August 31, 2009
August 28, 2009
Jim Fobel's Big Flavors
8 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 T unsalted butter
4 large eggs, separated
¼ t salt
½ c sugar divided
1 t vanilla extract
2 T all-purpose flour
1 ½ c heavy cream
2 T sugar
⅛ t salt
12 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 T unsalted butter, sliced
2 egg yolks
2 t vanilla extract
½ c seedless raspberry preserves
2 t brandy or rum
Milk Chocolate Ganache
¼ c milk, scalded
8 oz milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
Dark Chocolate Decor (optional)
2 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 T hot water
Fresh raspberries and whipped cream
Make the cake layers. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or waxed paper; grease the paper.
Combine the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over (not touching) barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove the top of the pan and let cool slightly, until just slightly warm, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep bowl, combine the 4 egg whites with the salt. Beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually beat in ¼ c of the sugar and beat until almost stiff. Reserve; do not rinse beaters.
In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks with the remaining ¼ c sugar. Beat with the same beaters at high speed until thickened and light in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla; beat in the melted chocolate mixture. Quickly stir in about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites to lighten. Sift the 2 T flour over the top and fold in gently. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites.
Divide the batter between the 2 pans, spreading it quickly but evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; when the surface is touched lightly it will spring back when done. Cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges of each cake layer to loosen from the pans. Invert a plate or cardboard round over each and turn out the layers, tapping firmly, if necessary, to free. Peel off the paper and set aside to cool completely. If a layer should break, do not worry, the pieces can be put together and the filling will hold them in place. (The layers can be made well in advance; wrap tightly and freeze.)
Make the filling. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, and salt over low heat. Bring to a simmer and keep warm.
Put the chocolate in a food processor and finely grind. Add the butter, egg yolks, and vanilla and pulse to blend. Add the hot cream mixture and blend until smooth. Turn out into a medium bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill the filling, stirring occasionally, until firmed up and thickened but not set, about 1 hour.
Beat the filling with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy, 20 to 30 seconds.
Assemble the cake. In a small bowl, stir together the raspberry preserves and brandy or rum. Place 1 cake layer upside down on a serving plate. Spread the top with half of the raspberry glaze. Turn all of the chocolate filling onto the cake and spread into an even layer. Spread the remaining raspberry glaze over the bottom of the second layer. Invert the layer over the chocolate filling. Hold a spatula vertically, even the filling all around the edge. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and chill until set, 1-2 hours, or as long as over night.
Make the milk chocolate glaze. Combine the milk and milk chocolate in the top of a double boiler and place over barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove the plastic wrap from the cake. Spread all of the warm milk chocolate glaze over the top and let it run down the sides, smoothing with a spatula to coat and chill until set.
Make the dark chocolate glaze. Combine the semisweet chocolate with 2 T hot water in the top of a double boiler. Let stand until the chocolate melts and then stir until smooth. Turn the chocolate into a small plastic zip-lock bag or make a small, parchment paper cone and fill with the chocolate. Snip a 1/16–inch hole at one corner of the plastic bag or at the tip of the cone. Beginning in the center of the cake, decorate the top with a tight spiral design. Make small chocolate dots all around the outer edge and one in the center. Chill until set. Note: I did not add water and used only 1 oz dark chocolate for my decor. I usually do not add water to chocolate as this can ruin it really easily - Instead, I use shortening. I didn't this time since it was such a small quantity, but usually I add about a 1/4 tsp to 2-3 oz chocolate.
To serve, cut into 12 wedges and lift off slices with a spatula. If desired, decorate each with fresh raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.
August 26, 2009
This was an interesting challenge. I have never made a sponge before, and I had fun making it. I decided to stray away from the traditional 8" circle and make a tiny 4" square layer cake instead. I halved the recipe too since right now it's just me who will be tempted to eat it...
The process took a while. The torte has 5 layers and a is supposed to be topped with a caramel layer - which I burned. haha. yep, burned it up. I am not good at candy. I plan to be someday, just not today. I attribute it to jet lag (lying to yourself is ok every now and then) so I don't feel so bad. I took a picture but couldn't bring myself to add it to the cake. Maybe next time. I thought the sponge layers were tasty and easy to make. I would like to try it again using something besides chocolate for the filling because it is pretty heavy - even though I only had 2 bites to taste. A really light mousse with berries sounds delicious.
Try it out! You might just succeed at the candy part!
Sponge cake layers
• 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
• 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
• 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
• pinch of salt
• 4 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
• 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
• 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
• 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
• 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
• 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)
• a 7” cardboard round
• 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
• ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts
Directions for the sponge layers:
1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C). 2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.) 3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)
4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour. 5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)
Directions for the chocolate buttercream:
NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.
1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. 2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this. 3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes. 4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency. 5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.
Lorraine's note: If you're in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you'll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!
Directions for the caramel topping:
1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula. 2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel. 3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.
Assembling the Dobos
1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts. 2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake. 3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake. 4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.
August 19, 2009
August 18, 2009
August 15, 2009
August 12, 2009
August 8, 2009
1 cup packed cilantro ( leaves and stems)
1 cup packed mint (leaves only)
1/4 small red onion coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Up to 2 tablespoons water
Blend it all in a blender until you get a smooth paste. Add water if
needed to aid on the blending. Refrigerated chutney will keep for 4
day. Smear on bread with cucumber for a tea sandwich or add to fish too.
2 cups flour
1-2 tblspns green tea powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
sift the flour, powdered tea and salt into a bowl. In a mixer bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Add flour mixture to mixer bowl and mix slowly until dough just comes together.
Pull dough into a log aprox. 2" in diameter. Wrap dough log and place in freezer for 30 minutes until dough has firmed to the touch. Slice dough into 1/4" rounds and place on silpat lined cookie sheet, aprox 1" apart.
bake on preheated oven at 325 for 16 to 18 minutes or until cookies
start to turn golden