Famous Chocolate Nutella Babka

This post was inspired by Uri Scheft’s ‘Famous Chocolate Babka’ recipe, which he illustrates in his new Breaking Breads cookbook. This Danish-Israeli baker perfected his baking skills in Israel and later transported himself to New York City, where he now operates his Breads Bakery in Union Square. Why does he call his Babka ‘famous’? For no other reason than being named “the best Babka in New York City” for 2013 by New York Magazine!

With such an illustrious award behind his name, I felt compelled to find out why his Babka was named the best in New York City. After all, there must be hundreds of bakeries in New York, with many churning out Babkas (even the Seinfeld show featured one episode of Jerry Seinfeld lusting after a Babka)!

It turns out that Uri uses laminated dough in his Babka recipe, a butter-encasing technique normally used for puff pastry and croissants, which makes for light, flaky layers. For this process, butter is folded into the dough multiple times to create very thin alternating layers of butter and dough. The more the dough is folded and ‘turned’, the more layers of delicate flaky pastry are produced. This process, plus the fact that the dough is filled with a ‘scandalous mix’ of rich Nutella and dark chocolate chips, makes these Babkas a delicacy made in heaven.

I practiced making this recipe three times in order to get the hang of making the laminated dough.  I wound up using slightly less flour than Uri’s recipe and found that my recipe yielded two loaves each time, instead of Uri’s three loaves.

Was it worth the extra effort of making the laminated dough? You bet! And I’m not the only one who thought so- just ask New York Magazine!

Since this is a rather long post, I will now wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

The full printable recipe is located at the end of this post. Here is the illustrated process for laminating, filling and shaping the dough into the Famous Chocolate Babka.

(Note: you will need two bread loaf pans for this recipe: I feel that 8 x 4 inch pans work best but you could also use 9 x 5 inch pans). 

Laminating the Dough

After kneading the dough, let it rest for 30 minutes, then press it into a 1- inch thick rectangle, cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour. Prepare the 200 grams of butter by placing it on a piece of parchment paper and using a rolling pin to ‘pound’ and mold it into a rectangular shape measuring 7 x 8 inches. Set aside.

On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough out into a 7 x 16 inch rectangle with the shorter side facing you. Place the butter on the lower half of the rectangle and use a knife or spatula to smooth it onto the dough, then fold the top half of the dough over the bottom half. (The butter should be cool but pliable so it can be molded and spread across the dough).

Rotate the dough a quarter turn so that the edges that were on the bottom are now facing the right side of the dough. Roll the dough out into a rectangle measuring 9 x 16 inches.

Rotate dough 1/4 turn, then roll out into 9 x 16 inch rectangle

Fold the dough into thirds like a ‘business letter‘: first fold the bottom part upwards then fold the top part down so that the edges are even at the bottom- this is called a simple fold.

Now rotate the dough a quarter turn again so that the bottom edges are now facing the right side of the dough. After the turn, you should be able to open the dough up ‘like a book.’ Mark this second turn of the dough by making two indentations with your thumb. This will help you to remember the number of turns you have completed.

Marking the dough with your thumb to keep track of the number of ‘turns’ you have made

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes (this helps to firm up the dough and prevent the butter from melting into the dough).

Remove the dough from the fridge and repeat the simple fold process two more times; first rolling the dough out, folding it, turning it, then refrigerating the dough each time. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.

View of the folded dough from the side

After the dough has been chilled, remove from the fridge and roll out into a rectangle measuring 18 inches by 10 inches, with the long side facing you. The dough should be just shy of 1/4 inch thick. Spread a layer of Nutella over the dough, then sprinkle the semi sweet chocolate chips evenly.

Starting from the bottom of the dough, roll it up into a tight cylinder with the seam facing downwards. When finished rolling, stretch the cylinder out a little with your hands. Slice the dough in half lengthwise and then open up the dough so that the Nutella/chocolate side faces upward.

Cut the lengths of dough horizontally in half, so you now have four equal strips of dough. Form two pieces of dough into a Twist shape: join the two pieces together at the top, then overlap them in an alternating sequence. Place the dough in the loaf pans and let rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan (1 – 2 hours). Bake for around 40 minutes or until the loaves turn golden brown. Remove from oven and baste with the sugar syrup. The bread is best when served warm.

Famous Chocolate Nutella Babka
Yields 2
A laminated flaky bread filled with Nutella and chocolate (bet you can't eat just once slice)!
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup warm milk
  2. 1 packet dry yeast (6 grams)
  3. 6 tbsps. softened butter
  4. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1/s tsp vanilla extract
  7. Pinch salt
  8. 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  9. 1 ½ cups pastry or cake flour
For the laminated dough and chocolate filling
  1. 200 g butter (1 stick plus 5 tablespoons) at cool room temperature
  2. 1 ½ cups Nutella
  3. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
For the simple syrup
  1. ¾ cup sugar
  2. ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Add the dry yeast to the warmed milk and let set for a few minutes until dissolved. In a separate bowl, mix together the softened butter and sugar until smooth, then add the eggs, vanilla extract, salt and yeast mixture. Beat with electric beaters until combined. With the electric beaters still running, gradually add the first 2 1/2 cups of flour until the mixture is smooth. After this, it will be more difficult to use the electric beaters, so gradually add the remaining 1 ½ cups of cake flour using a large wooden spoon or by working the flour in with your hands.
  2. Alternatively, you can mix the flour into the dough using a stand mixer with a dough hook, mixing for about 4 minutes until the dough is smooth and has good elasticity.
  3. Knead the dough: turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and form into a rough ball. Take the top part of the dough and stretch and tear it away from you along the work surface, using the heel of your hand. Re-gather the dough into a ball shape, rotate a quarter turn and repeat for about 3 minutes. Set the ball into a floured-bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  4. Chill the dough. Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and press it into a rectangular shape about 1 inch thick. Cover with the plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or longer, if possible).
  5. Note: to simplify this recipe, you can skip the step of laminating the dough (below) and proceed to the step of preparing the chocolate filling and forming the dough into a twist shape.
To prepare the laminated (flaky) dough
  1. Prepare the butter. Place the 200 g butter on a piece of parchment paper and beat and mold it into a 7 x 8 inch rectangle using a rolling pin; set aside. Remove the dough from the fridge and on a lightly-floured surface, roll it out into a rectangle measuring 7 x 16 inches, with the short side facing you. Place the butter on the bottom half of the rolled-out dough and use a knife or spatula to spread the butter, leaving a margin of ¼ inch at the bottom. Fold the top half of the dough over the bottom half, pulling the corners so they align perfectly. Turn the dough ¼ turn so that the edges (seams) that were facing the bottom are now facing the right side.
  2. Roll out the dough into a rectangle measuring 9 x 16 inches. Fold the dough into thirds like a 'business letter'- fold the bottom of the dough upwards then fold the top over the bottom so that the edges align perfectly.This is called a ‘Simple Fold.' Turn the dough ¼ turn again so that the edges that were facing the bottom are now facing the right side. Mark this second turn of the dough by making two indentations on the dough with your thumb.This will help you to keep track of the amount of turns you have made. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for 20 minutes. Remove the dough from the fridge and repeat the simple fold process two more times: rolling, folding, turning and refrigerating the dough each time. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 5 hours or overnight.
To prepare the chocolate filling and form into a twist shape
  1. After chilling the dough, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 18 x 10 inches, with the long side facing you. The dough should be slightly less than ¼ inch thick. Spread the Nutella over the dough all the way to the edges, then sprinkle the chocolate chip pieces evenly over the dough. Starting from the bottom edge, roll the dough into a tight cylinder with the seam ending face down. Hold the ends of the dough with both hands and stretch the dough out even a little longer.
  2. Slice the dough in half lengthwise using a serrated bread knife, then slice each part in half cross-wise, leaving you with four pieces of dough about 9 inches long each. To form the twist shapes, join the top ends of two pieces of dough, then alternatively overlap the pieces over each other, forming the twist shape. Place the two Babka twists into the loaf pans, tucking the ends under a little if necessary to make them fit into the pans. Let the loaves rise until the tops rise to the top of the pan (1 – 2 hours). Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F about 40 minutes, or until the loaves turn a dark brown. If the loves brown too quickly , ‘tent’ them in foil for the remaining cooking time to prevent over-browning them.
  3. While the loaves are baking, prepare the Simple Syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, stir until the mixture boils; reduce the heat and stir for several minutes until the mixture thickens; let cool.
  4. Remove the bread from the oven and brush with the simple syrup while still warm. Use a paring knife to separate the Babkas from the pan edges and turn them out from the pan. Slice and serve either warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. Uri Scheft uses loaf pans measuring 9 x 2 3/4 x 2 inches to make Babkas for his bakery. These are pans that normally need to be specially ordered. Instead, I used pans measuring 8 x 4 inches, which worked well.
Adapted from Breaking Breads by Uri Scheft
Adapted from Breaking Breads by Uri Scheft
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Delicious Breakfast Pizza

Is it Pizza or Focaccia?

This Breakfast Pizza is thick and chewy and truly a meal in itself- served with an egg, sausage pieces and a tomato sauce flavored with fire-roasted red bell peppers and a jalapeño chile.

I was inspired by this recipe after thumbing through Uri Scheft’s cookbook Breaking Breads. His recipe for focaccia shows the dough being shaped into a small round circle, instead of a large dimpled rectangle. “Hmm, this looks like pizza to me,” I said to myself. This got me thinking, “What is the difference between focaccia and pizza?”

It turns out that the ingredients for focaccia and pizza are basically the same: flour, water, yeast and a bit of olive oil. However, while pizza is usually rolled out into a thin crust, focaccia is pressed into a thick rectangular shape and allowed to rise before baked in the oven. Also, the ingredients for a pizza (pepperoni, etc) are usually placed on top of the crust while ingredients are usually pressed into the dough for focaccia.

