As I write this post, I realize what a huge placebaking has in my life. I love all things food related, but by far I´d rather bebaking than cooking. And yeast doughs are my absolute favorite. There´ssomething about having to deal with a live organism that changes the dynamic.After all, it has it´s own mind, gets stubborn sometimes and decides not to dowhat it should without a moment´s notice.
Today’s theme on our #SundaySupper table has to dowith our lifestyles.
How does one relate to the other? It took me seconds toknow what I would write about. Because, even though I don’t have a house fullof people, and at this moment of my life sunday nights don’t include a tablewith kids or my family, I spent a lot of my life baking for others, the pleasure was seeing them devour what I offered, smiling and feeling happy together. Sharingwith them what I think is the best gift I can offer, food.
I met this fabulous group through the lovely Anuradha of Baker Street fame. Her mango cheesecake caught my attention first and then Irealized there was a whole group linking their sunday posts. The door thatopened seemed like your normal, let’s be part of a group and cook on sundays…yeah, ha!
Having a food blog has made me aware of the bonds and friendships that can be made with unknown others that live in a totally different part of the world and have a very different lifestyle. This group is clearly a synergy, where the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts. Makes me feel I have a full house again.
And let’s not forget the guidance through this social media universe that I didn’t care to understand before because I didn’t need to. Not only has it greatly improved my blog’s numbers,something I’m not sure I care much for unless it means I have real interactionswith blogging ‘friends’, it has opened my mind as well.
I choose these pastries since they are extremely delicious, combine my love of baking with the site that introduced the group to me, and finally with my Merrell’s, the last link in thischain. Though this is not a sponsored post nor am I getting any kind of retribution,the group decided to join them this sunday.
Fifteen years ago I bought my first pair of Jungle Moc, due to so many hours I was spending standing in the kitchen, and neverlooked back. They turned out to be my favourite culinary shoe. So, as yousee, it was very easy to post about Sunday Supper, my lifestyle and Merrell.They are a huge part of my lifestyle right now. And I think right now is theonly moment that counts.
Time for the recipe now. These Nut Crescents come fromthe incomparable Maida Heatter. Her books are a treasure. The detail withwhich she writes each recipe is mind-blowing and the little paragraphs at thebeginning of each are wonderful and compel me to go to the kitchen and start baking.
According to said words of wisdom, these pastries arefrom the Austrian Embassy in Wash DC, and were (the book was first published in1982) the talk of the town.
And according to Maida, they can make your reputationas a pastry chef. Now, who can argue with such a statement? Not me, I just gotmyself down to business.
They are extraordinary.
The combination of lemon inthe dough with the pecan / raisin filling is fantastic, and though they areincomparable right out of the oven (as any yeast pastry is) they were great thenext day after being warmed in the toaster oven for a few minutes.
They are not complicated, no more than the Danish Braid, sinceboth doughs are made in the food processor. If you like to bake, they are soworth it.
THE EMBASSY’S NUT CRESCENTS
barely adapter from Maida Heatter´s Cakes, by Maida Heatter
Note: I made the whole recipe and did it in two batches using the foodprocessor. If you have a large one you can do it in one step. This recipe makesa lot of crescents. I use one half the day I make it, and freeze the other halffor later.
Makes 48 crescents.
For sour cream dough:
½ cup sour cream
8 oz. (225g) unsalted butter, cold and firm, cut intolittle pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
5 cups + 2 Tbs (750g) sifted all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup warm water
2 envelopes (14g) active dry yeast
Finely grated rind of 1 1/2 lemons
For the filling:
1 ¼ cups (140g) pecans, finely chopped
½ cup (70g) raisins, chopped
1 cup sugar
3 oz (85g) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
For the sour cream dough:
In a small bowl pour warm water, pinch of sugar andyeast. Let stand 5 minutes until foamy.
In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar and salt.Set aside.
In a small bowl beat the eggs to mix. Add sour creamand mix well. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the steelblade, put half of flour mixture. Add half of butter and pulse just until themixture resembles coarse meal. Repeat with remaining flour and butter. Put bothbatches in a large bowl. Don´t clean the bowl of the food processor.
