Posts Tagged ‘pastry’

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Daring Bakers – Chocolate Eclairs

August 31, 2008

This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was to recreate Pierre Herme’s chocolate eclairs, as chosen by Tony and Meeta. The recipe calls for a chocolate pastry cream filling as well as the chocolate glaze, and although we had the freedo to swap one of these for a non-chocolate option, well, seriously, chocolate! Who am I to swap that mighty flavour for another?

I was a little disappointed with my choux – it looked beautiful until I took it out of the oven, but immediately deflated – which no doubt means I undercooked it a bit. Never mind, though, it tasted great, and didn’t look too bad once packed full of delicious chocolate pastry cream. They were a bit too delicious, in fact – we managed to consume the massive batch far too quickly, and even with the help of four boys I felt a tad guilty… Also, we couldn’t bear to wait long enough for me to take a good photo… So sorry about that!

Be sure to check out all the other amazing eclairs on the Daring Bakers’ Blogroll!

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Tarte Tatin

July 6, 2008

I’d been wanting to try this tasty dessert for a while, and with my leftover Danish dough (although I know I should have used butter puff pastry – I will next time!) I whipped up the above specimen. It’s basically caramelised apple on pastry (although you cook it with the pastry on top) and is super tasty. I’ll definitely try this one again sometime… Soooooo goooood!

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Daring Bakers June Challenge: Danish Braid

June 29, 2008

This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was to make a danish braid, including making the Danish dough (which was easier than I expected – try it!). The recipe we were given was for a very tasty cardomom and orange infused dough, from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking. Thanks to hosts Ben of What’s Cookin? and Kelly of Sass & Veracity!

The challenge was to make the laminated dough, and then create some sort of filling and make a braid. We had our tasty pear-filled braid on Friday evening (my last exam was on Friday, so although I managed to prepare the dough in between bursts of study on Thursday, the filling wasn’t happening until after the exam).

My biggest challenge was proving the dough; being mid-winter, it’s pretty chilly here at the moment, and although we heat the bedroom end of our house (we spend most of our time in our rooms and at that end of the house anyway) it’s still not tropical. I actually had a test run, making a couple of small pastries on Thursday, when I tried to proof in front of the heater while I was studying. I think that was actually too hot, and those pastries didn’t rise or flake. When I came to making the braid I moved the cake upstairs, where we keep the warmth. After an hour the dough was still pretty cool, though, so I decided to move it to the warmer drawer… Which was way too hot! When I checked it after 15 minutes it was browning on top – it had started to bake! So I put it in the oven – since it had started, it wasn’t going to be proving anymore, or so I figured.

It was very tasty, but definitely not proved enough – quite dense in places. I still have some dough – the braid only used about half, so I froze the rest (I’ve been in Auckland all weekend doing the Wilton course 1, which was interesting and will warrant a post and some pretty pictures tomorrow) for use later this week. I was speaking to someone about my woes, and she suggested I put it in the oven on the very lowest temperature setting, so I’ll try that with the next lot. 🙂

Anyway, over today (as it falls around the world) all the other Daring Bakers will be posting their Danish Braids, so go check out the blogroll – and if you want to try the recipe, Kelly’s blog hosts it in all its glory – click here!

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More Sydney stuff…

March 3, 2008

I’ve been sorting through the rest of our Sydney photos, and have found the most droolworthy. Hopefully you approve…

The day after we arrived was Tropfest, an annual Australian short film contest (the largest in the world, apparently). In the Domain they’d put up enormous screens and hence created a great opportunity for a night out. We decided to go along, but needed a picnic. This is where Bread Top comes in; located in the World Tower in the CBD, this little bakery was right next to the supermarket we’d shopped at the previous day, and seemed a likely location for obtaining provisions. It’s full to the brim with Asian breads and pastries, and we actually shopped there later in the week for a picnic lunch, and were entirely pleased with all our choices.

Our pastries were (clockwise from top, and sorry for the not-proper names!) custard-almond thing, red bean, er, thing, sesame ball, and melon ball. We bought iced tea to drink from the Asian supermarket which shares the same shop front, and it was all delicious. Later in the week we tried a red bean bun, a chocolate cone, another sesame ball (they were quite yummy!) and a chicken roll (that was Hamish’s – I did not renege on my vegetarianism for a pastry, although it did look tasty).

I mentioned the chocolates from Just William before, but here is more evidence. I also actually managed to recall what these were in time to write them down. They are, clockwise from top left; chilli lime (interesting, maybe a once-er, though); coffee liqueur (yummy!); turkish delight (yummy, although not spectacular); praline cup (Hamish’s choice, very tasty); caramel mushroom; and marzipan praline (a bit of a letdown, but I might be picky when it comes to marzipan).

The caramel mushroom, which I hastily photographed after taking my bite – apologies for the picture quality but if I’d spent any time setting it up the evidence would probably have vanished from under the lens 😉 – was a curiously layered treat; yummy thick layers of chocolate with the stem filled with oozing caramel, and the top filled with crunchy wafer. Tasty and unique!

These are the chocolates we bought from the Lindt chocolate cafe (see my dearly beloved scoffing ice-cream here), and which I managed to refrain from even starting to eat for three whole days! Clockwise from top left, they are; cappucino; dark ganache; kahlua; dark chocolate; milk ganache; strawberry. They were all tasty – as for favourites I was torn between the strawberry and the dark chocolate – but they weren’t earth-shaking. If you want to spend money at the Lindt cafe (and it’s not cheap!) I’d recommend the ice-cream or cakes… Then go to David Jones for chocolate! Which brings me to the last lot of choccy goodness…

These were from the chocolate counter in the food hall at David Jones, which was quite possibly my highlight of the whole holiday (aren’t I a disgrace? A whole week in Sydney and my big moment is in a department store… I’m beyond help). Now, by this stage even I was beginning to think I’d bought too many chocolates, although I lusted after many others in the counter… So I stopped at just four. Clockwise from left, they are; orange/dark chocolate ganache;  something-I-can’t-quite-remember praline; clementine orange; and lemon. These were probably the tastiest bunch over all, with a special mention for the orange/dark choc one – absolutely magnificent! I want to go back, just to get more of that smooth, dark, orangey ganache!

That food hall – it was like heaven! There was a deli, cheese counter, antipasto counter… Just about every food type you can imagine. Lots of the counters had bars so you could sit in the midst of the hubbub and eat you lunch – we ate at the panini bar on the last day – it was a tough call though, between noodles, deli stuff, panini, antipasto…

You’re probably relieved to hear that I’ve now given you all my foodie pics from Sydney – the nest post will be actual food I’ve made – maybe not cake until the end of the week, though, although I promise an exciting one then! 😉 Stay posted!