Saturday, 27 March 2010

Daring Bakers March 2010 Orange Tian

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.

 This is my third challenge and I feel as though I have got the hang of the concept. I have read enviously as other daring bakers amended recipes and thought up interesting flavour combinations as variations on the published recipes. Whilst I had some wild ideas and great ambitions for variations on this month's theme, I have a bad back at present which means I can only stand for a few minutes at a time. So instead of being an opportunity to get creative, simply the act of making this was the challenge this month!
I live gluten free I also adapted the pastry recipe to create a gluten free version. I based this recipe on a version that I found here and was delighted to discover, at the same time, another gluten free blog to read (thanks Natascha!) and another reason to brush up my French. To make my life a bit easier, I substituted the marmalade for the orange and cardamom marmalade that I made recently.

Preparation time:
- Pate Sablee: 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to rest, 15 minutes to roll out, 20 minutes to bake
- Orange segments: 20 minutes, overnight to sit
- Caramel: 15 minutes, overnight to sit
- Whipped Cream: 15 minutes
- Assembling: 20 minutes
- Freezer to Set: 10 minutes

Equipment required:
• Cookie cutters . Ideally, you should have about 6 cookie cutters to build the desserts in and cut the circles of dough (see photo). The cookie cutters will be the size of your final dessert, so they should be the size of an individually-sized tart mold. If you don’t have round cookie cutters you could use an individually-sized cheesecake mold without its base.
• A food processor (although the dough could be made by hand too)
• A stand-up or hand mixer
• Parchment paper or a silicone sheet
• A baking sheet
• A rolling pin

For the gluten free pate sable - my recipe is here

For the Marmalade:

* 100g freshly pressed orange juice
* 1 large orange used to make orange slices
* cold water to cook the orange slices
* 5g pectin
* granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

1. Finely slice the orange and place in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water.
2. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
3. Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
4. Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.
5. Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
6. Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar.
7. In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin.
8. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
9. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

* 8 oranges

1. Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice.
2. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

For the Caramel:

* 200g granulated sugar
* 400g orange juice

1. Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.
2. Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice.
3. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.
4. Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert.
5. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

Set cream

* 200g heavy whipping cream
* 3 tbsp hot water
* 1 tsp Gelatine
* 1.5tbsp orange marmalade (see recipe above)

1. In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream.
2. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Increase the speed to medium-high.
3. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly (discarding the water) and beating continuously.
4. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.

Assembling the Dessert:
Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.
Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.
Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.
Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.
Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.
Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.
Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.
Resources: (An article about the dessert known as tian.)
YouTube link on how to segment an orange:
To learn more about Pectin:
What to substitute for Pectin:

Friday, 26 March 2010

gluten free sablé pastry recipe (sweet pastry for desserts)

Here is the gluten free sablé pastry that I created for a Daring Baker's challenge.
This is a simple sweet pastry which is great for making sweet tart cases or even simple biscuits to serve with rich desserts.  It is based on a combination of recipes - a gluten free sable recipe that I found here along with my shortcrust pastry recipe here.  This volume of pastry made 8 x 10cm tart cases.
Don't skip the chilling step, it really helps to firm up the dough and makes it much easier to handle.  You can freeze the dough either unbaked, at the chilling stage or once the tart case(s) have been baked blind.

gluten free sablé pastry
  • 125g rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 25g glutinous rice flour
  • 25g cornstarch
  • 5g arrowroot flour
  • 60g cold cubed salted butter (if unsalted, add a pinch of salt to the dough)
  • 60g icing (confectioners) sugar
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 whole egg
  1.  sieve the flours together with the xanthan gum
  2. beat the butter and sugar together with the ground almonds and rice flour until you have fine bread crumbs.
  3. add the whole egg and beat again to bring together.  if the pastry doesn't naturally form into a ball, give it a squeeze and see if that holds it together - if so then take it out of the mixer and gently knead together to form a ball.  If it is still too dry, add a little cold water if the pastry dough and beat a little longer before testing again and kneading in to a ball.
  4. form the kneaded dough into a rectangular slab (more surface area will chill more quickly), wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes or until you are ready to use it.
Roll out and use as per your recipe, dusting the work surface and pastry with a little rice flour if it is sticky.

You will need to bake this pastry blind before you fill it.  To do this:
  • roll the pastry out and line your tart tin.  
  • cut a piece of baking parchment to fit the flat base inside  your filled tin.  
  • place the paper onto the pastry base.  
  • cover the baking parchment with a layer of dried beans, rice, lentils or baking beans if you have them (ensure that the beans remain on the parchment otherwise they will bake into the pastry base)
  • bake the tart case for 20 minutes or so until the edges are lightly brown and the base of the pastry case is firm.
If rolled to 1/4" thickness, bake at approx 175°C for 15-20 minutes until golden.  If the centre is a little undercooked, you can remove the beans and the paper and return the case to the oven for 5 minutes.

    Monday, 15 March 2010

    a quick apology

    I am frustratedly absent from blogging at present, and am very sorry for this. I have been on great painkillers that have made back pain and arthritis completely manageable for the last year or so, but my body has decided that it no longer likes the drugs.  So until I can get the painkillers right, or jump the queue for back surgery, I am taking a quiet break.  It hopefully will only be another week or so until I have this cracked but until then, under warning from the teen (who will verify that I talk drug-induced jibberish all day), I am banned from blogging!  (By the way, I would like to point out that I consider myself far too young to have arthritis or need back surgery ... since my bio pic of a brownie will not reveal this!) 

    In the meantime, check out this food photography and cooking course that I hope to do later in the year with one of my favourite photographers, an amazing cook and one of my favourite parts of France - what could be better!

    Monday, 1 March 2010

    vanilla ice cream recipe

    I hesitate to say it, but I think that we may be slowly emerging from this long cold winter. Down here on the south coast, we have been taken aback by the volume and frequency of the snow, and I know even now it is too early to say it is past, merely that we may be over the worst!

    gervais - j'en veux logo

    The last burst of snow was heralded by the most rapid freeze I have ever experienced, it reminded me of a favourite film, The Ice Storm, and the creeping cracking ice grasping and enrobing everything in its' path. That Wednesday evening, wet rainy roads turned to sheet ice in a matter of minutes and our simple journey from one part of town to another became an epic adventure - sliding backwards down a hill, slipping off the road, into a wall and failing even to get over speed bump due to the lack of momentum and the severity of the ice. Having said all that you might think that our car was written off and we both ended up in neck braces, but no, all these manoeuvres were carried out gracefully at no more than 5 miles per hour, thankfully! The following day delivered an epic walk up iced hills to get to work, I fell over so many times on the way there, far too many times to count during a mere couple of miles walk!

    I don't recollect ever spending a full winter sleeping in climbing socks, pj's, thermals and a fleece under a thick wool blanket and a down duvet. Crazy cold, or crazy susceptibility, at least. Whilst I haven't enjoyed the piercing cold it has, for some reason, awakened an interest in icecream. I have found myself thinking often about methods of making, ingredients and flavours. I have a list of recipes to try, but before I do, I thought that I would indulge in a flavour that I hope will be well received at home.

    vanilla ice cream scoop 4

    There seems to be a sudden fashion in our house for all things peanut butter related. My husband has always snacked on wholemeal toast with peanut butter and the teen could demolish boxes full of Reese's peanut butter cups given the chance, and I have recently become very fond of a bastardisation (or should I say adaptation?) of the Indonesian salad Gado Gado. This recipe isn't actually that far from the real mccoy, but most closely ressembles the gado gado salad that I remember feasting on at Rasa Sayang in Soho more than twenty years ago.  I am not sure how authentic that meal really was though it was definitely a great meal in wonderful company.  Isn't it funny how the memory of a good meal sticks with you, even down the years?

    Anyway, back to peanuts. They have most recently made an appearance in a chocolate peanut ganache made to fill some not-too-good macarons I made. We decided not to fill them as, although tasty, they were not up to much visually. So with the choc peanut butter ganache on the worktop, I was at a loss for something to do with it. Not for long though, as my ice cream ponderings came flooding back.  I mixed up and churned a batch of vanilla ice cream, which in its' naked form is often ignored in our freezer.  However I split the mix in half and stirred half a batch of chocolate peanut ganache into half the ice cream before freezing.  I have managed to salvage a scraping to photograph whilst the plain vanilla has lingered untouched, so far.  I will crunch up the failed batch of chocolate macarons and stir them into this half batch, along with some crushed salted peanuts and grated Galaxy chocolate.  I know it won't be hanging round for long after that!

    Vanilla ice cream
    • 5 egg yolks
    • 500g double cream
    • 150g castor sugar
    • 250g whole milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract (*please see foot note)
    • a pinch of sea salt.
    For a proper recipe and method, can I suggest that I have a look at David Lebovitz's blog and his vanilla ice cream recipe here.  My method is not ideal, indeed frankly, it is just lazy and it can easily go wrong!
    Still, if you haven't heeded my warning, here is my method:
    1. mix the egg yolks together with the vanilla extract in a 1 pint pyrex jug.
    2. pour the cream, milk and sugar into a thick bottomed pan
    3. heat the pan gently, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved, this will happen whilst the milk is finger-hot if you use castor sugar.
    4. pour about 1/4 pint of the just-warm cream mixture into the jug whilst stirring the egg yolks briskly with a fork,  as long as the cream is cool the eggs should mix into the cream without cooking
    5. whilst stirring the pan, pour the egg yolk mix back into the pan.
    6. put the pan back on to the heat and continue to warm the cream mix over a low heat whilst stirring constantly but gently.
    7. keep stirring gently as the cream heats up slowly towards boiling, spluttering a little.
    8. let the cream simmer and continue to stir gently.  You should notice the cream thickening gradually,  don't stir too vigorously or else the mix can separate.
    9. after 5 minutes take the pan off the heat.  now you want to stop the pan cooking and start cooling the custard down as soon as possible.  you can do this by putting the pan in a bowl filled with iced water, unless you are like me and never have enough room in your freezer for the quantities of ice required to do this efficiently.
    10. the alternative is to fill your washing up bowl about 1/3 full with some cold water and place your pan into the cold water - don't let go of the handle until you are certain that the pan is not floating & make sure that tap is turned off.
    11. the cold water will begin to cool the ice cream down, change the cold water periodically to speed up the cooling proces.  stir periodically to ensure a skin doesn't form (and to help it cool quicker).
    12. on a cold-ish winter's day it took about 40 minutes for my custard to cool down.
    If you summarise that, you warm your milk, cream and sugar, chuck a bit in your egg yolks and stir, pour the yolks into the main pan and stir constantly until the custard is thick.  Then cool by putting the pan in water.  Top tip - don't be an idiot and leave the tap running whilst the pan is in the water as you might end up with watery custard!
    1. set up your icecream machine and pour the mixture in to churn as per the machine's instructions.
    2. if you don't have an ice cream machine you can pour the cream mixture into a 1L freezer box and place in the freezer.  Take the ice cream out every 60 minutes, stir thoroughly then replace in the freezer.
    3. whilst the ice cream is churning, take half a recipe of chocolate peanut ganache and warm very gently in a microwave or bain marie until just melted.
    4. pour in 50g double cream to thin, then add this sauce to the ice cream in the last 5 minutes of churning (if you making this manually, pour the sauce in when the ice cream is quite thick, give a good stir to distribute it like a raspberry ripple icecream, then freeze for a final hour).
    5. store the churned icecream in the freezer until ready for use.  take it out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to allow it to soften up before serving.
    I forget how easy it is to make a really top quality ice cream at home, most often because I don't have much room in the freezer to store it.  Admittedly our freezer is getting a little bit full now, 2 flavours of ice creams, 2 sorbets and tiramisu - the dessert bug has really bittten me, so watch out for more recipes soon!

    *using vanilla extract - I don't want to be controversial, by all means use a vanilla pod but it does add an extra stage infusing the milk/cream before adding the sugar.  I use Nielsen Massey Madagascan vanilla extract and find it excellent in most desserts, especially in sweet cooked/baked products.