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Ham and Cheese Croissants from Scratch From the Sur La Table Kitchen

No Comments 15 January 2015

Layer upon layer of butter and dough produce the ultimate French breakfast.  If you have ever eaten a croissant, you know it’s heaven.  This recipe of Ham and Kerrygold Cheese version from the Sur La Table Cooking School is a keeper.  Making croissants can be a big time commitment, but the end result is worth the time.

Croissant Dough

Be sure to give yourself the time and counter space you’ll need to enjoy the process of making the dough.

Yield: about 24 croissants

Dough Block (Détrempe):

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm whole milk (110º F to 115º F)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sugar, divided
  • 4 teaspoons (3/8 ounce) active dry yeast or 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 4 cups (20 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (2 ounces) cold Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cold milk

Butter Block (Beurrage):

  • 3-1/2 sticks (14 ounces) cold Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream

To prepare the dough block: Pour the warm milk into a small bowl and whisk in 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Whisk in the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes, or until the yeast is activated and the mixture is bubbling.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, the salt, and cold butter pieces. Blend on medium speed until the butter is cut into tiny pieces and the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the yeast mixture and the cold milk. Switch to a dough hook and mix on lowest speed for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and has formed a very rough mass. Dust a work surface lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough 3 to 5 times, just to finish bringing it together. The dough will not be smooth or elastic; it will become fully kneaded and smooth during the rolling and turning process ahead. Don’t overwork the dough now or you’ll have trouble rolling it later. Wrap the dough loosely in plastic wrap (to allow a little room for expansion) and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

To prepare butter block: Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces, toss with the flour and refrigerate for 20 minutes. In the cleaned stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the floured butter on medium speed, scraping down the bowl once or twice with a bowl scraper, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the butter and flour form a smooth mass. You are not trying to beat air into the mixture, just make it pliable and smooth while keeping it cold. Scrape the butter onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, wrap it up, and refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

To incorporate the butter into the dough: Dust the work surface with flour. Set the dough in the center and dust the top with flour. Roll the dough into a 15 by 12-inch rectangle with a short side parallel to the edge of your work surface. Gently pull or stretch the dough to form straight edges and sharp corners. Brush any flour from the surface. Visually divide the dough crosswise into 3 equal, 5-inch-wide sections (you can lightly mark the dough with a ruler or the back of a knife if you wish). Spread the cold but pliable butter evenly over the top two sections of dough, leaving the bottom third empty and leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges of the buttered sections. This is best done with your fingers, since the butter isn’t quite warm enough to spread easily with a spatula. Alternatively, you can place the butter between two sheets of plastic and roll it into a 9-1/2 by 11-inch rectangle. Peel off one sheet of plastic, invert the buttered rectangle over the dough rectangle, center it, and peel off the other sheet of plastic.

butter block

To encase the butter with a letter fold (First turn): Fold the empty bottom third up over the center third of the dough. Then fold the top third down over the center. Pinch together the seams along the bottom and sides of the dough. Roll your rolling pin across the top briefly and gently 3 or 4 times to help seal the seams. This completes both the incorporation of the butter and your first turn of the dough. If the butter has become warm and squishy, wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour before continuing with the second turn. If you have worked quickly and the butter is still cold yet pliable, continue with the next turn.

Book fold (Second turn): Position the dough with the short side parallel to your work surface and the long fold on your left. Dust the dough with flour and roll it into a 20 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush any flour from the surface of the dough. Fold the dough using the book-fold method: Fold the two short edges into the center of the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch crevice between them. Line up the edges precisely and square the corners as you fold. Now fold one side over the other, as though you were closing a book. Roll your pin across the top of the dough briefly and gently 3 or 4 times to seal the seams. This completes your second turn. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Letter fold (Third turn): Remove the dough from the refrigerator, dust with flour and roll again into a 20 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush any flour from the surface of the dough. Fold the dough using the letter-fold method: Visually divide the dough lengthwise into 3 equal, 5-inch-wide sections (you can lightly mark the dough with a ruler or the back of a knife if you wish). Fold the bottom third up over the center of the dough, and then fold the top third down over the center, making sure to square the corners and fold as neatly and precisely as possible. Roll your rolling pin across the top of the dough again briefly to help seal the seams. This completes your third turn. The croissant dough is finished. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before cutting, shaping, and baking the dough.

