Pigs in Blankets

27Feb/1013

Daring Baker’s Challenge: Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Savoiardi

75 g (6 tbsp.) granulated sugar
Confectioner's sugar
95 g (3/4 cup) flour)
3 eggs, separated

Instructions

Beat the egg whites using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Add granulate sugar and continue beating until glossy and smooth. Add beaten egg yolks and mix them for a couple seconds. Add the flour, sifted, and incorporate into the egg white mixture with a folding motion. Be sure to fold the mixture gently, maxing sure the whites don't deflate.

Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into circles, working in a spiral motion from the center towards the outside. Sprinkle confectioner's sugar over the savoiardi, let rest for five minutes and sprinkle again.

Bake the savoiardi at 175 ºC (350 F) until lightly golden brown but still soft. Cool on a wire rack and reserve. This recipe makes 25 6 cm diameter round savoiardi cookies.

Mascarpone Cheese

500 ml (2 cups) whipping cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

Heat cream in a double boiler, stirring often until it reaches 88 ºC (190 F). Add the lemon juice, and maintain the temperature until the cream thickens. Let cream cool for twenty minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheesecloth or press on its surface. Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

From left to rigth, savoiardi, mascarpone cheese and mascarpone cream

Zabaglione

60 ml (1/4 cup) Marsala wine
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
50 g (3 tbsp.) sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 egg yolks

Instructions

Mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the mixture looks smooth. Heat on a double boiler and cook, stirring constantly until it thickens. Let cool and reserve.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tbsp. flour 1 egg yolk
55 g (1/4 cup) sugar
175 g whole milk
1 vanilla bean

Instructions

Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract with the egg yolk and half the milk. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling. Add the remaining milk a little at a time, stirring constantly until thickened. Cool cream and reserve.

Whipped Cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

Assembly

5 tbsp. cocoa powder
100 g sugar
100 g water

Boil water and sugar and set aside to cool. Add one tablespoon of cocoa and reserve. In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon zabaglione and pastry cream, and gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Dip one savoiardi in the cocoa syrup and fill the bottom of the mold. Cover with the cream mixture with a pastry bag. Repeat, finishing with cream. Level with a spatula and freeze. Remove from freezer, sprinkle with cocoa powder, unmold and serve when completely thawed.

Source:

Tiramisu: The Washington Post

Savoiardi: Cordon Bleu At Home

Mascarpone: Baking Obsession

Acknowledgements: I have to thank Silvia, my food stylist and sister and Sol, my food photographer and mom. I wouldn't have been able to get these beautiful results without them.

20Feb/107

Dog Treats

These doggie treats are really easy to make and paw-licking good! They are bland for humans (yes, I tried them) but your dog will love them! Lets see: Dolly, how do you like these cookies?

Cookies? Where?
Oh, right here! nom nom nom
Yum!
Ahhh... This is the life!


Ingredients

1/2 cup wheat germ or coarse cornmeal
2 cups whole wheat flour or cornflour
1/2 cup brewer's yeast
1.5 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add chicken stock and oil and mix until combined. Knead dough for a couple minutes and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out desired form and transfer to baking sheets. You can decorate the cookies making indentations resembling a paw print.

You can make other fun shapes too! My dog Dolly would have liked some cat cookies, as she has chased and tried to devour several real cats. Unfortunately, we didn't have any cat cookie cutters, so she had to settle with bunnies. Dead Bunnies!

Bake in the oven at 200 ºC (400 F) until golden brown. You can spray them with chicken stock while they are cooking to give them more flavour. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack and reserve in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

The good thing about these cookies is that they don't have any harmful ingredients for your dog (many recipes call for onions, garlic, sugar, etc.) Even allergic dogs can enjoy these treats if you use homemade chicken stock (just chicken and water) and substitute wheat flour and germ with cornflour and cornmeal.

Source: this recipe is a modification Martha Stewart's pet treats

Dolly and I would like to dedicate this  post to our dear friend Desi, who would have enjoyed these cookies very much.

Tagged as: 7 Comments
17Feb/1010

Spanish Omelette

Also known as Tortilla de Patatas! This is a typical Spanish dish served in every tapas bar. It can be served hot, cold from the fridge or at room temperature and tastes great with a side of bread or salad or on its own. It may be time consuming but a big tortilla will feed a crowd and it is pretty cheap to make, which is always nice. I would start out with a smaller tortilla to practice the technique, as it may seem tricky the first few times you try it. The following recipe yields a 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) tortilla.

Ingredients

2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 kg (4.4 lbs) potatoes
0.5 kg (1.1 lbs) onions
Eggs (six or more)

Instructions

Peel the onions and slice them finely with the help of a mandolin, or by hand if you have awesome slicing skills (which I don't). Place onions on a pan with the two cups of oil, cover and fry over medium low heat. Meanwhile, peel, wash and dry the potatoes. Slice them finely (it is important to keep the thickness constant to ensure homogeneous cooking). When the onions are translucent, add the potatoes and cover the pan. Keep checking the potatoes and turning them so they all cook at the same rate. When you see they start to look cooked but are still firm, uncover the pan and continue cooking and turning them. Once the potatoes start to break when turning them, drain the olive oil and place the cooked potatoes and onions in a big bowl, making sure everything is cooked evenly. The onion should be translucent and the potatoes should be tender and fragile.

Add beaten eggs one at a time and mix. The potatoes should break, but there should still be chunks when we are done mixing in all the eggs. The number of eggs depends on their size. Add them one at a time until the potatoes are completely moistened. The texture should be like a slushie, with enough egg to cover the potatoes, but not as much as for them to swim in it. I used 8 medium sized eggs for this recipe. It is preferable to have a little too much egg than too little, as the tortilla will turn out dry, and no one likes a dry tortilla. When all the eggs have been added, season with salt and pepper to taste. Potatoes and onions are pretty bland, so they will need a generous amount of salt. I don't mind tasting raw egg to see if the amount of salt is okay, but if you are reluctant, it is preferable to go easy on the salt. If it turns out bland, you can always add more salt once it is cooked. On the other hand, if it turns out to salty, there's no way to fix it.

So here comes the hard part. Heat a pan over medium low heat with about two tablespoons of oil (make sure there is oil on all the surface of the pan, including the sides). The thicker the omelette, the lower the heat should be, as it will require more time to cook through and we don't want an extremely golden (nor burnt) exterior. Pour the potato-egg mixture on the pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. As the tortilla cooks, wiggle, wobble and shake the pan to prevent the omelette from sticking. Soon, the sides of the tortilla will become a lighter colour as it starts to cook. Keep shaking the pan and making sure the omelette doesn't stick as it cooks (I like to use a rubber spatula to check the sides). Suddenly, on the surface of the tortilla and towards the center, you will see some light coloured bubbles forming. This will be the signal to turn the tortilla over!

This part is critical. Shake the pan to make sure the bottom of the tortilla isn't stuck and check the sides too. When you are sure the omelette isn't stuck, remove the pan from the heat and place a big plate upside down on top of it. The plate must be bigger than the pan, so you don't mess up when flipping it. Now take a deep breath, grab the pan's handle with decision with one hand and place the other hand on top of the plate. Count to three, gather all your courage and flip the tortilla! Clean any potato residue off the pan, add a bit of oil, and slide the tortilla off the plate and into the pan carefully. Keep wiggling the pan so that this side doesn't stick either, and cook the tortilla through. Some people like the omelette to be a little runny when cut, whereas some people prefer a totally solid tortilla. Depending on your taste, you will have to cook the tortilla more or less time. The thicker the tortilla, the longer the cooking time. Determining the cooking time takes intuition and experience, but paying attention to the firmness of the tortilla should give you a clue about how well it's done.

Once you are happy with the firmness of your tortilla, repeat the flipping process onto a  the clean plate where you will serve the tortilla in. If you cut the omelette open ant aren't happy with the doneness, you can always return the tortilla to the pan and continue cooking it. When you are happy with the result, cut some slices, serve and enjoy! In my opinion, tortilla de patatas tastes so much better the next day at room temperature, but that's just me.

Variations

Some people make tortilla without onions. You can add canned tuna, or vegetables like asparagus, and zucchini.

Warning

This recipe yields a heavy tortilla. I had to work as a team with my sister to flip it between the two of us because none of us could do it on our own. If you are alone or afraid you are going to mess up, its preferable to make several small tortillas than a gigantic one.

Source: generally, tortilla recipes are handed down generation to generation. Every family has different tips, tricks and preferences. This recipe is from my friend's mom, who owns a bar ('el Gall i la Gallina') which makes the yummiest tortilla de patatas ever.

Filed under: Tapas 10 Comments
15Feb/104

Mini Quiches

These mini quiches are ideal as an appetizer. You can use your imagination when deciding the quiches' fillings. The possibilities are endless! I chose (from left to right) dried tomatoes with goat cheese, crispy bacon with emmental cheese and green asparagus with serrano ham. Keep reading for the recipes.

Crust

125 g (4.4 oz) butter
250 g (8.8 0z) flour
80 g (2.8 oz) water
5 g (0.2 oz) salt

Instructions

Mix flour and butter (it must be cold and diced) with an electric mixer or a dough cutter until they form dough lumps. Make sure the lumps are dough and not just butter that hasn't been blended well. Once you obtain a parmesan-like texture, stop mixing and add half the water. Mix and add the remaining water progressively, mixing just until the dough holds together. Do not overwork the dough! Cover and reserve.

Sauce

125 g (4.4 oz) cream
125 g (4.4 oz) milk
2 eggs

Instructions

Mix all the ingredients together. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and reserve.

Filling

Dried tomatoes with goat cheese
Crispy bacon with emmental cheese (Quiche Lorraine)
Green asparagus with serrano ham

Instructions

For the Dried Tomatoes, make a cross on the bottom of the tomatoes. Boil for thirty seconds and transfer to a container with ice cold water. Peel the tomatoes, cut into quarters and remove the seeds. Place tomato quarters on an oven tray previously covered with parchment paper. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt, sugar and rosemary.Place in the oven  at 100 ºC (212 F) for about two hours.  It is important that there is no humidity inside the oven, because the tomatoes will not dry otherwise. If your oven doesn't have a humidity reduction function, you can bake the tomatoes with the door slightly cracked open (I use a wooden spoon to keep it open). If your oven doesn't work unless the door is closed, you can open it every ten minutes or so, to let the water vapour escape. Some people dry the tomatoes completely, but I like to leave them a bit moist. When they are ready, let them cool and mix with the Goat Cheese, slightly crumbled.

Cut Bacon into small strips and fry it in a pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil until golden and crispy. Let cool and mix with grated Emmental Cheese.

Cut the Asparagus, removing the whitish stem and keeping the part with the tip. Peel the green part of the stem with a vegetable peeler. Boil for about half a minute in water with a pinch of salt and baking soda and transfer to a container with ice cold water. Cut asparagus into bite-sized chunks and mix with Serrano Ham cut into small strips.

Assembly

Spread the crust with a rolling pin and place it on your pan (I used 6 cm (2.4 in) diameter  and 2 cm (0.8 in) high botomless rings) pierce bottom and sides slightly with a fork(if you aren't careful, the filling may seep through the holes)  and place on a greased oven tray. If you are using regular pans, you don't have to be as careful with the fork and you will need to grease it, instead of the tray. Place the filling of your choice and cover with sauce, being careful not to reach the top of the pan, as the quiche will rise when cooked. Place in the oven at 180 ºC (356 F) for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. When using bottomless rings, the crust doesn't need to be precooked, and you can save time by cooking it together with the filling and sauce. When using traditional pans, you may have to precook the crust at 180 ºC (356 F) without the filling with some weight to prevent it from forming bubbles (I like to use chickpeas directly on top of the crust). Once the crust is ready, add the filling and sauce and cook at 180 ºC (356 F) for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Source: Hofmann cooking school recipe book
Tagged as: 4 Comments
14Feb/1016

