Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer baking 3: Napoleon

I first enjoyed napoleons at a local cafĂ© in State College, Pennsylvania.  When I bought a book on French pastry arts, my mouth watered at the recipe for the napoleon.  Could I make it?  I've never made puff pastry before and that seemed like a lot of time and effort, then there was the assembly which appeared overly fussy.  But since this is a baking challenge, I decided to try... and how sweet the result!  Making puff pastry was actually easier than I imagined.  I have the amazing (and upbeat) DulceDelight to thank for that!

Adding the butter block to the dough

Six turns later... here it is!
The puff pastry is divided into three parts and spread with a vanilla pastry cream.  Finally the top piece is decorated with liquid fondant.  I made the "quick" powdered sugar version, lined with melted chocolate and scraped with a toothpick to make a fun design.  Not sure that I'll have an occasion to make this again, but I'm glad to check it off my list!

Finished napoleon with pastry cream filling and liquid fondant glaze

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer baking 2: Cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns were the second pastry in my summer baking challenge.  The dough rose a lot... a lot more than expected and tasted overly yeasty... but it was still super tasty.

Ready for kneading

Butter, sugar, cinnamon filling

Ready for the oven

Nom

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Spiritualist Camp, Wonewoc

Early in June I went to check out the Wonewoc Spiritualist Camp.  It's one of those peculiar events in Wisconsin that's been there for over a century.  In addition to personal readings, they have seances, regressions and other things for the curious.  Individual readings are $45 for thirty minutes from a selection of different types of readers.  The camp is atop "Spook Hill" and given the presence of mediums, the shabby cabins, and secluded atmosphere it can all be quite spooky.

Downtown Wonewoc

Entrance to the camp


Mediums' cabins

Cabin memorial, 1929

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Baking 1: Madeleines

I've decided to spend this summer baking new things... tasties that I've never made before.  I foresee some being challenging, others being completely simple staples.  Here's my first go:  madeleines.  The recipe I used is from Joy of Baking, which was very easy and delicious.

Fresh from the oven