I almost didn’t get this month’s Daring Bakers challenge done. I just about managed to finish doing the assembling and decorating yesterday, which is not the way I like to do my challenges!
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 Alasa or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
Normally, I try to get my DB challenges done by the middle of the month, but this time I planned to do it for my husband’s birthday on the 24th of this month. As it turned out, the 23rd and the 24th were also traditional religious/ festive events in our community, which I forgot to factor into my DB challenge plans. To this add out of town visitors, nagging toothache due a fractured filling, and a sudden unexplained eye allergy which meant a badly swollen left eye leaving me looking like a rather badly finished alien face!
And on the DB front, I had 2 days to do the challenge, make it look presentable, shoot pictures and write up a post, if I wanted to meet the deadline of 27th August. Meet the deadline, I did, but in my own fashion. I kept to the spirit of the challenge and browned my own butter, made the pound cake but used store bought ice-cream.
Elissa wanted us to make one or two of the alternatives, the Baked Alaska or/ and Petit Fours. You can find the recipe and other details of the challenge on her blog. The thought of half-cooked meringue required for the Baked Alaska wasn’t particularly attractive, bringing back memories of the Lemon Meringue Pie which was my maiden DB challenge (just a personal thing). I wasn’t keen on the ice-cream petit fours either as I prefer them the traditional way, so I decided to make a cross between the two.
I’m not sure what to call my creation, as it isn’t a Baked Alaska and it definitely not petite, though it is small. I think mini ice-cream cake would probably be more apt, but then as Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name?”
I have found it sensible and practical to subscribe to the thought that all good things, especially desserts, come in small packages. So I halved the pound cake recipe and used only 1 egg (instead of 2). I baked the cake in a 9” cake tin as a thin layer since I wanted to cut out circles for the base of my dessert. I then cut out small 2 1/2” circles of pound cake and topped it with eggless fresh anjir/ fig ice-cream (store bought Amul ice-cream, whose ice-creams are all eggless and one of the best I’ve eaten). I did make my ice-cream for the previous challenge, and didn’t have the time this month.
I had previously set the ice-cream in my small cupcake moulds to shape them. So far everything was more or less like I wanted it to be. I did have a bit of trouble unmoulding the ice-cream quickly before it melted into a puddle, but I managed without things becoming disastrous.
I used a half recipe of the ganache and wanted to pour it over my ice-cream and cake mounds instead of the meringue but somewhat like the petit fours. For some unfathomable reason (I’m sure there’s some chemistry at work here that’s beyond me for now) the ganache would not stay put over the ice-cream!
The ganache was cool enough, so that wasn’t the problem. I would spoon it over the ice-cream and it would just slide off bringing a little of the ice-cream with it and pool at the bottom. Frustrating was not word enough to describe what I was feeling!! I had about half a day to complete the challenge and serve my husband what was supposed to have been a birthday dessert!
After some thought, I stuck my ice-cream and cake in the freezer and decided to let the ganache thicken a bit. Then, using a palette knife, I covered the mini ice-cream cakes with ganache. This worked.
All that was left was to decorate my little cakes. I used melted milk chocolate and piped some designs. The first time, the piped melted chocolate came out of the bag in messy squirts and squiggles leaving behind a mess. I spent quite some time scraping off the stuff, and then covering up the patches with more ganache. So now you’re privy to the secret behind my not so perfectly finished mini cakes.
I’m really happy that browned butter, which we better know as “ghee” in India, is getting due recognition. Actually, ghee is clarified butter (browned butter minus the solids). In ghee, the solids from browned butter are removed to increase its shelf life.
In India, if a sweet dish requires some amount of fat, it has to be ghee. Ghee is also used in smaller amounts in many savoury preparations. The browned butter did lend its characteristic nutty and rich flavour to the pound cake, which was unusual but interesting. I didn’t find any noticeable difference from reducing the egg by one in my halved pound cake recipe.
We quite liked this cake though our daughter thought there was something “odd” about it, till I let on about the browned butter. Throw browned butter into a combination of cake, ice-cream and chocolate ganache, and there’s very little about it to not like. My husband thought it was “quite nice”.
I found that my version freezes pretty well, so it’s a good dessert to make ahead. Just take it out of the freezer and keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. This softens the ice-cream (and cake) while the ganache prevents the ice-cream from melting out, which is perfect as far as textures in this dessert go.
If you have been wondering what I did with the scraps after cutting out my circles (I got seven 2 1/2″ circles) from the pound cake, I crumbled some and made a similar dessert in a glass. I topped the cake crumbs with sliced bananas, some ice-cream and then melted milk chocolate and some cashewnuts.
Happy Cook says
Love your version, i am not a huge fan of merringue too but Hans and Shyama loves it and I remove mine, but mine was cooked as i have a blow torwh which makes the life easier.
Sweet Artichoke says
What a beautiful cake you made! The pictures are awesome, too!
veena krishnakumar says
This looks so cute aparna. I tried petit fours….could only try, nowhere near what Elissa wanted:-(
It might not have turned out exactly as you wanted, but it is SOOOO lovely and sounds delicious! Love the way you plated them. Thanks for your comment on mine. I did have a lot of fun indeed!
Ellie (Almost Bourdain) says
Lovely creations. Very nicely done.
Beautiful creations Aparna. If you haven’t revealed the secrets while making the cake, I’m sure nobody can notice the small flaws which u hv mentioned.Lovely designs on the cake and the plate. Loved the way, you used up the left overs.
I love the decorations on your plates and cakes, so beautiful!Luce x
They’re SO beautiful! I don’t know if I want to eat them or just stare at them forever. Well, I guess that decision’s already been made for me. 😉 Wonderful job!
Aparna, I did what you did – no meringue or Baked Alaska for me, just individual desserts like yours, but yours are so much prettier!!!! Gorgeous.
Goodnes, Apangrna, this is what you can produce when you are in a rush and great pain?! Fabulous! Your presentation is always special 🙂 xxx
looks delicious the individual cups look beautiful as well
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Aparna, these are absolutely lovely! I love the style in which you plated them too! You should be very proud of them! 😀
lata raja says
love this!!!! I am yet to see what other pals have created, but I am sure it was more than “quite nice’ for the birthday treat.Wishing oyur husband a happy birthday, belatedly!!!I am amzed that starting July till september you have never-ending reasons to celebrate!!!
Sanjeeta kk says
The tiny goodies look cute and tempting, Aparna.
Rosa's Yummy Yums says
Your petits fours are so pretty! I really love your presentation. Great job!Cheers,Rosa
I think your creation is beautiful Aparna – great job.
Now.. fig ice cream, that I must try 🙂
WOw wow beautiful aparna… the first picture is simply gorgeous with beautiful platting…
Asha @ FSK says
Me likey your creation!! :)) yep, half cooked meringue doesn’t really taste good as I found out :)btw, with the ice cream ganache thing. When ice cream is soft the ganache has no hold over it, so it keeps sliding. When you freeze it, it holds shape better as it clings on to the micro layer of ice on top of the ice cream
Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal says
whoa !!! I am drooling all over it dear. Loooooooooooooooooooove the presentation and hmmm..hmmm… hmmmm…
shelley c. says
What a beautiful interpretation of the challenge, and very well done fitting it in with your hectic schedule (and eye allergy – OUCH!) this month. Your presentation (as always) is absolutely stunning – I alway s love looking at your beautiful photos. Awesome job.
I hope your eye is much better now. Your version looks very delicious! Happy birthday to your husband 🙂 Great job as usual!
Priya Suresh says
Beautiful clicks…very stunning!
Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says
Beautiful, and different! Yayy. It looks great!
Troubles or not, the result is GORGEOUS! I was so excited to see what you’d make, since your presentation is always stunning. I can’t imagine how good it must have tasted!
The Betz Family says
Your “hybrid” dessert looks beautiful (even if you did have to cover up with extra ganache)! You always have great photos and a gorgeous plating. Nice job on the challenge!
Poires au Chocolat says
Looks gorgeous – I love your interpretation!
Great interpretation of the challenge, nicely done! And you know, even though you explained about the “accidents” you had with the chocolate, all I can see is perfectly decorated cake. Well done.Hope the eye and tooth are all better.
You are really spirited lady, to have done all this against the odds of the challenge and part form it too!! The creation looks wonderful with no hint of any may-have-been-imperfections.
Oops! I meant ‘apart from it’
One cannot but admire your persistanec to finish the challenge regardless of many setbacks. You’re really something else 🙂 You ice cream cakes look absolutely divine. I love the shape and the decorations. Great job!
You created something really gorgeous in a very short time, and with a toothache! Incredible! It looks great, and I am intrigued by the ice cream–I’ve never had fig ice cream.
It seems that several people had trouble with the ganache running off the ice cream. I love your mini version. Looks great!~
Such beautiful pictures of such a pretty diversion from the main challenge. I made fig ice cream a few months ago and it went down a beautiful purple storm! I really enjoyed reading your challenge
Ramya Vijaykumar says
This is an awesome vercion lovely presentation and a change among all the others!!!
bake in paris says
The cross hybrid between the 2 came this beautiful creation…Thanks for the info about clarified butter and ghee. Ghee is available in the Indian community market here and I don’t really know what it is until now.Sawadee from bangkok,Kris
Beautiful job! I love how you combined the two and made your own version.
Beautiful dessert. I’ve been thinking about doing something with figs for a while…ice cream sounds delish. Love your plating too.
Bhargavi Maremanda says
Your petit four looks lovely! Love the spider decoration on the top! Mine kept sliding and unfortunately like your daughter I couldnt get over the ghee taste at all.
Mmmm… Fig ice-cream, makes me want to have some now! Loved your presentation as well as decorations Aparna, very nicely done!
Thanks for visiting, reading my post and leaving your thoughtful comments.Anchan, I did this after the painkillers did their work on me. :)Thanks for the wishes, Lata.Asha, my ice-cream was well frozen, still the ganache wouldn’t stay on. :)Thanks, Shaz. I am good now.Kris, you can put ghee to a lot of use and not just in sweet stuff.
Tasty Eats At Home says
Great job! I too used my scraps in a similar fashion, although it wasn’t nearly as pretty as yours. 🙂 I goofed this month and thought the challenge was due on the 1st for some reason…whoops, so I just finished last night and plan to post tomorrow. Oh well!
Aparna – I LOVE your little ice cream cakes – they look delicious and adorable, not to mention lovely! That said, I’m so psyched you’re hosting SHF! I’m going to try my best to take part 🙂