For my recipe, I’ve decided to combine the best of both worlds: a pizza that has a thick and chewy dough like focaccia bread, served with a jalapeño- infused tomato sauce on top.  Whatever you call it- focaccia or pizza- you’ll be starting your day off with a delicious breakfast!

Ingredients

For the Pizza Dough:

  • 7 g dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 325 ml (1 1/3 cups) tepid water
  • 500 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (3 tbsp) semolina
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30 ml (3 tbsps.) olive oil
  • Black sesame seeds or poppy seeds for garnish

Directions:

Dissolve the packet of dry yeast in the tepid water. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, semolina, salt and olive oil. Mix with a large spoon until the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead through a stretch and fold technique. First, grab a hold of 1/3 of the dough and stretch it away from you:

Then fold it back towards you so that the ends meet together. Do a quarter turn of the dough and then repeat for several more minutes.

Place the kneaded dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until the dough doubles in size. While the dough is rising, prepare the sauce (below):

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1 can (14 oz) canned tomatoes
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • ½ jalapeno or red chilli pepper, diced
  • 1 fire-roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish: 1 egg + sausage slices for each mini pizza

Directions

Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and jalapeño pepper. Add some olive oil to a fry pan and cook over medium heat for several minutes until the veggies become soft. Add the tomatoes and roasted bell pepper strips and salt; cook for around 10 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.

While the sauce is thickening, place a pizza stone on the bottom of a cold oven and pre-heat at 425 F (210 C).

To assemble the pizza:

After the dough has risen, turn it back onto the floured work surface and cut into 6 equal pieces. Stretch one piece of dough into a circle about 5-6 inches in diameter.

Spoon some of the sauce onto the dough, leaving a margin of one inch around the edges of the dough. Arrange 5-6 pieces of the sliced sausage in a circle, then crack an egg in the center. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds or poppy seeds around the edge of the mini pizza. Drizzle with olive oil and some coarse salt. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Place one mini pizza onto a floured ‘pizza peel’ and slide onto the pre-heated pizza stone (or you could cook two pizzas at a time). Cook for 10-15 minutes until the dough turns crisp and brown. Remove from oven and drizzle with a little more olive oil and course salt.

Note: If you don’t have a pizza stone, place the pizzas on a pizza or baking tray and cook in a pre-heated oven at 425 F.

Thick and Chewy Breakfast Pizza

P.S. I’d love it if you would subscribe to my blog- it would make my day!!

Delicious Breakfast Pizza
Serves 6
A thick and chewy breakfast pizza topped with an egg and sausage
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For the Pizza Crust
  1. 7 g dry yeast (1 packet)
  2. 325 ml (1 1/3 cups) tepid water
  3. 500 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  4. 20 g (3 tbsps) semolina
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 30 ml (3 tbsps.) olive oil
  7. Black sesame seeds or poppy seeds for garnish
For the sauce
  1. 1 can (14 oz) canned tomatoes
  2. ½ onion, chopped
  3. 3 garlic cloves, diced
  4. ½ jalapeno or red chilli pepper, diced
  5. 1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips
  6. Salt to taste
For the garnish
  1. 1 egg (for each mini pizza)
  2. 5-6 slices of sausage
To make the dough
  1. Dissolve the packet of dry yeast in the tepid water. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, semolina, salt and olive oil. Mix with a large spoon until the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface. Knead the dough for several minutes: first grab a hold of 1/3 of the dough and stretch it away from you, then fold it back over towards you so that the ends meet together. Do a quarter turn of the dough and then repeat for several more minutes.
  2. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until the dough doubles in size.
To make the Sauce
  1. Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and jalapeno pepper. Cook in a fry pan over medium heat for several minutes until the veggies become soft. Add the tomatoes and roasted bell pepper strips and salt; cook for around 10 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
  2. While the sauce is thickening, place a pizza stone on the bottom of a cold oven and pre-heat at 425 F (210 C).
To assemble the pizza
  1. After the dough has risen, turn it back onto the floured work surface and cut into 6 equal pieces. Stretch one piece of dough into a circle about 5-6 inches in diameter.
  2. Spoon some of the sauce onto the dough, leaving a margin of one inch around the edges of the dough. Arrange 5-6 pieces of the sliced sausage in a circle, then crack an egg in the center. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds or poppy seeds around the edge of the mini pizza. Drizzle with olive oil and some coarse salt. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  3. Place one mini pizza onto a floured ‘pizza peel’ and slide onto the pre-heated pizza stone (or you could cook two pizzas at a time). Cook for 10-15 minutes until the dough turns crisp and brown. Remove from oven and drizzle with a little more olive oil and course salt.
Notes
  1. You can also add or substitute other toppings, such as sliced mushrooms or bacon strips
Adapted from 'Breaking Breads' by Uri Scheft
Adapted from 'Breaking Breads' by Uri Scheft
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Cranberry Nut Bread with Crumb Topping

It’s that time of year when fresh cranberries grace the aisles of American supermarkets.  The growing season for cranberries ends in mid-November, so I thought I’d better grab a few bags for myself before they are all gone. After all, I wouldn’t want to miss out on making my annual fresh cranberry recipe (not to mention all the healthy vitamins that cranberries provide)!

