Everyone knows how to get to Carnegie Hall, right? I am considering making bite size desserts for a gala at our temple with about 200 people expected to attend. Conventional wisdom indicated I will need 4-600 individual desserts. Perhaps you can see why I have not yet committed to this task. Allotting 2-3 desserts per person I should also have 5 or 6 dessert options, too many and it’s overwhelming (for the attendees and the baker!)
So, back to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice, practice. For anyone who follows my blog you know mistakes to not leave the house, so I practice everything first. I also experiment with different flavors and combinations. For instance, I made profiteroles last week. One was to be a mango/key lime and the other a lemon/blueberry. They were fine, except the key lime overpowered the mango. I will have to try again. Practice, practice, practice. The lemon was fine, if a bit intense.
A couple of days ago I made some vanilla cake bites with Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting. It was a new cake recipe, I was looking for something a bit lighter, plus a new buttercream. This one uses a Swiss meringue (egg whites and sugar whisked over simmering water in a bain marie. The frosting was delicious but a bit of a pain in the butt. I would use this if I could have several desserts that use the same frosting. I may just divide it into aliquots and color them differently to make an easy differentiation.
I make choux fairly often so don’t really need to practice, but the little choux pastries are a good way to try the different filling flavors and icings. I made these choux in an hour or two last week, used a dozen or so for experimenting and froze the other 4 dozen. If I decide to do this project I will take a day and make 200 or so. I just need enough freezer space.
This morning I decided to add two new pastries to my portfolio. The first, and easiest was the chocolate cookies with chocolate mousse filling. I decided to add some shaved milk chocolate and white chocolate over some of them and since I had some raspberry coulis in the fridge, I drizzled that over some to add more color.
Once those were complete and I finished cleaning the kitchen, (yes, I clean everything up between each bake) I started the one bite Pineapple Upside Down cakes. I used the same vanilla cake recipe as last week. It was a little tricky miniaturizing everything and keeping them looking good. Next time I will reduce the amount of pineapple and use a quartered cherry so there will be more room for the cake.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 7 large (210 grams or 7 oz) egg whites
- 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
- 1½ cups (3 sticks or 340 grams) unsalted butter, softened*
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt (we use non-iodized fine sea salt)
- In a medium pot, add at least 1-inch of water and bring to simmer.
- Thoroughly wash and dry the stainless-steel mixing bowl from your stand mixer* (you don’t want grease touching meringue). Add 7 egg whites and 2 cups sugar and whisk together.
- Place mixing bowl over pot of barely simmering water, creating a seal over the pot (bowl should be over the steam, not touching water). Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 160˚F (takes about 3 min). Sugar should be fully dissolved (you should not feel any sugar granules when rubbing mixture between finger tips). Mixture will feel hot to the touch.
- Wipe water from bottom of mixing bowl and transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff glossy peaks form (about 15-20 min) and bottom of the bowl feels completely at room temp and not warm (important: warm meringue will melt the butter).
- Once bowl is at room temp, switch to paddle attachment, reduce to medium speed and add butter 1 Tbsp at a time, adding it just as fast as it is absorbed by meringue. Once all butter is in, scrape down the bowl and continue beating until it reaches a thick whipped consistency (3 min on med-high speed). If it looks lumpy or liquidy at all, keep beating until smooth, thick and whipped.
- Add 2 tsp vanilla extract and ¼ tsp salt and mix on med-high until incorporated (about 1 min).
*Butter should be softened at room temp about 1 hour (more or less depending on your room temperature). It should be slightly cool to the touch and not overly soft or warm. If too soft, refrigerate for 10 minutes at a time.
Vanilla Butter Cake
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk Note: I use 1% milk and add the 2 Tbl as whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a cast-iron pan, and dust with all-purpose flour, tapping out excess. Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.
- Fill pan halfway, and bake until golden around edges (time will vary depending on size of pan). Remove from oven, and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Transfer cakes from pan to a wire rack. Let cool. Coat each with glaze just before serving.
Chocolate Mousse Filled Chocolate Cookies
INGREDIENTS (Half Recipe)
- 1 cup butter, softened (1/2)
- 2 cups white sugar (1)
- 2 eggs (1)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (1)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (6 Tbl)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
- Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture.
- Spray Baker’s Joy or similar product into mini cupcake pans and fill ½ full (about a level teaspoon).
- Bake for 12 to 16 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are set.
- Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- 4 egg yolks (2)
- ¼ cup sugar (2 Tbl)
- 1 cup whipping (heavy) cream (1/2)
- 1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup) (1/2)
- 1 ½ cups whipping (heavy) cream (3/4)
- Beat egg yolks in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar.
- Heat 1 cup whipping cream in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot. Gradually stir at least half of the hot whipping cream into egg yolk mixture; stir back into hot cream in saucepan. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil). Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, just until chilled.
- Beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Pipe or spoon mixture into serving bowls. Immediately refrigerate any remaining dessert after serving.