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Goodcooking.com Cookbook Review---

Dahlia Cookbook Cover

Title: The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, Sweetness in Seattle
Author: Tom Douglas and Shelly Lance
389 pages; Hardcover
Publisher: Harper Collins NYC NY, 2012 $35.00 US
Reviewed by Chef John Vyhnanek


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The review---

The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, Sweetness in Seattle, 125 of our Favorite Recipes by Tom Douglas and Shelly Lance, is a baker’s delight! From the quality of the paper to the pictures to the recipes and explanations this is a quality book with very good recipes to boot Just about anyone could pick it up and with only some knowledge of baking, turn out nicely prepared items. Just think what you could do if you have some good baking skills!

It’s said that cooking is an art and baking a science and I agree. So I was happy to see the use of American and metric measures in most of the recipes. Measuring using the metric system is more exact and a scientific approach to producing consistent baked goods. Just looking at the pictures and reviewing the recipes I can tell that this is a good book for anyone wanting to learn about baking. Thinking of a bakery I also think bread but I didn’t see any recipes in that category. The authors stuck to the sweet treats that made them famous and probably rightfully so.

Techniques of proper preparation that are taught at various big name culinary schools are adhered to in the preparation sections of the recipes, so you won’t be taught any bad or incorrect habits. The photography is great, another sign of a good book because you can learn so much from pictures. The recipes themselves are well written and easy to follow and there aren’t any weird ingredients the you will need to go out and buy.

My opinion is that this is a must have baking book for your cookbook collection and if I’m right you will find that many young and aspiring bakers will buy it and learn from what’s inside. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them might start their own bakery some day and even use recipes they found here. Please understand that this isn’t a professional textbook but a really good cookbook for home baking, but it’s so good it could be a culinary school textbook too!

Good Cooking says, don’t wait, buy this book!

Recipes Tested!

Monkey Bread Monkey Bread

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: MUFFIN PAN AND TULIP PAPERS (SEE SOURCES)

1 batch Basic Brioche Dough for Doughnuts (page 61), chilled for at least 6 hours or overnight
1/2 cup (4 1/4 ounces/121 grams) sour cream
1/4 cup (4 1/4 ounces/60 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cinnamon Vanilla Streusel (page 68)
Dreamy Caramel Sauce (page 69)

We developed this recipe to use up brioche scraps left over from prepping the Dahlia doughnuts. Now we make extra dough just to make this delicious cinnamon pull-apart.

Tulip papers are similar to paper muffin pan liners, but they are larger and rise higher over the wells of a muffin pan, and they look more dramatic and glamorous. It takes extra effort to purchase tulip papers, but we think it's worth it because the monkey breads won't rise as high in a standard muffin liner and the finished pastry won't look as attractive. Also, as the dough rises and expands in the oven, you need the extra room a tulip paper provides to get all that streusel on top.

To find a warm place in your kitchen for the monkey breads to rise see "How to Proof Brioche for Doughnut and Monkey Bread," page 62.

For a festive holiday brunch, you could double this recipe to make 12 monkey breads (don't forget to double the streusel recipe as well). Use 2 muffin pans and stagger 6 in each pan.

You can take the recipe to the point of putting the brioche squares in the freezer and leave them in the freezer overnight instead of for 30 minutes. Finish prepping your monkey breads the next morning (don't forget you'll need a 2 1/2-hour rising time before baking), and they can be freshly baked in time for an afternoon brunch.

The brioche dough must be made ahead and chilled for at least 6 hours or overnight, and the monkey breads need to rise for about 2 1/2 hours before baking, so plan accordingly.

1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use a knife to cut the sheet of brioche into roughly 3/4-inch squares. (You need pieces that are approximately 3/4 inch in size. Don't worry about the pieces of brioche being completely uniform in size or shape.) Arrange the brioche pieces in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place it in the freezer until the dough is completely frozen, about 40 minutes.

2. When you are ready to bake the monkey breads, line 6 wells of a 12-cup muffin pan with tulip liners. Place the liners in alternating cups so the monkey breads are spaced apart from each other. (The monkey breads will rise and overflow the cups a bit as they bake, and this way they won't flow into each other.)

3. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, sugar, and cinnamon, whisking to combine. Add the frozen pieces of brioche and mix well until all the pieces are well coated.

4. Divide the brioche mixture evenly among the tulip liners. Place the muffin pan in a warm place until the breads double in size, about 2 1/2 hours. When the monkey breads are doubled, they will rise to the tops of the muffin cups (not to the tops of the tulip liners, which extend well above the muffin pan), and they will be slightly domed. While the breads are rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

5. Sprinkle the top of each monkey bread with streusel, dividing the streusel evenly among the cups. (This will seem like more streusel than you need, but use it all, because the tops of the monkey breads rise dramatically in the oven.)

6. Put the muffin pan in the oven and bake until the brioche is cooked and the monkey breads are deep golden brown on top, 24 to 26 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the monkey breads from the muffin cups and serve warm with ramekins of caramel sauce for dipping.

