Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Burning down the House for the sake of Daring Bakers
I'm a klutz. I have a tendency to cut myself, bruise myself, and burn myself. It happens cooking and it happens just walking.
When I began this month's recipe, the pastry dough came together perfectly and I let it rest overnight. The next day I brought it out, rock solid. So I had to defrost it, which was no easy task because it was going to take a couple of hours and I really needed to start on the tart. So I put it in the oven and every few minutes took the defrosted pastry off. This took about 15 mins.
Of course at the same times, I was boiling potatoes for my party. So I was making 2 recipes at once.
This turned out to be a very bad idea because some how they were ready at the same time, making cuss words fly out of my mouth.
At the same time the potatoes were about to be done, I started making the caramel. Let me just recap, I've never made caramel until yesterday, so I was confused by the dry method. The first time I did it and added the cream, the caramel came immediately to a hard boil, splattering hot boiling cream over my entire outfit. That is when the cuss words began to fly.
I breathed and then washed out the pot and began again. This time watching very closely to see what was happening. It started to turn the amber color and I began the milk. This time it didn't come to a hard boil as quickly, but it did began to clump up.
My solution was to add the butter and the cream, then boil the mixture. This cause little sugar chunks, but I just dished those out and threw them away. I then dealt with my potato salad, allowing the caramel mixture to cool. When I added the eggs, I was worried that they would scramble and I would have to do it all over again. Which I might say wasn't going to happen because time was coming to a close.
But it came together. It wowed my friends. We all enjoyed it. I especially loved the chocolate mousse.
And what have I learned. Do the Daring Bakers recipe at a different time than a dinner party or do it the day ahead and you won't almost cut of your foot or boil you skin.
Happy Baking Ladies!
Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration time: 1 hour
* ½ lb (250 g) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe above)
* 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
* 1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30-40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche
* ¼ cup (50 g) butter
* 2 whole eggs
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
* 1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream
* ½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
2. Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes.
3. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. Incorporate the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.
5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.
6. Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
7. Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream.
8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.
Alternate Caramel Method:
If you have problems with the dry method, you may use this method.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Set mixture in a pot over medium-high heat and stir slowly. When the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring and leave it alone. Wait till desired color is attained .
Proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Melt ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar in a saucepan until it reaches an amber color. Pour it onto waxed paper laid out on a flat surface. Leave to cool. Break it into small fragments and stick them lightly into the top of the tart.
Chocolate Shortbread Pastry
Note: The Chocolate Shortbread pastry can make 3 tart shells. So, if you want to cut that recipe into thirds then do so but Veron and Patricia are not promising it will scale down properly.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
To make 3 tart shells: 9 ½ inches (24 cm) square
or 10 inches (26 cm round)
* 1 cup (250g ) unsalted butter, softened
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
* ½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
* 2 level teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
* 2 eggs
* 4 ½ cups (400 g) cake flour
* 2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
* 1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder
A day ahead
1. In a mixing bowl of a food processor, cream the butter.
2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together
3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly
4. Sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.
5. Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight.