Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Daring Bakers' June, 2013 Challenge: Life of Pie

Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! For a chocolate and caramel lover like me, of course I pick chocolate and caramel pie (or chocolat et caramel tarte). Although I have made similar tarts before, this recipe is totally different from mine and I would love to take the challenge....and of course another treat for this week. I have all the ingredients in hand and the recipe is good enough to make two, let me start one first and save some for next week!

you need
  • pâte sablée
  • caramel
  • mousse au chocolat (chocolate mousse filling)
  • la poudre de cacao (cocoa powder)
  • one Callebaut marble callet

Instead of using tart pan in the suggested recipe, I used a 180 mm tart ring. Since I've started learning to use tart ring, I use them nearly for all kinds of tarts and pies, big or small. I had my pâte sablée dough rest a bit in fridge, then rolled it on marble and transferred it carefully to my ring, trimmed my shell nicely, docked its bottom and its ready to bake. See... my pie shell looks great, it should come out nicely very soon... after baking I let my shell rest a bit and I have second step waiting...

Next step is making caramel. I used to kind of stay away from caramel or something alike. Because in my past time I always thought its kind of difficult and dangerous! But now I am quite comfortable making it. For this caramel, I use a simple dry method and heavy cream. Wow, its amber colour looks really amazing!
Let me pick up the pace and fast forward my steps a bit... I filled my already lightly baked pie shell with caramel, then mousse au chocolat on top and back into oven for another 30 minutes... I use 72% Valrhona Araguani for this mousse, I love its dark yet fruity flavor! When the pie is done, its may still looks a bit jiggling a bit. I let it cool off and decorated it with cocoa powder and a marble chocolate callet.

I really want to taste my pie now but I am too tired to move....even pick up my knife how about chocolate pie for breakfast?  Sounds like a great idea... when I woke up its next morning already! I feel I have so much energy and refresh now... Okay, tasting time.... hmm rich and decadent dark chocolate mousse, amazing caramel with a light and crumbly crust!  I can have this pie for my daily breakfast!!


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Framboise Macarons.....French meringue version

Me and my friends were talking about making macarons the other day... and we went through about French meringue method. Our conservation reminds me I haven't use this method for ages... now I only use sucré cuit (or Italian meringue) method for my macarons. But why not make some with French meringue for fun? I spare no time and like old memories... French meringue macarons again! I should say this method takes less time since I don't have to cook sugar but macaronage sometimes maybe nerve let me start!

First thing first is to make my tant pout tant, I incorporated a bit raspberry into it and my shells look nice! Since there is no cooked sugar, my macarons shells look a bit coarse compare to those make with sucré cuit. Actually the macaronage is quite straight forward, I fold my TPT until right consistency then that's it... my experince is don't over or under work my tant pour tant. See, they look nice on my silpat now and ready to bake.

Baking French meringue based macarons is similar to those with sucré cuit. I just have to keep an eye on them, cause their color may change more easily. Let see how they looks, wow amazing shells! However, they usually looks not as smooth as those made with sucré cuit, but this method realy save time and hassle to handle hot sugar! Okay, I let my macaron shells cooling rack and ready to be filled with raspberry ganache.

Tasting time now! Hmm... they are amazing! Other than methods, French meringue based macarons do taste a bit different from sucré cuit ones... French one's shells are a bit thinner and inside a tiny bit softer too, vs sucré cuit ones has crispier, smoother and more pretty shells yet still chewy. Anyway, its okay for me as long as I have my treats!


Friday, 7 June 2013

Eden - Framboise et Pistache Gâteau

Eden... Garden of Eden, paradise, ultimate happiness... long list of definition, I think I will choose all of them for this cake. Since last time I had my macaron-based cake Harmonie... this is the one I will keep in my recipe book! An amazing cake made with all flavors I love, raspberries, pistachios, crème au beurre, ganache... a paradise for me! If making macaron is challenging, making a macaron cake is even more challenging, but luckily I succeed! I have tried a few times but they didn't look pretty to me at and I just ate them as snack. Also, to get it ready at its peak time to enjoy is another whole story... I can say this Eden cake is amazing and I will definitely make it again for some special occasions!

You need

two 12 cm raspberry macaron discs
pistache ganache
pistache crème au beurre (pistachio butter cream)
framboise gelée (raspberry gelee)
fresh raspberries
one pinkpeppercorn raspberry macaron (or your choice)

First thing to do is to bake two raspberry macaron discs. I use a bit raspberry in my tant pour tant to enhance my cake flavor, however the batter has to be a bit thicker than that for normal macarons. See, I piped a giant pink-flattened-snail on my Silpat! Looks kind of funny... I let them rest for a while and  bake them as usual.

After my macaron discs cooled off, next step is to assemble my cake. I got my mise en place first and laid down one disc and piped a small ring of pistachio ganache. Then a circle of fresh raspberries was laid gently and secured on on top of it. Don't know why this picture turns out a bit yellowish... hmm maybe the light???

This step is more fun part... I piped a thin layer of pistachio butter cream inside my raspberries circle, and put a small disc of raspberry gelée in the centre. My cake is coming to shape now! I prefer to have my filling have a nice mouth feel, so my raspberry gelée is made of fresh raspberry puree, sugar and gellan. This gelée may looks a bit firm but when I bite into it, it just get soft and become liquify... hard to describe it but taste amazing!

Okay, my cake is nearly finish. I piped more butter cream on top of the gelée, another circle of pistachio ganache on the raspberries, then I gently laid another macaron disc on top. Another dot of ganache on top, last but not least, I decorated my cake with a small pinkpeppercorn raspberry macaron and my Eden cake is done! But still, I need to wait a bit to let its flavors blend together before I can taste it. Story continues, my friend came over for dessert after dinner and I can finally taste my cake. Omg, its wonderful... all the flavors and different textures blend together taste like paradise. I should have take a picture but it finished very fast.....


Monday, 3 June 2013

Lavande et Earl Grey Macarons

Earl Grey tea is one of my favorites. I think I make Earl Grey tea nearly everyday. But so far I have tried many different brands and I love Kusmi and Mariage Frères the most. I make this special macaron which combines two of my flavors I love into a harmony... lavande and Earl Grey. Its amazing to have the strong Earl Grey go with aroma of lavender... like having a small pretty tea treats in my hands, and they looks so pretty...another plus. I can't wait and head straight to kitchen now!

Its my first time using my new food processor bowl, it arrived just in time. I think I can still use my old one to make something not as delicate as macarons. This time I use dried lavender for my tant pout tant for some really nice lavander aroma. I also tint them a bit for a nice lavender color. Wow, they look nice on my silpat now and ready to go.... into my oven.

Baking this amazing macarons shells is same as my other macarons, just have to be careful not to burn or brown them... not only lighter color, some color like lavender seems to change a bit more during baking, its important to keep an eye on them... Yeah, amazing macarons shells line-up on my cooling rack and ready to be filled.

For my Earl Grey ganache, I infused it with my favorite Kusmi Earl Grey noir... the flavor of tea is strong and yet not overpowering, just perfect with a bit aroma from my lavender shells. See how pretty they looks! Let me taste them, a pack of amazing tea flavor, like a cup of tea in my fingers, only one word - fantastique! I should have a few more with my tea...