Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Short Story: Daring Bakers’ January 2011 Challenge

Required language to get credit for the challenge because regardless of the results, I tried! The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

Now sit back and let me tell you a little story. It is the story of a silicon mat crossed love affair between two pastry parts. It all started one lovely Wednesday morning when two pastry parts found each other, met up for a date, and dreamed of growing their budding love affair into an Entremet.

Ms. Joconde-D├ęcor Paste presented herself beautifully in a shade of violet; she was ready for her date. She was kind of indecisive however about what pattern of dress she wanted to wear so she wore all her favorite patterns - swirls, crosshatches, and continuous hearts.

Ms. Paste was sad however when she realized that she had only three patterns to choose from, one fourth of what she had available in her closet. Ms. Paste is very emotionally soft and needed to chill out before her date to get her softness under control.

When Mr. Joconde Sponge arrived, he could not find Mr. Paste at first. When he saw her trying to get herself together and chill out, he thought he would comfort her by wrapping her in his almondy, light goodness. Mr. Sponge himself was dressed in half of what he originally took out of his closet to wear. He thought Ms. Paste would appreciate his less it more approach.

Mr. Sponge was now ready to wrap Ms. Paste in his arms. Mr. Sponge quickly embraced Ms. Paste, not leaving any part out of her out of his embrace. Ms. Paste decided that the embrace was not enough and wanted to warm up to Mr. Sponge’s advancements after her chill out session. Ms. Paste was only warmed up to about 425 degrees because she though Mr. Sponge could not handle full 475 degrees of her loving. Mr. Sponge responded to this change in temperature by setting up strong and bouncing back slightly when touched. Ms. Paste was feeling Mr. Sponge too and melted into Mr. Sponge’s embrace.

After nearly 10 minutes Mr. Sponge could not take the heat anymore and had to turn the temperature way down. But before releasing from the embrace they knew that they both needed to cool down just a bit. After five minutes, the couple was feeling less heated and was ready to reveal their love affair to the entire world.

Unfortunately, Ms. Paste and Mr. Sponge did not take the proper precautions and did not think about the foundation they were building their relationship on- a last minute, untested, impulsive silicon mat.

The mat that originally supported their relationship and bound them together, while they became one, now would be their down fall. As they tried to separate from that temporary impulsive silicon mat induced passion and build a more stable independent relationship, their relationship crumbled.

Mr. Sponge blamed the Ms. Paste for starting their love affair on such impulsive grounds calling her codependent and Ms. Paste blamed Mr. Sponge for pulling her too deep, too fast completely smothering her.

Though Mr. Sponge and Ms. Paste were enticing as a couple during their brief love affair, poor planning left them both irreparably broken. Their love never reaching full Entremet maturity. Though jaded by their disaster they are confident that in the future they will be brave enough to try again this time basing their relationship on parchment paper.

Translation: I fourth the recipe for the paste and dyed it purple. I was going to make 2 to 3 desserts, so I piped 3 different designs so each entremet would have its own design. I halved the recipe for the sponge. After covering the paste with the sponge batter, I baked it at 425 for 10 minutes. I let the cake cool for five minutes and it became comfortable to the touch. I flipped the silicon mat onto parchment paper and begin to try and lift the mat away from the design. The mat stuck completely. I clawed at the mat trying to get the design off and nothing. I was left with a crumbly mess. Though it tasted good and the pieces looked like the design transferred well. I will try again in the future, but I will use parchment paper instead.

See the other (correctly completed) DBers’ Challenges and the Challenge recipe at the Daring Kitchen.

Friday, January 21, 2011

17. Lemon Bars

After completing an ultimately failed dessert (which you can read about on this blog around the 27th of the month) I wanted to still fulfill my sweet tooth and build back up my baking confidence a little bit.  I wanted a dessert that was easy and met one of my top 100 dishes.  I choose this lemon bar recipe out of my to-try pile.

The bars’ crust was crumbly but with good buttery flavor.  The filling was sweet and tart and not eggy tasting at all, which is my usual complaint with lemon bars.  Lastly, the easy glaze was a nice sweet and tart ending to a delightful dessert.   I thought the bar was good and I would recommend cutting them small because you can only take so much due to their richness; my mother thought they were a little too sweet however… But you know how that story goes ;-)

(On a side note: what a pathetic first entry for 2011... I promise to do better as the year goes along :-)

Lemon Bars
Adapted from Nosh With Me

Crust Ingredients
1 cups flour
1/4  cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Crust Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Press into the bottom of a 8x8 square pan.
3. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until crust is light golden brown.
4. While crust is baking, prepare filling.

Filling Ingredients
1 whole eggs and 2 yolks, slightly beaten (or you can use 2 whole eggs)
1 cups sugar
1/8 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Heaping 1/8 cup lemon juice with squirt of lime juice

Filling Preparation
1. Mix together eggs, sugar, flour, and baking powder thoroughly.
2. You can just stir it all together with a whisk.
3.  Add lemon juice and beat well.
4. Pour over warm crust and return to oven.
5. Bake 20-30 minutes. (Don’t let it get too brown.) Cool completely.

Glaze Ingredients
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

Glaze Preparation
1. Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a relatively thin glaze. Drizzle (or spread) over the bars.
2. Allow glaze to dry, then cut into small squares.

Yields 16 small squares.