Mar 28, 2010

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

 I learnt something new this month. Thanks to Jennifer, I now know what a 'tian' is. What? Never heard of em'?
You can thank wisegeek.com later :
Well known in some cultures as a prepared dish with layered ingredients, the tian can be thought of as a casserole with a specific arrangement of components. From this perspective, a tian can be a hot or a cold dish.

So, an orange tian.....

Frankly I was a little sceptical. I mean, it looked like a lot of work for whipped cream piled on top of a piece of shortbread then topped with fruit. But I'm glad I made it all the same. It was a very light dessert, and because I reduced the sugar, it wasn't too sweet either. I decided to make it family-sized just to make life easier for me. So, down to business then. There were 5 components to this dessert, as broken up below.

~Pate Sablee
From what I gather this is basically like shortbread....or, atleast it's suppossed to be. I'm not sure where I went wrong but it came out cake-like and VERY crumbly. I made the recipe twice and had the same result both times....any ideas? Not to say it wasn't good though, it was like a cross between a butter cake and shortbread. My dog agrees too, judging from the way she gobbled up the first batch. Very yummy.

Again, not too much trouble. It came together fine and tasted a little tangy. The one thing I SHOULD have done, was blend the blanched oranges to make it finer, but I didn't want to wash the blender later (SO ANNOYING) so I just minced it all by hand. The resulting marmalade was a little chunky, but I didn't really mind, it still tasted good.

~Orange Sements <3
OMG. I LOVE segmenting oranges!!! It's like......so totally ZEN!! I'm not joking, you could put me in a corner with a bowl of oranges and order me to segment them, and I would be HAPPY. I don't know WHAT it is, but I was having so much fun, it was actually a little dissapointing when all the oranges were done. Anybody in Malaysia need an orange segmented? Pretty please??

Now THIIIISSS..... was a little bit funky. Again, not too sure where  messed up, but it turned out tasting bitter. And the thing is, the caramel was JUST STARTING to colour when I added the orange juice (And boy did that start to sputter. I feared for my life, I kid you not). Didn't think too much of it and just went ahead with the rest of the recipe. Could hardly taste anything bitter in he finished dessert, so YAY!

~Whipped Cream
If after 5 years of blowing up stuff in the kitchen I didn't know how to whip cream,
I would just shoot myself.
I really would.
But now I know how to stabilize my cream. All you have to do is whip in a bit of gelatine and the cream won't collapse so fast. However, I really don't like the smell of gelatine, so I'll try out something else. Maybe unflavoured konyaku jelly powder?

So with all the stuff prepared, I was ready to assemble the Tian. And again, I dissobeyed the first rule of Bakingdom. Again. Because I didn't read the instructions, I didn't notice we were supposed to DRAIN the orange slices (That had been sitting in caramel overnight) on paper towels.
Oops no.1
Luckily I wrapped my tin in alluminium foil. If I hadn't, the tin would have leaked wattery orange caramel all over the kitchen.
 Ah well, lesson learnt. I moved on and piled on the whipped cream, then proceeded to place the pate sablee on top. Problem was, the biscuit broke clean into 2.
Oops no.2
Nevermind, I thought to myself. It's at the bottom, no one will notice. So brushing the crumbs off the kitchen table, I set the Tian in the fridge to set for 1/2 an hour.
Oops no.3
I barely had time to drizzle the remainder caramel sauce over it and take a picture.This is what it looked like 5 minutes after taking it out of the fridge:

Not pretty.
I didn't get a chance to take cross section picture, which was a pity cause I bet that would've looked really nice.It's alright though, the shot of the whole thing came out pretty all the same. Next time, I'll just
make individual portions.


If you'd like to try this recipe out for yourself, just follow the link and it'll take you to the daring kitchen 'Orange Tian' page. => 

Have fun, and happy baking!


Mar 19, 2010

I love that :
1) This recipe is SUPER easy.
2) It has very few ingredients (practically FOUR if you wanna skip the fruit and liquor)
3) It's non-bake ( for those days you just CANNOT set up the oven )
4) It's so ORGASMICLY GOOD. I can't even begin to tell you.

Just make it.
Then eat and weep.

Chocolate Mousse
by Alec Kearns of Glebe Point Diner
~300g dark chocolate, chopped
~9 eggs, seperated
~2tbsp brandy (opt)
~30g castor sugar
  *my addition
*5 tbsp sugar
*8 ripe bananas, sliced

Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler and whisk in egg yolks and liquor (if using). If mixture become very stiff, add 1 tbsp water to loosen it. Whisk eggs whites to soft peaks, then gradually adding sugar whisk to stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture in three batches till combined. Divide among 8 X 250ml glasses and refridgerate 3-4 hours till set.

*caramelized banana topping
Melt 1 tbsp of sugar in heavy bottom saucepan and cook till very light golden colour. Add sliced bananas and stir to coat. Top mousses and refridgerate to set.

The original recipe called for rasberries macerated in balsamic vineger. I opted out and used the caramelized bananas instead and removed the brandy element too. I also made only 1/3 of the recipe, as there weren't too many people at home to eat it ( although, I SUPPOSED I could have FORCED myself to polish off a full recipe on my own. You know, if  ABSOLUTELY had to)

Oh, and don't worry. This is a healthy dessert.
It's got whole eggs in it, that's protein.
And chocolate, so that's your antioxidants.
*recipe courtesy of Vougue Australia, Entertaining and Travel.

MIB classes, babysteps 1-6

Mar 12, 2010

I know I'm bad at updating things, but this is getting ridiculous.
I've had 6 lessons at MIB now.
Each class is about 3.5-4 hours.
Thus I've spent ATLEAST 21 hours there.
21 hours.
21 hours of  learning wonderful things about food and baking.
and I haven't blogged a SINGLE word of it.
Shame on me, really.

Especially considering I have SOOOOO much to share! Well, not really much, just one tip really.
But if you've been making bread without a bread maker in a hot country a.k.a Malaysia (and IF you have, give yourself a pat on the back) this tip will revolutionize your ENTIRE perspective on bread making.

Did you know that we're ( 'WE' meaning people in tropical countries with really hot climates) are supposed to make bread with.........get ready for this.......this'll flip your lid........we're supposed to make bread.... with.... COLD water.

I know, I know, boggles the mind doesn't it?
After AAAAAALLLLL the propaganda fed to us by lying, thieving American and British cookbook authors the world over. I'll bet they were thinking, "ok, we can't slow down their economic growth, but we can be sure they'll be making bread WRONG!!! "

Yesyesyes, you can argue that they're actually writing for an American / Europian audience. You can also argue that they're suiting their own temperatures......but I think my theory's more interesting. Not that I don't absolutely ADORE my fellow Caucasian earth dwellers of course!

I've also been learning all this stuff about molding, forming, and shaping bread, as well as getting to know the Science behind making it. It's ALOT of fun, and I look forward to my classes all the time. Although, I have to admit I'm getting a little sick of bread, and it doesn't help I have a freezer FULL off the stuff too. Here's some shots of some of the stuff we've been doing. I'll try to take more pictures, but usually by the time I get home, I'm so tired I can barely LIFT my camera, let alone photograph anything. :-)

Oh, by the way, 5A's and 5B's for SPM. Not too bad huh? :-)