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Saffron in baking


chromedome
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Okay, actually I'm all scalp. :cool:

Anyway, I've just received a most amazing gift from a friend Stateside...a whole ounce of quality saffron. So I'm curious to receive the wisdom of the assembled multitude as it applies to saffron in the bakeshop. I've used it in a shortbread cookie once, and as an accent in a creme anglaise, but that's about it. Anybody got any favourites they'd like to share?

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Okay, actually I'm all scalp.  :cool:

Please don't kill me if I'm wrong, chromedome, but might that comment have something to do with your user name? :raz:

Well, lucky you!... Er, with the saffron, I mean. Have you heard of lussekatt? It's a Swedish bread that's usually eaten around December in honor of Saint Lucia (so I read). But heck, if you've got this gorgeous saffron now, why wait for Saint Lucia Day?

I first came across this recipe on the blog A Spoonful of Sugar. Check out the picture--it looks absolutely gorgeous.

The bread is very good--light and almost silky--and the saffron adds both wonderful color and aroma. You don't have to follow this particular recipe though. I think if you just add 1/2 a teaspoon or so of saffron (soaked overnight in melted butter to bring out the flavor) to any delicate bun/bread recipe (don't know about the heartier, rustic loaves; saffron might be overpowered), it should work fine.

From past saffron bread experiences, I personally think honey complements it beautifully.

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Traditional for Easter Breads and Buns. Saffron "Revel Buns" pre-date hot-cross buns,

Usual fruit loaf or cinnamon currant bun, but infuse a generous pinch of saffron in the milk or water with which you make the dough

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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I make braided challah-style loaves for all the holidays, and here's Canadian Thanksgiving just around the corner...that's going to be one of the first things I try, I think. Thanks, Soba...(and Jackal).

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I've got a recipe somewhere for Cornish fruit cake (don't ask me why but Cornwall = saffron) which involves saffron + currants in the dough and saffron + lemon juice in the glaze.

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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Saffron, as many of my collegues on these forums probably know, has garnered a reputation as the world’s most regularly expensive spice. An astounding 210,000 dried stigmas, gleaned from about 70,000 flowers, are required to make one pound of true saffron – which, obviously, is why the cost of production is excessively high. The English word “saffron” is derived from the Arabic za’faran, meaning yellow. Traditionally, saffron has been the Western colorant corresponding to turmeric in the East. In recent times, however, saffron has gone the way of such other natural colorings as indigo, mander root, and cochineal.

This exquisite spice is famously used in great Spanish dishes, such as paella, the renowned seafood pilaf, the codfish-based Bacalao a la Vizcaina, and the chicken-&-ham preparation Arroz con Pollo. Yet, for the majority of bakers it is predominantly used in breads & cakes; perhaps, especially, in the Swedish repertoire: Saffronsbröd & Saffransbullar are pre-eminently recalled. St. Lucia Buns are always first of the many holiday breads I bake each December – using either ground cardamom or saffron. Also, I've added a sachet of powdered saffron to enhance a lovely, creamed Mussel Soup.

Saffron Cake (or bread) is an old Cornish specialty; the spice was certainly grown in Cornwall until the eighteenth century. Traditional recipes call for the inclusion of caraway seeds, but I omit them. You could also add 1 Tbsp of rosewater, if you want to accentuate the exotic appeal of the saffron. (I buy Sun Brand – from Novelda, Spain.) Indulge your guests: serve the cake slices slathered w/ European-style cultured butter. Or clotted cream!

1 Tbsp dried yeast

1 tsp granulated sugar

1½ fl. oz. lukewarm water

4 fl. oz. scaled milk

½ tsp saffron threads

4 oz. butter

3 fl. oz. sherry or Madeira

1 cup currants

¼ cup candied citron peel

3-4 cups flour

Dry saffron threads on ovenproof saucer for 15 min. in 250° oven. Crush gently; add scaled milk & cream; allow to steep. Proof yeast w/ sugar in water. Soak currants in warmed sherry for a few minutes; strain off wine into milk/cream mixture.

Work butter into 3 cups flour, using mixer to rub it in. Add milk/cream/wine mixture & proofed yeast. (Add rosewater, if desired.) Add extra flour as necessary; batter should be soft, but hold together. Mix & beat very well. Cover; leave to rise until doubled in volume. Stir in fruit & peel. Pour into oiled tea-loaf pans; leave in warm place until doubled in bulk.

Bake in 400° oven for 10 min., then reduce heat to 350° and bake 20 min. longer. Just before removing from oven, brush w/ a little Lyle’s Golden Syrup thinned w/ water. Cool in pans 5-10 minutes before turning out. Serve warm. If preferred, Saffron Cake may be shaped as a Tea Ring.

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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I've got a recipe somewhere for Cornish fruit cake (don't ask me why but Cornwall = saffron) which involves saffron + currants in the dough and saffron + lemon juice in the glaze.

Oooh, been meaning to make fruitcake, but couldn't decide on which recipe. A saffron fruitcake sounds excellent. If you can find it, would you share it with us, curlywurly? Would truly appreciate it!

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this is more of a sponge with currants in, from memory. I'll have a little sift through the files tonight.

Fi

Oooh, been meaning to make fruitcake, but couldn't decide on which recipe. A saffron fruitcake sounds excellent. If you can find it, would you share it with us, curlywurly? Would truly appreciate it!

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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Okay, actually I'm all scalp.  :cool:

Anyway, I've just received a most amazing gift from a friend Stateside...a whole ounce of quality saffron.  So I'm curious to receive the wisdom of the assembled multitude as it applies to saffron in the bakeshop.  I've used it in a shortbread cookie once, and as an accent in a creme anglaise, but that's about it.  Anybody got any favourites they'd like to share?

Chromedome,

the number 1 use for saffron, may be after Paella Valenciana, is for Risotto ai Porcini.

The porcini mushrooms and saffron combo is one of the tastes made in heaven... I am really surprised no one has come up with it so far.

For recipes, any search will yield scads - it's that famous!

Recently in Buenos Aires, an Italian TV Chef showed how to make a pizza crust with saffron... but I wouldn't go for it.

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I'd been plotting a mushroom/saffron risotto, so I'm happy to learn that this is a well-established combination. One of my neighbours picked a bunch of porcini this fall, and allegedly has intentions of giving me some (I have great neighbours...the one on the other side has promised me all the "spare bits" of the two pigs he's slaughtering soon. :wub: When that day comes about, I'll be absolutely certain to try this dish.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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This is a wonderful recipe that came from the Los Angeles Times several years ago. I too get saffron by the ounce, and use it as much as possible.

* Exported from MasterCook *

GOLDEN SAFFRON CAKE

Recipe By :Recipe by Donna Deane, LA Times Food Stylist

Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00

Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1 tablespoon butter -- softened

2/3 cup nonfat milk

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1 1/3 cups cake flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large egg -- lightly beaten

2 tablespoons rose water

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon chopped pistachio nuts

Brush 9-inch cake pan with butter. Combine 2 tablespoons nonfat

milk and saffron threads in small saucepan. Heat and stir just to

simmering. Remove from heat.

Sift together cake flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and baking

soda. Stir together saffron mixture, remaining nonfat milk, egg,

rose water and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Quickly stir into dry ingredients

just until blended. Pour into prepared pan., Bake at 375 degrees

about 15 minutes or until wood pick inserted in center comes out

clean.

Let cool 5 minutes.

Combine remaining 3/4 cup sugar and water in small saucepan.

Heat to simmering. Simmer 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2

teaspoon vanilla. With skewer, poke holes evenly over entire surface

of cake. Spoon syrup evenly over top of cake. Sprinkle with

pistachios. Cut into diamond shape pieces, baklava-style. Makes 10

servings.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To take advantage of the deep color of the saffron, it is warmed in

nonfat milk and allowed to steep. Then it is combined with the

remaining nonfat milk, eggs, rose water and vanilla. The saffron

mixture is then quickly stirred into the dry ingredients. Be careful

not to overmix. The batter need not be completely smooth.

After baking, cool the cake five minutes before poking holes over the

top of the cake and pouring on the syrup, which is absorbed by the

cake, moistening it. Finally, sprinkle on chopped pistachios.

Oh yeah, I make a nice saffron ice cream too, if you'd like that recipe.

Edited by Abra (log)
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The cake sounds wonderful, Abra. There's a very distinct mid-east feel to it, with the rosewater and pistachios and all. At home a lot of my food has a Middle Eastern influence.

And yes, of course I'd be interested in saffron ice cream!

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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This recipe makes a trio of ice creams, of which saffron is one, along with nougat, and lavender. They're all delicious, and it's a fabulous trio to serve together. The nougat is actually my favorite, so I'm posting the whole thing, even though only the saffron part is on topic.

* Exported from MasterCook *

TRIO OF ICE CREAMS

Recipe By :

Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00

Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

Nougat flavor

5 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup whole almonds -- toasted

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

Honey-Saffron flavor

3 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads -- (scant)

6 tablespoons honey

Lavender flavor

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons fresh or dried lavender blossoms

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons honey

Ice cream base

4 cups whipping cream

2 cups whole milk

10 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons brown sugar -- (packed)

1 Pinch salt

For nougat flavor:

Butter baking sheet. Stir first 3 ingredients in heavy small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until syrup turns amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in nuts and peel. Immediately pour onto prepared sheet. Cool completely. Chop nougat.

For honey-saffron flavor:

Simmer 3 tablespoons water and saffron in small saucepan until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Stir in honey. Set aside.

For lavender flavor:

Simmer 1/4 cup water and lavender in small saucepan until reduced by half, 1 minute. Add sugar; stir to dissolve. Simmer 2 minutes to thicken syrup slightly. Stir in honey. Set aside.

For ice cream base:

Bring cream and milk to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Whisk yolks to blend in large bowl. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolks. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 10 minutes (do not boil). Divide custard among 3 bowls (about 2 cups custard in each bowl).

Stir nougat, brown sugar and pinch of salt into 1 bowl of hot custard. Whisk honey-saffron mixture into custard in second bowl. Whisk lavender mixture into custard in third bowl. Cool mixtures completely, stirring occasionally (nougat will dissolve). Chill nougat and honey-saffron custards until cold. Chill lavender custard at least 4 hours or overnight. Strain; discard lavender in strainer.

Process ice cream custards separately in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze in covered containers. (Can be made 1 week ahead.)

Serves 8.

Source:

"Bon Appétit

May 1999"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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I do a citrus reduction with saffron for one of my desserts.

I also do a gelee of orange and saffron molded into a panna cotta infused catalan style.

Love the stuff.

Hi tan319,

The "gelee of orange and saffron molded into a panna cotta " sounds very intriguing.

How is the gelee incorporated into the dish? a layer of gelee either on top or the bottom of the milk layer?

I guess that "catalan style" means infused w/saffron?

This dish must look beautfiul too!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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  • 2 weeks later...

One of my favorite things to do with saffron is make a citrus saffron glaze--and soak cakes with it, toss fruit compotes with it...

lemon juice orange juice sugar saffron all to taste bring to a boil, simmer til slightly thickened

makes it lovely saffron color

I pour it over poundcakes, almond tortes

hell, you could even use it for cocktails or lemonade

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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I do a citrus reduction with saffron for one of my desserts.

I also do a gelee of orange and saffron molded into a panna cotta infused catalan style.

Love the stuff.

Hi tan319,

The "gelee of orange and saffron molded into a panna cotta " sounds very intriguing.

How is the gelee incorporated into the dish? a layer of gelee either on top or the bottom of the milk layer?

I guess that "catalan style" means infused w/saffron?

This dish must look beautfiul too!

I make the panna cotta in those 4 oz. utility cups and pour the saffron/ orange gelee in the bottom( which becomes the top when you plate it).

Let the gelee set up and pour the panna cotta mix(cooled to room temp or a bit colder, but before it gells) in on top.

When I plate, I blow torch the cup a bit after it's inverted and usually pop a skewer in the top to let it loose.

A few weeks ago I saw a kalamansi gelee topped panna cotta somewhere online, maybe New York magazine?

Same kind of look.

The catalan style actually describes a flavor profile that's in the Spanish style of creme brulee, which is called catalan creme.

It usually involves lemon zest, cinnamon and vanilla, with orange zest thrown in the infusion sometimes.

I like it with the orange added.

2317/5000

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I do a citrus reduction with saffron for one of my desserts.

I also do a gelee of orange and saffron molded into a panna cotta infused catalan style.

Love the stuff.

Hi tan319,

The "gelee of orange and saffron molded into a panna cotta " sounds very intriguing.

...

I make the panna cotta in those 4 oz. utility cups and pour the saffron/ orange gelee in the bottom( which becomes the top when you plate it).

Let the gelee set up and pour the panna cotta mix(cooled to room temp or a bit colder, but before it gells) in on top.

When I plate, I blow torch the cup a bit after it's inverted and usually pop a skewer in the top to let it loose.

A few weeks ago I saw a kalamansi gelee topped panna cotta somewhere online, maybe New York magazine?

Same kind of look.

The catalan style actually describes a flavor profile that's in the Spanish style of creme brulee, which is called catalan creme.

It usually involves lemon zest, cinnamon and vanilla, with orange zest thrown in the infusion sometimes.

I like it with the orange added.

Thank you very much tan319!

I will definately try this. I love panna cottas, and other jellied desserts; the idea of a gelee and panna cotta layer sounds marvelous. I wasn't familiar with catalan creme brulee either and will like to make use this flavor combination with brulee or panna cotta!

(Also learned what a kalamansi is too... a sour lime).

Thanks again,

ludja

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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