- 8 slices fatty bacon, chopped
- Olive oil
- 3 large fresh Italian parsley sprigs
- 3 large fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 large fresh bay leaves, bruised
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 to 4 1/4 pounds meaty oxtail pieces, trimmed of excess fat
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup diced carrot plus 6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled; 1 minced, 3 left whole
- 1 3/4 cups beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups red Burgundy wine (such as Beaujolais)
- 1 pound crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 12 small (1-inch-diameter) shallots, blanched 1 minute, peeled
Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate. Pour drippings into small bowl. Return 6 tablespoons drippings to pot (add olive oil, if necessary, to measure 6 tablespoons total; reserve bacon for another use). Tie parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together for bouquet garni. Stir 1 tablespoon flour and butter in small bowl to smooth paste.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and nutmeg in medium bowl. Add oxtails, a few pieces at a time, to seasoned flour and toss to coat.
Heat bacon drippings in pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add oxtails and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer oxtails to bowl after each batch.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add chopped onions, diced carrot, and minced garlic to pot. Sauté until onions soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Return oxtails and any accumulated juices to pot. Add bouquet garni, then broth and wine. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer until meat is almost tender, adjusting heat occasionally to maintain gentle simmer, about 3 hours. Mix in mushrooms, shallots, carrot chunks, and whole garlic cloves. Increase heat and return to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer gently until meat and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes longer.
Tilt pot and spoon off any fat that rises to surface. Stir flour paste into stew. Simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. rewarm over low heat before serving.
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
- Pinch salt
- 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 6 tablespoons sanding sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and arrange the ramekins on a large rimmed baking sheet.
2. In a medium saucepan over moderately high heat, combine the heavy cream, 1/2 of the sugar, the vanilla bean seeds and pod, and the salt and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
3. While the cream is heating, combine the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and whisk to combine. Gradually add about 1/3 of the hot cream to the yolks, whisking constantly, then add the remaining hot cream and stir to fully combine. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Carefully ladle or pour the custard into the ramekins, filling them to the rim.
4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and carefully pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the edges have set but the center still jiggles when the ramekin is gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool on a rack for 30 minutes then wrap individually and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
6. To serve: Sprinkle the top of each custard with a thin even layer of sanding sugar, using about 1 tablespoon per ramekin. Use a kitchen blowtorch or the broiler to evenly melt and caramelize the sugar. Serve immediately.
Chorizo and Gigante Bean Cassoulet
- 3 cups dried gigante, corona, or large lima beans
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 8 fresh Spanish chorizo or hot Italian sausage links (About 2 pounds)
- 1 leek (white and pale-green parts only), cut into 1/4″-thick rounds
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained, chopped (optional)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained, crushed with your hands
- 7 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups fresh coarse breadcrumbs (from three 1/2″-thick slices white sandwich bread)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Ingredient info: Fresh Spanish chorizo, a link sausage that’s milder than Mexican chorizo, can be found at specialty foods stores, Spanish markets, and latienda.com (try hot or mild). Smoked paprika is available at most supermarkets.
For beans and chorizo:
Place beans in a large pot and cover with water by 3″. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.
Drain beans. Add fresh water to cover by 3″. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender but not mushy, 1 1/2-2 hours (time will vary depending on size and age of beans). Drain, reserving 1 cup bean broth.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until golden all over, 7-8 minutes. Transfer chorizo to a plate and set aside.
Place 2 tablespoons oil, leek, and onion in same pot. Season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and light golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and anchovies; stir 1 minute to break down anchovies. Add tomato paste and paprika; stir constantly until paste is caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add reserved 1 cup bean broth, beans, chicken broth, and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil.
Cover and bake until beans are very tender, about 30 minutes. Add chorizo (and any accumulated juices) to pot, pressing to submerge. Bake until liquid is reduced and slightly thickened, 40-45 minutes longer.
For breadcrumb topping:
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Add bread- crumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over beans and drizzle with remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Bake cassoulet until breadcrumbs are browned and liquid is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes. Sprinkle parsley and lemon zest over just before serving.
French Onion Soup
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon Calvados, Applejack, or other brandy
- 4 cups low-salt beef stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4–8 1/2″-thick slices baguette, cut to fit ramekins
- 1 cup grated Gruyère or raclette cheese
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cook onions in a 12″ nonstick skillet over high heat, stirring constantly, until soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add butter and toss onions to coat. Remove pan from heat and stir in Calvados. Return pan to heat and continue cooking until Calvados is absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer until soup is reduced to 4 cups, about 5 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide soup among ramekins. Top each ramekin with 1-2 slices of bread. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over each. Transfer baking sheet with ramekins to oven and bake until cheese is bubbly and browned in spots, about 4 minutes.
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyère or cheddar (about 6 ounces; see above)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Bring the milk, water, butter, and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over high heat. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low, and immediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk. The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring—with vigor—for another minute or two to dry the dough. The dough should now be very smooth.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or into a bowl that you can use for mixing with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and elbow grease. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don’t be concerned if the dough separates—by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again. Beat in the grated cheese. Once the dough is made, it should be spooned out immediately.
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère , drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds. Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère, drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds. Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are golden, firm, and, yes, puffed, another 12 to 15 minutes or so. Serve warm, or transfer the pans to racks to cool.
Gougères are good straight from the oven and at room temperature. I like them both ways, but I think you can appreciate them best when they’re still warm. Serve with kir, white wine, or Champagne.
The best way to store gougères is to shape the dough, freeze the mounds on a baking sheet, and then, when they’re solid, lift them off the sheet and pack them airtight in plastic bags. Bake them straight from the freezer—no need to defrost—just give them a minute or two more in the oven. Leftover puffs can be kept at room temperature over night and reheated in a 350-degree-F oven, or they can be frozen and reheated before serving.
- 6 medium leeks (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup low-salt chicken stock
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 1 tablespoon coarse-grained Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, whites and yolks separated and chopped
Heat oven to 425°F. Trim dark-green tops from leeks, leaving root end intact. Remove tough outer layer. Starting 1″ above root end, halve leeks lengthwise. Wash leeks, making sure to clean all sand from between layers. Dry slightly on paper towels.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, turning occasionally, until light golden in spots, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, 3–4 minutes. Add 1 cup water, chicken stock, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Transfer skillet to oven. Bake until leeks are tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk 1 tablespoon parsley, Dijon mustard, vinegar, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer leeks to a platter, drizzle with vinaigrette, top with eggs, and garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Hot pepper sauce
- 1 8-ounce package crimini (baby bella) or button mushrooms, trimmed
- 7 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 12 1/3-inch-thick slices egg bread
- 6 thin ham slices
- 12 ounces Gruyère cheese; 9 ounces thinly sliced, 3 ounces grated
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh tarragon leaves (optional)
For mornay sauce:
Melt butter in heavy-medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; stir until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Add bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-high; whisk until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium; stir until sauce coats back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese and nutmeg. Season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
Place mushrooms in processor. Using on/off turns, process until finely chopped. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallot; stir until mushrooms are browned and dry, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate to cool.
Preheat broiler. Spread remaining butter over 1 side of bread slices. Place bread, buttered side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Broil until golden, watching closely and rotating sheet halfway through broiling, about 3 minutes. Cool bread. Preheat oven to 450°F. Turn 6 bread slices over; top with ham and sliced cheese. Top with remaining bread slices, broiled side up. Press to compress. Spread about 2 tablespoons sauce over sandwiches, leaving 1/3-inch plain border. Divide mushroom mixture atop sauce. Sprinkle with grated Gruyère and Parmesan.
Bake sandwiches until cheese inside melts and cheese on top turns golden, about 10 minutes. Top with tarragon, if desired.
- 4 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley plus 1 cup leaves
- 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice, divided
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped capers
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup quartered pitted mixed olives
- 4 ounces tuna packed in olive oil (preferably pole-caught), drained, broken into pieces
- 4 1/2-inch-thick slices rustic bread
- 1 garlic clove, halved
Combine eggs, cottage cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, capers, and scallion in a medium bowl. Using a potato masher or large fork, mash until a coarse paste forms. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss 2 tablespoons oil, 1 cup parsley leaves, 1 tablespoons lemon juice, tomatoes, and olives in a medium bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Gently fold in tuna (don’t overmix; keep it chunky).
