Posts Tagged ‘raspberry’

Crostata

Is it possible to have too much fun? These past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of graduation events, parties, BBQs, and weddings. I think I’ve had more alcohol this past week than plain old water (which, if you know me at all, is not something I normally do). Is that bad?

Consequently, blogging has hit the backburner as I slowly make it through the flurry of goodbyes (many of my friends are leaving the area, myself included, and moving elsewhere for residency) and soaking up the last bits of free time we’ll all have in a long time. I apologize. I’ll try to post consistently but the commenting thing may not happen until I’m settled in July. Be patient.

In the meantime, this crostata was an easy dessert to prepare for my family when time was short. It tasted of summer without requiring any completely fresh fruit (is anyone else terrible at picking out the sweetest fruit from the stand?). You can substitute any jam/preserves you wish making this insanely adaptable to your pantry! Can you really go wrong with Giada?

Crostata with Raspberry Preserves
adapted from Giada at Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tbsp ice water
  • 12 oz (3/4 c) raspberry preserves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • powdered sugar, optional

Instructions
In a food processor, blend flour, sugar, and lemon zest. Add in butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add salt and continue pulsing. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough begins to form together when pressed with your fingers. I used 3 1/2 tablespoons in total. Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a round, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, approximately one hour.

Once chilled, preheat oven to 400F. Roll dough out into an 11-inch round on a piece of parchment cut to fit your baking sheet. In a small bowl mix together preserves and lemon juice. Spread over dough, leaving 2 inches all around. Fold over crust, sealing gently, to create an 8-inch round. Place parchment on baking sheet and bake 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned. When cooled, sprinkle toasted almonds and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

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DB – Entremet

Dear Daring Bakers Powers-That-Be,

This challenge was not my challenge. For the first time I really really tried twice. TWICE! And twice, it got this funktastic uneven cooking leading to brownish swirls all over the joconde imprime. The first time I chalked it up to overcooking, the second time I just figured it was my oven. Even so, next time I’ll definitely be making the sponge cocoa to mask the effect.

Also, filling the actual entremet was quite the challenge. There are so many options! Cake/cookie/brownie layers, mousse, pudding, cream.. Possibilities seemed endless and I’m quite an indecisive person so that was a bit rough.

We should also mention the fact that I have no idea how to judge depth and how much filling will I need to make to fill this big mold?

I get anxious when I don’t have complete control. And I had absolutely no control over this baby.

But in the end, fears gone and caution thrown to the wind, this was a winner. The presentation was quite beautiful despite the outer joconde imprime separating at the seams and raspberry mousse leaking out. And all the work was worth it. Each bite was savored by everyone at the party I brought it to. The rich brownie layer along with the light raspberry and vanilla mousses created this perfect balance of textures and flavors.

So Daring Bakers Powers-That-Be, you did a great job this time, pulling me out of my comfort zone and encouraging me to try something new. It was a challenge but I’m glad I came out the other side still alive with a belly full of entremet.

Till February,

Me

ps. Can you take it a little easier next month? I used a ridiculous number of eggs this month. As in over 18. I lost count. Thanks for your consideration.

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

For the Biscuit Joconde Imprime recipe and technique, check out accro! My layers basically consisted of a brownie base, a raspberry mousse, a round of leftover sponge from the joconde imprime, and all topped with extra vanilla bean mousse.

Chewy Brownies (bottom layer)
adapted from use real butter, originally from Fine Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line pan with parchment paper (or aluminum foil). For the entremet, I baked mine in a round pan to fit my mold. In a stainless steel bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt together the butter and chocolate. Allow to cool slightly then stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until blended. (I used a wooden spoon for this entire recipe because I didn’t feel like breaking out the big guns.) Add in the flour and cocoa. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Cool, cut, and eat! (Or stick it into your entremet.)

Raspberry Mousse (middle layer)
adapted from Food & Wine

Ingredients

  • 1 packet (2 tsp) unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 10 oz bags frozen raspberries, thawed (or 5 c fresh)
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 c heavy cream, chilled

Instructions
Sprinkle gelatin over the water in a microwaveable bowl and let stand approximately 5 minutes or until softened. Meanwhile, puree approximately 4 c raspberries with 1/2 c sugar. Strain into a bowl. Microwave the gelatin for 10 seconds then whisk it into the strained puree.

