Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lemon Posset Shortcakes

Since these delectable little lemon posset shortcakes only beckon sweetly, how would one know that they are actually approaching the sublime? 
As Rose says about her enlightening experience with Ann Bridges at Restaurant Alma, the lemon posset offers a "pure and clean flavor." It is a "soft lemon cream . . . that relies  entirely on the acidity of the Meyer lemon juice to set the cream" (p. 111).

I am not so naive as to disbelieve Roses's observations. I never cease to admire her expertise and choices. Therefore, I looked forward to another delightful experience of learning to create what she had so beautifully described. I was not disappointed.

                               The mis en place was simple.

         The batter took very little time. Wondra flour. Sugar, eggs. 

The beurre noisette for that extra 'je ne sais quoi'. "Burned butter" as Hector calls it. And wonderful vanilla. As usual I found myself wondering which takes longer, beurre noisette or lemon curd. 

     The design of the Marianne pan is delightful. I have had it since RHB. However, I think I did not put enough Baker's Joy into its crevices, and this possibly caused my little cakes want to stick and then be crumbly. I do intend to acquire the larger size of the Marianne pan in order to have more support for the distinctive basket-weave on the cakes. In this case there are two layers of syrup/glaze that would diminish the sharpness of the design anyway. The cakes have wonderful lightness, and flavor. 

Sinking slightly and coming slightly away from sides.

I now recall that I laid out the mis en place and baked the cakes the night before I completed the balance of this recipe. Is that why they are crumbly? They had plastic on them~


                    The next evening - the ahead less planned --

Rose had cautioned: Plan ahead. Okay. I have a tendency to say Okay to Rose, and then not to look beyond her caution to reality. And so:
     The next evening, after work, I began the preparation of the lemon syrup, apple glaze, and the posset. This whole procedure turned out to be rather tedious in that there were 3 hours between the lemon syruping of the cakes and the apple glazing; and then 30 minutes after the apple glazing. I had a small cake casualty, so I shored it up with a toothpick, later filled it with posset - and ate it.

         [I even ate many 1/4 tsps of the apple jelly glaze  -omg]
                        the poor catastrophy

Meanwhile the posset was made, and then it required 3-4 hours of refrigeration to set up. 

     And then, allowing 1 hour after placing the first layer of posset in the cavities of the cakes, add the second layer and wait at least 2 more hours to set the second layer. Finally, at that time, I simply set the completed cakes into a domed cake carrier and refrigerated them. Decidedly, it would have been smarter to do all the 'time-outs' during the day when extra time could be put to better use than trying to stay awake until 0430.

     I had zested the lemons, rubbed the zest in sugar, and left it for a day on a plate in the oven with the light on. Perfect. Then I ground it in a mortar and pestle, sieving it three times. It was like lemony faerie dust, and I sprinkled it all over the cakes and the serving plates.
     At this morning's gathering, I smiled as I watched the small ladies group fairly swoon before my eyes after a taste of the lemon posset shortcakes! Although the cakes had a somewhat disheveled appearance they did look happily apple-sticky-glazed and who could resist that? The ladies were intrigued by the combination of the apple glaze and the lemon syrup, and enchanted by the creamy posset with the inflection of the Myer lemon that adds such a special clear note. I had enjoyed mine with the casualty earlier in the morning, of course. 

             Note to self: It would be more sensible next time to make a triple recipe of these fantasticated cakes. 
            Note to self: Listen to Rose.



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Chocolate Pavarotti



                                    The Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache

I had expected this recipe to be a daunting one, yet it did not seem to present any problems. Only a few very minor cracks appeared on top of the cake that were expected. The underside was lovely and perfect.

        The ganache was made two days before the cake, and it remained air-tight unrefrigerated.

The Guittard: Collection Etiene chocolate I wanted to try was not available at the time so I chose Scharffen Berger that has precisely the right amount of cocoa, 62% and 99%. I liked the idea of the cayenne so I used a rounded off ¾ tsp of it. When I tasted it from the bowl it was excellent. When I tasted it after frosting it, however, there was a slight indeterminable after-taste, [before the golden sprinkles were put on, unfortunately with too heavy a hand].

I am curious. I have shared the cake with two ladies at work, and my husband. One lady said too spicy for her with the cayenne, one lady loved it and took it home, my husband did not like it at all. I noticed an odd flavor in the ganache.

Now I have decided to remake the cake right away. I have thrown away all the white chocolate I had, the Green and Black’s cocoa, and VaIrhona chocolate. I think it will be interesting to use the Guittard: Collection Etiene chocolate if I can find it, or possibly I will want to see if the ganache comes out the same for me with ½ tsp of cayenne instead of rounded ¾ tsp..

The batter

[somebody got loose with the golden sprinkles - oops] 

This cake. of course, is wonderful. I feel as if I have done something wrong in the ganache and although I have looked to see, I will have to re-bake it to find out.    A pleasure.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


As I perused the Gingersnap reactions of the other Alphas, there were so many fun responses that I couldn't wait to bake them, never having eaten a gingersnap myself except the boxed ones.

This was not a labor-intensive endeavor. I made the dough last night to chill, and today baked the 'cookies', as I think many are calling them since our Alpha in UK noted that there was not snap and furthermore these didn't have molasses and other ingredients that I think make up a true snap. So many wonderful responses, and I laughed and giggled.

Really, I have nothing to say except to agree with all that has gone before - these are special - and I, too, am eating them as they cool - and more --

                  Echo wanted to know what is happening 
                 to interrupt his nap, then went back to dream
                 of the birds in the trees outside since ginger 
                 doesn't smell enough like tuna~~~~~~~~~

Mis en place is quick and easy -

First. I melted butter and Golden syrup in Rose's caramel pot. I seem to use that pot for more things than I would have dreamed. I didn't have India Tree Golden so just used my Lyle's. With the butter: another spoon-licking experience.

Like several of us, I could not locate the golden sugar, so I did as Rose suggested in this case, I mixed light brown sugar with Caster.
I didn't think much about the fact that the brown sugar was none to loose, so when I finished something else and returned it was hard. Reminding me to put apple or another tip that Rose has mentioned.
So, I put it and the Caster sugar in the Cuisinart, and here it is, looking like fine Bermuda sand, except that once I was disappointed to see that Bermuda sand is really just sand-colored, not pink sand. Perhaps it's in the lighting at sunrise. 

Ingredients sifted into KA bowl. By rote I had put in the whisk and turned the flour mixture a few seconds before it dawned on me -- that wouldn't have been good, so completed its 30 seconds with the beater blade. So the flour mixture now was readyfor the cooled butter mixture and beaten for one minute before adding the egg mixture for 30 seconds.*[Oops--I was warned about doing the post inside. I guess I just had too suffer the injustice lol] 

The dough was crumbly but not dry, and was  easy to mold it into three little packages and refrigerate.

Then today I took one at a time and scooped balls with my beautiful scoop, that although it was 1.5 inches diameter, produced little balls that were 30+ g.  I didn't like that too much, and figured an easy way out was to just lay a bit of dough on the scale for 27g and then form the ball. Soon I became able to almost make the balls 27g, but I still just weighed them for fun. 

The first batch was gorgeous dark caramel - well, hmmm the bottoms were even darker, just missing scorch. They are too crisp, but the flavor is unbelievable. Perhaps the caramel is brought forward more with the intense heat. I am breaking my teeth as we speak eating one of the dark ones. It is still a little chewy in the center, but I doubt if that will remain. They are addictive as others have noticed and will be gone by morning... I have a picture of the requisite glass of cold milk!

The second batch was not quite as dark but I noticed something odd that was happening around the bottom. And then it hit me -- I had once again gone by rote - the last thing I baked was on the lower rack -- so now the middle batch was wonderful, also because I took it out earlier, so a little chewy and flavor still outstanding. 

 I moved the rack to the middle for the last batch, and still they baked quicker than expected, but are lovely and almost the same coloring as the second batch. The ginger is barely perceptible to me in these 'cookies', just a tiny bit noticeable using 1T. I will most likely add 1/8-1/4 tsp more next time just to tip it a bit. But whatever, these are fabulously flavored, and easy to make for many different occasions. And, all three of mine do indeed have 'snap'.

                            I'm off to get some milk, and guess what...?