Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's Not Goodbye, Just See You Later (on Instagram)

With the sad discontinuation of Daring Bakers, Sara and I made the executive decision to switch platforms to Instagram. Follow us @bakingjds for more pictures of our successes and failures as we challenge ourselves in the kitchen.

Here's a final picture of our November (self-directed) challenge, aniseed shortbread, which actually wasn't very challenging, but was very, very delicious, and well complemented by a few hours binging on the new Gilmore Girls.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Deco Roll? Nailed It!

We were overdue for a major fail and we really pulled one off with this challenge, if I do say so myself. We began very hopeful and excited, with grand plans for a Halloween-themed design.

We mixed together purple/black, orange, and green batters for our design.

And then we very carefully drew the design onto the parchment paper.

One step at a time...

So far so good...

How cute is that?!

We baked it for about 90 seconds in the oven, as instructed. Then we put the sponge cake batter over top of it and baked it for another 12 or so minutes. It was still looking good. But then...

We peeled back the parchment paper, and the design came right up with it. We were both so sad! (Our suspicion is that we baked the initial design for too long. Maybe we should've just frozen it to set it and/or used more vegetable oil to grease the parchment.)

Things only went downhill from there. We tried to recover by whipping some orange food coloring into the whipped cream, but when we tried to roll the cake around the very-fall-appropriate whipped cream and brown-sugar-walnut-spices mixture, it simultaneously came apart and collapsed.

As you can see.

It was extra pitiful to see the remnants of our green pumpkin vine peeping out from inside the mess. I'm pleased to report, however, that after about 10 minutes in the freezer, we took it out and dug right in -- and it was delicious. So at least it was more of a success than some of our past failures (I'm looking at you, tuiles and lasagna).

In any case, we look forward to redeeming ourselves next month. In the meantime, Happy Halloween!

Decorated Swiss Roll Recipe
Servings: 6-8

Preheat the oven to 340 ̊F / 170 ̊C / Gas Mark 4. Line 10”x10” / 25 x 25cm square baking pan, or
9”x13” / 23 x 33cm rectangle baking pan with parchment paper, and use a paper towel to lightly but
thoroughly grease the parchment paper with vegetable oil. Place your stencil (if using) underneath
the parchment paper. For a 10”x10” / 25 x 25cm square pan, make sure the pattern is in the middle of
the pan. For a 9”x13” / 23 x 33cm rectangular pan, make sure the pattern is in the upper third of the

Part A: Egg Yolk Mixture

  • 3 large egg yolks (save the whites for Part C)
  • 35g / 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 60ml / 1/4 cup water
  • 40ml / 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 5ml / 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g / 4/5 cup cake flour or 65g / 1/2 cup all purpose flour + 15g / 5 1/2 tsp cornstarch)
  • pinch salt
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer and whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar on medium-high speed until very pale and thick. Add the water, oil, and vanilla and mix to combine. Sift over the flour and salt and mix to make a smooth batter. Set aside.
Part B: Pattern Mixture

  • 15ml / 1 Tbsp prepared egg yolk mixture from Part A
  • approx..3g / 1 tsp cake flour
  • food colouring, if desired
  • 1 large egg white
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • Place 15ml / 1 Tbsp of the prepared egg yolk mixture from Part A in a small bowl and mix in the cake flour. Divide this mixture into as many small bowls as you need colours – ie, if you need 3 colours for your pattern, divide it between 3 bowls. Tint the mixture in each bowl with the desired food colouring.
  • In a clean medium bowl, beat the single egg white with an electric mixer and whisk attachment until foamy, then add a pinch of cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Measure out 45ml / 3 Tbsp of the egg white meringue (keep the rest for Part C) and divide it evenly between the bowls of coloured mixture. Mix to combine.
Part C: Meringue

