Saturday, 27 February 2010

Daring Bakers - Tiramisu

This month's reveal almost didn't happen as my computer is dieing so it's going to be a bit quickly thrown together to tempt fate as little as possible. I may add extra notes later!

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. 

We were asked to make mascarpone, Ladies finger biscuits from scratch and of course we were given recipes for all the other bits as well. I never realised how many stages there are to making this dish and to be honest I don't much like coffee so I've never really liked it but there are ways round that, I made both a coffee version for most of the family who love coffee and a pomegranate version for me

My mascarpone cheese and biscuits. The biscuits of course needed to gluten free and we were supplied several recipes by our hosts, mine were based on this recipe and my eldest is already asking when i am next making them!

The cream bit of the pudding is made from mascarpone, whipped cream, zabaglione (which is a sort of alcoholic egg custard) and pastry cream all mixed together. Zabaglione is normally made with Masala wine but I used mead instead !

You then dip the biscuits in coffee for a normal version (or pom for my pomegranate version ) quickly and layer them with the cream mix.

 A traditional Tiramisu

Pomegranate Tiramisu
and finally what a slice of the coffee one looked like!


(Recipe source: Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings
For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk
For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder
For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.
To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.
Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Daring Cooks do Mezze

Before I start the Daring Baker post I just wanted to say something completely unrelated. A few months ago Freegle was born.. which is a UK based re-use network.. Today we past 1 million members  !!! It's been a great few months!

 The 2010 February Daring COOKs challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.

Mezze is like a Middle Eastern  version of tapas, lots of bits and pieces eaten together. You can pick and chose whatever you like. Michele challenged us to do two compulsory dishes and then add to them whatever we liked. If you check out the other Daring cooks you will see lots of different combinations of dishes. The two dishes she asked us to all do were to make  homemade Pita bread and hummus

The hummus recipe she gave us is at the bottom of this post. We very much enjoyed it and I found it very simple to make. We had it both plain and also with some caramelised onions puréed into the mix.

As  I can't use a normal pitta bread recipe I tried a couple of different versions. 

The first one I tried was a result of a discussion with a friend who has Turkish friends who make chickpea pitta at home. She got me the recipe or rather a rough list of ingredients so here is my recipe based on that.

Chickpea pitta

it is "roughly"
3 cups chickpea flour
"a bit less than a cup of other" flour (apparently plain flour or corn flour?) - we call cornstarch cornflour here so i used that.
2 teaspoons yeast
pinch salt
pinch sugar
pinch cumin seeds
pinch tumeric
2 tablespoons oil (ideally olive but not extra virgin, apparently)
"Water until it forms a soft dough"

She also said the pan it is cooked it is roasting hot as she remembers touching it by accident as a kid!!
So I mixed as directed then left it to prove for a few mins.. I find gluten free baking doesn't generally like long initial proving and there is no gluten to develop. Then I rolled out egg size lumps and put on trays, proved for 30 mins or so (actually longer as a small person woke up) and cooked on a very high heat (220 in a convection over) for about 6 mins.. I over cooked a few mostly as they were too high up the oven and to get that high a heat the oven puts on the top elements which then tend to grill anything close!

A few thought about puffing in the oven but it didn't survive coming out of the oven though they can be carefully split if wanted they don't have a pocket as such. Really quite tasty, chewier than a wheat one but my friend says she actually prefers that and she isn't gluten free so I'll take her word for it not having had wheat ones in nearly ten years. I might try rolling out a bit thinner in the next batch and a little more liquid as I think I made the dough a bit dry and see if that gets more puff.

For the full meal however I tried a sweet potato recipe from Straight to bed cake free and dried. I adjusted it a little replacing the sorghum with Dove Farm gluten free plain flour and the maize with gram flour (chickpea).
These were really fabulous and even more orangey yellow than in the photos. We will definitely be making them again. I think I will try some potato based ones as well as sweet potatoes are something we only get occasionally. These ones even puffed and developed pockets!

