Tuesday, March 25, 2008

TWD: Caramel Topped Flan

For this challenge, we had nearly two weeks to put together our caramel flan. Being a native San Diegan, I'm a big fan of all things Mexican, especially their guacamole and their desserts. Now living in the barren wasteland of Mexican food joints known as Long Island, I was excited to try making the flan. While its just a custard, I'd never tried making one on my own.

The boiling of the caramel was probably the most worrisome of the tasks, trying to get it to a nice amber color without burning it. I was dutifully stirring, thinking it might never turn brown when all of a sudden the color bloomed in the pan. I suppose if not carefully watched, it could go from clear to burnt in no time. So I carefully poured the caramel into the pan, spread it around, and set to work on the custard.

I don't know if Dorie owns any dogs, but by this point, my 2 had been out enjoying the sun in our fenced in back yard. Lily, the larger of the two, started making a fuss usually reserved for when Bowie has done something that she can't. Like jump the fence to escape the yard.
Sure enough, there is a plaintive looking Lily, and no Bowie to be seen. So I turn off the milk and set down the whisk, running out the door to find him. After 5 minutes circling the neighborhood in the car, he came running, excited at the idea of a ride in the car. Sucker. He got to enjoy a ride in the car all the way back up the driveway.

Anyhow, going back to the flan, the caramel had started to cool and solidify in the pan, and I hoped this wasn't a bad sign. I finish heating the milk, stirring it into the eggs, and then all into the water bath to bake.

At the 35 minute mark, the flan looked just as described. A light browning and puffiness in places, and my knife came out clean. So it was set aside to cool.

That night, I had a group of friends over for Passions Party, and figured the flan might be good to set out as a munchie. But as usual, I think I overdid myself on the food. Between the Asian noodle salad, apple dumplings, brownies, shrimp, chips and dips, and a cheesecake I bought through a school fundraiser for a co-worker's kid, There was more than enough food. So the flan went into the fridge until Monday night.

I think the waiting was my fatal mistake. Come Monday night, I carefully inverted the flan onto a plate. And rather than thick gooey caramel, out came some watery, mildly caramel tasting water. I don't know if it condensated and watered down the caramel sauce in the fridge, but it wasn't nearly as pretty as Dorie's picture. The husband and I each tried a piece, and he said "It tastes like Flan. Pretty good." It was good taste wise, but 'pretty' is open to debate. The edges got a little crumbly, turning the liquid a bit milky. While the taste was great, I think if I were to ever make this again, it would HAVE to be served same day.

Caramel topped Flan
For the Caramel
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
squirt of fresh lemon juice
For the Flan
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan or a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.
Put a metal 8-x-2-inch round cake pan-not a nonstick one-in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.

To Make the Caramel: Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5 minutes-remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.

Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.
To Make the Flan: Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.

Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven. Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don't worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.) Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there. A knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack and run a knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, once more, run a knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over and remove the cake pan-the flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.
Yield: 6 to 8 Servings

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Craisin Brioche Snails

I'd love to say something witty about these.... but with a friend's birthday, and then visiting the in-laws, I didn't get the chance to start on them until Sunday afternoon, with instructions that dictate we refrigerate the dough overnight. So of course I was up till 11 last night with these in the oven, and now am typing a hasty review of them the day its due...
But it was oh-so-worth it when they were right there for breakfast today. And dessert after lunch. And dessert after dinner tonight. Maybe its a good thing Dorie doesn't include a calorie listing for her recipes, since I don't see these lasting too long in our house.

The actual prep and assembly wasn't too bad. There was a lot of apprehension going around about lighting the raisins on fire... I ended up using craisins since I'm not a huge raisin fan, and we just had them in the apple pie cake. The craisins taste just as good, though they didn't really 'plump' at all when soaked.

After the soak and heating, I poured in the rum and stood as far away as possible while trying to lite them. This is what probably saved my eyebrows as apparently the alcohol was quickly evaporating into the air and I had quite a "poof!" of flame as it ignited before it settled down to a flickering burn. I had just enough time to stir a bit and snap a picture before they went out. Not too exciting, and the drapes survived.

