I feel as though I've been in a (Passions to Pastry) hibernation of sorts; a bit uninspired lately. Can I blame it on the weather? Many of the things coming out of my kitchen recently are tried and true (and already posted) comfort foods that are all I want during this winter of endless deep freeze. I have never been as anxious as I am now to get outside and plant my vegetable garden -- at best, another three months off.
Dreams of an outdoor pizza oven (and it may be just that... a dream) have kept both my husband and my imagination piqued. If anyone has any suggestions (hand-built versus portable), please email me, or leave a comment.
In the meantime, I spent the weekend in my kitchen with silicone Baking Buddies sent to me by Rizzi of the New York Baking Company. Rizzi asked me to test the silicone baking cups and give an honest review of the results. After baking individual flourless chocolate cakes followed by these Little Apricot Cakes, I say... What's not to like? What Rizzi didn't know was, other than the Silpat sheets I've used to line my baking pans, I have never baked with silicone molds before, making me the perfect candidate to test them out. The non-stick, free-standing muffin cups are BPA-free, oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe, can be frozen for ice cream desserts, and have a life-time guarantee. As I said before... What's not to like! You can see how nicely my Little Apricot Cakes browned and released from the silicone molds.
For some reason, I tend to bake with apricots more during the winter months than I do during apricot season, probably due to all of the French recipes I've run across for apricot tarts where canned fruit is drained and patted dry with paper towels. Preserved apricots are most always small and firm; just the way I like them. They worked perfectly in this recipe.
Silicone Baking Buddies and individual flourless chocolate cakes (recipe coming soon!)
recipe by Mary-Frances Heck | Bon Appetit, June 2013
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup whole milk
• canned apricots, halves drained and dried with paper towel and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges (you will not need the entire can)
• 2 tablespoons raw sugar
1. PREHEAT oven to 350˚F. Either grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with silicone or paper muffin cups.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter along with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla. Continue to beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the milk in 2 additions. Mix just until combined.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Top each with 3 apricot wedges and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
6. Place the muffin tin on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from oven and place tin on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the little cakes from the tin and cool completely.
TAKE a LOOK:
Go for building your own if you have the space. You'll love it, An Italian former neighbor built one. One of my favorite memories is of Franco hand tossing small balls of dough, brushing them with olive oil, garlic and sage, and pulling out the finished product minutes later.
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