  • 3 large egg whites
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 30g / 2 Tbsp caster sugar
  • food colouring, if desired
  • In a clean large bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer and whisk attachment on medium-high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, until stiff and glossy peaks form. Mix in any remaining egg white from Part B.
  • If you want to tint the cake batter with food colouring, mix your desired colour into the egg yolk mixture from Part A. OR, if you want to flavour the cake (see suggested Variations at the end of the recipe), mix the flavouring into the egg yolk mixture now.
  • One third at a time, mix the meringue into the egg yolk mixture from Part A, folding gently with a spatula so as not to deflate the meringue, until the batter is smooth and no streaks of meringue remain.
  • Pour the batter over the baked pattern in the prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Lift up the baking pan a few inches and drop it onto the counter 2-3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles. 
  • Bake in the preheated 340 ̊F / 170 ̊C / Gas mark 4 oven for 12-14 minutes, depending on the size of your cake pan, until just set and slightly springy. Try not to let the cake colour/brown much, if at all.
  • Place a fresh piece of parchment paper on top of the cake and invert it onto a cooling rack. Lift off the pan and stencil and gently peel back the parchment to reveal the baked-in decoration. Place the parchment back on top and allow the cake to cool between the pieces of parchment paper. Make sure the cake is completely cool before filling.
Part D: Simple Syrup

  • 10g / 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 20ml / 4 tsp boiling water
  • 1 ½ tsp liqueur of your choice, optional
  • In a small bowl, combine the caster sugar and boiling water and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the liqueur, if desired.
  • When the cake is completely cool, peel off the parchment paper and turn it over so that the pattern is facing down and horizontal (for a 9”x13” / 23 X 33cm cake, make sure the short edges are at the top and bottom and the pattern is at the top). With a serrated knife, trim the top and bottom edges at an angle and make some very shallow cuts horizontally across the cake, about 1” / 2.5cm apart. This will help with rolling.
  • With a pastry brush, brush the simple syrup over the cake and let it soak in while you prepare the filling.
Part E: Filling

  • 150ml / 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 15g / 1 Tbsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ~ 125ml / ~ 1/2 cup fresh fruit, a few spoonfuls of jam, etc of your choice
  • Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until firm peaks form.
  • If you’re using jam or another spread (I used Nutella), spread it evenly over the surface of the cake, leaving the angled parts that you trimmed on the top and bottom edges bare. Spread the whipped cream evenly on top, again leaving the angled parts bare. For a 10”x10” / 25 x 25cm cake, arrange the fruit in lines in the middle of the cake. For a 9”x13” / 23 x 33cm cake, go easy on the filling and arrange the fruit in lines over the bottom half.
  • Tightly roll up the cake from the bottom edge, using the parchment paper to help. The 10”x10” / 25 x 25cm square cake will form a complete cylinder around the filling, with the top and bottom edges meeting. For the 9”x13” / 23 x 33cm cake, lift the bottom edge and tuck it over the filling, then continue to roll – there will be a bit of an overlap between top and bottom edges. Once rolled, twist the parchment paper ends like a candy wrapper to secure the cake in a log. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until the filling is firm.
  • To serve, unwrap the parchment paper and trim the ends of the cake with a serrated knife. Roll it up in parchment again and re-shape if necessary, then transfer to a plate. Cut slices with a serrated knife, wiping it clean between each cut.


For Cocoa or Matcha-flavoured Cake:
  • 20g / 3 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder or matcha powder
  • 30ml / 2 Tbsp boiling water
For Coffee-flavoured Cake:
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • ½ tsp boiling water
  • Follow the recipe as above but omit the food colouring in Part C. Instead, in Part C, before you add the meringue into the egg yolk mixture, combine the powder of your choice with the hot water and mix it into the egg yolk mixture. Continue with the recipe as above.
  • For the cocoa and matcha versions, reduce the baking time by 1-2 minutes – these versions will be slightly drier than the plain sponge and you do not want to over-bake them, or they will crack when rolled.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
This cake can be stored in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap for up to 2 days. You could probably freeze it, wrapped in plastic and an outer layer of foil, for up to 6 weeks – I didn’t try this so can’t guarantee anything, but if you’ve had luck freezing other assembled cakes, I don’t see why this one would be any different (as long as whatever you use for the filling can be frozen).

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Morning of Hrapocusa

This month's challenge -- a Hrapocusa or Dalmatian Dol Cake -- is normally celebrated in a festival called "Night of Hrapocusa." Based on the ingredient list, however, we decided it was more like coffee cake and decided to bake it one beautiful Sunday morning in September.

We had originally intended to combine our baking activities with something active, given that the cake contains three cups of sugar, but ultimately running after my toddler provided activity enough.

Pouring said sugar over the nut mixture. 

You make the cake in two layers -- an almond-meal-and-egg-white based dense cake, followed by a caramelized nut layer, intended to resemble the rugged stones of caves on the Dalmatian island of Bra. 

 The two layers are pretty evident from the outside, especially because the bottom layer contains grenadine (our substitution for cherry liquor, which safeway sadly did not carry).

Things were a little mushier on the inside, where it looks like the nuts somewhat collapsed into the bottom layer.
We were a bit overwhelmed by the sugar after one small slice (not sure how the festival folks can manage taste-testing for a whole competition), but luckily we have hungry officemates. The remaining cake was polished off by 9:47 am. I suppose that qualifies as a success!

Thanks to Jason at Daily Candor!

Servings: Makes 12-16 slices
For 8” / 20cm springform pan (if using 12” / 30cm pan, double the ingredients)
250g / 9oz / 1 3/4 cups whole almonds (roasted or raw, depending on preference)
400g / 14oz / 3 1/2 cups walnuts (halves and pieces)
600g / 1 1/3lb / 3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 orange
1/2 lemon
1 ½ Tbsp kirsch, maraschino or other cherry-flavored liquor
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 480°F / 249°C / Gas Mark 9 1/2.
2. Pulse the almonds in a food processor to yield a meal.
3. Add to your standing mixer bowl (or another large bowl if you’re using a handheld mixer) the following: the zest and juice from ½ orange, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 ½ tbsp of cherry-flavored liquor and 200g / 1 cup of the sugar. Mix gently until homogeneous.
4. Separate the 6 eggs, adding the yolks directly into the mixer bowl. Retain the whites separately: 4 whites in one bowl, the remaining 2 in another. Mix the ingredients from step 3 with the yolks until it yields a uniform batter. Pour into another bowl if using a standing mixer.
5. Clean out your standing mixer bowl (or get a new, clean bowl if using a handheld mixer) and place the 2 egg whites from step 4 in the bowl. Beat until you have somewhat stiff peaks.
6. Add half of the beaten egg whites and half of the almond meal to the batter. Fold in to incorporate and stir gently to homogeneity. Then add the remaining almond meal and egg whites, folding in and stirring gently as before.
7. Place a circle of parchment paper at the bottom of the springform pan. Pour the resulting cake batter into the springform pan on top of the parchment paper.
8. Bake according to this schedule (move to step 9 after placing in the oven):
5 minutes at 392°F /200°C / Gas Mark 6 (drop the oven to this temperature immediately after placing cake inside)
15 minutes at 350°F / 176°C / Gas Mark 4
15 minutes at 320°F / 160°C / Gas Mark 3
Begin checking the cake approx 5 minutes after lowering the temperature to 320°F / 160°C / Gas Mark 3 (or approx 25 minutes after beginning to bake). When a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven. If the center has swollen due to baking, press gently with the back of the wooden spoon to flatten the surface.
Note that a larger cake (in a 12" / 30cm pan) will likely take longer to bake sufficiently.
9. While the bottom cake is baking, place the remaining 4 egg whites, 400g / 2 cups sugar and the walnuts in a large pot. Turn up the burner to medium-high heat and stir aggressively for approx 15 minutes, making sure the bottom of the pot doesn’t scorch. Stop when the liquid takes on a beige/caramel color.
10. Add the zest and juice of ½ lemon and the remaining ½ tsp of vanilla extract to the walnut-caramel mixture. Stir to spread uniformly throughout the mixture.
11. Pour the resulting walnut mixture over the bottom layer of the cake. Make the top even with the back of the wooden spoon.
12. Place the cake back in the oven (should still be at 320°F / 160°C / Gas Mark 3) and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the top takes on a golden color.
13. Allow to cool for 90 minutes. Then gently remove from springform pan, peel off the parchment paper, and present!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Pavlovas Redux

We were pleased to make pavlovas for a second time this month. Actually, more like the third time. In any case, my how things have changed since the first go-round... We were also glad to be able to have our friend, Cat, join us from out-of-town for this challenge.

