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Inside-Out Pizza Puffs

30 Jan

Warning: This blog post contains a controversial definition of “cake”. (As a compromise, I’ve put it under the equally controversial “bread” category.)

First, what is “Cake”? The omniscient Wikipedia says:

Cake is a form of food, typically a sweet, bakeddessert. Cakes normally contain a combination of floursugareggs, and butter or oil, with some varieties also requiring liquid (typically milk or water) and leavening agents (such as yeast or baking powder). Flavorful ingredients like fruit purées, nuts or extracts are often added, and numerous substitutions for the primary ingredients are possible.

The fact that this recipe has a place on this Daily Cake blog rather hinges on that last bit. It contains flour, eggs, butter, milk, and baking powder, while the “flavourful ingredient” is pepperoni.

The conclusive proof? It’s baked in a muffin pan. I trust this is enough to resolve the matter. Haters to the left please.

This recipe is taken from Noble Pig.

3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces pepperoni, cut into small cubes (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup pizza sauce

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 375 oC.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg.  Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through.  Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

P-p-p-pepperoni. It was either this sliced stuff, or a pepperami – and no one wants to see that in their otherwise-genteel pizza dinner

Haunting.

A cup-a full-a pepp-a-roni eh!

Whisking together the dough mix.

Adding the meat and cheese. Words can’t express how much I love mozzarella. In fact, I love mozzarella so much I’m going to name my firstborn daughter after it.

(c) Flickr user: bizziesmom

The future Baby Mozzarella Hudson.

Letting it sit. Not sure why. Don’t like to ask questions.

After the semi-disaster of the doughnuts sticking to the pan, I’m taking no chances and using paper cases.

And after a quick blast in the oven…

Total golden deliciousness.

VERDICT

Taste:

I can’t wait for them to cool down before I take my first bite, so my first sensation is of piping hot dough. The pepperoni gives an excellent kick, while the cheese keeps the whole thing creamy.

Recipe cons:

They’re a little stuck to the cases.

Recipe pros:

Easy peasy. Providing you don’t eat all the mozzarella beforehand.

The simplicity of the recipe brings me to the final say in the pizza=cake debate:

If pizza isn’t cake, why do we use the expression “pizza cake” when we’re describe something easy? Huh? Infallible logic wins again.

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Sultana and Lemon Scones

6 Jan

It was bound to go wrong sometime. Emboldened by my previous successes, I realised I already had all the ingredients to make scones. Who doesn’t love a good scone? Sweet, filling, and a conversation-starter (How do you pronounce it? /skoʊn/? /skɒn/?) The Americans call it a biscuit, but we won’t get into that here.

This recipe is taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking.

Ingredients

4 cups self-raising flour

2 tbsp icing sugar

60g butter

1/2 cup sultanas

2 tsp lemon zest

1 1/2 cups milk

3/4 cup water

Method (makes 20)

1. Preheat oven to 220 oC. Grease a baking tin, or cover with greaseproof paper.

2. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl; rub in butter with fingertips

3. Add sultanas and lemon zest.

4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix; add milk and water. Use knife to “cut” the milk and water through the flour, mixing to a soft, sticky dough. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth.

5. Press dough out to 2cm thickness. Dip 4.5cm round cutter in flour; cut as many rounds as you can from the dough, Place scones side by side in baking tin. Re-knead dough and repeat.

6. Brush tops with milk; bake for around 15 minutes or until scones are browned and sound hollow when tapped on the top with fingers.

Adjustments:

I halved the recipe to make fewer scones.

This is my Mason Cash bowl. I love it. I picked it up in Sainsbury’s while on a bread-making-related supermarket-sweep, and it’s the perfect thing. The Lakeland website tells me it’s a classic. I saw the exact same one on the BBC adaptation of Nigel Slater’s autobiography, “Toast”. If it’s good enough for Nige…

I started this recipe before realising I didn’t have a biscuit cutter. But I was already too full of beans to stop. A cutter? Who needs it? I just pulled out my jigger. “A jigger?” you say. Yes, I reply with a knowing look. It’s a bartending tool used to measure spirits.

And look! As if the cake/cocktail (caketail?) gods were smiling down on me, the jigger was exactly the right size.

Sieving. And making the most of my camera’s delay-shot button. I’m going to pretend this worked on the first attempt, instead of the fifth or sixth. A word of warning when sieving icing sugar – powder goes everywhere. I looked like Lindsay Lohan by the time I’d finished.

Scone-dough.

Baldy lemon. After I tried to zest it. Using a cheese grater. For some reason, it reminds me of a partially-shaved cat.

The disaster-zone. Do not try this at home.

Having a ruler in the kitchen is proving invaluable today.

The jigger in action. It is a slightly flawed (and sticky) system. Besides, I thought this recipe was only supposed to make ten scones. There are hundreds coming out of this. I run out of space after using up two baking trays.

Hmm, they don’t look like much do they? So tiny. This can’t be right.

The recipe says to brush the tops of the scones with milk before putting them into the oven. This is my cooking paintbrush. Actually, it’s a regular paintbrush from a pound shop. Iit was part of a set I bought when Pete and I needed to varnish a table. I’m almost certain this isn’t dangerous to use as a cooking implement.

For some inexplicable reason, despite halving the recipe, and making over 20 teeny tiny scones, I’m left with this fist-sized amount of dough. For an equally inexplicable reason, I’ve chosen a pair of scissors to give you some idea of the scale. But what to do with this useless dough-fist?

Ahoy! Skull and bones… or Bull and Scones? That can’t just be a coincidence.

Fresh from the oven. They’re small but perfectly formed. Like cakes for children. Or cats.

VERDICT

Taste:

Lovely. Crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. The lemon zest adds a certain lightness which counteracts the dough. They taste good even without butter and jam.

Recipe pros:

Easy to follow. I already had all the ingredients, and I like the idea of being able to make breakfast/an afternoon nibble in under 30 minutes.

Recipe cons:

I’m still confused about the vast number of scones I managed to make using half the ingredients. And why are they so small? On the plus It’s the recipe that keeps on giving.