Wednesday, August 22, 2012

#Baketogether Take Two: Rose-Scented Panna Cotta with Lychee Bits and Raspberry Sauce

Given the unbelievable ease and convenience of making Abby Dodge's Panna Cotta recipe for this August's #Baketogether, I couldn't resist trying out another flavor combination that tastes just as summery and exotic as my previous version.  This time, I wanted to put my recently purchased rose water to use so I thought of adding a few teaspoons of it to the creamy base of the Panna Cotta along with bits of canned lychees and a topping of tart raspberry sauce.  The combination of rose, lychees, and raspberries is one of the most interesting dessert combinations I've tried and the flavors somehow meld together into an unsual (but oh-so-good) guava-like flavor.  You'll keep on eating and eating this trying to distinguish the notes of flavor that present themselves in each spoonful you put in your mouth!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pain Francais: A Bread for Julia

To celebrate what would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday, the Bread Baking Babes and Buddies have joined together this month to bake the late culinary icon's Pain Francais (French Bread) -- one of the many recipes popularized by Julia in her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2."  This bread, though simple in its make-up, is rather complicated in nature and does require some mastery of French bread baking techniques as well as a higher level of skill in bread shaping; certainly essential if you want yours to look remotely like the breads you'd find in the boulangeries of France (which mine definitely does not :-P).  Julia's recipe is quite informative yet rather lengthy in its 20 pages(!) but Susan of Wild Yeast Blog posted a much simplified version of this recipe here.  Hanaa was also kind enough to send me a very helpful video of Julia making this bread--which I've posted below--during one of her shows that aired back in the 60s (I'm guessing the date but based on her hairstyle, it must've been during that time LOL).  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fragrant Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Would you believe that these rolls only made use of 1/8 teaspoon of yeast?  It's not at all the amount of yeast that the recipe called for but more the amount of yeast I only ended up using because of my absent-mindedness and utterly poor mis en place skills LOL.  I'm actually quite surprised that these rolls turned out the way they did--quite soft and delicious actually--as I was all ready to throw the dough into the trash bin or just bake them regardless of my error (and turn them into bread crumbs or paper weights) when I realized more than half-way through bulk fermentation that I had forgotten to add the yeast required in the final dough!  Luckily for me, the dough made use of a poolish, built the night before with a small amount of yeast, which acted like a starter that gave these rolls enough leavening power to turn them the way they did.  It took a loooong time for the rolls to almost double in size though but at least I still got decent bread! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

#Baketogether: Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with Warm Mango-Rum Coulis

It's been a while since I last joined Abby's monthly Baketogethers and this Panna Cotta recipe that she posted for this August's Baketogether was impossible to miss out on because of how easy it is to make--just as easy as making Jell-o in a cup!  One of the things I like about making Panna Cotta is the zero oven time required to whip this up thus avoiding the unpleasantness of being trapped in a very warm kitchen.  Another thing I like about this dessert is that despite its simple ingredients and utterly uncomplicated method, with the right sauce and flavorings, it could be just as rich and satisfying as any of its yolky and custardy, oven-baked counterparts.  The creamy base of the Panna Cotta is really the perfect vessel for holding whatever flavors your heart desires and it pairs really well with almost any sweet liquid addition--my favorite being fruit sauces-- which really makes it the ideal dessert to make for a #Baketogether where everyone joining in is welcome to create their own twist to a particular recipe.    

Monday, August 6, 2012

Diamond Head: Hubby's Birthday Cake!

 I wanted to bake a special cake for my husband's birthday celebration a few days ago and I knew that the Diamond Head cake from the book Extraordinary Cakes would be perfect for this occasion.  Since my hubby loves Mauna Loa Macadamia Chocolates, I was certain that he would love the Hawaiian-inspired flavors of this cake as well.   I also happen to love this chocolate-macadamia combo so I was really looking forward to having a slice of this cake all to myself.  I also found it hard to resist not licking my fingers and baking utensils after making the individual components most especially after I made the ganache, vanilla bean custard and macadamia brittle!  :-)  Actually, the three components on their own already make for a very satisfying treat.