Saturday, 27 March 2010

Daring Baker's March 2010 Challenge - Orange Tian

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

I decided to make 1 large heart-shaped tian instead of 6 individual ones as suggested. I made a few mis-steps along the way but nothing too major. The proof is in the pudding as they say and mine was devoured within minutes of plating. It was fun making the different components but took a little planning. I'm really glad I know how to make marmalade now as it was quite simple and very tasty. I was a little lazy though - should have cut the oranges finer to start with. I cooked them as they are shown below as I thought I'd whizz it in the food processor afterwards but decided to just run my scissors through it instead.
This is definitely a great dessert with a wow factor and perfect to serve in the coming summer months with variations of fruits.

Making marmalade
Extra thick cut marmalade
Pate Sablee (forgot to take a picture after it came out of the oven)
Orange segments

Sugar for the caramel

Add orange juice once the sugar bubbles and foams

Now for the fun part, assembling the dessert- arrange the orange segments so that there are no gaps
Spread the whipped cream & marmalade mixture on top (probably shouldn't have put all the marmalade in but I did as I somehow missed the 1 tablespoon bit! It still tasted ok, a little too citrusy and slightly bitter but no real harm done)
Spread a thin layer of marmalade on the pate sablee
Gently press the dough on top. Place in freezer for ~20 minutes to set.

Straight from the freezer
I added the caramel sauce on top in the shape of hearts and if you look closely there should also be a heart shaped outline on the plate

Extra drizzle of caramel just before serving

For the Pate Sablee:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.
Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.
Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:
Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams (I omitted this and it worked fine)
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.
Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.
In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:
For this step you will need 8 oranges.
Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.
How to segment an orange

For the Caramel:
Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.
Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.
Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:
Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.

[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.
Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.
Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.
Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.
Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.
Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.
Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Mini Lemon Cheesecake

I wanted to make cheesecake from leftover mascarpone cheese from the DB tiramisu challenge but unfortunately left it too long. So here's a traditional mini cream cheese cheesecake instead. I looked at a few recipes online and in my books and basically took inspiration from each recipe to come up with my own version. I was a little worried as I cut the amount of sugar drastically and added lemon juice but it turned out fine. I love the mini portions - don't they look cute?

Tip from - line a muffin tin with a long strip of parchment paper as pictured so that the cakes can be easily removed and it worked beautifully.

Crush digestive biscuits and mix with melted butter and sugar. Press 1-2 tablespoons of crumbs to create a base for the cheesecake.  Fresh from the oven

Top with raspberries or topping of your choiceEnjoy :)

Ingredients (rough approximations as shock horror I did not measure this time!)

For the base
200g digestive biscuits
~ 100g butter (melted)
1/2 tablespoon sugar

For the filling
~400g cream cheese
~50g sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon

Garnish (optional)
Raspberries (or other fresh berries)
Blueberry puree
  • Preheat oven to 160C
  • Line a 12 hole muffin tin with long strips of parchment paper (see picture)
  • Make the crust by crushing the biscuits and mixing with melted butter and sugar.
  • Press 1-2 tablespoons of crumbs on the bottoms of the muffin cups to create a base. 
  • Cover and refrigerate whilst making the filling.
  • Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and then the eggs, one at a time. 
  • Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and zest and mix thoroughly.
  • Remove the crusts from the fridge and evenly divide the filling among the 12 muffin cups. 
  • Bake for about 18-20 minutes until firm but the centres still wobble a little.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
  • Remove cheesecakes by running a sharp knife around the inside edge of the muffin cups to loosen the cheesecake. 
  • Then, taking hold of the two strips of parchment paper, carefully lift each cheesecake from the muffin cups. 
  • Gently peel off parchment paper.
  • Top with garnish of your choice and serve. 

