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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on September 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, puff pastry, vols-au-vent   

    Daring Bakers 23rd Challenge: Vols-au-Vent 

    The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  I was grateful for this particular challenge, as it only involved four basic ingredients. Well, five, if you include the water. 🙂  This was also a nice chance to revisit puff pastry, which we did for the strudel challenge last May. (Nice video with Michel Richard and Julia Child showing the technique) It’s a pretty straightforward process, involving letting the dough chill out more than anything else. Again, a nice reprieve from the usual labour-intensive challenge. We had a choice of savoury or sweet filling. I went with my usual for this pastry, chicken à la king — cooked chicken in a white sauce, spiced with a nice dose of smoked paprika, served with green peas. Hum… hum… Nice Fall challenge. Thanks Steph!

    • Nicole 2:39 am on September 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Mmm… comfort food. That sounds delicious. I’ll have to use some of my leftover dough for something like this!

  • pixeltheatre 3:15 pm on February 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, , cupcake, See's, Toffee-ettes   

    Toffee-ettes® mini chocolate Valentine’s candy cupcakes 

    As a fan of the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, I find it fascinating how chefs can incorporate one single ingredient into so many different dishes (trout ice cream, anyone?….)  So, when an email arrived from a representant of See’s Candies®, offering me a chance to develop other sweets using their own products, I jumped at the chance of playing mini Iron Chef!

    My challenge was to come up with a Valentine’s day treat using one of See’s many candy products. Unfortunately, See’s Candies ® shops are not in Canada, but they were happy to send me a couple of products of my choice. I looked through the site and it was a tough choice. In the end, I settled on See’s Toffee-ettes® and Dark Mint Krispys®.

    My next challenge was to find a recipe that used simple ingredients and was quick to prepare. I settled on the tried and true recipe for my cream cheese and chocolate mini-cupcakes. The chocolate batter is a cinch to put together and has a wonderful deep flavor. Add crushed Toffee-ettes® for texture and you’ve got a nice two-bite chocolaty-sweet and crunchy cupcake. Here’s the final recipe:

    Toffee-ettes® mini chocolate Valentine’s candy cupcake

    Preheat oven to 350F.

    Dry Ingredients:

    In a medium bowl, mix well together using a whisk:

    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup cocoa
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt

    In a large measuring cup, or small bowl, mix together:

    1 cup cold water
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1 Tbsp white vinegar
    1 tsp vanilla

    Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, whisk well until smooth. Crush approximately 10 Toffee-ettes® nuggets using a small processor. This should yield about one cup of crumble. Fold the crumble into the batter. Fill each cupcake liner to 3/4 full. Bake 16-18 minutes. Freezes well, and thaws in just a couple of minutes. Yields about 48 mini cupcakes.

    Toffee-ettes® make a versatile add-on to many baked goods. The only challenge would be to keep them around long enough. They’re addictive just on their own! Stay tuned for my take on the Dark Mint Krispys®.

    • markjohnhiemstra 3:37 pm on February 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, that looks good. I wonder how it would work out, as I’m in Canada, to replace the candy with some Crispy Crunch, or Smarties. I’ma try and see what happens.

    • pixeltheatre 4:00 pm on February 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply


      Almond Rocca would also work, and Ferro Rocher would also come close to the texture. A mixture of Skor bar and almonds would be another option. See’s Candy do ship to Canada. Thanks for posting!

    • Reverend Tex B. Acon 8:53 pm on March 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for providing more Bacon information to the World! Praise B!(acon)

    • Samuel L. 2:57 am on April 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      If you want to hear a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this post for 4/5. Detailed info, but I just have to go to that damn msn to find the missed bits. Thanks, anyway!

    • Goji More 3:24 am on October 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hurrah! In the end I got a website from where I can truly take valuable facts regarding my study and knowledge.

  • pixeltheatre 8:40 pm on January 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking,   

    Daring Bakers 15th Challenge: Tuiles 

    This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. The requirements were fairly simple:

    • use one of the batters given,
    • shape it either prior (using a stencil) or right after baking and
    • pair it with something light; fruit, sorbet, a mousse, or maybe even a fruit soup, think glazes or dips…..

    Bend it, shape it, anyway you want it!

    I was familiar with tuiles, thanks to participating in the BC Chef Table canapé competition when I was in school. We worked with the Thomas Keller tuile recipe for the cones used to house curried crab. I remember the many attempts at getting the thickness just right on the silpat, and the burnt fingertips as we rolled the hot tuiles over small metal cones.  This afternoon was a nice trip down memory lane. I decided to pair the pink tuile, in honour of upcoming Valentine’s Day, with a pannacotta, infused with vanilla and anise star. The coulis is a reduction of mixed berries and balsamic vinagar. 

    • Barbara 8:59 pm on January 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I paired mine with panna cotta as well. Your berry sauce looks delicious!

    • Jo 12:57 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Great job on your challenge. I love your combination flavours and am sure it was delicious.

    • Christi 8:10 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      ooh, what a great combo, tuiles and panna cotta! yum!

    • sara 8:39 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      This looks beautiful…a perfect pairing for valentine’s day! Yum.

    • JennyBakes 10:22 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      This looks delicious, nice job!

    • lisamichele 11:08 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      What a beautiful plate! Love the pink tuiles!

    • Andreas 12:34 pm on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Yummy picture.

      I did a panna cotta, too. (first try ever)
      Btw. what ratio of gelatine/cream do you use.

    • bakergirlcreations 2:08 pm on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      The tuile looks great! I want try the berry sauce over plain yogurt – yum 🙂

    • suzon 2:09 pm on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Mmmmm. J’imagine que c’était aussi bon que la photo est belle.

    • toontz 1:09 pm on January 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds absolutely divine!!

    • Debyi 6:54 pm on February 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I love your pink tuiles, great job.

    • pixeltheatre 9:36 pm on February 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks all for the comments. Always appreciated. To answer Andreas question:

      The recipe I use for my pannacotta is close to yours. The cream is diluted with whole milk and has a bit less sugar. This should help cut down on the heaviness you describe. This is one of my favorite desserts now.

      170 ml cream
      55 ml milk
      30 g sugar
      1.5 sheets gelatin

      Flavoring (vanilla beans, cinnamon, star anise, etc…)


    • Diana 12:16 pm on February 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      That sounds delicious! I love it when cooking takes me down memory lane, it somehow seems to make the food taste better.

    • Y 3:13 pm on February 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Tuile looks lovely, and that sauce sounds incredibly yummy!

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on October 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, , pizza   

    Daring Bakers 12th Challenge: Bake Your Pizzas Like A Real Pizzaiolo! 

    This month’s challenge did not involve so much ingredients as technique. Hosted by Rosa’s Yummy Yums, we were tasked to reach new heights in our baking skills, literally. Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, was the inspiration behind the choice of recipe, with his Basic Pizza Dough. How hard can it be when the ingredients call for simple flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar and olive oil?… It wasn’t and resulted in a very nice pliable dough. Which was key to the next step: tossing it!

    Yep, we were supposed to toss this dough, not once but twice, for the challenge. After viewing the video, I thought, this can’t be too hard… It was. I managed to stretch it on my hands and kinda bounce it on my fists to stretch it. But I was afraid it would rip if I did more. I did not have much more luck with the second ball of dough, as it ripped. I had to roll that one in the end. Still the crusts turned out nice and crispy. I used a combination of tomato sauce and pesto sauce for the base, with salami/prosciutto, pepperoncinis and smoked mozzarella and blue cheese. We had no problem eating it at all. In fact, I nearly forgot to take a picture of the final product. :0 You get hungry after all that “tossing”…

    Here’s how the pros do it:

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on July 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, , , filberts,   

    Daring Bakers – 9th Challenge: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream 

    This month’s challenge, hosted by Chris (AKA Mele Cotte), gave us a chance to try another buttercream recipe. Although it sounded very much like the Opera Cake challenge of May, I was happy to try my hand at another layer cake since I had missed the May challenge.

    The Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream was picked from Great Cakes by Carole Walter. After printing the recipe, which came in at six (6) pages, I read it through. And again. And again. And again. This challenge came down to six (6) recipes:

    1 Filbert Genoise
    1 recipe sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum limoncello
    1 recipe Praline Buttercream (buttercream + praline recipes)
    1 recipe Apricot berry Glaze
    1 recipe Ganache Glaze

    A first for me was the praline part of the praline buttercream. Luckily, I like filberts. I tried the method suggested to remove the skins from filberts (roasting the filberts, then rubbing the skins off with the help of a tea towel), without much success. I finally found unskinned nuts at Famous Foods, which is rapidly becoming my go-to store for all things baking. 

    I usually devote a single day to Daring Bakers challenges. This time around I thought I’d  break it up and do a bit each evening, since a lot of the components could be made in advance. By the third evening of prepping and doing dishes, however, I’d come to the conclusion I will return to the dedicated one-day schedule. I just wanted to get it done and over with.

    At the end of it all, I was somewhat happy with the results. My cake collapsed during cooling, but it gave me a new appreciation for the masking power of glaze and chocolate ganache ( 😉 ). Piping the praline buttercream became a reminder to go with the flow, as bits of praline kept getting stuck in my one-size-too-small piping tip. It’s amazing the life lessons that can be gleamed from a DB challenge…

    Bring on August!

    • Ann 9:01 am on July 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Nice work!

    • Lorrie 6:45 am on July 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      yes! ganache will cover anything! Your cake looks great 🙂

    • Lauren 9:12 am on August 3, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your cake looks wonderful! Ganache is truly a secret weapon, I’m glad it served you well!

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on June 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, Danish, dough, fruit filling,   

    Daring Bakers Challenge 8th Challenge : Danish Braid 

    Been a while since I had a chance to post here. The month of May was particularly nutty, so I had to skip the Opera Cake challenge. I was excited when I saw the June Challenge. The Danish braid was another opportunity to try my hand at flaky dough. We had done it once in cooking school and I was looking forward to trying it again. I read the recipe a couple of times, a little too quickly, I might add. It was not until last Sunday, the day I had set aside to make this recipe, that I realized the amount of time needed. I kinda missed the “5 hours, or overnight”, final resting period. So, I ended up doing it over two days.

    The recipe, from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking, was relatively straight forward.  I used a mixed fruit filling instead of the apple one suggested. We had a choice, luckily, and I had these frozen berries I wanted to use. I did a simple jam, based on the recipe presented in the video, included as a reference by our hosts for the challenge, Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? The video also included a demonstration by Beatrice Ojakangas of the braiding techniques. Despite that, and the fact that I carefully counted slats on each side, I think I came out short somehow. There was a bit of last minute tucking and hiding (grin). The smell that emanated during baking was just incredible. The combination of orange and cardamom is to die for.  I could barely wait long enough for it to cool before cutting a slice off. Turned out quite nicely. Another wonderful recipe added to the repertoire. Thanks again Daring Bakers for this opportunity!

    BTW, Daring Bakers has moved to a new site and now offers a forum for non-members who wish to hang out with other bakers. The new site is here.  Of course, new members are always welcome. Details on how to join are available here

    • Robyn 8:07 am on June 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Glad your back. I like the neat little swirl look to the side of your braid.

    • Dolores 9:33 am on June 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Funny how for many of us this month the challenge was in the timing. Great job, and glad to have you back among us.

    • MyKitchenInHalfCups 2:42 am on June 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Oh I do love your picture making it look so rich . . . oh wait it was rich! Loverly braid.

    • Angela 8:09 am on June 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, your layers look perfect! Great job on this month’s challenge!

    • Lorrie 8:16 am on June 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      your braid looks delicious!

    • breadchick 8:56 am on June 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Well done! It’s nice to be back in the DB saddle again isn’t it?!

    • Sophie 1:32 pm on June 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      We’d like to invite you to participate in our July berry recipe contest. All competitors will be placed on our blogroll, and the winner will receive a fun prize! Please email me, sophiekiblogger@gmail.com, if you’re interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details. (Click on my name in the message header link to visit our blog. 🙂

    • Claire 8:10 pm on June 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Nice job! Glad you’re back.

    • giz 4:10 am on July 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Very cool looking braid –

    • Jen Yu 8:35 am on July 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Oh my goodness, look at the layering in your dough! It looks fantastic. Congrats on your successful challenge 🙂

    • Lisa 9:06 pm on July 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      You’ve got like 54 layers! Nice 🙂

    • Jenny 10:53 am on July 6, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Lots of layers, always a good thing.

