Sunday, July 19, 2009

The verdict

I actually tried out two 101 cookbooks recipes for the brunch today; the lasagna tart and the savory zucchini-ricotta cheesecake. I edited the tart recipe, but I made the cheesecake as written except for using part mascarpone instead of all ricotta, making it a little richer. I used about 1/3 mascarpone, and the rest part-skim ricotta - a scant cup of mascarpone replacing that much of the 2 1/2 cups ricotta called for in the original.

The verdict? Both were quite delicious, but I liked the cheesecake better, even though I did not expect to like it at all. And it's another gluten-free dish to add to my repertoire. I set it on a footed serving dish, with a wreath of dill fronds around it, so it looked and smelled great - but did not take a picture, shucks.

The other recipe that I tried for the first time was this King Arthur Flour no-knead sticky buns - applying the currently fashionable no-knead method to a sweet dough. You make a very wet dough, and then instead of kneading - it's too gooey to knead, anyways - you let it rise for a long time to develop the gluten and structure.

Applying the no-knead method to sweet rolls is a great idea - they were wonderful. It's common practice to give sweet doughs a long rise, often under refrigeration, especially if the dough has lots of butter in it - it firms up and gets much easier to handle. I messed with this recipe a bit too. I made the dough as is, but played with the filling, and topping. I knew that if I put both brown sugar and honey in the topping, the rolls'd be way too sugary. I buttered the baking pans, liberally, and drizzled in honey to coat, probably about 3 - 4 TBLS per 9-inch pan, and then put in chopped pecans (actually crushed - bashed with a rolling pin while still in their plastic bag, my current fave way to chop nuts because it's neater than using a knife & cutting board). For filling, the recipe recommend King Arthur bakers' cinnamon filling, which is sugar, cinnamon, and dried shortening - you mix it with water. So, instead of using just white sugar and cinnamon as the recipe says to sub for the filling product, I used melted butter, brown sugar, a little white sugar, cinnamon, and just enough water to get a nice spreadable paste.

Yum. See that big piece out? I ate that all myself.

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