We saw a recipe for strawberry popovers from William Sonoma. I decided to try straw, black and rasp berry popovers. While the taste was spot on, the moisture from the berries retarded the bake on the bottom, resulting in the dreaded soggy bottom. I will try again with some freeze dried berries. Luckily, I also made vanilla ice cream to fill the hole where the popover collapsed from the excess moisture. It won’t fix the problem, but who cares?
The flavor and texture of the popover was very good. Can’t wait to try them with the ice cream! Oh, and I didn’t have any mascarpone cheese, hence the vanilla ice cream.
• 1 ½ cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk • 4 eggs • 1 ½ cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) all-purpose flour • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest • 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted • 8 strawberries, hulled and very thinly sliced • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting For the mascarpone whipped cream (optional): • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream • ½ cup (4 oz./125 g) mascarpone cheese • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Place a standard 12-well muffin pan in an oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C).
In a blender, combine the milk and eggs and blend on high speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, granulated sugar, salt, lemon zest and vanilla bean paste and blend on high speed until combined, about 30 seconds, stopping the blender to scrape down the sides as needed. Add the melted butter and blend on high speed for 30 seconds.
Remove the pan from the oven and spray the wells with nonstick cooking spray. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the prepared wells, filling each about three-fourths full. For each popover, place 4 strawberry slices on the surface of the batter.
Bake the popovers for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Continue to bake until the popovers are deep golden brown and the strawberries look slightly dehydrated, 10 to 15 minutes more.
While the popovers are baking, make the mascarpone whipped cream, if desired. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Add the mascarpone cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla and beat until medium peaks form, about 10 seconds.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the popovers cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Using an offset spatula, remove the popovers from the muffin pan. Serve warm with the mascarpone whipped cream, if desired. Makes 12 popovers.
No, I’m not in Oklahoma, I am still sheltering-in-place in California. In the Galaxy on Orion’s Belt post I mentioned I was going to remake the mousse desserts using Agar Agar rather than gelatin. Agar is a plant based thickener while gelatin is animal based. Well, the agar was delivered this week and as I and still sheltering-in-place, I am still baking, so here we go.
Last week Fran asked for some shortbread cookies so I made a batch this morning. I cut them into rounds, just smaller than the large end of my silicon hemisphere molds. The plan is to fill the mold about 2/3rds of the way with mousse, push a frozen vanilla cream into it and seal the bottom with the cookie. As I planned to coat one end of the shortbread cookies with chocolate, and will have some left over, I will coat the bottom of some of the hemisphere desserts with some, then mirror glaze them.
So the plan was good, but the execution was lacking. The cookies were too big so I cut them down, but they were also too thick. I couldn’t properly fill the mold with vanilla cream and cookie and still have 1/8” space for the chocolate. The new plan is to dip the bottom of the bombe in chocolate, re-freeze and then coat with the agar mirror glaze.
The agar mirror glaze was easy to make, but cooled too quickly and coated the bombes with a thick glaze. Luckily, this glaze, while sticky, was much better than the gelatin version. Portions of the glaze were placed in small bowls and dyed. When ready to coat the mousse bombes some of the colored glaze was poured on a larger aliquot of yellow glaze and poured over the bombe.
The good news is, Quality Assurance certified the mousse as exceptionally light and creamy. The cookies were a bit thick so it was suggested a pan of brownies would be a better base. The chocolate bottom was a nice addition and should be continued.
The directions for the agar agar said you should cool the glaze to 80 – 90 degrees. I found this temperature too low resulting in a thick glaze. I also need to find a better way to mix the various colors with the base color while maintaining the temperature of the dyed glaze at 90-100 deg, maybe place them in a warm water bath until ready to use.
Anyway, they are delicious and worth making!!
INGREDIENTS • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour • ¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut with a round cutter just smaller than the opening of the mold. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Vanilla Cream Filling
INGREDIENTS • 3 tbsp all purpose flour • 1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine) • 1/2 cup butter (or Trans fat-free shortening) • 1/2 cup granulated sugar • 1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes. Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil. When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.
When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter (or shortening) and sugar together in a medium bowl until light.
Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
• 5 1/4 ounces 148 g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped • 14 ounces 396 g cold heavy cream • 3 large egg whites • 1-ounce 29 g sugar • Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish, optional • Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish, optional • 6 ounces 170 g semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped • 1-ounce sugar 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
Place chocolate in a large bowl set over a bain marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer. Stir chocolate until melted. Turn off the heat and let stand.
Beat the cream over ice until it forms soft peaks. Set aside and hold at room temperature.
With a mixer, whip egg to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until firm.
Remove the chocolate from the bain marie and using a whisk, fold in the egg whites all at once.
When the whites are almost completely incorporated, fold in the whipped cream.
Fill each well of the hemispherical mold about halfway. Push a frozen vanilla cream drop in each well and top with a shortbread cookie. Make sure the cookie is below the top of the well.
Place the mold in the freezer until solid.
When frozen solid remove the mousse from the mold .
Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
Coat the top of each cell with a thin coat (1/8”) with melted chocolate and return to the freezer to set.
Agar Mirror Glaze Recipe
• White Chocolate 8 ounces (220g) • Sweetened Condensed Milk ½ cup (140g) • Granulated Sugar 1 cup (200g) • Corn Syrup ¾ cup (245g) • Cold Water 7 tablespoons (100ml) • HOT Water ½ cup (120ml) • Powdered Agar 4 teaspoons (16g)
Bloom agar in the HOT water (120ml), let stand 5 minutes
Combine the corn syrup, the other measure of COLD water (100ml) and the sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pot and get it warmed to at least 150°F add the bloomed agar and bring to a boil.
Allow it to boil rapidly for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and add the condensed milk and whisk smooth
Pour the entire hot mixture over the chocolate and whisk smooth
Pour through a strainer into a clean container and color as you like.
Pour over cakes & pastries once it has cooled to 80 or 90°F
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were really true. Try to stay healthy. Take a walk, run or bike ride. Practice social separation and wash your hands frequently… You all know that. Do NOT socially isolate yourself from friends and family. Not all health is physical.
Now, here is a funny story. While at the market last week, Fran and I separated to expedite our essential expedition from sheltering-in-place. We wouldn’t want the Isolation Police to be upset. Somehow, when separated, one of us put our groceries into the wrong cart. One that was partly filled with someone else’s groceries. When I got to checkout I though we forgot our shopping bags in the car. Fran went out and they weren’t there. While she was gone I started to check out. I noticed we had a half dozen apples that I didn’t remember putting in the cart but “assumed” she did. When she returned to the market she found our original cart, with the grocery bags. I had already checked out so just kept the apples, which brings us to the reason for this post.
Last week we talked about making an apple pie and not, through a fortuitous mistake, now had the ingredients, and no thanks to an unfortunate circumstance had the time to make a pie. I had less than 2 lbs of apples so had to find a recipe that uses less than the 3 lbs we usually need. I found one this morning.
Classic Apple Pie INGREDIENTS
• 7 cups (840 grams) sliced apples • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar • 1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar lightly packed • 1/4 cup (32 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled) • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg • 2 pie crusts homemade or store-bought • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter cut into pieces • 1 large egg • 1 tablespoons milk • Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top optional
Preheat oven to 400°F. Adjust oven rack to the lower third position.
Add the sliced apples and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl, toss until well combined. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined. Pour over the sliced apples and mix until the apples are fully coated with the dry ingredients. Set aside for 15-20 minutes while you prep the pie crusts.
Roll one of the pie crusts out to about 12 inches in diameter, transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, gently fit it in the dish, and trim any excess dough from the edges. Place in the refrigerator. Roll out the second pie crust dough and either cut lattice strips, decorations or leave whole to fully top the apple pie.
Remove the pie plate from the refrigerator. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the filling into the pie crust (making sure to leave as much juice as possible in the bowl) and spread around into one even layer. Dot with the pieces of butter. Top with the second pie crust and decorate the edges (if topping with a full piece of pie crust, make sure to cut some slits in the top).
Whisk together the egg and milk until well combined. Brush on top of the pie and around the edges. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
Bake in the lower third of the oven at 400°F for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes or until the top of the pie is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cover the edges of the pie with a pie crust shield as needed to prevent excess browning. You may also cover the top of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too much before it’s finished baking.
Once the pie is finished baking, remove from the oven, and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
I have been baking a lot of bread recently. With the self-isolation, several of our friends were unable to find bread in the nearly empty supermarkets and as I really like to bake I am giving a lot of bread away – a loaf or two a day. Luckily, I bought an extra 10 lbs of bread flour a couple of weeks ago, along with 5 lbs of AP flour and 4 lbs of sugar.
Today, I am taking a break from bread. I made a raspberry curd filled tart. I really like my chocolate tart with orange drizzle, but saw and adapted the Raspberry Curd to use with my tart shell. Luckily, the curd can be made in advance and refrigerated so today I only had to make the tart shell. (Don’t let me kid you. I also made 2 loaves of white sandwich bread for friends.)
Raspberry Curd • 3 cups raspberries • 1/2 cup sugar • 1 tsp Meyer lemon zest • 2 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice • 2 Tbsp water • 2 large egg yolks • 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch • 1/8 tsp salt • 1 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, diced
Tart Shell • 100 g cold butter cut into small cubes • 200 g almond flour (I may increase this by 50g, not sure yet) • 60 g icing sugar • ½ tsp vanilla • ¼ tsp salt • 2 eggs (100g) Topping
For the raspberry curd, combine raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Bring mixture to a boil (about 5 minutes); reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Place in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Wipe pan clean and strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cleaned pan and discard solids.
Whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.
Stir yolk mixture into raspberry mixture; bring to a boil over medium-low heat (about 5 minutes). Be careful, the mixture can burn if heat it so high. If it does, do not scrape the bottom of the pan.
Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat (the mixture should coat the back of a spoon).
Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth.
Place curd into a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
Chill curd in the refrigerator at least 2 hours, or up to 1 week (if making in advance).
For the tart shell: Mix butter with sugar (I break up the chunks of butter by rubbing them into the sugar with my hands)
Add salt then vanilla
Add egg and mix well
Stir in flour. Mix by hand until incorporated. I did this in 3 parts mixing well between each.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 min until it firms up a bit.
Butter (spray) tartlet pan
Coat hands with flour and press the sticky dough into tart mold
Prick holes in bottom and sides of formed dough
Add pastry weights to the pan
Bake in preheated oven 350o F (175o C) for 17 – 20 min
Remove pastry weights with 5 min left in the bake
Remove pastry shells from pans and let cool on wire rack To assemble tart, spoon raspberry curd into cooled tart shell and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula.
Arrange raspberries over filling in a decorative pattern.
So you may have wondered the purpose of making and posting a simple white chocolate mousse. Well, there was actually a reason for making the mousse, posting? Not so much.
Being bored during the rain storm yesterday I decided to make a half recipe of chocolate-chip/raspberry brownies. I cut a number of them in small rounds to embed in a white chocolate mousse molded into hemispheres then frozen. Today I made a gelatin based mirror glaze intending to coat the frozen mousse with swirling colors to make galactic mousse/brownie desserts. Well, it was practice. You all know I like to practice at home and failures never pass through the front door. I have an order of agar agar arriving soon so will try a vegetable based thickener for the glaze.
While not a failure, they were not a nice as I envisioned. However, practice, practice, practice and learn. The taste was excellent!!
MIRROR GLAZE WITH GELATIN
2 packets unflavored powdered gelatin , (1/2 oz)
192 g water , divided use
215 g sugar , (scant 1 cup)
142g or 5 oz (scant 2/3 cup) sweetened condensed milk , (1/3 of a standard 14-oz can)
233 g real white chocolate , chopped or white chocolate chips
Gel food coloring (I used Americolor Royal Blue, Sky Blue, Electric Purple, Electric Pink, Super Black, and Bright White)
Whisk together the gelatin and 3 oz (1/3cup) cold water in a bowl, and set it aside to let the gelatin absorb the water.
