Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

As I don't like runny yolks (or really yolks at all) I decided to poach fish. I looked high and low for a recipe that didn't call for wine, then someone suggested I use a Court Bouillon. This sounded great. So I looked up recipes and found a few and decided on one. I won't bother posting the recipe because it was totally bland and flavorless, even with added seasoning. Part of this was probably the fish I used (I'm poor, so went with the cheapest thing at TJs) I thought, hey, a flavorful broth would be great to make risotto with, but it was so bad we didn't eat it (my sister added ketchup and pronounced it "edible")

I'd definitely poach fish again, but next time I'd just use water, it would add about as much flavor. And I'll try risotto again with something flavorful.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

YAY! for Tarts!!

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

I added orange zest to my crust and made a cranberry jam. I cut out circles of dough, piped jam on top, and pinched corners to make tiny tartlets. Everyone loved them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Souffle

I ran my thumb around the top edge of the ramekins, which is supposed to help them rise straight, but they didn't anyway. I'm blaming the oven.

Pumpkin Souffle
1/4 c milk
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp sugar
6 T pumpkin
3/4 c egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/3 c sugar

Preheat oven to 400F
Prep 8 ramekins by spraying with pan spray and coating with sugar.
Mix together the first 7 ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over med-high heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add pumpkin, remove to medium mixing bowl, let cool.
In a super-clean bowl beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy. While beating, add the sugar gradually. Beat until stiff peaks form.
Fold some of the whites into the pumpkin mixture to lighten, then the rest in two batches.
Spoon into ramekins, scraping off the top. Run your thumb around the edge, if you think your oven won't interfere and make them bake wonky anyway.

These are excellent with caramel sauce on top.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

YAY! for doughnuts!!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

I decided to use Alton Brown's recipe as a pattern and used it to make a recipe for pumpkin spice doughnuts in cinnamon sugar.

Pumpkin Yeast Doughnuts

2 1/2 oz butter
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 T instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
22 oz AP

Oil for frying

Cinnamon sugar

In a saucepan melt butter. Add pumpkin, milk, and sugar and heat to lukewarm. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Add eggs, mixing well. Add yeast, salt, and spices. Mix well, scraping down the bowl. Add flour in two stages, mixing until no flour is visible, scraping down occasionally. Change to the dough hook and mix at a medium low speed for 3-4 minutes. Remove the bowl, oil the top of the dough, cover with cling film, and refrigerate overnight.

Roll dough out on a well floured surface, cut with doughnut cutter or 2 round cutters, place on floured surface and cover with a towel for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan or electric frying pan to 350F, place doughnuts in hot oil (don't crowd the pan) and cook for about one minute on each side. Remove to a paper lined sheet pan to drain then shake with cinnamon sugar.

Monday, September 27, 2010

YAY! for cookies!!!

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

This month we did sugar cookies, which I've done before. I'll stick with my own recipe for the cookies in the future as they are nice and soft.
The rounds are going to my brother in Singapore and the leaves are going camping with my sister.

Friday, August 27, 2010

YAY! for food on a stick!!

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I made my pound cake with hazelnut meal in place of some of the flour to match my chocolate hazelnut ice cream and then decided to put it on a stick! Everything's better on a stick. They were melty but yummy.

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream

8 ounces hazelnuts, toasted and cooled
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 ounces dark chocolate

Grind nuts with sugar in food processor. Place in saucepan with milk and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and let steep for 20-30 minutes. Strain in a fine sieve.

Pour the milk into a clean saucepan, reserving about 1/4 cup. Mix reserved milk with cornstarch, whisk into saucepan. Bring the milk to a boil and let boil a couple of minutes. Pour into a sealable container and cover the top surface with cling film. Let cool several hours or overnight.

Process in ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

YAY! for Ice Cream!!

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.-

When I saw the title I thought it would be for an ice cream filled swiss roll, and that was exciting. Then I saw it involved a whole lot more and lost excitement.

I made mine with chocolate cake, chocolate whipped cream, milk chocolate ice cream, strawberry ice cream and fudge. I like chocolate.
It wasn't something I'd ever make again, it was way too involved for the result, which I could have gotten by making the cake and serving it with ice cream, but it tasted fine.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

YAY! for Chocolate!!

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

They were pretty good.

I made my chocolate meringues (they weren't really like pavlova at all) a day ahead and they kept really well. I made homemade ricotta with whole milk instead of doing mascarpone cheese because I don't like it. The ricotta beat really smooth and was okay for a mousse. I think I prefer the chocolate mousse I usually use better, but just because it takes less work.
I made my sauce with a caramel creme anglaise, which I make by using pre-caramelized sugar in a regular creme anglaise recipe.
For pre-caramelized sugar just cook sugar on the stove until light amber, pour out onto a silpat to cool and blitz in the food processor until finely ground. Use an equal weight to replace plain sugar in any custard recipe (makes great ice cream) or for easier brule making.

I found that they were better an hour after assembling than they were right away. The mousse softens the meringue so it's not so chewy and tough.

I might make them again, but I'm not sure.

Monday, May 3, 2010

YAY! for English Pudding!!

I'm super late this month (last month?) because of a super-fantastic wedding our family pulled off a couple of days ago. It was DIY wedding with friends pitching in to help with everything from photography to the flowers, to decor and food. We did the food ourselves last minute, which made things extra busy and I wasn't able to get to the computer to post this.

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

I made a chocolate pudding from The Pudding Club Unfortunately Nestle changed their chocolate chips and they didn't melt to make a soft chocolate sauce, instead they remained chips and stuck to the pudding bowl, making for a really ugly pudding, that I did take pictures of but my camera is lost in the mess of wedding stuff and I'll try to post a picture later.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Tian

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris

I chose to make raspberry and chocolate instead of orange. We don't like marmalade in our house so I made raspberry jam and put ganache in the whipped cream (chocolate mousse! yum!!) I made one big tian in a springform pan instead of small ones. It didn't look as nice as I would have liked and I added the ganache too soon and it broke, which is why it looks kinda funny. But it tasted good.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

YAY! for the Olympics!!!

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.
I chose to make my crackers with actual graham flour (any other way would be a "graham-style cracker" rather than an actual graham cracker)

I made a peanut butter filling for the Nanaimo Bars by using half a recipe of Reese's Bars, so the recipe for the bars was:

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 T unsweetened cocoa
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup peanuts, roasted unsalted, finely chopped
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in
crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an parchment lined 8 by 8 inch pan.

Middle Layer
1 C graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C butter, melted
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 C peanut butter

Add cracker crumbs to melted butter. Then add sugar and peanut butter. Mix well. Spread on top of Nanaimo layer.

Top Layer
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 T butter
Melt together, spread on top of peanut-butter layer.

Chill bars until firm. Lift the parchment to pull bars out of the pan to cut into squares.