Montag, 31. Mai 2010

TWD: White Chocolate Brownie

I like raisins. I like bananas. I love coconut. I am not afraid of making icecream or other desserts where non-cooked eggs are involved. So I am not very picky. And all the things that might lead to some eyebrow-raising here or there in the Tuesdays-with-Dorie-familiy are fine with me.
 But: I just found out this weekend, that I am also picky. I discovered my new pickiness when I made the wonderful White Chocolate Brownies, chosen by Marthe of Culinary Delights. You can find the recipe on her page (she is one of the few Europeans participating in Tuesdays with Dorie - and she is Dutch - and I am the biggest fan of dutch soccer in an ambit of about 1000 miles. So I particularily like her blog :o]) or in Dorie's book.
I am picky about raspberries. When they are warm. And in a cake.
I really was disgusted by the smell of the raspberries. Funnily, I don't mind the same smell when the warm raspberrries are poured in a sauce over vanilla icecream.
Therefeore, that is, hm..., not very picky, because, hey, how often does this combination come along, but... let's call it "special".

The problem was easily resolved as I just waited a bit longer to let the brownies completely cool down, and with them the raspberries, and like that everything was fine again.

"Fine" is maybe not the right word in this context. Wonderful. Sublime. Great. Yum. To-do-again-and-again-and-again. That's more appropriate :o]

I tried some of the brownie batter just as foreseen by the recipe, and for the rest I was in the mood of playing around. So I made some minis and used apricots, what worked pretty well, omitted the merengue, what was not problem (I topped the apricots with a bit of the batter to ensure they don't burn, because they did not drown down like the raspberries), and decorated them white chocolate ganache/glazé and a raspberry.

Side-notes: The white chocolate flavour was not all too dominant. And I almost liked the apricot version even more.

Samstag, 29. Mai 2010

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

It's not often that I bake&blog beside the weekly Tuesdays-with-Dorie recipe, and it has become even more rarely since I changed to a new and very, very demanding (but also very, very exciting job).
Some weeks ago I bought some Philadelphia because it was an offer (I am so easy to manipulate...). So before it expires I had to make some cheesecake with it.

Doing cheesecake is not that easy where I life, because we do not have creamcheese round here. There are numerous webpages offering hints how to mix different dairy products so they come as close as possible to creamcheese. I mostly use about 3/4 Philadelphia and 1/4 curd cheese and for me that works.

I had a "TWD-free" weeke-end last week because I pre-made the scheduled recipe (the Banana Coconut Icecream Pie) already some weeks before. I love american desserts even more than french ones, and I particularily adore cheesecakes. And brownies. So this combination screamed "bake me" for aeons.
And I really loved it. The brownie-layer turned out comparatively dense, but in combination with the cheesecake-layer that was just about right. Marbeling didn't work, because I used a too big pan so I had not enough batter left, but I used a white-chocolate glazé and decorated it with some dark chocolate glazé.
I served it with a rhubarb-strawberry hotchpotch - and look at the colour combination!!

Definitely a "do me again"-recipe.
(the only downer is that many bowls and  pots are involved due to the different layers)

P.S.: The recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking: From my home to yours", or on Melissa's page Life in a peanut shell, who opted for this recipe back in September 2009)

Dienstag, 25. Mai 2010

TWD: Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie

The second icecream-recipe this month!
I took the easy way and combined them. Instead of chocolate icecream, as in the original recipe, I used the Burnt Sugar Icecream (and some Dulche de Leche Icecream) - Bananas and Caramel go together well in my opinion, so I also decorated the pie with some caramel sauce (what is hard to see in the pictures due to the similar coclours).
I am the coconut-lover type, be it in savory dishes or sweets, shredded, toasted or as milk and juice.
But, to make it short: I liked this icecream pie, but it is not going to become an all-time-favourite. The crust was to buttery and fat, and there was not as much flavour on the whole as there should be. Maybe my bananas where not ripe enough. Or maybe the caramel icecream was not such a good idea in the end. Who knows.
Additionally, I always, always, always tend to make the "crust" too thick, be it for a tart or as here the pie. The relation between crust and filling was not appropriate, even though I really love the "crust" and can imagine to also use it with other recipes.

On the plus-side: It is easy to be made (especially with store-bought icecream), and can be assembled way ahead and stored for a longer time. I even re-fridged a part of it with the banana-topping on it and have the feeling it was alright.

For the recipe, go to Spike's homepage, who selected the Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie, or have a look on page 350 in Dorie's book.
P.S.: One of my friends said: "Uh, yummy, this muesli is not all too bad!" - but for some people everything that involves anything slightly healthy (as nuts - and coconutflakes do count in this book) is muesli....

Samstag, 22. Mai 2010

TWD - June Preview and first Macarons try

And here we have five more weeks of tempting, challenging, diverse recipes for the next Tuesdays with Dorie-month.

In the weeks to come I will try my luck with

White Chocolate Brownies, picked byMarthe of Culinary Delights,
Tender Shortcakes, chosen by Cathy of The Tortefeasor,
Raisin Swirl Bread, selected by Susan of Food.Baby,
Dressy Chocolate Loafcake, named by Amy of Amy Ruth Bakes, and
Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes determinded by Wendy of Pink Stripes.

I am extremely excited about the White Chocolate Brownies, not only because one special TWD'er will be specially happy with this special pick :o] I adore Brownies and they are oh so easy to transfer to the office. And they are also oh so easily to be shared. I am craving for those for a long time.

The Tender Shortcakes will be an experiment: I have no idea what this should be. Shortcakes are new to me, I have never seen or eaten one: So lets see if I arrive to create something similar to what it should be. The picture in the book looks extremely promising, just as I like my desserts. Additionally, it is made with berries, and therefore a perfect pick for this time of the year.

I love anything made of brioche, so hooray for Raisin Swirl Bread! The only fly in the ointment is that you gotta have brioche before you can head over to making the actual recipe And brioche means "take your time". Anyways, I learnt to like making brioche dough, so I am looking forward to this week!

And then we have a chocolate-vanilla-combo for the last two weeks of June. I am not so sure about the Dressy Chocolate Loafcake, as up to now I am not such a big fan of the similar TWD-recipes we made so far (like the Cocoa-Nana Bread). But lets see. At least, a loafcake is something not too laborious, but easy to transport and share. And the Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes - perfect occasion to take some of my mini-molds out of the mothballs! Wonderful!

Finally, something completely different:
In a delusion of grandeur I tried to make Macarons. I had eggwhites over and over from the last TWD-weeks, so I thought "why not? why should I not be able to do Macarons?"
Well, maybe because other bake-bloggers who are far, far, far better bakers than me had difficulties. And phrases like "this is not about the actual recipe, but about mastering the technique" would have been a good hint for me to keep my hands off.

I don't know how I mastered the shells turned from "too soft and almost liquid" to "burnt, so smoke comes out the oven" in a second or so. Like that, my shells (all, all and every single of it), were dark and black. The filling was really good, and I even had the guts to try some of these little black anythings. If it would not have been for the edges, they weren't that bad. But "not that bad" is not even the ugly little sibling of "good".
On the other side, the preparation does not take long and making the batter is really easy, so maybe I am going to re-try it soon.

Here David Lebovitz' recipes for my fail:
French Cocolate Macarons with Chocolate Filling and Prune Filling
If you have never seen Macarons, here is what they should look like. See the difference? :o]

Montag, 17. Mai 2010

TWD: Apple-Apple Bread Pudding

I know "pudding" in english and in german isn't the same. But despite some british Christmas Pudding, which I have to say I am not a particular fan of, I never had or saw one. So I thought all puddings are like that. But when I read this recipe I thought, well, that all sounds familiar. Very familiar. And after some net-search for pictures of this recipe I was sure: Bread pudding, or at least Apple-Apple Bread Pudding, is very, very well-known in Austria - just with another name, for sure.

"Scheiterhaufen" (what translates to "stake" - yes, stake, no lost in translation...) is a very common dish, especially with school cafeterias. It's considered to be a smash-up meal, although I think in fact it isn't anymore, but I guess it used to, as it is a way to use old white bread, and apples are to be found en masse everywhere. So it also was kind of a cheap dish. And very often, in schools and at universities it is served on Fridays instead of fish. (Austria has a very catholic tradition, and despite it doesn't really influence most people's life - at least much less than in the States!! - but some habits never dissappear...)

 (unfortunately, not a picture of my Apple Bread Pudding, but a Scheiterhaufen by - looks familiar, huh?)

Montag, 10. Mai 2010

TWD: Quick Classic Berry Tart

For this TWD-week Cristine of Cooking with Cristine picked the Quick Classic Berry Tart - go to her page or have a look at Dorie's book on page 377 for the recipe.

This was a great choice for the first weeks of May. I opted for a pure strawberry tart because I found some really good tasting ones (which is not that easy...).

I had the feeling that this classic tart as you see it on the left could use some more colour besides the vanilla of the pastry cream (I used vanilla milk instead of ordinary whole milk, so my pastry cream was alreayd very, very vanilla-coloured), and the red of the strawberries and the strawberry-glazé.
First I thought pistacchios, but I ran out. And then my look fell on the basil at my kitchen sill. Strawberries naturally match with savory tastes like red pepper or chilis in chocolate, or old Balsamico (or a Balsamico reduction) on the plain fruits. And I am generally a big fan of combining sweet and savory.
So I candied some basil leaves to sprinkle them over the finished tart, and mixed the glazé with a tiny little bit of Balsamico.

