Saturday, 28 February 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2009 - The Love Of Chocolate

Thank you to Wendy a wmpesblog and Dharm at Dad - Baker and Chef for hosting this month's Daring Baker's Challenge
I have been unable to participate in the last two challenges so it was nice to join in again. This month's challenge was for Valentino cake accompanied by home made ice cream of our choice. I was pleased about this as I have recently purchased an ice cream maker so I was able to put it to good use. The cake was simplicity itself to make. It was supposed to be made in a heart shaped pan for valentines day but I did not have this so it was baked in a spring form round. I made rum and raisin ice cream to go with it and drizzled a little dulce de leche over the cake. I loved the combination of chocolate caramel flavours. I was not sure about the texture of the cake. I followed the instructions to the letter and used a thermometer. I would make it again but I think I would bake it a little longer as I was not keen on the mousse type centre the cake produced. That of course is only my opinion. Longer baking may dry it out too much. It was a good challenge and for all those chocaholics out there this is definitely the cake to make. It uses a huge amount of chocolate. It had me scrabbling around my cupboard as I didn't have as much chocolate as I thought. I used a mixture of milk and plain. I did not use any high cocoa content as
1. I had run out of it and
2. I thought it would make the cake very bitter for my taste.

Recipe comes from 'Sweet Treats' by Chef Wan

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

I made my own ice cream-

Rum and Raisin Ice Cream

3 egg yolks
75gms/3oz caster sugar
225mls/8 fluid oz whole milk
225mls/8fluid oz double/heavy cream
50 gms/2 oz raisins
50 msl/2 fluid oz rum.

Heat the raisins in the rum for a few minutes and leave to cool and absorb the rum.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl
In a saucepan slowly bring the milk to boiling point then pour over the egg mixture beating well.
Return the mixture to the pan and heat gently stirring all the time until it thickens slightly coating the back of a spoon. Do NOT let it boil.
Remove from the heat and allow to get cold
Mix in the cream and rum and raisin mixture and churn according to the manufacturers instruction of your machine.
This makes about one litre of ice cream.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Buttermilk Pancakes

It just wouldn't be Shrove Tuesday without pancakes. Rhyley and I set to after school today. No fancy crepes in this house as they are not much liked. I do buttermilk ones on the griddle. They don't last too long being eaten by the vultures as soon as they are cooked. A dusting of icing sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice is all that's needed although I confess a liking for the American way with maple syrup.

Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the ritual of shriving that Christians used to undergo in the past. In shriving, a person confesses their sins and receives absolution for them.

Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence, because it's the last day before Lent.

Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren't allowed in Lent.

During Lent there are many foods that some Christians - historically and today - would not eat: foods such as meat and fish, fats, eggs, and milky foods.

So that no food was wasted, families would have a feast on the shriving Tuesday, and eat up all the foods that wouldn't last the forty days of Lent without going off.

The need to eat up the fats gave rise to the French name Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). Pancakes became associated with Shrove Tuesday as they were a dish that could use up all the eggs, fats and milk in the house with just the addition of flour.

Buttermilk Pancakes

These can of course be made with sweet milk and baking powder but somehow they are not the same.

40z/100gms plain flour
pinch salt
1 teasp baking soda
1oz/25gms caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 pint/150mls buttermilk

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until smooth.
Heat the griddle or frying pan over a moderate heat then rub the surface with white fat (not butter as it will burn)
Drop tablespoons of the batter onto the pan spaced well apart.
When they start to go bubbly flip them over with a spatula and cook the other side for a minute or two.
Keep them warm in a tea towel or between two warm plates while you cook the rest. They won't last long mind you.

Makes about twelve