Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie 51: Flaky Apple Turnovers

Just reading that this week's recipe was going to be Flaky Apple Turnovers was enough to get me incredibly excited. Apple turnovers certainly aren't mainstream in Australia, but I just knew I would love them. To me they sounded like mini apple pies (and I love me some apple pie). In fact, I could happily eat apple pie everyday for the rest of my life.

I actually hadn't noticed this recipe before, so thanks to Julie of Someone's in the Kitchen for picking it this week! Like I said before, I just knew I would love this recipe so I made the whole batch (usually I half it at least) as I was planning on freezing them for a quick treat. Well, boy did these live up to my expectations- they are so flaky and so delicious it isn't funny. Truly, it is no laughing matter! Bake these as soon as humanly possible. The only problem is that the rest of the dough is in my fridge right now, waiting to be rolled out. How I loath rolling out this particular dough! It's a nightmare and I am avoiding it at all costs. These little turnovers are too good though, so I will no doubt endure the stickiness of the dough and give my biceps the workout of their life for these little pieces of heaven.

Tuesdays With Dorie 50: Chocolate Souffle

Although most people would agree that souffle is one of the hardest desserts to perfect, I honestly don't find them that daunting. Actually... if you look back at one of my first posts it would appear I am having a momentary mind lapse. Well I have come a long way since I first started my little blog and it is safe to say that I wouldn't burst into tears if I were faced with the challenge of whipping up a souffle on the spot. I personally am not a souffle girl- yes, I am fascinated by them, but I hardly ever order one in a restaurant (S on the other hand is obsessed with them).

This recipe was chosen by Susan of She's Becoming DoughMessTic, and I have to say that I was very disappointed in it. I knew from reading the recipe that it wouldn't suit my tastes, but I really prefer to stick to the exact recipe where possible for TwD. The souffle was much too airy and puffy for my liking. I know some people love how a souffle will just disappear when in the mouth but I much prefer something of more substance. My preference is a souffle made a creme patisserie base... yum!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Daring Bakers 9: Dobos Torta

Well I am sure a lot of you are asking the same thing I did when I saw this month's challenge, "what the heck is a Dobos Torta"? Whatever it was, I thought it sounded pretty exciting. Basically it consists of layers of sponge cake and chocolate buttercream, topped with thin wedges of caramel coated sponge cake.

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

The sponge and buttercream were pretty simple, but I had never made that style of chocolate buttercream before. To be honest, the thought of whole eggs kind of freaked me out, but it turned out to be delicious. I will definitely make it again. As for the sponge... well I just am not a big lover of sponge cake. I just feel like I'm missing out on something when I eat it! Mind you, I can't really comment on the overall taste of the cake because I never tried it. I did have a lot of trouble with the caramel wedges- I don't think I cooked the caramel long enough and it didn't set very well.

Dobos Torta

Sponge cake layers

  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
  • pinch of salt

Directions for the sponge layers:

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)
4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Directions for the chocolate buttercream:

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Lorraine's note: If you're in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you'll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!

Caramel topping

  • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
  • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

Directions for the caramel topping:

1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

Angela's note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

Finishing touches

  • a 7” cardboard round
  • 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
  • ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

Assembling the Dobos

1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie 49: Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie

As the name implies, this is one creamy, delicious pie. Now there is nothing I love more than creamy desserts, however this would also be a great dessert for those of you who find creamy desserts too rich, because it is ladened with lime and ginger. I can just imagine bringing out this beautiful pie at the end of a nice BBQ on a hot Summer day- how well the lime cream would hold up in the humid Australian weather I am not too sure.

This pie is pretty much exactly the same as the Lemon Meringue Pie I have made a few times in the past (also from Dorie's book). Instead of either of the two pie crusts Dorie recommended, I went for the Sweet Tart Dough just because I love it so much. Honestly, call me boring, but I do prefer the lemon version. I did find the ginger a little confronting and I was glad that I held back from the recommended amount. Thanks to Linda of Tender Crumb for choosing this week's recipe- check out her blog for this delicious recipe!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie 48: Applesauce Spice Bars

This week's recipe was chosen by Karen of Something Sweet by Karen. I decided to make mine into little cakes instead of bars because I was really excited to try out my new mini springform tins. In hindsight, I think these would have photographed much better as bars.

Putting looks beside, these cakes were really delicious. They were very moist and were the perfect sweetness. Apple and cinnamon are always a winning combination for me which is why I loved the cake sans glaze. The glaze is really yummy but there is something about an unadorned moist, spicy cake that I find irresistible.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie 47: Brownie Buttons

I loved this week's recipe which was chosen by Jayma of Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen. These little brownies really were as cute as a button! They were perfect little two bite morsels- a well portioned treat for those watching their waistlines.

The addition of the orange zest was just delicious. Usually I really dislike white chocolate, but I was pleasantly surprised by Green and Blacks white chocolate with Madagascan vanilla. I do think that the addition of vanilla really does the white chocolate justice. Having said that, I still can't see myself sitting down to munch on a block of white chocolate. I really cannot wait to make these again for a picnic or BBQ, they are just so adorable and really could be decorated to suit any occasion.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie 46: Classic Banana Bundt Cake

When I first joined Tuesdays with Dorie, I noticed there was a whole section dedicated to bundt cakes. So not long after that, I went out and purchased my first bundt cake tin, and it has been sitting in my cupboard ever since! Naturally, I was quite excited when I saw that Mary of The Food Librarian had chosen a bundt cake this week. Now I realise that there isn't really a difference between a normal cake and a bundt cake, but something about that hole in the middle makes it look oh so spectacular!

I was also really glad that it was a banana bundt cake too. For me, banana cake is something I really love, but never make. I'm hoping I don't make this too often from now on either because it has so much butter and sugar, and I didn't even bother to use low fat sour cream! The recipe did produce the most luscious banana cake though- soft, moist and extremely flavoursome. I highly recommend you check out the recipe on Mary's blog.