Monday, June 27, 2011

From Phyllo to Backlava! Daring Bakers Challenge June 2011

Honestly, I was trying to come up with some excuse for why I couldn't complete this month's challenge. One reason: i.n.t.i.m.i.d.a.t.e.d. I just didn't think I would have the patience, time or ability to do it. And I'm not a fan of backlava. Ok there. I said it. I made it once a few years ago and just didn't like it, so I wasn't too excited about the challenge. Now that I've finished it though, I'm delighted I did. I can now say I made my own phyllo pastry.

And I will never be doing it again. I figure its like climbing Mt. Everest. Its an awesome achievement, but once in a lifetime is enough.

Ok well maybe its not as extreme as climbing Everest, but its my baking equivalent :)

Here's a link to the recipe which has some really great tips on how to roll out the phyllo.

As I have a 90th birthday cake to make (I'll post it next week :), I'm just going to give you what I did in stages.

First I had to make the phyllo and roll it very, very thin. I made a single batch of recipe and it took me nearly 4 hours to roll it out.
 Nearly see-thru
Once I had the dough done and nicely covered I started processing the nuts. Instead of going for the walnuts and pistachios listed in the recipe (not really a fan of walnuts, which may have contributed to my dislike for the first version I made years ago) I emptied out my cupboard and used the different types of nuts I had on hand.
In the end I had cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds and brazil nuts. So I threw all them with a cinnamon stick, a pinch of allspice and some sugar into my mini-processor.

Isn't it cute?
Its so tiny it took a few goes but I finally ended up with bowl of deliciousness ...

 A thought it was stuffing, so he grabbed a spoon and dug in. He had quite the look of shock when he realized it wasn't actually stuffing, but he said it tasted awesome. I had to use my rolling pin to get him out and make sure I had some left for the backlava!
After multiple butter-phyllo-butter-phyllo-butter-phyllo-butter-phyllo-butter-phyllo-nut mix-butter-phyllo (you get the idea) it was ready for the oven. When it was finished I poured the syrup over the crispy deliciousness and just left it swimming for the night.

Swimming in syrup
I was a little worried it would be too much syrup, but by the morning ...

All gone!!

The syrup had all soaked in! I was surprised.
I had to try a slice ...

...and it was totally delish!! So nice, I have to get it out of the house ... my hips don't need this delicious, pastry, nutty, syrupy treasure hanging around. Good thing I have a 90th birthday party to take them to :)

Try it sometime. Just make sure you don't have anything else planned for the evening :)


Jenn x

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chocolate Marquise on Torched Meringue with Tequila Caramel - Daring Bakers May 2011

The Daring Baker's challenge this month totally blew me away. The first thought I had after reading it was 'WOW!!! That looks totally amazing!!'. My second thought was 'how in the heck am I going to get all this done?' While I love cooking in pretty much any form and enjoy trying new things, there are a lot of steps in this dessert that needed to come together. Its taken me what feels like -ages- to figure out how to get all the components of a roast dinner to all finish at the same time, so the meat, veggies and potatoes are all warm. There was a lot of cold Brussels sprouts, lukewarm potatoes and carrots served with meat hot out of the oven. Timing is not my forte.

One fantastic thing about Daring Bakers is that there are some people that go mad into trying out the recipe the minute it has been posted, so they come back with tips and suggestions to make the challenge run more smoothly. Which is awesome for someone like me.

The suggested modus operandi was to start with the marquise, which needs to freeze, preferably overnight, then make the meringue, finishing with the tequila caramel. So I followed that instruction, and it worked perfectly.

Let me just say, this was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! Nicest dessert I have ever had. Period. And I'm a sweet tooth kinda gal, so I've done the research. The marquise, once thawed, is like a chocolate mousse. I used ginger chocolate to make it so there was the sweet heat off the ginger against the hit of the cayenne chili pepper and the sweetness of the chocolate. The meringue was as light as air and totally fabulous. It was a little sweet, but it was set off by the bitterness and heat of the marquise. They went together well. And the tequila caramel, well it was the best caramel I have ever tried. All together, they combined to produce a magnificient delight. I couldn't believe I had made this and it was relatively easy, once I got organized. This will be the dessert to impress guests with. So if you come over and I feed you this, know you are a valued visitor. If I don't, you're still a valued visitor. I probably just wasn't organized enough :)

Try it sometime! Here's the link to the recipe.

Hope you had a wonderful Tuesday :)

Jenn x