March 28, 2011
I am also glad its a Friday (TGIF)! - been looking forward to this break ever since Monday ;-). I thought I would also share with you a dessert that I recently tried when we had some friends over at our home. This is one delicious, smooth, creamy and rich dessert! It's relatively easy and can be prepared ahead of time. The recipe isn't as complicated as its name "Chocolate Silk Raspberry Tart". I found the recipe on Betty Crocker website. Chocolate Silk Raspberry Tart
Ingredients: 20 creme-filled golden sandwich cookies, crushed (2 cups) 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 2 cups whipping (heavy) cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened 1 cup fresh raspberries 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
Directions: Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs and butter. In 9- or 10-inch springform pan, press mixture in bottom and 1 inch up side. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until set. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the whipping cream over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted. Stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. In large bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Beat in chocolate mixture until creamy. Set aside. In another large bowl with electric mixer, beat remaining 1 1/2 cups whipping cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold half of whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until blended. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Spoon into cooled baked crust. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. To serve, arrange raspberries around edge of tart. In small microwavable bowl, microwave jam on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted; lightly brush over raspberries. Remove side of pan. Cut tart into wedges. Store in refrigerator.
MY VARIATIONS: I layered the crushed cookies on the bottom only of a springform pan and baked until golden brown and set. I made the dessert the day before and refrigerated until serving. Instead of using raspberry jam, I bought a frozen bag of raspberries. Thawed it by immersing the puch in water for 10-15 minutes. Kept the thawed raspberries refrigerated. Unmolded the tart from the springform pan and just before serving, spooned the raspberries with the juice (not heavy syrup and hence not extremely sweetened) along the sides of the tart. A few sprigs of mint and some chocolate shavings completed the decor. It sure looked and tasted amazing!
VERDICT: We really enjoyed this dessert as did our guests! They gave me rave reviews! My lil girl who isn't much receptive even to desserts, enjoyed this immensely. With the cream cheese in it, it definitely tasted a lot like cheesecake which was amazing! It sure was pure creamy dreamy heaven! The slightly tart raspberries were amazing against the sweet smooth chocolate filling. The baked crushed golden cookies added a crunch and character to the tart. I am a fan, for sure! Please do try this out and I'm sure you'll looove it!
March 27, 2011
Baked the roll as mentioned for about 25-30 minutes until it was golden brown on the darker side. The result was an amazing and beautiful coffee cake. I didn't have the time or patience to let it cool (was baking at bedtime!). I had a 5yr old clinging to my knees begging for a taste of the coffee cake before she went to bed!! A dusting of cocoa powder and confectioner's sugar completed my coffee cake.
The cake was literally DEVOURED, once I cut into it. Did manage to salvage a few pieces for breakfast the next day and all was gone by then!! I would definitely try this again as the recipe was perfect and easy - light, not overwhelming, not extremely sweet but has all the right ingredients (if you know what I mean - sugar, chocolate and meringue!!). A perfect accompaniment to coffee, as breakfast or a snack!
My only disappointment was not being able to see swirls in the cut piece. A dusting of cocoa or cinnamon over the spread meringue or rolled out dough should do the trick. I will definitely try doing that the next time. I would also like to add some chopped dry fruits to the chocolate chip-nut mixture next time! All in all, I absolutely LOVED this challenge and I did complete it on time eventhough posting a day later!!
FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter. The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature 2 large eggs at room temperature 10 strands saffron for Ria’s version (Saffron might be hard to find and it’s expensive, so you can substitute with ½ - 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom or ground nutmeg. Or simply leave it plain like Jamie’s version)
For the meringue: 3 large egg whites at room temperature ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon vanilla ½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
For the filling: Jamie’s version: 1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts 2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate
Ria’s version: 1 cup (130 g / 5 oz.) chopped cashew nuts 2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar ½ teaspoon garam masala (You can make it at home – recipe below - or buy from any Asian/Indian grocery store) 1 cup (170g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips ( I used Ghirardelli)
Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes
Directions: Prepare the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.
Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue. With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.
Prepare your filling: In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.
Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue: In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
Assemble the Coffee Cakes: Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle.
Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).
Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.
Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.
The dough should sound hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool. Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.
Look at how airy and the light the cake looks! Yeast works magic on the dough! All in all the result was just beautiful - well risen, baked to the right golden brown perfection...
March 21, 2011
The inspiration for the ruffled layers in the front of the doll came from a video of a cake on youtube and I searched for tutorials. Finally when I figured it out, I realised that it was a relatively easy and quick to master technique and yet gave breathtakingly beautiful and professional looking results!
The second doll was done pretty much similar to the first one except that the gown was of a slightly diferent pattern. I also tried using pearl dust (pink) on the gown and thats my new favorite cake decorating accessory!! The pearl dust gave such a beautiful sheen to the dress, I loved it! Its pretty easy to use - just mix with some vanilla extract and paint on! Pearls coated with shimmer dust also adorned the gown.
Stick the ruffle to a crumb coated doll figurine. If attaching to a fondant covered surface, use little water to stick the ruffle to the fondant. I attached three of such ruffles to make the lowest layer of ruffle. Attach the second layer of ruffles overlapping the first (bottom). Repeat to cover the entire front of the doll. I did the next couple of layers with one ruffle each and then towards the top of the doll, one ruffle ring can be cut into two and stretched to make the top ruffle layers. Drape another layer of rolled fondant over the ruffles so as to cover the ends of the ruffles and make the gown.Decorate/punch designs on the drape before applying onto the cake.