Author Archives: hfletcher

Cheddar Pecan Date Bread – the Quick Version

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

This Cheddar Pecan Date Bread is a sleeper.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of savory quick breads.  But this one was quite a surprise and really quick.

The recipe to which I was referring used cheddar cheese, buttermilk, and bran but I had none.  I also didn’t have the recipe.  What I did have was cheddar, pecans and a bag of dates.  Armed with those I knew I could use them to good advantage.  This moist loaf with its cheesy overtones is the outcome.

Dates can be tricky to chop.  I cut them up with a pair of scissors.  It goes really fast and is so much easier than trying to cut them with a knife.

While you could use just all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, while not discernable, enhances the flavor of this Cheddar Pecan Date Bread even though it can’t be tasted.  This is definitely a quick bread to make.  Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Blend together the wet ones and combine them.  That’s it.  Bake, cool and enjoy!

Cheddar Pecan Date BreadIngredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams or 8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 whole wheat flour (70 grams or 2 1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1 cup sour cream (225 grams or 8 ounce)
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (114 grams or 4 ounces)
1 cup chopped dates (114 grams or 4 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (60 grams or 2 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line the bottom of a 9×5” loaf pan with parchment paper.  Spray the entire pan with a non-stick baking spray.  Set aside.

Whisk both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sour cream, milk, and the egg. Liquid ingrediants mixwd

Add the dry ingredients, mixing completely.

Blend in the cheese, dates, and pecans.Cheese, nuts, dates for Cheddar Pecan Date Bread

Pour it into the prepared pan and smooth it out. Batter in pan

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

The aroma of the Cheddar Pecan Date Bread is heavenly, but wait until the bread cools to eat it.

Store in a plastic bag where it will last several days.

If  you like this bread, I’ll bet you’d like these:

Crumb Topped Orange Date Muffins
Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Popovers
Four in One Amazing Quick Breads

Virtual Baking Classes for March

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Virtual Baking Classes with Helen S. Fletcher

I’m excited to tell you about the March Virtual Baking and Pastry classes offered this month .  Please sign up at Virtual Baking Classes with Helen S. Fletcher

All of my classes are demonstration so you just need to show up. They usually last about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Recipes and the link to the class will be sent several days before the class takes place.

Fillings and Frostings features 3 cakes each filled and frosted differently.  They include a Boston Cream Pie (really a cake), Strawberry Shortcake Cake, and one of the favorite wedding cakes we made at the bakery a Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake.  March 13 at 2:00 CDBoston Cream Pie
60 Second Brioche – This is a repeat of my first Brioche class for those that were on the waiting list.  I’ll show you how to make Brioche in 60 seconds.  The class will include Brioche rolls, Brioche Pizza, Fruit and Nut Knots and Lemon Glazed Lemon Twists.  March 27 at 2:00 CDT

Brioche Pizza

Belgian Waffles with Berry Compote

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Belgium waffles with Berry CompoteThis Belgian Waffles with Berry Compote blog was posted years ago.  Sometimes it is fun to revisit recipes I had forgotten about and this is one of them.  It came directly from the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot when we visited Disney World in Florida ten years ago. Continue reading

Coconut Cream Pie with a Difference

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Coconut Cream PieThis is a Coconut Cream Pie with a difference.  It has a great crust, lightened pastry cream filled with toasted coconut but instead of oodles of whipped cream topping, I have switched it to a meringue which I think allows the filling, which is the star of the dish, to stand out.

The coconut is toasted to bring out the full flavor.

I love whipped cream, but it often coats your tastebuds minimizing other flavors. It also doesn’t hurt that by substituting the meringue the calories and fat are reduced.  See what you think.

Pastry Cream 

For how to photos, go here.

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
1 1/3 cup milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (40 grams or 1 1/2  ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Soften the gelatin in the water and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk until very hot but not boiling. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a non-reactive bowl. Whisk in the flour.  Add the hot milk slowly, whisking well and scraping the pan with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the egg yolk mixture is incorporated.

