Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Thanks to Sara of ms.Adventures in Italy for hosting the April edition of DMBLGIT, a very cool monthly competition of food bloggers. Also, thanks to the judges, Helen of Tartelette,Sara of The Kitchen Pantry, Susan of Food Blogga and Robyn of The Girl Who Are Everything for their effort in judging what must be a difficult task trying to decide who is chosen for each category. The photos get better and better each month!
I am very proud of having been chosen Edibility winner. Check out all the winners here. You can read my post here.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
My local berry farm just opened its roadside stand a few weeks ago and as it is on my way to just about everywhere, I have been stopping by nearly everyday buying buckets for friends and family, plus a few for myself, too. Once you have had really good strawberries, you can never go back to the impostors in the grocery store. Last year, I froze quite a few of these luscious berries to have for desserts in the winter.
After a heavy meal, this simple dessert is colorful and the toasted walnut biscotti adds a little crunch. These little biscuits freeze well, so can be made ahead. The whipped topping is a mixture of sour cream and heavy cream whipped with a little sugar and will keep several days in the refrigerator. The strawberries can be sliced and sugar added several hours ahead of your meal.
3 cups washed, sliced fresh strawberries
sugar to taste
Combine fruit and sugar. Refrigerate for an hour or so.
I wrote a previous post on biscotti here. In the Spring 2007 issue of Baker's Companion, there is an article on creating authentic Italian biscotti which gives step-by-step instructions to ensure success in making these lovely little crisp cookies. Without going through all the steps in detail, here are three important ones.
1. To keep the biscotti from crumbling after the first baking, spritz the baked dough lightly, but thoroughly with water taking care to cover the sides and the top. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. This is an important step especially if your biscotti contains nuts and fruits.
2. When cutting the biscotti for the second bake, use a serrated knife and cut with a straight up and down motion. This steps ensures that the biscotti will stand up for the second bake.
3. Instead of flipping the biscotti over to bake a third time, stand them up on the prepared baking sheet so the air can circulate around them as they bake.
Toasted Walnut Biscotti
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar (4 3/4 oz)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup toasted,chopped walnuts
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet (18x 13-inch) with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla extract until creamy looking. When properly beaten, the egg/sugar mixture will be thick and lemon colored and drop in a ribbon from the beater.
Lower the mixer speed and add the flour beating gently until incorporated. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and shape into a rough log about 14 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide and about 3/4 inch thick. Smooth the top of the dough with a wet dough scraper.
Bake the dough for 25 minutes. With the nuts, it may be necessary to bake an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on pan from 5-25 minutes. I let mine cool about 15 minutes. Spritz with water. Let stand 5 minutes. This will soften the crust to make slicing easier.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Wait 5 minutes, then cut the biscotti on the diagonal into 3/4 inch slices using a serrated knife and straight up and down motions. If you slice the biscotti wider at the top than the bottom, they will topple over while baking the second time.
Set the biscotti upright on the prepared baking sheet 1/2 inch apart so the air can circulate. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container to preserve their texture. If the biscotti aren't as hard as you like, store uncovered overnight to continue drying. Biscotti can be stored at room temperature for two weeks; for longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze. Yield 14-16.
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar (add more if desired, to taste)
8 ounces sour cream, you can use low fat sour cream, but not nonfat
Whip cream at low speed with electric beater or by hand. Don't overbeat or it will turn to butter. With wire whip, fold in the sugar, mixing well. Drain any water off sour cream. Fold it into the whipped cream. Add more sugar if desired. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Use as needed. Keeps well.
Original whipped topping recipe here.
To assemble dessert
Spoon strawberries into desired dessert dishes, place biscotti in glass and spoon topping over strawberries. How easy is that?
Serves about 4.