Dessert / Pastry / Sweet / Uncategorized

Out of Hibernation!

Hello interweb world!

I am back from the longest winter vacation ever. The restaurant at Gathering Together Farm closes its doors for the thick of the winter season, because like me quite a few people go into a serious hibernation. This is my first year to experience this “farm-bernation” hibernation but I assume that some kinda of chemical reaction occurs inside of us when the sun comes out and makes everyone crave those famous POTATO DONUTS. So we’re exactly 2 weeks away from the big Valentines Day Dinners (I mean look at that menu, Ah I can hardly wait!)

This past week I have been getting back into high gear dessert mode. For the dinners, I’ve been trying out some Chocolate Souffles and Strawberry Macarons, as well as having some fun with steamed buns.

There is a restaurant in Corvallis that makes great Steamed Bao. The savory ones are filled with pork and a quail egg. The quail egg is by far my favorite part; I eat the whole thing for that little egg yolk. Today right as I was saving that perfect bite of egg yolk, it rolled right on to the floor. A true tragedy.

I have left the savory buns to the pros, but last night I did a little experiment with a Chocolate Meyer Lemon Risotto filled bun. They were so moist with this oozing chocolate filling, it was heavenly. Also the good thing about this whole recipe is a little bit goes a long way.

Chocolate Meyer Lemon Risotto filled Steamed Buns

8 oz Milk
8 oz Cream
1 oz Arborio Rice
2 oz Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Meyer Lemon Zest
1 oz Semisweet Chocolate
1/2-1 Tbsp Cornstarch (optional, depending on how thick you would like your risotto to be)

Bring Milk, Cream, Sugar, Cocoa, Vanilla, Zest to a boil. Add the Arborio rice and simmer for about 30 minutes, until rice is the correct texture. Then add the chocolate and stir till melted.

If you only want to make the pudding, stop here and enjoy! :)

If the pudding is going to be used as a filling, you may need to thicken it a bit with the cornstarch. If this is the case make a slurry with the cornstarch and some cool water. Add it and bring the pudding back up to a boil. Put the pudding in a clean bowl, cover and allow to cool.

Steamed Buns (for filled buns) from Asian Dumplings

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
8 oz lukewarm water
1 oz oil (any oil is fine, the original recipe calls for canola, but I have used olive with no problems)
1 oz sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
12 1/2 oz AP Flour

All the dry ingredients can be measured in the same bowl, the liquids should be measured separately. Pour all but about 1 oz of liquid into the dry ingredients and mix, it should look pretty dry and raggedy. Use the last ounce of liquid to mix till a smooth dough develops. Kneed for about 5 minutes. It won’t be completely smooth but don’t worry this a super forgiving dough.

Allow to rise in an oiled bowl in a warm spot till doubled, it should take about 45 minutes.

Separate into equal portions, the size of them will depend on how big you want your buns to be. I made 6 rather large buns, but you could make 8-16 medium to small ones. When they are portioned roll them into little buns and allow to rise again for about 30 minutes. While they are rising again, check on your filling, make sure it is the right consistency and temperature.

Once they have roughly doubled in size flatten each one into a disk and fill with the chocolate risotto. You shouldn’t need a rolling pin or extra flour; the dough is very soft and not sticky. Actually extra flour would make them very hard to close. I won’t try to explain how to close them, here’s a video, its pretty difficult. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIsmcxkZdVw

After they are shaped place them on pieces of parchment and allow them to proof in a warm spot till they have doubled again.

While they are rising prepare the steamer. Steam for 8 minutes. When they are done let them sit a moment so they are easier to handle!

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