Saturday, March 16, 2019

The BBB Bake up some Moroccan Ksra

Since Moroccan tagine happens to be one of my daughter's favorite dishes, when I found this bread that is traditionally served with tagine, I knew I wanted to try it out.  It is a flatbread with anise seed and in this version, barley flour or rolled barley.   (If you don't like anise you could always sub fennel or caraway I would guess.)  I expect it will be great with any stew or soup type dinner.  I couldn't find my rolled barley in the freezer, so I ground some pearl barley into flour.  If you can't find barley, you can always use whole wheat flour, rye or semolina.  I have seen this bread often topped with sesame seeds before baking, and it can be made on the grill as well.  You just have to be careful of hot spots and turn the flame down low while grilling and flip often. I think perhaps for my grill, preheat on medium instead of high.   I made my dough 3 days before I ended up using it and it will last up to 10 days in the refrigerator.  My grilled batch dough was 7-8 days old.  As it only needs a 30 minute rest before baking, this makes it a convenient flatbread to serve with dinner!  This batch makes two 7-8" wide, fairly thick rounds that are cut into wedges to serve.  You don't have to chill it first, but as it is somewhat sticky, it is definitely easier to work with after chilling.

We would love for you to try out this recipe and join in as a buddy baker this month!  This is a wonderful bread to quickly bake up to go with any meal. You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to me at eleyana (AT) aol (DOT) com, along with a photo and your baking experience by Mar. 31st and be sure to put BBBuddy in the subject line. You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month. New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

(Oh yes, I tried this bread as a sourdough and it worked just fine, but what was even better, I made half the dough into the flatbread and then a few days later decided to make the remaining half into sourdough waffles...  Seriously the best waffles EVER.  Lighter than air, melt in your mouth, tender and crispy.  And they reheated fabulously as well.  Two thumbs up from all family members, so a very versatile dough to say the least!  Another Babe did a proper sourdough conversion formula, but I just used the quick and simple rule to adapt recipes to sourdough: Substitute 1 cup of starter for each package of yeast, and then subtract about ½ cup of water and ¾ cup of flour from the recipe to compensate for the water and flour in the starter.)

Ksra (Moroccan Anise and Barley Flatbread)
from the New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes two 7-8" rounds

340g (1½ cups) Lukewarm water (100ºF or less)
5g (1½ tsp) dry yeast
8.5-12.5g (1½-1¾ tsp) kosher salt
3.5g (1½ tsp) whole anise seeds
45g (6 tbsp) barley flour or 35g (6 tbsp) rolled barley
407.5g (2¾ c + 2 tbsp) all purpose flour (I used half sprouted flour 50/50 spelt and kamut blend)

To make the dough:

Mix together the yeast, salt, anise and water in a large bowl or container.  Stir in the remaining ingredients with a large wooden spoon, dough whisk, or in a mixer with the paddle.  Mix until the flour is incorporated fully.

Cover and rest until the dough has fully risen and collapsed back down a bit, about 2 hours.  (I put mine straight in the fridge and didn't use it for three days!)

You may use the dough after the initial rise but it's easier to work with cold.  Dough will keep up to 10 days in the fridge.

To bake:

Divide the dough in half, dust with flour, and shape each portion into a ball by stretching the sides down to the bottom of the ball and folding under.  You may also work with only one portion of dough if you like, the other will keep in the fridge for another day.

Flatten each ball into a ¾" thick round and let rest on a parchment lined or cornmeal dusted pizza peel for 20-30 minutes.  Optional to sprinkle with sesame seeds or more anise seed.  Press lightly to help the seeds stick, or use an egg white wash to really hold them on!  Also optional to poke the dough with a skewer in a few places prior to baking.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450ºF.  Place a baking stone near the middle of the oven and a metal pan or broiler tray on an unused oven rack and heat a cup of water to use for steam while baking.  (If you do not have a baking stone, you can use an inverted baking sheet, a cast iron pan, a pizza pan, or the grill on med-high!)  (If you use a grill, you will need to flip the dough periodically.)

Slide rested loaf directly onto hot stone.  Pour 1 cup of hot water into the metal pan or tray for steam and quickly close the oven door.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes until richly browned and firm.

Don't let the cat steal it!  (He really wanted some.)

Allow to cool before cutting into wedges to serve.

Grilled Ksra

Baked Ksra

We enjoyed our first baked Ksra with kheema nariyal saag (beef curry and spinach), and after a week in the fridge for the other half of the dough, grilled up another flatbread to have with tagine.  The flavor of the sesame seeds was wonderful and smokey after grilling and the anise flavor had developed a little more.  Be careful to heat the grill well, but grill over a low flame and flip often, watching out for hot spots.  There will be large bubbles developing, it's very fun to grill this bread.  It is brilliant warm, with butter, and I used it for poached egg on toast as well.  Yum.

Fabulous for soaking up sauces!