Combine the remaining 3.5 oz water, sugar, and condensed milk in a medium saucepan, and place the pan over medium heat. Stir while the sugar dissolves, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Once it is simmering steadily, remove it from the heat and add the gelatin (no need to melt the gelatin first—just scrape the big blob out of the bowl!) Whisk the gelatin as the heat from the pan dissolves it, and whisk until it is almost entirely incorporated. A few small pieces of gelatin are fine.
Add the white chocolate to the pan, and let it sit for a few minutes to soften the chocolate. If you have an immersion blender, that is best to use—just stick it right in the pan and blend until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is very smooth. If not, you can whisk everything together, just try to avoid vigorous whisking that will create a lot of air bubbles.
Divide your glaze into as many bowls as you want. I find it’s easiest to have a few “base colors” that are larger portions, and a few “accent colors” that are smaller portions. I made 3 base colors, using Americolor Sky Blue, Royal Blue, and a mix of Royal Blue + a drop of Super Black. I made 3 accent colors using Americolor Electric Purple, Electric Pink, and Super White. All you need to do is whisk a few drops of food coloring into each bowl of glaze.
Let the bowls set until they cool down to about 95 Fahrenheit (35 C). An instant-read thermometer is the easiest way to check this, but if you don’t have one, it should feel barely warm on your fingertip, and be thick enough to coat it. Stir the bowls occasionally as they cool, so they don’t form a skin on top.
Take the mousse cakes from the freezer. Cover a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper for easy clean-up, and set small jars or cups on the sheet for the mousse cakes to balance on—try to use ones that are smaller than the base of the cakes, so the glaze can drip down cleanly.
In a new bowl, pour about 1/3 cup of one of your base colors of glaze, then drizzle the top of it with a few other colors—there’s no rhyme or reason here, so go crazy! After you’ve added all the colors you want, give it a brief stir to swirl everything together, but do NOT swirl too much and muddy the colors! Take this bowl of glaze and pour it over one of the cakes, swirling it around the top to make sure that all the sides are covered. Let the glaze drip down the cake onto the baking sheet.
If it is dripping quickly and is a very thin layer, it’s too warm and needs to cool down a few more degrees. If it is gloopy and clinging to the cake and barely dripping, it is too cool. You can warm the bowls of glaze BRIEFLY in the microwave (start with 8-10 seconds each) and stir until they’re fluid again, and keep re-warming as necessary while glazing the cakes.
Repeat the swirling and glazing process with the rest of the cakes. It’s fun to give them all different color schemes so they each look unique. If desired, finish the cakes with a pinch of edible silver star sprinkles. (Any remaining glaze can be saved and used on a different cake within about a week or so. Make sure it stays covered tightly with plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a skin and dry out.)
Let the cakes sit for about 15 minutes, until the glaze is semi-set, then transfer them to small plates. Chill for an additional 10-15 minutes until the glaze is full set.
It’s Pi day, so in rebellion, I made white chocolate mousse for mirror glazing tomorrow and chocolate-chip/raspberry brownies with chocolate ganache for the chewy chocolate center of my galaxy mousse cakes.
Luckily, there was extra mousse today for quality control sampling tonight. I had mine with a raspberry coulis and Fran paired it with chocolate sauce. Excellent flavor and texture. Tomorrow I will mirror glaze them experimenting with a galaxy motif. Check back soon.
White Chocolate Mousse
INGREDIENTS • 1 Envelope powdered gelatin • 12 oz White chocolate chips • 2 1/2 Cups Heavy cream
Dissolve gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water, and set aside for 5 minutes.
Place chocolate in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until very finely chopped.
Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice and set aside.