IS_Croissant-2

Classic Croissants

This classic French pastry relies on good butter for flavor and good technique to get flaky layers. Once the dough is made and shaped, pay attention to the proofing process. During this last rise, the many layers of butter in the dough should remain cool. If the room is too warm, the butter will melt, and instead of forming flaky layers in the oven, it will leak out of the dough, covering the baking sheet in a pool of liquid butter and “frying” the bottoms of the croissants in the process. To prevent this, pick a cool room temperature spot for proofing the croissants, preferably 65ºF to 75ºF. Once they have risen, chill in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes just prior to baking. This will firm the butter, ensuring beautifully flaky croissants.

Yield: 12 croissants

  • 1/2 quantity Croissant dough
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

Lightly flour work surface and roll the dough into a 26- by 14- by 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise to form two pieces that each measure 26- by 7-inches. Position the rectangles so the long edges are parallel to the edge of your work surface. On each piece, use a ruler and paring knife or pizza cutter to make nicks along the top edge of the dough every 4-inches. Along the bottom edge, measure 2-inches in from the left side and make a nick; then add a nick every 4-inches after that.

To cut the dough into triangles: Line up your ruler with the top left corner and the first bottom nick (2-inches in from the left side of the dough). Cut along this line. This first skinny triangle is not a full croissant. You can use these “scrap” triangles to make baby croissants or simply sprinkle the surface with sugar and bake as a snack. Next, line up the ruler with the first nick on the top edge and the left corner bottom, and cut along that line, forming a full-size triangle. Then cut a line from the first nick on top to the first nick on the bottom to form the second triangle. Continue lining up the nicks and cutting until the whole sheet has been cut into 12 triangles. Mark and cut the second half of dough in the same way.

To shape the dough: Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Line up all the triangles so that their bottom (4-inch) sides are parallel with the edge of your work surface. Make a 2-inch vertical slit in the center of the bottom edge of each triangle. To shape, grasp a triangle and, with the wide end in one hand and the point in the other, very gently stretch the dough until it is a couple inches longer. Set it back on the table (notice how it resembles the Eiffel Tower). Pull the slit in the bottom apart slightly and roll the corners, upward and outward, widening the slit. Roll the entire triangle toward the tip, pulling gently on the tip to stretch the dough slightly. Tuck the tip under the roll (so it doesn’t pull out during baking) and place the roll on one of the prepared baking sheets. Curve the ends in toward each other to form a crescent shape. Continue stretching and rolling the dough triangles until you have shaped all the croissants and placed them 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.

To wash with egg and proof: Lightly beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl. Brush each croissant evenly with the egg wash. Cover the remaining egg wash and refrigerate to use later. Allow the croissants to rise in a cool room-temperature spot until they are nearly doubled in size and look like they have taken a deep breath, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of the room. If you squeeze one gently, it should feel soft and marshmallow-like. Don’t try to rush the rise by warming the croissants—you don’t want the butter to melt.

To bake the croissants: Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place a rack in the center. Chill the croissants in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This will firm the butter, creating a flakier texture. Brush the croissants once more with the egg wash. Bake one baking sheet at a time, rotating it halfway through, for 17 to 22 minutes, until the croissants are a deep golden brown. Transfer the croissants to a rack to cool.

Additional Tips:
Getting Ahead: You can spread the process of making croissants over 2 days. On the first day, finish making the dough. Wrap the dough loosely in plastic (it will expand slightly) and refrigerate overnight. The next day, roll, cut, shape, proof, and bake the croissants. You can also freeze the croissants already shaped. Place the croissants on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, then transfer them to resealable plastic freezer bags. They will keep for 4 to 6 weeks. To bake, transfer the frozen croissants directly to prepared baking sheets and let them defrost and proof at room temperature. Apply the egg wash after a couple of hours. The croissants should be ready for baking after about 3 hours.

