Sunday, February 24, 2013

Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Budino

Hey Puddin'

Pudding can be a good thing every now and then. (unless you're making a cake and it turns to pudding.....been there done that!) This pudding, or Budino as it is called, can be layered.  I like the layered idea. <flashback to Farrah Fawcett hair days>
 Of course, I will try to abstain from putting the pudding in mini mini jars with mini spoons....just for you Baked.(yes, I saw the facebook post about this!!!!)
But now all I can think of is this dessert in mini jars!  Or maybe in shot glasses.  Yes, what if I made this into dessert shots?  (it would require mini spoons though)  I think that would be uber cute!  Who doesn't like a layered shot?  Or would it be a big disappointment for people to realize it isn't an actual shot?  Well I say them's the risks ya take with me! (when did desserts and shots become risky?) 
I might just showcase these to some friends this weekend.  (if they turn out and pass my inspection that is...the pudding not the friends....but don't let them know they're off the hook....the friends not the pudding)

Soooo I just looked at the recipe and I think I have all the ingredients....except bourbon.  But whateves (all the cool kids say whateves, not whatever.....cause we're cool....we're so cool that we don't even care, so we say whateves to it all)  Okay, what was I talking about?  Feel like I just had a "oooooh shiny" moment.

The ingredients weren't really an issue.  But then I browsed the actual instructions and noticed that I need three heat proof bowls and a saucepan.  Does this not seem like an inordinate amount of baking things to make pudding??? (and by things I mean bowls, but after using the word inordinate my brain went all Dali....Salvador Dali that is. 
Dali in the house!  And yes, I did just spend an hour looking at Dali stuff on the interweb. (talk about an "ooooh Shiny" moment)  He was such an interesting character.  His art was the first artwork that intrigued me when I started taking art classes in high school.  Some may be asking, "Sandra, what does any of this have to do with baking your Budino this week?"  And I'd love to come back with a really intelligent response.....but all I've got is, "my cat's breath smells like cat food."

Crazy person----take caution
Nothing to see here....keep moving folks.

Anyhoo,I started the recipe.  Got all my ingredients at the ready.

As I don't have bourbon, I used a tablespoon of Chambord. (black raspberry liqueur)  Once I scrapped the vanilla bean out, I added that to the tablespoon of Chambord.  Trust me, that is not dirt in the really is the inside of the vanilla bean. 
Bowl #1
Next, I had to add the egg yolks and eggs to the cream.  These got all whisked up.
Bowl #2

The milk chocolate sat in waiting.  I used the feves that I found when we made something else that required milk chocolate....but can't think of what that was.  Hmmm.   The pots de creme!  (totally had to go back and look at previous posts to get that)
Bowl #3

After filling all three bowls, it was time mess up a saucepan!  Into the saucepan I whisked together the sugar, corn starch and salt.  To this, I added the milk.
This mixture had to be heated up and I proceeded to make a total mess of my stove top and whatever else was lying around.
Now after this is heated up, I am then supposed to pour a third of this mixture into the egg mixture while whisking constantly.  Not a problem.....but am I supposed to 'eyeball' a third???  I don't do that.  This is stressing me out.....and what about the other bowls?  When do I use the other two bowls?  I feel like my chambord and vanilla bean paste bowl is going to be left out?  Stress levels rising.  And I've re-read the recipe instructions so many times, that I've now lost count.  Maybe if I read it out loud, it will make more sense.  Nope.  It's grade 7 math all over again....damn those word problems.   Work it through...there's no crying in baking!!!!
I worked it out!  And no bowls were left behind.  Woot Woot!!  Please, please, please tell me I wasn't the only one stressing about this??!!!!  It's pudding!  How can pudding be complicated??? 
Vanilla Bean pudding (left), Milk Chocolate pudding (right)
I decided to make them mini.  I used some shot glasses and filled them with the vanilla bean pudding first.  The heat from the pudding was steaming up the glasses. 
These had to cool in the fridge for a bit, before I could add the milk chocolate layer.
Well, I think they look pretty cute.  The pudding go so nice and thick.  I was concerned that it wouldn't.
 I even got mini spoons to go with them.  Had to put them next to a tablespoon and a teaspoon just to see how tiny they were!
Which spoon would Goldilocks pick?
They passed my inspection and were shared with some friends.  Everyone said they enjoyed them.  But would they say they didn't?? So I asked the hubbie (as I know I can get the real deal with him).  And he liked it!  He really liked it!  We each tried a spoonful and the milk chocolate pudding before it was chilled and neither of us thought it was stellar.  But once it was cooled and combined with the vanilla bean layer hubbie thought it was great.  I agree, the pudding is much nicer chilled.
Would I make it again?  Maybe.  I didn't get the flavour of the chambord at all from the vanilla bean layer.  Perhaps I would try different flavourings.  Maybe try it with a dark chocolate.  And instead of the vanilla bean layer, try a banana flavour.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TWD-Boca Negra

Boca Boca is Bella Bella

I'm not sure what Boca Negra is.  It sounds like a drink though.  I'm going to assume it isn't, as I can't imagine there are drink recipes in this cookbook!  Perhaps I should look up the recipe now...hmmm there's an idea!

