Archive for May, 2008

h1

Homegrown Gourmet #8 – Round Up!

May 30, 2008

Well, seems like Peanut Butter was quite a challenge to give! Only 4 brave souls took up the gauntlet and made peanut butter their own..

Peanut Butter Hug

Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Reese\'s Peanut Butter Cups

The lovely Tempered Woman made this delectable treat: Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in Chocolate Bowls. For a peanut butter hound, this sounds like heaven. Peanut butter ice cream WITH Reese’s cups? Come on. That just screams tasty.

Peanut Butter Gobs

Joy Through Cooking sent in these little gems, or rather Gobs, Peanut Butter Gobs to be exact.

Pizzookie

Then over at Katorade she concocted something called a “Pizzookie”! It is the dessert from a pizza chain that started in her area (hince the Pizz part 😉 )

Fluffernutter Cake

And last, but not least, Realistic Eats channeled Elvis himself and created a Fluffer Nutter cake the King would have kissed her for.

So, who is the winner you ask?

.

.

.

.

Who gets the honor (terror) of picking next month’s ingredient?

.

.

.

.

Who seemed the most HomeGrown-y to me??

.

.

.

.

I have to admit I was torn between 2… the ice cream or the gobs

.

.

.

.

Both were luscious and full of peanut buttery goodness

.

.

.

.

But in the end

.

.

.

.

I had to go with…

.

.

.

.

Peanut Butter Gobs

PEANUT BUTTER GOBS!!

That’s right! From the moment I first clicked on the link for Joy Through Cooking‘s post I was lost. The fluffy cookies… The mound of peanut buttery goodness swirled in the middle… Throw in that this treat (at least by this name) is only available in her hubby’s hometown, and you had me. So congratulations, Meghan and have fun hosting next month!

h1

L ‘Opéra Cake – May Daring Baker’s Challenge

May 28, 2008

Caramel Vanilla Hazelnut Opera Cake

This month’s challenge was the Opéra Cake and was selected by Lis from La Mia Cucina, Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice, Fran from Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea from Whiskful and this challenge was also dedicated to Barbara from winosandfoodies.com. You know you wanted to know all that 😉

The Opera cake was amazing!  And so easy to make!  The only problem I had was, as always, with the mousse.  I seem to be incapable of getting a smooth mousse.  They are always lumpy, no matter what the recipe.  But it was delicious anyway!  The caramel, vanilla and hazelnut were a beautiful combination.

One note, I made my Opera Cake half the size because I did not have two pans that were large enough, and at half size the mousse and buttercream were just enough.  So either half the recipe for the cake or double the recipes for the mousse and buttercream!

A Taste of Light: Opéra Cake

This recipe is based on Opéra Cake recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets and Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty’s Chocolate Passion.

For the joconde

(Note: The joconde can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept wrapped at room temperate)

What you’ll need:

•2 12½ x 15½-inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans (Note: If you do not have jelly-roll pans this size, do not fear! You can use different-sized jelly-roll pans like 10 x 15-inches.)
•a few tablespoons of melted butter (in addition to what’s called for in the ingredients’ list) and a brush (to grease the pans)
•parchment paper
•a whisk and a paddle attachment for a stand mixer or for a handheld mixer
•two mixing bowls (you can make do with one but it’s preferable to have two)

Ingredients:
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 cups ground blanched hazelnuts (Note: you can make it at home by grinding hazelnuts in the food processor with a tablespoon or two of the flour that you would use in the cake. The reason you need the flour is to prevent the nuts from turning oily or pasty in the processor. You will need about 2 cups to create enough almond meal for this cake.)
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.
2. Preheat the oven to 425F. (220C).
3. Line two 12½ x 15½- inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside.
5.I f you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.
6. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).
7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
8. Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven. Place one jelly-roll pan in the middle of the oven and the second jelly-roll pan in the bottom third of the oven.
9. Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.
10. Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

For the syrup
(Note: The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.)

Ingredients:
½ cup water
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 to 2 tbsp. of Frangelico

1. Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the buttercream
(Note: The buttercream can be made up to 1 month in advance and packed in an airtight container. If made way in advance, you can freeze the buttercream. Alternatively you can refrigerate it for up to 4 days after making it. To use the buttercream simply bring it to room temperature and then beat it briefly to restore its consistency.)

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
seeds of one vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¾ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds or extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.
2. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225F on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.
3. While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
4. When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!
5. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
6. While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.
7. With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.
8. At this point add in your flavoring and beat for an additional minute or so.
9. Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).

For the ganache/mousse (this step is optional – please see Elements of an Opéra Cake below)
(Note: The mousse can be made ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.)
Caramel sauce and mousse
3 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 3/4 cups whipping cream, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream


Make caramel sauce and mousse:

1. Pour 3 tablespoons water into ramekin or custard cup. Sprinkle with gelatin; let soften while preparing caramel sauce.

2. Combine sugar, corn syrup and 3/4 cup water in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, frequently brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Increase heat; boil without stirring until syrup turns deep golden brown, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Add 1 3/4 cups cream and butter (caramel will bubble up vigorously). Return to low heat; stir until any bits of caramel dissolve.

4. Pour 1 1/2 cups caramel sauce into glass measuring cup; set aside pan of caramel sauce. Place ramekin with gelatin mixture in small skillet of simmering water. Stir until gelatin dissolves and mixture is clear, about 1 minute.

5. Mix gelatin into measured 1 1/2 cups hot caramel; cool just to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

6. Beat chilled whipping cream in large bowl to medium-firm peaks (do not overbeat). Gradually pour cooled caramel-gelatin mixture over cream, folding constantly but gently.

7. Chill mousse 15 minutes.

For the glaze
(Note: It’s best to make the glaze right when you’re ready to finish the cake.)

Vanilla Bean Glaze

½ cup vanilla bean infused confectioner’s sugar

2 tsp Silk French Vanilla Soy Creamer

¼ teaspoon vanilla paste

1. Combine in a small bowl, adding more creamer to reach desired consistency
2. Pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula smooth the glaze out into an even layer.
3. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Assembling the Opéra Cake
(Note: The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

2. Working with one sheet of cake at a time, cut and trim each sheet so that you have two pieces (from each cake so you’ll have four pieces in total): one 10-inch (25-cm) square and one 10 x 5-inch (25 x 12½-cm) rectangle.

3. Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavored syrup.

4. Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.

5. Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square.

6. Moisten these pieces with the flavored syrup.

7. Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde.

8. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).

9. Prepare the ganache/mousse (if you haven’t already) and then spread it on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.

10. Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake.

11. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.
Serve the cake slightly chilled. This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.

h1

TWD – Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

May 27, 2008

Lone Sticky Bun

These are killer buns! So sticky… so gooey… so nutty… so soft… so… mmm

The dough, naturally, is the most time consuming part! But breads always are with the waiting for rises and all. It is a bonus, in my opinion, that you can get 2 batches from the one brioche recipe. That way you can get twice the goodness for half the work. Always good.

So naturally, I had to make both batches. Yes. i could have made rolls or bread or some other scrumptious thing from Dorie’s book. But, frankly, once you have one of these sticky buns? You’d do the same thing 😉

Sticky buns

I did change it a tiny bit with second batch in that I put “nut topping” in with the cinnamon sugar mixture inside the rolls. I love pecans and all kinds of nuts, really, so I figured, hey! The more the merrier! I liked the added crunchiness it added. Rather than just a crunch from the top and a soft in the middle, you got crunch all the way through. Yummy!

One note! When you are needing the dough for 10 minutes? Pay attention to the mixer! Mine tried to make a break for it. Had enough of me and tried to leap off the counter to freedom! Luckily the butter knife jumped first to alert me and I was able to foil Grimace’s escape. (yes… i’ve named my mixer… it’s a purple KitchenAid and Grimace is my favorite… so shoot me) But watch yours. It may be craftier than mine and I can’t imagine it would survive the “jump” very well…

sticky bun closeup

Pecan Sticky Buns

Golden Brioche Loaves
make dough one day ahead then shape and bake the next. Makes enough to make two batches of buns.

2 packets active dry yeast (4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch while milk
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

Put the yeast, water, and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can to keep you from being covered in flour! Turn the mixer on and off in a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (you can peek), then remove the towel, increase mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two. At this point you will have a dry, shaggy mess.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce speed to low and add the butter in 2 Tablespoon size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have dough that is very soft, almost like a batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40-60 minutes. Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the covered dough in the refrigerator overnight.

If making Brioche loaves: Butter and flour 2 8.5 X 4.5 inch loaf pans. Pull dough from the fridge and divide into two equal pieces. Cut each piece of dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3.5 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until dough fills pans.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until loaves are well risen and deeply golden, about 30-35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto cooling racks. Cool at least one hour.

For the Glaze
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cup pecans

For the Filling
1/4 cup sugar
3 TBSP packed light brown sugar
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
3 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche, chilled and ready to shape

Generously butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan(a Pyrex is perfect for this).

To Make the Glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.

To Make the Filling: Mix together the sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.

To shape the Buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1 inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can.
With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the rolls if they’re very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch-thick buns. Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching each other.

Getting Ready to Bake: When the buns have almost fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.
Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden: the glaze will be bubbling way merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.
The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or butter foil. Be careful-the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

Source: Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

h1

Angel Food Cake

May 24, 2008

Angel Food top shot

This recipe came together very easily and with no problems.  The only thing I had was a large air bubble on the bottom, but that’s my own fault since I didn’t run a knife through the mix to get it out.  Oh well, it baked well and tasted scrumptious!

