Monday, October 4, 2010

Pear Tarte Tatin, Apple Strudel Bread and Cranberry Pecan Sweet Rolls

For this braid, our baking group was able to pick between 2 doughs--whole wheat brioche, and pumpkin pie brioche.  Since we made pumpkin pie brioche before, I tried the whole wheat brioche.  What a wonderful dough--so nice and silky!  A joy to use, and didn't have a strong whole wheat taste.

This dough was made in my Kitchenaid mixer.  The liquid ingredients were placed in the bowl first.  The yeast, salt and vital wheat gluten were then sifted into some of the flour with my new battery operated sifter*** (see Handwise tips).  Jeff and Zoe posted to me that it would be ok to sift these ingredients with part of the flour. That should keep the vital wheat gluten from getting gummy.  They said to just be sure to mix everything well afterwards.

 Pear Tarte Tatin

This recipe was made with my dinner guests in mind, who love ginger and cardamom.  My hubby experienced too much ginger in one of my recipes, and now won't touch it.  Bosc pears were used, one of my favorite fall fruits!

The dough was made the night before, so it was time to make cook the pears.  Peeling the pears with my Dazey Stripper didn't work.
Will someone start making these again???

That was unusual.  This gadget is great for peeling apples or potatoes.  Now I only see the peeler (without the necessary blades!) on ebay.  The pears just seemed a bit too soft. 

So, the pears were peeled, cored, and sliced with my trusty paring knife.  We don't have a cast iron pan, so the pears were sauteed in our 11" Kitchenaid pan. 

The dough was rolled out to about 12".  To make the transfer easier, a pie-making trick was used.  I folded the dough in half, then in half again.  The corner of the dough was placed onto the center of the pan.  It was then simple to unfold the dough onto the pears.  

Because I was using a larger pan, I made really sure to tuck the dough underneath the pears:   

After baking it for about 20 minutes, the pear tarte tatin looked like this:

Five minutes later, I placed a serving tray on top and flipped (in what a guest called "an act of faith) the tarte onto the serving tray.

The pears needed a bit of readjustment, but it was just great that the tarte came out in one piece onto the platter!!!

Apple Strudel Bread

Yummy, yummy, yummy!  This bread is one of my definite favorites.  Instead of making doughnuts, I thought I would make this bread again.  However, this bread was made after an eventful day of cooking and entertaining guests.  Baking that day was my therapy, and I wasn't up for challenges.  Although the taste was fabulous, you'll see that it wasn't the "desired" shape.

Two pounds of dough were rolled out.  The filling of apples, cinnamon, raw sugar and walnuts was added.  There was my note on the recipe, from last time, to decrease the amount of raisins and walnuts--which I did.  

However, I couldn't tell whether my note about the apples was to use 2 or 3 medium apples.  Therefore, I decided to use one medium and one large apple.  That may have been my downfall in this recipe....

Before rising!
After rolling the dough into a long log, it was really too big to place into my prepared 8 1/2" x  4 1/2" loaf pan.  I was just too tired to dig up a larger loaf pan, spray it with oil and wash my current pan.  That's when I decided to fold the log in half and put it into the current loaf pan:  

There were holes in the dough, after the transfer.  They were patched with dough scraps, just as if it were a pie.  Halfway through the baking, I checked on the progress:   
Uh Oh!!!!

The long log should have been baked on a baking sheet.  Not only did the loaf bake over the sides, the dough scraps were falling off  (they were yummy!).  Thankfully, I put a piece of foil underneath the loaf pan.  At least I was alert enough to think of that....

Top of Apple Strudel Bread

Bottom of Apple Strudel Bread
As mentioned before, the final loaf wasn't pretty, but it was really tasty.  I ate this quickly, and I'm not sure my hubby got to taste it!  YUM!!!
  Cranberry Pecan Sweet Rolls

The last assignment for this braid was the Honey Caramel Sticky Buns.  I had made this before, and have vivid memories of the oven fire--Honey Caramel Sticky Buns and a "kitchen adventure."

Therefore, I decided to make simple sweet rolls.  Craisins sounded good.  The dough was rolled out, and the craisins were sprinkled onto the rectangle of dough.  When the dough was almost rolled up into a log, I thought "what about some sugar?"  So the dough was unrolled slightly, and some sugar was sprinkled onto the rectangle.
"Baking by Inspiration"

The log was cut into 2" slices which were placed on their sides.  There were some chopped pecans in the cabinet, so those were sprinkled on top.  After the baked rolls were cooled, a simple icing was drizzled on top:

These were shared with our happy crew of gardeners, our great neighbor (across the street), and my yoga teacher.  My hubby snacked on these also.  Well, at least he ate one out of the three recipes!

