Category Archive: Baking

The Secret to Making Perfect Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits at 1840 FarmBiscuits.  Just reading the word brings up thoughts of flaky, tender biscuits still warm from the oven topped with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.

I hear from readers quite often who have struggled to make flaky pastries to their liking.  Most often, the recipes they have been disappointed by are pie crust and biscuits.  They have tried to no avail to produce the flaky, tender pastries that they dream of.

When it comes to flaky pastries, less is more.  Working the dough as little as possible is the key to creating a flaky texture.  Too much stretching and working the dough strengthens the gluten structure of the flour and creates a stretchy, strong dough like pizza crust instead of the flaky, tender dough for biscuits or pie.

Any overworking makes a flaky biscuit completely impossible to achieve.  When biscuits are cut into traditional circles using a cutter, the scraps are reshaped to create additional biscuits.  That seemingly insignificant amount of handling completely changes the texture of those secondary biscuits.  For that reason, I simply cut my rectangle of biscuit dough into square or rectangles rather than using a round cutter.  Doing so ensures that each biscuit is worked only once, that no additional shaping is necessary, and that every biscuit is as light and fluffy as the others.

In order to create that delicious, flaky texture, care must be taken to build layers of fat suspended in the dough.  When that layered dough hits the hot oven, the fat begins the melt and moisture is released, creating small pockets of air and the light, flaky texture that makes for an amazing biscuit with a pillowy texture.

If you live above the Mason-Dixon line like I do, your brand of All-purpose flour may also be conspiring against you. Delicious biscuits are a staple in the South where the All-purpose flour is traditionally milled from soft winter wheat.  White Lily brand is known for its lower protein content, soft texture, and ability to create delicious, tender biscuits and pastries.  Soft winter wheat has a low protein content around 8 – 9% which helps to make a flaky biscuit.

Here in New England, hard winter wheat is commonly milled into the brands of All-purpose flour available at our grocery stores.  The hard winter wheat creates a flour that has a higher protein content between 10 and 12% and also contains more gluten.  Higher protein and more gluten are great for bread doughs and pizza crust, but make the prospect of creating a light and flaky biscuit a struggle.

While I had learned the technique necessary for making an amazing biscuit, the higher protein content of my flour wasn’t helping matters.  In the past, I have milled my own flour for biscuits with good results.  Yet, the texture still wasn’t quite what I was aiming for.

After reading scores of articles about the protein content and gluten properties of different types of flour, I decided to try an experiment.  I substituted cornstarch for ½ cup of the All-purpose flour called for in my biscuit recipe.  I know from my experience creating a homemade cake flour substitute that this combination works very well to create a light, airy cake batter.  So, it made sense that this combination might also make a delicious biscuit.

The dough came together beautifully.  It was easy to work with and the raw biscuits looked very promising when I placed them in the oven.  I couldn’t wait to take a bite.

Thanks to a decreased protein content and carefully folding the dough to increase the layers in the dough, these biscuits are exactly what I was dreaming of.  They’re light, flaky, and tender.  They come together easily and are always a welcome sight at our farmhouse table.  We might live well above the Mason-Dixon line, but we enjoy biscuits that taste like a Southern dream.  Now that you know the secret to making perfect flaky biscuits, I hope that you will too!

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
Grating the butter will make it easier to work it into the dry ingredients. Placing the biscuits on the baking sheet next to each other will create a softer, pillowy biscuit. If you prefer a biscuit with a more dry and crisp exterior, simply place them on the baking sheet with a few inches of space between them.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ cups All-purpose flour
  2. ½ cup cornstarch
  3. 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  4. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. 4 Tablespoons butter, grated
  7. 2 Tablespoons lard
  8. ½ cup buttermilk, chilled
  9. 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the grated butter and lard. Gently work the fats into the dry ingredients using your hands or a pastry blender. Remember that less is more and take care not to overwork the dough. The dough should include small globules of fat, so stop when tiny pieces of lard and butter remain.
  3. Add the cold buttermilk and gently combine. The dough should be shaggy and quite wet. If it seems too dry, simply add a Tablespoon or two of buttermilk. Turn the shaggy dough out on to a well-floured surface. Gently gather the dough together into a square shape taking care not to stretch or compress it more than necessary. If needed, sprinkle the surface with a bit of flour to make it easier to work with. Grab two opposite ends of the rectangle and fold them towards the center, stacking the ends on top of each other. Turn the dough and repeat the folding process.
  4. Gently shape the dough with as little working as possible into a rectangle before cutting into 6 to 8 biscuits. Carefully move each biscuit to the prepared baking sheet. I like to place my biscuits next to each other as it creates a very moist and soft textured biscuit. Brush the tops and exposed sides of the biscuits with melted butter before placing the baking sheet in the hot oven. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the tops are lightly browned and dry. Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool slightly before separating and serving.
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Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day Favorites Branded

Memorial Day is the official kickoff to summer and we feel like celebrating!  We’ll be marking the holiday weekend with a few of our favorite seasonal recipes, time spent outside working in the gardens, and by doing a little something special in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.

We’re making our Memorial Day dinner on the grill with dry aged beef or Asian pork burgers for everyone.  Those grilled burgers will be topped with each person’s favorite toppings including our homemade Spicy Ginger & Garlic Quick Pickles , Classic Sauerkraut, Kimchi, and Smoky Tomato Jam.  We’ll be serving up Farmhouse Style Onion Rings and Grilled Romaine Salad on the side topped with a lemony garlic homemade dressing.

I just made a fresh batch of our Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup using fruit from last year’s berry patch.  We’ll use that beautiful, tangy red syrup to dress up lemonade or make a warm weather favorite, the Franklin Cooler cocktail. Last year’s raspberries are pulling double duty this year.  They’ll also make the filling for dessert in a homemade Raspberry Pie

Monday morning will start off with a Strawberry Puff Pancake using the bounty of fresh eggs our hens are providing.  I can’t wait until we have fresh strawberries in our own garden to enjoy spooned over this delicious breakfast treat.  The plants are loaded with flowers, so I have my fingers crossed that we’ll have a bumper crop of red berries this year.

Happy Memorial Day from all of us here at 1840 Farm.  For those of you who have served in the military or are on active duty, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your service to our country.  To the families and friends who support those who serve, thank you for the sacrifices you make to support the bravest Americans among us.  As the flag waves on our farmer’s porch, I am forever reminded that we owe a debt of gratitude to all who serve that can never be repaid.

I hope that you have a holiday weekend spent with friends and family filled to the brim with laughter, delicious food and drink, and memories in the making.  We’ll try to do the same!


We’re celebrating the holiday weekend by doing a little something special in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.

First, we’re marking the occasion of the one year anniversary of adding ducks to our farm by offering coupon code “QUACK” so that you can save $5.00 off any purchase (yes, that even includes custom orders)!  Second, we’re adding in a free handmade 4″ coaster sized trivet to every order we send out.  And last but not least, we’re making a donation to Red Nose Day along with our friends from Good Dirt and Gingham Creative.  Red Nose Day is an annual event to raise awareness and funds to help end childhood poverty around the world.  Together, we can help make a difference in the lives of children all over the world.

Here’s a peek at what’s available in our shop:

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2017/05/memorial-day-2017/

Old Fashioned Pound Cake

Old Fashioned Pound Cake SquarePound cake is the simplest of recipes yet creates something that seems extravagant, rich, and delicious.  The recipe is simple purely out of necessity.  Pound cake dates back to Britain in the early 1700s.  At that time, many citizens couldn’t read and write, so the recipe needed to be easy to remember and pass down orally.

Pound cake in that era was literally a cake made from one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour.   As far as recipes go, you can’t create a recipe any easier to remember than that.  The cake included no leavening agents, relying on fresh eggs instead.  The resulting cake was often very dense, but its easy preparation and lengthy shelf life ensured that this recipe would live on.

Over the years, the recipe has changed slightly in order to create a lighter cake with a more balanced flavor.  Today’s pound cake no longer includes one pound of each ingredient, but it does stay true to the original intent.  This recipe is simple, includes no leavening agents, and tastes as good four days later as it does the first day it is made.  The very best attributes of pound cake have lived on for centuries, a true testament to the delicious nature of pound cake.

Since we became chicken keepers, and later duck keepers, I find myself looking for recipes that celebrate the fresh eggs we collect from the coop and duck house each day.  During spring, those eggs abound and I find myself reaching for the recipes in my collection that use a good number of them.  I have found that eight eggs is the ideal amount for this cake, giving it a beautiful yellow color from our girl’s fresh eggs and a lovely texture.  When I decide to make a batch of fresh lemon curd to serve alongside this cake, I can put a full dozen of our fresh eggs to delicious use.

I like to use a homemade cake flour substitute for most cakes, including this one.  Cake flour is difficult for me to purchase at the store due to our family’s food allergies.  Luckily, I’ve learned that a combination of All-purpose flour and cornstarch from our pantry deliver the same qualities as store bought cake flour.  As an added bonus, I don’t have to keep another specialty flour on hand.

To me, this cake is a harbinger of spring, a celebration of egg season, and a wonderful way to share a beautiful and a delicious old fashioned treat with friends and family.  I’m willing to bet that this recipe will live on in your baking arsenal for years to come just as it has endured in mine.

