Bouchon Bakery Bacon Cheddar Scones

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Imagine yourself enjoying Parisien quality savory scones that you made yourself and can bake fresh from your freezer any time you desire?  That is what I found in this recipe out of the gorgeous new Bouchon Bakery Cookbook by Thomas Keller (The French Laundry) and Sebastien Rouxel (Executive Pastry Chef at Bouchon, Yontville).

 

I went to the Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills recently thinking I was croissant bound.  I was however turned around by the sight of Bacon, Cheddar and Chive Scones in the case. Everything promised in the name was in every divine bite.  I am enjoying the moment.   I am deciding I am going to learn what I need to know to recreate these at home.  I don’t have to look any further than my nose.  The cookbook is on the counter and hallelujah, they’ve included the bacon, cheddar (and chive) scones.

 

May I just say this book is a truly a gift for the intermediate baker who wants to try their hand at sophisticated bakery goods and is willing to read and follow instruction from these masters.  The recipes are wonderful but they do take time and sometimes equipment, especially a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  I have not found better instructors. Image

 

Ingredient measurements are listed by both volume and weight in grams.  I had great success and much confidence in weighing everything to the gram with my inexpensive digital scale. And I feel so smart and European.   If you love to bake, I highly recommend buying a digital scale as they can be had for under $25.

 

* I already had a handsome Wisconsin orange cheddar on hand. Next time I might try Kerry Gold Dubliner white cheddar and cutting the refrigerated scones into smaller round shapes before the freezing part.  Image

 

*Once you make the batter and after it is shaped, it needs 2 hours in the refrigerator followed by at least another 2 hours once cut, in the freezer (or overnight even better.)ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Bacon Cheddar Scones

 

*Adapted from The Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

 

makes 12 large rectangular scones

 

Ingredients:

 

All-Purpose flour          3/4 cup + 1 teaspoon flour       (107grams)

 

Cake flour               1 1/2 cups + 1/2 Tablespoon    (196g)

 

Baking Powder            1 1/2 + 1/2 teaspoons               (8.1g)

 

baking soda                 3/8 teaspoon                             (1.6g)

 

Granulated sugar         2 tablespoons + 3/4 teaspoon  (27g)

 

Kosher salt                   1 1/4 teaspoons                        (3.6g)

 

Cold unsalted butter     4.7 ounces                                (132g)

 

cut into 1/4 “ pieces

 

Heavy Cream. Plus        1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon            (71g)

 

additional for brushing

 

Creme Fraiche                1/4 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons   (69g)

 

Applewood smoked bacon- about 4 slices                  (340g)

 

(cooked, drained and cut into 1/8” pieces)  (77 grams cooked weight)

 

Grated white cheddar cheese    2 cups                          (144g)

 

Grated white cheddar                1/2 cup                         (36g)

 

Minced chives                             1/4 cup                       (10g)

 

Freshly ground black pepper

 

 Equipment needed:

 

Electric stand mixer, sheet pan, parchment paper or Silpat, plastic wrap, grater, room in your freezer to lay a pan with the scones.

 

Time needed:  at least 4.5 hours from start to finish baked good.

 

Method:

 

  1. Place the all purpose flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted wih the paddle attachment.  Sift in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda andd sugar and mix on the lowest setting about 15 seconds to combine. Then pulse in the salt.
  2. Add the cold butter pieces and on the lowest setting (to keep the flour from flying out of the bowl) pulse to begin incorporating the butter.  Increase the speed to low and mix for about 3 minutes to break up the butter and incorporate it into the dry mixture.  If any large pieces of butter remain, stop the mixer and  break them up by hand, and mix until just incorporated. (*many scone recipes are OK with larger chunks of butter, not this time or this recipe.)

 

 

3. On low mix, slowly pour in the cream.  Then add the creme fraiche and mix for about 30 seconds, until all of the dry ingredients are moistenend and the dough comes together around the paddle.  Scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl and paddle and pulse again to combine.  Add the bacon, 2 cups (or 144gram of cheddar cheese as well as the chives. Pulse to incorporate.

 

 

4. Mound the dough on the work surface and using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together.  Place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and using your hands press it into a 7×9” inch block, smoothing the top.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until firm.

