• the night bakery •

There's my day job, and then there's The Night Bakery.

Candied Orange Peels & Syrup

 
 

I know, no one has time to make any recipe that takes at least 4 days. Full disclosure, I'm self-employed and have no kids. I get it. When I did have an office job, all I could manage to pull off for dinner was a cocktail. But I found a lot of pleasure in dreaming of making stuff like this. If it helps, I would argue that this is 3 recipes in one: candied peels, citrus syrup and citrus-scented sugar to which you add some cinnamon for cinnamon toast. Double the recipe and you only have to make it once a year. Further support for this endeavor is the fact that you will have an ingredient that will transform any cake, scone or cocktail you make into something transcendent. Or dip these little buggers in some melted dark chocolate and freak yourself out. Think about those possibilities for moment or two. I will post such recipes in the coming months.

Ingredients
4 oranges
1 1/2 cups water
1 3/4 cups organic sugar + more for rolling & storing

Prep
Wash/scrub the oranges with hot water, wipe to dry. Remove the peel in quarters, then slice into 1/4-inch strips.

Boil
Put water and 3/4 cup sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Add peels, don’t stir. Shake pan and gently press peels into the liquid with a spoon. When it returns to a boil, remove from heat and cover. 

Steep
Let it sit overnight. The next day, add 1/2 cup sugar, shake pan to settle, bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit overnight. On the third day, add 1/4 cup sugar, shake and bring to a boil once more. Turn off the heat, cover and set aside for 2-6 days.

Dry Peels
Strain peels, saving the syrup. Let drip for at least 15 minutes. Roll peels in sugar, place in a single layer on a rack or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let sit uncovered in an oven with a pilot light or another warm place, overnight or up to a day, until they’re dry. Store in airtight containers between layers of sugar.

Process Syrup
Strain syrup through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Place in a pot and bring to a boil. Ladle hot syrup into prepared canning jars, leaving a half-inch of headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Download a PDF of this recipe here.

 

Notes

This recipe works with any citrus.

Yield: roughly 5-4 half-pint jars of peels and about 2 cups of syrup.

If you don’t have all the usual equipment for canning, you can still process the syrup. Just boil the jars and lids for 10 minutes to prepare them, and use tongs. Fill jars to 1/2 inch from the top.

The peels will keep for months. The unopened syrup for a year.

 

Gluten-free Energy Bars

 
 

This recipe popped up in my Instagram feed via @lizprueitt_tartine via #talbottandarding via @alicemedrich. That’s some hefty culinary lineage right there. They call it “Dried Fruit and Nut Cake”. It’s so dense and satisfying I have a hard time calling it cake. Wrap the individual slices and you’ve got a welcome, portable, grown-up replacement for GORP. The fact that it's gluten-free is just a nice bonus. It’s brilliant with strong black coffee. Or straight bourbon. Or black coffee with bourbon in it - lest you forget this is The Night Bakery.

Ingredients
200 g dried fruit (pear, apricots, cherries, prunes, raisins)
200 g dates & figs
300 g nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans)
3 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange or 2 tangerines
2 T bourbon (optional, but do it)
25 g each of sweet rice flour, oat flour and tapioca starch
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
100 g brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300°

Prep
Cut large fruit pieces in half. If any fruit is very dry, soak for 5-10 minutes in hot water and drain.

Mix
Wisk together everything except fruit and nuts. Then add fruit/nut mixture and mix thoroughly.

Bake
Bake in a loaf pan for 1 hour. Let cool completely before slicing.

Download a PDF of this recipe here.

 

Notes:

Don't worry about what dried fruit or nuts, use what you have.

Be sure to use sweet rice flour, not white rice flour.

You may want to line the bottom of the loaf pan with parchment for easier removal.

New Album from Adam Hurt

 
 

Here's what's playing in my studio and in my truck these days.

Clawhammer banjo player Adam Hurts new CD, Artifacts, is a selection of old-time tunes from people and communities whose legacy is preserved in their music. These new arrangements of fiddle tunes feature a whole bunch of musicians well-known in the old-time community: Beth Williams Hartness, Carl Jones, Marshall Wilborn, Stephanie Coleman, and Noam Pikelny. If you have any interest in this form of music, this needs to be part of your music library - it's a touchstone.

It's available on CD Baby and iTunes. Have a listen to a couple of the tunes:

 
 

Full disclosure, I study clawhammer banjo with Adam. I also help him out a little bit with some graphic stuff, and we're working on his new web site. That said, I was a fan before I met him, I remain a fan, and I would let you all know about his recordings either way!

My minuscule contribution to this effort is an illustration of an architectural detail from Adam's house that was used on the disk itself. Very fun. CD packaging artwork by Karin Preus.

 

Unreal French Toast

 
 

Ingredients
6 slices of naturally leavened bread
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 T orange juice
1+ T bourbon
1 T orange zest
1 pinch cinnamon
2-3 T butter at room temperature
Maple syrup, warmed (a splash of bourbon is a nice touch here too)
Berries and/or bananas for garnish

Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove top.

Prep
Cut boule in half. With cut side down, make slices a bit less than half an inch thick. Wash/dry the berries. Warm the syrup. 

Mix
Wisk together eggs, milk, orange juice, bourbon, zest and cinnamon. Pour into a shallow pan or plate for dipping.

Cook
Butter the skillet. Dip both sides of the bread slices in the egg mixture. Let them soak up some of the liquid, but don’t drench. Do this as you cook them, not all at once. Cook through in batches. Serve on warm plates. Garnish with butter, maple syrup and berries.

Download a PDF of this recipe here.

 

Notes

2 big servings.

The bread is key. A rustic french-style boule like Tartine is what makes this whole thing happen. It’s FRENCH toast!

Bourbon. Yes. Everyone’s favorite old-time/bluegrass tune is called “Whiskey Before Breakfast”, thereby making bourbon in your french toast perfectly acceptable.

Buy the song here.

Make the zest with a zest tool, not a microplane, so you get those pretty little strips.

For bread this thick and moist, cast iron is the only way to go - it cooks all the way through without charring the outside.

Keep the cooked slices in a warm oven until they’re all done and always serve on warm plates.