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Bailey’s Chocolate Caramel Pudding

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Last summer, this chocolate pudding was chosen for Tuesdays with Dorie.  I was so excited to make it, and I made it even though we were leaving for our beach vacation that night.  We were having dinner with friends right before leaving, so I thought I’d make this for dessert.  I got in the kitchen right away, and as I was using the food processor, the liquid started spilling out everywhere.  Even though my food processor is fairly large (9 cups), it wasn’t big enough for this recipe.  I was so disappointed, and I didn’t have time to re-do it, since it would require another trip to the grocery store because I was low on ingredients.  I decided to just try again later, and I quickly whipped up a batch of Dorie’s Peanut Butter Cookies instead (at least I was still using a Dorie recipe!).

I finally decided to get back in the kitchen and make this, using just half the recipe.  Thankfully everything went smoothly, and I got a delicious pudding!  I remembered Peabody’s version from last year and decided to go that route.  The pudding isn’t difficult to make, but it does require a lot of going back and forth between the food processor and the stove.  It produced a velvety smooth pudding, though, and it had the perfect chocolate flavor.  Just like Peabody, I put a layer of caramel at the bottom, and layered it throughout the pudding.  I noticed that the caramel softened up a bit after a day or two in the refrigerator, and it meshed together with the pudding more easily.  The caramel was SO GOOD!  It was perfect with this pudding, and I am looking forward to using it in other desserts.  I also added a little bit of Bailey’s to the pudding itself for additional flavor.  I am so glad I decided to go back and try this again- it was worth the wait!

Chocolate Pudding
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 ¼ cups whole milk

6 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and still warm

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Have six ramekins or pudding cups, each holding 4 to 6 ounces (½ to ¾ cup), at hand.

Bring 2 cups of the milk and 3 tablespoons of the sugar to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

While the milk is heating, put the cocoa, cornstarch and salt into a food processor and whir to blend. Turn them out onto a piece of wax paper, put the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, the egg and egg yolks into the processor and blend for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining ¼ cup milk and pulse just to mix, then add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to blend.

With the machine running, very slowly pour in the hot milk mixture. Process for a few seconds, then put everything back into the saucepan. Whisk without stopping over medium heat – making sure to get into the edges of the pan – until the pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles burble up to the surface and pop (about 2 minutes). You want the pudding to thicken, but you don’t want it to boil, so lower the heat if necessary.

Scrape the pudding back into the processor (if there’s a scorched spot, avoid it as you scrape) and pulse a couple of times. Add the chocolate, butter and vanilla and pulse until everything is evenly blended.

Pour the pudding into the ramekins. If you don’t want a skin to form (some people think the skin is the best part), press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of each pudding to create an airtight seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Bailey’s Caramel Sauce
Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream plus 1 tablespoons
1/8 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream plus 1 tablespoons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

To make the topping:
Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber, 5-10 minutes. Combine Bailey’s(1/8 cup) and Cream together. Take the pan off of the heat and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream mixture and butter. When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps. Add in the 1 TBSP of Bailey’s and whisk until incorporated.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

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I don’t have a lot of experience with bread pudding.  I’ve only had it a couple of times, and haven’t been totally crazy about  it, but liked it okay enough.  I think the problem was that I never really had good bread pudding.  I mean, I think the last time I remember having it was in the college dining hall…not exactly an example of fine culinary arts.  I made it once before, but it honestly was not that memorable.  I don’t even remember where I got the recipe, but it was before I really got into baking hardcore and knew what to look for in a recipe.  I was intrigued with this recipe.  I was excited to try making bread pudding again, and thought the chocolate would be an interesting twist.

I have been lucky enough to find a really great gluten-free flour mix for making pizza and French Bread.  It’s made by a company called Gluten Free Pantry, and it’s been nice to still be able to enjoy pizza at home every once in a while and to use it to make bread for desserts like this.  This recipe was easy enough to put together.  I really liked the way the bread soaked up the custard, but still left enough sauce for just the right amount of richness.  I added a little bit more chocolate to the custard than the recipe called for (I don’t know how much, but I just kept adding until I used up the package!).  It was perfectly chocolaty and made me realized just how good bread pudding can be.  I already have some ideas for other bread puddings I want to try!  You can visit Lauren’s blog for the recipe, and visit the TWD blog to see how everyone else liked this week’s pick.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Banana Cream Pie