By this point, we are old pros at meringue. Since we didn't have superfine sugar, we ground some up in the food processor. 

Sara is our resident egg-separator. She did a great job. We beat them until foamy and then added in the cream of tartar followed by the sugar bit by bit.

Once glossy, we folded in the corn starch, vinegar, and vanilla.

And then we made two pavlovas and baked them on low for quite a while. Perfection!

We only decorated one with berries and whipped cream, and divided it up four ways. 

It was a crowd-pleaser, or at least a 3/4 crowd-pleaser, since it turns out Cat is not a fan of meringue. But we all enjoyed the berries and whipped cream, and some time reminiscing with good friends.

Thank you, Daring Kitchen and challenge host Marcellina!

Recipe 1: Pavlova
Servings: 8 to 10 serves or less if your guests are hungry

4 egg whites (approx. 120g or 8 Tbsp using 57g / 2oz eggs), at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup / 225g / 8oz caster/ superfine sugar
3 tsp / 8g cornstarch (Australia - cornflour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar

Preheat the oven 135°C / 275°F / Gas Mark 1 and prepare a large flat tray by lining with nonstick
baking paper.

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Continue beating
while gradually adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the meringue is
thick and glossy and the sugar has dissolved.
Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still "gritty" with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold in the sifted cornstarch, followed by the
vanilla and the vinegar.
Pile the mixture onto the baking paper lined flat tray. It should be about a 20 - 25cm / 8 - 10" circle.
Hollow out the center a little.
Bake for 1 ¼ hours. If your oven runs hot and the pavlova is colouring simply lower the temperature
by 5 or 10 degrees.
Cool in the oven with the door ajar.
Once cool store in an airtight container unless using straight away.

To Assemble the Pavlova just before serving
1 baked and cooled pavlova, as per recipe
2 green kiwi fruit and 2 gold kiwi fruit, sliced, or you choice of fruit
1/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted
Passionfruit curd, recipe below
Chantilly cream, recipe below
Remove the baking paper from the pavlova and place on a serving tray. (I recently saw Nigella
Lawson prepare a pavlova and she simply turned it upside down on a serving tray, removed the
baking paper and decorated the pavlova. Once decorated no one could tell it was upside down.)
Spread the Chantilly cream over the pavlova, drizzle with as much of the curd as you like, decorate
with slice kiwi fruit and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Recipe 2: Passionfruit Curd [we did not make this and instead used fresh berries]
Makes:2 ½ cups / 600ml / 20 fl oz

150ml / approx. 1/2 cup + 2tsp strained passionfruit pulp
2 Tablespoons of passionfruit seeds
20ml / 1 metric Tbsp / 1 US Tbsp + 1 tsp lemon juice
170g / 1 1/2 sticks / 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chopped
200g / 9/10 cup caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks

In a medium saucepan place passionfruit pulp, lemon juice, butter and sugar. Cook over a medium
heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
In a bowl place eggs and additional egg yolks and whisk eggs until combined.
Whisk the eggs and slowly pour in the passionfruit mixture. It is important to keep whisking while
you do this.
Strain the passionfruit curd mixture through a sieve back into the saucepan to remove
any “eggy bits”.
Add the passionfruit seeds and continue to cook over a low/medium heat until the mixture has
thickened and coats the back of a spoon. At low heat this can take as long as 10 minutes. At medium
heat it can take as little as 5 minutes.
Be careful not to overheat and overcook the mixture – you will then have passionfruit flavoured
scrambled eggs. I like to not risk further cooking of the curd by pouring the cooked mixture into a
glass jug until cooled.
Once mixture has cooled place in a sterilised jar and store in the fridge. Passionfruit curd will last for
a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Recipe 3: Chantilly Cream