Storing: Baked croissants keep, unwrapped at room temperature, for 1 day. For longer storage, wrap each croissant in plastic wrap and slip into a resealable plastic freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes, then reheat in a 350º F oven for 7 to 8 minutes, until the crust is crisped and the center is warmed through.

ham & cheese croissant

Ham and Cheese-Filled Croissants

The savory twist on the classic croissant combines salty ham with sharp cheese wrapped into warm, buttery dough. Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Yield: Makes 12 croissants

  • 1/2 quantity croissant dough
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
  • 6 thin slices smoked ham, halved
  • 1-1/2 cups grated Kerrygold Swiss or Dubliner Cheese

Lightly flour work surface and roll the dough on a floured surface into a 26 by 14 by 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise to form two pieces that each measure 26 by 7 inches. Position the rectangles so the long edges are parallel to the edge of your work surface. On each piece, use a ruler and paring knife or pizza cutter to make nicks along the top edge of the dough every 4 inches. Along the bottom edge, measure 2 inches in from the left side and make a nick; then add a nick every 4 inches after that.

To cut the dough into triangles: Line up your ruler with the top left corner and the first bottom nick (2 inches in from the left side of the dough). Cut along this line. This first skinny triangle is not a full croissant. You can use these “scrap” triangles to make baby croissants or simply sprinkle the surface with sugar and bake as a snack. Next, line up the ruler with the first nick on the top edge and the left corner bottom, and cut along that line, forming a full-size triangle. Then cut a line from the first nick on top to the first nick on the bottom to form the second triangle. Continue lining up the nicks and cutting until the whole sheet has been cut into 12 triangles. Mark and cut the second half of dough in the same way.

To shape the dough: Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Line up all the triangles so that their bottom (4-inch) sides are parallel with the edge of your work surface.
For each triangle, roll or fold a piece of ham so that it is slightly smaller than the width of the croissant base. Place the ham about 1/2-inch from the bottom of the triangle. Sprinkle 1 scant tablespoon of grated cheese on the top.

To shape, grasp a triangle and, with the wide end in one hand and the point in the other, very gently stretch the dough until it is a couple inches longer. Set it back on the table (notice how it resembles the Eiffel Tower). Roll the entire triangle toward the tip, pulling gently on the tip to stretch the dough slightly. Tuck the tip under the roll (so it doesn’t pull out during baking) and place the roll on one of the prepared baking sheets. Curve the ends in toward each other to form a crescent shape. Continue stretching and rolling the dough triangles until you have shaped all the croissants and placed them 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.

ham & cheese preview

To wash with egg and proof: Lightly beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl. Brush each croissant evenly with the egg wash. Cover the remaining egg wash and refrigerate to use later. Sprinkle with a little grated cheese over the top of each croissant. Allow the croissants to rise in a cool room-temperature spot until they are nearly doubled in size and look like they have taken a deep breath, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of the room. If you squeeze one gently, it should feel soft and marshmallow-like. Don’t try to rush the rise by warming the croissants—you don’t want the butter to melt.

To bake the croissants: Preheat the oven to 400º F and place a rack in the center. Chill the croissants in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This will firm the butter, creating a flakier texture. Brush the croissants once more with the egg wash. Bake one baking sheet at a time, rotating it halfway through, for 17 to 22 minutes, until the croissants are a deep golden brown. Transfer the croissants to a rack to cool or serve warm.

Recipe adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet

Start With A Little Indulgence – Cashel Blue Mini-Cheesecakes with a Pecan-Pepper Crust

No Comments 07 January 2015

Here we go: it’s the first blush of the new year, our resolutions are in place, poised to start afresh. Back to yoga, early to bed, less Real Housewives/more Charlie Rose, eat your greens (does it have to be kale?), whittle off those annoying ten pounds. Full of conviction, we turn a blind eye to cupcakes and pulled pork sandwiches, and reach for the lentils and more servings of fish. All goes well until about week three, when the sight of another green smoothie starts to make us sad. How to keep on the straight and narrow? We’ve done well, so how about a little reward? A tiny indulgence, a dollop of something rich makes it easier to keep a good thing going.

