Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Raspberry roulade

This is the softest sponge cake ever. This is a result of the fact that the egg whites and yolks are whisked separately, then gently folded together (to avoid the batter deflating). This soft and light texture also makes it super easy to roll. Love it!

For the Sponge Cake:

4 large eggs
1 large (20 grams) egg yolk
1/3 cup (35 grams) sifted plain flour
3 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)
1/2 cup (100 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar (divided)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, a 17x12 inch (43x30 cm) baking pan, line it with parchment paper, and then butter and flour the paper (or spray with a nonstick vegetable/flour spray).
While the eggs are still cold separate two of the eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another bowl. To the yolks, add the additional yolk, and the two remaining eggs. Cover bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk the flour with the cornstarch.
Place the egg yolks and whole eggs, along with 1/2 cup (100 grams) of the sugar, in your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for five minutes, or until thick, pale yellow, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) Then beat in the vanilla extract. Sift half the flour mixture over the beaten egg mixture and fold in gently with a rubber spatula, just until the flour is incorporated. Sift the remaining flour mixture into the batter and fold in.
In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the lemon juice and continue beating until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the remaining one tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then add the rest of the whites. Pour the batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly with an offset spatula or spoon. Bake for about 6-8 minutes or until golden brown and when lightly pressed, springs back. Immediately upon removing the cake from the oven sprinkle with confectioners sugar and then invert the cake onto a clean dish towel. Remove the parchment paper, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, and roll up the sponge, with the towel. Place on a wire rack to cool.

For Raspberry Whipped Cream:

1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream (double cream) (35-40% butterfat)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 - 2 tablespoons (15-30 grams) granulated white sugar
Small box of raspberries

Place your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar into the bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Puree the raspberries in a blender (leaving a few behind for decoration) and mix in to the cream.

Source: joy of baking

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chocolate macarons

These were specially requested by a friend so glad they turned out well. The chocolate ganache recipe makes about double the necessary amount, so I would recommend halving it, or else using the ganache for cake or to make truffles.
Warning: the macarons disappear almost instantly after making.

For the shells:
2 egg whites - preferably separated the night before
65g sugar
100g icing sugar
50g almonds
25g cocoa powder

Whisk the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be dry. Put the icing sugar, cocoa powder and almonds through a food processor until the nuts are finely ground. Sift them into the meringue, give it a quick fold initially to get it mixed and then start folding carefully until you obtain a batter that smooths itself after about 15 seconds. 
Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Note: if the mixture flattens too quickly you've over-mixed it.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe small rounds of the batter (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Let the macarons sit out for 45 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool before you remove them from the tray.

For the chocolate ganache filling:
½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons golden syrup (corn syrup) or honey
120g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15g) butter, cut into small pieces

Heat the cream in a small saucepan with the golden syrup or honey. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. Stir in the pieces of butter. Let cool completely before using (I recommend you refrigerate).

Source: David Lebovitz

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Black Forest Gateau

This is a German cake, named after a special liquor made in the Black Forest region of Germany. I have to admit I omitted this apparently key ingredient. It's a basic chocolate genoise cake, filled and covered with whipped cream. I used sour cherries for the middle and glacé cherries for the top, although it's up to you which type of cherries you want to use.

For the chocolate genoise:
42 grams hot melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (65 grams) cake flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Butter, or spray with a vegetable spray, a 23 cm round cake pan and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the melted unsalted butter with the vanilla extract. Keep this mixture warm. If needed, re-warm for a few seconds just before using.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a large heatproof bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, heat the eggs and sugar until lukewarm to the touch (this will take approximately 5 minutes depending on the temperature of the eggs and the simmering water). Remove from heat and transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of your electric mixer. Beat on high speed until the egg mixture has cooled, tripled in volume, and looks like softly whipped cream. This will take approximately 5 minutes and the batter is beaten sufficiently when the batter falls back into the bowl in a ribbon-like pattern.

Then sift about one-third of the flour mixture over the whipped eggs and fold in using a large rubber spatula or whisk. Fold in half of the remaining flour, and then fold in the rest. Do not over mix or you will deflate the batter. Then take about 1 cup of the batter and fold it into the hot butter mixture with a small spatula. (This will lighten the butter mixture and make it easier to incorporate into the egg batter without deflating it.) When completely combined, use a spatula to fold the butter mixture completely into the rest of the egg batter. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake until the cake shrinks slightly from the edges of the pan and the top springs back when lightly pressed (about 20 - 25 minutes). Cool on a metal rack. When the cake has cooled completely, run a small knife or spatula around the edges to release the cake.

For the whipped cream filling:
3 cups (600ml) whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Whisk with an electronic whisk until you get stiff peaks (it will be piping consistency).

For the filling/topping:
1/2 cup black/sour cherries in syrup
Glacé cherries to top
75 grams plain chocolate

Melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water. Spread over a piece of parchment paper, then top with another piece of parchment paper. Roll and put in the freezer for 20 mins, or refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Unroll swiftly to release the chocolate shards.

When the genoise has cooled, split and fill with whipped cream and cherries.

Decorate with whipped cream, glacé cherries and chocolate shards.

Source: Genoise from Joy of baking

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I felt after all the croissants and macarons, I should return to my Turkish roots with baklava. You can actually make this with ready-made filo pastry, but I think it's brilliant when handmade. And it's somewhat fun the roll out the tissue-thin pastry. For a truly Turkish experience, enjoy with tea and moustache.

For the filo pastry:
(this will fill a 12x20cm pan)

185gm all purpose {plain} flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup less 1 tbsp water, plus more if needed
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Wheat starch, to roll out dough

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt. Mix with paddle attachment.Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water. Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes. 

Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 2 hours at least.

Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly smaller than a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out. Starch your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-starch. 

When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. Set aside on a well-starched surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up.

For the syrup:

(make this ahead of time so that is has cooled down by the time the dough is done)

1 cups cold water
1.5 cups sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Combine the cold water with the sugar in a medium-size saucepan. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 15-30 minutes. The syrup is ready when it is light yellow, and when a small spoonful dropped onto a wooden surface is tacky when cooled.  Once ready, stir in the lemon juice into the syrup and set it aside to cool.

For the filling:

1 cup nuts (I used hazelnut, but you can also use pistachios or walnuts)
125g unsalted butter

Place the nuts and sugar in a food processor and process until medium to finely ground (but not too fine!). Set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. It will separate into 3 layers: a foamy froth on top, a clear liquid in the middle and a white solid at the bottom. When the butter is heated through and no more foam is developing, remove from heat. Remove the foam with a spoon. You want to keep the yellow liquid. You can save it by decanting it from the saucepan without disturbing the milk solids, or strain it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer.

Brush the inside of a 12x20cm baking pan (if your phyllo dough is bigger than your pan, let it hang over and trim it off at the end to fit) with a little bit of the clarified butter. Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough in the pan. With a wide pastry brush or paper towel, lightly brush the dough with the clarified butter. Continue layering the dough and brushing with butter until one package of dough is used.

Spread the nuts over the dough and lightly sprinkle it with water – a plant mister is best- to help the dough adhere to the nuts where the next layer is added. Using the second package of phyllo dough, layer the dough over the nuts, brushing each sheet with clarified butter. Trim the pastry edges to fit neatly within the baking pan. Brush the top layer and the edges with clarified butter.

Using a sharp knife dipped in hot water, cut through the dough halfway down the height of the pan to make small pieces.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the baklava in the centre of the oven for 10-15 minutes. Lower the heat to 150 degrees C and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the top is lightly golden. Remove the baklava from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Recut the pastries along the lines, all the way to the bottom of the baking pan. Pour the cold syrup evenly over the cut lines. Sprinkle the baklava with chopped nuts, if so desired, and let it cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

Source: Passionate about baking, tastespace