Friday, February 10, 2006

Sourdough English Muffins

I don't know of anyone who doesn't like a nice English muffin slathered with butter and jam. These are not difficult to make, and the pleasure derived is long lasting.


½ cup sourdough starter, fed
¼ cup WW flour
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup bottled water
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar


Once the starter is fed, mix up the dough and let it sit covered overnight. You don’t have to worry about overdeveloping the sourdough flavor because the baking soda will neutralize some of it, leaving just the right amount of sourness in your muffins.

The major change in this recipe, aside from using some whole wheat flour (1/4 cup) was to replace the milk the original recipe called for with water so as to ensure you get the rather coarse, open texture for English muffins.

If you have only a small biscuit cutter – say 2” rather than a 3-inch round, you may need to cook for an extra minute or two per side and you will probably get fewer than the 20 or so that this recipe calls for with the 2” cutter. They taste fantastic.

They will be a bit doughy when hot off the grill, but like most yeast breads, their texture stabilizes once allowed to cool for a few minutes (they cool quickly).

Combine starter with 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of water. Stir thoroughly, cover with plastic wrap and let sit out overnight (about 7-10 hours). In the morning, add the baking soda, salt, sugar to the dough and gradually add the remaining flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough looses its stickiness.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll until about ½- 3/4 inch thick. Use a lightly floured biscuit cutter and cut the dough into as many rounds as possible. Place rounds on an ungreased baking sheet, covered with cornmeal. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cornmeal and leave them to rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for about 45 minutes. Here, you can use English muffin rings if you want. (Available through the King Arthur Flour catalog.)

Heat a lightly oiled or nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot, then reduce the temperature to medium/medium high.Cook the muffins for about 5 minutes on each side, turning only once. The muffins will reach a light or medium brown (turn down the temperature slightly if they cook too quickly) on both the top and the bottom when they are cooked through.

Before the first flip, the sides of the muffin will start to look dry, like the edges of a pancake, when they are ready to be turned. You can peek at the underside, too. Cool completely before storing.

Rum Pudding Cake

This delicious dessert is quick and easy to make, and will satisfy the lustiest of sweets lovers.


9” Spring form Pan

2 7-ounce packages of anise-flavored sponge biscuits
¼ cup rum
4 cups whole milk
½ cup sour cream
1 package instant vanilla pudding (*)
1 package instant chocolate pudding(*)
1 cup heavy cream


Sprinkle one side of the biscuits with rum. Arrange one package of the biscuits flat side down in the pan, packed as tightly as possible. Crumble the remaining biscuits from the first package to fill spaces between the biscuits in the pan.

Mix 2 cups milk and the sour cream until well-blended. Stir in the vanilla pudding until very smooth. Allow to partially set, then pour and smooth over the biscuit layer.

Arrange the remaining package of the biscuits – flat side down – over the pudding. Crumble remaining biscuits to fill spaces.

Mix chocolate pudding with remaining milk in a medium size bowl following manufacturer’s directions. Allow to partially set, then pour and smooth over biscuits. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Loosen cake around edges with knife, and carefully remove side of pan, leaving cake on the pan bottom.

Whip heavy cream until stiff. Spoon into pastry bag; pipe whipped cream around the cake bottom and top edge of the cake.

Serve with a demitasse of espresso.

(*) You can always make homemade pudding here, but the boxed instant pudding is quicker.