Friday, February 26, 2021

Pistachio Bundt Cake - doctored cake mix

This is a favorite recipe for dessert in a pinch.  I have had it for at least 20 years, modified from one that came with my original bundt pan, and is simply a doctored cake mix.  It really is a lovely cake though.  This one turns out very light and chiffon like, with a pretty pale green color and excellent flavor.  Hubby loves pistachio, so this is one that has always been a favorite of his.  Though he usually sugars out pretty quickly, this is one of those rare desserts he will come back and keep taking slivers of to snack on.

You could add a little extra green food coloring to this mix to give a nice St. Patrick's Day cake!

Pistachio Bundt Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix (18.5oz.) (Cake mixes are 16.5 oz nowadays, but this recipe still works fine.  If you want a slightly more dense cake, try one less egg.)
4 eggs
1 cup orange juice
cup oil
1 pkg. instant pistachio pudding mix

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, orange juice, oil, and pudding mix.  Beat using a hand or stand mixer at low speed for 1 minute, then beat at high speed 3 more minutes.  The batter will lighten in color and be smooth and thick.  Pour batter into a well greased and floured bundt pan and level with a rubber scraper.  Bake at 350ºF for about 45-60 minutes or until cake tests done.  (Time will vary by oven.)  Cool in pan 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.  Top with glaze.
~1¼ cups sifted confectioners powdered sugar (Use 1½-1¾ cups for a thicker glaze like the very top picture, and 1¼ cups for a slightly thinner glaze like the picture below, as desired.)
2 tbsp orange or lemon juice
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Stir together until smooth.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Non Bread for #BBB Baker's Dozen Anniversary!

Non is a traditional flatbread baked throughout Central Asia.  This bread is typically produced in a searing hot tandoor oven by slapping the dough against the clay walls to bake.  For those home bakers that do not have access to a tandoor, (raises hand), cranking up the oven as high as it will go and using a pizza stone or baking steel can help approximate the tandoor and give the characteristic chewy, elastic texture.  Also, it is cultural tradition to eat this bread by tearing off pieces, not by cutting. (If you hadn't guessed, Non was what we baked for the Bread Baking Babes' Baker's Dozen Anniversary!)

 One rather fascinating aspect of this bread is that it uses a spoked stamp, also known as a chekich, to decorate the bread before baking.  Sometimes these Uzbek bread stamps are used all over the dough and sometimes just in the middle for a single decorative mark.  They are not absolutely essential to the bread however, which can be imaginatively decorated using many kitchen implements, the easiest of which is simply a fork and shears or scissors.  I will add that the dough does need to be gently flattened all across the center, leaving just a small ring around the edge.  Otherwise the dough will swallow up the beautiful design of the stamp, as happened to me.  I used the floral patterned stamp in my center and surrounded it with little flowers using a wax stamp.  Those exterior patterns at least stayed in perhaps a lamentable pattern.  Fortunately, this is a nice little bread, easy to try again and easy to double when you decide you love it.  Some of our Babes have baked it dozens of times now!

I did do something possibly sacrilegious as I was looking at a Turkish bread recipe around the same time.  I added a little oil (1½ tbsp) to my dough to soften it a bit.  After all, the dough is kneaded on an oiled surface...  So my results are probably softer but still have a little chew to the bread.  At any rate, very tasty!

We would love for you to try this beautiful and tasty bread and bake along with us this month!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to our host by the 29th of this month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Non Bread
makes 1 flatbread


    190 g plain flour or desired blend of whole grain flour (I used all purpose and flax seed meal)
    1½ tsp fast-action dried yeast (I used instant yeast)
    ¾ tsp  salt
    ½ tsp caster sugar (optional)
    125 ml water
    oil or melted lard
    ½ tsp black onion seeds (Nigella, Charnushka), or sesame seeds

Allow 2 hours for the initial rise and 45-75 minutes for the final proving stage.

Put the flour(s) in a large bowl or mixer, add the yeast to one side and the salt and sugar, (if using), to the other. Make a well in the middle and pour in 125ml water while mixing thoroughly. Add enough water to make a sticky dough. Turn the dough onto an oiled surface and knead for 10 minutes until no longer tacky and the dough is soft and smooth. Return to the bowl, cover, and leave to rise for about 2 hours, until at least doubled in size.

Knock the air out of the dough and form it into a wide, rounded disc.

Set on a wooden board or peel, lined with a piece of baking parchment or sprinkled with semolina, and cover again with the tea towel. Leave to rise for another 45-75 minutes, or until doubled in size again.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 260°C/500ºF, or as hot as it will go, and put a pizza stone or baking sheet in to heat up.  The oven and stone both need to be screaming hot. Make a wide indentation across the middle of the bread by pressing with the heel of your hand, leaving just a doughnut-shaped ring around the edge. Create a pattern in the middle using a non bread stamp or the tines of a fork. Brush the top with oil or lard and sprinkle with the onion seeds. Trim the excess parchment from the sides of the bread to keep it from scorching.

Put a handful of ice cubes on the floor of the oven – these will create steam. (I, of course, forgot this part).  Use the board to lift the bread to the oven and carefully slide it onto the preheated stone or tray. Bake for 13-15 minutes. The top should be golden and the loaf sound hollow when tapped underneath.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Grilled Fruit Pizza #BreadBakers


I remember making little English muffin pizzas for an old bachelor neighbor up the road that we had invited over for dinner with our family when I was around 9 or 10.  It was a recipe in a cookbook for boys and girls that my Great Grandmother had given me for Christmas.  


I still have that book.  They were something new and I was immensely proud of myself.  I recall being a little crestfallen when he asked what it was, but we enjoyed them nonetheless.  When I saw the theme of Pizzas! chosen by our host at Karen's Kitchen Stories, I figured I would try something new again.

So this month I decided to try out a fruit pizza on the grill!  I would suggest doing this with in-season fruit or perhaps frozen fruit, but the options are many.  I didn't get my barbecue heated up quite screaming hot enough, so I finished mine under the broiler just to get the middle browned, but the crust was perfectly done on my baking stone in our small grill.  I wish I would have had some lime thyme to sprinkle on top, which is fabulous, but mine did not winter over.  It never does, I need to find a more sheltered place to plant some!

Fruit Pizza on the Grill 
makes 2 crusts

1 pound pizza dough (your favorite recipe or store bought)
Polenta, cornmeal or semolina for dusting peel (amaranth, ground up, makes a great corn free substitute!)
⅓ cup mascarpone cheese
⅓ cup whole milk ricotta (set on a paper towel for a few minutes if it looks at all watery)
1 tbsp crystallized/candied ginger, finely minced
2 tbsp honey, apricot preserves or marmalade 
zest of a lime, divided in half
fresh lime or lemon thyme, optional (it does need to be fresh, not dried)
stone fruit of choice, sliced fairly thinly - nectarines, peaches, apricots or plums could work
A handful of fresh berries of choice

Turn up the grill for high, indirect heat. Set a pizza stone so it’s not directly over the flame.  The grill should be heated to at least 500°F to 550°F.   Allow enough time for grill to preheat when assembling the pizza.  (If baking in an oven, set as hot as the oven will go, 500-550ºF.)

Stretch or roll out pizza dough to about 14-inches. Scatter a tsp of cornmeal over a wooden pizza peel or rimless cookie sheet and and move the crust over. Give a little shake to make sure the pizza slides freely. Add a sprinkle more cornmeal if necessary. 
Stir together the mascarpone, ricotta, half the lime zest, and the honey or preserves and then spread it over the crust. Arrange sliced fruit over the pizza and then scatter with berries and fresh thyme.

Slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone and close the grill cover for about 8 to 12 minutes (depending on the heat of your grill) or until crust is golden brown and blistered and the cheese mixture is bubbling. Remove from grill and scatter remaining lime zest evenly over and top with a drizzle of honey.  Slice, serve, and enjoy. 

Be sure to check out our other pizza participants this month!

 #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.