Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daring Bakers, March 2011: Meringue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake


For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups flour
¼ cup  sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 package (7 g) active dried yeast
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup water
135 g unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar

For the filling:

100 g chopped pistachios (shelled beforehand, of course! or buy them shelled and packed)
100gm dreid cranberries
100gm grated 70% chocolate
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg

Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.  In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining as required) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed. I used pretty much all the flour.

Place dough in a greased bowl and leave to rise for an hour or so. (Until it doubles)

Combine all ingredients.  Try not to eat too much of it.

In a clean mixing bowl beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form. 

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into 50x25cm rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 3 cm from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling evenly over the meringue. Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.
Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daring Cooks March: Ceviche and Papas Rellenas

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.


450gm snapper fillet, cubed (1-1.5cm cubes)
1 chilli
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
handful of coriander leaves
salt & pepper
1/2 red onion, finely sliced.

Cut up the fish, mix it in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, and leave until 'cooked' enough for you.  Snapper is a fairly firm fleshed fish, so it took about 40 minutes before I was satisfied.  You can I hear leave it much longer, even overnight, but it would get a bit limey for me, and really, if you don't like raw fish... be more daring.

(The salad in the background is pasta, black tomato, smoked mozzarella and rocket)

Papas Rellenas:

2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
1 large egg

2 tablespoons (rice bran for me, but whatever) oil
250 grams lamb mince
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
½ cup raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 finely diced jalapeno pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

To make the dough, boil potatoes until soft, let cool, skin, and mash thoroughly (or use a potato ricer, they need to be as smooth as possible).  Add egg, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.

For the filling, brown onion and chili and garlic, and minced lamb and brown for a couple minutes.  Add cumin, paprika, raisins, and cook a few more minutes. Deglaze, add olives, take from heat, add and stir in eggs.  Cool filling.

To assemble, flatten 1/6 of the potato in the palm of your hand, add filling, and fold over to make a potato shaped casing completely around the filling.  Repeat until all potato is gone.  Roll each in flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs, and deep fry at 170-190c until golden brown, a few minutes each.  You can do these in batches if you cannot do them all at once.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2011

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I made the Panna Cotta as asked, but refuse to support Nestle, especially not when what they are attempting to pass off as Florentines are actually oat cookies dipped in chocolate.  So I made Florentines instead.

Panna Cotta turns out to be close to the easiest thing in the world, which is nice, because it is also delicious.  One trick:  I used Unhomogenised milk, and probably should not have, as it is more likely to separate than your standard milks.


1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 packet (7 gm)  unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups (720 ml) cream
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
pinch of salt

  1. Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
  2. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
  3. Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn't boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
  5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.
I also layered the Panna Cotta with a Coffee Gelee.  This is easy enough to make, i prepared some coffee (500mL), added sugar, sprinkled gelatine over it, let it soak in a bit, then stirred it in until dissolved.  When cool but not set, poured on top of the Panna Cotta to create a layer, which countracted the sweetness of the dessert a bit.  Important thing to remember, is to let the Panna Cotta set before layering onto it.

The florentines were a bit more work, but again, really not much.  Because, as I said, I don't consider oat cookies to be Florentines, I made real florentines.  Equal parts Brazilnuts, Hazelnuts and almonds (150gm of each), roughly chopped (I used a food Processor, giving both big chunks and some powder), with cranberries, glace cherries, mixed peel, and coconut shreds.   (About a cup of each).  Mix together in a big bowl, add 3/4 cup of flour, stir to coat everything, then heat a cup of honey with some sugar until the sugar dissolves, add to the nut mixture, and combine.  Press the whole thing into a walled baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes, until cooked and browning.  The mixture will hold together much better after cooking than it does initially.  Once cooled, pour melted chocolate over the top, let set, then cut into squares.