February 21, 2012

TWD/BWJ: Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

It's the second round of baking with Tuesdays With Dorie, where we bake two recipes every month from Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan. I'm an incurable chocoholic, so I was pretty excited about making these chocolate tarts, plus I'd like to work on my tart technique. This recipe is definitely for the chocolate lover, since it calls for dark, milk and white chocolate. And for some texture, you add chunks of biscotti. Following the cookbook's suggestion, I used amaretti di Saronno. (Confession: This gave me a good excuse to visit the Italian specialty shop in Chelsea Market to ogle the cheeses, the pastas, and Italian snacks.)

The dough was a little challenging because it was very crumbly after mixing by hand. To roll out, I took a tip from Dorie herself. While visiting her Valentine's Day cookie pop-up shop, I was lucky to have a few minutes to chat with her. As soon as she heard that the tarts were up next she dispensed this advice: After chilling the dough the first time, roll it out between wax or parchment paper and then chill it again before cutting into rounds to fit into the tart pans. 

I like the method of rolling between paper because you use less flour and seem to get a smoother product, but one friend of mine disagrees. She learned from her French mama that you should be as close to your dough as you are to a lover. 

I know I still have a long way to go in working with dough, because I wasn't getting an even thickness. But happily you couldn't tell once the tarts were baked! Here's a shot of the tart dough out of the oven:

To get the recipe, visit our hosts this week: 

February 07, 2012

TWD Post 1: White Loaves

This post marks quite a lot of firsts: 1) the first week of Tuesdays With Dorie: Baking With Julia; 2) the first time I've baked white bread from scratch and 3) the first project I've tackled with my brand-new stand mixer.

I'm happy to report success on all three counts. Just take a look at this beautiful ball of dough. The top photo is just out of the mixer; the bottom is after it rested and got plump and fat.

I felt kind of bad poking the dough ball and leaving craters, but I was just following instructions to test its readiness, honest! Then came another resting time so that it doubled again, but the wait was definitely worth it. One loaf came out a wee bit higher than the other, but both were equally tasty.

After reading other posts and some bread tutorials, I will probably try kneading the dough by hand just so I have a better idea of what a dough ball should look like at different stages.

Want to try baking bread too? You can find the recipe at Slush and Someone in the Kitchen, our hosts this week for this first installment of TWD: Baking With Julia. Thanks, Laurie and Jules!