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By Nn, M.D.
Hello all! I am excited present a cake that has taken weeks of mental planning and troubleshooting. What I will say is that making this cake has taught me so much about mastering a technique rather than a recipe, and I think that lies at the heart of what it takes to be a good baker.
I wanted to re-create the flavors of ginger ale by making a cake that was very ginger-forward, but that also that was balanced and scrumptious. The start of the recipe is the crystallized ginger.
¾ cup ginger, peeled and sliced to 1/8th in thick
3 cups water
¾ cups sugar
Peel about 8 oz fresh ginger root. Slice the ginger on a bias; I used a mandolin to get my slices even thickness. Add to saucepan with high sides, and pour the water over top. Bring to a boil and reduce to a strong simmer for 30-35 min. Take off the heat and drain the broth, reserving 3 tablespoons (I saved the rest of the broth in ice trays, and it will go in teas and shakes). Add sugar and water to drained ginger and place on medium high heat. Stir constantly until water dissolves and sugar recrystallizes on ginger's surface, about 10 minutes. Pour onto sheet pan to cool completely and dry, at least 1 hour.
Since I was already peeling ginger, I went ahead and peeled some more for my ginger jelly. Shout out to the eGullet community: I asked*** about how to create some sort of jam or jelly to fill the cake, and you guys provided such great help. I adapted some techniques from a few recipes to come up with one of my own, and I think it came out quite well.
⅔ cup ginger, peeled and grated or chopped in food processor
5 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
seeds from lemon
1 packet liquid pectin
Add ginger and water to saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.
Then add sugar, lemon juice, and zest to pan and increase heat to medium high.
Allow to boil for 15 minutes, then add pectin and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes and then remove from heat to cool completely. Consider using a piece of cling-film on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. When cooled, run through a fine mesh strainer to remove ginger chunks.
I went with a genoise sponge because it's my favorite sponge to make. It's very simple, very elegant, and very easy to customize. I tried replacing 1 egg with 3 egg yolks and I think this is going to be new baseline genoise recipe. Also sorry for switching to grams from here on, I just always do cakes in metric
7 whole eggs, extra large or "jumbo"
3 egg yolks
250 g sugar
200 g whole wheat pastry flour
50 g corn starch
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
30 g butter, melted and warm but not hot
Separate 3 eggs and reserve the whites. Add yolks to additional whole eggs and sugar and whip on medium-high speed for 8 minutes, until you have reached ribbon stage. In the meantime, sift together dry ingredients, pre-heat your oven to 350˚F, and line two 9-inch tins with parchment. Do not grease the tins as the cake needs to climb the sides of the pan. Once eggs and sugar are whipped, add dry mix, one heaping tablespoon at a time, with mixer on lowest possible speed.
Once flour is almost completely incorporated, add a few dollops to butter and mix vigorously. Add buttered batter to main batter and fold in with rubber spatula, being careful not to deflate the batter. Once fully mixed in, split between two tins (roughly 500g mix each if using "jumbo" eggs). Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove, allow to cool for 10 minutes, and release by running offset spatula on outside to free from sides. Invert cake, remove parchment, and place back on cooling rack to cool completely.
When ready to use, split into 2 layers each, 4 layers total. Brush each exposed side with milk (or simple syrup).
This buttercream is special to me because I have been learning about confectionary lately, marshmallows in particular. This was a recipe I developed that was inspired by marshmallow fluff + Italian meringue buttercream. The idea of the barley malt syrup is that it has a strong, malty flavor that feels very ale-y when added to sharp ingredients like ginger.
200 g barley malt syrup
100 g water (I used ginger broth from crystallized ginger!)
210 g sugar
3 egg whites
½ tsp cream of tartar
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp sea salt
350 g butter, at room temperature
Heat syrup, water and sugar over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Then, reduce to medium and bring temperature up to 118˚C (I got to about 115˚ and my pan started scorching, so I aborted there. Try swirling the syrup every now and then and use a pan with quite high sides). Once at temperature, remove from heat and whip eggs and cream of tartar until frothy. Pour syrup into egg whites while on medium speed and then increase to medium-high speed to whip until room temperature. While whipping, add ginger, turmeric and salt. Once cool, add butter 2 tbsp at a time on medium-low speed. Stop mixer, scrape down sides, and whip on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
To assemble, place a small dollop of frosting on the cake stand and place one layer of sponge. Make frosting border and fill with half the jam. Place next sponge on top and using large ice cream scoop, add 3 scoops frosting to the top of the sponge. Even out layer and take remaining frosting out to cake edges. Place next layer on top, repeat border and jelly, and finish with the final cake layer. Add 5 scoops to the top of the sponge and even out to thin layer, taking remaining frosting out to the edges and covering the sides.