In a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg whites with 1/4 c sugar until warm to the touch. Remove from heat and using a hand-held mixer, beat the whites until stiff and glossy. Fold into puree.

Using the same bowl, beat chilled heavy cream until firm. Fold into puree.

Mash remaining 1 c raspberries and fold into mousse. Pour into bowls or other serving vehicle and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until set.

Happy Friday, dear readers!

DB November – Chocolate Fruit Crostata

 

So how did it go, everyone?

Lots of family, friends, and love? Some turkey with stuffing?  Mashed goodness? Sweet goodies in crusts?

I was lucky this year and celebrated two Thanksgivings, once with my friends and once with my family. That meant double the fun, double the cheer, double the poultry, and double the dessert. So this month’s Daring Bakers challenge could not have come at a better time! This way, I could make the challenge for one Thanksgiving and make the dessert of my choosing for the next. And ohhh how excited I was to make this challenge! It was actually quite easy and I imagine it won’t be the last time I attempt to make a lovely crostata with some minis for snacking.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge the Daring Bakers to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Chocolate Fruit Crostata
adapted from the Daring Bakers website and Dorie

Makes 1 crostata.

Ingredients

For Pasta Frolla:

  • scant 3/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For Chocolate Pastry Cream:

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small piece

For Assembly:

  • fruits of your choice, sliced if necessary

Instructions

For Pasta Frolla: [I made mine using a food processor but see the DB website if you are making it by hand.] Pulse sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in a food processor to mix. Then add cold butter and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Empty contents of the food processor onto your work surface.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the beaten eggs.  Using a fork, begin to combine the eggs with the dry ingredients then use fingertips to finish. Knead until a ball forms – do NOT overknead as the cold butter will get warmed by your hands and you will lose the flaky crust – and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, patting into a round disk. Chill for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch or 3 mm and place in tart pan (or pie plate which is where I made mine). Cut off excess around the edges. Place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to cover the dough and hang over the edges and place in pan. Fill with dried beans or rice in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes. Take off weights and foil/parchment and bake again for 5 more minutes. If the dough begins to puff up without the weights, gently push it back down with the back of a spoon. Allow shell to cool completely before filling.

You can use leftover dough to make cookies or these little fruit crostatas I made by spooning a bit of strawberry jam atop rounds of dough followed by a lazy lattice (not woven) of dough strips on top.

For Pastry Cream: Heat milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick. Whisk in about 1/4 c of the hot milk, stirring constantly so as not to cook the eggs. Then, slowly add the rest of the milk while whisking constantly. Heat this over medium heat and bring to a boil while continue to stir constantly. Once at a boil, continue to cook while whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Whisk in the melted chocolate and let sit for five minutes. Then, whisk in the butter until fully incorporated. Cool the custard either by refrigerating with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface or using an ice bath and stirring occasionally.

To Assemble: Whisk cream briefly, then spoon into pastry shell. Smooth top with back of spoon. Layer fruit however desired.

PS. Don’t forget about the giveaway!

Chocolate Cake

Note: It’s a bit ironic but Whisk, where I got this chocolate cake recipe from, is having a contest for a set of lovely spatulas from Le Creuset here.

Indecisiveness + procrastination = Bad news bears.

Sometimes it’s not called procrastination and it’s really just being too busy to think. This was not one of those times.

We had talked about it for over a week. A friend’s birthday was coming up and she wanted to go out to dinner followed by a comedy show in our area. The tickets had already been bought and so all that was left was whether or not we wanted to bake her a cake for her birthday. Actually, the immediate answer was a resounding yes. I bake cakes for all my med school friends’ birthdays! The tradition started in second-year of medical school when Boy (who I was not officially dating at the time) asked for an ice cream cake the day of his birthday dinner (which had been thrown together the day of his birthday). I think he may have been joking. I had never even heard of a homemade ice cream cake. But we were on the verge of being something good so I spent the entire day looking up recipes and baking/freezing a mint chocolate ice cream cake. While it turned into a disaster of sorts on the way to the restaurant involving me and a roll of toilet paper, the cake was actually quite good. The ice cream had melted, giving the chocolate cake a moistness and a flavor that I have never been able to match otherwise. It was loved by all. And so I started making cakes for birthdays. So why would this one be different? I would make a cake.

