Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daring bakers-wow, quite a challenge!

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.


Joconde Sponge

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan
Ingredients:
¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal - *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners' (icing) sugar
¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
3 large eggs - about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
3 large egg whites - about 3 oz/ 90g
2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted
*Note: How to make cake flour: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/
Directions:
  1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
  2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
  3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
  4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
  5. Fold in melted butter.
  6. Reserve batter to be used later.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

Ingredients
14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners' (icing) sugar
7 large egg whites - about 7 oz / 200g
1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
Food coloring gel, paste or liquid
COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
  2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
  3. Fold in sifted flour.
  4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.
Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:
  1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
  2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one. 
  3. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste. 
  5. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
  6. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
  7. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)
For how to prepare the mould, please visit Daring Kitchen.

Pear-ginger mousse (adapted from five star foodie)
Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped (about 1 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tbsp buckwheat honey
1/4 cup rum
2/3 cup whipping cream


Method

In a skillet, melt butter. Add ginger, pears, and agave syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the pears are tender. Add 1/4 cup brandy and blend into a puree. Strain if necessary.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the pear puree. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Kumquat mousse(inspired from here)
Ingredients

1 1/2 kumquats, washed, cut in half and seeds removed
juice of one orange
12 oz silken tofu
½ cup milk
1 tsp cardamom powder

1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp raw sugar

3 tbsp honey
3 tablespoons agar agar flakes (too much!)

1/2 cup water
Whipped cream, to garnish 

Method

Put the tofu, kumquats, orange juice, sugar, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom in a blender and process until smooth (I had to thin it with a little bit of milk, also it tasted bitter because of the ginger- bad choice)
Heat the water in a small pan and add the agar agar flakes when the water reaches a boil.
Boil for 2 minutes more, and then add the pureed mango mixture.
Stir it for 2 more minutes, and chill it for several hours.

Judgement

Well I ran into few problems- the sponge smelled very eggy and tasted like an omelet in parts (could be because I did not mix the batter well enough?!). My decor color was too weak so could not really see the patterns (bummer as I had put in so much effort into it). The fillings though tasted great! Now this is something I feel like I should try again, mainly a chocolate version and also smaller one too. But given that I fail badly with all my cakes, may be I should just resign to the fact that I am not good at it! We will see...

For more better and awesome recipes check fellow DBers, they sure put me to shame!

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