Old Fashioned Pound Cake
Serves 10
This cake is the perfect way to celebrate spring’s bounty of fresh eggs from our flock of chickens and ducks. I find that the texture is even better when I use my homemade cake flour mix of All-purpose flour and cornstarch. If you prefer, you can use 3 cups of All-purpose flour or store bought cake flour with delicious results.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
  2. ½ cup cornstarch
  3. ¾ teaspoon salt
  4. 2 sticks butter, softened
  5. 3 cups sugar
  6. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  7. 8 large eggs, at room temperature
  8. 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a Bundt or tube pan and dust lightly with flour, tapping to knock any excess flour out of the pan. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. Using a stand mixer or sturdy hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed. Add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to high, beating for 5 minutes if using a stand mixer or 8 minutes if using a hand mixer. The increased mixing time will help to incorporate air into the mix, lightening the texture of the cake. The mixture should be pale yellow and fluffy when finished.
  3. Add the eggs one or two at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition to fully incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding approximately half of the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed just until the flour has been incorporated. Add the heavy cream and mix on low speed until well mixed. Add the remaining flour and mix on low speed just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Rap the pan on the counter to help release air bubbles and create a more even texture in the finished cake. Transfer the pan to the warm oven. Bake for 60 – 75 minutes until the surface of the cake is a beautiful golden brown and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with small crumbs attached.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven to a wire rack to cool. After 15 minutes, invert the pan onto the wire rack, remove the cake from the pan, and allow to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon curd or whipped cream and fresh berries.
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Nut Free Skippers

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar BrandedFor me, there are few foods more comforting than a warm chocolate chip cookie.  My family feels the same way, so our Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies are a common sight cooling on the kitchen counter.  We never seem to tire of them.  I can perk up any day by adding a batch of chocolate chip cookies to them.

It doesn’t take long to make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, but portioning the individual cookies, baking them, and allowing them too cool before loading up the baking sheets again does take time.  Granted, it’s time well spent and work that ends with a pile of delicious cookies.  So, I’m happy to make individual cookies with time allows.

Some days, I am short on time, yet we still want to enjoy that delicious flavor of a chocolate chip cookie.  On those days, I put away the baking sheets and bake one pan of cookie bars instead.  The entire batch of dough fits beautifully in a 9×9 baking pan and the cookie bars are baking in the oven in minutes.

To up the flavor, I like to add a little something extra to the top of the bars just before placing them in the oven.  We live and bake around nut allergies here at the farmhouse.  It’s been a decade since we were able to enjoy an M&M candy or a cookie studded with M&M candies because they aren’t an allergy safe option for us. Luckily, we can enjoy the same fun flavor and crunch with Vermont Nut Free’s Skippers without any need to worry about an allergic reaction.  They deliver the same delicious flavor, the same chocolatey center covered in a crispy layer of candy coating.

Vermont Nut Free’s products are all 100% peanut and tree nut free, so we’re big fans.  Their products are so delicious and my go to for baking chocolates, cocoa powder, and these Skippers which have been a family favorite for years. If you don’t have nut allergies to contend with, you can substitute your favorite baking candies or chips. 

No matter how you choose to flavor your pan of cookie bars, I’m willing to bet that a warm square will end your day on a comforting and delicious note.  If you choose to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the mix, your week will be made!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Nut Free Skippers
We live and eat around nut allergies here in the farmhouse. We love using Vermont Nut Free's baking products and use their semi-sweet chocolate chips and Skippers candies in this recipe. If you don't have nut allergies to contend with, simply substitute your favorite baking chips and add-ins for an equally delicious cookie bar.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened and cubed
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  9. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  10. 8 ounces (2 generous cups) chocolate chips
  11. 2 ounces (a generous handful) Skippers candies or your favorite cookie add-in
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position an oven rack in the middle of your oven. Line a 9x9 baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper if desired.
  2. Place the cubed butter in the bowl of your mixer fitted with a paddle or dough beaters. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds, until the butter begins to smooth out a bit. Add the sugar and brown sugar before beating on medium speed until the mixture is completely smooth, approximately 2-4 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the bowl and beat on low for a 10-20 seconds, just until combined. The batter may break up a bit, but don’t worry. It will come together when the dry ingredients are worked into the mix. Scrape down the bowl and beaters if necessary to gather the batter together before continuing.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Stir to mix the dry ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients in one addition to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients have completely integrated into the dough. This should only take 30-60 seconds depending on the strength of your mixer. Take great care not to overmix the dough. Mixing develops the gluten in the flour and overmixing will encourage the dough to become tough.
  6. Transfer the dough to the 9x9 pan, spreading the dough to evenly fill the pan. Add Skippers to the top of the dough, dividing them across the dough evenly. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until the cookie dough has browned slightly and has a dry appearance on top. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan should come out cleanly or with small crumbs attached when the bars are baked. Rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time will help to ensure that the cookies are evenly baked.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven, allowing it to cool to room temperature. As with any cookie, these are even more delicious when eaten while still warm with a cup of coffee or cold glass of milk. They also make a delicious base for a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Notes
  1. Our family lives and bakes around nut allergies, so our farmhouse kitchen is nut free. This recipe uses one of our nut free favorites: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. You can learn all about them at www.vermontnutfree.com.
Adapted from Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Banner

 

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Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie BrandedChocolate.  Cream.  Pie.  Need I say more?  I didn’t think so.  What could be better than a combination of rich, chocolate cream made from scratch over a crumb pie crust topped with vanilla bean whipped cream?  For a pie lover like me, adding chocolate to the mix sends this recipe to the top of my favorites list.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this recipe is perfect for treating your loved ones to a delicious homemade dessert.  My Valentines are chocolate lovers, so this pie often finds a place at our table on and around Valentine’s Day.  It never fails to delight each and every one of them.

In our house, we bake and eat around food allergies, so the first step in any recipe is ensuring that the ingredients are safe to keep in our nut free home.   Finding premium quality chocolate that is free from nut allergens would be a difficult task if it wasn’t for Vermont Nut Free Chocolates.  Thanks to their delicious line of nut free baking ingredients, chocolates, and treats, I always know that the baking ingredients I keep in the pantry and use in our farmhouse kitchen are safe for our whole family.

In this recipe, I use three different types of chocolate from Vermont Nut Free Chocolates.  I found that combining milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate yielded the most delicious result.  If you don’t have nut allergies to consider when making this dessert, you can substitute your favorite brand of chocolate when making this recipe with equally delicious results.

This pie is also the perfect recipe to use the very best vanilla extract you have available.  In our house, that means reaching for our homemade vanilla extract.  Its rich amber color, intense flavor, and fragrant aroma are the perfect counterpoint to the chocolate filling and whipped cream topping.  You can learn more about making your own vanilla extract and our vanilla extract kits in our Mercantile Shop.

I hope that you will enjoy making and serving this delicious pie as much as I do.  I turn to it time and time again when I want to treat my family to a dessert that puts a smile on every face gathered around our table.  It never disappoints!

 

Chocolate Cream Pie
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For the Crumb Pie Crust
  1. 200 grams (approximately half a box) of graham crackers
  2. 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
For the Chocolate Filling
  1. 4 large egg yolks
  2. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  3. ¼ cup cornstarch
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 2 ½ cups whole milk
  6. 3 ounces milk chocolate
  7. 3 ounces dark chocolate
  8. 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
  9. 2 Tablespoons butter
  10. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Whipped Cream Topping
  1. 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
  2. 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To Make the Crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor or blender. Pulse/process until the crackers have been reduced to fine crumbs. If you prefer, you can place the graham crackers on a sheet tray and use a rolling pin to crush them to a uniform, fine crumb.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan or microwave. Place the graham cracker crumbs and butter in a medium bowl and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer the crumb mixture to a pie plate and gently press it into the bottom and sides of the pan. The crumbs should come together to form a crust.
  4. Transfer the pie plate to the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the plate from the oven and allow the crust to cool to room temperature.
To Make the Chocolate Filling
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until they form a thick, smooth mixture. Slowly add the whole milk, whisking to fully combine and prevent lumps from forming. Place the saucepan over low heat and add the chocolate, whisking until it is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from scorching on the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly as you prepare the whipped cream, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Once the mixture has cooled to lukewarm or room temperature, transfer it to the pie plate, spreading it evenly over the baked pie crust.
To Make the Whipped Cream Topping
  1. Place the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Using a whisk attachment for your stand mixer or beaters for a hand mixer, beat the cream and sugar on high speed until it forms stiff peaks.
  2. Transfer the whipped cream to the pie, spreading it gently to evenly cover the surface of the chocolate filling. Chill the pie until you are ready to serve.
Notes
  1. Our family lives and bakes around nut allergies, so our farmhouse kitchen is nut free. This recipe uses one of our nut free favorites: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates baking pieces and cocoa powder. You can learn all about them at www.vermontnutfree.com.
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This recipe is included in our Valentine’s Day recipe gallery.  You’ll find our favorite homemade Valentine’s Day recipes there just waiting for you!

Valentines Gallery


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1840 Farm abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity.  Compensation received from sponsors does not influence the topics or posts made on this blog.  Product reviews will include our honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed.  Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. Sponsored posts will be clearly labeled as such.

 

 

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Our Favorite Holiday Recipes from The 1840 Farmhouse Kitchen

holiday-cookie-trio-wm

Each holiday season, we turn to our favorite family recipes.  It simply wouldn’t feel like the holidays without them.  From the sweet chocolate crinkle cookies that remind me of my childhood to the savory tomato and onion jams that we will enjoy with our appetizers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, these recipes will be an integral part of our family’s celebration this year.

