So, back to the recipes... Pain Au Lait has become my new love. I've been eating it almost everyday for about a week now. My hubby has been enjoying this because it reminds him of back home. I feel bad that we haven't been able to go to France and I know he's been dying to for about a year now, so I'm trying my best to bring back memories of home for him. Once our little cupcake is here- France won't seem so far away anymore. OK- right, the recipe! I used the exact recipe found on thefreshloaf. First batch I made was simple, with nothing but cinnamon and sugar- then I made a batch with just strawberry perserves, and my most recent batch was with cream cheese and I slathered it with strawberry perserves once they were done. yum!
Pain Au Lait
-1 package (2 1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast
-3/4 cup water
-3 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour*
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-2 Tablespoons powdered milk
-4 tablespoons sugar
-6 tablespoons butter, softened
If using active dry yeast, proof it in 1/2 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. If you are using instant yeast, as I did, it can just be mixed in with the dry ingredients in the next step.
In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, powdered milk, and sugar. Add the yeast, water, and eggs and mix until ingredients are combined. Add the softened butter and mix or knead until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
You should have fairly sticky, satiny dough.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Punch the dough down, return it to the bowl and cover it again, and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, divide the dough in half and, while still cold, use each half to prepare one batch.
-1 tablespoon milk
Whisk to combine.
Cream Cheese Filling:
-3/4 cup cream cheese
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Slice the rectangle into long strips.
Stretch each strip as long and thin as you can. Twist each strip and then curl each up to make a snail shape.Place the snails on a parchment-lined or well greased baking sheet and brush them gently with the egg glaze.
Use your fingers to create a well in the center of the snail and then place one tablespoon of the cheese mixture on top. You can also add a tablespoon of jam.
Let the snails rise for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until they are puffy. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees and bake the snails for between 15 to 17 minutes, until they are golden brown.
*- I ended up adding about 1/2 cup more flour because it was just too sticky and unmanageable.
OH, and being pregnant and all, as I was greasing the bowl- I started daydreaming about my little girl and then I felt a huge gush of oil pouring out from the bottle! So, I ended up adding about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil as well. Still came out delish!
So, now about my most recent concoction (sp?). I've had this incredible craving for a tart apple with cheddar and I figured I'd try and bake something with that combo. I avoided the usual apple pie with a cheddar crust, because I didn't feel like having an overwhelming apple pie flavor- I wanted an equal combination. So, this is what I came up with and I'll have to say it was damn good.
Apple Cheddar Tart
-1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 stick of cold butter, cut into squares
-2 tablespoons (or more) ice water
Combine the dry ingredients together then add in the cold butter and cut into the flour. You can use a food processor and pulse it until it resembles coarse meal. Or you can do it by hand (which is what I do) and just make sure to incorporate the butter with the flour to get a good flake on it. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and combine until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if the dough is still dry. Form the dough into a ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 1 hour.
Roll out dough disk on floured surface to about 10-inch round. Transfer to 8-inch-diameter tart pan. Then, blind bake (with beans or pie weights) for 15 minutes on 350º F. Remove from the oven and cool while you prepare the filling.
-2 medium apples; peeled, cored, and slices
-2 tblsp. flour
-juice of 1/2 a lemon
-pinch of salt
-1/4 cup marscapone
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-1/4 cup sour cream
-approx. 2 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar
In a medium bowl combine the apples, flour, lemon juice, salt, and ground spices to your taste. I let this sit while I shredded the cheddar, maybe about 10 minutes. Add in the marscapone and creams with the apples and combine until fully incorporated. Let that sit for a few minutes for the flavors to incorporate. Fold in the cheddar and pour mixture into the tart shell.
Place tart pan on a cookie sheet to keep spills from landing in your oven. Bake for 25- 30 minutes on 350º F until the cheese has browned at the top and the filling has set. Once out of the oven, allow the tart to cool completely. That way when you cut it, it doesn't spill everywhere. I didn't wait because it smelled so good, and, well- the filling spilled a little. Once it was completely cooled, it was easier to cut and eat!