Happy New Year with Orange Marmalade

I can’t believe another year has come to a close (and that this is the 2 year blogiversary of The Bon Appétit Diaries!!) It’s been a pretty great year with one of the highlights being becoming friends with some other food bloggers and embarking on this Cook the Book project with them!

I did slack a bit with the last few chapters here, but really wanted to pull through with a win at the end, so I made Orange Marmalade from the condiments chapter of The Breakfast Book. There were so many interesting things to choose from, but this project for me was a lot of cooking basic things that I’d said I’d been wanting to try and this just gave me the push to go do it! Orange Marmalade definitely falls into that category… I became a fan of this spread when I was living in Germany of all places. The family always had it on the breakfast table and I loved putting it on top of peanut butter on my toast, rather than traditional American peanut butter and jelly.

I love how rich the flavors are and how bright marmalade is; however, this recipe is one that needs a little finessing. You use orange peels so your are really getting the most vibrant flavors of the orange, but mine came out pretty bitter. The orange peels and fruit are cooked down with some lemon as well and quite a bit of sugar, but I think I need to get less pith in my peel next time, or cook down the peels more, so they begin to breakdown. I do think this will be good baked in something though, the flavors are strong and would definitely hold up as part of a recipe!

All in all, I’m happy to have tried it, as I have with all the other recipes along this adventure. More than anything, it was fun doing a project with new friends, and seeing how everyone’s tastes, blogging styles are different and so enjoyable.

Be sure to check out Aimee, Natasha, Rachel, Claudie and Sammy’s blogs to see what they’re up to!

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Orange Marmalade from The Breakfast Book

  • 3 larger oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water

Peel the oranges and 2 of the lemons, and cut the peel into very thin strips. Remove the pith from the oranges and cut up the fruit. Put the orange fruit and all peels in the water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool over night.

Measure out the fruit and water and add approximately 1/2 cup of sugar for every cup of fruit. Boil water fruit and sugar together for 30-45 min. The sugar is the jelling agent, so test for jell point by putting a bit of marmalade on a saucer and putting in the fridge freezer for a minute or two, it is ready when the liquid jams. Add more sugar and cook down a bit more, if it doesn’t jam the first time.

When the marmalade is cooked, thick and jammy, put into jars for storage.

Cook the Book: Bread Pudding

Chapter: Custards and Puddings – Recipe: Bread Pudding

Ok, technically this recipe is called The Coach House Bread and Butter Pudding, and Marion describes it as “the best bread pudding ever” quite the acclaim, if you ask me. In real life, it’s good. It’s really good. So creamy, yet kind of like clouds in your mouth.

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When we were initially choosing recipes in The Breakfast Book, we joked that we should keep tabs about how much butter, cream and bacon fat we went through throughout the course of this series. It’s recipes like this that made us feel like we were going to gain 20lbs after it all. I had some whole milk left over from holiday candy making this past weekend and mixed with the cream, eggs and sugar it was just the ticket for this bread pudding. Just like everything else in this book, this was basically like the base recipe; you could add so many extras to make it special and just the way you like – rum/raisins, spices, bananas/chocolate chips… I’d recommend layering it in between the bread slices. And while we’re talking bread, I’ll let you know I chose to go with a very nice pain de mie from Acme Bakery, which was absolutely perfect. It’s light and airy that allows the bread to nearly dissolve when baked in the custard. I had been meaning to make bread pudding for a while now, and I think this is definitely a go to recipe that I’ll be adapting in the future.

Good luck with this one!! Actually, you don’t need luck. It’s so simple that I’m sure yours will turn out amazingly.

This is our 4th to last cook the book post – can you believe it?! So be sure to check out Aimee, Natasha, Rachel and Claudie this week too.

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The Coach House Bread and Butter Pudding, split in half from The Breakfast Book

  • 6-7 slices French bread or other light white bread
  • ~ 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 eggs (I know 1/2 and egg is awkward, but I did just split the recipe in half)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375.

Butter one side of each slice of bread and layer in baking dish, buttered side up.

Mix eggs, yolks, sugar and salt until well combined.

Heat milk and cream in a heavy-bottom saucepan and head until scalded (tiny bubbles around the edge). Remove from heat and slowly add egg mixture while whisking. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture through a sieve over bread slices.

Have enough boiling water ready to come up 2 1/2 inches up the sides of your baking dish when placed in a large pot (I used my oval dutch oven, it was perfect). Place pot of boiling water in the oven, and then put in your pudding dish.

Bake for about 45 min until custard is set with a slight tremble in the center. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or cold. As if the milk and cream in the dish wasn’t enough already Marion does recommend serving it with unsweetened heavy cream poured over!

Cook the Book: Baked Apples

When I was in second grade I did a report on New Zealand. I wrote the consulate for information on its country and got a whole packet of documents in response. Now, 20+ years later, what do I remember? Only that I made baked apples (with a recipe from the consulate’s packet) for an international pot luck related to that assignment.

Seeing baked apples in the breakfast book instantly brought back this memory and I knew I would be baking apples for this post. The baked apples I remember making long ago had cinnamon and sugar and in general were a little more involved, but Marion’s were as simple as can be, per her entire ethos around this book. A lemon simple syrup is poured over the apples, then they are covered and baked until tender. What comes out is like a solid apple sauce, the apple slightly broken down, but mostly solid and in tact. The natural sweetness of the apple is highlighted with a bit of sugar, but cut with the touch of lemon so no bite is overwhelmingly sweet.

I don’t know about you, but baked apples are not necessarily the first thing I think of for breakfast, so I had mine for dessert after dinner… But as I was eating it, it did occur to me that it would be rather good plopped on a bed of oatmeal or as a warm side contrasting a cold cereal. No matter what time of day you decide to eat these, it is definitely going to be one of the easiest, most natural ways to highlight my favorite fruit of the fall season.

This is part of cook the book, so be sure to see what fruity delights RachelAimeeNatasha, and Claudie are cooking up!

Baked Apples (for one)

  • 1 farm fresh apple
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 strip of lemon peel
  • additional sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut off the top 1/8 inch of the apple and core. Place in baking dish. Heat water, sugar and lemon peel in pan until boiling and sugar is dissolved. Pour over apple and cover dish (with lid or foil). Bake for 30 min or until apples are easily pierced with a sharp knife. Spoon baking syrup on top and sprinkle with sugar if desired.

Cook the Book: Shirred Eggs

Chapter: Eggs – Recipe: Shirred Eggs

I’m sad to be back from vacation. When I go away there is no ‘I’m ready to come home moment’ no thought upon return other than it feels good to be off a plane and sleeping in a comfortable bed. It’s especially easy to think I can travel forever when I am staying in apartments, with friends, and basically just living somewhere else. Nonetheless, I had to come back… my name is on a lease and… well, that’s kind of it. I have to pay rent. Otherwise I would have stayed.

So now that I’m back, time to eat a little better and start cooking again, beginning with shirred eggs. When we were very first choosing recipes for this project, I immediately chose shirred eggs from this chapter because it seemed one of the healthier options in the whole book, and something that I could easily make on a weeknight for one – in the end I did end up making it for breakfast this past weekend.

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A shirred egg is basically just a baked egg, more commonly with cream and butter, but I made mine simply with sautéed spinach, which was delicious. Served with a few toast soldiers and the yolks still runny, this was the perfect way to start my saturday. Marion does point out that these would fantastic for a breakfast party because there’s so little prep. I hope you have a chance to enjoy them, by yourself or with a crowd, some time soon!

The other ladies are cooking eggs too, so check out what they’re whipping up this week! RachelAimeeNatashaSammy and Claudie.

Shirred Eggs with Spinach

  • 1 garlic clove
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • ramekin
  • butter

Preheat oven to 325. Heat a bit of oil in a saute pan, heat garlic for a minute or two, add spinach until wilted. Butter the ramekin, place spinach on bottom and crack 1-2 eggs on top (depends on how many will fit/how many you want). Bake for ~12 min one egg ~20-24 min for two eggs, until eggs are set.

Cook the Book: Peach Dutch Baby

Chapter: Griddling – Recipe: Baked German Pancake (or Dutch Babies)

So many things colliding in this Breakfast Book post 1. I’ve always wanted to try cooking a Dutch Baby 2. I’m in Europe for this post 3. I lived in Germany, so fancy that, they are called German Pancakes in Marion’s book (and Dutch Babies if you make them in smaller pans).

Now I can’t say that these are actually like the pancakes they make in Germany. The one morning my host family made pancakes for breakfast, they were much more akin to the crepe style than anything else. Flat discs that we filled with jams, Nutella or just butter and sugar. I can’t say exactly where the name comes from, but these Americanized puffed versions are especially easy, and very impressive given the small amount of work.

I followed Bon Appétit’s suggestion of adding peaches (see their recipe here), and even though I used the recipe from the Breakfast Book and it worked out just fine. It yields spongy light pancake that can be dressed up in many ways, and though my pictures don’t show it, the pancake is just perfectly  sweet with a sprinkling of powdered sugar atop.

Well over and out from Paris – I will not be attempting German Pancakes here in the apartment, seeing as that I’ve been having croissants every morning instead, but I have on indulged in a Parisian Crepe!

As this is part of the cook the book series, please check out the other griddled recipes with RachelAimeeNatashaSammy and Claudie.

Peach German Pancake (Dutch Baby)

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1-2 peaches
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and bat until thoroughly mixed. Add the milk and blend well.

Sift the flour and salt onto a square of waxed, or parchment paper. Lift the waxed paper up by two corners and let the flour slowly drift into the egg and milk, whisking steadily. Or slowly sift the flour and salt directly into the egg mixture, while whisking to blend and smooth. Add the melted butter and mix briskly so the batter is smooth.

In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, or other skilled with oven proof handle, melt 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp sugar. Cut the peach(es) into 1/4 inch thick wedges. When the sugar starts to caramelize, add the peaches and cook a couple of minutes until soft. Quickly rewhisk the batter and pour over peaches. Bake immediately for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and cook an additional 10 minutes til golden brown and  puffy.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and enjoy. It will deflate as soon as you take it out of the oven.

Cook the Book: Dewey Buns

Chapter: Doughnuts and Fritters – Recipe: Dewey Buns

These are by far the best thing I’ve yet made out of Marion’s book. The only description about these delights is “Dewey Buns are plump squares of light dough filled with vanilla cream. A Dewey Bun business could make someone rich.” With a description like that, how could I not have a Dewey Bun breakfast party? So that’s exactly what I did.

I didn’t have to do much to entice Brooke, Pat, Katie and Ben to come over for breakfast a couple of Saturdays ago, and we all agreed that these were absolutely amazing. I filled half of them with her vanilla cream and the other half with lemon curd. I think the lemon ones were the favorites, just by a hair. This was my first time truly deep-frying something (I had some practice here) and I must say, it was much easier than I would have suspected. So long as you have a thermometer to keep you on track, I promise there is nothing to worry about. Also, this recipe is great for the morning, because you can make the yeast dough the night before and let it proof overnight – perfect for a Dewey Bun breakfast party!

The only thing I would change next time is to perhaps make some sort of vanilla custard rather than the vanilla cream. The cream was good, but very very sugary. Nonetheless, these were overall a huge winner! Be sure to check out the other Doughnuts and Fritters with Rachel, Aimee, Natasha, Sammy and Claudie.

Dewey Buns from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham, 1986

Buns:

  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • Oil for frying

Mix the warm milk with sugar, salt and oil and stir to blend.

Stir together 2 cups flour, dry yeast, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Add the milk mixture and beat for about 3 minutes. Add the egg and remaining cup flour and beat for 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hour , or overnight.

Lightly dust a board with flour and turn dough onto it. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into squares that are 2 1/2 by 3 inches. Heat oil to about 365 degrees farenheit. Fry the squares, a few at a time, until golden on both sides (it takes about 1 minute on each side). Put the buns on paper towels and pat free of excess oil.

Cream:

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, room temp
  • 1 tbsp nonfat dry milk, to stabilize cream (I omitted this and I thought it still turned out fine)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract (this is a lot so make sure it’s good quality)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Make the Dewey Cream by putting the egg white, sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat 3 minutes on high-speed until smooth. Stir the nonfat dry milk, vanilla and salt into the cream and add to sugar mixture. Beat until smooth and creamy.

To assemble and fill the buns, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out a small shallow pocket from the inside of one half (mine puffed up and most had a hold in them already, so i didn’t have to scoop out much, if any). The pocket should be large enough to hold 1 1/2 tbsp filling. Fill with Dewey Cream and thinly spread the cream out to the edges. Put the two halves together and gently press the bun edges so that the halves with bind. Sift confectioners’ sugar over each side of the bun.

Cook the Book: Brown Barley

Chapter: Cereals – Recipe: Brown Barley

Oh, Marion. She so crazy. Before browsing through this book, I would have never attempted, or even thought of barley for breakfast. My inital reaction was “Really? Isn’t it kind of like farro?” But, it’s in the book, there must be something breakfasty about it. And let me be the one to tell you that yes, it is like farro, and yes, with sugar, milk and butter just about anything can be breakfasty.

Most of the things in this chapter were dishes I’d made or had before: granola, grits, oatmeal, cereal in its many forms. Seeing as that I had never had or prepared barely, I was intrigued. I went to my local co-op, my go-to stop for anything bulk, and sure enough they had several varieties for me to choose from. Marion says she had “always cooked pearled barley, which is pallid in comparison” so I knew it wasn’t that, but then there was this purple kind and another hulled barley. Ends up that pearled barley has had many of its outer fibers and bran stripped away, making if faster to cook, but less flavorful with less texture – so which one? Purple? Tan? Well, purple just seemed much more fun.

Not to my surprise, the barley indeed does cook up as any other whole grain, as individual pieces rather than developing a creamy consistency like oatmeal. It is rather plain, but brown sugar, a dot of butter, almond milk and fresh fruits brought it to life. I scoped out the perfect peach at the farmers market and the strawberries are in the height of the season now. The barley itself is a bit nutty and chewy, so while Marion suggests a dash of cream, I actually thought the almond milk was the perfect liquid for this combination. Always a fan of trying new things, I am very happy to have chosen this random, yet pleasantly delightful, hot morning cereal.

As part of ‘cook the book’ Rachel, Aimee, Natasha, Sammy and Claudie have more cereals to share with you!

Brown Barley*

  • 3 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup whole grain barley

Bring the water to a boil and add salt. Stir in the barely, turn the heat to low, and cover the pot. Cook over low heat for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking for doneness. It should be tender but chewy. Serve hot with desired toppings. Recommended brown sugar, butter, milk and fruits.

* Recipe from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham, 1987