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  • pixeltheatre 1:26 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cupcake throw down   

    Cupcake Throw Down: Mini Southern Hogs Cupcakes 

    I was invited to participate in the 3rd edition of the Vancouver Cupcake Throw Down held last week at The Chapel, in the Downtown East Side. It was a benefit bake-off for H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society. With plenty of time to develop a recipe, I readily accepted. I’ve wanted to have fun with bacon in a dessert recipe for quite a while. Here was my chance. An episode of Eat St. set my own wheels turning with bacon pralines. My love of salted caramel set the tone for the rest of the recipe. I tried a couple of bases, a brown sugar base and a blue corn meal base.I brought samples of both to my office and some of my co-workers provided some good feedback. Personally, I liked the corn meal-based one better. It had a bit of a tang to it, and some crunch, but the majority of my colleagues opted for the brown sugar one. So, brown sugar it was in the end.

    The event had a great turnout. Some 22 bakers were there and the flavours were quite something to see and taste. Great venue too. It was nice to see so many young families there — nothing like young kids hopped up on sugar. 🙂

    Mini Southern Hogs Cupcakes

    Bacon Pralines

    1 pound thick-cut bacon
    2-1/4 cups light brown sugar
    2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    1 1/4 cups toasted pecans, roughly chopped
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 tablespoon bourbon
    1/4 teaspoon table salt

    Special equipment: candy thermometer

    Toast pecans in a preheat 350F oven for 10 minutes.

    Cook bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, then line bacon on a parchment-covered pan.

    Place 2 cups brown sugar into a 3-quart heavy saucepan, being careful to not get sugar on the sides of the pan. Add the cream, the 2 tablespoons butter and cook over very low heat (do not let simmer), stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until the sugar is dissolved, 10 to 15 minutes. Wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Clamp on a candy thermometer to the saucepan and boil the syrup over moderately-high heat until it registers 236 degrees F.

    Remove the pan from the heat, leaving the thermometer in place, and let cool until the syrup registers 220 degrees F, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour mixture over lined bacon and let cool and then place in fridge to harden. Once harden, chop into small pieces.

    Salted caramel fudge
    1 cup white sugar
    1/4 cup water
    1 stick (1/2 cup) fresh unsalted butter
    1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
    1 1/2 teaspoon bacon salt (available at Edible BC on Granville Island)

    Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper.

    This process can take awhile depending on the heat source. Keep an eye on it, if the caramel begins to smoke, you’ve burned it and you’ll have to start over.

    Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream – the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam – be cautious as the sugar will be very hot.

    Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the bacon salt. Cool in fridge overnight.

    Cupcakes
    1 1/2 cups (188 gms) flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    115 gms unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup packed (125 gms) + 2 tbsp brown or raw sugar
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    1 tsp bourbon
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    2 tbsp milk

    Preheat the oven to 350°F and line the muffin trays with paper cups.

    Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

    Cream the butter, vanilla and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated into the above butter and sugar mixture.  Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

    Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating it with two additions of buttermilk and milk.  Beat until well combined.

    Spoon batter into the lined muffin tray cups, filling each to about half. Bake for about 25 minutes (20 if you make the small cupcakes).

    When cooked, let them cool down in the tray for 10 minutes, then put them on a wire rack to cool down completely.

    Cream Cheese Frosting
    300 g Icing sugar, sifted
    50 g Unsalted butter, room temp
    125 g Cream Cheese, slightly softened
    5 ml vanilla
    Buttermilk to taste and texture

    In a food processor or electric mixer, beat the icing sugar and butter until well mixed.

    Dice the cream cheese into smaller cubes then add to the mix, beating until completely combined.

    On medium-high speed, add vanilla and continue beating the frosting until it becomes light and fluffy. This takes around five minutes.  Add buttermilk if you want a creamier frosting.

    Assembly

    When the cupcakes are cool, scoop a small chunk of each cupcake (small melon scooper works well), and spread a small dab of the salted caramel fudge. Replace the cupcake chunk on top of the fudge. Pipe the cream cheese frosting on cupcake and sprinkle bacon praline on top. Refrigerate.

