Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Fall is here! Even here in Orlando, Florida you can feel it! We reach our newest lows for the season; Lows of 36 degrees and highs of 65. It's been so beautiful out for the past couple days! I love the cool weather! Makes me wonder some times as to why I'm living in Florida..

I actually plan to move soon once I start attending college. I really want to go live on NY. I've always loved it up there, so why not live there? I love the city, the scenery, the people; I love so much about it. Whether I move there soon, or a few years from now, I know that I want to live there.

But anyways, a bit of topic! To celebrate the fact that fall is here, I decided to bake something that just screams autumn; pumpkin. What better than a comforting pumpkin bread pudding to celebrate with, yea? I've been holding on to this recipe that I found not to long ago, waiting for the right time to try it out. Let me tell you, it didn't disappoint.


1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tbsp. bourbon
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle.

2. Whisk together pumpkin, cream, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, spices and bourbon, if using, in a bowl.

3. Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sausage and Ham Pizza

Honestly, I wish I was more creative with this month. Sadly, by that time I realized that the challenge was done, I'd done nothing creative for pizza. I've already seen other Daring Bakers Pizza, and some of them just wow me to no end. Some sweet ones that I really never thought about. Daring Bakers never cease to amaze me..

I've been rather busy, so I decided to just go the simple route. Sausage, Pepperoni, Ham, etc. The usual's. To be blunt, I was kind of disappointed in a way with this months challenge. It's not that I don't like pizza, I mean, I love pizza. It's just, I'm still waiting to get a challenge where I'm just so excited to trying. I mean, I make pizza dough all the time. It's how my family likes pizza; homemade. Though, I know there are many that don't do this, so this months challenge might of been pretty exciting for some. I want to try something I've never done ;P

All in all though, it's always fun to make pizza from scratch. Can't wait to see the next challenge!

Daring Bakers


Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter)

4 1/2 cups Unbleached Bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 tbsp sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.


2. Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil (a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.


10. FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.

During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.


11. FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.


12. FOR GF: Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.


13. FOR GF: Follow the notes for this step.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Tossing links: LinkLink 2,Link 3, Link 4


NOTE ON SAUCE: Your sauce (any) should not be too thick as it will thicken in the hot oven. Less is more but make the less truly more by using quality ingredients.

SUCE IDEAS: Pestos, white or brown sauce, tomato sauce, sour cream, thick cream, Bolognese sauce, etc…
Check here for sauce recipes:

TOPPING IDEAS: Seafood, fish, meat (dry, cured, smoked or ground), cheeses (Gruy√®re, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Provolone, Ricotta, Maroille, Munster, etc…), nuts, tofu, veggies (tomatoes, bell peppers, artichokes, hearts of palm, zucchinis, pumpkin, red onions, etc…), herbs (mixes, fresh or dried), spices (garlic, gourmet salt, pepper, curry, berbere, ras-el-hanout, za’atar, etc…), nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashew nuts, Brasil nuts, macadamia nuts, etc…)….

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pineapple Bundt Cake

Before summer officially ends in my book and I let the wonderful fall season roll on threw, I had to bake something that had a summer sense to it. The heat is still already looming around in Florida (no surprise), so it really does feel like it's summer still (which, honestly, kind of sucks).

My boyfriends has been wanting me to bake a Pineapple Cake forever. I just haven't had time for the past couple weeks. I've been so busy that I never have to much time for myself, sadly. School is getting pretty hectic and it doesn't help that I'm attending night school as well. So I'm always at school.

Since I had a little time at hand and I too was craving sweets (since I've been on the school diet!!), I finally came around to bake the Pineapple Cake that someone has been nagging at me to bake. I didn't do the traditional Pineapple Cake, I guess you could say. Honestly, I don't like the idea of Pineapple on top. I much preferred the idea of the Pineapple being inside the cake. So I used shredded pineapple.

The cake was dense, but moist and sweet. Really great with morning tea (which is what I've been doing for the past couple morning). A great way to end the summer and let in the flavors of fall crawl in.


Pineapple Cake

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites
2 tsp. lemon extract
1 (16 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained


1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. lemon extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch bundt cake pan.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until soft. Add cinnamon and salt. Add eggs, egg whites. Add lemon extract. Beat together until fluffy.

3. In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Slowly, combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Stir in pineapple. Pour into greased bundt pan.

4. Bake at for 55-60 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool. For the glaze, get a small bowl. Sift the powdered sugar. Add milk and lemon extract. If needed more, add in small drops (1/4 to 1/2 tsp. drops). Drizzle over cake.

Genesis of a Cook
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