Chez Luce

Kitchen adventures on Wandsworth Common

Daring Bakers Challenge November 2010 : Crostata November 28, 2010

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The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

I chose to make 2 different fillings for my mini crostata, caramelized white chocolate ganache and raspberry (above), and milk chocolate praline ganache with dark chocolate glaze (below).


started off by making the pasta frolla for the crostata. I made it in the processor to save time and chilled the pastry down before rolling. I found the pastry easy to work with, and during baking, the shells didn’t shrink at all which is my usual problem with pastry.

The fillings I chose were quite labour intensive, but I really wanted to try working with praline which is where my idea for the chocolate crostata filling came from. I poured caramel over hazelnuts to make the praline, then whizzed to a powder before mixing into a milk chocolate ganache. This filled the tart almost to the top, but there was just enough room for a glaze of shiny dark chocolate and a sprinkling of praline powder.

For the other crostata, I made caramelized white chocolate (which is something I have been meaning to do for ages and I will DEFINITELY do again – it was delicious!). I melted this into some cream to make a ganache, and set some raspberries in a (hopefully) pretty pattern. I glazed the raspberries with a little sieved strawberry jam to give them a glossy finish.

I really enjoyed this challenge as I really got to be creative with the fillings – Thanks Simona for giving us all so much creative licence!

Pasta Frolla

1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar (see Note 1) or a scant 3/4 cup [180ml, 90g, 3 oz] of powdered sugar
1 and 3/4 cup [420 ml, 235 g, 8 1/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 stick [8 tablespoons / 4 oz. / 115 g] cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
grated zest of half a lemon (you could also use vanilla sugar as an option, see Note 2)
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips or an implement of choice.
Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on – place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use).
Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.
Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.
Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.

Chocolate Filling

Make a praline by pouring caramel over skinned, blanched hazelnuts. Whiz to a fine powder in a food processor.
Mix some praline powder into a milk chocolate ganache (made by pouring hot double cream over milk chocolate and whisking until smooth).
Fill the baked crostata shells with the praline ganache.
Make a glaze with dark chocolate, milk and cream and spread over the top. Finish with a sprinkle of praline powder.

Caramelized white chocolate and raspberry filling

Make caramelized white chocolate according to David Lebovitz’s recipe
Pour over hot double cream to make a ganache.
Arrange raspberries on top and glaze with sieved jam.

 

I <3 Anchovies October 1, 2010

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Today I want to share with you a gorgeous, oniony, sweet-salty creation called Pissaladière. It is a french version of pizza, using soft caremelised onions as the sauce, and topped with anchovies and (usually) olives.

 

A couple of years ago, I would have turned my nose up at the thought of olives and anchovies, but it just goes to show how tastes can change (or perhaps palates can be educated?) because now I cant get enough of either of them!

 

I like to serve this as a weeknight supper or saturday lunch, although it takes a couple of hours in total including proving the bread dough and caremelising the onions, there is actually very little work that goes into the dish for such amazing results.

 

To serve, I made a quick salad of lettuce, grated beetroot, sliced radishes and mixed sprouted seeds; dresed with a mustard vinaigrette.

 

If you think you don’t like anchovies, or don’t like the idea of putting little fish fillets on a pizza, I urge you to try this recipe – it may well change your mind, too 🙂

 

 

Pissaladière
Adapted from BBC Good Food

200g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp easy blend dried yeast
150ml warm water
5 tbsp olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
1kg onions , thinly sliced
a few sprigs of thyme
2 tomatoes , skinned and chopped
1 can anchovy fillets, drained, fat ones halved lengthways
a handful of black olives (optional)

Tip the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl. Pour in the water, spoon in the oil and mix to a soft dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave it to rise for 45 minutes to 1¼ hours or until the dough springs back when pressed. Don’t worry too much is it takes more or less time.
While the dough is rising, heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan or sauté pan, throw in the onions and fry gently for about 10 minutes until softened but not browned, stirring from time to time.
Sprinkle in the thyme and some salt and pepper, then tip in the tomatoes and stir well. Cover and cook gently for 45 minutes until the onions are meltingly soft, stirring occasionally and removing the lid for the last 10 minutes to reduce any liquid. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Lightly oil a shallow 23x33cm baking tin or tray. Knead the dough again briefly, then roll it out and press it into the tin. Don’t leave it to rise again.
Spread the onion mixture over the dough, then arrange the anchovies on top, making a criss-cross pattern. Stud each window between the anchovies with an olive (if using), then bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Serve warm, cold or reheated, cut into squares.

 

Matcha Madeleines and a Big Chocolate Hit September 29, 2010

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I went to Japan Centre recently. Near Piccadilly Circus? Go see it for yourself. I nearly stayed in there forever, soo much japanese stuff… and the fresh sushi and cooked to order tempura at the takeaway counter looked amazing! I was all but hypnotised by the machine freshly grinding matcha (green-tea) powder, but I eventually managed to drag myself away with a small sachet to play with.

 

After looking up a lot of recipes for matcha this and green tea that, I decided on making a classic madeleine with the addition of a tbsp of matcha powder to replace some flour. I pretty much winged it but I was totally pleased with the results!

 

 

…And what else to serve the madeleines with but rich chocolate pots, all smooth and dense, garnished with some juicy raspberries… heaven…

 

 

 

Madeleines made as previously described in this post, with the replacement of 1tbsp of flour with matcha powder

 

Chocolate Pots de Crème

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup whole milk
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 egg yolks
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract

Prepare 4 small or 3 medium size ramekins by placing in a shallow baking pan or the bottom of a broiler pan. Set the oven temperature at 170 degrees.

In a small saucepan boil cream,and milk for a minute. In another bowl place chopped chocolate and pour hot cream mixture over. Let the hot mixture sit for 2 minutes and then stir to melt and blend the chocolate.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well blended. Add vanilla.

Slowly pour warm chocolate cream into egg mixture, whisking until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture through a mesh sieve to cull out any lumps. Next pour or spoon into the ramekins.

Pour hot water into the bottom of the shallow baking pan so it comes about ½ inch up sides of ramkins. Cover the pan with a large sheet of aluminum foil and poke small holes in the foil to allow air holes. Place in oven and bake about 30-35 minutes.

Pots de crème are done when the outside is set and the inside still slightly jiggles. Cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Chill in refrigerator another 5 hours before serving. Pots de crème will keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days so you can make it ahead for a party if you wish. In fact, the flavor combination of chocolate and coffee will mellow into a smooth blend if kept refrigerated over a day.

 

Daring Bakers Challenge September 2010: Get Creative September 27, 2010

Recipe: Iced Sugar Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

 

September, for me, has been a month of firsts. First day working for the NHS, first time on a hospital roof, first time in intensive care, first time visiting a prison (all in the name of healthcare may I add!), … and so on and so forth until… first time making sugar cookies, first time researching flooding and decorating techniques, and first time icing cookies with royal icing.

 

 

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Daring Bakers Challenge August 2010: Nutty and toasty meets cool and creamy… August 27, 2010

Recipe: Petits Fours

 

 

 

 

 

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

 

So, another month, another new dessert to try with the Daring Bakers. When given the coice of a baked alaska or petits fours, i knew straight away that it had to be the mini sweets! I love the petits fours at fancy restaurants, and jumped at the chance to make some of my own!

 

I decided to make individual sized brown butter pound cakes, rather than one large cake. This helped me to control the cooking so each cake was evenly browned, and the edges were nice and sharp. I absolutely loved the cake and it was so easy to make. I am in love with pretty much anything with brown butter as an ingredient, and the nutty flavour of the butter was really prominent in these little cakes. I am now coming upwith all sorts of uses for this recipe, it is definitely a keeper!

 

 

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Afternoon Tea June 4, 2010

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Recipe: Madeleines

 

 

Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m a hoarder.

 

I go to cookware shops. A Lot. I obsessively browse the internet for deals on cake tins, cookery gadgets and things that would look pretty in photos.

 

This is what led me to purchase a mini madeleine pan, despite never having tasted a madeleine in my life and so not knowing if I actually liked them. That was, until, we visited Texture. Texture is a beautiful restaurant in London where Agnar Sverrisson serves amazing flavours in an exciting way. If you go there, make sure you try the crispy fish skin, it’s yummy! Anyway… where was I… Oh yeah the madeleines! When we received our petits fours at the end of the mammoth tasting menu, the star of the show was undoutably a pistachio madeleine, buttery and still warm from the oven. I remembered that I had the pan gathering dust on a precariously stacked shelf at home, and immediately planned to make some of my own.

 

I decided to go with a more traditional recipe, and I was certainly not disappointed. I followed the recipe to the letter and could not have been more pleased with the results!

 


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Daring Bakers Challenge May 2010: Piece Montée May 27, 2010

Recipe: Croquembouche

 

 

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.
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