In a world where good news seems scarce let me simply share a sweet recipe guaranteed to brighten your day and put a belly-satisfying smile on your face. This recipe for Strawberry Kropsua is kind of a cross between a pancake, a crepe and a souffle, but reminds me most of a popover.
In the photos above you will notice how the edges of the batter rise high above the pan leaving a center pocket making it perfect for all kinds of luscious fruit filling. Some might fill it with fresh apples and squeeze of lemon juice calling it a Dutch Baby pancake, but in my case I’m filling it with the fruit of the season…fresh strawberries tossed with a sprinkle of sugar and touch of vanilla.
Do I have you salivating now? Before I share the recipe we need to talk about two things. First, the cast iron pan. Please only use cast iron for the best results. The pan is pre-heated in the oven before pouring in the batter. I use 4-inch pans and here is a really important tip. Measure your pans across the bottom and not the top. That is the standard for measuring as with many pans the top is usually wider than the bottom. You are welcome.
Next thing you need to know is that I am sharing this recipe in metric measurements to insure accuracy. Buy a kitchen scale if you don’t already have one. Gluten development is the enemy of this recipe, so it’s important to add the exact measurement of flour and gently whisk it in. We all measure differently, but we all weigh ingredients the same. Capice? (ca-peesh). Too much flour will yield a dense kropsua and that’s just sad.
Place the flour in a batter bowl or mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk the milk, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla until blended. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until mixture is smooth. Let this mixture rest while oven heats up; this allows the gluten to relax. Place two 4-inch skillets in the oven. Heat the oven to 425F. When the oven comes to temperature, remove skillets from oven and divide butter among them. Place back in the oven for a minute to let bubbling of butter subside. Pour rested batter evenly into hot skillets. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar and fill with strawberries.
For the strawberries:
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
Sweetener of choice (I like a tablespoon of sugar or maple syrup)
¼ teaspoon vanilla
A squeeze of fresh lemon or orange juice added in is nice and sunny
Toss it all together just prior to starting the kropsua
Last week I wrote of the symbolic nature of flowers. Look around your garden. What does it say about you? Plant some dill. It symbolizes power against evil. Every victory garden could use that power right about now. Nasturtium, too. Those edible peppery and sometimes fiery orange blossoms stand for patriotism. Do you love this country? How do you show it?
For those who knew William or have followed this blog I’m certain I don’t have to explain why dill and nasturtium remind me of him. I don’t know a soul (other than his military brothers) who love this country more and fought the good fight, so others could live free.
Today, I praise the essential workers battling the evil of COVID19 especially my two nieces. Heather and Brenda are on the front lines as nurses in ICU units devoted to the care of those infected. I can’t imagine the mix of emotions associated with these essential jobs, but they do it. They pledge an allegiance to quality healthcare no matter the hardship. All any of us nonessentials can do is express our gratitude for their courage, dedication and willingness to fight the good fight…plus wash our hands and practice social distancing. This thing isn’t over, yet.
As much as I love this recipe as written desperate times call for desperate measures. These days #AmericaStrong we are all adapting to a new normal. Thankfully, this is a raid your pantry kind of recipe initially adapted from William-Sonoma’s web site. No puff pastry? No problem. Use any kind of pie dough or even a pre-made pizza crust, flour tortillas or naan…hey! it is an international situation we are in so be brave and use whatever. Same goes for fresh tomatoes. Any fresh vegetable will do, but if it is crunchy like broccoli, blanch it first. Onions? Caramelize them first. Canned tomatoes? Drain them and pat them dry. Same for cheese and herbs…just do you and don’t forget to plant some seeds.
freshly ground pepper, herb oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese
Heat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle both sides of tomatoes lightly with salt and place in a single layer on paper towels. Let them stand 15 to 30 minutes for paper towels to absorb some of their moisture.
Unfold the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Using a fork, prick (or dock) the pastry all over. Fold over 1/2 inch of the pastry all the way around the edge.
Arrange the tomatoes and cheese evenly on top of the pastry rectangle. Sprinkle evenly with the dill and some freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with a little herb oil and parmesan.
Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a work surface. Cut the tart into pieces and serve.
Sous vide cooking is a girl’s best friend. Yes, a boy’s best friend, too. You see I cooked this incredibly delicious side-dish while I was out in the garden. It’s the beauty of sous vide…I don’t have to babysit the cooking process. Set it, forget it and get outside to soak up the vitamin D. Life is good and so is this butternut squash recipe.
I know. What the heck is black garlic molasses? It’s a complex flavor explosion in your mouth is what it is. Kind of like an orchestra of nutty, roasted garlic in harmony with savory and sweet dried fruit. A product of Japan it’s made from fermenting garlic and then slow-roasting the black garlic into this black gold molasses syrup. It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way.
Whenever vacuum sealing I recommend putting all liquid ingredients in the bottom of the bag. Fold the top of the bag back so not to get it wet or sticky with ingredients which could prevent the bag from sealing properly. Add the squash. The squash becomes like an obstacle so the vacuum sealer doesn’t draw the liquid up to high and into the machine. Just watch.
Now just drop the bag in your heated water bath and go do something fun for an hour……
When ready to serve just snip open the bag, pour into a serving dish and toss with a little green onion and cilantro. Perfectly fork tender and fragrant this side dish can pair well any protein, but equally as good served over rice as a main dish for my vegetarian friends.
Optional: add ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil to bag and then finish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.
Heat water bath to 170F. Place chili sauce, soy sauce, molasses and ginger in bottom of cooking bag. Add squash and vacuum seal bag. Cook for 45 minutes. Pour squash and sauce into a serving bowl. Add green onion and cilantro; toss. Serves 4.