Place 3/4 cup cream in a small saucepan, and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the dissolved gelatin, and stir for 30 seconds to dissolve completely. Pour into food processor with the motor running, and process until chocolate mixture is smooth.
Transfer to a medium bowl and place over ice water bath. Chill until mixture is thick enough to fall from a spoon and form ribbons on the top of the melted chocolate.
Whip remaining 1 3/4 cups heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. If not using immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container or fill individual dessert dishes cover and place in fridge.
My friend Maggie asked if I would make a Boston Cream Pie using the same recipe she used. While her dessert was reportedly delicious, (I didn’t have any) the cake did not rise to her satisfaction. So, today I made the same cake (Betty Crocker’s recipe) with nearly identical results. The recipe called for a 9” pan sprayed on the bottom only, not the sides. Some cakes, like a angel food require dry sides for the cake to “grow” up the sides so I made sure the sides were dry. It didn’t help. The cake was just over an inch thick. Cutting it in half would result in two tortilla-thick disks rather than layers of cake.
I did a search for another recipe with significantly different ingredients and method. I chose one from Martha Stewarts Everyday Living. Following the recipe as written, Martha’s cake was nearly twice as high as Betty’s
As I am inept at slicing a cake in half, this challenge provided the opportunity to use the “floss” technique. A butter knife was about half the height of the cake, so I used it to position tooth pics every few inches around the cake. I then laid the floss across the toothpicks and pulled it taut cutting cleanly through the cake, exactly where I wanted, resulting in two even, level layers of cake. THAT is a beautiful trick!
(Make a note for yourself – if you are making something that uses cream-pat and ganache be sure you have some frozen eclairs on hand. They are easy to thaw out, fill and dip in the extra ganache.)
The cake was moist, the cream-pat smooth and chocolate, well you know my opinion of chocolate. Incidentally, I used the cream-pat and ganache from my eclair post elsewhere in this blog.
Granddaughter Grace’s 2nd birthday was Friday, June 1 and her party was Saturday the 2nd. For Mother’s Day, Fran and I met the rest of the family at the San Diego Zoo sending Grace to near Nirvana with all the animals. In the following weeks she visited the Los Angeles Zoo. She fed the giraffe and when she tried to pet it, the zoo keeper said, “No, no, no, don’t pet him,” so now every time she sees a giraffe Grace says “No, no, no.” She calls lions “Roars,” elephants are the trumpeting sound of an elephant that I cannot spell and zebras, oddly, are just “Zebras.”
So of course I had to make a zoo themed birthday cake with several fondant animal decorations. I made a “roar”, a “no, no, no” a “bbbrrrrreeeeehhhhaaaaa” (sp?), and a zebra from marshmallow fondant. They sat atop a a double layer chocolate cake beside a white meringue “2” cake. The chocolate base cake was frosted with pink Italian Meringue Buttercream and the “2” was frosted with traditional white buttercream.
The white meringue “2” cake and the animals were bordered with green buttercream grass and “Happy Birthday Grace” was piped in purple letters. Purple is currently her favorite color. Unfortunately, my handwriting does not enhance the quality of my piping script. The zebra is eating the grass (because he was falling forward and Fran suggested having him graze to make it look on purpose.)
1. Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until they are stiff and form peaks. This may take a minute or two. Pour the egg whites into another bowl and place them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to add them to the batter.
2. Using the same bowl that you used to beat the egg whites, place the softened butter in and cream the butter for about 2 minutes (using the beater blade attachmenuntil it is white in appearance.
3. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until fluffy (about another 1-2 minutes).
4. In a small bowl, combine the flour (measured carefully*), salt and baking powder. Set aside.
5. In another bowl, combine the milk and vanilla extract.
6. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the milk.
7. Add the stiffly beaten eggs to the cake batter. Fold the egg whites in gently. Do not overmix at this point. If you do, your cake will become more dense.
8. Grease and flour 2 9″ round cake pans. Pour the cake batter equally into the prepared cake pans.
9. Bake the cakes at 350 degrees for 25-27 minutes or until the top bounces back when you touch it.
10. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges and remove them from the pans to a wire rack, allowing them to cool completely.
