Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Daring Bakers Orchestra: I play the Tiramisu Flute!

No, I can't play the flute. But I can make flutes out of tuille batter and then fill them with Tiramisu. And you can almost hear an orchestra playing in your head when you eat one!

The Daring Bakers really had a good time with this one. This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x Umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

First: make the tuille flutes.

TUILLE BATTER:

  • 65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
  • 60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
  • 2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
  • 65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

I've made a square stencil on a plastic plate. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Bake squares in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. I've rolled mine on a tube, to make flutes. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again.

A thin coat of chocolate can't hurt

For the Tiramisu Flutes you'll need:

  • Melted semi-sweet chocolate
  • Mascarpone/vanilla cream
  • Cocoa sponge cake
  • Coffee/Amaretto bagna
  • Tuille flutes
  • Crushed tuille pieces (use the ugly ones)

Start by painting melted chocolate inside the flutes when they're shapped and cooled. This besides adding a nice "chocolatey" flavour, will prevent the flute from being soggy by the contact with the cream. Take to the fridge to harden.

Luscious mascarpone cream

MASCARPONE/VANILLA CREAM

  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (or a tsp vanilla extract)
  • 4-5 tbsp sugar (adjust to your liking)

Cut the vanilla beat in half and scrape the interior. Beat with a hand or stand mixer with the wisk attatchment, the mascarpone, vanilla and sugar for 1-2 minutes. Add the cream little by little and after you add it all, beat for a couple of minutes more to thicken.

Put the cream in a pastry bag or a ziplock bag and fill the flutes (after the chocolate is harden). Try not to eat them at this point. Take to the fridge.

I like to think of them as chocolate corks.

COCOA SPONGE CAKE

  • 60 gr (2 oz) sugar
  • 50 gr (1.7 oz) flour
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs

Beat the eggs and sugar until they double the volume. Sift flour and cocoa and carefully add to the egg/sugar mixture. Bake in a pre heated 180ºC (350ºF) until a toothpick comes out clean. Time will depend on your pan. I baked mine a in a mini loaf pan, since this is a very small batch.

Mix about 1/3 cup of coffee with 2 tbsp of Amaretto to make a bagna (syrup) Cut round pieces of the sponge cake (I've used an apple corer) and drop them in the coffee to moisten. Put one at each end of the flutes. And again take to the fridge.

"Close" the ends of the flutes by dipping them in melted chocolate and while the chocolate is still wet dip the ends in tiny pieces of crushed tuilles.

Again take to the fridge until is time to enjoy. Then just bite and start hearing that orchestra...

I loved these! The crunchy tuille, the creamy mascarpone cream, the moist cake, the touch of chocolate, yep all the different textures did it for me!

Ok, you can take this last bite and then go and check all the other tuille creations!

Friday, January 23, 2009

And now I've got rolls...

And after all that travelling and delicious holidays where I ate more than I should have, I now have rolls. Yes the kind you are thinking of, but also these nice whole wheat ones, stuffed with caramelized onions & raisins.

I don't like onions at all, but everybody else arround me seems to love them so I do caramelized onions & raisins as a side dish sometimes. The raisins addition is something I saw once done in a restaurante and apparently it works really well. I had some leftover and decided to use them to stuff some bread rolls.

This is a very simple whole wheat bread recipe, I use it often to do rolls or small loafs. It works as well with white flour or a misture of white and whole wheat. But of course you can use this idea with your favourite bread recipe.

STUFFED WHOLE WHEAT BREAD ROLLS

  • 250 gr (9 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1/2 tbps salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • About 1/2 cup skim milk (warm)
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onion & raisins*
  • Sesame seeds to sprinkle

*Recipe below or use other stuffing you migh have on hand.

Dump the flour in a bowl, add the yeast, sugar, salt and butter. Mix with your hands or the hock of a stand mixer. Add enough milk to have a playable dough that doesn't stick to the bowl but that it's not too hart either. Adjust the quantity of milk as you go, adding flour if you think the dough is too sticky. Knead by hand until you have a smoth dough or about 2 minutes in a stand mixer. Let it rise in a warm place until it doubles volume.

