Aliza Green

Chef | Consultant | Author

First Christian Church

Posts tagged: Starting with Ingredients: Baking

Pierre Wolfe interviews Aliza on America’s Dining and Travel Guide

Pierre Wolfe Sipping Wine and Talking Food

Pierre Wolfe, host of the nationally syndicated show, America’s Dining and Travel Guide for more than twenty years, interviewed me about my international baking book, Starting with Ingredients: Baking and my exciting upcoming small group Culinary Tour of Chios, Greece, Aegean Turkey and Istanbul. (Note new dates, May 25th to June 9th 2011). Wolfe shares with listeners his choices for the best lodging, finest dining, and most exciting tourist sites in the country–and around the world. Authors, chefs, travel planners, hotel concierges, and cruise directors are among the guests on the show.

I was honored to be a guest on this popular show and happy to talk about some of the stories behind the making of the book and my extensive travels to gather the recipes. This big fat book is organized by ingredient. Each chapter covers background, history, and culture along with more than 350 international recipes from Apples to Alcohol and Walnuts to Wheat.

If you’re looking to expand your repertoire beyond chocolate chip cookies and brownies, this book is crammed with exciting recipes for savory and sweet baked goods. Mr. Wolfe, a native of Alsace, France was especially taken by some of the Alsatian specialties like Black Kugelhopf and Alsatian Plum Muerbeteig. Some of my personal favorites are Torta Sbrisolona alla Lombarda (Lombardian Crumbly Cake), Spanish Orange and Olive Oil Cake, Lor Kurabiyesi (Turkish Ricotta Cheese Cookies Scented with Mastic), Brazil Nut Cake with Espresso, Spanish Tuna Empanadas with Sofrito, and Sardinian Potato Torta with Sheep’s Milk Cheese and Mint.

Listen to the Interview with Pierre Wolfe on America’s Dining and Travel Guide

Aliza’s Baking Equipment Recommendations (from Starting with Ingredients: Baking)

Cast-Aluminum Bundt Pans

I have two plain cast-aluminum Bundt pans, which I much prefer to the newer dark nonstick coated pans, which tend to yield cakes with an overly dark crust. My pans are at least 20 years old and show no sign of wear at all. Go to www.nordicware.com to see all their offerings. I use their Original Bundt Pan in the 12-cup size.

Cast-Iron Skillet

A 9-inch cast-iron skillet or (for a splurge) I prefer Wagner for cast-iron ware, simply because I find their shapes to be more elegant and useful. Go to www.wagnerware.com for more information and to order. I sometimes find good, seasoned (though usually slightly rusty) cast-iron skillets at yard sales and flea markets. After using a cast-iron skillet, rinse it out and then immediately wipe it dry. In the beginning, you’ll need to rub the pan with a thin coating of oil to protect it. After you’ve used it awhile, the pan will begin to get seasoned and won’t need this step.

Chicago Metallic Loaf and Muffins Tins

For loaf pans and muffin tins, I prefer the heavy-duty ones made by Chicago Metallic in many sizes. These pans never wear out, they don’t warp, and are an all-around pleasure to use. I mostly use a standard, medium, or 1-pound loaf pan, 81/2 x 41/2-inches and prefer one that is light aluminum not dark. This company’s 13 x 9-inch baking pans are also excellent. Go to www.cmbakeware.com for a complete listing. Their products are available online from www.amazon.com and from www.chefscatalogue.com.

Culinary Butane Torch

It’s a whole lot easier to brown a meringue topping or glaze a crème brûlée with a culinary butane torch. I used to use a larger propane torch of the type found at hardware stores. Now, I go for the smaller, easier to use and control torch that uses the same can of butane fuel made for the portable burner called a Cassette Feu. Buy the top, which fits on to a standard can from www.surfasonline.com.

Disher or Ice Cream Scoop

I use several sizes of universal stainless steel dishers, available at many good cookware stores, to quickly scoop even-sized portions of cookie batter. Look for a complete line of beautifully made Vollrath universal dishers at www.surfasonline.com, which lists the size (based on the number of scoops per quart) and the actual contents of each scoop by the ounce. Because I am left-handed, I avoid the type of disher where you must use a tab built for righties to squeeze the scoop. There are knock-off inexpensive scoops for sale that I’ve found break much too quickly to be worth their lower price.

