Archive for April, 2008

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Business Help!!

April 30, 2008

Hello Everyone!
 
I’m calling for any and all help to get a business proposal together for a bakery.  It’s a major dream of mine and a lady I work with (one of the few friends I have here) says if I can get the proposal together she can get me the backing.
 
I don’t know if it will really happen, but I need help to get the concept/idea/business plan together just in case. 
 
When given the opportunity to have a dream fulfilled, it’s hard not to go for it.
 
HELP HELP HELP!!

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Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

April 29, 2008

polenta in pan

Ok. Let the litany of substitutions commence.

1) no 10 1/2 pan only 11

2) only turkish figs

3) not enough butter to butter pan or extra on top (pan covered in Pam)

4) no honey; subbed corn syrup (seemed like a similar consistency)

No idea how this is going to turn out… it’s in the oven right now… can you tell it’s 7:22 p.m. on posting day and i’m flying by the seat of my pants? Cake is in the oven… I’ll let you know how it turns out…

polenta out of pan

Got a nice edge to it, but it seems a little… oily.  Knife never came out clean even after 10 extra minutes.

polenta slice

overall… don’t think the substitutions worked quite right but it’s tasty… kinda like sweet grits…

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed

1 c. medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal

½ c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 c. ricotta

1/3 c. tepid water

¾ c. sugar

¾ c. honey (if you’re a real honey lover, use a full-flavored honey such as chestnut, pine, or buckwheat)

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 tablespoon, cut into bits and chilled

2 large eggs

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10 ½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Check that the figs are, indeed, moist and plump. If they are the least bit hard, toss them into a small pan of boiling water and steep for a minute, then drain and pat dry. If the figs are large (bigger than a bite), snip them in half.

Whisk the polenta, flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the ricotta and water together on low speed until very smooth. With the mixer at medium speed, add the sugar, honey, and lemon zest and beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are fully incorporated. You’ll have a sleek, smooth, pourable batter.

Pour about one third of the batter into the pan and scatter over the figs. Pour in the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary, and dot the batter evenly with the chilled bits of butter.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the panm, and the butter will have left light-colored circles in the top. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.

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Cheesecake Pops – April Daring Bakers Challenge

April 26, 2008

Pops Pic

Ok. Cheesecake pops. Sounded a little sketchy to me at the beginning. I’m used to “French-style” (not that, I’m sure, it’s even remotely French) cheesecake which is rather soft. I couldn’t quite grasp how in the $%^# it was going to stay on a stick… But the freezer did help, heh. It took me a while to make these. Not because it was difficult, mind you. The cheesecake did just what it was supposed to and assembly went fine. It took a while, because, in a word, I’m lazy. I made the cheesecake on Saturday. Was gonna make the pops on Sunday. Didn’t happen. Ordered Chinese and watched a movie instead. Monday? nope. Tuesday? nope. Finally, on Wednesday I decided I’d rather have cheesecake pops than the cheesecake jerky I was going to end up with if I kept letting it dry out in the fridge. So rolling I went. Messy business. Decided to get a bowl of water and wet my hands before I shaped the pops. Massive improvement and end product had a much smoother look as a result. Now you ask yourself, did I freeze them for just an hour and then coat them? Hell no. A-#1 procrastinator here. That day? nope. Friday? nope. Saturday? yup, but only because we’re supposed to post on Sunday. If not, who knows when my lazy behind would have bothered.

Now, the coatings I am proud of. I have to say, I am not a cheesecake purist. Hubby is, but not me. Straight cheesecake is ok, but I prefer some chocolate or nuts or fruit involved. So, naturally, had to do lots to my pops. Made 4 different kinds.

Skyview Pop-tini

1) Chocolate Strawberry – dipped in liquified strawberry jam then dipped in bittersweet chocolate

Chocolate Strawberry Pop

2) Double Chocolate – dipped in bittersweet chocolate then rolled in mini chocolate chips

Double Chocolate Pop

3) S’mores – dipped in melted marshmallow fluff, rolled in graham cracker crumbs, then dipped in semi-sweet chocolate

S\'mores Pop

And my personal favorite, cuz everything is better with peanut butter…

4) Peanut Butter and Chocolate – dipped in warmed peanut butter, dipped in bittersweet chocolate, then rolled in a mixture of chopped peanuts and pecans.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pop

I must say, though, my pops are waaaay bigger than they are probably supposed to be. Golf ball size, I would say, at the smallest. The first couple were pop-size, but the super stickiness of my mildly dehydrated cheesecake was irritating so they slowly started to grow until the final pops were close to racketball size or just cut wedges of cheesecake. Supposed to be 30-40 pops. How many did I make? About…20. Was not feeling this challenge.