Combine the water and 1¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan and stir once or twice just to moisten the sugar. Do not stir again; stirring encourages the sugar to crystalize. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and continue to cook until it reaches a temperature between 246 and 250 degrees.
As soon as you set the syrup to cook, begin the meringue. Beat the egg whites in a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment at medium speed until frothy. While beating, sprinkle in the cream of tartar and then the remaining ⅓ cup sugar. Beat until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. *The goal is to have the syrup at the right temperature and the meringue at the stiff peak stage at the same time. If the syrup is not quite ready, but the meringue is, continue to beat the egg whites with the mixer on the lowest speed until the syrup reaches the desired temperature. If the syrup is done before the meringue is ready, add a very small amount of hot (not cold) water to lower the temperature slightly.
When the syrup is ready, turn off the mixer and quickly pour about ⅓ cup into the meringue. Immediately turn the mixer to medium-high and then continue to pour the hot syrup into the meringue in a thin, steady stream. Try to keep the syrup from getting on the beater, although some will get on there no matter what you do.
Continue to beat the meringue with the whisk attachment at medium speed, until you touch the bottom of the bowl and it is cool to the touch. *It’s important to not add the butter before the meringue is completely cool, so that the butter doesn’t melt.
Turn the mixer to low and add the butter in 2 or 3 tablespoon size chunks. Keep mixing and adding the butter until all 6 sticks are incorporated. If the buttercream doesn’t look completely smooth at this point, just keep beating. It will smooth out. If it looks runny or curdled, the butter has probably melted. Put it in the refrigerator for 20 or 30 minutes and then continue beating until it’s smooth.
After the butter has been fully incorporated, you can add any flavor additions you like. See ideas below.
I was remiss in not documenting the baking I did for our synagogue’s Oneg (celebration of the joy of Shabbat after Friday night services) a couple of weeks ago. All of the recipes are posted elsewhere. Search this blog for the various key words for more detail.
We were one of three families providing pastries etc for the Oneg. I made Gooey Strawberry Brownies. (Previously I made raspberry brownies so tried strawberry this time.) Due to the size of the strawberry jammy bits the brownies ended up very moist and “gooey,” which is not a bad thing. Somehow, only half of the brownies made it onto the serving tray, so sadly, the other half had to come home with me.
I also made sweet whipped cream filled, chocolate drizzled profiteroles. I find choux pastries easy to make and freeze well for a last minute snack when invited out, or if friends stop by. I actually saw them online a few weeks ago and decided they would be good to add to my Oneg selection.
There is nothing like a couple of dozen tartlets with cream patisserie filling and blueberry topping. Tartlets and cream patisserie are quick and easy to make, and again the tart shells freeze for future use, if necessary. It wasn’t necessary to freeze any, they were decimated at the oneg. I like to glaze pastries with apple jelly to add that nice shine. Last year I could not find any apply jelly in the stores, or even anyone who had heard of it, so I made a couple of pints and am still using it.
And finally I decided to make some fig newtons with some of the huge store of figs I have in the cupboard prior to this year’s harvest.
Oh! I almost forgot. I had some sugar cookies in the freezer so added them to the mix on a whim. A few months ago I froze them in cylinders so I could just cut them into disks and bake them. I used them all up so need to make another batch.
Here are some samples of one and two bite pastries I am making for a party of about 200 people. We are meeting tonight for a party progress meeting. I decided to give the group a sample of some of the varieties of desserts I am baking for the event.
I have both lemon and mango curd filled profiteroles, cream patisserie filled eclairs and tartlets, vanilla cake with pink icing and raspberry drizzle and vanilla cake with chocolate drizzle. There are mini-raspberry cheesecakes, blueberry and apply mini pie bites, chocolate brownie cups with chocolate mousse and a raspberry drizzle. Some of these were made ahead and frozen until today. The tartlets, eclairs, profiteroles and all icings, drizzles and frostings were made this afternoon.