Chocolate Love Cake

 

This wonderful three textured chocolate cake will make any chocoholic fall in love. It's extremely rich, so a tiny portion is more than enough for all of you with a sweet tooth. The outer layer is so shiny I had trouble taking pictures without my camera showing up on the surface (hence the weird angle). Anyway, less talking, more baking. Here's the recipe.

Chocolate Brownie

70 g (2.5 oz) chocolate (70 % cocoa)
60 g (2.1 oz) walnuts
100 g (3.5 oz) sugar
115 g (4.1 oz) butter
60 g (2.1 oz) flour
2 eggs

Instructions

Beat the eggs with the sugar until whitened. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate with the butter. Combine the chocolate mix with the eggs. This cake should be baked in an ungreased bottomless pan directly on top of the oven tray in order to obtain best results. The mixture should be between 35 and 40 ºC (95 and 104 F) when poured into the pan. If the mixture is colder, the cake will turn out too hard, whereas a hotter mixture will seep trough the bottom of the pan, creating a big chocolate mess. Pour half of the mixture into the pan, place the chopped walnuts and pour the rest of the mixture. Bake at 180 ºC (356 F) for about five minutes (until the cake starts to rise and loses its shine). The brownie should be half the height of the pan. (The recipe is intended for a 16 cm diameter [about 6 in] round pan)

Chocolate Cream

100 g chocolate (70 % cocoa)
250 g (8.8 oz) cream
40 g (1.4 oz) sugar
1 gelatin leaf
3 egg yolks

Instructions

Hydrate gelatin in cold water for ten minutes and meanwhile beat egg yolks and sugar until foamy. Heat the cream and add the egg and sugar mixture. Heat until the mixture reaches 84 ºC  (183 F). Pour on top of the chocolate in order to melt it and add the gelatin leaves. Cover the brownie with the chocolate cream (this is why we needed the brownie to be half the height of the pan) and level the surface. Wait for the cake to chill and put it in the freezer until thoroughly frozen.

Chocolate 'Gelée'

60 g (2.1 oz) pure cocoa
120 g (4.2 oz) cream
140 g (4.9 oz) water
180 g (6.3 oz) sugar
4 gelatin leaves

Instructions

Hydrate the gelatin leaves for then minutes in cold water. Heat water, sugar and cream. Add cocoa and bring to a boil. Let the mixture simmer for about a minute. Pat the gelatin leaves dry with paper towels, as any water will make the gelée lose shine. Add the gelatin to the chocolate mixture, strain it through a fine sieve to prevent lumps and reserve. Final Touches When the cake is frozen, remove from freezer and unmold it with the help of a knife. Smooth out the cake with a spatula and place it on a rack (the cake should still be completely frozen. If you are a slow worker like me, you may have to reintroduce it in the freezer after smoothing it out). Place a container under the rack to collect the chocolate that will drip off the cake when we bathe it in chocolate. Bring the gelée to a temperature of 20 ºC (77 F) and pour it over the cake until totally covered. Place the cake on the serving plate and reserve. Do not put the cake in the fridge, because the gelée will lose its shine. Take into account that the cake is frozen, so even though you will want to eat it right away, you will have to wait a couple of hours until it is completely thawed. The gelée is delicate and will lose shine as time passes, so you can prepare the cake in advance and bathe it the same day you intend to eat it. Also, it never solidifies completely, so any sneaky fingers trying to touch the cake will leave an ugly mark. That's about it. Sounds time consuming, but it is not as hard as it sounds. Try it and enjoy!

Source: Hofmann cooking school recipe book