August 20, 2012 at 8:02 am (Cake, Dessert, Family, Holiday Baking, Jam, Jelly, Modern Baker Challenge, Nick Malgieri, Techniques, The Modern Baker)
Tags: almonds, black raspberries, butter, Cake, Chambord, framboise, Genoise, layer cake, Modern Baker, Modern Baker Challenge, Nick Malgieri, raspberries, raspberry, raspberry preserves, raspberry puree, raspberry syrup
In last week’s Modern Baker Mondays post, I recounted my first successful attempt at making a classic génoise.
And I promised that if you came back this week, you’d see what became of this wonderful cake layer. Obviously, a cake this beautiful had to be destined for something equally stunning. So I used it to make this show-stopping raspberry cream cake.
This is a special cake for a special occasion. Who wouldn’t feel great about being presented with a cake like this for a birthday or anniversary? It’s just enough work to make it a cake worth saving for a special occasion; but not so much that you should be intimidated about making it. In fact, once you have your génoise prepared, most of the work is behind you.
This cake derives its raspberry flavor from three components: raspberry moistening syrup (which is just a simple syrup with a little framboise stirred into it), seedless raspberry jam, and raspberry buttercream.
This is a classic buttercream with a raspberry purée (seeded raspberries cooked down to a jelly-like consistency) and more framboise added to it. Once you’ve made the génoise, syrup, and buttercream, it’s just a matter of assembling the cake.
I began by cutting the génoise into three layers.
I inverted the top layer onto a tart pan bottom, then brushed it with the raspberry syrup.
I spread some raspberry jam on the layer.
Then I topped it with buttercream.
I repeated these steps with the second layer, then inverted what had originally been the bottom layer on top.
I finished the cake with buttercream, then pressed sliced almonds on the sides of the cake. Finally, I topped everything with some sugared black raspberries.
This cake was amazing! The génoise was light and airy, and the raspberry flavor permeated the entire cake yet was somehow delicate and almost understated. We enjoyed this cake for dessert the day it was made and over the next several days, as it held up really well.
This is definitely not a weeknight cake, but it’s not so complex that you should be afraid to try it. The “wow” factor definitely exceeds the amount of work it takes to make, making this a great cake for any special occasion.
August 9, 2012 at 8:02 am (Ice cream, Ice Cream Week)
Tags: almond praline, almonds, ice cream, Ice Cream Week, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, Molasses, molasses ice cream, Praline, praline ice cream
It’s day 4 of Ice Cream Week, and today’s theme is Nuts for Ice Cream. I knew I wanted to make either butter pecan or praline ice cream for today, and when I started looking at recipes I found this one for Blackstrap Praline Ice Cream on my Pinterest board, so I figured it was a good time to try it.
The original recipe is from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and was published in Saveur magazine and on their website. Jeni has an interesting method for making ice cream in which she boils out some of the water from the milk and cream and uses cornstarch and cream cheese to bind the ingredients and increase the fat content. Several of my friends swear by her recipes, so I was excited to try this one to see how it came out.
I made a few changes to the recipe, based on what was in my cupboard the day I made it. I didn’t have blackstrap molasses, so I used Brer Rabbit Mild Molasses. My ice cream was much lighter in color than the picture on Saveur, but the molasses flavor still really came through. And I used almonds for the praline (a sin, I know) because that’s what I had on hand.
The base had a pudding-like consistency. In fact, after refrigerating it overnight, that’s exactly what it looked like. It churned up beautifully. My wife and I tried it as soon as it was done churning, and it was amazing. Rich, smooth, velvety, and the praline was outstanding, with its nutty, caramel-like flavor.
But what really blew my socks off, and finally made me realize what all the fuss over Jeni’s recipes was about, was when I tried it the next day. After freezing, a lot of homemade ice cream is too solid and looses that creamy consistency.
But this ice cream was as smooth and creamy as any double-churned gourmet ice cream I’ve ever tasted. And the overnight rest in the freezer actually improved the flavor, too.
OK, so I’m sold on Jeni’s ice cream. I won’t go so far as to say I’ll never make any other kind (I still like egg-based custard ice creams), but I will definitely try more of her recipes. And we might just venture to Chagrin Falls to try some at one of her stores.
Margaret forgave me for using almonds in praline. Hopefully, her Greek friends will give her a pass, too, for making Baklava Ice Cream! And no forgiveness is needed for Rebecce, who made Nutella Gelato.
Ice Cream Week caps off tomorrow with an original recipe, Guinness Stout Ice Cream.
September 19, 2011 at 7:18 am (Dessert, Modern Baker Challenge, Nick Malgieri, Puff pastry, Tarts & Pies, The Modern Baker)
Tags: Almond paste, almonds, apricots, butter, Modern Baker, Modern Baker Challenge, Nick Malgieri, Pastry dough, Puff pastry, quick dessert recipe, strudel, weeknight dessert
This week’s recipe for the Modern Baker Challenge was a quick, easy dessert. It consisted of puff pastry with an almond paste filling and apricots. I decided to make this for dessert the other evening about 10 minutes before dinner went on the table. And I had it in the oven before we sat down to eat.
I rolled out the pastry dough, mixed the almond filling with the Kitchen Aid mixer, and drained a can of apricots. I spread the filling over half of the dough, then topped it with apricots.
