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 Epicurio
I was so busy all month with other tasks I had decided I wouldn’t be a part of this months challenge. But yesterday I did have some time to myself , thanks mainly to my parents who are visiting. Obviously the fact that my kids and I absolutely love doughnuts did help convince me to make em!!! And am so glad I did!

I halved the Alton Brown Yeast recipe so finally got just about 8 doughnuts and it was a mad scramble to polish them off. As Aparna had suggested on the forum, I reduced the egg and the yeast and contrary to my fears and pervious experiences the dough was extremely manageable. Boy! They were delicious. I made a chocolate –praline topping and it was fantastic…thanks Lori for a great challenge!

Yeast Doughnuts:
Preparation time:Hands on prep time – 25 minutesRising time – 1.5 hours totalCooking time – 12 minutes
Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Ingredients
Milk 3/4 cup
Butter 35 grams
Active Dry Yeast 1 teaspoon
Warm Water 40ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs,small 1
White Granulated Sugar 1/8th cup,25 grams
Nutmeg, grated 1/2 tsp.
Purpose Flour 2 1/3 cup + 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:
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.)
Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

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.

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.
Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

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.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
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).
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.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
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).
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired

Topping

Over a low heat, melt 1½oz caster sugar in a saucepan with 1½oz almonds.
Once melted and browning nicely, keep moving it around with a metal spoon until but they get a bit darker for a good flavour
Once cold, crush into a course powder.
Mix it in with melted chocolate ….hmmmmm It will make you MOAN!

Swiss Roll Ice Cream- DB July


The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Cake and Ice cream..Now that’s a combination that has the angels carousing in divine happiness..and who are we mere mortals to resist its exquisite pleasure.

To say we were thrilled at the prospect of making this dessert would be an understatement….and the end result did not disappoint. NOT ONE BIT. On the contrary it was a perfect dessert at a party we had a few weeks back that had my guests oohing and aahing like never before.

Taking a picture was another story altogether. Somehow the cake came apart by the time I took pictures so the pics I must admit belie its incredible deliciousness.

I made this dessert over the course of 4 days though it can be done in just a day. The ice creams took longer than I expected…..actually deciding what flavor of ice cream to make took even longer. But finally I chose to make a chocolate chip Ice cream and a caramel ice cream. Both turned out great….but sadly don’t have pictures. Maybe next time. Yes there will be a next time for sure. This one’s a keeper. Thanks Sunita.

Swiss roll ice cream cake

The Swiss rolls-

Ingredients-

6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ 3 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /2.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans
For the filling-
2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar

Method-
1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
3. it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
10. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
11. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
12. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
13. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
14. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens an coast the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate until there are still small chunks, the residual heat will melt those. Gently add to the vanilla ice cream and mix well and freeze again.

Caramel Ice Cream (Glace Caramel) Recipe
Adapted from here

Serves 4

Ingredients

70 g sugar
80 ml cream
3 egg yolks
360 ml milk
1 vanilla pod

Method
1. To make the caramel, put 45 g of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and heat until it dissolves and starts to caramelize – tip the saucepan from side to side as the sugar cooks to keep the colouring even. Remove from the heat and carefully add the cream (it will splutter). Stir over low heat until the caramel remelts.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring just to the boil, then strain over the caramel.
4. Bring back to the boil and pour over the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously.
5. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, until it is thick enough to coat the back a wooden spoon.
6. Do not let it boil or the custard will split.
7. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and leave over ice to cool quickly.
8. Churn in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s instruction.
9. Alternatively, pour into a plastic freezer box,cover and freeze.
10. Stir every 30 minutes with a whisk during freezing to break up the ice crystals and give a better texture.
11. Freeze overnight with a layer of clingfilm over the surface and the lid on the container. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

The Hot fudge sauce

Preparation time-2 minutes
Cooking time-2 minutes

ngredients-
1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

Method-
1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

Assembly

1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).
2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
3. Soften the chocolate chip ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)
4. Add the fudge sauce over the chocolate chip ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
5. Soften the caramel ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set.
6. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
7. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

DB April 2010- Not so Traditonal , Traditional English Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet

yeah..that was the problem, right there.The last word.

Suet. In case you’re wondering, suet is the hard but flaky fat found on the inside of a cow or sheep around the kidneys and that area of the body.

Ewwww I KNOW…not my kinda thing either..

But thankfully Esther allowed for substitution and so I did what I love to do best….no not whining..but using butter.Arent the best things in life made of butter????

Steamed desserts are not new to us in India. Especially for us South Indians. We make a variety of steamed goodies – kozhukutta(rice ball dumplings), vatayappam being just two of many many.

But a steamed pudding was something I’d never tried.


Don’t let the ugly pictures fool you..I mean I know
I know it’s not easy on the eyes–heck, it would be a great contestant in a ugly photo contest but it was real good…and so we couldn’t have cared less.

Sticky toffee and date pudding with candied ginger
Shamelessly copied from here

For the toffee sauce

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (120g) demerara sugar (or another dark brown sugar)
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt

For the pudding

6 ounces (180g) pitted dates, snipped or chopped
1 cup (250ml) water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup (40g) candied ginger, chopped
1 1/4 cups (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Butter an 8 1/2-inch (about 24cm) porcelain soufflé mold, or similar-sized baking dish.

2. To make the toffee sauce by bringing the cream, demerara sugar, honey and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often to melt the sugar.

3. Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and coats the spoon. Pour half the sauce into the prepared soufflé mold and place the mold in the freezer, and reserve the other half for serving.

4. To make the pudding, in a medium saucepan, heat the dates and water. Once the water begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Add the ginger, if using, then set aside, but keep it slightly warm.

5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

6. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the vanilla.

7. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the date mixture, then add the remaining flour mixture . The mixture will be a bit liquidy. Add some hot water if required.

8.Pour mixture on to the sauce, cover and steam for 1.5 hours.
The sauce and sponge mixture mix together during cooking.

9. Let cool slightly before serving.

Heaven on a Dessert Plate


Although I had decided to give this months DB challenge a go , I did a complete turnaround when I read that 2 of my favourite bloggers were this months hosts…..
Nothing could stop me.
Not the never ending guests we had this month, not the diet I was on, not the painting deadline that was inching so close.
Nothing!!

And I’m so happy I did try this lovely dessert that lives up to its name. It was delicious. Really!
I usually distribute everything I made to near and dear and not so dears..but this one we polished off on our own! I mean actually licked the plates clean!!!!It was excellent!!

I made the dessert over a period of 1 week…made the Savoiardi(Ladyfinger Biscuits) first, then the mascarpone cheese(I can NEVER thank you enough Deeba) and then yummy sauces.
hmmmmm….HEAVEN!!!!!!

TIRAMISU

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
For the zabaglione:

2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese(see below)
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (see below)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:
For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row.
You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.

Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

HOME MADE MASCARPONE CHEESE

Ingredients:
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

LADYFINGERS/ SAVOIARDI BISCUITS
(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

Nanaimo Bars(pronounced Nah-nye-moh)- DB goes to Canada

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and http://www.nanaimo.ca.

If you are on a diet don’t even LOOK at this Canadian Dessert, cuz it will BLOW your diet away!

But it will be totally worth it.

These outrageously rich and delicious treats are as delicious as they are fattening and pretty much uncomplicated to make. I followed the instructions, but I did reduce the sugar by half and they were still fine. I gave away a few to my friends and my family and I polished off the rest. Though I may not make them too often. I’m glad I did make them this time. Thanks Lauren.

