Monday, October 12, 2015

The Baking Bible: Fudgy Pudgy Brownie Tart

This is a really rich and fudgy brownie encased in a chocolate cookie shell. The original brownie had nuts but we opted for bourbon soaked dried sour cherries. Boozy cherries are really yummy. I think nuts would have been a nice break in texture and done a bit to temper the richness of the chocolate, but this was Mark's birthday cake and he does not believe in brownies with nuts. Generally speaking I don't, either. We think that next time doing half boozy cherries and half toasted chopped walnuts might be good.

The unfortunately named fudgy pudgy brownie recipe was a sort of footnote in Rose's Heavenly Cakes, as it was a component of the groom's cake in the wedding cakes chapter. This brownie is a more classic brownie recipe than the Barcelona Brownie which served as the brownie base for the fancy pantsy three layer brownies we did previously. I think I may prefer this brownie as it is easier to make and a bit more sturdy. I don't know. I remember feeling like the Barcelona Brownie was the brownie of my dreams the first time I made that one, so who knows.

The brownie tart starts with making the tart crust, which is a super easy thing to do. I even attempted a little video of the child and I processing the dough. It features the learning tower that I just bought off Craigslist thanks to Vicki's suggestion. This thing is great!

Anyways the dough gets kneaded together and unlike regular pie dough this time all the butter needs to be incorporated or else it will melt and form holes in the crust during baking. I had to do a bit more kneading to get that to happen. Then it's off for a chill and rest, then a roll out, then a pan fitting, then another chill and rest. Then you can put your brownie batter in it.

Then the bake happens and the cool down happens and the chiling of the baked tart happens then finally there is the eating. Mark is really happy he got a rich and chocolaty birthday cake, and is happy it is a bit unusual. I love it, but it sure is rich, have I mentioned that yet?

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Baking Bible: Banana Split Chiffon Cake

A lovely, light, fluffy banana chiffon. It seems a food chemistry miracle to take something so wet and fibrous as a banana and create such a wonderful chiffon cake.

This was a fun cake to make with the child, as you need to first puree the banana and egg yolks in the food processor. Then that stuff is mixed into the dry ingredients in the KA mixer. Then you need to make a meringue with the egg whites, which I decided to do with the hand mixer. Yet another kitchen appliance!

 I set them all up on the child's play table (which is right by the kitchen island and currently also is a stand for the cat scratcher) so he could help with the mixing and processing. He thought it was pretty cool, although his help was really just him watching, and now he asks everyday if we can use the mixer. And he now talks about stiff peaks :)  

Sadly, the chiffon cake stayed upside in the pan until the next morning, so the crust stuck in the pan. And the top got a little gooey. The cake is still yummy.  

Here's an inside shot. This is the child's piece. Mark and I decided to go whole hog.

Rose suggests the cake is sublime when served with both the chocolate drizzle glaze that accompanies this recipe AND the caramel sauce from a different recipe AND strawberry ice cream AND whipped cream AND chopped toasted walnuts. And yep, we did just that.

It is a bit much, and looks messy, but it was fun. It would make a great birthday cake, to serve the cake with all the fixings

As the child demonstrates, the banana chiffon is perfectly delicious plain and eaten with your hands.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Baking Bible: Mud Turtle Pie

This is one of the recipes I tested as a Beta Baker, and back then I called this pie "a pecan pie with chocolate frosting." This version of the Mud Turtle Pie lives up to its name: it is caramelly, nutty, and richly chocolaty.

I don't actually know if this, the final recipe, is any different than the recipe I tested. I'm too tired to go out into the garage and look. However I can say for sure that the filling is a bit looser than my test pie which really evokes the caramelly center of a turtle candy, Rose's inspiration for this pie. Using Lyle's Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup and light muscovado instead of brown sugar really really help move the filling toward caramel, and will forever and always be my first choices for a pecan pie of any sort.

The pie itself is a thin layer of nuts and goo, with a rich ganache topper. Rose blends dark and white chocolate to create a ganache she calls her "milk chocolate ganache," but this is anything but milk chocolate. Adding good quality white chocolate mellows out the dark chocolate bitterness without throwing in too much sugar, so the ganache does taste a bit like milk chocolate. It works.

There's instructions to make a cute little ganache turtle to decorate the top of the pie, but I didn't want to take any more time on the making of this pie. I try to involve the 19 month old as much as possible but until he can stand on a stool without me worrying that he'll fall off backwards there isn't that much he can do. So I don't like to spend too much time on baking projects that take away my time with him. I did let him turn on the food processor when making the dough and he LOVED it. Now the food processor base and bowl sit on his play table and he runs over to it and says, "processor!" Then he touches a button and says, "on" and sometimes he'll follow that up with "process!" Then he might make a whirring noise and then the play starts over again. It's really very cute.

He hasn't had any of the pie, but I let him eat my crust which he loves. Mark and I are enjoying this pie very much. I'll admit I ate two slices yesterday. It's just that good.

goo close up.