Saturday, April 27, 2013

Daring Bakers' April 2013 Challenge: Savarin

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!


Servings: 8/10
2½ cups (600 ml) (12-1/3 oz) (350 gm) bread flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water, lukewarm
6 (320 gm) large eggs at room temperature, separated
½ satchel (1½ teaspoons) (4 gm) instant yeast or 15 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast
4 teaspoons (20 ml) (20 gm) sugar
2/3 stick (1/3 cup) (80 ml) (75 gm) butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) orange and lemon zest (optional)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) butter for greasing the work surface, hands, dough scraper & baking pan
In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons (1 oz) (25 gm) flour and yeast , cover with cling film and let rise 60 minutes
1.After 30 minutes put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and start working with the paddle at low speed adding flour until you have a soft dough that sticks to the bowl (about 2 cups or 270 gm) and work until it comes together , cover with cling film and let rest 30 min
2.Add the sponge to the mixer bowl along with a tablespoon of flour and start mixing at low speed (if you wish to add the zests do it now)
3.When it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl add one yolk and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
4.Add the second yolk , the sugar and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
5.Raise the speed a little
6.Add the third yolk and the salt and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
7.Keep on adding one yolk at the time and the flour saving a tablespoon of flour for later
8.Mix the dough until is elastic and makes threads
9.Add the butter at room temperature and as soon as the butter is adsorbed add the last tablespoon of flour
10.Keep on mixing till the dough passes the window pane test
11.Cover the dough with cling film and let it proof until it has tripled in volume 2 to 3 hours.

12.You can prepare the Pastry cream now if you chose to use it, and refrigerate it
13.While you wait prepare your baking pan buttering it very carefully not leaving too much butter on

14.Grease your dough scraper, your hands and your work surface and put the dough on it and fold with the Dough Package Fold two or three times around (5 folds twice or three times). Cover with cling foil and let it rest 15 minutes on the counter
15.Turn the dough upside down and with the help of your buttered dough scraper shape your dough in a rounded bun
16.Make a hole in the center with your thumb and put it in the prepared pan
17. Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm spot until the dough reaches the top of the pan about 1 hour
18.Pre-heat oven to moderate 340°F/170°C/gas mark 3
19.Bake the Savarin for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown
20.Meanwhile prepare the Syrup
21.When the Savarin is done take it out of the oven, let it cool and remove carefully out of the pan
22.You have two choices now : you can immerse it in syrup right now or you can let it dry out (so it will lose some of his moisture that will be replaced by the syrup) and soak it later on.
23.To immerse it in syrup it is a good idea to place it in the mold you baked it in (I’m afraid a spring-form one wouldn’t work for this) and keep adding ladles of syrup until you see it along the rim of the pan. Or you can just soak it in a big bowl keeping your ladle on top of it so it doesn’t float. Once the Savarin is really well soaked carefully move it on a cooling rack positioned over a pan to let the excess syrup drip
24.The soaked Savarin gains in flavor the next day
25.Whatever you decide the day you want to serve it glaze it and fill the hole with your filling of choice and decorate it. You can serve the Savarin with some filling on the side
26.Enjoy it !

Peach Flavored Syrup:

Servings: 1 savarin
1½ cups (350 ml) peach tea
1½ cups (350 ml) peach juice
1½ cups (350 ml) water
1 cup (240 ml) (8 oz) (225 gm) sugar
zest of one lemon
one cinnamon stick
1.Combine tea, water, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil
2.Let boil 5 minutes and remove from the stove
3.When cooled a bit add the peach juice.


Servings: 1 savarin
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apricot Jam
2 tablespoons water
1.In a saucepan mix jam and water and warm up
2.When the savarin is cool and soaked brush it with the glaze

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Daring Bakers' March 2013 Challenge: Hidden Veggies

Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

Pumpking Doughnut Puffs

  • All Purpose Flour- 1 3/4 cups
  • Baking Powder- 2 tsp
  • Salt-1/2 tsp
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice-1 tsp
  • Cinnamon-1 tsp
  • Vegetable Oil-1/3 cup
  • Brown Sugar- 1/2 cup
  • Egg-1
  • Vanilla Extract- 1 tsp
  • Pumpkin Puree-3/4 cup
  • Milk-1/2 cup
  • For Cinnamon Sugar Coating
  • Melted Unsalted Butter-1 stick
  • Sugar- 2/3 cup
  • Cinnamon-2 tbsp
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the first five dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, brown sugar,egg,vanilla, and pumpkinMix well.
  4. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and blend until combined. Don’t over mix.
  5. Fill a mini muffin tin up with batter almost to the top of each cup. Bake for about 10-11 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  6. For the Cinnamon Coating
  7. Melt a stick of butter in a small bowl.
  8. In another small bowl, mix the sugar and the Cinnamon.
  9. While the donuts are still warm, dip them first in the melted butter and then roll them in the Cinnamon Sugar mixture.
  10. Place on waxed paper or cooling racks to finish cooling.
  11. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' October Challenge: Napoleons

Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!
This wasn't a perfect recipe for me, there were a few issues with the dough and with the pastry cream, so I can't say I really recommend this particular recipe.

Pâte feuilletée /Puff Pastry

Servings: Makes 8-10 mille-feuille (yields: 675g pastry)
1¾ cup (250g) plain/all-purpose flour
Scant ¼ cup (55 ml) (1¾ oz)(50g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 teaspoon (5ml) (6 gm) salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (5/8 cup)(150 ml) cold water
14 tablespoons (210 ml) (7 oz) (200g) butter (for the beurrage), room temperature
3½ tablespoons (55ml) (30g) plain flour (for the beurrage)
Additional flour for rolling/turning
1. Cut the larger quantity of butter into smallish pieces and set aside at room temperature.
2. Put the larger quantity of flour into a bowl with the salt and the cold, cubed butter.
3. Lightly rub the butter and flour between your fingertips until it forms a mealy breadcrumb texture.
4. Add the cold water and bring together with a fork or spoon until the mixture starts to cohere and come away from the sides of the bowl.
5. As the dough begins to come together, you can use your hands to start kneading and incorporating all the remaining loose bits. If the dough’s a little dry, you can add a touch more water.
6. Knead for three minutes on a floured surface until the dough is smooth.

7. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

8. While the dough is chilling, take your room temperature butter and mix with the smaller amount of plain flour until it forms a paste.
9. Place the butter paste between two sheets of clingfilm, and either with a rolling pin or your hands (I found hands easiest) shape it into a 4.5”/12cm square. You can use a ruler (or similar) to neaten the edges.
10. Refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes so the butter firms up slightly. If it’s still soft, leave it a bit longer. If it’s too hard and inflexible, leave it out to soften a touch. You want it to be solid but still malleable.
11. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out on a floured surface into a 6”/15cm square. Place the square of butter in the middle, with each corner touching the centre of the square’s sides (see photo below).
12. Fold each corner of dough over the butter so they meet the centre (you might have to stretch them a little) and it resembles an envelope, and seal up the edges with your fingers. You’ll be left with a little square parcel.
13. Turn the dough parcel over and tap the length of it with your rolling pan to flatten it slightly.
14. Keeping the work surface well floured, roll the dough carefully into a rectangle ¼ inch /6 mm in thickness.

15. With the longest side facing you, fold one third (on the right) inwards, so it’s covering the middle section, and ensure that it is lined up
16. Then, fold the remaining flap of dough (on the left) inwards, so you’re left with a narrow three-layered strip
17. Repeat steps 14, 15, 16.
18. Wrap up in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
19. Repeat steps 14, 15, 16 twice.
20. Wrap up in clingfilm and chill again for at least 30 minutes.
21. Repeat steps 14, 15, 16 two final times.
22. Wrap up in clingfilm and refrigerate until needed. The dough keeps a couple of days in the fridge.

Pastry Cream / Crème Pâtissière:

(full batch; makes enough for 8-10 mille-feuille)
2 cups (450ml) whole milk
¼ cup (1¼ oz)(35 gm) cornflour/cornstarch
1 cup less 1 tablespoon (200gm) (7 oz) caster sugar
4 large egg yolks (if you’re making the royal icing, reserve two egg whites)
2 large eggs
¼ cup (2 oz) (60gm) unsalted butter, cubed
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla essence
1. Mix the cornflour/cornstarch with ½ cup of milk and stir until dissolved.
2. Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan with the sugar, dissolving the sugar and bringing the milk to the boil. Remove from heat.
3. Beat the whole eggs into the cornflour/milk mixture. Then beat in the egg yolks. Pour in 1/3 of the hot milk, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
4. Now, bring the remaining milk back to the boil, and add the eggy mixture, whisking as your pour. Keep whisking (don’t stop or it’ll solidify) on a medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and thoroughly whisk the pastry cream. At this stage the pastry cream can look slightly lumpy, but a good whisking soon makes it smoother.
(N.B. If you’re worried about the pastry cream continuing to cook off the heat, you can transfer it to a stainless steel/ceramic bowl.)
6. Beat in the butter and vanilla until fully incorporated.

7. If you haven’t already, pour the pastry cream into a stainless steel or ceramic bowl, and then place clingfilm over the surface to stop a skin forming.
8. Refrigerate overnight to give the pastry cream time to further thicken.

Mille-Feuille/ Napoleon/ Custard Slice

Servings: Makes 8- 10
1 x batch pâte feuilletée/puff pastry (see above)
1 x batch crème pâtissière/pastry cream (see above)
2 ¾ cups (660 ml) (12⅓oz) (350gm) icing sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) lemon juice
2 large egg whites
½ cup (2¾ oz) (80gm) dark chocolate
1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 200 °C /400°F/gas mark 6.
2. Lightly dust your work space with flour and remove your dough from the fridge.
3. Roll into a large rectangle, the thickness of cardboard. The recipe I followed specified no other dimensions, but I rolled mine to about 12”/30cm x 18”/46cm.
(I found it easiest to start the rolling on the work surface, and finish it off on a large piece of greaseproof paper. That way it’s easier to move the sheets of pastry around.)
4. Cut into three equal pieces and place on a baking tray. If you don’t have space for all three, you can bake them separately.
5. Prick the pastry sheets all over with a fork.
6. Place another sheet of greaseproof paper over the top and then a heavy baking tray. This will prevent the layers from puffing up too much.
7. Bake each sheet for about 25 minutes in a moderately hot oven 200 °C /400°F/gas mark 6, removing the top layer of greaseproof paper/tray 10 minutes before the end for the tops to brown. Keep an eye on them and lower the temperature if you think they’re browning too much.
8. Remove the baked sheets from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.
9. Once the pastry has cooled, you’re ready to assemble your mille-feuille. Get a sturdy flat board, your pastry and the chilled crème pâtissière from the fridge.
10. Lay one sheet on the board and spread half the crème patisserie evenly over the top.
11. Take the second sheet and place it on top, pressing down lightly with your hands to ensure that it sticks to the filling.
12. Spread the remaining crème pâtissière and place the last sheet of pastry on top, pressing down again.
13. Pop in the fridge while you prepare the icing / chocolate.
14. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, stirring periodically. Once melted, transfer to a piping bag (or plastic bag with end snipped), resting nozzle side down in a glass or other tall container.
15. To make the icing, whisk 2 egg whites with 2 teaspoons lemon juice until lightly frothy.
16. Whisk in about (2 cups) 300gm of the icing sugar on a low setting until smooth and combined. The mixture should be thick enough to leave trails on the surface. If it’s too thin, whisk in a bit more icing sugar.
17. Once ready, immediately pour over the top of the mille-feuille and spread evenly. I found that I didn’t quite need all of the icing.
18. Still working quickly, pipe a row of thin chocolate lines along the widest length of your pastry sheet (see below). You can make them as far apart/close together as you like.
19. STILL working quickly (phew), take a sharp knife and lightly draw it down (from top to bottom) through the rows of chocolate. A centimeter (½ inch) or so further across, draw the knife up the way this time, from bottom to top. Move along, draw it down again. Then up. And so on, moving along the rows of chocolate until the top is covered in a pretty swirly pattern.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' July Challenge: Crackers

 Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.

I was only able to make one cracker recipe, but it was definitely a good one.

Whole Wheat Crackers
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup of unbleached flour
¼ cup of finely chopped nuts or small seeds
(I like to use sesame seeds)
1/8 to ¼ cup of raw sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of salt free butter
½ cup of low fat milk
Heat up the oven to 325 degrees and get ready to go crackers! Whisk the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl.

Cut the butter in to smallish chunks and drop in the flour mix. Either cut in the butter or squish them with your fingers, till the mix is crumbly. Slowly mix in the milk till the dough comes together in a nice mass.

On of piece of baking parchment paper, roll the dough out as thin as you possibly can. If you leave it kind of thick you could possible break your teeth on the crackers. (just possibly) Slide the dough on the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Cut the crackers with a pizza cutter into strips, squares, diamonds or whatever strikes your fancy. Spray with a fine mist of water and sprinkle with something fun, like black sesame seeds. Pop in the oven and bake for anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes depending on how thick they are. You can tell they are done when the edges start to brown and the middle is firm.
Some different flavor ideas-
1) Add 2 tablespoon of cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika to the batter. Sprinkle with smoked paprika before baking. (my fav!)
2) Add 2 tablespoons of dried basil and 2 cloves of pressed garlic to the batter. Sprinkle dried basil before baking
3) Add 2 pieces of crumbled bacon and 2 tablespoons of finely grated sharp cheddar to batter.
4) Add 2 tablespoons of herbs de Provence and 2 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese to the batter, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
5) Add two tablespoons of finely crumbled blue cheese and walnuts to the batter, sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mocha Marble Cake with Whiskey Mocha Frosting

This is one of the many treats I have for sale at Carabosse's Bakeshop on Etsy. Stop by and check it out!
It is a lovely blend of dark chocolate and coffee, each enhancing the other, with the tang of whiskey to top it all off. Not to be missed!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' June Challenge: Battenberg Cake

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

Traditional Battenberg:

Servings: +- 8
¾ cup (1½ sticks) 175gm / 6 oz Unsalted Butter, softened & cut in cubes
¾ cup / 175gm / 6 oz Caster Sugar
1¼ cups / 175gm / 6 oz Self-Raising Flour (***see end of doc on how to make your own)
3 Large Eggs, room temp
½ cup / 65gm/ 2 1/3 oz Ground Almonds (Can be substituted with ground rice)
3/4 tsp / 3½ gm Baking Powder
½ tsp / 2½ ml Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp (1¼ ml) Almond Extract
Red Food Colouring, paste, liquid or gel
To Finish
1/3 cup (80 ml) 100gm /3 ½ oz Apricot Jam
1 cup / 225gm / 8 oz Marzipan, natural or yellow

Directions:1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/160°C Fan Assisted/Gas Mark 4
2. Grease an 8”/20cm square baking tin with butter
3. Line the tin with parchment paper, creating a divide in the middle with the parchment (or foil)
- Tip: See photos or watch video above for detailed instructions
4. OR Prepare Battenberg tin by brushing the tin with melted butter and flouring

5. Whisk together the dry ingredients then combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth
6. Spoon half the mixture into the one side of the prepared baking tin
7. Add a few drops of red food liquid/gel/paste to the remaining batter, stir until the colour is thoroughly distributed, add more colour if needed
8. Spoon the pink batter into the other half of the prepared baking tin
9. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, making sure batter is in each corner

10. Bake for 25-30mins until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean (it should shrink away from the sides of the pan)
11. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack
12. Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife
13. Cut each coloured sponge in half lengthways so that you are left with four long strips of sponge
14. Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is as neat and even as possible
15. Gently heat the apricot jam and pass through a small sieve

16. Brush warmed jam onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern (one yellow next to one pink. On top of that, one pink next to one yellow)
- Tip: See photos for detailed instructions
17. Dust a large flat surface with icing sugar then roll the marzipan in an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap the cake
18. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam
19. Place the cake on the marzipan, jam side down
- Tip: Either in the middle or to the one side of the marzipan
20. Brush the remaining three sides with jam
21. Press the marzipan around the cake, making sure the join is either neatly in the one corner, or will be underneath the cake once turned over
- Tip: If you put the sponge to the one side of the marzipan, I found it easiest to "roll" the sponge over and over onto the marzipan instead of lifting the marzipan up onto the sponge
22. Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with a knife, you can also crimp the top corners with your fingers to decorate
23. Neaten the ends of the cake and remove excess marzipan by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' May Challenge: Challah

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

Easy Challah (from
4 cups (960 ml) (360 gm/20 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) (11¼ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) package rapid rise yeast
½ (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 egg beaten with
1 tsp. water
1. Measure flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) combine water and yeast, allow to sit 5 minutes until foamy.
3. Add 1 ½ cups of the flour mixture to the water and yeast mixture, beat until well combined. Cover with a dish towel, let stand 30 min.
4. Add two eggs to the dough, beat again.
5. By hand or with your dough hook knead in the remaining flour mixture. Knead approximately 10 minutes.
6. Transfer to oiled bowl, cover, let rise one hour.
7. Punch down dough, knead approximately 3 minutes.
8. Divide dough in two. Shape each half as desired (3, 4, or 6 strand braid).
9. Place loaves on parchment covered or greased cookie sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise one hour.
10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
11. Brush loaves with egg wash.
12. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, bake until golden crust forms (about 25-30 minutes).
13. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.