Angel Food Cake

This classic sponge cake is thought to have originated with German settlers—a thrifty use of the many egg whites left over after making noodles. Apocryphal perhaps … delicious nonetheless.

Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 2 hr

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups large egg whites (10 to 11)
1 tablespoon warm water
1 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 1/4 cups superfine granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: a 10- by 4-inch tube pan with removable bottom and a standing electric mixer

Accompaniment: sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Put whites and water in a very clean large metal bowl and swirl over simmering water or a gas flame until barely warm. Sift together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and ginger 4 times onto a sheet of wax paper.

Beat whites in standing electric mixer on medium speed until frothy. Add vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. Increase speed to medium-high and beat just until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually beat in remaining cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, occasionally scraping down side of bowl. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. (Do not overbeat.) Sift one third of flour mixture over whites. Beat on low speed just until blended. Sift and beat in remaining flour in 2 more batches.

Gently pour batter into ungreased tube pan and smooth top.

Run a rubber spatula or long knife through batter to eliminate any large air bubbles.

Bake cake in lower third of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Remove cake from oven and immediately invert pan. (If pan has “legs,” stand it on those. Otherwise, place pan over neck of a bottle.) Cool cake completely, upside down.Turn pan right side up. Run a long, thin knife around outer edge of pan with a smooth (not sawing) motion. Do the same around center tube. Remove outer rim of pan and run knife under bottom of cake to release. Invert to release cake from tube, and invert again onto a serving plate.

Serve cake with whipped cream and berries.

Cooks’ notes:
• Angel food cake was traditionally torn apart using 2 forks or a many-pronged cake breaker to preserve its prized texture; however, gently sawing with a modern serrated knife also works well.
• Cake may be made 1 day ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

 

Run a rubber spatula or long knife through batter to eliminate any large air bubbles.

Bake cake in lower third of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Remove cake from oven and immediately invert pan. (If pan has “legs,” stand it on those. Otherwise, place pan over neck of a bottle.) Cool cake completely, upside down. Turn pan right side up. Run a long, thin knife around outer edge of pan with a smooth (not sawing) motion. Do the same around center tube. Remove outer rim of pan and run knife under bottom of cake to release. Invert to release cake from tube, and invert again onto a serving plate.

Serve cake with whipped cream and berries.

h1

David Lebovitz’s German’s Chocolate Cake

May 24, 2008

German\'s Chocolate Cake corner shot

I made this cake for my hubby’s work.  They had two people having a birthday and his boss asked me if I would make something.  It is, I must say a *very* healthy cake.  I mean, how can you go wrong? Rich chocolately cake… a custard based filling/icing… and a dark chocolate icing… very low fat.  yup.  not a heart attack on a platter or anything.

And the real bummer is that I didn’t even get to try it.  I’ve never made this recipe before and will all that wonderful butter and cream and eggs and coconut and pecans… sigh.  Ah well, hubby said it was very rich, but he’s not a fan of sweets (and yet he married a baker… foolish man).  I was worried that the super dark icing would overpower the rest of the cake but hubby thinks it helped to counter act some of the fillings sweetness.

Guess I’ll have to make it again so I can judge for myself!

German’s Chocolate Cake

One big, tall 9-inch cake; about 16 servings

For the cake:
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

For the syrup:
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum

For the chocolate icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

1. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Melt both chocolates together with the 6 tablespoons of water. Use either a double-boiler or a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temperature.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, then the rest of the dry ingredients.
6. In a separate metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff.
7. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.
8. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cake layers completely.

While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.

To make the filling:
1. Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.
2. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)
3. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)

To make the syrup:
1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.

To make the icing:
1. Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.
2. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature.

To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.
Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.

Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

(It may seem like a lot of chocolate icing, but use it all. Trust me. You won’t be sorry.)

h1

TWD – Florida Pie

May 24, 2008

Coconut Key Lime Pie slice

Wow, but this pie was yummy!  I’m not normally a coconut fan, but, once again, Dorie’s made a believer out of me.  My coconut cream was nice and thick and had a chewy-ness that I really enjoyed.  Everything came together very well. 

My crust on the other hand… well… It came out very pretty… and held together well… but… here is where I should mention that I was a little preoccupied and sleep deprived when I was starting this recipe.  Ya see, my addled brain combined 2 lines of the recipe. 

Where it asks for 3 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt? yeah.  I got the 3 tablespoons and the salt part.  And I even remember thinking “wow, that’s a lot of salt for one pie crust” but I scooped away anyhow.

Of course, my brain soon slapped my conciousness silly and made me reread the recipe, at which point, I go “Oh, %^$&” and begin scooping salt back out of the mixture.  Now common sense would say I should scrap the mix and start over or better yet follow Dorie’s advice and get a store bought crust. 