    Sources:
    Cupcake recipe adapted from: Manu’s menu website: http://www.manusmenu.com/triple-salted-caramel-cupcakes

    Salted caramel recipe from: Cooking Channel’s Four Twenty Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple Pie recipe: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/four-and-twenty-blackbirds-salted-caramel-apple-pie-recipe/index.html

    Bacon praline recipe adapted from: Food Network – New Orleans Bacon Pralines: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/new-orleans-bacon-pralines-recipe/index.html

    Cream cheese frosting recipe adapted from Good to Know Recipes: http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/475341/Red-velvet-cupcakes

     
    • Jenna Conover 7:38 pm on March 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I was just looking for an amazing cupcake recipe!

    • Cheryl Andrews 11:56 am on June 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Everything looks wonderful! Just found you online. Would love to hear from you.
      -Cheryl

      • Cheryl Andrews 11:56 am on June 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Cheryl Spargo from NH, went to Cambridge

    • TeseHealley 12:17 pm on June 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      а мне лично вкатило 🙂

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on July 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fraise, pastry cream,   

    Daring Bakers 52nd Challenge: Fresh fraisier 

    Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine. With a family BBQ coming up just before this challenge was due, I was glad I could finally serve a DB challenge to a crowd. Usually, I bake for two. This time, I could plan for 12.

    I made the chiffon cake on the Thursday night, and finished the cake on the Friday. This gave it a chance to firm up overnight for the Saturday BBQ. Although the recipe called for an 8-inch springform pan, which I didn’t have, my 10-inch one worked just as well. I just missed the local strawberry season, but plenty were still available from California. Since this dessert was for a special occasion, I used Avalon‘s whole milk and cream (higher fat content than regular supermarket brands) and it paid off. The pastry cream was smooth and silky. I also added a couple of teaspoons of limoncello to the simple syrup. The frosting on the marzipan layer did not stay very nicely when I removed the plastic film before serving, but hey, it still tasted very good. I appreciated that this dessert was not very sweet, allowing the strawberries to fully come through. Very nice recipe.

    Basic Chiffon Cake:

    Ingredients:
    1 cup + 2 tablespoons (270 ml) (5½ oz/155 gm) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) baking powder
    3/4 cups (180 ml) (6 oz /170 gm) sugar
    1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) salt, preferably kosher
    1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) vegetable oil
    3 large egg yolks
    ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (3.17 fl oz/95 ml) water
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
    3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3 gm) lemon zest, grated
    5 large egg whites
    ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1 gm) cream of tartar

    Directions:

    • Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3).
    • Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
    • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.
    • In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.
    • Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.
    • Put the egg whites into a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment on a medium speed, until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on a medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.
    • Using a grease free rubber spatula, scoop about ⅓ of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold in gently. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined.
    • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    • Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
    • To unmold, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan and remove the spring form sides. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.

    Pastry Cream Filling:

    Ingredients:
    1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) whole milk
    1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) pure vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoon (1/2 ml) (¼ gm) salt, preferably kosher
    2 tablespoons (30 ml) (10 gm)cornstarch
    1/4 cup (60 ml) (2 oz/55 gm) sugar
    1 large egg
    2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz/30 gm) unsalted butter
    3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (4 gm) gelatin
    1/2 tablespoon (7½ ml) water
    1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) heavy cream

    Directions:

    • Pour the milk, vanilla, and salt into a heavy sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and scald, bringing it to a near boiling point. Stir occasionally.
    • Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine
    • Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
    • When the milk is ready, gently and slowly while the stand mixer is whisking, pour the heated milk down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.
    • Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and continue to cook over a medium heat until the custard is thick, just about to boil and coats the back of a spoon.
    • Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
    • Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.
    • Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for up to five days.
    • In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften.
    • Put two inches (55 mm) of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
    • Measure 1/4 cup (2 oz/60 ml) of the chilled pastry cream into a small stainless steel bowl that will sit across the sauce pan with the simmering water, without touching the water.
    • Heat the cream until it is 120 F (48.8 C). Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth. Remove from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.
    • In a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Immediately fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula.

    Simple Syrup:

    You may choose to flavor the syrup. One way is to use flavored sugar (for example: apple cider sugarorange sugar, or vanilla sugar) or to stir in 1-2 teaspoons of flavored extract. You may also infuse with herbs or spices, if desired or add four tablespoons (60 ml) of fruit juice or liqueur while the syrup is cooling.

    Ingredients:
    1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) (2⅔ oz/75 gm) of sugar, flavored or white
    1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) of water

    Directions:

    • Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan.
    • Bring the mixture to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Stirring is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.
    • Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly.
    • Transfer syrup to a lidded container or jar that can be stored in the refrigerator. Simple syrup can be stored for up to one month.

