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Kyoto Black Sesame and candied lemon Brioche

“Chef, what are your trade secrets?

Almost everyone asks me the same question over and over again since the time I began my foray into the kitchen.

My response? I have NONE ! Wala, aucun, keine, ninguno, mafi!

… You will be amazed the answers to your culinary challenges may just be in YouTube! If you have the proper technique, understanding,  and skills, then the key to unlocking those “secrets” is in  your hands.”   – CHEF NOUEL

Kyoto Black Sesame and candied lemon Brioche

Have always enjoyed Chef Nouel Omamalin’s recipes from his blog, The Nifty Chef

Have tried his Gingerbread house and cookies, the Parisian Macarons ( for a first try, it gave super results. If only i “macaronaged” a bit more, I could’ve achieved perfectly  flat tops and developed those  distinct feet),  his Decadent Chocolate Cake. They are all very good recipes . Do hop over to take a look., (http://www.chefnouel.com/recipes/)

Gingerbread house

Kyoto Black Sesame and candied lemon Brioche

So, was totally elated, to receive a copy of his first baking book, Nouel’s Nifty Chic Baking: Original ideas to impress, in the mail one day.

Love the combination of the simple and the sublime in his book, and the creative and chic way he dresses up his pastry creations.

It is simple and straightforward, and the element to excite is prevalent in each of the  recipes.  I feel, it is a book to challenge the home baker to aspire higher and also has innovative ideas for the pastry chef.

Browsing through the book, had to stop right at the Kyoto Black Sesame and candied lemon Brioche on pg # 37. I had to bake it , it looked super cute and sophisticated at the same time…Those bite size buns with their charcoal black tops and the dark red horizontal brush strokes on the sides (inspired by the red colours of Autumn n Kyoto, Japan) were indeed irresistible.

Kyoto Black Sesame and candied lemon Brioche

But I was apprehensive about the Sesame streusel crust, it lend the bread  a chic  look, but how would it taste?

My acid test is to always serve it at Potluck. The food gets sampled by a considerable number of people and if sixty percent of them like it, it’s a keeper !

This, was a total delight, and people never have enough of it.

The crust is really the star and it pairs  very  well with the bread ( as it is, it’s a Brioche, how more decadent can you get? )

Here is the recipe, you’ll  develop a fondness for these lil guys, just looking at them, smile…

Kyoto Black Sesame and candied lemon Brioche, by Chef Nouel Omamalin,  reprinted with permission.

Ingredients:

Brioche 

470 gms flour

25 gms sugar,  caster

8 gms salt, fine

10 gms, yeast , instant

100 gms egg yolks, room temperature

100 gms Lemon peel, candied

60 gms butter,  unsalted, softened

Black Sesame Streusel Crust

90 gms butter, unsalted,  softened

110 gms brown sugar, light, fine

1 gm salt, fine

90 gms flour

40 gms black Sesame seeds, finely ground

10 gms black Sesame oil

Optional: 6 drops black food colour paste

Kyoto Black Sesame and candied lemon Brioche
Procedure :

Straight dough method:

Place all dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.  Mix briefly with the paddle attachment of your mixer.

Add in the rest of the ingredients except the lemon peel and butter.

Using the dough hook attachment of your mixer, mix the dough on slow speed until gluten formation begins. The dough will start clinging onto the dough hook.

Gradually add in the butter in three additions and continue mixing until dough is fully developed.

Add in the candied lemon peel.

Allow to rise in a lightly floured or lightly greased bowl, covered, until double in bulk.

While waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the Streusel crust. You can prepare this well in advance and keep it frozen until ready for use.

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and with the paddle attachment, blend at slow speed until a uniform paste is formed.

Spread onto a baking paper ( at least 60 cm × 40 cm) or silicon mat. With a rolling pin,  roll into a thickness of 0.25 cm.

Place in the freezer until fully set.

When the dough is ready,  degas and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before scaling.

Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Shape into rolls and pan.

Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes and gently brush the top with milk.

Cut the Streusel crust into squares of 5 cm.

Place on top of the rolls without pressing. It will slowly soften and stick onto the roll’s surface.

When the rolls are double in size, bake in a  180° C preheated oven.

While the rolls are baking,  prepare the finishing touches by mixing  a few drops of red food colour paste or powder with some milk.

