Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Nov Challenge: White Chocolate-Raspberry CROSTATA



This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was hosted by Simona from BricioleSimona challenged us to make crostata (tart), an Italian dessert. The base of a crostata is pasta frolla (or pastafrolla), sweet short crust pastry (or sweet tart dough) made of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. I have made a White-Choclate Rapsberry Crostata. The recipes have been inspired by those in the book La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene by Pellegrino Artusi (1820-1911). I have made Pasta Frolla using version 2 that Simona gave.
For the Pasta Frolla
AP Flour - 1/2 Cup
Wholemeal Flour - 1/2 Cup
Rice Flour - 1/4 Cup
Almond Meal - 1/4 Cup
Superfine Sugar - 1/3 Cup
Salt a pinch
Lemon Zest - 1 tsp
Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp
Butter - 85 gms cut into small cubes
Egg -1 
Put sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and pulse a few times until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal. Empty food processor's bowl onto your work surface.Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten egg and vanilla extract into it. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients then use your fingertips. Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball. Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. Heat the oven to 190ÂșC].Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it. To help roll the crostata dough, keep the dough on top of the plastic wrap that you had it wrapped in. This can help rolling the dough and can also help when transferring the dough to your pan. You can also use parchment paper for this. However, you can also roll the dough directly on a work surface if you prefer.Lightly dust the top of the dough and your work surface (if you’re rolling directly on a work surface) with flour. Keep some flour handy to dust the dough as you go along. If the dough is very firm, start by pressing the dough with the rolling pin from the middle to each end, moving the rolling pin by a pin's width each time; turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat; when it softens, start rolling. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick.If you used the plastic wrap or parchment paper as rolling surface, flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap.Trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan. Press the remaining dough around the border into the sides of the pan making sure the border is an even thickness all the way around. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places. Blind bake the pastry for about 15 minutes. 
Blind-baking is a process often used in baking. To blind-bake a tart shell, you line the unbaked tart (once you’ve placed it in the tart pan) with parchment paper or aluminum foil. You then fill the tart with pie weights. If you don’t have pie weights, you can use dried beans. You pour these on top of the parchment paper or aluminum foil to weigh the paper down. You then bake the tart for a period of time to ensure that it is at least partially cooked. The weights help to ensure that the tart base does not bubble up during baking and that it bakes evenly. The blind-baked tart is then cooled and filled according to the recipe instructions.
For the White Chocolate-Raspberry Filling (Adapted from Cannelle Et Vanille)
White Chocolate - 200 gms
Heavy Cream - 250ml
Whole Milk - 200ml
Egg Yolks - 4
Vanilla Bean Paste - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 20 gms
Fresh Raspberries - 200gms
Method: Bring milk and cream to a boil with vanilla bean paste and pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk the yolks with sugar . Temper the hot chocolate with the eggs. Strain the custard. Place the raspberries on the baked and cooled pastry. Pour the custard into the shell and bake for about 30-45 min. Refrigerate until complete cooled.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cinnamon-Vanilla Hot Chocolate Macaroons

Its MacAttack #13 and yes I was worried it might turn unlucky after 2 failed #Mac attempts. But I finally found feet thanks to "S" who kept pushing me to keep trying until I found firm feet!
This month Jamie and Deeba asked us to create Macs inspired by Fall. To me, Fall means deep cinnamon flavour, luxury of hot chocolate, romantic movie nights, boozy food and the falling leaves announcing the arrival of holiday season. I made cinnamon flavoured Macaroons, Hot Chocolate Macaroons in my tongue, and Iced them with yet another holiday favourite, White chocolate-Amaretto Ganache.
Thanks Jamie and Deeba for such a wonderful challenge and for being a great support. It's Thanksgiving time... this year I am thankful for having wonderful friends I met on the Net/Twitter and through blogging.
Hot Chocolate Macaroons (Adapted minimally from David Lebovitz's recipe)
Aged Egg Whites - 2
Cocoa - 25gms
Powdered Sugar - 100 gms
Superfine Sugar - 65 gms
Almond Meal - 60 gms
Cream of Tartar - pinch
Egg Whites Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Vanilla Bean Powder - 1/4 tsp
Line a baking sheet with silpat and place the macaroon template underneath. In a processor pulse the cocoa and almond meal until fine. Sieve this along with the powdered sugar in a bowl. Add the cinnamon and vanilla. In another bowl whisk the egg whites till frothy gradually adding the sugar in two goes, along with the whites powder and cream of tartar. Continue beating until stiff and firm. Fold in the dry ingredients into the whites in two-three batches until you get a smooth mixture with no streaks of whites. Fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe circles onto the parchment paper. Rap the tray on the counter top a few times to flatten and leave them to form a skin for about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 160C and bake the macaroons for about 15-18 depending on the size. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Once completely cooled sandwich them with the filling of your choice.
White Chocolate-Amaretto Ganache
White Chocolate - 100gms
Heavy Cream - 1/4 Cup
Amaretto - 1 tbsp
Method: Boil the cream and pour over chopped chocolate. Stir in the Amaretto. Let it cool completely. Fill a pastry bag and pipe on the cooled shells.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Its Pumpkin Mania Here!

Just a sneak peak into my pumpkin baking series...Halloween Extended...I like spooky!
I made these pumpkin cupcakes for a bake sale at hubs office (not to forget the yummy black forest cupcakes) and also baked a pumpkin challah (jewish bread)!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Kalakhand and Chocolate Pistachio Barfi...Diwali Celebrations!

Happy Diwali Everyone and  here is my adventurous Diwali story...
D-3: My Indian clothes were sent to me by my sis from India. I was on cloud 9.
D-2: Got permission to set off fireworks outside my apartment. Rushed to the supermarket and got some fireworks! I was excited!
D-1: Altered my clothes to a perfect fit. Made (an experimental) Kalakhand, Chocolate Barfi and Moong Dal Chakli. They turned out perfect. I was elated!
D-'Diwali' Day: Got up early very excited unaware of the nightmare unfolding! I had my mouthful of paste (the usual one intended for brushing teeth - no pun intended), opened the tap, no water. Tried opening all the other taps in the house and still no water! Hubs rushed to store to buy water for washing, but no water for anything else. The whole apartment had no water and we were the unlucky ones to stay home to celebrate Diwali and had to end up with no water even for a quick shower. I was disappointed!!!!
D-Day+16h: Somehow everything worked out and eventually we did have a nice Diwali. We had a wonderful meal with friends who have now become close family for us, set off fireworks and I was so glad it all ended well. I was happy and content!!!
Saffron-Pistachio Kalakhand made with Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta Cheese - 4 250g tubs
Condensed milk - 2 Cans
Cardamom Powder - 3tsp
Milk Powder - 4 tsp
Saffron - a pinch
Chopped Pistachios - 50gms
Juice of 1 or 2 Lime
Ghee - 1-2 tbsp
In a heavy bottom non-stick pan mix the ricotta, condensed milk, milk powder,lime juice,saffron, ghee and cook on medium heat till the mixture becomes thick and looks a bit curdled (about 10-15min). It should come of the sides of the pan. Pour this into a greased tin and cut into squares or diamonds. Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top or decorate with silver leaves.
End of Chapter 'D'.
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