    Fraisier Assembly:

    Components:
    1 baked 8 inch (20 cm) chiffon cake
    1 recipe pastry cream filling
    ⅓ cup (80 ml) simple syrup or flavored syrup
    2 lbs (900 g) strawberries
    confectioners’ sugar for dusting
    ½ cup (120 ml) (5 oz/140 gm) almond paste

    Directions:

    • Line the sides of a 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.
    • Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.
    • Fit the bottom layer into the prepared spring form pan. Moisten the layer evenly with the simple syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.
    • Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides of the cake pan. Place the cut side of the strawberry against the sides of the pan, point side up forming a ring.
    • Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake.
    • Hull and quarter your remaining strawberries and place them in the middle of the cake. Cover the strawberries and entirely with the all but 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of the pastry cream.
    • Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup.
    • Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar and roll out the almond paste to a 10-inch (25 cm) round 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) thick. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of pastry cream on the top of the cake and cover with the round of almond paste.
    • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
    • To serve release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap.
    • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
     
  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on June 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baklava, phyllo dough   

    Daring Bakers 51st Challenge: From phyllo dough to baklava 

    Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava. I had made baklava a couple of times before, with store- bought phyllo. I was a little leery of having to having the dough from scratch. Actually, making the dough was not the issue. The rolling and stretching was. My hunch was right. The recipe yielded a very nice and pliable dough. Unfortunately that’s where it ended for me. As I started rolling the first sheet (I needed 18 in all), it became clear an exercise in frustration was ahead. Words of one of my chef instructors came to mind: “Liz, you have to pick your battles.” Though this originally related to my hopelessness in turning vegetables, as well as not very good knife skills in general, I knew this was another battle I would not pick. After failing to stretch properly a couple of sheets, I gave up. I ended up using the dough to make a “pets de soeurs” (“nuns’ farts”), a common way in Quebec to use up pastry dough. Spread some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, roll up and cut pin wheels. Bake at 350F until dough is cooked through. The next day I bought some phyllo sheets and completed the challenge. Very nice and incredibly sweet recipe. I highly recommend buying pre-made phyllo sheets. Life is too short. 😉

    Pets de soeurs

    Baklava

    Phyllo Dough:

    *Note 1: To have enough to fill my 9” x 9” baking dish with 18 layers of phyllo I doubled this recipe.

    *Note 2: Single recipe will fill a 8” x 5” baking dish.

    *Note 3: Dough can be made a head of time and froze. Just remove from freezer and allow to thaw and continue making your baklava

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
    • 1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt 1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
    • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
    • 1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste)

    Directions:

    • In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt
    • Mix with paddle attachment
    • Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
    • Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water (I had to add a tablespoon more)
    • Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.
    • Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.
    • Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil
    • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best ( I let mine rest 2 hours and it was perfect)

    Rolling your Phyllo

    ** Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough** Use whatever means you have to get the dough as thin as you can.

    • Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.
    • Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.
    • Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out.
    • Wrap the dough around your rolling pin/dowel
    • Roll back and forth quickly with the dough remaining on the dowel (see attached video for a visual, its much easier then it sounds. Nope, not for me, it wasn’t.)
    • Remove; notice how much bigger it is!
    • Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice.
    • When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine
    • Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flower well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.

    Baklava Recipe

    Adapted from Alton Brown, The Food Network 30 servings Ingredients For the syrup:

    • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey
    • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) water
    • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 (2-inch/50 mm) piece fresh citrus peel (lemon or orange work best)
    • a few cloves or a pinch or ground clove When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled

    Directions

    • Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved
    • Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
    • Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and lemon, allow to cool as baklava cooks

    Ingredients for the Filling:

    • 1 (5-inch/125mm piece) cinnamon stick, broken into 2 to 3 pieces or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) ground cinnamon
    • 15 to 20 whole allspice berries ( I just used a few pinches)
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) blanched almonds
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (155 gm/5½ oz) raw or roasted walnuts
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) raw or roasted pistachios
    • 2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm/ 5 1/3 oz) sugar
    • phyllo dough (see recipe above)
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225g/8 oz) melted butter ** I did not need this much, less then half**

    Directions:

    • Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
    • Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside
    • Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan
    • Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet
    • Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it’s not needed)
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
    • Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
    • Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
    • Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.
    • Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.
    • With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can’t cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9×9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge
    • Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven)
    • When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It looks like it is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava!
    • Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.
    • Serve at room temperature

    Freezing/Storage Instructions/Tips:

    There are a few ways to store your Baklava. It is recommended that you store your baklava at room temperature in an airtight container. Stored at room temperature your baklava will last for up to 2 weeks. You will notice as the days pass it will get a little juicier and chewier. You may choose to store it in the fridge; this will make it a little harder and chewy, but does increase the shelf life. You can also freeze your baklava and then just set it out at room temperature to thaw.

