Friday, August 19, 2011

white chocolate & raspberry muffincakes

What exactly is a muffincake?

Well, a muffincake is basically a cupcake... with muffin-like qualities.
Or maybe a muffin that happens to have a more cupcake-y texture.

Either way, it's delicious. This wonderful treat is the result of my laziness. I was planning on making a batch of my raspberry dream cupcakes, but I didn't really want to make a white chocolate buttercream. Or reduce a raspberry filling. So I threw some white chocolate chips and fresh raspberries into the vanilla-almond batter. And a wonderful creation was born!

White Chocolate & Raspberry Muffincakes (approx. one dozen)
Ingredients originally based on this recipe.

1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp Penzey's double-strength vanilla extract)
~42 fresh raspberries, washed and dried (enough for 2-3 raspberries per cupcake, plus 12 for decoration)
~60 white chocolate chips (I stuffed 2 inside of each raspberry, though some fell out and into the batter)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. If necessary, line muffin pan with paper liners or spray with a nonstick cooking spray. (Paper liners are recommended, as the raspberries can be a little messy.)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-to-large bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the sour cream, milk, sugar, egg, and butter. Thoroughly mix, then combine with the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula.

Gently fold in the raspberries and white chocolate chips; attempt to distribute evenly throughout the batter. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3-3/4 full, and gently push a raspberry onto the top of each cup of batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are slightly golden and spring back from the touch. (Toothpicks may not come out clean from the center, as the water from the raspberries adds to the moisture/stickiness of the cupcake.)

Let cool on a wire rack before serving. (May be served before fully cooled, but should be cooled at least 5-10 minutes to allow for setting.)

Enjoy :)

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

flaky tart dough (Tartine)

This is probably my favorite pie dough. It's tender, flaky, and extremely versatile. I can use it for anything from my brother's favorite strawberry-rhubarb pie to a savory chicken pot pie. It is also very similar to the dough used to make fruit galettes.

The recipe is taken from the Tartine Bakery cookbook (Tartine), authored by Elizabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson.

Flaky Tart Dough
(Makes two 9- or 10-inch pie crusts)

1 tsp (5 ml) salt
2/3 cup (150 ml) very cold water
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (455 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling tool and work surface
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 5 tablespoons (300 g) very cold unsalted butter (maybe frozen), cut into 1-inch pieces


In a small bowl, mix together salt and water. Keep very cold, perhaps in freezer, until ready to use.

Measure flour into the bowl of a food processor. Scatter butter chunks over flour. Pulse briefly until mixture forms large crumbs. Add the salt-water mixture until a dough begins to form into a ball but is not smooth. There should still be pea-sized streaks of butter.

(If a food processor is not available, you can use a pastry blender or forks to cut the butter into the flour.)

On a lightly-floured work surface (such as a large cutting board or clean counter-top), divide the dough evenly in half. Form each portion into a disk about 1 inch thick (about 5 inches in diameter). Wrap each disk with plastic wrap (or in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag-- see numbered points below) and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight (about 8 hours or so).

the remainder of the directions are taken directly from this blog

To line the tart pan or pie dish, place a disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center. Lift and rotate dough a quarter turn every few strokes to discourage sticking. Lightly dust the dough with more flour as needed.

If lining a pie pan, cut out a circle 2 inches larger than the dish. If lining a tart pan with a removable bottom, cut out a circle 1 1/2 inches larger. Carefully transfer the round to the dish/pan, easing it into the bottom and sides, pressing gently into place. With a sharp knife, trim the dough even with the rim of the dish/pan.

Line the pastry shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (you can also use dried beans.) For a fully baked shell, bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until the surface looks light brown. Remove from the oven and remove the parchment paper and weights. Return to the oven and continue baking until golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Cool completely on wire racks before filling.

Additional Reminders/Tips/Comments:

1) Do not pre-bake the pie shell unless your recipe calls for a pre-baked pie shell. Most of the pies that I bake only call for unbaked pie dough rounds.

2) Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food gives a lot of helpful tips for rolling out pie dough. His recipe for pie dough instructs the reader to roll the dough out inside of a large zip-top bag. This makes it so that you don't have to worry about the dough sticking to the work surface, the rolling pin, your hands, or anything else in the vicinity. And then you just cut open the sides of the bag and peel the plastic layers off of your rolled-out dough. Really easy and far less messy!

3) Alton's recipe calls for a little lard, which I don't really have on hand. Therefore, I haven't yet tried out his version. However, I'm unbelievably satisfied with the super flaky and delicious pie crusts that result from the Tartine recipe. Just look at those layers that form!

Happy baking! I hope that you get as much use out of this recipe as I do :)

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