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Monday, July 27, 2009

Vanilla Ice Cream - Tuesdays with Dorie

It's all gone - I ate this for a treat after supper tonight. It has a delicious, rich, creamy, custardy flavor and texture. I am pleased I persevered with it as the egg custard gave me quite a bit of trouble at first.

I had to make it twice as the first time the custard curdled and made scrambled eggs - unfortunately not the first time I have had this problem - I tried to make a Bavarian cream over the weekend and that also turned to scrambled eggs! I'm still not happy with my egg custard making; it didn't actually make ice cream curd in the Ice Cream Maker; it was still liquid after 30 minutes of churning. I put it in the freezer and after a couple of hours it set enough for its photo shoot and then dessert. I got some good advice on the P&Q to use a heavy-bottomed pan (which I don't have yet) and to cook it on a very low flame, also to use a double boiler.

I suppose practice makes perfect. But in spite of my frustration with the custard making I just loved this ice cream; it is so natural, no additives and really home-made tasting.

Thank you, Lynne, of Cafe Lynnylu for this lovely summer pick.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chocolate Mallow Cookies - Daring Bakers

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

The Chocky-Mallow Cookies are superb - I love everything about them; the rather plain biscuit base, the small size, the 'bury my face in it marshmallow' and the smooth chocolate dipping sauce. These cookies are quite time consuming because of wait time for the components, but the reward is delightful and delicious - dipping whole marshmallow cookies into a bowl of slightly warm chocolate is really the height of indulgence! They are definitely a keeper.

All in all, a very satisfying baking day. Thank you, Nicole of Sweet Endings. Just loved your DB choice.

Here's the recipe:

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
• 3 eggs, whisked together
• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Homemade marshmallows:
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• 2 egg whites , room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Chocolate glaze:
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vanilla Chocolate Mango Mousse Cake! - Co-worker's Choice

This is one of my "Co-worker's Choice" cakes - it has both vanilla and chocolate genoise layers and mango mousse filling. The request was for a French confection, so I thought what more French than an entremet and one from Helen's, Tartelette's, exquisite blog. Helen has kindly given me permission to use her recipe. It was a wonderful cake to make even though it took me almost the whole day and then I didn't get to finish the coconut bavarian cream which was to make up the 3rd layer as it was getting quite late!

The genoise was beautiful, all billowy and puffed up in the baking tray after just over 10 minutes. I worked pretty efficiently on both the genoises and felt quite puffed up myself. Then I did the mango mousse - it was fairly straightforward, and I used Malubu Rum in the soaking syrup. At the end of the day I was ready to form the entremet - a bit tricky but I have an 8 inch pan with a removable base so that helped in the process. I pricked holes in the layers and filled them with the syrup and added dollops of mango mousse for the filling. Then there was the lemon syrup -that was fine too. Then into the fridge to chill out.

It looked pretty when I prepared it for its photo pose the next morning, although I still have LOTS of work to do on getting the layers and the fillings even and smooth.

I was wondering how the office group would like it - they loved, loved, loved it! I cut 16 slices which vanished in no time (I saved one for the Boss). My co-worker who asked for the French cake was so pleased he has ordered the same for a family get-together. Another comment: "It's like a light dessert you would order at an expensive restaurant, after eating a Chateaubriand steak!"

Now I am on an entremet kick - they are such sophisticated cakes and I am going to try some more.

I'm putting Tartlette's recipe up here:

Chocolate - Mango and Coconut Cream Cake Recipe:Serves 10-12

For the vanilla genoise:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (4gr) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
¾ cup (150gr) of sugar
½ cup (70gr) cake flour
¼ cup (30gr) cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 400F and set a rack in the middle.Lightly spray a 12x17 baking sheet with cooking spray or lightly brush with melted butter. Set aside
Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, salt and sugar together in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100F on a candy thermometer(or test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch).
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the whisk attachment (or hand held beaters) and whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled and tripled in volume. The mixture will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl when the whisk is lifted.
Over a medium bowl or a piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour and cornstarch.
Add one-third of the flour mixture to the beaten egg mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl to prevent the flour mixture from making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake does not over bake and become too dry or it will not roll properly. Let cool on a rack. Remove the cake from the baking sheet and invert it on a larger piece of parchment paper. Peel of the parchment paper that was lining the baking sheet. Set the cake aside.

For the cocoa genoise:
Same process but replace the amount of cornstarch with the same amount in cocoa powder and proceed with the recipe the same way.

For the coconut Bavarian cream:
1 tablespoon (7gr) powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons water
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 gr) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream, cold

In a small bol, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand to soften while you prepare the cream.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale. In the meantime, in a medium large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a simmer. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly to prevent them from curdling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon (as if making creme anglaise). Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to soft peaks on medium speed and fold it into the cooled cream base. Use within one hour.

For the mango mousse:
1.5 teaspoons (3.5gr) powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon (15gr) water
4 oz (120gr) mango puree (to make your own, see here)
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) heavy cream, cold

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it soften while you prepare the fruit.
In a medium saucepan, bring the mango puree and sugar to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely melted.
Transfer the fruit puree to a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the fruit puree to lighten it up (do not worry about losing air at this point). Carefully fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Use within one hour.

Rum simple syrup:
1/2 cup (125ml)water
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar
2 tablespoons (30gr) rum

In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, bring all the ingredients to a simmer until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature.

Lemon glaze:
1.5 teaspoons (3.5gr) powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon (15gr)water
1/4 cup (62.5ml) water
1/4 cup (62.5ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it soften.
In small saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the water, lemon juice and sugar to a simmer, stirring off and on to make sure the sugar dissolves properly. Add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature (if the mixture gels, warm up over low heat until barely melted again).

To assemble:
Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper of foil, leaving a border on the sides to make it easy to remove when set. You can also use a cake frame of the same dimensions.
Cut two 8x8 cake layers in each of the genoises. Place one layer of the chocolate genoise at the bottom of your pan and brush with some rum syrup. Pour half the coconut Bavarian on top and smooth with an offset spatula. Top with a layer of vanilla genoise, brush some rum syrup on top. Pour half the mango mousse and smooth with an offset spatula. Repeat the process with the second half of cakes and creams. Refrigerate until set. Pour the lemon glaze over the cake and let set in the fridge.
Cut through the cake with a knife dipped in hot water to prevent breaking the glaze instead of slicing through it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fresh Peach Blanc-Manger - Tuesdays with Dorie

I've been using raspberries and raspberry jam in quite a number of baked goods lately so I decided to go for fresh California peaches for this week's Blanc-Manger. It's in the fridge right now; tomorrow morning will show if it has set properly. I used only half the ingredients and a six-inch cheesecake pan with a removable base.

I must compile a list converting cups to ozs. and ozs. to grams, etc. - it's very tricky trying to get an exact amount of half quantities from fractions seeing my scale doesn't weigh that finely. I must say I didn't particularly enjoy making the blanc-manger, probably because I was doing battle with the estimated quantities. I ground almonds in the coffee grinder and the first lot came out like paste; then I added a few shakes of flour to the next lot and it seemed okay. Then the gelatin turned into a blob so I had to heat it again. It seems the blanc-manger has a tight time frame and I was lagging a bit behind.

It set nicely and I couldn't wait to get home to photograph and taste. I must say I'm a bit disappointed in the taste - it looks quite attractive but the texture was slightly rubbery and the taste very bland.

When I was a child I used to be given a treat every now and then of a blancmange in the shape of a pale pink rabbit - it was a cornstarch and milk and sugar mix with a drop of cochineal added. Perhaps I am still in love with the pale pink rabbit - it looked so pretty.

I haven't given up on blanc-manger; maybe I mixed it too hard with a fork; perhaps a flavoring essence like lemon would give it more of a kick. But it's such a good feeling to get my TWD recipe done and to learn something as I always do. Thank you, Susan, of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy for this nice pick.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Black Forest Cake - Co-workers' Choice

Black Forest Cake

I have found the most fabulous chocolate genoise recipe! It's from Baked and I made the Black Forest Cake, one of my co-worker requests.

Here's the recipe straight from "Baked." I love the way the genoise turned out (after having a dismal failure in a previous recipe I tried, before I discovered this one). The method must be the trick - sifting cake flour and cocoa powder four times; stirring the egg/sugar mixture on low heat in a double boiler before beating it...and more. I've included the genoise recipe below. When my cake was cool, I slathered it with 3 cups of whipped cream, then added maraschino cherries and chocolate curls on top. (I tried some sour cherries in the filling but I think I would use sweet cherries next time - it's just a matter of personal taste).


3/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup dutch-process cocoa
1/8 tsp. baking soda
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup + 2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup warm (100-110F) clarified butter

Ingredients: Cream and fixin's
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. sugar
Grated semi-sweet Chocolate (optional)
8 maraschino cherries (optional)

Method: Sponge
1.Preheat oven to 350F (put a rack on the lower 1/3 of the oven).
2. Generously grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
3.Sift the flour , cocoa, and baking soda together 4 times.
4.Place a bowl over slightly simmering water, put in the eggs (including the two yolks) and the sugar and mix to just combine - but do not whisk together.
5.Stir for 3-5 min until the colour darkens, the mixture is slightly runny, and the temperature of the eggs is between 110-120F.
6. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and place the egg mixture in a large bowl.
7. Using a whisk, whisk the eggs on high speed until they are cool. This should take between 4-5min. The mixture should be light, and thick (when you run a finger through the eggs, you should see a dent).
8. Reduce the mixer to med. and add the vanilla extract. Whip for 2-3 min more.
9. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
10. Using a rubber spatula, fold in 2-3 Tbs. worth of the flour mixture at a time (this should take around 10-12 folds for each addition).
11. Before the last addition of the flour, pour in the butter over the mixture, then immediately add the last batch of the flour mixture. Fold into the batter, using around 12-15 turns.
12. Place the batter in the prepared springform pan. Tap the pan on the bench a couple of times, and then place on a baking sheet. Finally place in the preheated oven.
13. Bake for between 30-40 min. The cake is done when it is springy to the touch, and has come away from the sides of the pan.
14. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Wait 10 min before removing the springform pan.
15. Allow to cool to room temp.
16. Cut in half (or thirds etc).

Method: Cream
1. Place the cream in a bowl.
2. whisk a little, then add the vanilla extract and sugar, and then whisk until quite thick.
3. Add maraschino cherries and chocolate curls.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This cake keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Brioche Plum Tart - Tuesdays with Dorie

I love brioche, that is Dorie's brioche recipes - before making them I had never tasted this delightful French bread before. I'm interested how this one will turn out as it's not anywhere near as rich as the Brioche Raisin Snails or the Pecan Honey Sticky Buns we made earlier.

This time I halved the quantities and will bake the tart in a 7" tart pan with a removable base. It took a lot longer than 40 mins for the first rise - I don't know how long as I went to bed, but the next morning it was wonderfully puffy. It's in its 30 min.interval slap down mode in the fridge now.

Later - it was a nice satisfying tart to make, from smoothing the dough into the tart pan to sprinkling the sugar and nuts on the fresh ripe plums. Baking was a cinch too and I think it came out looking out rather lovely - just the right size of tart for a bake sale. However, when I did the taste test I found the brioche a little dry so I am rather disappointed; maybe I slapped it around too much. I think if I do this again I will choose cherries rather than plums as I find the plums somewhat overpowering - too large for the tart and with a very assertive flavor ("assertive" - is that something I have picked up on Food Network maybe? I don't think I would have used it to describe a fruit before all the food shows!)

I'm really eager to see how everyone else's turns out and if anyone has similar opinions to mine. All things told, it was great fun to make. Thank you Denise of Chez Us for picking the Brioche Plum Tart.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake from "Tuesdays with Dorie" - Summer Time Selection

Yes, as our leader Laurie says, "School is out for summer," so I'm taking a bit of a break from the TWD schedule this month. Instead, I will be baking a "Co-workers Choice" for each week. I asked them what they would like me to bake - an immediate response item was, "The apple cheesecake that you brought," Dorie Greenspan's , then others chose a Black Forest Cake, "Something French," and a Chocolate Cake.I've decided on almost all of them but haven't yet made up my mind about the "Something French" - maybe profiteroles? an Entremet? Will have to see. Will also have to try to fit Macadamia nuts in somewhere as they were on the wish list too.

First Choice is baking right now - it's an encore for me as I made this wonderful cheesecake as a re-run last September; everybody loved it so I'm hoping it's going to be good this time as well.

Here I go with Dorie's recipe:

Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake by Dorie Greenspan
For the Crust
30 gingersnaps (or a scant 2 cups graham cracker crumbs) - I used Animal Crackers.
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
For the Apples
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
2 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar
For the Filling
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp apple cider
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy cream
Apple jelly, for glazing, or confectioner's sugar, for dusting (optional)

To Make the Crust:
Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.
Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and whir until you have crumbs; you should have a scant 2 cups. (If you are using graham cracker crumbs, just put them in the food processor.) Pulse in the sugar and cinnamon, if you're using it, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they'll go. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

To Make the Apples:
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apple slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the apples with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so. Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining apples. Let the apples cool while you make the filling.

Getting Ready to Bake:
Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To Make the Filling:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.

Pour about one third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan. Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark. The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center--if the center shimmies, that's just fine. Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan's latch and release and remove the sides.

The next morning - my cheesecake on show. This time I just sprinkled some powdered sugar on it, as Dorie suggested. I had thought of using caramel glaze for a topping but it's too darned hot now to stand over the stove and make caramel!