Disposable Pastry Bags

I have a 100-bag roll of plastic disposable pastry bags that I find quite useful. In Europe, for good reason, it is illegal to use cloth reusable pastry bags, because they are almost impossible to clean thoroughly. You can buy a roll of 100 (12-inch) disposable bags from www.surfasonline.com for about $15.00. An alternative is to use a quart or gallon-sized ziplock freezer bag (heavier than the storage bags) and cut out the corner to the correct size.

Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven

An enameled cast-iron pot, such as a 51/2-quart Le Creuset casserole, is really useful for baking crusty bread. I love the 6-quart Italian Essentials pot made by Copco for Mario Batali. For product information go to at www.italiankitchenstore.com. It is available at www.chefsresource.com for about $100, quite a bit less than the equivalent made by Le Creuset. I found the persimmon color irresistible as I’m a sucker for all things orange (also Batali’s signature color, although I’d been wearing orange clogs for years before I saw his). See the recipe for Greek Country Barley Bread on page 000.

Foley Food Mill

For straining fruit purees, I use a 20-year-old Foley food mill that never seems to wear out. For finer straining, such as removing the seeds from a raspberry puree, I put the purée through a fine metal China cap (of a kind and quality that is hard to find nowadays) or a fine wire sieve.

Food Processor

The larger the capacity, the better. I have both an older commercial R2 model and a smaller home Kitchen Aid food processor. I’ve seen the R2 for sale on E-Bay for about $800, which is admittedly a lot of money. With its powerful motor, it will, however, last a lifetime. I find the food processor to be indispensable in baking, for making doughs, grinding nuts, chopping chocolate to fine bits for easier melting, smoothing out pastry creams, mixing fillings like frangipane almond filling, and for chopping praline chunks into small bits.

French Composite Plastic Cutters

I have switched from the old-time tinned cookie cutters, which tend to rust, stainless cutters, which tend to stick, and copper cutters, which are great but high-priced, to the newer Exoglass cutters from France. These strong, sharp, and rigid composite plastic cutters produce even cuts and prevent rust and bacteria growth. They are also heat resistant and dishwasher safe. Buy the cutters from Previn in Philadelphia, a great resource for serious chefs looking for the best in European and American cookware and bakeware (www.previninc.com)

Immersion Blender

This is a handy tool for smoothing out lumpy pastry cream and pureeing fruits to sauce. Buy the largest one you can find. Mine is a Kitchen Aid model that also comes with a handy whisk attachment, useful for beating small amounts of heavy cream or egg whites.

Half-Sheet Pans

Also known as bun pans, these heavy-duty 18 x 13-inch pans are a standard in my kitchen. They bake evenly, don’t warp, have a bigger yield, and hold a standard silicone baking mat. I couldn’t bake without them. Buy them at any restaurant supply store or from many online suppliers. Note that some older ovens may not be large enough for this pan. Frustratingly for this baker, my old ovens were too small for this size pan. Luckily, my newer standard American oven is fine, as are most ovens produced today for the home.

Kitchen-Aid Mixer

For mixing, I use my trusty 5-quart Kitchen-Aid mixer, the NSF-approved Pro Model, which has a somewhat more heavy-duty motor. For back-up and for my wonderful assistant, Betty Kaplan, we worked with my 25-year old Kitchen-Aid K5A mixer, which takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I also invested in an extra bowl, making it much easier and faster for separated egg cake batters. I use the meat grinder attachment to grind the fruit and nut filling for cookies like the Cuccidati (page 000) and for chunky salsas. It is a better choice than the food processor, which tends to chop things into a paste. Instead, the mixture grinds into small, evenly-sized chunks.

Kitchen Scissors

I use my heavy-duty (that word again) red scissors for all sorts of tasks in the kitchen, from cutting parchment paper to fit to trimming off the ends of disposable pastry bags or ziplock bags to fit a pastry tip.

Knife Sharpener

Although many professional chefs prefer using an old-fashioned three-sided stone for sharpening, I’ve found that I’m not particularly skilled at doing this, so I’ve become a big fan of the knife sharpener made by Chef’s Choice. Go to www.chefschoice.com to see their different models. I have the top-of-the-line electric pro model, but then I sharpen a lot of knives. The smaller, electric home model 120 that comes in different colors will probably work fine for you.

Magic Line Cake Pans

For cake pans, I prefer the removable-bottom spun aluminum pans made by Magic Line rather than springform pans, because there is nothing to break or lose here. I mostly use 9-inch cake pans though there are a few recipes that call for 8- or 10-inch pans. The pans are nice and heavy-duty so they bake cakes evenly and never wear out. They are available from many online retailers, including Amazon and Target.