     
    • Cyrus 7:22 pm on February 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon).
      I’ve book-marked it for later!

    • understand 8:32 pm on April 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

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  • pixeltheatre 4:24 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: stollen   

    Daring Bakers 45th Challenge: Stollen 

    The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

    I was late in checking the new challenge this month. It goes live on the 17th of every month. Hilariously enough, I looked at it after coming back from the first German Christmas Market in Vancouver. A open-air market with vendors selling typical German-fare such as gluhwein and…stollen! I had bought one, as it is one of my favorite Christmas treat. I told my partner that it was something I always wanted to to make, but never got around to it. I had bought some marzipan a couple of years ago with the intention of making it, but it was still in my cupboard. No more excuses. I particularly liked this recipe, though it’s a multi-day affair. I made this a couple of times, adding marzipan both times. The first, despite reading the instructions over and over, I rolled the wrong side of the dough, ending with a very fat wreath. Still good, though. The second time around, rolled it the right way, but it took a lot longer to bake than the time indicated in the recipe. Still turned out right. This will become a staple of my Christmas baking. Thanks Penny for a great challenge!

    Stollen Wreath

    Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people

    Ingredients

    ¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
    2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast
    1 cup (240 ml) milk
    10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
    5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first – then sift- plus extra for dusting)
    ½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
    ¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
    3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
    2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
    ¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own)
    1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed raisins
    3 tablespoons (45ml) rum
    12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
    1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds
    Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
    Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

    Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.

    Directions:

    Soak the raisins
    In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside. See Note under raisins.

    To make the dough

    Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

    In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) butter over medium – low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

    Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.

    In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.

    Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

    Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!

    Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn’t enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.

    Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
    Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

    Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath

    1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
    2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
    3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
    4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.

    Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

    Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.

    This was before I pinched it together

    Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

    Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

    Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

    Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

    Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.
    Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.
    Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.
    The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
    Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!

    When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.

    The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly…. so delicious with butter and a cup of tea….mmmmm

    Storage
    The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store.
    The following is for the recipe as written and uses the 45 mls of rum and two coatings of butter and icing sugar
    1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
    2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and
    3. One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.

     
    • Audax Artifex 5:00 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I just love that first photo your stollen looks so perfect and rustic wonderful effort and the snow effect on you blog is so cute.

      Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    • Coz 7:37 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I think your stollen looks like a snow topped mountain. I like how you did your cuts to make it look that way.

    • Erin 8:13 pm on January 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful job on the challenge this month!! Your stollen is beautiful and just looks so festive. I love that you made the recipe a couple of times during the month. Well done!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on November 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Cooks 19th challenge: Soufflés 

    Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

    I had done a soufflé before in cooking school, but couldn’t remember how successful I had been. I knew they were pretty fussy. I looked for a recipe online that wouldn’t be so big. There’s only two of us to feed, and found what looked like a pretty straightforward spinach soufflé recipe. Didn’t work. Never rose, though it was cooked throughout and tasted good. It didn’t involve a water bath, though. I also had waited for the oven to reach the proper temperature after folding in the egg whites. Perhaps that was the reason? Who knows.

    So I went back to basics and did the lemon soufflé recipe from my school notes. It worked, kinda. Didn’t rise
    much, but had a nice light and lemony taste. Interesting challenge, but not one I’ll be doing again soon. As noted above, too fussy.

    Here’s one of the recipes Dave and Linda offered.

