Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Sans rival - Daring bakers

Obviously, sans rival means "without a rival". Now you would think that this name derives from its creator's unbridled pride in his/her composition, or that a fervent enthusiast of this particular dessert dubbed it thus after having tasted it for the first time, deciding that there was no better dessert in the world. But you would be wrong, for the name for this delicious treat has origins that reach far far back in time.
One day, the gods themselves were quarrelling. There had been some dispute as to who was the most beautiful goddess of them all. Naturally, there were a number of fierce constants, such as Ushuaïa, the goddess of natural shampoo and long, flowing hair, or Iris, the goddess of rainbows and contact lenses. The dispute had been going on for ages (literally), and had come to no sensible conclusion. It was thus that Divine Cherry decided to intervene; and she spoke those words: "Whoever is able to make the best cake of you all, a cake that has no rivals in either heaven or earth, shall be deemed the most beautiful goddess; for does beauty not also reside within a perfect cake?"
And so it was that the sans rival was born. Of course, there has been an ensuing dispute as to who exactly invented it, but that is a different matter for a different story. Meanwhile, here's the recipe:

Daring Bakers Blog checking lines:Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

Ingredients for Dacquoise
-5 large egg whites, room temp
-122g of white granulated sugar1 teaspoon
-10g of bitter chocolate
-90g of finely chopped almonds

Beat the eggs whites until foamy(2 mins.). Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat, now at high speed, until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10mins.) 
Fold in nuts. Spread the meringue in a shallow oven tray, evenly to edges. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot and allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled. 
When cool, cut in four parts Set aside.

Ingredients for French Buttercream
-5 large egg yolks

-225g of white granulated sugar
-60ml of water 
-225g of unsalted butter
-half a cup of strong coffee
-55g of melted chocolate

Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat,  until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 112°C (or thread stage). 
With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl on the yolks. Continue beating on high until the mixture is room temperature (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add the cofee to half of the cream and the melted chocolate to the other half.

Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.

Spread a thin layer of cofee buttercream on the first dacquiose and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of  cofee buttercream, meringue, thin layer of cofee cream, meringue, and finally choclate cream on the top and sides. Decorate the sides with almonds flakes.

Ricetta in Italiano
Ingredienti (6 persone)
- 5 albumi
- 112 g zucchero
- 10 g cacao amaro
- 90 g mandorle tritate.

In una planetaria far montare le uova, quando sono semi montate aggiungere lo zucchero setacciato con il cacao poco alla volta, continuando a montare, fino ad ottenere una neve ferma. Aggiungere le mandorle tritate delicatamente con movimenti dall'alto in basso. Stendere il tutto in una teglia rettangolare bassa foderata di carta forno, con l'aiuto di una spatola creare uno strato uniforme. Infornare per 30 minuti a 160C. Quiando e' pronta ma ancora calda, tagliare la dacquiose in quattro parti uguali, e staccarla subito dalla carta forno, se si fa questa operazione quando la dacquiose e' fredda si rischia di sbriciolarla.

Crema al burro francese al caffe' e al cioccolato:
Nota: con queste quantita' vi avanzera' un po' di crema.
-5 tuorli
-225 g zucchero
-60 ml acqua
- 285 g burro
-mezza tazzina di caffe' forte
- 55 g cioccolato fondente

In una planetaria (o con le fruste elettriche) sbattere i tuorli a lungo, finche' avrenno raddoppiato di volume e saranno giallo chiaro. Nel frattempo preparare lo sciroppo: in un pentolino a fondo spesso mettere acqua e zucchero e lasciar sciogliere senza girare mai, lo sciroppo e' pronto quando viene raggiunta la temperatura di 112 C (usare un termometro o in altrenativa controllare che tutto lo zucchero sia sciolto e che il colore sia trasparente).
Versare lo sciroppo bollente a poco a poco sui tuorli, senza mai smettere si sbattere con la frusta ad alta velocita'. Continuare a sbattere finche' il composto raggiunge la temperatura ambiente (cioe' per circa 15 minuti.A questo punto si puo' cominciare ad aggiungere un po' per volta il burro morbido (sempre sbattendo). Dividere la crema in 2 ciotole, aggiungere un po' di caffe' ad una meta' e il cioccolato precedentemente sciolto al micronde (o se siete pazienti a bagnomaria) all'altra meta'. Porre le creme in friglo per almeno un'ora.

