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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FFWD: Spiced Butter-Glazed Carrots

Would you believe me if I told you that I made both My Go-to Beef Daube and Leek & Potato Soup but forgot to take pictures of them?

In my defense, it was late and I got lazy, thinking that I would just take pictures of the leftover the next day, which of course never happened. Note to self, next time, just take a picture anyway, even if it's a crummy quality, because having some pictures is always better than no picture.

The beef daube was very good. It made me think of Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon. The only difference that I noticed was the turnips and the lack of pearl onions. The leek potato soup was good as well. Nothing special, but hearty, and it's a good thing to come home to a bowl of warm soup after a long day.

Anyway... I digress. Let's move on to this dish, shall we?

There could not be an easier dish to make. Melt butter, sautee 1/2 an onion and garlic until they soften. Then add the cardamom pods and ginger, saute a bit more. Add the carrots, mixing it good so they are all coated with the butter and spices. Add some chicken stock, bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes or until they soft. In my case, by the 10 minute mark they are very tender and fragrant.

Tasting impressions:
Very good and tasty. And healthy to boot. I made this with 6 carrots because that's all I have but next time I'll make a bigger batch of it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

HCB: Cranberry Crown Cheesecake and Financier Style Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Another catch up week for me, as it turned out. First we have Cranberry Crown Cheesecake.

I am not a big fan of cheesecake, but I am curious about this cake. It has more sour cream than cream cheese in it, and the cranberries component sounds yummy.

This cake is pretty easy to make. Even though I make my own ladyfingers it, it only took a couple of hours to put together. Not bad compared to some of the other cakes in the book.

I made 1/2 recipe again in a 7 inch pan. Not sure whether 1/2 recipe ladyfingers would be enough, I made 2/3 recipe. Turned out to be the perfect amount, have just enough ladyfingers for the sides and the bottom.

The cheesecake batter came together very easily. First whisked the cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Next add the eggs vanilla mixture. Finally, add in the sour cream until blended.

I put the cake pan inside a 9 inch silicone pan that I got for $5 on ebay last year. This is the 1st time I used the silicone pan, and it felt good using it, considering it's $5 hehe. The silicone pan is then placed inside a baking pan with an inch of hot water.

I must have overbaked the ladyfingers, because only after 15 minutes, the tip started browning, so I cover the edges of the cake with foil for the rest of the baking time.

After the cake finished baking, I left it in the oven for an hour, as Rose prescribed. I was a little worried about this, what if the cake overcooked. But I thought to myself that I should trust Rose, as always. After the 1 hour mark, I let the cake rest at room temperature for another hour, before storing it in the fridge overnight.

At this point, I realized that I had forgotten to spray the pan with baking spray prior to baking. Shoot! Now I'm really worried and stressed, what if the ladyfingers stuck to the side of the pan.

As you can see from the pictures, that didn't happen. I don't know why it didn't, but I'm glad regardless.

Tasting impressions:
This is really good. I'm not a cheesecake fan, and hubby isn't either. But we both love it. It paired up really nicely with the cranberry topping (which was so good btw, that I made more of it, with the rest of the frozen cranberries).  Hubby said it's the best cheesecake he's ever had. I remembered that he said the same thing about the Baby Lemon Cheesecakes. Which tells you one thing: Rose's cheesecakes are awesome :).

Financier-Style Vanilla Bean Poundcake

I wasn't planning on making another cake this weekend. But yesterday I felt like having some dessert, and as the cheesecake needs to be refrigerated for a day, and I have leftover egg whites at room temperature, I thought of this cake.

This is the easiest cake to make in the book. I made 1/2 recipe and it took me 15 minutes to put everything together. The 15 minutes even includes mis-en-place, using the microwave to soften the butter, and weighing the batter into each of the 5 financier cavity. It took longer to bake the cake (18 minutes). Of course what's really sad is that it took us 5 minutes to eat the 5 cakes.

I have to apologize for the bad picture. I brought 3 of the cakes to my husband, who was upstairs - along with 2 cups of coffee - as a surprise. I didn't want the coffee to get cold so I didn't bother doing the fancy photo shoot and just snap a quick one with the camera.