Whether you’re looking for something sweet or something savory, I hope that your friends and family will enjoy these dishes just as much as we do.  Simply click on a photo from our recipe gallery below and you’ll be taken to the original post and recipe.

We’ll be in the farmhouse kitchen cooking and baking today, making our way through this list of recipes while the snowflakes pile up outside.  The farmhouse will smell so inviting and the farmhouse kitchen tree will help set a festive mood, decorated with a few antique kitchen tools handed down by great grandmothers on both sides of our family.  It will be my favorite kind of day: one spent in the kitchen with my family baking for my family and making fresh memories to last for years to come.

I hope that you have a wonderfully warm holiday spent with friends and family and filled to the brim with delicious dishes to celebrate the season.  It won’t be long until we embark on the journey of the New Year, turning our calendars to 2017 and dreaming of all the opportunities and adventures that await us.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from all of us here at 1840 Farm!

 

Something Sweet

Something Savory

 

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Boston Cream Pie

BostonCreamPie at 1840 FarmBoston Cream Pie has always been one of my favorite desserts.  It’s difficult to beat the combination of a light sponge cake layered with vanilla pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache.  It wins on flavor and appearance in my book.

Sure, it isn’t really a pie in spite of its name.  As a pie lover, I could choose to hold that against this dessert.  Or, I could choose to love it more because it was made in a pie plate instead of a cake pan.  I’ll go with the second option because it doesn’t prevent me from loving Boston Cream Pie for any reason at all.

If you’re not familiar with the story behind Boston Cream Pie, here it is.  Once upon a time (around 1856), a chef by the name of Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel made a sponge cake layered with rum infused pastry cream, garnished with toasted almonds, and topped with chocolate fondant.  As was common practice at the time, he baked the cake in pie tins which were often used for cake baking.  The cake was called “Chocolate Cream Pie” and the name stuck.BostonCreamDrip

Years later, it came to be called Boston Cream Pie in a nod to its birthplace.  The Parker House became the Omni Parker House and the rest is culinary history of the most delicious kind.  In 1996, this dessert with a history became the official state dessert of Massachusetts.

No matter the reason this dessert was originally baked in pie tins, it is more common to find it baked in a cake pan these days.  Doing so creates a more symmetrical cake that can be sliced horizontally into layers for the finished dessert.  I like a challenge, so I prefer to use pie plates which create the rustic appearance of the homemade dessert that I love. 

In addition to using pie plates, I like to create three layers of cake rather than the customary two layers.  I find that the ratio of cake to pastry cream and ganache is just right when I create three thin layers of cake.  There’s also something decadent about a triple layer cake.

Once we moved to New England, it seemed fitting to master my own homemade version of Boston Cream Pie.  We even took a trip in to Boston to have a slice at the Omni Parker House just to experience it at the very place it was first created. 

Once we became chicken keepers and had a steady supply of the fresh eggs that give this cake and pastry cream such a rich flavor, my recipe really took shape. I have been making it the same way ever since.

You can call this dessert a pie or a cake, either is fine by me.  I’ll call it homemade and delicious and enjoy every last bite!

Boston Cream Pie
This recipe makes use of several foundation recipes and techniques. You’ll make a sponge cake with a meringue that is folded into the batter to deliver the most amazing texture. Then you’ll move on to make a beautiful pastry cream followed by the chocolate ganache. These three components can be used time and time again making a wide range of delicious dishes to share with your friends and family.
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For the Vanilla Sponge Cake
  1. 1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk
  2. ½ vanilla bean pod
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. ½ cup (96 grams) granulated sugar
  5. 200 grams (1 ¾ minus 1 Tablespoon) All-purpose flour
  6. 4 heaping Tablespoons cornstarch (36 grams)
  7. 1 cup (192 grams) granulated sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  10. 3 ounces oil (I prefer a sunflower oil blend, but any neutral tasting oil will do)
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. butter or coconut oil and sugar to prepare pie pans
For the Pastry Cream
  1. 12 ounces whole milk
  2. ½ vanilla bean pod
  3. 2 eggs
  4. pinch of salt
  5. ¼ cup (30 grams) All-purpose flour
  6. 6 Tablespoons (72 grams) granulated sugar
  7. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. 4 ounces heavy cream
  2. 4 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate
For the Vanilla Sponge Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Position the oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Prepare three pie pans by coating with butter or coconut oil and granulated sugar. Set aside as you prepare the cake batter.
  2. Place the cup of whole milk a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife. Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside. Transfer the beans and pod to the pot with the milk and place over low heat. The heat will help to infuse the flavor and aroma of the vanilla bean into the milk.
  3. Prepare a large mixing bowl and the beaters for your mixer by wiping with a paper towel lightly moistened with white vinegar. This will remove any trace of fat, allowing you to create a fluffy, beautiful meringue from the egg whites.
  4. Separate the three eggs, placing the whites in the prepared mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites on high speed until they become frothy. Continue beating while adding the ½ cup of granulated sugar one Tablespoon at a time. Beat until all of the sugar has been incorporated and the meringue has come to stiff peaks. You can test the meringue by removing the beater and holding it upright. If the peak of the meringue holds, it has come to stiff peaks and is ready to use.
  5. Remove the milk and vanilla bean from the heat to cool slightly. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk.Transfer the whipped egg white meringue to a small bowl and return the mixing bowl and beater to your mixer.
  6. Add the flour, cornstarch, 1 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder to the mixing bowl. Add the oil and half of the warm milk to the bowl. Mix slowly to combine. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, mixing again on slow speed just to combine. Add the remaining milk to the bowl and beat slowly for approximately one minute until the batter is smooth and well combined.
  7. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, gently fold the reserved egg white meringue into the cake batter. Continue folding until the mixture is smooth and even.
  8. Transfer the batter to the prepared pie pans, dividing equally among them. Transfer the pie pans to the preheated oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The cakes are done when the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with small crumbs attached.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven to a wire rack to cool. When the pans are cool enough to handle, use an offset spatula to loosen the cakes from the pans. Turn each cake out on to the wire racks to cool completely.
For the Pastry Cream
  1. Place the whole milk in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife. Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside. Transfer the beans and pod to the pot with the milk and place over low heat.
  2. As the milk is warming, combine the eggs and dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. The resulting batter should be thick and smooth.
  3. Move the pan of milk from the burner. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk. Slowly add the egg mixture, whisking to incorporate the thick batter into the warm milk.
  4. Return the pan to medium low heat and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove from the heat.
  5. Transfer the pastry cream from the pan (straining if necessary to remove lumps) to a bowl. Add the vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing it firmly against the mixture to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Refrigerate until the cake is ready to be assembled.
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. Prepare the ganache by warming the heavy cream in a small pan or in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat source and add the chocolate. Allow the mixture to rest for two minutes before whisking to incorporate. When the cream and chocolate have become a satiny glaze, set the ganache aside to cool.
To Assemble the Boston Cream Pie
  1. Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator. Whisk the mixture to ensure that it is completely smooth. Whisk the chocolate ganache.
  2. Place one of the cake layers on a large plate or platter. Transfer half of the pastry cream to the top of the cake. Using a spatula, spread the pastry cream to evenly cover the cake, leaving a narrow margin around the edge of the cake. Repeat this process with the second layer of cake and remaining pastry cream.
  3. Place the third cake layer on top. Transfer all of the chocolate ganache to the top of the cake. If the ganache is warm enough, it can be poured, if not, simply use a spatula to spread the ganache to fully cover the top of the cake. I like to completely cover the cake and allow a small bit of the ganache to drip over the edge. There’s just something inviting about seeing this cake with chocolate reaching down to the cake plate below.
  4. Transfer the fully assembled Boston Cream Pie to the refrigerator. The cake can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, although they never last that long here!
Notes
  1. This cake benefits from the use of cake flour. Due to food allergies, I struggled to find a brand of cake flour that was safe to use in our kitchen. Fortunately, I discovered that I could combine All-purpose flour and cornstarch to deliver the benefits of cake flour without adding allergens to our kitchen and one more specialty ingredient to our pantry. For each cup of cake flour called for in a recipe, simply weigh out one cup of All-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour and add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Problem solved!
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My Favorite Baking How To Posts

Favorite Baking How To Posts Collage

This morning, I published a new issue of our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter filled with links to my favorite baking how to posts.  I hope that each of them will help you to enjoy baking in your kitchen and turning out delicious breads and dessert for your friends and family.  Here they are, all gathered together in one place so that you can access each and every one of them!

If you enjoy reading our posts, why not subscribe to our FREE newsletter?  It’s the best way to ensure that you don’t miss a single recipe, new handmade product, or special offer for our Etsy Shop.  We’ll never share your email and send our best posts  directly to your inbox.  Take a look through our past issues to see what you’ve been missing.

MakeYourOwnCakeFlourSubstituteBranded  TheBestWaytoStoreFreshBreadBranded

HowtoMakeYourOwnBakingPowderBranded  FarmhouseKitchenScienceBakingPowdervsBakingSodaBranded

PieCrustTipsBranded

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/06/my-favorite-baking-how-to-posts/

Make Your Own: Cake Flour Substitute

MakeYourOwnCakeFlourSubstituteBrandedThere I was, reading a recipe for what sounded like a delicious cake.  I was inspired to head into the farmhouse kitchen to make one for my family.  I scanned through the list of ingredients, mentally placing a check mark on each line, happy to see that I had each ingredient on hand.  Then I came to cake flour and everything came to a screeching halt. 