Try these out if you want a piece of heaven…But make sure you share it too…

Since we don’t not get Gluten-free dough here(I tried a LOT) I just replaced it with whole wheat.
Graham Wafers

Ingredients
3 cups whole wheat flour
200g dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
100g unsalted butter (cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
80ml honey, mild-flavoured
75 ml whole milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 180′C.
6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups of crumbs.
Nanaimo Bars

Ingredients:

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer

115g unsalted butter
25g granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups gluten free graham wafer crumbs (See previous recipe)
55g almonds, finely chopped
130g shredded coconut

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
115g unsalted butter
40ml heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
100g icing sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer

115g semi-sweet chocolate
28g unsalted butter


Directions:
1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Bake Your House And Eat It Too

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I’ve always wondered how awesome it would be to find a gingerbread house like Hansel and Gretel did…a house made of every conceivable goody. A house you you just eat off….
well, this months challenge is just that and Boy! was I excited!

The possibilities were endless.

Sadly , my kitchen had to be demolished for some renovation work..and i was left space-less…..
I finally made my gingerbread house in the balcony..but it was so windy the roof kept falling off…and all the decorations kept getting squashed and splattered ….
anyway here’s my gingerbread house…its extremely untidy and messy..but under the circumstances..it was all i could do……

Before i give you the recipe…Let me wish u all very Happy Holidays!!!!!!

Y’s Recipe:
Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas
http://astore.amazon.com/thedarkit-20/detail/0816634963

The dough was very stiff and i had to add water to soften it a bit. But the good thing is that it freezes well.

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. [I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.]

5. Preheat the oven to 375’F (190’C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing:

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.

Daring Bakers November Challenge- Cannoli

Should I? Shouldn’t I? I pondered and pondered…..

Where on earth where in Goa would i find cannoli tubes.

Then one day when i googled cannoli for more information, it suddenly hit me…they look freakishly similar to an Indian(North Kerala to be more exact) savory snack called Kuzhalappam.Although it is a savory snack ,the shape was pretty much similar. And what we used back home was the cassava or the stem of a banana leaf .

Well that clinched it for me.

I WAS IN!!

This months The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.


The challenge was fun and after a few failed trials (a few opened up and a few didn’t get crisp) i realized that the trick was
to roll out the batter as thin as possible
to keep the temperature of the oil even and keep adjusting the heat to make sure that it doesn’t burn or brown immediately
to ensure that the ends are sealed tightly.
I used a tried and tested Ricotta Pistachio and Ricotta Chocolate filling. I would have loved to experiment with the filling but i had guests visiting and i ran out of time. Still they were delightful and we thoroughly enjoyed them.Thanks Lisa!!

Pistachio Ricotta Filling
About 1 1/2 cup ricotta( i used homemede that i made using this recipe)
4 tbsp icing (confectioners) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup toasted chopped pistachio nuts
1/4 dark chocolate chips, chopped or grated
1/3 cup dried sour cherries, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoons
amaretto liqueur (that i happened to have)

Whisk ricotta well along with the sugar. Add vanilla, lemon zest and cinnamon and beat until smooth and well combined. Fold in remaining ingredients.

Place mixture into a piping bag or ziplock with a corner cut off . pipe this mixture into the cannoli shells .

Cannoli Shell
Speculaas Cannoli Recipe
Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli

Ingredients

Cannoli Shells:
2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) speculaas spice
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) grated chocolate for garnish
Confectioners’ sugar

Directions For Shells

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, speculaas spice, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that).

Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (or whatever you are usuing instead.). Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Directions For Filling:

1. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta and mascarpone until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, speculaas spice, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

Assemble The Cannoli:

1. When ready to serve, fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the filling. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

I am a Daring Baker-Vol-Au-Vents

Chocolate cream Vol au vents
Who doesn’t love a good challenge once in a while? I too am no exception and joining the Daring Bakers group is one of the best things I did to ensure that I get my monthly dose of it.

This months Challenge is also very special for 2 reasons. One- it’s my very first!! Whoohoo!! And secondly the reveal date also happens to be my birthday.

Although I knew I was going to take part a long while earlier- the excitement and anxiousness gnawing and eating into my thoughts; it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally decided to start work on it.

I started work on this beautiful layered creation early last evening, turning and chilling (this needed a LOT of chilling as its HOT HOT HOT here in Goa) and watching the very helpful video a million times.

