27. kolovoza 2010.
The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
It's that time of the month again. Is it me or the months keep getting shorter and shorter? There always seems to be some sort of fuss around my DB challenges and posts. If I manage to finish the challenge early (and that's not really the case most of the time), then something else has to interfere and complicate my life, giving me very little time to work on my post. This time I had some nervewrecking technical difficulties. Both of our computers were infected with viruses. At the same time. For the most of the week. Yep. I wasn't happy, at all. On the other hand, I did spend my time reading a book for a change, so I guess it wasn't a complete disaster. Nevertheless, it wasn't a fun experience. Luckily, D. managed to fix one of them just in time to post this, so here I am. All is well that ends well, I guess.
I love it how I make a new discovery with every new challenge. This time it was brown butter or, as the French would say, beurre noisette. French makes everything sound so darn good, doesn't it? Anyway, the brown butter pund cake was a total revelation. It never occured to me that heating butter until it becomes a wierd dark brown color, could result in something so aromatic and delicious. The lovely nutty smell spread through the kitchen leading us to the state of anticipation and excitement. In an instant, I forgot about the ridiculously huge amount of butter needed to make the cake, and had an inexplicable urge to bite into it. For a moment there, I forgot about my health issues and diet restrictions. I took a bite and it was sooo good! The cake was so packed with butter that everything it came in touch with developed greasy stains. But it was also full of flavor. It is perhaps the best cake I have ever tried. It's definitely worth it and I will be browning butter again. It's a shame though, that the recipe asked for freezing it because the pound cake lost most of its beautiful nutty flavor in the freezer.
Since we're not big fans of meringue and, most importantly, I don't have a blow torch, I skipped the Baked Alaska part and headed right to the Petit fours. I decided to stick to the basic ice cream recipe and just added some pureed sour cherries and a few tablespoons of Kirsch before freezing it. It seemed like a good idea to balance the sweetness of the cake and the chocolate glaze with something a little bit on the sour side. The chocolate glaze was absolutely fantastic. Both the consistency and the flavor were great and I will be using this recipe again, for sure.
Sour Cherry Ice Cream Petit Fours
Sour Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream
makes 1 liter
250ml whole milk
a pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
500ml heavy cream (approx 35% butterfat)
5 large egg yolks
200g sour cherry puree
3 tbsp. Kirsch
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)
2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2 litre bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.
3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.
4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.
5. Remove the vanilla bean, add the sour cherry puree and Kirsch and stir until incorporated. Freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don't have one, transfer to a plastic container and put into the freezer. After 30-40 minutes, take it out and whisk vigurously to break the ice crystals. Repeat the proces every 30 minutes for the next 3 or 4 hours and then freeze overnight.
Brown Butter Pound Cake
275g unsalted butter
250g sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
110g light brown sugar
75g granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 23cmx23cm square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 25cm skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-20 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
*The pound cake calls for cake flour. You can make 1 cup of cake flour by placing 2 tablespoons of corn starch in a 1 cup measure, and filling to the top with all purpose flour.
250g dark chocolate, finely chopped
280 ml heavy cream (approx 35% butterfat)
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.
1. Line a 23cmx23cm pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 450ml to 500ml of ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.
2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.
3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.
4. Make the chocolate glaze While the glaze cools, trim 2cm off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 4cmx4cm.
6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.
7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.