Saturday, March 04, 2006

Blueberry and Mascarpone Cake

I wrote in an earlier post that one of my kitchen challenges in 2006 would be to try some P. Herme creations. This dessert started as such, but I both cheated (used store-bought lady fingers) and was careless (did not have all ingredients ready, did not follow instructions carefully etc.) during preparation, so the result fell short of what it could be. It still tasted quite good, and had a deceptively light taste. I think I could have enjoyed it more with different fruit; blueberries are definitely not my favorite.

The components of the cake are lemon syrup soaked lady fingers, a wonderful mousse --a mixture of equal parts of Italian meringue, cream and mascarpone firmed up by gelatin-- and blueberries. The blueberries used inside are cooked very briefly in sugar syrup, so they are sweeter and softer than the fruit used as a topping. The topping is supposed to be made with blueberry jam, but I had no jam of any kind at home, so I had to leave mine plain. My Italian meringue had a softer consistency than I anticipated; hence the runny piping. I think that this was a mistake on my part as I probably could not incorporate all the sugar syrup into the egg whites. Overall, this was a very good dessert, but my favorite in this category of desserts is still Alice Medrich's Raspberry Banana Charlotte.

The recipe for this cake can be found in P. Herme/D. Greenspan's Desserts.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ay Coregi

Ay coregi is a Turkish patisserie staple for a good reason. Whatever is on hand can go in the filling, and oddly enough, the filling is the best part. I used to love these cresent-shaped sweet breads, but since I found out that they are the patisseries' way of recycling otherwise unsellable products, I lost my appetite for them. Recently, a reader of my Turkish blog requested a recipe for ay coregi. I could not offer her one right away, but when I chanced on a Pan Dulce (Mexican sweet bread) recipe a few days ago, I thought that it could be adapted to make ay coregi.

In my opinion, a good ay coregi has to have a lot of filling and just enough yeast dough encasing it. In fact, as far as I am concerned, the only reason that the yeast dough is there is to keep the delicious filling together. Unfortunately, in my version the yeast dough rose quite a bit, and my crescents turned out to be huge with a low filling to yeast dough ratio. Not acceptable for an ay coregi aficionado like me! (On the other hand, my husband thought that they were better than ay coregi.) I understand that pan dulce is not usually made into crescents, so I shaped the second half of my dough differently, just for fun. Although the result was not exactly what I hoped for, this is a good yeast recipe. It needs some more work, but I think that I can get very close to ay coregi with it. The recipe below is adapted from Sunset's Easy Basics for International Cooking (my very first cookbook).

  • 6 tbs cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 2 eggs plus 1 yolk
  • 1 tbs milk
  • Filling (recipe given below)
Combine the butter and milk in a saucepan. Heat until quite warm (120-130F). It is OK if the butter is not completely melted. In a large bowl, combine yeast, salt, sugar and 2 c of the flour. Add the milk mixture and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs, then another cup of flour. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Now reduce speed to low; and as you mix, add enough flour (1 to 1 1/2 c) gradually to make a stiff dough. Turn it onto a floured surface and knead until smooth for 5 to 10 minutes. Add flour as necessary. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hr.) Meanwhile prepare the filling.

At the end of the rising period, punch the dough down. Turn it out to a floured surface and shape it into a long log. Cut the log to 14 equal pieces; shape each into a smooth ball. Then roll each into an oblong shape. Shape the filling into log and place it in the center of the yeast dough. Wrap the dough around the filling; seal the ends of dough. Shape it into a crescent by pulling the ends together. If you want a different shape, roll dough into an oval, top with about 3 tbs of filling and roll the dough from one end to the other. Seal the ends and cut slits on the log you just made with a sharp knife. Put your buns on 2 greased pans, cover with towels and let rest for 1/2 hour. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tbs milk and brush on the buns. Bake at a preheated 375F oven until nicely browned.

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 1/3 c flour
  • 4 tbs cocoa powder
  • 7 tbs cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tbs currants
  • 6 tbs ground walnuts
  • Cinnamon (if desired)
Mix sugar, flour and cocoa powder. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or rub between the fingers until fine crumbs form. Add the egg yolks and stir until blended. Finally add the currants and nuts. Stir well.