Once crumb coated, place in fridge for 20 minutes. Then take out and frost with remaining buttercream.
Smooth out sides and top of cake and adorn with candied ginger.
Such a nice result and such a tasty cake. Using milk as my soak has really improved the texture of the final sponge, which is super supple and moist. I think 3 egg yolks might be the key to the cake being so moist. It's a sturdy sponge with a tender crumb, and the turmeric actually calms the fury of the ground ginger and produces a very mellow fragrance that you smell right before you take a bite.
Breakfast in India vs Breakfast in our homes outside India
My breakfasts have varied from the time I started to cook for myself instead of just enjoying my Mother’s cooking. At first they were a mix-match of meal fixings, or just dinner leftovers. Or the good old breakfast cereal and milk. But as the years passed and I was more organized, the meals I enjoyed in my Mother’s home began to swim in my memories. And I began to prepare those for my family. However, I am no amazonian chef, so depending on the hectic nature of the days plans, I switched back and forth from convenience with taste, to elaborate and of course tasty breakfasts. We do have both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods but Indian breakfasts will mostly be vegetarian.
So here are some of the things I might make:
1. Poha as in mostly ‘kande pohe’.
2. Cheela/ Pudla
3. Masala toast
4. Indian Omelette
5. Handwo piece
7. Vaghareli rotli
8. Dhokla chutney
9. Idli sambhar
10. Leftover sabji
1. Kande Pohe:
The dish derives its name from Maharashtra where the Kande Pohe are celebrated as breakfast. They can of course like any breakfast, be eaten at any time.
Pohe/ Poha are steamed rice grains that have been beaten flat and then again redried. So they are like Rice flakes. Except they are hand pounded, so have a knobbly texture.
You get several varieties in the market. I prefer the thick white variety.
1 cup dry poha per person
1 medium onion sliced
1/2 jalapeno deseeded
1 sprig curry leaves
2 small garlic cloves
1/4 t cumin seeds
1/8 t asafoetida
1/4 t turmeric
small handful of cilantro leaves
1T fresh grated coconut
2 T Peanut oil
salt to taste
sugar to taste
In a pan heat some oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter, add sliced onions and stir. Saute on medium heat till they turn slightly browned here and there. Do not burn the onions.
Meanwhile wash the Poha in a colander and drain. Do this two or three times to get rid of any dirt and also to allow them to rehydrate. They do not need soaking. Fluff the poha with a fork. Add salt sugar turmeric asafoetida and chopped cilantro. Mix and set aside.
Once the onions are ready add minced garlic and chopped jalapeno along with the curry leaf sprig.
Turn the heat to low and add the poha mixture. Stir to coat and to allow the turmeric and asafoetida to cook. The poha will turn mildly yellow and start giving a wonderful fragrance.
Turn off the heat. Fluff gently and plate. Garnish with fresh grated coconut and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Finger licking good!!
Now when I make this next I will post a picture.
Update: Ok I felt the urge to have Kande Pohe for tonight’s dinner. So here is a picture. I am certain to enjoy it for breakfast as well. The measurement of 1 cup poha per person is too much for one meal. But carried over to another meal thats super good! I will also have some stir fried bok choy greens made in the same kadhai after the poha was done, and some cooked and sliced beetroot for salad. My family will add some haldiram sev on the poha for extra crunch! And we will all have some chaas to round off this meal.
2. Cheela/ Pudla
These are essentially crepes but in the Indian style.
1/2 cup sieved garbanzo bean (Besan) flour.
Water to form a thin batter
1T plain yogurt
1/2 t ginger garlic paste
1/4 or less green chili crushed
2 t heated oil *
salt to taste
chopped cilantro (two sprigs)
some ‘masala’ from a readymade pickle
mix the ingredients together except oil. Heat oil in a separate pan and add about 1 to 2 t of the hot oil onto the batter. It will sizzle. Use a whisk to stir thoroughly. The batter should be pouring consistency.
Let the batter soak for about half an hour if possible.
On a hot griddle, pour a ladle full of the batter. Turn the griddle with your wrist to spread the batter around. Cook on moderate to high flame. Flip the crepe when all the sides look like they are ready. You can add a little oil to the sides of the frying pan to make the edges crispy.
In my home we usually have a Besan cheela with some yogurt its a quick and filling breakfast. You can have a small salad or fruit with it to make it more complete. Or fill the center of the cheela with some cottage cheese and fold for added creaminess!
3. Masala Toast :
1 slice of bread (your choice) toasted
1/2 small red onion minced
1 medium roma tomato diced (or whatever you have)
cilantro (few leaves)
1/8 t cumin (optional)
1/4 t chaat masala ( available in stores)
1 inch cube paneer
1 T peanut oil
pinch turmeric (optional)
Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Add the tomato and cook down to mush. Crumble the paneer and add the dry spices. Stir for a few seconds to warm the paneer. Add the cilantro and though I have not written it as an ingredient, I like a few drops of lemon juice. Do not overcook paneer.
I started this topic because someone asked for Indian recipes on the new forum. I don’t think they have seen any yet. I hope they find this useful. I am enjoying it.
I will add recipes to the list slowly. I have to however add that after a certain ‘age’ I have now resorted to having to make sure I have three things for breakfast besides coffee: a glass of water, a small portion of fruit and a small portion of some protein not necessarily meat.
By Wholemeal Crank
I remember making bundt cakes with 'baked-in' filling, and now I wonder: would a basic fruit curd stand up to being baked in the middle of a bundt cake without horrible texture fail?
Could something like this basic curd work, chilled enough to allow it to be applied with a pastry bag over the half-filled bundt cake batter, and topped with more batter? Dreaming now of a pistachio cake with pomegranate filling, but thinking about other combinaions as well--what are the key characteristics required in a 'bake-in' filling?
2/3 cup sugar
2 T cornstarch
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 egg yolks, whisked together
1/3 cup butter, cut into chunks
Stirred the sugar, cornstarch and juices together until there were no lumps, then brought it to about 160 degrees. Gradually added it to the whisked eggs, returned to heat, brought to near boil so the cornstarch thickened, then strained it into a bowl, whisked in the butter, and poured into serving dishes to chill.
So, what is everyone doing for the pastry & baking side of Easter?
I'm working on the following chocolates: fruit & nut eggs, hollow bunnies, Jelly Belly filled bunnies, coconut bunnies, dragons (filled with rice krispies & chocolate), peanut butter hedgehogs, and malted milk hens. Hoping to finish my dark chocolate production today and get started on all my milk chocolate items.
My father-in-law will be baking the traditional family Easter bread a day or two before Easter. Its an enriched bread and he makes two versions -- one with raisins and one without (I prefer the one with raisins).
And I was lucky enough to spot this couple in the sale moulds stock at last year's eGullet chocolate & confections workshop in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. These love bunnies help so very much with Easter chocolate production! ;-)
I've been doing mirror glazed cakes for a while, and finally decided to try a spider web effect. It "kind of worked", but of course it could have been a little better. I include a photo, it is a lemon-blueberry entremet cake.
I would like to know a little more about the chemistry behind the effect - I know it is mainly due to a contrast of temperature between the freshly poured mirror glaze (at around 98F but sitting on a frozen surface, so it immediately cools down a lot) - and the hot (perhaps 125F) neutral glaze with the contrasting color. My question is - apart from the temperature, is there a difference in density that is needed? anybody knows how the neutral glaze compares to most mirror glaze formulas in terms of density? I know I could try and calculate it, but I am using a store-bought neutral glaze and the precise composition is not available.
can a spider web effect be produced with mirror glaze at low temp and a similar composition of glaze at higher temperature? Probably it would not "smear" as nicely, though...
I am rambling... but honestly, I've searched for more explanations on this everywhere... no luck
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