Archive | February, 2009

My First Time

28 Feb

I am giddy with excitement! Today, I officially become a Daring Baker!!!

I started this blog and bought a digital camera, all to join this group…well maybe not only to join this group but it was a big impetus in getting me started.

I have been following the Daring Bakers for a long time and each month am amazed by the variety of treats that come from one recipe.

This month,  the Daring Bakers are taking on chocolate….pure, rich, dense chocolate.  It is nod to Valentine’s day but also a boost to the winter doldrums.
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

chocolate and cream

I made the standard cake recipe and served it as part of our Valentine’s Feast.  I did halve the recipe to serve just us and added some white chocolate heart’s to enhance the “loving mood”.

This is a dense, rich flourless cake with only three ingredients.  It is simple to bake and while it seems delicate, it can hold its own and tastes just as good a day or two later.

Chocolate Valentino

Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan

16 ounces (1 pound) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F
9. Bake for 25 minutes until the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

The piece de resistance though was the ice cream.

I often dream about German Schaumeis. Something I had only when I vistied my Omi (grandmother) in Bremen or was lucky enought to be in Germany during “Dom Season” (Dom’s are like traveling fairs and schaumeis wenders are everywhere).

Schaumeis is  ice cream that is literally whipped in something like centrifuge or cotton-candy maker and comes out like frozen whip  cream.  Needless to say, I have neither a centrifuge nor a cotton-candy machine and so I scoured the internet for an alternative and found whipped cream ice cream.  Think of frozen mousse. Light, fluffy, creamy, perfect!

Note: Since this recipe calls for you to temper your own eggs, I wouldn’t recommend it for those who are preggers or who otherwise should avoid raw eggs….just in case.

Whipped Cream Ice Cream

4 Egg Yolks

1 and 1/3 cup  Powder sugar,

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Sugar

4 Egg Whites,

500ml Whipping Cream

Whisk the egg yolks and slowly add 2/3 cup powdered sugar and vanilla sugar in a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over simmering water pot (a double boiler) and constantly whisk until it gets creamy and reaches roughly 160 degrees (this pasteurizes the yolks). Let the mixture cool.

Stir together the egg whites and 2/3 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons water, and 1/2 teaspoon and cream of tartar. Whisk over simmering water, until the whites reach 160° F. ( Keep it low and take your time, you don’t want the whites to curdle) Pour into a large bowl. Beat on high speed until the whites stand in peaks.

Whip the whip cream.

Fold cream and egg whites under the yolk cream. Spoon into a freezer safe container and cover.  Freeze for 3-4 hours.

This was the best the day it was made, but was pretty good the next day if you take it out and let it thaw a tad.



22 Feb

Last year, a dear friend gave me the most wonderful of gifts…a gift card for Sur La Table.

Sur La Table is a culinary wonderland and one of my first store lusts. My very first baking-related job in Seattle was located across from their first store.

My life was a culinary wonderland then. I was young and ambitious working in Pike Place Market surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of food from around the world. It is still on my top five favorite jobs ever. I would wake up early, walk from the hill to the Market with a stop at Coffee Messiah for a Mexican mocha.  Working at Le Panier, I had fresh baguettes and croissants everyday and on my lunch break perused the isles at Sur La Table or Market Spice.  In the evenings, after the tourists left, I haggled for fresh produce, fish, and cheeses.

I had no real responsibilities and I was just there to learn.

Eventually, I moved on the my first baking job up the hill at Dilettante’s chocolates. But it was there that I met the friends who would be my rock throughout my time in Seattle.

Now I live on the other side of the country and rarely get coffee that could compare in anyway with what I had in Seattle, though I have found bread love here at Standard.

So I was delighted to peruse the isles of Sur La Table, even if it was digitally. I bought myself a few fun, if somewhat unnecessary, gadgets including a series of cookie cutters…the cutest of which is the little mustang.

Now that the box has arrived, I needed a reason to cut out some cookies and take the mustang on a test drive.  Luckily, this months Martha had a recipe for crisp chocolate hearts.  Distrustful of all Martha recipes I took the basics and created my own cookie.  I felt a mustang needed spice (a little cayenne to give it a kick) and changed the flour to make it a bit more crisply soft. 2-14-09-012


1 Feb

Stracciatella gelato is one of my all time favorite desserts.  Creamy vanilla with a hint of chocolate, but a bit too cold for mid-winter in Maine. So when I had the opportunity to make a birthday cake last week and the request was for a white cake with white frosting and a hint of something chocolate….I came up with the idea to make my first Stracciatella Cake.

The party was last minute and I had two-hours to prepare the cake  –  I chose simplicity (Victorian Sponge & Stabilized Whip Cream) over flair (Genoise & Swiss Butter Cream).  This turned out to be a wise choice.  The light, simple sponge and not  too sweet cream allowed the chocolate to shine and the result was the perfect winter Stracciatella.

The birthday girl loved her cake as did all who were lucky enough to get a taste.