Dutch Pastry ~ Koffiebroodjes/Coffee Bun

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One of the most loved pastries of Dutch are the Koffiebroodjes. Koffiebroodjes are mildly sweet, delicious buns filled with pastry cream & raisins; glazed with jam or powdered sugar. They are also called Coffee buns and it makes a perfect accompaniment with Coffee. Continue reading

Patequeta – Valencia’ Orchard Traditional Bread

Patequeta4This month Baking Partners Challenge is Patequeta- A Spanish bread! Thanks to Swathi Iyer of Zesty South Indian Kitchen for keeping this group all fun. I have learnt and still learning a lot about the art of baking from this group. Patequeta, an ancient bread with soft crumb and a firm crust has its origin from Valencia, Spain. Valencia is known internationally for the Falles (Las Fallas), a local festival held in March. In August, an annual tomato fight called La Tomatina will be held in a town called Bunol. Valencia is also used to be the location of the Formula One European Grand Prix. Continue reading

Pumpkin Ginger Bread With Maple Glaze ~ Baking Partners October 2013

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Hello everyone! How are you all today? This month’s Baking Partners challenge was to bake a Pumpkin Yeast Bread or Pumpkin Ginger Bread(Non-yeast). I chose to do the pumpkin bread without yeast. Thanks to Swathi Iyer of Zesty South Indian Kitchen for this month’s fall themed challenge. Pumpkin bread is a soft and moist bread popular during October and November when fresh pumpkins are in season. Continue reading

Cro-doughnuts ~ Baking Partners Challenge September 2013

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Cro-doughnut, the name I came up with, as the actual name Cronut is trademarked. This beautiful croissant-doughnut hybrid was created by chef Dominique Ansel and was officially released on May 10, 2013. Continue reading

Masala Biscuits/Spicy Savoury Indian Cookies~Daring Bakers August 2013 Challenge Part 2

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Thanks to Aparna Balasubramanian of My Diverse Kitchen for August 2013 Daring Bakers Challenge!
Masala Biscuit is a spicy savoury from the southern Indian states. Masala means ‘spice mix’.

Continue reading

New York Style Vegetable Pizza

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Homemade Pizza is delicious. It can also be a fun filled weekend project with your little kids.
As soon as I joined the Baking partners, I was in awe with the previous challenge that i missed. It was the Thin Crust Vegetable Pizza which I really wanted to get my hands on for a long time.
Continue reading

Life Of My Chocolate pie/Chocolate Caramel Tart

Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchen! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie!
Rachael gave us four pie recipes to choose from and I decided to do the utterly delicious Caramel Tart!
Caramel Tart is a sweet tart, filled with soft Caramel & silky chocolate mousse. It is found in New South Wales and Queensland in Australia. They are sometimes topped with whipped cream or drizzled with chocolate.

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Servings: 8
Active time: 1 hour altogether
Baking time: 35 minutes altogether
Cooling time: approx. 2 hours altogether

Ingredients
Pâte sablée
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (75 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) granulated or powdered sugar, as you prefer
1¾ cups (420 ml) (250 gm) (8¾ oz) all-purpose flour
pinch salt
9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) (125 gm) (4 ½ oz) cold butter, diced
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) cold water

Filling
For the caramel

7 tablespoons (105 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) granulated sugar
7 tablespoons (100ml) whole cream, hot

For the chocolate mousse

2 large eggs
7 tablespoons (100ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) (75 gm) (2½ oz) powdered sugar (optional)
13 tablespoons (200ml) whole cream
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (280 ml) (200 gm) (7 oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces

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Directions:
Pâte sablée
• Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 9″/24cm or 10″/26cm tart pan, ideally a fluted metal one with a removable bottom.
• In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and sugar together with a teaspoon of the water until pale and fluffy. Set aside.
• Sift the flour and salt together into a mound on a work surface.
• Scatter the diced butter over the top of the flour. Quickly toss the butter in the flour so it’s all coated, then, using your fingers, rub it in until it resembles breadcrumbs. Keep repeating the operation until it has the consistency of sand.
• Gather the flour mixture into a mound and make a well in the center.
Pour the egg mixture and the rest of the water into the well.
• Working quickly, incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour, first with your fingertips then with a bench scraper until just mixed but not brought together.
• Gently gather dough together into a rough ball between your palms. If it stays together, it is sufficiently moist. If it doesn’t stay together, add a touch more water and repeat the process.
• Using the palm of your hand, push away from you to smear the dough across the work surface, gather it up and repeat until it comes together into a smooth, soft ball. You aren’t kneading, you are using the smearing action to bind the elements of the dough without developing the gluten in the flour. The dough ball shouldn’t spring back when pressed.
• Lightly flour your work surface and lightly roll the dough out to about 3mm thick in a circle to fit your pan. Press the dough gently into the pan, prick all over the bottom with a fork.
• Line the tart pan with baking paper and fill with dry beans or pie weights and bake until set, around 9 minutes. Remove pie weights and paper and bake another 6 minutes, until dry.
• Remove the pastry from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Leave the oven on.

Filling
For the caramel
• Spread the sugar evenly across the bottom of a small, heavy-based, non-coated saucepan (it needs to be metallic so you can see the color). Heat over a medium-low heat without stirring until the sugar starts to melt and becomes liquid around the edges. Once about a quarter of it has melted, gently stir continuously with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula until it turns a deep amber color, a few minutes depending on how high the heat is.
• Remove from heat and very slowly and carefully pour all (100ml) of the hot cream into the caramel, stirring continuously – it will splutter and steam so be very careful as it is extremely hot. The cream needs to hot and poured very slowly, otherwise the caramel will seize. Keep stirring until it stops bubbling and is well combined then set aside to cool.

For the chocolate mousse
• In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together with the milk (and powdered sugar, if using).
• In a small heavy-based saucepan, bring all (200ml) of the cream to a boil.
• Remove cream from heat and add the broken chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. Let cool a few minutes.
• Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg and milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula to obtain a smooth cream.
• Spread the cooled caramel in the bottom of the cooked tart shell.
• Gently pour the chocolate cream over the caramel so you don’t disturb it.
• Place the tart into the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling has set but is still wobbly in the center.
• Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. If using a tart pan with removable bottom, unmold before serving.

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Storage & Freezing Instructions
Chocolate and caramel tart can be kept in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, for 3 days. It is unsuitable for freezing.

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Chocolate Eclairs

I am part of a group called Baking Partners (created by Swathi), a small group of home bakers who are obsessed with Baking. Given a recipe, we all strive hard to attempt it with perfection. The main aim is to understand and master the techniques behind each recipe given to us. We blog about it on 15th of each month.

This month’s Challenge is to bake Chocolate Eclairs or French Laundry Gougeres or both. I chose to do the Eclairs.

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An Eclair is a oblong pastry made with pâté a choux filled with cream and topped with chocolate glaze.
It is easy to make but little time consuming.

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Total time: 3 hr 55 min
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 3 hr 45 min
Yield: 8-10 servings
The Choux dough is piped in to an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until its crisp & hollow inside. Once cooled, the pastry is then filled with a Vanilla, Coffee, Chocolate, Custard (Creme patissiere) or Whipped cream. Finally served with glazed Chocolate sauce.
Adapted from Alton Brown show
Courtesy Gale Gand, “Butter Sugar Flour Eggs” by Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto, Julia Moskin, Clarkson N. Potter Publishers, 1999

Ingredients

Filling:
2 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise/ 1 tsp Vanilla extract.
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Éclair’s Pastry:
1 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, plus 1 extra, if needed

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons water
Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions

Filling
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.

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Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the saucepan.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling.

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Add Vanilla extract and remove from the heat. Let cool slightly.
Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.

Pastry
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat.

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Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds.

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Return to the heat and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

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Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer).

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Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add 3 eggs, 1 egg at a time.

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Stop mixing after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated.

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The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl.
If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining 1 egg and mix until incorporated.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe fat lengths of dough (about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog) onto the lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between them.

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• If you have any excess batter, just pipe small rounds in another pan.

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Egg Wash
In a bowl, whisk the egg and water together. Brush the surface of each eclair with the egg wash.
Use your fingers to smooth out any bumps of points of dough that remain on the surface.

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Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet.

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Fit a medium-size plain pastry tip over your index finger and use it to make a hole in the end of each eclair (or just use your fingertip). Using a pastry bag fitted with a medium-size plain tip, gently pipe the custard into the eclairs, using only just enough to fill the inside (don’t stuff them full)
If not you can cut it in to 2 using a serrated knife. Fill it with the custard and close it.

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You can remove the soft dough inside the choux and fill it with filling.

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Glaze
In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately turn off the heat.

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Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.

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Set aside and keep warm.

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The glaze can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, and rewarm in a microwave or over hot water when ready to use.
Dip the tops of the eclairs in the warm chocolate glaze and set on a sheet pan.

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Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.

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