Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Little puffs of love

Who knew that something so relatively simple could be so fabulous? They look so fussed over, and yet they came together so quickly and easily.

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was a peppermint cream puff ring (I vetoed the ring, and made only cream puffs because the thought of a giant pastry ring just didn't appeal to me) chosen by Caroline of A Consuming Passion, and I am completely in love with it. Dorie I profess my undying love and devotion to you. I would tattoo your name on my butt if you requested it of me. The original recipe calls for peppermint cream filling, but Dorie gives you a "playing around option" and one of those included chocolate cream filling, and I was all over that chocolate cream filling like a stripper on a pole.

I prepared the chocolate cream filling first and then chilled it for a bit, and as soon as I tasted that silky smoothness on my tongue my eyes closed in ecstasy. Its texture was wonderful and the flavor was rich and dark and immediately I thought of all the deliciously naughty things my husband and I could do with it (didn't you?). The pastry came together in a snap and before I knew it I was piping my little cream puffs onto a tray and placing them in the oven.

Once they were done I let them cool overnight and went to bed while visions of cream puffs danced in my head (shut up I couldn't resist). This morning bright and early I commenced filling them with the chocolate dream filling and my mouth watered in anticipation of the final verdict once this creation was completely assembled . I opted for a white chocolate glaze instead of bittersweet and just so it could still resemble the original recipe somewhat I added mint extract to the white chocolate glaze, and let me tell you that it was pure heaven.

The pastry is so fluffy and soft that it practically melts on your tongue and the filling...OOoohhhh the glorious filling. I could eat it by the spoonfuls. I want to bathe in it, and smooth it all over my body. If this filling is the devil then I'm definitely going to hell, but I'm sure I'll be in good company;)

Stay Sweet;)

TWDers will no longer be posting the full recipe on their sites. We didn't think it was fair since this is Dorie's livelihood, but we’ve decided to compromise by taking turns and allowing whomever is hosting that week to post the recipe. So please head over to A Consuming Passion for the full recipe and a look at Caroline’s Peppermint ring!

The recipe can also be found in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, and don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Here is the Chocolate Dream Filling recipe:

Chocolate Pastry Cream

From Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
Pinch of salt
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch and salt until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.Whisk in the melted chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly--as I always do--put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dorie and I are on a "break"

Sorry Marie of A Year in Oak Cottage and sorry Dorie (its not you, its me I swear) I am not spending this Tuesday with Dorie so there will be no "La Palette’s Strawberry Tart" from me. It is heart wrenching actually as I had grand plans for the tart, but my thighs and I have come to the conclusion that since I have to bake a cake this week for my fondant and gumpaste cake decorating class, I really shouldn't have two types of dessert in the house. They cheered when I told them that it meant one less dimple to look forward to.

Though I don't have a tart for you (well unless I count myself) I do have my cake final from course 1 of my cake decorating class (I'm currently taking the fondant and gumpaste class because course 2 didn't have enough students signed up to proceed. A travesty. I know). It came out lovely even though the roses got a little smooshed during transit.

It is amazing to me how much you can learn in four classes. I am truly on my way to becoming a cake decorating diva. You can all sing me praises and bow down to my authority on cake decorating at your leisure. It was so pretty when I walked through the door my husband exclaimed "babe you MADE that?!", and with my head held high I strolled to the kitchen and stated "YES! Isn't is beautiful!". The buttercream is my usual recipe, but the cake was fabulous. Now onto the cake...

The cake was "Beatty's chocolate cake" by Ina Garten, and I have to say this cake must really be extraordinary because as hard as I tried to ruin it (I was missing half of the ingredients) it was still phenomenal! I know what you are thinking. Why would she even attempt to make this cake if she were missing half of the ingredients? Well if you must know, I had to make a cake for my cake decorating final, and I wanted a chocolate cake and I refused to settle for yellow cake or go to the grocery store. I do not settle. I am the baking diva, and If I want chocolate cake I will have chocolate cake damn it! Seriously I was short an egg; I had the wrong chocolate (and not enough of the one I did have so I tossed in a chocolate pudding mix); I was out of vegetable oil so I used butter; I didn't use the coffee; and I used regular milk in place of butter milk and this cake was still amazing! Don't get me wrong. The texture was a little off, but the taste was excellent! So rich and chocolaty, and I am absolutely positive the next time that I make it with all of the ingredients it is going to be orgasmic! I am shaving my legs as we speak in anticipation of this mouth orgasm...

Make sure you check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to see everyone else's tarts.


Stay Sweet;)

Beatty's Chocolate cake by Ina Garten
Source:Food network.com

Butter, for greasing the pans

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

2 cups sugar

3/4 cups good cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

When brownies grow up

Who knew you could take a simple brownie and turn it up a notch and serve it at your swankiest dinner party? This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook. She selected French Chocolate Brownies, and Dorie gave my five year old's palette a time out long enough for me to get over the fact that though this is not my favorite brownie recipe it is still an excellent one, and the perfect upscale version of my favorite dessert. These are gonna kill at my next dinner party when I add the rum soaked walnuts.

Now initially I didn't care for these brownies for several reasons (the main one being I'm a picky bitch). They are cake like, The tops are EXTREMELY cracked which makes them unappealing (to me, and lets face it my opinion is the only one that matters here), I didn't care for the cinnamon, and they take forever to bake. But they are one of those foods which are the enigmas of life in that they taste absolutely FABULOUS the next day. The cinnamon becomes an understated flavor and makes them interesting. The bittersweet chocolate is rich, and draws you in delicately. Long after they were gone I found myself craving them, and they are far from what I look for in a brownie. It's like my favorite bar treat had a snobby make over and I'm loving it.

Their addiction factor sort of sneaks up on you. Similar to when you get a subtle whiff of your husbands cologne and you are immediately filled with goose bumps and perky nipples, and you realize that this is one intense bar snack. Make these tonight...the anticipation of how amazing they will be tomorrow is worth it.

Make sure you check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to see everyone else's treats.

Stay sweet;)

I left out the rum soaked raisins (because raisins are gross and remind me of giant rat droppings), but I plan on adding rum soaked walnuts next time instead of the raisins to make them a little more grown up and exciting.

French Chocolate Brownies
makes 16 brownies
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.
Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.
Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they're even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!
Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.