Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mango Pastry Cream Genoise Trifles - Getting To Know The Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!



So I now have a Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer occupying a place of pride on my counter! Thanks to Kitchen Aid for sending it to me, happy to be involved in some content creation work with them. Am thrilled of course, who wouldn't want to use this machine preferred and trusted by most professional bakers across the world!  Among other things, the machine can whip eggs like fury, something you can't achieve with a handheld mixer. It is fairly simple to use and maintain, the work happens very efficiently, totally hands-free!

I love using fatless sponges but have never really been happy with the results when I tried my hand at baking genoise (pronounced Jen-wahz). Typically, to make this European sponge-type cake, eggs and sugar are heated together over simmering water and then whipped to a ribbon stage. Fat is used to make the cake slightly tender. Unlike a fatless sponge which can absorb syrup without becoming soggy, a genoise needs to be moistened with just the right amount of syrup or it will turn out to be heavy. So careful here!

When I baked the first cake, the eggs whipped up amazingly well, whipped to stiff peaks in 5 minutes flat !(this is something that doesn't work as I figured out later). I thought I did a decent job of folding the flour in as the batter filled the pan 2/3 full and was quite billowy. The cake rose very well and then, poof! to my despair, it sank! I then read about over beaten eggs making a foam that is unstable. There! One part of the problem identified. I made 2 more and finally one which came close to the intended result, thanks to all the help from Rose's blog. 

Quite light, not very sweet with a fine crumb. Moral of the story, no matter how much you read up or watch videos, practice is the only way to really learn and improve. Hope to make better ones as I go!


A couple of things I gather about making a genoise, if you have never baked one before, this may help. Would highly recommend watching Rose's video here for a better idea. 

  • Weigh the whites and yolks separately, you will, of course, mix them again before heating. 
  • The egg and sugar mixture should feel almost hot to the touch but not over 110F. Use an instant read thermometer to check.
  • The eggs need to be whipped until triple in volume, thick ribbon stage. Over whipping the eggs may cause them to go to stiff peak stage, so that may have caused my first genoise to sink.
  • If using a KA stand mixer, whip the eggs and sugar on speed 10 (the highest speed) for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully. 
  • Once you add sugar to the eggs, whisk immediately or it will clump up.

Here is the recipe for Genoise Classique from The Cake Bible. You can, of course, use it in a million ways, I made trifles with mango puree, pastry cream, and whipped cream. 

Mango Pastry Cream Genoise Trifles

Genoise Classique

Clarified beurre noisette / ghee - 3 tablespoons
Vanilla - 1 teaspoon
Egg yolks, 4 large - 72 grams
Egg whites, 4 large - 120 grams
Superfine sugar - 1/2 cup / 100 grams
Sifted cake flour - 1/2 cup / 50 grams
(I used 42 grams all purpose flour and 8 grams cornflour)
Cornflour/cornstarch - 50 grams

Syrup 

Sugar - 1/4 cup + 1.5 teaspoons / 56 grams
Water - 1/2 cup
Liqueur of your choice - 2 tablespoons(I used more water)

To make the genoise

Mise en place. Grease and line a 9''x2'' round tin with baking parchment, spray the sides. 

Pre heat oven to 180C/350F. Warm the ghee until almost hot, add vanilla and keep it warm(I kept it in a bowl of hot water).

Take the eggs and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer. Place this over a pan of simmering water, heat until almost hot to the touch (105-110F), whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Beat the egg mixture on the highest speed of the stand mixer for almost 5 minutes,till and forms thick ribbons. This is very important. 

While the eggs are beating, sift together the cornflour and all purpose flour thrice. Return the flour to the sifter. Keep 2 lightly greased cooling racks ready.

Once the eggs are beaten, remove one scant cup(approximately) of the mixture and thoroughly mix into the warm ghee, it doesn't matter if this cup of egg mixture deflates. Set aside.

Sift 1/2 the flour mixture over the beaten eggs, gently but rapidly, fold in using a large balloon whisk(I loved this!). At this point, it is OK to see some flour. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture, making sure all the flour is incorporated. Fold in the butter mixture using a large spatula. 

Pour immediately into the prepared pan, the batter will be about 2/3 full. Bake for 25-35 minutes or till the cake starts shrinking slightly away from the sides of the tin. Do not open the oven door before 25 minutes or the cake will fall. 

Loosen the sides of the cake with a thin metal spatula. Immediately invert the cake and reinvert so the top side is up. This will prevent the cake from falling. Cool completely. Trim the top and bottom crusts. 

The cake can be stored at room temperature for 2 days, refrigerated 5 days, frozen for 2 months. 

To make the syrup

In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, cover and cool completely. This should be about 3/4 cup/ 180 ml.

To assemble the trifle

Fresh mango puree 1.5 cups
Whipped cream, sweetened to taste - 1 cup
Vanilla pastry cream - 2 cups (recipe below)

Julia Child's Pastry cream recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Whole milk - 2 cups/ 480 ml
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Egg yolks - 108 grams / 6 large
Granulated sugar - 1/2 cup
All-purpose flour  - 48 grams - 6 tablespoons
Unsalted butter - 30 grams / 2 tablespoons 

  • Suspend a fine meshed strainer over a medium sized heat proof bowl. Set this near your stove. Have a spatula ready nearby.
  • In a small saucepan, combine your milk and vanilla bean flecks (if using extract instead, don’t add it yet). Heat the milk and vanilla bean till just before the boiling point. Turn off the heat.
  • In the bottom of a heavy saucepan, off the heat, beat or whisk your egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar.  Whisk in the flour until fully incorporated. (recipe directs to whisk till it forms ribbons, I have simply whisked)
  • Whisking the whole time, drizzle the hot vanilla-milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, just a tiny bit at a time at first. Once you’ve added about 1/4 of the milk, you can add the rest in a thin stream, whisking constantly.
  • Bring the saucepan to your stove and heat it over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. Once bubbling, whisk it for 1 to 2 more minutes, then remove it from the heat. Immediately stir in vanilla extract (if using) and butter until combined. Press through the strainer.
  • To cool your custard quickly, place the saucepan in a larger bowl of ice water that will go halfway up the sides of the saucepan (i.e. water should not spill in) and stir the custard till it's cool. Press wrap to the surface, chill till needed. You could refrigerate this for up to 3 days.
  • Gently fold in the whipped cream into the cooled pastry cream. Cover and chill. 

Moisten the cake with syrup evenly. Layer the pastry cream, mango puree, and cake. Repeat. Chill at least overnight and serve. 



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Foolproof Cocoa Fudge Frosting - This recipe could save your life!




Alright, I am exaggerating! For me honestly, chocolate frosting has always been synonymous to the finger licking good chocolate ganache. Ganache is basically hot cream and chocolate mixed together. You need to remember a few things when you make it though. Unimaginable and horrifying as it might seem, but then there are those times when you are out of chocolate and there is an emergency need for a good chocolate frosting!

Those cupcakes you had promised your kids for the class party you totally forgot all about. That last minute order for a birthday cake with a chocolate frosting. You need a frosting really fast and you don't have time to even chop the chocolate! Maybe you simply love cocoa. Or happen to live in a place where you can't find good quality chocolate. Thankfully cocoa powder is very commonly available in that next door small store across the country.

The great news is you can actually make fabulous frosting with cocoa powder, it is super easy and quick, almost fool proof! If this isn't something for a baker to celebrate and rejoice, I don't know what is! Please tell me you are sold?



The video recipe is on my channel if you would like to watch. And yes, please do subscribe to my channel for easy recipes, tips and lots more! Clicking on the bell and ticking 'yes' will make sure you get email notifications when I upload a new video.

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The recipe is from Alice Medrich's book Chocolate Holidays. Do weigh ingredients for best results. 

Ingredients

Unsalted butter, soft - 70 grams 
Caster sugar - 150 grams / 3/4 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder - 53 grams
(Hersheys, Cadbury's and the kind)
Salt - tiny pinch
Cream - 3/4 cup / 180 ml ( I use Amul, 25%, please read note)
(you can also use heavy cream if you can find it)
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon.
Instant coffee - 1 teaspoon (optional, but good)

Method: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter on low heat. Stir in the sugar, coffee, cocoa and salt. The mixture will look grainy. Gradually stir in the cream. Keep stirring constantly, till the mixture is smooth and hot but not boiling. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. If using as a glaze or sauce, use it warm. The frosting thickens as it cools so you can use it for piping/spreading on the cake. 

The sauce can be refrigerated and rewarmed in the microwave or gently warmed in a saucepan of barely simmering water. 

Please note: The consistency of the frosting also depends on the consistency of the cream. Amul gave me a thicker sauce and Dlecta a slightly thinner one. 

Looking for a frosting made with dark chocolate? Check my video below and post here




Saturday, March 25, 2017

Butterscotch Flan. To Celebrate A Milestone!



Hello! Anyone there? My blog statistics tell me I do have a few kind folks dropping by, reading my ancient posts. Thank you! On a side note, my YouTube Channel statistics shows we have just crossed 25,000 subscribers, so I had to document it here! If you are new around here, my channel is for beginners in baking, more relevant if you happen to live in India. You can find videos on oven basics, baking ingredients, how-to's, simple recipes to help you get started and more. Hope you will swing by! Do leave your comments for me, share the link with a friend who wants to start baking. Oh yes, please do subscribe for more videos coming up!Click here. 

  

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For me, any celebration is synonymous with dessert, if it is a new recipe I try, even better! Never mind if it is again a variation of a baked custard. Wobbly, soft set, silky smooth flans with a butterscotch flavor I thought was incredible! It is wondrous how simple ingredients like milk, cane sugar and eggs can transform into such deliciousness! As if it wasn't spectacular enough in its simplicity, David Lebovitz gilds the lily baking the custards in caramel-lined ramekins to make Butterscotch Flans. Delighted to add this one to the eternal favorites desserts list! 

If you are yet to try caramel, this post of mine may help. If you do not feel up to it, try baking just the custards using cane sugar  and I promise you won't be disappointed. The wet caramel stays liquid for hours so you don't have to be in a scurry to use it, another keeper of a recipe!

I made half the recipe below to make about 7 small flans. 




Butterscotch Flan from David Lebovitz's Ready For Dessert.

To make the caramel 

Water - ¼ cup /60 ml   + ¼ cup / 60 ml  (to be used separately)
Granulated white sugar 150 grams / 3/4 cup
Pinch of crème of tartar or a few drops of lemon.

Custard 

Whole milk - 3 cups / 750 ml ( I have used 4.5% milk)
Eggs - 4 large / 200 grams without shell
Egg yolks - 4 large / 72 grams
Cane sugar - 200 grams (please read note) 
Vanilla extract - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - I have used a tiny bit, David recommends a big pinch

Method : Set 125 ml - 180 ml ramekins or custard cups in a  large deep baking pan. I have used small ramekins, about 80 ml capacity. 

To make the caramel, spread the 3/4 cup of sugar in an even layer in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Pour 1/4 cup water evenly over the sugar to dampen it, but do not stir. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then add the cream of tartar or lemon juice. Continue to cook without stirring but swirl the pan if the sugar begins to brown unevenly. When the caramel turns a dark amber in color and begins to foam a bit, remove from the heat and immediately add the remaining 1/4 cup water. The caramel will bubble up vigorously, then the bubbling will subside. Stir with a large spoon until any hardened bits of caramel completely dissolve. Divide the hot caramel among the ramekins. Carefully swirl each ramekin so that the caramel coats the sides halfway up. Let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 160 C / 325 F. 

To make the custard, in a medium saucepan, heat the milk until warm (mine was hot). In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Gradually whisk the warm milk into the eggs, whisking constantly as you pour to prevent the eggs from cooking. Add the cane sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until the sugar completely dissolves. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher. 

Divide the custard mixture evenly among the caramel-lined ramekins. Fill the baking tin with hot water ( warm water David says) to reach half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the perimeters of the custards are just set and the centers are still jiggly, 25-35 minutes. Mine took about 25 minutes to bake. Do not over-bake or the custards will be rubbery. Err on the side of under-baking.

Transfer the custards from the water bath to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until chilled 3- 4 hours, overnight is better. 

To un mold, run a sharp knife around the inside of each ramekin to loosen the custard. Invert a serving plate over the ramekin. Shake a few times to release the custard, then lift off the ramekin. Pour any caramel remaining in the ramekin over the flan. Serve cold. 

The baked flans can be stored for 3 days in the refrigerator. 

Please note: The recipe for custard uses packed 1 1/4 cup / 275 grams dark brown sugar. I have used Amrit cane sugar, the weight for packed 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons was 100 grams. David suggests experimenting with different kinds of sugar in the custard such as Miexican piloncillo, Asian palm sugar and dark turbinado sugar. 

Not a bad idea to sit back and savor this  make-ahead, delish and light summer dessert this weekend I guess? So do you have some eggs, milk and sugar at home?