Friday, February 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Valentino

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Yay! I'm officially part of the Daring Bakers, a group of extraordinary bakers who "Knead to Bake!".

The challenge they chose for the month of February was an easy task but delicious nonetheless and this is a good thing for a novice baker like me. However, I've been known to do things at the last minute and it didn't help that I've been busy the whole month of February so I decided to bake the cake on the day that I'm suppose to blog about it.

I set my alarm for 5AM the night before but I woke up at 7AM instead. Panic mode kicking in!

I decided to bake half of the cake in a 10 inch tart pan because I thought it looked prettier. (The rest of the cake batter I baked in another pan.)
I filled the tart pan 3/4 full and after a few minutes I went "Uh-oh!" when i saw the batter rise to the rim of the tart pan. I thought it was gonna overflow but luckily it didn't.

The star in this dessert is actually the chocolate so it is important to use really good chocolate when making this cake. Since I used bittersweet chocolate, the ice cream (with generous bits of flourless chocolate cake) and the dulce de leche gave the cake the sweetness it needed. It's not too sweet, not cloying.
Best served with a cup of coffee, I think.

Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Dharm's Ice Cream Recipe
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)

1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurised and homogenised {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat)
{you can easily increase your cream's fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted - cool to room temperature and add to the heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed. Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.

1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
Lift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy. 3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time
4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.
5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse)
By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe
Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

2 cups (473 ml) of half and half (1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of whole, full fat milk)
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
2/3 (128 grams) cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 (12 grams) tablespoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer
Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My sister's spaghetti

Last Friday, i took the 8PM bus to Manila because someone from kitchen aid was coming over to fix my mixer. It was also my bonding time with my sister Gelli. I get to see her, I'd say, only about three times a month. She's taking up BS Biology at the Ateneo. On the otherhand, I'm almost always swamped with work and the five hour trip from Manila to La Union -and vice versa- can be tiring at times. Anyway, she aced her Chem exam so I decided to take her to FullyBooked at Bonifacio HighStreet where we splurged-just a little bit- on books. After paying for our book purchases, we hied off to the new Rustan's Fresh Supermarket to buy some eggs and other breakfast items. While doing our grocery shopping, my sister asked me if I wanted spaghetti for dinner. I said okay. So we added a pack of spaghetti, two kinds of spaghetti sauce, red bellpepper and ground pork to the breakfast items then headed home.

Pinoy style spaghetti unlike its Italian or American counterpart, is on the sweet side. Some people make it using banana ketchup and hotdogs. Some use regular tomato sauce and add sugar later on. Here, pinoy style spaghetti is a staple in filipino homes and is much loved by kids.

My sister's spaghetti is based on my mom's pinoy style spaghetti recipe. It was my grandma's recipe. It's the same pasta recipe that I grew up eating. It is comfort food for me.

Pinoy style spaghetti
spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
1 kilo ground beef
4 red bell peppers, diced
1 pack italian style spaghetti sauce (we use del monte)
1 pack sweet style spaghetti sauce (we use del monte)
garlic, minced
onion, chopped
italian seasoning.
bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP butter
sugar to taste.

Cook pasta according to package instructions. (Unlike italian style spaghetti, i think that there is no need to add salt to the water.)
Heat oil and saute onions and garlic. Add ground beef. Saute until beef is browned. Add the bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Pour spaghetti sauce. Let it simmer. If the sauce is too thick, add some water. Add paprika, bayleaf and italian seasoning. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sugar if you want a sweeter sauce. Turn off flame and add a tablespoon of butter. Stir into sauce until melted. You can also add grated cheese to the spaghetti sauce if desired.

Easy Sticky Buns Take Two

I made another batch of Ina Garten's sticky buns.

My dad loves them.

I think I did a better job of rolling the pastry this time.

Although I love this recipe, I think it is still too buttery.

The next time I make these, I'll lessen the amount of butter.