Naughty Recipes

September 5th, 2008

Okay, here’s that Chocolate Tart (not “Torte” as I want to call it) pictured in “re-tort” post. This is from Gourmet Magazine. I didn’t have chocolate graham crackers so I just used the regular graham cracker crust mix I had on hand. The recipe for the crust was the same ratio and it turned out good. Like my notes say, the next time I make this, I will serve with whip cream and maybe swirl a raspberry puree on the dish before plating it. I like raspberries 🙂 so I plunked some berries on the finished tart. My “no sugar” note was because as I was making it, I couldn’t believe there was no sugar in the filling and kept rereading the recipe to make sure.

Challah Bread (pronounced “Halla”)

Challah Bread recipe from “Baking with Julia”. We love this bread, but it involves hanging around waiting for bread to rise. Be careful with the baking time: start checking loaves about 10-15 minutes before given time in the recipe. I always switch positions at about the half way mark, because the loaf on top browns quicker than the one below it. Next time, I’m going to try putting them both on a baking stone on the same rack.

Ingredients:
• 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
• 1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
• 1/2 cup tepid water (80ºF to 90ºF)
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 Tbsp mild honey
• 2 1/2 tsps salt
• 4 large eggs
• 6 1/2 cups (approximately) flour

Brush a large mixing bowl with some of the melted butter; set aside. Reserve the remaining butter for later use.

Whisk the yeast into the water. Add a pinch of the sugar and let rest until the yeast has dissolved and is creamy, about 5 minutes.

Heat the milk and butter, cut into small pieces, in a small saucepan until very warm to the touch and the butter has melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the remaining sugar, the honey, and salt, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let the mixture cool so that it is cooler than 110ºF.

Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture, along with the eggs, and stir with the wooden spoon to mix. Stirring vigorously, add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stopping when you have a dough that cleans the sides of the bowl and is difficult to stir.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the counter, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (I use my KitchenAid mixer with dough attachment-start out on low until flour is incorporated-don’t add all the flour called for all at once–you may find you need less. I mix for about 8 minutes on medium, or until the dough forms a ball and “cleans” the side of the bowl.)

Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the buttered mixing bowl. Brush the top with a little of the melted butter, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel. Let the dough rises at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size. When the dough is fully risen, deflate it, cover as before, and let it rise until it doubles in bulk again, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough in half and keep 1 piece of dough covered while you work with the other.

Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 16 inches long; it should be thick in the center and tapered at the ends. Align the ropes vertically, side by side, and pinch the ends to seal and tuck under the loaf. Braid the pieces and then pinch the other ends together and tuck under the loaf. Braid the second loaf. Cover both loaves with a towel and let rise at room temperature for 40 minutes, or until soft, puffy, and almost doubled.

Glaze and Topping
• 1 large egg
• 1 large egg yolk
• 1 tablespoon cold water or heavy cream
• Sesame, poppy, and/or caraway seeds (optional, we left these off)
• Coarse salt

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Whisk the egg, yolk, and water/cream together in a small bowl. Brush the tops and sides of the challahs with the glaze; let the glaze set for 5 minutes, and brush again. Reserve the leftover. Dust the loave with the seeds (if you want) and sprinkle the salt over the loaves, topped or not. 

Bake the bread for 20 minutes on a baking stone, or baking sheets lined with parchment paper if you don’t have one. The loaves will expand and expose some of the inner dough. Brush the newly exposed dough with the reserved glaze and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. If they start to brown to quickly, cover them with a piece of foil, shiny side up. Let cool before slicing. 

Your house will smell wonderful!

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