It is that time of the month again, here is the next Daring Bakers challenge.
The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
I am not a big fan of the Baked Alaska, most place in Seattle have it on their dessert menu and I have tried it enough to know that I do not enjoy it. I think it is the soft meringue that throws me off. So for this challenge I decided to make the Ice Cream Petit Fours sprinkled with heath bar crunch.
Petit Four belong to a category of small fancy cookies, pastries, or confections called “petits fours”. The name petit four seems to have originated from the name of the ovens (petit four meaning ‘small oven’) they were baked in. In the 18th century the ovens were made of brick and once the large cakes were baked, small cakes were placed in the ovens as they were cooling down.
Petits fours can be eaten in one or two bites and these fancy pastries are further divided into “sec” or “glace”;. “Sec” meaning “dry” and “glace”; meaning “iced or frosted”. Petits fours sec usually refers to small biscuits (cookies) or pastries which have little done to them once baked. Tuiles, macaroons, cigarettes, meringues, and ladyfingers are some examples. Commonly served with afternoon tea or with ice cream, sorbet, or custard. Petits fours glace are pastries that can be filled with cream, chocolate, or jam and then covered, glazed, or dipped and decorated with marzipan, fondant, chocolate, or some other form of glaze or icing. A miniature sponge cake filled with a buttercream and glazed with ganache is one example. The petit four “sec” and “glace”; can be sponge or cake based, biscuit or cookie based, meringue based, marzipan based, fresh fruit or chocolate based. They are traditionally served with afternoon tea or after a fancy meal (particularly petits fours glace accompanied by tea, coffee, liqueurs, or dessert wines.
Ice Cream Petit Fours
Ice cream – 45 min active time, ice cream rests/chills for 1 hour then overnight. Without an ice cream maker, the ice cream chills 2-3 hours and must be stirred every 30 minutes.
Brown Butter Pound Cake – 2 hours (includes cooling time)
Chocolate Glaze – 15 minutes
Assembly of Ice Cream Petit Fours – Ice cream must be frozen ahead of time several hours, then the cake and ice cream freeze overnight. After dipping, the petit fours freeze for one hour.
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)
Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.
In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.
Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 tsp if you are using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.
Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz
Brown Butter Pound Cake
19 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” square pan.
Place the butter in a 10”skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
9 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.
1. Line a 9”x9”pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.
2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.
3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.
4. Make the chocolate glaze.
5. While the glaze cools, trim ¾” off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5”.
6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.
7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.
Feel free to decorate as you wish. I dipped mine in heath bar crunch at the end. These turned out delicious. I would probably make these again some day.