Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coeur a la Creme ~ Barefoot Contessa Style

Coeur means "heart" in French, hence the heart mold for this creamy dessert. The molds have holes in the bottom for draining excess liquid, and should be used with cheesecloth to contain the cream cheese.

Barefoot Bloggers have gotten together one extra Thursday to do this special dessert chosen by Becke of Columbus Foodie and huge hugs should go out to her! This experience is a first for me. The combination of tart, bright red raspberries draped over a creamy, heart shaped mold of vanilla and seeds, cream cheese, lemon zest, and confectioner's sugar. . .You Shouldn't Have?!!!! BUT I am REALLY glad that you did! My heavy cream was dreamy, thick, and rich. So thick that my attempt made almost double what Ina said it would make. This leads me to disclose a little secret. . .never order heart shaped glass molds late in the evening on the internet. I thought I ordered (1) ~ 2 c. capacity heart and 1 small heart. I also ordered a cookbook by Dorie Greenspan so I didn't really focus on the bottom dollar amount that night. The next morning, I kept having this strange nagging feeling that something was awry. I couldn't put my finger on it. Then I started thinking about how much my order with Amazon was. It couldn't have been around $50.? Could it? What the heck did I order? I get home that evening and log onto the computer, check my order with Amazon and Yep. The order was a little over $50. You see, I accidently ordered 2 of each size. How I did this I still do not know. After mixing my ingredients together, I was glad I had extra molds. The recipe filled 1 large heart and 2 small ones with about 1/2 cup left over.

Even though hubby doesn't like raspberries, I do. So the big heart is mine to share with fellow raspberry lovers! He gets the two individual hearts covered in Dove milk chocolate. I think he feels pretty special that he is getting his own individual desserts.

The recipe can be found at the Food Network Site so just click on Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce.

I really loved how the raspberry sauce turned out but I couldn't taste the Grand Marnier. Maybe I should have added a little extra?

The red color from the raspberries really sets off the creamy white with vanilla seed specks. I used Lindt white chocolate to help decorate with.

When the ingredients have been mixed together, part of the directions say to: Line a 7-inch sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels so the ends drape over the sides and suspend it over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight.
A lot of us used the heart molds.

Are the raspberries not just beautiful? I had a hard time keeping my fingers out of them.

After doing a Daring Baker challenge, unmolding something easy was a nice refreshment. These were kind of fun to peel the cheesecloth off.

I finished these little molds up on a table between the kitchen and living room. . .the lighting sucks and I had a flash. What a way to finish off, huh?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We Daring Bakers are At It Again! Filberts, Rum, and Cake. . .YES!

Walter's Great Cakes has been sitting on my cookbook shelves for several years. . .uhmmm, unused. Yes, I know, I am so embarrassed. I actually got to go through the cookbook and date, initial, along with putting approval notes on all the little recipes that put together the whole Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream. I wanted to know what the cake tastes like just as it is so I did not tweak a thing. I merrily followed along.
Mel Cotte the Little Blog that Feeds a Huge Appetite for Cooking hosted this wonderous event and I really do feel for her because there were so many opinions, good and bad, about all the ingredients in this cake. Me personally, I have had this cake bookmarked for a LONG time. I would think I was going to jump in and start but then I would get caught up in all the different little recipes I would have to jump around too just to put the cake together and think. . .holy cow. . .this is out of my league. Well, it wasn't and thank you for putting the challenge out there!