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

Approximate nutrition for one wedge of flatbread made using half wholemeal flour and cutting each flatbread into eight wedges:


In case you're wondering about those fabulous waffles, here is what I did.  And I expect it would work with the standard recipe just as well as the sourdough version I made though I would recommend the dough be a couple days old for best flavor.  You don't need any more flour, the batter comes together right from the dough.

½ recipe Ksra dough, either sourdough or rested two days in the fridge.
¾ cup milk (I used cashew milk this time)
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 scant tbsp sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup)
¼ cup oil or melted butter

Preheat a waffle iron.

Combine dough and milk in a bowl, breaking up dough into small pieces and stirring to incorporate.  Don't over mix, just until most of the pieces of dough are broken down into the batter.  Stir in the egg, baking powder, soda and sweetener, and then the melted butter or oil.  Pour ¼ cupfuls onto a standard waffle iron and cook until golden brown.

Makes about 16 waffles.

Enjoy with berries, whipped cream, syrup, powdered sugar, or your favorite toppings.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Happy Pi Day! Chocolate Pecan Chiffon Cream Pie

Happy Pi Day!  March 14th is a great excuse to invent a pie and this one is for you chocolate lovers.  This pie was inspired by a little dessert recipe clipped out of a 1938 newspaper.  In a nutshell, it's a chiffon recipe.  That's it, just a chiffon puff in a dish.  Well I instantly knew I wanted to transform it into a pie, I love making chiffon pies.  I upgraded the recipe a bit and reduced the sugar significantly, wow!  Usually chiffon pies call for folding whipped egg whites into a chilled filling.  This means either using the raw egg whites from the eggs in the recipe, or using using pasteurized or powdered whites and saving the fresh ones for something else or even throwing them out.  I used to go with the powdered option, but this time I tried a different method; making a swiss meringue to pasteurize the egg whites, not have anything go to waste, and still ward off the food safety police.  Add a little melt in your mouth whipped ganache layer, some whipped cream, and you have a light and creamy, yet seriously decadent dessert that will satisfy any sweet tooth.  You can make it 12-14 servings, but really one of 14 slices will still leave you fully satisfied if you don't scarf it down too fast!

Chocolate Pecan Chiffon Cream Pie
14 servings

½ cup cream
1 cup good semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
1 tsp vanilla
small pinch sea salt

Filling and topping:
1 tbsp gelatin
2 tbsp Kahlua (coffee or water may be substituted)
¾ cup sugar, divided
4 eggs, separated
1¾ cups whole milk
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cream of tartar
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream, divided
¼ tsp gelatin (optional)
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 (10-inch) pie shell, baked and cooled (use your favorite recipe or even store bought)
½ cup roughly chopped pecan pieces, toasted
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted (for garnish)
12-14 pecan halves for garnish

Set aside your pre-baked pie shell.
To make the ganache layer:

Place chocolate chips into a heat safe bowl and set aside.  Pour cream into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Do not boil.  Pour cream over chocolate and allow mixture to sit for 2 to 3 minutes.  Once chocolate has melted, add vanilla and salt and stir together until it incorporates into a smooth ganache.  Place into a bowl and let cool in the fridge for 1 hour or until you can spoon some out and it keeps its form.   Remove from refrigerator and spoon about ¾ of the ganache into a bowl.  Reserve the remaining ¼ portion for garnish.  Whip the chilled ganache with a mixer until light and fluffy and almost doubled in volume, 2-4 minutes.  Make sure not to over-whip the ganache or it will become grainy.   Spread evenly in the bottom of the baked pie shell.

For the chiffon cream filling:

Combine ¼ cup sugar and gelatin in a 2 Qt saucepan.  Blend egg yolks and milk together and add to sugar mixture along with chocolate.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and mixture boils.  Remove from heat and stir in salt, Kahlua, vanilla and ½ cup roughly chopped pecans.  Chill in the refrigerator or an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and mounds up slightly when dropped from a spoon.  
Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and ½ cup sugar in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Whisk the mixture slightly, to break up the egg whites.  Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water on the stove.  Heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the egg white mixture is hot to the touch and has reached 145º F (63º C) on an instant-read thermometer.  Immediately remove the bowl from the heat and whip with an electric mixer until the meringue forms medium-stiff glossy peaks.  Cool to room temperature and fold into custard.  Whip 1 cup heavy cream until stiff.  Fold into mixture.  Pile into the cooled pie shell, spreading over ganache layer.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped pecans.  Heat the reserved ganache in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or until melted again.  Spoon into a sandwich bag and snip off a tiny portion of the tip.  Pipe in swirls over the top of the pie or you may simply drizzle the melted ganache with a spoon.  Refrigerate while you make the topping.

For the topping:

Whip the remaining cup of cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.  (Stabilize with ¼ tsp gelatin dissolved in a bit of heated cream if desired.  Add at the soft peak stage.)  Scoop or pipe onto the edge of the pie as desired.  Place whole pecans on each of the swirls of whipped cream, or even spaced around the edge.  Refrigerate for a few hours to fully set.

Approximate damage nutrition for one 14th slice: