Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Adventures of The Daring Bakers March Challenge!

Ok, this is my new favorite thing.. I've mentioned before that I'm a huge dork and if you know me at all I'm  sure you would agree, but when I discovered The Daring Kitchen and the Daring Baker Challenges I was as giddy as a school girl! I stumbled upon the whole thing one night while checking out the blog Fahrenheit 350  and noticed a series of recipes...intrigued I went to check out the website and immediately fell in love! Challenges, secrets, bloggers and an excuse to try out new recipes- OH MY I was excited! Basically, every month The Daring Kitchen posts a secret recipe known as the Daring Baker Challenge that is hosted by a different blogger each time.  The secret recipe is not something that is taken lightly.. there was an application process and a waiting period as well to make sure I was serious about these challenges! I couldn't love it any more. At the first of every month a new challenge is posted and you have until the 27th of that month to make the dish. Although you can make it any time during that time, there are strict rules to not let the cat out of the bag until the 27th. Throughout the month everyone shares their adventures, tips and tricks, via secret forums and then at the end of the month you can check out everyones creations on their various blogs (this is the excited blogger geek coming out).

Since I didn't discover The Daring Kitchen till the middle of February, I had to wait till the March Challenge to participate, but the time has come!

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.

 Sooo without further a do.. DUN DUNNA DUUUNN (hum it to yourself)


This dessert was quite a process...there were quite a few steps involved, but thankfully I broke it down and made some in advance. I was also excited to finally get to use my new kitchen scale :) I made sure to monitor my process throughout the whole thing. I actually ended up making a few personal sized portions and one large 'family style' portion that I could bring to the dinner party I was attending. I apologize in advance for the family style photos, as I took them at the party with lack of any good lighting! 

Step #1 The first thing I had to do in all of this was make my own Orange Marmalade... did I mention that I love Orange Marmalade? can't get enough of that good stuff.. and now that I know how to make it I think that it is definitely going to be something made again. Talk about a process though.. blanching oranges 3 times is not quick...

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. 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 

Step #2 The first layer of this bad boy was segmented oranges.. pretty much if I never have to segment another orange in my life I will not lose any sleep. This was one of the most tedious parts of the recipe that required literally slicing the small pieces of orange out of the whole so that there was no skin. At the end of it all I had a long of orange segments, a lot of orange juice (in the bowl AND on the counter) and a pile of skin.

Orange Segments
You need 8-10 larger oranges. Cut segments over a small bowl to keep juice. As you cut, place the segments in the juice.


Step #3 After all those orange segments were left to soak in their juice the Pate Sablee was to be made- just think sugar cookie and an excuse to use my Ninja (Thanks Mrs.Sanderson :) )

Pate Sablee

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 or until the circles of dough are just golden.

Step #4 Giant cookie in the oven... caramel sauce was next. With this I ran into some problems and because of my frustration I didn't take any pictures. I've made caramel before so I don't know what I was doing wrong but for some reason the sugar was just not having it this go around.. I ended up with two batches of semi-OK caramel sauce, sore hands from squeezing out so much orange juice and 2 pans with hardened caramelized sugar stuck to the bottom...

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. 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.

Step #5 Homemade marmalade whipped cream.. tooo easy. 

Whipping Cream
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.

All of these ingredients then had to take a break in the fridge.. some overnight.  Then the assembly was ready to take place... the process was as follows: Stage 1. Drain orange segments that had been soaking all night. Stage 2. In the bottom of the cookie cutter (pan, or both) arrange segmented oranges for first layer. Stage 3 After oranges had been arranged a layer of the whipped cream was added. Stage 4. The final layer was the marmalade coated pate sablee placed marmalade side down on the whipped cream and placed in the freezer for setting.

After soaking all night, these lil segments needed to be drained
layer of orange segments for my 'family style'
single sized portion going into cookie cutter
Family style set and ready to eat!

Don't let my post fool you.. this dessert was no easy task. When I woke up Friday morning before work to put this all together I realized that I didn't have enough orange segments for the size pan I had originally intended and since I used up all my oranges to attempt the caramel sauce multiple times I was left scrambling for a smaller pan. Of course, because of my switch that meant my pate sablee was too large as well so I had to shave of some of the sides leading to a cracked and broken cookie- thankfully it ended up on the bottom of the dessert so no one had to know!

All in all, after much frustration in the kitchen at hours in the morning when no dessert should be assembled, when the process was all said and done I had a wonderful Orange Tian ready for devouring at the dinner party.... and it was a hit!! :)