsp dry active yeast
2 tbsp sugar
½ cup bread or all purpose flour

Dough:

1/3 cup unsulfured black-strap molasses (see note)
3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
4 cups bread flour 
2 tsp salt
6 large eggs, slightly beaten
9 ounces unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1 large egg

* Directions *

Make the sponge.  Combine milk and yeast in the mixing bowl of a standing mixer. Whisk and let sit for 5 minutes.  Add flour and sugar, mix to form a thick batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes, until bubbles form.

Add the molasses, brown sugar, spice, flour, and salt to the sponge. Add the eggs. Beat with the paddle attachment on low speed for 2 minutes, until the eggs are absorbed. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Hold the mixer when necessary.

Turn the machine down to medium low speed and add the butter, 2 tbsp at a time. Knead for another 5 minutes, until the dough is shiny.  Scrape out the dough and clean and lightly oil the bowl.  Don’t worry if the dough is difficult to handle.  Place the dough back in the bowl then turn it over so that the top is oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours, until doubled.  When dough is has doubled in volume, punch it down by folding it two or three times. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

After the second rise, the dough is ready to be shaped.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  For brioche à tête generously butter two 8 inch brioche molds and put them on a baking sheet.  Punch the dough down again and transfer it to a work surface.  Set aside the equivalent of about 1 cup of dough, and divide the rest into two portions.  Firmly roll each portion of dough on the table in a circular motion with the palm of your hand to form a smooth ball.  Place into each mold.

With the reserved dough, divide in half and roll into a bowling pin shape.  Make an indention in the centre of the larger ball, and place the small pin into the centre of the brioche. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400F or 200C.  Lightly whisk the egg and gently brush the surface of the dough.  Bake for 10 minutes and reduce heat to 350F or 180C.  Bake for another 30 minutes depending on the size of your molds.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

{ A few notes … }
1. For the milk, I warmed mine ever so slightly to about 80 – 90 F.
2. I have had trouble finding unsulfured molasses in Australia.  As a substitute, I used dark treacle.  I use treacle for all my gingerbread baking and it works a treat.
3. Tête means head, as you can see why!

chocolate-madeleine

I have been reminiscing about my recent trip to a handful of Paris’ best patisseries.  To pay sort of tribute (and to sadly attempt to re-create the experience), I have short-listed a few decidedly French treats to bake.

First up, madeleines.  The recipe selected is courtesy of the magnificent Sherry Yard.  Magnificent as her ability to translate volumes of detail about the fundamentals of baking, in way an amateur can understand, speaks to her enormous skill.

I also could not resist baking a delicious buttery treat that was adorably shaped as a shell.

Sherry’s basic recipe is for a Orange Blossom Honey Madeleine.  Sherry provides a few variations for lemon, pistachio and chocolate to cater for a variety of palates and tastes.  I opted for chocolate, as I truly cannot resist this flavour in its many forms!

The recipe is quite simple.  You just need to factor in a little time for the batter to chill.  Sherry includes the addition of almond meal to add flavour and lightness to the batter.

{ Orange Blossom Honey Madeleines }

Makes about 8 dozen mini or 4 dozen standard cakes.

* Ingredients *
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
½ cup almond flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ pound unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup orange blossom honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange flower water
2 tablespoons chopped kumquats or 1tablespoon mince orange zest
4 eggs

* Directions *
1. Sift flours, baking powered and salt into bowl and set aside
2. Beat butter on high until soft.  Slowly add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Mixture should be light and fully.  Beat in honey, vanilla, orange flower water and kumquats or orange zest.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the flour mixture to the batter in thirds until just incorporated.  Cover the batter and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).  Brush moulds with butter and dust with flour.
5. Spoon batter into the pan, filling each about three-quarters full.  Bake for 10 minutes for mini or 15 minutes for standard size, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
6. Best served warm from the oven but can be stored airtight for 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

{ Chocolate variation… }
Replace ¼ cup of cake flour with ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder.