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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Bakers 46th Challenge: Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet 

    The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert. I really waffled as to whether or not to make this dessert. On the heels of the Christmas season eat-a-thon, I didn’t really feel like creating, and eating, more sweets. But,  after seeing all the creations coming from Daring Bakers on the forum, I decided to go for it. The final result was a chocolate-flavoured Joconde biscuit, layered with a chocolate mint mousse and ladyfingers moistened with cacao liqueur. I only did half the recipe and used a 7-inch spring pan. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to show a photo of the inside of the cake until mid-February. This cake will be dessert for our Valentine’s day dinner. Stay tuned.

    Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet

    Equipment required:

    • Silpat
    • ½ baking sheets or a 13” x 18” jelly roll sheet (rimmed baking sheet)
    • Mixer (optional)
    • Bowls
    • Knives
    • Offset spatula
    • Regular spatula
    • Pastry comb (optional)
    • Rulers
    • Spring form pan
    • Biscuit cutter (or ring mold, or cut PVC pipe, or whatever else you can think of to use as a mold for individual desserts)
    • Torte/entremets mold/Springform pan/ Trifle dish (for larger desserts)
    • Cling wrap
    • Parchment paper
    • Gel, paste or liquid food coloring (optional)

    Joconde Sponge

    YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

    Ingredients:
    ¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal – *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
    ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners’ (icing) sugar
    ¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
    3 large eggs – about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
    3 large egg whites – about 3 oz/ 90g
    2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
    2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted

    *Note: How to make cake flour: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/

    Directions:

    1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
    2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
    3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
    4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
    5. Fold in melted butter.
    6. Reserve batter to be used later.

    Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

    YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

    Ingredients
    14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
    1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
    7 large egg whites – about 7 oz / 200g
    1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
    Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

    COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

    Directions:

    1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
    2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
    3. Fold in sifted flour.
    4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

    Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:

    1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
    2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.
    3. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
    4. Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
    5. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
    6. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
    7. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

    Preparing the MOLD for entremets:

    You can use any type of mold. I would suggest:

    1. Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Then a large piece of cling wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½ inch. CUT the parchment paper to the TOP OF THE MOLD. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.
    2. A biscuit cutter/ cookie cutter- using cling wrap pulled tightly as the base and the cling covering the outside of the mold, placed on a parchment lined very flat baking sheet. Line the inside with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping.
    3. Cut PVC pipe from your local hardware store. Very cheap! These can be cut into any height you wish to make a mold. 2 to 3 inches is good. My store will cut them for me, ask an employee at your store. You can get several for matching individual desserts. Cling wrap and parchment line, as outlined above.
    4. Glass Trifle bowl. You will not have a free standing dessert, but you will have a nice pattern to see your joconde for this layered dessert.

    Preparing the Jaconde for Molding:

    Video: MUST WATCH THIS. This is a very good demo of the joconde and filling the entremets:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca4eLDok-4Q

    1. Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.
    2. Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.
    3. Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)
    4. Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.
    5. The mold is done, and ready to fill.

    *Note: If not ready to use. Lay cake kept whole or already cut into strips, on a flat surface, wrap in parchment and several layers of cling wrap and freeze.

     
    • pragmaticattic 10:14 am on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Very cute idea to pipe hearts–nice!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on January 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cassoulet, duck   

    Daring Cooks 21st Challenge: Cassoulet 

    Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

    This dish is not for the faint of heart, as the amount of fat is astounding. But it definitely is tasty. I’ve made cassoulet a couple of times before, so was familiar with the multiple steps involved. I was also off this week, so, a good time to spend it cooking. Luckily, cassoulet freezes well, so I’ll have a taste of this hearty stew a few more times this winter.

    Cassoulet

    Cassoulet by Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman (as featured on the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations”)
    Serves 4 – 8 (unless you’re Lisa Michele)

    Ingredients for Duck Confit

    4 whole duck legs (leg and thigh), size does not matter
    sea salt, for the overnight (at least 6-8 hours) dry rub (the amount varies depending on the size of your legs, so just know that you need to have enough on hand for a good coating.)
    2 cups/480 ml/450 gm/16 oz duck fat
    a healthy pinch or grind of black pepper
    4 sprigs of fresh thyme
    1 sprig of fresh rosemary
    1 garlic clove

    Day One

    1.Rub the duck legs fairly generously with sea salt, place in the shallow dish, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. At all times, keep your work area clean and your ingredients free of contamination – meaning don’t allow any other food, like bread crumbs or scraps, to get into your duck, duck fat or confit, as they will make an otherwise nearly non-perishable preparation suddenly perishable.

