Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Date Nut Bread with Cream Cheese: The best and delicious way to use Date!

Like most of the dried fruit, date is very sweet, and it's a problem, haha. Because even I like to eat them, a lot of it will make me feel dizzy. I have a lot of it in my fridge, due to the fact that, first, I like to buy it and second, everyone like to buy it for me, ^ ^ . So I end up with the fridge full of this sweet fruit.

Most of the recipe will turn this sweet fruit into the sweet cake (or pudding), which is not what I want, I want to find the way to tame the sweetness not adding more of it.
So the journey to the great recipe begin,  in my room by browsing through the pile of cookbooks again, haha (well, you know that I just want to use the recipe in my books, so I feel less guilty when I buy more book, ^ ^, because I can say that I use it, right?).
Finally, I find it, it's the quick bread recipe in the book. I just got it, haha  from my last trip to the bookstore and really want to try some recipe and this Date Nut Bread with Cream cheese is very interesting.

The most of  sweetness of this bread comes from the date, itself more than the sugar (the sugar still needed as it act as a softener for the cake), and the nut helps reducing the sweetness too. But most of it is the way we eat, when spread the bread with the cream cheese, the bread transform from very sweet bread into the mellow bread. The tangy and creamy of the cream cheese make the bread less sweet and add a lot of the creaminess (as you can see that the bread use very little oil and it's a bit dry).

For this bread, the cream cheese is a must when serving, and or I can say that a lot of it will be the best, haha. When I ate the bread alone (when tasting it), I have to say that I didn't like it, the sweetness make me feel bad, but when cream cheese added, the bread is very delicious. 
When sandwich this bread together with (a lot of, haha) cream cheese, and serve it with a cup of strong coffee or tea, it can be your breakfast or a tea time treat, and yes, a very delicious one that you will love it too.

Date Nut Bread with Cream Cheese
Yield 1 loaf (9 x 5 inch) 

175g ............................ Dates, diced
340ml ......................... Boiling water
110g ............................ Light brown sugar
50g .............................. Sugar
30ml ............................ Vegetable oil
1 ................................... Egg
310g ............................ Unbleached alI-purpose flour
15g .............................. Baking powder
6g ................................ Kosher salt
115g ............................ Walnut pieces, toasted 
..................................... Cream cheese (for spreading on slices)

1. Position one rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the loaf pans.

2. In a medium bowl, cover the date pieces with the boiling water and set aside.

3. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, oil, and eggs.

4. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together. Pour the sugar mixture and the date mixture onto the dry ingredients and fold together until almost mixed. Add the walnuts and stir until just combined.

5. Pour the batter gently and evenly into the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 55 to 65 uiinutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Do not overbake.
6. Cool the loaves in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn them out and place on a wire rack to cool completely. This bread has a crunchy crust and stays fresh for several days. Enjoy it soon after baking and avoid wrapping it in plastic film until one day later, to preserve the crunchy crust. Store the loaves at room temperature unwrapped or refrigerate after wrapping. This bread freezes well wrapped in plastic film and then foil.
7. Serve each slice with an ounce (30g) of cream cheese for a delicious and satisfying treat.

Date Nut Bread with Cream Cheese: 
The best and delicious way to use Date!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge #38: ORANGE TIAN

Time is flying, it's the end of month again, haha, so I both have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to bake, ^ ^.
Ok, I felt a bit lazy lately, or actually just after reading the recipe for this month challenge, hahaha. I start to feel that most of the recipe for each month seen to get longer and longer ^ ^ but it's the challenge, so easiness is not welcome, right?

This time we have to make all the components for this dessert, the Pate Sablee, the Marmalade, the caramel soaked orange, the whipped cream and the orange caramel. I really like the idea of making the  Marmalade but I had a little problem again, I just couldn't find the pectin (actually, I waited for the shop to send this item to me, but at last they couldn't send it on time), so, I had to make the jam without using it.
But the results is not bad at all, even without the pectin, my Marmalade is great (now I know how to make it, I think about making it again with less sugar).
The dessert is delicious but it's not an eye opening one, I should use more tangy citrus (like the combination of lemon or grapefruit) to make the flavor more interesting and more complex. But for the people who love orange this dessert must get their heart, I really believe!

Anyway, this time it's a great challenge again (I'm happy to be one of the Daring Bakers member, esp, when I'm not in my lazy mood, haha). Like any dessert with a lot of components, just manage your time wisely and every kinds of dessert is easy! 

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Makes 6 (8.8 cm/ pieces)

For the Pate Sablee:
dailydelicious note: If you make only 6 pieces like me, you can make only half the recipe.

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams


Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.
Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.
Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. 

Bake for 20 minutes (dailydelicious note: I use 15 minutes)or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. 

Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.
In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges. 

dailydelicious note: If your orange is big (like mine, about 220-240g/orange), you may use only 4.

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

For the Caramel:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.
Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.
Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. 

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream.

Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks.

 Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.
Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.
Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.
Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.
Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

March 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge #38 : ORANGE TIAN

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CHARLOTTE À LA BANANE: Banana charlotte, sexy and lovely banana!

