Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Red Velvet Rose (or whatever Bundt pan you have to hand)

A single token photo...

As I was tipping an entire bottle of red food colouring into this cake, I did wonder if this was one of those recipes born out of desperation.  One of those "I don't have enough cocoa powder but everyone wants chocolate cake..." improvisations.  It turns out that red velvet cake was the result of a chemical reaction between ingredients in dodgy chocolate, cocoa powder and baking soda.  Up until now, I thought that if I searched long enough I could find at least one single article on the internet to corroborate any hair brained thought I might have.   Apparently the internet is not aligned to my hair brained thoughts...

This cake nearly didn't get made.  This week has seen too many baked products exit the oven.  On Friday night I made the French Orange Cream Tart.  On Sunday I made the French Orange Cream Tart again.  The little boys turn four tomorrow, so I have made two cakes for their birthday.  Were it not for the fact that the Red Velvet eats into the vast amount of egg white generated by two French Orange Cream Tarts, it would still be languishing in the pile of unbaked guilt.   So on Monday night, after the blogging deadline, fuelled by obligation and surplus egg white, I pulled this cake together whilst making dinner.

This is absolutely quick and easy.  The scariest thing is extracting it from the bundt tin.  I didn't take any photos of the baking process, there wasn't really the time to even find the camera, let alone take photos.  Although don't let the quick and easy classification lull you into thinking there won't be a pile of dishes awaiting you once it makes its way into the oven.  My mother and Chris will tell you that whilst the food that churns out of my kitchen is okay, it probably isn't worth all the dishes...  Even with a dishwasher.  That either says a lot about the quality of my cooking or the aversion to being my sous chef.

Happy to say that even if you are Pam free, the heritage bundt will release the goods if greased with butter and flour the old fashioned way.

I took this cake to work along with the White Chocolate Ganache as promoted by the Evil Cake Lady.  There were plenty of oohs and aahs about how pretty the cake was.  Amazement that I was able to carve it into such an amazing shape...

I went for the higher proportion of cocoa powder so the cake was more brown/red than red/brown.  For me this cake is neither here nor there.  Not chocolate, not vanilla.  The crumb and texture are amazing though, so I think I will try this recipe again without the cocoa and without the red colouring to see what kind of white cake we end up with...

There weren't loads of comments at work.  Clearly I am bringing too much cake into the office.  Chris really liked the sliver of cake that made it home.  But see early comment about bringing too much cake into the office.  The man is cake starved, so I think part of his enjoyment of the cake was that he actually got cake.  That is not a euphemism.  At least I don't think it is a euphemism.  Time to end this post.

I didn't make the Chocolate Oblivion, so the next thing up is the ice cream meringue sandwiches.  Definitely not taking those into the office.


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

French Orange Cream Tart

I didn't really have any expectations for this tart.  I kind of dragged myself into the kitchen to make it on Sunday afternoon out of a sense of obligation to the Alpha Bakers.  So you don't need to be in a great frame of mind to produce great baking, such is the glory of a Rose recipe.  Truly, if for no other reason than to secure this recipe, you should definitely immediately buy the Baking Bible.

The pastry is a Pate Sucree - a sweet cookie pastry.  The difference from the average run of the mill pate sucree is the turbinado sugar which gives it a great crunch in the finished product.

The filling is the perfect balance of orange and lemon and given depth from the cream and egg yolks.   I didn't opt for the caramalised sugar crust.  Even though I have carted a blow torch from country to country for the past 10 years, I am yet to find the right gas to fill it.  I am not even sure what to ask for.

The last forkful of this tart was a bit reading the last chapter of a great book.  You don't want it to end, but you want to enjoy every last bit of it.  Then the sense of bereavement that you will never eat/read anything as good ever again...  So whilst you can never eat or read it again with that first sense of wonder, then subsequent times will hopefully bring something new.   I think I am going to have a long and meaningful relationship with this recipe.

The photos are lost in that spinning coloured ball between computer and internet and once I work that out I will load them up.

EDITED to add - since this original version, I have made this tart twice more.  Do you know how much egg white I have in my freezer?  A lot.  The last time I made this I was a *little* distracted and unsurprisingly, made a few errors... happy errors as it turned out.  I cooked my pastry till quite dark, but not burned - that was the best pastry ever!  Second, I forgot to add in the reduced orange juice, until about 10 minutes into the baking.  Improvising as ever, I reduced it by about a third again until it was quite dark and viscous, and then swirled this in to the not yet set custard filling.  Sweet happy disaster, it was incredible.  It was amazing.  I can't even describe how good it was - definitely better than the original.  Hoping I can replicate those errors again.  I see my future will be a freezer full of egg whites!

Double Chocolate Oriolos

For the longest time I thought these were Rose's take on an Oreo.   Wrong.  Instead these are a ground walnut and cocoa cookie and totally amazing and so much better than an Oreo.

The toasted and skinned walnuts are ground with the dry ingredients.  This is another food processor cookie recipe which makes these pretty quick and easy to make.

The finished mix is then left to chill for 30 minutes before rolling into balls.  The balls are then flattened with much zeal with a sugar coated glass by the helpers.   The end result, despite much zeal and probably too much processing, is a fantastic cookie.  The boys all loved these.

Thumbs up from Patrick

Isaac thinks they are pretty good, but yet to displace Lemon Drizzle Cake as his favourite sweet.

These will definitely be on the bake again list.  Even with the painful deskinning of the toasted walnuts...

Grateful I made a double batch...

Blu Rhu Pie

Not very many photos of the Blue Rhu Pie, but plenty of learnings:

  1. Blueberry and Rhubarb in a pie is an amazing combination
  2. Rose's Cream Cheese Pastry is amazing which means you will appear amazing to all who consume it
  3. Lattice top pies is better meditation that rolling and assembling cookies, so not only will you appear amazing you will also be chilled out
  4. Use the Bottom Heat setting in the Neff oven to get a brown crisp bottom (otherwise the amazing zen like appearance from 2 and 3 will be completely offset by you pallid soggy bottom).

The first step is to mix cornflour and the rhubarb, blueberries and a bit of sugar and let it macerate for a while.  In the recipe, not that long, in real life, quite a long time.  This is then cooked until it thickens just so...

See previous blog posts on how to make the pastry - it is very very easy, assuming you have a food processor.  Even doing the lattice top is easy enough if you follow Rose's pictures in the book.  And from someone who barely knows left from right, it is easy.

I don't own a baking stone and I not sure I am ready to add it to my kitchen.  I have this awfully strong premonition of it dropping on my toes, and that ends happily for neither toes nor stone.  Anyway, the initial eating of the pie resulted in a pallid and uncooked base.  So, I just turned the oven to bottom heat at 180 degrees celsius and left in the oven for another 25 minutes.  The end result was a perfectly baked pie.  I have always been highly dubious of putting something back in the oven for further baking - but no more.  I am a complete convert.

The texture and flavour combination was amazing, especially after it was cooked properly!

Definitely on the quick and easy and impressive list.  Don't make that noise - remember, pastry is easy to pull together when you have Rose showing you how...

Lemon Jammies

I am yet to find making cookies the kind of mediation that other bakers enjoy.  To me, there are too many steps to arrive at the end result, particularly when you end up sandwiching them together.  I much prefer these type of cookies when they are produced by someone other than me. 

Rose does somewhat lessen the load by giving an option to make the dough in the food processor.  This recipe calls for double digit grams of lemon zest.  My scales resolutely refuse to weigh zest of any citrus.  For the record, the zest of two lemons fails to even register at a gram on my scales.  So, I didn't put in the double digit amount, according to my scales, I put in no weight of lemon zest.  In actual fact, two lemons were zested in and it created a fantastic lemon biscuit.  Truth be told, these were the preferred biscuit.

This dough went through a number of steps, none of which I can remember - it really is time you bough Rose's book, if you haven't already.

 This time I did refrigerate the dough.  I have baked enough of Rose's cookie recipes to now know when to chill out and when to plough on.  This is a dough to be chilled if you want to hold the shape and get it lifted off the bench onto the baking tray.

I did cheat with the filling.  This lemon curd is almost indistinguishable from home made.  The wee boys dislike both versions, so I am happier with them turning their noses up to the bought one rather than the one I slaved over.

The end result was rather pretty but these lasted a long time.  Had I not filled them with evil lemon curd, I think they would have disappeared alot sooner.  The secret to a full biscuit tin are slowly being uncovered!

So whilst Tony may be on his 18th order of these cookies, they won't be reappearing any time soon.  I do wonder if this biscuit dough could be fashioned as the base to a lemon curd tart?


Memory tells me that these were a quick and easy bake and a chewy, meringue like macaroon type cookie/biscuit.

I can't find any photos to evidence my memory.

So these will have to go on the "bake again" list...  No great hardship given the opening comment.