Porre la prima meringa sul piano di lavoro, stendere uno strato di crema al caffe' e porre un'altra meringa sopra, continuara cosi fino all'ultima meringa. Spalmare la superficie dell'ultima meringa e tutti i lati della torre con la crema al cioccolato.Decorare i lati con scaglie di mandorla.

And Spread the Mess

Friday, 18 November 2011

"Cornish" Pasty

As you may know, Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry have a predilection for the north-east in general. They have been travelling the worlds for millennia now but, for some reason, their feet (or wings or paws or, more recently, air-borne steel-containers propelled by a zillion bhp-strong engines) have always veered them towards the general north-eastern direction. On their way there, however, they have stopped at various other points in space and time. One of those was, surprisingly enough, the south-west (a point in time, in case you were wondering). There it was that they first encountered this dish. Imagine then, if you will, their consternation at seeing something so vaguely familiar yet so utterly different from everything else they have ever laid their eyes upon. (Quite literally: they both belong to that now-extinct school of thought that maintains that in order to fully understand something, you have to set your eyes on it. Sadly, most members are now dead: they have fallen off various cliffs around the world. Due to blindness. True story.) Yet Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon, undaunted by the danger, decided to give this one a try anyway. After all, their eyes grow back like shark teeth. Only less sharp - hence the glasses.
Nevertheless, they thought it best to tweak the original recipe a teeny tiny bit. Namely, while the true Cornish Pasty does not have a pre-cooked filling, Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry thought it prudent to dispense with this instruction and effectively cook the filling before stuffing the pasty.
This is how they did it:

Recipe (taken from Tender, Vol. 1 by Nigel Slater)
Ingredients (for 6 pasties)
-225g of unsalted butter (or half butter, half lard)
-450g of flour
-1 egg to glaze the surface of the pasty with
-450g of beef cut in small pieces
-400g of potatoes
-200g of swede
-1 large onion

Cut the butter in small pieces, add the flour to it and amalgamate it all quickly. Let it rest in the fridge for one hour. In the meantime, prepare the filling.
Lightly fry the onion in a pan with a bit of oil and butter. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and the swede, cut it in cubes about the size of the meat, and steam them. Remove them from the steamer when they are done but are still crunchy.
Add the meat in the pan (with the onions), and when it's almost ready, add the vegetables and let it all absorb the flavours (be careful not too cook it too long, though, for the meat may dry out and the vegetables may start to fall apart).

Now switch on the oven at 180°C. Take the dough out of the fridge, stretch it with a roller (until it's about 2-3mm thin) and cut out circles of about the diameter of a dessert dish (in our case, +- 18cm). Put a spoonful of filling in the centre of the circle, wet its edges with a humid finger, and close it up in such a way that it'll form a half-moon. Make sure to seal the edges off well. Now apply some small cuts on the top of your pasty. Mix and stir the egg with some water and, using a kitchen brush, glaze the pasties with it.
Put it in the oven for about 30mins until the pasties will have turned a succulent golden colour.

Ricetta in italiano
Per 6 fagottini.
Nota: Nelle Cornish Pasties originali il ripieno non va cotto, la carne e i tuberi vanno messi direttamente crudi nell'impasto e si cuoce tutto in forno. Io personalmente trovo che far insaporire prima il ripieno sia meglio.
Ricetta tratta da Tender Vol. 1 di Nigel Slater.
- 225g Burro (o metà burro,metà lardo)
- 450g farina
-1 uovo per spennellare la superficie
- 450g manzo a tocchetti da spezzatino
- 400g patate
- 200g swede (tipo di rapa arancione)
- 1 cipolla grande

Tagliare il burro a piccoli pezzi, aggiungere la farina e impastare velocemente. Far riposare in frigorifero per un'ora. Nel frattempo preparare il ripieno:
Far appassire la cipolla tritata in una padella con un po' d'olio e burro. Nel mentre pelare le patate e lo swede, tagliarli a cubetti grandi piu' o meno come i bocconcini di carne e farli cuocere al vapore. Scolarli quando sono ancora un po' croccanti.
Far rosolare la carne nella cipolla, quando e' quasi cotta aggiungere i tuberi e insaporire il tutto per qualche minuto ( attenzione a non cuocere troppo in questo passaggio, altrimenti la carne secchera' e le verdure si disferanno).

