Archive for March, 2011

This months Baker’s Challenge was hosted by  Jamie of Life’s a Feast and Ria of Ria’s Collection . Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, and no date. I had never heard of a yeast bread filled with meringue before. The original version of the recipe is filled with chopped walnuts, chocolate and cinnamon. Please check out some of my fellow bakers creations here, they are certainly a wonder. I chose to fill mine with homemade raspberry preserves and chocolate.  Though, I must admit, my first attempt was a total bust. When I first saw this challenge I thought to myself, “no sweat” and put it off. Well, when I first made it last week, I was trying to be fancy with the  shaping and ended up having my filling ooze out all over the counter (the first filling was raspberry and toasted coconut). So, after seeing that that wasn’t such a good idea, on the second attempt I stuck with a simple loaf. The original recipe was also doubled, making two loaves, but I felt that was just too much and cut the recipe in half, as seen below. I must also mention, the recipe states to let the dough rise for about one hour, or until double in size. Since it has butter and egg in it, it will actually take longer than that because of the fat. Just keep on eye on it and it will rise beautifully.  It will have such a lovey feel to it when you roll it out. Bake on….

Makes 1 round coffee cakes,  approximately 10 inches in diameter

For the yeast coffee cake dough:

2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
1/8 cup ( 27 g / 1 oz)  granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/8 teaspoons / 3.5  g ) active dried yeast
scant 1/2 cup (90 ml / 3  fl oz) whole milk
1/8 cup (30 ml / 1 fl oz) water
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (optional)
1/4 cup (67 g / 2.5 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature

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 raspberry preserves
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3/4 (115 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. With an electric mixer (using the paddle attachment)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 egg, almond extract, and vanilla seeds (if using)  and 1/2 cup (75 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Switch to the dough hook. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, and elastic. Alternately, you can do this all by hand using a large metal bowl and a wooden spoon. Knead on a floured countertop for 8-10 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use PAM) 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. Mine took 2 hours to rise.

Place the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a 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.

Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread the raspberry preserves evenly over the rectangle up to 1/2 inch from the edges. Spread the meringue evenly over the preserves. Sprinkle the chocolate  evenly over the meringue.

Now, roll up the dough jelly roll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Cut small slits down the center, or 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.

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

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Go Diego Go!

This was the cake that I made  this past weekend for my friend Amy. Her son was turning two and is a huge Diego fan.  The cake was a yellow cake filled with vanilla buttercream. The entire cake  was covered and decorated with homemade fondant.  For the image I drew a large picture of Diego and made templates for the face and hair from that. The sides are covered in leaves with royal icing “grass” piped around the bottom.

The cake recipe is from Sylvia Wienstock’s book Sensational Cakes, one of the prettiest cake books to look at.   The recipe is here 

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Butterscotch Panna Cotta

Since making panna cotta last month for the first time in over a year, I have been on a somewhat panna cotta kick. It is so luscious and creamy with such a wonderful mouth feel and it makes such a pretty finale to a meal. My brother-in-law was in town last night and I was making homemade pizza, so it was pretty casual. I wanted a dessert that was not carb based andI  knew I had panna cotta on the brain. It’s all Italian, right?
This recipe uses muscovado sugar, an extra dark brown sugar that has a nice molasses flavor. If you don’t have this available you can also use regular dark brown sugar or light brown sugar with a tablespoon of molasses added. It’s not completely necessary, but it adds such a deep butterscotch flavor.

Aren’t these cute?

Best of all, I had these vintage Tupperware molds that I got at a garage sale and pretty much forgot about that were perfect for this! It makes me feel like less of a hoarder when I can actually use some of the things I acquire along the way.

I served this with dulce de leche and shaved bittersweet chocolate, but the real final clincher on this dessert is a sprinkling of fleur de sel. I used a celtic grey sea salt. This final note sends this dessert into culinary heaven! The sprinkling of salt really brings out the butterscotch flavor and makes it soar. Enjoy!

Serves 6

3/4 cup water, to be divided
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (I use knox)
3 cups heavy cream (34-36 %)
3/4 cup packed dark muscovado sugar, to be divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
seeds from one vanilla bean (optional – I have a thing for vanilla)
2 teaspoons dark rum

Garnish- flaky sea salt, shaved chocolate, dulce de leche

Place 1/4 cup of the water in a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. This is to soften the gelatin before using. Let it sit while you proceed with the rest of the recipe.
In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, vanilla bean seeds (if using), salt and 1/2 cup of the dark sugar to a gentle simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
In another saucepan (2 quart), place the remaining 1/2 cup water and the 1/4 cup sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir a few times to completely dissolve the sugar . Let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes, or until it is thickish and syrupy. It will reduce to about 3 tablespoons. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream mixture. It might bubble up a bit so be careful. Whisk in the softened gelatin and stir until all of the gelatin is dissolved, at least 2 minutes. Stir in the rum and vanilla extract.

Ladle or pour into 6 3/4- cup molds of your choice. Loosely cover with wrap (not touching the panna cotta) and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

To serve, dip the bottom of you molds into a bowl of hot water for about 10 seconds. Run a sharp knife around the edge and flip over onto a plate.

Recipe source: Panna Cotta by Camilla V. Saulsbury

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So, my precious little angel turned 5 years old yesterday. Where did the time go?. Seriously. You hear this all the time, but, it really does feel like yesterday that she was just a tiny baby. I guess time flies when you are having fun and this has been the best five years ever. For her birthday we had a little party at the movie theatre, seeing Gnomeo and Juliet (a very cute movie). After the movie the kids all had cupcakes in the party room. Since my little girl is obsessed with all things Rapunzel, I made this cupcake stand for the party.
I used styrofoam as the base (this is what is referred to as a “dummy” cake), since I knew that a bunch of 5 year olds can’t eat that much. This could easily be made entirely out of cake but you would need about 25 adults to eat it.  Whenever I see these  cake shows on TV I can’t help but think how ridiculous they are. I am not denying that they are great ideas  but  the people who watch these shows don’t realize that these creations serve about 300-400 people, so that now everyone thinks that they need a super huge cake at their party of 50 people! Yikes… At almost all weddings at least 1/2 of the tiers are styrofoam. I wish they would point this out these TV shows. Anyway, enough of my ranting. This tower is covered and decorated entirely with homemade fondant. I added a few teaspoons of gum tragacanth to strengthen it. I worked on it over the course of 4 days and it was a blast to make.

Little Miss Scarlet

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