Posts Tagged ‘pastry’

Tortiere Grandmere

Tortiere

I’ve been dreaming about getting my hands on my French Canadian grandmother’s tortiere recipe for years, possibly decades, now that I come to think of it.

But it wasn’t until they moved Mamere from one nursing home to another earlier this year that someone finally found a copy of the original to send out to all of the kids and the kids of their kids.  I’ve been itching to make it ever since, but the idea of a hearty, meaty pie didn’t really jive with our warmer than usual Ontarian fall.

So, now that it’s starting to be cold weather eating season, it seemed more than appropriate to give the old girl a whirl.  What you see above is a rather decimated version of Antoinette’s tortiere; I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture for myself until after we’d already dug in.  No matter.  It will wow you all the same.

The original made 4 pies, but I have scaled the recipe down and added bay leaf for a little extra whiff, other than that, it is as she wrote it down, many years ago.  Bon appetit!

Tortiere Grandmere

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There’s A First Time For Everything

A Flaky Slice Of Heaven

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Browsing through the foodporn-ish content on Foodgawker and Tastespotting last month, I came across submissions from a cadre of bloggers who belonged to The Daring Bakers.  At the time I didn’t think too much of it, but as I delved further into the archives, I began to see a common theme; recurring weekly or monthly challenges.  It turns out that the weekly challenges are hosted by another web group called Tuesdays With Dorie, who concentrate on preparing one recipe a week from Dorie Greenspan’s delectable cookbook.  The Daring Bakers (and Cooks) by contrast choose one recipe per month (per group) and then mass-post the results online on a pre-set date.

I was initially drawn to Tuesdays With Dorie (mostly because their photography was so enticing) but when I tried to register I learned that membership was closed for the time being.  I then investigated The Daring Bakers, and was intrigued by their dual challenge options, featuring both sweet and savoury iterations.  Erring on the side of caution for once in my life, I decided to only register as a baker at first, in order to test out the waters and complexity of their challenges.  Unfortunately, by that time the April challenge had already been announced and was in progress, so I had to wait until May to join in the fun.

On May 1st I logged in to the covert challenge section of their site, and there it was… my very first Daring challenge!  When I initially read the recipe I was a little let down, if only because I’m not an apple strudel fan.  It turns out that the Everyman is though, so I jumped in wholeheartedly and decided to try my hand at it that weekend.  At worst it would be a chance to improve my craptastic pastry skills and leave me with plenty of time for a do-over if I failed, and at best, it meant I’d have dessert for a few days.

Ingredients

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Strange And Delicious

Raw Ingredients

On Saturday afternoon I began to wrack my brain for something nomlicious to have for dinner.

I’d been to Terroni earlier in the day to procure a jar of pepperoncini for ‘nduja after grinding all 4 bags of dried chillies came up short.  As an educational aside, grinding that many chillies in a mini prep can be hazardous to your health because the fiery dust will get lodged in your nose and lungs.  The preserved pepperoncini were intensely spicy and salty, and surprisingly delicious all on their own.  Once the initial blast of heat wore off, they had a wonderful lingering finish.  I wanted to incorporate this interesting new condiment into our evening meal, but was drawing a blank on how to do so.

Being a somewhat rainy spring day, and also owing to the Everyman not feeling entirely top notch, a tart seemed to be the perfect compromise of a meal.  Several flavor combinations were considered but rejected once I realized that pepperoncini would completely drown out anything else.  I wanted to use a bit of guanciale, because you can’t really go wrong with pork fat of any description, so I built the flavor profile around that.  Next I contemplated a medley of potatoes and pears that I originally envisioned as some form of pave but in the end became small chunks.  To round it all out I added some sliced leeks and rosemary, sauteed in a pan and stuffed it into pre-made puff pastry shells.

Potato, Pear And Leek Tart

The pepperoncini was still on my mind, so I grabbed a few Paris toasts, smeared them with the flaming paste and topped them with small knobs of caciocavallo.  A brief blast of heat from the oven and I had perfect fiery-cheesy croutons to top off my salad.  And the verdict?  I liked it, the Everyman liked it, but next time I’d probably cut down on the pear a tad and cook the potatoes further before stuffing them into pastry.  Recipe proportions have been adequately adjusted to reflect those preferences. (more…)