Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lemon Cream Tart with Partly Candied Lemons

I adore this lemon cream. I have to say I am not usually partial whats so ever to the flavor of lemons, but even I will consume vast quantities of this delectable cream.

I have made it before, indeed I've made a tart out of it (see: http://rhid-baked.blogspot.com/2007/07/french-lemon-cream-tart.html this post has the full recipe for the cream). The difference is I made the base a simple pate sucre, and I added candied lemons for decoration.

I learned to candy lemons last week when I was doing the cake rotation. It's pretty simple, cut the lemons really fine (at school we used a meat slices, at home I used a mandolin set to the smallest setting), and then you simply heat up a su
gar water syrup until all the sugar is dissolved and it is near boiling (I used 10oz water and 12 oz sugar). It is best to candy your lemons the day before you need them and store them in the poaching liquid overnight in the fridge. Place the slices of lemons on the bottom of a bowl and pour over the syrup. Wait at least 5 hours until using them, preferably overnight so that the lemon pieces have been more fully penetrated with the sugar syrup and become translucent.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Roasted Potoato Bread

I have been rather inspired to make a lot of bread since I did the bread rotation a few weeks back. We had some potato's hanging about the house so I thought I would give this bread a go. It is from Hamelman's amazing bread book. It took a couple of days to make as there was a pate fermente (which simply means you make a preferment - this one included yeast, flour and water, just as many do) but it was a tasty bread.

I'm getting better about forming the bread and reading it, but still have a long way to go. At the end of May I'll be going to a hearth breads workshop which I'm excited to try out.

I'd like to learn how to tell the right consistency of bread, of all the different types of bread (especially the consistency I'm looking for with mixing which is amazingly varied depending on the bread), I'd love to learn more rye breads as well as I feel that they tend to 'ripen' with age and I love the way they taste.
Breads: I'm pretty excited!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Away for a smidge

I'm going to be traveling for a little bit, but when I come back there will be baking galore!
(there will be a few more posts after this as I cheated and scheduled them in advance so, enjoy!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ayumi's Tart (Banana, Rum, Coconut and Vanilla)

I'm not going to be here for my good friend Ayumi's birthday so I thought I would make her something. I asked her what she liked and didn't like, and she suggested that I make something "experimental". And.. well I just happen to have the perfect thing! I decided to make her the tart I had been thinking about for a while: the banana, rum, coconut tart with a thin layer of chocolate on the base (I chose white for color consistency) and then a simple pastry cream made with vanilla bean and rum.

She liked it. And so did the others who tried it, which is always a relief as often I'm not sure what I'm thinking when I pair random tastes together, but it seemed to work. All the hard work of preserving worked out!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A simple pizza dough

I love pizza, and I love the fact that it can be so versatile. This is a dough recipe that I use all the time. It makes two huge pizza's and it works out everytime.

Pizza Dough, taken from Williams-Sanoma "Essentials of Baking, p. 2
Ingredients for Dough
2 packages of active dry yeast (5 tsp.)
560mL warm water
2 tsp. sugar

60 mL olive oil
780g flour (bread flour/ AP flour)

1 Tbs. salt

1. Place the warm water and yeast into a large bowl and whisk together. Let rest for 5 min.
2. Add the sugar, oil, flour and salt and mix with your hands until a rough ball forms.
3. Scrape dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 min until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic.
4. Place into a oiled bowl, and wait until the dough has risen to around twice its original size (1-2 hours).
5. Preheat oven to 425F.

6. Divide into portions and place topping on.

7. Bake until the color is a light brown, and toppings look baked.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blood Orange

Another reserve. Yeah, I'm kinda obsessed with preserving at the moment. I really do think it's because I miss fruit so much. This is another Christine Ferber preserve, made with blood oranges, as well as some Navel oranges for a little color.

This preserve set well. In her recipes Ferber never uses pectin in a liquid or gel form. The recipes simply call for green apples and the pectin naturally present in the apples works as the thickening agent. However, it doesn't always seem to work. With some jams/preserves being quite watery, although this could simply be due to my lack of experience in making them. This one worked well, it tastes very sweet, but the color is amazing, and it's all natural!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bread Rotation

I just recently finished the bread rotation at school. A sometimes really intense rotation, filled with changes, and constant watching. I actually really enjoyed making breads, whereas I was worried that I wouldn't. I worked with some great people and I think that made it easier, but it was still intense. I like making breads as it is all about touching the dough, you have to know what you are looking for (or feeling for).

The hardest part for me was mixing. I often had no idea about the density of the dough - should it be a wet dough, or a stiff dough? But I think I'm better at gauging that now.

I'm looking forward to dough's again in the future!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Banana Sunshine

I miss fruit. I realize that it is Winter, but I'm feeling the bite. It is awfully hard to eat local here in the NW as there really isn't any fruit available right now that is local. So, I've decided that my luxuries are fruits from afar, and this jam/puree/goodness that I call "Banana Sunshine" is part of that desire.

It contains fresh (yes fresh! I've never used fresh coconut and coconut milk), banana's, orange and vanilla pods. That's about it really, but it is pretty tasty. I plan on trying it out as the base for some tarts - I was thinking a pate sucre base (baked completely), a thin layer of brushed on bittersweet chocolate, banana sunshine, and then just a simple pastry cream on top. Maybe some sort of chocolate sauce as well, but who knows!

This recipe was from the Christine Ferber book 'Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber". Amazing, amazing amzing. This recipe is simply called "Banana and Coconut".