I slit the top dough, placed it on the strudel, and pressed it in place. I fluted the edges with the back of a paring knife, and it was ready to bake while we ate dinner.
By the time we were done eating, the strudel was ready to come out of the oven.
I set the strudel on a rack to cool while we cleaned up the dinner dishes; then we cut into it.
We all enjoyed this strudel. The puff pastry was, of course, rich, buttery, and flaky. The almond filling was delicious and paired well with the slightly sweet, slightly tangy apricots.
This was a perfect weeknight dessert. Easy to throw together at the last minute, and absolutely delicious. And, hey, it had fruit in it, so it must have been good for us, too!
September 14, 2011 at 6:50 am (Bread Baking, French bread, Nick Malgieri, Recipes, Techniques)
Tags: almonds, Artisan Bread Bakers, baking bread, BOM, bread, figs, Nick Malgieri, proofing dough, recipe, turning dough
This month’s BOM (bread of the month) for the Facebook Artisan Bread Bakers group is a recipe that Nick Malgieri recently developed for his upcoming book. You can find the recipe here.
The recipe is made with a basic, sweetened bread dough enhanced with:
I kneaded the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer and added the figs and almonds near the end. In order to get them to mix in better, I first flattened the dough in the bottom of the mixer…
…then spread the figs and almonds on top.
I pressed the fruit and nuts into the dough, then folded the dough over itself several times with a bench scraper.
The dough is minimally kneaded at the beginning and further mixed and developed through several “turns”. After an initial 30 minute rest, I gave the dough its first turn:
First, I flattened the dough on a pastry mat.
Next, I folded the sides in toward the center.
Finally, I rolled the dough from one of the short ends,
...and returned it to the bowl to continue rising.
I let the dough rise for another 30 minutes, then gave it a second turn. After 30 more minutes, it was ready to be shaped into a boule.
This dough was very nice to work with and easy to shape. And it baked up beautifully. I served the bread for dinner, along with some freshly baked French bread.
This bread was absolutely delicious! The figs and almonds paired well together, making the bread flavorful but not overly sweet. If you like raisins in bread, you’ll like this bread, even if you don’t usually like figs.
This bread really has me looking forward to Nick’s book. I can’t wait to see what else he has up his sleeve!
July 27, 2011 at 11:45 am (Dessert, Jam, Jelly, Mise en place, Modern Baker Challenge, Nick Malgieri, Sweet tart dough, Tart Crust, Tarts & Pies, The Modern Baker)
Tags: Almond paste, almonds, blackberries, food processor, mini muffin pan, mise en place, Modern Baker, Modern Baker Challenge, Nick Malgieri, Pastry dough, raspberries, raspberry preserves, red raspberries, sliced almonds, sweet tart, Tart, Tart dough, tartlet, tartlet shells
Talk about saving the best for last. This is the final recipe I made from the Sweet Tarts & Pies section of The Modern Baker, and what a way to finish! I would have to put this recipe in the top 3 for this section, right up there with the Pumpkin Pecan and Bourbon-scented Pecan Tarts.
I put this one off until the end, not just because it’s near the end of the section (I tend to make the recipes roughly in order), but also because tartlets always seem a bit fussy to me. I tend to favor full-size tarts and pies, as their miniature counterparts tend to be tedious to assemble. I needn’t have worried with this recipe, however, as it came together really quickly.
Having made the crust the day before to use for lemon lime tartlets, all I had to do was roll it out, cut it, and fit it into the mini muffin pans.
I had planned to make a half recipe of the lemon lime and raspberry almond tartlets, so I divided a single batch of sweet tart dough and set aside half for each recipe. There was a small chunk of dough leftover when I made the lemon lime tartlets, and I had stuck that in the fridge after I made the crusts for those the day before. As I rolled out the dough for the raspberry tartlets, I realized there was enough dough to make more than just 12 tartlets. To my surprise, between the leftovers from the day before and the raspberry tartlet dough, I was able to make 24 tartlet shells.
While the dough chilled in the fridge, I put together the filling, which consisted of almond paste, sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, and flour, all whirred together in the food processor. Then I gathered my ingredients to assemble the tartlets.
I began by putting a dab of seedless raspberry preserves in each shell, then topping that with either one large raspberry or two small blackberries.
Then I spooned in the filling to cover the berries. Nick says to spread the filling evenly with an offset spatula, but mine seemed to even itself out nicely. I sprinkled the top of each tartlet with sliced almonds, and they were ready to bake.
I baked the tartlets at 350°F for 20 minutes, until the crust was baked through and the filling was puffy and set.
Allowing the tartlets to cool was no easy task, but I left them alone for about 25 minutes, until the pan was cool enough to handle, then I removed each tartlet to a rack to finish cooling. Well, all except for those destined for the dessert plate.
In case you’re wondering, that wasn’t all for me. My wife and I split the tartlets on the plate. But I did sneak another one every time I walked past the table. And I found lots of excuses to pass through the dining room.
I really enjoyed these tartlets. The almond paste gave the filling a wonderfully rich and warm flavor, while the berries provided a juicy, tart contrast. I liked the blackberry ones the best, although I wouldn’t say no to either of them. Which is why I eventually had to wrap them and put them away.
So that’s it for the sweet tarts and pies. On to Puff Pastries. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.