Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers Make A Grapefruit Tian!!


The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.
This was a fantastic challenge! Definitely yummy! I wasn't sure at first what an Orange Tian was, but it is essentially a cookie crust, a layer of marmalade/jam, flavored whipped cream, and orange fruit segments, drizzled with an orange-caramel sauce. We were allowed to use any citrus fruit we chose, and while there are some great options out there (blood oranges, Ugli fruit, tangerines, etc) I decided I really wanted to use Ruby Red Grapefruit!! 

This is not an overly complicated dessert to execute, it just takes proper planning and time to execute. And the result? The first bite, I wasn't too thrilled. The second bite I thought "hmm, not too bad!" The third bite saw me scarfing down the rest of my serving and offering to finish off anyone else's! The grapefruit was a great choice - it wasn't too sweet or too rich. The tang from the citrus compliments the sweetness of the whipped cream and the marmalade perfectly. The caramel drizzle, which at first I was a little hesitant about, tops the whole thing off beautifully! You have GOT to try this! :) 

Equipment required:
• Cookie cutters . Ideally, you should have about 6 cookie cutters to build the desserts in and cut the circles of dough. The cookie cutters will be the size of your final dessert, so they should be the size of an individually-sized tart mold. If you don’t have round cookie cutters you could use a cheesecake mold without its base.
• A food processor (although the dough could be made by hand too)
• A stand-up or hand mixer
• Parchment paper or a silicone sheet
• A baking sheet
• A rolling pin
For the Pate Sablee: (20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to rest, 15 minutes to roll out, 20 minutes to bake)
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
½ teaspoon vanilla extract 
¼ cup + 3 tablespoons Unsalted butter ice cold, cubed; 3.5 oz; 100 grams 
1/3 teaspoon Salt; 2 grams
1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons All-purpose flour; 7 oz; 200 grams
1 teaspoon baking powder; 4 grams
·        Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
·        In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.
·        Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
·        Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.
·        Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.
For the Marmalade: (20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to blanch)
¼ cup + 3 tablespoons Freshly pressed orange juice; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
5 grams pectin 
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked
·        Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
·        Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
·        Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.
·        Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
·        Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.
·        In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
·        Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until cool.
For the Orange Segments: (20 minutes, overnight to sit)
For this step you will need 8 oranges.
·        Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice.
·        Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.
[I would highly recommend watching a You-Tube video on how to to segment oranges if you have never done this before! It really comes in handy for making pretty segments, which you are going to want!]
For the Caramel: (15 minutes, overnight to sit)
1 cup granulated sugar; 7 oz; 200 grams
1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons orange juice; 14 oz; 400 grams
·        Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.
·        Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.
·        Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.
[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]
For the Whipped Cream: (15 minutes)
1 cup heavy whipping cream; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatin
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon orange marmalade (see recipe above)
·        In a small bowl, add the gelatin and hot water, stirring well until the gelatin dissolves.
·        Let the gelatin cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream.
·        Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute.
·        Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high.
·        Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatin slowly while beating continuously.
·        Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade. If the whipped cream is not firm enough, the tian will fall apart when serving. It is better to take the whipped cream a little past soft peaks than risk not having the peaks be firm enough. 
[Tip: Put your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]
Assembling the Dessert: (20 minutes, 10 in the freezer)
·        Make sure you have some room in your freezer.
·        Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.
·        Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.
·        Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
·        Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Think apple tart.
·        Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

·        Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

·        Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
·        Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
·        Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Peanut Crusted Chicken and Grilled Pineapple Salsa


I believe spring is finally here! The weatherman keeps telling me it is going to snow again, but I don't believe him. My tulips are sprouting, and I swear I saw a bee today. Spring is coming!!! I can feel it!!

To celebrate, I decided I needed something semi-tropical for dinner this evening. I found a great recipe on Cooking Light's website, but I jazzed it up a little and made it my own. It turned out spectacularly!! The chicken was nice and moist and had a good flavor. The salsa was awesome!

Peanut Crusted Chicken and Grilled Pineapple Salsa

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
Juice from 1 lime
1 Jalepeno, chopped
1/3 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 slice sourdough bread
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 boneless skineless chicken breasts
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
cooking spray

Combine peanuts and bread in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over chicken.
Dredge chicken in the breadcrumb mixture.
Place chicken in a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Heat a grill pan to medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.
Grill pineapple chunks until they are slightly warm and have pretty grill marks on them. If you don't have a grill pan, you can skip this step. Cut the pineapple into smaller chunks.
In a medium bowl, combine the pineapple, red onion, cilantro, juice from 1 lime, and jalepeno. Toss.

Serve and enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Daring Cooks Make Risotto!


The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

Risotto is a great comfort food - thick and creamy, super filling, and definitely delicious. It is great because there are so many different things you can do to it - change the ingredients a little and you get a completely different dish! Many people think that risotto is overly hard to make, requiring hours and hours of standing over a hot stove stirring. Luckily, it doesn't! A great risotto doesn't take massive muscular fortitude, or an entire afternoon! 

Risotto Base
olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
14 oz or 400 g rice (Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.)
2 fl oz or 60 ml white wine 
1 Liter or 2 pints chicken or vegetable stock , simmering
3.5 oz or 100 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
2 oz 60 g parmesan cheese, grated
Any other ingredients you want to add - I chose to add shredded chicken, chopped proscuitto, fresh chopped sage, and peas. 
  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
  7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
  8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.
  9. Add whichever other ingredients you want at this point along with the remaining stock and the butter. 
  10. Stir in the parmesan, stick the lid on and let it sit for a few minutes. 

Note: Don't let it get gluggy!! If you leave it a little runny, it will thicken up as it cools down. There will also be tasty sauce to lick from your bowl. Extra liquid also helps when you're reheating it. We found the preserved lemon one very strong on flavour. To counteract it we added some goats cheese which worked a treat. If you want to make your own variations then add what you want when the 3rd lot of stock is added. We made a chicken and pesto by adding cooked chicken (you can use the leftovers from the stock), mushroom, fresh basil and semi sundried tomatoes. I do have photos lurking around but the disk went missing.... Will add them when I find it.
According to Jamie Oliver ‘”You want it to be smooth, creamy and oozy, not thick and stodgy.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Glorious Carrot Zucchini Muffins


I have recently been looking in pregnancy cookbooks for some ideas on super tasty, super nutritious recipes. One that I saw over and over again was some sort of vegetable related muffin. Some recipes were for carrots, some zucchini, some had pumpkin, there were all kinds. I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted, so I decided to go ahead and combine them all. And I am sooo glad that I did! These muffins are super dense, super nutritious, and sooo very yummy. I thought that the spices would give it a really "fall" flavor, but the cardamon and orange zest really brighten the flavors. I dare you to try them!

Glorious Carrot Zucchini Muffins

1 1/2 cups zucchini -- shredded
1/2 cup carrot -- shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached flour -- sifted
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 can pumpkin
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange peel
1 cup walnuts -- chopped (optional)
1 cup raisins – optional 

2 tablespoons wheat germ - optional

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, wheat germ, spices, and salt. 

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, applesauce and canned pumpkin. Add the vanilla. Mix well. 

Slowly add in the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until everything is well incorporated.

Fill greased (or lined, if you like liners) muffin tins 2/3 of the way full and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. These muffins are REALLY dense, so it might take another 5-10 minutes for them to completely cook all the way and get nice and golden on top. Be patient with them, they are worth it! This recipe makes 24 muffins. 


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