Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Entries in dessert (4)

Wednesday
Feb292012

Butterscotch Budino with Caramel Sauce and Rosemary–Pine Nut Cookies

This is one of those recipes that makes enough to serve a crowd (10 servings) but you will really want to sit in a dark corner in front of the TV with a huge spoon and eat it all yourself. I’ve made this quite a few times since buying this book, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.  The crème fraiche / whipped cream mixture adds some nice tang to combat the sweetness of the Budino, and the creme fraiche also stabilizes the cream.

My surprise in this was in the making of the butterscotch. I know it should be self-evident from the name, but this is the first time I did a butterscotch recipe containing butter and scotch. I know, I know--I'm clearly not going to be a Rhodes Scholar any time soon.

I did not make the cookies this recipe called for because…well….that would be baking.

Enjoy!

(Thanks to Matt Wright for the photo help with this one. This is one of the recipes we photographed at his house, as he patiently tried to teach the Baketard to be less of a Photogratard.)

Butterscotch Budino with Caramel Sauce and Rosemary–Pine Nut Cookies

Recipe from Nancy Silverton’s book, Mozza

“A budino is really just a pudding. But this budino, with its deep buttery-caramel flavor and thick, velvety texture is enough to make an Italian chef’s eyes light up. Imagine what it will do for your guests!” –Nancy Silverton

Yield:10 servings

Ingredients:

Butterscotch Budino:

 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

 1/2 cup water

 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

 3 cups heavy cream

 1 1/2 cups milk

 1 egg

 3 egg yolks

 5 tablespoons cornstarch

 5 tablespoons butter

 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum or scotch

Rosemary–Pine Nut Cookies:

 3 tablespoons heavy cream

 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons honey

 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, sifted

 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped

 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup butter, divided

 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

 2 sprigs of rosemary

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour

 1/4 cup cornmeal or polenta

Caramel Sauce:

 1/2 cup heavy cream

 1/8 vanilla bean, scraped

 2 tablespoons butter

 1/2 cup sugar

 2 tablespoons corn syrup

 2 tablespoons water

 

1/4 cup whipping cream

 3/4 cup crème fraîche

 1 1/4 teaspoons fleur de sel

Method:

To prepare the budino, combine the brown sugar, water, and salt in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Cook to a smoking, dark caramel, about 10 to 12 minutes. (The sugar will smell caramelized and nutty and turn a deep brown.) Immediately whisk the cream and milk into the caramel to stop the cooking. The mixture will steam and the caramel will seize, but will become smooth again as you whisk. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Temper the hot caramel cream into the egg mixture by adding a cup of caramel at a time, whisking constantly. When half the caramel is incorporated, pour the egg mixture back into the remaining caramel, and boil while whisking constantly until the custard is very thick, about 2 minutes. Remove the custard from the heat and whisk in the butter and rum. Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps and divide among ten 6-ounce ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours, or up to 3 days.

To prepare the rosemary–pine nut cookies, place the cream, honey, sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring only once to ensure even cooking, until the mixture reaches 230º F on a candy thermometer. Take off the heat and whisk in the all-purpose flour. Pour the mixture into a bowl and fold in the pine nuts and 1 of the rosemary sprigs. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the rosemary sprig. (This mixture can be made in advance, and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Bring it to room temperature before rolling out the cookies.)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup butter and the powdered sugar until it is creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until combined. Add the flour and polenta and mix until combined. The dough will be soft. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap the disk in plastic. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350º F. On a well-floured surface, roll out the cookie dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out circles of dough using a 1 1/4–inch round cutter. Place the circles of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Work the pine nut mixture between your fingers, creating a thin disk about the size of a dime. Place the circle on a cut-out cookie and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs, about three leaves for each cookie. Once all of the cookies are finished and garnished, bake them for about 15 minutes until they are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the caramel sauce, heat the cream and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add the butter, turn off the heat, and set aside. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pan just slightly to gauge the caramelization, until the sugar becomes a medium amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove the caramel from heat and carefully whisk the cream mixture into the caramel. Be very careful—the caramel will steam and bubble. Whisk to combine. Place the pan in a large bowl of ice water to cool.

To serve, whip the whipping cream in a chilled medium bowl until it begins to thicken. Add the crème fraiche and beat until thick and fluffy. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the warm caramel sauce onto each budino, sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon of fleur de sel, and add a dollop of whipped cream. Serve with a few cookies on the side

Tuesday
Jul122011

Tartine's Pastel de Tres Leches Cake


A friend pointed out that I don’t bake enough to have a blog called Baketard, so I figured what the hell. It’s not like I don’t have a ton of baking cookbooks collecting dust. The one I find the most exciting, though, is Tartine. The recipes seem straightforward and the photos completely suck your fat ass in to down just One. More. Doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie. Or an entire goddamned bakery. 

The recipe I’ve found the most compelling is the Pastel de Tres Leches cake. I love tres leches cakes when they’re done well, but many are disappointing soggy messes. (Yes, I know it’s supposed to be moist but sometimes too much wetness can be a turnoff. (I’m talking to you, Jackie Baisa))

This recipe is a bit time consuming. Ok, it’s totally time consuming. And involved. And fussy. YAYYYYYYY!!!! I loved baking this, and it was a huge hit for dessert. Note that it was even better the next day.

Start by making the cake and letting it cool, and then follow the other simple recipes for pastry cream, caramel and coconut syrup. And clear your calendars, ladies. You’ll be spent after tackling this one. 

Note that this can be made gluten free by replacing the AP flour with sand. 

Chiffon Cake:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

6 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup grated coconut

10 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch cake or springform pan with 3-inch sides with parchment paper cut to fit exactly; don’t grease the pan. 

Sift together the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the salt and whisk to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, egg yolks, water, and coconut. Make a well in the flour, add the yolk mixture, and then whisk thoroughly and quickly for about 1 minutes until very smooth.

In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and beat on medium-high speed until it holds soft peaks. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar slowly while beating on medium-high speed until the whites hold firm, shiny peaks. Add a third of the egg whites and fold into the yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in the rest of the whites until just combined. 

Pour the batter into the pan, smoothing the top if necessary. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once completely cool, run a thin knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake an then release and lift off the pan sides. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment. 

Coconut syrup:

1 cup coconut milk

6 tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt 

Pastry Cream Filling:

1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin

2 tbsp water

2 ½ cups pastry cream (recipe follows)

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup caramel (optional, recipe follows) 

Topping:

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

4 tsp sugar

Line the sides of an 8-inch springform pan with plastic wrap, allowing enough overhang to cover the top of the cake completely when it is assembled. 

To make the coconut syrup, in a small bowl stir together the coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside. 

To make the filling, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small dish and stir it until the gelatin is covered completely. Let it stand for a few minutes to soften. 

If using freshly made pastry cream that is still hot: whisk the gelatin into the entire amount of pastry cream and then place the bowl in the refrigerator to cool before continuing. 

If using pastry cream that is cold: pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Place ½ cup of the pastry cream in a stainless-steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of the saucepan over, not touching, the water. Heat the pastry cream, whisking often, until it is very hot to the touch, 4-5 minutes. Whisk in the gelatin until smooth. Remove from the water bath and whisk in half of the remaining cold pastry cream, then whisk in the rest. 

Whip the cream until it holds medium-soft peaks. Working quickly, gently fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream mixture with a rubber spatula. The cold cream will make the gelatin begin to set up at this point, so be sure you have all of your cake components (syrup, cake layers, and caramel if using) ready. 

Pastry Cream:

2 cups whole milk

½ vanilla bean

¼ tsp salt

4 tbsp cornstarch

½ cup + 1 tbsp sugar

2 large eggs

4 tbsp unsalted butter 

Have a bowl ready for cooling the pastry cream with a fine-mesh sieve resting in the rim.

Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the pod halves into the milk. Add the salt, place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally and making sure that the milk solids are not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.

When the milk is just under a boil, slowly ladle about 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the hot milk and continue whisking over medium heat until the custard is as thick as lightly whipped cream, about 2 minutes. In order for the cornstarch to cook and thicken fully, the mixture must come just to the boiling point. You want to see a few slow bubbles. However, if the cream is allowed to boil vigorously it will curdle. 

Remove from heat and immediately pour through the sieve into the bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to release the heat an prevent a skim from forming on top.

Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon pieces. When the pastry cream is ready (it should be about 140 degrees), whisk the butter into the pastry cream 1 tablespoon at a time, always whisking until smooth before adding the next tablespoon.

To cool the cream, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the top of the cream, and refrigerate. 

Caramel: 

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups sugar

¼ cup water

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

¾ tsp lemon juice

4 tbsp unsalted butter 

Pour the cream and vanilla into a small heavy saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low to keep the cream warm. 

In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, salt and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then cook, without stirring, until the mixture is amber colored, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. 

The mixture will continue to cook off the heat and become darker, so make sure to have your cream close by. Carefully and slowly add the cream to the sugar syrup. The mixture will boil vigorously at first. Let the mixture simmer down, and then whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice. Let cool for 10 minutes. 

Cut the butter into 1-inch chunks and add them to the caramel one at a time, whisking constantly after each addition. Then whisk the caramel periodically as it continues to cool. 

The caramel will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. 

Slice cake into 3 even layers (I did this using toothpicks as guides).

Place 1 cake layer in the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer evenly with half of the coconut syrup. If using caramel, drizzle half of it over the cake layer. Pour the pastry cream filling over the layer and spread it evenly. 

Place the second layer over the filling, pressing down gently with even pressure. Moisten this layer with the remaining coconut syrup, and then drizzle over the remaining caramel, if using.

Repeat with third layer.

Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the top of the cake, covering completely. Put a small weight on top to gently settle the layers.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

When you are ready to finish the cake, release and lift off the pan sides and peel away the plastic wrap. Transfer the cake to a serving plate, if using, or leave it on the cake base.

To make the topping, whip the cream until thickened. Add the sugar and whip until the cream holds stiff peaks. Frost the top of the cake with the whipped cream. The cake can be served immediately or kept cold in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  

Sunday
May222011

Torta di Yogurt Con Mele e Rosmarino - Rosemary and Apple Yogurt Cake

Two baking recipes in a row. I know. It's frightening...but this recipe was Baketard-proof, quick to put together and a delicious end to an Italian dinner (the rest of which I'll post later this week. We had a few new "keepers" emerge from the meal).

This recipe came from Cook Italy, by Katie Caldesi. I'm obsessed with this book right now. Every recipe in the book screams, "COOK ME, MARC" and the photos are fun and compelling. The pictures show a ton of personality and tell a story about regional italian cuisine and the author's experiences interesting enough I had to read it cover to cover.

Nothing clever to say about this one. It's sweet from the apples with a savory note from the rosemary, and it's really easy to prepare. (It would have to be for me to do it sans catastrophe). Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or do what we did and let some vanilla bean ice cream melt all over it when you serve it warm from the oven.

Torta di Yogurt Con Mele e Rosmarino - Rosemary and Apple Yogurt Cake

Makes a 9-Inch Cake 

Ingredients:

Butter or oil, for greasing

8 oz natural plain yogurt

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup sunflower or seed oil

2 1/2 cups "00" or plain (all-purpose) flour

1 level tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

2 large or 3 small apples, peeled and sliced 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Grease a loose-bottomed 9-inch cake pan with sides about 2 1/2 inches deep. 

Whisk together the yogurt, eggs, sugar and oil in a medium mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder and chopped rosemary, folding it in with a large metal spoon. Fold in the apples then spoon the mixture into the pan. Cook for 40-50 minutes or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

 

Thursday
Apr072011

Tomato Upside-Down Cake

Yes, I know this sounds bizarre. Tomatoes? In a dessert? When tomatoes were in season, we decided to give it a go. This recipe comes from Paul Bertolli’s “Cooking By Hand” cookbook (if you don’t have this cookbook, GET IT—it’s amazing!).

As usual, my baking skills were lacking and although the cake passed the toothpick test, it was underdone.  The flavors of the tomatoes on the cake were flawless, though, and fortunately the cherry tomato preserves make enough in a single batch for two cakes. Even David, who looked at me as though I was serving roadkill when I told him we were having a tomato cake, was pleasantly surprised at how much this cake rocked. Other than it being the consistency of a big sneeze because Marc can’t bake.

Making the recipe a second (and third) time, I increased the baking time by 5-10 minutes and it came out perfect. If a baketard can make this recipe rock, you DEFINITELY can...

Give it a try. No, really….
 
Tomato Upside Down Cake

Caramel for lining the bottom of the cake pan:
1/2 c dark brown sugar
5 oz unsalted butter

Cake batter:
4 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 c dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 large, firm-ripe tomato such as Brandywine or Marvel Stripe or any large juicy tomato
1 1/2 c cherry tomato preserves (recipe follows)

Preparation:
For caramel, melt together the 5 oz butter and the 1/2 c dark brown sugar. Pour into a round 9-inch cake pan. Slice the tomato very thinly, about 1/8 inches thick. Place the slices in the cake pan, allowing them to touch but not overlap. Spread the Yellow Tomato Preserves on top of the tomato slices, taking care not to disturb the slices.

To prepare the batter, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl, cream together 4 oz butter and 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat briefly (the mixture will not be completely smooth at this time). Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat only until smooth. Scrape the bowl thoroughly with a rubber spatula and beat briefly until the batter is completely smooth. Spread the batter in the pan evenly.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until a skewer stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Flip the cake over onto a large plate to remove it from the pan. Be sure to remove the cake while still quite warm, otherwise the cake may stick in the pan. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone.


Cherry Tomato Preserves
1 quart yellow pear tomatoes or any cherry tomato
1 lemon, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c water

Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Raise the heat to high and while stirring constantly, reduce the mixture to a thick consistency.