Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tiramisu for me, Tiramisu for you!

Homemade tiramisu... not as daunting as it might seem.
 I pared down the recipe to serve just two (instead of a whopping 8 people).

Recipe from my CIA book:

Yields 2 4" rounds - used springform pans

1/3C Espresso
2T+2t Kahlua/coffee liquer
1/2C Granulated Sugar- divided into 1/3C and the remainder
2 Egg yolks
1/3 of an Egg (tricky tricky - I divided using weight)
13oz. Mascarpone Cheese
1/3t Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg White
16 stale Ladyfingers (approximately, I used a whole package of 24)
Cocoa powder for dusting
Powdered sugar for dusting

Combine espresso and Kahlua. Set aside.
Whisk together the 1/3C granulated sugar, egg yolks and the 1/3 of a whole egg. In the stand mixer bowl, set over simmering water, whisk until volume nearly doubles and becomes a light lemon yellow color.
Transfer bowl to mixer with whisk attachment and whip at high speed until mixture is cooled to room temperature.
Add half of the mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract at low speed until very smooth. Scrape bowl as needed. Add remaining mascarpone and mix enough to combine evenly.

In a separate bowl, whip egg white with remaining sugar until forms medium peaks. (This won't be very much). Fold beaten egg white into the mascarpone mixture.

Press 3-4 ladyfingers into the bottom of springform pan. Generously brush with espresso/Kahlua mix. Spread mascarpone filling on top. Top with ladyfingers and brush with espresso/Kahula. Repeat 3-4 times depending on height of your pan. End with mascarpone on top. Dust entire top with cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
Wrap and chill overnight in the fridge.
Carefully unmold! And enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gift Bakets Galore (aka holiday baking bonanza part II)

This post is quite overdue... oops!
Just wanted to tie up the holiday season, though its been long gone...
2 baskets from the Holiday Baking Extravaganza
Special Gift Basket a la The Appropriated Muffin
 Included: the usual Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies and...
Homemade Peppermint Marshmallow with Semisweet Chocolate
Holiday shaped Rice Krispy Treats
Dachshund shaped Butter Cookies with Mini Chocolate Chips for eyes (the recipient was a doxie owner)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows

One of the new items for the holiday baking this year was homemade marshmallows. I had made them in class and thought it was super easy to make - not much time needed and so few ingredients. I "jazzed" mine up for winter with some peppermint extract instead of vanilla. But I probably should have gone less than a full tablespoon since the peppermint flavor came out fairly strong - I decided to "counteract" that with some melted semi-sweet chocolate chip spread on one side.

Let's do the mini tutorial thing again yeah? You'll need a kitchenaid mixer - BTW.
Step 1:  Combine 3 envelopes of gelatin (or 2T+3/4t) in mixer bowl and let soften with 3/4C water.
Step 1a: Prepare pan, depending on size and shape of marshmallows you want. I used a half-sheet and got flatter marshmallows vs. thick cubes. I greased with vegetable oil then sifted powdered sugar over. (You probably DON'T need to sift the sugar over).
Step 2: Melt 2 Cups sugar, 3/4C light corn syrup and 3/4C water, boil until 240 degrees (softball stage).
Step 3: Remove from heat then add stir in an additional 1/4C light corn syrup.
Step 4: Start the mixer with the gelatin and carefully pour the hot mixture. Beat on high (approx 10 min) until mixture is triple in volume and thick. Beat in your flavoring (1T of vanilla, or peppermint extract - use caution with the strength of your flavoring)

Step 5: Spread the mixture into prepared pan, smoothing as much as possible. Set aside uncovered for 8 to 10 hours at room temp.

Step 6: Dust your workspace with powdered sugar to cut. Dip cut sides into powdered sugar. Store in airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Optional Step 7: Melt semisweet chocolate and spread on top side. Let set before packaging.
You might want to do a neater job of spreading chocolate than I did.

Banoffee/Banoffi Pie a la Paula Deen

So, remember the Banoffee Pie I had back in Scotland? Well... seemed so quick and easy to make, but it has taken me forever to get around to trying it!

And so when an opportunity presents itself i.e. the urban family holiday party, I decide to give it a go.
I think that Banoffee Pie is a very semi-homemade kind of pie; you can kind of just slap all the ingredients together and there you go!
But the recipe I decided to follow (more or less) was Paula Deen's Banoffee Pie:

Here's my step by step "tutorial" (I use that term loosely, of course):
Step 1: Make the toffee. I made per Paula Deen's recipe. But maybe I should have just tried the "boiling can" method that's so talked about online. Not sure if I got the consistency of the toffee right either...
Step 2: Pour (half of) toffee into pie crust. So, I bought a ready made pie crust. Don't judge. Again, not sure if the toffee consistency was right. Might have been too runny - does it need to be cooked longer? Or is that as good as it gets?
Step 3: Slice bananers. Top with bananers.
Step 4: Top with (rest of) toffee. In hindsight, regardless of runny toffee or not, probably should have just left the filling at the bananers. This second layer of toffee was just toooo much - doesn't it just LOOK like too much already? Eek.

Step 5: Make fresh whipped cream and slather on pie. YUMMMY!

I didn't cut into the pie right away since it was obvious the "soupy" toffee was coming out from the sides. I put it in the fridge overnight in hopes that it would get firmer... but alas,
Don't get me wrong, it was delish! (Minus some of that extra toffee).
Next time, I'll do MORE whipped cream (can't go wrong with extra fresh whipped cream), LESS toffee - and BETTER toffee.

And maybe I should try the "original" recipe from which the Banoffi Pie originated.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has a fun, festive and safe New Year's Eve/Day!
I'll be at home enjoying my Christmas doughnuts...
 ... in milk!