Thankfully it turned out fine- no dishes were thrown in exasperation, no lumps of hair yanked out in frustration and no kids thrown out in anger(though I did come really close when my son accidentally switched off the refrigerator for a good part of the day) Anyway as they say All’s well that ends well and I’m pretty satisfied with the results as they tasted so light and delicious even though they didn’t rise as much as as they were supposed to. Also i think i forgot to press and attach to ring to the base so they turned out as two separate entities……Nevertheless i proudly present to you my very first DB entry!

The chocolate cream vols-au-vent.

This month’s 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.

Puff pastry or vol-au-vent [ vóllō vaaN ] (plural vol-au-vents) is called mille feuilles, or “a thousand leaves” or “flight in the wind”. It is said that to create a good puff pastry, you need a cool room, a flat work surface and several hours to devote to rolling, folding, turning and chilling the dough. In the end, you should have roughly 730 microscopically slender layers of dough and 730 layers of fat. Its hard work but well rewarded and its no wonder that these miniature masterpieces are called the queen of pasteries.

Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough
From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan

Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough

http://video.pbs.org/video/1174110297/search/Pastry
Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups (12.2 oz/ 354 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups (5.0 oz/ 142 g) cake flour
1 tbsp. salt (you can cut this by half for a less salty dough or for sweet preparations)
1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) ice water
4 sticks (16 oz/ 454 g) very cold unsalted butter
plus extra flour for dusting work surface

Mixing the Dough:

I halved the ingredients as I feared the worst. Also since cake flour is not available I used its subs-plain flour and corn flour.

Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at once, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers.
Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that’s about 1″ thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm: if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the Butter:

Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry) with your rolling pin (preferably a French rolling pin without handles), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 10″ square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with “ears,” or flaps.
Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don’t just pull the ends) you should now have a package that is 8″ square.
To make great puff pastry, it is important to keep the dough cold at all times. There are specified times for chilling the dough, but if your room is warm, or you work slowly, or you find that for no particular reason the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it . You can stop at any point in the process and continue at your convenience or when the dough is properly chilled.

Making the Turns:

Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24″ (don’t worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 24″, everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).
With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.
Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24″ and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.

Chilling the Dough:
If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you’ve completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.
The total number of turns needed is six. If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day. Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it.
dough
Helpful notes

-Keep things cool by using the refrigerator as your friend! If you see any butter starting to leak through the dough during the turning process, rub a little flour on the exposed dough and chill straight away. Although you should certainly chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns, if you feel the dough getting to soft or hard to work with at any point, pop in the fridge for a rest.
-Not to sound contradictory, but if you chill your paton longer than the recommended time between turns, the butter can firm up too much. If this seems to be the case, I advise letting it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to give it a chance to soften before proceeding to roll. You don’t want the hard butter to separate into chuncks or break through the dough…you want it to roll evenly, in a continuous layer.
-Roll the puff pastry gently but firmly, and don’t roll your pin over the edges, which will prevent them from rising properly. Don’t roll your puff thinner than about about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick, or you will not get the rise you are looking for.flaky
-Try to keep “neat” edges and corners during the rolling and turning process, so the layers are properly aligned. Give the edges of the paton a scooch with your rolling pin or a bench scraper to keep straight edges and 90-degree corners.
-Brush off excess flour before turning dough and after rolling.
-Make clean cuts. Don’t drag your knife through the puff or twist your cutters too much, which can inhibit rise.
-When egg washing puff pastry, try not to let extra egg wash drip down the cut edges, which can also inhibit rise.
-Extra puff pastry dough freezes beautifully. It’s best to roll it into a sheet about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (similar to store-bought puff) and freeze firm on a lined baking sheet. Then you can easily wrap the sheet in plastic, then foil (and if you have a sealable plastic bag big enough, place the wrapped dough inside) and return to the freezer for up to a few months. Defrost in the refrigerator when ready to use.
-You can also freeze well-wrapped, unbaked cut and shaped puff pastry (i.e., unbaked vols-au-vent shells). Bake from frozen, without thawing first.
-Homemade puff pastry is precious stuff, so save any clean scraps. Stack or overlap them, rather than balling them up, to help keep the integrity of the layers. Then give them a singe “turn” and gently re-roll. Scrap puff can be used for applications where a super-high rise is not necessary (such as palmiers, cheese straws, napoleons, or even the bottom bases for your vols-au-vent).
bakedvols

Forming and Baking the Vols-au-Vent

Yield: 1/3 of the puff pastry recipe below will yield about 8-10 1.5” vols-au-vent or 4 4” vols-au-vent
In addition to the equipment listed above, you will need:
-well-chilled puff pastry dough (recipe below)
-egg wash (1 egg or yolk beaten with a small amount of water)
-your filling of choice

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Using a knife or metal bench scraper, divided your chilled puff pastry dough into three equal pieces. Work with one piece of the dough, and leave the rest wrapped and chilled. (If you are looking to make more vols-au-vent than the yield stated above, you can roll and cut the remaining two pieces of dough as well…if not, then leave refrigerated for the time being or prepare it for longer-term freezer storage.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick. Transfer it to the baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the cutting.
(This assumes you will be using round cutters, but if you do not have them, it is possible to cut square vols-au-vents using a sharp chef’s knife.) For smaller, hors d’oeuvre sized vols-au-vent, use a 1.5” round cutter to cut out 8-10 circles. For larger sized vols-au-vent, fit for a main course or dessert, use a 4” cutter to cut out about 4 circles. Make clean, sharp cuts and try not to twist your cutters back and forth or drag your knife through the dough. Half of these rounds will be for the bases, and the other half will be for the sides. (Save any scrap by stacking—not wadding up—the pieces…they can be re-rolled and used if you need extra dough. If you do need to re-roll scrap to get enough disks, be sure to use any rounds cut from it for the bases, not the ring-shaped sides.)
Using a ¾-inch cutter for small vols-au-vent, or a 2- to 2.5-inch round cutter for large, cut centers from half of the rounds to make rings. These rings will become the sides of the vols-au-vent, while the solid disks will be the bottoms. You can either save the center cut-outs to bake off as little “caps” for you vols-au-vent, or put them in the scrap pile.
Dock the solid bottom rounds with a fork (prick them lightly, making sure not to go all the way through the pastry) and lightly brush them with egg wash. Place the rings directly on top of the bottom rounds and very lightly press them to adhere. Brush the top rings lightly with egg wash, trying not to drip any down the sides (which may inhibit rise). If you are using the little “caps,” dock and egg wash them as well.
Refrigerate the assembled vols-au-vent on the lined baking sheet while you pre-heat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). (You could also cover and refrigerate them for a few hours at this point.)
Once the oven is heated, remove the sheet from the refrigerator and place a silicon baking mat (preferred because of its weight) or another sheet of parchment over top of the shells. This will help them rise evenly. Bake the shells until they have risen and begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (180ºC), and remove the silicon mat or parchment sheet from the top of the vols-au-vent. If the centers have risen up inside the vols-au-vent, you can gently press them down. Continue baking (with no sheet on top) until the layers are golden, about 15-20 minutes more. (If you are baking the center “caps” they will likely be finished well ahead of the shells, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when browned.)
Remove to a rack to cool. Cool to room temperature . Put in filling.
vol au vents
Filling
I used a chocolate cream filling and used melted white chocolate to drizzle lines on it.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Source: About Baking
Prep Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

* 2-1/4 cups milk
* 4 egg yolks
* 2/3 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* 1/4 cup flour
* 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
* 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
* 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted

Preparation:

Boil 2 cups of milk. Beat yolks with sugar and remaining milk. Whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch and flour until combined. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg mixture. Return to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce to low and stir for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and melted chocolates. Pour into a shallow disk. Cover with plastic wrap. (Make sure wrap touches surface to prevent a skim from forming.) Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Makes approximately 3 cups.
vol au vent chocolate cream filling

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