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Friday, August 27, 2010

What's puffy and fluffy and tasty?




A creme puff! Ms. Amy Shelley had the wonderful idea to make these. Neither of us had made them before, but we did good! They came out better than we had hoped and now that we know how simple they are I have a feeling we'll each be making them more often. You can make them too:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 box of custard or pudding
The directions are pretty simple. Just melt the shortening in a sauce pan, add the boiling water, and add the flour. Mix it all until the flour becomes a big ball. Take it off the heat and add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each one.

Once everything is mixed place the dough by heaping tablespoons on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 450, and then another 10 minutes at 425. Once they are cooled, cut them open (half way), and fill them.

Voila, you have le puff de creme!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chocolate Truffles!


I took a chocolate making class this past weekend and it was so much fun! I have a new appreciation for expensive chocolates. There is so much time and precision that goes into making chocolate, and you have to be very detail oriented. Time, measurements, temperature (you'll need a thermometer), you have to pay careful attention to all of it if you want perfect chocolate truffles. Well, in my case, close to perfect ;)

The truffles have a ganache center, a chocolate coating, and then you can cover them with whatever you like. We chose cocoa powder, powdered sugar, milk chocolate shavings, and white chocolate shavings. Here is how you make them:

Ingredients:
  • 5 oz chopped darked chocolate (68-72%)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1lb of tempered chocolate (we'll get to that later on)
Directions:

Ganache
  • Place chopped chocolate in a medium size bowl and set aside
  • Bring cream and corn syrup to a boil while stirring
  • Pour over chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 2 minutes
  • Stir slowly with a whisk, until well mixed and emulsified
  • When the ganache reaches 95F mix in the softened butter, and stir well
  • Let the ganache cool at room temperature for about an hour, or until it has cooled to below 74F
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop out small balls of ganache
  • Set aside to dry overnight at room temperature, uncovered
Dipping, and *Tempering Chocolate
  • Roll the ganache into smooth balls
  • Dip in tempered chocolate and roll in desired toppings
  • Allow chocolate to set before storing at cool room temperature
*Tempering is the process of melting and cooling the chocolate, which you'll then use for dipping. You'll need to chop the chocolate into small pieces to facilitate the melting. Then melt the chocolate over warm water (not boiling) or in the microwave (at low power.) For dark chocolate you'll want to get it to 115-120F, milk chocolate 100-110F, and white chocolate 100-105F.

Once the melting temperature has been reached, you'll need to add more chocolate to lower the temperature to 93-94F. Just add chocolate in dosages until you get there. Dark chocolate should reach 88-91F, milk chocolate should reach 85-89F, and 84-88 F for white chocolate. It is very important that you keep stirring the chocolate throughout the process. If you ever need to adjust the temperature you can hold the bowl over the stove for about 10-15 seconds until you reach the temperature range you need.

And there you go. Now you can make chocolate truffles!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Devil's Food Cake





I made this one for a misty, foggy, typical San Francisco picnic. I was a little concerned it would not brave the elements, but it held up just fine! It's another Magnolia Bakery recipe. The more goodies I make of theirs, the more I like them. They definitely live up to the hype!

It's a great double-layer cake. The frosting is thick and similar to marshmallow or meringue, and the cake is chocolatey, moist, and delicious. Then I just added some raspberries and sugary pearl decor for an extra touch. I need to figure out how to make it perfect like the pictures, but overall I was pleased with it.

Here's how you make it:

Preheat the oven to 350

Ingredients:

Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, separated (you'll be using the yolks and the whites at different moments, so be sure to keep both)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 8 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Cake:
  • Melt the chocolate over a double boiler for 5-10 minutes. You can just put a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water, works fine.
  • Remove it from the heat and let it cool.
  • In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set it aside.
  • Lightly beat the yolks until lemon colored
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks until well combined.
  • Add the chocolate until well mixed
  • Add the dry ingredients to the above butter mixture, in thirds. Alternate with the milk and vanilla.
  • Beat the egg whites on the high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter.
  • Divide the batter between two 9", greased, pans and bake 40-45 minutes




Frosting:
  • Combine egg whites, sugar, water, syrup, and salt in a metal bowl over boiling water
  • On the high speed of an electric mixer, beat constantly for 6-8 minutes, or until the icing stands in soft peaks
  • Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and beat for another minute until you get the right consistency for spreading
  • Use immediately
Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Who You Callin a Tart?





I finally made a tart! I think I was always intimidated by their beauty and assumed they were going to be hard to make, but now that I have succeeded I am no longer afraid! I love them because they are versatile, colorful, refined, and delicious. Next time you have a party (tea party perhaps?) to attend you can make one too.

First off, it's suggested that you make the curd (filling) and tart dough beforehand. I made mine the night before. When you are ready to bake it though you will want to preheat the oven to 350.

Ingredients:

Lemon curd:


  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter
Tart Crust:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
Topping:
  • Fruit assortment of your choosing :)
  • Warmed jam to brush on top of the fruit and make it look glossy!
Directions:

Curd:
  • You'll want to set aside a strainer, over a large bowl. Then you can start whisking the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together in another metal bowl.
  • Whisk in the lime juice to above mixture and set the bowl over a simmering pot of water (but don't let the bowl touch the water).
  • Whisk constantly over the boiling water until the curd thickens (about 6 minutes).
  • Immediately pour the curd through the strainer.
  • Add butter to the curd and let it sit for a minute before you mix it in.
  • Refrigerate the curd, covering it with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic is covering/touching the top of the curd.
Tart Crust:
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl for about 2 minutes until it looks well blended.
  • Add the egg yolk.
  • Add flour and salt, and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles large peas.
  • Knead the dough together with your hands and transfer to a greased 9" tart pan. (Tip: The best are the ones with the removable bottom so that you can easily slide the tart up and out when it is done baking and cooled).
  • Press the dough evenly across the pan and up the edges to form the crust.
  • Cover and chill one hour, to one day.
When you are ready to bake it place the crust in the oven (no curd, in case that is not clear) for about 35 minutes until golden brown. Let it cool in the pan and then spread the curd onto the cooled crust. Follow that up with some fruit, let it refrigerate to firm up, and you are set!

Hope you get to impress some guests with this one :)