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Your Daily Sweets (2005-2012)

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Let's make this very clear: I don't do sweet things. I don't make them and I generally don't eat them. With very, very, very rare exception. I can't remember the last time I attempted to tackle a cake or tart. So when a friend told me to make chocolate and chilli icecream, just as a throwaway thing on Facebook, within three days I owned a Cuisinart icecream machine and had some milk and cream in the fridge infusing with a handful of anchos. These things happen.

The icecream is churning right now. I followed the New York Times' recipe for bittersweet chocolate icecream, only I infused the cream with some ancho chilli and a little bit of nutmeg and clove. This will be the first time I've made icecream. I hope it's not shit.

I'm also candying some jalapeno, as my friend's 'plated dessert' idea also had a bit of that going on. Jalapeno might be too hot for this application: I'll test the pieces out and maybe duck down to the supermarket to 'downgrade' to some standard 'green'/'red' chillies.

EDIT

I just tasted the icecream before putting it in the freezer. The chocolate flavour is very good and for a minute there I thought it totally dominated the flavour of the ancho chilli: I wanted that, to a point, but I also wanted to be able to tell the chilli is there. But you can. Just when you think, oh, it's not there, how sad, you a nice warming after taste. Reasonably happy with it for a first attempt.


Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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My take on a Brownie Sundae. Malted Chocolate Ice Cream, Pecan Brownie, Caramel, Spiced Pineapple Relish, (the spices are vanilla bean, cardamom and ras el hanout)-

001.JPG

Sounds quite appealing. I did not recall you being a sweets person. Must pay more attention. I like the spice combination on the pineapple with the chocolate background.

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My take on a Brownie Sundae. Malted Chocolate Ice Cream, Pecan Brownie, Caramel, Spiced Pineapple Relish, (the spices are vanilla bean, cardamom and ras el hanout)-

001.JPG

Sounds quite appealing. I did not recall you being a sweets person. Must pay more attention. I like the spice combination on the pineapple with the chocolate background.

I love sweets, but I'm not much of a pastry cook. I do make a mean ice cream though and I love experimenting with fruits and exotic spices. Pineapple and chocolate is a lovely marriage.

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This weekend I had the opportunity to partake in what was definitely one of the coolest hands-on learning experiences ever. A good friend whose family is primarily Croatian is getting married in May, and these people do not have a reception without plenty of liquor, sausage, the occasional fist fight, and "povitica". For those who haven't even heard of it, povitica (POE-vu-TEETZ-uh) is a sweet bread made of micro-thin (if you are doing it correctly) dough layered with a filling of very finely ground walnuts, sugar, and other stuff I promised not to give away. I grew up eating this stuff in Kansas City, Kansas, where there has always been a large population of Croatians and Serbians on "Strawberry Hill". Whether the bread is originally Polish, Croatian...I have no idea, but I'm always shocked when I run into people from this area who haven't even heard of it before. And I'm even more shocked when people gush over the commercially produced version from the "Strawberry Hill Povitica Company". If you've ever eaten that stuff, comparing it to the real, grandma-made version is like Wonder Bread vs. whomever makes your favorite artisanal small batch breads. For the wedding they needed 16 loaves to put in the freezer, so Saturday we made 8 and yesterday they made another 8. It is NOT a short process, and so even though I've got a few photos, I don't have any of the finished, baked product yet....but I'm going to put together a whole blog write-up with a ton of photos (and as I promised the ladies- absolutely no detailed recipe intel, lol). This was the first time in my 42 years I've ever actually seen this stuff made....

Enough dough for 2 loaves-

Pov01.jpg

It is stretched thin on top of a floured cotton bed sheet-

Pov02.jpg

Once you can read a newspaper through it without destroying it in the process, the filling is dumped in the middle and spread as thinly as possible to cover every square millimeter. Oh, and speaking of the filling...I got to take a small leftover amount home, and on the instruction of our host we picked up some Pillsbury crescent rolls and rolled the filling into those before baking. It wasn't terrible.

Pov03.jpg

And the "no guts no glory" moment when you lift that sheet and send the dough rolling down onto itself....

Pov04.jpg

Repeat the above process four times and you've got eight loaves ready for the oven....

Pov05.jpg

I'll post a pic of a finished loaf when I get them, but this was a crazy amount of fun. I might try and make it at home sometime, on a smaller scale, but I have a feeling the ladies who have baked it their entire lives made it look much easier than it is, lol.

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WOW, that dough is awesome!

So, is it kind of like a flaky cinnamon roll?

After it bakes, the top layer or two is kind of crispy/flaky, and a commercial/mediocre loaf is more like a cinnamon roll in that the layers are a little looser (the dough layers MUCH thicker) and if you tried picking up a slice you'd have layers flake and fall away and filling would spill out. Even bad povitica is still pretty good, but the good homemade stuff is way, way more dense and extremely heavy. The layers don't really flake, but you could unroll them if you wanted....they'd just be moist and buttery, and the filling would adhere much tighter. It will fall apart under its own weight, and is best eaten with a fork after you nuke it for a few seconds and add a pat of butter on top.

Edited to add: I thought I'd at least find a decent example of the good stuff via Google images, but what I got was twelve pages of pretty sorry examples...nothing remotely close to the thin/tight layers you're going for in a good batch.


Edited by Zeemanb (log)

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WOW, that dough is awesome!

So, is it kind of like a flaky cinnamon roll?

After it bakes, the top layer or two is kind of crispy/flaky, and a commercial/mediocre loaf is more like a cinnamon roll in that the layers are a little looser (the dough layers MUCH thicker) and if you tried picking up a slice you'd have layers flake and fall away and filling would spill out. Even bad povitica is still pretty good, but the good homemade stuff is way, way more dense and extremely heavy. The layers don't really flake, but you could unroll them if you wanted....they'd just be moist and buttery, and the filling would adhere much tighter. It will fall apart under its own weight, and is best eaten with a fork after you nuke it for a few seconds and add a pat of butter on top.

Edited to add: I thought I'd at least find a decent example of the good stuff via Google images, but what I got was twelve pages of pretty sorry examples...nothing remotely close to the thin/tight layers you're going for in a good batch.

*adding this to my list of things I must eat before I die*

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Zeemanb, does povitica taste anything like strudel? The doughs look similar and the process for stretching them is similar. Wish I could have a taste. :hmmm:

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Jerry – what a great experience! The odd thing is that I KNOW I’ve seen that bread. Here, in Richmond, I mean. Now where the heck would that have been?

I made some Buttermilk Spice Muffins yesterday for Mr. Kim to take to work:

med_gallery_3331_119_126232.jpg

The recipe is from Mimi's Cafe. This is the muffin that we always get when we go.

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Zeemanb, does povitica taste anything like strudel? The doughs look similar and the process for stretching them is similar. Wish I could have a taste. :hmmm:

It's somewhat similar, but I think the dough recipe is different and the mouthfeel with the "goo" vs. fruit is pretty different. Funny you ask, because the same ladies I know who are great at povitica also do a MEAN apple strudel. Using Shelby's comparison to a cinnamon roll, I think flavor and texture-wise it's pretty close to the whole thing being made of the center part of a cinnamon roll, minus the cinnamon (at least in the traditional recipe) and throwing in a Baklava-ish nut filling.

And Kim- if you DID find it in Richmond, unless the family making it could trace its tree back to "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair you didn't eat the genuine article! :laugh:

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Kim, if you figure out where you saw it, let me know. I'm in the Richmond area too.

Jess

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Jerry - I'm sure that's true, but like you said even bad is pretty good and if I see it, I'll be trying it :raz: .

Jess - hey, neighbor! Will do! Nice to find another Richmond eG'er!

Deena - I forgot to say how gorgeous your cupcake is! Are those toasted coconut flakes? mmmmm

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Kim - we are actually in Louisa county, but I work in Richmond, so that's what I list as home. We moved here from TN about a year ago. Obviously, there is not much for a food lover out where we live. Twenty minutes to the nearest grocery store. We do most of our shopping and eating out in Richmond.

Jess

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Zeemanb, does povitica taste anything like strudel? The doughs look similar and the process for stretching them is similar. Wish I could have a taste. :hmmm:

It's somewhat similar, but I think the dough recipe is different and the mouthfeel with the "goo" vs. fruit is pretty different. Funny you ask, because the same ladies I know who are great at povitica also do a MEAN apple strudel. Using Shelby's comparison to a cinnamon roll, I think flavor and texture-wise it's pretty close to the whole thing being made of the center part of a cinnamon roll, minus the cinnamon (at least in the traditional recipe) and throwing in a Baklava-ish nut filling.

Yes, looks like strudel, but the dough? Yeast, right (from the pic) or not?

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Yes, looks like strudel, but the dough? Yeast, right (from the pic) or not?

Yes, and a TON of it at that. Dough rises for an hour, and then the loaves rise for another hour before baking.

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Heres an ice cream I churned today. Its the basic recipe from 'Jenis Splendid Ice Cream,' I added about 9 bags of early gray tea to the hot ice cream base, allowed it to steep over night, a touch of Baileys, and it came out wonderful.

Earl Gray Ice Cream.jpg


Edited by minas6907 (log)

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Bro-in-Law's Paul's 60th birthday cake half demolished...or why we didn't have pie for National pie/pi day. Five kinds of chocolate. Not too shabby.

P9080001.JPG


Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Tried the "Cheesecake Mosaic" recipe from Pierre Herme's new book, Pastries. There were some reviews that said the volume conversions in the recipes were off, so I worked off the weights, instead. Unfortunately, the pistachio cheesecake part did not set well, so was a bit runny. The pistachio mousse turned out well, with good texture and flavour. I did not have sour cherries, but used fresh raspberries, instead. Overall, the flavours and textures complemented each other, with nuttiness from the toasted pistachios/pistachio paste, freshness from the raspberries, and a touch of saltiness from the salted white chocolate and base.

Cheesecake Mosaic 2.jpg

Cheesecake Mosaic 1.jpg

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Tried the "Cheesecake Mosaic" recipe from Pierre Herme's new book, Pastries. There were some reviews that said the volume conversions in the recipes were off, so I worked off the weights, instead. Unfortunately, the pistachio cheesecake part did not set well, so was a bit runny. The pistachio mousse turned out well, with good texture and flavour. I did not have sour cherries, but used fresh raspberries, instead. Overall, the flavours and textures complemented each other, with nuttiness from the toasted pistachios/pistachio paste, freshness from the raspberries, and a touch of saltiness from the salted white chocolate and base.

OMG! That's a thing of beauty! Where did you find red raspberries fresh at this time of year?


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Bro-in-Law's Paul's 60th birthday cake half demolished...or why we didn't have pie for National pie/pi day. Five kinds of chocolate. Not too shabby.

Day-UMMM Darienne. You had me at "five kinds of chocolate", lady ! Fabulous, just fabulous.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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OMG! That's a thing of beauty! Where did you find red raspberries fresh at this time of year?

Fortunately, the perpetual sun in California allows us to have raspberries in winter here in Canada!

minas6907 - That Earl Grey and Bailey's ice cream combination sounds so good - must try it when the weather warms up.

Darienne - Agree with Pierogi about the five kinds of chocolate. Wow!

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Trying to come up with Passover desserts, and tried a parsley semifreddo with Manischewitz syrup. Shows promise (though the horseradish was a big mistake).

semifreddo.jpg

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      *made the baby's flower bonnet
      I modeled the baby's neck and shoulders, then stuck that right on the top pot. Then I cut the skewers that are coming out of his head to the right length and pushed it down through the neck and shoulders.

      I placed the arms and formed the hands. I stuck my umbrella stem through the arm and down into the cake so there would be adequate support......but darn, I wasn't watching carefully, and the skewer came out of the side of the pot because my angle was a bit off. Oh well, I'll cover that up with a leaf. At least you can see where the umbrella stem is on the skewer. On top of the umbrella stem is a little half dome of modeling chocolate, to support the gumpaste umbrella. I dab a bit of melted white chocolate on that, and stick the umbrella on top. Now all I have to do is place my flowers, mount the banner, and put his little bonnet on.

      And here we have the finished product. It's sort of hard to read the banner....it says, "May Showers Bring Adorable Flowers". One thing I always seem to to do.....I'll shoot the picture of my finished cake and I'm always tired.....so I'm too lazy to find a good backdrop. Then I curse myself later when there's that yukky kitcheny background. God, in one picture I took, my cake had a dirty mop bucket behind it! All I can say is, thank god for Photoshop......I can always "fix" it later.
      It took me 8 hours to put this together and that's not counting all the prep I did the whole week prior. I don't think a whole lot of people realize the time that goes into this stuff.....and it's also why you don't see it very often.
      Anyway, the girl that's getting the baby shower has NO IDEA this is coming. Surprising her is going to be the best part!
      Fast forward to the next day. My boss's wife and I are bringing the box inside the house, then removing the cake from the box. Kids are dancing around us....."is that a CAKE? Is that a CAKE?" People gather round, and the girl who's getting the shower sees it and starts crying. She gives me a big hug and says "I don't know how to thank you!" I told her she just did.
      The shower went on, presents were opened, food was eaten, champagne was sipped.......and then.....it was time......the part that the kids almost couldn't wait for.....time to eat cake! Which of course, means, time to cut cake. And guess who gets to do it. Yep. Me. I don't have to cut my own cakes very often, and that's a good thing. Usually I'm nowhere in the vicinity when my cakes are cut and consumed.....I have only the memory of a photograph and my labor. This time I also do the deconstructing.....and I gotta say it was bittersweet. Especially since knowing it took me 8 hours to build it and only 15 minutes to take it apart. May I say.......wah? Yes. Wah. Luckily I'd had a couple glasses of Mumm's so my "pain" was numbed a bit.......
      Hope you all have enjoyed this bit of cake sculpting. Now back to our regular programming.......
    • By Nn, M.D.
      I'm very excited to share with you all a recipe that I developed for a double crust apple pie.  I had been inspired a few weeks ago to come up with a series of 3-ingredient recipes that would focus on technique and flavor but still be simple enough for the unseasoned chef.  I decided to make an apple pie as a challenge to myself--never having made one before--and as a way to show those who might find pastry intimidating how easy and adaptable it can be.
       
      Basic Shortcrust Pastry
      Ingredients:
      - 300g flour
      - 227g salted butter, cold
      - 2 lemons, zested with juice reserved
       
      1. Cut butter into small chunks.  Beat butter, zest of the 2 lemons, and flour together with an electric mixer OR combine with pastry blender OR rub together with fingers OR blitz in a food processor until it resembles sand.
      2. Add just enough water to bring the mix together into a dough (about 20g for me).  You'll know your pastry is ready when you can press it together and it stays in one piece.
      3. Divide dough in two and wrap tightly with plastic.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
      4. When ready to use, roll out each portion to 13 inches in diameter. (I do this between two sheets of parchment paper.  Don't worry too much if the parchment sticks to the pastry. I periodically placed mine in the freezer to help keep everything cold, and the butter will separate from the parchment when frozen.)
      5. Take 1 portion of rolled dough and place it in a 9-inch tart tin with a removable bottom.  Gently press into the sides to ensure even coverage.  Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Freeze the other portion of dough in-between the parchment pieces.
       
      Apple Filling (and Assembly)
      - 1 kg apples (I used about 7 apples for this recipe.)
      - 220g dark brown sugar, divided
      - 1 egg, separated
       
      Making the apple butter: 
      1. Cut and core 500g of your apples, but do not peel.  Add cut apples, juice of the one lemon, about 100g or so of water, and 170g of sugar to a large saucepan.
      2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let the apples cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
      3. Remove from heat and blend until smooth.
      4. Return puree to saucepan and simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, for an hour.  Color should deepen and the mixture should thicken slightly, but do not allow it to scorch.
      5. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.
       
      Apple filling:
      1. Peel, quarter, and core the remaining 500g of apples. Slice on a mandolin to about 1/8th inch thickness. Place sliced apples in a large bowl of cold water while slicing remaining apples.
      2. Once apples are sliced, drain water and add the juice from the remaining lemon, as well as the remaining 50g of sugar, over the apples. Stir to coat.
       
         
       
      Assembly:
      1. Remove pie base from the freezer.  Dock with a fork and brush on egg white.  Place back in the freezer and allow to set for for about 5-10 minutes.
      2. Pour the entire recipe of apple butter into the pie base and even out with an offset spatula.
      3. Arrange apple slices over the apple butter.
      4. Remove remaining pie dough from the freezer and cut designs in while still cold. Transfer to the surface of the pie and seal overhanging edges.  Trim excess dough.
      5. Brush top pastry with egg yolk (beaten with any remaining egg white) and bake in a 365˚F oven for 60-70 minutes.  Crust should be shiny and golden brown.
      6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from tin.
       
      Some notes:
      The reason for using salted butter is I think the flavor incorporates a little better into the mix than if I were to use unsalted butter and added salt.  That being said, you could do that instead, though your recipe would then have 7 ingredients The addition of apple butter here takes the place of the normal apple pie filling, which is usually thickened with cornstarch and is typically quite sweet.  By using the apple butter, I push the flavor of apple forward beyond what you would find in a typically apple pie.  Also, the apple butter acts as a glue of sorts so that my slices are always clean, so no need to resort to adding thickeners or extra sweeteners. I'm always looking for a way around blind baking, and using an egg white seal has worked out very well for me. The egg white creates a water-tight layer between the crust and the filling, so no matter how wet my filling is, the crust will always bake crispy and won't get soggy for as long as the pie is around. Feel free to change this up as you see fit.  Obviously you can spices to this (I recommend cinnamon, clove, and cardamom) but the beauty of this pie is that it's really not necessary.  Although at first blush it may seem one-noted, the harmony between the flaky, almost savory crust and the bright and refreshing filling is one that doesn't need any help, in my honest opinion.  

       
      So there you have it! My 6-ingredient apple pie, sure to become a go-to for me, and hopefully for you as well!
       
    • By ResearchBunny
      Posted 6 hours ago Dear EGulleters,
      ResearchBunny here. I've just found you today. I've been lolling in bed with a bad cold, lost voice, wads of tissues, pillows, bedding around me. I spent all of yesterday binge-watching Season 2 of Zumbo's Just Desserts on Netflix from beginning to grand finale. I have been a hardcore devotee of Rose Levy Beranbaum since the beginning of my baking passion -- after learning that she wrote her master's thesis comparing the textural differences in cake crumb when using bleached versus unbleached flour. I sit up and pay attention to that level of serious and precision! While Beranbaum did study for a short while at a French pastry school, she hasn't taken on the challenge of writing recipes for entremets style cakes. That is, multi-layer desserts with cake, mousse, gelatin, nougatine or dacquoise layers all embedded in one form embellished with ice cream, granita, chocolate, coulis. After watching hours of the Zumbo contest, I became curious about the experience of designing these cakes. Some of the offered desserts struck me as far too busy, others were delightful combinations. I was surprised that a few contestants were eliminated when their offerings were considered too simple or, too sophisticated. So I'd like to hear from you about your suggestions for learning more about how to make entremets. And also, what you think about the show. And/or Zumbo.
      Many thanks.
      RB
      ps. The show sparked a fantasy entremet for my cold. Consider a fluffy matzo ball exterior, with interior layers of carrot, celery, a chicken mince, and a gelatin of dilled chicken broth at its heart!
    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
       
      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
    • By pastrygirl
      Anyone have a favorite recipe for chocolate cake using semisweet chocolate?  My usual chocolate cake recipe uses cocoa, but I have some samples of chocolate I want to use up for a workplace party.  Yes, I could make brownies or ganache frosting, or chocolate mousse or chocolate chunk cookies, just feeling like cake this weekend ...
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