Add the yeast mixture to the eggs. Slowly pour thisonto the flour/butter mixture. With a fork, mix everything together just untilit is blended (like you would for a scone dough).
Return half of the mixture to the processor, andprocess for 45 seconds. The dough will form a ball and be soft and pliable. Repeatwith the remaining half of mixture. Youcan also knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface. It will besticky and try not to add extra flour.
Wrap the doughs in plastic bags or film and put in thefreezer for 1 ½ hours.
At this point you can freeze them, just be sure totake them out the night before and leave them overnight in the refrigerator.
For the filling:
In a medium bowl, mix finely chopped walnuts, raisinsand sugar. Add melted butter, cream and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Cover andrefrigerate.
To shape the crescents:
Lightly butter baking pans or cookie sheets.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Working with oneat a time (keep the rest refrigerated), lightly flour your hands and press eachpiece into a ball. Flatten it a bit, and with a rolling pin, roll into a 9-inch(23cm) circle. This doesn´t need to be a perfect round. With a pizza wheel or asharp knife, divide the circle into 6 wedges.
Place a rounded teaspoon of filling close to the widerbase of each wedge; do not spread it out.
Starting at the base, roll the wedge toward the point,enclosing the filling. It is not necessary to fuss with the ends, or pinchseams together; when the dough rises and bakes it will meld together).
Place each roll, as you roll it up, on the preparedsheet, with the point underneath. Turn the ends down to shape into short, fatcrescents.
Cover loosely with a light linen or parchment paperand let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
About 15 to 20 minutes before baking, preheat the ovento 350º F/ 180ºC.
Beat the egg white only until foamy. Brush gently overthe top of the crescents.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until puffed and nicelybrown. Some filling might spill.
With a wide metal spatula lift the pastries as theycome out of the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool a bit.
Merrell has chosen these 10bloggers to host a giveaway on their site. Make sure you stop by for achance to win some great Merrell Products. From city streets to mountaintrails and everywhere in between, we are impressed by Merrell’s passion!
§ Blueberry Muffins by Magnolia Days
§ Fresh Corn onthe Cob by Inthe Kitchen with Audrey
§ Hearts of PalmSalad with Avocado by Basicn Delicious
§ Shallot BBQShredded Beef by Juanita’sCocina
§ Taking#SundaySupper Outdoors With a Fun Picnic…Featuring Spicy Pinto and Black BeanSalad with Roasted Corn and Avocado by TheWeekend Gourmet
§ On Top of OurGame with Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars by TheWatering Mouth
§ Chicken &Dumplings Around the Campfire by DailyDish Recipes
§ Wine & FoodFestivals; a lifestyle the whole family can enjoy! by WineEveryday
§ Outdoor GrillingFilipino Rice Cakes in Coconut & Banana Leaves by TheQueen’s Notebook
The SundaySupper fun continues. Take a look at these wonderful stories andrecipes for this event:
§ Embracing OldFamily Traditions while creating New Ones ~ Enchiladas de Chile y Ajo by Girlichef
§ Chicken CurryPie by SmallWallet Big Appetite
§ Prosecco Sangriaby Pippi’sin the Kitchen Again
§ Bringing#SundaySupper to All by Doggieat the Dinner Table
§ Honey MustardBaked Beans by Cindy’sRecipes and Writings
§ Tandoori SalmonRolled in Whole Wheat Couscous by Sue’sNutrition Buzz
§ Whole WheatMacaroni with Spinach Pecan Pesto-Enjoying by Soni’sFood for Thought
§ SouthwesternChicken Wraps FamFriends Food
§ Ahi Tuna SaladFamily Style FamilyFoodie
§ Wines For TheFoods That Move You ENOFYLZ
Let’s celebratewine, food, friend and #SundaySupper. The fun starts every week at 3:00pmET by showcasing fabulous recipes. At 7:00 pm ET, we will start our live chat. Join us on twitter by using hashtag #Sundaysupper or using Tweetchat. We love to feature your recipes on our #sundaysupper pinterest board and sharethem with all of our followers.