Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who needs a pizza stone?

The January 2011 cover of Sunset Magazine promises “Pizza in a skillet … and other one-dish wonders” and there’s a photo of “Luscious & low-fat: Easy broccoli rabe skillet pizza” to whet your appetite. I’ve made the broccoli rabe version once or twice and it is delicious. But it’s this easy skillet technique that I’m most excited about. Pick up a package of whole-wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s and use whatever you have on hand to top your pizza … it’s fast and economical and you can please everyone with a custom pizza. Fancy or finicky, everyone’s happy. Follow the Sunset recipe directions for preparing the dough in the skillet and cooking in the oven but top anyway you like.

Here’s how I topped the pizza most recently: spread about ¼ cup of char-roasted cherry tomatoes on the crust, sprinkle with a cup of shredded Italian cheese mix, 1/3 cup of sliced roasted red peppers, and 8-10 baby artichokes blanched in salted water with 1 teaspoon of dried Italian Seasoning and cut in halves and quarters. Sprinkle with some crushed red pepper and coarse sea salt just before serving.

Disclaimer: I work as a Recipe Tester in the Sunset Test Kitchen, but I am not compensated for this blog or for endorsing Sunset Recipes. Because of the time I spend with these recipes, I am familiar with them and confident about the results. That is why I often turn to Sunset when searching for recipes or ideas.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Swiss Orange Chip Tart

Growing up we always went to Swenson’s when we wanted ice cream; it was a San Francisco original and never disappointed. When I was very young I liked bubble gum ice cream but once I matured some and discovered Swiss Orange Chip there was no turning back. Orange continues to be my fruit of choice when it comes to chocolate but I rarely see it on dessert menus. Memories of Swenson’s ice cream led me to this dessert. When I saw Dories Greenspan’s "double chocolate and banana tart" I was inspired to try something similar with oranges and enter into food52’s week 28 contest. (Find a link at the end of this post.)

Are you a fan of Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City?” Can you name Mary Ann Singleton’s favorite Swenson’s ice cream flavor? Yep, Swiss Orange Chip but I swear I liked it first. Maybe the upcoming musical at A.C.T. inspired me too.

Tart Dough

1 ¼ cup flour
¼ cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
zest from one orange, save fruit for tart topping
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces and well chilled
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, sugar, orange zest, butter, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the butter is the size of a pea.

In a bowl or measuring cup with a spout whisk together cream and egg, processor is running pour into flour mixture. Process just until the dough comes together.

Press the dough evenly into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Put a piece of parchment larger than the tin over the dough, extending above the pan. Fill the parchment with pie weights, beans or rice. It gets tricky here because a standard crust is baked until golden brown but that test doesn’t work with chocolate. Make sure the crust looks and feels baked but doesn’t smell burnt. Bake for 20 minutes with the weights in, remove the weights and cook another 10 minutes until the bottom is fully cooked. Cool completely on a rack before filling.

Orange Caramel

¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon orange oil
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar
2 ½ tablespoons corn syrup

Whisk together ¼ cup cream and 1/8 teaspoon orange oil, set aside until needed.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and corn syrup, using a silicon spatula stir gently until sugar is melted. Once melted only stir to avoid hot spots, remove from heat when cream turns a light to medium tan color. The sugar and corn syrup should be over the heat about 4 minutes. Whisk cream and oil into the hot mixture.  Cool slightly, pour into cooled crust, and tilt to coat crust evenly. Chill in refrigerator to set caramel.

Bittersweet Orange Ganache and Fresh Orange Topping

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon orange oil
4 tablespoons, unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into several small pieces
3 large navel oranges (one of them should be the orange from the crust)
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
orange juice/water

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat 1 cup cream and ¼ teaspoon orange oil to boiling and pour over chocolate. Let sit for about 30 seconds and stir gently until combine and the chocolate is melted.

Add butter to chocolate, one piece at a time, until butter is melted and completely integrated and mixture is at least room temperature. Stir gently to avoid bubbles.

Pour over caramel layer and return to refrigerator to set.

Peel and section oranges over a bowl (See link to technique below). Once the ganache is set, lift the sections from the juice and place around the edge of the tart, on the ganache just inside the crust. Add 1 tablespoon of orange juice, use the juice left from the sections and add water to reach 1 tablespoon of liquid, if needed to marmalade and melt in the microwave. Drizzle over orange sections. Return to refrigerator to set glaze.

The tart should not be refrigerator cold when cut and served.

Useful links: 


Thursday, March 3, 2011

FFwD: savory cheese and chive bread

Once again, it’s Friday and time to post my latest attempt at one of Dorie Greenspan’s recipes from her book, Around My French. This savory quick bread (pages 34-36) came together as easily as promised. I sampled this bread each of the ways Dories suggests. I had a slice when the bread was still warm from the oven.  Once the bread cooled I cut up a few cubes and invited a neighbor over to share the bread and a glass of wine. The bread was good but the conversation was better. My favorite way to eat this bread was lightly toasted and buttered.

The cheese is both grated and cubed. The grated cheese gives the bread it’s flavor and the cubes provide a toothy cheese texture because they don’t melt completely. This is a great technique. I want to try it in quiche next. I made the cubes very small but next time I’d like to make them a little bigger and see how it changes the bread.

Kitchen tip: keep butter wrappers that have a fair amount of butter on them. Fold the wrapper over on itself to keep the butter fresh until needed to grease pans or cookie sheets. 

Used Comte cheese.
1 teaspoon Maldon salt.
Instead of optional cayenne I added a dash of Tapitio to the milk.
Used some sliced toasted almonds I had on hand in place of walnuts.
About 40 minutes cooking time.

 Visit French Fridays with Dorie to see what everyone is doing with this recipe.