    Chocolate Souffle

    Adapted From BBC Good Food Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

    Ingredients

    FOR THE DISHES

    2 Tbsp (30 ml) 1 oz (30g) unsalted butter, for greasing
    Cocoa powder or finely grated chocolate

    FOR THE CREME PATISSERIE

    2 tbsp (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
    2 tsp (10 gm) (0.35 oz) caster (superfine) sugar (regular sugar is OK)
    ½ tsp (4½ gm) (0.15 oz) corn starch (aka cornflour)
    1 medium egg yolk
    1 medium whole egg
    4 Tbsp (60 ml) milk
    5 Tbsp (75 ml) heavy cream (or double cream)
    3 oz (90gm) good-quality dark chocolate preferably 70+% cocoa solids, broken in pieces
    2 Tbsp (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
    Optional: 2 tsp orange zest or 2 tsp minced chipotle chile en adobo or 1 tsp chipotle chile powder. (The chile version is a Monkeyshines favorite!) Optional: powdered sugar for dusting

    FOR THE EGG WHITES

    6 medium egg whites
    6½ Tbsp (95 ml) 3 oz (90g) superfine/caster sugar (if you don’t have it, regular sugar is OK)

    Directions:

    1. Heat oven to moderate 375 ˚F/190 ˚C/gas mark 5.

    2. Take four 1 cup/~240ml soufflé dishes and brush them completely with softened butter. Tip a little cocoa powder or grated chocolate into each dish, roll the dish around tilting it as you do so it is evenly lined all round.

    3. For the crème patisserie, mix the flour, sugar and corn starch into a small bowl. Put egg yolk and whole egg into a medium sized bowl, beat lightly, then beat in half of the flour mixture to give a smooth paste. Tip in the rest of the flour mixture and cocoa powder and mix well.

    4. To make the ganache, pour the milk and cream into a pan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and beat until it is melted and smooth with no lumps.

    5. Gradually stir hot chocolate ganache into the paste from step 3, and add the orange zest or chile if using. This is your crème patisserie.

    6. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks with an electric whisk. Sprinkle in the sugar as you are mixing. Keep whisking to give stiff, firm peaks to give volume to the soufflés.

    7. Stir about 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the beaten egg whites into the crème patisserie. Carefully fold in a third of the rest, cutting through the mixture. Fold in another third (take care not to lose the volume), then fold in the rest.

    8. Spoon the mixture into the dishes. Run a spoon across the top of each dish so the mixture is completely flat. Take a little time to wipe any splashes off the outside of each dish, or they will burn on while cooking.

    9. Bake the soufflés for 15-17 minutes.
    10. The soufflés should have risen by about two thirds of their original height and jiggle when moved, but be set on top.

     

     
    • Danielle 2:45 pm on November 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I have not been daring enough myself to try a souffle but after seeing your awesome pics, I think I’ve gotta! 🙂

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on October 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: donoughts, donuts,   

    Daring Bakers 44th Challenge: Mmmmm…doughnuts! 

    The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. Doughnuts!? Oh yeah! Also a proud canuck, I knew where this host was coming from. Tim Horton’s is more than a doughnut shop, it’s an institution in this country. Hun and I often have our Saturday breakfast there, and no matter the location, it’s always busy with a spectrum of people.

    I’ve always wanted to make donuts, but for some reason, was a little worried. Not sure why. Especially after doing this challenge. I was on my way home from holidays when I looked at this month’s challenge and emailed Hun right away. Glee, all around! The debate about what we would stuff in some of them started in Orlando, and continued while I waited for my connection in Houston airport. We’ve been playing with mini snickers stuffed in wonton wraps or funnel cake batter and fried, and doughnuts seemed the next natural step.

    For good measure, I tried both recipe. I was pleased to see (or taste) how less sweet homemade doughnuts can be.  The recipes suggested were straightforward. We fried the doughnuts outside on the bbq burner. Cooking time was quite less than the one suggested. Also, we found that 375F was too hot, cooking the outside before the inside was properly done. Reducing the heat to 350F fixed that. We tried a couple of glazes (white and chocolate) found on the web, but we’ll need to revisit those. Too watery and didn’t coat very well. The snickers stuffed doughnuts, done with the yeast recipe, worked well enough, though I’ll have to use more dough next time, to make sure the dough really rises around and covers the half mini-snickers piece well, as we ended up with some chocolate canola oil.

    All in all, a great challenge. We came out with four dozen donuts (not including the holes). Thankfully, these freeze well. 🙂 Looking forward to making some fresh ones at Christmas time, when my mother visits. She adores them — as a treat, of course.