I'm always a little weary of making custards, especially since it is time consuming to meticulously separate all those eggs, etc, I always fear I'll curdle it and end up with scrambled eggs rather than custard. So with that in mind, I slowly drizzled and whisked like there was no tomorrow as I incorporated the milk. Then, I don't think it ever came to a boil before it started thickening, at first I thought I was curdling it as it was getting lumpy. So I quickly removed it from heat and whisked it to an inch of it's life, and it evened out into a nice thick custard.

Assembling/rolling was uneventful, though I wish I'd had some non-mint floss to saw it into pieces, my butcher knife worked well enough as long as I wiped it between each cut. After the rise, the pans went into the oven and browned up quite nicely. Though at after 11pm at night, I opted to skip the glaze.

Anyhow, Success! A bit more work than I usually do for baked goods, but worth it in the end.

Brioche Raisin Snails

1 cup moist, plump raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 recipe for Golden Brioche Loaves(page 48), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating overnight)
1/2 recipe Pastry Cream (page 448)

For The Optional Glaze
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
About 1 teaspoon water
Drop of pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan, cover them with hot water and let them steep for about 4 minutes, until they are plumped. Drain the raisins, return them to the saucepan and, stirring constantly, warm them over low heat. When the raisins are very hot, pull the pan from the heat and pour over the rum. Standing back, ignite the rum. Stair until the flames go out, then cover and set aside. (The raisins and rum an be kept in a covered jar for up to 1 day.)
Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
On a flour dusted surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, with a short end toward you. Spread the pastry cream across the dough, leaving 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Scatter the raisins over the pastry cream and sprinkle the raisins and cream with the cinnamon sugar. Starting wit the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it up to 2 months; see Storing for further instructions. Or, if you do not want to make the full recipe, use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder.)
With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends if they're ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into rounds a scant 1 inch thick. Put the snails on the lined baking sheet(s), leaving some puff space between them.
Lightly cover the snails with wax paper and set the baking sheet(s) in a warm place until the snails have doubles in volume--they'll be puffy and soft--about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Getting Ready To Bake: When the snails have almost fully risen, preheat the oven: depending on the number of baking sheets you have, either center a rack in the oven or position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the wax paper, and bake the snails for about 25 minutes (rotate the sheets if you're using two, from top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes), or until they are puffed and richly browned. Using a metal spatula, transfer the snails onto a cooling rack.

If You Want To Glaze The Snails: Put a piece of wax paper under the rack of warm rolls to act as a drip catcher. Put the confectioners' sugar into a small bowl, and stir in a teaspoon of water. Keep adding water drop by drop until you have an icing that falls from the tip of a spoon. Add the vanilla extract, then drizzle the icing over the hot snails.

Golden Brioche Loaves

2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 3/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

For The Glaze
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)

Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly--as I always do--put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesdays with Apple Pie Cake....

One of the things that inspired me to actually put my cooking endeavors online was not only tastespotting.com, but the 'groups' I see posted there. Theres a certain thrill to going to tastespotting and suddenly seeing a half dozen takes on the same recipe.

I was excited to tackle this week's Tuesdays with Dorie challenge, not only as a new member, but because I'd get to use the Dorie book I got for xmas and has been sitting unused until now. I have a thing about collecting cookbooks... all those pages of ideas and treats hidden inside... but I don't use them nearly as much as I should.

So, on to the Apple Pie Cake. After the booming success of The Pioneer Woman's coronary inducing apple dumplings (not for the feint of blood pressure, but oh so good...) I've been on a big apple kick. So This was even more exciting.

Reading through the recipe, I decided with the 3 hours rest time, this would be a better 2-day endeavor than trying to fit it all in one. So I started the batter Saturday afternoon. It was stickier than I had figured on, even after using the extra 1/4 cup of flour. But with the notes of it doubling as a cookie dough, I figured the texture/stickiness was normal. Wrapping them snuggly in a double layer of plastic wrap, they went into the fridge overnight.

The next day while pancakes and bacon were doing their thing on the stove and in the oven respectively, I set about peeling and chopping all ten apples. I only had the regular brown raisins on-hand, which looking back, yellow would have been prettier, but thats what was in the pantry.

After setting the dough out for a few minutes, it rolled out pretty easy, though still sticky as the night before. The bottom layer ended up almost coming to the top of the pan, then the top layer made for a snug tucking all around as the instructions suggested.

I popped the pie-cake in the oven and set the timer for 65 minutes. Once it dinged, the pie-cake smelled heavenly and was taking on a lovely golden color... but there was none of the mentioned 'bubbling' of the apple innards. So I let it go another 5 minutes. 65 would have been the perfect time, I discovered in hindsight as I pulled out a much darker at the edged pie-cake. Not burnt, but definitely browner than I'd have liked.

There was plenty of time before dinner, so I let the pie-cake rest and cool down until dessert. Slicing in, it was pretty easy to pull free a slice and serve, though its much less goey than I'd expect from something named "Apple Pie Cake," though that could be due to the fuji apple filling- I usually use a juicer apple. Still, it was very tasty. With the raisins and scant 1/4 cup of sugar, it has the illusion of 'healthy,' if you ignore the cookie-esque crust. Definitely a tasty treat, and a great first Tuesday with Dorie endeavor.
Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake

For The Dough
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For The Apples
10 medium apples, all one kind or a mix (I like to use Fuji, Golden Delicious and Ida Reds; my grandmother probably used dry baking apples like Cordland and Rome)
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Sugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar, for dusting

To Make The Dough: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the baking powder and salt and mix just to combine. Add the lemon juice - the dough will probably curdle, but don't worry about it. Still working on low speed, slowly but steadily add 3 1/4 cups of the flour, mixing to incorporate it and scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough is meant to be soft, but if you think it looks more like a batter than a dough at this point, add the extra 1/4 cup flour. (The dough usually needs the extra flour.) When properly combined, the dough should almost clean the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or for up to 3 days. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator.)

To Make The Apples: Peel and core the apples and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick; cut the slices in half crosswise if you want. Toss the slices in a bowl with a little lemon juice - even with the juice, the apples may turn brown, but that's fine - and add the raisins. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkle over the apples and stir to coat evenly. Taste an apple and add more sugar, cinnamon, and/or lemon juice if you like.

Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a 9x12-inch baking pan (Pyrex is good) and place it on a baking shee tlined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Remove the dough from the fridge. If it is too hard to roll and it cracks, either let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin to get it moving. Once it's a little more malleable, you've got a few choices. You can roll it on a well-floured work surface or roll it between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. You can even press or roll out pieces of the dough and patch them together in the pan - because of the baking powder in the dough, it will puff and self-heal under the oven's heat. Roll the dough out until it is just a little larger all around than your pan and about 1/4 inch thick - you don't want the dough to be too thin, because you really want to taste it. Transfer the dough to the pan. If the dough comes up the sides of the pan, that's fine; if it doesn't that's fine too.

Give the apples another toss in the bowl, then turn them into the pan and, using your hands, spread them evenely across the bottom.

Roll out the second piece of dough and position it over the apples. Cut the dough so you've got a 1/4 to 1/2 inch overhang and tuck the excess into the sides of the pan, as though you were making a bed. (If you don't have that much overhang, just press what you've got against the sides of the pan.)

Brush the top of the dough lightly with water and sprinkle sugar over the dough. Using a small sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 evenly spaced slits in the dough.

Bake for 65 to 80 minutes, or until the dough is a nice golden brown and the juices from the apples are bubbling up through the slits. Transfer the baking pan to a cooling rack and cool to just warm or to room temperature. You'll be tempted to taste it sooner, but I think the dough needs a little time to rest.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Brownie cups gone wrong...

UPDATE- The husband, oblivious to my plight, took matters into his own hands, thinking the wrapped plate of brownies was supposed to go to his office. I spotted the missing plate, and my heart sank with an "oh no..." thought.
Apparently I worried for naught- The plate of semi-broken brownie bites didn't even last the 8 hour workday in his office. I guess they were too interested in the prospect of baked goods to notice their appearance. Ahh well.

So, along the same lines of trying to cook homemade things to keep the hubby or myself getting preservative-packed unknown junk, I try to make one batch of baked goods on the weekend for lunches and desserts through the workweek.

This week, inspired by Slow Like Honey's "Warm your heart of darkness" brownies, I decided to make a batch of single serving brownie bites. I don't usually keep M&Ms in the house, so I opted to add 1 cup of pecans and 1 cup of chocolate chips to the mix. Otherwise, i kept true to the recipe (posted below).

The 'miss,' however, comes in after these little morsels come out of the oven. Even after greasing the pan, this buggers are STICKY. Armed with a knife to free the edges, I tried to pry a few free of the muffin pan. This was easier said than done. I managed to pry out almost a dozen free of the pan, but even of those, 1/2 of them came out missing their bottoms, cracked, etc.

Despite theproblems in removing the brownies, they were indeed tasty. I suppose if I were to make this again, it'd be in a parchment lined pan, or another method that leaves them easier to pry free. Because I had a little extra batter after filling my muffin pans, I opted to fill 2 heart shaped dishes I picked up for $1 at target. While these had the same sticking problem, at a larger helping, they were perfect for sharing with the hubby with 2 forks right out of the dish.

Chocolate lover brownie bites....
Adapted from Slow Like Honey who Adapted from Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey
makes around 24 to 26 brownie cups depending on personal preference

1 and ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 and ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 and ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of chopped pecans

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two standard 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.

Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together in a small saucepan over medium-low hear and stir until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and stir in the sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Sift in the flour and salt into the chocolate mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and the pecans but do not overmix.

Fill each cupcake cup halfway with batter. Bake until the surface of the brownies has a glossy, crackled surface, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool just enough to handle, then remove from the cupcake cups, running a knife around the edge of each brownie to loosen it from the cup. Let it cool completely on the wire rack. Serve immediately, or store for up to 3 days in a covered container.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Smoked Salmon Pitas

I try to cook dinner at least 6 nights a week. Both for the sake of budgeting, and healthwise. With most restaurant potions nearing 2-3 normal serving sizes, its far too easy to overeat.

That said, I'm always trying out new recipes on the husband to keep things interesting. Thankfully, according to him, my "Hit-to-miss" ratio errs way to the hit end of the scale.

This week, inspired by Cooking by the seat of my pant's Smoked Salmon Pizza, I opted for a smoked salmon faux-greek dinner.

Smoked Salmon Pitas


  • 4 pocket pitas
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • The juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill leaves, chopped
  • 1 package boneless skinless salmon
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 2 leaves Romain Lettuce Chopped
  • 4 button mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
I stayed true to Pants' recipe for the dill sauce, mixing up the sour cream, garlic, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
In another bowl, mix the pink salmon with the liquid smoke. If you have it in the house, you could of course use some nice smoked salmon for a more authentic taste, but I usually always have the regular salmon and liquid smoke in the house for my smoked salmon party dip. Note- These vacu-packed salmon packages are the best invention ever. When my mother taught me the above mentioned party dip, affordable packed salmon only came in cans, and always had bones in them. It was always a test of patience to carefully dig out all the tiny bones. Yeah, you COULD buy the canned stuff, but why on earth would you?

Slicing the top off the pita pockets, save the tops. Inside each, add a fiew pieces of the chopped lettuce, onions, cucumber, 2 tablespoons of the salmon, mushrooms, and a tablespoon of the sauce to the pita.

Back to the tops we reserved, cut them into small wedges and lay them on a small pan. Pop them in the toster oven and toast them until lightly browned. If you don't have a toaster oven, you could probably pop them in the oven on broil for a couple minutes, just make sure not to burn them like I almost did.

Now, back to the sauce... After stuffing the pitas, I still had a good 1/3 a cup or so left, perfect for our pita leftovers. Putting them in a bowl, heart spoon optional, I set them on the table with the chips for dipping, or for spooning over the pitas for extra sauce. Heck, the sauce was so good, after we ate our pitas, I sliced up the other 1/2 the cucumber and started dipping slices of that in the sauce. Its that good. Note to self, next time make a gallons worth.