Tag Archives: buttermilk

Beer and Buttermilk Crêpe Cake

Strawberries are in season and I can’t tell you how excited this house is about that.  We eagerly await the arrival of local berries, that make their appearance in early summer.   It means that soon to follow are other local goodies that we are so fortunate to gather from passionate farmers in our area.  How lucky are we!

crepecake

Recently I made a Crêpe Cake to showcase some of the gorgeous juicy berries that I purchased at market.  This is a great make ahead dish that would be stunning served on any brunch table or as dessert with a cup of coffee.  It’s light and airy and full of paper-thin crêpes stacked up high to highlight all of that delicious fruit.

The crêpes couldn’t be easier to make, and the addition of a light, hoppy lager makes them even more delicate and airy (yes, beer for breakfast can be good).   Don’t worry, although they do have great flavor, they don’t taste like beer.  The batter also includes tangy buttermilk and is best when made ahead and left to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours.   The crêpes themselves can also be made ahead, up to 48 hours, and layered between sheets of parchment paper until ready to use.  I would recommend this step as a time saver!   The cake is just a simple process of layering the crêpes with the filling of your choice.  Hazelnut spread is an all time favourite, but to keep the cake nice and light I opted for a simple banana pudding and whipped topping filling.

crepe cake

I just happily layer and fill, layer and fill, until I run out of filling.  I’m pretty sure this time I was close to eighteen crêpes in all when I was finished the cake.  Assembly took about 20 minutes total and I left the cake in the refrigerator until dinner time.  Minus the slice I removed, and ate, to photograph for you.

Geez Louise the things I do for you.

crepe cake

Just the smell in the kitchen when making these, reminded me of a trip I took to Paris a few years ago.  My girlfriend took me to the Eiffel Tower for my birthday and immediate crêpe eating ensued.    I believe at one point I had a savory crêpe in one hand and a sweet one in the other.  Life is grand.

Happy Summer,

Renee

xo

fruit

 

Sweet Crêpe Batter

adapted from Jehnee’s Crêpe Recipe from http://www.thekitchn.com

*makes approximately 25 crepes

4 cups warm buttermilk
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons sugar
6 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1 cup light lager

Banana Filling

1 pkg instant banana pudding (or flavor of choice)

1 3/4 cups milk, cold

1 1/2 cups whipped topping

fruit for garnish

 

1.  Melt the butter and warm the milk in a microwave safe dish. Meanwhile, mix flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer for a few seconds to combine.  Make a well in the flour mixture, pour eggs and oil into the well and beat on medium speed until combined. Slowly add the melted butter and milk mixture and mix until batter becomes uniform in texture.   Stir in beer, until just evenly incorporated (don’t overmix). Refrigerate the batter, covered with plastic, for 8 hours or overnight, if you can.

2.   Pour  1/3 cup batter onto a smoking-hot pan (my pan was about 8″ wide), swirling the batter to create an even surface.  Cook for approx. 2 minutes on the first side (look for a golden brown colour), then about 30 seconds on other side. Layer crêpes between sheets of parchment paper.  Refrigerate crêpes until needed (I put mine in a resealable bag).

3.  When ready to assemble, make the banana filling.  Mix milk and pudding for 2 minutes.  Fold in the whipped topping.  Layer crêpes on a cake platter, starting with a crêpe and spreading about 1 1/2 tbsp. of banana filling on top.  Layer with another crêpe and continue on until you run out of filling.  Left over crêpes can be frozen for later use.  Refrigerate cake for at least 2 hours or more.  Top with whipped topping and fresh fruit just before serving.

 

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Perfect Fresh Peach Scones {For Your Freezer}

I made these scones this morning.

I made these scones yesterday morning.

I probably will make these scones tomorrow morning.  And the morning after.

peachscone2

I’ve been making scones first thing in the morning for a really long time.  When I had the bake shop, I baked thousands of scones at the crack of dawn.  Literally.  Hand rolled and cut, these were one of our most requested items.   Some with just a sprinkle of sugar on top and some with a sweet sugar glaze.

Who doesn’t love a fresh warm buttermilk scone straight from the oven?   Rolled and layered with chunks of fresh seasonal produce, it’s the perfect morning snack or tea time treat.

peachscones4

The beauty of this scone recipe, is the versatility.  Switch out the peaches for fresh pears and some ginger.  Remove the cinnamon and add lemon zest and fresh blueberries.    Throw in some cinnamon and raisins.

It requires minimal mixing and next to no kneading.  The less you work it, the better.

I roll new flavours all summer long as produce comes into season.  Then I freeze unbaked scones on a cookie sheet.  Once frozen, I store them in a freezer bag and bake as needed all fall and winter long.

peachscones3

 

I throw a few into the oven each morning as I’m getting ready for work.  Then a quick wrap with saran and the kiddo’s can grab a warm one on their way out the door.

Isn’t that the best way to start your day?

The recipe makes a generous amount of scones, bake some today and freeze the rest!

Do you have a favourite scone recipe?  I would love to hear about it!

Enjoy!

 

Fresh Peach Scones

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, frozen
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat works best)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium fresh peach, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp melted butter and cinnamon sugar for topping (2tbsp sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon)

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon.  Use a cheese grater to grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture.  Mix gently with a fork to coat the butter with the flour mixture.

2.  In a separate small bowl mix the buttermilk, sour cream and egg.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour buttermilk mixture in.  Mix gently to incorporate.

3.  Knead dough on a floured surface, maximum 1o times.  The idea is to knead very little to keep that butter cold.  Roll into a large rectangle, about 22 inches by 12 inches.  Spread thin peach slices all over the surface of the dough.  Starting with the longest side, roll the dough up towards you into a log.  Tuck in the seam.   You should be left with a log about 22 inches long.  Pinch the ends together and press down on the log to slightly flatten it.   Keep the seam on the bottom.

4.  Brush the scone log with the melted butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Cut the log in half.  Cut each half in half.  Cut each quarter in half.   You will be left with 8 squares.  Cut each square on the diagonal to make 2 scones, for a total of 16 scones.

5.  Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or place unbaked scones on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for at least an hour.  Place frozen scones in freezer bags for easy storage.  Bake from frozen.  Eat warm!

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Scones and Breads

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

I’ve decided to forgo any New Years Resolutions this year because I always seem to disappoint myself and irritate everyone who lives with me.  Instead, I’m going to put my energy into expanding my baking repertoire and my sometimes lacklustre food styling.  Really, at this point in the year this house is cupcaked out!

So I thought to start, I would make some Buttermilk Panna Cotta which I have been really wanting to try since buying my new Miette Book (Meg Ray is living my dream right now!).   Panna Cotta is essentially ‘cooked cream’ paired with gelatin and a few simple flavourings and then left to set for a few hours.   Since I love anything creamy – I heart clotted cream -and I’ve thrown my resolutions out the window, this simple yet elegant dessert is right up my alley.  You don`t have to use buttermilk, most recipes use just heavy cream, but buttermilk gives it a nice tangy taste.  I did a combination of recipes, both from the book and online.  Essentially, the instructions and ingredients are all the same.

I made two sauces to try.  The first was a simple Apricot and Honey Compote from Martha Stewart.  Hello delicious.  So simple and it`s thick enough that as it was cooling I could envision a gorgeous spoonful atop a buttermilk scone.   The second was a Red-Wine Poached Rhubarb recipe.   I`ll have to post those pictures at a later date.

Okay, the apricot got me.  It was pretty yummy.

On a cold winters day, some Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Apricot and Honey Compote is like a little ray of sunshine.  Top with some slivered almonds for a little nutty crunch.  Bye bye winter blues!