Punch the dough and divide it in 10 pieces. Flat each piece with your hand (use flour to help you not stick if you need). Put about 1 tsp of the caramelized onion and close the dough arround it, pinching the top to "glue it" and roll it on the table or with your hands. Place it in a tray (pinched part down) and sprinkle sesame seeds. Let it proof one more time until they double volume (about 30-40m). Bake for 10-12m in a pre-heated 200ºC (400ºF) oven.

Not really the most photogenic stuff, but for those who love onions they're a real treat! Use it to stuff bread, as a side dish, to mix with pasta, as pizza topping or do as my mom and eat them just with a spoon.

CARAMELIZED ONIONS & RAISINS

  • 4 onions (I've used red)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • sal & pepper to taste

Peel and cut the onions in half and then cut each half in very thin slices. In a pan or skillet add the oil and onions and mix frequently with a wooden spoon or spatula so they don't burn. They'll first become translucent and then start to caramelize. When you're happy with their color start adding the vegetable stock little by little until it's absorbed, quind of like you would do when making a risoto. When you have used about half the stock add the raisins and salt and pepper to taste. Carry on with the stock until you finish it. Take out of the stove and you can use it right away or store it in the fridge for about 4 days.

My friend Leslie does her caramelized onions in a dutch oven without stiring, so maybe you prefer her way of doing it.

Ok, now that I took care of these rolls and off to the gym, to take care of the others!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Paris, sweet and cold Paris...

"Let's cross, there's another one on that side of the street"

That was probably the sentence that I said more often last weekend while I was in Paris, for the first time. Soooooooo many great bakeries, patisseries, cheeseries, chocolateries, and other food related shops, that really makes it difficult to walk straight in a street without "zigzagging" all the time!

Paris was, as I imagined, beautiful. So many thing to do, to visit, to see, to eat, to live... Everything is huge there: the monuments, the avenues, the macarons...

A French friend of mine told me that I HAD to go to Ladurée, because they have the BEST macarons in the Universe. And I think she might be right!... Not only the macarons, but everything there was so perfect and delicious looking! I wanted to buy each and every variety of entremets, pastries, bonbons... But I needed to focus, I was there for the macarons, and macarons I got! And I got them BIG!

Macaron heaven in pistachio and raspberry flavours!

"Honey, they blew up the Macarons!"

Yep, I'm pretty much in love...

Ok, with my full belly, I can do some normal turism sightseeing now. Wanna come with me?

The triumphal Arch of Triumph

The view from the middle of the Eiffel Tower. Everything covered in snow...

Cold? Who, me?

I'm getting hungry again. Maybe a rocher chocolate from L'Atelier du Chocolat is what I need...

... Or maybe I could bite into that lady's baguette? Parisians carry their baguettes everywhere, all the time... It makes you crave them!

It's almost night, let's carry on with the turistic activity.

The Basilique du Sacré-Coeur on top of a hill. Gorgeous and with a wonderful view of the city from up there.

The Seine River and the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

I could show you so many more pictures of other Parisian beauties, but I'll end here and leave you with these ones that I'm sure you'll love:

Pierre Hermé Macarons: Chocolate & passion fruit and Salted butter caramel.

That was the last treat before heading back home. Back to real life now! Not so cold, but not so sweet either...

Friday, January 9, 2009

If it breaks, drink it!

It's freezing! All you want to do is grab a blanket and a big mug of hot chocolate, not only to warm your cold hands, but to warm your soul as well.

If that scenery sounds familiar to you, try this Peppermint mocha hot chocolate, with those leftover pepermint sticks I know you still have laying around.

I've told you before that I bought a lot of candy on my recent trip to the US. One of the things that I wanted to bring back home was candy canes, since we don't see them much around here and my cousins seem to enjoy them. But as you can see in the picture, some of them broke in my suitcase on my way back home...

Instead of beeing sad about it, I just thought I'd do something else them. And by something else, I mean hot chocolate!

PEPPERMINT MOCHA HOT CHOCOLATE MIX
  • 6 candy canes
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) dark chocolate (cold)
  • 3 tbsp expresso (or coffee) powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vanilla sugar*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp chocolate (or cocoa) powder
  • 1 cup milk powder

* I make my own vanilla sugar, by allways having a jar with sugar and dry vanilla beans, but you can use store bought or even regular sugar.

Blitz the candy canes until they're a fine powder. Set aside. Blitz the chocolate (cut in chunks before, it's easier) and add to the candy cane powder. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well, I recomend a wisk for this. Store in a lidded jar.

Peppermint candy canes powder

I've made mine in a Magic Bullet, but it will also work in a food processor. Just make sure the chocolate is cold (put in the fridge for a while before blitzing) or it will melt.

To make the hot chocolate:

Put 3 tbsp of the powder in a mug and add hot milk. Mix well and enjoy! If you want you can add water instead of milk, but I prefer it with milk.

Now go get that blanket!

Oh I think I should have called it "Chocolat Chaud" instead of hot chocolate, since I really need to start practicing my french! That's right, tomorrow I'm going to Paris! I'm going to spend the weekend to celebrate my birthday, cortesy of my lovely mom! I can't wait to see all those wonderful patisseries, oh lá lá!

Au revoir!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

May 2009 be sweet and spicy!

I hope you all made it safely to 2009! I wish you all a wonderful year, may it be sweet but with some nice spice to it.

Sweet and spicy, just like this candy bar!

Sweet and creamy chocolate with spicy and crunchy peanuts all in the same bite. Nothing new or fancy but oh sooooo good and perfect to start off the New Year!

I love caramelized spicy peanuts and make them very often. More often that I should, actually. I even blogged about them before and once I’ve used the same method with sunflower seeds. But this was the first time I’ve eaten them with chocolate. Silly me, I should have thought about this before!

I’ve made my bars with a chocolate bar mould (same one I used a while ago for my Fresh Fig Bars), but if you don’t have one, you can just do this is a tray and then cut out bars or break them up into pieces like you would for a chocolate bark.

CARAMELIZED SPICY PEANUTS

  • 350 gr (12.5 oz) roasted peanuts
  • 150 gr (5.4 oz) sugar
  • 150 ml water
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (or more if you like it hot)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

In a pan mix the sugar and water just so the sugar can start dissolving and take it to the stove without mixing anymore. Meanwhile mix all the spices and salt and set aside. Clear a space on a table to later mix in the spices onto the peanuts and leave there a wooden spoon or a spatula. When the syrup starts to boil leave it for 1 minute or so and dump all the peanuts. It will seam at this time you have a lot of liquid but don't worry, mix with energy and in a while you'll start to see the sugar turning white and sandy. That's normal, carry on mixing and that sandy sugar will start to transform into caramel. Don't stop mixing, paying extra attention to the sides of the pan so you don't get caramel burning there. Mix, mix, mix... You'll soon have nice even caramel covered peanuts (hopefully) and now you’ll have to act fast: Dump the peanuts onto the table and sprinkle with the spicy powder. With the spoon you used to mix and the one you had previously left there start moving the seeds with both hands trying to mix in the spices evenly. When you're happy with the way they’re covered, spread them as spread out as you can (don't worry much because they'll separate fine after cooling) and leave it to cool. Store in a jar if you're not using right away.

I’ve decided to use half dark and half milk chocolate and I was really happy with that with the peanuts, but fell free to use whatever you think you’ll like best or what you have on hand. I’ve also tempered it but it will work as well even if you don’t, just keep it in the fridge.

2009 SWEET AND SPICY CANDY BAR

  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) dark chocolate
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) milk chocolate
  • Caramelized spicy peanuts (as little or many as you like)

Chop the chocolates and melt them in the microwave or a bain-marie. Put 2/3 on the bottom of the bars and add the peanuts on top. Cover them with the rest of the chocolate and sprinkle with more peanuts, finely chopped. Let set and unmould.

The year might have changed but I’m still the same and will keep on posting silly pictures of my fingers with bitten food at the end of my posts! Enjoy!

I know I could eat a bar like this everyday of the year!