Posts Tagged ‘tuesdays with dorie’

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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.

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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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Caramel Topped Flan

March 26, 2008

Finally! A Tuesdays With Dorie post!

caramel topped flan

Phew! Didn’t know if I’d ever get the hang of it! This week was Caramel Topped Flan! It was so easy! I didn’t even need a mixer, so cleanup was lovely. The caramel came together very well.

caramel beginning Caramel middleCaramel endCaramel pan

I ended up needing a bigger pan to float my flan. The cake pan I used was a 9″ rather than an 8″ so it wouldn’t fit in my 9×13. That’s ok, though, I just put it in my 1/2 sheet cake pan.

Flan in pan

It all worked out in the end! The texture is wonderful. It’s so smooth and creamy. I think it could have stood a little longer in the oven for the custard, but the caramel came out very well. It tastes almost like there is alcohol in the caramel, but there isn’t. Maybe it’s from the vanilla in the custard? Who knows. It tastes like the flan I’ve had out at restaurants, but with a finer texture, so I guess I did it right. It turned out a little shorter than I would have like, but that is probably due to the larger pan.

piece of flan

Oh well! As long as it tastes good, right?!?

Caramel Topped Flan

For the Caramel
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
squirt of fresh lemon juice

For the Flan
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a roasting pan or a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a tea kettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.

Put a metal 8-x-2-inch round cake pan-not a nonstick one-in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.

To Make the Caramel: Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5 minutes-remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.

Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.

To Make the Flan: Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.

Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven. Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don’t worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.) Bake the flan for about 35 minutes or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there. A knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack and run a knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, once more, run a knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over and remove the cake pan-the flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.

Yield: 6 to 8 Servings

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Tuesdays with Plumbing?

March 12, 2008

Well, fair readers, I’m sorry to say that my joining of Tuesdays with Dorie will have to be postponed a week.  I was all set to make the lovely Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake on pages 310-311 but, alas, my plumbing wanted no part of it.  In fact, it threw a full blown hissy fit!  Backed up the shower, the sink, the dishwasher and even overflowed into the basement covering the washer with it’s fitful filth!

I could not bring myself to bake in such a condition, seeing as once I baked I would be unable to wash… anything.  So I persevere and live to bake another day!

You’ve won this one, plumbing but I’ll not be foiled again!