Wednesday, September 28, 2011


 Breakfast in Bed : Saffron-Scented Chocolate Hazelnut Croisssant
Lunch Box Treat:Cheese & Onion Croissant with sea salt & cracked black pepper
 The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child! (Remember Julie & Julia?).

I pretty much stuck to the recipe but made a sweet & a savory version. Just before I rolled the pastry into a croissant I carefully spooned the filling into the triangle & then rolled it up.

¼ oz (7 gm) of fresh yeast, or 1¼ teaspoon (6¼ ml/4 gm) of dry-active yeast (about ½ sachet)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water (less than 100°F/38°C)
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4½ gm) sugar
1 3/4 cups (225 gm/½ lb) of strong plain flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
1½ teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml/¼ pint) milk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil
½ cup (120 ml/1 stick/115 gm/¼ lb) chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg, for egg wash
1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
2. Measure out the other ingredients
3. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
4. Place the flour in a large bowl.
5. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour
6. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl
8. Knead the dough eight to ten times only. The best way is as Julia Child does it in the video (see below). It’s a little difficult to explain, but essentially involves smacking the dough on the counter (lots of fun if you are mad at someone) and removing it from the counter using the pastry scraper.
9. Place the dough back in the bowl, and place the bowl in the plastic bag
10. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size.(Photo 3)
11. After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the sides of the bowl with your fingertips.
12. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches (20cm by 30cm).
13. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up)
14. Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag.
15. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge
16. Place the double-risen dough onto a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the plate in the fridge while you prepare the butter.
17. Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to incorporate the butter
18. Place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board.
19. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat.
20. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.
21. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest for a minute or two.
22. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
23. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle
24. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 mm) across from all the edges.
25. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up.
26. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book).
27. Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
28. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up.
29. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
30. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly floured board or counter.
31. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little
32. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes
33. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
34. Fold in three, as before
35. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
36. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising)
37. It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants
38. First, lightly butter your baking sheet so that it is ready
39. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board or counter
40. Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle (51 cm by 12½ cm).
41. Cut the dough into two rectangles (each 10 by 5 inches (25½ cm by 12½ cm))
42. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold
43. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches (38 cm by 12½ cm).
44. Cut the rectangle into three squares (each 5 by 5 inches (12½ cm by 12½ cm))
45. Place two of the squares in the fridge
46. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is nearly square
47. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles.
48. Stretch the triangle out a little, so it is not a right-angle triangle, but more of an isosceles.
49. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape.
50. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet
51. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total.
52. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour
53. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
54. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water
55. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants.
56. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely
57. Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Saffron scented Chocolate-Hazelnut Croissant

100g dark chocolate chopped
100g toasted Hazelnuts chopped
freshly grated nutmeg a pinch
At step 48, sprinkle the filling into the triangle and carefully roll-up and follow the steps.

Onion-Cheese-Smoked Sea Salt-Cracked Black Pepper Croissant
1 large Onion chopped
50g Mature Cheddar grated
Smoked Sea Salt as per taste
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Method:At step 48, sprinkle the filling into the triangle and carefully roll-up and follow the steps.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

FBC Part 2

The Video recipe challenge with the gorgeous Anjum Anand & 2 lucky winners soon began. She demonstrated how to make her  courgette carpaccio served with a lovely chickpea salsa which she prepared using Cuisinart’s Hand Blender and Griddle and Grill & the also creamy summery Indian dessert Shrikhand. We enjoyed all the craze surrounding her station but Anjum had to rush back home, as it was a festive  day (RakshaBandhan) back home for her.
Next day I loved Jaden's (Build a Career in Food Blogging; Diversify, Brand & Monetize) session & the lovely Caroline MiLi Artiss made Black Olive Tapenade while we enjoyed brunch. Do check out the foodies enjoying their food pics!
  Simone from JungleFrog @PhotoWorkshop
Food Photography and Styling Workshop with Beatrice Peltre of Tartine Gourmande

Gorgeous Anjum Anand showing us to make courgette carpaccio served with a chickpea salsa

Courgette Carpaccio served with a Chickpea Salsa
FoodBloggers do Eat & Enjoy their food - Proof:1
FoodBloggers do Eat & Enjoy their food - Proof:2
FoodBloggers do Eat & Enjoy their food - Proof:3
FoodBloggers do Eat & Enjoy their food - Proof:4
Black Olive Tapenade in the making.
Caroline MiLi Artiss makes Tapenade with an Asian Twist.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies for my Blog

Its been a while since I blogged about food..I mean, I have not managed to make something blog specific, although, in between, I have managed to bake more than a dozen cakes. Of course I was busy! With FBC & then I met my old friend and weekends have never been the same. More celebrations..More Cakes but no time for a blog baking! With summer officially over, there is no better way to welcome autumn & the chilly nights than a big chunk of ooey goeey fudgy brownie warm with or without a scoop of ice-cream. Now is the time to get cozy and all cuddly finding comfort & warmth in steaming bowls of soup and favorite puds. (I for some reason find cold seasons particularly romantic).
{PS: 'S' has gone all soft & gooey like these brownies...he bought me this really gorgeous charm }.

I made these from Eric Lanlard's recipe and I do sometimes mix a bit of green-tea or raspberry powder to the cream cheese mixture along with some ricotta, for a different flavor high. Sometimes I just bake them plain and toss some fresh raspberries & white chocolate into the batter. This time I just left them plain.(As you can see not the best swirl pattern). You could slightly underbake it if you like oozy gooey & bake it a little longer if you want fudgy brownies.
Cream Cheese Brownies
For more RECIPE IDEAS visit BakingMad
For the Brownie

150g Unsalted Butter
200g Dark Chocolate, chopped
100ml Strong Coffee
250g Sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
Pinch Salt
3 Eggs
100g Plain Flour
For the Cream Cheese Swirl
100g Cream Cheese
50g Ricotta
60g Sugar
1 Beaten Egg
1tsp Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm square tin with butter and line with baking paper.
Melt the butter and chocolate in large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat once melted and leave to cool. Stir the sugar, vanilla and salt into the butter and chocolate mixture, then whisk in the eggs and beat until smooth. Stir in the coffee, then sift in the flour and beat until glossy. Set aside.
For the cream cheese swirl, in a bowl beat the cream cheese & ricotta until smooth and then stir in the sugar, egg and vanilla. Spoon the brownie mixture into the lined tin, then top with the marble topping mixture, using a skewer swirl & create a marbled effect. Be careful not to over mix or you will lose the effect. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 mins – you may have to cover the tin with foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking to prevent the top from over browning.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the tin. Refrigerate the brownies for a few hours in fridge or freezer if you want clean lines when cutting the brownies.
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