Friday, July 30, 2010

These two are not low fat or quick recipes, but their taste worths the trouble. When macadamia cookies -the ones with thin chocolate stripes- have a crumbly and dry texture, filled cookies are soft, moist, orange scented, with a sticky, chewy and flavorfull interior .However, both are excellent with a cup of coffee or milk.

       Macadamia cookies
       120gr                       whole macadamia nuts (if they are salted, wash and strain them)
         60gr                       brown sugar
       30gr                        couverture
       7ml                         olive oil
       160gr                       butter
       90gr                        powdered sugar
       24gr                        eggs (even a little more)
       3gr (1/2 tsp)           salt
       240gr                      all- purpose flour
       100gr                      chopped fine and roasted macadamia nuts
       as preferred           vanilla powder

Blend whole nuts and brown sugar in a food processor until a smooth, homogenous paste is formed. Melt chocolate with oil in a bain marie and set aside. Next, whip butter in a bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment untilled softened and add the powdered sugar. Keep creaming the mixture untill lightened and then blend in macadamia paste and egg, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Combine salt, vanilla, flour and chopped nuts, and stir them in the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Divide the dough into three uniform pieces and on top of a baking mat or paper form an 13x15cm even  rectangle with the first piece. Cover its surface with half of the chocolate and freeze for 3-5min until the chocolate sets. Spread the other third on top of the frozen chocolate (in the same dimensions), level its surface and pour on top the rest of the couverture. Freeze again for 3-5min and spread the last piece of dough above. Wrap the layered dough and chill overnight or freeze untill hard (meanwhile you can prepare the dried fruit-filled cookie). When ready, cut the dough in two 13x12,5cm bars. Mark 10 intervals on the long side of each (1,3cm thick) and cut slices with a sharp knife. Thus, you should result with 20 cookies. Place them flat on a baking mat and bake at a preheated oven to 190C for 14-18min. Considering their quantity they can easily be baked with the other cookies simultaneously, when both are ready. If you want to make the double amount of macadamia cookies, form  a 15x25cm rectangle with each third and then cut lenghtwise marking 20 peices (1.25cm thick) on each bar.

        Filled cookies
       270gr                         all-purpose flour
       135gr                         granulated sugar
       3gr(1/4 Tbs)               baking powder
       4gr(1/4 Tbs)               salt
       120gr                        butter, cold, cut in 6mm cubes
       1                              egg
       60ml                         buttermilk
       1/2 tsp                     orange zest
       as preferred              vanilla extract

      120gr                        dried figs, cut in half and sunk in water untill softer
      35gr                         raisins
      25gr                         candied orange peel or more raisins
      67ml (90gr)               honey
      15ml                        Grand Marnier or rum
      1/4 tsp                     orange zest
      75gr                         roasted and chopped coarse almonds
      37gr                         chopped coarse walnuts                        

At first blend flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a chilled bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, vanilla, egg and orange zest, pour them in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Divide the dough in two uniform peices and roll them into 15x15cm squares (chill if necessary). Wrap the dough and freeze until firm for about 30min. Meanwhile prepare the filling. At this point I have to admit that my dried fruit mixture was not enough blended and less smooth because my figs turned out to be quite hard for the food processor

 to grind. If yours are enough moistened, combine them with peel, raisins, honey, zest and rum in a food processor and blend until the mixture comes together into a coarse paste. Then fold in the nuts and spread it on evenly over the freezed dough square. Cover with the other piece and press firmly to level it. Wrap and freeze again until firm. When ready, cut into three 5x15cm strips  and mark on their long side 12 peices to be sliced (1,25cm each). Cut the slices with a sharp knife and place them cut side dough on a baking mat. Bake at 190C for 15-18min.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For those who can appreciate a non chocolate cake, this torte is rich in flavor and quietly aromatic. Genoise, mousse and meringue give a less dense texture that makes a second piece easy to eat...

              240gr (5)                           eggs
              120gr                                granulated sugar
              135gr                                cake flour, shifted
              as desired                         vanilla extract

              55gr                                  bread flour
              44gr                                  cornstarch
              77gr (4 small)                     egg yolks
              132gr (4)                           egg whites
              82 gr                                 granulated sugar
              as preferred                      vanilla extract
              as needed                         powdered sugar

             30ml                                  Kirsch
             170gr                                 water
             170gr                                 granulated sugar

             Pastry cream
             430ml                                milk
             96gr                                  granulated sugar
             77gr (4 small)                     egg yolks
             32gr                                  cornstarch
             25gr                                  butter
             1/2                                   vanilla pod

             Kirsch mousse
             480gr                                pastry cream
             52ml                                 Kirsch
             15gr                                  sheet gelatin, softened in cold water 
             500ml                                heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
             1 cup                                raspberries

            Italian meringue
            60gr (2)                             egg whites
            97gr                                  granulated sugar
            15gr                                  glocuse or corn syrup
            23gr                                  water

I think the best way is to start with the genoise. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl placed over a bain marie ( do not cook the eggs) untill warm (approximately 45C ). Attach the bowl to a mixer and whip at medium speed for 8-10min until the mixture is cool, pale and forms thick ribbons. Fold in carefully with a spatula the flour (do not deflate the batter) and pour the batter into a 20cm-diametre greased pan. Bake at preheated oven to 190C for 20min untill light brown. When done, let cool at room temperature before cutting. From the whole cake i suggest using two layers, one thick and one thinner. Continue with the pastry cream by warming the milk with 2/3 of the sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan. Meanwhile whisk the yolks with rest of the sugar and add the cornstarch until fully incorporated. When the milk comes to boil, temper the yolk mixture with 1/4 of it and pour it back to the pan whisking vigorously until the cream has boiled . Remove the vanilla pod and fold in the butter untill melted. Let the cream cool covering with plastic wrap if necessary.

For the ladyfingers, shift flour and cornstarch together. Whip the yolks with vanilla and 8gr sugar until thick and simultaneously whip in another bowl the egg whites with the rest of sugar to stiff peaks. With a spatula fold the yolk mixture into the whites until partially combined and gently incorporate the flour ( do not overmix, fold with care). Pipe 10cm long batter sticks in two rows and onto a silicone mat or paper-lined pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake at a preheated oven to 200C for 10min. As long as the ladyfinger bands are quite flexible, use them to line a 24m-diametre cake pan.

To make the syrup, simply boil water and sugar for 2min, let cool and stir in the Kirsch. Use the syrup to moisten the ladyfingers and the bottom, thick layer of genoise (placed between the ladyfingers). Cover it with raspberries. As for the mousse, bring Kirsch to a simmer, remove from the heat and add the softened gelatin sheets. Stir until dissolved and whisk it in the pastry cream. When no lumps remain, fold in the whipped cream and pour half of the mixture over the genoise base. Continue with the second cake layer on top of the mousse. Moisten it with syrup and cover again with the rest of the filling. Freeze the cake until set.

For the Italian meringue heat water with 89gr of sugar. When it reaches 100C (or when it starts boiling) whip the egg whites in a mixer adding gradually the rest of the sugar. At the point that the syrup has reached 120C, remove from heat and quickly pour it like a stream between the the sides of the bowl and beater of the mixer and into the whipping whites. When the mixture is fully incorporated , turn the mixer at high speed for a minute and then keep whipping at medium speed until meringue is cool. Pipe or spread it on top of the cake and burn with the torch.

Made in several stages, this cake is another successful choise for this month's DB challenge. Not only it can be prepared without ice cream maker since parfait is used, but it retains a relatively soft texture and tends less to melt. Although I usually prefer fruit ice creams and sorbets, my flavor combination for this recipe was white, bittersweet chocolate and praline.

               Chocolate spongecake
               62gr                                       cake flour
               18gr                                       cocoa powder
               65gr                                       sugar
               60gr                                       water
               2Tbs                                       olive oil
               3                                            egg yolks
               4                                            egg whites
               as preferred                            vanilla

              White chocolate chantilly
              158gr                                       white chocolate
              190gr                                       heavy cream

              Chocolate parfait
              100gr                                       couverture, melted in bain marie
              3                                             egg yolks
              75gr                                        granulated sugar
              25gr                                        water
              15gr                                        honey
              250gr                                       heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

              Praline parfait
              67gr                                        hazelnuts
              33gr                                        granulated sugar
              30gr                                        couverture
              55gr                                        egg whites
              60gr                                        honey
              20gr                                        glucose
              380gr                                      heavy cream

For a start, prepare the white chocolate chantilly. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and set aside untill slightly warm. Whip the cream to soft peaks, fold it in and refrigerate untill set. For  the spongecake, shift flour and cocoa powder together .Beat the egg yolks with 15gr of sugar until pale and gradually pour in the fluid ingredients. Add the flour mixture and whisk to combine. With the rest of the sugar whip the egg whites to meringue and fold it gently into the rest of the batter. Spread it on a 25x35cm surface covered with parchment paper and bake at a preheated oven to 180C for about 13min. Carefully seperate the cake from the paper and when its temperature has dropped, spread the white mousse on its surface. Use the paper on bottom to tightly roll the filled spongecake and hold it with paper clips to avoid loosening. Keep that way in fridge and freeze before cutting. 
    Continue with the chocolate parfait by boiling water and sugar. Simultaneously whip the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer.When the syrup has reached 120C, stir in and dissolve the honey. Pour the hot syrup like a string into the yolks and keed whipping until the mixture has puffed and cooled. Then incorporate the melted chocolate with a spatula, fold in the wphipped cream and  keep the parfait in fridge untill the cake base is ready. 
   To prepare the base, cover the bottom of a 20x16cm pan with food membrane and place roll slices on top. Fill half of it with the chocolate parfait and freeze. Meanwhile, make the praline parfait. In a non-stick pan caramelize sugar untill brown and add the hazelnuts (preferably warm). When all the nuts are covered in caramel, remove from the heat, let cool on a piece of parchment paper and use a blender to completely mash the nuts into a homogenous pulp. Warm 30gr of the cream, melt the couverture with it and incorporate in the praline.  Whip the rest of the heavy cream to soft peaks and keep in the fridge. Boil honey with glucose and start whipping the egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer. When the syrup has reached 120C pour it in a string to the whites and keep whipping on high and then medium speed until the meringue has cooled and forms stiff peaks. To finish, fold meringue into the praline mixture and add the smooth chantilly. Pour this mousse on top of chocolate praline and freeze until hard. When set, unmold the cake, remove the plastic cover and use remaining parfait-mousse for garnish.