Monday, December 21, 2009

Follow Me on Over...

Long time no see, right? I'm embarrased to say that it's been months on end since I last posted on Lazy Susin...but that's because I'm not a Susin anymore (still lazy, though)!

I am keeping this blog up as an archive for all of my old recipes, but won't be posting here anymore.

Instead, follow me on over to my new blog, Growing Kooky Together, where I tackle everything from baking and married life to projects around the house and taking care of our three "fur babies."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's a Tart! It's a Pudding! Wait...It's Just Delicious!

This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was by far my most favorite challenge yet! And trust me, I have some rough challenges under my belt.

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

I chose to use my rectangle tart pan and had enough dough and fillings left over to make two mini tarts. I devoured one as soon as it had cooled enough to eat. I used extra-delicious Bonne Maman raspberry preserves and literally shoveled this tart into my mouth. Best. Lunch. Ever.

Bakewell Tarts

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spread ability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Sweet shortcrust pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is light yellow in color and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow color.

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatized for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish. When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's Daring...that I tried to make this strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Things this challenge taught me: for goodness sakes, follow the directions! When making the dough, the recipe instructs you to use a table cloth as you roll out the dough. It also encourages you to have quite a large work surface available. I had neither. Seriously, you need the table cloth! This dough gets so, so thin. I had managed to get it pretty thin overall, but a small tear soon turned into a large rip. Then, without the aid of the tablecloth, it's next to impossible to roll the strudel up. But what I did end up with was light, flaky and tasty! And that's all that counts in the end, right? Right.

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes
15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbsstrudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.
3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.
4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.
5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).
3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.
4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers

Where has my baking head been lately, you ask? With our new pup, Charlie. Having a dog in the house has been quite a handful, and between him and wedding planning, hasn't allowed a lot of time for baking!

When I do manage to make it into the kitchen, I've been whipping up some organic dog treats for Charlie. Since we're taking him to obedience classes right now, he's getting so many treats! I wanted to make sure that we weren't giving him just any old treat we bought at the grocery store. He came to us from the shelter with some tummy problems (now, fortunately, all gone!) so in the beginning it was especially important that we gave him plenty of good stuff.

There are SO MANY great dog treat recipes out there, and most call for very basic ingredients you have handy - whole wheat or all purpose flower, chicken stock, peanut butter, apple sauce, sunflower seeds, etc. So incredibly easy to make and Charlie loves them!

One of his favorites are these "Peanutbutter Puppy Poppers." They only call for 4 ingredients and can be cut out with cute cookie cutters, or cut up (like I did in the picture) into small pieces, perfect for training. Even better - they make your house smell great, like you just made a batch of cookies!

Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers
recipe from

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1 cup peanut butter (I prefer smooth)
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375'F. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes (or if using for training - cut out circles using a small round cookie cutter or cut small pieces using a pizza cutter).
Bake for 20 minutes on a baking sheet (I didn't grease mine or use parchment and they were fine) until lightly brown. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.
Please note: I did not bake mine for the full 20 minutes - they do have a tendency to burn so you may want to adjust baking time. Also, I usually cut the recipe in half.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Taste of Spring's me! Yes, it's been quite a long time since my last post. Life has gotten endlessly busy, especially with all of this wedding planning to do! But I still had time this weekend to create some fabulous spring cupcakes to display these great cupcake toppers from Etsy's Goose Grease. Love them!

If you're looking for a great way to welcome in spring (if it ever actually arrives!)...make these. You will not be sorry. Especially if you have a huge sweet tooth...these will most definitely hit the spot!

Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop
22-24 regular cupcakes
350 degree oven
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
A handful of chopped maraschino cherries
1-2 tablespoons of liquid from the maraschino cherries jar

Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to mixer bowl. Add the milk, extracts, chopped cherries and maraschino cherry liquid (add it until you get the desired taste, depending on how much cherry flavor you want). Mix to combine.
Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Note: These cupcakes tend to rise quite a bit and will overflow if you put too much batter in the cupcake paper. Keep it under two-thirds full. They also tend to pull away from the papers as they cool. It should be minimal if the cupcakes were baked enough and shouldn’t be an issue.

Cherry Frosting*
Adapted from Bon Apetit
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
2-3 teaspoonds liquid from the maraschino cherry jar (add to taste)

Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in another medium bowl until smooth. Beat in the liquids. Spread frosting over cupcakes.

*Please note: you will probably need to double the quantity of frosting if making the full batch of cupcakes per the recipe above. I did not make the full batch of cupcakes and therefore did not need to make additional frosting.