Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ice Cream Petit Fours (DB)

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I decided to make the petit fours since I've never made them before.  I'm a few days late posting, but I had some technical difficulties with my ice cream machine! For some reason, I couldn't get the container to freeze, and I didn't realize this until the last minute. So, I had to stick the second container in the freezer and wait for it to freeze before I could make my ice cream.  Otherwise, this recipe went off without a hitch.

I made Dorie Greenspan's chocolate ganache ice cream for my petit fours, instead of David Lebovitz' vanilla ice cream.  The chocolate ice cream sandwiched between the brown butter cake pound cake, drenched in the chocolate glaze was any chocolate lover's dream come true!

My favorite part of this recipe was actually the brown butter pound cake.  One of my favorite pastas is the one from Spaghetti Factory that is served with browned butter and mizithra cheese.  So I am very familiar with the wonderful nutty aroma of browned butter.  This pound cake was moist and delicious and much better than any traditional pound cake I've had.  I'll definitely be making it again.

Thanks Elissa, for hosting this month's challenge.  I had fun making petit fours for the very first time! Make sure you check out the Daring Bakers' Blogroll to see how everyone else enjoyed this cool and creamy summer treat.

Ice Cream Petit Fours

Preparation time:
Ice cream – 45 min active time, ice cream rests/chills for 1 hour then overnight. Without an ice cream maker, the ice cream chills 2-3 hours and must be stirred every 30 minutes.

Brown Butter Pound Cake – 2 hours (includes cooling time)

Chocolate Glaze – 15 minutes

Assembly of Ice Cream Petit Fours – Ice cream must be frozen ahead of time several hours, then the cake and ice cream freeze overnight. After dipping, the petit fours freeze for one hours.

Equipment required:
• Small and medium saucepans
• Paring knife
• 2 quart (2 litres) bowl
• Electric mixer
• Whisk
• Spatula
• Sieve
• 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square baking pan
• 10” (25 cm) skillet
• Cake leveler/serrated knife
• Cooling racks
• Rimmed half sheets
• Teacups
• Plastic wrap
• Piping bags (optional)
• Ice cream maker (optional)
• Cooking blow torch (optional)


Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)

2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

5. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz:

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze (For the Ice Cream Petit Fours)

9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

Assembly Instructions 
1. Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.

2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.

3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.

4. Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)

5. While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm).

6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.

7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart (TWD)

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Rachel of Sweet Tarte: Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart.  I was excited about this week's pick because I love anything with baked fruit and I especially love anything with a streusel topping... so this tart was calling my name! :)

Instead of one large tart I had to make a mini tart because while my husband was out at the store picking up some things, I asked him to go ahead and get me three large peaches. I did specify on the list large peaches. What did he come home with? Three small peaches. Nothing is inherently wrong with small peaches, but it would have been nice if he had bought more peaches to compensate for the fact that these were small and not large. Not my dear husband, of course. He simply bought what I asked him to buy (sort of) - three peaches. So sadly, I had to settle for a smaller peach tart instead of a magnificent 9-inch tart! :(

I halved everything in this recipe, except for the streusel topping because you really can't have too much of a good thing :) In the end, I think the amount of topping was just right (although it did obscure my beautifully slices peaches). If I ever get around to making the full-sized version of this tart, I will definitely double the topping!

Thanks Rachel, for hosting this week.  I loved this tart. The creamy custard had just a hint of almond that complemented the peaches perfectly. I think I'd choose this tart over a peach pie, any day. If you would like the recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you check out the TWD Blogroll, to see how everyone else enjoyed this peachy treat!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oatmeal Breakfast Bread (TWD)

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Natalie of Oven Love: Oatmeal Breakfast Bread. Yikes! I actually made this a week ago but almost forgot to post today!

The recipe is super simple and I love that it mostly uses applesauce instead of oil or butter. I omitted the nuts from the streusel topping, and still got a nice, sugary, crumbly crust on top (my favorite part!). As the name implies, the bread is packed with a good bit of oatmeal, but I have to say that I could not really taste much of the oats. Still, the combination of spices was wonderful (I might add some apples to this the next time I make it) and the oatmeal definitely made the bread seem "healthier" so the entire loaf was devoured within 24 hours in our household ;) 

Thanks Natalie, for hosting this week. If you would like the recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you check out the TWD Blogroll, to see how everyone else enjoyed this wonderful breakfast treat!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte (SMS)

This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays (SMS) recipe was chosen by Jennifer of The Rookie Baker: Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte. I think the name is actually a bit of a misnomer because a torte is made with eggs, sugar, and ground nuts instead of flour.  This is actually just a flourless chocolate cake studded with fresh raspberries.  Unlike most flourless chocolate cakes, however, this one is not dense and overwhelming.  On the other hand, the name is quite fitting because it tastes just like a chocolate truffle.

I made my "torte" in a 9-inch springform pan (instead of 8-inch) so my torte ended up thinner than it was supposed to be, but thankfully it still turned out just fine despite no change on my part in the baking time. Since I was sending this to work with my husband, I ended up cutting the torte into easy to serve squares (and kept the odd shaped pieces for myself!). The torte really does taste like rich and creamy raspberry truffles.

Thanks Jennifer, for hosting this week. I loved the simplicity of this recipe and will definitely be making this one again. If you would like the recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you check out the Sweet Melissa Sundays Blog Roll to see how everyone else enjoyed this chocolatey treat.

*Recipe notes:
- The flavor of this torte will be reflected by the quality of chocolate you choose so choose a high quality chocolate. I, however, substituted semisweet chocolate chips in place of the bittersweet chocolate and still enjoyed the flavor :)
- After the 25 minute baking time, this torte may not look like it's fully baked but simply let it cool as directed and it will set just fine.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gingered Carrot Cookies (TWD)

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Natalia of gatti fili e farina : Gingered Carrot Cookies.  I actually almost skipped this week because Dorie describes these cookies as tasting almost like scones and I'm not a big scone fan.  I'm so glad I decided to give it a go, though, because these cookies are fabulous!

When Dorie first created these, she set out to make a cookie that tasted like carrot cake.  They definitely don't taste like carrot cake at all, but that doesn't mean that they aren't good.  They are delicious little morsels! I'm not quite sure if I would consider these scone-like, but they are definitely cakey cookies.  All the add-ins - the carrots, coconut, and raisins (I omitted the nuts) - gave these cookies a nice chewy texture.  The ginger gave these cookies the perfect little boost too!

Thanks Natalia, for hosting this week. If you would like the recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you check out the TWD Blogroll, to see how everyone else enjoyed these sweet treats!