Strain into the top of a double boiler whisking constantly, heat until very hot and beginning to thicken. Remove the top of the double boiler and place directly over heat. Whisk constantly until it comes to a boil; cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; add the vanilla.  Tear the gelatin into small pieces and stir into the hot liquid until it is completely dissolved.  There is no need to liquefy it, the heat of the mixture will do this for you.

Transfer to a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream, poke a few holes in it.  Cool to room temperature and then and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

Yield:  2 cups

Single Pie Crust for the Coconut Cream Pie

For How to pictures, go here.

1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (6 1/3 ounces or 180 grams)
1/3 cup sifted all purpose flour (scant 1 1/2 ounces or 40 grams)
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and frozen until hard (90 grams or 3 ounces)
3 tablespoons shortening (like Crisco) frozen and cut into pieces (45 grams or 1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons beaten egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 tablespoons water, chilled and divided

Place both flours and the salt in the processor bowl. Pulse several times to mix.  Place the butter and shortening evenly over the flour and pulse until the butter and shortening are  in pea size pieces.

Combine the egg, lemon juice and water.  Pour  it in a circle over the processor contents.  Pulse until it forms clumps.  Pour out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Push the clumps together into a ball.  Knead 4 or 5 times for form a dough.  Pat into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.  Wrap in film and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a circle approximately 13 inches.  Place in the pie pan and fit into corners.  Cut the overhang an even 1 inch all the way around.  Tuck the crust under and flute the edges.

To bake blind, freeze for 30 or more minutes until hard. Spray a large piece of foil with a non-stick baking release  Place it, sprayed side down, on top of the crust.  Fill it to the top with beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes with the weights. Remove them by bringing the four corners of the foil together and lifting out.  Return to the oven and bake for approximately 13 to 15 minutes more until lightly browned and set.

Cool completely before assembling.

Assembly

2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut (170 grams or 6 ounces)
1 cup 40% cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar (22 grams or 3/4 ounce)
Pastry Cream, chilled

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spread the coconut in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 5 to 10 minutes until a medium brown, stirring several times so it evenly browns.  Cool.

Combine the cream and powdered sugar in mixing bowl; beat until stiff. Fold into, along with the coconut into the pastry cream. Spread it evenly into the cooled, baked crust.

Meringue for the Coconut Cream Pie

For How to pictures go here.

4 egg whites from above
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 cup sugar (200 grams or 7 ounces)

Place the oven rack on the most bottom rung.  Preheat the oven to broil.

Place the egg whites and cream of tarter in a mixing bowl. Beat until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add the sugar.  Beat to really stiff peaks.  Place in a piping bag fitted with a large open star (#8 or 9 open star) and pipe the meringue into swirls onto the  filling starting at the inside edge of the crust, making sure you are attaching it to the crust.  Fill any empty places with small stars of meringue.

Pipe more meringue on top of the already piped meringue until it is all used.  Alternately, just spoon it on and make swirls with the spoon making sure you are attaching it all the way around to the crust.

At home I use a small pastry torch to brown the meringue.  The important thing is to hold it about a foot away and keep it moving to avoid burning the meringue.  You can see a lot of pastry torches, sometime called Creme Brulee torches here.

Alternatively. place the oven rack to the most bottom rung. Preheat the oven to broil on high. Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and into the oven for about 1 minute and 15 seconds or until lightly browned.  Watch it carefully as the top most peaks of the crust will burn quickly.  Cool completely before cutting.   Store in the refrigerator.

Makes a 9″ Coconut Cream Pie  or 10 to 12 servings

You might also enjoy:
Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon Meringue Cake
Coconut Cream Cake

Nutella Hazelnut Fudge Hearts for Valentine’s

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Nutella Hazelnut FudgeNutella Hazelnut Fudge is a really quick, easy,  smooth as silk fudge recipe perfect for Valentine’s day.  I literally ran out of time this year between getting the book to the designer, my first zoom class last Saturday and going back to work after almost 11 months off. Talk about out of shape! Continue reading