Take these mini blue cheese cheesecakes – they’re the perfect encouragement. Here two divine bites of a familiar treat turn sophisticated with the help of Cashel Blue. A gorgeous cheese at once buttery and bold, Cashel Blue makes an ideal partner for the toasty pecan crust. Make them savory or sweet – a small amount of sugar turns these from luscious appetizer to a uniquely delicious dessert. Want the perfect light lunch? Toss a big spinach salad with dried cranberries and pecans, with a pair of savory cheesecakes on the side. As dessert, the sweet ones speak for themselves, and are better still alongside a serving of sliced fresh pears sautéed in a dab of brown butter. Whether savory or sweet, make these treats your tasty high-five for starting the year off right.

Cashel Blue Mini-Cheesecakes with a Pecan-Pepper Crust

Preheat oven to 325 ° Fahrenheit

Ingredients for crust

  • ¾ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup pecan pieces
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, melted
  • Large pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Place breadcrumbs, pecans, pepper and salt in food processor
  2.  Pulse until pecans are finely ground
  3. Add butter and pulse a few times until mix begins to come together
  4. Line mini cupcake tins with paper liners
  5. Fill each cup with a teaspoon of crust mix
  6. Press down hard with fingertips or water bottle cap to make a firm, flat layer
  7. Chill tins and make the filling

Filling Ingredients

  • 12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Kerrygold Cashel Blue Cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Using a stand or a hand mixture, beat cream cheese and cream together until smooth  Note: Cream cheese must be room temperature or mixture will be lumpy
  2. Add egg, beat until fully incorporated, add second egg, beating until fully incorporated
  3. Once mixture is smooth, fold in crumbled Cashel Blue Cheese
  4. Fill cups evenly with cheesecake batter, to about three-fourths full
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes

Flaws to Cherish: Savory Glorious Stuffed Holiday Bread

No Comments 30 December 2014

This glorious stuffed bread is like the supermodel with a big gap between her two front teeth. That gap, which should be unsightly, makes her stand out from all the other pretty girls—and look even more beautiful.

And so it is with the oozing filling of this cheese, spinach and roasted pepper- stuffed bread. I have made it (and variations) perhaps a hundred times, and every time, no matter what I do, the filling finds a break in the wall and makes an escape from the bread. That ooze should be the ruination of this lovely bread, but it is not: it makes it all the more irresistible.

For one thing, most of the filling can be pushed right back in. (And the bits that can’t turn into crispy sheets of melted cheese that are the cook’s– and cook’s helpers’—special nibbles). For another, when the bread is completely baked, instead of looking like an ordinary loaf of bread, the hint of cheese and color along the edges gives you hints of what awaits you inside. It’s a little tease with a big payoff.

Savory Stuffed Holiday Bread

The red and green filling make this a perfect fit for your holiday table.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1-pound loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 7 ounces Kerrygold Aged Cheddar, shredded
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

christmas bread 2

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 30-60 seconds until no longer raw looking. Add the spinach and nutmeg and cook, stirring often, until the spinach is dry, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 10 x 14-inch rectangle. Leaving a 2-inch surface clear around the edges, place the red peppers so that they lie flat in an even layer on the dough. Top the peppers with the cheese; finish with a layer of the spinach.
  4. Fold both short ends of the dough up over the filling. Start on one long end and fold the dough over the filling to begin the roll. Continue rolling the filled dough, taking care to keep the filling in place as you go. Before you get to the end, brush the edge of exposed dough with some of the egg; finish rolling and squeeze the edge closed.
  5. Transfer the log, seam side down, to the prepared pan. Brush it with egg and bake in the center of the oven 15 minutes. Check the bread, gently tucking any oozing filling back into the dough if possible. Bake until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped, about another 17- 20 minutes.
  6. Allow the bread to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Kate McDermott’s Cranberry Pie

No Comments 18 December 2014

You may be surprised to learn that Cranberry Pie is another way to enjoy this seasonal fruit other than traditional sauce or relish we find on many holiday tables. If you enjoy a fresh sour cherry pie in the summer, you will love this pie made with cranberries. I use them fresh in season, and also freeze them so I can use them year round. Add a handful of chopped walnut meats to these bright red orbs of delightful tartness, and a bit of orange liqueur to the filling or in a small glass to pair with the pie when it is served.

INGREDIENTS
For one 9” pie
Serves 6-8

  • 1 qt (4 cups) cranberries, chopped (add some whole berries, too)
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch (there’s a lot of pectin in cranberries so very little thickener is needed)
  • A small pinch of nutmeg
  • A small pinch of salt
  • 1 oz orange (liqueur optional)
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped walnut meats (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Kerrygold Irish Butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Art of the Pie double crust recipe or your crust recipe of choice.

DSCF5154_2

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, salt, and optional walnuts and orange liqueur in a large bowl. Mix well with a spoon and set aside.
  2. Roll out bottom crust and place in pie plate and spoon cranberry filling into it. Dot top of filling with 1 tablespoon of Kerrygold Irish Butter broken into small pieces.
  3. Roll out remaining dough disk and carefully lay top crust over filling. Trim excess dough, crimp edges of pie and cut some vents in top crust.
  4. Separate egg white into a small bowl and fork beat with 1 tablespoon water. Brush crust with egg mixture and sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar.
  5. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until crust is just golden, about 40 minutes at 375 degrees F. Depending on your oven, it may take a little more time!

Note: Use a food processor to chop the cranberries quickly. I chop 3 cups of the cranberries and add 1 cup whole for a filling with varied texture.

BIO INFO
Kate McDermott is the creator and founder of Art of the Pie. Since 2006 she has taught the time-honored craft of pie making to thousands. One of the most highly sought after culinary instructors nationally, Kate is widely acknowledged as one of the best makers of pie ever. Named a “Food Rock Star” Kate has given her Art of the Pie workshop to food luminaries as well as receiving high praise from Ruth Reichl, former editor of “Gourmet”, Dorie Greenspan, Elise Bauer of SimplyRecipes.com and many others. She has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and countless other publications. Always friendly, fun, and down-to-earth, Kate, a practitioner of kindness, aspires to pass on the craft of pie making to as many as she can. More information about her classes and pie camps can be found at www.artofthepie.com.

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Sticky Toffee Puddings from the Sur La Table Kitchen

No Comments 10 December 2014

Make this decadent Sur La Table recipe with Kerrygold butter – a sneak peak into the Sur La Table kitchen.  Kerrygold butter is the official butter of Sur La Table Cooking Classes.

These little hot pudding-cakes are sweetened with a date purée flavored with coffee and the sauce is a creamy caramel. The combination is amazing. The same weight of fresh Medjool dates can be substituted when in season. Any extra sauce can be stored in a screw-top jar and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Use on crêpes, with apple pie or over ice-cream.

Yield: 6 (6-ounce) cakes

Cakes

  • 6 ounces dried Medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) hot water
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Toffee sauce

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Whipped cream, to serve

SurLaTable_logo

Heat the oven to 350º F. Butter 6 (6 ounce) custard cups and arrange on baking sheet.

To make cakes: In a medium bowl, combine dates and hot water and let steep just to soften the dates, about 10 minutes. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add dates with the hot water, espresso powder and vanilla bean paste and purée, about 30 seconds.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, a tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping down the sides as needed. Add date purée and mix lightly. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. The mixture will be quite sloppy.

Divide evenly between the 6 prepared custard cups, about 4 ounces in each cup. Each cup should be just over half full. Using the back of a spoon, make a hollow in the center using the back of a spoon to allow for even baking without a dome. Bake at 350º F for 35 minutes or until risen and golden.

Delicious Gifts – Cheddar-Black Pepper Shortbread Coins & Buttery Rosemary Pecans

No Comments 05 December 2014

As the annual cookie exchange beckons and your queue of holiday parties quickly fills, it’s natural to think of sugar plums, dancing or edible. But if the swirl of sweets just makes your head spin, try adding a few saltier delights to this year’s sugar plum rotation. Here, a sharp cheddar-black pepper shortbread and classic butter-roasted rosemary pecans offer deliciously savory ways to nibble. Whether you make them for your own festivities or offer them as gifts, these quick, easy recipes could not be more hostess pleasing or wine friendly.  Right with red, white or bubbly, they cozy up nicely to a cocktail as well. To tipple, to nibble,’tis the season!

Cheddar-Black Pepper Shortbread Coins

Ingredients

  • 4 oz (8 tablespoons) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • ½  tsp coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 oz Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Using electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, salt and black pepper together at medium speed, until just blended
  • Turn speed to low, add cheese and flour, mixing just until smooth – be careful not to overmix
  • Divide dough in half, form into logs, 1½” in diameter
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, chill for at least one hour (can be made up to a day ahead)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • On a lightly floured board, cut logs into ⅛” thick rounds
  • Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, one inch apart
  • Bake approximately 10-13 minutes, or until rounds are very lightly golden and the edges just begin to brown
  • Let cool briefly on baking sheet
  • Serve slightly warm, or let cool completely
  • Delicious with red wine, bubbly or cocktails
  • If not serving immediately, store in airtight container. Freeze dough for up to a month.

Buttery Rosemary Pecans

Directions

  • 4 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 4 cups pecans
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Spread pecans on large baking sheet in single layer and toast for 10-14 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant
  • Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat
  • Add rosemary, salt, sugar, stir briefly. Add pecans, stirring until butter is golden brown and nuts are thoroughly coated, 3-5 minutes
  • Spread nuts on parchment-lined baking sheets and let cool completely, stirring occasionally

Enjoy!

Miss Margie’s Guide to Magnificent, Frenzy-Free Thanksgiving Sides

No Comments 25 November 2014

We are pleased to have Marge Perry back again as a guest blogger this week. Marge is the publisher and author of the blog, A Sweet and Savory Life and her food writing appears frequently in Cooking Light, Everyday with Rachael Ray, Self, and more. She writes the daily Ask the Expert column for MyRecipes.com and is a long time newspaper columnist. She recently was awarded the Association of Food Journalists award for Best Food Essay of the Year.  Visit her blog and learn more about Marge.

There is the bird and there is dessert—and then there is everything in between. It’s those in-betweeners (aka side dishes) that cause so many cooks such consternation on this grand feast of giving thanks.

Let’s make this much easier. Let’s choose side dishes that can be made almost completely in advance, that won’t cause oven fires, or –worst of all– grease splatters on that new silk top or tie. Let’s prepare side dishes the day before. And yes, by all means, let’s acquire a few nifty tricks for making the logistics in that half hour before the feast completely frenzy-free—and, of course, making the meal outrageously, stupendously, impressively delicious.

Before:

  •  Menu planning is everything. If you have one oven, plan for only two (possibly three, depending on the size of your oven) dishes that reheat in the oven and/or bake in less than 30 minutes. (Nothing goes in the oven until the turkey comes out to rest for 20-30 minutes). The remaining sides should be easy to reheat on the stove or in the microwave—or be every bit as good served at room temperature (as is the case with the moist, tender Bacon Cheddar Cornbread below).
  • About 30-60 minutes before the turkey is cooked, take the sides out of the refrigerator. They will re-heat more quickly and evenly when first brought to room temperature.
  • Have all your serving vessels and utensils out and marked (with sticky notes) so you don’t have to scramble when the food is ready.

During:

  • When the turkey comes out, immediately adjust the oven racks. Place them one-third of the way up from the bottom and one-third down from the top.
  • Stagger large baking dishes in the oven so they are not directly on top of each other and rotate the pans halfway through cooking.
  • Run your serving dishes under hot water or through the rinse cycle of the dishwasher, which will get them nice and hot—and which, in turn, will keep the food warmer for longer.
  • Finish cooking blanched vegetables (like green beans) in the microwave under a damp paper towel and they’ll come to the table warm—and still crisp-tender.
  • Other veggies, like glazed pearl onions or carrots, may be reheated on the stove in a covered skillet.

When the Feast Begins (and the preparation is over):

  • Give thanks that you are gathered around the table with family and friends who, through efforts large or small, were able to join together.
  • Enjoy!

Turkey table

Bacon Cheddar Skillet Cornbread

This cornbread is wonderfully flavorful and stays moist when made early in the day, kept covered with foil until serving time, and served at room temperature.
If you prefer to serve it warm, you can get most of the work done the day before. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients (eggs, buttermilk and melted butter) in another. Cook the bacon ahead and reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat; combine the crumbled bacon, scallions and cheese in a separate container. When the turkey comes out, combine the ingredients as directed and place the skillet in the oven. Your timing will be perfect!

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ounces Kerrygold Butter, melted
  • 1 ¼ cups grated Kerrygold Cheddar or Vintage Dubliner, divided
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions (green part only)

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

  1. Cook the bacon in a 9-inch cast iron skillet; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and drain. Crumble when cool.
  2. Brush the inside surface—sides and bottom—with the bacon fat and drain off all but 1 tablespoon.
  3. Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  4. Lightly beat the eggs in a second bowl; stir in the buttermilk and melted butter. Stir the wet mixture into the dry until just combined; stir in 1 cup of the cheese, scallions and crumbled bacon and transfer to the skillet. Bake until the cornbread is golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese and bake until the cheese is melted, another 4-5 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Makes 8-10 servings

Tarte Tatin – An Upside-Down “Pie”

2 Comments 18 November 2014

The famous Tarte Tatin is an upside down “pie” made with apples that have been caramelized on the stove-top in Kerrygold Salted Butter and sugar. With a store-bought frozen puff pastry it is easy to make and a real show stopper at any dinner table. Be prepared that you may be asked to make many more!

Equipment

  • 1 baking sheet
  • 1 sheet parchment paper
  • 1- 10” cast iron skillet or a Tarte Tatin pan
  • 1 turkey baster
  • Serving plate that is about 1” larger than skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet of store-bought frozen puff pastry
  • 8 tablespoons of Kerrygold Salted Butter, cut into eight pieces
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • About 9 apples, peeled, halved, and cored (I used Spitzenbergs but any apples that hold their shape when cooked will do.)

DSCF4864

Procedure

  1. After defrosting a sheet of puff pastry, roll on a parchment sheet and trim to about an 11” round. Place the parchment with pastry on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill while you cook the apples.
  2. Evenly spread the sugar in the bottom of the heavy skillet and place the butter pieces on top.
  3. Take the peeled and cored apple halves and stand them up on top of the butter in two rings. The empty core section will be facing the peeled back of the next apple. The apples in each ring should all be facing the same direction. Pack them in snugly.
  4. Place the skillet over a medium high heat and cook for about 30 minutes. Adjust the heat occasionally if it is either bubbling too rapidly or not enough. With the turkey baster, occasionally draw up some of the bubbling caramel liquid and baste the apples.
  5. Halfway through the cooking, preheat the oven to 425 ° Fahrenheit.
  6. When the juices start to turn a deep golden color, quickly place the pastry over the hot apples and tuck the extra dough down around the edges.
  7. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry has puffed.
  8. Remove from the oven and immediately take a knife and run it around the edge of the pan.
  9. Place the serving side of a plate that is about 1” larger than the pan on top of golden pastry and quickly invert everything so that the skillet is now on top and the plate is on the bottom with the tart in the middle. Carefully remove the skillet. If any of the apples stick to the pan, just scoop them off with a spoon and place them back onto the tarte.
  10. Let cool a bit and serve warm.

Kate McDermott is the creator and founder of Art of the Pie. Since 2006 she has taught the time-honored craft of pie making to thousands. One of the most highly sought after culinary instructors nationally, Kate is widely acknowledged as one of the best makers of pie ever. Named a “Food Rock Star” Kate has given her Art of the Pie workshop to food luminaries as well as receiving high praise from Ruth Reichl, former editor of “Gourmet”, Dorie Greenspan, Elise Bauer of SimplyRecipes.com and many others. She has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and countless other publications. Always friendly, fun, and down-to-earth, Kate, a practitioner of kindness, aspires to pass on the craft of pie making to as many as she can. More information about her classes and pie camps can be found at www.artofthepie.com.

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A Fun Spin on a Holiday Staple — Cornbread Stuffing “Muffins”

No Comments 13 November 2014

Let’s face it — stuffing, the Thanksgiving essential, is not the prettiest dish. Though we dot it with dried cranberries, spice it up with sausage or brighten it with herbs, this casserole of bread and fixings can be unattractive and boring. By baking your favorite stuffing as “muffins” you get precisely that, individual servings that are crisp on top and on the sides and moist on the inside. In this charming presentation, they bake up quickly and the flavors of the ingredients really shine through. So grab your muffin tins and have a little fun with a holiday favorite!

Cornbread, Bacon and Apple Stuffing Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cornbread, cut in ½ inch cubes (store-bought cornbread works fine)
  • 6 cups firm white bread or sourdough, crusts removed, cut in ½ inch cubes
  • ½ cup (4 oz) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 4 oz. thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups peeled apple, finely chopped (you may also use crisp pears, such as Bosc or D’Anjou)
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 ¼ cups pecan pieces, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread bread cubes on rimmed baking sheets and dry briefly in oven 5-10 minutes. Lightly toast pecan pieces in oven, until just fragrant (3-5 minutes).  Place the bread in a large bowl.
  • In a large skillet, melt ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) of the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon, cook until browned. Add the onions, and stir until they soften, about 8-10 minutes. Add the apples (or pears) and soften another 3-5 minutes. Add the herbs and pecans, salt and pepper, mixing thoroughly.  Remove from heat.  Add vegetable mixture to bread and toss well.
  • Whisk broth and eggs together and drizzle over mix.  Toss well and let rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Generously butter the muffin tins, coating the sides and bottoms of the cups thickly. Spoon ½ cup of the stuffing mixture into each muffin cup, making certain to get a good mix of vegetables and bread in each cup.  Using back of spoon or the bottom of a ¼-cup, press well to compact the stuffing.  Mound another ½ cup or so of the remaining mix on top of the stuffing in each cup, pressing well with your fingers to hold shape.
  • Bake until tops are golden and crisp, 20-28 minutes.  Let cool and set in pan, approximately 15 minutes.  Using a small sharp knife, loosen around the edges and remove from tin.  Note: Any stuffing recipe can be turned into muffins, simply add beaten eggs (3-4 eggs per 12 cups of bread) just before baking, as detailed above.

Hold the Spuds – Easy, Buttery Cauliflower Mash

No Comments 07 November 2014

Our feasting holidays are right around the corner, and with them an avalanche of beloved carbs. For most, it’s simply not Thanksgiving without maple or marshmallow sweet potatoes, mounds of mashed potatoes and stuffing of one stripe or another crowding the table. Though we welcome this annual spread, you might want to make a little breathing room on that groaning board with this Buttery Cauliflower Mash. Simple to prepare, it’s a tasty twin to mashed potatoes, while offering a lighter spin on traditional spuds.

With just four ingredients, the dish needs little prep and cooking time is quick. Delicious as is, the mash also takes well to herbs and cheese — Kerrygold Cashel Blue Cheese beautifully accents the natural flavor of the cauliflower; and chives or dill add a bright note. Whether as a player on your holiday table or as simple weeknight side, this dish will have you loving “mash” in a whole new way.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cauliflower head (7-8 cups), trimmed into florets
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons Kerrygold Salted Butter
  • ½ – 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional:

  • ¼ cup (or more to taste) Cashel Blue Cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives or dill

Directions:

  • Steam cauliflower florets until quite tender, about 10-15 minutes
  • Transfer cauliflower to food processor or potato masher
  • Begin processing with 2 tablespoons butter and ¼ cup sour cream or yogurt
  • Add more yogurt or butter if needed to help mixture come together and balance flavor
  • Process until mixture resembles mashed potatoes; make it as smooth or lumpy as you like
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

If adding Cashel Blue, incorporate with the sour cream and butter.  Again, adjust the amount of cheese to your taste.
Once mixture is ready, stir in most of the herbs, sprinkling the remainder over the top.

Variations:

  • In place of the Cashel Blue, process with ½ cup grated Kerrygold Skellig or Aged Cheddar cheeses, and add plenty of black pepper
  • Stir in 2-3 tablespoons caramelized onions and a generous grind of black pepper
  • Reserve 2 tablespoons of the butter. Once the mash is ready, brown the butter and drizzle over the top of the dish. Sprinkle with minced chives.

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