29 January 2015


In the last section of this phase the assignment was to make 12 of 4 different kinds of bite size treats, friandises. Everything available in the kitchen was allowed, plus some other selected ingredients as well. The treats have to be small and look pretty. 

At home I wrote out a whole game plan of what I wanted to make, what I needed for it and how it would do it. Turned out that things didn't totally went as planned. I was expecting the ingredients to be centralized available, but they were all over the place so it took some to find what I needed.

The game plan was:

- a lemon meringue pie with raspberry
- a lemon mousse ball covered with lemon glaze
- a lemon raspberry mousse on an almond cake
- an apple and lemon pie

I manage to execute two out of four since I was running out of time. 

First I started with making two different kinds of dough for my pies. 

For the lemon meringue pie I used a shortcrust pastry which normally would be made by 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter and 3 parts of flour. 

The recipe I used was:

- 80 gr sugar
- 80 gr light brown sugar
- 210 gr butter
- 290 gr flour
- 8,5 gr baking powder
- 2 gr salt
- teaspoon of lemon zest
- 20 gr egg yolk (or just 1)
oven temperature 180 C

I just mixed everything together and let the dough chill in the fridge.

On the bottom of this pie I piped a mixture of 30 grams of marzipan loosen up with a dash of water and 125 grams of crème pâtissière. After baking I put a little bit of lemon curd in the pie, a bit of lemon curd whipped cream and one fresh raspberry. Then I piped some meringue and used a torch to give it a bit of color.

Then for the apple and lemon pie I needed to make "sloffendeeg". I honestly don't know what this dough is called in English, but pies made with this dough are buttery, slightly chewy and soooo good. 

I used:

- 180 gr butter
- 170 gr light brown sugar
- 2 gr salt
- 1 egg yolk
- teaspoon lemon zest
- 250 gr flour
- 10 gr baking powder
oven temperature 160C but 170-180C is not a problem either

I mixed together all the ingredients and then add the sifted flour and baking powder last. This dough also has to be chilled in the fridge. 

For this pie I used a frangipane made by:

- 125 gr almond paste 
- teaspoon lemon zest
- 25 gr butter
- 37 gr egg (or 1 egg)

I mixed all the ingredients and poured it in a piping bag.

Then I cubed two apples, mixed them with some "spekkoekkruiden" (a mixture of several spices) since I couldn't find any cinnamon and head them up a bit so they could soften.

Then I went and made some lemon curd using my trusted recipe:

- 100 gr butter
- 200 gr sugar or more or less depending on taste
- 300 ml fresh lemon juice
- teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks
- pinch of salt

Mix everything together, cook till it thickens and chill in the fridge till needed. Very simple and almost fool proof recipe.

Then I also went and make some crème pâtissière:

- 250 ml milk
- 50 gr sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 22,5 gr custard powder
- vanilla pot/essence/sugar
- pinch of salt

I started cooking the milk with some sugar. The rest of the sugar I mixed with the egg yolk, the custard powder, salt and vanilla. When the milk boils I poured some on the egg mixture to loosen it up and to elevate the temperature so I don't end of with scrambled eggs. Then the whole mixture went back in the pan to cook for a couple of minutes. 

After all this mise and place I started with making the apple lemon pies first. I used this round shallow pie mold and placed the dough and stuffing in. Unfortunately there was to much dough and the pies came out way to big and not evenly cooked. So I couldn't serve that. I had to use a mold with smaller cavities. 

Because I had to start all over I didn't had time for the mousse ball and mousse cake. Luckily I wrote down another recipe just in case I needed a back up plan. 

I had some apple left I decided to apple almond cakes using this recipe:
- 30 gr flour
- 80 gr almond flour
- 100 gr browned butter
- 150 gr icing sugar
- 95 gr egg whites
- pinch of salt
oven temperature 200C

I beaded the egg whites till soft peeks and mix the rest of the ingredients together. Then I folded it into the egg white, poured the batter in the molds and topped them with some cubes of apple. 

Since I had some batter and apples left, I mixed them together and poured it into a different shape mold. This time I sprinkled some almond slivers on top to give them a bit of crunch. 

I had just enough time to decorate my friandises. I used a mixture of lemon curd and whipped cream and piped a dot on the apple almond cake. Then I sprinkled some chopped pecan nuts on top and decorated it with some white chocolate.
The other apple almond cake already had some slivers of almond on top so all it needed was a bit of white chocolate to make it fancy.
For the apple and lemon pie the teacher suggested to put a thin piece of apple on top. I also added two dollops of lemon curd whipped cream to give it a bit of freshness. Also I think a sprinkle of powdered sugar would take it to the next level. Idea for next time.
I loved working on the lemon meringue pie. At first I wanted to pip the meringue all over the raspberry as well so you have a little surprise biting into one. But I think this looks pretty as well.
At the end I ended up with four friandises that were complimenting each other in looks and taste. It was a lot of stress and hard work, but totally worth it since my plate was picked by one of the teachers as one of two of her to got to plate!

25 January 2015

Oscar cake by Rudolph van Veen

At the end of last weeks class we were told that we would recreate this cake made up by Rudolph van Veen (a well known Dutch chef and patissier) for the Oscars in 2005 hence the name Oscar cake. We would only get the recipe and had to figure the rest out ourselves. Luckily we could watch Rudolph make the cake online so the smart ones (like me hahah) did that. I even went beyond that by testing the recipe at home first.
His recipe was for 2 cakes, but since I'm just testing the recipe I only used half the recipe. As this cake is build up in layers the recipe will be as well.

For the almond cake layer I used:
- 58 gr almonds
- 58 gr sugar
- 75 gr eggs
- 50 gr egg white
- 7 gr sugar
- 10 gr melted butter
- 12 gr flour
oven temperature 220C

First I grounded 58 grams of almonds with 58 grams of sugar. Then I beat the egg white with 7 grams of sugar till it had soft peeks. To the almond mixture I added the eggs, the melted butter and the flour and fold this into the egg whites.

I spread the mixture on some baking paper and baked it in the oven for 10-12 minutes. After that I took it off the baking tray, pulled the baking paper off and let it cool.

For the coffee syrup I used equal part of coffee and sugar and added a dash or two coffee liqueur. 

The original recipe called for 1 cup of coffee and 1 cup of sugar, but this is way to much for this recipe so I made just enough to dip the almond cake in.

For the caramelized hazelnuts I used:
- 25 gr sugar
- 15 gr butter
- 50 gr hazelnuts

If you heat the sugar and the butter on low temperature you can put both in a pot at the same time. When the mixture has a caramel color you can add the hazelnuts. If you melt the butter first and then add the sugar you will not be able to mix it all together for a nice caramel so the proper way to do it is to melt the sugar first. When that browns add the butter and mix it before you add the hazelnuts. 
I poured this mixture on some baking paper to let it cool. When it cooled I chopped them in rough pieces.

For the cake I used 4 cake molds of 9 cm and there was enough left for 2 smaller cakes, which I don't know the size of. 

With the cake molds I pressed out the bottom of the almond cake and a smaller piece for in the middle. Both pieces of cake were then brushed with the coffee syrup. On the bottom I sprinkled some chopped caramelized hazelnuts.

Now for the chocolate mousse layer I used:
- 63 gr water
- 63 gr sugar
- 125 gr pure chocolate
- 75 gr egg yolk
- 3 sheets of gelatin soaked in water
- 450 gr whipping cream whipped to soft peeks

In the movie Rudolph just boiled the water and sugar and added that to the egg yolk whisking it till it was fluffy. So that's what I did at home and it worked somewhat ok. 

In class we were told to heat the water and sugar till 121C and then added it to the yolk. The first time we did it,we tried to whisk it by hand but the sugar clumped together so it didn't work. The second time we used the stand mixer and slowly added the syrup which resulted in a very fluffy mixture. However we didn't heat the syrup to 121C. I think it was only a bit higher then 100C.

