Saturday, March 27, 2010

Orange Tian (DB)

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. What is a tian, you ask? Yeah, I had to ask that too. I had never heard of a tian before. Apparently it's as simple as any layered dish. So a 7-layer bean dip is considered a tian just as much as the orange pastry you see above is.

In this case, the orange tian is a layered dessert consisting of a sweet tart dough base, topped with orange marmalade, an orange flavored whipped cream, and then fresh orange segments, garnished with a luscious orange caramel sauce on top.

While this recipe was fairly straightforward, I did get to learn several new techniques through this challenge. To start off, I made my very first marmalade. I love orange marmalade and could eat it plain by the spoonful. In fact, that's what I did with a few spoonfuls of this homemade goodness! In making the marmalade, I also learned how to extract my own pectin from orange seeds! I somehow forgot to put pectin on my grocery list and by the time I started making this recipe, there was no way I was going back out to get it. So, I checked out the forum and found another baker had suggested extracting your own. You basically just stick the seeds in a piece of cheesecloth, let it soak in some warm water for a few hours, and then squeeze the living daylights out of the cheesecloth and seeds until you get some gloopy goodness that is pectin. So cool.

Beautiful layer of orange marmalade atop the pate sablee.

I also learned how to segment an orange during this process. As simple as it is, I had never done this before. The youtube video that was linked was a great tutorial and I had all eight oranges segmented in no time. This is definitely my preferred way to eat a grapefruit from now on (I used to always just slice it in half and then dig in with a spoon!).

Instead of making mini desserts with cookie cutters, I opted to make one large tart using my springform pan. I simply cut out a piece of parchment that would fit into my pan and then used that as a guide as I rolled out the dough.

This dessert is perfect for spring or summer. It would be great for entertaining, as you could get all of the components together ahead of time and then just assembled it right before the party. Even simpler if you used store bought marmalade or jam. I loved this dessert, especially with the orange caramel sauce on top! I've never had anything like it. My husband isn't a huge fan of citrus, but did think that this would be even better with raspberry jam on the bottom and fresh raspberries on top! I think the different flavor combinations are endless.

Thanks Jennifer, for hosting this month's challenge. Make sure you check out the Daring Bakers' Blogroll to see how everyone else enjoyed this citrus-y treat.

Orange Tian
Recipe slightly adapted from Alain Ducasse‘s Cooking School in Paris, France
Stabilized whipped cream (

For the Pate Sablee:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature (you can use 2 large egg yolks without a problem)
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. (I refrigerated my dough overnight so when it came time to roll it out, I had to let it sit on the counter for a bit to warm up and soften a little before I could roll it out.)

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. (I used a springform pan so I simply rolled out my dough into a circle that would fit into the pan.)

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 (If you do not have pectin, take all your orange seeds after segmenting the oranges and place them in a small piece of cheesecloth. Soak in warm water for a few hours, then squeeze out the pectin. It should be thick like corn syrup.)
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 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. (You can gently swirl the pan to prevent burning, but do not stir the sugar.)

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. (At this point, the caramel will harden... just keep heating and stirring and it will dissolve back into solution.) 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. (The caramel sauce will seem too thin after 10 minutes of additional heating. Refrain from continuing to heat it, because it will thicken nicely as it cools. I continued to heat it until it was thick and then once it cooled it was way too thick.)

[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.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart (TWD)

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Rachelle of Mommy? I’m Hungry!: Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart. I actually made this tart quite some time ago, for my husband's birthday because he requested something chocolatey, and I needed something quick and simple to throw together. Let me just say that chocolate and raspberry were just meant for each other :)

I know that in recipes like this, the flavor of the tart comes from the type of chocolate you use, so you should really use a high quality chocolate, but I was busy and didn't have time to run to the store, so I just used what I had on hand - semisweet chocolate chips! I'm really not that picky when it comes to chocolate, so I have to say that the tart still came out pretty tasty using "inferior" chocolate, so I can only imagine how great it would be with good chocolate.

I think blueberries would be nice to try in this tart too, but really you can't go wrong with the classic chocolate and raspberry combination. This recipe was really quick to throw together, especially since I already had some premade sweet tart dough in the freezer. It would make a great dessert for entertaining, since you could make the tart ahead of time and the chocolate filling only takes minutes to prepare.

Thanks, Rachelle, for hosting this week. I loved it. The chocolate filling is really soft and creamy after it is baked and each bite that contains raspberry is a delight. 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 chocolatey treat!

* Recipes notes:
- I used semisweet chocolate chips in this recipe, mostly for convenience.
- I would probably use more raspberries next time, as the bites I had that were without fruit just weren't as good.
- I found that the baking time was much longer for my mini tarts, maybe because they were higher/thicker than one large tart? Not sure but mine took an extra 15 minutes to bake up. Just watch the tarts as they bake and you will see the top of the chocolate layer change in consistency. It will start to change from the outside edges of the tart and move inward, so once that appearance is uniform throughout the tart, you'll know it's done.
- For tips from other TWD bakers, click here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Carrot Cake with Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (SMS)

This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays (SMS) recipe was chosen by Julie of A Little Bit of Everything : Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. I've tried Dorie's carrot cake recipe, but the Pastry Queen's remains my favorite, so I was eager to try another recipe to see how it compared.

Per my usual, I omitted the nuts from this recipe (sorry, don't like nuts). Then I realized that I was running low on sugar, only as I was in the middle of making this cake. So, it ended up having only 1.5 cups of sugar in it instead of the full 2 cups. My mom is always commenting on how dessert are often too sweet and cuts back on the sugar in most recipes anyway, so I wasn't too concerned about it.

Well, my mom was right because I couldn't even tell that the cake was missing a half cup of sugar. The cake itself was extremely moist, though I did miss the pineapple and coconut that it is in my favorite recipe. The cream cheese frosting didn't have a very strong cream cheese taste to it (which I generally love), but instead tasted light and airy (despite containing two sticks of butter in it!) with a strong citrus flavor.

Overall, I enjoyed this cake. It was a very light and refreshing carrot cake and the orange zest really makes it special. My favorite carrot cake is still this one though, so make sure you check it out if you like carrot cakes. If you would like to try this carrot cake recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you check out the Sweet Melissa Sundays Blog Roll to see how everyone enjoyed this cake, which would make a wonderful addition to any Easter table.

* Recipe notes:
- I only added 1.5 cups of sugar and found the cake to be just fine. Not sure if the full 2 cups would make it too sweet?
- Make sure you check out this link to see how you can quickly and easily make parchment rounds to line your cake pans.

- For more tips, click here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Toasted-Coconut Custard Tart (TWD)

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Beryl of Cinemon Girl: Toasted-Coconut Custard Tart. I actually made this last weekend, but I'm a bit late posting this because unfortunately the power cord to my laptop died and I had to order a new one, but better late than never right? So back to this past week's pick... I love all things coconut, so I was eager to try this recipe.

It's basically a rum infused vanilla pastry cream chock full of toasted coconut atop Dorie's wonderful sweet tart crust, topped with a rum flavored whipped cream. With six egg yolks in the pastry cream, I was worried that this tart was going to be overly rich and creamy. Surprisingly, this tart was very light and airy and not heavy at all. The coconut flavor was well complemented with the rum, and you can't ever go wrong with Dorie's sweet tart dough.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this tart, if you love coconut, I would highly recommend that you try Dorie's Florida Pie, which is like a coconut filled key lime pie :)

Thanks, Beryl, for hosting this week. I loved it. 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 light, coconut-y treat!

* Recipes notes:
- For tips from other TWD bakers, click here.