The problem with being a Daring Baker is that our creations are hardly low on calories and generally come with a baked-in 'just-one-more-slice' factor. On the other hand, there is nothing better than being able to share the fruit of your toils with friends. And thank goodness I had friend old and new to help me eat this month's offerings!
As soon as I read the description of the Sans Rival, I knew that this would be exactly up my alley. I've always had a terrible weakness for the meringue and buttercream combination. Each birthday I would ask my mum to make a Gateau Diane, and on Saturdays lunchtimes I would sneak out of the shop I worked in to buy a Jap Cake... yeah, I've always had a sweet tooth :-D I couldn't wait to get started!
I used the given recipe, using chocolate and cashew nuts, and it all went very smoothly. I made the buttercream the day before, very dangerous as I couldn't resist checking it every now and then. I didn't bake the meringue in a tin, instead I just drew a circle on parchment and spooned it into shape. They weren't as crispy as I'd hoped they'd be, but that was entirely because I'd left it til late to bake them and I really needed to go to bed rather than hang around my oven into the early hours. Next time I will make sure to bake in the morning.
The finished product was utterly divine! I can see me making this again and again, although it would be fun to play around with flavours (I'd hoped to make a matcha and kinako version before the deadline). I am already mentally lining up social occasions to be able to try just another slice!
I also took up the optional challenge to make Bibingka. It was rather a last minute decision and I knew I hadn't left enough time to make the salted eggs, so I used quail eggs in the hope that they would absorb the brine faster (I had less than a week). I forgot to take photos of the first batch of eggs, but I have a second batch of hen eggs soaking right now as I will be making this recipe again for our church Christmas service (we have a lot of Filipino members and I thought they might enjoy a taste of home).
Like many other DBers, I had trouble dissolving the salt, in spite of simmering the mixture for a good while. The murky jar looks like some kind of science experiment, although the quail eggs did look far more pretty than the hen eggs. Oh, and I didn't have any brandy so ended up using some homemade umeshu (plum liqueur) instead. The quail eggs tasted great - I snacked on one or two as they were very fiddly to peel and some of them didn't survive in tact to make it to the cakes! ;-)
I couldn't find banana leaves anywhere, so instead opted to make Bibingka cupcakes (which worked very well with the smaller eggs). The batter was very easy to make, although mine was much, much thicker than the example we were shown and I have no idea why... Still, they turned out just fine. The only thing I did differently was to brown the tops of the cakes after sprinkling with the topping rather than before. Not that I was trying to be clever or anything, I'd just misread the instructions!
They were made for my friend (and pastor's wife) M-san, who will be celebrating her birthday on Tuesday!
Thank you to Catherine for challenging us with such interesting and delicious desserts, it was great fun to do! :-D
10 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews
Note: You will need four layers which will mean that you might have to bake in two batches. Be sure to use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.
1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well.
3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10 mins.)
4. Fold in nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.
5. Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.
7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.
5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like
1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add flavoring after you beat in the butter. Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.
Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a
thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of
buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. It is easier to cut cold. May freeze.
Thank you to Jun, from Jun-blog, for his recipe.
2 cups (480 ml) (320 gm) (11.3 oz) rice flour
1/2 cup (120 ml) (80 gm) (2.8 oz) glutinous rice flour
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) baking powder
3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm) (6 oz) sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (80 ml) (75 gm) (2⅔ oz) unsalted butter melted
1-1/2 cup (360 ml) coconut milk
6 pieces banana leaves cut into 8-inch (20 cm) circles
1 salted egg, sliced into 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick slices, recipe follows
Butter, salted or unsalted, for brushing the tops
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) grated coconut (optional)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) grated Edam cheese (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
2. Line six tart pans or ramekins with banana leaves and brush the leaves with butter.
4. Pour the rice batter equally into the six pans or ramekins. Lay a slice of salted egg on top and bake until the cake is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Take the cakes out of the oven and brush the top with butter. Turn the broiler to low and broil the cakes to brown the top for about two minutes.
5. Serve the cakes warm. Brush the cakes with butter and sprinkle with sugar, grated coconut, and grated Edam cheese.
Cooking notes from Jun:
• For the rice and glutinous rice flour, I recommend using the Thai brand commonly found in most Asian grocery stores.
• Use either tart pans or ramekins lined with banana leaves cut into circles. The cakes baked in 6-inch (15 cm) pans more closely resemble the traditional ones. The cakes baked in 4-inch (10 cm) ramekins are thicker and take longer to bake.
• Instead of a sliced salted egg, the cakes can be topped with slices of Edam or Gouda cheese.
• When using frozen grated coconut let the grated coconut thaw then place the thawed coconut on paper towels to soak up the extra moisture. Place them on a baking tray and lightly toast them for about a few minutes with the broiler (griller) turned on low. Use grated coconut and NOT grated young coconut.
1 part salt
4 parts water
sichuan pepper corns
1 tablespoon brandy or whiskey
Eggs, duck or chicken (duck is traditional)
1. Boil all ingredients except eggs on the stove until the salt is dissolved. Let the liquid cool.
2. Place eggs in a clean mason jar, pour in the salt water, seal.
3. Place in your pantry for 2-3 weeks. To check if they are done, remove an egg, cook it, and taste it. You may decide that the rest of the eggs need a few more days.