Baking History

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Archive for the ‘Comfort Food’ Category

Cornmeal Muffins (Homegrown Gourmet #5)

Posted by bakinghistory on February 7, 2008

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Made with yellow corn meal and a touch of sugar, the corn muffin is the official muffin of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

                                roundup is HERE

This is my entry for the Homegrown Gourmet #5 blog event hosted this time by Gretchen from Canela & Comino and initiated by Bean’s Bistro.

Gretchen’s theme was Quick Breads and she specified that each entry should “somehow represent your home region, hometown, state, or area. Representation can feature a local ingredient, be a traditional dish from your area, or be a creative twist”.

I write from the beautiful State of Massachusetts, so for this event my entry could only be Corn Muffins, which are the official muffin of the Commonwealth.

This recipe gives buttery, very light muffins, with a pleasant crunchiness provided by the stone ground cornmeal, and a nice touch of sweetness. Ideally, they should be baked in cast iron muffin pans, which should be heated in the oven before being filled with batter. This would ensure that the muffins turn out crispy on the outside and nice and spongy inside. Otherwise, regular muffin pans will work almost as well, of course without preheating.

From the original recipe by Lucia Gray Swett

In: “New England breakfast breads, luncheon and tea biscuits, 1891—USA

Ingredients (the recipe can be halved)

1/2 cup (115 g) butter + a little extra to grease the pans

1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar

4 eggs, divided

2 cups (245 g) yellow cornmeal (stone ground)

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups (250 g) AP flour (unbleached)

2-1/4 (535 ml) cups milk

3 tsp baking powder OR 1 tsp baking soda + 2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). If you are using cast iron muffin pans preheat them in the oven.

If you are using baking powder, sift it with the AP flour. If you are using baking soda and cream of tartar sift the cream of tartar with the AP flour and dissolve the baking soda in some of the milk. Sift the cornmeal with the salt.

Cream the butter with the sugar, add the yolks, the AP flour (sifted with either baking powder or cream of tartar), and part of the milk (not the amount in which you dissolved the baking soda, in case you used it). Add the cornmeal and salt, then add the remaining milk (the amount in which you dissolved the baking soda if using it). Mix the ingredients quickly, by hand. Finally fold in the egg whites, beaten until stiff.

Grease the muffin pans with melted butter (using a small brush is best). Do this carefully if you preheated the cast iron pans in the oven. Fill each muffin cup for about 2/3 and quickly place them in the oven. Immediately lower the temperature to 400°F (200°C) bake until the muffins are puffed and golden, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

P.S. The book recommended using cream of tartar + baking soda as they would give better results than baking powder, and I found this to be true.


 

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Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cast-iron cooking, Comfort Food, Corn Bread, Grains, Muffins & Biscuits, Regional American Food, State Foods | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)

Posted by bakinghistory on January 17, 2008

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Comfort food: a bowl of creamy arroz con leche, lightly sweetened and flavored with cinnamon and lemon zest
cookoff200.jpg This is my entry for the 2008 edition of the Comfort Food Cook-Off hosted by Eve from The Garden of Eating.
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This type of rice and milk pudding is, for me, the ultimate comfort food. The texture is velvety and speckled with pleasantly chewy rice kernels, while the flavor is delicate without being bland or cloyingly sweet. It is also easy and quick to make—perfection is simple.
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From the original recipe by Calleja
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In: “La Mejor Cocinera”, 19….? –Spain
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Ingredients
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1 qt (1 l ) whole milk
1 cup (200 g) sugar
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1 cup (200 g) short-grain rice
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1 cinnamon stick
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zest of 1 (organic) lemon
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ground cinnamon to serve
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Rinse and drain the rice and set aside.
Place the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon zest in a large saucepan and bring slowly to the boiling point, add the rice and, on low heat, let it cook in the milk until the
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kernels are tender and the mixture turns creamy. Stir often to prevent scorching, and keep the heat low. It will take about 20-25 minutes, depending on the rice. If it
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thickens too much and the rice is not cooked through yet, add a little hot milk and continue cooking until the mixture reaches the right consistency and the rice is tender.
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Transfer the pudding into individual serving bowls (discard the cinnamon stick and lemon zest strips) and sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon.
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Serve either warm or chilled.
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Posted in Blog Events, Comfort Food, Desserts, Puddings, Rice, Spanish Cookery, Spices | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »