Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TWD: Coconut Tea Cake

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie post was chosen by Carmen of Carmen Cooks. She chose the Coconut Tea Cake. It is described as a plain cake, but I disagree. Sure, there's no filling or icing, but there is so much flavor we ate most of it in one sitting!
I had a little helper, who hasn't baked much before, so some things went wrong.... but everything worked in the end! The batter was pretty quick to make, even though it dirtied up tons of dishes. The long baking time was the only thing I didn't like about this recipe, because it smells so good in the oven!
Most of the comments I got were just "Oh yum.....", but one person said that they have tried making coconut cakes in the past but have never gotten so much flavor through. I think the secret to this recipe is using both the shredded coconut and a large amount of coconut milk.
If I haven't made my point clear, let's just say that I am COMMANDING you to go make this cake. Right now. Go! Oh yeah, the recipe is here.... or in the book... which you really should have, if you don't. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Daring Bakers: Orange Tian

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Sorry, I'm still away without the camera, so no pictures until Tuesday. So this month's Daring Bakers challenge was Orange Tian. I had never heard of this before, so I was excited to try it. When I looked over the recipe, no one part of it seemed particularly hard, there were just a lot of steps. So here we go:

Step one: Orange Segments. I didn't know how to segment an orange, so I used a youtube video, which really helped (link at the bottom). It got easy after a while!

Step two: Caramel. This was fairly easy to make, except for a quick scare when I added the juice and it bubbled like crazy. I think I may have over-cooked it, though, because it came out tasting sort of bitter.

Step three: Pate Sablee. This was very easy to make, since basically you are just dumping stuff in a food processor! I liked that it was very easy to roll out. I had some left over, so I baked some into plain cookies, which were very yummy.

Step four: Orange Jam. I had never made jam before, and it was a lot of fun. The only thing I found annoying was the blanching, because it took a really long time. I made a double batch so that we could keep some for toast and things like that, and we loved it.

Step five: Whipped Cream. This was simple. The only issue I had was that the jam didn't mix in easily (it stayed in clumps). I used agar agar instead of gelatin, because I'm vegetarian, and it worked out fine.

Step six: Assembling. I don't have individual cookie cutters that have high enough sides, so I used a springform pan, which was fine. First you put in a layer of orange segments. Then comes the whipped cream, then a jam-covered round of pate sablee. In to the freezer it goes!

Step seven: EAT. I thought it was just okay. The pate sablee and the jam were great, but the caramel was bitter and the whipped cream was sort of bland.

All in all, this was a fun challenge. The finished dessert was okay, but I probably won't use this recipe again. If you want to give it a try for yourself, let me know how it goes! Enjoy!

Orange Tian:

Equipment required:
• Cookie cutters . Ideally, you should have about 6 cookie cutters to build the desserts in and cut the circles of dough (see photo). The cookie cutters will be the size of your final dessert, so they should be the size of an individually-sized tart mold. If you don’t have round cookie cutters you could use an individually-sized cheesecake mold without its base.
• A food processor (although the dough could be made by hand too)
• A stand-up or hand mixer
• Parchment paper or a silicone sheet
• A baking sheet
• A rolling pin

For the Pate Sablee:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges.

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

[See YouTube video in the References section below for additional information on segmenting oranges.]

For the Caramel:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.

Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.


http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-tian.htm (An article about the dessert known as tian.)

YouTube link on how to segment an orange: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG5mcEEBlcI

To learn more about Pectin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pectin

What to substitute for Pectin: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Dictionary/P/Pectin-6222.aspx

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Late TWD: Dulce de Leche Duos

Sorry, no picture until next week. I'm away and I forgot the memory card reader at home :(
This week's Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Jodie of Beansy Loves Cake. She chose Dulce de Leche Duos. I made these cookies before joining Tuesdays with Dorie but didn't take a picture, so I made them again. But that was no problem, because I loved them!
They are cookies that have dulce de leche in the batter, so they taste like caramel. They are then sandwiched with more dulce de leche as filling. I used a tablespoon scoop for the cookies and thought they were a bit too big as sandwiches, but they would be great as minis. All in all, I love these cookies and will make them again. If you want the recipe, you can buy the book or find it here. Enjoy!