Panna Cotta is like a blank canvas.  There are so many options for toppings although I do think simple is best sometimes.  Any ‘in season’ fruit would be a treat.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

  •  2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup of buttermilk

1. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

2. Combine sugar and cream in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.  Add in the vanilla bean and seeds, remove from heat and allow cream to steep for 30 minutes.  Bring back to heat and almost to a boil. 

3. Stir in the gelatin until dissolved.

4. Add the buttermilk to the cream mixture and continue whisking. 

5. Remove from heat and strain the mixture into a glass measuring cup.

6. Pour the strained mixture into cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.

Top with Apricot and Honey Compote and slivered almonds.   Serve immediately.

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End of Summer, New School Year

The party is over at our house.  Today is the last day of freedom and tomorrow a new school year begins (for me too!).  No more lazy mornings on the deck with coffee, staying up super late reading a good book or keeping pj’s on allll day long if you feel like it.  I really love summer and my only wish was that it was just a little longer (say… 10 months longer….)

My kids are away today, all doing something fun for their last day of holidays.  I left them a little surprise for their return….

Just a little thank you for being great kids and hanging out with me this summer.  For putting my bait on the hook for me, for going for bike rides with me, for walking the dog with me, for playing endless games of Scrabble and SkipBo with me and for staying up late around a camp fire sharing funny stories and things about your life with me.

It’s a new school year and things will soon become hectic and busy.  Instead of saying “come sit by the pool with me” I’ll be screaming “for the last time get out of bed or we’ll be late!!”

Nothing says summer like ice cream and this is a fun and whimsical dessert.  Would be perfect for a birthday too!  I used my favourite Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (here) and a new Vanilla Cake recipe (below).  Just colour icing to suit and have fun!  I used a piece of 29″ x 12″ yellow foam board with ribbons glued to the bottom.  This idea is from My Cake School Blog, which is full of fabulous resources.

Pure Vanilla Cupcakes

  • adapted from Form V Artisan
    Makes 18 cupcakes
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilkPreheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 standard muffin cups with paper
    liners.1.  In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, sift together flour,
    baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add sugar and mix on low-speed until well
    blended. Add softened butter and beat on medium-low speed until butter is coated
    with flour and mixture resembles dry crumbs, about 3 minutes. Increase speed to
    medium and beat 30 seconds longer.2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract until smooth. Add to the flour mixture and
    mix on medium-low speed until moistened and the batter begins to form webs along
    the sides of the bowl and the beater, about 45 seconds. With mixer on low speed,
    gradually add milk and beat until batter is smooth, about 20 seconds. Scrape
    down the sides of the bowl and mix until batter is light, airy and creamy
    looking, another 15-20 seconds on medium to medium-low speed. Do not over
    mix.

    3.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling them about
    two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the
    center of the cakes comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Transfer cakes to wire
    racks to cool completely.

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Buttermilk Scones with Clotted Cream

What a beautiful morning!  The sun is shining through every window and I can hear the birds outside!  It’s a bit unusual though because my house is eerily quiet and I’m the only one home this morning.  It’s just me and the dog.

I must say the peace is heavenly…..

O.K. ….two really important things are happening today…

First, it’s my friend’s birthday.  Happy Birthday girl!  She lives in London, England and is currently roaming the streets of Italy with another friend of ours.  I am so jealous, envious, HAPPY for them!  They will be eating great food and drinking great wine.   Cheers to you my friend, have a wonderful day.

Second, I made Clotted Cream yesterday and am feeling all smug and proud of myself.  It’s a cross between butter and whipped cream.  I sometimes buy English Double Devon as a treat for myself but it is hard to find and costly.   My girlfriend and I had a Cream Tea on one of my last nights in England a few years ago and it was “lovely’ as she says.  Homemade scones piled high with Clotted Cream and preserves, and of course a cup of tea.  Delish.   How appropriate that I made it the day before her birthday then.  And here I sit, birthday morning, thinking of my friend, eating one of these goodies with the homemade preserves I made here.

The Clotted Cream is ridiculously easy.  Almost embarrassing frankly, for my inflated ego at the moment.  Use the heaviest whipping cream you can find, with a high fat content (mine was 35%).  Pour 4 cups into a heavy-bottomed oven safe pan.  Cover and place in the oven at 180° and leave it for 12 hours.  Untouched.  Done.  No kidding.  Remove after 12 hours (try not to slosh the cream during transport) and allow to cool for about an hour.  Place in the fridge over night and tah-dah!  When you wake, there will be a glorious, thick layer of clotted cream on top.  Skim off with a slotted spoon and put in a jar.  Use on scones, pancakes, muffins, etc.  The remaining heavy cream can still be used for baking.  Shamelessly easy, but still feelin smug.

The scones are Buttermilk Scones from Nigella Lawson.  These are not sweet which makes them a perfect fit for cream and preserves.  So easy to make and I made them this morning in under 1/2 hour.  One of the reasons scones tend to be so dry is because they are baked far too long.  Twelve minutes is all that’s needed.   Once the scones are dry on the bottom, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Nigella Lawson’s Buttermilk Scones

  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons soft vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten, for an egg wash (optional)
  • 1 large lipped baking sheet or half sheet pan
  • 1 (2-inch) biscuit cutter, preferably fluted

Preheat the oven to 425° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

1.  Put the flour into a bowl with the baking soda, cream of tartar, and sugar. Chop the butter and the vegetable shortening into pieces and drop them into the flour. Rub the fats into the flour – or just mix any old how – and then pour in the buttermilk, working everything together to form a dough.

2..Lightly flour your work surface. Pat the dough into a round-edged oblong about 1 3/4 inches thick and cut out 2-inch scones with a biscuit cutter. (Mine are never a uniform height, as I only pat the dough into its shape without worrying whether it’s irregular or not.)

3.  Arrange the scones fairly close together on your lined baking sheet, and brush with beaten egg (to give golden tops) or not as you wish.

4.  Bake for 12 minutes, by which time the scones will be dry on the bottom and have a relatively light feel. Remove them to a wire rack to cool, and serve with clotted cream and your favourite jam.

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Filed under Breakfast, Extra Special, Scones and Breads

Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cake

Yesterday we went on our annual road trip through Niagara Wine Country.   It’s miles and miles of scenic estate wineries and orchards.   Niagara-On-The-Lake is a quaint place with beautiful boutiques and restaurants.

We go every year to get some fresh peaches and of course wine.  Yesterday we stopped at a local orchard and picked up a variety of stone fruits.  And then off to none other than The Great One, Wayne Gretzky’s Estate Winery.    All perfect ingredients for some Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cake and White Wine Sangria.

Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cake

*adapted from Cake Goddess

  • 2-3 medium peaches, halved, pitted, skinned and thinly sliced
  • 2 apricots, halved, pitted and thinly slice
  • 6 cherries, halved and pitted
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 12 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened (4 for bottom of pan, 8 tablespoons for the batter)
  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Heat the oven to 350°F degrees.

1.  In the bottom of a springform pan pour 4 tbsp melted butter.  Sprinkle the brown sugar on top.  Place sliced fruit, slightly overlapping, to cover the entire bottom of pan.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the sugar and rest of the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each addition.  Add lemon zest and mix well.

3. Slowly add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture in 5 additions.  Start and end with flour mixture.  Mix last addition of flour by hand.

4.  Pour batter over fruit mixture and bake for 55-60 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve with a dollop of cream.

White Wine Sangria

  • 1 Bottle of white wine (Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/2 cup Peach Schnapps
  • 2 sliced peaches
  • 1 sliced apricot
  • handful of cherries
  • 1/2 liter of ginger ale (if preferred)

1.  Pour wine and Schnapps in a pitcher and add sliced peaches, apricots and cherries.  Chill mixture for at least one hour.  Add ginger ale just before serving.

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