300ml / 1 1/4 cups / 10 fl oz full fat cream (about 35%)
16g / 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
5ml / 1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients.
Using a hand whisk or electric whisk, beat the cream in a stainless steel or glass or china bowl (not
plastic- doesn't seem to whip as well).
It is whipped properly when it is still soft and billowy but holds its shape when the whisk is
Once the cream is whipped, cover and store in the fridge.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Pavlova can’t be frozen. Assemble right before serving and if you have any leftovers store in the
refrigerator. Eat for breakfast the next day – eggs, fruit and dairy, right?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Baking JDs for Kate Spade

Oh my, this was an exceptionally cute daring kitchen challenge!

Erica braved the task of making our dough. We've made dark green spinach pasta before (with, uh, somewhat limited success), but this time around we jumped on the SF juice craze, with pomegranate and "groovin' greens." Turns out that green juice is somewhat weak sauce...

But, we started rolling out the dough,

and lo and behold, it developed a subtle striping pattern.

You thought that was fancy? Next we mastered the art of farfalle.
We were pleasantly surprised at how easily these came together. We brought them over to our friends for book club. They were very tasty with both a tomato and pesto sauce (no leftover pom taste). 

On to the next!

Patterned Pasta
Hosted by



200g / 7oz / 1.5 cups plus 1 tbsp ‘00’ grade pasta flour
2 medium eggs


200g / 7oz / 1.5 cups plus 1 tbsp ‘00’ grade pasta flour
7 tbsp spinach juice (obtained by putting roughly 175g / 6oz of spinach through your juicer)
1 medium egg


200g / 7oz / 1.5 cups plus 1 tbsp ‘00’ grade pasta flour
7 tbsp beetroot (obtained by putting roughly 110g / 3.8oz beetroot through your juicer)
1 medium egg


n.b. The ratio of dry to liquid ingredients required is variable depending on your particular brand of flour, how large your eggs are and the climate of where you live. Your dough should be smooth. If it has cracks and won’t come together add a little more of the liquids, conversely if it is overly sticky or loose then add a little more flour.

1. Tip your flour onto a work surface to make a mound and make a cavity in the centre with your hand or the back of a spoon and add the wet ingredients into the cavity.

2. Using a fork, whisk the liquids, gradually incorporating the wet into the dry. If the liquid breaches your flour fort, don’t panic, have a plastic scraper to hand and use it to drag the liquid back into the flour.

3. Knead the dough for approximately ten minutes until it is smooth.

4. Wrap the dough with cling film / saran wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes (but ideally one hour).

5. Take your base colour dough, and on a lightly floured work surface with a rolling pin, roll it out to circa 0.5cm / 1/5” thickness and half the width of your pasta machine lasagna slot.

6. Roll through the lasagna slot on your pasta machine at the thickest setting twice. Fold both sides of the length into the center, lightly roll with your rolling pin then put through the pasta machine again at the same setting.

7. Decrease the thickness setting of your machine by one slot and put the dough through twice. Continue in this manner until your pasta is approximately 1.4mm / 1/16” thick (on my machine this is setting 5).

8. Cover it with clingfilm / saran wrap or a clean tea towel and put aside.

9. For each accent colour, take the dough and complete steps 1 - 3 above, then run it through the linguine cutter on your pasta machine. If doing this by hand, lightly flour the dough, roll into a tube lengthwise and slice into thin strips then unravel it immediately. Cover straight away with clingfilm / saran wrap or a clean tea towel and put aside.

10. Lay strips of your linguine over your base colour in whichever colour combination you like and trim off the excess. Press lightly with a rolling pin to secure in place.

11. Pass through the lasagna slot of your pasta machine at the setting closest to 1.4mm / 1/16" (on my machine setting 5).

