Round Challah for Rosh Hashanah

L'Shanah Tovah! Happy New Year to all - in honor of the Jewish New Year, beginning tonight at sundown, I'm sharing with you perhaps the tastiest (and most versatile) of bread recipes. That's right, the legendary Challah.

Many people, Jews and non-Jews alike, are familiar with its delicious fluffy texture, and gorgeous braided appearance; but perhaps are unfamiliar with its significance to this holiday. Its shape - round at this time of year, rather than its usual loaf-shape, is symbolic of the cyclical nature of a year. Another thing about Challah that many people may not be aware of is how truly easy it is to make. Check out the oh-so-simple recipe below:

To begin, simply mix a packet (about 2 teaspoons) of instant yeast in a cup of lukewarm water, with a pinch of sugar. While that is activating, whisk together 4 1/2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the middle and pour into it 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and 2 large eggs, plus one yolk (save the white for the egg wash... that comes later.) Start slowly mixing them together, using a fork, and as the flour starts to combine, pour your (now foamy) yeast mixture into the mix. Combine until a shaggy, tacky dough forms, and dump out onto a floured surface to knead for a few minutes. Once it is a smooth ball, place it in an oiled bowl to rise for a couple hours. When doubled in size, punch the dough down and dump out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half, and set one half aside - did I mention this recipe makes 2 loaves?? To braid into a circular shape - follow along in the infographic below:

(In other words: cut into 4 even pieces, roll those pieces into long ropes, make a tic-tac-toe shape with them - overlapping as shown, and then cross one over another clockwise, then one over another counterclockwise, and vice versa until the ends are too short... at which point, tuck them underneath, and transfer your beautiful braided loaf to a parchment-lined baking sheet.) 

Then, brush your reserved egg white over the tops of your loaves, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Pop them into a 330 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through.

Once they're cooled (if you can wait that long) slice and top with whatever your heart desires. Truly. Challah is so versatile. I'm eating mine toasted with cream cheese, pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of honey (pomegranate and honey are also significant to the holiday, FYI). It makes phenomenal french toast, grilled cheeses, even BLTs - sacrilege, I know. But seriously. Get to baking. You still have a couple days to celebrate. Go for it - and happy new year! x

#NationalLemonMeringuePieDay

Happy #NationalLemonMeringuePieDay y'all! What, you didn't know it was today? No worries, now you do! And being the weekend, it's the perfect time to get some baking in! Soak up the last of summer with this deliciously tart and sweet lemon pie, with a fluffy meringue topping.

Now, I won't pretend I dreamed up this recipe myself, so credit to the domestic doyenne herself - Martha Stewart. I tried out my version of this recipe  to make today's Lemon Pie visions come true. And if you've got a little time, oh my gosh is it worth it. Truly. I know I always say that, but have I ever let you down? Nevermind, don't answer that. Just look at this picture and take my word for it:

I mean, just LOOK at those stiff peaks. YUM.

Bastille Day Brioche

Happy Bastille Day, everyone! Oh, you didn't know it was Bastille Day? Aka "the french fourth of july"?? Now you do. Perhaps I've always been acutely aware of the holiday because my dad told me that growing up, he and his friends would light their leftover 4th of july fireworks - a common bastille day practice. Not the leftovers. The fireworks. My dad was a nerd.

Anyway. As you may or may not know, Bastille Day represents the day the people of France stormed the Bastille in response to their economic crisis, brought on in part by the lavish lifestyles of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Famously, when asked what the starving people of France should eat because they had run out of bread, the queen said "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche." or, "Let them eat cake."

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Except she wasn't talking about cake. She was talking about brioche. Aka, the rich, buttery, decadent, slightly-sweet, you-would-never-be-able-to-afford-something-so-luxurious bread. Clearly that didn't go over well for her. (See, public decapitation shortly thereafter.) However, in honor of today's holiday, and that famous quote - today we try Bon Apetit's recipe for Brioche.

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Full disclaimer. This recipe is not for the faint of heart. And probably not for those without an electric mixer. I, for the record, do not own one, and to that end, my forearms now resemble Popeye's from the amount of mixing that goes into it. (After each pat of butter is added to the dough, it must be mixed to smoothness for 4 minutes. There's 12 pats of butter. Mixed by hand. You do the math.) It is a LOT of work, and time and effort. But that's what makes it so good. 

Once you have the dough, you can make them into rolls, like in the BA recipe, or you can make it into any other pastry you like. I used some stone fruit and berries I had on hand to make this tart. Delicious. Do give this recipe a try. When you have some time. Maybe this weekend. Go ahead, celebrate bastille day late. I won't tell. 

