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Solid intermediate cook, here. Not especially intimidated by elaborate preps. But I'm new to SV, and would like a recommendation for a cookbook for guidance and exploration.
I was thinking of Tom Keller's Under Pressure, but I'm wondering if the preps he includes may not be the most generally useful. What do you all like, and why?
Chocolate cake with plums
The first cake I ever dared to bake by myself was a chocolate cake. I have since baked it many times, always using the same recipe, and many times I have spoiled it at the beginning of preparation. It is necessary to cool down the chocolate mixture before adding the rest of the ingredients. On a hot summer day this process is very long, so I accelerated it by putting the pot with the mixture into some cold water in the kitchen sink. Many times, by mistake, I turned on the tap and poured water onto the cooling mixture. In hindsight these situations were amusing, but at the time it wasn't funny.
This chocolate cake is excellent without any additives. You can enrich it with your favourite nuts or butter icing. Today I added some plums to the top of the cake. It was great and its sweet chocolate-plum aroma lingered long in my home.
Ingredients (25cm cake tin):
200g of flour
150g of butter
3 tablespoons of cocoa
120g of brown sugar
15ml of almond milk
100g of dark chocolate
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Heat the oven up to 180C. Smooth the cake tin with the butter and sprinkle with dark cocoa.
Put the butter, milk, sugar, cocoa and chocolate into the pan. Heat it until the chocolate is melted and all the ingredients have blended together well. Leave the mixture to cool down. Add the egg, flour and baking soda and mix them in. Put the dough into the cake tin. Wash the plums, cut them in half and remove the stones. Arrange the plum halves skin side down on top of the cake. Bake for 50 minutes. Sprinkle with caster sugar before serving.
Enjoy your meal!
By Chris Hennes
On Nov. 7, 2017, Modernist Bread will finally arrive on my doorstep. Having preordered it literally the first day it was available, to say I'm excited about this book is a bit of an understatement. The team at The Cooking Lab have been gracious enough to give @Dave the Cook and me early electronic access to the book and so I've spent the last week pouring over it. I'm just going to start with a few initial comments here (it's 2600 pages long, so a full review is going to take some time, and require a bunch of baking!). Dave and I would also be happy to answer any questions you've got.
One of the main things I've noticed about this book is a change in tone from the original Modernist Cuisine. It comes across as less "everything you know is wrong" and more "eighty bazillion other bakers have contributed to this knowledge and here's our synthesis of it." I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Myhrvold and company are now the most experienced bread-bakers in the world. Not necessarily in terms of the number of identical loaves they've produced, but in the shear number of different recipes and techniques they've tried and the care with which they've analyzed the results. These volumes are a distillation of 100,000 years of human breadmaking experience, topped off with a dose of the Modernist ethos of taking what we know to the next level.
The recipes include weight, volume, and baker's percentages, and almost all of them can be made by both a home baker and someone baking in a commercial facility. The home baker might need to compromise on shape (e.g. you can't fit a full-length baguette in most home ovens) but the book provides clear instructions for both the amateur and professional. The recipes are almost entirely concentrated in volumes 4 and 5, with very few in the other volumes (in contrast to Modernist Cuisine, where there were many recipes scattered throughout). I can't wait for the physical volumes to arrive so that I can have multiple volumes open at once, the recipes cross-reference techniques taught earlier quite frequently.
Plum tart with almonds
Starting from the first half of August, in the shops and on stands appear the first domestic plums. In September there are so many of them that I have a problem deciding which kind I should choose. Small and big, round and more ovate, violet, red and yellow. You can eat them fresh or make a lot of preserves (jams, plum stew, stewed fruits, pickles, liqueurs, plum brandy). Our favorite are big and round greengage plums, or slightly firm violet plums.
Plums have a lot of valuable attributes. They regulate digestion and protect us from free radicals. Dried plums are more valuable regarding vitamin and fiber content, but they have five times more calories than fresh fruits.
Plums have quite a lot B vitamins, so for a long time they have been well regarded for having a soothing effect on the nervous system and improving our frame of mind. That's why you simply have to make a plum cake. Either now or when the dreary autumn days arrive. Their benign impact on the nerves could be a good excuse for putting another piece of cake on your plate.
I don't like complicated cookery. In this recipe you will find a lot of ingredients, but even so, preparing this delicious cake is very simple.
250g of flour
half a teaspoon of baking powder
8g of vanilla sugar
3 tablespoons of sugar
150ml of 18% cream
150g of butter
600g of plums
1 egg white
3 tablespoons of minced almonds
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
200g of plum stew
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
50g of butter
3-4 tablespoons of flour
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
8g of vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk
Mix together the dry ingredients for the dough: flour, baking powder, sugar and vanilla sugar. Add cream. Mince the butter and add it to the dry ingredients. Quickly knead into smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for half an hour.
Heat the oven up to 200C. Cover a baking pan (e.g. for a tart) with the dough, leaving the edges slightly raised around the sides. Whisk the egg white and cover the dough with it. Sprinkle with the almonds and brown sugar. Bake for 14 minutes. Take it out of the oven. Don't turn off the oven.
Make the crumble topping when the dough is in the oven. Melt the butter, cool it a bit then add the flour, sugar, vanilla sugar and egg yolk. Mix it with a fork until you have lumps.
Clean the plums, cut them into halves and remove the stones. Cover the baked base with plum stew, add the plums and sprinkle with cinnamon and the crumble topping. Bake for 20 minutes.
Pineapple and coconut – the ideal couple
Today, inspired by the recipes from the book "Zielone koktajle. 365 przepisów" ("Green cocktails. 365 recipes") I prepared a light coconut-pineapple dessert. You may make it without sugar if you have enough sweet fruit. If your pineapple isn't very ripe, add a bit of honey to your dessert.
Ingredients (for 4 people)
300ml of coconut milk
150ml of orange juice
2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
50g of butter
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
4 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
4 slices of orange
Blend all the ingredients of the fruit mousse. Put it into some glasses and leave in the fridge. Put the desiccated coconut, sugar and butter into a pan. Fry constantly, stirring on a low heat until the butter is melted. Leave to cool down a bit. Put 2-3 tablespoons of it on top of the desserts. Decorate with a slice of orange, fruit and some peppermint leaves before serving.
Enjoy your meal!
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