Microplane Zester

This is an indispensable tool for me, because I use aromatic citrus zests in so much of my baking. See page 000 for more information.

Natural Bristle Brushes

It is best to have a few sturdy brushes. While those made with silicone bristles are easier to clean and don’t break, they don’t work nearly as well as the old-fashioned brushes made with natural bristles. Avoid brushes with nylon bristles, which will melt instantly if they get too hot. I find that a 11/2-inch brush size is the most useful.

Parchment and Wax Paper

Both these baker’s aids are useful in the kitchen, although now that I’ve been using my Silpat silicone mats, I don’t use nearly as much parchment paper. It is useful for baking things like bar cookies that you’ll want to cut into individual portions, because you can’t cut on the silicone mats. Wax paper is an old stalwart that works for many of the same applications.

Ring or Tube Pan

Some dense cakes bake up better in a ring or tube pan that is 10-inches in diameter. If you use a standard round pan, the outer portion will get overdone before the inner portion is ready. As always, I recommend buying the heaviest, best-made pan you can find. Cheap pans, especially those with spring clips will break all too quickly. Because it seems that plain tube pans are not that common anymore, you may substitute a 10-inch Bundt pan, an angel food pan, or a Turk’s head mold traditionally used to make Kugelhopf cakes.

Rolling Pin

Make rolling doughs easier and more effective by choosing a heavy rolling pin. I prefer my well-seasoned straight French wooden rolling pin to the standard American ball-bearing rolling pin with handles on the ends, because I get a better feel of the dough being worked. This is purely a matter of taste. Use whatever works best for you. For an inexpensive 201/2-inch French pin similar to the one I use made from hard birch or maple, go to www.fantes.com, which has a large selection of rolling pins with useful explanations of the different types.

Roul-Pat

To roll out dough, I invested in a 24 x 18-inch Roul-Pat, a large fiberglass-strengthened silicone mat perfect for rolling as absolutely nothing sticks to it. It is the same material in a larger size as the Silpat silicone baking mats so popular among professional pastry chefs and now available in half sheet pan size for home use. The only drawback here is that you can’t cut the dough on the mat.

Sharp Chef’s Knife

I use several different knives, all about 8-inches in length, although probably my favorite is made by the Japanese company, Mac Knives (www.macknife.com) and has an 81/2-inch blade. It is perfectly balanced, easy to sharpen, and not overly heavy. I find that for smaller hands, it’s easier to control a knife of this size than a standard 10-inch chef’s knife.

A sharp paring knife for paring fruits and vegetables with a 2- to 3-inch blade is most useful.

Silicone Spatulas

The rubber spatula is on the short list of indispensable tools invented in America (another is the swivel peeler). Note that rubber spatulas will melt when immersed in hot liquids, while those made from silicone will not. I have at least half a dozen in both the smaller and the larger size, which are perfect for delicate folding and to scrape every last bit of batter out of the bowl (although dedicated bowl-lickers may not be too happy about this).

Silpat Silicone Mats

These are the original silicone mats from France that fit a standard half sheet pan. You’ll never need to butter and flour a pan again! There are other companies making silicone mats but I haven’t liked any of the other ones I’ve used nearly as much. Buy the half sheet pan size mat from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Buy one that fits a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan at www.surlatable.com. Just be careful never to cut on the mat (as I found out the hard way the first time I used mine).

Stainless-Steel Bowls

I prefer using stainless steel bowls, again, the heavier the better, and they’ll last forever. You can place a stainless steel bowl on top of a pot full of boiling water when making heated egg batters for sponge cakes. You can quickly cool hot fillings over a second bowl filled with ice and water. I have at least a dozen different sizes of bowls, though you can probably make do with three of four. My favorite is an old (at least 30 years) 13-quart rolled edge stainless steel bowl made by Vollrath, which is the perfect size and shape for folding together light cake batters like angel food cake. There are many cheap, light stainless steel bowls now coming in from China and India, which will tend to quickly get dented and warped, so I would avoid them. Go to www.vollrathco.com to see their listing of American-made heavy-duty stainless steel bowls. Buy a good selection of the bowls online from www.surfasonline.com.