Had lots of fun dipping the pops though. Gave me some creativity outlet. And then, of course, there was the eating of the left over dipping supplies… spoons full of peanut butter, marshmallow and mini chips? Scrumptious. Yeah, and sooo on the diet.

I’m very proud of the end result. The pops were darn tasty and came out super cute, imho. Thanks to Elle & Deborah for the super challenge from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor!

Check out the other fab DBers!

Pop-tini

Make your own! Just try not to be as lazy as me!

Cheesecake Pops

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

5 large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose its shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

P.S. I didn’t post on the 26th (that would be early) the time stamp on my blog is all woogie and it doesn’t matter how many times I fix it it always goes back…

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TWD – Bill’s Big Carrot Cake

April 22, 2008

Well, TWD this week is Bill’s Big Carrot Cake! And boy was it! Made a very tall cake! Of course… I neglected to get any pictures… all that’s left now is crumbs. So sad. It was very tasty, but I have to say I prefer the recipe I have from one of the local restaurants. I can’t remember if it is from the Brown or the Galt House or the Seelbach…

Well, here’s Dorie’s! Try it for yourself!

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake

For the Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots (About 9 carrots; I grate them in a food processor fitted with a shredding blade)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola or safflower oil

4 large eggs

For the Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 pound (3 ¾ cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

½ cup shredded coconut (optional)

Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut, for topping (optional)

Getting ready:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting:

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.

If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.

To assemble the cake:

Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.

Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

Serving:

This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.

Storing:

The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it’s firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

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Homegrown Gourmet #7 – Potato Hot Brown

April 22, 2008

Homegrown Gourmet Logo

Well, I’m participating in, yet another, online baking event! This one is Homegrown! It is being hosted by the lovely Tempered Woman and the ingredient she chose for this month is the potato. The idea behind Homegrown is to make a dish that follows the theme and that somehow represents their home region – town, state, area and your dish can feature a local ingredient, be a traditional dish from your area, or be a creative twist.

Well, being from Louisville, KY I naturally had to make a Hot Brown. It is a classic food of the area and has even been featured on a Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network. It was either this or Derby pie and I didn’t think potatoes would go very will with the chocolate…

Potato Hot Brown

The recipe for a traditional Hot Brown from the Brown Hotel can be found here along with some history here. For my Potato Hot Brown I made a few changes. For starters, my bread is a homemade potato bread. The recipe for it comes from a cookbook (that I stole from my mother) that is older than I am. I think it was a wedding gift for my parents, heh. Yeah, I’m going to hell. I’ve made this bread many times and it was actually the first bread I ever made. I’ve also added mashed potatoes to my Hot Brown, because, well, everything is better with mashed potatoes!! To liven them up and make them feel “part of the dish” I’ve added some of the sauce, pimentos, and bacon to them. (I know. The hardship of having to eat it, but I’ll persevere.) I also got my wheat (had a friend grind it for me), bacon and eggs from a local farm. I used a 5 lb. bag of Idaho potatoes (I like leftovers) and all but 4 pieces of bacon for the mashed tatters… every thing’s better with bacon!

I’ve always thought the original Hot Brown a little on the bland side, but I think with the addition of the potatoes and the potato bread give it an extra twang of flavor; it’s simply perfect!

Pair of Potato Hot Browns

Here’s the recipe! Happy munching!

Potato Hot Brown

12 tablespoons butter
12 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg, room temperature and beaten
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup prepared whipped cream
16 slices toasted potato bread, crust trimmed off
2 pounds cooked turkey breast, thinly sliced
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
Mashed potatoes (mix in ½ the bacon(crumbled), pimentos(if you’re using them) and sauce) (I used a lot more bacon, but that’s me)

2 (2-ounce) jars diced pimientos, drained (optional)
1or 2 lbs bacon slices, fried crisp (you can never have too much bacon!)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and free from lumps. Gradually stir in milk until sauce comes to a gentle boil, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted and well blended.

In a small bowl, beat egg. Gradually add 1 cup of the hot sauce, 1/3 cup at a time, to the egg, stirring constantly to temper. Gradually add egg mixture to remaining sauce, stirring constantly until well blended; add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in whipped cream.

For each Hot Brown sandwich, place two slices of toasted bread on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with mashed potatoes and a liberal amount of turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, sprinkle with diced pimientos, cross two pieces of bacon over the top, and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings of two open-faced sandwiches each.

Potato Loaf

This makes a moist, beautifully textured bread with good keeping qualities due to the potatoes.

1 ½ cups cooked potatoes, unseasoned

¼ to ½ cup butter or margarine

1 or 2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk, scalded

1 or 2 cakes yeast

1/3 cup lukewarm water

6 cups sifted flour

Mash the hot, unseasoned potatoes and add the butter or margarine, sugar, and salt. Pour in the scalded milk, and stir to blend ingredients and melt the butter. Cool to lukewarm. Now dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and stir into the potato-milk mixture. Stir in 3 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Gradually blend in the rest of the flour to make a medium dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured breadboard. Knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a buttered bowl, brush top of dough with melted butter or oil, cover the bowl and let rise until doubled. When dough has doubled, punch it down and turnout onto a floured breadboard again. Divide dough into 2 parts. Cover with the towel again and let rest for 10 minutes. Then mold and shape the dough, with the hands, into 2 loaves. Place in 2 buttered loaf pans. Cover and let rise until double again. Brush with beaten egg white glaze (p. 348 ) and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes.

Braided Potato Loaf

To make the loaf into braids, as suggested in the title, but the dough, after the first rising period, into 2 parts. Cut one part into 3 equal pieces and roll out into strips about 18 inches long. Braid these 3 strips together, tucking the ends under. Place on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Now divide 2/3 of the remaining part into 3 equal pieces, roll out, and braid as above. Place this braid on top of the first braid. Now, take the remaining piece of dough and roll it out, twist it, like a curlicue, and place this twisted strip of dough on top of the uppermost braid. If you think it necessary, seal the ends with a very little water. Carefully cover the braided loaf, being careful not to disarrange the braids, and let rise until completely doubled. You must not cheat by even 5 or 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until bread is well browned and done, approximately 45 to 50 minutes longer.

Note: this bread also makes delicious, and very attractive, rolls. Cut or shape into whatever shapes you desire, brush with egg white glaze and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. When rolls are doubled, bake them at 400°F for about 20 minutes.

From A World of Baking by Dolores Casella. Published 1968 by David White, Inc. Recipe is on pages 315-316.

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TWD Marshmallows

April 14, 2008

Yummy Marshmallows

These were made on a chilly evening in the Smokey Mountains and then enjoyed in cocoa and roasted over a fire. Pure bliss…

Marshmallows

Including marshmallows as a spoon dessert may seem like cheating — after all, they’re eaten with fingers (or, by campers, from sticks picked up in the forest) — but making them at home is too much fun to miss. And in fact this dessert is related to others in this chapter: the base is meringue — sweetened and strengthened by a cooked sugar syrup and fortified by gelatin.

There’s nothing difficult about making the marshmallows, but the meringue does need a long beating. While you can use a hand mixer, a stand mixer makes the job easier.

I’m giving you the recipe for a basic vanilla marshmallow. See Playing Around (below) for raspberry, chocolate, cappuccino and pumpkin marshmallows.

Makes about 1 pound marshmallows

About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet — choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high — with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup — without stirring — until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy — don’t overbeat them and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won’t fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They’ll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.

Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you’ll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you’d like — into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they’re cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you’ve got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

SERVING: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish. Sometimes I fill a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table — it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.

STORING: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don’t cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week — they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they’ll still be very good.

Playing Around

RASPBERRY MARSHMALLOWS: Fruit purees are excellent for flavoring these candies.

For raspberry marshmallows, you’ll need a generous 1/3 cup of puree; reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon. After the batter is mixed, gently fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. You can use the same measurements and technique for other purees, such as strawberry, mango and passion fruit.

CAPPUCCINO MARSHMALLOWS: Sift 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon together into a small bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and mix until smooth. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon, and add it to the espresso mix. After you add the sugar syrup and gelatin to the meringue, beat in the espresso mixture and continue.

LIGHT CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.

PUMPKIN SPICE MARSHMALLOWS: Whisk together 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the spiced pumpkin with a large rubber spatula.

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Pastel de Tres Leches

April 14, 2008

tres leche close

Well, at least that is what it was supposed to be. I have to say, that I count this among one of my true failures in the baking world. Don’t get me wrong, it tasted good, but it was not what it was supposed to be.

You see it all started many years ago when they opened a Bahama Breeze restaurant in Louisville… Loving restaurants the way we do, my friends and I immediately went to try the new place. And there we discovered something wonderful. Something sinful. Something truly truly scrumptious. Jose’s Tres Leches. It is a Tres Leches in that it has the 3 milk soaking, but it is chocolate. An absolutely wonderful addition. And the icing? Regular meringue? Ooooh no. Chocolate mousse. This soon became my friend Becky’s favorite dessert. We would go there for dinner just for the dessert. Heck, there were times we’d go somewhere else for dinner and go to Bahama Breeze just for dessert.

But alas, our Bahama Breeze left us last year. We have no idea why. The place was always packed. As a result, Becky lost her beloved dessert. Being the true friend and fellow Jose’s fan, I promised Becky a replacement. I found several recipes online. Becky is all set to be my guinea pig on all the variations. This was the first. I don’t know where I found this recipe online, forgot to note it. (if it’s your recipe, please let me know and I’ll credit you.) I changed it only slightly by reducing the flour by 1/3 cup and replacing it with 1/3 cup of cocoa powder. The cake came together beautifully. It was airy and full. Just like it should be (basically a sponge). I baked it for 35 minutes. My toothpick came out clean. It was all puffed up and filled the pan. I set it on a cooling rack and five minutes later. When I came back. *sunk* It was shriveled up and sunken in like a big brown raisin. It was so depressing. I know with a regular sponge, like angel food cake, you hang the pan to cool so the cake doesn’t fall, but how do I do that with a 9 x 13 pan?!? Sigh. It was sooo not pretty.

Then I tried my hand at the chocolate mousse. Sigh. Again. Everything kind of… seized… when I added the chocolate. After adding the whipped cream it loosened up a bit, but it lost most of its *fluff*. The color was much darker than it should have been.

All in all the flavor was very close, but I’m just very disappointed in the result from a visual result perspective. I’m always very tough on myself. I never like my wedding cakes. But I was so proud of how it looked when I took it out of the oven… *sniffle*

tres leche arm

Maybe you’ll have better results…

Pastel de Tres Leches

This version serves 10 generous portions.

CAKE:1 cup sugar

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

MILK SYRUP:

  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp dark Cuban rum

GARNISHES:

  • Fresh whipped cream or good quality vanilla ice cream
  • Cocoa powder
  • Sliced fresh mango (or the fruit of your choice- tropical fruits pair nicely with this cake)
  • METHOD: Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  • CAKE: Beat 3/4 cup sugar and the egg yolks until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Fold in the milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the cream of tartar after 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are glossy and firm, but not dry. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Pour this batter into the buttered baking dish. Bake the cake until it feels firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30-45 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in baking dish. Pierce the cake all over with a fork, taking care to not tear it up.
  • MILK SYRUP: Combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream, vanilla and rum in a mixing bowl. Whisk until well blended. Pour the syrup over the cake, spooning the overflow back on top, until it is all absorbed.
  • When ready to serve, cut a slice and plate it. Top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or a side of ice cream, dust cake and cream with some fresh cocoa powder and place a slice or two of fresh mango on the side. This cake is addictive- you’ve been warned! Enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse:

6 ounces (175 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) heavy whipping cream

3 large egg yolks

1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) water

Chocolate Mousse: In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Set aside but keep the bowl over the warm water so the chocolate will stay slightly warm.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Refrigerate, covered, until needed.

Place the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Boil until the sugar dissolves, a minute or two. This produces a sugar syrup. Then, whisking constantly, pour the boiling syrup over the egg yolks. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly (can use a hand mixer on low speed) until the mixture is thick and light in color. This mixture should be hot to the touch. (About 10 minutes)

Remove the bowl from the heat and, working quickly, scrape the egg mixture into a clean large bowl of your electric mixer. On medium speed (or with a hand mixer) beat until the volume has doubled and the bottom of the bowl is completely cool to the touch. Turn speed to low, and beat in the warm melted chocolate until well combined. Fold in half the reserved whipped cream and then fold in the remaining cream. The mixture should resemble softly whipped cream. This can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, until needed. If the mixture seems a little runny, the chocolate may have been too warm, but after refrigerating for an hour or so, it will firm up. Can be made and refrigerate a day ahead of time.

Makes about 3 cups.

Makes 4 – 6 servings or it is enough to fill one 9-inch (23 cm) layer cake.

From http://www.joyofbaking.com/ChocolateMousse.html