Then I melted the chocolate and melted the gelatin sheets. To the egg mixture I mixed in the chocolate, the gelatin and fold this into the whipped cream.
I filled half the cake molds with the mouse, put a layer of almond cake in the middle and filled it up till the rim. After I did this with all the molds I put them in the freezer. The cakes will have to be frozen when I pour the chocolate glaze on. With bigger cakes it can take a whole day, but since I made small ones, it only took a couple of hours.

For the chocolate glaze I used:
- 140 gr water
- 180 gr sugar
- 130 gr whipping cream
- 60 gr cocoa powder
- 3 sheets of gelatin soaked in water

In a pan I put all the ingredients (except for the gelatin) and let the mixture cook for about 10 minutes. It is ready when the back of your spoon is well coated. Then I added the gelatin and mixed it well so the gelatin dissolves. This mixture has to be brought back to around 35-40C before I could pour it over the cakes.

To get an evenly cover it is important to pour the glaze on the edges of the cake and not in the middle. Since the cakes are frozen the glaze will immediately set. 
Then it is possible to decorate the cake with whatever you want, but since I want the decoration to match the inside of the cake I used some grounded caramelized hazelnuts. It's also a good way of masking the rough edges on the bottom of the cake. 

It was a great experience making this cake. I have all kinds of idea's on how to make a spin off using these techniques. But first I have to come up with 4 different kinds of friandises for next class.

18 January 2015

Macarons and petit fours

Since I started with this baking course there are lots of things that I've been doing for the first time and it's been so much fun. 
Today we were making macarons and petit fours. We started with a macaron master class. After that we were on our own. 

First we had to make a batch of butter cream. Although I've made it several times at home I couldn't get it right in class. At home I use room temperature butter and in class the butter was still cold. So the timing should be spot on to get a smooth butter cream. I added the butter in a bit too late so my cream wasn't as smooth as it should be but the taste was good. Just to give it more flavor we added a dash or two orange liqueur. Also I used less sugar then the recipe called for since I don't like it that sweet. 

After making butter cream we each got a piece of cake for our petit fours. The petit fours were quite easy since the cake was pre-made and all we had to do was fill it with jam or butter cream, put a layer of almond paste on top and dip it in some fondant. It was a piece of cake. To bad we could't bake our own cake, but I guess there wasn't enough time for it. 
First we cut it in half so we could spread some jam in the middle. Instead of jam we used a mixture of butter cream and jam. Then the orange liqueur butter cream went on top and we topped it off with a thin layer of almond past. We needed to freeze the cake so we can cut them in squares later. After they were frozen we cut them in bite size pieces. Then it went back in the freezer since they have to be frozen for the fondant dip. Basically we heated up some fondant with some water so it was a bit runny and we dipped the top of the cakes in and place them in cupcake baking cups so we could decorate them later.

Then we made the batter for the macarons using:
- 100 gr powdered sugar                                               300 gr powdered sugar          
- 100 gr almond flour                                                     300 gr almond flour
- 40 gr egg white + 40 gr egg white                               120 gr egg white + 120 gr egg white
- 100 gr sugar                                                                300 gr sugar
- 40 gr water                                                                  120 gr water
- color paste (optional)
oven temperature 140C

We started with sifting the almond flour and threw out all the bigger pieces. Then we added more almond flour to the batch making it 100 grams. Then we mixed it together with the powdered sugar. This mixture is called "broyage" and it's just a mixture of 50% almond flour and 50% powdered sugar.

Then it was time to make the meringue. We cooked the sugar in some water till 121C. When the sugar syrup reaches about 115C it was time to mix 40 grams of egg white to soft peeks. Then we added the sugar syrup and mixed it till the bowl is no longer hot.

The other 40 grams of egg white was mixed with the broyage mixture and some food color. To this we added a bit of the meringue to loosen it up a bit and then we fold in the rest of the meringue. Now here comes the tricky part, when do you know if you fold everything in just right? If you mix it to much the macarons will be flat or crack. I guess this is something that needs a bit of practice to see when the mixtures is just right. 
We poured the macaron mixture in a piping bag and started to pipe little circles. As we piped the macarons too close we ended up with some twin, tripled and even quadruplet macarons. Next time we will make sure we give them enough space.
As the macarons have to dry out a bit we had time to work on our petit fours. The macarons were ready for the oven when the top has dried a bit so it doesn't stick on your fingers when touching them. We baked them for about 17-19 minutes. When they cooled we stuffed them with some butter cream and they were ready to be gobbled down. 

Next time I will try to make the macarons less sweet or make a slightly sour stuffing so it can balance each other out a bit. As for the petit fours, they were very tasty, but if I would make them again I would make them half the height and more square.

For about 120 macarons you need to triple the recipe. Every oven is different so you need to test it first. Better to have it on a lower then higher temperature and it's not a problem if you bake it too long.

Next class: Rodolph van Veen's Oscar cake: this is a chocolate mouse cake with hazelnuts which he made for the Oscars in 2005.

One person birthday cakes

Last year I treated myself to some great baking tools. I've got a cake stand for decoration cakes, a 60 cm rolling pin, several pipping tips, cupcake baking cups, Christmas baking trays and lots more. But my new to go to toy is definitely this Wilton mini orb cake pan (picture is from taartendecoratie.nl). 
One biscuit batter is enough for 12 cakes and one mini cake. And my ice cream scoop scoops just enough batter to fill it so it's a win win for me. 
I tested it out with half the biscuit recipe first and I ended up with 8 mini cakes. 
So when it was my sisters birthday I used the whole recipe to make everyone an individual birthday cake and of course the birthday girl gets her own slightly bigger cake. 

So I started with making the batter for the biscuit. Instead of keeping it plain I added 3-4 tablespoons of grated dried coconut and some vanilla sugar. I baked it for about 15 minutes on 170C.

Then I started making butter cream. To the basic mixture I added 200 gram coconut paste and 1-2 table spoons of Malibu liqueur.  

After the cake cooled I sliced them in half and spread a thin layer of apricot jam on one side. On the other side I spread some coconut butter cream. Then I covered it all in coconut butter cream and let it harden in the fridge. 
I used 250 grams of white fondant and 125 grams of purple fondant to cover and decorate the cakes. Some of the purple fondant I mixed with the white fondant to get violet colored fondant. I used some cupcake cups to wrap the cakes instead of aluminium foil.

Birthday girl didn't want any cake, but she was sure happy there was some.

15 January 2015

Retro birthday cake

I love it when people ask me to make something and don't give me any instructions what so ever on flavor or decoration. I get to make whatever I feel like making.
And this is what I felt like making. Although my sister only asked for one cake to me it didn't feel like a party with only just one cake so I decided to make a two layered one.

I wanted to make the top layer with chocolate biscuit and fill it with some chocolate butter cream, raspberry jam and ganache and the second layer would be an orange biscuit with an orange curd, apricot jam and some "bokkenpootjes" butter cream.

I started with baking the biscuit for the two cakes using 1,5 of the biscuit recipe. For the first batter I added quite some cocoa powder. I didn't know that normally you would substitute 10% of the flour with cocoa powder so I added about 3-4 tablespoons of cocoa powder. It turned out just fine so no worries.

For the second layer I added some orange zest to the batter. 

Then when the cakes were cooling down I started to make the first batch of butter cream. For the chocolate butter cream I added 200 grams of melted pure chocolate to the basic butter cream. For the ganache I used equal parts of whipping cream and chocolate. For the sugar syrup I used equal parts of water and sugar and I added a dash of amaretto liqueur. 

I made the orange curd the day before using my lemon curd recipe:

- 300 ml fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 gr room temperature butter
- 100 sugar
- pinch of salt

Unfortunately the curd wasn't as smooth as I hoped. So I poured the mixture back in the pot and heat it all up again. Then I added 2 tablespoons of custard powder and let it cook for a couple of minutes. So instead of orange curd I ended up with some orange crème pâtissière which was even better. 

The second batter of butter cream I mixed 1/3 with some crushed bokkenpootjes and to 2/3 I added 3-4 tablespoons of orange crème pâtissière.

When the cakes cooled down I cut them in 3 layers each. Each layer of the cake got sprinkled with some sugar/amaretto syrup to keep them moist. 

The first layer on the chocolate cake was raspberry jam. And on top of that a thin layer of chocolate butter cream. Then the next layer was chocolate ganache and a thin layer of chocolate butter cream. Then the whole cake was covered in chocolate butter cream. 

The orange cake had a first layer of thinly spread apricot jam, orange crème pâtissière and a thin layer of orange butter cream. The next layer was a thin layer of orange crème pâtissière and some bokkenpootjes butter cream. Then the whole cake was covered in orange butter cream. Both cakes went into the fridge till the butter cream was hard. 

I used 1 kilo of white marshmallow fondant and 250 gram of purple fondant for the decoration. For the top cake I didn't had a paper cake bottom as it would be stacked on top of the other cake, but next time I would use one. It will keep the two part separated while cutting the cake. 
Both cakes were transported separately and stacked together on site. Too bad the light was horrible for the last picture, but everyone loved the cake!

Butter cream

I can't believe I don't have a separate entry for butter cream. I've been using it a lot these days but it seems like the recipe is tucked away somewhere. This butter cream is so great it deserves it's own entry.

I've seen my American friends make butter cream by just creaming butter and powdered sugar together, but this is not that kind of butter cream. This one is sooo much better and less sweet.

You need:
- 85 gr water
- 225 gr sugar
- 100 gr egg white
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 500 gr room temperature butter in cubes

Boil the water and the sugar till 121C. When the temperature reaches about 115C whisk the egg white with the cream of tartar till firm peeks. Then on high speed mix in the sugar syrup mixture and continue to mix it till the bowl cools off. Then add the butter cube for cube till it's a smooth batter. This is the basic butter cream. To this mixture you can add whatever flavoring you want. 

So far I've tried adding:
- 200 gr melted pure chocolate for some chocolate butter cream
- 200 gr coconut paste and some Malibu liqueur for some coconut butter cream
- 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur
- 3 or 4 tablespoons of orange curd for some orange butter cream
- 3 or 4 tablespoons of bokkenpootjes
- 3 or 4 tablespoons of cherry syrup for some cherry butter cream
- a couple of dashes of mint liqueur and mint syrup 
- some scoops of homemade blueberry compote 

Coffee bavarois cake and Brussels banket / paleis banket

Today we were shown a different way of making a bavarois cake. This time we didn't use a mold for the batter but we piped it directly on baking paper. The recipe for the cake batter was very similar to the biscuit recipe. 

We used:
- 150 gr eggs
- 100 gr sugar
- 45 gr shifted flour
- 35 gr flour + 10 gr cocoa powder shifted
oven temperature 220C

We started with heating the sugar and the eggs in a double boiler till about 40C. Then we mixed it on high speed till it was light and fluffy. The batter was then divided in two. In the first part we fold in the flour. In the second batter we fold in the flour and the cocoa.

Then we poured the batter in two piping bags and pipped the batter on a baking tray. The cake has to bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or till it bounces back on your touch.

After it comes out of the oven we immediately took it off the baking tray and turned it upside down on some baking paper covered with some sugar to cool.

We covered the bottom and the sides of a cake mold and I sprinkled it with some coffee liqueur. We even had enough cake to make 2 smaller ones.
I accidentally used the wrong side of the cake to cover the outside. 

This bavarois is a milk based bavarois and has a sightly different recipe:
- 9 gr gelatin powder + 45 gr water
- 25 gr egg yolk
- 75 gr sugar
- 300 ml milk
- 150 ml whipped whipping cream
- liqueur to taste

First we mixed the egg yolk with a bit of sugar and heated the rest of the sugar with the milk. When the milk was hot we add some to the egg, mixed it well and then poured it all back so it could cook on 80C for a few minutes. Then we added the gelatin and mixed it till it all dissolves. This is the time where we added some coffee liqueur to make it extra tasty. When the mixture thickens a bit we folded the whipped whipping cream in. Of course it was possible to mix in come crumbled cookies or fruit, but since the top layer would be coffee flavored only the coffee liqueur was enough for us.
We poured this mixture in our cake mold and put it in the fridge to set. After that we covered the top with a layer of coffee glaze.
We even had time to make almond cookies called Brussels banket and or paleis banket. I have to admit I have never heard of these cookies, but they were surprisingly easy to make. All we needed was:
- 250 gr almond paste
- 1 egg
- bigarreaux (preserved sweetened cherries)
- apricot jam
- wafer (ouwel papier)
- pink fondant
oven temperature 180C

We mixed the almond paste with the egg till the mixture was loose enough to pipe. Basically you can make them any shape, but typically they are round and have a cherry in the middle. Or they are rectangle with some pink fondant in the middle. 

Because they are very sticky we piped them on wafer. That's the white "paper" you see sticking from under the cookies.
We baked them till golden and after they come out of the oven we brushed them with some apricot jam to break through the sweetness a bit. And the rectangle cookies were covered with some pink fondant in the middle. I never had them before, but they were pretty addictive.

04 January 2015

Pate a decor

After a two week break it is finally time to share what I've learned in the first lesson of this new phase.
We were taught how to make this fancy bavarois cake. I remembered looking at those cakes in the store and thinking wow they look so fancy. Now I know it's only a mold they are using.

In class they had several molds to choose from and they were very expensive. I've been told they were as much as 60 euros each! But even without fancy molds you can make a fancy cake.

As the mold had to be filled with two different kinds of batter we started with the first layer. For this we needed:
- 50 gr powdered sugar
- 50 gr melted butter
- 50 gr egg white
- 50 gr flour
- few drops of food color

This recipe is so simple since all we did was put all the ingredients together till it was a smooth batter. This batter would be then poured in the molds and we made sure it filled all the cavities. Then the mold would go into the freezer till the batter is frozen enough for the second layer.

For the second layer we use:
- 56 gr sugar
- 56 gr almond flour
- 75 gr egg
- 50 gr egg white
- 12 gr flour
- 10 gr melted butter
- 7 gr sugar
200C oven temperature

First we had to whisk the 50 gram egg whites with the 7 gram sugar till they were fluffy. Then we mixed the sugar and almond flour together with the egg and mixed that with the butter and flour mixture. And this would then be folded in with the egg whites.
This would be then spread over the frozen first batter layer and then baked till golden.

After the cake has cooled we used a mold to cut out the bottom and we made sure the sides fits tightly. 

Then it was time to make the bavarois. For this we used:
- 9 gr gelatin powder
- some lemon juice to taste
- 150 ml fruit puree
- 100 ml sugar syrup
- 250 ml whipping cream

First we let the gelatin bloom in 45 gram water. Then we headed the fruit puree with the sugar syrup and the lemon juice till it almost boils. To this we added the gelatin and stirred it till all the gelatin dissolved. Then we whipped up some whipping till almost stiff.
When the fruit mixture is thicken a bit we mixed in the whipping cream and poured in in our mold. After the bavarois has set we took off the mold and we ended up with this fancy little treat.
I didn't wanted to make a fruit layer on top, but one of my class mates had some left so I used it to cover one of the cakes. 
The fruit puree we used just tasted awful on it's own, but in the bavarois it wasn't too bad. Personally I would've make it with some fresh fruit, frozen fruit or even fruit out of a can instead of the puree we used.

The end result wasn't as light and fluffy as I though it would be. It reminded me of a "kwarktaart" although it didn't had any "kwark" in it. 

I didn't had the chance to make this cake at home, but if I would I would make it slightly different so it's lighter and fluffier. But this is something for next time.