Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crepe Cake

Music- Getz/Gilberto-Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto

This is the album that got me listening to jazz music. its intense and its deeply rooted in my love for music. Nothing gets better than the smooth smooth tone of Stan Getz sax and the smooth smooth voice of Joao Gilberto.

Baking-Crepe Cake

This was a relatively easy baking venture taking out the fact that it takes a fair amount of zombie work once you've got the basics down. So there is a story behind why I made this beauty. It was Thanksgiving and my family and other two other "friend" families were having dinner at a family friends house. Things are going a long nicely and there is an eclectic mix of traditional American and Taiwanese cuisine spread out across the table. Everyone is having fun and what not. Then comes time for dessert, I look to find cheesecake bars, cookies, fruit, sweet tofu, and finally this weird cake i've never seen before from a bakery in the Upper East called Lady M. Well it turned out to be a crepe cake (a cake make by stacking crepes on top of each other and having cream in between) and it costs 75 bucks. well you know what? i call bullshit on the price. when i see a 75 dollar cake i see an exquisitely decorated cake with exotic/rare ingredients and complex baking techniques (at least have multiple layers!) Dude puff pastry is more complicated than stacking a bunch of crepes together and croissants are like 2 bucks. i'd pay like 30 bucks max for a cake like that. Maybe 40. its tastes good! but it reality the majority of the cake is nothing really special. Granted its a cool idea but not 75 bucks good. 

So the concept is easy; you stack a bunch of crepes together and slather a thin whip cream mixture in between each crepe. you'll need maybe 20-30 crepes do to this and the cream mixture. both of these things are pretty easy to make. 

for the crepe batter i needed:
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch salt

for the pastry cream i needed:
1 egg
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon hot water
2 tablespoons heavy cream, whipped 

So I made both a day in advance (the pastry cream gets more thick as it refrigerates and you need the crepe batter to cool sufficiently). I brown the butter and warm the milk up in a stove until the milk is kinda steaming. First for the batter all i did was mix the eggs, flour, sugar, and salt. and then slowly mix in the milk and butter. when its all nice and watery just store it in the fridge overnight or wait about 2 hours if your pressed for time. 

Browned Butter

Crepe batter but more importantly my trusty mixer!

Adding hot milk into the crepe batter!

Starting mixture for the Vanilla Pastry Cream!

When you add the milk it'll start to thicken!


The pastry cream is fun. I mixed the eggs, flour sugar and cornstarch. Then i heated up the milk until it was simmering on low low heat  (be sure the be whisking often and constantly!). Once simmering occurs remove from heat and whisk into mixture. Put this combined mixture back on the heat and heat until thickened properly or boiling (be sure to whisk A LOT while doing this). add in about a table spoon of whipped cream and mix together. After that is done i just added the vanilla and hot water and stored it in the fridge. 

Okay then we fast forward a day and its time to crepify the batter. but first we must prepare the whip cream! So whip with two cups of cream into whipped cream and fold it into the vanilla pastry cream. Now its time to crepe. Im not an super creping expert so it took me a few practice crepes to get it right. i swabbed a good non stick pan with some veggie oil and poured batter onto the pan until it formed a very thin surface on the pan. cook until the edges are brownish (about 1-2 minutes?) on medium heat. then carefully use a spatula or a spoon to lift up and edge and then carefully use your fingers to flip it over. This is ganna hurt. and its ganna be annoying and if you've never made crepes there will be disasters. but its okay with heart, soul, and determination you shall persevere!. I screwed up like twice and brian screwed up like once before we were able to get it kinda decent. After like 5 crepes you'll be a champ though. 

Folding in whipped cream into vanilla pastry



AFTER THE FLIP. We actually tried to get a shot of the actual flipping but its pretty hard to do that.

So make as many crepes as the batter calls for (with a small medium ish pan it'll make about 25). To construct cake just place one crepe on a pan, slather on a thin layer of whip cream with a spatula or wide knife, and then place crepe on top of that. repeat this process until you get a beautiful cake. Dust with confectioners sugar. Then refrigerate for like 2 hours and EAT! 
The first layer

The Fourth Layer
Still Undusted
The crepe cake may not look delicious at first but when you cut into it it looks beautiful. I guess if you were going all out you could cut off the sides of the crepes but i think thats just wasting beautiful crepe. the cake does not need plastic surgery! it should have higher self esteem than that! you can also replace the whipped cream mixture with other delectable ingrediants such as nutella or you could flavor the whip cream with melted chocolate or green tea (mmmmmm...) 

Heres some more food pics for you:

new profile pic for facebook? maybe.

Laura graces us with her past hand modeling skills

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Peels

Music-A Tribe Called Quest-Peoples Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm

Good album! everyone should listen to the tribe! I've been listening to a lot of hip hop lately and really digging the fat beats and fat bass sound. and Tribe really gets into that. So just push it along!

Baking-Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Peels

Pretty easy but long winded candy making experience with these peels. Not much required but lots and lots of waiting around. They taste delicious though! kind of tasting. If i were a kid i wouldn't like candied orange peels but if i were sophisticated and adult-y i'd like these orange peels. Personally im indifferent on the taste. Good flavor combination! Chocolate and Orange is a good combo.
A beautifully artistic picture taken by Brian Sherman

So not much is required all you need is:
-8.5 oz of orange peels
-1 lb of sugar
-4 fl oz of corn syrup
-12 fl oz of water

So first we cut up the oranges into like 16ths so we got thin slices of peels. we used like 9 oranges so we got a lot of peels. We also got a lot of orange. I was planning on making orange juice with all these oranges but instead i just slowly ate all of them while making the candied peels.
Orange Peels Sliced!
Peeling Oranges!

Orange Peels
So you take all them orange peels,put them in a pan and fill the pan with cold water. Afterwards bring the cold water to a boil and then drain. Repeat this 3 more times. This process removes the bitter flavor from the pith.
We did double batches to save time

Afterward combine the water, syrup and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir it around often to dissolve the sugar and dump the peels in the pot and simmer for about an hour.
Boiling the peels in the sugar mixture
Drying the peels

Then drain and dry the peels on a rack overnight. Melt some semi-sweet chocolate and dip the peels in the chocolate after they are dry! then enjoy!
Final Product!
Final Product off the rack!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pumpkin Seeds

Music-Black Sheep- Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

I got this album and have been listening to almost nothing but this since. Amazing album with amazing samples behind Dres's smooth rapping. One of the pinnacles of hip hop! If you guys remember that commercial with the cars and the hamsters over this summer the song was off of this album.

Baking-Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pumpkin Seeds

Well this was a rather annoying venture out into the pumpkin world. Brian and I decided to make this pumpkin cheesecake with real pie pumpkins. It was the first time Brian and I worked with real pumpkins before and we soon found out its really annoying to work with pumpkins. So because of being so annoying at the pumpkins we kinda forgot to take pictures of the process... but there still are plenty of before and after pics! sorry!

So I'll first tell you how i prepared the pumpkin; you only need one pumpkin but we had two so we used two.Preheat oven to 350. First cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all the string and seed. Then spread oil on the cut parts of the pumpkin and also on a baking pan in which you'll be baking the pumpkins in. Put the pumpkin cut side onto the pan and fill up to about 1/2 inch of water. Then put into the oven for a long long long long time! i don't know exactly how long cause we kept taking it out and finding out that it was yet too hard to scoop and stuff. arggh the frustration! we must have spent like two hours taking the pumpkin in and out. like the fast food chain except less delicious. Well after the pumpkin is nice and soft scoop out the meat, mash it up and puree it!
Scoopin' stuff outside the Pumpkin
Cut Pumpkin
Pumpkins in my Pan!(PIMP)

We also make pumpkin seeds by just seperating the seeds out of the stringy stuff, spicing it with some cinnamon and salt and baking it at 350 for some time. we kinda eyeballed this one. its an extra little thing.

Pumpkin Seeds. Salted and Spiced

So while the pumpkin was baking we started on the crust of the cheesecake. For that we needed:
1 cup (100 grams) graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cups (50 grams) finely ground ginger cookies, homemade or store bought
1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar
4 - 5 tablespoons (56 - 60 grams) unsalted butter, melted

So just mix all this stuff together and cram it onto a bottom of a spring form pan. I find using the bottom of a flat measuring cup works really really well. refrigerate it while you work on the filling and while your waiting for those god damn pumpkins to soften! 
So the next objective of our mission is to create the actual filling. For this we needed:
2/3 cup (145 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound (454 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (210 grams) pure pumpkin puree 

if you don't  want to go through all the pumpkin stuff just get canned pumpkin. im sure it won't make too much of a difference.

First beat the Cream Cheese until smooth. then add in the sugar gradually and beat until smooth. Afterward add the eggs one at a time and then finally vanilla, pumpkin puree and spices. The spice is really up to the baker. Brian is crazy for cinnamon and other spices so we added a lot more than what the recipe recommended,maybe 3 times more? idunno we kinda eyeballed it with an eyeball. I kinda liked it more spicy, cause it really went well with the pumpkin and gave the cheesecake a kick. 

Well then we poured the cheesecake filling into a pan and baked at 350 F for like 30 minutes. Then turn it down to 325 and bake for 10-20 more minutes. Bake until the center is kinda jiggly and the sides are nice and set.

While the cheesecake is baking we can make the sour cream topping! for this we needed:
1 cup (240 ml) sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

just whisk them all together and pour it on the cheesecake after it comes out of the oven. rotate the cheesecake so get the topping to spread evenly over the cheesecake. then bake for another 8 minutes or so to let the cheesecake set. Then refrigerate overnight and EAT!

IT CRACKED! OH NO! but its okay i think it adds personality. and character!

Good enough for foodporn? lets hope so!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apple Cider

Music- Phish- Junta

This band needs no introduction! We press cider to the best!

Baking-Apple Cider


So we didn't really bake the apple cider. we pressed it with an apple press. its pretty straightforward and there won't be too many words in this post. more pictures cause pictures are awesome! The the press consists of two parts: a giant grinder to grind up apples and a giant press to press the apple bits so that we can squeeze the cider out of em! 4 1/2 bushels of apples turned into 10 gallons of cider! mmmhmmmmm! we are fermenting 5 gallons of it. i'll give you an update on that when its ready.

Ryan Gunther Bishop AKA The Apple Prince turning the press with a broom stick

Me turning the press with a PVC pipe

Catching the liquid gold!

Soren, Ryan and me turning the press


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fried Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Homemade Caramel Sauce

Music: Mount Wittenburg Orca by the Dirty Projectors and Bjork (Sorry Mike, not De La Soul) This album is pretty crazy. It’s a collaboration between the Dirty Projectors and Bjork. The songs mostly sound like ideas of songs that haven’t been finished yet but it’s definitely worth listening to. The Dirty Projectors ladies and Bjork are all super technical singers. Lots of fun.

Baking: Fried Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Homemade Caramel Sauce

We decided to make this recipe because it is incredibly southern and unhealthy, which meant it had a 100% chance of being delicious. It’s kind of like bananas foster but instead of frying bananas you fry banana bread. Unfortunately, we also didn’t light anything on fire. At least not on purpose. As an intense lover of banana bread I was excited for this one.

We started with my standard banana bread recipe, which is memorized at this point.

Dry ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Wet ingredients:

2 mashed very ripe bananas

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup melted butter

The banana bread batter poised for baking

Fold wet into dry (Don’t over-mix! Never!) Then add as many chocolate chips as you want, which for us was a lot (approximately 1 1/2 cups). I live by the philosophy that there can never be too much chocolate. We poured the batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan and baked it for 55 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

While the banana bread was baking we started on the caramel sauce. Caramel sauce is a little tough to make, mostly because the timing has to be right for everything. We put 1 cup of sugar in a 2 qt. heavy-bottomed saucepan and then placed 6 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of heavy cream near the stove.

Melted sugar about to boil and become delicious caramel

We put the pan of sugar over heat and whisked it until the sugar melted and eventually boiled. When the sugar boils, you put the butter in and stir it once it’s melted. Then you take it off the heat and pour in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up a lot, and you keep stirring it until it becomes smooth. Voila! Caramel!

Mike slicing the warm bread with loving kindness

Once it was done, we took the banana bread out of the oven, and then hungrily watched it cool. Once it had cooled off a bit (probably not long enough but we were hungry and excited) we cut 1-inch slices and heat up some (a lot) of butter in a pan. Probably like 2 tablespoons of butter. This r amount ecipe is all about butter, like chocolate, you can never have too much. This is where it gets delicious. We lovingly set the slices of banana bread in the pan of butter and fried them like pancakes until they got a little brown. Finally we served the bread with ice cream drizzled with a substantial of caramel sauce.

The finished product

Let the devouring ensue! Everyone in the room was very happy with this one, it was gone within minutes.