Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Daring Bakers December Challenge - French Yule Log

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

This recipe took a bit of time to make. The individual components were simple and relatively easy (I only burned the carmel once), but the layering and freezing took a few days. I made mine pretty simple, with the following layered flavors:

1) Dacquoise Biscuit - Almond of course
2) Mousse - Chocolate
3) Ganache Insert - Chocolate
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert
5) Creme Brulee Insert - Vanilla
6) Icing - Chocolate

I did not have a mold, so I made 2 mini logs in mini loaf pans. They came out pretty cute, but I almost ran out of the mousee at the end. My ganache layer is just barely visible, it looks like it blended into the mousee a bit. I also used 2 layers of the dacquoise biscuit since I had a bunch of it.

Overall, it was good, but not worth all the effort to me. I like the genoise and ice cream type yule log better.

Here is the long recipe if you would like to try it yourself...

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)

Preparation time: 10 mn + 15 mn for baking

Equipment: 2 mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment, spatula, baking pan such as a 10”x15” jelly-roll pan, parchment paper

Note: You can use the Dacquoise for the bottom of your Yule Log only, or as bottom and top layers, or if using a Yule log mold (half-pipe) to line your entire mold with the biscuit. Take care to spread the Dacquoise accordingly. Try to bake the Dacquoise the same day you assemble the log to keep it as moist as possible.

Ingredients:
2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s sugar
2Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium egg whites
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

1. Finely mix the almond meal and the confectioner's sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds).
2. Sift the flour into the mix.
3. Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
4. Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
5. Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.
6. Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc...) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
7. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
8. Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Variations on the Almond Dacquoise listed above:

Hazelnut Dacquoise
Substitute the same amount of hazelnut meal for the almond meal.

Chocolate Dacquoise
Add 3 tablespoons of sifted unsweetened cocoa powder into the almond meal/caster sugar mix in Step #1 of the Almond Dacquoise.

Lemon Dacquoise
Add the zest of 1 Lemon after the flour in Step #2 of the Almond Dacquoise.

Coconut Dacquoise
Substitute ¼ cup of almond meal and add 2/3 cup shredded coconut in Step #1 of the Almond Dacquoise.


Element #2 Dark Chocolate Mousse

Preparation time: 20mn

Equipment: stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment, thermometer, double boiler or equivalent, spatula

Note: You will see that a Pate a Bombe is mentioned in this recipe. A Pate a Bombe is a term used for egg yolks beaten with a sugar syrup, then aerated. It is the base used for many mousse and buttercream recipes. It makes mousses and buttercreams more stable, particularly if they are to be frozen, so that they do not melt as quickly or collapse under the weight of heavier items such as the crème brulee insert.
In the Vanilla Mousse variation, pastry cream is made to the same effect.
In the Mango Mousse variation, Italian meringue is made to the same effect. Italian meringue is a simple syrup added to egg whites as they are beaten until stiff. It has the same consistency as Swiss meringue (thick and glossy) which we have used before in challenge recipes as a base for buttercream.
The Whipped Cream option contains no gelatin, so beware of how fast it may melt.
Gelatin is the gelifying agent in all of the following recipes, but if you would like to use agar-agar, here are the equivalencies: 8g powdered gelatin = 1 (0.25 oz) envelope powdered gelatin = 1 Tbsp powdered gelatin = 1 Tbsp Agar-Agar.
1 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes is equal to 1 tsp. of agar-agar powder.

Ingredients:
2.5 sheets gelatin or 5g / 1 + 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
1.5 oz (3 Tbsp / 40g) granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp (10g) glucose or thick corn syrup
0.5 oz (15g) water
50g egg yolks (about 3 medium)
6.2 oz (175g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1.5 cups (350g) heavy cream (35% fat content)

1. Soften the gelatin in cold water. (If using powdered gelatin, follow the directions on the package.)
2. Make a Pate a Bombe: Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white).
2a. Cook the sugar, glucose syrup and water on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 244°F (118°C). If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the sugar temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water, if it forms a soft ball in the water then you have reached the correct temperature.
2b. Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks. You can do this by hand but it’s easier to do this with an electric mixer.
2c. Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.
3. In a double boiler or equivalent, heat 2 tablespoons (30g) of cream to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
4. Whip the remainder of the cream until stiff.
5. Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well. Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir in ½ cup (100g) of WHIPPED cream to temper. Add the Pate a Bombe.
6. Add in the rest of the WHIPPED cream (220g) mixing gently with a spatula.

Variations on the Dark Chocolate Mousse listed above:

White Chocolate Mousse
Substitute the same quantity of white chocolate for the dark chocolate in the mousse recipe listed above.

Milk Chocolate Whipped Cream (Chantilly):
(Can be made the day before and kept in the fridge overnight)
2/3 cup (160g) heavy cream 35% fat
7.8 oz (220g) milk chocolate
2 1/3 tsp (15g) glucose or thick corn syrup
1 1/3 cup (320g) heavy cream 35% fat

1. Chop the chocolate coarsely.
2. Heat the 160g of cream to boiling and pour over the chocolate and glucose syrup.
3. Wait 30 seconds then stir the mix until smooth. Add the remaining cream.
4. Refrigerate to cool, then whip up.

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert

Preparation time: 10mn

Equipment: pan, whisk. If you have plunging mixer (a vertical hand mixer used to make soups and other liquids), it comes in handy.

Note: Because the ganache hardens as it cools, you should make it right before you intend to use it to facilitate piping it onto the log during assembly. Please be careful when caramelizing the sugar and then adding the cream. It may splatter and boil.

Ingredients:
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1. Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2. While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3. Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4. Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Variations on the Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert listed above:

White Chocolate Ganache Insert
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
5 oz (135g) white chocolate, finely chopped
4.5 oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp / 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content)

1. Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small sauce pan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2. While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3. Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.

Dark-Milk Ganache Insert
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp / 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
2.7 oz (75g) milk chocolate
3.2 oz (90g) dark chocolate
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1. Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2. While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3. Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4. Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Cinammon-Milk Ganache Insert
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp / 135g) heavy cream
A pinch of cinnamon
2.7 oz (75g) milk chocolate, finely chopped
3.2 oz (90g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1. Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2. Heat the cream with the cinnamon (use the quantity of cinnamon you want to infuse the cream, a pinch is the smallest amount suggested) until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3. Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the milk and dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4. Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.


Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert

Preparation time: 10 mn (+ optional 15mn if you make lace crepes)

Equipment: Small saucepan, baking sheet (if you make lace crepes).
Double boiler (or one small saucepan in another), wax paper, rolling pin (or I use an empty bottle of olive oil).

Note: Feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp. There are non-praline variations below. The crunch in this crisp comes from an ingredient which is called gavottes in French. Gavottes are lace-thin crepes. To our knowledge they are not available outside of France, so you have the option of making your own using the recipe below or you can simply substitute rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K for them. Special note: If you use one of the substitutes for the gavottes, you should halve the quantity stated, as in use 1oz of any of these cereals instead of 2.1oz.
If you want to make your own praline, please refer back to the Daring Baker Challenge Recipe from July 2008.

To make 2.1oz / 60g of gavottes (lace crepes - recipe by Ferich Mounia):
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk
2/3 Tbsp (8g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup – 2tsp (35g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp / 0.5 oz (15g) beaten egg
1 tsp (3.5g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vegetable oil
1. Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.
2. Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.
3. Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.
4. Bake at 430°F (220°C) for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.

Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes) or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
2. Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3. Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.


Variations on the Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert listed above:

Chocolate Crisp Insert
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) unsalted butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
1 oz. (25g) lace crepes or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
2. Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3. Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Coconut Crisp Insert
3.5 oz (100g) white chocolate
1 oz (1/3 cup/25g) shredded coconut
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) unsalted butter
2.1 oz (60g) lace crepes or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1. Spread the coconut on a baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes at 375°F (190°C) to toast (a different temperature might work better for you with your own oven).
2. Melt the white chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir until smooth and add the toasted coconut.
3. Add the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate. Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.


Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert

Preparation time: 15mn + 1h infusing + 1h baking

Equipment: Small saucepan, mixing bowl, baking mold, wax paper

Note: The vanilla crème brulée can be flavored differently by simply replacing the vanilla with something else e.g. cardamom, lavender, etc...

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
½ cup (115g) whole milk
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
0.75 oz (2 Tbsp / 25g) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean

1. Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling. Remove from the stove and let the vanilla infuse for about 1 hour.
2. Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).
3. Pour the vanilla-infused milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.
4. Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.
Tartelette says: You can bake it without a water bath since it is going to go inside the log (the aesthetics of it won't matter as much since it will be covered with other things)....BUT I would recommend a water bath for the following reasons:
- you will get a much nicer mouth feel when it is done
- you will be able to control its baking point and desired consistency much better
- it bakes for such a long time that I fear it will get overdone without a water bath
Now...since it is baked in a pan and it is sometimes difficult to find another large pan to set it in for a water bath, even a small amount of water in your water bath will help the heat be distributed evenly in the baking process. Even as little as 1 inch will help.
5. Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.

Variations on the Vanilla Crème Brulée insert listed above:

Chocolate Creme Brulée Insert
½ cup + 1 2/3 Tbsp (140g) whole milk
2/3 cup + 1tsp (140g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
1/3 cup (25g) unsweetened cocoa powder
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
1.4 oz (3 Tbsp / 40g) granulated sugar

1. Heat the milk and cream to just boiling. Add the cocoa powder.
2. Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).
3. Pour the cocoa milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.
4. Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.
Tartelette says: You can bake it without a water bath since it is going to go inside the log (the aesthetics of it won't matter as much since it will be covered with other things)....BUT I would recommend a water bath for the following reasons:
- you will get a much nicer mouth feel when it is done
- you will be able to control its baking point and desired consistency much better
- it bakes for such a long time that I fear it will get overdone without a water bath
Now...since it is baked in a pan and it is sometimes difficult to find another large pan to set it in for a water bath, even a small amount of water in your water bath will help the heat be distributed evenly in the baking process. Even as little as 1 inch will help.
5. Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.


Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing

Preparation time: 25 minutes (10mn if you don’t count softening the gelatin)

Equipment: Small bowl, small saucepan

Note: Because the icing gelifies quickly, you should make it at the last minute.
For other gelatin equivalencies or gelatin to agar-agar equivalencies, look at the notes for the mousse component.

Ingredients:
4g / ½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2. Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
3. Add gelatin to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
4. Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

Variations on the Dark Chocolate Icing listed above:

Milk Chocolate Icing
1.5 gelatin sheets or 3g / 1/2Tbsp powdered gelatin
4.2 oz (120g) milk chocolate
2 Tbsp (30g) butter
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
1 2/3 Tbsp (30g) glucose or thick corn syrup

1. Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2. Coarsely chop the chocolate and butter together.
3. Bring the cream and glucose syrup to a boil.
4. Add the gelatin.
5. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until smooth.
6. Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

White Chocolate Icing
1.5 gelatin sheets or 3g / 1/2Tbsp powdered gelatin
3.5 oz (100g) white chocolate
2 Tbsp (30g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (90 g) whole milk
1 2/3 Tbsp (30g) glucose or thick corn syrup

1. Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2. Coarsely chop the chocolate and butter together.
3. Bring the milk and glucose syrup to a boil.
4. Add the gelatin.
5. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until smooth.
6. Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.


How To Assemble your French Yule Log

Depending on whether your mold is going to hold the assembly upside down until you unmold it or right side up, this order will be different.
THIS IS FOR UNMOLDING FROM UPSIDE DOWN TO RIGHT SIDE UP.
You will want to tap your mold gently on the countertop after each time you pipe mousse in to get rid of any air bubbles.

1) Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with rhodoid (clear hard plastic, I usually use transparencies cut to the desired shape, it’s easier to find than cellulose acetate which is what rhodoid translates to in English) OR plastic film. Rhodoid will give you a smoother shape but you may have a hard time using it depending on the kind of mold you’re using.

You have two choices for Step 2, you can either have Dacquoise on the top and bottom of your log as in version A or you can have Dacquoise simply on the bottom of your log as in version B:

2A) Cut the Dacquoise into a shape fitting your mold and set it in there. If you are using an actual Yule mold which is in the shape of a half-pipe, you want the Dacquoise to cover the entire half-pipe portion of the mold.
3A) Pipe one third of the Mousse component on the Dacquoise.
4A) Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
5A) Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
6A) Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.
7A) Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
8A) Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
9A) Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight eidge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
10A) Close with the last strip of Dacquoise.
Freeze until the next day.

OR

2B) Pipe one third of the Mousse component into the mold.
3B) Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
4B) Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
5B) Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.
6B) Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
7B) Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
8B) Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
9B) Close with the Dacquoise.
Freeze until the next day.


THE NEXT DAY...
Unmold the cake/log/whatever and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan.
Cover the cake with the icing.
Let set. Return to the freezer.
You may decorate your cake however you wish. The decorations can be set in the icing after it sets but before you return the cake to the freezer or you may attach them on top using extra ganache or leftover mousse, etc...
Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than ½ hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Angel Biscuits

This recipe is another on my trek through The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. The biscuits were excellent, very light and flaky without the dryness that can sometimes accompany that. They take a few hours to make to let the yeast do its thing, but they are good if you can plan ahead.

Tuesdays with Dorie - Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

Wow, I am really behind on this...

So, I made this pie twice, once as a normal 9 inch pie, and once as 9 mini-pies. I sent the large pie to my parents for Thanksgiving, and they said it arrived in one piece and tasted very good. The smaller ones I served for Thanksgiving, and I thought they were very good as well. I'm usually not a fan of pumpkin pie, but I love pecan pie, so this was a good mix. I'm sure it was healthier than pecan pie too :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Kugelhopf

I started a bit late on this recipe, so the post is a little late, but hey, it's still Tuesday :)

I liked this recipe (except for the raisins). I substituted some chocolate carmel chips I had, and I like it. The dough is very close to a brioche, just missing a bit of butter (though there is no shortage in this recipe). Next time, I think some cinnamon and some nuts would be a good addition.

I made them into individual servings in a heart shaped muffin tin. I thought filling up the tins about half-way before the rise would be about right, but I was wrong. These definitely overflowed, though they still taste good. I would say to fill the tins no more than 1/3 the next time. You would get about 18 that way (I had 12 monsters). I also shortened the baking time, 10 minutes at first, then 8 minutes with the foil.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Rugelach

I have made rugelach quite a few times with different recipes. For me, the trick is to only work with enough dough that it stays cold until I have put it on the pan. So I usually work with small amounts, like Dorie recommends in this recipe.

I made one batch with the filling that Dorie recommends, and one with Nutella and almonds (I saw some of the other TWD bloggers recommend this filling so I had to try it, anything with Nutella is good). Both the raspberry and nutella cookies were good, but they were a bit dry. Next time I will cook them a bit less, this time I had them in for 22 minutes.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

I made these a bit late as I wanted to make them for Halloween for my husband to take to some meetings. The recipe was good, some others thought it was a bit dry, so I sub'd in some oil for some of the butter. They came out perfect! Nice and moist, with just a hint of a crust on the top to hold the frosting. I used a double chocolate buttercream instead of the ganache so I could do some decorating with it.

Also in the picture are some vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. They were good, but not great. I am still looking for that knockout, go to vanilla cupcake recipe. If you have one you recommend, please send it on :)

Sticky Buns

I was craving some sticky buns last weekend, so I decided to plan a little bit ahead and made the Sticky Buns from Dorie's book, Baking: From my home to yours. This was a Tuesday's with Dorie recipe a while ago that I missed, and it got good reviews so I decided to try it.

There is a lot of butter in this dough, since it is a brioche dough I expected it to be rich, but... Anywhos, I made them in a silicone muffin pan to see how they would turn out. I think the larger size muffin pan would have been the perfect size, as these rose out of the tins a bit. The recipe was good and I would make it again, after I eat the frozen one's I've got saved away :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers - Pizza

Wow, usually I expect a few days of baking for a challenge, but this recipe was a welcome relief. 20 minutes to make the dough, stick it in the fridge, and a little pre-planning and you are ready to eat! I make pizza dough quite a bit, so this process is something I'm used to.

Having said that, I was not impressed with this dough. I like the Alton Brown recipe a lot, and it calls for lots of working the dough to get the baker's window (it usually takes about 15 minutes or so). This recipe only calls for 5-7 minutes of kneading. I was a bit leery, but I followed the recipe to the letter. To me, this dough doesn't have the structure that my recipe has. The stretching only took 2 tosses, as the dough was so relaxed it basically tossed itself.

I made 3 so far, the first was a BLT pizza. I added some ranch dressing as the sauce, then bacon, tomatoes, and mozzarella and baked for 7 minutes on a pizza stone. When it came out, I added some basil and lettuce to the top and served (the picture is before the lettuce). It was good, but the crust was bland. I think some more salt or some olive oil would have been a good addition.
The second pizza was for dessert, it was an apple pizza. I mixed some very thin apple slices, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, allspice, lime juice, and some ginger together and fanned it out on the pizza. I sprinkled the dough with some sugar, and baked it a little slower, at 400º for 15 minutes. This was very good, but the dough was still a bit bland.
Then, I branched out and made some cheesy breadsticks with some of the dough. I sprinkled parmigiana cheese and rosemary on the dough, and grilled it with some ribs on the bbq. They took about 10 minutes to cook. They were ok, still bland.
So, my opinion is that Alton Brown's recipe is much better. Check out my other post for my incarnation. Here is the recipe we used:

~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

Ingredients:

4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled

1 3/4 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Instant yeast

1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)

1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)

1 Tb sugar

Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

DAY ONE

Method:

1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.

The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespoons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

DAY TWO

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.

During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.

In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.

You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Pumpkin Muffins

I'm not usually a huge pumpkin fan, but I decided to give these a try. The pumpkin flavor is very subtle, and keeps the muffins very moist. I made half with raisins and half without, and I am glad I did that. I did not like the raisins, but my husband did, so who knows...

I would definitely make these again (no raisins), and they make me think of fall (even though it's still 85º here in Texas).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Rewind

Everyone on the TWD blogs always raves about the Snickery Squares, so when last week was a rewind, I decided to try them out. And all the TWDers are correct, they are awesome!

They are a shortbread base, with duche de leche and candied peanuts in the center, and bittersweet chocolate and candied peanuts on the top. Very good, especially cold. The only issue I had was finding the duche de leche, but I'm stocked up now :)

I'm back! Butter Popovers and Blueberry Muffins

Wow, it has been a while since I posted on here! Over the past few weeks, I got the opportunity to go to Italy and sample some great food. But, now I'm back and will try to catch up on some recipes.

I made a few recipes from the Bread Bible, I'll post them both here.

First, I made the Butter Popovers. They were good, but really buttery. Usually I'm a fan of butter, but I think these were just over the top. They had a good texture though.


I also made the Blueberry Muffins for breakfast this weekend. They were very good. I used organic, frozen blueberries (they are usually smaller and work better for this recipe). The muffins are not as sugary as normal muffin recipes, and I like that as it lets the blueberry taste really come through. I would definitely make these again.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Touch of Grace Biscuits

This will be my last post for a while as I will be traveling a bit for the next few weeks. So, if you're bored, read some of my older recipes for a refresher :)

I made these biscuits from The Bread Bible. I was looking for a light, fluffy biscuit to go with a curry chicken salad. From the recipe, I thought these should fit. But, they are really liquid, like pancake batter. There is a procedure to dip them in flour and then form the biscuits, but that is a mess and you get lots of uncooked flour on the biscuits. I made the first 4 this way, and for the rest I mixed the flour in and formed them by hand. The last 4 turned out much better.

I don't think I would make these again, they are too difficult for a biscuit recipe, but they were good.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Daring Bakers - Chocolate Eclairs

Sorry, this is a bit late, but the eclairs were great! I made them while visiting my parents, my mom and I had a good time making them, and I think my dad enjoyed eating them :)

I used the dough and chocolate glaze from the recipe, but made a vanilla pastry cream instead. I thought an all chocolate pastry might be a bit too much for me. I have made eclairs before, but this recipe called for more eggs than I have used in the past. You could definitely taste them, but the eggs weren't overpowering. Also, I baked mine longer and slower to ensure they wouldn't fall after we removed them from the oven.

Overall, they were good. Not too hard to make and a special treat for breakfast.



Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes:
1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes:
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes:
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

[bNotes:[/b]
1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:
1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)


• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes:
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie -Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

Wow, that is quite a name for a small cookie. But, they are very good. I halved the recipe (who needs 60 cookies to be tempted with, 30 is a much more reasonable amount :) ). Also, my husband is not a fan of peanut butter, so I used almond butter instead.

These cookies are very good, nice and moist with a slight crunch on the edges. I had to try at least 4 when they came out of the oven, just in case...

Check out the recipe here from Stefany of Proceed with Caution.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes

The other kind of cupcakes I brought to work last week was Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes. These were a big hit, since they look like the familiar kiddy treat :)

These chocolate cupakes were awesome, I might make them my go to for chocolate cupcakes. They were so light and fluffy and very simple to make. The cream filling was spot on, and the top was just melted chocolate. Very good cupcakes!

Chocolate Cupcakes (vegan) from Baking Bites
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tbsp coffee powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Get 24 cupcake tins ready.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Dissolve the coffee powder in the cold water (or just use cold coffee for a slightly more mocha taste) and pour the water over the mixture. Stir until smooth.
  3. Divide evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Put the cupcakes onto racks to cool completely before frosting.
  5. If storing overnight before frosting (they can be made a day ahead), just wrap completely in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.
Vanilla Cream Filling from Baking Bites
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
  • 1/2 cup butter (or trans fat-free shortening)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes. Sir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil.
  2. When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.
  3. When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter (or shortening) and sugar together in a medium bowl until light.
  4. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  5. Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.

Salted Carmel Vanilla Cupcakes

For my last week at work, I made lots of cupcakes for my co-workers. These were the more adult flavor. The salted carmel is very different than normal frosting, but I thought it was very good. The sweetness with the salt reminds me of chocolate cover pretzels (and I love those). The only thing I would change is the consistency of the frosting. It's not stiff enough to do anything except slather it on. Next time I would up the powdered sugar.

The cupcakes were ok, I like my normal vanilla cupcakes better, they have a little softer texture.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes from Chow
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved (or 1 tablespoon extract)
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line 2 (12-well) muffin pans with paper liners. Alternatively, coat the wells with butter; set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
  3. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until very light in color, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla seeds (if you’re using vanilla extract instead, you’ll add it later), and continue beating until mixture is airy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl, turn the mixer to medium speed, and add egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add milk (and vanilla extract, if you’re using it in place of seeds), and mix until combined (the mixture will look curdled, but it’s not). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined, about 15 seconds.
  6. Fill the muffin wells about halfway, and bake cupcakes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Set the pans on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely before frosting.
Salted Caramel Frosting from Chow
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.
  3. Combine butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.
  4. Turn mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until stiff, about 45 minutes, before using.

Tuesdays with Dorie - Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte

Yes, I'm back. All the traveling and leaving my day job got the best of me for a few weeks, but I made it!

This week's recipe from Amy of Food, Family and Fun was pretty simple. The ganache was the only item that took any time, but only about 15 minutes. I used pasteurized eggs as the ganache is not cooked. Basically, its three layers of ganache and ice cream. Waiting for the layers to harden in the freezer is the hardest part.

I made these in ramekins. I wasn't the biggest fan, but my husband liked it (which is surprising since there wasn't much fruit it in).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Prosciutto Ring

My bread from The Bread Bible this week was the Prosciutto Ring. I had been eyeing this recipe since I got the book, but I never had any leftover prosciutto, until now :)

There is no pre-ferment to this bread, it is a simple one rise and bake, so it only took a few hours start to finish. The taste was good, but I thought some added flavor from a sponge would have been good to balance the saltiness of the prosciutto. I would make it again with some additions, because it was so easy to make.

Tuesdays with Dorie - Black and White Banana Cake

Yeah, the recipe makes a loaf, but since I had to make a summer themed cake for my cake decorating class I decided to change this up a bit to work. So instead of cooking it in a loaf pan, I made 2 - 9 inch cakes.

The recipe itself is pretty straightforward, I have been saving the last ripe bananas from our bunches in the freezer for an occasion such as this. I made a simple lemon buttercream for the frosting, and the flavors worked pretty well. I have this thing about banana and nuts, so this wasn't my favorite, but not too bad (some walnuts would have been good). The decorations on top are marshmallow fondant.

I will be sitting out next week as I will be out of town, so look for my post in 2 weeks!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers July Challenge - Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

This month's challenge was chosen by Mele Cotte, Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream. I have to admit, I was not really looking forward to this challenge. This isn't the sort of dessert that my husband or I tend to enjoy. But, in true Daring Baker's spirit, I forged ahead.

There are a lot of steps to this recipe. None of them are hard, just a bunch of them. Taken separately, it's not a big deal, but reading through it the first time can be overwhelming, like the Opera Cake. I put this together in one day, but if you were familar with the recipe, it could be done a bit faster.

Overall, it was good. The cake came out a bit dry so it was a bit hard to layer. But after soaking it in the syrup it tasted moist. The buttercream was good, I only used 2 sticks of butter rather than the 3 called for and it was still very rich. I had a hard time decorating with it as it was getting warm, but that was my fault for rushing to get it done before bedtime :)

I'm not sure I would make this whole cake again, but the frosting is a great recipe.




Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter

1 Filbert Genoise
1 recipe sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum
1 recipe Praline Buttercream
½ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 recipe Apricot Glaze
1 recipe Ganache Glaze, prepared just before using
3 tablespoons filberts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Filbert Genoise

Because of the amount of nuts in the recipe, this preparation is different from a classic genoise.

1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted/skinned
2/3 cup cake flour, unsifted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
7 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar, divided ¼ & ¾ cups
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
5 lg. egg whites
¼ cup warm, clarified butter (100 – 110 degrees)

Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10” X 2” inch round cake pan.

Using a food processor, process nuts, cake flour, and cornstarch for about 30 seconds. Then, pulse the mixture about 10 times to get a fine, powdery mixture. You’ll know the nuts are ready when they begin to gather together around the sides of the bowl. While you want to make sure there aren’t any large pieces, don’t over-process. Set aside.

Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, and beat until thick and light in color, about 3-4 minutes on med-high speed. Slowly, add ¾ cup of sugar. It is best to do so by adding a tablespoon at a time, taking about 3 minutes for this step. When finished, the mixture should be ribbony. Blend in the vanilla and grated lemon rind. Remove and set aside.

Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed, until soft peaks. Increase to med-high speed and slowly add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, over 15-20 seconds or so. Continue to beat for another ½ minute.
Add the yolk mixture to the whites and whisk for 1 minute.

Pour the warm butter in a liquid measure cup (or a spouted container). * It must be a deep bottom bowl and work must be fast.* Put the nut meal in a mesh strainer (or use your hand – working quickly) and sprinkle it in about 2 tablespoons at a time – folding it carefully for about 40 folds. Be sure to exclude any large chunks/pieces of nuts. Again, work quickly and carefully as to not deflate the mixture. When all but about 2 Tbsp. of nut meal remain, quickly and steadily pour the warm butter over the batter. Then, with the remaining nut meal, fold the batter to incorporate, about 13 or so folds.

With a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula or back of a spoon. **If collected butter remains at the bottom of the bowl, do not add it to the batter! It will impede the cake rising while baking.

Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when it is springy to the touch and it separates itself from the side of the pan. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan. Cool the cake completely.

*If not using the cake right away, wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag, then in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap in foil, then the bag and use within 2-3 months.

Sugar Syrup
Makes 1 cup, good for one 10-inch cake – split into 3 layers

1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavored liqueur

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the liqueur. Cool slightly before using on the cake. *Can be made in advance.

Praline Buttercream
1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
1/3 cup praline paste
1 ½ - 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum (optional)

Blend ½ cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream. Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine. Blend in rum.

Swiss Buttercream
4 lg. egg whites
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 ½ -2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a elevtric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage). Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows.
Remove from pan and with either the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes. *Do not overbeat*. Set aside.

Place the butter in a separate clean mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed for 40-60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. *Do not overbeat or the butter will become toooooo soft.*

On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute. Add the liqueur and vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.

Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.

Wait! My buttercream won’t come together! Reheat the buttercream briefly over simmering water for about 5 seconds, stirring with a wooden spoon. Be careful and do not overbeat. The mixture will look broken with some liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Return the bowl to the mixer and whip on medium speed just until the cream comes back together.

Wait! My buttercream is too soft! Chill the buttercream in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and rewhip. If that doesn’t work, cream an additional 2-4 Tbsp. of butter in a small bowl– making sure the butter is not as soft as the original amount, so make sure is cool and smooth. On low speed, quickly add the creamed butter to the buttercream, 1 Tbsp. at a time.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If freezing, store in 2 16-oz. plastic containers and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.

Praline Paste
1 cup (4 ½ oz.) Hazelnuts, toasted/skinless
2/3 cup Sugar
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter.

Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet. Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals. If the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly. When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides. Cook until the mixture starts to bubble. **Remember – extremely hot mixture.** Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible. As it cools, it will harden into brittle. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor. Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place. Do not refrigerate.

Apricot Glaze
Good for one 10-inch cake

2/3 cup thick apricot preserves
1 Tbsp. water

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and preserves to a slow boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, add water as needed.

Remove from heat and, using a strainer, press the mixture through the mesh and discard any remnants. With a pastry brush, apply the glaze onto the cake while the cake is still warm. If the glaze is too thick, thin to a preferred consistency with drops of water.

Ganache Glaze
Makes about 1 cup, enough to cover the top and sides of a 9 or 10 inch layer or tube cake

**Ganache can take on many forms. While warm – great fudge sauce. While cool or lukewarm – semisweet glaze. Slightly chilled – can be whipped into a filling/frosting. Cold & solid – the base of candied chocolate truffles.

6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
6 oz. (¾ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreay, or dark Jamaican rum (optional)
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ - 1 tsp. hot water, if needed

Blend vanilla and liqueur/rum together and set aside.

Break the chocolate into 1-inch pieces and place in the basket of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle boil. Once to the gently boil, immediately and carefully pour over the chocolate. Leave it alone for one minute, then slowly stir and mix the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Carefully blend in vanilla mixture. If the surface seems oily, add ½ - 1 tsp hot water. The glaze will thicken, but should still be pourable. If it doesn’t thicken, refrigerate for about 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn’t get too cold!

Assembling Cake

Cut a cardboard disk slightly smaller than the cake. Divide the cake into 3 layers and place the first layer top-side down on the disk. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer with 3-4 Tbsp. of warm sugar syrup. Measure out 1 cup of praline buttercream and set aside.

Spread the bottom layer with a ¼-inch thickness of the remaining buttercream. Cover with ½ of the whipped cream, leaving ¼-inch border around the edge of the cake. Place the middle layer over the first, brush with sugar syrup, spreading with buttercream. Cover with the remaining whipped cream.

Moisten the cut side of the third layer with additional sugar syrup and place cut side down on the cake. Gently, press the sides of the cake to align the layers. Refrigerate to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard. Holding a serrated or very sharp night with an 8-ich blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight. Cut a slight bevel at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze, sealing the cut areas completely. Chill while you prepare the ganache.

Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch the ganache drippings. Remove the gateau from the refrigerator and put it the rack. With a metal spatula in hand, and holding the saucepan about 10 inches above the cake, pour the ganache onto the cake’s center. Move the spatula over the top of the ganache about 4 times to get a smooth and mirror-like appearance. The ganache should cover the top and run down the sides of the cake. When the ganache has been poured and is coating the cake, lift one side of the rack and bang it once on the counter to help spread the ganache evenly and break any air bubbles. (Work fast before setting starts.) Patch any bare spots on the sides with a smaller spatula, but do not touch the top after the “bang”. Let the cake stand at least 15 minutes to set after glazing.

To garnish the cake, fit a 12 – 14-inch pastry bag with a #114 large leaf tip. Fill the bag with the reserved praline cream. Stating ½ inch from the outer edge of the cake, position the pastry tube at a 90 degree angle with the top almost touching the top of the cake. Apply pressure to the pastry bag, moving it slightly toward the center of the cake. As the buttercream flows on the cake, reverse the movement backward toward the edge of the cake and finish by pulling the bag again to the center. Stop applying pressure and press the bag downward, then quickly pull the tip up to break the flow of frosting. Repeat, making 12 leaves evenly spaced around the surface of the cake.

Make a second row of leaves on the top of the first row, moving the pastry bag about ¾ inch closer to the center. The leaves should overlap. Make a 3rd row, moving closer and closer to the center. Add a 4th row if you have the room. But, leave a 2-inch space in the center for a chopped filbert garnish. Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.

Leftover cake can be covered with foil and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Stone Fruit Galette

Yea for all the seasonal challenges lately! We are flush in peaches and plums here in Texas now, so I used those fruits for the filling of this lovely Galette. This dessert is basically a flaky pie crust wrapped around some fruit and jam and baked until the crust sets. Then, a custard filling is added to the middle and baked until the custard sets.

I downsized this recipe, as usual, by half and then made some personal sized desserts. I like serving things so much better this way. So pretty and less mess...

I liked this recipe, and so did my husband (since it had fruit in it). Peaches are soo good warm :)

If you'd like the recipe, click over here to Michelle in Colorado Springs.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Strawberry Lime Cupcakes

Since last week was working with fondant at my cake decorating class, I decided I should practice with it at home a bit this week. I also had some strawberries I needed something to do with, so this recipe was born (the marshmallow fondant recipe was from class).

I liked them, the fondant was rolled thin so it wasn't overpowering, and the lime cut the sweetness just a bit. Not too bad for my first attempt at fondant decorating...




Strawberry Lime Cupcakes
makes 18 regular cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest, grated
1 cup diced strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350º and line 18 cups with liners.

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix throughly before adding the next.
3. Add half the dry ingredients and mix. Then add half the milk.
4. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and then the rest of the milk.
5. Add the vanilla and lime, mix to combine.
6. Fold in the strawberries.
7. Fill the liners about half full (this will give you flat tops)
8. Bake for about 20 minutes, testing with a toothpick to see if they are done.
9. Let sit in pans for 5 minutes, then let cool on wire rack.

Marshmallow Fondant
enough for 18 cupcakes

4 cups little marshmallows
2 teaspoons lime juice
4 cups confectioners sugar
corn starch for dusting

1. In a microwave proof bowl, add the marshmallows and the lime juice.
2. Microwave for 30 seconds on high, or until all the marshmallows are big/
3. Carefully stir until you can't see the marshmellow shapes anymore. If you want colored fondant, add food coloring now.
4. A bit at a time, sift the confectioners sugar into the marshmallows and stir, this will be sticky.
5. Add more sugar until it becomes a workable dough and is not sticky (it might take more or less than 4 cups)
6. Cover and let cool for an hour, or until it is workable.
Note: You may want to coat the bowl and spoon with butter, it helps it to not stick as much. I did it without and it was fine.

Lime Buttercream Frosting
enough for details on 18 cupcakes

1/2 stick butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice

1. Cream the butter and lime juice until it is well mixed.
2. Sift the sugar into the mixture a bit at a time until you get the consistency you like.
3. Refridgerate until 10 minutes before you need it.

Basic Hearth Bread

This week's bread from The Bread Bible is the Basic Hearth Bread. It involves a short fermentation on the sponge, then a quick 3 hour rise with a little folding and shaping in between.

I like this bread, it has a nice crust, and a chewy but light interior. I think another 2 minutes in the oven would have been better for the crust, but it was a perfect golden brown so I took it out. It is a mild flavored bread, good for just about anything. My husband said it was European in texture...

Oh yeah, I got to hear the crackling again when it came out of the oven :) I think I'm getting better at this bread thing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Cobbler

I was going to follow the recipe this time, I really was... but then I couldn't find any rhubarb in the store this week. So I made the recipe, but with berries instead :)

It was very good, I liked the whole wheat dough, I think it added more texture and crunch than the other cobbler in the book. Also, I put some on the bottom of the ramekins which sopped up the juices nicely.

These single serving sizes were great for breakfast, my husband and I had a good Sunday morning.

Rosemary Foccacia

My next bread from The Bread Bible was the Rosemary Foccacia. I have made foccacia a few times with other recipes, and this one is definitely the wettest. The dough starts out as soup, but after 20 minutes with the mixer, it is a lot more together with longs strands of gluten. It just plops out of the bowl after 4 hours of proofing, and you think 'this is never going to be bread, maybe pudding'. But after another hour of proofing and a short 20 minute bake, out comes a very light and airy bread.

I made this a bit taller as I wanted to use it for buns for some burgers. Very tasty and would make again.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Basic White Bread

Ah yes, another bread from The Bread Bible. This is my favorite so far, it turned out perfect! I am so impressed with myself, the full loaf could be a wonderbread loaf! I think the difference is that I underproofed it a bit, and then let the oven spring take it the rest of the way. This gave it a good rise, light texture, and a great shape.
I only have one regular size loaf pan, and the recipe makes 2, so I divided the rest of the dough into 4 small loaf pans, very cute and my favorite.
This recipe would also work well for dinner rolls, breadsticks, etc. Very versatile wet dough.


Tuesdays with Dorie - Perfect Party Cake

I know we aren't suppose to go back and do old recipes, but chocolate pudding just isn't my thing. And, because I am posting this so late, let's just say I skipped this week :)

I am taking a cake decorating class with Steph from Frosted Garden, so I decided I should make a cake to practice with at home. This cake looked awesome, and it didn't disappoint. The cake is very light and lemony, and the swiss buttercream was very smooth and not overly sweet. I had been wanting to make a swiss buttercream since I had been reading my other blogs about them, and how you to have to whip it for a long time and it might look like it's falling apart but just keep whipping, so I had to try it out. Very tasty, but mine was a bit too soft to hold the details of the piping. But good none the less.

One change I made to the recipe was instead of raspberries, I made a mixed berry compote to put between the layers, and no coconut. Very yummy.

Perfect Party Cake, adapted from Dorie Greenspan:
For the Cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups whole buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated Meyer lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
For the Buttercream:
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
For Finishing:
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready:
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
To Make the Cake:
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.Whisk together the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).
To Make the Buttercream:
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.Remove the bowl from the heat.Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.On medium speed, gradually beat in more lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.
To Assemble the Cake:
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.Spread it with one third of the preserves.Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top. Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.ServingThe cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.
Storing:
The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.