Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Baker's October Challenge - Baking Pizza

This month's challenge was to bake a pizza. I decided to make this pizza when I was hosting a potluck with my coworkers. We made about 7 pizza pies between the 6 of us with variety of sauces and toppings. I made the basic marinara sauce, pesto sauce and alfredo sauce. We had toppings that included - mushrooms, onions, pepperoni, habanero, sage, jalapenos, olives and feta cheese.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tres Leches Cake

I found myself watching a Good Eats episode titled 'Milk Made' on the YouTube one night, and featured on it was the "Tres Leches Cake". According to Alton, Tres Leches Cake is as American as the Apple Pie itself. Needless, to say, that episode left me with an extreme desire to try Alton Brown's Tres Leches cake recipe. I was going to have a few friends over for a potluck and decided it would be a perfect time to make this cake.
As you may have figured already, I have never had a tres leches cake prior to this baking experience so I didn't know what to expect. However, my sweet tooth and mouth can tell a good cake from a bad. This cake is perfectly moist, rich and every bit of it leaves you with a greater satisfaction. The cake itself is easy to make and I definitely encourage you to try it. The recipe itself can be found here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Croissants and Pain Au Chocolat

The traditional croissant (left) is made in a similar manner as the other two laminated doughs - danish and puff pastry. Croissant dough however is yeasted unlike the puff pastry. The resulting flakes in the croissants are due to the butter incorporation in the dough, rolling it and resting several times. Pain Au Lait is a croissant with chocolate filling.

Apple Strudel

We made the apple strudel with the phyllo dough. Up until now, I have never seen the unbaked phyllo dough sheets. It turns out that these fragile things (aka..phyllo dough) are very thinly fragile sheets of dough made out of water, flour and salt. We took layered 5 of those phyllo dough sheets with butter and sugar. Then we added the apple filling, which comprises of 1 inch peeled, cored and diced apple pieces sauted in melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. We also added graham cracker crumbs and ground toasted pistachio nuts. Once the filling is on the laminated phyllo sheets, we roll it and bake it until golden brown and the result is what i got above. It's relatively easy and quick to make.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Red Velvet Cake

After eating this cake, I am in love with the Red Velvet Cake. I was completely against using food coloring, but I made an exception for this cake. The cake turned out well moist, with a hint of cocoa. Every bite left me with wanting more of it. The cream cheese icing definitely makes this cake complete with it's perfect taste. It is worth all the effort put into it. Great cake from a great recipe that I plan to reuse when I make my next red velvet goodness.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

The local library was planning to have a bake sale and I thought what could be more better than making Red Velvet cupcakes. I remember trying them first a few years back and just didn't understand the big deal with them. But recently I spotted a Red Velvet cake at a wedding and have been dying to make it. I compared several recipes before I decided to make it based on the repressed pastry chef recipe for the cupcakes and the cream cheese icing. I also made a red velvet cake based on the recipe, but trippling the original cupcake batter and the icing. More to come on the Red Velvet Cake in the next post, since I deserve an attention of its own!

Cinnamon Rolls

Since I made these cinnamon rolls, I have been eating one each day for breakfast and I am still not tired of them. They are absolutely great. Love the cinnamon sugar and the cream cheese frosting. Looking at it , I could've perhaps baked it a little more to brown futher, but I think they were great just they way they turned out.

Maple Pecan Sticky Bun

Maple Pecan Sticky Bun was fun to bake and eat. The bread used here is the same used for cinnamon rolls. The difference here is the filling, we used finely chopped pecans along with hazelnut meal, brown sugar and maple syrup. It is rolled in the similar way as cinnamon rolls are, but it is assembeled in a 10'' pan where the rolls sit next to each other starting in the middle and placing them around the center. Before the buns are placed in the pan, it is assembled first with pecans and honey glaze and after it is baked it is turned upside down and hence the results are apparent in the picture with glazed pecan ending up on the top. We made cinnamon rolls and these buns together. While making it, I figured I love everything that goes into making this, I will like it perhaps more than cinnamon rolls, but after tasting both the cinnamon rolls and the maple pecan sticky bun, the cinnamon rolls win.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Danish Pastry

Danish pastry is made out of a laminated dough with layers of flaky butter crust. The technique to make the Danish pastry is similar to making the puff pastry, however the Danish pastry uses yeast as a leavener.
Four basic shapes of Danish Pastry inlcude - (from top left to right) - turnovers, pinwheels, envelopes and frames. The fillings used here is raspberry. Some other filling choices inclue - lemon cheese, pastry cream and almond cream.


We ended the first Breads module with making Brioche. We even got tested on knowing how to make them. In the Laminated Doughs module, we revisit them. The Brioche s pictured on the left is in its most classically recognized form - a tete. Due to it's high butter and fat content from eggs, it can be considered a pastry item. Keeping the a tetes intact is a challenge and have to use the right shaping technique before putting them into the oven. This is the best of the Brioches I have created so far and can't wait to gobble 'em up tomorrow with my freshly made aji sauce. Also, every time I have made this bread, I have wanted to set aside some of it to make it into a bread-pudding with Creme Anglaise. One of these days, I will get there.


I tried my first Palmiers from Trader Joe's. I was pleasently delighted with the crispy buttery cookie and how well it went with my tea and while I had them in supply, it was my perfect breakfast.
I was very excited when I learned that we will be making them. We used the Puff Pastry which we made ourselves from scratch (a.ka. Classic Puff Pastry) to shape them and create them. They are easy to make and I would definitely love to make these again.


Pithivier is a classic French Pastry originating from the town Pithiviers, France. We used the Classic Puff Pastry dough to make the bottom and top crusts. The pie is enclosed with almond cream.. I definitely enjoyed making this pastry and my family loved eating it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fruit Band with Puff Pastry

Last week I started a new module which covers baking with Laminated Doughs. One of the first things we made was a Puff Pastry from scratch, also known as the Classic Puff Pastry. However to make the Fruit Band on left, we used a pre-manufactured Puff Pastry sheet. We cut the sheet in half and layered it with one inch strips of puff pastry. We used egg-wash to layer the strips on top. It was baked until golden brown. The puff pastry formed a band which was filled with pastry cream and topped with strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. The Apricot Nappage was applie to provide the finishing touch.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream Over Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the yummies breakfast I've ever had - Chocolate Chip Cookies with Butter Pecan IceCream. The cookies were great and ice-cream even better.