I made a vow to myself that I would make everything in Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery
book. This is one "project" I plan on carrying through.
This past week I made the Creme Fraiche Coffee Cake (pg.33), the Italian Dried Plum Tarts (pg 205), Chocolate Walnut Scones (pg.171) and the Chocolate Madelines (pg. 41). I had some ingredients that I wanted to use up that were taking up too much space in my fridge. I had a little creme fraiche and just enough sour cream to make both the madelines and the coffee cake.
The coffee cake is a really good, basic coffee cake. We have all made cakes like these (or most of you, at least those of you that do attempt to bake). However this particular cake was so light. Next time I would add some mini chocolate chips to the streusel (in my opinion, everything tastes better with chocolate-even toast!). Everyone who ate it , loved it. I would make it again. Actually, I have some orange simple syrup (left over from orange peels-see below) in my fridge. I would make again and while the cake is still hot, soak the cake with the simple syrup. Instead of dusting with powdered sugar I may make a simple white glaze, flavored with the orange syrup to frost with. Add the chocolate and it could be a winning combo!
These muffins are laced with espresso powder. Originally it sounded like a weird combo, but in actuality they were good. Nancy (yeah, we are on a first name basis) suggested that you fill the muffin tin up to the top of the rim. Next time, I would leave a little room at the top. I don't particularly like when the batter over flows to the top of the muffin pan. Too hard to pry them out of their little home. So, if you plan to try these at home, try it my way and then let me know.
Didn't really want them sitting around the house, so I sent them to work with my husband. He said they disappeared very quickly.
I think I have said this before, I love making scones. I love to make them and then freeze them and have them around morning, noon and night. I like Nancy's scone recipes. Ironically, her scone recipes do not contain eggs. I think that is why I like them so much.
These are the Chocolate Walnut Scones. I wanted to add a little something to them, not that they really needed anything, but what the heck. So I made some candied orange peels. Don't ask me why? Just did. I decided to chop a few of these up really fine and put them in the batter. I don't know what they taste like without the orange peel, but they were delicious with the orange flavor. Isaac had his final gymnastics competition last weekend and I brought them for the team to enjoy. There were no complaints.
Candied Orange Peel
My kids love Madelines. When ever we stop at a coffee house they inevitably choose the madeline over the big fat pastry in the display case. I have not made madelines for over 20 years. I have this vintage madeline pan and in retrospect I should have purchased a new and improved pan prior to tackling this challenge.
This was not one of the better recipes in the book. I feel the problem is two fold. One being my archaic pan and the other being the recipe itself. I need to work on this genre of baking.
My challenge continues....