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updated 4/30/2012 1:37:03 PM ET 2012-04-30T17:37:03

Recipe: White chocolate waffles

Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 ounces white chocolate, melted (see note)
  • 7 ounces (1 1/2 cups) unbleached cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preparation

Start the waffle iron and preheat the oven to 200 degrees F to keep the finished waffles warm. Run warm water over the eggs for 20 seconds, then separate them. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, then sprinkle in 4 tablespoons of the sugar with the mixer on high speed. Carefully move the meringue to a separate bowl and set aside.

Using the same bowl and whisk, mix the yolks and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar on high speed for 30 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium and add the half-and-half and vanilla. Scrape the melted white chocolate into the mixer and whip to incorporate. Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. Fold the flour mixture into the yolk base, then gently fold in the meringue. Spray the waffle iron with plenty of nonstick spray. Ladle ¼ cup batter onto each square of the iron. Cook following the waffle iron's directions. Serve immediately or hold on a heat-resistant plate in the warmed oven.

Tips

Note: Melt white chocolate in a double-boiler or a metal bowl placed over a saucepan of steaming water. It's important to warm all of the ingredients so the white chocolate won't stiffen and clump up. Anything cold will harden the cocoa butter and ruin the texture. Bittersweet chocolate pieces work just as well if you favor dark chocolate.

Recipe: Quiche florentine

Ingredients
  • 1 white flour crust or whole-wheat flour crust, blind baked and cooled (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shallots, thinly-sliced
  • 1 and 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • 4 to 5 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Up to 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 ounces (3/4 cup) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • White flour crust
  • 5 ounces (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces (2 cups) unbleached allpurpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon (optional) superfine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (optional) ice-cold vodka (unflavored)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 splash ( 1/4 teaspoon or less) vanilla extract
  • Whole-wheat flour crust
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (optional) ice-cold vodka (unflavored)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 splash (1/4 teaspoon or less) vanilla extract
Preparation

To make the white flour crust:

  1. Cut the butter into small pieces and refrigerate or freeze to make them very cold.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and set the rack in the middle.
  3. Sift the flour with the salt and sugar, if using, into a large bowl. In a cup, combine the vodka with 3 tablespoons ice water (or use 5 tablespoons ice water and no vodka, if you prefer).
  4. Rub or cut the butter into the flour with your fingers to make a crumbly meal.
  5. Slowly add the ice water (and vodka, if using) while turning the mixture with a fork. The dough will form a ball and come off the sides of the bowl when it’s ready. You can also make the dough in a food processor, pulsing the butter and flour to a crumbly meal, and then slowing adding the ice water while pulsing until the dough forms a ball.
  6. Remove the dough ball from the bowl, divide it in half, and lightly pat each ball with flour. If you’re only making one crust, wrap the second dough ball in plastic and refrigerate or freeze for later use.
  7. Place the dough you are using between sheets of parchment paper and roll out to a 10- to 11-inch disc. Remove one sheet of paper, lay the dough over a pie pan, and peel off the remaining paper. Ease the dough into the pan; cut the excess and crimp the edges. Refrigerate for at least 5 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and vanilla extract. With a pastry brush, lightly coat the sides and crimped edge of the crust with the egg wash to enhance the color.
  9. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, line it with parchment paper, and place dry beans or pie weights in the center all the way to the sides. Blind bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack, then remove the parchment and weights.

To make the whole-wheat flour crust, prepare the dough as for the white flour crust incorporating 2 to 3 tablespoons beaten egg along with the water in step 5.

For the quiche florentine, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the middle. Prepare the pie crust as directed and set aside. Heat the oil in a small skillet over high heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft. Set aside to cool. Wash, dry, and roughly chop the spinach. Cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside to cool, then chop it into bite-size pieces.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk to blend. Fold in the cooked shallots, ricotta cheese, and nutmeg. Add the milk as necessary to loosen the mixture so that it is loose but not runny in the bowl. Spread the spinach, bacon, and parmesan on the bottom of the crust, then pour the egg mixture over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the center is set, the edges bubble, and the quiche appears golden across the top. Remove it to a wire rack to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Tips

You can swap frozen spinach for fresh; just be sure to squeeze out absolutely all of the water.

Serving Size

White flour crust makes two 9-inch crusts

Recipe: Banana ginger sticky buns

Ingredients
  • For the rolls
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 (1.75-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) superfine sugar
  • 20 ounces (4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour plus extra as needed
  • 3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, soft
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon table or sea salt
  • For the filling
  • Banana ginger
  • 1 cup, loose dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 cup bananas, chopped
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg, freshly ground
  • For the wash
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preparation

In a small saucepan, warm the milk (it should be very warm, but not hot; about 110 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Gently stir in the yeast plus 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the remaining sugar, the flour, butter, eggs, and salt. Mix on low for about 5 minutes, or until a shiny dough forms. If it's too wet, add up to 2 tablespoons additional flour.

Lightly flour the counter and briefly knead the dough by hand for 30 seconds. Lightly oil a medium bowl and transfer the dough into it. Cover with a damp towel and place it in a warm corner of the kitchen to proof — 90 degrees F is ideal. Let the dough rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it doubles in size. To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir to combine the sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Set aside so the butter remains soft, but not soupy.

Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter or nonstick spray and line it with parchment paper. Lightly punch down the dough in the bowl. Sprinkle flour on the counter, and  roll out the dough to a 15-by-20-inch rectangle or until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough with a flexible spatula. Working carefully, roll the dough lengthwise into a log.

Gently pull on both ends so it's even in height from end to end. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 2-inch slices and place them, cut-side up, in the prepared baking dish. Leave room in between for the rolls to double in size. Cover with a damp towel, place in a warm corner, and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place a rack in the middle. To make the wash: In a small bowl, mix together the egg, milk, and vanilla. With a pastry brush, lightly dab the tops of the risen rolls with the egg wash. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until light golden brown (the internal temperature of the rolls will be 190 degrees F). Cool for 5 minutes in the pan. These are best when served immediately but can be reheated in a microwave.

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