Daring Bakers, August: Baked Alaska and Petit Fours
The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s "The Perfect Scoop".
Elissa's posted the recipe on here on her blog.
I made both:
Petit fours with honey fig ice cream filling and orange poured fondant. Lumpy, but delicious . . . I dub thee: lump-a-licious.
Two baked Alaskas--one with honey fig ice cream and one with Rainier cherry sorbet. The meringue is orange-almond flavored.
How good does browned butter cake sound? Well, it tastes even better than it sounds--it's awesome. I cut two big circles for the baked Alaskas. For the petit fours, I layered the cake (sliced it in two horizontally), filled it with softened honey fig ice cream, then stamped out and a bunch of little circles, although petit fours are traditionally square.
I lined a couple of short coffee mugs with plastic wrap, smoothed the softened ice cream and sorbet in really well, and refroze them. I made sure my round cutters were the same size as the mugs. Then I unmolded the ice cream and sorbet and topped the cake rounds with them. Then fluffed up some meringue and patted it on.
The spiky meringue had the Rainier cherry sorbet, and the swirled meringue had the honey fig ice cream.
And how'd they both taste? Great! I loved the brown butter cake. It's a delicious, versatile flavor, whether you're making a sage sauce for gnocci or flavoring frosting--it's also a hit with the cake. I'll definitely keep the recipe in my easy-access file.
I forgot how well poured fondant shows off every flaw if your starting surface isn’t already smooth. Typically, you’d cover your cake with a smooth layer of jam, but all I had was fig jam, and I was too lazy to heat it up and strain the fig chunks out. I also could’ve used multiple coats to smooth out the finish, but I didn’t want to drown the cake in fondant, especially since I find the taste of powdered-sugar-based icings to be horribly overwhelming. Ick on cornstarch, is all I’m gonna say. If, however, you want that smooth finish, just wait for the icing to set just a bit, then pour another layer of fondant over. If your fondant sets up, just heat it up a tad until it’s pourable again. Corn syrup has a deservedly bad rap, but it’s important in this recipe to make sure your sugar doesn’t crystallize and create lumps as you use it. Alternatively, you can use glycerine. You could use other types of invert sugars/glucose syrups, or even acids like lemon juice or cream of tartar—just Google up those alternative recipes.
6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1.In a saucepan, combine confectioners' sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 92 degrees F (33 degrees C.) Mixture should be thin enough to pour, but thick enough to coat cake. Stir in the almond extract.
2.To cover cake: Frost cake smoothly with buttercream and place on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath. Pour fondant over iced cake, flowing from center and moving out in a circular motion. Touch up sides with a spatula.
Check out my fellow DBers' projects--you can click to their blogs through our blogroll.