Burn baby burn – for the Daring Bakers

Friday, August 27, 2010

Woo hoo, made it on time ☺

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”.

Baked alaska sandwich - brown butter pound cake + brown bread ice-cream

First off, if you haven’t ever visited Elissa’s blog (actually, I hadn’t either until today), head over there like right now! She is super incredibly talented and only 18. I can’t even remember what I was doing at that age, but definitely not taking photos as amazing as the ones she’s got on her site.

Back to the challenge, I followed the given recipe for the Brown Butter Pound Cake, which was very straightforward and very delicious fresh from the oven (it dried out a bit the next day but the ice-cream soaked into it and made it ok). Actually, one little part was not so straightforward – I accidentally threw out the solids left over when making the browned butter, but realised later they would have added more flavour to the cake. No biggie.

For the ice-cream, I made a Brown Bread ice-cream using a combination of recipes, one found here at Nordljus and one here from The Times online.  Basically, I made the crumbs using the recipe posted at Nordljus, and I made the ice-cream base using the Times recipe. The only change I made was to use leftover crusts, even though the recipe states to use crustless bread. Well, I had to clear out the freezer to make space for the finished baked alaska, and these crusts had been hoarded for awhile now. Sometimes the MC’s request crustless sandwiches and rather than fight about it, I just save the crusts for later ☺

 Crunchy, sweet, toasty crumbs, yum!
I also used a frozen carton of cream for the ice-cream base, just to see if it could be done (never take the easy road is my motto). At first, things didn’t look like they were going well, the thawed cream wasn’t smooth, and when heated (to infuse the vanilla bean), the cream separated and there was a thin layer of “butter” floating on top. I just stirred it back in and strained the mixture, made the custard base according to instructions and strained the mixture again. No problems. Glad to have finally found a use for frozen cream – custard! The finished ice-cream was a touch hard because I don't own an ice-cream maker, but the flavour is fantastically toasty.

 This is what happens to frozen cream when heated

Custard base

The meringue part was straightforward too, I used 3 eggwhites rather than the recommended 8 because I only made two mini desserts (I whipped in 3 heaped tablespoons of caster sugar and a bit of vanilla extract, but forgot to add any salt). Not having a blowtorch, I baked the finished “bombes” in the oven, but only the tops got browned. Then I hit on the brilliant idea of holding the covered cakes close to the gas flame on the hob, and they coloured up in a flash ☺

Not content with that small act of pyromania, I then tried to set fire to my baked alaska. Trying to heat up the baked alaska, and the alcohol, then handling matches and the shutter button while keeping small children at bay  - no flambé.

C'mon, burn will ya!

Alcohol is supposed to be flammable! Can't you read Rum?


So I waited for Mr. Kitchen Hand and voila!

Thanks Elissa for a fun and fiery challenge. Do visit the rest of the Daring gang to see what they’ve come up with. The challenge recipe can be found at the Daring Kitchen or our host’s blog.

Booze is deceptively hard to light, the alcohol needs to be warmed up to about 130˚F and it needs to be at least 80 proof (beer won't cut it). The food to be flambed also needs to be warm enough so the alcohol doesn't cool too rapidly. For more flambe information and important SAFETY PRECAUTIONS, check here.


Jennifurla said...

Great job! Beautiful Challenge!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

What a great challenge and you did an awesome job. I'd never heard of brown bread ice cream before and my curiosity is peaked.

shelley c. said...

Whoa, you are brave, lighting that dessert on fire! Your Baked Alaska looks delicious. Great job on the challenge!

sadaf said...

I can see you had to effor a lot to gave it brown look . well done with the challenge .

Vanille said...

Your baked Alaska look really cute ! Like your persistence to give them the final look ;)

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Like your title! Burn baby burn! I had fun blow torching my Alaska. Yours is very nicely done.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

hehe I chuckled at the title-that's what I was thinking! :P You did a great job and I love how you matched it with the ice cream! :D

Esi said...

OOh, really great try for your baked alaska. Nice job.

LittleRed said...

What a great looking challenge. I was afraid to try the baked Alaska because I don't have a torch on me.....and once completed....I'd have to eat it all since I'm alone at home this week:) I like your ingenuity in browning the meringue! Super job!

Renata said...

I wasn't brave enough to flambée mine but I really wanted to... maybe next time... Great job!

shaz said...

Jennifurla - thank you! Your festive petit fours are very cute :)

Xiaolu - brown bread ice-cream is suppposed to be an old-fashioned British dessert. I'd always wanted to make it since reading about it when I was a kid, finally got the chance to.

shelley c. - I was pretty nervous at first but it's actually surprisingly hard to get alcohol to burn. It needs to be warmed to just the right temperature first.

sadaf - thank you, I think I need a blowtorch!

Vanille - thanks dear :) I'm stubborn.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - I know, I want a blow torch just like yours :)

Lorraine - thank you, now I have a song stuck in my head.

Esi - thanks! Hope the technical difficulties with your blog get fixed soon.

LittleRed - that's why I always make mini-versions :) Doesn't stop me from eating all of it up, but at least it's smaller.

Renata - it was a bit scary at first especially after reading all the warnings online, but it was actually not too bad in the end.

Little Miss Cupcake said...

Now that's what I call a "baked" Alaska! Brown bread ice cream? That's a new one for me! Great job!

sarah said...

Beautiful. I shied away from the baked Alaska because of having no blowtorch, but I'm pleased it didn't stop you! Well done.

Aparna said...

Your bakes alaska looks lovely. Can see you had a lot of fun. After all, its not everyday that you get to set your food on fire and then be able to enjoy it! :D

Suzler said...

Awww, I wish I'd been brave enough to set fire to mine. That would have been amazing. Your flambée shots are fantastic and your commentary made me laugh, but I did feel your pain.

Hurray for brown bread ice cream! Your Baked Alaska looks gorgeous - great job. :)

Mary said...

It looks great! Funny that the booze didn't want to burn at first. I didn't flambe mine, but wish I had, as I love playing with fire.

Hungry Dog said...

Shaz, you are amazing! More daring (and more skilled in the baking department!) than me!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

What can beat a Bombe Alaska for dining room spectacle. I love your efforts with a match to blow-torch and photograph. Petite and beautiful!

Marcellina said...

Fantastic, Shaz! You have me in stitches!!! You were very determined to get the meringue browned and flaming! Good on you! I love the pic when it actually is alight, I have never been able to light alcohol! You would think it should lit easily!

Jamie said...

Shaz! Too cute and I am laughing out loud at your browning your meringue with a match! But how brilliant! I love it! And wonderful little Baked Alaska, my friend.

grace said...

'not content with that small act of pyromania...'--ha! i suffer from pyromania a bit as well, and i can see myself getting carried away with a challenge like this. :)
nicely done, shaz!

pierre said...

as usual it is always beautiful here !! Pierre

Emma @Cakemistress said...

Awesome. Will have to remember that flame trick for when browning meringue. (I can't be trusted with a blowtorch, he he.)

Kitchen Butterfly said...

It looks GORGEOUS and very festive with the peaks - I'm thinking should make a Christmas appearance. Well done

3 hungry tummies said...

Great work kitchen hand :) That looks amazing Shaz!

bake in paris said...

I threw away the solids left from browning the butter too, thought it was just so unpleasant to see :-)

Wow, I am impressed you managed to brown the meringue with matches and alcohol. Look at the final result, I can't tell the difference from blown torch.

Sawadee from bangkok,

shaz said...

Thank everyone. I never realised how hard it was to set booze on fire too, so I've added more info to the post.

Bake on Daring Bakers! Till next month.


shaz said...

PS - I browned the meringue in four parts - oven, gas hob, matches (unintentional) and flambe :)

Lisa said...

Not only are your Baked Alaskas gorgeous, (and I love the torching photos), but that bron bread ice cream sounds incredible and so unique! You are one creative chicklet!