Wednesday, July 30, 2008

DARING BAKERS Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

It is that time again this month for the unveiling of my Daring Bakers challenge. The challenge was to make a Filbert Gateau...this consists of:

1 Filbert Genoise (Cake Part)
1 recipe sugar syrup
1 recipe Praline Buttercream
½ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 recipe Raspberry Glaze
1 recipe Ganache Glaze

All I can say about this month's challenge is holy crap. This challenge has been sitting on my back for weeks and I haven't been able to find the time to tackle it until yesterday. The first problem I encountered was that it took me days to find a store in my area that even carries Hazelnuts (Filberts). I am a very determined person and I wanted the Hazelnuts, so Hazelnuts were what I was going to use! I finally found them at a little specialty store in a town neighboring our town. The only thing with the nuts that I found was that they had their skins still on.

The next problem that I encountered during this challenge was that I DO NOT own a food processor. This kitchen item has been an appliance that my mother in law insists on me owning, but I have NEVER found any reason to own one. So, after reading all the forums on the Daring Bakers website, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to myself, I am now the proud owner of a Cuisinart 11 cup food processor. Funny thing about this is that it isn't my birthday! Ha Ha!!! Don't tell the husband!

So, I got my nuts and my food processor and there I was for another week and no Filbert Gateau. Yes, it is that time of year that every mother (especially stay at home moms like me!!) wonders why she decided to have children. My little guys are 21 months apart and they are all boy. They keep me extremely busy and I couldn't imagine what the Gateau would look like if they were in the kitchen with me to help! I would have been medicated at this point, just put it that way!

Time to make the Filbert Gateau. Yesterday the husband took the boys to run some errands and then off to the weekly classic car show. I quickly unboxed the new food processor and washed it up. While I was waiting for it to dry off, I turned on the oven to toast my hazelnuts. I put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. When I removed them from the oven I placed them onto a dish cloth. I folded the dish cloth and rubbed my hands back and forth over the cloth. When I opened the cloth up most of the hazelnuts skins had come completely off. I repeated this step several times to remove all of the remaining skin. I did have to take a paring knife to a few of them to remove some stubborn skins.

Next I got to use the new food processor. I had to finely grind up some of the hazelnuts to make the genoise (cake portion of the Gateau). This was very exciting since I have lived almost 29 years (that is how old my kids think I am!) and have never even touched a food processor. It certainly did the job and quite quickly too! I was then onto the task of clarifying butter....yeah, I haven't ever heard of that before either!! I took 2 sticks of butter and melted it over a low heat. After about 10 minutes, I skimmed the milk product off from the top and strained the rest. The butter was so very clear, I was very proud of myself for not burning or ruining it in any other way.

I now had my processed nuts and my clarified butter, time to start working on the genoise (cake part). I whipped the yolks of 7 eggs and then 5 whites and they turned out real nice. I then had to combine all the ingredients. I folded the fine hazelnut flour combination into the egg yolk and egg white mixture and then poured in the clarified butter. It was a real nice looking mixture, very fluffy. I poured it into a 10" springform pan and then went to put it into my preheated oven. I opened the oven and it was COLD!! I turned on the wrong oven when I was trying to multi-task! So, I prayed, prayed more and more for the mixture to not deflate. My prayers were answered and the oven heated quickly and the mixture didn't deflate!

Time to start on the other MANY parts of this recipe. I got the simple syrup made with light rum because I didn't have dark rum....rum is rum to me, he he! I worked on the praline paste for a long time...the first time the sugar got really dark too quickly and smelt burnt. The next time I got it melted and then added the hazelnuts and brought it to a slight boil and before I could get it out of the pan, it must of slightly burnt. I continued on to make the praline paste, but there was a slight taste of over cooking that I didn't care for. So, I decided to for go the praline paste since I didn't have anymore nuts and didn't want the entire dessert ruined because of burnt nuts.

By the time I was done burning nuts, good thing the husband wasn't here, the genoise (cake part) was ready to come out of the oven. I had to let it cool and then slice it into 3 layers. I did this by putting toothpicks around the edges and letting the knife use them as a guide. This technique worked out really well. After the slicing I had to make the swiss buttercream. This came together well as I had heard was a real nightmare, so I was extremely happy since the praline paste had met its match. Time to assemble~~I brushed the first layer with the simple syrup and then applied the plain buttercream and then whipped cream, I did this again on the second layer. I put the top layer on the cake and then put it into the fridge for about 30 minutes. I pulled it out of the fridge and then trimmed the edges and poured the raspberry glaze over the top and sides. Bake into the fridge while I made the Gananche Glaze. After the glaze was done I transferred the cake to a wire rack and poured the glaze over the top.

I was so exhausted at this point, it was 5 hours now that I had been working on this recipe. My husband thinks that I am crazy, I just might have to agree with his this time. Anyhow, I put my Filbert Gateau on a cake plate and decided I would put some decorations on the top. I filled my decorating bag and put a few little squirts around the top with the center empty. I was going to put a signature "L" on the top for my initial, but the tip went crazy and I got a huge squiggle. So I went with that since I couldn't remove it from the ganache glaze. This challenge was really trying, but I have learned a lot and am glad that I didn't hide and make a box cake this month instead.

OH MY, I just cut the Filbert Gateau and it is heavenly! It is so great without the pralines in the buttercream, I cannot imagine what it tastes like with them in it! I might have to slave away in the kitchen at Christmas to make this one again. Here are some more pictures:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Just Picked Cherry Cobbler

Mmmm, Good Stuff!
No fancy pit remover, just a straw
Push the straw into the center of the cherry
And out pops the pit....amazing and QUICK!

I got a surprising call from my sister this week, she was outside in her yard picking sour cherries. If any of you know my sister and for those of you that don't, she doesn't like being very domestic. She makes a killer venison meatloaf, from what I hear, but she doesn't just pull a cookbook off from the shelf and whip anything up. So, I got the kids in the car and zoomed over to her house. All of us started picking the cherries and ended up with 3 gallon size Ziploc bags full. When I came home, I washed and bagged them up and off to the freezer they went. It has been driving me nuts that I haven't done anything with them and they have only been in the freezer for 2 days! So I found a recipe for Cherry Cobbler and got busy today. I partially defrosted the cherries and started to cut them in half and pull out the seed. Oh my, I did this to about 10 of them and was ready to chuck all of the other cherries in the garbage can. Suddenly I came up with the idea of shoving a plastic straw through them to get the pit out of the cherries. All you do is just hold the cherry flat on a plate, push the straw into the cherry, then pull the cherry up over the straw. The pit remains on the end of the straw. It worked great and in about 30 minutes I had 5 cups of pitted cherries. Sometimes I just amaze myself !!!

Here is the quick recipe:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh or frozen pitted sour cherries
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and pour into the bottom of 9 X 13 baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir in milk and vanilla until well blended, then pour the batter into the pan over the butter. Do not stir. Place cherries in a bowl and toss with the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour. Spoon the cherry mixture evenly over the batter. Do not stir. Bake for about 60 minutes until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the cobber should come out clean. Enjoy warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!