 

 

5. Make room in your freezer.  Line a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper.  cut the block of dough lengthwise in half and then cut each half crosswise into 6 rectangles (70g each).  Arrange them on the prepared sheet pan, leaving space between them. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until frozen solid at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

 

 

*The scones can remain in the freezer for up to 1 month. (This is the genious part) Once frozen, you can transfer them to a plastic bag and remove them individually to bake as needed.

 

 

6. Preheat the over to 350F.  Arrange the frozen scones 1 1/2 inches apart on a parchment lined sheetpan.  Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 up of cheese and black pepper.  Bake for 33-36 minutes until golden brown.  Set the sheet on a cooking rack and cool completely.

 

The scones are best the day they are baked, but they can be stored in a covered container for 1 day.

 

If you have a convection oven, now is the time to use that setting as scones baked in a convection oven will have slightly higher rise and even more color.  Preheat your convection oven 325 and bake 24-27 minutes.

*Bouchon recommends Hobb’s Applewood Smoked Bacon.  I used Trader Joe’s Uncured Applewood Smoked Bacon.

 

 

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Pumpkin Soup with Bacon and Chipotle Cream

ImageSugar Pie Pumpkins are so adorable and so delicious.  I had a version of this lovely soup from the fresh section of my Gelson’s market. They were kind enough to divulge the basic ingredients: pumpkin, bacon, cream, garlic, onion and chipotle.  Here’s what I worked up

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Find yourself a Sugar Pie or Fairy pumpkin 4-5 pounds.  Depending on the amount of pulp your pumpkin yields, adjust the amount of chicken or vegetable stock to achieve a creamy soup.  My 4 1/2 pound Sugar Pie pumpkin yielded 2 cups and I used 3 cups of broth.  You may substitute a can of  pumpkin puree for but the fresh pumpkin while in season is quite special.   Chipotle in Adobe Sauce are found in the Latin section of your market, usually in a small can.  Substitutions would include 1 teaspoon of dried chipotle powder or even smoked paprika.

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1  4.5 pound Sugar Pie Pumpkin (or one 14-ounce can of pure pumpkin puree.)

To prepare fresh pumpkin:

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut out stem and remove seeds.  Carefully cut pumpkin in half and scrape off strings.   Cut into large pieces. Place on baking pan, flesh side up and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake  for 50-60 minutes.  Carefully remove cover, cool slightly then easily remove flesh from skin.  Mash with a fork.  Reserve.  Mine made 2 cups.

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ImageFor the soup:

3 slices diced bacon (about 1/2 cup)

3-4 cups chicken stock

1 cup chopped onion ( 1 medium onion)

1 teaspoon butter

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cups cooked pumpkin pulp or 1 14 ounce can of pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 chipotle chile in adobo, mashed, divided

1/2 cup half and half (optional)

1 teaspoons fresh lime juice (optional)

In a soup pot over medium heat cook diced bacon until brown.   Remove and reserve bacon with a slotted spoon leaving the grease-goodness in the pan.

  1. To this pot, over medium/low heat, add butter and onion and saute until translucent, about three minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant and translucent–  another two minutes.   Building layers of flavor.
  2. Add half of the minced chipotle chile in adobo and saute to combine with the onions and garlic.   About a minute.
  3. Add the pumpkin, salt and pepper.  Add chicken stock, cover and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add “Half and Half” and half of the bacon bits.
  5. Carefully puree the soup with either an immersion blender or transfer it carefully to a blender.   Adjust seasoning with salt if, more  lime juice if you like.

For the chipotle cream:

Combine the remaining chipotle pepper with 1/2 cup of creme fraiche (or sour cream, even yoghurt) and squeeze of fresh lime.  Splash of half and half in there is okay too.  Whisk until combined and creamy.

Serve soup with a dollop of the chipotle cream, topped with the reserved bacon.  A little chive or cilantro chopped on top for color!

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For other delicious ideas from my fellow Los Angeles food bloggers:

* To make pumpkin Seeds:  Pull out the strings from the pumpkin seeds, dry with a paper towel, sprinkle with sea salt, spread on cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, tossing every once in while to roast evenly.