I had a few mishaps, like my top layer breaking in half when I was trying to set it on the cake. Talk about feeling deflated. Also, my middle layer was a little thinner then the rest and I had to worry about making the overall cake even.
I also had a few things that I did not like doing and will try to change later. One of those things would be taking the skins off of hazelnuts. I had nut skins EVERYWHERE in my kitchen. The skins were floating all over the place; not to mention a hazelnut slipping out from under the towels and flying across my kitchen. . .only to be met by Fluffy, who was happy batting at the hazelnut immediately. I am lucky I had enough for the cake. I still do not like flipping pages to different parts of a cookbook to find all the recipes BUT I am absolutely shocked at how clear and informative Carol Walter's is in this cookbook. She really teaches a baker just how to make a cake correctly. I learned a LOT! Also, The ganache. . .how versatile. You can use this as a fudge sauce while still warm; a little chilled, you have chocolate filling and frosting; cold, you have the basis for chocolate candy truffles. What a Great recipe! Making the praline paste felt a little daunting at first, but really is not hard. Another new skill. There were so many firsts that I just feel happy.
To see other Daring Baker's putting ideas and mad baking skills to work, go here and check everyone out. Just be forewarned that we now have almost a thousand members worldwide. Amazing!
Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter
1 Filbert Genoise
1 recipe sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum
1 recipe Praline Buttercream
½ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 recipe Apricot Glaze
1 recipe Ganache Glaze, prepared just before using
3 tablespoons filberts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Filbert Genoise
Because of the amount of nuts in the recipe, this preparation is different from a classic genoise.
1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted/skinned
2/3 cup cake flour, unsifted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
7 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar, divided ¼ & ¾ cups
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
5 lg. egg
1/4 cup warm, clarified butter - 100 – 110 degrees
Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10” X 2” inch round cake pan.
Using a food processor, process nuts, cake flour, and cornstarch for about 30 seconds. Then, pulse the mixture about 10 times to get a fine, powdery mixture. You’ll know the nuts are ready when they begin to gather together around the sides of the bowl. While you want to make sure there aren’t any large pieces, don’t over-process. Set aside.
Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, and beat until thick and light in color, about 3-4 minutes on med-high speed. Slowly, add ¾ cup of sugar. It is best to do so by adding a tablespoon at a time, taking about 3 minutes for this step. When finished, the mixture should be ribbony. Blend in the vanilla and grated lemon rind. Remove and set aside.
Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed, until soft peaks. Increase to med-high speed and slowly add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, over 15-20 seconds or so. Continue to beat for another ½ minute.Add the yolk mixture to the whites and whisk for 1 minute.
Pour the warm butter in a liquid measure cup (or a spouted container). * It must be a deep bottom bowl and work must be fast.* Put the nut meal in a mesh strainer (or use your hand – working quickly) and sprinkle it in about 2 tablespoons at a time – folding it carefully for about 40 folds. Be sure to exclude any large chunks/pieces of nuts. Again, work quickly and carefully as to not deflate the mixture. When all but about 2 Tbsp. of nut meal remain, quickly and steadily pour the warm butter over the batter. Then, with the remaining nut meal, fold the batter to incorporate, about 13 or so folds.
With a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula or back of a spoon. **If collected butter remains at the bottom of the bowl, do not add it to the batter! It will impede the cake rising while baking.
Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when it is springy to the touch and it separates itself from the side of the pan. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan. Cool the cake completely.
*If not using the cake right away, wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag, then in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap in foil, then the bag and use within 2-3 months.
Sugar Syrup
Makes 1 cup, good for one 10-inch cake – split into 3 layers
1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavored liqueur
In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the liqueur. Cool slightly before using on the cake. *Can be made in advance.
Praline Buttercream
1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
1/3 cup praline paste
1 ½ - 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum (optional)
Blend ½ cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream. Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine. Blend in rum.
Swiss Buttercream
4 lg. egg whites
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 ½ -2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice
1 tsp. vanilla
Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a elevtric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage). Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows.
Remove from pan and with either the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes. *Do not overbeat*. Set aside.
Place the butter in a separate clean mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed for 40-60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. *Do not overbeat or the butter will become toooooo soft.*
On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute. Add the liqueur and vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.
Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.
Praline Paste
1 cup (4 ½ oz.) Hazelnuts, toasted/skinless
2/3 cup Sugar
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter.
Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet. Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals. If the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly. When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides. Cook until the mixture starts to bubble. **Remember – extremely hot mixture.** Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible. As it cools, it will harden into brittle. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor. Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place. Do not refrigerate.
Apricot Glaze
Good for one 10-inch cake
2/3 cup thick apricot preserves
1 Tbsp. water
In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and preserves to a slow boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, add water as needed.
Remove from heat and, using a strainer, press the mixture through the mesh and discard any remnants. With a pastry brush, apply the glaze onto the cake while the cake is still warm. If the glaze is too thick, thin to a preferred consistency with drops of water.
Ganache Glaze
Makes about 1 cup, enough to cover the top and sides of a 9 or 10 inch layer or tube cake
6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreay, or dark Jamaican rum (optional)
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ - 1 tsp. hot water, if needed
Blend vanilla and liqueur/rum together and set aside.
Break the chocolate into 1-inch pieces and place in the basket of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle boil. Once to the gently boil, immediately and carefully pour over the chocolate. Leave it alone for one minute, then slowly stir and mix the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Carefully blend in vanilla mixture. If the surface seems oily, add ½ - 1 tsp hot water. The glaze will thicken, but should still be pourable. If it doesn’t thicken, refrigerate for about 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn’t get too cold!
Assembling Cake
Cut a cardboard disk slightly smaller than the cake. Divide the cake into 3 layers and place the first layer top-side down on the disk. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer with 3-4 Tbsp. of warm sugar syrup. Measure out 1 cup of praline buttercream and set aside.
Spread the bottom layer with a ¼-inch thickness of the remaining buttercream. Cover with ½ of the whipped cream, leaving ¼-inch border around the edge of the cake. Place the middle layer over the first, brush with sugar syrup, spreading with buttercream. Cover with the remaining whipped cream.
Moisten the cut side of the third layer with additional sugar syrup and place cut side down on the cake. Gently, press the sides of the cake to align the layers. Refrigerate to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard. Holding a serrated or very sharp night with an 8-ich blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight. Cut a slight bevel at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze, sealing the cut areas completely. Chill while you prepare the ganache.
Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch the ganache drippings. Remove the gateau from the refrigerator and put it the rack. With a metal spatula in hand, and holding the saucepan about 10 inches above the cake, pour the ganache onto the cake’s center. Move the spatula over the top of the ganache about 4 times to get a smooth and mirror-like appearance. The ganache should cover the top and run down the sides of the cake. When the ganache has been poured and is coating the cake, lift one side of the rack and bang it once on the counter to help spread the ganache evenly and break any air bubbles. (Work fast before setting starts.) Patch any bare spots on the sides with a smaller spatula, but do not touch the top after the “bang”. Let the cake stand at least 15 minutes to set after glazing.
To garnish the cake, fit a 12 – 14-inch pastry bag with a #114 large leaf tip. Fill the bag with the reserved praline cream. Stating ½ inch from the outer edge of the cake, position the pastry tube at a 90 degree angle with the top almost touching the top of the cake. Apply pressure to the pastry bag, moving it slightly toward the center of the cake. As the buttercream flows on the cake, reverse the movement backward toward the edge of the cake and finish by pulling the bag again to the center. Stop applying pressure and press the bag downward, then quickly pull the tip up to break the flow of frosting. Repeat, making 12 leaves evenly spaced around the surface of the cake.
Make a second row of leaves on the top of the first row, moving the pastry bag about ¾ inch closer to the center. The leaves should overlap. Make a 3rd row, moving closer and closer to the center. Add a 4th row if you have the room. But, leave a 2-inch space in the center for a chopped filbert garnish. Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.