Update: Picture is up! Obviously.... :D

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TWD: Soft Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Sweet tart dough... almonds... chocolate... raspberry... yum. Soft Chocolate Raspberry tart was this week's recipe, chosen by Rachelle from Mommy? I'm Hungry! This was a great pick! It is an easy tart to make, and so yummy. It starts off with a sweet tart dough with nuts (I used almonds). Dorie says to fully bake the crust, but I thought if I did that and then baked it with the filling it would burn, so I only baked it for about 15 minutes. It turned out this wasn't quite enough time, because the crust was very light, but it cooked through and was fine. After you bake the crust, you sprinkle on a cup of fresh raspberries. Then comes the chocolate filling, which is very close to a ganache. You are supposed to use a mixture of milk and bittersweet chocolates, but I used all semisweet and liked it. After baking the whole tart for 30 minutes and letting it cool, you're ready to eat! I ate it plain (no whipped cream) and thought it was yummy. I can't say that I will definitely make this one again, because it wasn't my favorite tart, but it was good and I don't regret making it! If you want to try it for yourself, you can buy the book or find the recipe here. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chai Snickerdoodles

Several weeks ago, I was making cookies for a big party. And that meant a lot of cookies. That I had to take on an airplane.... going through security was never as stressful as when they just stared at the x-ray of my carry-on. But no worries, they all made it back safely, except for a few peanut butter ones that broke. But these are not peanut butter cookies. No, these are very different. And just as good.
These are snickerdoodles flavored with several chai spices. The sugar mixture you roll them in also contains the spices. I made this recipe a long time ago and loved it, so when I realized that I wouldn't have time to make roll-out sugar cookies for the party, I went back to these. I don't regret it! Everybody liked them, and you could really taste the ginger. The family members who were organizing the party were claiming the leftover cookies before the party was over!
I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Baking Bites. Please head on over to Nicole's site - she has some really great recipes! Enjoy!

Chai Snickerdoodles (Baking Bites)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup butter, soft
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine sugar and spices; remove 1/2 cup of this mixture and place in a medium-sized, shallow dish or bowl (like a soup plate). Add butter to bowl and cream with sugar mixture until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda. Add to sugar mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place on baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between balls to allow for spreading.
Bake for about 12 minutes, until edges are firm to the touch, but not quite browned. Cool for 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

T... er... F....WD: Thumbprints For Us Big Guys

Yeah, yeah, sorry about it being Friday and all.... I didn't have time to make these until an hour ago. Honestly, I took the butter out of the fridge to soften five times :D
Anyways, this week's Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Mike of Ugly Food Dude. He chose Thumbprints For Us Big Guys. These are different from regular thumbprints because they use ground hazelnuts and raspberry jam. This recipe was slightly confusing, because Dorie's cookies look big and have wide indentations for the jam. But in the recipe she says to use teaspoons of dough and your pinkie to make an indentation. So they are super tiny. I made a few changes to the recipe:
- I used ground almonds instead of ground hazelnuts (equal amount)
- I cut the recipe in half
-Instead of using jam to fill them, I used chocolate ganache. After I ran out of that I used some chocolate syrup, which was surprisingly yummy.
These were just okay. They are very crumbly and dry, and don't have a distinct taste. But they are edible and quite sweet. Although they were interesting to make, I won't be making them again. Sorry Dorie! However, some of the other TWD members liked them a lot, so you can try the recipe for yourself. Find it here or in the book. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

TWD is coming

Sorry, I just haven't had time to get to this week's recipe. But I'll be making it tomorrow, so come back soon!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

TWD Rewind: Florida Pie

Last night I had a few hours home alone with nothing to do, so I decided to make another TWD rewind. This one took quite a while and had many parts to it, but was fun to make. It starts off with a graham cracker crust. I used the leftover cookies from January's Daring Bakers challenge. I accidentally put in too much butter, so it was quite candy-like, but delicious. Anyways, then comes a simple mixture of sweetened coconut and cream, which has been cooked down. After that is a traditional key lime pie filling - lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk. All that is baked and then frozen for an hour (or, in my case, since it was getting late, 30 minutes) and then topped with a simple meringue made of egg whites, sugar, and sweetened coconut. I used my blowtorch ( :D ) to brown it, which I loved doing. After it was chilled for another 30 minutes, we tasted it and it was delicious! There are a lot of different flavors, but they all mix very well. Today we ate some more and it was still delicious, although the crust was sticking to the pie plate. Part of the meringue also became a sort of syrup... (?). If you want to try the recipe for yourself, you can buy the book or find it here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TWD: Toasted Coconut Custard Tart

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Beryl of Cinemon Girl. She chose the Toasted Coconut Custard Tart. This is a pretty simple recipe, and doesn't take too long (in comparison to other tarts - obviously a quick batch of brownies is quicker). It starts off with Dorie's basic tart crust, which on its own is delicious. Then comes a rum-flavored pastry cream with lots of toasted coconut stirred in. Finally comes a rum-flavored whipped cream and some more toasted coconut (which by the way is absolutely delicious on its own). All put together it is very pretty.
I wasn't too fond of it myself, but my taste-testers loved it. If you want the recipe, you can find it here or in the book. Enjoy!