A questo punto accende il forno a 180°C . Prendere l'impasto, stenderlo con il mattarello a uno spesso di 2-3 mm e con l'aiuto di un piattino da dessert (il mio aveva un diametro di 18 cm), tagliare dei cerchi dall'impasto.
Porre al centro del cerchio un cucchiaio di ripieno, bagnare il bordo del cerchio con un dito inumidito d'acqua e chiudere l'impasto a forma di mezza luna. Sigillare bene i bordi con le dita. Per far sfiatare il vapore, fare due piccole incisioni sulla superficie del fagottino. Spennellare la superficie del fagottino con un un uovo sbattuto con un po' d'acqua.
Infornare per circa mezz'ora o finche' i fagottini risulteranno dorati in superficie.

And Spread the Mess

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Mini Brioche Di Gamberi - Tiny Prawns Brioche

Let me take you back. Let me take you back to that time, long ago, when Celestial Dragon was a guest in the Garden of the North-East. To that time, long ago, when the combined efforts of Divine Cherry and Golden Peach reached the climax of pre-history culinary art (for the very simple reason that history hadn't yet awakened). Long ago, when Hercules had already laid out the way to the banquet, the Gravel Way, and the Five Fruit Dogs were jumping lustily up and down the cicada-filled air with the trembling anticipation of what was to come.
Divine Cherry and Golden Peach were resting. On the table, next to their Grimoire of Good Things, were two glasses of sparkling white nectar. None of them was speaking. They were each absorbed in the mental preparation of what was to come: they had namely found a small recipe that they thought was simply marvellous. And now they were in deep mediation. Of course, the nectar was there merely to further their profound thinking. The recipe was a simple one, but, as this saying goes, "simple is pure; pure is beautiful; and beautiful is delicious". Incidentally, this saying was coined in just around that time. Of course, the sparkling nectar had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Be that as it may, when Divine Cherry and Golden Peach rose from their state of absolute contemplation, they smiled broadly at one another: they knew what was to be done. And so they set forth preparing these small albeit bloody fantastic nibbles.
First, they took 16 king prawns and lightly fried them for a couple of minutes in olive oil with a clove of garlic. While these were roasting to a sublimely sun-colour, they took a roll of puff pastry and cut it in stripes (about 1.5cm wide). They then took the ready king prawns, placed them on the stripes of puff pastry and rolled them up, almost as a spiral. (Some of you may know this procedure very well. For those who don't, please look at the picture and work it out). Eventually, they put the mini-croissants/brioches in the preheated oven at 180°C until the puff pastry was cooked and had turned an inviting deep golden colour.
Needless to say, these small but heavenly little brioches gained the two culinary deities almost non-exhaustive praise.

-1 roll of puff pastry
-16 king prawns
-olive oil (extra virgin - what else?)
-1 clove of garlic

Lightly toast the king prawns for a couple of minutes in a pan with the olive oil and the garlic.
Aside, cut the puff pastry in stripes about 1.5cm wide.
Once the king prawns are ready, put them on the stripes of puff pastry and roll the later up, forming a king of spiral reminiscent of a croissant.
Put the mini-brioches in a preheated oven at 180°C until the pastry is cooked and golden.
Serve and heartily enjoy.

Ricetta in italiano:
La ricetta è di quelle velocissime, ma è capace di rirarvi fuori dagli impicci per l'aperitivo.
- 1 rotolo di pasta sfoglia pronta
- 16 gamberoni o mazzancolle
- Olio EVO
- 1 spicchio d'aglio

Far saltare in padella i gamberoni per un paio di minuti con uno spicchio d'aglio intero e un po' d'olio evo. A parte tagliare la pasta sfoglia in strisce larghe un centrimetro e mezzo circa.
Prendere i gamberoni uno alla volta e avvolgerli nella strisce di pasta sfoglia formando una spirale.
Infornare in forno caldo (180 C) per 15 minuti circa, finchè la pasta sfoglia è cotta e dorata.

And Spread the Mess

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Bread # 2

Remember the story of the creation of the First Bread? How Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry handed out the First Batch? How it were them that gave humankind the idea of combining and then baking those seemingly incongruous ingredients flour and wheat and water?
Well that is one version of the story.
Another version is that it was actually humankind itself that came up with the baking process. This particular view seems to be widely regarded to be the "true" one; there is even so-called archeological proof for it. Apparently some guy with überlarge (but not shaded) glasses found fossilised seeds scattered somewhere in the desert and concluded, based on the sheer absurdity of his finding, that some people must have been baking bread there ages ago. Whatever. This is not an archeological findings report, however, it's simply the other, true version of what really happened. Because you see, reality is not what it always seems: it is a most fragile thing.
One day, Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry were walking the earth. Back then they were known as the Vat'ussi. Just another title, really. When they were tired of walking, they stopped. (A clear manifestation of their divine wisdom). But it so happened that close to where they were resting, a camp of rudimentary people had settled down as well. Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry were moved by the simplicity and harshness of their lives, and decided to gift them with something that would alleviate their daily toil. And so it was that they taught them how to make bread.
(Reality is always a mirrored truth: everything is connected with everything else. And it doesn't matter from what angle you decided to observe it; in the end, everything is everything else.)

