Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Strawberry Pâte de Fruit & Milk Chocolate-Passion Fruit Truffles

It's Daring Bakers time again, and this month's challenge were candies and confections. There was a choice of a wide variety of recipes. One option was the Pâte de Fruit, which is fruit gelée, something I wanted to make for a long time. You can use any fruit, which would be suitable for making jam. The process is also very similar to jam making. You puree the fruit, add sugar and pectin, then boil it until it sets. I thought the recipe given by the organizers was a little too meticulous on temperature measurement. I found another recipe which is a lot easier and doesn't need a thermometer. If you made jam before, it's a really easy treat to make. And they taste fantastic!

My second choice was chocolate truffles. They were dark chocolate filled with a milk chocolate and passion fruit ganache. It was really too hot to make anything with chocolate (how do you maintain the mixture at 27 C when the room temperature is already 30 C?), but I gave it a try anyways. I have made different types of filled chocolates before, but I still find the process of tempering the chocolate intimidating. One reason is that I usually do it by feel, since my thermometer is not very precise. So I usually estimate the temperature with my lips. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This time it didn't go so well, and I got some white streaks on the chocolate. They still tasted very good, though.

I will definitely keep both choices of confections on my list for gift ideas later this year. I hope by then I will have a better candy thermometer.

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Red Currant Meringue Cupcakes

Red currants are usually not everybody's favorite berry. A lot of people probably find them too sour. I am not a big fan of eating them raw myself, but they are very versatile for baking and desserts. You should try making a sorbet, or sprinkle a few of them over your müsli. I also like to make red currant curd and jelly. The black variety has a stronger almost bitter taste and is best known to make Cassis.

These cupcakes I made here have just a slight tartness to them. The meringue topping balances the sweet and sour delicately. A hint of ginger added an interesting taste. Everyone who tried them did not even think it was ginger; they were just wondering why it tasted so good.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Strawberry-Raspberry Charlotte

Unfortunately the strawberry season is slowly coming to an end, at least for the local strawberries, and they are of course the sweetest. The you-pick farms around here are already closed some weeks ago, so I was pleasantly surprised to see some really nice local strawberries at the supermarket. This summer hasn't been very nice in Germany and this means fall is approaching very fast

So, there had to be one last strawberry cake for the summer. I made a Charlotte. A Charlotte is made of rolled up sponge cake slices filled with a creamy mousse or custard. It can be made into a cupola like this one, or in a regular round cake shape, in which case it is often done with ladyfinger.

The filling I used here is a strawberry mousse with some added strawberry pieces and raspberries. Strawberry jam was also used in the sponge rolls. Don't let the end of the strawberry season stop you from making this cake. You can also make it with other berries or fruit. Try blackberries and blueberries or peach and mango, and I think they should also be very tasty.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sour Cherry-Pistachio Mousse Cakes

Sour cherries are very precious, because their season is rather short and they spoil quickly if not picked in time. But the good thing is that they are perfect for canning and that way can be used as cake filling or fruit compote all year round. I prefer sour cherries for cakes and canning since I think sweet cherries taste a little bland if cooked.

These little cakes I made for you today combine the tartness of sour cherries with a creamy and delicious pistachio mousse, all on top of a light sponge cake. The pistachio mousse is so good that it could be served on its own.

I also wanna take this opportunity to congratulate my mother-in-law on her birthday today. Unfortunately she is too far away to try the cakes herself. Happy birthday, 生日快樂 Ann.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Chocolate Berry Tart for my second Blog Anniversary

Exactly two years today I started my blog, Berry Lovely. I have made a lot of cakes, tried many different doughs, learned new techniques, and gained a lot of pounds. I started my blog to take more food photographs, but it gave me a lot more.

During this time I have discovered a thriving community of food bloggers and food photography enthusiasts. I learned a lot from these people and their presence, on-line or off-line, have been some the most enjoyable aspects of this blog. I thank you all for your support, and I hope to get more interesting and exciting recipes and photos for you in the time to come.

To celebrate my second Berry Lovely anniversary I made a berry tart, of course. It is a chocolate tart with a ganache filling topped with all my favorite berries. The recipe is from one of my favorite German pâtissiers Bernd Siefert. I didn't have the chance to visit his cafe yet, but I have tried many of his recipes. They are all really special and very good.
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