Once Upon a time: Cooking … Baking … Traveling … Laughing …


BBB ~ Baked Cherry Doughnuts

These were fun and easy to put together. We enjoyed them, friends thought they were excellent. The sugar is perfect in these, not over the top sweet but still a treat.

Pat from “Feeding My Enthusiasms” found and adapted this from a recipe by Robert Jorin, of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY
The spice is perfect and the cherries were excellent. The grandkids would think these were fabulous and they could participate.
For my part, this is not the way I would want to use my sugar calories so I probably won’t make them again. Besides, since I grew up with my Dad’s fresh fried yeast doughnuts, not much else comes even remotely close.  I am glad to have baked them so I thank you Pat.


BBB ~ Baked Cherry Doughnuts
1 cup dried Michigan cherries
1 quarter oz. (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cups brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour (I added about another 1/2 cup in 1 tablespoon increments)
I had no AP flour so used: 130 grams bread flour, 250 grams whole wheat pastry flour + extra bread flour about 1/2 cups
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk all I had was buttermilk, warmed
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
113 grams unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
parchment paper


1. In a medium bowl, cover currants – or diced dried fruit of your choice – with hot water and let stand until softened, 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir yeast with 2 tablespoons warm water and a pinch of sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.
I have not done this for years. I simply add the yeast to the flour and the liquid all at once.

3. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, combine flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon with 1/4 cup of sugar. Add milk, egg, egg yolk and half of softened butter; beat at low speed for 3 minutes. Beat in yeast mixture, then add salt. Beat dough at medium speed until soft and silky, about 8 minutes; the dough should pull cleanly away from bowl.
My KitchenAid mixer is still packed and I believe in the shed. I didn’t really have any problem mixing this by hand. I did add extra flour before it became a silken dough.

4. With machine on, add remaining softened butter to dough in walnut-sized lumps, beating at low speed between additions until incorporated.

5. Drain Michigan dried cherries in my case, pressing out any excess water. Add to dough and beat in at low speed.

6. Transfer dough to a greased bowl, turn to coat dough with grease. Cover and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour. Punch dough down, form into a ball, and return to bowl. Cover and let stand until billowy, 1 hour.

7. Grease two large baking sheets. (Or line with parchment or foil.) Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface & cut it into 12 equal pieces. Pinch each piece into a ball and arrange six balls on each prepared baking sheet, smooth side up. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes.

8. Using lightly floured hands, press each ball into a flat 4-inch disc. Using a 1 1/4-inch round cutter stamp out center of each disc. Return holes to baking sheets. There will be six donuts and six donut holes on each sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour, until risen slightly.

9. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake donuts and holes for 25 minutes, shifting pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking time. Donuts are done when they are golden and puffy and when the internal temperature at thickest part registers 200 degrees F.

10. Spread sugar in a shallow bowl. Brush hot donuts and holes on both sides with melted butter and dredge them in sugar. Transfer to a serving dish and serve at once.


And yes I used the crunchy sparkling sugar! that is worth the WOW.

Hope that you enjoy these between now and December 29th…which will get here sooner than you think. If you do, send Pat an email at plachman at sonic dot net along with a photo and your baking experience and she’ll include you in the Buddy post, plus send you a gorgeous Buddy Badge designed by Elizabeth.


BBB Modern Lardy Cake Bread – can cake be bread?

Lien at Notitie Van Lien our lovely Kitchen of the Month has brought Babes and Buddies just a wonderful new but old bread: Modern Lardy Cake … not don’t get up in arms, this is really not cake, it is bread. I will tell you it is a delight as a sweet dessert like bread (or cake if you like) after dinner and it is equally delightful at breakfast! Call it bread or call it cake or call it cake bread but I can tell you it’s so good. The bonus is it is Christmas Holiday perfect.

Thank you Lien in so many ways.

Thank you Lien in so many ways.

Among the Babes, we talked wildly and I think radically about lard, butter, goose fat, duck fat: as possibilities for use in this recipe. If I’d been in a full kitchen and been able to find fresh lard (not hydrogenated like the grocer tried to sell me) and duck fat, I’d be baking this with each. As things worked out all I could come up with for the fat was salted butter from my local dairy. I used all the salt called for in the recipe and the salted butter as Lien and several others thought it needed more. And I’d seek out a special dried cherry mix that Gorn really enjoys. Pick a dried fruit or dried fruit combo that you enjoy and this bread will be spectacular. I might even go really crazy and put in a few walnuts. You know I really enjoy savory but this is just the right sweet. We loved it.


Check out all the Babes, you’ll find all sorts of variety but I think you’ll find we all enjoyed this bread and you’ll want to get in the kitchen and bake!

Lien found this recipe in “Warm Bread and Honey Cake” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. I have the book and it is everything you want in a warm baking kitchen.

