The 8th recipe I made from Nick Malgieri’s “Bake!” was Danish Apricot Pinwheels. It was my turn to pick a recipe, and as I had been so successful with the Danish Cheese Pockets, I thought I’d try another, more sophisticated Danish version. I decided, though, to use Christel’s Danish Pastry Dough (page 111, with ricotta and baking powder, and without sugar) instead of the Quick Danish Pastry Dough (page 110, with milk, sugar and yeast). Making the ricotta/ baking powder version was much quicker than making the yeasted version, but I DID wonder what the layers would result from because there was no giving the dough a turn involved. The recipe for the almond filling made way more than 12 heaping teaspoons, more like 12 heaping tablespoons, but everything fit into the pinwheels nicely. Instead of apricots (no apricots here yet) I used red plums, a variation Malgieri mentions, too. Folding the pinwheels was not really that difficult because the instructions and pictures in the book are very detailed. Into the oven they went and were dusted with some powdered sugar after baking. My verdict: they looked really nice, and they tasted fine, but there were no layers at all as in the Danish Cheese Pockets. I’m sure this is due to the different dough. I’ll definitely make the pinwheels again, but will try the yeasted dough then to see if it makes a difference.
The 7th recipe I made from Nick Malgieri’s “Bake!” was Strawberry Chantilly Cake. Kayte had chosen it to be her birthday cake, but here it takes some more weeks for strawberries to come into season, which is why I decided to not make the original recipe, but the Victoria Sandwich variation. I used the yellow-cake recipe for the 2 layers and bought some strawberry preserves – quick and easy! I have to say, though, that I don’t own 2 9-inch round cake pans, but only 1 10-inch springform which is what I used. But I own a cake leveller which is perfect for cutting a springform cake into 2 or 3 layers. This cake was a huge hit here – sometimes it’s something really simple which makes my family happy ;-).
The 7th recipe I made from the Sweet Tarts and Pies section for the Modern Baker Challenge – Breton Apple Pie. I explicitely chose this recipe because NM says this pie freezes well. I wanted to bring this pie to work for my co-workers, and the only good day for bringing in stuff like that is Wednesday, but with my crazy work schedule right now (Mondays 12 hours and Tuesdays 13 hours) I knew I would NOT manage to make this pie on a Tuesday night. Thus, I made it on Sunday and stuck it into the freezer. First I thought this recipe was time-consuming, but it really isn’t. You just should pay very close attention to the apples so they don’t scorch – I almost had a mishap like that. But everything else was easy and rather quick. And yes, this pie freezes well and tastes like fresh when thawed. My co-workers loved it and said I could bring it in again ;o).
This month’s chef for the Twitter Chef Avatar Fun is Jacques Pépin. My first idea was to make Ricotta Dumplings with Red Pepper Sauce, but Abby got to them before me and she was rather disappointed with the result, so I thoughtI’d look for a different recipe. Et voilà: I decided to make Rice Paper Rolls with Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato. These are raw spring rolls, and you can fill them with virtually everything, but I thought the avocado, sun-dried tomato and scallions were a perfect combination. I really loved them, hubby liked them and the kids absolutely disliked them. Well, not every recipe can be a winner, huh? I guess, next time I’ll have to make them for my lunchbox ;-).
The 6th recipe I made from the Sweet Tarts and Pies section for the Modern Baker Challenge – Neapolitan Easter Pie. This pie was really time-consuming: you have to cook wheat berries and pastry cream and then prepare the filling. Before that, you have to prepare the dough because one half of it has to be chilled. And as I happened to NOT have candied orange peel, I had to make it myself which took another day. So I was hoping this pie would be worth all the work. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The orange flavor in the filling is weird, absolutely overpowering. I’m not even sure we’ll eat the whole pie. Maybe I take the rest of it to the in-laws’ house to see if they like it better. So, this is not a keeper, even though it does look really nice.
My 2nd assigned recipe in the new section for the Modern Baker Challenge – Lemon Lime Tartlets. I REALLY tried to find organic limes, but was not successful, so I made Lemon Tartlets instead. The recipe called for the sweet tart dough which I don’t think is the right choice. Imho, the press-in cookie dough would have complemented the lemony flavor better. Maybe it would have been different if I had used limes as the author had intended. Anyway, the lemon curd, though, was a dream! I had made a double batch because I KNOW that I’m a big fan of lemon curd, so we had the rest of it on toast or rolls. YUM! Verdict: tartlets so-so, lemon curd AMAZING!
The next tart on my Modern Baker Challenge lineup was the Bittersweet Chocolate Tart. This one is REALLY heavy – like, you can eat one piece of it and you’re full for the rest of the day, but it is oh so yummy!!! I gave the press-in cookie dough a second chance (when I made the Parisian Fruit Tarts it was too crumbly to get it out of the pan) because I have a TART PAN with a removable bottom now! And it worked out just fine. The chocolate ganache was easy. Only problem here: you need to be patient – heated cream mixture has to cool, same goes for the melted chocolate. Then you mix both and let the ganache cool again. Butter is added, filling is scraped into the tart shell and AGAIN it has to be refrigerated. The recipe says to bring the tart to room temperature for 1 or 2 hours before serving – I thought, it tasted even better right from the fridge. Oh, and the raspberries on top complemented the sweetness of the ganache really well!!! Definitely on my make-again list!