October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' October 2010 Challenge - Doughnuts and Berliner

This months Daring Bakers' Challenge was to make Doughnuts or Bombolonis (or Berliner, as we call them in Switzerland).

My first doughnut :-)
The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

The sugar adds a nice sweetness
To be honest, I was a bit afraid of deep frying. Partly because I've never done it before and partly because I currently have a kitchen with a gas stove and having an open flame next to a pot with boiling hot oil made me a tiny bit nervous. But everything worked out fine and I'm glad that I now can add one more cooking technique to my repertoire.

Yummie Berliner!
The recipe can be found here and was actually very simple in the making. The dough is a simple yeast dough which requires no special skills, except to be able to stick to a recipe and trust the many talented bakers before you who have designed it. The most important part is not to heat up the water and milk too much because you don't want to kill the yeast. Its ideal working temperature is around 40°C, much above and it will die. So keep everything lukewarm at the most. It is also important to knead the dough thoroughly (or work it in your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for a few minutes). The third important thing when working with a yeast dough is to let it rise a proper amount of time. I actually changed Lori's recipe in this regard and took to Ms. Humble's advice for doughnuts and let my dough rise in the fridge over night. This also obliged me very much as I could spread out the challenge over two different evenings.

Some other changes I made: I substituted milk and butter with lactose free milk and lactose free butter (some girls at my office are lactose intolerant). Also, I used 540g of wheat flour and 110g of spelt flour because I ran out of wheat flour (what kind of a baker am I...?). Finally, I left out the nutmeg because I'm not particularly fond of it and 1 teaspoon seemed like an awful lot of it.

Many more - filled with crab apple jelly
I couldn't decide on the shape, so I made both doughnuts and small Berliner out of my yeast dough. The Berliner i filed with grape jelly or crab apple jelly (both not homemade) and rolled them in powdered sugar or caster sugar (to make sure I could distinguish them later on). 
The whole collection
 When tasting my first doughnut immediately after deep frying I was surprised at how unsweet it tasted. Then I realised that since I've let my dough rise for almost 24h the yeast had even more time to ferment the sugar. Next time I'd probably use a little more sugar in the dough. On the other hand, the not so sweet dough allowed me to make a chocolate glazing for the doughnuts (I chopped 120g dark chocolate, added 15g butter and melted it over a water bath, added a teaspoon of milk because the chocolate glazing was too thick, realised that this caused the chocolate to curdle, rescued it with a few teaspoons of warm tap water, lamented the fact that I seemed to have lost my chocolate karma, dipped the doughnuts in the glazing anyway) to balance out the tastes. I ran out of glazing so I rolled the rest of the doughnuts and the doughnut holes in caster sugar.

All in all I was very pleased with the whole experiment. This recipe is excellent, producing very soft doughnuts with a thin crisp crust. The chocolate or jam and sugar added the right amount of sweetness. Thanks for a great challenge, Lori!

October 19, 2010

Raspberry Chocolate Tarte

Another recipe that I've adapted from the great Ms. Humble's blog. I realised later that I've made a similar tarte several times before from the book "Verr├╝ckt nach Schokolade" (Crazy about Chocolate) by Trish Deseine. Whenever I made it I used store bought crust without chocolate because I was too lazy to make my own. When making this tarte I realized how easy it is to make my own shortcrust pastry and I'll probably never use store bought again.

Raspberry Chocolate Tarte
a variation of Ms. Humble's Bittersweet Chocolate Tarte

Shortcrust Pastry
150g powdered sugar
40g cacao powder
55g ground almonds
190g flour
1 pinch of salt
100g butter, cold
1 large egg

Line a big tarte pan (28cm diameter) or four small tarte pans (10cm diameter) with baking parchment or butter them.

Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut the cold butter into little pieces, combine them with the flour-mix and rub everything together with your fingers until it is well mixed (at this stage it resembles grated cheese a little). Add the egg and quickly combine all the ingredients.

Press into the tarte pan and put in the freezer for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Place a piece of baking parchment on the crust and add baking weights (dried beans will do an excellent job). Bake for about 10min, remove the weights and bake for another 8min until the crust is dry and light in colour. Cool on a wire rack.

Ganache Filling
300g dark chocolate, finely chopped
360ml heavy cream
a handful of fresh (or frozen) raspberries

Heat the cream to a simmer over medium heat (be careful not to let it burn) and pour over the chopped chocolate. Mix until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.

Scatter the raspberries on the crust, then pour on the ganache and let the tarte cool for at least an hour.