Friday, August 27, 2010

This month's Daring Baker

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”.

This month we were allowed quite a bit of variations- to begin with we could either do a Baked Alaska or Petit Fours. I do not really care much for meringues and so I chose petit fours. I also chose to half the recipe for the pound cake since it is just the two of us. For the ice cream I made Apricot-fig custard ice cream, adapted from Tarla Dalal's recipe here.

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Apricot- fig custard ice cream

2 1/2 cups milk
1 tbsp vanilla flavored custard powder
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 1/2 cups dried apricots and dried figs, soaked in warm water for about 4 hours

Method 
Deseed the apricots and figs. Puree them and set aside, add a little bit of milk to thin it out.
Dissolve the custard powder in ½ cup cold milk and keep aside. 
In a non-stick pan, combine the milk and sugar and bring it to a boil. 
Add the custard powder mixture and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes till the custard is thick. Strain the mixture if it appears lumpy. 
Cool completely, add the apricot-fig puree and mix well. 
Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze. Every 45 min or so break up the ice crystals. You need to do that about 4-5 times.


Chocolate Glaze (For the Ice Cream Petit Fours)



9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

Assembly Instructions – Ice Cream Petit Fours
1. Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.
2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.
3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.
4. Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)
5. While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm)
6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.
7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.

My Story:

Well in a perfect world, I would have had a perfect "Petit Four" instead I had to trifle it. I am not sure what happened but my cake did not rise well at all (may be because I halved the recipe and used a slightly larger pan!) and it did not help that I tried to cut it into two (boo hoo..)- it tasted damn good though (totally make the brown butter cake again- thanks Elissa!). So what do you do when life gives you cake scraps and ice cream- you trifle it!

So I made a really quick Cherry Compote, Emeril's recipe here except I did not use kirsch; also made whipped cream and voila!

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