Sunday, October 22, 2006

Playin' with dough in the living room...

We may not have much in the way of a kitchen still, but we did manage to kick out 14 (including today's and a couple we didn't even have a chance to talk about yet) new recipes this week! Lasagna Soup, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bundt Cake and the Bulgur Pilaf with Potatoes and Pistachios were the highlights during the week for us.

Today I made double batch of a sweet dough that I used to make two pastries. In the recipe for Sweet Cream Cheese Dough, the butter is cut with cream cheese, so while the resulting dough is quite tender it is not super-flaky. I found the dough pretty easy to roll out and work with - not very sticky at all. Since most of the work is done in a food processor, it is a snap to throw together and most of the time spent is waiting for it to chill down.

The first pastry I made was Creamy Apple-Cranberry Turnovers. I started by cooking down tart Granny Smith apples until they were tender and beginning to caramelize. Brown sugar, dried cranberries, cinnamon and nutmeg are mixed in to sweeten and mellow the tartness. Cream cheese, sour cream and vanilla are added in once the mixture cools down to create a scrumptious creamy filling. This is then placed in the center of the rolled out sweet dough. The edges meet and a fork seals the deal to ensure the filling stays inside. Before baking, they go in the freezer for about 30 minutes to set the dough and allow it to cook evenly. After baked and cooled, a thin glaze of confectioners' sugar, milk, sour cream and a dash of vanilla is drizzled on top for a sweet finish.

The creamy inside with chunks of tender apples and cranberries was a good match to the tender yet crisp dough.

The next one, Chocolate, Fig, and Marsala Pastries, was fun to say but turned out so much better than I expected when I took my first bite. Dried black mission figs are first steeped in a bit of water combined with a sharp Marsala wine. Once the figs are tender, the mixture is set in the refrigerator as it needs to cool completely. When you are ready to make the pastries, you mix in an egg yolk and chunky bits of bittersweet chocolate to the cool figs. The filling and baking process are the same as the above turnovers. When the edges of the dough are golden, they are removed, cooled and a shower of confectioners' sugar on top is all these need.

The slight smokiness of the Marsala penetrates the sweet figs and compliments the bitter chocolate in this exquisite pastry.

In both cases, I might give them a brush with milk or an egg wash to help color the dough as it bakes - it does stay a bit more pale than I would have liked.



  1. I saw the apple-cranberry turnovers and thought they seemed pretty tasty, but those chocolate fig pastries are definitely something I need to try!

  2. Those pastries look and sound so good, especially the chocolate fig marsala...mmmmmm!
    When will the kitchen be back in working order, any idea yet?
    You seem to be doing quite well with recipes even without a fully functional kitchen.

  3. Man, those chocolate fig marsala pastries...WOW that sounds good!

    I made the Peanut Butter Chocolate Bundt cake and it was so good! Mine was not nearly as pretty as yours though. I referenced you and your blog in the post.