    Yeast Doughnuts:

    Preparation time:
    Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
    Rising time – 1.5 hours total
    Cooking time – 12 minutes

    Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

    Ingredients
    Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
    Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
    Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
    Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
    Eggs, Large, beaten 2
    White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
    Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
    Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
    All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
    Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

    Directions:

    1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
    2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
    3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
    4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
    5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
    6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
    7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
    8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
    9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
    10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
    11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
    12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

    Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts:

    Preparation time:
    Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
    Cooking time – 12 minutes

    Yield: About 15 doughnuts & 15 doughnut holes, depending on size

    Ingredients
    Sour Cream ¼ cup / 60 ml / 60 gm / 2 oz
    All Purpose Flour 3 ¼ cup / 780 ml / 455 gm / 16 oz + extra for dusting surface
    White Granulated Sugar ¾ cup / 180 ml / 170 gm / 6 oz
    Baking Soda ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
    Baking Powder 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
    Kosher (Flaked) Salt 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz (If using table salt, only use ½ teaspoon)
    Nutmeg, grated 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / .3 oz
    Active Dry Yeast 1 1/8 teaspoon / 5.6 ml / 3.5 gm / .125 oz
    Buttermilk ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoon / 210 ml / 225 gm / 7 ¾ oz
    Egg, Large 1
    Egg Yolk, Large 2
    Pure Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon / 15 ml
    Powdered (Icing) Sugar ¼ cup / 120 ml / 65 gm / 2.3 oz (Used for decorating and is optional)

    Directions:

    1. In a small stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, heat the sour cream until just warm.
    2. Heat the oil to 375°F/190°C.
    3. Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the sour cream over it. Allow it to soften (if using packed fresh yeast), about 1 minute.
    4. Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix until it is completely incorporated. The dough will be very sticky. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.
    5. Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour. You don’t want the doughnuts sticking to your counter. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.
    6. Drop three to four doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown, turn them and cook the other side. Cooking times may vary, but with my oil at 375 °F/190°C, I found they only took about 20 to 30 seconds per side.
    7. Once cooked, place on a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain.

    Sift powdered sugar over doughnuts and serve.

     
  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on August 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Daring Bakers 22nd Challenge: Dobos Torte 

    The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

    The Dobos Torta is a five-layer sponge cake, filled with a rich chocolate buttercream and topped with thin wedges of caramel. It was invented in 1885 by József C. Dobos, a Hungarian baker, and it rapidly became famous throughout Europe for both its extraordinary taste and its keeping properties. The recipe was a secret until Dobos retired in 1906 and gave the recipe to the Budapest Confectioners’ and Gingerbread Makers’ Chamber of Industry, providing that every member of the chamber can use it freely.

    I’m now used to multi-step recipes, thanks to nearly two years of monthly Daring Bakers challenges. Not much fazes me anymore. No matter how complex and long a recipe seems, it’s just a question of reading through a few times and tackling each component one at a time. I did have an additional challenge, however, with this recipe. The heat! We had been going through a two-week heat wave in Vancouver, and the thought of spending a day in a hot kitchen did not thrill me. But it was also a long weekend and what better time than a quiet Monday at home to bake? So, on with the show I went. My favorite part of this recipe was the technique used to make the layers of cake. Each was created separately, by spreading the batter on stenciled parchment paper. I was used to baking one cake and slicing the layers from that one cake. This technique brought back memories of working on Thomas Keller’s tuiles for the canapé competition for the Chef’s’ Table Society of BC a couple of years ago. The offset spatula remains one of my favorite all-purpose tool in the kitchen.

    It all came together alright, though it took longer as I had to put parts to cool down in the fridge at various stages due to the heat. The only problem, I think,  was my caramel. I don’t think I cooked it long enough. It was quite sticky and not brittle in the end. But, it was still a very nice and rich cake. I used a simple syrup flavoured with Frangelico to seal each cake layer. If you love hazelnuts, this is the cake for you. Thanks for the challenge, ladies!

    Dobos Torte

    Equipment

    • 2 baking sheets
    • 9” (23cm) springform tin and 8” cake tin, for templates
    • mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
    • a sieve
    • a double boiler (a large saucepan plus a large heat-proof mixing bowl which fits snugly over the top of the pan)
    • a small saucepan
    • a whisk (you could use a balloon whisk for the entire cake, but an electric hand whisk or stand mixer will make life much easier)
    • metal offset spatula
    • sharp knife
    • a 7 1/2” cardboard cake round, or just build cake on the base of a sprinfrom tin.
    • piping bag and tip, optional

    Prep times

    • Sponge layers 20 mins prep, 40 mins cooking total if baking each layer individually.
    • Buttercream: 20 mins cooking. Cooling time for buttercream: about 1 hour plus 10 minutes after this to beat and divide.
    • Caramel layer: 10-15 minutes.
    • Assembly of whole cake: 20 minutes

    Sponge cake layers

    • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
    • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar, divided
    • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
    • pinch of salt

    Chocolate Buttercream

    • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
    • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
    • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

    Caramel topping

    • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
    • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
    • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

    Finishing touches

    • a 7” cardboard round
    • 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
    • ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

    Directions for the sponge layers:

    NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

    1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
    2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9″ (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn’t touch the cake batter.)

    3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner’s (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don’t have a mixer.)

    4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner’s (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.

    5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8″ springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)

    Directions for the chocolate buttercream:

    NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

    1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
    2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
    3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
    4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
    5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

    Lorraine’s note: If you’re in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you’ll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!

    Directions for the caramel topping:

    1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
    2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
    3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn’t just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

    Angela’s note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

    Assembling the Dobos

    1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
    2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
    3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
    4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

     
    • lauren 2:55 am on August 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      great job! your torte looks great 🙂

    • Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar 4:00 am on August 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Ah yes, the heat!! When I first trialled this cake it was a freakish 32C in my kitchen so I thought that if it worked in that temperature, it would work just about anywhere! Still, despite the heatwave your Dobos looks fantastic! Well done!

    • maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) 5:04 am on August 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      the caramel was a bit of a pain, but it looks great. good job.

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on July 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , marshmallow   

    Daring Bakers 21st Challenge: Mallows (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies) 

    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.  I was thrilled when I saw that marshmallow was part of the challenge. It is something I had wanted to try making for a while, but had never got around to it. This particular cookie also had a more personal appeal to me. I grew up with “whippets“, the name of this type of cookie produced by Viau in Québec. I have fond memories of the way my father taught sis and I to eat this cookie: eat the chocolate covering first, then “inhale” the marshmallow in one breath; a technique which horrified my mother (JP!!), and naturally delighted us. 🙂

    Last Sunday, I finally started on this recipe. We have had a very hot and dry spell, here in Vancouver, and I was worried it would affect the setting time for the marshmallow and chocolate. Nonetheless, time was running out and I went to work. The cookie base was as simple as can be. I was worried how wet and sticky it remained even after the refrigeration period, but it yielded a very nice base, almost a wringer for the original cookie. The marshmallow part turned out to be almost as simple as whipping up a meringue. Since I could not find light corn syrup, I opted for one of the options suggested in the forum, namely half glucose syrup and half normal corn syrup. It worked beautifully (but man, is that stuff sticky when you pipe it…). The ‘mallow setup quickly enough and I was off to the glazing part. Again, simple enough, using my potato masher as the holding and dunking tool. The heat didn’t help in this case at all. It was still soft come the next morning. After reading one of my DB colleague’s problem with chocolate blooming after she had refrigerated the cookies, I was hesitant to resort to that. So I took a couple to work that morning and stored it in the fridge. Not a problem. The chocolate kept its beautiful luster and I became addicted, once more, to this luscious cookie. It will definitely be part of my cookie roster.

    Thankfully we had the option of doing one or both of the cookies for the challenge. The weather being what it is right now, I stopped at this one.  A great challenge, it really piqued my curiosity in marshmallow making. It’s an area I’ll explore more come Fall and more suitable baking climate. Thanks for a great challenge, Nicole!

    Mallows (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)IMG_0786
    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.

     
    • Lauren 10:57 am on July 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Yum!! Your mallows look amazing =D. My chocolate also didn’t want to set very much, and the fridge seemed to do the trick. Beautiful job on this challenge!!

    • suzon 3:12 pm on July 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Mon dieu, mon dieu, mon dieu. Moi qui est folle-dingue des Whippets. Tu me fais saliver la mère. Une chance qu’il y a tous ces fuseaux horaires entre nous parce qu’ils ne seraient pas restés longtemps dans ton frigo, tes Whippets-maison. They look absolutely and devinely delicious. Bravo !