I love this tart!
My crust didn't burn for the first time (it was a bit dark, but still alright - but I made a nut crust, so it should be darker than a normal one), I managed to handle the pastry cream, and the final product did look well. Usually, nobody complains about the taste when I bake, but the looks of my desserts are improvable.

Here, it turned out exactly as I intended it.
Honestly spoken, I am pretty proud on me. :o]
(and, most importantly, my co-workers and me were excited, excited, excited about it)

P.S.: For candying basil it is better not to use the usual sugar-water-mix as for fruits - this might be too heavy. It's better to first put the leaves in egg-whites and then sprinkle it with sugar, as you do with edible flowers.

Dienstag, 4. Mai 2010

TWD: Burnt Sugar Icecream

 (I'm sorry, but the pictures of the Burnt Sugar Ice Cream are not very impressive, so I have to bother you with some of my Paris-pictures.)

Since I spent some month in Paris last year and discovered David Lebovitz' blog (funnily, not even because I was looking for a recipe or a restaurant recommendation, but on the search for yoga classes in Paris...) I was curious for making icecream. I tried some before, but it more turned out as fruit sorbets (can live with that ...), and frozen mousse au chocolate (can definitely live with that...). The fact that I have no icecream machine didn't improve the situation. But when I came back to Vienna last autumn I started following David's recommendations. And I loved it right from the start. A definite highlight has been the Matcha Icecream with Red Bean Sauce so far. (incredible!)

The procedure is easy, just needs some time, because you have to stir and check your mix several times. You can find a step-by-step introduction here. Also very helpful are his hints for making icecream (with or without machine) softer.

But this is about recipes by Dorie Greenspan and not David Lebovitz, although I am pretty sure she won't be offended being named in the same blog as him when it comes to icecream.

Burnt sugar is a nicer name for caramel. I was very much looking forward to it, because I didn't make icecream for some time. So credits go out to Becky of Project Domestication, who has chosen icecream for a quick-start into the summer! You can find the recipe at her blog or on p. 432 in Dorie's book.
The procedure is easy-peasy. I didn't use ordinary sugar but caramel-sugar because I thought of it as a very clever idea. The problem was, that the already caramelized sugar was dark right from the start, so I wasn't able to see when the colour of the caramel was right. Maybe that was the reason why my mix didn't really freeze. Normally, I wait for two hours before stirring it up the first time and then continue to do so every 30-45 mins. I made the icecream-mix at noon, and mixed it up the last time before I went to bed, and it was not frozen by that time. (No, I don't go to bed that early; that was not the reason :o])

Anyhow, the next moning the texture was perfect. I had the feeling it could use some add-in. I couldn't imagine serving the icecream with cookies or brownies, as the Burnt Sugar Icecream itself is already sweet enough. I thought about a fruity side-dish, but had to use all my strawberries for something else. Dried apricots also came to my mind, but I used them in the Chockablock Cookies last week, and don't like to repeat myself too often.
So, what's left? As I came home late yesterday, I flipped through David's icecream book, looking for something fast and easy, and ended up with pralined almonds. I didn't taste the complete icecream so far. But I can't imagine how this can go wrong. Caramel and nuts - what more can you ask for?
(Maybe for reading the recipe properly, and not using one cup water instead of 1/4 cup... - but after a long, long time and adding more and more nuts and more and more sugar I somehow managed to rescue the nuts)

Sonntag, 2. Mai 2010

Cardinal Slices (Kardinalschnitte)

On the special wish of a colleague (in detail, she said: "Can't you make something like THAT???") and because I had some eggwhites (due to icercream-making for TWD), I tried my luck with Cardinal Slices (possibly the correct translation is Viennese Cardinal). I used to like this cake when I was a child very, very much. I mostly go for the classic version. The ones with chocolate, heavy raspberry-cream or cappucino or not my cup of tea.

To me, despite most recipes are classfied as "easy" the procedure sounds difficult: Pipe alternating stripes of beaten egg whites and an egg-sugar-flour-mix, bake for about 20 minutes, cut in half, so you get six stripes, spread jam on the top of two stripes, then put some whipped cream (I mixed mine with some strawberries) on the layers, again the same with the second layer, and top it with the third one. Nevertheless, what I got is anything but Cardinal Slices. I will have a look if I can rescue them. Maybe with white chocolate ganache.

The "merengue" did not turn out fluffy and light as it should, but chewy, dense and sunken. The egg-mix was much too liquid. I alreday thought so when I poured it in between the eggwhite stripes. The two textures suddenly mixed, what should definitely not happen.

Lucky me, most of the few people possibly reading this have never been to Austria, so I guess they don't know what Cardinal Slices should look like.
But, as I am an honest person, this is the original, and a picture of a variation with raspberries and I guess coffee: