Cranberry-Apple Custard Strudel

It was 4 o’clock in the morning in Jordan, and I was very sleepy. I’d had a very busy day and unfortunately there was no time for me to sit in front of the computer.

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The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I know my recipe doesn’t look like a traditional strudel, but a baker needs a change of pace every now and then. I was searching the internet to get an idea of  something unconventional that I could bake, so I end up stumbling upon a page that had beautiful pictures of ‘Vol Au Vent’  pastries stuffed with savory meat and topped with a sauce. At that moment, I pictured a stuffed cranberry pudding strudel with chocolate sauce drizzled on top. My next move was how to go about making this pastry. I had two thoughts, one, to grab a frozen packet of ready made ‘Vol Au Vent’ pastry  and take the easier way out, and two, to be a daring baker and create the pastry manually. I decided to go with option 2, and ended up making the puff pastry myself. The recipe was adopted from http://www.indobase.com/recipes/details/vol-au-vent.php

The recipe for the stuffing was adopted from www.dairygoodness.ca

P.S:- I added a little twist of my own to the recipe , rather than having vanilla cream as the topping, I chose to drizzle chocolate sauce instead.  Bon a petit! Enjoy.



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Banana Bread

Yesterday was a boring day, so I decided to bake something. When I entered my kitchen the first thing that caught my eyes were my bananas in a fruit bowl and I saw black patches on their skin. That meant I had to do something with them. I decided to make Banana bread. (Which I haven’t baked for a while) I remember seeing a recipe in my Martha’s Baking Handbook Cookbook. So I gave it a try. It came out absolutely delicious. I think my son was addicted to it. Every time he takes a slice he tells me ” mommy this is delicious”. We as moms all know that we love to hear compliments from our children..

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Makes two 9-by-5inc loves

3 cups all  purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

2 taablespoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups ripe mashed bananas(3 medium )

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, finely chopped

1/2 cup buttermilk(I subsituted with yogurd)

Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat two loaf pans with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and vegeteable oil on medium speed until combined. Beat in th eflour mixture.add the vanilla, banana, coconut, nuts, and buttermilk, and beat just to combine.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smooth with an offset spatula.

Bake, rotating pans halfway through,  until cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 60 to  65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

This is one of my favorite dessert.. I always want to try to bake bread pudding.My first try was not successful but second try was absolutely delicious.

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I found this to be very simple and fast to make.Creamy custard, melted chocolate , spongy challa bread and ICE CREAM…Such a yummy treat for my taste buds 🙂

This recipe has been adopted from  Foodnetwork.com. I just didn’t make the chocolate ganache instead I served with vanilla ice cream and I omit the raisins.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted in microwave
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 loaf challah bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Chocolate Ganache

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine warmed milk and melted butter with the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until incorporated and smooth.

Line a large baking dish with two-thirds of the challah slices. Sprinkle with half the chocolate chips and half the raisins. Top with remaining challah slices, layering them one on top of the other, and then remaining chocolate chips and raisins, making sure the chips and raisins get inside the layers created by the challah slices.

Pour milk mixture slowly over the top of everything and let stand until the bread has absorbed almost all of the liquid, 5 to 10 minutes.

Wrap the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer until set in the middle and lightly browned on top.

Remove from oven and let cool before serving. Serve with the Chocolate Ganache drizzled over top or Ice cream.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Valentino

This months Daring Bakers Challenge is Flourless  Chocolate Cake…. and ice cream.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

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I missed January’s challenge deadline, so I was intent on getting this one on time and I barely made it.
The cake was amazingly easy. I baked it in a springform pan and then cut big hearts out with a cookie cutter.


The original recipe uses whipped topping instead of ice cream which was optional for people who wanted more complex challenge. Since I didn’t have enough time to make ice cream I just settle with delicious vanilla whipped topping.

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Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time:  20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Homemade Whipped Cream

1/2 pt. whipping cream
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Whip cream with mixer. Be careful not to overbeat or else will get too thick like butter. When it begins to thicken, add sugar and vanilla; stir. Refrigerate.

Happy Valentines Day To All Daring Baker’s.

French Yule Log

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This month’s challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

The French Yule Log was truly challenging for me because it was my first try. But the challenge was worth-while, I must say.  My family and I loved it so much,we have become true French dessert fans : ).On any given day, I would never even contemplate making such a dessert,but because I am a daring baker :), I MUST live up to my title.

I have to admit that I was a little  intimidated  by this recipe,  I must have read the recipe close to,  well, close to 500 times 🙂

Day 1 – I prepared the almond dacquoise, crisp insert and the creme brulee.

Day 2 – I continued the process. I prepare the mousse, ganache insert.

Day 3-  I prepared the icing.

French Yule log Recipe:

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)

Ingredients:
2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s sugar
2Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium egg whites
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

1.    Finely mix the almond meal and the confectioner’s sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds).
2.    Sift the flour into the mix.
3.    Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
4.    Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
5.    Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.
6.    Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc…) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
7.    Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
8.    Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Vanilla Mousse
2/3 cup (160g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
2/3 cup (160g) whole milk
1 vanilla bean
4 medium-sized egg yolks
3 oz (6 Tbsp / 80g) granulated sugar
3 Tbsp (25g) cornstarch, sifted
4g / 2 tsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
1 cup (240g) whipping cream (35% fat content)

Make a pastry cream:
1.    Pour the milk and 2/3 cup cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into milk and put the vanilla bean in as well.
2.    Heat to boiling, then turn the heat off, cover and let infuse for at least 30 minutes. Then remove the vanilla bean.
3.    Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until white, thick and fluffy.
4.    Add the cornstarch, beating carefully to ensure that there are no lumps. While whisking vigorously, pour some of the milk into the yolk mixture to temper it.
5.    Put infused milk back on the stove on medium heat. Pour yolk mixture back into the milk while whisking vigorously. Keep whisking vigorously until mixture thickens considerably.
6.    As soon as the mixture starts to boil, leave on for only 2 more minutes. (The recipe says you should remove the vanilla bean at this time but in the interest of no one getting burned, that can be done after you take the pastry cream off the stove.)
7.    Once removed from the heat, cover the pastry cream by putting plastic film directly on the surface of the cream (this prevents it from forming a thick and unappetizing skin as it cools). Let cool at room temperature.
8.    Soften the gelatin in cold water and melt in a small saucepan with 1 tsp of water OR melt in the microwave for 1 second (do not boil). Whisking vigorously, pour the cooled pastry cream over it.
9.    Whip the 1 cup whipping cream until stiff and add gradually to the pastry cream (DO NOT WHISK). Blend delicately with a spatula (DO NOT WHISK).

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert

Note: Because the ganache hardens as it cools, you should make it right before you intend to use it to facilitate piping it onto the log during assembly. Please be careful when caramelizing the sugar and then adding the cream. It may splatter and boil.

Ingredients:
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream    (35% fat content)
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1.    Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2.    While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling.  Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3.    Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4.    Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert

To make 2.1oz / 60g of gavottes (lace crepes – recipe by Ferich Mounia):
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk
2/3 Tbsp (8g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup – 2tsp (35g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp / 0.5 oz (15g) beaten egg
1 tsp (3.5g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vegetable oil
1.    Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.
2.    Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.
3.    Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.
4.    Bake at 430°F (220°C) for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.

Coconut Crisp Insert

3.5 oz (100g) white chocolate
1 oz (1/3 cup/25g) shredded coconut
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) unsalted butter
2.1 oz (60g) lace crepes or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1.  Spread the coconut on a baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes at 375°F (190°C) to toast (a different temperature might work better for you with your own oven).
2.  Melt the white chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir until smooth and add the toasted coconut.
3.  Add the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate. Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert
Ingredients:
1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
½ cup (115g) whole milk
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
0.75 oz (2 Tbsp / 25g) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean

1.    Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling. Remove from the stove and let the vanilla infuse for about 1 hour.
2.    Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).
3.    Pour the vanilla-infused milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.
4.    Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.

Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing

Note: Because the icing gelifies quickly, you should make it at the last minute.
For other gelatin equivalencies or gelatin to agar-agar equivalencies, look at the notes for the mousse component.

Ingredients:
4g / ½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1.    Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2.    Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
3.    Add gelatin to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
4.    Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

(Decorate the cake as you wish)

Thank you, Hilda and Marion and Happy New Year to everyone!

Kale with mushrooms and feta cheese

Simple and fast..But it is delicious…Emeral Lagasse and my feta cheese contribution to his recipe…What can I say!..I love feta cheese..
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cups chopped onions

1 cup feta cheese

1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
12 turns freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups coarsley chopped kale

1 cups basic chicken stock
Splash cider vinegar

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, kale, mushrooms and stock and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes; add a splash of cider vinegar in the last minute of cooking. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the feta cheese on top. Serve immediately.

Fruity Muffins

I bought this small cookbook called “health cooking” and want to see if the recipes as good as the pictures…So I picked an easy recipe. Well the taste of the muffin was as good as the pictures, except my muffin was going to burn..Sometimes I can be forgetful.Thanks to my TWINS.

Ingredients:

8 ounces self-rising whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 ounce light muscovado sugar(I used caster sugar)

31/2 ounces dried cranberries

2 small bananas, mashed with 1 tbsp orange juice

1 tsp orange rind, grated finely

1 1/4 cups skim milk

1 medium egg, beaten

3 tbsp corn oil

2 tbsp oatmeal

Fruit spread, honey, or maple syrup to serve (optional)

1-Preheat the oven to 400F. Place 10 paper muffin cup in a deep muffin pan.

2-Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl, adding any husks that remain in the strainer. Stir in the sugar and cranberries and mix until well blended.

3-Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the banana, orange rind, milk, beaten egg, and oil. Mix well to form a thick batter. Divide the batter evenly among the 10 paper cups.

4- sprinkle with a little oatmeal and bake for 25-30 minutes, until well risen and firm to the touch. transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool slightly.

5-Serve the muffins warm with fruit spread, honey, or maple syrup.