Monday, March 29, 2010

Bruno Vuitton

Meet Bruno.

Bruno Vuitton Heng Arrigo is the newest addition to the Arrigo family. A little black bundle of joy for his charming parents. Collectively, the family is known to us as 'the Bs'. So, when a birthday cake was called for, Bruno of course, would need to be centre feature.

Chocolate mud cake with Kahlua ganache and a chocolate honey cake beehive.

I hope the B's have a wonderful time in their new home with the very lovable Bruno.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Daring Baker's March Challenge

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.

First off, we had to make a pate sablee, which is a crisp butter pastry similar to a shortcrust pastry. Here it is after it had been rested and rolled into the tin. I then blind baked it so that ir would remain nice and crispy.

The Sable was easy to make, I didn't feel like cleaning the food processor, so I made it by hand. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who will never excel at making pastries or chocolates, purely because my hands are too warm. I have to keep placing my hands in cold water so I dont melt the butter before its worked into the flour..... sigh!

Part 2 included segmenting oranges - which, strangely, I adore doing! My choice is always to eat oranges like this!!

We also made a caramel which was poured over the segments. My caramel didn't work, but I did add some peel in with the segments for a more intense flavour.

Next was putting it together. Oranges on the bottom, cream filling next, and then topped with a marmalade covered sablee on top, all to be inverted for the final presentation.

Et Viola! Une L'Orange Tian a la Alain Duccasse!

and also an orange tart a la Winz..............

With a cup of English breakfast tea..... it was the perfect sunday afternoon tea.

The recipe looks a little daunting, but it really isnt too bad. If you have time, check out how all the other daring bakers fared.


For the Pate Sablee:

2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon
All-purpose flour (Plain flour) 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 170 degree Celcius.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

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

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

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.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges.

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

For the Caramel:

granulated sugar 200 grams
orange juice 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. 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!]

For the Whipped Cream:

heavy whipping cream 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

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. 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. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. 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.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

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.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Popcorn anyone?

Curiously, when the movie themed cupcakes went up on the blog and at flickr, quite a few people emailed asking how they were made. The credit of course should go to the immensely talented Andrea of Andrea Sweetcakes, so I thought I'd post a few photos of how I translated her technique.

Equipment required
Ball tool, paintbrush, fondant, food colouring, deocrators alcohol (rose essense)

Add some CMC into the fondant to assist in hardening the fondant, knead well and roll into random sized balls (between pea sized and cherry sized as you prefer)

With the ball tool, on the foam pad....

... make little belly button shapes

Mix a few drops of food colouring with rose essense (to allow faster drying) and paint the inside of the button.

Working quickly bfore the fondant dries, shape the buttons into organic looking shapes to resemble the kernels.

Using a little water - or flower glue, attach the shaped pieces to another ball of fondant

You can attach more than one piece or none at all.

Viola! Makes me want to watch a movie!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Breaking the drought

After the longest dry spell Perth has ever experienced, a monster of a storm rolled in late yesterday aftern0on. Bringing with it, hailstones the size of golf balls and a blanket of darkness that covered the whole city from 4:30PM in the afternoon. The torrential sheets of rain caused mudsides and widespread flooding and a trail of destruction throughout the city. It was pretty scary. I dont ever remember such a violent storm!

On a happier note, and what this blog is actually all about......

This weekend started off with a Green tearamisu cake for Tony's birthday.

It was a bad picture in a very dark room.....but at least the cake got an applause! Made with marsapone, white chocolate and honey, it was a light and an interesting deviation from a traditional tiramisu.

Also girly cupcakes were the order of the day for Janelle's 25th birthday.

And a lovely pair of tween twins had a movie themed birthday party and cupcakes to match the theme. It was so much fun to make the fondant popcorn.

Popcorn anyone?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Greetings from Brunei

Shortly before Christmas Royal Brunei promoted a package for a long weekend at the Empire Resort. The idea of a 6 star resort was simply too hard to resist and so off we went.

Brunei is a small principality in Borneo, East Malaysia. Primarily it is simply known as the home of one of the world's richest men - the Sultan of Brunei. The Empire Resort was simply, once, the palace and resisdence of Prince Jefri - brother of the Sultan.

The crockery and silverware used at all meals - still bears his initials. (A simple breakfast buffets includes Austrian jams and preserves and a huge selection of international dishes - curry chicken for breakfast too!)

The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms with to the ceiling marble and granite are huge - close to half the size of the rest of the room.

View from our room of the beach. Although different, I now understand why our Australian beaches are so renowned.

Room with a view, 3 days with no alcohol - as a Muslim state, the sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in public areas..... what is a girl to do? Yup, get on the twilight bandwagon, a diet soda, ipod and in 23 degree air conditioned comfort - there could be worse ways to spend a weekend!!

In the lobby, the awe inspiring pillars of solid marble and granite, stretching 6 floors skyward, floor to ceiling glass and refridgerated at a comfortable 23degrees.

Inlaid with 22 carat gold leaf details.

Austrian - Swarovski actually, chandelliers at every turn.......

Venturing out in the rest of the resort - by golf buggy for those unwilling to walk in the humid weather, the Empire also boast 5 pools.

Here's one..............

the lagoon......

and another.........
and another....
I think you get the general idea....... all within a balls thrown to the South China Sea. Disappointingly, all pools had rather warm water and made swimming not as refreshing as it would otherwise have been.

Oh! While we're at it, I suppose a girl needs a pool side snack after a looong swim under the clear blue skies.

A short day visit into the city was in order to discover the local sights and sounds.

Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, built by the current Sultan. Again, lots of marble, lots of crystals, lots of gold!

The national mosque, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque referred to by the locals as the mini Taj.

the Water Village (Crown Prince's palace in the background)

and of course, what is the best thing about living in a tax free, oil producing country?

Yes! Pertol at 51.9c

Brunei is the sort of place you would go enroute somewhere. If you were, say going to Kota Kinabalu for a bit of diving, or Singapore for a bit of shopping, then stopping in Brunei for a refresher for a bit of R&R, especially the the Empire, would a fantastic way to spend a few days.

Sit by the pool, detox and fall asleep with the balmy sea breeze......just make sure its not under this coconut tree!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Heaven on a dessert plate

Due to the very silly season getting not ending until this past weekend, I've been a bit slack in participating in the Daring Baker Challenges. However, this month pick of tiramisu, really got me all excited. Considering I have a constant line of friends that will never, ever refuse a tiramisu, what better motivation could there be?

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

This challenge including making the Savoiardi sponge fingers and the mascapone cheese from scratch. The recipe also had a challenging twist to it with a zabaglione as well as the cheese.

The ladyfingers we easy enough to make. I found my batter a little too runny for my liking, but they turned out quite well.

Because I'm not a big fan of the traditional addition of madeira, I decided that I'd do a Jamacian twist and add a splash of rum to the coffee for soaking. Rum and coffee are good friends aren't they? Anyways, it turned out lovely. Add shavings of dark chocolate instead of the usual cocoa dusting..... and viola....!

As the hosts say, heaven on a desert plate!! A real 'pick me up' (translation of tiramisu)!
This was the tiramisu made with the store bought savoiardi fingers the evening after I made it. Another 24 hours later when its had time to mature..... the fingers were meltingly soft and oh so very delicious!

This last one is made with my savoiardi fingers. As you can see, they are thinner and naturally, more layers. Maybe you'd like to be a daring baker and give it a go too!