Monthly Archives: January 2010

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A quick reviewSherry Yard’s the Secret Books of Baking is one of the finest books on Baking. She has created Desserts for Grammy Awards;Emmy awards and academy awards too.Even the most elaborate pastry creations can be broken down to simple pastry that anybody can master,that’s what Secrets of Baking is all about.Her book is like a bible to me.Not only does she talk about how ingredients work she also talks about how recipes are interlinked. Her Deep Dark Chocolate Tart and Halsey tart is to die for.I tried the “Danish Braid Bread” from her book and I must say it was just perfect….simply outstanding!!! This bread is called the “Vienna Bread” in Denmark and in the rest of the world it’s the “Danish Bread”.When I had decided to bake this bread,the looks of it made me a li’l nervous but it wasn’t that difficult as I had anticipated it to be.Sherry made it a lot easier .I tweaked the recipe a li’l to suit my taste.I always wanted to participate in the Bread Baking Day event and finally here it is – perfect Bread for Jamie’s Birthday Party :) .Isn’t this apt for your party Jamie???? Here it is for your eyes….

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DANISH BRAID BREAD

Danish Dough-(called the D`etrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or a tbsp active dry yeast
½ whole milk
1/3 cup Sugar
Zest of 1 orange,finely grated
1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
2 large eggs,chilled
¼ Cup fresh orange juice
3 ¼ cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt

For the Butterblock(called the Beurrage)
2 Sticks butter,unsalted
¼ Cup All Purpose flour

Filling
3 Pears ,peeled and finely chopped
½ C Sugar
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
½ tsp Vanilla extract
¼ Cup lemon juice
2 tbsp butter

For the Egg wash
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

Dough – Combine yeast and milk in a bowl of standing mixer,mix on low speed.Slowly add sugar,orange zest,vanilla extract,eggs and orange juice and mix well.Combine flour and salt and li’l by li’l .Knead the dough for five mins more until smooth. Add a li’l more flour if its sticky.Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30mins.

Butter Block – Combine butter and flour in a mixer.Cream on medium speed until smooth and lumpy.Set aside at room temperature.You should it end up with fully creamy texture,which should be easy to spread.
Once the Dough is chilled,transfer it to a work surface.Using a rolling pin,roll the dough into a rectangle (close to 18x13inches) and ¼ inch thick. L’il dough can help if its still sticky.Spread butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough.Fold the left edge of the dough to the right, covering half of the butter block.Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center right.This is the first turn.

Place this on a baking sheet ,wrap in a plastic film and refrigerate for 30mins.Place the dough again on a floured surface, the open ends should be on your right and left.Roll again to a rectangle, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third.This is the second turn. Again refrigerate the dough for 30mins.Roll out,turn and refrigerate the dough two more times,for a total of four more times.Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least five hours to overnight.The Danish dough is ready to use.

Filling – Toss the pears with all ingredients except butter.Melt butter over medium heat.Saute the pear mixture intil soft and caramelized.Cool it.(The original recipe called in for Apple Filling)

Make the Braid – Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into a 15x20inch rectangle,1/4inch thick. Place it on the baking sheet.Create a fringe down one long side of the pastry by making parallel,5 inch long cuts with a knife,spacing them 1 inch apart.Repeat on opposite side.Spoon the filling down to the center of the rectangle.Starting at one end,fold the strips of fringe over the filling,alternating one by one,right,left,right and so on.When the last strips have been folded,trim them neatly.

Egg Wash – Whisk together egg and yolk in a small bowl.Using a pastry brush,lightly coat the braid with the egg wash.

Bake - Cover the braid with plastic film and allow it for proofing for about 2 hours,or until doubled in volume or light to the touch.Preheat the oven at 400F.Place on the center rack and bake for 10 mins.Rotate the pan from back to front,turn the oven temperature down to 350F and bake for 8-10mins.The original recipe called in for 15-20mins,but mine was done in less than 10 mins.Cool and serve the braid.

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The cooled braid can be wrapped tight and stored refrigerated for upto 2 days or freeze for a month.

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Verdict – Aesthetic looks makes it all the more appealing.Good texture makes it all the more intriguing. This pastry tastes and looks best when it is filled with a fruit filling that isn’t very juicy.I love love loved it A must try recipe!

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Forget love– I’d rather fall in chocolate:).

I had to rework on my site as I changed my Domain.Thanks to P and R who helped me with it. I was hoping this to work before DBC and thank god,its just up in time.This month, it’s a Gluten free challenge,a dessert of Canadian origin – a type of no bake Chocolate square. Sweet Rice flour and Sorghum flour were the two new entries to my pantry.The challenge had two parts – Making Graham Crackers and then using it to make the Nanaimo bars.I have always used store brought Graham Crackers and making them from scratch was quite a task.On the other hand the bars were pretty easy to work with. They consisted of a crumb based layer on the bottom,a total chocolaty top with a creamy vanilla custard in between.

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

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Preparation time:
• Graham Wafers: 30 to 45 minutes total active prep, 2 ½ hours to overnight and 45 minutes inactive prep.
• Nanaimo Bars: 30 minutes.

NANAIMO BARS

GLUTEN FREE GRAHAM WAFERS

Ingredients

1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Sorghum Flour
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.
9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.

Ingredients:
For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups Icing Sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
4 ounces Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Directions:

1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

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Verdict: When it comes to chocolate,nothing else seems to matter.Its sinful!!!!!
The chocolate over powers any other flavor in this bar.I think the custard was a little less and I cudnt get good thick middle layer.However it is,just one small square of this bar can satisfy ones chocolate cravings!

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