Vegan Creamy Pumpkin and Cashew Curry Pizza

In a couple weeks I’m hosting a pizza get-together. It’s a house re-warming party :P. I’ve invited friends to bring their favorite toppings and I’ll have  different types of dough and sauces. I’m making the standard Mark Bittman pizza dough, a whole-wheat version of the same, the semolina bread version from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I’ve made all of them before, so I know they work and work well. I’ve been wanting to try the Quick Beer Pizza Dough from the King Arthur Flour catalog for awhile and thought it would be great for the party.

When I was in San Francisco last month, I had lunch with one of my bestest friends from high school, Melissa, and her sweet pea of a daughter, Sam. Melissa took me to Zante Pizza & Indian Cuisine in the Mission District for vegetarian Indian Pizza. I’ve been craving Indian pizza since then and wanted to try the beer dough before using it for the party. I found a recipe for Creamy Pumpkin and Cashew Curry in the October 2009 issue of bon appetit and thought it would be a perfect topping for a pizza on Vegan Tuesday.

I liked making the curry because it was the first time I used a whole pumpkin in cooking/baking, the first time I used curry leaves, and I love the spices/smells of Indian cuisine. What I didn’t like was the coconut cream. It made the curry too sweet and even adding curry powder and more spices didn’t cut the sweetness. I should have went with my first though which was not to use the cream or to only use 1/2 the amount.  I now have a 1/2 bottle of coconut cream. I guess I will have to have a piña colada party. :P

The pizza dough came together quickly. I divided it into 5 ounce portions, using one for my pizza and freezing the rest. The dough was delicious. Baked up beautifully and the beer flavor was subtle. I was a bit worried about that because I was worried the stout I used may have been too intense.

You can find the recipe for the Creamy Pumpkin and Cashew Curry HERE.

You can find the recipe for Quick Beer Pizza Dough HERE.

{db}Tahitian Milan Cookies

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies are ubiquitous. Every grocery store carries them. They are the cookie you grab when you want to feel a little fancy. They come in different sizes (the mini ones are so cute!) and different flavors.

Although technically not a Milano flavor, I love the Tahiti variety. If you know me, you know I have Polynesian Fever. I heart all things related to French Polynesia and bring it up often in my posts.

Me & Tiki in Hiva Oa, Marquesas in French Polynesia

Me & Tiki in Hiva Oa, Marquesas in French Polynesia

Immediately after reading the July Challenge for the Daring Bakers I knew I would be flavoring the cookie with coconut and lime and visiting the islands. The Tahiti Cookie is chocolate sandwiched by two ridged round coconut cookies.

To make my version, I used unsweetened coconut flakes, lime oil, and Tahitian vanilla extract. I tried to make them round by drawing circles on parchment paper and spreading a tiny bit of dough using a teaspoon. They ended up looking like regular Milano Cookies, but they tasted tropical and were a delicious reminder of the islands.

Tahitian Milan Cookies

Recipe adapted from Gale Gand

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

  • 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
  • 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons Tahitian vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lime oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 lime, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lime oil.
3. Add the flour and and coconut, mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

We had the option of only baking one type of cookie to complete the challenge. I didn’t have the time to make the Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies, but hope to make them one day.

{twd} Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise

An added bonus to my baking/cooking education as a member of {too?} many online baking groups,  I’m also learning how to spell international words. This week I learned how to spell casatiello (Italian!), tartufo (Italian, again!), and today’s word: dacquoise (French!).  The hands-down funnest word I’ve learned to spell is christopsomos (Greek!).That one is also fun to pronounce.  Too bad there really isn’t a practical use for learning these new words; I can’t use most {all?} of them when I travel.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe selection was the tropical Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise. I decided to make a quarter of the recipe because of the other baking I had going on this weekend. This involved me figuring out fractions at 5 in the morning. Early morning is never a good to time to try to remember how to divide fractions.  Why 5 am? I was awake and I knew the meringue base of the dacquoise would take 3 hours to bake.  3 hours? Yes, 3 hours. As is typical of baking meringues, the 3 merinque layers baked at a low temperature (225° F) for 3 hours.

The coconut-almond meringue layers  are coated with a white chocolate-whipped cream ganache  and topped with roasted pineapple.  Once assembled, toasted coconut is pressed into the sides of the dacquoise and then the whole thing needs to sit in the refrigerator for preferably 6 hours.

Although Diego was not around to bake this with me, when he saw it in the refrigerator he insisted we try it. I’m glad we did. It is light and crispy, perfectly tropical and not too sweet. I packed up the rest for work, where everyone enjoyed it.  You have to understand my work dynamics. I’ve brought in so many treats and goodies that co-workers have stopped complimenting me about them. I just watch the baked goods disappear throughout the day. When something is outrageously good, they say something to me. They couldn’t stop talking about the dacquoise.

Thank you to Andrea of Andrea in the Kitchen for selecting this week’s pick as we bake our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours. If you would like the recipe, please buy the book or visit Andrea’s blog. (I just noticed that Andrea posted the recipe with weight measurements too! So if you want to decrease the recipe, no need to divide fractions. Cool!)

{TWD} Coco Loco

coconut butter thins

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection was the oh so delectable Coconut Butter Thins. These cookies are so delicate that Dorie Greenspan almost didn’t include them in her book Baking…From My Home to Yours. That would have been a tragedy. These cookies are so buttery with a great crispy texture. These are the kind of cookies you can eat and eat until you are only left with crumbs.

Coconut Butter Thins are a shortbread cookie flavored with coconut, lime, and lots of butter. There is also a hint of coriander which knocks these cookies out of the stratosphere. I don’t recall ever baking with coriander. Now I’m going to add it to my baking repertoire. It paired well with the other flavors and brought them all to the next level.

coconut cookie scraps coconut butter thins ready to bake

Instead of squares, I used my round cookie cutters and made little circles. Because of the circle shape, I had dough scraps which I reshaped and made more round cookies until I didn’t have any more scraps. Although these scrappy cookies didn’t hold their shape too well {even after refrigeration} and were a little “ugly”, they were still mighty tasty.

ice cream sandwich

This week I also  made Toasted Coconut Ice Cream from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and created little ice cream sandwiches. No surprises, the ice cream was great. It’s a custard-based ice cream in which the cream is infused with the flavor of toasted coconut and a scraped vanilla bean {from Tahiti–my supply is getting low, oh no} with a hint of rum. You can find the ice cream recipe HERE.

toasted coconut ice cream

Thank you to Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch for selecting this recipe. It’s another winner! Please visit her blog for the recipe.