Do you like banana? Well, if any people ask me this question, I have to say "yes". I love to eat it plain, baked, fried or turn it into any kind of desserts. 
Banana is very simple fruit, but most of the time, it's rarely dress up due to the fact that it will turn black very quickly as soon as it contact with the air (or oxidation). 

But when I saw this dessert in the book: おいしい顔のお菓子たち by Katsuhiko Kawata, I think, wow, this is very good, both in appearance and the way we use the banana. The flavor of the banana is the key of this dessert and it uses only the banana for the decoration too. 
So, the banana is the queen for this time, not the took for granted fruit as always or a back up for other flavor (most of the time it's the back up for chocolate), it can turn into beautiful dessert by the simple way, just brûlé it with a blow torch and brush with the glaze. This way the fruit won't darken and become the yellow jewel on the top of the charllote.

The inside of the charlotte is the banana bavarois, with the sauté banana, the fragrance and the softness of the bavarois are great, and the banana lover will fall in love with this charlotte.
I hope that this charlotte will be a great change for any love to eat banana, because when dress up like this, the banana will be lovely and sexy again!

Makes 15 cm 


3 .................................. Egg yolks
75g .............................. Caster sugar (a)
3 .................................. Egg whites
28g ............................... Caster sugar (b)
75g ............................... Cake flour
...................................... confectioner's sugar for sprinkle on top of the biscuits


4 ................................... Egg yolks
150g ............................ Caster sugar
250g ............................ Banana puree
50g .............................. Milk
7g ................................. Gelatin
60g .............................. Milk
1tsp ............................. Rum
250g ............................ Whipping cream


1 ................................. Banana, cut into 1cm slice
7g ............................... Unsalted butter
15g ............................. Caster sugar
20ml ........................... Rum


70g ............................ Caster sugar
50g ............................ Water
1tbsp ......................... Rum


2 ................................ Banana, cut into 1cm slice
................................... Apricot jam

Make the biscuits:

Preheat the oven to 160°C.
1. In an impeccably clean, dry mixer bowl with a clean, dry whisk attachment in place, whip the egg whites on high speed until they turn opaque and form soft peaks. Still whipping on high, gradually add 25g of the sugar (sugar b). Continue beating until the whites are glossy and hold very firm peaks.

2. In another bowl, whisk the yolks and the remaining 75g of sugar (sugar a) together until they are well blended, about 1 to 2 minutes. Sifting the flour over the egg yolk mixture and spoon the meringue into the mixture, gently fold all together with a rubber spatula (No matter how delicately you fold in the flour, the batter will deflate. Don’t worry but do be gentle.) The batter is now ready to be pipe.

1. Fit a large pastry bag with a plain 8-10mm tip and set aside until needed. Place the parchment paper on baking sheets.
2. Gently spoon the batter into the pastry bag. Pipe 2 disks, one 12cm in diameter and the other one 6 cm in diameter. Then making a ladyfinger band by piping plump logs of batter from top to bottom about 11 cm long and 10-12mm wide. Dust them lightly with confectioner’s sugar, refill the bag when you run out of batter.
Let the piped batter rest on the counter for 15 minutes, during which time the confectioner’s sugar will pearl, or form beads.
3. Give them a second light dusting of confectioner’s sugar and slip the baking sheets into the oven. Bake for 17-20 minutes, just until the fingers are golden. Slide the parchment off the baking sheets and transfer the fingers, on their parchment sheets, to racks. Allow to cool to room temperature.
4. When the fingers are cool, run an offset spatula under the disks and bands to loosen them from the paper.


Put the butter into the pan and put the banana and sugar into the pan.
Sauté the banana until the banana soften, pour the rum and sauté until brown.


Mix the yolks and the sugar until light in color, set aside.

Put 50ml of milk into saucepan, and pour the banana puree into the milk, put the sauce pan over medium heat and let the mixture comes to boil, then take off the heat.

Bloom the gelatin in the water, and set aside.

Pour the banana mixture into the yolks mixture, whisk to combine.
Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan, put the sauce pan over low heat and let the mixture comes to simmer, then take off the heat.
Squeeze the gelatin out off the water, put it into the hot mixture and whisk until melt.
Let the mixture cool completely.

Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.

Pour 60ml of milk into the banana mixture and stir to combine, put the rum and stir again.
Put 1/3 of the whipped cream into the banana mixture and fold to combine.
Pour the mixture back into the whipped cream and fold until combine.


Make the syrup by mix the water and sugar and bring to boil, then let it cool and mix in the rum.

Line the foil to make the side of the 15 cm cake pan higher.
Place 12 cm disk inside of the pan and line the outside with the finger biscuits.
Sprinkle the disk with the syrup.

Pour the 1/3 of the bavarois into the pan, put the sauté banana over the bavarois.
Pour the 1/3 of the bavarois into the pan, then pace the 6cm disk over the bavarois.
Sprinkle the disk with the syrup then pour the rest of the bavarois over the disk.
Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight until firm.

When ready to serve, make BANANE BRÛLÉ:

Heat the apricot preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid. Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.

Place the banana on the pan, use a small blow torch to burn the banana. Brush the banana with the apricot glaze.

 Decorate the charlotte with the brûlé banana before serving.

CHARLOTTE À LA BANANE: Banana charlotte, sexy and lovely banana!


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