Monday, October 29, 2012

Archimboldo cake - winter

Archimboldo is one of my favorite painters. Halloween is coming, and I just thought that doing a 3D version of his "Winter" would be wonderfully creepy.

Archimboldo's winter

Archimboldo winter cake


Part 1
2 eggs
125 g crushed walnuts
1 Tbs instant coffee dissolved in 2 Tbs hot water
50 g sugar
orange flavor (natural, oil based)

Part 2
Apricot jam
1 banana+lemon juice

Part 3
250 g butter
880 g chestnut pureesugar (as needed, depends on chestnuts, whether sweetened or not)
rum or Bailey's
375 g  ground almonds

Whip up the egg white with half of the sugar. Whip the yolks, sugar, orange flavor and dissolved instant coffee until well mixed and paler color. Mix in crushed walnuts, and one Tbs of whipped up egg whites, and then fold in remaining egg whites, pour into a suitable cake pan (tiffin or doll shaped, greased with butter and sprinkled with flour) and bake at 180C until done. Leave i the pan for a few minutes, then turn over onto a cooling rack.

Mix together all the ingredients for Part 3.

Slice Part 1 in half, then spread some apricot jam on it and arrange banana slices sprinkled with lemon juice. Cover with chestnut part and the top half, and spread the chestnut part on the sides as well. Use the chestnut part to for a neck and continue forming a cylinder for entire length of the head. Stick a dowel inside for the support and chill for chestnut to set. Once it has hardened, use remaining chestnut part to shape the head and then again chill.

Day before assembling the cake prepare gumpaste leaves, fruit and some twigs. To make sure that leaf veins will stay light color, paint them with egg white before drying the leaves and color the leaves with petal dust once they are dry. The dust will not stick on egg white-painted parts. For the fruit, use styrofoam balls or crumpled aluminum foil for a lighter core and then covered it with marzipan and then gumpaste and imprint texture on it. The big branch supporting the fruit should be on a cake dowel rather than florist wire or toothpick, it needs sturdy support.

Cover the cake with marzipan and then fondant. For tree branches on top of the head, I have wound florist wire around toothpicks (I don't want to stick wires directly into cake, didn't have flower picks which are small enough, and was out of thin straws which can be used for the same purpose) and then covered it with brown fondant (Satin Ice, has a wonderful chocolate smell) and shade with petal dust. Use green gumpaste for moss (pass it through tea strainer and scrape it off or use a texture mat) and marzipan for mushroom "lips". In the end drape some light brown fondant around the bottom and stick in the branch on a dowel and attach the fruit.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jam filled pastry

This was an experiment. When I saw the amount of butter in the recipe for croissants in The Art and Soul of Baking (Sur La Table, great cookbook, by the way) I was totally horrified. I love eating them when I am on a holiday since then in addition to my regular exercise I am a lot more active. On regular days with 10-12 hours in the office, my only option is to try to adapt the recipe, lower the fat and increase the protein content. Well, texture is not like croissants, but they are soft and tasty. Another modification is that I added lemon zest in the dough, I tried croissants with lemon zest in Venice and they were fantastic.

Ingredients (for 12 pastries)


175 ml milk
1 teaspoon sugar
instant yeast
lemon zest
200 g bread flour
50 g whole grain spelt flour
35 g oat flour
3 Tbs Greek style yogurt

Butter block:
100 g butter
1 Tbs flour
1 large egg
100 g Greek style yogurt

Egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1Tbs milk

Filling: sour cherry jam (any other tart jam would work, raspberry for example)

Add sugar to warm milk and then add the yeast. Wait until it bubbles, and then mix all ingredients for the dough using a mixer with dough hook. Mix at low speed until just combined. Turn over onto a board sprinkled with flour, knead a bit and then put the dough into the fridge for a while (~ 30 min). Mix the butter, Greek style yogurt, egg and flour. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, spread the butter mix into another rectangle placed in such a way that the corners are facing the flat sides of the dough rectangle. Fold the corners to completely cover the butter mix and press them together. Put it into the freezer until it is firm. Then roll out into a rectangle, fold one third over the middle, then the opposite end. Return to freezer and repeat one more time. After you take out the dough from the freezer, roll it out and cut it into the triangles and make a small cut in the base of a triangle. Place the jam on wide side of the triangle and roll it up like a croissant. Apply egg wash with a pastry brush and let pastries rise. After they have risen, put them in the freezer for ~20 min and then into heated oven at 180C and bake until done. Serve warm. Reheating in microwave is OK, but they are best freshly baked :)

If you decide not to substitute Greek style yogurt, prepare butter blovck with 200 g butter and then there is no need to place the dough in the freezer, putting it in the fridge will be sufficient.