Cake flour is all but impossible for me to purchase at the grocery store.  Each box seems to carry an allergy warning that prevents me from being able to invite the ingredient into our kitchen. We are completely peanut and tree nut free, so buying a box of cake flour that might contain both simply wasn’t an option.

I knew that cake flour was designed specifically for cake baking. In fact, each type of flour is designed to deliver differing levels of protein, gluten, and density to recipes.  Bread flour often promises a protein content in excess of 12%.  All-purpose flour typically has a protein content in the range of 11% while cake flour comes in at between 6-8%,  A lower protein content helps to create a cake that is tender, airy, and light. 

After a bit of reading, I found that I could indeed make my own cake flour substitute using two ingredients that I always have on hand in the pantry:  All-purpose flour and cornstarch.  By combining the two, I can create a flour that has a reduced protein content with less gluten, a silky texture, and the density that  cake flour is known for.  I could also sidestep peanuts and tree nuts, keeping our kitchen safe for the whole family.

This substitution is simple and I have used it with great success to bake light and delicious cakes.  I hope that you’ll find that it works just as well for you in your favorite recipes calling for cake flour.

Homemade Cake Flour Substitute
Our food allergies prevent me from purchasing cake flour at the grocery store, but they don't keep me from making recipes that call for cake flour. This homemade cake flour substitute works well, I can control the allergens, and I can use ingredients that I already have on hand. Now you can too!
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup All-purpose flour
  2. 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
Instructions
  1. For each cup of cake flour called for in a recipe, you can easily create your own substitute. This substitute can be used in any recipe that calls for cake flour. There's no need to adjust the amount of flour used.
  2. Measure 1 cup of All-purpose flour into a small bowl. Remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour. Add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl and whisk lightly to combine.
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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/06/cake-flour-substitute/

Memorial Day Favorites from 1840 Farm

MemorialDayFavoritesCollage

Memorial Day is the official kickoff to Summer and we feel like celebrating!  We’ll be enjoying a few of our favorite warm weather recipes with family and friends this weekend.  The temperatures are predicted to hit 90 degrees tomorrow, so we’ll be ready for a cold refreshing Franklin Cooler made with our homemade Raspberry and Rhubarb Syrup by midday!

Monday morning will start off with a Strawberry Puff Pancake using the bounty of fresh eggs our hens are providing.  For dinner, we’ll be grilling burgers and local sausages and topping them with Spicy Ginger & Garlic Quick Pickles and Classic Sauerkraut.  A Grilled Romaine Salad will be perfect as a side or as a main course for our friends that live a vegetarian lifestyle.  Add in a square of Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake and everyone will leave our farmhouse table full and happy. PatrioticHolidayGraphic

Each year, we choose to commemorate Memorial Day by making a donation from our 1840 Farm Community to a veteran’s charity for every handmade basket sold in our Etsy Shop. It’s our small way of showing our deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who serve in our military and the families that support them.

This year, I want to give you the opportunity to help select the charity that will receive that donation. If you have a favorite charity that focuses on those who serve our nation, please visit our Facebook page and join in our discussion. Together, we’ll choose the charity that receives our donation. Then we’ll repeat the nomination process for Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veteran’s Day.

For all of you who have served in the military or are on active duty, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your service to our country.  To the families and friends who support those who serve, thank you for the sacrifices you make to support the bravest Americans among us.  As the flag flaps on our farmer’s porch, I am forever reminded that we owe a debt of gratitude to all who serve that can never be repaid.

I hope that you have a holiday weekend spent with friends and family filled to the brim with laughter, delicious food and drink, and memories in the making.

 

Warmly,

 

You can access any of the recipes by clicking on the photos below.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/05/memorialdayfavorites/

1840 Farmhouse Kitchen Breakfast and Brunch Favorites

 

OvenPoachedEggWMJust in time for Mother’s Day, I have gathered together a collection of our favorite recipes to make for breakfast and brunch.  These recipes have been made time and time again in our Farmhouse Kitchen here at 1840 Farm. Now you can make them for your friends and family.  They’re sure to love them as much as mine do!

 

Click on any of the photos to view the recipe for each dish.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/05/1840-farmhouse-kitchen-breakfast-and-brunch-favorites/

Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies and a Cookbook Review

Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies at 1840 FarmI have long believed that any day can be made better with a homemade cookie.  If the cookie happens to a perfectly made chocolate chip cookie still warm from the oven, all the better.  While I make many different types of cookies in our farmhouse kitchen, this chocolate chip cookie recipe is hands down our favorite.Cookie Love

This recipe was inspired by a cookbook I was sent to review for our readers.  I was ready to love this book immediately based on the delicious cookies shown on the cover.  Any book titled “Cookie Love” has my attention from the first page.