To honor the brief fresh cranberry season, I decided to make Cranberry Nut Bread with chopped pecans. This no-yeast bread is easy to make and is flavored with orange zest and orange juice. But to go that one step further, I made a crunchy topping made of finely diced cranberries, orange peel, pecans and butter/brown sugar mixture- a perfect recipe for Fall!

Cranberry Nut Bread with a crunchy topping
Serves 8
Cranberry nut bread flavored with an undercurrent of orange juice and orange peel- with a crumb topping to give an added crunch.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. ¾ cup sugar
  2. 6 tbsp softened butter
  3. 2 cups flour
  4. 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  5. ½ tsp baking soda
  6. 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. 1 egg
  9. ¾ cup orange juice
  10. 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  11. ½ cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts preferred)
For the crunchy topping
  1. 3 tbsp pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
  2. 3 tbsps cranberries, finely chopped
  3. Peel from ½ orange, diced
  4. 2 tbsp flour
  5. 2 tbsp brown sugar
  6. 2 tbsp cold butter, cut into pebble-sized cubes
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Cream together the sugar and softened butter using electric beaters. Add the baking powder, baking soda, orange zest, salt, egg and orange juice. Combine until smooth. Coarsely chop the cranberries and nuts either by hand or by food processor (be careful not to over-process), then fold into the mixture. Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled rectangular bread pan.
For the crunchy topping
  1. Finely chop the nuts and cranberries using a food processor. Remove the peel from ½ orange, being careful to avoid the white pithy part, then finely dice. Combine the chopped nuts, cranberries and diced orange peel. Add the flour, brown sugar and cold butter cubes. Using your fingers, work the butter into the mixture. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cranberry bread dough and bake for around 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the bread comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Mango and Banana Caramel Tart

 

Tart 10

I could smell the caramel a mile away when making this recipe. This tart has a calypso feel to it- tropical mangoes and bananas steeped in a rich caramel sauce, then ‘baptized’ in a splash of rum and nutmeg and then anchored in a flaky buttery crust. I’m already howling for more!

I came across this recipe while reading a food magazine near Portland, Victoria in Australia. We had just returned from a ½ mile walk to see a colony of seals and a kangaroo had bolted across our path on our return back. What a great way to finish the day- a close encounter with seals, a kangaroo and now a delicious caramel tart recipe!

The recipe is pretty easy. First, you heat sugar and butter in a fry pan to make a caramel flavored with rum, nutmeg and vanilla bean, then let the mangoes and bananas simmer in the sauce until soft.

Then roll out a pastry dough and place it on top of the caramel mixture- bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

Final step- place a serving plate on top and then invert the tart onto the plate. Serve warm, plain or with a scoop of ice cream.

THE PARTY

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 

Mango and Banana Caramel Tart
Serves 6
This recipe is like a 'Tarte Tatin' but made with mangoes, bananas and a touch of rum.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Pastry
  1. 1 1/2 cup flour
  2. 2 tbsp sugar
  3. Pinch salt
  4. ¾ cup cold butter, cubed
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 tbsp iced water
Tart Filling
  1. ½ cup caster sugar
  2. 3 tbsp butter
  3. 2 mangoes, peeled and sliced into thin strips
  4. 1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped
  5. 1 tbsp dark rum
  6. Pinch nutmeg
  7. 2 bananas, halved, sliced lengthwise
For the Pastry
  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Rub the mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the egg; mix well with spoon or spatula. Add the iced water and continue to mix; turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until mixture holds its shape. Form into ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for one hour.
For the Tart filling
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Place the sugar and butter in an oven-proof fry pan (about 9 inches wide). Over high heat, occasionally shake the pan until the mixture starts to bubble and turn brown, forming a caramel. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the mango, vanilla bean, rum and nutmeg; reduce the heat and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce reduces slightly and the mango caramelises. Add the banana slices and cook for another 5 minutes, turning the bananas gently to coat. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick, then shape the dough so that it is 1 inch wider than the diameter of the fry pan.
  4. Lay the dough over the fruit mixture in the pan and tuck the ends under a bit. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown. Place a serving plate over the fry pan and invert the tart onto the plate. Serve warm plain or with ice cream.
Adapted from Feast Magazine
Adapted from Feast Magazine
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Banana Cupcakes with Butter Cream Icing

 

What to do with a batch of over-ripe bananas that have been sitting on the counter for way too long? Why, use them to make some banana cupcakes, of course! And adding the butter cream icing on top makes them even more delicious.

I recently finished my course in ‘US Foreign Policy’ at Flinders University in Adelaide; after sweating through the exam, I no longer have to think about concepts such as the Cold War or ‘communist containment’- thank goodness I can comfort myself with these banana cupcakes instead!

