Daring Bakers March 2011- Meringue Filled chocolate cake

Now that I’ve got my blogging mojo back I figured I just had to be part of this month’s Daring Bakers challenge.

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

The cake, I must tell you was simply delicious and I cant wait to make it again. I halved the recipe so didn’t have enough of the dough to make the pretty circles the rest of my DBers are so beautifully making. But what the heck it was awesome! Trust me.

But before I share the recipe with you here’s something else I wanted to share.

I did mention I’ve forayed into teaching didn’t I?

So far the only little problem Ive faced is one of forgotten basics.I can’t for the life of me remember the (little) grammar I did know in the first place.

So in my quest to brush up on English Grammar I went looking for some grammar books at the local library.

Turns out they did not have that many books on English grammar. But lurking within the Humor section I found Grammar Sucks by Joanne Kimmes. It’s definitely one of a kind and i just wanted to share a small excerpt with y’all.

Interjections

The list of interjections sounds more like words from a porn movie script than words from the English language, for just about any word or utterance can serve as an interjection.Here’s a list of some of the most common interjections, which coincidentally , is the exact same dialog from the classics film Debbie Does Dallas.

ah oh ugh
aha oh no well
help ooh wow
hey ouch yeah

Interjections have their uses , but you need to exercise caution. Peppering your conversation or writing with interjections will make you seem at the least hyperactive, or at the worst an overly bubbly teenager. Because of this , interjections should be used only when necessary(unless, of course you are writing for the sequel: Debbie Does Dallas Again)

You gotta love a grammar book with a sense of humor.

Well, here’s the recipe…

FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
But I halved it.

Ingredients
For the yeast coffee cake dough:

4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 tsp cardamom(optional)

For the meringue:

3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:


1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes

Directions:

Prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
I found that I needed to add more flour to get the desired consistency.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling:In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.


Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

image from Ria-just using it for indicative purposes.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).Do not lay it on too thick or it may ooze out when you are rolling it up.

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side.II found it rather difficult to roll it completely so just picked up the other end and completed the roll:)

Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.(or just leave it loaf like-like I did)

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.

Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

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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.

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.

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