Cookie Love by Mindy Segal and Kate Leahy is filled with 60 intriguing cookie recipes from drop cookies to shortbread, sandwich, rugelach, and bars.  These aren’t the same recipes you’ve seen over and over again.  When I turned to page 23 and discovered a recipe for Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies, I stopped in my tracks.

When I accept a cookbook to review, I like to select a recipe to test before sharing the cookbook with you.  To me, it seems like the best way for me to review a cookbook.   If the recipe doesn’t have clear instructions or produces something that doesn’t pass my family’s taste test, I don’t feel like I can encourage you to add it to your cookbook collection.

So, as I read through Cookie Love, I gave thought to which recipe I should choose for my review.  Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies were definitely on the list, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand.  A recipe for homemade Milanos definitely caught my eye.  Due to food allergies, my family can’t safely purchase the store bought version, so making a homemade take on these classics was very appealing.  There were so many beautiful photos of scrumptious looking cookies that it was a very difficult task to choose the first recipe to attempt.

WonderMixCookiesWMIn the end, I went with the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I was drawn to the story behind this recipe and the fact that my family would be sure to enjoy taste testing a batch of chocolate chip cookies.   I was right.  They loved these cookies and happily tasted one after another before giving them a collective thumbs up.

Since then, I have adjusted the recipe slightly, adding more of our homemade vanilla extract to deepen the vanilla flavor and reducing the salt called for in the original recipe.  I also like to reduce the baking temperature and slightly increase the baking time.  Doing so encourages the butter in the dough to melt a bit, spreading out to create a cookie that is thin and crisp around the edge and soft and chewy in the middle. 

These cookies are so popular with my family, that I keep our freezer stocked with balls of cookie dough that can be baked at a moment’s notice.   I allow the frozen dough to warm up as the oven preheats and then pop them in the oven.  With a few extra minutes added to the baking time, the cookies are perfectly baked and we can enjoy warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies in less than 20 minutes.

Cookie Love also includes helpful tips for choosing ingredients, mixing, shaping, and baking cookies.  I can’t wait to try a few more recipes here in the farmhouse kitchen.  Now I just have to decide which recipe to try next!

You’ll find Cookie Love listed in our Amazon Affiliate shop along with a full collection of my favorite cookbooks. You can also learn more about the book and its author by visiting the publisher’s site.  If you’re on the hunt for a new great cookbook, you can read more of my cookbook reviews and recipes inspired by my favorite cookbooks.

Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 36
I like to use bittersweet chocolate chips in this recipe, but you can substitute your favorite chocolate chips or chunks. I often replace ½ - 1 cup of the All-purpose flour with an equal amount of our home milled whole wheat flour. The freshly milled flour adds a lovely bit of texture and earthly flavor to the finished cookies.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened and cubed
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  9. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  10. 8 ounces (2 generous cups) chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Place the cubed butter in the bowl of your mixer fitted with a paddle or dough beaters. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds, until the butter begins to smooth out a bit. Add the sugar and brown sugar before beating on medium speed until the mixture is completely smooth, approximately 2-4 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the bowl and beat on low for a 10-20 seconds, just until combined. The batter may break up a bit, but don’t worry. It will come together when the dry ingredients are worked into the mix. Scrape down the bowl and beaters if necessary to gather the batter together before continuing.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Stir to mix the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in one addition to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients have completely integrated into the dough. This should only take 30-60 seconds depending on the strength of your mixer. Take great care not to overmix the dough. Mixing develops the gluten in the flour and overmixing will encourage the dough to become tough.
  5. Transfer the dough to a covered container for storage in the refrigerator. Allow the dough to chill for a few hours or overnight. I often make a batch of dough and keep it in the refrigerator, baking a single evening’s cookies each night. Portioned balls of dough can also be frozen on a small tray and then transferred to a freezer bag for long term storage. Frozen dough can be baked by simply adding a few minutes to the baking time.
  6. When you are ready to bake some or all of the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position the oven racks to the top and bottom third of your oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat style liner.
  7. Create balls of dough using heaping 1 ½ Tablespoons (approximately 1 ounce or so). Place six balls on each baking sheet, spacing evenly to prevent the cookies from touching as they bake. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the cookies have flattened and browned. Rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time will help to ensure that the cookies are evenly baked.
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven, allowing them to cool for a few minutes. As with any cookie, these are even more delicious when eaten while still warm with a cup of coffee or cold glass of milk.
Notes
  1. Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. Dough can be refrigerated for one week and frozen for several months.
  2. Our family lives and bakes around nut allergies, so our farmhouse kitchen is nut free. This recipe uses one of our nut free favorites: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. You can learn all about them at www.vermontnutfree.com.
Adapted from Cookie Love by Mindy Segal with Kate Leahy
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 Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies Group


 

The book reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge by the Blogging for Books Program in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. The book that I reviewed was sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to evaluate it. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

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