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I’ve never made a banana cream pie before, so I was excited to try this.  I grew up eating banana pudding all the time, so I was pretty sure I would like this.  This week was even easier because I already had one of Dorie’s pie crusts on hand from the last time we made a pie for TWD.  It might come in handy for you to know that pie crusts do last for a while in the freezer, because I made the crust back in November.  When I was making the crust for the Thanksgiving pie, I read and used the directions for a double crusted pie and didn’t realize until I was finished.  But, it saved me time this week, so it was a good thing 🙂

This is such a homely looking pie, but it sure was good.   The custard was absolutely amazing.  I could just eat the custard straight.  Making the custard kind of reminded me of Christmas because of the spices used.  It smelled so good and filled the kitchen.  With the layers of custard and bananas, and the delicious whipped cream topping, it’s hard not to love this dessert.  I served it to some of our friends one night and it was pretty much devoured on the spot.   You can visit Amy’s blog for the recipe, and visit the Tuesdays with Dorie blog to see everyone else’s pies!

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Tuesdays with Dorie: Lemon Cup Custard

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I wanted to like this.  I really did.  I expected it to be more like a creamy, lemony dessert, but this was quite different.  It tasted more like a lemon flan and I learned a year ago when I first made and tried flan that I do not like it one bit.  The texture is too eggy for me, and I prefer something lighter and creamier.

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The method for this was easy, which was good because I made it Sunday night after returning from being in the mountains all weekend.  After letting the milk mixture sit for a little while, you pour it over eggs and then bake.  Mine came together in the correct amount of time, which was surprising because I remember having trouble the last time we baked a custard for TWD.  Even if I didn’t care for this, I’m glad I tried it and had the experience of making it.  You can find the recipe on Bridget’s site, The Way the Cookie Crumbles, and see everyone else’s take on the recipe by visiting the TWD blog.

December Daring Bakers: French Yule Log

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I was pretty excited when I saw the December 2008 challenge.  It was nice that it was something sweet, which gave me a great dessert to serve for our Christmas party.  I have really been wanting to go back and make the yule log from December 2007, and I still plan to, since I wasn’t totally happy with how this came out.

In the end, it was very good, but it was so ugly I wouldn’t call it a success.  My first problem was not using a yule log mold or at least not knowing what size to make the elements.  All was fine except the creme brulee layer, which wasn’t the right size and it was hard to get out of the pan so it didn’t really work.  I think my favorite part was the Rice Krispie layer.  I would make that again just to eat it by itself.  I also had problems with getting the frosting to come together.  I thickened it with powdered sugar, but it was still a soupy mess and contributed most to the ugliness of this yule log.  I chose to make this a completely chocolate log and used the chooclate variation of the elements.  It was pretty tasty, but when I think back, it probably wasn’t the best idea to try to make it while I was busy preparing all the other food for the Christmas party.  I would love to try this again when I can get a yule log mold because I know I can get it to come out better next time.  I’m still glad I got the chance to make it, so thank you Hilda for choosing it!

This month’s challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda of Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.  They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

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FRENCH YULE LOG OR ENTREMETS RECIPE by Flore of Florilège Gourmand

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)

Preparation time: 10 mn + 15 mn for baking

Equipment: 2 mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment, spatula, baking pan such as a 10″x15″ jelly-roll pan, parchment paper

Note: You can use the Dacquoise for the bottom of your Yule Log only, or as bottom and top layers, or if using a Yule log mold (half-pipe) to line your entire mold with the biscuit. Take care to spread the Dacquoise accordingly. Try to bake the Dacquoise the same day you assemble the log to keep it as moist as possible.

Ingredients:
2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s sugar
2Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium egg whites
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

1.    Finely mix the almond meal and the confectioner’s sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds).
2.    Sift the flour into the mix.
3.    Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
4.    Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
5.    Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.
6.    Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc…) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
7.    Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
8.    Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Variations on the Almond Dacquoise listed above:

Hazelnut Dacquoise
Substitute the same amount of hazelnut meal for the almond meal.

Chocolate Dacquoise
Add 3 tablespoons of sifted unsweetened cocoa powder into the almond meal/caster sugar mix in Step #1 of the Almond Dacquoise.

Lemon Dacquoise
Add the zest of 1 Lemon after the flour in Step #2 of the Almond Dacquoise.

Coconut Dacquoise
Substitute ¼ cup of almond meal and add 2/3 cup shredded coconut in Step #1 of the Almond Dacquoise.