Pecan Chocolate Tart Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tart

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: PASTRY SCRAPER, 10-INCH REMOVABLE-BOTTOM TART PAN, PASTRY BRUSH, CANDY OR DIGITAL PROBE THERMOMETER, 9-INCH ROUND CAKE CARDBOARD
(Optional)

All-Butter Pastry Dough (page 234), divided into 2 unequal (about two-third and one-third) flattened rounds and chilled for 1 hour or more
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 1/2 ounces/210 grams) sugar
1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces/75 grams) water
1 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) heavy cream
1/3 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) honey
4 tablespoons 1/2 stick/2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces/240 grams) toasted, cooled, and chopped pecans (see "How to Toast and Chop Nuts," page 13)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Starch water (see page 159)
Chocolate Honey Glaze (page 255), cooled for 5 to 10 minutes but still warm and liquid

This is one of the first recipes we put on the dessert menu when we opened the doors at the Dahlia Lounge more than twenty years ago, and it's still one of my favorites. The caramel pecan filling is baked inside a double-crust tart. Then, after the tart is unmolded, you turn it upside down so the flat side is up and cover it with a chocolate glaze, which makes it look like a chocolate torte or cake. But when you slice and serve the tart, what you get is the best-ever candy bar of chewy pecan caramel drenched with dark chocolate. Serve each wedge of tart with a spoonful of Sweetened Whipped Cream (page 193) or a scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (page 326).

When caramelizing the sugar, choose a saucepan deep enough to give the cream room to sputter and bubble up when it is poured into the hot sugar. A 3- or 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, such as All-Clad, is ideal.

Tart leftovers hold well for a few days, wrapped in plastic wrap and left at room temperature.

Making this tart is time consuming, and is probably best done over two days. The All-Butter Pastry Dough has to chill for an hour or more before rolling. The tart, after baking, must cool for at least 4 hours before being glazed, or just let the tart rest at room temperature overnight. The glaze will also need a few hours to set.

1. Unwrap the larger round of dough and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a round about 1/8 inch thick and 12 or 13 inches in diameter. Use flour as needed to roll the dough and lift the dough occasionally using a plastic pastry scraper as you are working to check that the dough is not sticking to the work surface. Transfer the dough to the tart pan. It's easiest to transfer the dough by folding it into quarters. Pick up the folded dough and place it in the pan, with the pointed tip of the dough in the center of the pan, then unfold gently. Ease the dough gently into the pan, patting it up against the sides. Trim the overhanging dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Refrigerate the pastry-lined pan until you are ready to fill it.

2. Unwrap the smaller round of dough and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 10-inch round about Vs inch thick. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet or a large round cake cardboard (again, you can fold the dough into quarters to transfer it) and refrigerate it until you are ready to finish the tart shell.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

4. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the sugar and water (see "How to Caramelize Sugar," page 67). Stir the mixture with a small whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. After the sugar is dissolved, remove the whisk, clean the sides of the pot of any sugar crystals using a clean wet pastry brush, then raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup turns a medium-dark golden brown, about 15 minutes. If you see the sugar caramelizing in only one section, gently tilt or rotate the pan to distribute the color evenly, but do not whisk. If you see sugar crystals forming on the sides of the pan, wipe them down with a clean wet pastry brush.

5. As soon as the sugar is caramelized to a medium-dark amber, remove the pan from the heat and add the cream. Be careful and stand back because the mixture will bubble and sputter. When the bubbling settles down, add the honey and butter. Return the pan to medium to medium-high heat and stir with a heatproof spoon until the mixture is smooth, then continue to cook (the heat should be high enough so that the mixture is bubbling steadily), stirring occasionally, until the caramel registers 238° to 240°F on a candy or digital probe thermometer, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the pecans, vanilla extract, and salt, stirring to combine.

6. Remove the pastry-lined tart shell and the pastry round from the refrigerator. Pour the filling into the tart shell and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Transfer the pastry round to the top of the tart. (If you have folded it into quarters to transfer it, place it on top of the tart with the pointed tip of the dough in the center of the tart pan, then unfold it gently.) If necessary, use a small knife to trim the dough so that it fits inside the top of the tart. Brush the outer (overhanging) rim of the pastry with starch water, then fold the overhang up over the top of the tart, pressing gently with your fingers or a fork to seal. Using a small knife, cut a 1-inch steam vent in the top crust. Put the tart on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake the tart until the pastry is cooked through, 50 to 55 minutes. When the tart is cooked, the top should be evenly golden brown.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and place the tart pan on a wire rack to cool for about an hour. Then remove the sides of the tart pan, invert it onto a 9-inch cardboard circle, and remove the metal bottom of the pan. What was the top of the tart is now the bottom, and the top of the tart is smooth and flat. (Using a round cake cardboard slightly smaller than the diameter of the 10-inch tart allows the chocolate glaze to run off when you glaze the tart.) If you don't have a round cake cardboard, invert the tart onto a large flat plate, remove the metal bottom of the tart pan, then slip the metal bottom of the tart pan back underneath so the (newly inverted) top of the tart is smooth and flat and the bottom of the tart is supported by the metal tart pan bottom.

8. Put the tart back on the wire rack and allow to cool until completely room temperature, about 3 more hours. (If you prefer, you can allow the tart to rest at room temperature overnight and glaze it the next day.)

9. When you are ready to glaze the tart, place it on a rack set over a baking sheet.

10. To glaze the tart, start pouring in the middle and gradually and evenly pour the glaze, working outward in concentric circles, until the glaze flows over the edges of the tart. You can gently shake the baking sheet to get the glaze to flow evenly over the edges of the tart, our you can touch up the sides of the tart, if needed, with a small offset icing spatula.

11. Allow the tart to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours, until the glaze has set, before slicing and serving.

 

 

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