Okay, put away the alcohol and mixes....Boca Negra is a chocolaty cake.  I guess I can deal with that.
It looks VERY chocolaty indeed.  I am thinking it is kind of like a flour less cake.  It looks so good and relatively simple.  I am going to use my blender to pull this recipe all together.  After reading the recipe, it looks like it can be all mixed up in a food processor or blender.  What better way to break in our new blender! (without the breaking part being literal....of course)  And how cool would it be to make a cake in a blender!  Perhaps my view of cool is a little skewed. 

So I started the recipe.  (without the blender)  Well, the recipe said to use the food processor.  And I just couldn't mess up all this chocolate. 

White chocolate chops up real easy and I think (like all chocolate) looks good chopped up.

Heavy cream gets heated up and then added to the chocolate in the food processor for a little spin.

Decided on using Grand Marnier rather than Bourbon.  Do you like how that sentence makes it sound like it wasn't just because I don't have bourbon?

This white chocolate sauce tastes real good with the Grand glad I decided on that rather than the Bourbon. (yep)
Not sure why this sauce needs to spend a night in the fridge.  Can't imagine it gets better than this, after a rest. 

Today, I am starting on the cake portion of this recipe.
Butter, eggs, sugar, chocolate, grand marnier and a little flour.  The chocolate and grand marnier are a fabulous combination.  Sure do hope this cake turns out!

Cake release is a good thing. 

But chocolate is comparison to cake release that is......

Sugar and grand marnier melting.  It will be added to the chopped chocolate. 

I decided to try the blender after all.  I put the chopped chocolate and then added the boiling sugar mixture to it.  It didn't do well in the blender.  It seemed to bog down my blender and it didn't want to blend.  It was way to thick of a mixture for the blender to work properly.

So I decided to scoop it all out and try the food processor instead. 
The food processor didn't have any troubles at all.  It blended everything up nicely.  Was able to add the butter and then the eggs.  It came together beautifully.

I'm sure if I had a blendtec blender, I wouldn't have any issues using a blender for this.  I'm fine with using the food processor though.  It was an easy cake to bring together.

The cake batter is very pudding like.  Not sure how this is going to bake up.  It does need to sit in a water bath for the full baking time.

The recipes indicates that the cake will take Exactly 30 minutes to bake.  I've just come up to the 30 minute mark, and there is NOOOOOOO WAY this cake is done.  Very giggly in the middle. (no comments from the peanut gallery on that one!)
So I put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  And even after those 10 minutes, still seems too underdone.  I am giving it another 10 minutes.  I fear for this cake's success.  Like the little boy from Sixth Sense.....I see cake fail.

Cake just out of the oven after a grand total of 50 minutes. 
Now the recipe indicates that I need to cover this hot cake and hot pan with saran wrap and invert on a plate.  Did I mention this is a hot pan????? <please note: all expletives have been removed from this post>

Saran wrap going on hot cake and hot pan.  I did mention this was hot out of the oven, right??!!

Okay, I have successfully inverted hot cake and hot pan onto my cake board.  Have set the hot pan into the sink.  Did I mention the cake and pan are hot???

Parchment removed and cake inverted one more time onto a platter.  I think I have succeeded.  No fail here......yet.  What we have here is cake release....and I can now breathe a sigh of relief.

So it sat for about a half hour to cool a bit and then I cut into it.  Here was another point were I was sure there would be a fail.

No fail here either!!  I heated the knife under hot water. (wiped it down before cutting)  And it cut beautifully!!  (okay, be cool Sandra...things could still go it tasting awful)

The white chocolate sauce did indeed get better with an overnight stint in the fridge.  It got nice and thick.  (still just as yummy)

 Love the look of the white chocolate sauce melting on the still warm cake.  That is a thing of beauty.  I am seriously pleased with this cake so far.  Let's hope it passes the taste test!

My track record for recipes from this book has not been great. I think this recipe has turned things around. 

Oh my god, Becky!
It truly is a thing of beauty.  If you are a lover of chocolate, this cake is for you.  The addition of Grand Marnier to the mix certainly made it taste great.  I am pleasantly surprised (and super shocked) at how well this came together. 

