Category Archives: Daring Bakers

Piece Montée

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

I was so excited when I found out what this month’s Dearing Bakers challenge was. Finally something that was very unique and used techniques I was not familiar with. I started out the night before by making the pastry cream. This is probably my third time making pastry cream and I’m definitely getting better. Maybe it was just the recipe, but this was the best pastry cream yet. Making pate a choux (for the puffs) was definitely something very new to me. The dough is made over heat, which made it very difficult to keep the eggs from scrambling when you added them. I think I managed pretty well, but my arm got very tired from all the heavy stirring. After the puffs were baked and chilled they were all ready to be filled with the amazing pastry cream. I used a very small tip and a pastry bag and just filled the puffs. Piece of cake! Putting together the Piece Montée was more difficult and required caramel to make them stick together. I have worked with melted sugar before, but I still managed to get burned (it still hurts!). I ended up with a Piece that was a little crooked and not too pretty, but tasted amazing (I guess you could call it an ugly duckling). I decorated with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and some strings of caramel. Thanks to my boyfriend for helping out!

Ready to be filled!

Filling them up!

Filled and ready!

Finishing touches!

Orange Tian

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.

I’m not sure how I feel about this challenge. It was exciting to make because I have never had a tian before, yet there was nothing new about the techniques used for making this dessert. The flavour of the finished tian was great, but I think I would have preferred a fruit salad with whipped cream. The tian consisted of four layers and a caramel sauce to go over the top. The bottom layer was a Pate Sablee, followed by a layer of orange marmalade, then whipped cream, and finally orange segments on the top. The most fun part about this challenge was segmenting the oranges and making the marmalade. A few years ago I watched a TV show where a chef was demonstrating how to segment oranges, I never thought that was something I needed to know, but I think this just proves that TV can be educational and I shouldn’t feel bad when I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy instead of studying… 😉 Hands down the most tasty /best part of this challenge: the raw pate sablee dough before it was baked. So, so yummy.

The thing I didn’t like about this challenge was that if felt so much like the previous challenge, Tiramisu; Only a little bit of baking, a lot of cream, and then just assembling layers. When I joined the Daring Bakers I thought there would be more baking involved (obviously), something with baking powder or yeast, but lately it just feels like we’re making desserts without doing much baking. Also, even though the pate sable dough tasted great, it was a pain to roll out. I don’t know what went wrong because I followed the directions exactly… but a big “thank you” to my mom for doing the work after I decided to give up and was contemplating whether or not I should just eat the whole dough raw.

In the end though, I was happy with the result. I decided to flavour some of the whipped cream with cocoa powder and I substituted grapefruits for some of the oranges. Now I’m just crossing my fingers that the next challenge will be something that is more baking-related.

Thanks for stopping by folks!

Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home, and Baking Obsession.

It’s been a long time since I have blogged, two months to be exact. I have a good reason though, my laptop died so while it’s being fixed I’m using another laptop. This laptop is not compatible with the memory card in my camera and my camera cord is all the way across the Atlantic. So…I have been making food, just not blogging about it. I thought I would share a couple of links to some of the recipes I’ve tried recently:

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Muffins

I made these absolutely amazing muffins from Joy the Baker. They were so delicious and fun to make. I’m not a big fan of raisins in baked goods, so I used chopped pecans instead. I definitely recommend these muffins for anyone who loves the cinnamon-sugar combo.

Spinach & Artichoke cups

A little snack that I made for Super Bowl. This was my first ever Super Bowl and I had a lot of fun watching it even though I don’t know the rules of American football. A couple of days before the Super Bowl I had been out to dinner with a friend who was visiting from Norway, and we had the hot spinach and artichoke dip as an appetizer. These cups were just like that, only bite-size 🙂

Butternut Squash Ravioli

I have never made ravioli before, but when I saw a post by Iowa girl about homemade ravioli I was very intrigued. She used wonton-wrappers instead of making pasta, which makes the whole process less time-consuming. I was really happy with the result (I’ve made the recipe twice already), and I recommend these for anyone wanting a delicious dinner.

These were just a few of the recipes I’ve tried these last couple of months. I really like reading blogs and getting ideas about recipes to try, but I do feel a bit sad that I don’t use my cook books as much as I would like.