Lardy Cake: Modern

Recipe By: Lien from “Warm Bread and Honey Cake” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
Yield: 9 inch round springform

Lardy Bread Cake

375 grams strong white flour – bread flour, I used half white whole wheat/whole grain
20 grams flax seed meal
1 ½  teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
35 grams butter, melted and cooled
200 milliliters milk, warmed

I love this container. It's so easy to tell when a dough has doubled in volume.

I love this container. It’s so easy to tell when a dough has doubled in volume.

100 grams butter, softened
75 grams soft dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, I used 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
50-75 gram currants or raisins (or a mix), I’ll try closer to 100 grams next time
beaten egg, to glaze


1. Put all the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead  (preferably with a dough hook in a heavy duty mixer) until smooth and supple. Bring the dough together in a ball and return to the bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  That heavy duty mixer … oops it’s still in it’s box. So I’m here to tell you “Don’t give a worry, you can do this without a mixer.” I did need to add a little more water than recipe called for. Toward the end of kneading I would dip my hands in a little water until I got a supple dough.

2. To make the filling, mix butter, sugar and spices together until creamy.

An easy mix when the butter is room temp.

An easy mix when the butter is room temp.

3. Knock the risen dough back and re-knead it briefly. Roll it out to a rectangle  about 50 x 25 cm (20 x 10 in). Spread the filling evenly over two-thirds of the dough sheet, leaving one outer third empty and about 4 cm (1 ½ inch) on all sides. If using, sprinkle the dried fruit over this and press down to embed. Fold the empty third over the middle third and the remaining third over this. Pinch all the edges well to seal the filling in. Cover with a sheet of clingfilm and leave to rest for about 5 minutes to relax.

4. Give the parcel a quarter turn and roll it into a rectangle about 30 x 15 cm (12 x 6 in). Fold into thirds again and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Repet this procedure three more times, turning the dough by a quarter turn and rolling and folding. If you find you are losing too much filling, omit the final turn.

5. This is a delicate, difficult and messy work as the filling oozes out in weak spots. You might want to read that again: This is a delicate, difficult and messy work as the filling oozes out in weak spots. Don’t get too caught up in leaks, just go with it.

Patch them up as good as you can and continue to work. All the oozing bits will caramelize nicely as the cake bakes. Oh my did we ever get some smart remarks on our bottoms! But you don’t want to lose too much filling as the laminating effect. Grease the tin and put the dough packet in it, then flatten it with your hand to fit it in as well as possible. Cover with clingfilm and leave it to rise until almost doubled.

6. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

Who knows where the springform was, into the oven it goes.

Who knows where the springform was, into the oven it goes.

7. Brush the dough with beaten egg, then lightly score a cross-hatched pattern onto the surface. Don’t cut into the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutesj or until brown. Remove from the oven, but leave in the tin for about 5 minutes. Carefully release the clip and turn the cake upside down on a wire rack. Remove the bottom of the tin, which will probably still be attached to it, and leave to cool further. Eat lukewarm or cold, cut into wedges or slices.

Bottoms up and out of the oven.

Bottoms up and out of the oven.

Don’t be shy … I know your busy but really this was very friendly dough and would make a treat for anyone special on your list at any time but probably most especially now.  Tell us what your experiences were with this bread and send Lien (notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)come) your details so she can include you in a round up. Deadline 29th of December.

Does it make good toast? Oh my heavens yes! Good for breakfast, afternoon snack and dinner treat! Now BAKE!

Does it make good toast? Oh my heavens yes! Good for breakfast, afternoon snack and dinner treat! Now BAKE!



BBB ~ Dessert or Breakfast ~ Gâteau À La Crème ~ It’s Bread

First, Kitchen of the Month: Lien from Notitie van Lien (Lien’s Notes).

You want perfection, she’s got it.


You want to learn from mistakes, I’ve got that or at least some of them, I’m sure I could mess this up and will when I bake it the next time but I will be baking this again.  The above was my freeform attempt at this gateau, not what I’d call success.


Before she baked this bread, Lien was curious about all those eggs and butter in the recipe, saying “I tend to have a lot of problems with doughs like that, which have a hard time rising. So lots of eggs, really lots of eggs, lots of butter, crème fraîche….I think the amount of servings should be 6 to 8 instead 4-6.”   Trust me friends, Lien did not have trouble with this one, her gateau is a work of art!  You can have it as a dessert, which we did once but it goes great with coffee as breakfast which I did twice.  Yes I know life is so hard when you have to eat brioche.

