Sans Rival!

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

I know I’m a few days late for posting but nevertheless, better late than never right? I’ve always wanted to make Sans Rival and I was glad when I found out this was the challenge for November! Sans Rival is basically layers of crunchy nutty meringue and buttercream. Both crunchy and chewy, a bit sweet but hey, it’s delicious.

I decided to half the recipe and make a cocoa meringue with pistachio nuts instead of the traditional cashews since I had a loads of pistachios just laying around waiting to be used. I probably should’ve stuck with the more traditional plain meringue as adding the cocoa lowered the sweetness which is one of the factors in Sans Rival but nevertheless, the texture was good.

The recipe for the buttercream made just enough to cover the layers as you can see. So if you decide to make this, I suggest adding times 1/2 more.

Thank you Catherine for this wonderful recipe and for exposing Filipino desserts! :D

Croissants for Daring Bakers

The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

Immediately my thoughts went back to my time in Switzerland where these deliciously flakey and addicting treats were abundant. I remember during brunch time on the weekends where the school’s buffet offered a basket full of mini croissants and pain des chocolats.

So I was quite excited as I’ve been wanting to conquer my fear of yeast.

Unfortunately, the results weren’t very good. I made the recipe four times but wasn’t totally happy with the results. I don’t blame the recipe because plenty of others have had success with it and it is Julia Child’s. Perhaps it’s my lack of experience in making breads, yeast, kneading or other conditions.

First try, with melted chocolate and crushed hazelnuts

The first two tries, the yeast was dead. I took a gamble and tried to proceed which of course resulted to the doughs not rising and therefore quite heavy after baking. The third try was better after buying new yeast, proofed it before using and it resulted in better, flaky and lighter texture but the center still had a raw feeling. The fourth and last try (which I forgot to take a picture of), I used active dry yeast instead of instant and I was excited since the dough was rising very well but after baking, the results were similar to the third try, but with less flaky dough. Really weird. Another thing was that I never was able to get 12 croissants but only 8.

2nd attempt

Third attempt

But anyhow, despite the unsuccessful tries this hasn’t turned me off baking breads since I LOVE eating bread and would love to one day be able to bake plenty of them. By the way, Nutella is love. I placed some inside/on the croissants and it was just heavenly.

Chocolates for Daring Bakers!

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks athttp://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

When I saw the challenge posted at the forum, I wasn’t feeling quite excited to be honest. I remember a couple years back when I tried to make some truffles/bonbons without any knowledge of tempering. You could imagine how that ended up. Although I did try my hand at tempering chocolates at the Cailler Factory, I didn’t have all the gadgets and equipment to do so at home like the fancy thermometer and a slab of marble.

However, I did remember something during my very short on the job training in a pastry kitchen where I asked the chef how they temper the chocolates without the need of thermometers. She replied along the lines of testing the temperature with your bottom lip and knowing when it’s ready when you don’t feel any temperature at all, so to speak. So I went with that.

The result isn’t much of something to celebrate as it was just okay. Not the greatest nor the shiniest piece of truffle but tasty and took the form of the chocolate molds. We were required to make 2 kinds of candy for this challenge. For the first kind, we were required to use chocolate to make truffles or bonbons and for our second kind, anything we choose.

I decided to do both bonbons as I wanted to practice tempering without a thermometer. Which wasn’t a very good idea despite trying to follow the lip-test mentioned above. ;) But anyway, the bonbons I made are filled with ganache, mango and nutella. The first batch, which was the ganache filled, turned out pretty good and didn’t have any problems falling off the mold. The second batch however was the opposite. I did manage to salvage 4 pieces (total) of both mango and nutella. You should have seen my work space afterwards. I love chocolate but making some can be very very messy …Or maybe it’s just me. ;)

On the brighter side, I do hope to continue practicing my tempering.. perhaps buying myself a thermometer and some gloves eventually. Haha. Thank you to Lisa and Mandy for this challenge! :D

My first Daring Baker challenge entry + celebration

For a couple of years now, I’ve been meaning to join the Daring Bakers but, as I was studying abroad and didn’t have a kitchen, I had to put it off. Until now. Since I’m back home for good, I quickly applied, waited and got my acceptance email and read the recipe over and over again. Excited? Yes, of course!

This month’s challenge was hosted by Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes and she got us making Fraisiers! Which is absolutely delicious so thank you!

At first, I thought of using only mangoes (since we were allowed to use other fruits) and I wanted to use a local fruit as strawberries are hard to come by here and are rather expensive but as I visited the grocery the other day, lo and behold, les fraises were there! So I decided to use both fruits as we are rather known for our mangoes ;).

Coincidentally, I made this cake around the time my sister-in-law gave birth! I’m extremely excited to be an aunt to Vivienne Elise (Angelina Jolie much? xD)! She wasn’t due til August but she’s completely well and healthy. She’s also rather tiny at the moment but absolutely adorable :3