Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cranberry Almond Hot Cross Buns

Here is a variation on an Easter classic.
Happy Easter!

Cranberry Almond Hot Cross Buns
Makes 12

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup warm milk
1 packet instant yeast
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup cour cream
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds
1 egg white

1/3 cup confectioners sugar
2 tsp milk
1 tsp orange extract

1. Combine the flour and salt. Set aside.
2. Add the warm milk, yeast and 1 tbsp of the sugar to the bowl of a standing mixer, stir lightly with a spoon and let sit about 10 to 15 minutes until foamy. Add the eggs, sour cream and the remaining sugar. Using the paddle attachment mix until just combined. Replace the paddle with the dough hook attachment.
3. Add the flour and knead on until combined. Do not be to alarmed if you find that the dough is sticky; this is a wet and sticky dough. Remove the mixing bowl with dough to a dry place in the kitchen, cover and allow to rise until doubled in sized, between 1 to 2 hours.
4. Set the oven to 400 degrees F. Now return the bowl to the mixer and add the cranberries and almonds until evenly dispersed throughout the dough.
5. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and lightly pat into an evenly round mass, using extra flour for your work surface to prevent sticking. Cut into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and transfer to a well greased baking dish so that they barely touch one another. Cover, set aside and allow to rise for another 1 hour.
6. Brush tops with egg whites and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 300 degrees F and bake for a further 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and transfer unto a cooling rack. Cool buns for 2 to 3 minutes in dish, then remove and cool directly on the wire rack. While they are still warm to the touch, drizzled the glaze in a cross pattern on each bun.

To make glaze: Mix all ingredients until well combined.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Raspberry Sauce

"Got an overload of raspberries; what to do." That was a text message I received from my friend in Seattle this week. What you do is make raspberry sauce! Combine two pints fresh raspberries with a quarter cup of confectioners' sugar and two tablespoons of orange juice. Liquefy in a blender and sieve to remove the seeds. Serve over pancakes, french toast, ice cream or eat by the spoonfuls for instant springtime bliss!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chicken and Artichoke Flatbread With Balsamic Reduction

Tonight, as I made the balsamic reduction for this flat bread, I am reminded of an odd but endearing characteristic of the Trinidadian culinary culture: all pizzerias serve ketchup (and often mustard) with pizza. Weird but true. Ketchup is not actually put on the pizza before being brought to the table but is an option which most people chose to have. In fact, so entrenched is it in our eating habits that, when the first Pizza Hut franchise was established on the island, they too recognized the association we've made with between pizza and ketchup and generously provided the condiment. I don't know how the practice started but it has been around for many years. Obviously, the concept of topping a pizza, or in this case a flat bread, with condiments has not been lost on me. While this flat bread can be made without the balsamic reduction, the sauce is a delightful addition.

Chicken and Artichoke Flatbread With Balsamic Reduction

1 roasted chicken breast, coarsely diced
1 1/2 cups artichoke hearts, sliced
1 cup grated, mild cheddar
2 tablespoons minced tarragon
Flatbread dough (see recipe here)
Balsamic Reduction (see recipe below)

1. Flatten the dough unto a pizza tray or greased sheet pan and spread half of the cheese evenly over the top. Follow with the chicken, artichokes and the rest of the cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Remove from the oven and top with the tarragon and drizzle on the balsamic reduction before serving.

Balsamic Reduction
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sugar

Whisk vinegar and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until reduced to a syrup-like consistency, about 6 to 8 minutes.