Blueberry Cast Iron Coffee Cake

Oh, Sunday. Is there anything dreamier than thou?? I'm convinced that Sundays were created for the sole purpose of lounging about in head to toe jersey knitwear, beverage in one hand, snacks in the other.

What better way to celebrate the best day of the week than with this delicious cast-iron skillet coffee cake. Some version of this recipe has been floating around in my family for some time now, and it's a personal fave of mine. I mean, it's cake. For breakfast. (Ain't it swell that if you call it a coffee cake, it's socially acceptable to eat in the morning??)

The best part is, the recipe is super simple, super tasty, and just begging for you to give it a try. Seriously. You could probably make it right now with stuff you already have in your kitchen. (don't have blueberries?? try blackberries, raspberries, dried cranberries, or even raisins!)

Recipe
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
.5 teaspoons Baking Soda 
.5 teaspoons Salt
1 stick of Butter, melted
2 eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk
1.5 cups Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°, place cast iron skillet in the oven while preheating. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, mix melted butter, eggs, sugar, and milk. Then, add dry ingredients slowly, mixing well to incorporate. Fold in blueberries. Pour into greased preheated skillet and bake for 45-50 minutes. When finished, dust with powdered sugar and allow to cool slightly before serving.

So... Give this a try. If not this morning, how about this afternoon - that way you can enjoy it in the upcoming week. It makes a great cut-a-slice-and-take-to-work-in-the-morning snack. And seriously, tag me on social media if you make this. I wanna see your creations! Good luck, weekend warriors, can't wait to hear how they turned out. xx

Come Shop with Me!

Sunday. Ah, Sunday. (BTW, is Sunday supposed to be the end of the previous week, or the start of a new one? ...I've always considered it the end of the week, although I was recently told otherwise. Hm. #NotClearOn)

Anyway. To close out - yes, close out. my blog, my rules. okay? - our "La Vie En Rose" pink themed week, I wanted to take you shopping with me for some pink home accessories at some of my favorite stores here in Weho. Check it out:

So, that was fun. Let's do it again sometime, shall we? PS, bummed you missed out on our giveaway? Well subscribe to our channel, so you don't miss out on anything else! Lots of good stuff coming this week, so stick around and we'll see you soon! x 

#MOG Tries Martha's Blueberry Star Pie

Happy Sunday, all! I hope you're enjoying the long weekend, and are looking forward to all of your picnic faves tomorrow. In honor of Memorial Day - and wanting to do something patriotic - we tried our hand at Martha Stewart's Blueberry Pie. And, because that wasn't adorable enough, we decided to make the crust in a star pattern. Disclaimer: this was no small feat. (Of course it would be easier if you happen to have, say, a star shaped cookie cutter. We didnt.)

So, if you have the time today, boy oh boy is this worth it. Not to mention with its Instagram-worthy star status, you'll be the biggest hit at your picnic tomorrow! Insider tip - it's even better a-la-mode. We used McConnell's "Golden State Vanilla". Yum.

Ingredients
The Crust:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter - extra cold and cut into cubes
1/4-1/2 cup ice water

Blueberry Filling:
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions
Add your dry ingredients into a food processor, followed by butter cubes and pulse until the mixture looks like crumbs. Next, slowly pour the ice water and process until the dough just starts to stick together. Remove the dough and divide in half. Flatten the dough into rounded disk shapes, wrap them in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour.

Once chilled, remove one disk from the refrigerator, and place on a floured surface. Roll into a 12 inch circle, doing your best to maintain an even thickness throughout. Then transfer to a 9 inch pie pan and crimp along the edges. Cover it with plastic and refrigerate for another half hour.

Next, remove the remaining dough from the fridge and roll it out like before. Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut about 20 stars. (Or, if you're insane like us, cut them all individually with a paring knife.) Place your finished stars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and pop back into the fridge.

Then, place the blueberries in a large bowl and in a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, corn starch, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add this mixture to the blueberries and toss with a rubber spatula. Pour the blueberry filling into your pie crust. Then, in a small bowl combine an egg yolk and a tablespoon of milk or cream. Remove your stars from the refrigerator and brush them with the egg wash, using any remaining to brush the rim of the crust. Sprinkle the stars with coarse sugar and place them on the pie in a circular pattern. Refrigerate one last time, for about half an hour or so.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the pie is ready, place it on a parchment lined baking sheet (blueberry pies have a tendency to bubble over). Place the baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for about 45 minutes. When done, the crust should be a golden and the juices should be bubbling. Remove from the oven to cool on a wire rack for several hours so the filling will set.

Like we said, time-consuming, but SO worth it. Let us know if you give this a try - we'd love to see the results! Be sure to use the hashtag #MOGBLOGBakes so we can check out your pictures! Happy Memorial Day!