  • pixeltheatre 10:13 pm on June 26, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, , cuisine, , nanaimo bar, , , sugar, sweet   

    Mmm…Canada – The Sweet Edition 

    Jennifer (The Domestic Goddess) is hosting this year the Mmm…Canada – The Sweet Edition. In 2005 she asked Canadian bloggers and non-bloggers to talk about their favorite meal, the one that really said Canada to them. This year she decided to up the ante:

    This year let’s make our proverbial pot a little bigger; a little sweeter, if you will. Let’s get together as many bloggers as we can to share their favourite Canadian confection, indulgence, dessert, sweet…anything really! As long as says Canada to you and you can get some sort of Sugar High from it, we want to know about it.

    As mentioned below in the Savoury Edition, I am Québec-born and bred. Quebecers are renowned for their sweet tooth. The dessert that most typifies this for me is Sugar Pie (with a name like that, how can you go wrong?). Tarte au sucre is one of those recipes that offers a lot of variations: maple sugar, brown sugar, flour, no flour, butter or not, cream, etc. Some families guard their version and pass it down generation to generation. I blogged on this last year. The full post can be found here.This entry is the most popular on my site, thanks to an incoming link from Wipedia. I never realized how many people were interested in this dessert…

    Here’s the recipe I usually use. It’s foolproof and quick to prepare.

    Quick Sugar Pie
    (Recipe: courtesy of Mme Paquin, Trois-Rivières)
    1 cup of brown sugar, packed
    1/2 cup whipping cream
    1 tablespoon flour

    Mix ingredients in bowl until smooth. Throw in a frozen pie crust and bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream. It tastes even better cold, the day after.

    Now, living on the West Coast, my other favorite sugar high is provided by the Nanaimo Bar.  You can’t beat it for a quick pick-me-up in the afternoon (followed by the inevitable crash). Here’s a recipe from The City of Nanaimo’s website:

    Nanaimo Bar - Stephanie Spencer - Wikipedia Commons Nanaimo Bar Recipe
    Bottom Layer

    • ½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • 5 tbsp. cocoa
      1 egg beaten
    • 1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
    • ½ c. finely chopped almonds
    • 1 cup coconut

    Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.
    Second Layer

    • ½ cup unsalted butter
    • 2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
    • 2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
    • 2 cups icing sugar

    Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
    Third Layer

    • 4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
    • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

    Melt chocolate and butter overlow heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

    Note: This dessert/snack also comes in prepackaged mixes for the time-pressed.

    (Photo: Stephanie Spencer, Wikipedia Commons)

    • Jennifer 11:55 am on June 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, sugar pie…very few things are more Canadian than that! Thanks so much for joining in on Mmm…Canada!

    • Candice 10:18 pm on June 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Last time I made sugar pie, it turned out a bit too runny. Next time I’m going to try your recipe! Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

    • madcapCupcake 7:56 am on July 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      TWO sweet delights – and both looks delcious 🙂

    • ileygilbert 7:11 pm on July 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      oh my gosh these all look amazing!

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, , French Bread, Julia Child   

    Daring Bakers – 5th Challenge: French Bread – The Julia Way 

    One of the exhilarating aspects of being part of the bakerhood that is Daring Bakers, is knowing that youBread Rising become a better baker after each new challenge. There is always a trick or two to pick up, a new way of looking at a process, a new direction to stretch your skills and comfort zone. This challenge proved this once more.

    Hosted by  Breadchick Mary (The Sour Dough), and Sara (I like to cook), we were dared to bake French Bread, the Julia Child way. Well, I’ve baked a lot of bread from scratch, but I have to admit my jaw dropped when I read the instructions. How could a recipe with four (4) basic ingredients take so long!? Eight (8) to nine (9) hours?! Whoa! The bread I usually bake entails one proof/rise, shaping and a second shorter rise. Total time from French Breadkneading to fragrant bread out of the oven: 2.5 hours. My curiosity was piqued. We had been warned so many times in cooking school not to let the bread over-rise, that I was a bit skeptical. Nonetheless, on a quiet Sunday, I got up early and plunged in.