Sweet potato Pitta

So the full Mezze meal consisted of Sweet Potato pitta, caramelized onion hummus, plain hummus served with mince meat (which is how I often have it at our local Arabic restaurant ), more meat for those who like it without hummus, pickled beetroot, sweet and sour pickled roast peppers, tomato and cucumber.. we also ended up having some grated cheese as the small ones decided it was like tacos and they wanted cheese to add to them! They had a point. By the way I had dreadful trouble taking the photo of all the dishes as Treestump kept trying to put his place-mat on the table ready to eat!!

Hummus – Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
Prep Time: Hummus can be made in about 15 minutes once the beans are cooked. If you’re using dried beans you need to soak them overnight and then cook them the next day which takes about 90 minutes.
1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking) (10 ounces/301 grams)
2-2.5 lemons, juiced (3 ounces/89ml)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
a big pinch of salt
4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) OR use peanut butter or any other nut butter—feel free to experiment) (1.5 ounces/45 grams)
additional flavorings (optional) I would use about 1/3 cup or a few ounces to start, and add more to taste

1. Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
2. Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Weekly menu - Feb 8th 2010

This week's gluten free roundup is being done by Angela's Kitchen and she has chosen garlic as an ingredient. We love garlic and use it a huge amount. I recently made some garlic confit following the instructions from Kate the Bake and it's fabulous and really nice to have to hand, the garlicky olive oil it is in is good too!

Organizing Junkie also have a huge round up of all sorts of menu which is well worth checking out.

I thought you never see me and for once i have a photograph I like so this week I'd brave it and put a photograph of myself up here for all to see!

So now you know what I look like!

So back to food after that brief interlude. While I generally prefer home cooked gluten free bread and so forth the pre-made stuff is useful and Dietary Specials is a very good brand over here so when I was told that Approved Food had a bunch of their stuff on their site this morning I had to put in an order ! Approved Food is a company who specifies in short and pass date food, by past date they mean past the best by date which is very different to the use by date.. the past by date is the date after which it might start to deteriorate and is used on longer life products, in reality they are often fine months after that date. Use by is on short use foods like fresh meat and so on and after that date it can be dangerous to eat the food as it will be going off. So anyway I am now waiting on a order of really quite a lot of gluten free bread products as they were selling them for about 1/12th the normal price! Cheap enough I will not feel the least bit guilty making breadcrumbs and bread and butter pudding if I feel like it, where as normally I ration it out to myself as it is rather expensive.

Right on to the menu. I have just done a inventory of the cupboards and need to get that written up and check what we do and don't have so this may well change as I do that as I always earmark some things to be used up when I do such an exercise but it's useful to have a starting point at least.

Monday - stir- fried vegs and rice with deep fried sweet potato and parsnip sticks.

Tuesday - Barbequed spare ribs with potato wedges

Wednesday - Birthday choice as it's Jon's birthday.. probably something simple like Steak knowing him!

Thursday - Daring Cooks challenge recipe which I failed to do fully last week.

Friday - Some sort of fish dish not sure what yet but we have several pieces of fish in the freezer that need eating up.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Weekly menu - Feb 1st 2010

This weeks ingredient, picked by Heather at Celiac Family  is chocolate.. oh what a hardship :)  We all love chocolate, well nearly all but there always has to be one doesn't there? All the more for the rest of us.

Probably a rather heavy potato week this week but it's that time of year and we are all under the weather with colds so simple, easy favourites are the order of the day.

This weeks menu is

Monday - Homemade lamb burgers and potato wedges

Tuesday - potato bake.

Wensday - Daring Cooks challenge dish (sorry can't say what till later)

Thursday - After school visit from a class mate.. they both pestered me and him mum all last week!! Probably something simple like fish fingers or pasta with cheese sauce particularly as he's muslim so no meat unless it's Halal and so on.

Friday - sausage and mash

Baking - Banana muffins, potato cakes, biscuits of some sort.