As soon as the breads come out of the oven, immediately create decorative red lines around the rolls to complete the look.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Posted by on July 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Cake Decorating – Sharp edges and Straight corners …

“There’s a moment when it suddenly comes to you leveling the top of the cake. Working with a palette knife, it’s the move in the air, then coming across the top of the cake. Beginners tend to go around it, making a dome of it…it’s not something you get right away, then suddenly …” – Martin Howard.

If you are a serious home baker, then you know what I mean, smile…

sharon 1

Those elusive sharp edges and straight corners….truly a learning curve for those who take cake decorating seriously…at least it was, for me. Clearly remember the times I winced when I saw those super sharp edges and pristine corners on Cake decorating sites and in the magazines … how in the world did they achieve that?, I wondered, time and again.

And it sure did elude me for a long time…

Either I’d end up with a leaning tower of Pisa, or ‘d leave the bench scraper marks everywhere on the cake and the cake would lack finesse.

Yes, there are a lot of video tutorials and write ups, put up by generous people, who have devised various techniques to achieve the super finish- and absolutely Yes, they are incredibly helpful – which is why I am able to blog abt it and post my pictures.

But it was not something I could achieve at the drop of a hat!

I so remember the time I had just made a barell cake, again with a visible slight slant- to be served at a gathering – and a humourous guy light heartedly said to me, Chech (Sis), your cake resembles Mohanlal!!! (a popular Malayalam movie star who has a characteristic slanting gait.) Gosh! But he was right. And I made my resolution once again.

I did check on You tube videos, and I have found that I am most comfortable with the upside down technique, since I don’t do massive structures yet.

Technique:

I did not make use of the acrylic boards, though I assume they are a very convenient and stress free option to employ.

I use two cake boards or cardboards cut to the same size (slightly bigger than the cake) and wrap them in aluminium foil – One for the bottom, and one for the top.

Stick cellotape to secure the aluminium foil onto the cake board that is to be placed on the top part of the cake. The portion where u stick the cellotape should be the one facing you, not the other way round. Set aside.

Put a dab of Chocolate ganache on the bottom cake board and place the cake on it, inorder to secure the cake in place.

Then you fill your cake and place another cake on top of it. (Or torte your cake and fill.)

Pic 1

Cake artist, Jessica Harris, has a detailed write up on how much ganache may be used to frost each layer, so do run by her site to get an overall understanding.

http://jessicaharriscakedesign.com/2013/01/how-much-ganache-do-i-need/

Apply a liberal amout of ganache on the surface of the topmost cake and put the second cakeboard that you set aside earlier (the one covered in Aluminium foil and secured with cello tape) on top of it and squish down, softly but firmly.

Pic 2

I use a leveler, to ensure that the cake is flush and level.

Next, crumb coat and leave to chill in the fridge.

Once the cake is set, place it on a turntable, and check to see for bulges.

The cake should be contained within the two cake boards, and should not be jutting out on the sides. I use a Square tool to go around the cake to check. Gently cut off excess cake that’s protruding to the sides.

Pic 3

Apply ganache or buttercream liberally to the sides, covering both cake boards.

I use a piping bag to do this, with a big, round tip, going all around the cake using the turntable.

Pic 4

Scrape off the excess with the help of a bench scraper kept perfectly straight. You may be here for a while, but you surely are on your way to those super sharp edges.

Pic 5

Scrape more if you find an excess build up or apply more ganache to those areas that need to be filled, with the help of a spatula.

Turn your cake upside down, and place the level tool on top to check if it is level. If not, slightly push down and ensure it is level. Scrape again, if necessary.

Turn your cake right side up. Go to knee level or bend over and check your cake on the sides. Believe me, it will add to your confidence to do so, it means you are ensuring those straight sides as the final outcome.

I am one of those many people who have done quite a bit of Bharathnaatyam and Mohiniyattom, going around my cakes, obsessed with the sleek, sharp look..,lol!

Pic 6

Place in the fridge again till perfectly well chilled.

Remove the cello tape off the top cake round first and take out the Cardboard.

Pic 8

Carefully peel off the aluminium foil sticking to the cake. If the cake is not well chilled, you may rip some of the ganache off, which you may always fill., but can be messy and time consuming. I don’t think you may encounter this problem with acrylic boards.

Pic 9

Whatever happens, don’t panic, and give yourself time. Many a sharp corners that you see, is a result of constant practise, and a good ganache to cream ratio.

I use a 2:1 combination, two parts chocolate to one part cream.

I also use an immersion blender after I pour the scalding cream over the chopped chocolate and give it a stir with a Silicon spatula. This ensures I have a lump free Ganache with a good consistency to work with.

Pic 10

Now go around the cake with a warm spatula (dipped in hot water and then wiped clean)

Take a lil bit of your ganache and add more cream to bring to a slightly more viscous consistency and dab on rough areas, and smooth out with a spatula.

PIc 11

Chill again if required, and smooth out one last time, the sides and the top, with the spatula dipped in hot water, wiped clean. Again, you may be here for a while, this is where u can get really obsessed, going round and round your cake … but you will soon learn.

Pic 12

Pic 13

If using Swiss Meringue or Italian Meringue buttercream to frost your cakes, avoid the hot water technique as it may discolour the buttercream.

And in all this, keep a wet wash cloth next to you, so that you may wipe your hands occasionally. Your hands are going to get sticky playing with ganache. It helps relieve stress … or maybe it’s just me.

Pic 14

Pic 15

In Conclusion

If you are one of those people whom straight sides and sharp corners are evading, realise that it is just a matter of time. With the immense support we have on the net, it is not one that is impossible to achieve.

I also realise that not all cakes need to have razor sharp edges and be super straight all the time … like the chic, the abstract has its appeal too.

Pic 16

Pic 17

Have Fun..

Thanks for stopping by.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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BANANA CAKE / CUPCAKES

“A baker should never let distance stand in the way of sharing.” – Flo Braker

banana cake

My mom was doing a visit to her youngest sister in Bombay who is convalescing from a period of illness.

I have the fondest memories of this precious aunt. She was the star in the family. Growing up, I was always asked to look up to her, and with good reason…

Quite an all rounder in her time, she was equally good in academics and sports. A sprightly character with a care free attitude. she was pretty too, with her flawless skin and petite structure. And, she had deep sensitivity toward others.

We were a joint family of seven in a tiny Bandra flat, all of us huddled together, like a bunch of fresh sardines, set to be sold in the local market.

Night times were great. My grand dad and grand mom would occupy the small bed on the side of the wall, my mom and another sister on the adjascent little bed, my uncle under the table near the kitchen, and my youngest aunt and I, in the middle of the room, on a mattress with pillows. She would fervently sing to me each night, melodies of the mid seventies, in her not so melodious voice. I thought nobody could sing better…it provided an overwhelming sense of security. Soon after, my parents shifted base to Kerala, and I missed her bitterly then.

When I had my Summer hols and we did trips to Bombay, she and I would religiously go together to the Paan shop, buy 2 meeta paans each (sans the thambaakku), and stick them to the farthest corner of our mouths. We’d viciously grind those beetle juices with our teeth, extracting every sweetish pungent flavour, and aim for the next big gutter to see who would shoot best. She would laugh heartily at the lightest jokes and it would take her a while to get her bearings back. We had to wait for her to finish enjoying the gleeful moment! Life’s precious and fleeting flavors, sigh!

So, my mom was going to Bombay and I threw myself into making two of my aunt’s favourite cakes…A Carrot cake and, her absolute favorite, Banana cake.

Now when it comes to a good banana cake, ”we want it moist, we want it delicious”, quoting Peter Reinhart from “Crust and Crumb”, and that is all.

Have tried many variations in the past, and nothing matched up…it was either too bready or it was too dense.

We have fantastic baby bananas in Kerala, one of the most delicious and varied flavours that the Earth can offer. And I wanted to maximise on it.

Banana cake

This recipe is from Joanne Chang, from her book, Flour.
Here is the recipe, it has soft and warm flavours, and is not bready.
 

Flour’s Famous Banana Bread, Re-printed with permission.

Makes one 9 – inch loaf

INGREDIENTS

210 gm  All purpose Flour, 1 1/2 cups

1 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Salt

2 Eggs

230 gms Sugar, 1 Cup + 2 Tbs

100 gms Canola Oil, 1/2 cup

340 gms Mashed Bananas, 1 1/2 cups

2 Tbs Sour Cream

1 tsp Vanilla

75 gms  Walnuts, 3/4 cup

banana cake

PROCEDURE

Position a rack in the centre of the oven, and heat the oven to 325 degrees F ( 162.78 degrees Celsius).  Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.

In a bowl, sift together Cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment,( or a hand held mixer), beat together the sugar and eggs on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. If you use a hand held mixer, the same step will take about 8 minutes.