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US economy explained by George Bush.

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This Home doesn't Call 9/11..

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh My Gosh! Running Late for TWD. . .But We're Here!

Everyone just has to check out all the wonderful Galettes here at TWD and see how a real galette is actually done. Really. . .I am not afraid to admit that I have blundered this time =D. Also, thank you Michelle from Michelle in Colorado Springs for selecting …
Summer Fruit Galette on pages 366 - 367 of Dorie Greenspan's cookbook "Baking from my home to yours". Delicious smelling dessert. I haven't tried mine yet, simply because it is still bubbling, fresh from the oven.

Aaahhhh! I am having a really hectic week! Holy Cows! My refrigerator was starting to go up so we got this new refrigerator. . .Yes? No! The refrigerator does not work and we had to have another one shipped in from Oregon (I live in Washington) then delivered to the house. Does this one work? NO! The temperature does for the inside but the ice in the door does not. Grumble, grumble, grumble. I have flour all over the floor, the kitchen is wayyyyy to hot again and I am baking this beautiful galette at the last minute. I think I may have acquired an eye twitch. Hopefully, the condition is not permanent. My dough was toooo warm and did the melting moments look. On the good side? The aroma drifting from the galette smells sweet, fruity, and wonderful. Oh yes. I am going to admit one other small detail. I used my canned fruit. I am panicking because I am not sure if the fruit is too soft for using in the recipe. The combination I used was nectarines, pears (which were Really Ripe when I canned them), and my homemade seedless, blackberry jam. I also thought I had trouble with Dorie's pie crust last time so I used my faithful Pastry Queen, Rebecca Rather's, tart crust. Guess what? The crust still looks melty so it is me once again. I definitely know my kitchen is too hot. I am trying to make corn cakes with BBQ pork piled on top and lime coleslaw piled on top of that for dinner with peach lemonade and I just have way to much on my plate tonight.