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Oreo Truffles

Happy St Patrick's Day!! I decided to make some green oreo truffles for the occasion. These are the most amazing creations ever. They're really simple to make requiring only 3 ingredients and minimal fuss. You can dip them in your favourite chocolate and decorate as you wish. I didn't have time to make it too fancy but I'll definitely be making these again and again... I could eat the whole lot myself! :)

Take a pack of Oreo cookies
Put them in your food processor or crush them with a rolling pin or can
Add a little cream cheese and shape into balls
Refrigerate then dip into your favourite chocolate
Heaven on a plate :)

1 pack of Oreos (154g)
~ 70g cream cheese
200g Chocolate - white/milk/dark
Food colouring (optional)

  • Blitz the cookies in a food processor. If you don't have one or prefer a little crunch to the truffles then put cookies in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin or can.
  • Add cream cheese and mix well until you get a soft, pliable dough.
  • Shape into little balls and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so that it will retain its shape whilst dipping in chocolate coating.
  • Melt chocolate of your choice either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave (be careful not to burn the chocolate)
  • Dip oreo truffles in the chocolate and refrigerate until firm.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Oatmeal, Raisin and Chocolate Chip Cookies

The cookie monster continues its forage into the world of cookies and what a wonderful world it is. Cookies are definitely one of my favourite snacks and I find it hard to resist especially a nice homemade cookie. Not a very original idea this time, just a combination of the different cookies I've been making recently. Having all these ingredients to hand might have a small part to play in the choice of cookies :) I roughly made up the recipe myself based on all the cookies I've been baking recently.

So how do you make some of these?
Beat butter, sugars and vanilla extract
until it's pale and creamy
Add in 2 eggs
Then fold in flour, baking powder and salt
Mix well until you get a soft, smooth batter
Stir in oats, raisins and chocolate chips
Cookie dough
Place on baking sheet
Delicious cookies

225g butter, softened
160g brown sugar
30g white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
230g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
265g rolled oats
150g raisins
200g dark chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cream butter, sugars and vanilla extract until pale and creamy.
  • Add in 2 eggs and mix well.
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix well to form a soft, smooth batter.
  • Stir in oats, raisins and chocolate chips.
  • Drop teaspoonfuls (or tablespoonfuls) of cookie dough onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes on sheet before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

Yet another flourless version of cookies. This time with chocolate :) I was a little sceptical at first but as I bit into my second and then my third cookie, I thought this is actually really nice. It's got a lovely, chewy texture to it. You can definitely taste the walnut and chocolate flavours. Might try it with a different nut next time - almonds or maybe pecans.

Finely chop walnuts and roast in oven until fragrant
Mix sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl
Stir in walnuts
Add egg whites and vanilla extract
Spoon batter onto baking sheets
Delicious, chewy cookies :)

300g walnuts
250g icing sugar
60g cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Finely chop walnuts and bake in preheated oven until fragrant (approximately 10mins)
  • Mix sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl.
  • Stir in walnuts.
  • Add the egg whites and vanilla extract.
  • Beat until just moistened - do not overbeat or batter will stiffen
  • Drop teaspoonfuls of batter onto a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until tops are lightly cracked and glossy.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

The cookie binge continues... this time with a slight twist. Flourless versions for someone with specific dietary requirements. These are really simple to make and if you love peanut butter like me, you'll definitely love these! I made them in a hurry and should have taken more care to make them prettier but they tasted good which is what counts! Just about remembered to take a photo of it in the end :)

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
just under 1/4 cup white sugar (omit if you prefer cookies less sweet)
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Mix peanut butter and sugars until well combined.
  • Add in the egg and baking powder if using.
  • Shape into little balls or if you're lazy like me, just drop spoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies

The cookie binge continues... this time with a slightly healthier version. They are really quick and simple to make and I think raisins count towards your five a day? (Probably have to eat all the cookies though!)

1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 + 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (I reduced the sugar as I prefer it less sweet)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Mix flours and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Whisk together oil, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. 
  • Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add in oats and raisins.
  • Place balls of cookie dough on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 15-17 minutes.
  • Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack.