Friday, August 27, 2010

AUGUST 2010 DARING BAKERS CHALLENGE ~ Nutty and toasty meets cool and creamy...

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 Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I didn't know how delicious browned butter cake was and how good it smelled until I baked it last night. I think I was on a sugar high for the rest of the evening while it was baking. And I was in sugar heaven when I trimmed the edges and had to eat them--I didn't want them to go to waste :)
I've been quite busy and didn't think I'd be able to make it but here I am, and I'm glad I participated in this challenge. I made vanilla ice cream with blueberries to top my beurre noisette pound cake. I remember freezing the ice cream in plastic-lined cups, but in the morning, they were not frozen, more like chilled but I tried to salvage everything and covered it with my meringue (which didn't whip too firmly due to the weather). I stuck it in the oven for 5 minutes but didn't get the "torched" look, I had to bring them out or risk the ice cream melting on me.

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)

2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Meringue (For the Baked Alaska)

8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
1 cup (220g) sugar

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.

Thank you Elisa for this challenge! The browned butter pound cake recipe alone was worth it!


anchan said...

Oh, I love blueberries! And this looks so light and tempting, I'd love to try some! xxx

Not Quite Nigella said...

Yours look fantastic! :D I know what you mean, wasn't the cake good? I should keep some browned butter in the fridge in case of emergency :P

Anonymous said...

Lovely baked alaska. Very nicely done. Love the touch of adding blueberries.

Suzler said...

Looks delicious! I love the sound of that blueberry ice cream. I'm in complete agreement about the browned buttr cake. I had no idea browned butter could make cake taste so good.

Great job!

sarah said...

Nice one! You are braver than I to try the baked Alaska. I am impressed at how delicious it looks, even if it was not too brown. Wouldn't it be great to own a kitchen blowtorch one day??

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I love the addition of blueberries to your baked alaska - both for colour and flavour. Great work!

shelley c. said...

Oh, I am so with you on that brown butter cake - SO yummy! And I love your blueberry ice cream! Even a little melty, your Baked Alaska looks absolutely scrumptious. Awesome job on the challenge!

Aparna said...

Its a pity that the meringue didn't quite brown, but hey! I think it tasted good and that's all that matters in the end. Really. :)

Margie said...

The browned butter cake sounds delicious! Wow, so many layers... cake, ice cream, merinque. Of course, that's what I expect from the Daring Bakers. It looks amazing.

Pavithra said...

WOw that looks fantastic and great job...

Jeanne said...

The brown butter cake sure was fantastic! I bet it was extra yummy with the blueberries!

Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

Oh yes, how amazing are butter cakes? Such a simple combination with vanilla ice cream and blueberries but so divine and classic. Yum...

Joy said...

That looks so good. I have yet to make mine

Mary said...

Blueberry ice cream sounds like a perfect match. This was challenging in hot and humid weather, but so yummy.

Renata said...

The blueberries seem to have added a finishing touch. Well done! Looks delicious!

Tia said...

Way to go on the berries and baked alaska combo. Can't wait to see your take on next months challenge!

♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

the meringue, the ice cream, plus the addition of blueberries? hmmm im in sweet heaven!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

I adore blueberries so that is a great touch. It was good this brown butter cake. Looks beautiful!

alice said...

Oooh blueberry ice cream would go so well with the brown butter pound cake. Definitely a combination to try.
Looking forward to next months challenge now!

bake in paris said...

Same here, I like the pound cake so much and was amazed how aromatic and delicious it became because of the brown butter...

Your addition of blueberry is a great choice. Love both the flavor and color of your presentation..

Sawadee from bangkok,

The Betz Family said...

Your Baked Alaska looks delicious! I wonder why your ice cream didn't harden in the freezer overnight? Nice job on the challenge in spite of melting ice cream! :)

Anonymous said...

I haven't yet made blueberry ice cream (now I plan to!), but it sounds delicious!

julie said...

Yours turned out delicious! Doesn't that browned butter smell grand?! I saved all my edges too. I've been slowly eating them and loving every minute of it. Congrats on a successful challenge!

Lisa said...

OMg..browned or not..your meringue is nice and gooey in a good way and it just adds to the mouth atering. The blueberry ice cream sounds amazing! Beautifully done all around!!