Sunday, December 30, 2012

Daring Bakers December 2012 - Panettone

This month we had a new bread to make as part of our DB challenge and I loved the sweet, rich bread. Though I didn't make it the traditional way with the candied fruit, my version with chocolate and nuts got happy responses from all my colleagues.

Blog Checking Lines: The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!

Special Equipment - One panettone paper or pan. I used a 7 inch round cake pan and attached a collar using parchment paper on the inside. I used butter to stick the paper to the sides and stapled the edges together.

Ingredients - Makes one 7 inch Panettone

1 Tsp Instant Yeast
40 ml Warm Water
1/4 Cup (35 gms) Unbleached All Purpose Flour

First Dough 
1 Tsp Instant Yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp Warm Water
1 Large Egg (At room temperature)
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp (87.5 gms) Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 Cup (1/2 stick/57.5 gms) Unsalted Butter (At room temperature)

Second dough
1 Large Egg
2 Medium Egg Yolks
5 Tbsp (75 Gms) Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Vanilla Essence
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup (1 Stick/113 Gms) Unsalted Butter (At room temperature)
1 1/2 Cups (210 Gms) Unbleached All Purpose Flour plus up to (1/3 cup) for kneading
Grated zest of 1 orange

Filling and final dough 
100 Gms Lindt Orange Intense Chocolate Bar
1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts/Pecans

Make the Sponge
1. Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl.
2. Mix in the flour.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size for about 20 to 30 minutes .

Make The First Dough
1. In the mixer bowl, mix together the yeast and water.
2. With the paddle attached mix in the sponge, eggs, flour, and sugar.
3. Add in the butter and mix for 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and even.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and allow double in size, about 1 – 1 ¼ hours.

Make The Second dough
1. With the paddle mix in thoroughly the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, honey, vanilla, orange zest and salt.
2. Mix in the butter until smooth.
3. Add the flour and slowly incorporate.
4. At this stage the dough will seem a little too soft, like cookie dough.
5. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead for about 2 minutes.
6. Turn out the dough and knead it on a well-floured surface until it sort of holds its shape.
7. Don’t knead in too much flour but you may need as much as 2/3 cup (100 gm). Be careful the excess flour will affect the finished product.

First Rise
1. Oil a large bowl lightly, plop in your dough and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Now we need to let it rise until it has tripled in size. There are two ways to go about this.
Rise in a warm place for 2 – 4 hours.
Or find a cool spot (64°F -68°F) (18°C – 20°C) and rise overnight.
Or rise for 2 hours on your kitchen bench then slow the rise down and place in the refrigerator overnight. I placed my bowl on the kitchen counter as we have central A/C and it rose perfectly.

Filling and Final Rise
1. Place a large piece of parchment on the counter and press out the dough onto an oval shape.
2. Sprinkle over half of the filling and roll up the dough into a log
3. Press out again into an oval shape and sprinkle over the remaining of the filling
4. Roll into a log shape again.
5. Shape into a ball and slip into your prepared pans, panettone papers or homemade panettone papers. (I rolled the parchment paper into a cylinder and used it to slip the dough in my prepared pan.)
6. Cut an X into the top of the panettone and allow to double in size.
7. Rising time will vary according to method of first rise. If it has been in the refrigerator it could take 4 hours or more. If it has been rising on the kitchen bench in a warm place it should be doubled in about 2

Bake The Panettone 
1. When you think your dough has only about 30 minutes left to rise preheat your oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and adjust your oven racks
2. Just before baking carefully (don’t deflate it!) cut the X into the dough again and place in a knob (a nut) of butter.
3. Place your panettoni in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 and bake for another 10 minutes
5. Reduce the heat again to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3 and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are well browned and a skewer inserted into the panettone comes out clean.
6. Cooling your panettone is also important. If you have use papers (commercial or homemade) lie your panettoni on their side cushioned with rolled up towels. Turn gently as they cool. If you have used pans
cool in the pans for 30 minutes then remove and cushion with towels as above.

Happy Eating!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Red Velvet Cake for a Birthday Boy

Yesterday we celebrated hubby's birthday and by celebrate I mean we went for dinner to his favorite restaurant and ate a lot of food. We also ate this fabulous cake that is a deep red and tastes so much of cocoa. It is moist and a dream to work with.

Since his birthday fell in the middle of the week I had somehow completely forgotten about it and remembered only on 17th night. That too when my brother reminded me (hangs head in shame).

I had no time to make complicated cakes like the Black And White chocolate Cake or the Boston Cream Pie I had made in previous years. I had to quickly think of an easy cake to make, one that did'nt require too much effort and looked fab on its own. Immediately I thought 'Red Velvet' and googled for a recipe. I came across Smitten Kitchen's awesome recipe and made half the quantity in two 8 inch pans. Red Velvety goodness!

Since it was last minute and I didn't have frosting ingredients I decided to go the easy way and use whipped cream. I had some frozen whipping cream which I thawed overnight in the fridge. When I put it in the mixer bowl to whip, it just refused to do anything. In a panic I raided my cupboards and came upon my saviour - Dream Whip! Eeks, I know, but it whipped up perfectly and saved the day.

Recipe Source - Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients - Makes Two 8 inch layers

1 3/4 Cups Cake Flour
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa (not Dutch process)
3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Sunflower Oil
1 Cup + 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
2 Medium Eggs
1/2 Tsp Red Gel Food Coloring dissolved in 3 Tbsp Water Or 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) liquid red food coloring
3/4 Tsp Vanilla Essence
2/3 Cup Buttermilk
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 1/4 Tsp White Vinegar
Butter for greasing pans.

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease the bottom and sides of pans and place a round of parchment on the bottom. 
2. Whisk the cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternating with buttermilk beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
5. Divide batter among pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Spicy Chicken and Potato Salad

This is one of my new favorite salads as it has a myraid of flavors that come together beautifully. A very simple recipe, it is very easy to whip and will surely impress company.

Recipe Source - From a magazine clipping, unfortunately I don't have the source.

Ingredients - Serves 2

4 Chicken Breasts (Cut into strips)
500 Gms Potato (Peeled and Cut into wedges)
Olive oil for potatoes
Salt To Taste
Mixed salad leaves like lettuce, rocca etc.
For the Spice Paste
1 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 Tsp Red Chili Powder
1 Tsp Cumin Powder
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
Salt To Taste
For The Dressing
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1 Cup Chopped Tomato (Seeded)
1 Cup Chopped Oranges (Peeled and Seeded)
Fresh Coriander Leaves (Chopped)
Few sprigs of Fresh Mint leaves
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Prepare the Chicken
1. Mix all the ingredients for the spice paste and coat the chicken strips with it. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the chicken strips on medium high heat till done.
Prepare the Potatoes
1. Parboil the potato wedges in salted water for 3 minutes and drain. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil. Drizzle the potatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. 
2. Preheat the oven to 200 Degree C, and place the potatoes in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes turning once. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Make The Dressing
1. Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Assemble the Salad
1. Add the cooked chicken,potatoes and salad leaves to the bowl with dressing. Toss well and serve.

Happy Eating!!