The tart crust is super simple and also delicious:
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1 c. butter (2 sticks) chilled and cut into small pieces
4 T. ice water

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse together 1/2 c. of the sugar with the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse 3 to 5 times, until mixture is crumbly. Pour the water through the feed tube. 1 Tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough begins to hold together. Remove the dough, shape it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. (If you are in a hurry, freeze the wrapped dough just long enough to prepare the fruit filling. It will be a little harder to work with, but it's an acceptable trade-off when time is short.)

The dough is in the refrigerator while I continue to work on dinner. What a mess I feel like I have gotten myself into. Yeesh!

Dorie asks that the dough gets rolled 1/8th inch thick and cut into a 13 inch circle. Then make another circle within that is about 9-inches. The jam and fruit will fill the 9-inch area.

I really do love the graham cracker crumb tip for absorbing excess liquid. The crust does stay much more flaky. Dorie is the first person I have ever heard of that uses this trick. I love the color of my seedless blackberry jam BUT I am dashing around the kitchen like a mad woman, trying to get this done on a Tuesday evening after work. Nothing is pretty.

Did I mention the aroma drifting from the galette is wonderful? I did feel good using my canned fruit but I am still worried about mushy texture. I will have to let everyone know if the galette was affected too much in a negative way. . .aside from the kitchen being to warm and me not chilling the dough long enough BUT I did it! High five me and everyone in the TWD group that made the recipe. . .Yay! us.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Japanese Mushroom Egg Noodle Soup

Japanese Comfort Soup!

I just have to share this recipe. It is my first real Japanese Soup I have ever attempted and my family loves the flavors so much that I keep making the soup on a regular basis. I would like to add that different noodles can be used. . .all according to taste and availability. Some noodles will need to be cooked in the mushroom broth whereas other noodles will just be placed in the bowl with the ingredients and hot broth poured over all. I have used Udon noodles in the past but this last pot of soup, I used regular ramen noodles. My daughter, Ashley, perfers ramen noodles over all others ~ so why not? I have to tell you that the soft boiled egg completely soaks up the flavor of the mushroom broth and feels as if the egg will melt in your mouth. Delicious and worth trying. Sometimes dried mushrooms can be a little spendy. . .but so worth the effort and a little expense! =D

Japanese Mushroom Egg Noodle Soup
10 cups water
2 ounces dried mixed mushrooms, such as porcini or shitake, about 2 cups
10 coin-sized pieces of fresh ginger
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound fresh mixed mushrooms, such shitake caps or cremini, sliced very thin
Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
/4 cup medium-dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
8 ounces cooked udon noodles (or somen, buckwheat/soba, or ramen noodles)
1 to 2 ounces enoki mushrooms, optional
4 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced on the bias
Gomashio or sansho pepper, for seasoning
In a large soup pot bring the water to a boil along with the dried mushrooms, ginger, and garlic. Adjust the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep, 30 more minutes.
While the broth steeps: Melt the butter over high heat in a large nonstick skillet, add the sliced fresh mushrooms and cook until crisp and brown, about 10 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper, to taste, and distribute them evenly between 4 soup bowls.
Put the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, turn off heat, cover, and let cook until almost soft boiled, 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately rinse the eggs with cold water and set aside.
Strain the broth. Reheat and season with the sherry, soy sauce, and salt to taste. Distribute noodles, enoki mushrooms, if using, and scallions evenly in each soup bowl. Crack a soft-boiled egg into each bowl (to maintain the eggs' shape, take care to peel them carefully, or use as small spoon to free them from the shell). Ladle 2 cups of hot broth into each bowl. Sprinkle gomashio or shansho pepper over the soup, if desired, and serve immediately.