Thermapen Instant-Read Thermometer

The Thermapen, a wonderful instant-read thermometer, can be used for custards, caramel, and deep-frying and to test whether bread is done. (See page 000 for more information or go to www.thermoworks.com).

Whisks

I use whisks for many tasks when baking: whisking together the dry ingredients so they are evenly combined (this works as well as sifting unless you are combining very light cake flour, starches, or cocoa, which tends to form lumps); lightly beating eggs and sugar when making custards and pastry creams, where you don’t need to incorporate air but just need to combine them evenly; combining melted and unmelted chocolate bits so the hard bits melt evenly; beating air into sponge cake batter as it is heating over steaming water; and many other tasks. Invest in several different sizes of sturdy, well-made whisks. It is worthwhile to buy one large balloon whisk to incorporate as much air as possible when making sponge cakes.

Wire Cooking Racks

It’s best to buy several stainless steel wire racks for cooling pans of cookies and cakes. If you get the heavy-duty type, they will last a lifetime. I also use the racks to drain deep-fried foods, placing the rack over a pan to catch the drips. This way I can put the pan containing the drained foods right into a low (200°F) oven to keep warm while I fry up the rest of the batch. Because there is air circulation all around, the fried bits don’t get soggy as the bottoms do if they are drained on paper.

Cornmeal Pizza Dough

I have used this light but slightly crunchy pizza dough to make hundreds, if not thousands, of fabulous pizzas in the wood-burning oven in my last restaurant. Although traditional Neapolitan pizza dough is made only with flour, yeast, salt, and oil, this one has an American twist, combining bread flour for strength, all-purpose flour for tenderness, and cornmeal for flavor and texture. It makes a delicious slightly crunchy dough for any pizza recipe but especially for those with vegetable toppings like broccoli rabe and artichokes and for the Sicilian Pan Pizza here. Use a scale for accuracy.

Yield: 2 pounds dough, enough for 2 large or 3 smaller pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound (2 cups) unbleached bread flour
  • 1/4 pound (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package (21/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, bread flour, cornmeal, and salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the water, honey, and yeast and allow the mixture to proof for 10 minutes or until bubbling. Beat in the milk and oil. Beat in the flour mixture, then switch to the dough hook and beat on low speed for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. The finished pizza dough should be soft and slightly sticky: you should be able to press a finger into the dough and pull it away cleanly after it sticks briefly.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning it so all the dough is coated with oil. Cover with plastic film and set aside in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise at warm room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 2 or 3 portions and form into smooth rounds. Roll out or stretch out by hand into the desired size: 12 to 14 inches is common.

Note that pizza dough doesn’t freeze very well, although it may be made one day, allowed to partially rise, then refrigerated overnight for use the following day or even punched down again and kept chilled for use the second day. Allow the dough to come to room temperature before rolling or stretching into a circle or tongue shape.

(from Starting with Ingredients: Baking)

Sicilian Pan Pizza With Zucca

sicilianpanpizza

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound (about 1 cup) oven-roasted plum tomatoes, purchased or homemade
  • 1 pound Cornmeal Pizza Dough
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup ) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley and/or fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach (or Swiss chard), trimmed and cooked until wilted
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 11/2 pounds zucca (hard Italian pumpkin), butternut, sugar pumpkin, calabaza, or other firm, deep-colored squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into thin half-moon slices (no more than 1/4 -inch thick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound thin-sliced pancetta, capicola ham, or Italian salami, such as Genoa

Directions:

Place the tomatoes in a microwavable bowl and warm briefly in the microwave until any congealed oil around them melts. Drain the tomatoes, reserving both the oil and the tomatoes. Brush some of the tomato oil onto an 18 x 13-inch half sheet pan (or other large baking pan).

Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface thinly so it is somewhat larger than the pan, rolling the ends under to make a thicker border. Brush the dough with more of the reserved tomato oil.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, grated cheese, egg, parsley, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste; reserve.

Squeeze out any excess water from the spinach and chop it roughly. Toss the spinach with about 2 tablespoons of the tomato oil (or olive oil if you’ve used all the tomato oil), the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the zucca with 2 tablespoons more of the tomato oil (or olive oil), the hot red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the onion with a little oil.

In the following order, arrange the pizza toppings in 1-inch-wide strips diagonally across the pizza dough: the ricotta mixture, the spinach, the onion, the zucca, the pancetta, and the tomatoes and repeat until the pizza is covered and all the fillings have been used. Allow the pizza to rise at warm room temperature until light and puffy, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the pizza for 20 minutes or until the dough and toppings are lightly browned. Cut into 12 portions. Store covered and refrigerated up to 2 days. Wrap cut portions in aluminum foil and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes or until hot, uncovered for the last 5 minutes baking to crisp up the dough.

(from Starting with Ingredients: Baking)

Rose-scented Angel Food Cake

rosescentedangelfoodcake

Yield: One 10-inch cake, 10 to 12 servings

Cake

  • 3 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour plus 1 ounce potato starch or 1/4 pound cake flour
  • 11/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 12 large egg whites (11/2 cups), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 1/4 pound (11/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime (4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon rose syrup, substitute grenadine syrup or framboise liqueur plus 1 teaspoon rose water
  • Touch of rose coloring paste, optional
  • Fresh or dried rose petals and leaves for garnish, optional

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and potato starch and 3/4 cup of the sugar together.

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and water at medium speed until frothy, add the salt, cream of tartar, rosewater, and vanilla, and beat briefly to combine. Slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are moist and glossy and just firm enough to hold a peak. Take care not to overbeat the whites, which will cause a dry and ill-formed cake.

Transfer the mixture to a large, wide bowl. Sift enough of the flour mixture to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula, fold in gently. Continue dusting and folding until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Carefully spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, preferably a special angel food pan. Using an icing spatula, cut through the batter with a circular motion to remove any large air bubbles and to draw the batter into any unfilled spaces. Shake the batter back and forth to even the top.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch and a metal skewer or toothpick comes out clean. If the pan has feet, invert it over a work surface; otherwise invert it over the neck of a bottle. Cool for at least 1 hour before removing the cake from the pan.     Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan and the inside tube to loosen the cake onto a cake plate, inverting if the cake is upside-down.

Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lime juice, rose syrup, and rose coloring paste, until smooth and thick. Drizzle the glaze over the cake, let the cake stand for 10 minutes, or until the glaze is set, and garnish it with the rose petals. (I like to decorate the cake as my artistic daughter Ginevra suggested: a narrow band of individual rose petals surrounding the inner edge of the cake and a matching band around the outer edge.)

(from Starting with Ingredients: Baking)

Danish Pastry Braid with Goat Cheese & Cardamom

Danish Pastry Braid

Yield: About 2 pounds dough, enough for 2 large Danish; about 1 pound filling, enough for 1 large Danish

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package (21/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 pound (3 cups minus 3 tablespoons) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup minus 1/2 tablespoon) white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Grated zest of 1 orange (4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened
  • 6 ounces (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
  • Filling and Assembly
  • 1/2 pound mild goat cheese, substitute farmer cheese or dry-curd cottage cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup minus 1/2 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for the egg wash
  • Crystallized or raw sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Make the dough: In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, yeast, and sugar and allow the mixture to proof until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, white whole wheat flour, salt, and cardamom. Add the yeast mixture, orange zest, vanilla, egg, and egg yolks, and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Gradually add 1/4 pound (1 stick) of the butter and continue beating until the dough is smooth again. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning so all the dough is coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until it doubles in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch the dough down, cover tightly, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Place the chilled butter on a work surface and lightly dust with flour. Using a rolling pin, beat the butter until it is malleable and about the same consistency as the dough. Keep it in a rough block shape.

Roll out the chilled dough into a large square, forming a double-thick section in the center about the same size as the butter block. Place the butter block in the middle. Fold the edges of the dough over the butter so as to totally enclose it. Using the rolling pin, beat the dough package in parallel lines 4 or 5 times to spread out the butter evenly, then turn crosswise and beat again crosswise. This will seal the butter inside the dough package.

Turn the package upside down and roll it out into a large rectangle. Fold both edges in toward the center, then fold in half, making a rectangular shape. Cover the dough and chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator or 30 minutes in the freezer, until firm but not brittle. Roll out again and repeat the rolling and folding. Chill and repeat twice more, for a total of 4 times. This will make a many-layered dough, similar to puff pastry. (Note: If the dough ends up in a long narrow shape, cut it in half crosswise and place one section over the other to make a squarish rectangle, then roll it out lightly to flatten slightly before chilling and rolling out again.) You will need 1 pound of dough to make one large braided Danish pastry. Wrap the remaining pastry and freeze up to 3 months, defrosting overnight in the refrigerator.