Tasting impressions:
I had a feeling I will like this cake, after reading what the HCB bakers thought of this cake. I tend to like light and airy cakes more, and though I do like pound cakes, sometimes they are too much. This little babies are really good, too good perhaps as we both wolfed down all 5 of them in minutes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

HCB Free Choice: Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream and Whoopie Pie

Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream

I had some free time this weekend, so I thought I'd play catch up on the cakes I've missed. Here is Spice (Cup)Cakes with Peanut Buttercream.

As usual, I made 1/2 recipes and felt like making cupcakes. By the way, I'm beginning to think that I am developing an addiction to cupcake shapes. A few months go by and I haven't made cupcake and I would miss it.

This cake is super easy to make. The hardest part about it is sifting all the dry ingredients. I'm not a big fan of sifting, but it's not a step that I'd dare skipping. As I was prepping the ingredients, I thought of Hanaa. Why? Because Hanaa is one HCB who loves to add spices to her cakes, and this cake has both cinnamon and cloves. A quick search on her blog, and I found that she's made this cake back in September, and added ground nutmeg, ginger, and all spice. Hanaa, I wish I have your courage of playing with spices in cakes.

The buttercream is also super easy. At first I was dreading it when I read this cake uses buttercream. I haven't made buttercream for a while, and the last couple times I made mousseline, they curdled. No chance of that happening with this one. Nothing could be easier than having to combine all the ingredients in a food processor.

Since the cake was so easy, I thought I had a bit of fun decorating it.

Tasting impression:
The cake is really good, soft, tender, and light. The buttercream I am not so sure of. I like the peanut flavor but combined with the cream cheese and butter, it taste too creamy. After I ate one, I feel like I would not be hungry for hours. I know it's my fault, 1/2 recipe of cupcakes to 1 recipe of buttercream. It is not an even distribution. But even if it's 1:1, I am not sure I like the taste combo very much.

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie

For this recipe, I made the buttercream first. Rose said in the book that once you're done, to congratulate yourself for making the perfect buttercream. Somehow that makes me think that this buttercream must be hard. True enough, somewhere she said it's similar to mousseline. Uh oh. So I made it first, thinking that if it didn't turn out, then I wouldn't even bother to make the whoopie cakes.

It all started out so well. I combined the sugar, water, and corn syrup over low heat until the sugar dissolved and the mixture started bubbling. Took it off the heat and proceeded to beat the egg whites with a hand mixer. Added cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks. Put the sugar mixture back on the heat and boil until it reached 248 degrees. Then poured it onto the egg whites while mixing. Btw, is it just me or is it always fascinating to see egg whites change texture into the smooth, shiny, and silky meringue.

So far so good....

Once the meringue is cooled, Rose tells you to beat butter and powdered sugar until it's smooth, creamy, and white. Added the meringue and this is the part where I messed it up. Rose said to beat for 10 seconds until combined. I beat a bit too long, about 30 seconds, and the cream curdled a bit.


Ok, deep breath, let's taste it.

Taste fine so I made the pies.

I remembered from reading all the HCB who made this that the pie turned out so big. Keeping that in mind, I measured 20 grams (instead of the 40-something grams per instruction).

The result?

I think it's still too big. I'd prefer to make this somewhat bite size, as in, I can eat it in a couple of bites. So maybe next time I would try 15 grams.

Tasting impressions:
Yum!  It is so good. The marshmallow cream is super yummy and combined with the pies it is awesome. As I am typing this sentence I took the last bite of the one pictured about (with all the Xmas tree sugar around it). I am still not hungry from the Spice cupcakes 2 hours ago, but I gotta have a whoopie pie! (I think tonight's dinner will be a very small salad...)

