Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Entries in tomato (2)

Wednesday
Apr272011

Scaccia (Tomato and Cheese Pie)

I found this recipe in Saveur last month. In spite of it falling into the baking category, and in spite of “Scaccia” sounding like a condition sure to send you running to the clinic for a shot of penicillin, I just had to give it a try. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be incredible and I managed not to let my baking “different-abledness” get in the way. I deviated from the recipe in that I mixed and kneaded the dough with a Kitchen Aid and the dough hook attachment (Total mixing time was 4-6 minutes until the dough reached the shiny elasticity described in the recipe.)

I had to roll this out on the dining room table with a lightly floured tablecloth, because this rolls out a lot larger than a standard cutting board or kitchen counter space permits. Total active work time (excepting the 30 minute rest time and cooling period for the tomato sauce) was only about 20 minutes.

As the original recipe states (click the Saveur link above), this comes out of the oven looking charred and ugly (it says the uglier, the better), but you forget about that once it’s in your mouth. (This is me refraining from making a reference to the similarities with your mom.)

Note: If you live in Seattle, you can find caciocavello cheese at PFI for about $12 bucks/pound.

Scaccia (Tomato and Cheese Pie)

SERVES 10-12

3 1/2 cups durum wheat flour

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 bunch fresh basil

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 oz. caciocavallo or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

Instructions:

1. Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in center; add 2 tbsp. oil, salt, and 1 1/4 cups water, and stir until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 6–8 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and basil, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, to meld flavors, about 10 minutes. Discard basil, remove pan from heat, and set aside to let cool.

3. Heat oven to 500°. Transfer dough to a floured work surface, and using a rolling pin, roll dough into a 1/16″-thick rectangle. Arrange the dough so that the long sides are parallel to you. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over dough in a thin layer and sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Fold left third of dough toward center, spread top with 1/4 cup sauce, and sprinkle with 5 tbsp. cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold right third over center to meet left edge, and repeat with sauce, cheese, and salt and pepper. Fold in top and bottom so they meet in center; spread top with remaining sauce and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold top half over bottom half, like closing a book, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and continue baking until dough is set and slightly charred, about 60–65 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into squares and serving.

Thursday
Apr072011

Tomato Upside-Down Cake

Yes, I know this sounds bizarre. Tomatoes? In a dessert? When tomatoes were in season, we decided to give it a go. This recipe comes from Paul Bertolli’s “Cooking By Hand” cookbook (if you don’t have this cookbook, GET IT—it’s amazing!).

As usual, my baking skills were lacking and although the cake passed the toothpick test, it was underdone.  The flavors of the tomatoes on the cake were flawless, though, and fortunately the cherry tomato preserves make enough in a single batch for two cakes. Even David, who looked at me as though I was serving roadkill when I told him we were having a tomato cake, was pleasantly surprised at how much this cake rocked. Other than it being the consistency of a big sneeze because Marc can’t bake.

Making the recipe a second (and third) time, I increased the baking time by 5-10 minutes and it came out perfect. If a baketard can make this recipe rock, you DEFINITELY can...

Give it a try. No, really….
 
Tomato Upside Down Cake

Caramel for lining the bottom of the cake pan:
1/2 c dark brown sugar
5 oz unsalted butter

Cake batter:
4 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 c dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 large, firm-ripe tomato such as Brandywine or Marvel Stripe or any large juicy tomato
1 1/2 c cherry tomato preserves (recipe follows)

Preparation:
For caramel, melt together the 5 oz butter and the 1/2 c dark brown sugar. Pour into a round 9-inch cake pan. Slice the tomato very thinly, about 1/8 inches thick. Place the slices in the cake pan, allowing them to touch but not overlap. Spread the Yellow Tomato Preserves on top of the tomato slices, taking care not to disturb the slices.

To prepare the batter, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl, cream together 4 oz butter and 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat briefly (the mixture will not be completely smooth at this time). Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat only until smooth. Scrape the bowl thoroughly with a rubber spatula and beat briefly until the batter is completely smooth. Spread the batter in the pan evenly.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until a skewer stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Flip the cake over onto a large plate to remove it from the pan. Be sure to remove the cake while still quite warm, otherwise the cake may stick in the pan. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone.


Cherry Tomato Preserves
1 quart yellow pear tomatoes or any cherry tomato
1 lemon, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c water

Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Raise the heat to high and while stirring constantly, reduce the mixture to a thick consistency.