Make the filling: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the goat cheese, cream cheese, and sugar until the mixture is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, cardamom, lemon zest, vanilla, and butter, and beat again until smooth, scraping down the sides several times. Add the flour, beating only long enough to blend. (The filling may be refrigerated up to 2 days before using.)

Assemble the pastry: Roll out 1 pound of the dough into a 14 x 12-inch rectangle. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper, and refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes, until the dough is firm but not hard. Cut off the edges to make clean straight edges all around that will rise well.

Spoon about 11/2 cups of filling down the center of the dough rectangle into a layer about 4 inches wide, leaving a 1-inch border at either end. (Use any extra filling for individual bear claw or pinwheel pastries or to fill crepes, sautéing the filled crepes in butter till brown. See directions below.) Cut the edges on either side of the filling in a V-shape into strips about 3/4-inch wide and about 4 inches long. Fold the top edge over pressing firmly to seal the ends. Alternate folding the strips of dough from one side over the filling followed by a strip from the other side. Repeat until all the dough strips have been folded, yielding a long pastry with a top that appears as though it is woven. Fold the bottom edge over to seal the other end, pressing firmly to seal.

Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with the crystallized sugar. Drape the pastry with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise at warm room temperature for about 45 minutes or until nicely puffed.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and well-puffed. Cool to room temperature before cutting into portions. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

(from Starting with Ingredients: Baking)

Mediterranean-Inspired Baking

DATE: November 6, 2008
TIME: 6:00-9:00 pm
LOCATION: Cook’s Pots & TableTops, 2807 Oak Street, Eugene, OR 97405
PHONE: 541-338-4339
EMAIL: info@cookspots.com
COST: $65.00

If you love the foods of the Mediterranean, this class at Cook’s Pots & TableTops is a chance to learn some wonderful new baking recipes and a salad featuring Oregon hazelnuts just in time for the holidays. Aliza is an excellent teacher and loves questions from students. The menu from Starting with Ingredients and Starting with Ingredients: Baking includes Autumn Apple-Hazelnut Salad, Wild Oregon Mushroom Pizza with Potato-Rye Crust; B’stilla of Chicken; Spanish Empanadas; and Spanish Orange and Olive Oil Cake. The cost of the class is $65. For more information…

Cook’s Pots & TableTops

AM Northwest

DATE: November 5, 2008
TIME: 8:30 am
LOCATION: KATU-TV ABC, Portland, OR

Aliza will be appearing on ABC television’s AM Northwest to talk about Starting with Ingredients: Baking, great holiday recipes, and making baking easy with a digital scale.

AM Northwest

Global Baking In The Wood Fired Oven

DATE: November 1, 2008
TIME: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
LOCATION: Relish Culinary School, 14 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448
PHONE: 707-431-9999
COST: $85.00

Come learn how to bake in a wood-burning oven at this hands-on class at Relish Culinary School with recipes from easy-to-learn, outstandingly delicious recipes from Starting with Ingredients: Baking. The hearty, Mediterranean menu includes Simit (Turkish Sesame Bread Rings) served with Feta Cheese, Yogurt and Honey, and Black Olives, Lahmacun (Armenian Lamb Flatbread) with Pomegranate Molasses, Paprika and Pine Nuts, Turkish Feta Cheese and Egg Pide, Coccoi Prena – Sardinian Potato Torta with Pecorino Sardo, Feta and Mint, Spanish Apple Torta. The cost of the class is $85. For more information…

Relish Culinary Adventures

An Italian Feast

DATE: October 29, 2008
TIME: 6:00-9:00 pm
LOCATION: VIVA, 7160 Keating Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472
PHONE: 707-824-9913 or 800-655-8965

The Sonoma County Culinary Guild has invited Aliza as their guest for a special tasting of recipes from Starting with Ingredients and her new book, Starting with Ingredients: Baking. The event will be held at Viva, a branch site of Apicius – The Culinary Institute of Florence. The all-Italian menu will be prepared by Sonoma chef and longtime co-worker with Aliza, Ruth Lefkowitz of Ruthy’s Real Meals: Roasted Pear Salad, Radicchio and Fontina Torta, Rye and Rosemary Breadsticks, Sicilian Pan Pizza with Zucca, Brustengolo Cake, and Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti. Aliza will be demonstrating Cicerchiata. The event is open to members of the Guild and their guests.

Sonoma County Culinary Guild
Ruthy’s Real Meals