Except this time, Boy wanted to help. See, I wasn’t great friends with the celebrant but he was and he and another friend had collaborated on a no-bake cake the year before. Even though I would be attending this party and could produce a cake on my own he wanted a hand in it so we went back-and-forth all week about flavor profiles, when we’d bake it, who’d be the head baker and the assistant (we bicker about these things), etc. And it finally came to the decision on Thursday that he would take the lead and I’d just be there to hand him the whisk and wipe his brow from time to time. Perhaps feed him a grape. Offer some encouragement.

Surprise surprise. Friday rolls around and he has no plans to bake a cake or even any idea of where to begin.

Surprise surprise. I began scrambling. I was already home from work, it was 4.30, dinner was at 8.15, I hadn’t yet showered and didn’t know what I was going to wear, but I needed to come up with a cake ASAP.

I came up with the heavenly combination of this cake with this frosting, halved the cake recipe to serve 8 people and not leave behind a ton of cake when we went from dinner to the comedy show, and decided to fill it with raspberry jam that was sitting in my fridge since I wasn’t sure how much frosting I would have.

Friends, the ridiculousness was all worth it. It was so delicious. Friend loved it. Other friend ate 3 slices. Cake was completely consumed according to the “No Cake Left Behind At the Restaurant” policy. It exceeded expectations. The cake was light and airy. Not too sweet and perfectly complemented by the other aspects. The frosting was just as light and airy as the cake itself and the raspberry jam pushed it right over the top. If ever you need a fabulous cake and have no time to go to the store, you probably have all these ingredients in your kitchen too. It’s a pretty awesome go-to.

ps. Boy did show up and help me frost in the end. He did all the writing on the cake as proof of his contribution.

pps. I am not a cake baker. My frosting skills are less than perfect and I have no offset spatula or proper cake stand [I know, I know]. Don’t hate on the less-than-professional cake. It tasted great and that’s always my number one priority.

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling and Cooked Vanilla Frosting
adapted from Whisk and Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients

For cake:
1 1/2 c sifted cake flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5/8 c unsweetened cocoa [1/2 + half of a 1/4 c measure – make it up]
1/2 c boiling water
3/8 c cold water [halfway between the 1/4 and 1/2 c mark – make it up]
1/4 c sour cream [original called for yogurt but this is what I had]
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
1 1/2 eggs [make it up]

For frosting:
1 c milk [2% is my staple]
5 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c butter [2 sticks.. I know I know but you won’t get a mouthful of butter. I promise.]
1 c granulated sugar, NOT powdered

For filling:
1/3 c raspberry preserves [make your own or buy pre-made; try different flavors; go nuts!]

Instructions
Preheat oven to350F and line the bottom of 2 round cake pans with parchment paper.

Sift together cake flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Pour boiling water over cocoa, stir to combine, and refrigerate [to speed up the process] until lukewarm.

While waiting for cocoa to cool, beat butter using a hand or stand mixer in a large bowl until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light in color and texture, approximately 5-6 minutes. Whisk eggs slightly and add to batter. Mix until well combined, a couple minutes. Once cocoa is lukewarm, take out of refrigerator and stir in cold water, sour cream, and vanilla. Add 1/3 flour mixture and mix well followed by 1/2 cocoa mixture. Continue adding flour in thirds alternating with the remaining half of the cocoa mixture, mixing just until ingredients are combined.

Split among pans and bake 20-25 minutes. [You can rotate halfway through. I didn’t. But you can.]

While it bakes, make the frosting [or take a shower and get ready for dinner like I did].

In a small saucepan, whisk flour and milk over medium heat. Stir constantly until it thickens. [You’ll know when it does this. It comes together quickly once it starts.] Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add vanilla.

While the milk mixture cools, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy with a hand or stand mixer. Add the cooled milk mixture and beat until it looks like whipped cream. [Neglected to take a photo. Sorry! Time constraints!]

To assemble: You know the drill. Place one cake on a stand of some sort, top with raspberry jam, then layer other cake on first cake. Frost like you mean it. With love.

It may not have looked professional but it sure tasted like a high-end cake.

Joy.

– Sharlene

Raspberry Meringue Bars

What’s my favorite fruit?

Funny you should ask because I have two. Peaches for fresh or stand-alone fruit. Raspberries for baked goods or to pair with chocolate.

The peach story is actually a nice one. I studied abroad for a summer in college once. Madrid, Spain. I lived with a host familia who were awesome. The mom was stay-at-home and made the best Tortilla de Espana (how do I get the tilda over the n?) I will ever eat. If you’re not sure aforementioned dish is, read on! It’s a potato omelet which sounds plain but somehow it’s this buttery melt-in-your-mouth bite and you’d swear there was cheese or some other form of fatty goodness but no such thing. One of these days I’ll work up the nerve to try and make one but for now, even years later, I’d rather cherish the memories of that Tortilla. (I’ve had others in restaurants and tapas bars both stateside and in Spain — Not the same. Not by a longshot.) Anyway, she was awesome also because every day I’d come home from school at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and she’d say (in Spanish obviously), “Will you be taking a nap? When do you want me to wake you?” BLESS YOU, WOMAN! Yes! I think I will take a nap! Thank you for asking! She also did my laundry and didn’t bat an eye if I told her I was going out to dinner. Can you tell I adored her?

Moving on.. The dad was a musician and had a little music studio in the apartment with all this electric stuff, knobs, dials, and sliding things included. The two daughters were grown and one had moved out. The other was studying to become an English teacher (go figure) but she wasn’t around much either.

Back to the peach thing. Every morning I was left to my own devices on what to do about breakfast and lunch. The fridge was always stocked with cheeses, meats, and breads for lunch so I just made myself a little sandwich while I made breakfast: toast and peach jam. Every day. Toast and peach jam. I was in love! Why hadn’t I ever had peach jam before? And for a long time after returning from Spain I couldn’t stand the idea of any other kind of jam besides peach on my toast. This led to a lot of toast-less meals at the diner. I’ve since moved on but still buy peach jam every once in awhile and I’m taken back to that little apartment off the Estrecho metro stop on the yellow line in Madrid.

Unfortunately, this story isn’t really relevant since this recipe called for raspberries. (Wasn’t it a nice story though?) But really, raspberries are my favorite fruit to bake with because they always lend a bit of tartness that perfectly complements the sweetness of chocolate. I instantly knew I needed to bake these the moment I laid eyes on them. They’re actually called “White Chocolate Brownies” but the white chocolate flavor is barely, if at all, noticeable and they’re not brown in the least so I’ve renamed them appropriately. Despite the lack of a pronounced white chocolate flavor, however, these bars are delicious. Scrumptious. Finger-lickin’ good.

Boy agreed.

Dorie’s Raspberry Meringue Bars
adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours, Dorie Greenspan


Ingredients
For the brownies:
2/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
4 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c sugar
2 tsp grated orange zest
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c fresh raspberries

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/2 c sugar

Instructions

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325F.

Butter a 9×13-inch pan and line the bottom with parchment or foil. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, almond flour, and salt.

Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, stirring frequently until the ingredients are just melted. Be very careful as white chocolate quickly separates when it gets too hot! Remove the bowl from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the eggs and beat with a hand or stand mixer on medium-high for about 3 minutes or until pale and foamy. Add vanilla. On low, mix in the dry ingredients just until they disappear. Pour into pan and add a layer of raspberries (they’ll likely sink). Set aside to make the meringue.

In a clean mixer bowl with clean whisk attachments for a hand or stand mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium until foamy and just opaque. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the sugar in a slow, steady stream. Whip the whites until firm but glossy peaks. Spread over top of the batter.

Bake 30-35 minutes according to Dorie but this took much longer for me to set, more like 45-50 minutes in my opinion. The meringue should be browned and crackly. Cool to room temperature in the pan.

For serving, Dorie suggests you cover a cooling rack with a piece of parchment or wax paper, dust with confectioners’ sugar and gently turn the pan out. Take care not to squish the meringue! Peel away the lining and invert onto a cutting board. She suggests 32 bars.

Love it!

– Sharlene