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Meatballs with Raisins and Pinenuts

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I am not Italian, but I grew up in North Jersey, where standards for Italian food are ridiculously high.  If we weren’t out trying a new joint my Dad had learned of then we might be having a saturday night supper at the home of our family friends, The Fortunatos.  Meals around their table set the benchmark for home-cooked Italian dishes.  My mother, Shirley, the daughter of Russian immigrants, would often take notes as her Italian friend would cook and later recreate the deliciousness  for my brothers and I.

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My life in California has brought my own family and children around the table of another Italian family.   “The Home Artists” here are Agatha (aka Nonnie) and her daughter– my friend Carol.  I am always in awe of both Carol and Nonnie.  They make putting out a supper spread look effortless .   Sometimes, on the phone, Carol and I will just talk about what Nonnie is making, is going to make or has just made.  Sometimes I’m right there in the kitchen helping, asking questions,  just like Shirley.   These meatballs came as a result of one such conversation.    Nonnie wanted to make meatballs using three kinds of ground meat (veal, pork and beef.) for her grandson heading off to college.   Only to this mix I learn of her exquisite addition of golden raisins and pinenuts.   I am overtaken by desire, an urge to eat meatballs with raisins and pinenuts in a red sauce. On top of spaghetti.   On autopilot, I generate a shopping list, keys appear in the ignition and I arrive at the market through no effort of my own.  That’s how it happens, my confession.  In trying to understand this passion and desire to cook impulsively, I realize not only was there a connection to a story and the imaginings of Nonnie’s own childhood in southern Italy but my own travel to Italy and those sensory memories.   Food is about connection to people and memory.  It’s so much more than meatballs and spaghetti.

MEATBALLS WITH RAISINS AND PINENUTS in RED SAUCE OVER SPAGHETTI

makes about 18 meatballs

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh bread crumbs*, divided

1/2 cup Half and Half or water

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 ground veal

1/2 ground pork

2 eggs

3/4 cups Pecorino parmesan, divided

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped, about 1 tablespoon

1/2 cup golden raisins soaked and plumped in water- 20 minutes

1/4 cup pine nuts

3 tablespoons olive oil

Jar of good quality tomato sauce such as Rao’s Marinara or Barrilla brand.

Box of spaghetti

Chopped parsley for garnish

Method:

Soak 1 1/2 cups of the bread crumbs in the milk or water.  Squeeze out some liquid so bread is not completely wet.  (This is also known as a panade.)

Gently mix together the ground meats, add the eggs, the panade (wet bread crumbs), parmesan,  minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Next add and mix in the raisins, pinenuts and the remaining 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs.

Shape into 2” balls.   Heat a skillet, add oil then cook meatballs in batches without crowding the pan.  Brown and keep turning meatball on all sides, about 5 minutes  Add the meatballs to a red sauce (quality jar sauce or your own) , cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Boil water for pasta once the meatballs are cooking in the sauce. When boiling, add salt to the water and add a box of spaghetti and cook to time suggested on box for “al dente.”

Ladle the sauce and meatballs over the spaghetti.   Garnish with chopped parsley and parmesan.

*make fresh bread crumbs by cubing bread and letting it dry out or get “stale” before crushing into breadcrumbs.

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CLAMS WITH SPANISH CHORIZO AND CHERRY TOMATOES

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If Pepperoni married Smoky Paprika and had a baby, it would be Spanish Chorizo.  Unlike the Mexican and Caribbean chorizo, it is dry-cured and ready to slice and eat (with a hunk of good bread and some green olives) or dice and saute with some onions and garlic as the base layer for this amazing clam dish I was inspired to create in honor of a special day with my cousins in New York City.  I think the best dishes come about as a longing to recreate and connect with people we care about through food we have shared.  It’s really the essence of what makes me and you Home Artists.

I was whisked away by my native New Yorker cousins, Harriette and Lisa to the Metropolitan Museum of Art followed by a delicious supper at a nearby upper westside restaurant on 82nd Street, FLEX MUSSELS– known for their Prince Edward Island mussels, frites and the dozen or so combinations of briney broths. (Oh my…the Thai broth with coconut with lemon grass and Thai basil.)   You should know they also have an awesome mussel/frite happy hour deal.

Upon my return to Los Angeles, I was browsing Mr. Marcel’s Gourmet Market at the 3rd and Fairfax Farmer’s Market when I spotted some Spanish chorizo in their charcuterie case and a fresh baguette.   The snapshot of a finished dish that brought back that delicious supper with my family crystalized in my mindseye.  Here’s what I made.