    Day Two

    1.Preheat the oven to moderately hot 375ºF/190ºC/gas mark 5.
    2.Render (melt) the duck fat in the saucepan until clear.
    3.After seasoning with the black pepper, place the duck legs in the clean, ovenproof casserole.
    4.Nestle the thyme, rosemary and garlic in with the duck legs, and pour the melted duck fat over the legs to just cover.
    5. Cover the dish with foil and put in the oven. Cook for about an hour, or until the skin at the “ankle” of each leg pulls away from the “knuckle.” The meat should be tender.
    6. Allow to cool and then store as is in the refrigerator, sealed under the fat. When you need the confit, you can either warm the whole dish, in which case removing the legs will be easy, or dig them out of the cold fat and scrape off the excess. I highly recommend the former. A nice touch at this point is to twist out the thighbone from the cold confit. Just place one hand on the drumstick, pinioning the leg to the table, and with the other hand, twist out the thighbone, plucking it from the flesh without mangling the thigh meat. Think of someone you hate when you do it.

    Ingredients for Cassoulet

    5 cups/1200 ml/1100 g/39 oz dried Tarbais beans or white beans such as Great Northern or Cannelini (if you use canned beans be aware that you will need double this amount!)
    2 pounds/900 gm fresh pork belly
    1 onion, cut into 4 pieces
    1 pound/450 gm pork rind
    1 bouquet garni (tie together two sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme and one bay leaf)
    salt and pepper
    1/4 cup/60 ml/55 gm duck fat
    6 pork sausages
    3 onions, thinly sliced
    1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
    4 confit duck legs

    Day One

    1.Place the beans in the large bowl and cover with cold water so that there are at least 2 or 3 inches (50mm or 75mm) of water above the top of the beans. Soak overnight. That was hard, right?  (Beans will double in size upon soaking, so use a big bowl!)

    Day Two

    1. Drain and rinse the beans and place in the large pot.
    2. Add the pork belly, the quartered onion, 1/4 pound/115 gm of the pork rind, and the bouquet garni.
    3. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes more.
    4. Let cool for 20 minutes, then discard the onion and the bouquet garni.
    5. Remove the pork belly, cut it into 2-inch/5-cm squares, and set aside. (If you plan to wait another day before finishing the dish, wait to cut the pork belly until then.)
    6. Strain the beans and the rind and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid separately.
    7. In the sauté pan, heat all but 1 tablespoon/15 ml/15 gm of the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers and becomes transparent.
    8. Carefully add the sausages and brown on all sides.
    9. Remove sausages and set aside, draining on paper towels.
    10. In the same pan, over medium-high heat, brown the sliced onions, the garlic and the reserved squares of pork rind from the beans (not the unused pork rind; you’ll need that later).
    11. Once browned, remove from the heat and transfer to the blender. Add 1 tablespoon//15 ml/15 gm of the remaining duck fat and purée until smooth. Set aside.
    12. Preheat the oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4.
    13.Place the uncooked pork rind in the bottom of a deep ovenproof non-reactive dish. You’re looking to line the inside, almost like a pie crust. Arrange all your ingredients in alternating layers, beginning with a layer of beans, then sausages, then more beans, then pork belly, beans, duck confit and finally more beans, adding a dab of the onion and pork rind purée between each layer.
    14. Add enough of the bean cooking liquid to just cover the beans, reserving 1 cup/240 ml in the refrigerator for later use.
    15. Cook the cassoulet in the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to very slow 250ºF/130ºC/gas mark ½ and cook for another hour.
    16. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight.

    Day Three

    1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4 again.
    2. Cook the cassoulet for an hour.
    3. Break the crust on the top with the spoon and add 1/4 cup/60 ml of the reserved cooking liquid. (Don’t get fancy. Just pile, dab, stack and pile. It doesn’t have to be pretty.)
    4. Reduce the heat to very slow 250ºF/130ºC/gas mark ½ and continue cooking another 15 minutes, or until screamingly hot through and through. Then serve.

     
    • lisamichele 11:24 pm on January 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Fantastic job on the cassoulet and confit! I wish I had frozen what I had left, I actually trashed it – no idea what I was thinking!! Thanks so much for taking part in our challenge!

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