Heavenly Cake List

Apple Upside Down Cake (Oct 19, 2009)
Plum and Blueberry Upside Down Torte (Aug 8, 2010)
She Loves Me Cake (Jan 1, 2011)
White Velvet Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache (Nov 14, 2010)
Heavenly Coconut Seduction Cake (Feb 21, 2011)
Southern Manhattan Coconut Cake w/ Silk Meringue Buttercream (Apr 18, 2011)
Whipped Cream Cake (Sept 4, 2011)
Karmel Cake (Apr 4, 2011)
Spice Cake w/ Peanut Buttercream (Dec 19, 2010)
Golden Lemon Almond Cake (Sept 27, 2010)
Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake (Apr 12, 2010)
Woody's Lemon Luxury Layer Cake (Nov 16, 2009)
Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake (May 24, 2010)
Marble Velvet Cake (Aug 8, 2011)
Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake (Feb 13, 2011)
Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake (Jun 5, 2011)
Cradle Cake (Jan 31, 2011)
Sicilian Pistachio Cake (Mar 15, 2010)
Gateau Breton (Jun 20, 2010)
Sticky Toffee "Pudding" (Feb 27, 2011)
English Gingerbread Cake (Nov 13, 2011)
Fruitcake Wreath (Jan 10, 2011)
Rose Red Velvet Cake (May 31, 2010)
Chocolate Tomato Cake w/ Mystery Ganache (July 17, 2011)
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake (Jun 14, 2010)
Chocolate Banana Stud Cake (July 19, 2010)
Devil's Food Cake with Midnight Ganache (Mar 13, 2011)
Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Ganache (Aug 30, 2010)
Bernachon Palet d'Or Gateau (Nov 20, 2011)
Double Chocolate Valentine (Feb 15, 2010)
Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake (Dec 6, 2010)
Black Chocolate Party Cake (Nov 14, 2010)
Classic Carrot Cake w/ Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting (Dec 14, 2009)
Pumpkin Cake (Nov 3, 2009)
Many-Splendored Quick Bread (Oct 18, 2010)
Banana Refrigerator Cake with Dreamy Cream White Chocolate Frosting (Apr 12, 2010)
German Chocolate Cake (Aug 14, 2011)
Chocolate Ice Cream Cake (July 5, 2010)
Miette's Tomboy (Apr 10, 2011)

Angel Food Cake (Oct 10, 2011)
Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake (Jan 25, 2010)
Chocolate Apricot Roll w/ Lacquer Glaze (Mar 21, 2010)
Genoise Rose (Jun 28, 2010)
White Gold Passion Genoise (Aug 21, 2011)
True Orange Genoise (Feb 8, 2010)
Genoise Tres Cafe (Jan 23, 2011)
Chocolate Genoise w/ Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache (Nov 21, 2010)
Moist Chocolate Raspberry Genoise (Mar 7, 2011)
Red Fruit Shortcake (Jun 27, 2011)
Catalan Salt Pinch Cake (Oct 2, 2011)
Almond Shamah Chiffon (Oct 26, 2009)
Orange Glow Chiffon Layer Cake (Mar 28, 2011)
Lemon Meringue Cake (Aug 1, 2010)
Tortas de las Tres Leches (Jan 17, 2010)
Apple Caramel Charlotte (SepT 20, 2010)
Chocolate Raspberry Trifle (May 30, 2011)
Saint Honore Trifle (May 2, 2010)
Holiday Pinecone Cake (Jan 16, 2011)

Cranberry Crown Cheesecake (Dec 25, 2010)
Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake (Nov 7, 2011)
Coconut Cheesecake w/ Coconut Cookie Crust (May 1, 2011)
Ginger Cheesecake w/ Gingerbread Crust (Sept 18, 2011) 
No-Bake Whipped Cream Cheesecake (July 24, 2011)
Lemon Canadian Crown w/ Ladyfingers (July 4, 2011)
Ladyfingers (Sept 12, 2010)
Tiramisu (Sept 12, 2010)
Sybil's Pecan Cupcakes (Apr 5, 2010)
Chocolate Featherbed (Aug 16, 2010)
Hungarian Jansci Torta (Oct 5, 2009)
Le Success (Mar 29, 2010)
Zach's La Bomba (May 16, 2011)

Yellow Butter Cupcakes (Apr 17, 2010)
Chocolate Butter Cupcakes (Jun 7, 2010)
White Velvet Butter Cupcakes (May 8, 2011)
Designer Chocolate Baby Grand (July 25, 2010)
Gold Ingots (Sept 6, 2010)
Chocolate Ingots (Sept 6, 2010)
Peanut Butter Ingots (Oct 23, 2011)
Plum Round Ingots (Aug 1, 2011)
Financier Style Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes (Dec 24, 2010)
Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes (Mar 20, 2011)
Baby Lemon Cheesecakes (May 17, 2010)
Quail Egg Indulgence Cake (Feb 13, 2011)
Marionberry Shortcakes (Aug 22, 2010)
Coffee Chiffonlets w/ Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream (Aug 28, 2011)
Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes (Sept 25, 2011)
Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes w/ Classic Brioche (Oct 4, 2010)
The Bostini (Nov 1, 2010)
Deep Chocolate Rosebuds (Sept 10, 2011)
Molten Chocolate Souffle and Lava Cakes (Oct17, 2011)
Chocolate Bull's-Eye Cakes (Jan 1, 2011)
Barcelona Brownie Bars (May 22, 2011)
Baby Chocolate Oblivion (Nov 9, 2009)
Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie (Dec 19, 2010)
Mud Turtle Cupcakes (Jun 20, 2011)

Double-Chocolate Whammy Groom's Cake (Dec 5, 2011)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Baking

This is Pecan Pie from Rose's Pie & Pastry Bible. I don't make pies as often as I'd like. But I just purchased Lyle's Golden Syrup and wanted to try it asap. Somehow the 1st thing that came to mind is Pecan Pie.

It is pretty easy to make, first make the crust. Once cooled, place all the pecans in the crust, and proceed to make the filling. The filling is really easy. Combine all of it in a pot under low heat and stir until it's thick. This step is the hardest, because I find it completely boring to stand there and stir constantly. I think next time I should bring a novel or something and read while waiting. Rose said this takes 7-10 minutes but it took me 20 minutes (and it felt like an hour).

This pie comes with a bittersweet glaze, which is basically melted chocolate with cream added - like ganache before it's thickened. I need to learn how to make parchment cone, it broke midway so then I just ended up applying it with a spatula.

Oh well, that's what the whipped cream is for, to make it prettier and cover all the imperfection :). Since we are planning to eat the pie over several days, I made stabilized whipped cream and added bourbon.

Tasting impressions:
Really really good. I was afraid of it being too sweet with the golden syrup and the sugar, but I think because it used brown sugar it taste less sweet. The whipped cream is really yummy and added a nice flavor to the pie.

I also made some cookies yesterday. The sugar cookies are from Susan Purdy's Pie in the Sky. It is my go-to sugar cookies recipes and it's very good! I also tried to make gingerbread cookies from RHC, but I used regular molasses (instead of light) and even though I reduced the quantity, they taste too strong. I still decorated some of them, for practice.

So for my HCB readers, these are why I am slacking off and did not make the Vanilla Bean financiers. I was going to make it yesterday but ran out of time.

So there you go. Holiday Baking at Knitty Baker's house. More to come...

Friday, December 10, 2010

FFWD: Sweet & Spicy Cocktail Nuts

This is Sweet & Spicy Cocktail Nuts from Dorie Greenspan. It is so easy to make and so good. Dorie said that this is one of those recipes that you can tweak as  you wish - try different spices and flavor combo - so you can truly make it your own.

I decided that I will follow her spices combo as is to see what it taste like. I've never made spiced nuts before, anyway. For the nuts I used cashews, walnuts, and pecans. Coat the nuts with egg whites. Then combined the spices: sugar, salt, chili powder, ground cinnamon, and cayenne. Mix everything together, spread on a silpat and bake.

1/2 hour later and voila! Yummy nuts that are quite photogenic :).

Tasting impressions:
Very very good. Crunchy and slightly sweet. I was being sparing on the cayenne and am finding there's not enough kick here, so next time will up the cayenne - and try other spices.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Playing with natural light

I had some free time last Sunday and decided to test out the new-found source of natural light in my house: my bathroom. I am not kidding, my bathroom is south-facing and apparently it got a pretty good source of light throughout the afternoon. Who knew, I've lived here for a while and never realized. Well, in the past, I never really cared about whether there's light or not. And now that I do care, during the week I'm at work, and on the weekends I'm in the kitchen.

Anyway, I got some Satsuma oranges last week and decided it would be a good test subject for the photography.

Here they are taken with studio lights (a.k.a. natural light bulbs).

Not bad, but not impressive either.

Now here they are with natural light.

Better right?

Want more?

So what are you waiting for? Go grab your camera - find a natural light source in your house and start shooting. Even if it's in your bathroom!

Now excuse me while I go find another yummy fruit to shoot at :).

Monday, December 6, 2010

HCB: Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake

This is Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

I was looking forward to this cake, feeling like having some chocolate cake lately. So looking forward to it that I bought the Nordic Ware 6 cup bundt pan. This pan has been on my list for a while so I finally "succumbed" and got it.

This cake is on the Quick & Easy list and boy it is quick and easy. So quick and easy it is that after mixing all the dry ingredients with butter and cocoa mixture, I tasted the batter a little bit with my fingers, and then thought to myself, hm... it's very bitter (I had just bought Schaffenberger cocoa powder and am using it for the 1st time). How come it's very bitter, I continued to ponder. And then a light bulb moment: crap, I forgot to add sugar. Quickly add sugar, mix it a bit (yes I had exceeded the prescribed mixing time at this point). Then add in the eggs & water mixture. Poured in the pan and hoping and praying that the extra mixing will not be catastrophic.

Well it did but for a different reason, I think. Rose said to use a silicone bundt pan, which can only mean one thing, I thought, that this cake must be pretty sticky. So I sprayed the pan generously and went to all the nooks and crannies with a silicone brush. With all that effort, my cake came out like this.


Oh well, nothing but a generous dusting of powdered sugar can't fix.
 Tasting impressions:
The cake is very dense and fudgy. And very chocolat-y, in a good way. I really like the chocolate taste (yay Schaffenberger cocoa powder). I think it's a bit too dense for me (wonder if the extra mixing is the cause). It would be so good with some vanilla ice cream, but by itself is a bit plain. Hubby gave it a 6 (out of 10), saying - and I quote - "for a beginner baker this is good, but for you it's a 6." Hmm... I guess that made me feel good about myself LOL. See what 1 year baking from RHC did, it turned us into cake snobs!

Additional tasting impressions:
I just had a full slice of cake now (earlier I only had a couple of bites) and am now vowing to give this cake another chance. Which means a RE - DO, sometimes in the future. Not exactly sure when, with 42 cakes to go from the book. I will use a different cocoa powder then, and perhaps with a side of vanilla ice cream :).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tastespotting Accepts!

I've been submitting a bunch of photos to FoodGawker and Tastespotting lately and one of them finally accepts!

Tastespotting picture No. 107809.

Tastespotting picture No. 107861.

YAY! Am over the moon. This feels totally encouraging and awesome. Happy happy happy day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

HCB: Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

I hadn't make cupcakes for a while, I realized. So when this cake came into rotation, I decided that's what I would do.

This cake is pretty easy to make. So easy that I had to add an extra challenge, and make 2/3 of the recipe. I figured 2/3 would yield me 8 cupcakes. I ended up with 12 (35 grams each). Math is not my strong suit, and yet I continued with the complex math :).

While the cake was easy, the ganache turned out to have a different story.

Continuing with 2/3 recipe, I made 2/3 of the ganache. Melted the chocolate, whisked the peanut butter and vanilla in. Then whisked the cold cream slowly. It took a while for the chocolate to completely melted. When it does, I whisked and whisked until soft peaks.

2/3 of ganache recipe turned out to frost 5 cupcakes only. As it was only 1 PM, I proceeded to make more ganache. It was easy anyway, so I thought by 2 PM I would be done and then I could go run some errands.

Well, as it turned out, the 2nd batch of ganache never reached soft peak, even after 10 minutes of whisking and what little arm muscles I have were sore at this point. Figuring it's not cold enough, I put the ganache in the refrigerator. After 10 minutes, I took it out and whisked again. Then the darn thing turned grainy.

Taking Rose's suggestion, I re-melted the whole thing, chilled it, and whisked. The darn thing now started breaking, turning shiny and oily.


By now it's 3 PM, I do not want to start over, but at the same time there are 7 un-frosted cupcakes and a bunch of chocolate hearts, and it's sad to left them unused.

Upon investigating the freezer, I found a small blob of something that looked like a ganache. Hm... upon trying it out, I confirmed it is indeed ganache. I melted it, added some cream since I was supposed to make whipped ganache.

I must have been overzealous in whisking this 3rd batch of ganache, because it turned grainy. Not about to start over again, I piped it on the rest of the cupcakes.
The grainyness did not affect the taste, it just doesn't look very nice. Oh well, that's what the piped hearts and chocolate flakes are for - to distract attention LOL.

Though it is a bit of  a bummer, as I was excited to use this "KB" lettering on one of the best cupcakes.
Oh well, it could have been worse. At least the texture didn't affect the taste.

Tasting impressions:
It is really really good. I couldn't decide which one I like better, the peanut butter ganache, or the de-frosted "mystery" ganache with Chambord. Both are really really good. The peanut butter is kinda interesting, with the flavor of peanut butter, Chambord, and chocolate altogether. Genoise usually taste better the next day, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's tasting :).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TCB: Ethereal Pear Charlotte

This is a Special Edition Knitty Baker post, featuring The Ethereal Pear Charlotte from The Cake Bible. Why, you might ask, is it a special edition? Because, lovely readers, for once, I am going to post step-by-step pictures.

Before we get started, let me first say that I applaud you people out there who take step-by-step pictures. Man, it is time consuming to do this! Not only do I have to stop what I'm doing to take pictures, but also I had to wash my hand every single time. Maybe some of you don't necessarily wash your hands before you touch your camera. But my camera is 5 months old, it's my baby, and it's still pristine (I haven't even dropped it yet).

I thought you guys would like a peek of my messy work station. See on the corner the flours and cornstarch are sifted and thus ready to go.

Moving on to the actual posting, :). Here are the Red Bartlett pears. I am making 1/2 recipe so technically I only need 1 pear, but I like poached pears so I figured the more the merrier. We can always use extra poached pears for munching.

The pears are halved, peeled, and cored and are sitting (or laying) happily in their poaching liquid.

Next, I made the biscuit roulade. Here the yolks and eggs with sugar, ready to be whisked into submission.

My lovely red KA mixer in action!

Whisked eggs with sifted flour and cornstarch.

After the flour is folded, next up is egg whites.

The biscuit in the oven.

 The biscuit, measured and cut.
About 3 hours later, I took the stacked biscuit out from the freezer. 3 hours in the freezer is not enough to freeze the whole thing until solid - as prescribed by Rose - but at this point I was pressed for time.

The Charlotte mold ready for use.

And this is the part where the step-by-step picture ended. Why? Read on and you shall find out!

At this point I proceeded to make the custard for the Pear Bavarian Cream. I whisked the egg yolks, sugar, and gelatin together. Then whisked into it, the boiled poaching syrup from the pear. Next the whole thing is heated up until almost boiling and supposedly the mixture will thicken to be like heavy cream. Well, 10 minutes and counting, it is still liquid like mild. By the 15 minute mark, I gave up and strained it. And then I saw why it never thickened. I had a lot of egg yolks coagulation happening - so my whisking the poaching syrup into the egg yolks wasn't swift enough. SHIT (yes people I do curse sometimes. It takes a special event to have me curse, and this one totally qualifies!) At that time it was 5.30 PM, I still have loads to do in the kitchen and I do not want to start over!

While musing on what to do next, I whipped the cream and started on the Italian meringue - boiled the sugar syrup and whisked the egg whites.

And then an idea came to me. What if I added an extra yolk to the Bavarian cream, with some poaching syrup, and gelatin. It is risky, but technically it should work, and then at least I don't have to throw away all those egg yolks and it's not really starting over.

So dear readers, that's what I did. I took an egg yolk, 1 tsp of sugar, 2 tsp of poaching liquid. All these measurements are approximate. I didn't even bother to look at the recipe. In hindsight, that was pretty crazy and gutsy of me and I probably won't do it again. Anyway, I whisked the egg mixture real good. Heat up the liquid-y custard until hot then whisked it into the 1 egg yolk mixture. Next I heat everything up and in like 3 minutes, voila, the whole thing thickened like heavy cream. YAY!!! VICTORY!

And it was at this point that I realized I had forgotten to take pictures. Oops.. oh well, next time maybe :).

While the custard was cooling in the water bath, I did a victory dance around the kitchen area. And no, for those of you wondering, there is no picture or video of that one (and there will never be LOL).

The completed Bavarian cream, inside the Charlotte. To the fridge it went so the cream can set.

After 1/2 hour, it's time to slice the pears. The pears turned out a bit on a softer side, so it was a little hard to slice them evenly. This is when I was glad I had extra pears.

After two hours refrigeration, I un-molded the Charlotte for this photo shoot.

Tasting impressions:
Hmmmmm........... mmmmmmmmm.... mmhmmmm..... this is soooo goood! Again, my love for sponge cake is re-newed. I do like the Apple Caramel Charlotte better - because of the apples and the caramel-based Bavarian cream. But this one is really a close second. Now excuse me while I go have another piece.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

HCB Free Choice: Black Chocolate Party Cake and White Velvet Butter Cake

Here are a couple of cakes I made 3 weeks ago: Black Chocolate Party Cake and White Velvet Butter Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache.

The Black Chocolate Party cake I was really curious about. Mainly because it used A LOT of cocoa powder. It is realy a lot, or more like a boatload. Not only it used a lot of cocoa powder in the batter, there's cocoa syrup that used - well you guessed it - more cocoa powder.

Since I made these cakes weeks ago, and just now blogging about it, I totally forgot how the cake was made. If there is ever a recipe memory contest, I would definitely lose LOL. I do, however, remember that both of these cakes were really easy.

As I don't remember how these cakes were made, we are going to skip ahead to tasting impressions. But before that, one note about the white velvet butter cake. I made 2/3 of the recipe and baked it in an 6 inch pan and a 4 inch pan. The cake didn't turn out as smooth as I wanted, so as you can see the ganache is not smooth as well. I was pretty bummed about that, and now looking back I realized I should have refrigerated the cake so it would firm up a bit and become easier to apply the ganache. Speaking of the ganache, I did not have milk chocolate at home, so I melted 3 oz of Green & Black's Dark Chocolate (70%) and 3 oz of Green & Black's White Chocolate (30%). I think the result is pretty close to milk chocolate.

Tasting impressions:
I do not like the Black Chocolate Party Cake. It smelled really good, very chocolate-y smell, but the texture was too dense and not very exciting. I am sad to say that this I think is the worst cake from RHC in my opinion (sorry, Rose!). I could barely finish a piece :(.

The White Velvet Butter cake is really good. The taste is pretty simple, like any white cake (but better). The ganache is a bit on a sweet side - so I was glad I only used a thin coating (I have 1/3 of it left in the freezer). This one, I am happy to report, will get made again :).

Friday, November 12, 2010

FFWD: Chicken for Les Parreseux

I have never made a whole roasted chicken before. I have made roasted turkey once for Thanksgiving, and have always had turkey for Thanksgiving that other people have made. I am never really a big fan of it though. It doesn't have a lot of taste and I ended up eating a lot more side dishes than the actual turkey :).

So when Laurie posted the Chicken for Les Parreseux as one of the 8 recipes to be voted for November menu, I did not vote for it. Roasted turkey, roasted chicken, they are both birds I figured, so if one is not very tasty, the other wouldn't be either. See how my method of deduction/conclusion went? :)

But alas, people voted for this one, maybe because November is Thanksgiving month? And so I thought, I might as well make it.

There is only 2 of us in the house, so I opted for getting a smaller chicken.

The good thing about a smaller bird is that it fits nice and snugly in my 5 qt Dutch oven.

Another good thing about getting a young chicken is the meat will be more tender.

I followed Dorie's instruction of roasting the chicken first for 40 minutes. Then added the vegetables.

As you can see, I did not follow her instruction of using just a couple of carrots and potatoes. Instead, I added a boatload of them. I think in total I used 8 carrots and 2 handful of fingerling potatoes.

I added dried rosemary and thyme all over the chicken, giving it a lot of seasoning. Once the chicken and veggies finished roasting, I made pan sauce by adding 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of chicken broth and scraping off all the burnt bits in the dutch oven. There wasn't any liquid left from the chicken, so I figured the chicken broth would be a good idea. Then I just let the liquid boil until it's slightly reduced.

You can see the potato gratin in the above picture. The tart on the left is Tart M....... which I will blog about when it comes to menu rotation.

Tasting impression:
This is so good! The chicken is very tasty and the sauce is delicious. The veggies goes along well with it and they are nice and soft. I am changing my mind now about roasted birds - well, at least roasted chicken. I am so going to make this again.