But no, I don’t have anymore crumbs and I don’t want to travel the great distance of a half a mile to go to the local Kroger.  No no.  I’ll just save this one.  Well, suffice it to say that even though I managed to get, what looked like, most of the salt out, it was still a bit like eating a fantastic pie on top of a salt lick.

So, my advice is be awake when reading recipes and if you’re like me, scrape off the crust before eating your pie 😉

Florida Pie

1 9-inch graham cracker crust, fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, separated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup of sugar

For the Crust:

1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons of sugar

Pinch of salt

½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Butter a 9-inch pie pan. Center a rack in the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the pie pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs over the pan. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

Place the pie pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the filling.

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the remaining juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.

Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

<!–[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]–>
<!–[endif]–>


To Finish the Pie with Meringue:

Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.

Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you’ve got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

h1

Update!

May 22, 2008

Ok, Grandma is on the mend. Off the respirator and feeling feisty enough to refuse her breathing treatments even though she went in with pneumonia and congestive heart failure due to fluid around her lungs… We think she’s decided that the doctors are in cahoots with the insurance companies and trying to make her do things she doesn’t really need so they can get money… Not completely rational, but there’s no reasoning with her… sigh.

On a lighter note, catching up on my baking and will be posting lots o’ stuff over the next few days!

h1

TWD Delayed

May 14, 2008

TWD Florida Pie is slightly delayed.  I was planning to make it last night, but ended up going to the emergency room with my hubby’s grandmother.  Should be up today or tomorrow!

h1

Yay Chocolate!

May 9, 2008

My chocolate came today! (clap)

My chocolate came today! (clap, clap)

My chocolate came today! (clap)

My chocolate came today! (clap, clap)

I know it’s silly but that’s what was running through my head when I opened my box and found it was the Amano Chocolate from Blake Makes! If you’ve never heard of Blake Makes (where have you been hiding), it’s a wonderful blog that periodically has give-aways of new products. He (Blake) sends them out to fellow bloggers and we all use the item and blog about it. And this time it is Amano Chocolate.

The very generous folks at Amano sent three bars of chocolate.

Amano Cuyagua bar1) Cuyagua – Premium Dark Chocolate with a minimum of 70% Cocao with rich chocolate overtones and notes of spice.

Amano Ocumare Bar2) Ocumare – Grand Cru Dark Chocolate with a minimum of 70% Cocao with rich chocolate overtones and and a well balanced fruity component with hints of plums and other red fruit.

Amano Madagascar Bar3) Madagascar – Premium Dark Chocolate with a minimum of 70% Cocao with strong fruity flavors that include hints of citrus and berry.

About Amano: In 1996, Art Polard decided that there had to be better chocolate than what was available int the U.S. So began his quest for the “ultimate chocolate.” After much research and experimentation, Art developed a process that incorporated both modern and ancient chocolate-making techniques. When the chocolate began getting rave reviews from local chefs, Art’s business partner, Clark Goble, suggested that Art make his chocolate available commercially. Art continued to hone his skills by studying chocolate manufacturing in Europe and traveling throughout Mexico. Then, in 2006, when Art felt his chocolate was comparable to the very best European chocolate, he started Amano Artisan Chocolate.

Over the next week or so you will see some experiments with this fabulous chocolate! Stay tuned!

h1

Peanut Butter Torte

May 6, 2008

Peanut Butter Torte

Well, I have to admit, I was going to cheat on this week’s TWD, because I made this torte for a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago and never got around to posting about it,

Birthday Torte(put it in a Coach box, he was so confused)

but since Derby was this weekend (poor 8 Bells) I decided to make it again to take to a party.

This torte is fantastic! I worship the ground peanut butter walks on, so adding chocolate and whipped cream was just extra. Normally I don’t like hard bits of stuff in my desserts, but the chocolate chips and peanut bits really work. I think that is because there are enough of them that you get a fair amount in each bite. Rather than a nice creamy bite with bits o’ stuff in it.

It came together (both times) very easily. The only time required is the after-assembly chill to set up. This could be skipped, though, as long as you don’t mind it having more of a pudding consistency than a cheesecake.

Torte crustWhipped creamAdding chips and nutsWith whipped creamFinished torteblurry slice o\' torte

This torte is destined to become a staple in my dessert baking. Not only is it peanut butter, and chocolate, and easy, but it is also egg free which mean my dear fellow baker (Beth) who is horribly allergic can eat this! Yay!

As with most of Dorie’s recipes she explains everything wonderfully so that they are difficult to mess up, so go on, dive in, (ignore all the fat grams) and make one for yourself!

Peanut Butter Torte

1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)

24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender

½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Small pinch of salt

2 ½ c. heavy cream

1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)

2 tablespoons whole milk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Crape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.