Banana Cupcakes with Butter Cream Icing
Yields 9
Cupcakes flavored with real banana pulp and topped with a delicious butter cream icing.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
For the Banana Cupcakes
  1. ½ cup sugar
  2. ¼ cup (60 g) softened butter
  3. 3 egg yolks
  4. ½ cup mashed banana pulp
  5. 1 ¼ cup white flour
  6. 1 tbsp baking powder
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. Sprinkle of cinnamon powder
  9. 1 tbsp poppy seeds or chia seeds (optional)
  10. ½ cup milk
For the Butter Cream Icing
  1. ½ cup (125 g) softened butter
  2. 1 ½ cup icing sugar
  3. 2 tbsp milk
  4. 1 tbsp vanilla flavoring
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Cream together the sugar and softened butter using electric beaters. Add the egg yolks and banana pulp and continue to beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and cinnamon. Add this dry mixture to the banana pulp/egg mixture, then add the milk and combine all ingredients using electric beaters.
  2. Line a cupcake pan with patty pan (cupcake) liners. Fill each liner ¾ full with the cupcake mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown on top. Let cool while preparing the icing.
For the icing
  1. Combine the softened butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla in a bowl; mix using electric beaters until smooth. Place mixture in a piping bag and pipe onto each cupcake. Optional: sprinkle a few poppy or chia seeds on top of each cupcake.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Popovers + my 3-year blog anniversary

Popover

I can’t believe that it’s been three years since I started my blog- time has really flown by! The experience has been so rewarding- the discovering of new recipes, the continual striving for perfection in my food photography (sometimes resulting in frustration), and pleasure in ‘meeting’ new people who follow my blog.

When I published my very first post Chocolate Fondant (Lava Cake) I had no idea what sort of things would lie ahead for me in the blogosphere. Would my posts be flung out into a dead Ethernet, would anyone at all be reading my posts? After posting a few times, I happily discovered that a few brave souls were indeed clicking on my blog to have a look.

The one thing I have discovered is that no matter how many new recipes and posts I publish, Profiteroles with Custard Cream and Chocolate Sauce has consistently been my most popular post. I guess that people just can’t get enough of chocolate cream puffs and spend lots of time searching the internet for that perfect recipe (thank goodness they land on my post)!

Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce- consistently my most popular post

(P.S. I would love it if you would ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page or subscribe to my blog!)

To celebrate my third anniversary, I would like to unveil my recipe for Popovers. Despite being a graduate of a famous Parisian culinary school, I had never heard of Popovers before- until I saw a recipe for them in Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook.

Popovers are a light hollow roll made of a simple egg and flour batter: the batter swells and ‘pops over’ the edge of the muffin tin- creating quite an amazing site as they first come out of the oven. A pocket forms on the inside of the roll, so you can either eat them plain, fill them with jam, scrambled eggs or any other goody that strikes your fancy. I even filled one of my popovers with guacamole and salsa in a Mexican restaurant as I waited to board an international flight back to Australia- yum!

Popovers filled with scrambled eggs

Popover

Popovers work best using a special Popover pan with steep sides, however you could also use a large muffin tin. I ordered my popover pan from Amazon, but I have also seen them for sale at Bed Bath and Beyond in the US.

Popovers are so easy and produce an amazing site first coming out of the oven!

Popover

Popovers
Serves 6
Light fluffy rolls with a pocket ideal for stuffing. You'll be amazed how beautifully they 'popover' the rim of the baking pan!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 large eggs at room temperature
  2. 2 cups whole milk
  3. 1/ tsp salt
  4. 2 tbsp butter, melted
  5. 1 ½ cups all- purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Lightly grease the insides of 6 popover cups (or muffin tins) with melted butter.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and salt using electric beaters. With the machine running, add the melted butter and then the flour. Mix until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and transfer to a cup with a spout for pouring.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared popover or muffin tins, filling all the way to the top of each cup. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F (180 C). Bake for a further 10 minutes until the popovers turn golden brown and crown above the rim of the pan.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; best served hot or warm.
Notes
  1. You'll get best results from using a special popover pan, but muffin tins could also be used.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Profiteroles Re-visited

Aside

 

Profiteroles (7 of 7) (1 of 1)

Several years ago, I did a post on Profiteroles which has turned out to be my most popular post. I guess I’m not the only person who loves these delicate cream puffs, topped with a lovely chocolate sauce. Thousands of people seem to be surfing the net, searching for a good Profiterole recipe.

Because I’ve gotten quite a lot of feedback and questions regarding my recipe, I thought I’d share them with you and offer some ‘tips and traps.’ The feedback from my beloved readers has ranged from comments such as “my profiteroles turned out so hard I could have bounced them off the wall” to a an admission that one reader had used tequila instead of vanilla flavoring for the custard cream. I would have liked to taste that one!

Here is the profiterole photo from my original post of July 2013:

Here are some of the comments I’ve received, plus my suggestions for overcoming any problems (see below for the original printable recipe):

COMMENT:

The dough for my choux pastry was too runny, like pancake mix- they went ‘splat’ when I spooned them onto the baking tray!”

SOLUTION:

Try using less eggs for the choux pastry dough. The recipe calls for 3-4 large eggs. Start by beating in one egg at a time and then stop and re-evaluate after beating in the third egg. If the dough is smooth and elastic and falls easily off of your spoon or spatula, then you don’t need to add the fourth egg. If your dough is still a bit stiff, then add another 1/2 egg or 1 full egg. It all depends on the size of your eggs; if you add four jumbo eggs at once, then your dough will probably turn out too runny, like pancake mix. The trick is to stop and re-evaluate after adding the first three eggs.

The choux pastry dough should be smooth and elastic, not runny.

After adding the eggs, the dough should be smooth and elastic- not runny.

S- not runny.

 COMMENT

” My puff balls weren’t crisp on the outside when I took them out of the oven and then deflated quickly.”

SOLUTION:

The trick to getting crisp puff balls is to first bake them in the oven at a high temperature of 425 F for the first 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 F for the remaining 10-15 minutes. I use an oven thermometer to ensure my oven has reached 425 F before putting the puff balls in the oven. If it looks like your buns are browning to fast, then reduce the oven temperature sooner. If using a convection oven (fan-forced), then reduce your  oven temperatures by 20 degrees (for 425 F reduce your temperature to 405 F, etc.).

If you follow this method of first baking at a high temperature, then your profiterole buns should not deflate soon after removing them from the oven. Store in an air-tight container if not serving right away.

 The puff balls should be crisp on the outside when finished baking

 
COMMENT

” My custard cream filling was too thick, like a paste.”

 SOLUTION

Try using less flour for the custard cream. The recipe calls for adding 1/3 cup flour to 3 egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar, so try reducing the amount to say 1/4 cup flour. Also, you should gradually add small amounts of the egg/flour/sugar mixture to the milk/cream so that it gradually thickens. The custard should be able to still pour easily after it’s cooked, but not be too runny.

The custard should still be able to pour easily; if too thick, add a bit more milk or cream.

 COMMENT

“My chocolate sauce seized up – became hard and grainy, instead of smooth.”

SOLUTION

If your chocolate gets too hot, it may seize up and get hard. Make sure you heat the chocolate, butter and cream together over low heat, preferably placing the ingredients in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water.

COMMENT

“My profiteroles turned out hard as rocks- I could have bounced them off the wall!”

SOLUTION

The first time I made profiteroles, they were also as hard as rocks, but the second time I made them, they came out perfect. Try making them again!

“My custard cream tasted too much like eggs!”

SOLUTION

Sorry, nothing I can do about that. Since the custard is made of egg yolks, they are bound to taste like eggs! (But I guess you could try adding more vanilla flavoring to mask the egg taste).

Here is my original recipe for Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce and Custard Cream, first published July 2013. I hope you continue to enjoy them!
 
4.8 from 4 reviews
Profiteroles Re-visited
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Soft pastry puffs filled with custard cream and slathered with a rich chocolate sauce
Ingredients
  • !For the Choux Pastry
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • ⅓ cup (6 tbsp.) butter, cubed
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour, sifted
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 – 4 large eggs
For the Custard Cream Filling
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla favoring
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) flour
  • For the Chocolate Sauce
  • 113 g (3/4 cup) dark baking chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 65 ml (1/4 cup) thickened cream
  • 2 tbs. sugar
Instructions
For the Choux Pastry
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. (220 C.)
  2. Combine water and butter in a saucepan and bring just to the boil.
  3. Remove pan from the heat. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. In one go, add these dry ingredients to the water/butter mixture.
  4. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough and falls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Beginning with three eggs, beat in one egg at a time, stirring in each egg until the dough mixture is smooth and the egg is fully incorporated. After the third egg, the dough should be elastic and fall easily away from your spoon or spatula. If the dough is still a bit stiff, then add another ½ egg or another full egg until the dough reaches the right consistency; the dough should not be ‘runny’ like pancake batter but smooth and elastic.
  6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a piping bag with a large tipped nozzle, pipe balls of dough onto the tray (spaced at least 2 inches apart), using about 2 tbsp. of dough for each ball. Pipe in concentric circles starting from the center and working outwards.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425 F (220 C), then lower the temperature to 375 F. (190 C.) for the remaining 10-15 minutes. The pastry balls will be done when they puff up and become golden. Each ball should feel light and airy.
  8. Turn off oven and remove the tray from the oven; slit a small hole in the base of each pastry ball to release any steam. Return the tray to the oven for another few minutes to dry out the insides of the pastry puffs.
For the Custard Cream Filling
  1. Warm the milk, cream and vanilla flavouring together over medium heat- do not boil.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks for at least 30 seconds until the mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow in color, then add the flour.
  3. Over medium heat, gradually whisk in the egg/sugar mixture to the milk/cream mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens- if the custard is so thick that it will not pour easily, then add a little more milk or cream. Place in the fridge until chilled; the custard will continue to thicken some as it chills.
  4. To fill each puff ball with custard, lift open the top of each pastry ball and fill with 1 -2 tbsp. of custard.
For the Chocolate Sauce
  1. Over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter. Mix in the cream and sugar and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  2. To serve, place one or two pastries on a plate and cover with chocolate sauce.
 
 
 
 

 

 

Mile-High Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Muffins

I baked these Blueberry Muffins with a crunchy streusel topping and I loved them so much, I couldn’t help gathering them up in my arms and giving them a big hug. In fact, I gave these muffins a little bit extra ‘crunch’ by adding a pinch of praline (nougat) topping from my previous post Frozen Chocolate Nougat with Sour Cherry Coulis.

Muffins

I was inspired to make these muffins because my hubby, Len, eats a Blueberry Muffin every morning, rain or shine. He buys his muffins from the supermarket and I was curious to see if I could make mine better.

I followed a standard muffin recipe but I added plain yoghurt instead of milk, which helps to give the muffins a nice moist velvety texture. The buttery streusel topping sends you into that phase of saying, “I’ll have another one, please!”

One tip in making these muffins: be sure to gently fold in the wet egg/sugar mixture into the dry flour mixture, rather than beating it with the electric mixture. This helps to retain the light fluffy texture of the muffins. I also like filling the batter all the way to the top of each muffin tin, in order to give them that Mile-high appearance

And the verdict: Len said my Blueberry Muffins were definitely better than the supermarket ones. There’s no turning back now- looks like I’ll have to supply Len now with his daily muffins for the rest of his life!

 

Mile-high Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping
Yields 8
A light velvety Blueberry muffin with a buttery crumb topping
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For the Muffins
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3 tsp baking powder
  3. ½ tsp salt
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. ¾ cup sugar
  6. 1 cup plain yogurt
  7. ½ cup butter
  8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 1 ½ cups blueberries- fresh or frozen (thawed)
For the Streusel Topping
  1. ½ cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp cinnamon
  3. ½ cup brown sugar
  4. 4 tbsp softened butter
  5. Optional: crushed praline (nougat) topping
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 C (400 F) and line a muffin pan with muffin wrappers (patty pans). Alternatively, you can choose not to use the wrappers and instead butter the insides of the muffin tins to prevent sticking.
  2. To make the streusel crumb topping, combine the flour, cinnamon, brown sugar. Add the softened butter and rub the mixture between the palms of your hands until it becomes crumbly. Set aside.
  3. To make the muffins, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until the smooth. Continue to beat in the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Gently fold in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until blended. Now fold in the 1 ½ cups of blueberries (being careful not to over-mix the ingredients).
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling the batter all the way to the top of each tin.
  5. Sprinkle the streusel topping generously on top of each muffin. For an added for optional ‘crunch’, sprinkle a little crushed praline (nougat) on top of each muffin (see my previous post on how to make crushed nougat).
  6. Place the muffins in the oven and immediately reduce to 185 C (375 F). Bake about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for several minutes and serve.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

 

 

Brioche with Lemon Curd Filling

Brioche larger

This post has taught me a lesson: never leave your food lying around while you are setting up your food photography shot, or it might get eaten before you’re finished! After setting up my brioche shot, I went away for awhile and when I came back, someone (aka my daughter) had taken a huge bite out of the brioche. Good thing I had a few ‘spares’ lying around. Then, I went away again and found that my daughter-in-law had now taken a huge bite out of the new brioche! I guess brioches are so good that people just can’t help themselves!

Are they bread or pastry?

As I started to write this post, I wondered whether a brioche is considered to be a bread or a pastry? Wikipedia has shed some light on this question, saying a brioche is made in the same way as bread but has a ‘richer aspect of pastry’ due to the addition of the extra eggs, butter and sugar. Whatever brioches are called, I love them; they’re extra light and flaky, no doubt caused by the large amount of butter incorporated into the dough. I added a personal touch to my recipe by adding a dollop of lemon curd in the center of the brioche after being baked. Hmmm, I think my brioche is starting to sound like a pastry, don’t you?

The French typically eat les brioches with jam and butter for breakfast or with a coffee break, but one might be forgiven for waking up at midnight to have a bite or two. Julia Child has a 7-page long instruction on how to make brioches in her book Mastering the Arts of French Cooking but my version is a lot simpler using an electric mixer or food processor.

Brioches are usually made with some sort of fluted tin that flares outward a bit- I used several small tart pans for my brioche with the lemon curd filling and then used a regular cake pan for my larger brioche (with no filling).

