Français Kuchen

The wine industry… many people love its luxurious personality but few hold a well rounded education. My sweet friend, who sold wine for years, hosted a wine party this past weekend, doing her best to educate us in a short period of 4 hours. You can imagine the small percentage retained as we kept drinking! We drank wines from many  regions in France. Our pre-selected menu by Kimberly Stewart (author of Eating Between the Lines – http://eatingbetweenthelines.net/) consited of, you guessed it, french recipes! Each guest volunteered to make an item off the menu.  As I love to bake, I jumped on the dessert ~ Blueberry Apple Kuchen with hot cream sauce! Our party of 14 seemed to be pleased. Note: The dessert would be nothing without the cream sauce, so don’t skip it! 

Sally Schmitt’s Cranberry and Apple Kuchen with Hot Cream Sauce

(Makes 8 servings)

For kuchen:

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus butter for the baking pan

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup milk or light cream

3 to 4 Gravenstein or Golden Delicious apples

1 cup cranberries or firm blueberries

Cinnamon sugar: 1 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For hot cream sauce:

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter

For the kuchen: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a mixer bowl or by hand in a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and egg together until the mixture is fluffy and lightened in texture.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients and the milk alternately to the butter mixture. Do not overbeat; mix just until the ingredients are combined.

Peel and core apples. Slice them into 1/4-inch wedges

Spoon batter into the pan. Press apple slices, about 1/4-inch apart and core side down, into the batter, working in a circular pattern around the outside edge (like the spokes of a wheel. Arrange most of the cranberries in a ring inside the apples and sprinkle remainder around the edges of the kuchen. Sprinkle kuchen with the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center of the kuchen comes out clean. Set on a rack to cool briefly, or let cool to room temperature.

For the hot cream sauce: Combine the cream, sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat (to reduce the chances of scorching or boiling over) and let sauce simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, to reduce and thicken slightly. Serve hot sauce with the kuchen.

From “The French Laundry Cookbook” by Thomas Keller

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First Snow

Place 2 baguette slices and cheese on top of laddled soup and put in the broiler for 2-5 min

We had a Christmas preview here at the end of October. Denver received 3-6 inches of snow but northern Colorado was hit the hardest; 10-12 inches in places! The snow was so wet and heavy, many trees are severly damaged and I’m sure some in hospice care now. Knowing the forecast, I planned on making a heart-warming meal that night. With the ingredients bought the day before and my new Sur la Table bowls ready, I went to work making French Onion Soup & sandwiches! The recipe I used was extremely easy but give yourself a good 90 minutes (start to finish) to get it on the table.

My boyfriend and I sat by the fire enjoying our delicious soup next to the fireplace. And in true Halloween spirit we watched Casper the Friendly Ghost – who new Devon Sawa would diappear from our lives… I mean, where has that boy been???

I would absolutely recommend this recipe and hope you will try it too!

I will post the recipe in the next couple days.

Halloween Cupcakes!

I wanted to suprise my co-workers with a little Halloween treat this week. I chose Paula Dean’s Old Fashioned Cupcakes recipe. However, due to cost and availability, I had to substitute a few ingredients. Instead of whole milk, I used 1 cup of half n’ half. And I did not buy cake flour but sifted all purpose flour instead (I don’t recommend this).

 

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Old Fashioned Frosting, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.

Combine in a bowl both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until combined for about 3 minutes. Add in cubed butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Slowly add milk and vanilla to batter until completely mixed scraping down the bowl as you mix.

Scoop batter into baking cups filling about 2/3 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Cool and decorate with Old Fashioned Frosting.

Old-Fashioned Frosting:

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or other flavoring

Cream softened butter and add 4 cups sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat with paddle attachment until smooth gradually add the rest of sugar to reach frosting consistency*.

*Cook’s Note: Add more sugar to get this consistency.