Head over to Tuesday's with Dorie to see what everyone else thought of the cake.  Cathy of A Frederick Food Garden is hosting this time around.  (and sharing the recipe)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lacy Panty Cakes with Whiskey Sauce

Flippin' and a Floppin'

Well this is certainly an interesting name for a cake.  I have a feeling hubbie is going to be pretty disappointed when he finds out my talk of lacy panties is food related.  Better be a damn good cake!

There is whiskey sauce, so that sounds good.  Wonder if the whiskey sauce would be good on pancakes.  What?  It's a valid question.  Remember that yummy rum sauce we made for the Bananas foster fritters?  Now that would have been good on pancakes.  (note to self: make more rum sauce)  Those were good fritters to dip in that rum sauce.  But those fritters also make me think of doughnuts...making doughnuts.  I saw this recipe for baked doughnuts on Shutterbean.  If I'm honest, the espresso glaze is what first caught my attention.  And if I must be honest again, the doughnut pan also got my attention....a doughnut pan is so darn cute!!  And yes, I need to buy myself one.  I know they won't taste like a true fried doughnut, but did you see how cute the pan is!!  And did you see that espresso glaze!  I'm not going to become a maker of doughnuts, I still have a love for SuzyQ doughnuts.  I just think that recipe is interesting.

Hold on, hold on.....what are we making this week?  Cake.  Focus.  Cake.

or bake with it....

This might be a good time for me to actually look at the recipe and see what it is all about.  I'm a little intrigued<concerned> by the name of this cake.  What the heck does a cake with this name look like?

But first, I need to pick out an apron for this Lacy Panty Party.  It is a wee bit chilly, so I think I'll go with this one today. 

So I've just perused the recipe for Lacy Panty Cakes.  Colour me disappointed.  It isn't a cake at all!!! Instead it is pancakes with the whiskey sauce.  Oh sure, I did ask earlier if this sauce would be good on pancakes.  But that's not the point!  Hmpf.  I was expecting cake!  Plus, I was looking forward to using my little cake pans.  Yes, I thought the plural of cake in the name meant tiny cakes.

There may be a slight delay in the making of these pancakes due to a pouting spell.  And just because cake is in the word pancake that does NOT make it a cake!  Oh, oh.  Somebody is grumpy.

Okay, I had a chat with pancake bunny, we're all good.  I think I can start this pancake recipe now.  I will pine for cake on my own time. (PS-I'm making a cake this coming week for Tuesday's with Dorie)

First step in making these pancakes is to make the whiskey sauce. 

Melt the butter and brown sugar.  Love the smell of those two ingredients melting on the stove a pot.  Not actually on the stove top.  Really isn't nice when it melts/burns on the stove top or drips in the oven......ugh so messy when that happens....but I digress.

Swirling the whiskey into the mix.

And finally, the cream gets added and the sauce gets cooked down for about 5 minutes.

Here is the finished product: Whiskey Sauce.  At this point, I would say (inside my head....not out loud) that this is drinkable.

The ingredients for the pancakes are waiting patiently to mix it up. 

The dry ingredients got together and became one.  Just waiting for the eggs to break into the scene.  Just like 'West Side Story', the eggs are going to come onto the scene snapping their fingers and by fingers I mean shells and by snapping, I mean cracking.

Cracked, whisked and ready to rock the dry ingredient's world. 

No rocking allowed.....just a gentle combining. 

Lastly, the sour cream and whiskey get added.

And here is the batter ready to go.

My first round of pancakes.....and GO!
Butter melting.  So far so good.

Batter gets scooped onto griddle....still looking good.

This just in...... Armageddon!!!!!  A FLIPPING DISASTER!!!!

I think the graham cracker crumbs in the mixture makes these pancakes too loose.  It just seems like there wasn't enough body to them, which made the flipping of the pancakes nearly impossible. (at least at the 1/4 cup size)  Unless they were supposed to be more crepe like???

 Pancakes take two.

This time much smaller pancakes
Flipping accomplished
Lovely and bubbly
The final product looks pretty good.

I loved the whiskey sauce.  Really loved it.  The pancakes though......they were okay.  Not something I would make again.  Did I mention there are graham cracker crumbs in the mixture?  It made for an interesting taste.  But not a taste I want in a pancake.
Hubbie quote--"They weren't disgusting, but not that appealing....they wouldn't make me come back for more."

Check out everyone else's posts at Baked Sunday Mornings.  Perhaps they had better luck with these pancakes than me.

To be fair, we are purist when it comes to pancakes.  We have yet to find a pancake recipe that tops Martha Stewart's Buttermilk pancakes.  These are truly the best pancakes I've ever made.