The brioche dough is rather wet and gloopy after the first rising so you’ll need to place it in the fridge for several hours (or overnight) to be able to congeal the butter and allow you to shape the dough. After resting in the fridge, the dough is formed into small balls; one ball is first placed in the center of the baking tin, then 5 balls are arranged around it and then one final ball is placed on top. After doubling in size, the brioches are baked in the oven, the ‘top ball’ is then removed and a lovely dollop of lemon curd placed in the middle of the brioche.

P.S. Would LOVE it if you’d Like my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page!

 5 balls are arranged around a center ball, then one final ball placed on topBrioche

Mmmm, les brioches straight out of the oven!

Brioche

 Large Brioche baked in a cake panBrioche

Brioche with Lemon Curd Filling
Serves 6
A soft, flaky brioche with a sumptuous lemon curd filling.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Required Equipment
  1. 4 small tart pans, about 4 ½ (11 cms) inches wide or one large oven-proof bowl
For the brioche
  1. 1 sachet (7 gm) dried yeast
  2. 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  3. 1/2 cup caster sugar
  4. Finely grated rind of 1 orange
  5. 2 1/3 cups plain flour
  6. 3 eggs + 1 extra for eggwash
  7. 6 oz (185 gm) softened butter
For the Lemon Curd
  1. 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
  2. 3/4 cup caster sugar
  3. 1/3 cup (80 gm) softened butter
  4. Zest and juice from 2 lemons
For the Lemon Curd
  1. Whisk whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously until thickened. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl and place in fridge until ready to use.
For the brioche
  1. Combine the dry yeast and warm milk in a small bowl; let rest for a few minutes until the yeast is completely dissolved. Add the sugar and orange rind and stir; transfer ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook (or food processor fitted with a 'dough blade’).
  2. Add the flour in 3 batches along with an egg with each, kneading (mixing) until smooth between each addition. With the motor running, gradually add the softened butter and mix for 3-4 minutes until the batter is smooth and shiny.
  3. Transfer to a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap in a warm place until the mixture doubles in size (1 - 2 hours). Knock the dough back down, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and weight the dough down with a plate. Place in fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  4. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for one minute into a ball shape. Divide the dough into small balls about 1 inch wide (the size of the balls will depend on the size of your tart pans or the bowl that you use). Place one ball in the center of your pan, then arrange 5-6 balls around it. Using your index finger, make a small indentation in the center ball; this is where the lemon curd filling will go after the brioche has been baked. Now place one more ball on top of the center ball.Repeat this with the other tart pans.
  5. Cover the pans with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. Brush the dough with eggwash (one egg combined with a little water) and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C (350 F) for 20-25 minutes, or until the dough has turned golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Remove the brioche from the tins (or bowl); remove the top ball from the center of the brioche and add a small amount of lemon curd into the center of each brioche. Serve warm on the day of baking or lightly toasted the following day.
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Croissant French Toast Casserole + my blog 2 – year anniversary

 

French Toast

Today happens to be Valentine’s Day, so if you haven’t already given chocolates or red roses to your special person, here’s an alternative: Croissant French Toast Casserole. These buttery croissants are filled with lemon-flavored cream cheese and are sure to warm your sweetheart’s heart at breakfast.

Make them the day before and pop them in the oven and serve the next day. You can have them plain or top with a delicious blueberry compote. They’re not only great for breakfast, we also served these for dessert after serving chilli for dinner.

Today also happens to be my second blog anniversary. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed and how rewarding it has been. The most rewarding experience has been meeting new people through blogging and the support and encouragement you have given me over the years.

When I first started out blogging, only 1 or 2 people would visit my blog each day, and sometimes I had no visits at all (how sad)! Now I am visited by many people each day and it is so rewarding. So THANK YOU!!

 Here is my very first blog post: Easy Chocolate Fondant Cake

Chocolate-Fondant-Food Gawker

 And here is my post on my first blogging anniversary: French Crab Bisque Soup

Crab Bisque

 And now for the Croissant French Toast Casserole recipe: (adapted from Our Best Bites):

Ingredients

  • 5 – 6 Croissants
  • 1  8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered (icing) sugar, divided
  • juice and zest from two lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

For the Blueberry Compote:

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

 Directions

  •  In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the powdered icing sugar and the juice and zest from one lemon. Mix thoroughly with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Croissant 1

  •  Slice each croissant in half lengthwise using a serrated bread knife. Spread some of the creamed cheese mixture on the bottom half of each croissant.

Croissant

  •  Replace the tops and then slice the croissants in halves or thirds.

French Toast

  • Arrange the pieces evenly in a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

French Toast

  • Whisk together the eggs, milk, juice and zest of the second lemon and the remaining 1/2 cup of powered sugar. Pour the mixture evenly over the croissants, cover with foil and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
  • When ready to serve, pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Bake covered with foil for about 20 minutes (fan-forced oven) or 30 minutes convection oven. Remove foil and let bake for another 10 minutes or until the croissants turn golden brown on top.
  • Serve plain or with blueberry compote.
  • To make the blueberry compote: Combine 1 cup of the blueberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the blueberries and cook for 8 minutes more, stirring frequently.

 French Toast