Well, back to the Daring Bakers. I skipped last month’s challenge because I was very busy around that time. I was equally busy with school work this week, so I ended up staying in the kitchen until midnight making all the different components to this tiramisu. Yes…we made EVERYTHING from scratch, including mascarpone and lady fingers. Making mascarpone was not fun, making lady fingers was a lot of fun. The pastry cream we made was really good, lump-free and easy to make (if I’m ever making pastry cream again, this is the recipe I will use). The finished tiramisu was really good and I’m happy that I challenged myself to make it, but I don’t think it would have been much different had I used ready-made mascarpone and lady fingers. The portion was quite big, enough tiramisu to serve at a party. Luckily for me and my waist line, Brittany’s family was in town for the weekend and came over for some yummy desert. I still have some in the freezer that I’m planning on serving to my mom when she comes to visit this weekend. The last piece of tiramisu is now in the fridge, waiting for my mom to come over after dinner 🙂

Enough for now, I’ll get back to posting more frequently soon. Thanks for stopping by!

Pepperkakehus

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I know this post is a day late, the reveal date is the 27th December, but I have been very busy so far this holiday season.

The house is a little crooked and I didn’t get any good pictures, but I still think the house is pretty cute.

After skipping out on last month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge it was time for me to get back into the game. Since I am from Norway I thought I should use the Scandinavian recipe. After reading through it I realized that it was not the same recipe we normally use in Norway. I added half a teaspoon of pepper, making my house a Norwegian pepper cake house (Pepperkakehus) instead of a gingerbread house. I had a lot of fun doing this challenge and I’m happy with the way my house turned out even though it looks like it was made by kids. I had good decorating help from Brittany and we had a great night with some friends decorating gingerbread men.

I think this will be it for now, I’m in Norway enjoying the holidays and the snow. Happy holidays to all my readers!

Daring Bakers Challenge Macaroons

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macaroons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

So, what does this mean? It means I have joined the Daring Bakers. Once a month we get a challenge which is secret to the public, we all bake something using the recipe from the challenge and then publish our posts on the same day (today). Hence, you can now expect me to blog about something truly wonderful and slightly advanced once a month. I was glad that this was my first challenge, I have made macaroons twice before (once successfully and once not so successfully…ok it was actually a disaster). The type of macaroons I’m talking about is of course not the chewy coconut kind, but the French kind – the amazingly cute and tasty kind. I have been to Ladurée in London, a very small pastry shop with a good selection of macaroons. When I was in Paris for my birthday this year my boyfriend bought me a cake and macaroons from their big store on the Champs-Élysées. Their macaroons are world famous and I can definitely understand why, they look too good to eat and they have a great selection of flavours. If anyone is ever in Paris, Ladurée is THE place to go for a treat.

I can say without hesitation that my macaroons did not turn out like they should have. My oven is very unreliable and it is impossible to know what the temperature is, so I think that is where it went wrong. At least, that’s what I like to think, for all I know it might have been a mistake I made that caused these macaroons to turn out the way they did. First of all, they did not look like proper macaroons should. I didn’t manage to get the trademark “feet” on my macaroons, instead they looked like plain old flat cookies. Secondly, they did not feel like macaroons. They were really chewy (which I actually liked), but they should have had a slightly hard outer shell and be soft in the middle. BUT, they did taste like macaroons! Yay! I filled mine with a simple chocolate ganache which I made by heating one part heavy cream to a simmer, and then adding that to one part 70% chocolate to melt the chocolate. I let it cool until the consistency was thick enough to pipe a nice thick layer on the macaroons, and then sandwiched them together. I really enjoyed the taste of these macaroons and I brought them with me to the dinner party I mentioned in my previous post. The girls all seemed to enjoy my failed macaroons, I don’t think they cared too much that they weren’t exactly perfect!

I think macaroons are really fun to make, so I will probably try them again some time. Next time, I will use a different recipe that I have had success with in the past. I think this recipe was a little too complicated, but you can find it on the Daring Bakers website if you feel like trying. I will recommend that if you decide to make macaroons you should find some other recipe, take a look on other websites and choose one that you think would work best for you. Good Luck!