Tag Archives: daring bakers

Daring Bakers Challenge- Danish Braid

This months Daring Bakers Challenge is Danish Pastry.  I have tried my hand at laminated dough before.  I remember making Danish pastry years ago.  What I remember of the recipe was it was most definetly not  laminated (I seem to recall it was a Nigella Lawson recipe involving a food processor…).  I had also tried my hand at laminated dough like croissants (worked fairly well) and puff pastry (why, oh why, did I try that when it was 95 F all day every day, getting down to a ‘chilly’ 85 F at night?)

Thankfully, this challenge was announced over our dry season when the temperature is a bit more forgiving for people trying to make thin layers of butter in their pastry.

This dough is a pleasure to work with.  I used the grating the butter technique (using the food processor for speed) and that was a wonderful revelation.  I wasn’t sure if I was then supposed to process the flour through so i just tossed the butter in the flour and patted it on the rolled out dough (so much like mozzarella, it is not funny).

This bread needs 4 turns (roll it out and then fold it like a business letter) with a chill 30 minutes in between each turn.  Easy enough to do during a morning with the boys.  I used my trusty pastry mat so I didn’t have to clean the bench between turns. 

Please take a moment to admire the lamination…

I struggled a little bit with the instructions for the shaping of the braid (I do wish Sherry Yard had included a simple diagram).  So I turned to the Pastry Bible and Rose Levy Beranbaums (RLB) chapter on Danish.  Her books are my go to guides when I need simple clear instructions and I want to know why…

I used a ruler to mark everything out and then I used my bencher to give me even cuts 

My braid came out pretty well although I didn’t keep perfect even tension.  

I made the apple filling from the Sherry Yard recipe and it was good.  However, being a girl who likes to experiment a little I also made RLB’s Apricot Levkar and her Remonce (almond filling).  One would think I would take it easy on myself given I was about to go on holidays and I still don’t have a functioning oven at home but that’s not very Daring Baker is it…

So I messed around with fillings and shapes.  My stunt kitchen oven was running a bit hot so they got a touch more malliard than I was aiming for.  

My hands down favourite was the bear claws filled with the Remonce.  The almond filling really brought out the cardamon and orange flavours in the pastry.  I have some work to do with shaping and not letting the filling leak out so much, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

Daring Baker Debut- Opera Cake

I adore opera cake, Chocolate and Coffee, how could one go wrong. When I read this months challenge for a white or pale opera cake I had a moment of petulance and then… Fruit and alcohol (well liquers) fillings were encouraged.

I thought of a recent Dorie Greenspan post about Ispahan, Pierre Hermes combination of Rose, Lychee, and Raspberry. But then I became a commitment fobe. What if I didn’t like it? 10 x 10 is a lot of cake.

Then the liquer thing started me thinking, of cocktails. What about fabulous fruit and a touch of alcohol in the cakes? I started with what was tucked away in my freezer. Coconut and pineapple, great start. Limes are in season. Pina colada cake tempting. Mojito, lime mint and rum, has promise. Decisions, decisions. So what is a debut daring baker to do?

Go mad. Make 3 small cakes and pick my favourite.

Only one small problem. I had never really added fruit (other than a bit of lemon or lime) to butter cream before and wasn’t sure about quantities.  I had never made an opera cake before but I did have an impressive collection of bookmarked recipes waiting for the right reason (I was thinking my own birthday cake this year). I turned to my copy of The Cake Bible for some help.

So I decided on

Rose butter cream, rasberry mouse with lychee syrup and thinly sliced lychee fruit.

Pineapple butter cream, coconut mousse with the pineapple poaching syrup and Malibu, with pineapple puree.

Lime butter cream, Fresh mint mousse, Bacardi, lime juice and mint sugar syrup.

I made the full batch of the cake, butter cream (I used the smaller amounts of sugar version) and mousse and then divided it up by weight into 3 portions. I then added my ‘mix ins’ by taste.

I made a half batch (all the raspberries in the freezer) of Rose Levy Beranbaums raspberry puree. I was pleased that my new food processor with centrifcal juicer did a fabulous job of straining the seeds.

I also saw her recipe for pineapple buttercream. So I poached my pineapple that had been put in the freezer, blitzed it to a pulp and added that in to the buttercream from the ‘master recipe’. The pineapple puree ended up a bit sweet to my taste. I would probably omit the sugar next time. I also blitzed up fresh mint.

The coconut came from the coconut palm in my backyard. The limes from the local markets. The lychees were canned in syrup (not in season now).

My cake pans were a touch bigger than 27cm x 36cm. So I trimmed them down to make a total of 12 pieces 18 x 9 cm (Those of you talented with math will pick I have 3 extra pieces of cake left for unauthorised coffee and chocolate action).

I made little cake boards for them, and set to filling them, with all my creations in all the little plastic containers I own.

Now, I did have some problems with 2 of the mousse flavours. The coconut behaved perfectly. The raspberry mousse was a bit runny and grainy. The mint mousse became soup. Take home message, this mousse recipe doesn’t want much more fluid added and really doesn’t want to messed with very much.

The cake was a dream to work with. I will certainly use that recipe again.

Here they are pre glaze.

And here are the lovely’s post glaze. I had some difficulty working with the glaze. When it was warm enough to spread nicely it melted the mousse. When I let it cool a bit it wasn’t smooth. However, I tell myself the little bits of raspberry mousse peeking out looks quite handsome.

And the taste… The mojito was the favorite. The lime buttercream worked really well. The Isphan with a touch of extra raspberry sauce to cut the heady floral notes from the lychees and rosewater was a close second. The pina colada was let down a bit by the sweetened pineapple. It needed the tartness to brighten up the flavors.

All in all, this was a lot of fun. This recipe has many parts but it wasn’t hard. If I was to make the light versions again I would try another mousse recipe. Perhaps with a more stable mousse (that wasn’t trying to melt away) my glaze could have been a bit smoother.
The recipe is many pages long so if someone is interested I can email it on.
And finally,
Hey mum, I’m a daring baker!