    I’ve always made bread the old fashion way, kneading by hand. Since the option to use an electric mixer was offered with this challenge, I decided to try it that way. Improvement #1: It’s a lot more efficient to make bread this way. The mixer bowl is ideal for the first proofing. A keeper. Next up? Using the oven, with the light on, as the rising chamber. Brilliant! Even better, wrapping the bowl in a towel. That’s how I’ll be rising bread from now on. French Bread

    The whole process was pretty straightforward, just time consuming. I may have gotten a bit impatient at the end. My shaped bread (three ficelles) could have risen a little longer. Still, I was really happy with the final results. I’m not sure I’ll be repeating the whole process in the future, but I’m sure the tricks learned will make my regular method even tastier. Thanks for the challenge, Breadchick Mary and Sara!

    The full recipe is available here.

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    • Molly W. 12:28 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Well those are certainly cute little loaves of bread you have there.

    • pixeltheatre 12:50 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Molly!

    • Annemarie 1:14 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Fabulous bread – love your final proofing box. Maybe next time you should commit to the full 9 hours and use your hands, just as the French would. 🙂

    • Big Boys Oven 1:33 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      the cross section of your bread looks incredible, so fantastic!

    • pixeltheatre 1:38 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks AnneMarie. That final rise never really happened. Didn’t seem to want to go anywhere. Same problem you had, I think.

      Thanks Big Boys Oven. I use a bread knife to make the slashes. You gotta be fast, though… 🙂

    • Amber 9:11 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful loaves. Congratulations on completing the challenge. I can’t wait to see what next month brings.

    • marye 10:43 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      The texture looks incredible. Nice job.

    • Joy 11:14 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I love the golden colour of your loaves – they look lovely.

    • Mary 11:35 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your bread looks great! Nicely done!

    • pixeltheatre 2:05 pm on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      @Amber: Thanks. I look forward to the next one as well.
      @Marye: Tasted great too. Even reheated after being frozen.
      @Joy: Thank you.
      @Mary: Thanks!

    • DawnsRecipes 2:32 pm on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Just lovely! I’d expect to see those poking out of a basket at a local bakery.

    • pixeltheatre 2:48 pm on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Dawn!

    • breadchick 10:15 pm on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      So glad you enjoyed the challenge. Half the fun of DB Challenges is learning new techniques and your breads look fantastic

      Thanks for baking with Sara and I!

    • pixeltheatre 10:45 pm on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Mary. It was fun!

    • Sheltie Girl 7:10 am on March 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      You did a wonderful job on your ficelles. Your pictures are beautiful.

      Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

    • maria~ 11:06 am on March 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your ficelles are gorgeous! I think they belong in a bakery 🙂

    • Jaime 8:01 pm on March 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      your ficelles look great! i agree…w/each challenge we learn a little something new that we take w/us, even if we don’t make the recipe again!

    • Sara 12:10 am on March 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful bread!

    • JennyBakes 12:44 pm on March 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, you are one of the few to actually make baguettes. I salute you, they look great.

    • Deborah 3:41 pm on March 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I learned some tricks from this challenge as well. Great job!

    • Terry C 2:57 pm on July 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Hi just did the whole thing today all day …
      I had to cut some corners but they still came out great, made two batches 6 baguettes total for a cheese fondue tonight.. couldnt wait the time for them to cool just had to taste one as soon as it was cool enough to handle can’t stop..now..
      wish I could have uploaded the photos for you..
      Thanks for the site to review and do the recipe

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, , Lemon, ,   

    Daring Bakers – 4th Challenge: Lemon Meringue Pie 

    Lemon Meringue PieMy baking activities abruptly fell off after the holidays. I realized that I simply can’t eat everything I bake, and so a lot of it goes to waste. As much as a lot of the challenges out there are enticing, I just can’t afford to address most of them. However, one I will never miss is the Daring Bakers challenge. This month’s recipe was a particularly refreshing one: Lemon Meringue Pie.

    Our  January hostess was Jen, from The Canadian Baker. I was thrilled I was going to get a chance to make a custard once more. After my Bostini massacre, I needed that boost in confidence, even though the recipe was quite different for this custard.

    As most DB recipes, this one was a multi-step process. To break it up, I prepared the pastry the night before and let it rest in the fridge overnight. We had done pâte brisée a few times in cooking school. The process of gently kneading the flour and butter together brings fond memories of Chef Tony reminding us the importance of safekeeping these pockets of butter amidst the flour. That’s what creates the flakiness of the crust. There is a particular expression used to describe this process: fraisage. I was happy with the resulting crust.

    The custard process was straightforward and reminded me of the freshness of lemon. I especially Lemon Meringue Pie sliceappreciated that this recipe did not leave any unused egg whites – they ended up in the meringue. Thanks to my mother’s gift of a gorgeous KitchenAid mixer, that was done in a snap. I had never sealed a pie with meringue before, but I just love the look of it.That’s a technique I’ll definitely use again.

    Another winner of a recipe!

    • Dolores 12:37 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Great job! I love the tales of your time with Chef Tony. And I’m with you on the egg whites… after the last few challenges I was growing weary of egg white omelettes. 🙂

    • sher 1:32 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, I feel so inadequate! Your pie looks marvelous–the way you did the meringue is splendid.

    • Pixie 2:16 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Looks great, well done!

    • Rosa 3:26 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your pie looks really great! Good job!



    • Babeth 5:13 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      congratulations my “daring friend” your pie looks very yummy!!

    • Katia 7:18 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, Your pie looks great! I like the circular design on the meringue.

    • Aparna 8:19 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your pie looks good. I especially liked the design on the meringue, a nice change from the “hedgehoggy” look.:)

    • Amber 8:38 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your pie looks wonderful. Congratulations on the sucessful challenge.

    • culinography 12:20 pm on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Looks wonderful! Great job on this month’s challenge!

    • Adriana 1:37 pm on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent job!!! your pie it’s beatiful!!!

      Congratulations! 🙂

    • Tina 4:04 pm on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Great job!! I love the spiral of your meringue. It looks amazing!

    • Iisha 4:51 pm on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Looking great… good job.


    • breadchick 7:04 pm on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Nice job on your challenge! The right mixer sure helps with some tasks doesn’t it!!

    • Jess 12:35 am on January 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Nice swirls and lovely thick lemon curd

    • Big Boys Oven 1:39 am on January 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      such a huge pie…. we love it and not hate but adore it, well done!

    • Deborah 8:49 am on January 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your pie looks wonderful! I love the swirls on your meringue.

    • Maryann 1:57 pm on January 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      The meringue spiral is hypnotizing me! haha. Great job you!

    • Kaykat 6:10 pm on January 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Yum! The lemon curd looks perfect!

    • Lisa 11:42 pm on January 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Looks great, good job 🙂

    • Ivonne 1:57 pm on January 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Well done! Your meringue is so nicely browned!

    • acupofjoy 12:24 am on January 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your lemon curd looks lovely! Wonderful!

    • Jenny 6:00 am on January 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your meringue swirl draws you in, saying EAT ME!! 🙂

    • Jen 10:57 am on January 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Great job on your LMP – it looks beautiful and the filling held up perfectly 🙂

    • Claire 6:38 pm on January 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Great swirly meringue. Glad you don’t skip out on the DB challenges. You just need to find a group of friends to be tasters for you…that’s what I do! (or family!) 🙂

    • Jessica 9:33 am on February 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your meringue is so unique looking! Great job!

  • pixeltheatre 9:34 pm on January 6, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, , meatballs, Pigs's feet stew, , , , tradtional recipe   

    Passing on the tradition…Ragoût de pattes de cochon 

    Ragoût de pattesFinally, with craziness of the holidays behind me, I can settle down once more and get my life back on track. It’s nutty – all this hoopla for one day…

    Although I haven’t contributed much to this blog recently, the holidays were all about baking and cooking for me. I went back East to spend the holidays with my mom. It had been a couple of years since I had been to T.O for the holidays, so it was my turn to make the trek. Luckily the weather cooperated and stayed mild throughout my stay. Despite that, I wasn’t in the mood to confront mobs of people in stores this year. Luckily, my shopping excursions extended to grocery stores. I was determined this year to learn the technique for making Quebec’s traditional stew of “Ragoût de pattes”, or pigs’ feet stew. Since we were hosting the Christmas dinner, it all got rolled into a week of non-stop cooking and baking. It was great!

    The recipe my mom uses as her base for the stew is from Jehane Benoît, a famous Quebec cook. With a few modifications, we came out with this recipe. (Hint: caramelize your onions and hocks until dark brown for a richer sauce).

    Ragoût de pattes de cochon

    1.5 kg pork hocks
    1 tsp Salt
    1/4 tsp Pepper
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    1 pinch Nutmeg
    4 tbsp Butter
    4-6 cups Water
    1/2 cube of chicken stock, dissolved in water above
    1 Cup onions, caramelized
    4 tbsp flour, roasted
    1/2 Cup Water

    Instructions :
    1. Season pork hocks with salaison (salt, pepper, ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)
    overnight .
    2. Caramelized onions in a deep saucepan in 2 Tbsp butter. Remove from saucepan.
    3. In same saucepan, melt 2 tbsp butter and sear well pork hocks.
    4. Add water and dissolved chicken stock cube, and onions to pork hocks. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for at least two
    hours, until meat falls from bones.
    5. Remove pork hocks from saucepan and cool overnight in fridge. Remove/skim congealed fat.
    6. Roast flour in oven until caramel brown (350F).
    7. Remove meat from bone and set aside.
    8. Thicken pork hocks liquid with roasted flour until nice thick consistency. Season with
    salt, pepper (and allspice) to taste.
    9. Add cooked pork meatballs and pork meat and heat thoroughly.
    10. Traditionally served with boiled potatoes.

    Pork Meatballs
    1 lb ground pork, lean
    1 Cup Milk
    1 Cup bread crumbs
    3/4 Cup onion, finely chopped
    1/2 Cup celery, finely chopped
    to taste Salt
    to taste Pepper
    to taste Allspice

    Instructions :
    1. Mix milk and bread crumbs well
    2. Add pork, celery and onions. Mix well.
    3. Add seasoning to taste and refrigerate overnight.
    4. Roll mixture into 1-inch meatballs and fry in a bit of butter until 3/4 cooked.
    5. Add to Ragoût de pattes to complete cooking.

    This was one of the best ragoût we ever made. The key being patience in caramelizing your onions and hocks. The flour should also be dark brown, but not burnt. It took us over an hour to get it the right colour in the oven. But it was well worth the wait… 🙂

    • Léon Eno 8:03 am on December 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I have been searching for this recipe for so long. I’m in my mid 50’s and my father use to make this once a year but he never wrote down anything, he use to make all the great Quebecqois food and now that he as been gone for over 20 years, I have been drooling to have some of these. The closest thing I’ve found is in Montreal, ‘La Benerie’ on Rue Mont-Royal proche de Rue St Denis, but he wouldn’t share his recipe. If anyone is reading this and has the recipes for the following, I’d be so happy if you would email them to me @ enobdaysetc@gmail.com.
      Gortons or Cortons or in english ‘pork scraps’
      Turkey stuffing: Pork, hamburger potatoes & spices, I think their is some clove and or allspice.
      Fèves au lard sans sirop d’érable
      and lastly – Soupe aux pois jaunes

    • Judy 7:34 pm on December 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks so much for publishing this recipe. My father’s family was from St David Canada. My mother was Irish but learned to cook this and my Meme said it was better than hers!!! –

      We use to have this every New Years day. My mother never wrote down the recipe but from what I remember this is how my mother made this…..I always remember my mother worried about burning the flour…but she never did.

      I think I may try this for New Years…..

      Thanks again and enjoy your holidays.

    • Margaret 9:24 am on October 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      My mother tore the page from her old Ogilvie Chef Royale cookbook to send it to me when I was a young wife years ago… I am simmering my meat on the stove as I write, because the meat was on sale here and I can freeze it ahead and do the flour bit closer to the holidays.

      The smell in my house is sooooo reveillon memory making… Montreal… fur coats…cigarettes going… cold snowy Christmases in the late 1950’s and 60’s…those were the days… The Ogilvie recipe is very similar to yours except the salt is ‘gros sel’ and there is no chicken broth. It is simply water to cover the well-browned (that is the secret! well-browned!) meat.

      Note: To be a little leaner in the pork, these days I mix pork hocks with some cut up lean pork shoulder I have trimmed of all fat. And skimming the liquid as it comes to a boil gives a clearer broth.

      bon appetit! I am so happy to see this online. I remember years ago wanting Canadian Living to feature this recipe and they never did.

    • Marguerite 10:20 pm on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I love ragout de pattes! My grandmother used to put farfadelle pasta (the little bowties), and I clearly remember ragout de pattes de cochon being by all time favorite Christmas meal! Thank you for the recipe, though I’m positive that no recipe will ever amount to be as great as my Mamie’s ;).

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