Handwise tips:  If you have hand pain, tendonitis, or arthritis or any other pain issues and want to make this recipe:  

  • The Handwise tip for this recipe comes from our HBin5 host--Michelle, of Big Black Dogs.  There seem to be 2 kinds of sifters, usually.  One is the squeeze handle, which can be very tiring on hands.  The other is a turn handle, which can also be tiring.  Michelle told me about her Norpro battery operated sifter:       
Battery Operated Sifter
At first glance, it was dissappointing that the sifter could only hold 4 cups.  However, it's just wonderful that it does all the sifting by itself--no handles to squeeze or turn. 
I will mention two aspects about this sifter:
  1. Make sure you put the handle in place properly, or it won't work well.  The flour will sift slowly.
  2. This may not be a good sifter if your hands are sensitive to vibration.  However, the sifting only lasts a short time.
This bread is one of the breads from the "Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes a Day" book.The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in this book.  To see what my HB5 baking buddies have made recently, check out The 20th HBinfive Bread Braid

Thanks for stopping by to visit! Come back soon, I'll be baking again often. I hope you will leave a comment below. I read every comment, and really appreciate your feedback. 



  1. I loved the use of craisins. I must agree if you have good ingredients and dont burn it they all seem to taste good :)

  2. Your apple strudel bread was my favorite--it has character. Thanks for the reminder, I will have to make it again since it is apple season.

  3. I love my battery operated sifter and now I sift all my dry ingredients, however I have not sifted anything when making bread. Now I'm wondering if it would make a difference in my breads? Have you tried sifting the dry ingredients for your breads yet?

    Your apple bread may not have turned out pretty but I know it tasted good!

    The Sticky Buns look great and I love the idea of adding Cranberries!

  4. Yup, Carolyn, Craisins are great. I called Oceanspray and they said you can use them in any recipe calling for fresh. That's great because you can't find fresh or frozen most of the year.

    They said to use 3/4cup craisins for every cup of cranberries in a recipe!

  5. Guff, this is a FABULOUS recipe for apple season!

    Michelle, I was just thinking of you this morning, as I sifted ingredients into the whole wheat with olive oil dough! I think the dough looks much better.

    Here's what I did. I didn't sift all the flour. I weighed out my flour into the dough bucket. Put the sifter into the bucket and put flour in the sifter halfway full. Zeroed out the scale. Added the vital wheat gluten, salt, and yeast into the sifter, zeroed out after each addition. Filled up the sifter with more flour--to the top. Turned on the sifter, and it sifted out the mixture. Now I knew that the vital wheat gluten wouldn't get gummy. The salt didn't sift, but I sprinkled that around.

    When I looked at the sifted flour, it looked so much better that I tried sifting more of it!

    I had the liquid ingredients in the mixer (except 1 cup water), and added half the flour. When that was mixed, I added the rest of the dry (I think I used the sifter) and as much water as I needed. I only needed 3 1/4cup.

    Maybe it's my imagination or that I don't usually use my mixer. But I think it's a better mixed dough.

    It's rising slowly on purpose--I used cool water for a slower rise, better flavor.

    Would love for you to try your sifter with a bread recipe, and let me know your thoughts.


  6. Your breads look great. I've never seen a peeler like that, how cool.

  7. I'm going to have to try the apple strudel bread. Sounds wonderful! Your pear tarte looks very good!!! It was our favorite. I was very nervous turning my tarte over too. I put a sheet of foil under the plate. Great looking sweet rolls! I'll try it this way. My sticky buns dripped onto the bottom of the oven too. I'll have to remember to always put a foil covered sheet pan underneath baking sticky buns.

  8. Hi Elwood, I love that peeler! Got it years ago, made by Dazey. I am babying the blades, because you can't buy them any more. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Hi Tweety, I think the apple strudel bread was one of my favorites, but not everyone thought it reminded them of strudel. I just think it's a GREAT bread! Good idea, putting foil under your plate when you transferred the tarte.

    My hubby said, "no more sticky buns and gooey stuff dripping onto the oven floor!" A friend told me that gooey she felt our recipe is enough for 4 recipes of sticky buns. So you might try cutting it, like Guff did.