Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dobos Torte- A Daring Bakers Challenge




The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague



When I opened up the forum, ready for my first ‘Bakers Challenge’ and saw this Torte, my first reaction was to opt out. I pulled myself together and reminded myself that it’s called a challenge for a reason. I was tempted to add a liquor or coffee to the cake layers, but I’m glad I didn’t. I think the brilliance of this torte comes from the delicate richness of its flavours; the contrast of the rich smooth taste, with the light nothingness of the cake.

I had never made any of the elements of this cake and I was surprised at how much fun they where. I was most nervous about making caramel, resulting in me taking it off the heat a bit too soon. Once I’d poured some on the cake layer I realised how light it was. I put it back on for a few minutes, and then poured it onto greased baking paper. It made a beautiful, thin crunchy layer with a nutty taste. I liked it much better straight then on the cake.

I could have used a little more direction with the butter-cream, regarding cooking times, texture etc, but it worked in the end. All in all it’s a good thing this is so labour intensive or I’d be making it way to often.

You could make a white chocolate version of this with any fruit/colour combination. It’s a stunning decedent cake, perfect for a special occasion.




Dobos Torte

Sponge cake layers
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
pinch of salt

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.
1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)
4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)







Chocolate Buttercream
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.
1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. When whisking the eggs over the bain marie, keep going until you it passes the "Figure 8 test". To do the test, lift your whisk up and draw a figure 8 with the run off. When you can finish a whole figure 8 and still be able to see it on the surface of your egg mix without it all sinking back into the mix immediately, it's thick enough. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool for about an hour to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. If you're in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you'll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!




Caramel topping
1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
8 teaspoons (40 ml) orange juice
1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.
Angela's note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

Assembling the Dobos
1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Cut and then let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Matsuri




Okonomiyaki

Batter:

4 cups self-raising flour
4 cups corn flour
½ cup of dashi
3 tablespoons mirin
4 Eggs
Water as needed

Filling:

1 cabbage shredded
3 carrots shredded
2 cups sugar snaps shredded
3 cups thinly sliced beef or lamb

Method:

Mix all batter ingredients together until smooth and set aside.

Fry off meat add veg and sauté until just cooked.

Mix together and spoon small amounts onto a lightly oiled non-stick hotplate on a medium heat.

Wait for bubbles to appear on surface and flip. Leave to cook for 5 minutes (depending on the thickness of your pancake) turning every now and then.

Put on a plate and top with toppings. Serve

Toppings:

2 bottles Japanese Mayonnaise
3 bottles Okonomiyaki Sauce
3 cups Aonori (seaweed flakes)
3 cups Katsuobushi (fish flakes)
3 cup Beni shoga (Pickled Ginger)


Yakisoba

Chukamen (Yakisoba Noodles)
Sōsu yakisoba (yakisoba Sauce)
1 cabbage shredded
3 carrots shredded
2 cups sugar snaps shredded
3 cups thinly sliced pork
2 onions thinly sliced
½ bulb of garlic crushed
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger

Method:

Boil noodles until just cooked. Drain and run cold water over them until completely cool. Set aside.

Fry meat with garlic and ginger, add vegetables. Add sauce and then noodles. Continue to toss in pan until all mixed through and hot. Top and serve.

Toppings:
Mayonnaise, anori, katsuobushi, beni shoga.


Yakitori

2 kilos chicken thigh cut into cubes
4 bunches of spring onion cut into 2 inch stalks
3 bottles of Yakitori no tare (yakitori sauce)
100 skewers

Alternate chicken and spring onions on skewers. Place on container and top with sauce. Leave to marinate over night. Grill while basting with sauce.

Daring Cooks August Challenge


About The Daring Kitchen

The Daring Bakers: A History

In November 2006, Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice decided to challenge themselves to bake pretzels for the very first time using the same recipe. They each went ahead and posted about it on November 18, 2006.

Having enjoyed that experience tremendously, they decided to try it again the next month, this time choosing to bake biscotti. And to make matters even better, they were joined by a few more food bloggers.

As the months went by, their baking group continued to grow, until it was finally decided that this "little baking group" had to have a name and The Daring Bakers were born!

Today, The Daring Bakers span the world as bakers of all nationalities come together once a month to try something new in the kitchen!


August's challenge and my first was hosted by this is Olga from Las Cosas de Olga.

http://lascosasdeolga.blogspot.com
http://thedaringkitchen.com/about-the-daring-kitchen


The Challenge

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes.

I'm sure she will post the original recipe on her site, so I'll just post my verson. It had a few minor changes.

Sofregit

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional) I used a red pepper, to keep the red colour
4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 Bay leaf
Salt
Touch of ground cumin
Touch of dried oregano
Added a large pinch of paprika

Directions:

Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft. Taste and salt

Because I’m lazy I put all the ingredients in a bar mix and chopped finely, before sautéing in a pan. After I had used the amount needed in the rice dish, I pureed the rest and used as a sauce in the plate.

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Ingredients (serves 4):

4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or frozen if fresh are not available) not impressed with this vegetable, this was my first time cooking with it. Not sure if it’s just the ones we can get here, would substitute fresh for jarred next time.
12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
1 glass of white wine
2 Cuttlefish (you can use frozen cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh)

I used Chicken

“Sofregit” (see recipe above) tripled the amount added in the recipe

300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice
Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice) Used Chicken stock
Saffron threads Use Lots


Allioli

Cooking time: 3-4 minutes

Ingredients:
1 small egg
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (as above, Spanish oil is highly recommended)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice (if Sherry vinegar is not available, use can use cider or white vinegar)
Salt to taste
I added a little saffron for flavour and colour

Directions:
Break the egg into a mixing bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.
Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste.
Little by little, add what's left of the olive oil as you continue blending.
If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce.
Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli.
The sauce will be a lovely yellow colour.
Add salt to taste.

It is so much easier to make this in a blender; all you have to control is the flow of the oil. I didn’t like the flavour of this; if I was making it again I would change the following ingredients.

Roast the garlic in the oven for 1-2 minutes before peeling and adding
Use a flax seed oil or walnut oil

Perhaps because I didn’t use fish, the flavours of the rice where so delicate I felt the Allioli overpowered it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicken and Zucchini Tart




Coat pieces of chicken with dry spice and roast in oven until just cooked. Slice and set aside.

Lightly grease a tray, line with 3 layers of filo pastry. You can use more if you want to have more of a base, just be sure to brush every 2 layers with melted butter or olive oil.

In a blender, blitz one cup of pre-cooked or canned Berlotti beans (or white beans of your choice), two cloves of garlic, a handful of fresh parsley and mint, salt and pepper together.

Thinly slice a zucchini and set aside.

Pour bean mixture onto filo, top with chicken and zucchini. Sprinkle a little grated Romano cheese on top or sprinkle with feta or goat’s cheese.

Bake for 30 -40 minutes

Serve warm

Monday, August 3, 2009

Macadamia Shortbread



The crumbly buttery goodness, belies the simplicity of the recipe.

Equal parts butter and suger, creamed. Double that of plain flour, combined with your hands. Shape into log and cut of 1/2 inch thick rounds. Bake for 15 minutes, and consume.

For this batch I used roughly 1/2 cup caster suger and butter and 1 cup of flour. Once I'd made the log, I rolled it in crushed macadamia nuts. Once cooked I dipped them in the Lemon Curd, I scored at the fete. Old School Goodness.