The intense heat of summer subsided a bit this week and I spent some time baking at home again. One of the things I am enjoying about preparing the recipes from Baking Chez Moi as well as Baking with Julia is the diversity; sometimes we bake and sometimes we cook and this week, the panna cotta was prepared on the stove top. The recipe calls for a mango puree to be poured into the bottom of the cup but I had a basket of ripe, local peaches sitting on the counter and I could not help myself.
Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made from sweetened cream and milk that have been set with gelatin. Usually, the cream mixture is poured into a mold, chilled to set and then turned out onto a plate so that it is a free-standing dessert. This recipe calls for pouring the mixture over a puree and serving it in the cup. The only problem; my husband cannot eat dairy products. Because he is such a sweet freak, I decided to make it with coconut cream and almond milk rather than the heavy cream and milk called for in the recipe. On my last trip to the grocery store, I saw local peaches being sold by the basket and I am a sucker for fresh peaches!
Trader Joe’s sells an extra thick and creamy coconut cream which stood in for the heavy cream beautifully and while it added a lovely flavor, it was not at all over powering. While I also substituted almond milk for the whole milk, it did not add a tremendous amount of flavor that I could detect. Overall, it was okay. Perhaps it is just that I am not much of a Jell-o fan and this recipe reminded me of a milky jello but the peach part was tasty.
While the weather was pleasant (in as far as it can be in the south mid-July) this week, it was awful last week, truly awful and I did not make any effort to bake the Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack from Baking with Julia. When the weather cooled off this week, I mixed up a batch and I am happy to say that this recipe is a keeper!
The ingredient list calls for quick cooking oats which are something that I never have in my pantry. Oatmeal is a favorite ingredient of mine and I use it in cookies, breads and of course, hot cereal on cold winter days. At least I did until I discovered the multi grain blend that Trader Joe’s sells. The blend is made from rolled, whole rye, barley, oats and wheat and it looks just like oatmeal but it has a lot more flavor from the different grains. Hardtack is essentially a cracker and typical for cracker recipes, this one called for mostly shortening with a little butter added for flavor. Because I was making just half of the recipe, I opted for just the shortening, substituting the single tablespoon of butter with additional shortening however, I do not keep white hydrogenated shortening in my pantry either. To make these crackers, I used virgin coconut oil which was solid in my kitchen and I loved the flavor it added. If I make these again, I think a sprinkle of coarse salt over the top would be perfect.
Think you would like to bake along with us? Visit the Tuesdays with Dorie website, pick up a copy of either book and get baking! To see how the other bakers did with these recipes, visit the LYL pages for the panna cotta and the hard tack.