June 24, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Mixed Berry Cobbler

Beth of Our Sweet Life chose Mixed Berry Cobbler as our recipe of the week. I was excited to see this recipe as I had just gotten fresh raspberries and blackberries at the fruit market, but I do have mixed reviews about the results. As others noted in the Q-and-A section of TWD, there were issues with the topping.

I chose to make the cobbler in individual ramekins. I used the raspberries and blackberries and mixed them with a bit of sugar and a splash of lemon juice. I piled the fruit into the ramekins, knowing that it would all bake down in the oven.

To make the topping I mixed flour, sugar, butter, and milk until it was "soft and sticky." I tested the mixture and it tasted pretty good at this point. I rough-rolled it into circles to cover the ramekins and laid each on top of the fruit.

The cobblers were baked for 30 minutes at 375 and came out bubbly and spilling over the edges a bit--perfect!

Jacki came over and helped me taste the creations. Her first reaction was that the topping tasted like raisin bran. I'm not sure that's exactly what I would say, but the dry part of the topping did taste plain. Digging into the dishes, however, we found topping that had started to sop up the berry juice. That part was, hot, juicy...just what a cobbler should be like.

End Notes:
  • I will definitely be making this recipe again...with a few changes
    --almond or vanilla flavor in the topping
    --sugar sprinkled on top
    --lots of strawberries--the juice will soak into the topping
  • "Baking: From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan can be purchased here: Amazon
  • Tuesdays With Dorie site is here: TWD

Each time I go into the kitchen to bake something, Joey comes in and wants to be near me. Since my hands are usually full and my attention is on the baking activities, he had resorted to jumping on the only available place--my back. I have some nice scars to show where he has dug his claws in. I recently moved a stool to the middle of the kitchen so he can safely watch the activities without hurting me. Here he is on his stool waiting for me to finish the day's work.
June 19, 2008

It's a boy

My assistant's sister is having a baby boy so I offered to make a cake for the shower that Shelly is hosting. (Insert lots of praise here--I have the best assistant!!!)

Shelly left left the design up to me, saying, "put your touch on it, please," but requested that the cake definitely be "that great white cake you make." Those directions left me lots of room to try new things.

I made fondant buttons for the border. I'd love input on how other people make these. I cut circles using an icing tip and then made the indentation with a dowel and the buttonholes with a #2 tip. They look okay to me, but not quite professional.

I also tried a loopy bow. Going from pictures on CakeCentral, and a general description I read in a forum thread, I made individual loops. I blindly guessed how many loops I would need and how big they would need to be. I'm not too disappointed with the result, but I should have made some small loops for the very top. I had extra space and no loops of the right size so I threw a few additional buttons in to fill up the white space. Suggestions for improving my bows are also welcome.

The sides have baby feet and the word "baby" piped on them.

  • WASC
  • VIVA Buttercream
  • Satin Ice fondant
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Edited to add---I just found out a great old friend had her baby on June 4th--congrats Martha and Steve. I thought about you when making this cake today. Wish I could send you one, too.
June 18, 2008

Peppermint Chip Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is one of my favorite treats. I had fresh mint leaves and some cream left over after making the Peppermint Cream Puff Ring earlier this week so I decided to make some ice cream this afternoon. I threw the ingredients in the ice cream freezer and in about 40 minutes had a delicious bowl of one of my favorite flavors--a great treat on a rather warm day.

  • Heavy whipping cream/half-and-half/milk in any combination to equal 4 cups
    --I had extra mint-flavored cream from when I steeped the mint leaves for the cream puffs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Vanilla to taste
  • Peppermint flavoring if desired
  • Chopped chocolate chips (I used bittersweet)
June 17, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Peppermint Cream Puff Ring

Here we first TWD.

I've been looking forward to baking since I came across TWD entries on other blogs and now it's my turn to join in the fun. This week's recipe, Peppermint Cream Puff Ring) was chosen by Caroline of A Consuming Passion. I still have not received my book so I scrounged up a recipe on (Edited to add -- The book arrived in the mail today. It's wonderful.)

I originally planned to just watch the action this week and start the action next week since I don't have the cookbook yet, but excitement got the better of me and Saturday night found me at Kroger buying the ingredients I didn't have on hand.

Ingredients needed:

  • water
  • whole milk
  • unsalted butter
  • sugar
  • salt
  • flour
  • eggs
Peppermint cream
  • heavy whipping cream
  • fresh mint leaves
  • chilled crème fraîche or sour cream
  • sugar
  • peppermint extract (optional)
  • bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • whipping cream
  • light corn syrup
  • sliced almonds, toasted
  • additional fresh mint leaves

I began by starting the peppermint cream. I boiled and steeped the cream and mint leaves and then chilled it overnight. In the morning, I strained the cream and whipped it. Then I folded in a mixture of sour cream (no crème fraîche at my Kroger) and sugar. The pale green tint from the mint leaves was a great color.

Instead of making the pastry in a ring shape, I chose to make individual puffs. I had a brunch to attend on Sunday morning and the puffs were easier to serve at the location of the party. To make the pastry I mixed the water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt and brought it to a boil. I then added the flour and stirred, continuing to cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes...long enough to dry it out a bit. Next, I put the mixture in my stand mixture and turned that on the lowest setting to stir for a few minutes (tip received from steph (whisk/spoon) and others at TWD). This allowed the steam to escape before I added the eggs. I always have a fear of adding eggs to hot mixtures and the tip to let steam out was a great one.

When all the eggs were mixed in, the dough was "silky and shiny." I used a piping bag to make the individual puffs on parchment paper and then baked them for about 15 minutes. When done, I turned off the oven, leaving the puffs inside. This helped them dry out completely and not be too eggy-tasting.

After filling each puff with the peppermint filling, I made chocolate glaze with bittersweet chocolate, corn syrup, and more cream. I drizzled this over half of my puffs, leaving some plain for the crazy people who don't like chocolate.

End notes:
  • Thank you to all the TWD people for the great welcome and inspiring blogs. I'm glad to be here with you.
  • The cream puffs were well-received at the brunch.
  • I would like to flavor the filling with raspberry, strawberry, or orange next time.
  • This was a fun recipe to make. I hadn't made cream puffs in a long time even though they are pretty simple.
  • I need to remember to take more pictures...and work on my photo techniques. The light in my kitchen is not favorable to good pictures.
  • "Baking: From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan can be purchased here: Amazon
  • Tuesdays With Dorie site is here: TWD
June 11, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie

I joined Tuesdays with Dorie this week. This group is baking through the book "Baking: From My Home to Yours" and sharing the results on our blogs. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my newest baking book...any day now. I'm hoping to not only bake more, but also increase my photo-taking and writing skills at the same time.

You can see the book here: Amazon
June 08, 2008

Lemon Coffe Cup Cake

Here is the lemon coffee cup cake I mentioned earlier. There's nothing really special about it other than the name it was given. For a party at school, I made a WASC (the best white cake in the world) filled with raspberry jam. The coffee cup is lemon cake baked in a pyrex bowl to get the perfect shape, then covered in fondant and given a handle. I swirled chocolate icing on top and added marshmallows to make it look like hot chocolate. In my opinion, hot chocolate is not needed in Louisville as it doesn't really get that cold, but it was a winter party so I went with it.

  • White Almond Sour Cream (WASC) cake
  • Homemade raspberry jam filling
  • Vanilla buttercream icing
  • Lemon cake (from a box)
  • Fondant
  • Chocolate icing
June 06, 2008

Congratulations Katie!

Katie's getting married!
A wedding always calls for a shower, and a shower calls for cake. I was asked to make the cake, and following Katie's great brainstorming session, I came up with this. The design is not new. I looked at divaricks' and other cakes on CakeCentral and chose the gown because of its simplicity.
As we were talking, Katie mentioned chocolate, white, strawberry, cream cheese, and on and on. She wanted to make it easy on me by letting me choose what to make, but sometimes doing that makes it a lot harder. I finally settled on most of what we talked about.

Behold the strawberry cream cheese cake.

  • Yellow cake
  • Strawberry buttercream filling (the VIVA recipe)
  • Cream cheese icing
  • Fondant decorations