Friday, August 27, 2010

August Daring Bakers Challenge-Brown Butter Pound Cake into Baked Alaska & Ice Cream Petit Fours

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

This was a fun challenge.  I really enjoyed learning how to brown butter.  I hadn't even heard of such a thing and now I'm in LOVE.  I may just brown butter EVERY time I use it :) 

You can find the complete recipe here on the Daring Kitchen website.

I chose to make the Baked Alaska and then use the remnants of the brown butter pound cake to make the ice cream petit fours.

For the Baked Alaska I used Tartelette's Coconut Cherry Ice Cream (same that I used last month).  But again I did not infuse with rose buds and this time I substituted all of the dairy for coconut milk (3 cups of coconut milk).  I was worried that it would be overpoweringly coconut flavored but it wasn't.  And as I mixed the ice cream every half hour I was worried it wouldn't work out as the coconut milk kept separating.  But alas, it didn't separate too much and the ice cream tasted great.

The baked Alaska turned out wonderful.   A cute little hedgehog :)

I then took the last bit of brown butter pound cake and made ice cream petit fours.  For those I made Cheesecake Ice Cream (found on Tartelette's website as well).  They didn't look very good because I was too impatient for the ganache to thicken up--so I didn't take a picture but you can be assured that they tasted HEAVENLY!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July Daring Bakers Challenge-Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.
This challenge was a lot of fun, challenging but not too challenging.  I had no idea you could make ice cream without an ice cream maker and I had never even thought of making my own hot fudge!  I decided to mix things up a little and do different flavors of ice cream than the traditional chocolate and vanilla that Sunita did.  I chose to do mint chocolate chip and cherry, coconut ice cream.

For the mint chocolate chip, I used Sunita's recipe below but added a couple drops of mint extract before freezing. I finished the ice cream completely before adding the chips.  When I thawed the ice cream a little to put in the bombe, I mixed in some Andes baking chips.

The vanilla ice cream-
Preparation time-5 minutes+freezing
I have made the ice cream without an ice cream maker.
2 and ½ C / 625 ml / 20 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp/ 5 ml/ .15 fl oz vanilla extract
½ C / 115gms/ 4 oz of granulated sugar
Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.
Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

I got the idea and the recipe for the Cherry Coconut ice cream from Tartlette.  Her recipe calls for rose infused cherry coconut ice cream, but for convenience I omitted the rose.  For this recipe too I waited to mix in the cherries and their juice until I had thawed the ice cream a little to put it in the bombe.

After I finished making the two ice creams I worked on the Swiss Roll.  That was the most challenging part for me.  My first attempt cracked, and stuck.  But, after some wonderfully helpful tips from Audax (see black italics added to recipe) my second attempt was a success!

Swiss roll ice cream cake (inspired by the recipe of the same name from the Taste of Home website)
The Swiss rolls-
Preparation time- 10 minutes
Baking time- 10-12 minutes
Rolling and cooling time- at least 30 minutes
Filling-5-8 minutes
Filling and rolling- 5-10 minutes
6 medium sized eggs (I separated the eggs, let them come to room temperature for 20 minutes, then whipped the eggs separately)
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ a pinch over 1.5 oz of all purpose (plain) flour (I used cake flour) + 5 tblsp/40gm /a pinch under 1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans
For the filling-
2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar
  1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the 2 baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches) (I used 1 12x15 cookie pan with high sides, cooking all the dough in one pan at the same time) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the egg yolks and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.  Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl, then mix the two egg mixtures together.
      3. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
      4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
      5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
      6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little lot of caster sugar over it.
      7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
      8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down (about 20 minutes).
      9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well. 
1. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
2. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
3. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
4. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
5.Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.
The Hot fudge sauce- I made this just after adding the first layer of ice cream.
Preparation time-2 minutes
Cooking time-10 minutes
1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
  2. Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

1. Cut the swiss roll into slices as thin as possible (~2 cms--20 slices).
2. Line the inside of your bowl with plastic wrap.
3. Line the bowl with the swiss roll slices.
4.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, soften one of the ice creams. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm (at least 1 hour). I would suggest at least 2 hours
6.  Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm. (at least an hour)
7. Soften the second ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set.  Mine took more like 8 hours.
8. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily. put serving dish and plates in freezer for at least 5 minutes before so bottom ice cream layer doesn't melt too quickly.
9. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water. 

Yum!  This cake was definitely delicious, it was another successful Daring Bakers challenge that I learned a lot from.
The dish was definitely a success!  The Cherry, coconut and mint flavors went together quite nicely!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June Daring Baker's Challenge--Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard

I waited until the last minute with this one, but luckily it was pretty easy to do and it turned out well without much stress! I went with a bite sized version and served it to some close friends we had over for dinner last night.  They were a little unsure of them and asked for a small one, but after one they asked for another and asked that I make it again some time!!!  So I would have to say it's a hit. 

Preparation time: The recipe can be made in one day although there are several steps involved.
  • While the pavlovas are baking, the crème anglaise should be made which will take about 15 minutes.
  • While it is cooling, the chocolate mascarpone mousse can be made which will take about 15 minutes.
  • There will be a bit of a wait time for the mascarpone cream because of the cooling time for the Crème Anglaise.
  • If you make the Crème Anglaise the day before, the dessert should take about 2 hours including cooking time for the pavlovas.
Equipment required:
• Baking sheet(s) with parchment or silpat
• Several bowls
• Piping bag with pastry tip
• Hand or stand mixer

Recipe 1: Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):
3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
¼ cup confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
-Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.
-Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)
-Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)
-Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon.  I made some circles, zig zags and a couple of heart shapes.

-Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe 2: Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):
1 ½ cups heavy cream
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces 72% chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiardelli Chocolate Chips)
1 2/3 cups mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp Orange juice
-Put ½ cup of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.
-Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)
-Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.

And here's my mousse piped on the meringue cookies

    Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):
    1 recipe crème anglaise
    ½ cup mascarpone
    ½ cup heavy cream
    Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and let the mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

    Recipe 4: Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):
    1 cup whole milk
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    6 large egg yolks
    6 tbsp sugar
    -In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
    -Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.
    -Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
    -Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.

    I ran into a little bit of a problem with the Mascarpone cream.  Somehow I miscalculated how much heavy cream to purchase, so I wasn't able to add the whipped cream to the cream.  But we just had a thicker cream on top.

    I topped the Pavlovas with raspberries and bluberries before  adding the cream.

    Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    May Daring Bakers Challenge -- Piece Montee

    The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

    I was a little intimidated by this challenge at first.  But after thoroughly reading and re-reading the recipe, I was pretty confident.  However, after making the Pate a Choux dough and piping it onto the pans I was a little concerned given that the dough didn't seem to be very thick.

    Then, when I peeked through the oven window at the end of the first 10 minutes of baking I was even more nervous, they hadn't puffed very well.  So, I just left them in there for another 5 minutes at the higher temp before turning it down and they puffed PERFECTLY!!

    Golden brown and PERFECT!  I went traditional by making vanilla creme, but I have a very, very terrible track record with melted sugar/caramel in past challenges.  So, I opted to go the less-traditional, easier route and glued my piece montee with milk chocolate.  At first it just tumbled down until my sharp husband quickly pointed out that I needed to wait a second or two for the chocolate to set up a little more.  And wala, it came together wonderfully!  I decorated with some sliced strawberries and got a beautiful croquembouche!  And I might say that it tasted delicious too!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this challenge.  How cool is it that I can make cream puffs now?  I thought I was so cool that I decided to make some for my co-workers, but this time I tried coloring the puffs.  But I failed!!!  They did not puff up at all, the dough was super runny.  So, I tried again without coloring the puffs...same thing.  So, either it was a first time luck kind of a deal or it was because my kitchen was so humid from cooking dinner when I tried the 2nd and 3rd time that it didn't work.  Who knows, but I'm about to try again today!  So, wish me luck.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    Daring Bakers April Challenge -- Traditional English Pudding

    The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

    Well, I wasn't going to do this challenge this month, it seemed complicated and my life has been so busy lately that I didn't want to stress about doing something I love to do.  But, when the last weekend before the reveal was coming up and I actually had some time, I decided at the last minute to do it.  Because of my last minute decision though I opted not to search for suet and I used lard instead.  Also, Al's been doing really good about staying allergen free, so I replaced the flour with a mixture of alternate flours and I decided to go savory instead of sweet and make dinner out of the challenge.  I decided to do the traditional steak and kidney pudding but altered it to be a steak and onion pudding. But maybe I should have taken a pass this month because my pudding failed miserably!!

    Here is my rig as I pulled it out of the oven.

     And after 5 hours of steaming this muddy mess is what I got.
    We scooped out the inside to try and salvage some of it, but it was not very tasty at all.   Maybe my bowl was too big, my dough too watery or maybe I caused an issue with substituting the flour.  Maybe I'll try it again.

    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    Daring Bakers March Challenge--Orange Tian

    The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

    You can find the full recipe on the Daring Kitchen website.

    This challenge involved making Pate Sablee, whipped cream, orange marmalade, orange segments, and caramel. Everything was pretty easy to make except I had trouble with the caramel--always do.  In fact, I still have scars from the burns from 2 weeks ago!  Thanks to the message board though, I had a tip to add a little bit of the orange juice to the sugar to start with and that worked much better.  Although I'm not sure it got as thick as it should.

    We had the option of doing a family style or individual-sized Tians.  I went with family style in a 9" spring form pan, which was just easier for me. My oranges were a little tart, I can just imagine how heavenly it would be to pick fresh oranges from Florida, especially honeybells!!!  Next time we go pick some I'll definitely have to make this again.

    We were so excited to try it that I forgot to drizzle the caramel on top.

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    Daring Bakers February Challenge--Tiramisu

    The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession. 

    When I took my tiramisu to work to share, I discovered that not everyone knows what it is (like I expected).  So, for a little description, tiramisu is an Italian dessert which translates to mean ‘pick me up’, supposedly referring to the ‘kick’ provided by the strong coffee, sugar and alcohol in it!

    That presents my first problem, I don't drink coffee or alcohol.  So, I read some suggestions posted by others and read over the recipe to see how much of and how the coffee and alcohol are used.  And then came my substitute, Hot Chocolate!  Then, to add a little more chocolatyness I decided to add a layer of ganache (I think I may have a ganache addiction). 

    This was quite the challenge, not only did we make Tiramisu, we made all the ingredients from scratch, the Marscarpone cheese, zabaglione and savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers).  Plus, I made whipped cream from scratch.  I've never done that before, which is sort of funny because it's SO easy.  In fact, a friend of mine teases me for making everything from scratch, but yet she makes whipped cream from scratch and I don't.  She has told me once I tried it I'd never go back--and she is SO RIGHT!  

    Speaking of whipped cream, that brings me to the many problems this challenge brought me.  First of all, don't mistake whipped cream with whipping cream--I did.  I made the whipped cream than used that in the next recipe that called for whipping cream.  When I discovered my mistake, I remade the whipped cream using some old heavy cream I still had in the fridge and which wasn't supposed to expire for a few more days.  I ran to the store for some whipping cream, and then when I got back and tasted the whipped cream I discovered that the heavy cream must've been bad.  Urgh!!!  So, rather than making another dash to the store I used store bought whipping cream.  I know, I'm bad....but I did make it once successfully, just didn't get to use it in the Tiramisu.

    On to the next problem.  My lady fingers did not rise like they should've.

      And the recipe was supposed to make a lot more than I came up with, so my Tiramisu was a little shy on biscuits.  Although I don't think I would make this again (it was good just not quite worth all the effort), next time I would use a sifter to sprinkle the powdered sugar.
    It was pretty fun getting to make my own cheese, how cool is that?  And it was pretty easy too.  I had trouble mixing the pastry cream and the zabaglione.  The recipe ought to say to stir fast--I was just stirring like you do making coconut cream pie (just enough to keep it from burning) and it was taking FOREVER.  After 30 minutes, my husband took over stirring while I went to read on the daring kitchen forums to see if anyone else was having this problem.  And within a couple of minutes he was calling out to me, letting me know they were thick--stirring quickly made all the difference.

    To assemble the Tiramisu, I dipped my ladyfingers in hot chocolate (instead of espresso) and alternated a layer of those with the cream.  And in the middle I added some milk chocolate ganache to kick up the chocolate flavor.  


    I used a springform pan.  It is a pretty loose dessert and doesn't really get firm.  But I was able to quickly take a snapshot of the entire Tiramisu before quickly putting the side of the pan back on.
      We each took a slice, drizzled with more ganache. 
    And then I took the rest to work to share.