Kitchen Therapy


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Fruit Tart

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I really enjoyed making this week’s recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking Chez Moi.
I love pastry cream. It is one of my favourite things in the world to eat.
I made this part of the recipe first, a vanilla flavoured pastry cream.
Next I made the crust which turned out wonderfully delicate and flaky. I’m getting to know my new ovens and following directions, I removed the base at 25 minutes to take the weights off the pastry and found the base darker than I had hoped. Luckily there was no burnt taste. Other than that, I had fun making and decorating this tart.
Everyone loved it. What is there not to love?!

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To see the what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this week’s recipes you can click here.


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Neopolitan Baked Alaska

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I love Baked Alaska, in fact I love anything with meringue on top 🙂

So… when I saw that the recipe for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie was a Black and White Baked Alaska, I was excited!
And a little hesitant.
There’s a flourless chocolate cake base that Dorie describes as “a fallen souffle, with a brownie like texture.”
Then there’s a layer of ice cream, Dorie recommends buying your favourite flavour, which did take some pressure off. However I was more concerned about the assembly and baking of the ice cream and how it would hold it’s shape under the meringue cloud…
I chose a white chocolate and raspberry ice cream which I let soften, then mashed and spooned onto the chocolate base.
I placed my double layer cake in the freezer for two hours and it held well!
The meringue was definitely my favourite part of the recipe, I could happily just sit and eat it, on its own, with a spoon… by myself… 🙂
I placed the Baked Alaska in the oven and then sliced it, however I had to be quick, the ice cream did start to melt…
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My baked Black and White Baked Alaska looked more like a Neopolitan Baked Alaska!
The family was definitely impressed.
It looked great.
I thought there was too much chocolate brownie base and wished I had more meringue. Towards the end of my slice of cake, I was looking for more ice cream as well (even though I used twice the amount of ice cream stated in the recipe).
Even the chocolate lovers in the family thought the chocolate base was a little overpowering!
If I make this again, I was thinking of making half the chocolate base, so it’s thinner. Using a  vanilla ice cream and adding a layer of sour Morello Cherries to break through the sweetness… A Black Forest Baked Alaska!
To see how this recipe turned out for the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group, click here!

 


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Chocolate Brownies – Sebastian’s Remarkably Wonderful Brownies

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Swedish Visiting Cake Bars.
I didn’t make these! I really wanted to.
They sound delicious.
And full of almonds.
I love almonds, however two out of my three children have a nut allergy.
Some nuts are absolutely no problem, like hazelnuts, which means Nutella is ok!
However almonds are not on our friendly nut list.
So I thought I’d take this opportunity to catch up on one of the recipes I have missed.

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I keep saying I’m not a fan of chocolate and then I choose the most chocolatey thing I can find to bake! Like the Chocolate, Prune and Whiskey Cake a couple of weeks ago.
Well this was just as decadent and rich as that cake. However while that cake bordered on bitterness from the chocolate, I found this tray of brownies waaaaayyy to sweet for me. The recipe does have 2 cups of sugar!
The family loved it however.
I made it mostly for them, they are all fans of chocolate.
For chocolate lovers this seemed to be a success!
I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone thought of their Swedish Visiting Cake Bars, now they are definitely more up my alley 🙂

 


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Chocolate, Prune and Whiskey Cake

IMG_7035.JPGThis cake is for grown ups.
It is rich, decadent and alcohol infused.
There is something about soaking dry fruit in liquor, and then having to wait until it becomes plump and moist, that excites me!
I’m not a big drinker, however my husband has an every growing scotch and whiskey collection that I’ve grown to enjoy the smell of.
The Macallan Edition No.2 Single Malt Scotch Whiskey caught my eye for this recipe as it was a limited edition release by Macallan Master Whiskey Blender Bob Dalgarno and the chefs behind El Celler de Can Roca, the 3 Michelin starred restaurant in Spain.
I can smell the fruity and even chocolatey notes in the alcohol and thought they would be wonderful paired with prunes in this cake.
(Having said that, the recipe calls for Irish whiskey so I’ve already strayed!)

The cake has almond flour so I decided to experiment (which I enjoy) and make a nut free version using plain flour, however I added my favourite bourbon for cooking, Maker’s Mark in this second version making it a Chocolate, Prune and Bourbon Cake.

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I think the psychologist in me revels when there’s any form of experimentation happening. I found it interesting that with time, the Macallan seemed to absorb the flavours of the prunes and they melded together to make me think of a Christmas Pudding. However the prunes with the Maker’s Mark smelled consistently of just the bourbon.
Both cakes came out of the oven at the 35 minute mark (which was the high end of the recommended cooking time) and in hindsight I think it would have been perfect to remove them 5 minutes earlier to get an even more gooey centre.
The result was a beautiful cake.
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Rich, dense, moist, decadent yet not overly sweet, in fact, most of the sweetness came from the alcohol infused prunes. Surprisingly, while the cake was definitely luscious and satisfying, it still left you wanting more, looking for another hit of sweetness and whiskey from the succulent prunes.

*I used Macallan Edition No.2 Single Malt Scotch Whiskey instead of the Irish Whiskey called for in the recipe.
*I made a second nut free version substituting plain flour for the almond flour, using the same amount of plain flour as almond flour.
*The second version I also used Maker’s Mark Bourbon to soak the prunes in, so technically making this a Chocolate, Prune and Bourbon Cake
*I’m including the recipe with my findings and my thoughts on the nut free version.

CHOCOLATE, PRUNE AND WHISKEY CAKE
from THE VIOLET BAKERY COOKBOOK by CLAIRE PTAK

125g prunes
40ml Irish whiskey (I used scotch whiskey in one version and bourbon in another)
240g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
200g unsalted butter
5 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
150g almonds, ground (or 150g plain flour if making nut free version)
butter, for greasing the tin

1. Soak the prunes in whiskey, if you can do this the night before, all the better.
2. Peheat the oven to 180C/160C(fan).
3. Butter a 20-23cm cake tin and line with baking paper (I used a 21cm tin).
4. Put the dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl or it may spoil the chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted, take the pan off the heat to cool slightly but keep away from any draughts.
5. Put the whites and yolks into two separate bowls and, starting with the yolk, add half of the caster sugar and whisk to thicken.
6. Fold the thickened yolk into the melted chocolate and set aside.
7. Chope the prunes into eighths and add to the chocolate mixture along with the ground almonds (or plain flour if making a nut free version).
8. Beat the egg whites with the remaining caster sugar and the sea salt until soft peaks form.
9. Fold into the chocolate mixture until just incorporated.
10. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. The cake will be slightly soft in the middle but do not overtake it or the gooeyness will be lost. (I cooked my 21cm pans for 35 minutes and the gooeyness was barely there so I recommend 30 minutes).
Serve warm or at room temperature.

CONCLUSION:
Straight from the oven, I was drawn to the nut free version as it seemed to be slightly sweeter. Both cakes are very rich and you are a left looking for some sweetness from the prunes to give you a break from the almost bitter richness of the chocolate.

The original almond version has more moisture and lushness on the tongue, and you can taste the ingredients individually. The almonds, the prunes and the alcohol hold their own integrity and can be tasted in each mouthful.

The nut free version has a more muddled taste. The texture is more dense and as it hits the mouth, it feels almost sticky. The flavours of the cake come next and they are more mild than the almond version and I think more child friendly. There is more sweetness and less of a hit from the alcohol. It’s as if the strong flavours in the cake have fused together and have taken the edge of each individual ingredient and melded into a very pleasant mouthful that is easier to eat than the almond cake that is more intense and has more of a slap to your face intensity!


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Apple Weekend Cake

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I love apples, I love cinnamon and I loooove cake.
This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe was a winner in every way with us.
It was quick and easy to make.
The cake was light, yet moist and full of flavour.
I didn’t have rum so I opted for the extra teaspoon of vanilla.
I found myself looking for a more pure and simple smell and taste of apple.
Next time I will skip the extra flavouring.
It was that simple 🙂
And we had more time to enjoy the last days of summer at Manly Beach…

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I can’t wait to see what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie members thought!


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Betty’s Chocoholic Cake with Raspberry Filling

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Betty’s Chocoholic Cake.
Wow! This was a hit with all the chocolate lovers in the family.
The cake is dense and rich, to me it tastes like 3 layers of brownies stacked on top of each other.
Which, according to the kids, is awesome!
Unlike the rest of my family however, I’m not that fussed on chocolate!
So I added a raspberry sauce between the three layers to break up the sweetness.
I blitzed 300g of raspberries, strained them them to remove all the hard bits and then boiled the raspberries with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornflour.  I spread the sauce between the 3 layers and then covered the cake with Dorie’s chocolate ganache.

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I woke everyone early on the weekend and we headed to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and walked from Coogee beach to Bondi beach to try and work off some of the sugar from this cake 🙂
It’s a long and somewhat tough walk but it’s also really pretty so that makes it easier somehow!

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We then felt good about coming home and having more cake!
Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this month’s recipes!

 


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Tarte Tropezienne

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My last post was David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Pudding.
I made a double batch of his recipe three times last week.
I made it for my son’s 16th birthday and it was sooo delicious, I just kept making it again and again and again…
We kind of overdosed on chocolate last week, so this week, choosing the Tarte Tropezienne for the recipe of the week was an easy choice for us!

When my copy of Baking Chez Moi first arrived, way back at the beginning of Tuesdays with Dorie, the Tarte Tropezienne caught my attention immediately. I love brioche, I love pastry cream!
I’ll be honest though, I felt a bit hesitant making this.
Making dough has always made me nervous. I think mostly because I don’t do it that much.
I made the dough as Dorie said, using the paddle attachment of my Kitchen Aid and I made a  soft, sticky, runny paste!
So I started again and this time I used the hook attachment and it worked! I beautiful smooth ball of dough formed, joy!
I made the dough and pastry cream one day and the next day I baked and assembled the cake.
I could not find pearl sugar so I bought sugar cubes and smashed them. Oh my what a mess!
I had bits of sugar all over the bench, floor and in my hair. But it looked so pretty I didn’t mind one bit!
I love this cake! It turned out delicious.

I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this month’s recipes! I’m already thinking about Betty’s Chocolate Cake I’ll be making next time!