On low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil. Don’t pour the oil in all at once. Add it slowly so it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn’t deflate the air you have just beaten into the batter. Adding it should take about one minute. Add the bananas, sour cream and vanilla, and continue to mix on low speed just until combined.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture and the nuts just until  thoroughly combined. No flour streaks should be visible and the nuts should be evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hrs. or until golden brown on top and and  the centre springs back when you press it. If your fingers sinks when you poke the bread, it needs to bake a little longer. Let cool in the pan or wire rack for atleast 30 minutes and then pop it out of the pan to finish cooling.

The Banana Bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temp for upto 3 days. Or it can be well wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for upto 2 weeks. Thaw overnight at room temp for serving.

Thanks for stopping by…

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2015 in recipe

 

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WHIPPED CREAM CAKE

“Cake baking is really very easy, but it is the little things that make the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.” – Rose Levy Beranbaum

Whipped Cream Cake

My baking journey started here… I remember having typed ‘real baking’ doing a random search on the web for authentic cake recipes, many years ago, and was promptly led to the site Real Baking with Rose. Ever since, i have not looked back.

”Rose is a teacher. She doesn’t just offer you great recipes, she also figuratively takes you by the hand and tells you how to be a better baker.” – Marie Wolf.

See, for most people who love to bake, every cake flop is a heart ache… ‘coz we are already envisioning a loved one sampling our labour of love, and enjoying it, in our mind’s eye. Not to mention the waste of all the precious stuff… butter, sugar, eggs, the emotions and time… This is when you know and truly appreciate the value of a well balanced, tried and trusted recipe with all the steps meticulously explained… it is an absolute boost to your confidence, you are not uptight any more and you are on your way to capture some happy moments.

Whipped Cream Cake

Rose and her assistant Woody Wolston did 17 test bakes between them before they perfected the recipe for “Renee Fleming Golden Chiffon Cake” in her latest “Baking Bible... That shows some serious gumption!

Ok, now for the cake… splendid! And when it takes just a few minutes to put everything together, what more can you say… Hallelujah!!

I am making the most of “Amul Whipping Cream” which has hit the market in more recent times. It’s a home baker’s dream… 30% pure milk fat makes it luscious. Always thought cream is a more delicious alternative to butter in a cake batter, but then that is a matter of opinion. It is one of the best recipes I have tried to date.

Whipped Cream Cake

The recipe link is here.

Enjoy, truly!

Thanks for stopping by…

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Cinnamon Cookies

It all started with a Cookie – Cake Boss , Buddy Valastro

cinnamon cookie

I never thought biscuits/cookies would play such an integral role in my life….the girl takes them to school to snack on her short break and I find myself frequenting the biscuit counter at the super market every now and then. We have had some great biscuits growing up…there was the evergreen “KrackJack”, still going strong,the Britannia “Tiger” Biscuits (Glucose biscuits) that are sold at a fantastic price of Rs.5/- for a pack, the Marie Biscuits…and the delicious Unibic biscuits which is making its waves among kids and adults…

I buy them off and on, for it is a convenient alternative, but the fact remains nothing beats home made…and you know, if you love to bake, you have the incessant itch, so i went on a cookie baking spree and made 3 kinds of cookies.

The first I did were Anzac Cookies, with oats and honey, sans egg. Its a ‘healthy’ cookie, one that reminds you of a chewy granola bar, one of those ‘I am on a diet’ kinda cookie…which i realised was just not me.

Then I tried some white chocolate lemon cookies which was too crumbly for my taste ..then i tried these Christmas Sables….

cinnamon cookie

Needless to say, this was ‘Thumbs up’ the best cookie…it is crisp, it is crunchy, has the characteristic snap, the sugar is just borderline, and there is a hint of Cinnamon for a faraway feel…obviously, it comes from one of the Masters of his trade and absolutely delivers.

Recipe from The Art of French Pastry,  by Pastry Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer,

Re-printed with permission.

INGREDIENTS

All-purpose flour – 300 grams

Almond flour, skinless – 100 grams

Ground cinnamon- 2 grams (1 teaspoon)

Butter – 200 grams

Vanilla extract or paste – 10 grams (2 teaspoons)

Granulated sugar – 150 grams

Sea salt – 3 grams

Whole eggs – 40 grams ( 1 extra-large egg less 4 teaspoons)

Egg Wash – 1 egg, heavy cream and a pinch of salt, beaten together

cinnamon cookie

METHOD

1. Sift the flour and the almond flour and combine them in a bowl. Add the cinnamon.

2. Place the butter, vanilla, sugar, and sea salt in the bowl of your mixer and mix with the paddle for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the egg and mix for another 2 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure that all the ingredients are mixed together.

