Monday, December 19, 2016

Pull-Apart Scallion Swirly Bread


This is another post that started with a picture on Instagram.  I saw Sarah Jampel's picture of kubaneh from the Breaking Breads cookbook and was utterly transfixed.  Then it showed up again on the Food52 feed in a picture for their store's twine holder, but all anyone wanted to know was what the beautiful, crazy, swirly bread was on the right.  I managed to track down the recipe from my library's copy of Breaking Breads and tried it without even knowing what it was supposed to taste like.


The original was a bit too salty for my liking, but the picture above garnered the most likes I've ever gotten for an Instagram post!  I decided to take a cue from Molly Yeh's scallion pancake challah bread and try a hua juan version of kubaneh by brushing a mixture of scallions and sesame oil on the dough before rolling it up.  I also used a fresher yeast this time, and the results are pretty spectacular if I do say so myself.


The bread itself reminds me a lot of milk bread in that it's slightly sweet and very soft, yet the parts that get browned turn out a little crunchy from all the butter!  And even though you just apply a small smear of the sesame-scallion filling, it's so fragrant that the flavor gets infused throughout the whole roll.  It's definitely better when warm, so if you're eating it a day or two later, microwave it for 10-20 seconds to rewarm it.


Pull-Apart Scallion Swirly Bread (adapted from Breaking Breads)
makes 16 rolls

For the bread dough:
1 1/4 cups water
1 packet (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 stick butter, very soft

For the filling:
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a stand mixer bowl and allow to dissolve.  Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl, then add to the yeast and water.

Use the dough hook on low to combine the ingredients, then mix on medium-high until the dough comes away from the bowl cleanly.  Give the dough a few folds to form a nice, tight ball.  Cover the bowl and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.

Lightly butter a large plate (I usually use the butter wrapper to do this).  Divide the dough into 8 pieces, shape each into a tight ball, and place on the plate.  Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Mix the sesame oil, scallions, salt, and sugar in a small bowl.  Generously grease a 9" springform pan with the softened butter.

Use about a tablespoon of the butter to generously grease a clean 11" x 17" rimmed baking sheet.  Place one of the balls of dough on the baking sheet, smear a little more butter on top, and start pressing it out to cover almost the entire sheet.  Sprinkle some of the scallion filling across the middle lengthwise third of the dough.  Fold the top third of the dough down and then the bottom third up (like a business letter fold, but lengthwise).  Roll the dough up into a tight spiral and cut in half.  Place the cut sides up in the buttered pan.  Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.  Cover the bottom of the pan with a large piece of aluminum foil or place in another pan to catch any melted butter that leaks out.  Cover the pan and let the dough rise a final time for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Bake the bread for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 325°F.  Bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.  If there is any butter left, melt it and add it to any remaining filling mixture and brush on top of the rolls.  Serve warm.


Next:  Chocolate Babka
Previously:  Cranberry Curd Tart
Two Years Ago:  Puppy Chow Pie
Three Years Ago:  Miso Pumpkin Soup
Four Years Ago:  Homemade Ramen Noodles
Seven Years Ago:  Tim Tam Slam Ice Cream
Eight Years Ago:  Pork and Cabbage Dumplings

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cranberry Curd Tart


When I first saw NYT Food's Instagram post featuring a cranberry curd tart I knew I needed to make it if only because of how gorgeous it was.  But each time I made it I couldn't figure out how to photograph it so that the picture would do it justice.  Which meant I just kept making it over and over again.  Awful, I know.  Then this last time I got a pomegranate in my Boston Organics delivery and decided to try sprinkling some on top of the tart for some contrast, and it finally looked as good as it tasted!  They also give the tart a little crunch and freshness to cut all the richness.

For the crust, instead of the using the hazelnut crust in the original recipe, I used Smitten Kitchen's "great unshrinkable sweet tart shell" because hazelnuts are expensive and it's pretty much a no-fail recipe.  To save time and effort, I usually end up just pressing the dough into the tart pan right after making it (starting with the edges), docking it, and then freezing it for 30 minutes before blind baking it with the buttered aluminum foil on top.  Feel free to use whatever tart crust you prefer, though, as long as it's blind baked beforehand.  I can see Thomas Keller's pine crust tart crust being amazing for this recipe.


For the cranberry curd, make sure that you don't overcook it after adding the eggs, because the egg whites curdle really easily if the mixture gets too hot.  Since it's kind of hard to tell when it starts to thicken, the sign I look for is when steam starts rising off the top.  You definitely don't want the mixture to start bubbling, and it helps to keep stirring to distribute the heat.


Cranberry Curd Tart (adapted from The New York Times)
makes a 9" tart

Your favorite 9" sweet tart crust, blind baked
12 oz. cranberries
1 cup sugar
Juice and zest from 1 orange
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolk
Pomegranate arils, for garnishing (optional)

Heat the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and zest in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until the cranberries have popped and softened, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a food mill or sieve and push the cooking liquid into a medium bowl.  Place butter in the saucepan and pour the liquid back into the saucepan.

Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in the bowl, then add a couple of ladlefuls of the liquid into the bowl and whisk to temper the eggs.  Pour everything back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and steam just starts coming off.  Cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Pour the cooled curd into the blind-baked tart crust.  Bake for 10 minutes to set the curd.  Allow to cool completely before garnishing with pomegranate arils.


Next:  Pull-Apart Scallion Swirly Bread
Previously:  Pear Apple Cranberry Slab Pie
Two Years Ago:  Pull-Apart Thanksgiving Leftover Stuffed Bread
Three Years Ago:  Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango
Four Years Ago:  Vanilla Passion Caramels
Seven Years Ago:  Wah Guay (Taiwanese Rice Cake with Meat Sauce)