Phil’s birthday cake February 20, 2010Posted by croissantandbagel in Uncategorized.
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I promised Phillip I’d make him whatever birthday cake he chose. I should have known he would choose one that took the best part of a day to make because the desserts he likes the best always seem to be the ones that take the longest to make. His ultimate favourite is a cheesecake that takes 8 hours in a water bath at a very low temperature, but I can understand that because it is particularly nice.
His birthday cake is made up of layers of chocolate cake and chocolate mousse studded with cherries, wrapped in biscuit joconde and topped with chocolate ganache. To get the stripes, spread a thin layer of pate au cigarette on to a silpat mat and create the design by running a comb through it. I’ve tried a few methods but I’m still trying to find one that eliminates smudges- I’m going to try and make a proper stencil for my next attempt.
Pate au cigarette
- 30g unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sifted icing sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1tbsp cocoa powder (I used Dutch process for a darker colour)
- Cream butter and sugar until very smooth. Add egg white gradually and scrape down the bowl.
- Add flour and cocoa powder and process further until very smooth.
- Spread a thin layer on a silpat mat and create your pattern. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes (or while you make the joconde)
- 13 oz. tant pour tant, sifted (equal parts icing sugar and almond meal)
- 5 eggs
- 5 whites
- 2 tbsp. caster sugar
- 3 tbsp. melted butter1/3 cup flour
- Preheat oven to 250C. This seems hot but it needs to be.
- Beat tant pour tant & whole eggs to ribbon.
- Whip whites, gradually adding sugar until they form firm peaks.
- Fold butter into whole egg mixture, then flour and finally the whites.
- Spread the batter thinly on a silpat baking mat (as in 3/4cm) and bake for about 5 minutes. I cook mine until the middle is done, which means the edges can be very crisp but it makes it easier to work with.
Chocolate mousse (adapted from mum’s Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook, 1970)
- 113g dark chocolate
- 4 eggs, separated
- 285ml cream
- 1tbsp brandy
- 1tsp gelatin, sprinkled on 1/4 cup cold water
- 1tbsp sugar
- Chop chocolate roughly, put into top of double saucepan, stir over hot water until melted.
- When chocolate is cooled a little, blend in egg yolks one at a time. Beat until mixture is smooth and thick.
- Place gelatin in microwave for 15 sec until melted. Add gelatin and brandy to mousse mixture. (The original recipe doesn’t use gelatin, but as I needed to mousse to be firm enough to cut I added it in)
- Whip the egg whites with the sugar to stiff peaks (again I added the sugar in to give the egg whites a bit more body).
- Gently fold in whipped cream and then egg whites.
- Line a springform pan with biscuit joconde.
- Trim chocolate cake to fit in the pan and place a disk at the bottom. Brush it with a little cherry juice.
- Spoon in enough mousse so that it comes half way up the pan. Stud the mousse with cherries (I used tinned ones because they’re softer)
- Place another layer of chocolate cake in the mold and repeat the mousse and cherries as above. Top with a thin layer of cake (I didn’t have this layer as by this point Little Sister and Father had been sneaking cake)
- Refrigerate well (overnight) before topping with chocolate ganache.
Christmas left-overs January 11, 2010Posted by croissantandbagel in Uncategorized.
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I ended up cooking so much at Christmas (and as a result eating so much sugar) that I’ve kind of given up desserts and attempted to take up exercising. Funnily enough that hasn’t been much of a success. It is also just too hot to cook anything other than what I need to live. In 43 degrees it is just easier to pull out the tub of ice cream. Yes, I do need chocolate and ice cream to live.
That said, these were one of the desserts I made at Christmas and I actually took a photo because I was so amazed at the fact that it worked. I don’t have a thermometer, so my tempering involved asking random family members and Phil to guess whether the chocolate was at 32 degrees. My disorganisation meant that I was still doing it at noon on Christmas day, so my aunt arrived in the middle and was rather dubious about my attempt. The problem with that kind of disorganisation is that if it doesn’t work out, everyone knows about it. Luckily, I think they look kind of cute.
They are actually a layer of chocolate cake, topped with a layer of vanilla bean mousse studded with fresh raspberries. I left the mousse to set in the molds, then chopped up plastic overhead sheets, spread them reasonably thickly with vaguely tempered chocolate and then wrapped them around the mousse cakes. I left the chocolate to set in the fridge before pulling the plastic off. The plastic comes off easily but it can be tricky to get a start without breaking it. Next time I’d leave a bit of an edge of plain plastic that I could start pulling from. I topped them off with berries sprinkled with icing sugar and a Christmassy ribbon. Without the chocolate, the mousse, raspberry and cake combination tasted kind of like trifle, anyway they were yummy.
I also continued my quest for the perfect macaron, and while the chocolate and matcha ones were a bit of a failure the strawberry ones were good! Smooth tops, egg shell crust with softer middle. I filled them with buttercream flavoured with fresh strawberry puree and a bit of raspberry coulis.
Passionfruit souffles November 4, 2009Posted by croissantandbagel in Uncategorized.
I have sort of been neglecting cooking over the last little while. But now, as exams approach and I should be spending all my time reading about defamation or lightly skimming through 1300 pages of the corporations act, I am spending more of my time procrastibaking (I can’t take the credit for that term, sadly).
I came across this souffle and realised I had to make it for several reasons. Firstly, with mum trying to avoid gluten and dairy it is practically the only dessert she can have. Secondly, if you squint, you can pretend it is almost healthy. As far as a non-fruit salad dessert can be anyway. A warning, they don’t have flour so they fall quite quickly, as can be seen in the photo. I didn’t want to spend too much time taking photos and get left with a shrunken souffle…
Passionfruit Liqueur Souffles (from Womens Weekly Cookbook for all seasons)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup passionfruit pulp (between 4 and 5)
- 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
- 1/2 icing sugar
- 4 egg whites
- Grease the sides of 4 3/4 cup ramekins. Ensure they are well greased as this is what allows the souffle to rise.
- Whisk egg yolks, passionfruit, liqueur and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar in a medium bowl until combined.
- Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add remaining icing sugar and beat until they hold stiff peaks.
- Fold a quarter of the egg white mix into the passionfruit mixture, then fold in remaining egg white.
- Spoon into ramekins and bake in moderate oven (about 180C) for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven, dust with icing sugar and serve.
I think my ramekins are smaller because I filled up 6, with a little remaining. The Grand Marnier was a little strong for my taste (or perhaps I just got a spoonful with concentrated liqueur) so next time I might heat it slightly to get rid of some of the strong alcohol flavour. The passionfruit flavour is really nice without being over-dominant so I think this is something I’ll work on again, particularly as I am always on the lookout for gluten-free desserts.
Livestrong Day 2009 September 13, 2009Posted by croissantandbagel in Uncategorized.
I happened across a food blogging event for Livestrong Day 2009 and although I think I might be too late, I thought I would post about it anyway. The idea is that you cook something with a yellow ingredient and then blog about it to raise awareness for cancer. I think it is a great idea and reading some of the stories is incredibly inspiring. After someone I am very close to had a brush with cancer several months ago I am just so thankful that everything seems to have worked out for them : )
My original plan turned out to be a bit disappointing- I did want to make a sort of lemon curd and almond and hazelnut dacquoise sandwich (Mum and P love lemon curd, and mum is trying to avoid flour). What I ended up with was a bizzare comination of sweet, tangy, crunchy and liquid. My teeth protested at such abuse. So while it didn’t live up to my hopes, I was left with an excellent icecream topping. I whipped the left over lemon curd used it for making little daisies instead, which ended up being more popular.
- 225gm unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature
- 100gm caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- Finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch of salt
- 320gm plain flour
- Granulated sugar (for top)
- Cream butter and sugar. Add lemon zest and salt and beat until well mixed.
- Sift in flour. Mix until just combined, no more (it will look crumbly).
- Chill dough for at least an hour.
- Spread granulated sugar on a baking paper.
- Roll out to 7-10mm thickness between two sheets of baking paper (as dough gets sticky) and cut out shapes.
- Cut out small circles from half of the shapes (top layer). Lightly press these into granulated sugar. Place on top of base shapes and press down lightly.
- Chill the biscuits well before cooking them (at least several hours).
- To bake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the cookies onto a silpat mat. Bake until the edges are just starting to colour, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Pipe whipped lemon curd into cut out circle.
Long weekends June 14, 2009Posted by croissantandbagel in Uncategorized.
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P and I like to waste our long weekends. We also really like Christmas. And Shrek. So we decided to make a gingerbread house, much to the bemusement of everyone who passed through the house over the following days.
After overcoming broken gingerbread and decoration changes as a result of people eating the lollies and offcuts (father..), the gingerbread was pretty tasty. And the house was such a work of art that we had to give it to other people to start eating.
We grew so attached to it that we decided to take a photo of our creation. And others that followed…
Gingerbread (from Women’s Weekly Christmas cookbook)
- 4.5 cups self raising flour
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1.5 teaspoons ground clove
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 185g butter
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 0.5 cups treacle
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Mix flour, butter and spices until it is crumbly.
- Add sugar, treacle and enough egg for the mixture to just combine.
- Knead dough until smooth and refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat oven to moderate.
- Roll the dough to about 0.5cm thick. It is easier to roll it between two sheets of baking paper to prevent it sticking.
- Cut out shapes for the house (2 rectangles for the roof, 2 for the sides and 2 large ones which are trimmed to form gables). Also cut out a chimney and trees or decorations as desired.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, until firm. The gingerbread becomes crisp after cooling. Cut out windows and a door.
- When cool, assemble house using royal icing (egg whites and a lot of icing sugar). Use cans to help prop the shapes up until the icing has set. Use 2 crossed skewers on each roof piece to support them.
- If your house breaks (like ours did) glue the pieces together with toothpicks and icing.
- Decorate with lollies and dust with icing sugar.
The gingerbread has a bit of a kick, if you prefer more of a spice bread then use less ginger. We also found it was hard to move the dough without it changing shape, so leave it on baking paper and cut the shapes on the oven tray.