Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Closing the Patisserie Temporarily...

Dear Reader,

The contributors of this blog are going on vacation as of next Thursday. We will all meet in Istanbul, Turkey. The rest of the week will be very busy with preparations; therefore, I wanted to say goodbye to you on behalf of all the contributors now.

It was great to get to know some of you closely, and I feel that my blogging experience--both as a reader and a blogger--has been very rewarding. Hope to connect with you again at the end of this summer. Until then, I wish you all a great (and of course, sweet) summer.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Strawberry Carrousel from Cocolat

Turkce Tarif

This is the second dessert I made for our weekend get-together with our friends. It was liked more than the Black Forest Cheesecake, and since there were no leftovers, I could not get any decent pictures of it when sliced--such a pity because this is a dessert that looks even prettier in the cross-section. The recipe is from Cocolat with some modifications.
  • 9" thin cake layer (recipe below)
  • 2 pints whole strawberries, rinsed, drained and hulled
  • White Chocolate Mousse (recipe below)
  • 1/4 c strained apricot preserves
  • 2 tbs finely ground pistachios
Place cake layer in bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Choose some berries of equal height and start cutting them vertically. Arrange them pointed ends up, fitting cut sides snugly against inside circumference of pan, until the whole circumference is covered. Leave remaining berries whole and arrange them, pointed ends up inside the pan. Make sure that the berries are shorter than the sides of pan; if necessary, trim bottoms of berries.

Make the White Chocolate Mousse and pour immediately over the berries, making sure that it fills all the spaces in between the berries. (Pay special attention to the circumference berries while you do this.) Use a spatula to smooth the top. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until the mousse has set.

Remove the sides of the springform pan carefully. You may need to warm pan briefly with a hot, wrung-out wet towel or a kitchen torch. I personally just ran a knife around sides, and used a spatula for corrections afterwards.

Simmer strained apricot preserves for a glaze. Brush only the cut sides of the berries and the sides of the cake layer with the glaze. Press ground pistachios against the cake layer. Refrigerate until serving time.

Cake Layer:
  • 2/3 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbs butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 9-inch springform pan. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar in another bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk. prepare into prepared springform pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack. Remove, wash, dry and replace sides if necessary before you proeed with the recipe.

White Chocolate Mousse:

  • 9 oz white chocolate, cut into very small pieces
  • 1/4 c plus 1 tbs water
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
Place white chocolate and water in a bowl. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a bigger pan. Turn off heat. Now set the bowl of chocolate in the pan of water. Stir white chocolate mixture constantly until melted and smooth. Let cool down to 85F. (This step is important, if you fold cream into hot white chocolate, the mousse curdles.)If you don't have a thermometer, a dab of it on your upper lip should feel slightly cool. Slightly underwhip the cream. Carefully fold cream into cooled white chocolate mixture. The mousse will seem very soft in the beginning but will set very quickly. Scrape it immediately into lined pan.

Yurdaer's Birthday Cake: Chocolate Roulade with Chestnut Filling

Turkce Tarif

Today is Yurdaer's birthday, and I hastily put together this cake early in the morning. I used chocolate chips for the frosting because I did not have time to cut chocolate into small pieces. To make things even faster, I melted the chips in the microwave. I should really say that I thought I melted the chips in the microwave. As it turns out, they did not all melt, and the frosting was not as smooth as I would like it to be. But other than that, the cake was just fine, and everybody liked the combination of chocolate and chestnuts. I am particularly happy because this gave me a chance to use the little bits and pieces of chestnuts from the chestnut jam we had for a long while. The recipe is self-made.

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 c plus 1 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs self-rising cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • About 8 oz sweetened chestnut puree
  • Candied chestnuts, cut up into tiny pieces (about 3 tbs total)
  • 4 oz chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease, line with parchment, grease again and flour a half size oven sheet (13"x18"). Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Add 1/3 c sugar and vanilla extract to the egg yolks and beat until light and fluffy, for about 3 minutes. Sift the cocoa powder and cake flour on the yolk mixture and mix until uniformly mixed. Now beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, add the reserved tbs of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks start to form. Carefully and gently mix the whites into the chocolatey yolk mixture, and stir until whites are totally incorporated. Pour into the prepared sheet, level the batter with a spatula and bake in the preheated oven until the cake starts to shrink from the sides. That takes only a couple of minutes at this high oven temperature, so do not leave the kitchen for long. Cool the cake a little, then turn it onto a cocoa-dusted clean kitchen towel, and carefully peel off the parchment.

For the filling, beat 1 c of heavy cream until almost firm. Mix in the chestnut puree and fold in the bits of candied chestnut. Spread this on the sheet of cake. Starting from the shorter side, roll the cake tightly.

For the frosting, melt the chocolate chips and stir in the heavy cream. Whip the mixture to spreading consistency. (If you don't whip, it has a glaze consistency which also works well.) Frost the cake. If you desire, decorate the top with rosettes of whipped cream and candied chestnut pieces.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Black Forest Cheesecake

When we invited some friends over for a barbecue this Sunday, this cheesecake was on the dessert menu. It is an American take on the famous Black Forest Cake of German origin. The recipe is adapted from The Book of Cheesecakes by Steven Wheeler.

  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c self-rising flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 c cold butter, cut in pieces
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 lb cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3/4 c drained Morella cherries
  • 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c whipping cream
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (16 oz) can Morella cherries, drained, juice reserved
  • 1 tbs plus 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbs water
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. For the crust, sift flours into a large bowl. Stir in sugar. Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add egg yolks and stir with a fork until dough forms. Refrigerate if it feels soft. Otherwise pat into the springform pan and set aside. (Alternatively, you can make a crust by mixing 1/3 c melted butter and 1 1/2 c of crushed vanilla wafers well.)

To prepare filling, beat cream cheese, eggs and sugar until smooth. Spoon half of filling into prepared crust. Sppon reserved cherries over filling. Stir cocoa into the remaining half of filling. Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted, cool. Stir chocolate mixture into the remaining half of filling; pour over cherries. Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or just until set.

To prepare topping, pour reserved cherry juice into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water; stir into cherry juice. Simmer until thickened. Stir in cherries. Pour over cooked cheesecake. Refrigerate until topping is set.