Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Strawberry Pocket Pies & Pocket Pie Tutorial


Spring is almost here, which means summer will be just around the corner.  Time to plan outings, picnics, bake sales... oh the beginning of exciting possibilities.

Today, I am going to share with you a pocket pie recipe.  To make this pocket pie, we used a Tovolo petite pie mold.  They are sized perfectly to make 4 pocket pies per 9 inch standard pie recipe.  There is no need to tweak any recipes to make pocket pies, but I have to leave you with two tips you do need to bear in mind when adjusting recipes:

1) Do not bake the crust in too high of an oven temperature. An oven around 350 F is the most ideal.  Most pies will call for baking temperatures of 400 to 450 F, but the reason for higher temperatures is normal pies have a pie plate to insulate some of the heat.  If you bake a "naked" pocket pie at this high temperature, it will crack open and fall apart.

2) Press the seams of the pocket pie tightly or the pie will burst open during the baking process.  To help to ensure a tight seal, brush the edges of the pies with egg wash.

Ingredients:

Pie Crust (Can be store bought or use the recipe below)

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup ice water, plus more if needed.

Method:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt, and pulse to combine.  Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.  There will be some larger pieces remaining, and that is ok.  Pulse for about 10 seconds. 
If you do not have a food processor, you can mix by hand.  Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and then cut the prepared butter into the flour using a pastry cutter.
With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky.  Do not over process, this process should take no longer than 30 seconds. 
The dough should be a perfect balance of not being too wet or crumbly.  You can adjust a wet dough by adding a little flour, and a crumbly dough by adding just a little water.
Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface.  Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. 
Left: When the crust is out of the food processor.  Right: Dough has been pressed into a ball, ready for chilling.
Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.  The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Ingredients:

Strawberry pie filling

  • 5 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Method:
Slice the strawberries into slices and add sugar.  Toss with a fork to combine.  A little liquid will be released by the strawberries, drain this liquid as you do not want the pocket pies to turn soggy.  Add cornstarch.  The filling is now ready.

Assemble the pies as shown below and bake for 20 minutes at 350 F.

Pocket Pie Tutorial:

1) Cut out the shapes using the exterior rim of the mold:


2) The dough is now impressed with an abstract shape of a strawberry:


3) Remove the extra dough and position the cut outs carefully.


4) Open the clam shell petite pie molds and position the two sides of the dough on each end.  Add filling and brush the edges of the crust with egg wash.  (This will help to seal the edges of the crust properly).


5) Now, even though it is very tempting to just close the clamp shell to crimp the two sides of the pies together, I find that you get a much neater shape if you carefully transfer the empty top shell and align it carefully with the bottom shell as shown below.


6) Now you can flip the top of the mold over to crimp the two sides of the pie together to form the 3D shape of the strawberry imprint.


7)  The finished crimped shape:


8) Bake for 20 mins at 350 F. 


These cute little pocket are perfect to take along with you for your spring and summer adventures.

Resources:



Tovolo Pocket Pie Molds- Comes with a plastic protector carrier case, the pocket pie mold and a recipe card.  All included with purchase.


Thank you for reading and happy baking!

Julie

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Alsatian Kugelhopf-A traditional recipe


Kugelhopf is a delicious yeast-risen bread that is often eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  The taste and texture of Kugelhopf can best be described as a cross between a panettone and a brioche, although with much less butter compared to a brioche!  The bread originated from the Northeastern region of France, near the French-German border, in a region of Alsace.

The bread is traditionally served with coffee or eaten plain with just a little sprinkle of icing sugar.

Here is an authentic Alsatian Kugelhopf recipe which turned out buttery but not too rich.  It has the perfect texture and good balance between a cake and bread.  Light but full bodied and not too sweet.

Ingredients:
4 Cups All purpose flour
2 sticks butter
2/3 cup sugar
8 Tsp dried instant yeast
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup raisins soaked in water or Kirshwasser (Brandy)

Directions:
In a sauce pan, heat up the milk, sugar and butter until it is lukewarm.  Add the yeast and let it stand for 2 minutes.  Check to see if there are bubbles. If there are bubbles, that means that the yeasts are alive and working.  Add a pinch of salt to this mixture.


Next, in the bowl of a standmixer, add flour.  Using a standmixer with a dough hook attachment, add egg, and the yeast/milk mixture and mix on medium speed (Setting 4 or 5 on a Kitchenaid Standmixer) for 5 minutes.

The dough will be ready once it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is no longer sticky.  At this point, the dough should be also be quite elastic.


Shape the dough into a ball, and place it in a lightly floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise for 1 hour in a warm place, until it has doubled in volume.


Punch the dough down and knead in the raisins.

Butter and lightly flour the Kugelhopf mold.  This is such a beautiful cake, be sure to flour carefully into all the corners of the pan.  This will help ensure that the cake releases beautifully.  Shape the dough ball into a doughnut shape to fit the size of the pan and place the dough into the Kugelhopf pan.


Let the dough rise until it reaches the edge of the mold.

Bake the Kugelhopf for 45 minutes and tent with aluminum foil should it start to get too brown.

Let cool and sprinkle icing sugar all over the Kugelhopf cake before serving.

Serve with coffee.

Enjoy!  And have a great week ahead!

Julie

Resources:
Whereas traditional Kugelhopf pans are made with clay, modern day technology has allowed the shape to be replicated in easy to clean and longer lasting aluminum cake pans. 

http://browncookie.com/shop/cake-bread-pans/cake-pans/kugelhopf-bundt-cake-bread-pan-baking-mold.html

Recipe source:
Alsace Tourism Promotion Board
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