This is what Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry taught those lucky souls:

This recipe is adapted from The Wholewheat Cobs of Tinned tomatoes
-500g of lukewarm water
-7g of fresh yeast
-20g of cane sugar
-300g of wholemeal flour
-125g of strong white flour

Pour the water in a large bowl. In it, melt the sugar and the yeast and wait for about 15mins. Slowly and gradually add the 2 flours, mixing well after each addition. Energetically stir the mixture in order to add some air to it. Leave it to rest overnight in a cool, dry place.

-10g of salt
-45g of olive oil (extra virgin)
-about 400g of wholemeal flour

Pour the oil and the salt on the pre-prepared starter. Mix with a rubber spatula in order to well incorporate both the salt and the oil in the compost.
Add the flour and stir well until you get a homogenous whole. Knead for 20mins.
You will find that the dough will be quite wet and difficult to work with at this point; however, refrain from adding more flour. By slamming the dough on the working table you'll ensure that all the water will be well absorbed, thus resulting in a more elastic and less sticky dough. Put the dough in a bowl again, wet its surface lightly with water in order to avoid its drying out and cover with a cloth. Let it rest until it has more or less doubled in size (usually about one hour, but this may vary according to your room temperature and air humidity).
Now deflate the dough (hitting it in the middle) and put it back for its second raise. Again, cover it well with a cloth. You want it to double in size again (+- 30mins).
Once that's done, divide the dough in three equal parts in order to get three buns. Cross-cut them gently. Transfer the buns on a baking tray, cover them with a cloth again and let them raise again for another 45mins. Right prior to putting them in the oven, sprinkle them lightly will water (this will result in a better cooking of the dough, as well as a crunchier crust). Put them in the preheated oven at 230°C. After 15mins, lower the temperature to 200°C and conclude the baking.

Ricetta in italiano
Ricetta adattata dalle pagnotte integrali di Tinned Tomatoes

• 500 g di acqua tiepida
• 7 g di lievito fresco
• 20 g di zucchero di canna
• 300g di farina integrale
• 125 g di farina bianca forte

Versare l’acqua in una ciotola di grandi dimensioni. Far sciogliere il lievito e lo zucchero nell’acqua tiepida e attendere circa 15 minuti. Aggiungere le farine poco per volta mescolando bene dopo ogni aggiunta. Far incorporare aria al composta mescolando energicamente. Lasciar riposare l’impasto per una notte al fresco.

• Starter
• 10g di sale
• 45g di olio d'oliva
• circa 400 g di farina integrale

Versare l’olio e il sale sullo starter preparato la sera precedente. Mescolare con una spatola di gomma in modo da incorporare olio e sale al composto.
Aggiungere la farina allo starter mescolando bene per amalgamare il tutto. Impastare per  20 minuti. L’impasto sara’ piuttosto umido e difficile da maneggiare ma è meglio non aggiungere farina. Sollevare e sbattere l’impasto sul tavolo più volte farà assorbire l’acqua alla farina, l’impasto risulterà piu’ elastico e meno appiccicoso. Riporre l’impasto in una ciotola, ungere leggermente la superficie (in modo da non far seccare il composto) e coprire con un panno. Lasciar riposare l’impasto fino al raddoppio (un’ora circa ma dipende dalla temperatura dell’ambiente).
Far sgonfiare l’impasto (dare un pugno verso il basso al composto) e riporlo per la seconda lievitazione, sempre coperto con un panno per un’altra ora e mezza fino al nuovo raddoppio.
Separare l’impasto in 3 parti uguali e dare la forma di tre pagnotte rotonde. Fare un intaglio a croce sul centro di ognuna di esse .
Porre le tre pagnotte sul una teglia da forno, coprire on un panno e lasciar lievitare per 45 minuti circa.
Appena prima di infornare spruzzare la superficie delle pagnotte con poca acqua (questo fara’ si che la crosta risulti piu’ croccante e che il pane lieviti di piu’ durante la cottura). Infornare a forno caldo (230°C). Dopo 15 minuti abbassare la temperatura a 200°C e portare a cottura.

And Spread the Mess