12. Your dough is now ready to be shaped into whatever you wish. You can use it to make a lasagna, roll it up into penne or stuff it with your favourite fillings to make ravioli or tortellini. See below instructions for making cute little bow shaped farfalle

13. To make farfalle: With a sharp knife cut into rectangles, I use pinking shears to make a zig-zag edge along the widths but this is completely optional.

14. Pinch the centres together with your fingers and you have farfalle!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Long-time pierogi lovers, first-time pirozhki makers


This month, we embraced the wonderful world of fried food. Normally healthy eaters, and predominantly vegetarian, we turned to the dark side of oil and some serious meat consumption.

Sara (through longstanding family tradition) and I (through my Polish-extracted husband) are connoisseurs of pierogis, which are typically boiled and then baked or fried, and whose dough does not involve yeast. We were excited to try our hands at making Russian pirozhki (or piroshki) this month, which can be baked or fried, and which involve a very yeast-heavy dough.

Sara made the dough in advance, which, as we were warned, was very, very sticky and somewhat difficult to work with. Then we made one veggie filling, involving cabbage and mushrooms and dill, among other things.

And we made one meat filling, involving ground beef, onions, eggs, and more. 

 Then we folded up a whole lot of pirozhkis.

Fortunately we had some helping hands from another Sarah and my husband, TJ. 

Then into the oil they went!

Thanks also to Sara's husband, Will, who picked up and then fried up some delicious kielbasa while we deep-fried the pirozhkis. What a treat. In the end the pirozhkis puffed up to an almost doughnut-like consistency, without the sweetness.

This challenge was a huge hit and enjoyed by two sets of Sara(h)s and Wills, plus me and TJ. I don't think either Sara or I would ever give up our long-loved pierogis, but they've certainly got some delicious competition.

The Daring Kitchen:

Challenge Host (another Sara!):

Deep-Fried Pirozhki (Zharenye Pirozhki)


1 recipe Classic Meat Filling and/or Classic Cabbage Filling and/or filling of your choosing
We used a half recipe each of the classic meat and cabbage fillings below
1 recipe Yeast dough
Vegetable oil for greasing pans as well as for frying


1. On a well-floured surface, roll out half of the dough to about a 1/2cm or 1/4" thickness. Use your 8 - 10cm or 3 - 4" cutter to cut out circles.

2. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of a circle of dough. Bring up the sides of the dough and pinch them together to seal the filling in. Gently form the turnover into an oval, rounding out the pointed ends. Place on a greased cookie sheet or plate while you repeat with the remaining dough circles.

3. Repeat this whole procedure with the second half of the dough and filling.

4. Allow the pirozhki to rise for about 30 minutes before frying. They will not double but will look puffy.

5. Fill a pot or deep-frying with vegetable oil to a depth of 10cm / 4" and heat the oil to 190°C / 375°F. Line a plate with paper towels or use a cooling rack set over a pan to drain the fried pastries.

6. Carefully lower 3 or 4 pirozhki into the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. If you are using a pot of oil make sure you use your thermometer to watch the temperature. You may need to raise and lower the burner temperature to keep the oil at the correct temperature. Remove the pirozhki from the oil and drain on the paper towels or the rack.

7. Continue frying until all the pirozhki are cooked. Enjoy right away!

Classic Meat Filling (Myasnaya Nachinka)
Servings: 24


15ml / 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
455g / 1 pound lean ground beef
2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
30ml / 2 Tablespoons beef broth
30ml / 2 Tablespoons sour cream
8g / 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes or until browned.

2. Add ground beef to skillet and cook until browned, breaking up clumps with a spoon or spatula.

3. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool completely before using to fill your pirozhki. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Classic Cabbage Filling (Kapustnaya Nachinka)
Servings: 24


1/2 head of cabbage (about 680g / 1 1/2 pounds), finely chopped
30g / 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
15ml / 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 hard-cooked egg, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Blanch the cabbage in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain well and squeeze the cabbage to remove excess liquid.

2. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, until soft and colored, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Cool completely before using to fill your pirozhki. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Yeast Dough (Drozhzhevoe Testo)
Servings: 24


7g / 1/4oz / 1 package active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
45ml / 3 Tablespoons warm water
455g / 1 pound / 3 2/3 cups (spooned & scraped) instant-blending flour (such as Wondra); or substitute all-purpose flour if necessary
415ml / 1 3/4 cups warm milk (35°C / 95°F)
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
45g / 3 Tablespoons softened butter


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and warm water. Proof the yeast for five minutes.

2. 190g / 6.6oz / 1 1/2 cups of the flour and all of the warm milk to the yeast mixture and beat using the all-purpose beater on low speed or a wooden spoon by hand for two minutes, scraping down sides if necessary, until well-blended. Cover with plastic wrap or a cloth and set in a warm place for about 2 hours.

3. After 2 hours the dough should be very bubbly. You can hear the bubbles forming and popping actively. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt for three minutes by hand or 30 seconds with an electric beater.

4. Add the egg yolk mixture and the remaining flour to the dough. Using the dough hook, beat the dough at a moderately low speed, or beat with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Then add the softened butter and beat for a minute more. Switch to medium-high and beat the dough for 12 minutes, stopping twice for 2-minute intervals to allow the motor (or your arm) to cool off.

5. The final dough will be very wet and almost like gum-like, pulling away in strings when you take the beater out. With a buttered spatula, scrape dough into a generously greased bowl. Grease the top of the dough by spraying with cooking spray or lightly brushing with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for an hour or until the dough is doubled in bulk. The dough is now ready to use. Refrigerate until ready to form your pirozhki.

Friday, May 27, 2016


We made a fun and easy twist bread for this month's daring kitchen challenge. 

The dough came together quickly (and tasted delicious). 

As we waited for it to proof, we took my semi-unruly toddler to see the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the De Young museum. Nothing like trying to convince a 15-month-old that he can't touch the pretty, shiny, feathery dresses....

When we got back, we rolled out the dough and scavenged my kitchen to see what we could include within the dough -- sundried tomatoes + kalamata olives + random italian herbs seemed to be a good option. 

Then we rolled it up, taking care to twist all of those gorgeous innards. 

The dough baked for a long time, developing a beautiful, dark crust. Despite the recipe's insistence that we leave it to "cool completely" before cutting, we ripped into it immediately. Delicious!

Sun Dried Tomato and Rosemary Bread

From Tandy Sinclair at Lavender & Lime

680g / 5 1/2 cups (spooned & scraped) bread flour
15g / 4 3/4 tsp instant yeast OR 20g / 7 tsp active dry yeast
118g / 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
375ml / 1 1/2 cups water
1 large egg yolk
60ml / 1/4 cup canola oil (if your sun dried tomatoes are in oil, then use that oil), plus extra for the dough
22g / 3 1/2 tsp flaked salt
150g / 1 1/3 cups sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
5g / 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 large egg lightly beaten with 5ml / 1 tsp water, for egg wash
10g / 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1. Place the flour, yeast, sugar, water, egg yolk and oil into a stand mixer bowl
NOTE: If using active dry yeast, activate it in the water for 5 minutes first
2. Use a dough hook and knead for 1 minute
3. Add the salt and knead for a further 5 minutes
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface
5. Knead gently and shape into a ball
6. Rub the bowl with a little bit of oil
7. Place the dough back into the bowl, seam side down
8. Cover and leave to prove until doubled in size
9. Lightly oil your hands and punch back the dough
10. Cover and prove for 1 hour
11. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface
12. Knock back and roll out into a rectangle
13. Spread on the tomatoes and rosemary
14. Roll up tightly, lengthwise
15. Trim off the edges
16. Cut in half, down the middle, but not going all the way to the bottom
17. Slightly open the two halves
18. Twist the dough to resemble a length of rope
19. Shape into a circle
20. Place onto a lined or sprayed baking tray
21. Cover dough with a damp cloth and leave to prove for 30 minutes
22. Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5
23. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle on the sesame seeds
24. Bake for 10 minutes
25. Reduce the temperature to 175°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4
26. Bake for a further 45 minutes
27. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for 15 minutes
28. Place onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before cutting