Element #2 Dark Chocolate Mousse

Preparation time: 20mn

Equipment: stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment, thermometer, double boiler or equivalent, spatula

Note: You will see that a Pate a Bombe is mentioned in this recipe. A Pate a Bombe is a term used for egg yolks beaten with a sugar syrup, then aerated. It is the base used for many mousse and buttercream recipes. It makes mousses and buttercreams more stable, particularly if they are to be frozen, so that they do not melt as quickly or collapse under the weight of heavier items such as the crème brulee insert.
In the Vanilla Mousse variation, pastry cream is made to the same effect.
In the Mango Mousse variation, Italian meringue is made to the same effect. Italian meringue is a simple syrup added to egg whites as they are beaten until stiff. It has the same consistency as Swiss meringue (thick and glossy) which we have used before in challenge recipes as a base for buttercream.
The Whipped Cream option contains no gelatin, so beware of how fast it may melt.
Gelatin is the gelifying agent in all of the following recipes, but if you would like to use agar-agar, here are the equivalencies: 8g powdered gelatin = 1 (0.25 oz) envelope powdered gelatin = 1 Tbsp powdered gelatin = 1 Tbsp Agar-Agar.
1 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes is equal to 1 tsp. of agar-agar powder.

Ingredients:
2.5 sheets gelatin or 5g / 1 + 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
1.5 oz (3 Tbsp / 40g) granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp (10g) glucose or thick corn syrup
0.5 oz (15g) water
50g egg yolks (about 3 medium)
6.2 oz (175g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1.5 cups (350g) heavy cream (35% fat content)

1.    Soften the gelatin in cold water. (If using powdered gelatin, follow the directions on the package.)
2.    Make a Pate a Bombe: Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white).
2a.  Cook the sugar, glucose syrup and water on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 244°F (118°C). If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the sugar temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water, if it forms a soft ball in the water then you have reached the correct temperature.
2b.  Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks. You can do this by hand but it’s easier to do this with an electric mixer.
2c.  Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.
3.    In a double boiler or equivalent, heat 2 tablespoons (30g) of cream to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
4. Whip the remainder of the cream until stiff.
5.    Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well. Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir in ½ cup (100g) of WHIPPED cream to temper. Add the Pate a Bombe.
6.    Add in the rest of the WHIPPED cream (220g) mixing gently with a spatula.

Variations on the Dark Chocolate Mousse listed above:

White Chocolate Mousse
Substitute the same quantity of white chocolate for the dark chocolate in the mousse recipe listed above.

Milk Chocolate Whipped Cream (Chantilly):
(Can be made the day before and kept in the fridge overnight)
2/3 cup (160g) heavy cream 35% fat
7.8 oz (220g) milk chocolate
2 1/3 tsp (15g) glucose or thick corn syrup
1 1/3 cup (320g) heavy cream 35% fat

1.  Chop the chocolate coarsely.
2.  Heat the 160g of cream to boiling and pour over the chocolate and glucose syrup.
3.  Wait 30 seconds then stir the mix until smooth. Add the remaining cream.
4.  Refrigerate to cool, then whip up.

Vanilla Mousse
2/3 cup (160g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
2/3 cup (160g) whole milk
1 vanilla bean
4 medium-sized egg yolks
3 oz (6 Tbsp / 80g) granulated sugar
3 Tbsp (25g) cornstarch, sifted
4g / 2 tsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
1 cup (240g) whipping cream (35% fat content)

Make a pastry cream:
1.    Pour the milk and 2/3 cup cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into milk and put the vanilla bean in as well.
2.    Heat to boiling, then turn the heat off, cover and let infuse for at least 30 minutes. Then remove the vanilla bean.
3.    Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until white, thick and fluffy.
4.    Add the cornstarch, beating carefully to ensure that there are no lumps. While whisking vigorously, pour some of the milk into the yolk mixture to temper it.
5.    Put infused milk back on the stove on medium heat. Pour yolk mixture back into the milk while whisking vigorously. Keep whisking vigorously until mixture thickens considerably.
6.    As soon as the mixture starts to boil, leave on for only 2 more minutes. (The recipe says you should remove the vanilla bean at this time but in the interest of no one getting burned, that can be done after you take the pastry cream off the stove.)
7.    Once removed from the heat, cover the pastry cream by putting plastic film directly on the surface of the cream (this prevents it from forming a thick and unappetizing skin as it cools). Let cool at room temperature.
8.    Soften the gelatin in cold water and melt in a small saucepan with 1 tsp of water OR melt in the microwave for 1 second (do not boil). Whisking vigorously, pour the cooled pastry cream over it.
9.    Whip the 1 cup whipping cream until stiff and add gradually to the pastry cream (DO NOT WHISK). Blend delicately with a spatula (DO NOT WHISK).

Mango Mousse
2 medium-sized egg yolks
2 Tbsp (17g) cornstarch
1/3 cup (80g) whipping cream
7 oz (200g) mango puree
3.5 oz (1/2 cup / 100g) granulated sugar
1.3 oz (36g) water
2.5 gelatin leaves or 5g / 2+1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium-sized egg whites

1.    Beat the egg yolks with the cornstarch until thick, white and fluffy.
2.    Heat the cream in a medium saucepan and once hot, pour a small amount over the egg yolks while whisking vigorously.
3.    Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the rest of the cream in the saucepan, add the mango puree and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens considerably, at least 3-5 mn. Let cool to lukewarm temperature.
4.    Make an Italian Meringue: Cook the sugar and water on medium heat until temperature reaches 244°F (118°C) when measured with a candy thermometer.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test the  temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water. If it forms a soft ball, you’ve reached the proper temperature.
4a.  Beat the egg whites until foamy. Pour the sugar syrup into the whites in a thin stream while continuing to whisk vigorously (preferably with a mixer for sufficient speed). Whisk/beat until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The meringue should be thick and glossy.
5.    Soften the gelatin in cold water and melt in a small saucepan with 1 tsp of water OR melt in the microwave for 1 second (do not boil).
6.    Put the melted gelatin in a mixing bowl and, while whisking vigorously, pour the lukewarm mango cream over the gelatin.
7.    Carefully blend the Italian meringue into the mango mixture.

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert

Preparation time: 10mn

Equipment: pan, whisk. If you have plunging mixer (a vertical hand mixer used to make soups and other liquids), it comes in handy.

Note: Because the ganache hardens as it cools, you should make it right before you intend to use it to facilitate piping it onto the log during assembly. Please be careful when caramelizing the sugar and then adding the cream. It may splatter and boil.

Ingredients:
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream    (35% fat content)
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1.    Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2.    While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling.  Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3.    Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4.    Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Variations on the Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert listed above:

White Chocolate Ganache Insert
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
5 oz (135g) white chocolate, finely chopped
4.5 oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp / 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content)

1.    Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small sauce pan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2.    While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling.  Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3.    Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.

Dark-Milk Ganache Insert
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp / 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
2.7 oz (75g) milk chocolate
3.2 oz (90g) dark chocolate
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1.    Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a  small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2.    While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling.  Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3.    Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4.    Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Cinammon-Milk Ganache Insert
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp / 135g) heavy cream
A pinch of cinnamon
2.7 oz (75g) milk chocolate, finely chopped
3.2 oz (90g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1.    Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2.    Heat the cream with the cinnamon (use the quantity of cinnamon you want to infuse the cream, a pinch is the smallest amount suggested) until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3.    Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the milk and dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4.    Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert

Preparation time: 10 mn (+ optional 15mn if you make lace crepes)

Equipment: Small saucepan, baking sheet (if you make lace crepes).
Double boiler (or one small saucepan in another), wax paper, rolling pin (or I use an empty bottle of olive oil).

Note: Feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp. There are non-praline variations below. The crunch in this crisp comes from an ingredient which is called gavottes in French. Gavottes are lace-thin crepes. To our knowledge they are not available outside of France, so you have the option of making your own using the recipe below or you can simply substitute rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K for them. Special note: If you use one of the substitutes for the gavottes, you should halve the quantity stated, as in use 1oz of any of these cereals instead of 2.1oz.
If you want to make your own praline, please refer back to the Daring Baker Challenge Recipe from July 2008.

To make 2.1oz / 60g of gavottes (lace crepes – recipe by Ferich Mounia):
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk
2/3 Tbsp (8g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup – 2tsp (35g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp / 0.5 oz (15g) beaten egg
1 tsp (3.5g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vegetable oil
1.    Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.
2.    Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.
3.    Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.
4.    Bake at 430°F (220°C) for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.

Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes) or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1.    Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
2.    Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3.    Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Variations on the Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert listed above:

Chocolate Crisp Insert
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) unsalted butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
1 oz. (25g) lace crepes or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1.    Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
2.    Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3.    Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Coconut Crisp Insert
3.5 oz (100g) white chocolate
1 oz (1/3 cup/25g) shredded coconut
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) unsalted butter
2.1 oz (60g) lace crepes or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1.  Spread the coconut on a baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes at 375°F (190°C) to toast (a different temperature might work better for you with your own oven).
2.  Melt the white chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir until smooth and add the toasted coconut.
3.  Add the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate. Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert

Preparation time: 15mn + 1h infusing + 1h baking

Equipment: Small saucepan, mixing bowl, baking mold, wax paper

Note: The vanilla crème brulée can be flavored differently by simply replacing the vanilla with something else e.g. cardamom, lavender, etc…

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
½ cup (115g) whole milk
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
0.75 oz (2 Tbsp / 25g) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean

1.    Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling. Remove from the stove and let the vanilla infuse for about 1 hour.
2.    Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).
3.    Pour the vanilla-infused milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.
4.    Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.
Tartelette says: You can bake it without a water bath since it is going to go inside the log (the aesthetics of it won’t matter as much since it will be covered with other things)….BUT I would recommend a water bath for the following reasons:
– you will get a much nicer mouth feel when it is done
– you will be able to control its baking point and desired consistency much better
– it bakes for such a long time that I fear it will get overdone without a water bath
Now…since it is baked in a pan and it is sometimes difficult to find another large pan to set it in for a water bath, even a small amount of water in your water bath will help the heat be distributed evenly in the baking process. Even as little as 1 inch will help.
5.    Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.

Variations on the Vanilla Crème Brulée insert listed above:

Chocolate Creme Brulée Insert
½ cup + 1 2/3 Tbsp (140g) whole milk
2/3 cup + 1tsp (140g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
1/3 cup (25g) unsweetened cocoa powder
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
1.4 oz (3 Tbsp / 40g) granulated sugar

1.    Heat the milk and cream to just boiling. Add the cocoa powder.
2.    Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).
3.    Pour the cocoa milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.
4.    Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.
Tartelette says: You can bake it without a water bath since it is going to go inside the log (the aesthetics of it won’t matter as much since it will be covered with other things)….BUT I would recommend a water bath for the following reasons:
– you will get a much nicer mouth feel when it is done
– you will be able to control its baking point and desired consistency much better
– it bakes for such a long time that I fear it will get overdone without a water bath
Now…since it is baked in a pan and it is sometimes difficult to find another large pan to set it in for a water bath, even a small amount of water in your water bath will help the heat be distributed evenly in the baking process. Even as little as 1 inch will help.
5.    Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.

Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing

Preparation time: 25 minutes (10mn if you don’t count softening the gelatin)

Equipment: Small bowl, small saucepan

Note: Because the icing gelifies quickly, you should make it at the last minute.
For other gelatin equivalencies or gelatin to agar-agar equivalencies, look at the notes for the mousse component.

Ingredients:
4g / ½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1.    Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2.    Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
3.    Add gelatin to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
4.    Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

Variations on the Dark Chocolate Icing listed above:

Milk Chocolate Icing
1.5 gelatin sheets or 3g / 1/2Tbsp powdered gelatin
4.2 oz (120g) milk chocolate
2 Tbsp (30g) butter
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
1 2/3 Tbsp (30g) glucose or thick corn syrup

1.    Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2.    Coarsely chop the chocolate and butter together.
3.    Bring the cream and glucose syrup to a boil.
4.    Add the gelatin.
5.    Pour the mixture over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until smooth.
6.    Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

White Chocolate Icing
1.5 gelatin sheets or 3g / 1/2Tbsp powdered gelatin
3.5 oz (100g) white chocolate
2 Tbsp (30g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (90 g) whole milk
1 2/3 Tbsp (30g) glucose or thick corn syrup

1.    Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2.    Coarsely chop the chocolate and butter together.
3.    Bring the milk and glucose syrup to a boil.
4.    Add the gelatin.
5.    Pour the mixture over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until smooth.
6.    Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

How To Assemble your French Yule Log

Depending on whether your mold is going to hold the assembly upside down until you unmold it or right side up, this order will be different.
THIS IS FOR UNMOLDING FROM UPSIDE DOWN TO RIGHT SIDE UP.
You will want to tap your mold gently on the countertop after each time you pipe mousse in to get rid of any air bubbles.

1)    Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with rhodoid (clear hard plastic, I usually use transparencies cut to the desired shape, it’s easier to find than cellulose acetate which is what rhodoid translates to in English) OR plastic film. Rhodoid will give you a smoother shape but you may have a hard time using it depending on the kind of mold you’re using.

You have two choices for Step 2, you can either have Dacquoise on the top and bottom of your log as in version A or you can have Dacquoise simply on the bottom of your log as in version B:

2A)  Cut the Dacquoise into a shape fitting your mold and set it in there. If you are using an actual Yule mold which is in the shape of a half-pipe, you want the Dacquoise to cover the entire half-pipe portion of the mold.
3A)  Pipe one third of the Mousse component on the Dacquoise.
4A)  Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
5A)  Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
6A)  Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.
7A)  Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
8A)  Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
9A)  Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight eidge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
10A)  Close with the last strip of Dacquoise.
Freeze until the next day.

OR

2B)  Pipe one third of the Mousse component into the mold.
3B)  Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
4B)  Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
5B)  Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.
6B)  Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
7B)  Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
8B)  Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
9B)  Close with the Dacquoise.
Freeze until the next day.

If you are doing the assembly UPSIDE DOWN with TWO pieces of Dacquoise the order is:
1)  Dacquoise
2)  Mousse
3)  Creme Brulee Insert
4)  Mousse
5)  Praline/Crisp Insert
6)  Mousse
7)  Ganache Insert
8)  Dacquoise

If you are doing the assembly UPSIDE DOWN with ONE piece of Dacquoise on the BOTTOM ONLY the order is:
1)  Mousse
2)  Creme Brulee Insert
3)  Mousse
4)  Praline/Crisp Insert
5)  Mousse
6)  Ganache Insert
7)  Dacquoise

If you are doing the assembly RIGHT SIDE UP in a springform pan the order is:
1)  Dacquoise
2)  Ganache Insert
3)  Mousse
4)  Praline/Crisp Insert
5)  Mousse
6)  Creme Brulee Insert
7)  Mousse
8 OPTIONAL) Dacquoise

THE NEXT DAY…
Unmold the cake/log/whatever and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan.
Cover the cake with the icing.
Let set. Return to the freezer.
You may decorate your cake however you wish. The decorations can be set in the icing after it sets but before you return the cake to the freezer or you may attach them on top using extra ganache or leftover mousse, etc…
Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than ½ hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose.

Triple Silken Pumpkin Pie

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I’ve been wanting to make this pie ever since I got the amazing baking book Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard.  It just looks so incredible and impressive, and I knew I just had to try it, and I love Sherry Yard’s recipes.  I decided to make it for our last dinner group meeting before Thanksgiving as a way to commemorate the holiday coming up next week.  It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth it.  It went over very well with everyone and was a big hit!

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The recipe looks a bit daunting, but if you break it up into smaller parts, it’s not that bad.  It does require some prior thinking, and you can even make some of the components ahead of time.  The only hitch in making this was when I was making the pumpkin-caramel layer and the gelatin hardened up when I added it.  I just put it back on the heat, used a small whisk to break it up, and everything was back on track.  The only thing I was not crazy about was the pie dough.  It wasn’t as flaky as I hoped for.  I’m still searching for the perfect pie dough recipe, and next I’m going to try the Cook’s Illustrated version to see how it fares.   So if you’re making this, feel free to use your favorite recipe for pie dough, because it would work just fine.

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The three layers of this pie go very well together.  The pumpkin-caramel gives it a nice base and the whipped cream and mousse layers give it such a light, airy texture.  I didn’t have brandy so I used rum in the mousse, which I think was a good substitution.  I’ve found after making the Twofer Pie for TWD (to be posted next week) that rum and pumpkin go really well together.  I added a bit more rum for a slightly more pronounces flavor.  I think my favorite part of the recipe was the mousse layer because of the flavor.  It would be great as a topping for other pumpkin desserts as well.  If you are in need of Thanksgiving dessert ideas, and are up for the task, you should definitely consider making this pie.  It was well worth the effort!

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Triple Silken Pumpkin Pie (from Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard)

For the Pumpkin Custard layer:

Dough for a single crust pie (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 large egg

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

6 tablespoons plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

¼ cup sour cream

6 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon brandy (I used rum)

For the Whipped Cream layer:

¾ cup heavy cream

½ cup crème fraiche

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons maple sugar

For the Caramel-Pumpkin Mousse Layer

½ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons water

2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) powdered gelatin

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

¾ cup plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

3 large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Whipped cream for garnish (optional)

1.       Roll the dough out to a 16-inch circle, ¼ inch thick; you will need only about two thirds of the pastry.  Freeze the rest for later use.  Press the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of a 9×2 ½-inch springform pan.  The extra dough on the sides will compensate for shrinkage.  Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove from the freezer and trim away the excess dough from the rim of the pan.  Prebake, following the instructions, until golden brown.  Allow to cool completely on a rack.

2.       Make the pumpkin custard layer: Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

3.       In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, ginger, and cinnamon.  Add the egg and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the brown sugar, pumpkin,  sour cream, heavy cream, and brandy.  Pour the mixture into the springform pan.  Cover the pan with a sheet of buttered aluminum foil (buttered side down) and bake until the custard is just set, about 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated).

4.       Make the whipped cream layer: Combine the cream and crème fraiche in a large bowl, and using a hand mixer, beat until it starts to thicken.  Add the sugar and maple sugar and continue beating until stiff.  Spread in an even layer on top of the cooled or chilled pumpkin custard layer and refrigerate.

5.       Make the caramel-pumpkin mousse layer: Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.  Chill in the refrigeratoruntil ready to use.  Place 2 tablespoons of the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top.  Stir, then let it bloom (soften) while you prepare the caramel.

6.       Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and set aside.  In a heavy saucepan, combine the ¾ cup sugar, the remaining 1 tablespoon water, and the lemon juice and cook over high heat until the mixture turns a deep amber color, at about 335 degrees on a candy thermometer.  This will take 4 to5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

7.       Remove the caramel from the stove and wait until the bubbles subside.  Stir in the brown sugar mixture.  Add the softened gelatin and stir to dissolve.  Whisk in the canned pumpkin and set aside.

8.       Using the hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they foam.  Add the cream of tartar and 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar and beat.  Continue to beat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a slow, steady stream.  Beat until the egg whites are stiff and shiny, about 2 minutes.

9.       Lightly warm the caramel-pumpkin mixture by folding in one third of the beaten egg whites, using a whisk, preferably a balloon whisk.  Pour the remaining egg whites over the top and carefully fold them into the pumpkin mixture using a rubber spatula.  Fold in the chilled whipped cream.

10.   Carefully pour the caramel-pumpkin mousse mixture over the whipped cream layer and smooth the top.  Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set.  (The pie can be made up to a day in advance.).

11.   To serve, gently remove the springform ring from the plate and set the pie on a plate.  Garnish with additional whipped cream if desired.

Pie Crust:

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

About ½ cup ice water

½ teaspoon champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1.       Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place it in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.

2.       To mix with a stand mixer: Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the partially frozen butter.  Turn the machine on low and beat for 2 minutes, or until the butter is broken down to the size of walnuts.  Stop the machine, and by hand, pinch flat any large pieces of butter that remain.  In a small bowl, combine the ice water and vinegar.  Turn the mixer on low speed and add the liquid all at once.  Beat just until the dough comes together, about 15 seconds.   The dough should be tacky but not sticky.

3.       Remove the dough from the bowl, divide into 2 equal pieces, and warp each piece in plastic wrap.  Do not squeeze the dough together or overwork.  Chill the dough in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before rolling it out.  (The well-wrapped dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks.  If you are going to freeze the dough, however, it is best to roll out the 2 pieces of dough out into circles, place them between pieces of parchment paper, wrap them airtight in plastic, and freeze.  You can also line the lightly sprayed pie or tart pans with the pie dough, wrap airtight, and freeze).

4.       Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and line two lightly sprayed 9- or 10-inch pie or tart pans or a 9-inch springform pan.

5.       To blind-bake (prebake) a pie shell: Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

6.       Prick the bottom of the pastry a few times with a fork.  Line the pastry with parchment paper or large coffee filters.  Fill the lined shell to the rim with the dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights and gently press the “faux filling” into the corners.  Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake for another 7 minutes.  (If you are prebaking the dough in a springform pan, increase the amount of weights so that they reach the top of the rim).

7.       Remove from the oven and remove the weights and the liner.  Return to the oven for 10 minutes, until the center turns golden and looks dry.  There should be no sign of moisture.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Creme Brulee

We made Creme Brulee for this week’s installment of Tuesdays with Dorie, chosen by Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake.  I was interested to try Dorie’s version, seeing as I had already tried Sherry Yard’s version of Creme Brulee in August for my husband’s birthday.

The methods were different.  Sherry’s version called for steeping the cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Dorie’s version asked you to boil the milk and cream together and then add it to a sugar-egg-vanilla mixture.  The baking times were also different.  So as you can see, I was very interested to taste this version to find out which one I preferred.  Dorie’s recipe said to bake the custard for 50 to 60 minutes at 200 degrees.  Mine took way longer (probably closer to at least 80 minutes) and even then I wasn’t satisfied at how well it set.  I thought that the taste was very good, but I was more satisfied with the texture and consistency of Sherry Yard’s recipe.  I’m glad that we got to try this and that I got to try another version.  Thanks Mari for choosing this recipe.  You can see how everyone else liked it by visiting the Tuesdays with Dorie website.

Creme Brulee- Happy Birthday to My Husband!

My husband’s 23rd birthday was on August 1. Every year he gets to pick what he wants for dessert. This is the 7th birthday of his we’ve spent together, and he’s only requested cake a couple of times. Many times it’s been cobbler. This year he said he wanted Creme Brulee. This is his favorite dessert. He said it’s been his favorite ever since he first tried it at the Cypress in Charleston. I’ve had it there too and it’s very, very good. It has a very strong vanilla flavor, so that’s the kind of Creme Brulee I wanted to make.

I was a little nervous about making it, but after I got started I found that there was no reason to be. This was pretty easy to put together. I halved the recipe and made it in 4 ramekins. David’s parents were also here to celebrate his birthday weekend, and we were looking forward to enjoying it after our amazing dinner at Soby’s. We were so full when we got back that we didn’t eat all of it at once. The nice thing about Creme Brulee is that you can keep it refrigerated and bring it out to top it with sugar and caramelize it when you’re ready. So we were able to enjoy this two nights in a row 🙂 This was a great dessert. The custard had a nice flavor and a smooth texture. David and I both agree that the best part of Creme Brulee is breaking into the caramelized sugar topping. It was a lot of fun to use the butane torch and watch the sugar caramelize. I’m glad that I mastered Creme Brulee and that I got to make it for David’s birthday- we were all quite happy with it!

Creme Brulee (Source: Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard)

4 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar, plus ½ cup sugar for caramelizing

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out and reserved

6 large egg yolks

1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place eight 8-ounce ramekins in a large baking pan. (Be sure the baking pan is at least ½ inch deeper than the ramekins).

2. In a large saucepan, combine the cream, the 2/3 cup sugar, and the vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and allow the mixture to steep for 15 minutes. After steeping, the cream mixture should be at 165 degrees F.

3. Whisk the egg yolks lightly in a large bowl. Gently whisk the cream mixture into the egg yolks. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or large Pyrex measuring cup.

4. Fill each ramekin to the brim with custard. Fill the baking pan with enough hot water to come two thirds up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the baking pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The custards are done when they are set but still have a slight jiggle. They should not be allowed to brown or rise. Remove from the water bath. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then chill the custards for at least 2 hours before serving. (They will keep, covered, for up to 2 days in the refrigerator). Do not caramelize the tops until just before serving, as the caramelized sugar will begin to melt after 1 hour.

5. Caramelize the Crème Brulee: You will be coating the tops of the custards in two thin layers of caramelized sugar. Coat the top of each custard with sugar in a thin, even layer. Wipe off any sugar that sticks to the rim of the ramekin. Melt the sugar by moving the flame from a propane or butane kitchen torch, following the manufacturer’s directions, back and forth across the top of the custard, from a height of not less than 8 inches. As soon as the sugar melts and starts to color, dust lightly with a second layer of sugar and continue to melt and caramelize the sugar. Turn the ramekin every few seconds for even coloring. Within 1 minute, the sugar will begin to melt, bubble, and then turn into a golden caramel. Stop when the sugar is a dark golden color. (Even though the name of this custard is French for “burnt cream,” try not to burn the sugar). Allow the caramel to cool and harden for 2 minutes before serving.

6. Place the ramekins on plates lined with napkins or doilies.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Caramel-Topped Flan

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This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was chosen by Steph of A Whisk and A Spoon. She chose the Caramel Topped Flan, which was our first custard recipe. I have actually never tasted flan before, much less made one. I have mixed feelings about this one. It was pretty easy to put together and the flan came out of the pan surprisingly easy. I really liked the caramel sauce and the custard tasted okay, but this is not a dessert that I would choose to make on my own. I’m glad that I finally got to experience making and tasting flan to satisfy my curiosity, but I don’t think I’d make it again. One aspect of the flan that I had fun was watching it wiggle around! Be sure to check out our Tuesdays With Dorie blog to see how other TWD bakers did with the recipe!

Next week’s selection will be Gooey Chocolate Cakes, chosen by Leigh of Lemon Tartlet.

Caramel-Topped Flan

For the Caramel
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
squirt of fresh lemon juice

For the Flan
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan or a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.

Put a metal 8-x-2-inch round cake pan-not a nonstick one-in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.

To Make the Caramel: Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5 minutes-remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.

Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.

To Make the Flan: Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.

Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven. Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don’t worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.) Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there. A knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack and run a knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, once more, run a knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over and remove the cake pan-the flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.

Yield: 6 to 8 Servings

Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan