Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Trier Squares

Brace yourselves. This may never happen again. I am actually going to give you one of my favourite recipes. Exactly as I make it in my shoppe.

I enjoy making these bars more than anything else. It's not one of my favourites to eat; but to create them...ahhh...the scents of all the ingredients are the most incredible! I will do my best to describe them as I go through the recipe.

They are named after the town of Trier, located on the banks of the Mosel River in southwestern Germany. These bars are are filled with a vegetarian version of mincemeat. You could make them into mini tarts, a large tart (no pun inteneded; my British husband would laugh hysterically at this), a pie, or, as I do here, in a 12"x18" pan.

Cream in mixer (w/ paddle), food processor or by hand:

1# Unsalted Butter, I use European Style (less water content)
1 cup Sugar
1 Egg

Slowly add enough unbleached flour, I use organic bread flour, until the dough forms a ball. (The amount of flour varies with your ingredient quality. You can start with about 1# of flour.) It will be slightly sticky. Put dough in the freezer or refrigerator until it starts to firm up.
Roll 2/3 of your dough into the bottom of a parchment lined 12"x18" pan. Freeze or refrigerate until firm.
Roll out the remaing dough. Cut strips about 1/2"-3/4" wide. Chill & reserve for the lattice decoration on the top of the bars.

Spread about 1-1/2 cups of jam, preserves or fruit spread on the crust. I've already used Apricot, Strawberry & Raspberry. It's really your preference.

...the really yummy part is coming up...

Stir together in a medium sized bowl:
1# Sliced Almonds
1# Sugar
10 oz. Sultanas
2 teaspoons Penzey's Ceylon Cinnamon

...a few notes here...
...if you don't have sultanas(golden raisins) go ahead & use regular raisins, or, try something different like dried blueberries, cherries, chopped apricots, etc. Remember - a recipe is only a starting point!
...Penzey's is a spice house that has some phenomenal spices, herbs, extracts, etc. I order many things from them. Sure, you can substitute plain old cinnamon for this. But, in my opinion, you will be missing out on one of my favourite parts of making these. Ceylon cinnamon, 'true' cinnamon has a very citrusy smell & taste. It's not nearly as strong as Vietnamese cinnamon which I absolutely LOVE, but is not suited to this particular recipe. I highly recommend, upon opening the jar of Ceylon cinnamon, to inhale deeply, several times. Ahhh, I swear it's an antidepressant! :-)
...I also just love the sound of this mixture. Yes, I said sound. The crunch of the sliced almonds swishing against the granulated sugar inside the stainless steel bowl. Phusssht, swish, crunch, tink tink tink, phusssht, swish, crunch, tink tink.

Add to the above mixture & stir well:
1/2 cup Milk or cream
1/4 cup Lemon juice (only use the pure stuff, nothing from concentrate!)

...are you ready for the best part? You are going to make beurre noisette, "brown butter".

Put 7 oz. unsalted butter in a large sauce pan. Heat on medium-high until the butter is melted. turn the heat down to medium-low & continue to cook until the water evaporates & the butter solids drop to the bottom of the pan & turn brown. Turn off the heat, stand back slightly, & add 1 Tablespoon of Neilson Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla

...crackle crackle crackle crackle, pop pop, crackle crackle crackle...the second it stops spitting out of the pan, waft that steam ALL AROUND the kitchen! To me this is the most wonderful fragrance on the planet! Because your butter is hot, the alcohol in the vanilla burns off instantly, leaving you with a buttery, nutty vanilla essence that is divine.

As soon as you recover from your state-of-bliss, pour this over your almond mixture, stir together thoroughly, (note how the cinnamon scent changes as you add the warm butter!) & pour it over your jam layer, spreading evenly. Top with your lattice stripes & brush the pastry with an egg wash. Bake in the lower third of your oven @ 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool, slice & ENJOY!!!

3 Responses to “Trier Squares”

doc slm said...

Just so you know...I could actually imagine the taste and smell just from your description! I am going to try this out as soon as I can order the cinnamon. 'causeI agree with you...it's worth it to have quality ingredients.
so how do you not weigh half a ton with all of your baking? although I do remember when I worked at Baskin Robbins as a teenager, I got to the point where I had no desire to eat a bunch of ice cream. However...it looks like you make such a wide variety of yummy scrumptious things that I would have to taste them all. [sigh]

jin said...

doc slm:
It was important to me to get that experience across, I'm so happy it worked! It's just one of those things, someone can be talking to me when I'm making them & I'm so into it I don't hear what they're saying. If I wasn't clear on any directions do ask, or if you have any questions in general. I'd be happy to answer them.

www.penzeys.com is where I get the Ceylon cinnamon. I love their Vietnamese cinnamon for frosted cinnamon rolls & their Cardamom in rice pudding. Their vanilla beans are nice & plump, too. I use the Madagascar.

I wasn't always slim, lol, actually, I still wish I was slimmer than I am.
I tried diet after diet for years, tried exercise & walking, what I thought was healthy eating & nothing worked.
When I met my husband 5 years ago I drank lots of red wine & ate lots of meat. He was a vegetarian that didn't drink at all. Wow...culture clash. But he had the sexiest British accent *giggles* & when he told me it wasn't good for me I stopped drinking & became a vegetarian even though I didn't really believe him at the time. lol
Over the 4 years we've been married I lost around 60-70 pounds & right now I feel better than I've ever felt!
I try to do Yoga every day.
I do eat chocolate every day. Sometimes more than once! :-)
I taste almost everything I make, when there are extras. lol
There is only one thing I can't eat...regular cake & buttercream. I have made soooo much buttercream I can't stand to taste it! My husband makes it now, but I still can't eat it. Our wedding cake had no 'regular' cake in it. Hmm...I think I'll post a pic & our story about that this week. After all, we met on the internet!

doc slm said...

I met my husband on the Internet as well. I'll be watching for your story.