 CLAMS WITH SPANISH CHORIZO, SMOKEY PAPRIKA AND CHERRY TOMATOES

Serves 2

2-3 dozen Manilla or Little Neck clams

2 cups cherry tomatoes (small basket)

3-4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

4-6 ounces of diced Spanish Chorizo  (about 1.5 cups) (I used Palaccio brand, hot (it had a slight kick)

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons finely sliced shallots or 1/2 cup of minced brown onion

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup half and half (optional)

chopped parsley to garnish

METHOD:

1.Soak clams in water for 20 minutes, drain and set aside.  Toss any that do stay closed when you pinch them shut.

  1. Heat a deep skillet or pot with a fitted lid with medium heat until hot but not smoking, then add 1 tablespoons of olive oil followed by the tomatoes. Toss gently just to sear a bit to the point they are glistening but have not fallen apart.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat then add the diced chorizo.  Saute for a minute or two then add the shallots (or onions) and garlic to sizzle but not burn followed by the smoked paprika.
  3. Add the wine and stir, letting it bubble gently.  Then add the chicken broth bring to a bubbling simmer again.  Add Half and Half if desired.  Cook about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the clams, half the tomatoes, cover and cook over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until clams open.  Garnish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley.

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Bagel with Cream Cheese and Lox Rosettes

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Got three minutes?  Cream cheese, very cold, scraped with a butter knife, lox rolled into rosettes, a sliver of red onion,  briny capers and a shot of lemon come together quickly for your own five-star hotel breakfast at home.    

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Home Artists’ Go Shopping

ImageHope you are able to find these snag-worthy gorgeous and comfy Brazilian leather boots from Costco for $99.  Thanks Sue G.!

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Romanian Apple Cake

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At Rosh Hashanah, dipping sliced apples and challah in honey symbolizes a delicious wish the coming year will be “sweet” and blessed.   A bite of this delicate Romanian apple cake or “Pandispan” is like a buttery prayer –filled with hope and promise for 5773 (that’s 2012 on the Gregorian calendar.)   I was headed out to start my holiday grocery shop when I ran into my friend and neighbor, Andrea, in the car port with her 3 year-old in tow.  She told me glowingly about a European-style cake her mother makes that is perfectly sweet and light.  I was hooked and she was kind enough to later get her mother on the phone in Romania for the recipe.  Some  things can get pretty vague when one interviews an accomplished home cook who shuns measuring devices.  “A cup of sugar” literally meant a coffee mug her mother used while visiting Los Angeles last spring and “6 soup spoons worth”  would seem to be a perfectly acceptable form of measure except if you don’t have the exact same soup spoon.  So I’ve worked on the recipe and hope her mother will be pleased and you are able to recreate it for those you love.

Andrea’s Mom’s Romanian Apple Cake – Apple Pain de Spain or Pandispan

Ingredients:

7 medium apples peeled, cored and sliced (or diced)

(Jonathan, Gala, Braeburn, Golden Delicious andGranny Smith all are good firm apples to use)

3 ounces of butter (3/4 stick)

1-1/3  cups sugar, divided

6 eggs – separated.  Use whites only.

1/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder*

*I added some baking powder in writing this recipe so your cake will come out a little higher even.

Method:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the butter and 1 cup of the sugar in an approximately 9” non-stick,oven-proof pot or a 9” wide souffle dish in the  oven for 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven, add the apples and stir to coat then return the dish to the oven for about 20 minutes.  Check and turn the apples one or twice until they are a deep golden brown. then lower the heat to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer whip the eggs whites until stiff peaks form. Add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar followed by the flour (add the baking powder to the flour first.)  Do not overmix.

Remove the dish from the oven and pour the whipped egg/sugar/flour mixture on top. Return it to the oven for approximately 10-20 minutes or until it is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Let it cool enough to handle. Place a large plate on top of the dish and very carefully, with mitts or towel –flip it over so that the apples are now on top.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.  Bring to room temperature to serve.  Wonderful with some whipped cream or creme fraiche on the side.

Pofta Buna!  Bon Appetit!  Enjoy!

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