Tuesday, November 27, 2012

 Thanks Peta for the challenge!
                            195gr                                                                      flour
                            1/2 tsp                                                                   baking powder
                            250gr                                                                      chocolate
                            80gr                                                                        butter, room temperature
                            150gr                                                                      brown sugar
                            2                                                                            eggs, room temperature
                            50gr                                                                       cocoa powder
                            50gr                                                                       milk
                            30gr                                                                       tia maria
                            1/2tsp                                                                    instant coffee
                            as preferred                                                           vanilla
                            1/2 cup                                                                  powdered sugar for dusting
Shift flour, cocoa and baking powder together,melt the chocolate in a bain marie and cream the butter with the sugar until soft. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the melted chocolate while mixing with the paddle attachment. Dissolve the coffee powder in the milk, combine it with the liquor and vanilla and pour the liquid in the batter. Add the flour mixture, beat until the ingredients are fully combined, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. Then, while the dough is still cold shape 3.5cm-diameter balls and roll them in powdered sugar until completely covered. Finally simply place the balls on a lined tray and bake at a preheated oven to 180C for 15min.
 chocolate crinkles
The original recipe calls for about 260gr marzipan as the inner coating and shape of the branches, however preferring chestnuts I include chestnut paste in the recipe instead. As for the filling, if using cake instead of cookie crumbs reduce the water down to as few as 15gr water. In either case adjust the amount of liquid aiming to a smooth consistency.
                              Cookie dough filling (for 15 pastries)
                              45gr                                                                      liquor
                              40gr                                                                      raisins
                              450gr                                                                    cookie crumbs
                              110gr                                                                    water
                              35gr                                                                      almonds or walnuts, crushed fine
                              85gr                                                                      melted chocolate
                              Chestnut paste
                              400gr                                                                     boiled and peeled chestnuts
                              30gr                                                                       powdered sugar
                              approximately 70gr                                                 simple syrup
                              300gr                                                                     dark coating chocolate, melted
                              1/4 cup                                                                  powdered sugar
For the cookie dough filling first heat the liquor with the raisins and macerate for a few hours. Then grind leftovers of baked cookies in a blender -or omit this step if only using cake scraps- and mix them with water using the paddle attachment and adjusting the amount of liquid to achieve a smooth mixture. If the raisins are still quite dry and hard, chop them coarsely in a food processor and add them to the mixture along with the liquor and nuts. While beating, pour in the melted chocolate and as soon as it has been incorporated, wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until hard. For the chestnut paste, process the boiled chestnuts with the powdered sugar in a food processor and add as much simple syrup as needed for the paste to be moist and pliable enough. When ready, divide the filling into 3 pieces, roll each one to a 38cm-long rope and cut them to 5 cylinders 7,6cm-long. For each individual log use 21gr of chestnut paste to cover its round surface and since rolling is not useful make the layer by attaching around the filling and spreading four stripes of paste. With some of the remaining paste make 15 9mm-thick and 2cm-long cylinders (branches) and cut them in half at an angle. With the rest of the paste shape mushroom cups and stems. Melt the chocolate and with either the logs or the branches cold use some chocolate as glue to stick the oblique side of each branch with a log. In a similar way assemble the mushrooms. As soon as the branches are well attached ad stable,dip the logs in chocolate, drain of as much as possible and use a knife not only to remove the excess couverture but also to create a wooden texture. Before the chocolate has completely set, place the mushrooms and optionally decorate with chocolate leaves. Finally dip the circular sides in powdered sugar.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

 Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!
Well, not quite puffed but sure delicious in this vanilla, chocolate and pear version. 
                        (four 6x12 servings)
                        Puff pastry
                        --- Butter block
                        300gr                                               margarine
                        6gr                                                  lemon juice
                        75gr                                                bread flour
                        --- Dough
                        13gr                                                  salt
                        272gr                                                water, cold
                        57gr                                                  butter, cold
                        4gr                                                    lemon juice
                        145gr                                                cake flour
                        375gr                                                bread flour

                        White chocolate pastry cream
                        450gr                                                  milk
                        90gr                                                    sugar
                        54gr                                                    flour
                        90gr                                                    eggs
                        1/3                                                     vanilla pod
                        90gr                                                    white chocolate

                        Chocolate layer
                        2                                                         eggs, room temperature
                       38gr                                                     sugar
                       57gr                                                     chocolate

                       Poached pears
                       4                                                          small pears
                      175ml                                                    water
                      130ml                                                    white wine
                      15ml                                                      passion fruit juice or orange juice
                      160gr                                                     sugar
                      1tsp                                                       lemon zest
                      1/2Tbsp                                                 orange zest
                      4                                                           mint leaves
                      1/5                                                        vanilla pod

Prepare the puff pastry a day earlier  starting with the dough. Shift both flours together on a kneading surface, add the butter in chunks and cut it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in most of the water with the salt dissolved in it. Combine the dry with the liquid ingredient and adjust the consistency with the addition of the remaining water. The dough should be fairly sticky while holding together, rough looking and should be kneaded as little as possible. Then let it rest in the fridge for at least 30min. For the butter block work by hand the margarine with flour and lemon juice until pliable but not melted and shape a 15x15cm square. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm. At a point were the dough and butter block have the same consistency, roll the dough into a 23x23cm square and place the butter block in the center so that its corners are aligned with the midpoint of each dough side. Pull up the corners of the dough and join their peaks on top and in the center of the butter block. Pinch the edges together to seal completely the butter. First press and then roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 30x40cm rectangle working it as little as possible. Then conceivably divide the the long dimension in thirds and fold the dough by bringing the outer thirds towards the center and one on top of the other while brushing the excess flour between the layers. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30min. Next, by rolling the folded dough the first  turn is completed. Repeat the same process three more times and fold the final dough one last time leting it folded to rest in the fridge  overnight.

For the poached pears first peal them, cut them in half and place them in a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Boil for approximately 30min until just tender checking occasionally with a fork. To make the pastry cream warm milk with vanilla in a saucepan and whisk the eggs with flour and sugar in a separate bowl. Just before boiling, pour one third of the milk into to eggs whisking constantly and combine the mixture with the rest of the milk over heat. Keep whisking until thick and boiling and then remove from heat. When not too hot but still warm enough add the white chocolate and stir to dissolve. When cool, cover with plastic and keep in fridge. For the chocolate layer melt the chocolate over a bain marie and beat with a hand whisker the yolks with 10gr sugar until thin ribbon stage. While beating the yolks whisk the egg whites with the rest of the sugar in meringue. When beaten, the yolks should be quite warm. So if they are still cold from the fridge, give them a few whisks over the bain marie. Finally add in the melted chocolate and combine. Whisk in part of the meringue to soften the mixture and then fold carefully the rest with a spatula. Spread the batter on a parchment paper sheet covering -as much as you can since the batter is quite runny- just a 12x24cm rectangle and bake at a preheated oven to 190C for 8-10min.  When ready and cool cut to four 6x12cm pieces. For the puff pastry roll the dough just to combine the folded layers and keep a portion needed for a 38x26 rectangle 3mm thick. Roll it to that dimensions, dock with a fork and let rest 20min at room temperature. Then bake at a preheated oven to 190C for 12-14min, an additional 15-20min covered with parchment paper and a cooling rack on top and finally 30 more minutes at 180C without the paper. Let cool and cut 12 6x12cm rectangles, 3 layers for each serving. Spread a little pastry cream on the bottom one to place the chocolate layer on top and repeat it on its surface. Place the second puff pastry layer and pipe some pastry cream near the its sides. Fill the center with the half of each pear cut to slices and cover with more cream. Finish with the last puff pastry piece and ether spread some cream for the leftover crumbs to stick, ether dust with powered sugar and caramelize with a torch. Decorate with the remaining pear half and optionally garnish with puff pastry lattice.