home

Archive for the 'Daring Bakers' Category

Daring Bakers: Tuiles

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Tuiles with bilberry sorbet.

Today you’ll find over 1000 blog posts about tuiles as it’s Daring Bakers time again! This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Honestly, I didn’t really think I would make this month’s challenge as the last week has been crazy. But then I realized that I missed the November and December challenges, so tonight in the very last minute I decided to take some time for the tuiles! I was hoping that the baking would decrease my stress levels and improve my mood but it didn’t . I didn’t bother making butterflies, I just made simple cups that I filled with a scoop of bilberry sorbet. I wasn’t very impressed with the tuiles, but F thinks that they are delicious and insists that I should make them in summer and serve them with ice cream.

    Tuiles
    (from “The Chocolate Book” written by Angélique Schmeinck)

    Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
    Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch

    65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
    60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
    1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
    2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
    65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
    1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
    Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

    Oven: 180C / 350F

    Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
    Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

    Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

    If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

Daring Bakers: Pizzas in the air!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

One, two…..

Today you’ll find over 1000 blog posts about pizza as it’s Daring Bakers time again! This month’s challenge was to toss and makes pizzas. The recipe was choosen by Rosa and can be found here.

….three!

This challenge is one of the best so far, not because of the recipe but because I made it together with Anne at my place. The evening before she came I prepared the dough. It was super easy to prepare and on the next day when she came we made the tossing, topping and baking. The tossing was fun, but it was impossible for the pizza dough to stay intact after the tossing. So after each tossing we had to re-shape the pizzas…. We prepared the pizza doughs and then we involved our husbands with letting them top their own pizzas. For topping we choose between mozzarella cheese, salami, ham, red onion, fresh mushrooms, ruccola, and ready made tomato sauce. We baked the pizzas on our Ipinium oven sheets, they worked great as pizza stones thanks to their heat retention and distribution.

Sharing a challenge with a friend is so much nicer that doing it yourself, so if you have a Daring Baker close by don’t hesitate to do the next challenge together! I promise you’ll have a lot of fun! To see Anne’s post about our pizza making go to this page.

Ready to put into the oven.

Ready to eat!

Daring Bakers: Lavash crackers

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Crackers with fresh rosemary and sea salt.

Ooops, I see a trend… Once again I’m one day late with making and posting the Daring Bakers challenge. This month’s challenge was to bake lavash crackers and make a vegan dip of our own choice. The recipe was choosen by Nathalie and Shel.

The recipe for the crackers was very easy to do. We could choose to make it gluten free, but I used spelt flour which contains gluten (however a much smaller amount than normal flour). I used 5 different toppings for the crackers:

-fresh rosemary and sea salt
-smoked sea salt
-taco spice
-chili and sea salt
-zhug (a spice that contains garlic, cardamon, coriander, lemon and chili)

For dipping sauce I used the left overs from a vegan South African barbaque sauce that I made the other day, I’ll post that in a separate post. We both liked the crackers a lot, they were easy to bake and eat :-) It’s important to roll out the dough as thin as possible so they get really crunchy.

Don’t be fooled by Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Chip and Dale. They are sprinkled with chili and sea salt.

Clock wise: Crackers with taco spice, zhug, smoked sea salt and last but not least rosemary and sea salt. In the center a vegan South African barbecue sauce


    Lavash crackers

    RECIPE – Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.

    Here’s a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company and kids…It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and pideh (Armenian). The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)…

    The key to a crisp lavash,…is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.

    Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

    * 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
    * 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
    * 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
    * 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
    * 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
    * 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
    * Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

    1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

    2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

    or

    2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

    3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

    4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.

    or

    4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

    5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt – a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

    5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

    6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Daring Bakers: Chocolate éclairs

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Have you seen a lot of éclair posts since yesterday? Yes, it’s Daring Bakers again. As usual I postponed the baking until the last minute and normally that isn’t any problem. Except for the part that I woke up on Saturday morning with a very sore throat and head ache. So during the weekend I just tried to recover and today after work I rushed home to finish the challenge. One day delayed, but at least I did it :-)

This month’s challenge was to bake Chocolate éclairs from Pierre Hermé’s “Chocolate Desserts” and the recipe was picked by Meeta and Tony.

Anne had given me the great tip to prepare the chocolate sauce (for the glaze) on Sunday evening, so that I did just before going to bed. On Monday evening after work I baked half of the éclairs and decided to freeze the other half. After around 20 minutes in the oven they were ready and looked nice. Except for the part that they were completely deflated and where still not hollow inside. By that time the other half of the éclairs were frozen, but I just put them directly into the oven, and waited. And waited. Baking the éclairs for almost 10 minutes more made the trick. While waiting for them to cool I made the chocolate glaze. I was too hungry to make a pastry cream so I just filled the éclairs with whipped cream and raspberries, and then I poured chocolate glaze on top. A delicious dinner! :-)

Thanks Meeta and Tony for hosting, and for a lovely recipe!
For recipe go to Meeta’s éclair post.

Daring Bakers: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008



It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day.

This month’s challenge was to bake a Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream from Carol Walter’s “Great Cakes” and the recipe was picked by Chris of Mele Cotte.


It’s super hot outside and I’m melting so I will keep this post as short as possible. As usual I did the challenge in the very last minute. I baked the cake last night and today during the day I completed the different steps. I decided to do half the recipe, using a smaller spring pan. I used cherry preserves instead of apricot and I omitted the sugar syrup and used Frangelico hazelnut liquour instead. For decoration I used fresh cherries.

I averted two minor catastrophies:

1. My swiss buttercream curdled. But I quickly re-heated it for a couple of seconds, whipped it and it turned out very smooth and nice.

2. After putting the praline buttercream very even on each cake layer and then with the cake in my hand looking for a space in the fridge I discovered the whipped cream that I was suppose to have on each layer of butter cream…. So I gently split the layers and added the cream on my earlier perfect layers. It didn’t turn out too great, but better than I first thought.

The verdict? A gorgeous cake and I’m sure I will make it again in the future. There were many discussions on the private Daring Bakers forum about this very cake, but with over 1000 members it’s a tough choice for the monthly host to pick a recipe that will suit everyone. I’m very glad that Chris picked this recipe, as I would not have tried it otherwise despite the fact that I love hazelnuts all because the fact that I normally don’t like butter cream. But this one was delicious! Thanks!

The recipe can be found here and to see all fabulous versions of this cake go to the Daring Bakers blog roll.



Daring Bakers: Danish braid and pastries

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Danish braid filled with home made vanilla custard and bilberries, and glazing on top.

It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day.

This month’s challenge was to bake a Danish Braid from Sherry Yard’s “The Secrets of Baking” and the recipe was picked by Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’?


Before I mention anything else this recipe does not taste like genuine Danish pastries. I love them and I could eat one every day but as they’re not good to your waistline I only eat them every second day… The Daring Baker challenge pastries and braid were good, but they don’t taste like the original ones. The result was nice and I liked them but it wasn’t as I expected. The recipe calls for cardamom and orange zest which is an odd flavour for Danish pastries as they are normaly plain. I had fun baking the challenge but it really wasn’t worth the effort, especially since I know where to get excellent freshly baked Danish pastries (ie in every decent Swedish bakery).


I chose to make a braid and a couple of pin wheel shaped pastries. As I love the classic Danish pastries with vanilla custard I filled the braid with home made vanilla custard (for the first time ever it came out perfect) and bilberries. The pastries were filled with the same vanilla custard, raspberry jam and raspberries.

    DANISH DOUGH

    Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

    Ingredients
    For the dough (Detrempe)
    1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
    1/2 cup whole milk
    1/3 cup sugar
    Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
    3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
    2 large eggs, chilled
    1/4 cup fresh orange juice
    3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt

    For the butter block (Beurrage)
    1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour

    DOUGH
    Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

    BUTTER BLOCK
    1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
    2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
    4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

    APPLE FILLING
    Makes enough for two braids

    Ingredients
    4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter

    Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 – 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

    DANISH BRAID
    Makes enough for 2 large braids

    Ingredients
    1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
    2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

    For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

    1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
    2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
    3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

    Egg Wash
    Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

    Proofing and Baking
    1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
    2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
    3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake pops

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day.

This month’s challenge was to bake Cheesecake pops from “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey” by Jill O’Connor, and the recipe was picked by Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell. I love cheesecake but I didn’t find this specific cheesecake recipe to be the perfect one, but it was good. The recipe is straith forward and I didn’t encounter any problems. I did a half batch and ended up with 14 cheesecake pops. I added a bit lemon to the batter and I omited shortening in the chocolate. For coating I used different sanding sugars, chopped hazelnuts, chopped Toblerone and chopped Daim. The pops would be perfect for a party as they are so pretty and as they are so sweet (depending on chosen coating) one is enough to eat. A tip would be to make a few pops next time you have some left over cheesecake.

Cheesecake Pops
Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Daring Bakers: Lemon Meringue Pie

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Lemon meringue pie

It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! Due to postponing December’s challenge until last minute and then catching a really bad cold on the day for publishing, I didn’t manage to bake the yule log that everyone was supposed to bake. But it feels good to have done the first challenge of 2008. The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day, this time on the 28th of January.

This month’s challenge was to bake a lemon meringue pie from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, and the recipe was picked by Jen from The Canadian Baker. I like lemon meringue pie but in the past, when I was around 14 years old, me and my mother took turns in making it once a week and gradually we got tired of our favourite pie. So these small lemon meringue pies were the first since then and it was like meeting an old friend again. I love the tart lemon filling and the crispy crust, and between the bites I asked myself how I could have neglected this lovely pie for such a long time.

The pie is very sweet, but the sweetness is balanced a bit thanks to the tartness of the lemons. It was nice to try a new recipe for lemon meringue pie and I had no problems what so ever, even though I just as usual waited with the challenge until the last minute. Both the filling and meringue came out perfect, however I must admit that I didn’t follow the recipe completely as I decided to cover the lemon filling while it was still warm. I’m not sure if that really matters, but it didn’t feel like a good idea to put the meringue on a cold filling as I thought that the bottom of the meringue would take longer time to cook. I choose to make 6 small pies instead of one large as the pie can get a bit messy after cutting it. But I felt that the servings were too big, so I would recommend to do more and smaller pies if you want to do individual ones.

Edit: The pies were perfect even on the day after baking. I kept them in the fridge, but completely uncovered. The meringue and filling were still perfect without any liquid, and the crust was great as well. The meringue didn’t sweat at all.

    Lemon Meringue Pie
    Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie or 6 small ones.
    Recipe from: Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver.

    For the Crust:
    3/4 cup (170 gram) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
    2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
    1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
    1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water

    For the Filling:
    2 cups (475 mL) water
    1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
    1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
    5 egg yolks, beaten
    1/4 cup (50 gram) butter
    3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
    1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
    1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

    For the Meringue:
    5 egg whites, room temperature
    1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
    1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
    3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

    To Make the Crust:
    Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt.Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

    Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (0.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling. [I have a convection oven and baked the crusts in 175ºC.]

    To Make the Filling:
    Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature. [I didn't let the filling cool, but did the meringue and covered the pies directly]

    To Make the Meringue:
    Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust. [Here I did a misstake, I forgot to change the oven temperature so I baked them in 175ºC for 15 minutes. But the result was great.]