Gâteau À La Crème

Recipe By: Lien: adapted from Raymond Blanc “From Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets”

Serving Size: 4 (6-8)
Yield: 1 gateau and 1 loaf or in my case however you like to swing it


For the BRIOCHE DOUGH (enough dough for 4 small, 3 larger gateau or use the left over dough to make a loaf or brioche rolls)

500 grams  untreated strong plain flour, (1lb 1½oz)preferably organi


{I admit I used 200 grams white whole wheat (with 300 grams bread flour to total the 500 grams) and 20 grams of ground flax and will do both again}
7 grams sea salt
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
7 free-range eggs, preferable organic
300 grams (10½oz) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
For the crème FILLING  (makes 1/2 liter, enough for 2 small gateaux / double the recipe if you want to use all the dough for gateaux)
6 free-range egg yolks, preferably organic
50 grams caster sugar
75 grams lemon juice, juice and zest (1 1/2 lemons made the juice)
250 ml (8¾fl oz) crème fraîche
GLAZE – Admit: I totally skipped this
2 free-range egg yolks, preferably organic (1 eggyolk or 1/2 whisked egg is more than plenty)
1 TBsp caster sugar (optional)
20 g (¾ oz) butter, cut into cubes (optional)
1 TBsp nibbed sugar, to decorate

Directions:1.  For the brioche dough, place the flour, salt (actually I held the salt out until I mixed in the eggs), sugar and yeast (keeping the yeast away from the salt as it will attack it and damage its ability to ferment), in an electric mixer bowl. Add the eggs and mix with a dough hook attachment for 5 minutes on low power until the eggs are completely incorporated (alternatively, place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together for 5 minutes).  I did use the old KitchenAid in this case and it has lived to tell the tale.2.  Increase the speed of the machine or your stirring and mix for another 5 minutes until the dough comes away from the edge of the bowl. Then add the cubes of butter and continue to mix for 2-3 minutes until completely incorporated.3.  Remove the bowl from the machine, if using, then cover and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to prove, then chill the dough for a further hour (it will be easier to work with).  I believe next time I’ll divide the dough at this point and refrigerate half immediately for a day; making this two days for baking.4.  Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6. (make that 180ºC or the rim gets too dark) – I baked mine at 400° F and only my escapee got to dark.5.  Lightly flour a work surface and your hands. Take 300 g of the brioche dough and bring it together with the palms of your hands to form a ball, then place it on a baking tray and flatten it slightly. Starting from the middle of the dough, gently press the dough flat and spread it out to form a circle to approx 20 cm (8 in) in diameter, but leave a 2 cm (1 in) gap from the edge as this will create the rim of the tart. Be careful not to stretch the dough and try to keep the base even in thickness.

6. Cover with a clean tea towel and place the dough in the warm area for 25 minutes or until puffed up.

7. For the crème filling, mix the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice together in a large mixing bowl and gradually mix in the crème fraîche. Set aside.

8. For the glaze, brush the rim of the gateau with the egg yolk and prick the base of the dough evenly with a fork to help the even cooking and rising of the dough,sprinkle with the nibbed sugar . Pour part of the crème mixture in the middle of the dough, sprinkle with the caster sugar and dot with the butter, the rest of the filling should be poured in when the baking sheet is already in the oven, so it won’t spill and

9. bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the brioche has risen and the filling is set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, then serve.

Because I’m the savory girl that I am, yes I had to bake this with a savory filling.  Because my affair with spinach knows no bounds, the savory filling uses spinach.  Because when I went to the market for the crème fraîche, there was quark sitting right next to it – I went into such a frenzied happy dance in the store they almost had be removed – the spinach filling has quark in it!  I’ve never found quark in an American market until now.
IMG_3142These I did in tart pans.  Like the way the dough fell into the filling here and will try for more of that next time.
IMG_3145 IMG_3148
Will try for less dough on the bottom and more up the sides next time.
8 ounces quark
1 large egg
3 cloves garlic, crushed
salt & pepper
spinach, chopped

next time bacon! with the spinach! oo la la YES!
touch herb: rosemary, thyme, what’s your favorite

Lien’s original recipe is delicious lemony and rich and perfect for easter breakfast or coffee with all that butter and eggs. Don’t forget to check out the other Bread Baking Babes (links in the side bar).  And we really really enjoyed the lemon!  But for me, I would pick the spinach filling and good grief quark is just heavenly!  I went right back to the store and got three more containers!  Gorgeous!


But regardless of what you fill it with, brioche is still bread elevated to an all time high.  It reheats so wonderfully crisp!


You just want MORE!


If you wanna give this one a bake too, you’re all very welcome to bake along as our Bread Baking Buddy. Bake, tell us what your thoughts are about it, blog and send it all to me (notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com), so I can return the favour by sending a Buddy Badge back ánd include you all in a round up of the Buddies. Deadline 29th of this month as usual. Have a great time baking and Happy Easter!
Why can’t I figure out how to get my e-mail on here …  comments my kitchen at mac dot com … you know no spaces in there.