Friday, July 24, 2009
I love the pleasure of working with yeast doughs. There is so much satisfaction in mixing and kneading and the smell of yeast always brings an incredible sense of anticipation. Watching the yeast work its magic and then experiencing the aromas that emanate during the baking process fully explain why we love pastry making.
Here is a yeast dough tucked with fresh cherries of the season and an almond frangipane. Although it’s a simple recipe, it does have a few stages. You can certainly make the cherry filling and frangipane a day or two ahead and keep them refrigerated. Once you have your dough proofed, it all comes together quickly and easily. Bake for about half an hour and you have a delicious sweet bread fit for a lovely brunch or as an afternoon treat with tea or coffee.
- I always roll my dough out and finish the pastry on top of a piece of parchment paper. This eliminates having to lift the pastry itself onto a baking sheet and having it lose its shape. Instead, simply lift or slide the parchment onto the baking sheet.
- I left the pitted cherries whole for a bit of texture, but puree them if you want a smoother filling.
- Substitute your favorite fresh fruit in season. Or soak some dried fruits and spices in the winter.
- Leave out the frangipane or replace it with pastry cream or lemon curd.
- Garnish with your favorite glaze or a crumb streusel for a sweeter version. I keep extra streusel in an airtight container in my freezer.
- You might also enjoy creating a Gâteau Basque this cherry season.
1 pkg active dry yeast (not instant)
1/2 C warm milk, divided
3 oz butter @ room temperature, cut into small pieces
1/4 C sugar
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/2 – 3 C flour
1 beaten egg + 1/2 t water for egg glaze
Heat the 1/2 C of milk just until it's warm. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 C warm milk with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Place the pieces of butter in the remaining 1/4 C of warm milk. When butter has melted, stir in the sugar, salt, vanilla and yeast mixture. Add the eggs and blend thoroughly. Slowly stir in about 2 1/2 C of flour. If necessary, add more flour by the tablespoon until you have a dough that is ready to handle.
Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
Press down on the dough and turn out onto a clean work surface or piece of parchment lightly dusted with flour. Roll out the dough to an approximate 15” x 10 1/2” rectangle. Spread a thin layer of frangipane, leaving a 1“ border on all sides. Top this with a layer of cherry compote.
Starting at the shorter end, pick up the dough gently and begin to form a flat roll. Keep folding over a couple of times. You should wind up with a pastry about 11” long and 4” wide. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Tuck the ends under and pinch gently to seal.
Let rise for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the pastry with egg glaze and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for about 35 – 40 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
1/2 C water
1/2 C sugar
2 T fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 1/2 lbs fresh cherries, pitted
Bring the sugar and water to a boil to dissolve. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil for just a minute or two and then reduce heat. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes until the liquid is syrupy and has reduced and the cherries are tender, tasting and adjusting for sugar and/or lemon juice as necessary. Cool. Can be made and stored in your refrigerator for a couple of days. Remove the vanilla bean and drain the syrup from the cherries before using.
1 C almonds
1/2 C sugar, divided
3 oz butter @ room temperature
1/4 t almond extract
1/2 t vanilla
2 T flour
Place the almonds and 1/4 C sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Grind until fine. Add the flour and pulse to combine.
Cream the butter and remaining 1/4 C sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Add the extracts and nut mixture and process until smooth. Can be made and stored in your refrigerator up to 2 days. Let sit at room temperature until it is spreadable.