Maple Oat Pecan Madeleines

Anything maple reminds me of fall. For one thing maple trees this time of year are absolutely beautiful and even though we never tapped our trees until early spring, for some reason maple syrup still makes everyone think of fall.
Gayle at pastry studio posted a delicious madeleine recipe using maple, oats and pecans....they even look like fall!  As Gayle states: madeleines are prepared in the génoise sponge cake tradition, but you really end up with little cakes rather than one big one. Sort of like cookies, but not. A bit crunchy on the outside, but cakey inside. Perfection, I think. I make them all the time, but these are special: not only do they have the fall flavors, but there is a little garnish on each and a final brushing of syrup just to top things off.

Maple Oat Pecan Madeleines
From :pastry studio

1/2 cup flour                               
1/4 cup oats
2 tablespoons  toasted pecans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder                   
1/4 teaspoon salt                                       
pinch nutmeg
3 oz (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar                                                    
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract                      

1 tablespoon oats, for garnish
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted pecans, finely chopped for garnish

3/4 oz (1 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, for finishing
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup, for finishing

Preheat oven to 375. Generously butter your madeleine molds and lightly dust with flour.

Melt the maple syrup and butter together and set aside to cool.

Place the flour, oats, pecans, baking powder, salt and pinch of nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the oats are finely ground. 

With your electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on high speed until thickened and the batter falls in ribbons when whisk is lifted, about 5 minutes.  Add vanilla. By hand, fold in the flour mixture in 3 additions.  Fold in one-third of the butter mixture until combined. Fold in another third until blended and then fold in the remainder. 

Scoop the batter into the wells of prepared madeleine pans.  Garnish each one with a pinch of oats and pecans.  Bake until the cakes spring back when touched, about 12 – 13 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them cool for 1 minute, then tilt the pans to dislodge them. 

Melt the 3/4 oz butter and the 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup together.  Stir to combine and brush on the garnished side of each madeleine.  Cool completely.
Makes 20.


Giada's Cheesy Baked Farro

Finally...I got around to making this dish when my daughter was home last month. I saw it ages ago on one of Giada's Food Network Shows and saved the recipe. I really like farro and had some left in the package after my farro porridge post, so it was the perfect opportunity to try this unusual side dish.
It sure looked like a lot of cheese to me....and when I took it out of the oven I still thought it was going to be way too cheesy....but when we cut it, it held together perfectly and when we took a mouthful, it was chewy and cheesy...a fabulous combination. We loved it.

Cheesy Baked Farro
From Giada De Laurentiis

Vegetable cooking spray

For the sauce:
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups warm whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the farro:
2 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
1 cup grated Gruyere
1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
Olive oil, for drizzling

For the farro: In a large stock pot, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the farro, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the faro is tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, if necessary. 

In a large bowl, add the cheeses and stir to combine. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and reserve.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. 

For the sauce: In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 8 minutes (do not allow the mixture to boil). Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

Add the farro, thyme, and sauce to the bowl with the cheese. Stir until combined and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake until the top is golden brown and forms a crust, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.



Buttermilk Pan Rolls

Red Star Yeast has so many tempting bread recipes, sometimes I just can't resist. And this from someone who doesn't m
ake a lot of bread anymore.
Here's a perfect example. These rolls are almost like a quick bread as you can make them from start to finish in less than 2 hours. I must admit, however, I found their directions a tad confusing, probably because there were too many variations of them! Bread machines, mixers, by hand and in a processor. I kind of pieced the directions together for my convenience and all turned out well. If you want to use something other than your stand mixer, click on the Red Star link below the recipe title for additional directions on other methods.

Buttermilk Pan Rolls
From Red Star Yeast

1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup water
¼ cup oil
3 cup bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons sugar
½ tsp baking soda
2¼ tsp Red Star Active Dry Yeast


Combine yeast, 1 cup flour, and other dry ingredients in your stand mixer bowl using the paddle attachment.
Combine water, buttermilk and oil in a small pan and heat to 120º to 130º F.
Add the liquid ingredients to the flour and mix, adding the remaining two cups of flour to make a dough.
Change to the dough hook and beat for several minutes. In the meantime,  turn your oven on to its lowest setting for 1 minute, then turn it off.
Place your dough in a greased bowl, flip the dough over so both sides are greased. Cover lightly and place dough in the oven to rise for 15 minutes. 
Remove from oven and press your dough evenly into greased 9-inch square cake pan. Sprinkle top of dough lightly with flour. With sharp knife, cut dough into 12 rolls, cutting almost to bottom of pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until indentation remains after touching. 
Bake in preheated 400º oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan. Break apart into rolls; serve warm.


Apple Buckwheat Cake

Truly an unusual apple cake made with three kinds of flour and cornmeal. But my favorite ingredient is the use of buckwheat flour...as this is September and it reminds me of my grandfather's buckwheat pancakes, made every morning in the fall at his cabin in Michigan. He had been making them for years using his old starter dough...they were divine. When he got on in years, my mother came to the rescue with a recipe not using yeast but as close to the original as I've ever tasted. My sister still makes them. Recipe is HERE.

Back to the apple cake: need I say it was a delicious cake? I'd definitely make it again. What else would you expect from Zoe Nathan? 

Note: It turned out I didn't use nearly enough thinly sliced apples, so when and if you make this cake, overlap 
them so there's not a speck of batter in sight. 

Apple and Buckwheat Cake
From Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan

Ingredients for the cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 2/3 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 eggs
4 apples, peeled and cored, one of them grated, the others sliced in 1/8 thick slices
(save cores)
1 1/2 cups almond flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder

Ingredients for the glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
apple cores reserved from cake

Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan and spray with Pam. Or grease and line a 10 inch cake pan.
Grate one of the apples, set aside. Peel the other 3 apples, set aside to cut later.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light. add vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, scraping and beating in between. Add the grated apple.
At this point, I did the rest by hand. Add the flours and cornmeal along with the baking powder and mix until incorporated. Do not overmix.
Pour into the pan and smooth the top. Slice the apples and fan them out over the top. I didn't use nearly enough, so overlap them more than I did.
Bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Mix the  sugar, water, salt, vanilla seeds and apple cores in a saucepan. Boil until the sugar is dissolved. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, strain and then set aside.

After the cake has cooled 15 minutes, remove cake from pan and spoon the glaze on top and sides.

Cake best served same day, but will keep, tightly wrapped, for two days.


Lamb Pastitsio

This recipe makes enough for a large family, so after discovering it, I waited to make it until I knew I'd have enough family visiting to eat it all! We love lamb so I knew the meat component would be a success, but I do have a daughter who is not particularly fond of pasta. Even she liked this dish.
It was described as "Greek Lasagna", but it's really not as heavy a dish as I often think lasagna is. We loved the spices in the sauce and I served it with a salad and some crusty, cheesy French bread. 

I had to smile at my photo. The original, on Coconut and Lime, was a piece of art, I swear. How ever did she get everything all layered neatly and cut to perfection? A razor sharp knife? Or perhaps she was alone in the kitchen without hungry people standing next to her. I was fortunate to even take a photo!
Messy slicing, but yummy on the tummy.

Lamb Pastitsio

From Coconut and Lime

For the sauce:
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 3/4 lb ground lamb
28 oz canned whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
4 sprigs worth of thyme leaves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons merlot vinegar
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the pasta:
1 lb ziti (or if you can find it, Macaroni Pastitsio no. 2; I ordered it from Amazon)
3 egg whites, beaten
3 tablespoons grated kefalotyri cheese (or Parmesan)

For the béchamel:
5 tablespoons butter
4 cups milk 
1/2 cup flour
3 egg yolks, beaten
3/4 cup grated kefalotyri cheese (or Parmesan)
pinch nutmeg
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the lamb and continue to saute until the lamb is fully cooked, breaking up any large pieces as it cooks. Drain off excess fat. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta to slightly less than al dente. Allow to cool, then toss with the egg whites and cheese. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter for the béchamel. Whisk in the flour and when smooth, add the milk. Whisk to incorporate the flour mixture. Cook on low, whisking occasionally until thickened. Remove from heat. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.

Pour half of the pasta into a 2 1/2 quart casserole. Top with half of the meat sauce. Press the mixture down firmly and make sure the sauce goes to each edge. Top with half of remaining pasta then all of the remaining sauce. Arrange the remaining pasta on top of the sauce and then top with the béchamel.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the béchamel is golden. Loosely tent with foil and allow to sit 20-30 minutes prior to serving.


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