3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until they just come together. Stop the machine and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and the paddle, then beat again just until the dough is amalgamated. Do not over-beat or you will activate the gluten in the flour and the dough will be rubbery.

Scrape the dough out of the mixer onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Divide into 2 equal pieces and press each piece gently until it is about ½ to ¾ inch thick.

Wrap airtight and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight to allow the flour to absorb the water in the dough. This will make the dough much more stable and easier to roll out.

4. When you are ready to roll out the dough and shape and bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C with the rack positioned in the middle. Line the sheet pans with parchment paper. Lightly dust your work surface or a silpat with flour. It may be easiest to cut each piece of dough in half and roll out 1 small piece at a time. Take the piece you are going to roll out from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Then roll out to 3/16 of an inch. Cut into shapes with the cookie cutters of your choice and place on the sheet pans. Do not cut on the silpat.

cinnamon cookie

5. Brush the tops of the cookies lightly with egg wash, taking care not to allow it to drip down the sides of the cookies. Let sit for 10 minutes and apply a second thin layer of egg wash.

6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, reversing the pan front to back halfway through, until they are golden brown throughout.

The low oven temperature will allow all of the water to evaporate, resulting in a very flaky cookie. The finished product should be golden brown throughout.

This means that you have baked it long enough.

STORAGE

The cookies will keep for 1 month in a tin or an airtight container.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

CREAM PUFFS (Choux Paste for Cream Puffs and Eclairs)

”I’ve given up watching television,” she said. ”I watch my oven instead” – Baking, From My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan

Cream Puffs

Literally. Thats what I did as I watched my cream puffs sizzle and firm up inside my Morphy Richards.

Have made Choux paste for Eclairs before, and I always thought the initial procedure was slightly similar to making the paste for our Idiyappams (String hoppers,a delicious South Indian breakfast )

I was super excited to make it this time, the recipe from Pastry Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer’s, book, The Art of French Pastry. If you saw “Kings of Pastry“, you know what i am saying.

Cream Puffs

Have always felt that cream puffs is a child’s dream…you bite into an unassuming lil pastry, only to have it shatter between your teeth and give way to a silky smooth cold cream. Its a very unique feeling, in a very nice way.

Had it quite a few times as a kid and i always thought it tasted really good. So simple and so satisfying…nothing is too much in a cream puff. Its just there, leaving a slight tease in the mouth, making you wonder where the cream puff vanished so quick!

There are a few things to look out for when you make cream puffs. I so wanted the shatter to be there as you bite into one, ‘coz the dangers of having a soggy pastry loomed large. And then, its a lil fussy dessert in the serving, it tastes best within three hours of being made…what good is a thing if you can’t share it with friends??

I did my bit of research, I wanted a larger yield as i was baking for a slightly larger group, and Chef Jacquy’s recipe fit the bill. He has clear cut instructions as well, and it is like taking a class in Choux Paste.

The Art of French Pastry, is a very carefully written book, with tremendous attention to detail and interspersed with  beautiful life stories and the journey that Chef Jacquy took as a pastry Chef to reach where he is at now. Not to mention the fantastic recipes, from the second generation master baker, who along with Pastry Chef Sébastien Canonne, has co-founded The French Pastry School.

Like how a book reviewer on Amazon aptly said,”If you can’t be there in person, this is the next best thing.”

Cream Puffs

I assembled my pastries before time, (filled it with Cream Diplomat, don’t be intimidated if you are new to pastry, its just a combination of pastry cream, one of the simplest things to make under a watchful eye, and whipped cream) and refrigerated my puffs till serving time. The proof is in the eating, and i kept wondering about whether it would still have the ‘shatter’.

Upon serving, people din’t go gung-ho abt it. But I guess thats what cream puffs do…they make you wonder, ‘Where did my cream puff disappear???’

It was all gone in a matter of seconds though, and when a person who usually avoids dessert asked me if there was more so he could sample another one, I knew the cream puffs were doing their thing. I had my moment of truth, when someone who was standing behind me, bit into their cream puff, and I heard the distinctive CCCrunch!!

I know my pictures do no justice to these lauded French baked confections, and that is a lousy excuse to say that i was hard pressed for time, but try the recipe and you will not miss the picture!

Cream Puffs

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHOUX PASTE (Recipe from The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeifferre-printed with permission)

PÂTE À CHOUX (CHOUX PASTE)
YIELD ( ENOUGH FOR ABOUT 80 PUFFS)
INGREDIENTS

Whole milk (3.5% fat) | 125 grams

½ cup Water | 125 grams

½ cup plus 2½ teaspoons  Butter (French style, 82% fat, I used Amul, 80% fat) | 110 grams

3¾ ounces or 7½ tablespoons  Granulated sugar | 5 grams

1 teaspoon  Sea salt (I used regular) | 2 grams

¼ teaspoon All-purpose flour, sifted | 140 grams

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons  Whole eggs | 220 grams plus extra as needed | 4 to 5 eggs, as needed
Egg Wash

Cream Puffs

MIXING THE DOUGH

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Line sheet pans with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter, sugar, and sea salt. Stir together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, and then exchange the spatula or spoon for a whisk. Bring it to a full boil. Once it comes to a boil and you see that the butter and sugar are well incorporated into the milk, turn off the heat. You don’t want to reduce the liquid. It’s important to have a uniform mixture at this point; there should be no lumps of unmelted butter.

2) Add the sifted flour to the liquid mixture in one quick addition and immediately whisk vigorously so that the mixture comes together. You have about 30 seconds to do this. No need to panic, but work quickly and efficiently. If you whisk too slowly you risk getting lumps of flour, and once lumps form in a pâte à choux you will, unfortunately, never be able to make them disappear. You will see lumps right after you add the flour, but after 30 seconds of whisking it should be a uniform mass.

3) Place the pan back on medium heat, switch back to the rubber spatula or wooden spoon, and cook, stirring all the while, until dry, about 1 minute. What you are doing at this point is cooking the protein in the flour that you just added. The mixture is ready when it congeals in a lump and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. It will make a sort of hissing sound when it begins to stick.

4) Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer it to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Run some water into your pan and let it stand to loosen the thin layer of dough sticking to the bottom of the pan; it will come off easily with a little soaking.)

5) Have 220 grams of eggs (usually 4 extra large) ready, and beat an extra egg to set aside, in case your dough seems dry. Mix the dough on medium speed for 30 seconds, then turn the speed to low and begin adding the eggs, 1 at a time, beating on medium speed until each egg is incorporated into the dough before adding the next one. Each time you add an egg turn the speed down to low so that you don’t get splashed with egg if it catches the paddle at the right moment. Once you’ve added 2 of the eggs, stop the mixer, take off the bowl and paddle, and scrape the bottom of the bowl to mix in the layer of dough adhering to the bowl. Then return to the mixer and add the remaining eggs following the same procedure.

6) Now you must ascertain whether the pâte à choux is the right consistency. Stop the machine, take the bowl and beater off, and scrape up any dough that is sticking to the bottom. Beat briefly to incorporate. Pull out the beater. If the consistency is right, when you pull the paddle up the dough sticking to the paddle should hang down in a V shape. If it does not, the dough needs more liquid, either some beaten egg or a little warm milk. But you must be careful adding liquid, because if you add too much your pâte à choux will turn to soup and you’ll have to begin all over again. There’s no fixing a soupy choux pastry by adding flour. So add a teaspoon of egg or milk at a time, and each time you add and beat in a little more, check the consistency again. Adjust until you get the V-shaped ribbon when you lift the paddle from the dough.

7) Once your dough is the right consistency, transfer enough choux pastry to a pastry bag fitted with a ?-inch round tip to fill the bag halfway.Pipe the desired shapes—1¼-inch rounds (for all cream puffs), 1½-inch ovals (for Salambos, 3- to 3½-inch strips (for Éclairs), 1-inch rounds (for Croquembouche)—onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Continue piping with the remaining choux pastry. Brush the surface of the pastries evenly with a little bit of egg wash. With the tines of a fork, make a slight impression on the surface. This will help the puff to rise evenly. At this point the choux pastry can be frozen unwrapped on the sheet trays. Once frozen, wrap the pieces in plastic wrap and store in a container or in freezer bags. Before baking, place on parchment paper–covered sheet pans and allow to return to room temperature.

Cream Puffs

BAKING INSTRUCTIONS

1) Make sure that the oven is fully preheated to 400°F/200°C before you bake the pastries. The high heat causes the protein in the eggs and flour to congeal together and create a soft shell, and forces the water in the pâte à choux to steam, which is what makes the pastries puff. If the oven isn’t hot enough your product will be flat and dense. Place a sheet pan in the oven and bake until the pastries rise, which should take 10 to 12 minutes.

2) Once the pastries have risen, lower the oven temperature to 325°F/160°C. You now need to bake them long enough for them to form a crust so that they’ll hold their shape and dry out completely. Otherwise they’ll be doughy. This should take 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the pastries.

3) When they are done they are very golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. You can freeze them at this stage as well.

Cream Puffs

Freeze them on the sheet pan; once they are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bags.

The choux pastries should be dark golden brown on the outside and hollow with a little moisture in the middle.

STORAGE

At the raw or baked stage pâte à choux can be kept frozen for about 1 month.

Usually we do not keep baked pâte à choux refrigerated for more than 1 day because it will become soggy.

THAWING INSTRUCTIONS

Let the baked pâte à choux thaw out at room temperature and then flash them in a 400°F/200°C oven for 1 minute. Thaw unbaked pâte à choux at room temperature before baking.

Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling (from the old Godiva Recipe site)

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

3 tablespoons cornstarch

4 egg yolks, at room temperature

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make Filling:

1. Place sugar and 1 cup milk in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat until mixture boils.

2. Place cornstarch in medium bowl. Using wire whisk, gradually whisk in remaining milk and whisk until mixture is smooth. Add yolks and whisk until well blended.

3. Slowly pour 1/3 cup hot milk into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in remaining hot milk. Return milk-yolk mixture to saucepan and heat to a boil over medium heat. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

4. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. (If pastry cream is lumpy, pass it through a sieve.) Transfer pastry cream to a non-reactive bowl.

Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface of cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold.

I added a cup (?) of whipped cream to the pastry cream, and folded in before I piped it into the Cream Puffs.

Thanks for stopping by…

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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HEROES

Heroes

I am an occasional reader of Malayalam biweeklies…

You never know wherein lies a good recipe, and it helps keep the home menu fresh, revamping it once a while. It was in the same vein that I picked up an edition of a “Vanitha” and saw an article featuring three men.

Stories of three ”ordinary” men, unassuming, from humble surroundings. Not wanting to make a quick buck at the cost of a lost conscience, keeping ethics over all else, these men displayed power!

1

Every time I remember their stories, it shakes me up.

The first two people are Lottery agents in Aluva and Cochin who sells lottery tickets for a living.

One day, two of their customers (who bought lottery tickets from them) chose their set of five lotteries each, asking the agents to keep the tickets aside.

They would collect it later in the evening, and the payment would be made.

The lucky draw was on the same day and when the results were announced, the respective customers hit jackpot with one of them winning a crore ($150,000) and the other receiving a prize money of forty lakhs ($55,000) and an Innova car.

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Since the tickets were with the agents themselves, some friends advised them against handing over the lotteries to the customers. The payment, they reasoned, was not made anyway and the customers wouldn’t know if the tickets were exchanged.That was big money at stake, and they wouldn’t make that kind in a life time.

However, these agents din’t think twice, but went in search of their lucky customers and let them know the news and hand over the prize tickets.They said they knew they would be blessed .They are now stars within their territory. The Defence Minister of India even called one of them and said that it was a matter of pride to be able to say that he hailed from the same state as they did.

Was reminded of the scriptures which says, ‘A good name is to be more desired than great riches, Favor is better than silver and gold.’ Proverbs 22:1

3

The third person is an auto driver who lives in Palakkad…a family had got into his auto-rickshaw, and accidentaly left behind their small handbag in a last minute hustle to catch their bus – a handbag which had fifty sovereign of gold ornaments in it! The auto driver had taken another run. That passenger brought the handbag to the notice of the auto driver who lost no time in contacting the police station to return the goods.The gold was returned to the owner (who had panicked and came rushing to the Police station) in the presence of the auto-driver.

The driver said he was so sure he did not want anything that was not his, and that the pleasures of living on his hard earned money gave him the highest satisfaction. Cruddy standards,he mentioned, would hinder sweet sleep. His mother had instilled in him the importance of honesty and he remembered that in all the ups and downs of life. He said he always wanted to live life with his head held high.

I yearn that my kids imbue these characteristics, be people of worth and lead the heroic life. Should they choose to tread the path of honesty and abide by the Truth all times, life would be complete.

Happy New Year everyone!

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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