Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Christmas Eve Baking Challenge

1 Little Ms. Homemaker + 1 Day off from Work =
An Over Ambitious Christmas Eve

Call me crazy if you will, but here is how my Christmas Eve unfolded.

The 2009 Christmas Eve Challenge
Garlic Rosemary Rolls
Cheddar-Thyme Twists
Roasted Cauliflower with Capers
Creamed Spinach
Brown Butter Tart with Cranberries

Let's get started!

The day's menu items called for a good amount of yeast. Perhaps one of the most interesting was the Cheddar-Thyme Twist recipe, which called for it to be awaken in a cream-sugar mixture.

Initially combined...kind of looks like cream of wheat or something.

Then the magic happens and we end up with this!

Another strange happening of this recipe is that the dough was made in the food processor. Never have I heard of such a thing...but I gave it a whirl!

Butter & dry ingredients were combined to a crumb like texture (similar to when making pie dough!).

Egg yolks added.

Now we have our first ever bread dough from the food processor!

The dough is covered and allowed to rest in the fridge.

Onto the Brown Butter Tart!

I am a traditionalist when it comes to pie crust. Armed with my handy pastry cutter, I will cut the butter into the dry ingredients until I have reached the perfect vision of pea-like crumbs.

This time however, the Tart recipe calls for the crust to be made in a food processor.

My sister in law uses the food processor method for here crust and swears by it. We've just done bread dough in one, so I figured why not give this a whirl while we're at it!

Cream and egg mixture serve as the crust's wet ingredients. The use of cream was also something new to me, as the only crusts I have done use water. It's going to be a rich one!

I did not get a picture, but once combined the dough does not look like what I had was crumby, literally! I packed the dry dough into a disk shape and placed it in the fridge to set.

Now for the beautiful Challah!

A particularly tasty recipe that calls for Anise, Caraway & Sesame Seeds!

The Sesame Seeds on hand were already toasted, so we warm the Anise & Caraway.

The aromas are wonderful!

The Challah dough was mixed and allowed to rise.
In the meantime we go back to the risen roll dough.

Garlic and Rosemary Rolls!

Resting for the second rising!

A close up of the rising supple dough...smothered in garlic olive oil deliciousness!

A brief sidetrack to the roasted cauliflower dish.
The recipe called for salt packed capers.

I've never seen these before, so thought I'd include a picture.

Back to the Tart!

Cranberries washed and dried.

Little jewels were in need of a close up...a vibrant color splash for this day of cooking!

The process of making brown butter filling.
On Top Chef and other food shows I have seen and heard about browned butter. This is my first time at making it.

Included for this filling is a vanilla bean.

Combined with the egg/cream.

Added to our short bread tart crust.

Looks great. Perhaps the most refined looking dessert I've ever done!

Return of the challah!
The dough has risen and is punched down and shaped.

Once shaped the second rising occurs...
The toasted seeds are sprinkled quite liberally on.
Baked after an egg wash.
The final cheddar-thyme twists.

Back to the tart once again!
The cranberry topping is cooked up.

I ran out of time, so we raced off with a bread platter, sides and cheese ball in hand to my in-laws for Christmas Eve dinner.
The bread.

Cheeseball & Lavash crackers are on the right side in the stark light.

Ahhhhh, a professionally done roast beast (by my fabulous father in law)!

My nephew and mother in law help dress the tart.

One of the best Christmas Dinners I have ever consumed!!!!!!!!!

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