Monday, July 19, 2010

Baking With Dorie: Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue-less Pie

Creamy, creamier, creamiest!! I am still feeling guilty a couple of hours after sharing a slice of this tangy, silky smooth lime cream pie for dessert tonight. The amount of butter that went into this is still haunting me!! :) Calories aside - if you like strong, tarty citrus flavors, you'll love this luscious pie.
Thank you, Elizabeth for choosing this recipe. Again, another excellent choice!
As you can read from the post title, my pie is meringue-less. We are not meringue people in my household. I substituted lightly whipped cream for the meringue topping. I think Dorie would approve :)
Making this pie wasn't as easy as A-B-C, but I wouldn't say it was labor-intensive either. I prepared a cracker crust using McVitie's digestive biscuits, to replace graham crackers which I could not find here. This option is definitely simpler than making Dorie's Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough (recipe here) although I truly adore the pie dough.
And, even if you don't have an instant-read thermometer to ensure the lime cream is cooked at 180 degrees F, you can still make this successfully. I did :) I timed my whisking duration to 10 minutes as per Dorie's suggestion (and developing muscles at the same time). I am so happy I pulled this through, after a not-so-successful experience with my last BWD challenge.
The full-flavored tanginess of this pie comes from the zest of three limes and three-quarter cup of lime juice (I needed nine limes to get that amount of juice), plus some finely grated fresh ginger. Zing!!
You may find the full recipe and how-to for the Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie on pages 337-339 of Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. You may also find the recipe on BWD founder, Grapefruit's blog here.
For a gluten-free version of this pie, make your way to Gluten-Free Baking 101. And do check out the rest of the BWD bakers' blogs to see their take on this challenge.
Our next BWD challenge is on August 2 and it will be the Blueberry Crumb Cake, picked by me!! :) If you'd like to join us, do send an email to Grapefruit - needfulthings at ymail dot com. Come, come bake with us!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chocolate Biscotti

I've always considered Biscotti to be a sophisticated, almost stuck-up, grown up cookie. A cookie to nibble at, accompanied by equally stuck-up, fancy-sounding coffee. Ooopsss.. I did not offend anyone, now did I? (ah, well...who reads this blog anyway :).

I seem to be having the cookie itch these days - I go about all day thinking about baking them!! And so Chocolate Biscotti (pg 144) was what caught my fancy tonight as I was flipping through Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my home to yours.

I wanted a quick-to-go recipe, one which did not require me to refrigerate the dough for a couple of hours before baking them. This fits the bill - and I had all the ingredients like chopped almonds and chocolate chips ready at home.

It was pretty fun making these - especially making two huge fat logs from the dough, baking them for 20 minutes, cutting them into slices and then baking them again for another 10 minutes. By the way, Biscotti means twice-baked!

Boy, do they smell so good baking in the oven!! While my kids dunked their Biscotti in milk (how un-sophisticated is that!!), I dunked my chocolatey sticks in my favourite local coffee, Kopi Cap Hang Tuah. Just a piece or two with your fav beverage makes a complete breakfast, tea-time enjoyment, or any-time treat in my opinion.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Melting Moments: a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread

I realized that ALL of the bakes I've featured on this blog came from Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan. Yes, I am a Dorie fan ever since I was introduced to her by a dear friend. But I DO own other baking and cookbooks, those which I have acquired myself or given to me by family and friends (70% given by family and friends - thank you!! :-D)

This melt-in-your-mouth shortbread is a recipe from The Perfect Afternoon Tea Book by Anthony Wild and Somona Hill. I bought this book a couple of months back when I was looking for ideas to host an all-ladies afternoon tea party. I love the book!! It not only contain 70 recipes for tea-time treats which include biscuits, cakes and pastries, it is also laden with 270 GORGEOUS photographs of classic English tea party. I LOVE IT!! Also in the book is a historical introduction to the English afternoon tea, tea party etiquette and the art of brewing tea. Need I say more? :) Just the kind of book I love to browse through when in need of some inspiration.

Alright then. Since this post is about the cookie and not the book, I'll go ahead and describe the shortbread :)True to its name, the flaky shortbread melts in your mouth while the coating of rolled oats give it a nice crunchy surface. This is the best butter cookies I've attempted so far and is definitely a keeper!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chewy, Chunky Blondies

I love making simple desserts, especially so on a lazy weekend. And these are effiortless!!

Brownies are about the simplest thing to bake and their counterpart, Blondies are equally undemanding too. Their not called Chewy, Chunky Blondies for nothing - the addition of choc chunks, coarsely chopped walnuts, coconut and in this case white chocolate chunks (the original recipe called for butterscoth chips or Heath Toffee bits) make this such a chewy delight.

I halved the recipe and thus shortened the baking time to 20 minutes. My cake tester was clean when I inserted it into the middle of the pan, but I wanted my blondies to turn more golden brown as the recipe stated and left it in the oven for another three minutes. Still, I think these are just a tad bit underbaked - Dorie's looked  much dryer in the book. Nevertheless, they are chewy and chunkylicious buttery goodness!! 

The recipe is from page 109 from Baking from my home to yours.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Baking With Dorie: Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

This week, BWD bakes Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake (pages 264-5), chosen by BWD founder Grapefruit.

I realised as I was preparing to bake this that this cake was really simple to make, and although the measurements were different, the steps were exactly the same as the brownies I made last weekend. One addition to the recipe this time was light corn syrup, which I did not have any!! And I couldn't find it at my regular baking supplies store either. So, I had to improvise and made my own, using the recipe I found here.

I halved the recipe and baked it in a cute four-inch cake pan, and got a tall, fluffy, mini cake. I did not expect the cake to rise double the height of the batter, but was glad it did as I love tall cakes. 

The challenge was in making the caramel sauce!! I've made caramel a few times before, but was still intimidated this time around. In the book Dorie warned not to halve the caramel recipe, as it would be tricky to deal with the small amount of sugar...but I went ahead and made a quarter of the topping. Turns out, I DID have hiccups making the caramel... the amount of sugar was too little to turn into a nice liquid substance. My topping was more like peanut toffee!! So I quickly added a bit more sugar, butter and water..waiting for the liquid to turn amber on the stove. As soon as I had the right color (almost!), I added peanuts and spread it on the cake.

And you know caramel hardened as I was photographing it. Like toffee!! It was quite a challenge to cut the cake.. as you can see, I don't have a sliced photo of the cake :( I would have loved to try making another round of caramel and giving it a go until I get it right, except I made this at 11pm on Sunday after a weekend of activities. And although technically I have another night to give it a go before posting this, I can't afford to as I'm going out of town for work tomorrow. I do, in all seriousness feel like a failure. Sigh.

I went ahead and carefully cut the cake... hey, I needed to taste the cake so I can write about it here, right? Still slightly warm... it was very fluffy and slightly dry-ish. But I bet it'll taste different at room temperature, and better yet tomorrow, as all cakes do. By the way, the caramel was supposed to seep through the cake to make it moist... errr... no luck with my caramel, I suppose!! Lesson learnt: never leave baking challenges to the last minute!!

Thanks, Grapefruit for picking this recipe - the recipe is posted on her blog here. I am excited to see the BWD bakers' version of this recipe. Take a peek here.