Mar 27, 2010

Orange Tian-Daring Bakers

My food affair is on location this month...I'm baking from my friend's beautiful and huge kitchen in the Bay Area. Thank goodness for her hospitality, otherwise, I would miss this daring baker challenge.

I'm here in the Bay area for work for the last month and I've been so stressed out. Without baking as my outlet, I've been pulling my hair out instead. Anyway, on to this month's challenge.

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.

This challenge was a lot of fun because I got to bake with my friend. We were able to share the tasks so the three-page recipe did not seem as daunting. We made the orange tian in this order: marmalade, pate sablee, orange segments, whipped cream, and caramel

The pate sablee was my favorite part of the recipe. It has a really nice buttery and crumbly texture, I will definitely use that again. I am normally not a big fan of marmalade, but this was actually pretty good. It makes me want to try and make other jams. =)

Overall the orange tian was a success. It was time consuming, but the result was a pretty and yummy dessert. Here's the recipe.

Orange Tian

100g Freshly pressed orange juice
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
5 g pectin
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

1. 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.

2. Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

3. Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

4. Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

5. 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.

6. 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).

7. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

Pate Sablee

2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
80g granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 grams Unsalted butter, ice cold and cubed
2 grams salt
200 grams All-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Preheat your oven to 350 degree Celsius. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a 1/4 inch thick circle.

5. 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.

Orange Segments

8 oranges

1. Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice. Check out this link on You tube.

Orange Caramel
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

1. Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Marmalade whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.

Assembling the Dessert

1. Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

2. Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

3. Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.

4. Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

5. Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

6. Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

7. Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

8. Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Mar 1, 2010

Almond crumbles

On Saturday morning at about 6am, I woke up to the siren blaring outside my window. I turned on the tv and realized it was a tsunami warning. How very scary!! After all the safety precautions were taken, I didn't know what else to do. I twiddled my thumbs and watched the news. After awhile, I got too agitated..there was still another 5 hours before the tsunami is expected to come. What to do? Bake of course!!

I grew up eating these almond cookies and I never thought I would be able to make them myself. Macau is known for this type of almond cookies and they're absolutely delicious.

They're really different from western cookies, so it's hard for me to describe them. I would say they're most similar to shortbread cookies in texture, but not nearly as buttery. They kinda fall apart when you bit into it and they're a bit powdery. These cookies came pretty close to the store bought ones. I think they were a bit too fragile, next time I will add a little more water. Overall a success!!

Here's a picture of the mold I used. I bought mine in Hong Kong, but I've seen them in Chinatown here in Honolulu. Here's the recipe:

Cantonese Almond Crumbles
from Corner Cafe

60g whole almonds, with brown skin attached *
250g premixed ground mung beans
150g icing sugar
60g almond meal (ground almond)
125g lard or shortening, softened at room temperature
25ml water, adjust as necessary

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put the whole almonds in a plastic bag and pound into small pieces using a rolling pin. Alternatively chop roughly or blend roughly in a food processor.

2. Mix the ground mung beans, sugar and almond meal in a large mixing bowl. Add lard and rub in using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add pounded almonds and stir in. Gradually add just enough water and rub in until the mixture just manages to clump together when you squeeze together in your palm.

3. Spoon the mixture into the mold and press gently until the mixture is just compacted in the mold (you may need a few tries to get it right to the desired consistency). Level the edges with a knife and knock gently out from the mold and place on a baking tray. If the mixture breaks apart when it is knocked out from the mold, then press it in a little harder the next time.

4. Bake for about 30-45 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar. When dried, remove gently from the tray and place on wire rack to cool.

  • The original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp of almond extract to be mixed with the water. I decided to omit it because I only had imitation almond extract and I don't like the way it tastes.

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