"the list"

If you're a baker like me, you'll probably have a list of pastries or confections you aspire to make or you consider a challenge to make.  Since the new year is just around the corner, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share my baking/pastry goals of 2011.  Some of the items on this list have been on here for quite some time - so it's about time I buckle down and conquer them!

:: updated 12.28.11 ::
  1. pie/pastry dough  (see below)
  2. short crust pastry (sweet tart dough) - made for cranberry almond frangipane tart
  3. fruit tart (using sweet tart dough)  - made poached pear & almond custard tart for Christmas 2011 (no blog post)
  4. frangipane tart - made cranberry almond frangipane tart for Christmas 2010
  5. homemade marshmallows - made strawberry-swirled marshmallows & matcha marshmallows
  6. biscotti - made pumpkin biscotti (no blog post)
  7. madeleines - baked for Christmas 2010
  8. financiers - made blueberry financiers
  9. dacquoise
  10. royal icing (to decorate sugar cookies) - did not make icing, but decorated!
  11. panna cotta - made buttermilk panna cotta w/ mango puree for Mother's Day
  12. mochi - made nutella filled & matcha mochi

For example, #1 on my list is pie /pastry dough.  I've always been intimidated by making my own pie dough for various reasons...before I knew that you could make it in a food processor or stand mixer, I just thought that making pastry dough from scratch would create a huge mess with flour everywhere, or that it would entail getting greasy butter all over my hands! So, I always bought the pre-made crusts in the tin foil pans from the supermarket.

Last Spring, when I took the two-day intensive baking course at Sur La Table, I learned making pie dough was as easy as throwing all the ingredients in a heavy duty food processor.  Being that I didn't have a heavy duty food processor, I still thought I wouldn't be able to do it... until recently, when I discovered you could make it in a stand mixer. It was so stinkin' easy and mess-free (besides washing a bowl) that I couldn't believe that all this time, I could've been making homemade pie dough for my pies, quiches, or anything that required pastry dough??

I'm pretty sure pastry dough can be made without any machines since pies have been around for centuries... but who has the time and patience?

Do you have a "list"? Have you made anything from my list? Please feel free to share any tips! Thanks!

Pie pops made with homemade pastry dough; filled with nutella & pecans or blackberry jam