Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream – July 2008 Daring Baker

I used some of the leftover praline to decorate the plate
It’s that time of month again - Daring Baker time. This month sees a challenge set by the lovely Chris of Melle Cote. It’s a mutli layered cake with seven different parts, making up the one big gateau. It hails from Great Cakes by Carol Walter, a book full of, well great cakes!
The cakes
The various elements of the hazelnut gateau were a Filbert Genoise – light and airy hazelnut sponge, a Sugar Syrup for soaking the sponge, Praline Buttercream for which you needed to combine a Swiss Buttercream and a Praline Paste, finally there was an Apricot Glaze and a Ganache Glaze to finish it all off.

Hazelnuts and caramel, ready to be ground
I usually multi task quite efficiently, but this time blips were coming at me think and fast. I take full responsibility, I guess it’s possible my brain might just be in overload currently.

The cake in it's dinner jacket of chocolate
First there was the sugar syrup, which I didn’t read correctly and instead of ¼ cup of sugar and 1 cup of water I used 1 cup sugar and ¼ cup water. It was close to being soft ball in consistency, and I melted my favourite plastic measuring spoon. I would add that I moulded it back the best I could, seeing as it was so floppy, and it’s worked a bit, but it will never be quite the same again, what a silly goose I am. Never mind I made a new batch with the correct measurements. Next I layered the cakes with the praline buttercream and when I got to the top realise that the sugar syrup with rum added was still in the fridge. I remedied it the best I could by placing the cake on a serving stand with a lip and dousing the top then placing spoonfulls of the syrup on the stand and tilting it until the syrup disappeared into the sponge. The third and final mishap was when I was piping the buttercream onto the top of the cake, when my piping bag burst on top of the shiny chocolate! I thought well the top won’t be quite what it was but I get a plastic food bag and use that, it burst too, so I just blobbed on little dollops and also round the base of the cake. When I cleaned the nozzle I found a bit a praline the bad been to big, blocked to nozzle and had therefore made the bag burst.
I’m actually feeling quite lucky that it turned out even halfway decent, I guess the moral of this story is don’t attempt too much if you are overloaded already! It was fun though, and the cake was good, even better with some double cream on the side.
A really messy cake! I just couldn't recover the spodged on top!!
Thanks Chris for a great challenge. Visit the Daring Baker Blogroll to see some more great filbert cakes.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Fantastico Modern Italian Food

This book I’m posting about today was published last year, but I only bought it a few weeks ago, and have been cooking steadily from it since.
Italian Shepherd’s Pie
Fantastico Modern Italian Food by Gino D’Acampo, is just what it’s title says, Gino’s mantra seems to be ‘minimum effort, maximum satisfaction’ and it does seem to be very fitting, but when the recipes are fast the ingredients have to be top notch. This is fine by me searching out good food is one of a food lovers joys, and searching for them in Italian delicatessens is right up my street, but I digress.
Apple and Pine Nut Cake with Honey-Marscapone
I’ve cooked five of Gino’s recipes and here they are three mains and two puddings. Savoury first, the first was a recipe I saw him cook on TV, when he was a guest chef on Market Kitchen, he made Italian Shepherd’s Pie, which is a mince and tomato basil flavoured base topped with cheesy sweet potato mash and sprinkled with more Parmesan to finish. Really delicious.
Pasta with Ham and Mushrooms in Cream
It led me onto Pasta with Ham and Mushrooms in Cream, and then Sausage, Bean and Olive Casserole which was so very good.
Sausage, Bean and Olive Casserole
The two sweet dishes were his Tiramisu and an Apple and Pine Nut Cake with Honey-Marscapone. Both were lovely, the Tiramisu was flavoured with Amaretto,
light and creamy, mmm. The cake was very unusual and a recipe given to Gino by his Mother-In-Law, which he left unchanged out of respect to her, my little one was wild for the mascarpone cream in particular, we liked it all =)
He has a new book out this year which I’ve pre-ordered on the basis of this one, looking forward to it already.
Click on these links for the recipes for Tiramisu, Italian Shepherd’s Pie , Sausage, Bean and Olive Casserole