Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Marquise on Meringue

The May 2011 Daring Baker's challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

Not only have I never tried making a Marquise but, I've never even heard of it before.So I was looking forward to this challenge. The directions were given for a full, half or quarter batch. How easy is that. I chose to make a quarter batch since it is just the two of us. And since it has several components I was able to start the process early. "Early", you say? Are you implying that I'm posting this late? Well, you are correct. But, but, but....I have good reasons! But, but, but....better late than never!

The first component is the Marquise. As it turns out this a very decadent, very smooth, very delicious mousse like dessert that sets up in the freezer. Sort of like ice cream but, better. If that can even happen! It starts off with a chocolate base: chocolate, heavy cream, salt, cayenne, hazelnut liquour, corn syrup, canilla, cocoa powder, pepper, and butter. After cooling the base is added to: egg yolks (many of them), whole eggs, sugar, heavy cream. The resulting mousse is spread into a parchment lined pan and placed in the freezer. Easy right?

The next component is a meringue. The usual egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and a splash of apple cider vinegar is whipped up into a billowy cloud of delicious meringue. This is where I have to be very careful. You see, I can just eat this by the spoonful right out of the bowl not thinking about what I originally needed it for.

For the third component I used some raspberry jam in place of the caramel sauce called for in the original challenge. I also omitted the spiced nuts since "J" can't eat them.

To plate this dessert requires careful timing if you live in a warm climate. The meringue needs to be ready at the same time as the sauce and spiced nuts. The mariquise is removed from the freezer and unmolded from the pan. I cut 2 1/2" squares and rolled them in cocoa powder quickly, it melts fast. Place the square on your serving plate. Add the meringue. Torch the meringue as desired. Add the sauce and spiced nuts. I allowed the  dessert to sit out for approximately 10 minutes before eating.

It was light, creamy, dreamy, smooth, chocolatey, lovely and very rich (the only negative for "J"). I always enjoy making something new. Thank you Emma and Jenny for this challenge!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pound Cake

Pound Cake. I just love pound cake. I love the simple flavor of the vanilla and the butter. I love the tender texture and I love the small, yet moist crumb. I love to use it when I need sturdy tall layers and it never fails. I searched a long time, trying many different versions to find what I think is the best. Don't forget the versatility of pound cake. You can change the flavors easily and it's use is endless. I have used it in a 6 layer celebration cake, in a trifle, covered with whipped cream, fresh fruit or fruit curd. It can be taosted and spread with more butter too, if you dare! Today I bring it to you.

Humble Vanilla Pound Cake
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla or the scrapings from a vanilla bean
6 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter in a large bowl with paddle attachment on medium about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition. Beat additional 5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. add the cream cheese and vanilla; beat one minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine Flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Beat one minute. Pour into a greased 10 inch tube pan.
Bake 1 hour or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes; loosen from sides of pan and gently remove cake. Cool completely on wire rack.

Feel like sharing? How do you like your pound cake? Made with cream cheese, or sour cream or not. Spread with fruit, frosting, curd, or not?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Overnight Cinnamon Buns with the ABC Baker's

Has it really been that long?! Oh my! It's not that I haven't been baking that's for sure. It's that there really isn't enough time in a weekend. So I vote for extending the weekends to three days. I'm sure everyone would agree but, sorry it isn't happening so we better make due.
On May 3rd I missed posting the Avid Baker's Challenge of Overnight Cinnamon Buns found in Flo Braker's, Baking for All Occassions. As you can see from some of my recent posts the combination of cinnamon and with any driy fruit or nuts is a favorite. Then add in the overnight rising aspect I wasn't about to miss this challenge. And I am glad I didn't.
The dough for this recipe is a sweet yeast potatoe dough. It called for a Russet potatoe. Since I didn't have one I substituted a Yukon Gold potatoe giving it a slightly more yellow hue. The dough itself was easy to put together (I just love the addition of orange zest). Then into the refrigerator to rise for 8 hours up to 24 hours.
The filling that Flo suggested contained Macadamia nuts. They are one of my favorite nuts; tender and delicious in any application. But sadly, my honey cannot eat them. That's how the raisins found their way in again. Along with brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg we had a warm and spicey filling.
The next morning I jumped out of bed to finish the assembly of these yummy breakfast treats. Rolling the filled dough into a log is easy for any baker, however it's all about the slicing. The suggestion from Flo is something I discovered many moons ago. Using a long piece of dental floss (unflavored, please!) criss-crossed around the dough, then pull, makes a clean cut.
After rising again, a trip to the oven, a drizzle of icing and.......wow!!! Warm, spicey, slightly sweet, tender, delicate orange flavor, and gone! Not a complaint in the house. What's your favorite filling consist of? Thank you Hannah for this wonderful challenge!