Toast bread; rub 1 side with cut end of garlic. Spread egg salad on top of each slice, dividing equally. Top with tuna mixture.
Provençal Braised Lamb Chops
- 4 (1/2-inch-thick) lamb shoulder chops (1 3/4 pounds total)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise (1/4 cup)
- 2 medium onions, sliced (4 cups)
- 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes
- 3 large thyme sprigs
- 1/3 cup oil-cured black olives
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
Pat chops dry and season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper (total). Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Brown chops in 2 batches, turning once, about 4 minutes total per batch. Transfer to a plate.
Add onions, bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits, then remove from heat.
Peel potatoes and slice about 1/8 inch thick. Scatter half of potatoes in a shallow 3-quart baking dish, then top with half of onions. Scatter garlic, thyme, and olives over onions, then top with lamb chops. Repeat layering remaining potatoes and onions, then pour wine, broth, and meat juices over top.
Bake, uncovered, basting top with juices once or twice, until potatoes are tender and browned on top and meat is tender when pierced with tip of a knife, about 1 1/2 hours.
Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good
- 1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
- 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped (my addition)
- About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions (my addition)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (my addition)
- About 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn’t so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I’ve always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I’ve been lucky.
Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It’s hard to go wrong here.)
Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.
You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I’m a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it’s just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.
It’s really best to eat this as soon as it’s ready. However, if you’ve got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.
There are many ways to vary this arts-and-crafts project. Instead of bread, I’ve filled the pumpkin with cooked rice—when it’s baked, it’s almost risotto-like. And, with either bread or rice, on different occasions I’ve added cooked spinach, kale, chard, or peas (the peas came straight from the freezer). I’ve made it without bacon (a wonderful vegetarian dish), and I’ve also made it and loved, loved, loved it with cooked sausage meat; cubes of ham are also a good idea. Nuts are a great addition, as are chunks of apple or pear or pieces of chestnut.
Quick Coq au Vin
- 4 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
- 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
- 8 ounces large crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved
- 8 large shallots, peeled, halved through root end
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine (such as Syrah)
- 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
- 4 teaspoons all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 300°F. Sauté bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Add to drippings in skillet. Sauté until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side; transfer to pie dish (reserve skillet). Place in oven to keep warm.
Add mushrooms and shallots to skillet; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; toss 10 seconds. Add wine, 1 1/4 cups broth, bacon, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place flour in small cup.
Add 1/4 cup broth, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture to sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on platter; stir juices from pie dish into sauce and spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.
Scallops à La Provençal
- 5 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic, divided
- 5 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
- 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 2 cups fresh corn
- 1 pound sea scallops
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, chives or a combination, divided
- 2 cups arugula
Heat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, combine tomatoes with 2 tablespoons garlic, 3 teaspoons thyme, 3 teaspoons oil, 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Coat a rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray; spread tomato mixture on pan in a single layer. Bake, stirring once or twice, until tomatoes are soft and slightly charred, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir corn into tomato mixture. In same bowl, toss scallops with remaining 2 teaspoons thyme, 2 teaspoons oil, 1/2 tablespoon garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Place scallops on top of tomato mixture; bake until scallops are just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer scallops to a plate; cut in half. Stir vinegar and 2 tablespoons herbs into tomato mixture. Divide arugula, tomato mixture and scallops among 4 bowls; sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon herbs.
Traditional Layered French Croissants
Original recipe makes 2 dozen croissants
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon water
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the butter and mix it together with your hands in a mixing bowl or on a work surface. Transfer the butter to a length of foil or parchment paper and pat it into a 6 inch square. Fold up the foil to make a packet and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
- Combine 2 cups of the flour with the salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water (100 degrees F/38 degrees C) and set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the milk and the heavy cream to lukewarm. Add the yeast, milk, and cream to the flour mixture and stir well. The dough will have a batter-like consistency.
- Stir in the remaining 2 cups of flour 1/4 cup at a time to form a soft dough. It should no longer be sticky. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- To begin the rolling and folding process, both the butter and the dough should be at a cool room temperature. [See Cook’s Note.] Place the dough on a floured surface and roll it into a 10-inch square. Set the block of butter diagonally on the square dough. Bring each point of dough to the center of the butter square; the edges of the dough should overlap. Pinch the edges together to seal.
- Starting from the center of the square and working outward, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a rectangle. The butter should be pliable enough to roll smoothly with the dough; if it’s too soft and starts to ooze out the corners, wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate before proceeding. Roll the dough into a long rectangle, approximately 8 by 18 inches. Fold the length of dough into thirds, like a business letter.
- If the dough is still cool, you can continue with another fold. Otherwise, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up for about 10 minutes before you begin rolling it out again.
- Position the dough so that the open ends are at 12 and 6 o’clock. Roll the dough into a rectangle, working from the center of the dough and pressing outwards. Reposition the dough as necessary to fit your work space. You should have a long rectangle for the “book fold.” Fold both ends of the dough into the middle; the ends don’t have to be touching, but should be close. Fold the already-folded dough in half; it will look like a thick book. Wrap the dough well with plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Roll the dough into a rectangle again and fold it into thirds, like a business letter. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight.
- To shape the croissants, roll the dough into a 10- by 38-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. It should be about 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza wheel or sharp paring knife to trim the edges of the dough. Divide the rectangle in half so that you have two 5-inch wide strips of dough. Use a clean yardstick to mark each strip into triangles that are 5 inches wide at their bases. Cut the triangles and place them onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill for 15 to 20 minutes, if necessary.
- Starting at the base of the triangle, roll the dough up into a log; the tip of the triangle should be under the body of the croissant to prevent it from unraveling. Bend in the corners to form the traditional crescent shape. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Arrange the croissants on the parchment-lined baking sheets and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Beat the egg with the tablespoon of water to make the egg wash. Brush the croissants with egg wash and bake in the preheated oven until deep brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving.
- Cook’s Note
- The key to rolling out the butter and dough layers is to have them both at the same temperature when you begin. The butter should be bendable but not greasy; if it’s too cold, it will be prone to cracking. Tip: take the butter square out of the refrigerator about an hour before you start laminating.
Banana Tartes Tatin
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 8 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 firm ripe bananas, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 1/4″-thick slices
- 4 6″ rounds puff pastry cut from one package of puff pastry, thawed
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place dishes on a rimmed baking sheet. Smear bottom of each dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle each evenly with 2 tablespoons sugar. Overlap slices from 1 banana over sugar, arranging in concentric circles to cover. Top each dish with 1 puff pastry round, tucking in edges of pastry.
Bake until pastry is golden and puffed and filling is bubbly, 20-25 minutes. Invert onto plates.
Tourtière du Shack
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
- 5 whole black peppercorns plus freshly ground black pepper
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 2″ pieces
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 medium button mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/4 pounds ground pork
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup grated, peeled russet potato
- All-purpose flour (for surface)
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
Pulse flour, butter, and salt in a food processor until pea-size pieces of butter form. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1/4 cup ice water and stir just until shaggy clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine broth, 1/2 chopped onion, 1 chopped garlic clove, whole peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaves in a medium pot. Add pork shoulder; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Cover pot. Transfer to oven; braise until pork shoulder is tender and shreds easily, about 2 hours. Remove from oven; let cool.
Transfer pork shoulder to a work surface. Shred meat with your fingers and transfer to a medium bowl. Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve; add 1/2 cup juices to pork; discard solids in strainer.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 chopped onion and 3 chopped garlic cloves; cook, stirring often, until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until almost all liquid is evaporated, 5-7 minutes. Add wine; stir, scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook, stirring often, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Add ground pork, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook, stirring to break up into small pieces, until pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add potato. Cook until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in shredded pork with juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper; let cool slightly. Chill until cold, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Roll out 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12″ round. Transfer to pie dish, leaving overhang. Fill with cooled meat mixture. Roll out remaining dough disk into a 10″ round. Place dough over meat filling. Fold overhang over top crust and crimp edges. Brush crust with egg yolk. Cut three 2″ slits in top crust. Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake tourtière for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F; bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 40-50 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving