Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baked Alaska is a dessert I've always wanted to try but postponed due to my previous failed attempts in ice cream making without a machine. To be honest, the texture of my banana ice cream was not far better this time, but the flavor turned out great. My meringue was (once again) quite spongy and overwhipped, but overall, everything came together wonderfully in enjoyable (to eat and make) dessert.
           Browned butter cake
         275gr (200gr work fine)       butter
         172gr                                   flour
         28gr                                     cocoa powder (or additional flour)
         5gr                                      baking powder
         3gr                                      salt
         110gr                                   brown sugar
         75gr (or 60gr)                       granulated sugar
         4                                          eggs
         55gr (optional)                     chopped walnuts
         35gr (optional)                     candied orange peel
         4Tbsp (optional)                 Grand Marnier (or some vanilla extract)

         Banana ice cream
         600ml                                  whole milk
         420ml                                  heavy cream
         120gr (6)                             egg yolks
         210gr                                  granulated sugar
         30gr                                    corn syrup
         240-300gr                            banana
         1/2                                     vanilla pod

         Chocolate granita
         150gr                                   chopped chocolate 70%
         535gr                                   water
         140gr                                   granulated sugar
         26gr                                     cocoa powder
         5gr                                       rum

         Banana sauce
         80gr                                     granulated sugar
         80gr                                     water
         40gr                                     brown sugar
         3Tbsp                                   lemon juice
         1/2                                      vanilla pod
         1 1/2                                    fine chopped bananas
         20gr                                      rum

         146gr                                    granulated sugar
         22gr                                     glucose or corn syrup
         34gr                                     water
         90gr (3)                                egg whites

The ''personallity'' of this chocolate cake is based on the browning of butter. However, if you prefer a healthier version don't hesitate to use the redused amount of butter without browning, or even to substitute it with margarine. In case you take the other way, place the butter in a 25cm skillet over medium heat and brown it until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns). Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes. Shift together flour, salt baking powder and cocoa, and in a food processor blend Grand Marnier with candied peel (if using) untill fine chopped. Beat butter with brown and granulated sugar in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until flaffy, and gradually add the eggs one at time, beating after each addition. Then fold in the walnuts with peel or vanilla and stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Spread the batter in buttered 24x27cm pan and bake in a preheated oven to 160C for 25min or less. Let cool and cut one 17cm-diametre and two 9cm-diametre circles.
     For the chocolate granita bring water, sugar and cocoa to a boil and pour the hot mixture over the chocolate, stiring until homogenous. You can add some fine chopped cocoa nibs if you like. Let the mixture cool completely and put in fridge until cold. Then add the rum and follow the instructions of your ice cream maker. Meanwhile, prepare the banana sauce by boiling all ingredients except rum for 4min. When ready, add the liquer and let cool. Prepare your pans by covering one charlotte form (or deep saucepan) and two big cups (or high 9cm-diametre rings) with plastic wrap. When granita is done, sread one layer of it in the bottom of each covered utensil and freeze.
 For the banana ice cream, warm milk, vanilla and cream in a saucepan and whip the egg yolks with sugar and glucose until slightly thickened. When milk has come to a boil, stir one-third of it in the yolk mixture and return to the heat. Stir constantly until the mixture reaches 82-85C and strain into a clean bowl over ice, to speed up the cooling. Refrigerate until completely cold and add 4Tbsp of banana sauce or more(optional). Pulp the fresh bananas and stir them too in the mixture. Thus, the ice cream is ready for your machine. When done, spread it on top of the chocolate layer and freeze until hard. Meanwhile, moisten the cake bases with the remaining banana sauce and assemble the baked Alaska by covering them with the prepared ice cream, after it has been frozen and unmolded. Keep the cakes in the freezer while making the meringue (according to the recipe ''Kirsch mousse torte'') and then spread it with a spatula or piping bag over the cold cakes. After each cake is done with covering, freeze it again to prevent melting. When it is completely cold, bring it out and burn the meringue on its surface with a torch. Garnish with sauce, if left, and it is ready to serve.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Since I enjoy making tortes more than any other dessert, I could not skip making my birthday cake, in which I omitted chocolate and combined two of my favorite ingredients : raspberry and lime. However, lime curd can easily be substituted by chocolate ganache from previous recipe ''Mascarpone torte''.
         Almond genoise
       70gr                                     almond paste
       142gr                                   granulated sugar
       16gr (1)                                yolk
       308gr (6)                              eggs
       190gr                                   flour, shifted
       60gr                                     butter, melted
       as preferred                         vanilla powder                          

      Lime curd
      65gr                                      lime juice
      106gr                                    granulated sugar
      1 tsp                                     lime zest
      65gr                                      eggs
      98gr                                      butter, room temperature

      Raspberry mousse
      400gr                                    raspberry puree
      25ml                                     raspberry liquer
      160gr                                    granulated sugar
      15gr                                      glucose or corn syrup
      50ml                                     water
      85gr                                      egg whites
      8gr                                        softened gelatin
      270ml                                    heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks and refrigerated

      Glaze and syrup
      172gr                                   water
      172gr                                   sugar
      275ml                                  raspberry puree
      4gr                                      softened gelatin

For the genoise, beat with the paddle attachment almond paste and sugar, rubbing with your fingers if necessary to achieve a homogenous mixture. Add the egg yolk and when it's fully incorporated, change the paddle with the whip attachment and whip the mixture with the rest of the eggs and vanilla. Keep whipping until fluffy for about 15min at medium speed ( do not whip further if the eggs have reached their maximum volume ). Then fold in the flour carefully and transfer one-eighth of the batter in a separate bowl. Mix the small batter quantity with the melted butter and gently combine it with the rest of the mixture. Bake the cake in a buttered 24x15cm pan, with the oven preheated to 180-190C for 26-28min. If you prefer another pan size, simply multiply the quotient ''pan's bottom surface in sq cm''/360 with each ingredient quantity, not only for the genoise.

 Continue with lime curd. Combine 50gr of the sugar with the juice and zest in a saucepan and bring to boil. In a metal bowl whisk the eggs with the rest of the sugar to homogenize and temper the mixture with one-quarter of the hot juice. Return to the heat and boil 1min whisking vigorously. If your egg whites are cooked and curdled (like mine) pass the cream through a strainer for a smoother result. Let the curd come to room temperature and gradually add the butter, beating well after each addition until fully incorporated.
For the syrup, boil sugar and water for 1min. Transfer 100ml in separate metal pot and while it is still hot, stir in the gelatin to disolve. Add 50ml of the puree to make the glaze and set aside to cool. Combine the rest of the puree with the remaining syrup. With a flat knife cut three layers of the genoise and place one in a bottomless 24x15cm cake form. When the syrup has cooled, use it to moisten the genoise layer and spread half of the curd on top. Cover with the second layer, brush with syrup and spread the remaining curd. Finish with the last, moistened layer and refrigerate. 

 To make the mousse warm one-fifth of the puree until hot , stir in the liquer and gelatin to disolve and combine with the rest of puree. Then prepare a meringue with egg whites, sugar and glucose as described in the ''Kirsch torte'' recipe, fold in it one-quarter of the puree and at last the whole quantity. Add the whipped cream gently, cover the last genoise layer with the mousse and freeze until hard. Finally, pour (or spread if refrigerated ) the glaze over the mousse , chill untill set and garnish with white chocolate decorations.