    • pixeltheatre 2:57 pm on August 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Lauren! Merci la mère! 🙂

  • pixeltheatre 7:20 pm on July 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cherries. cake, cherry, ,   

    Rouxbe’s Cherry and Wine Cake 

    I like to be guided by serendipity. My honey told me last Wednesday night, when we met for dinner, that his neighbor had given him a fresh bag of cherries from her tree, adjacent to his garden. He wasn’t sure what to do with them all. On Thursday I received one of the latest Rouxbe posts in my in-box. Sure enough, there was a recipe for a nice cherry torte. On Saturday, while he was working on a side job, I went to work on this recipe. It turned out to be a perfect grown-up dessert on a hot summer Vancouver night: not too sweet, with a healthy dose of white wine. Served with a bit of ice cream, it was a perfect ending, enjoyed on a cool evening  garden patio. I’ll be keeping this recipe close by to try with other fruit this season.

     
    • dawn 3:51 pm on July 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      looks great…btw – thanks for the shout-out!

    • Charlotte 9:53 pm on July 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I love everything about cherries, so I had to make the compote and the Cherry & Wine Cake. Both were fabulous! I made two batches of the compote thinking it would last all week….I don’t think so..it’s all gone!!The cake was fast to whip up and very delicious. Bravo Dawn, thanks for the recipes.

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on June 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: almonds, lemon curd, tart   

    Daring Bakers – 20th Challenge: Bakewell Tart 

    The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England. There was quite a bit of history to this dessert. According to the Challenge,

    Flan-like desserts that combine either sweet egg custard over candied fruit or feature spiced ground almonds in a pastry shell have Mediaeval roots. The term “Bakewell pudding” was first penned in 1826 by Meg Dods; 20 years later Eliza Acton published a recipe that featured a baked rich egg custard overtop 2cm of jam…

    By the latter half of the 1800s, the egg custard evolved into a frangipane-like filling; since then the quantity of jam decreased while the almond filling increased.

    This tart, like many of the world’s great foods has its own mythic beginnings…or several mythic beginnings. Legend has it in 1820 (or was it in the 1860s?) Mrs. Greaves, landlady of The White Horse Inn in Bakewell, Derbyshire (England), asked her cook to produce a pudding for her guests. Either her instructions could have been clearer or he should have paid better attention to what she said because what he made was not what she asked for. The cook spread the jam on top of the frangipane mixture rather than the other way around. Or maybe instead of a sweet rich shortcrust pastry case to hold the jam for a strawberry tart, he made a regular pastry and mixed the eggs and sugar separately and poured that over the jam—it depends upon which legend you follow.

    Regardless of what the venerable Mrs. Greaves’ cook did or didn’t do, lore has it that her guests loved it and an ensuing pastry-clad industry was born. The town of Bakewell has since played host to many a sweet tooth in hopes of tasting the tart in its natural setting.

    The recipe was pretty straightforward. I went to my favorite grocery store for all things baking, Famous Foods, and found almond dust, perfect for the sweet pastry crust. I prepared the dough the night before to allow it to rest overnight. I wasn’t quite sure what to use as the fruity filling. After a bit of dithering, I finally opted for a lemon curd. The next day, I made the curd, rolled pastry and placed it in the freezer. The frangipane was next and then the assembly. It turned out to be a very light and not too sweet tart. Quite nice. I love almonds, so this was right up my alley. I served the tart with a a simple whipped cream, flavoured with a bit of limoncello. Another nice addition to my dessert roster. Great challenge, and I loved the historical component to it. Thank you ladies!

    Bakewell Tart

    Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
    Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
    Resting time: 15 minutes
    Baking time: 30 minutes
    Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

    One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
    Bench flour
    250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
    One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
    One handful blanched, flaked almonds

    Assembling the tart
    Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it’s overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

    Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

    The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

    When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

    Sweet shortcrust pastry

    Prep time: 15-20 minutes
    Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
    Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

    225g (8oz) all purpose flour
    30g (1oz) sugar
    2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
    110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
    2 (2) egg yolks
    2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
    15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

    Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

    Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

    Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

    Frangipane

    Prep time: 10-15 minutes
    Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

    125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
    125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
    3 (3) eggs
    2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
    125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
    30g (1oz) all purpose flour

    Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

     
    • Lauren 4:23 pm on June 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Yum!! Your tart looks amazing =D. I love the lemon curd!!

    • lisamichele 4:20 am on June 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful Bakewell, the lemon curd segues into the frangipane beautifully! Looks smooth, creamy and delicious! Incredible job!

    • asti soehoed 4:22 am on June 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Lemon curd paired beautifully with the almond frangipane. Great job.

    • Danielle 5:42 am on July 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Looks sooo great!!

    • jasmine 3:55 pm on July 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Glad you liked the challenge.

      Thanks for participating.
      j

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