A 'Hunger Games'-inspired feast with recipes

By Jackie Burrell

San Jose Mercury News

Published: Tuesday, March 27 2012 4:57 p.m. MDT

1 egg white, optional

Sesame seeds, garnish

1. Scald the milk and let cool to lukewarm. Then pour milk into a small bowl, stir in 2 teaspoons sugar, sprinkle with the yeast and let stand until foamy, 5-10 minutes.

2. In a food processor, add flour, ¼ cup sugar, salt and chilled butter and pulse until combined. Add egg yolks and yeast mixture and process until thoroughly mixed, 20-30 seconds.

3. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

4. For the filling, mix the goat cheese with ¼ cup pesto. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each round into a thin, irregular circle. Spread 1 tablespoon of the softened butter on each circle. Drizzle each with the remaining pesto. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and nuts. Dot with the goat cheese mixture. Fold the dough in half, roll up the edges, and crimp to seal.

5. Place the loaves on 2 large, greased baking sheets, cover with a clean cloth and let rise until not quite doubled, about 45-50 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the bread with a beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

—Sherri Livingston's Deer Valley High English class, winner, Breads of Panem division

BREAD WITH GOAT CHEESE, BASIL AND BLACKBERRIES

Serves: 8-10

Blackberry preserves:

1 cup blackberries

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

¼ cup sugar or more to taste

Goat cheese spread:

1/2 cup shelled hazelnuts

8 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon olive oil, or more

2 cloves roasted garlic

4 scallions, finely chopped

1 cup basil leaves, chopped

Salt and pepper

1 baguette, in 1/2-inch slices

1. Heat the blackberry preserve ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase heat to medium, break up the blackberries a bit and keep stirring until preferred jam-like consistency is reached. Taste for sweetness, and add more sugar if desired. Pour into a bowl and cool. This will keep for about 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Be careful, because nuts burn easily. Rub off any brown skins by rubbing them with a kitchen towel. Chop the nuts.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, mash the goat cheese with a fork. Add olive oil to loosen it up. Add more if you need it. Mash in the garlic, stirring well to distribute thoroughly. Add nuts, scallions and basil, and stir well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Spread goat cheese mixture on baguette slices and top with a dollop of blackberry preserves.

—Hester van der Vinne, winner, Wild Card division

DISTRICT 4's SALTY SEAWEED PANEM

Makes: 2 loaves

Note: Find nori at specialty markets and in the Asian foods aisle at Whole Foods.

2 packages dry yeast

¼ cup lukewarm water

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