Sunday, March 28, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Le Succès - Passover Cake #1


This is an awesome Passover cake! Thanks Rose!

Here is a link to some Mel Brooks if you need a laugh :)

       Or some nice exodus imagery (according to Jewish tradition, however, the sea split into twelve tunnels, one for each tribe as well, as well as other inaccuracies. Still, its nice.)

If you are Jewish, don't forget to eat some Matzah and Bitter herbs (horse radish or romance lettuce) this Monday night as well as to drink 4 cups of wine (or grape juice.)

Hand made Matzah is: "the bread of affliction." Perhaps it is called so because it can run upwards of $20 a lb! Spelt, Oat and Barley matzahs are becoming more available as well.

First, some pics of getting the kitchen ready for Passover ("kashering.") In order to make sure there is no left over flavor of leavening in anything we blow-torch, Easy-off burn and pour boiling water with a white hot brick over the stove, counters, sinks and utensils (to each item it's own method.) Then we tin foil the whole thing to make sure that the surfaces do not even have a chance to touch the precious Passover pots/pans dishes etc. (Yup, a whole set just for Passover - we also completely restock the pantry.) The general rule is, the same way the flavor got in, that's how it's going to get out!

You have to turn these so the fire reaches all the parts.

My "Cheeky Cherubs," as fellow HCB'er Nicola calls them, holding the cup for Elijah the Prophet. Near the end of the first (and second) night you fill Elijah's cup and take the lit candelabra with you to open the door to the night outside. A gesture to the presence of the Prophet Elijah, the harbinger of the redemption (see Malachi 3:23,) to come in and drink to the redemption!

Mis en place in the place my toaster used to sit. Notice the potato starch and macaroons on the side. Passover staples.

Draw the 8" circles. I realized that I could just trace a plastic plate.

The nut mixture. I toasted the nuts for extra flavor.

My brand new Passover hand mixer.

I could not find Passover-certified cream of tartar in the stores like I did last year. This may not have to do with the issue but, in general, fruit juice (such as wine, from which cream of tartar is derived) does not leaven things like water does. However, according to some, it can leaven even faster; especially if any amount of water is added to it. I may have under-beat the eggs a little for fear of over-beating. There was some kind of curdling effect around the edges that I have not seen before. I wonder if its from beating in the metal bowl?


Looks a bit like porridge. Hmm.


... and Bake!

To make the ganache, just break up the chocolate pieces, there is no need for the food processor, it will melt when you mix the hot cream in with a fork. This recipe calls for 1 LB! of chocolate. This really made a double recipe and I am going to have to make a second cake to use up all the ganache.

I could not use any dairy in this cake as I only have a meat oven for Passover. I was not sure what to substitute for the crème fraiche. In the end I decided to just use extra parve heavy cream and add some sour salt. I actually whipped it first (in the pot) to try and simulate the thicker sour-cream consistency.

Set some aside...

... and scalded the rest. Mix mix.

I do not think that whipping it did anything for the part that got scalded but I think the part I left over did thicken and fluff the end result a bit. Next time I would set aside a little more.

I could not find kosher for passover instant tea so I just made a concentrate in a bit of water and added it in.

Compose the layers. I did not bother with the whole "let it sit in the fridge between each layer for an hour" thing as it was already 1:30am. Mimi was coming back from Passover shopping in a bit and I wanted to surprise her. It did not seem any worse for the wear.

Ta Da! The meringue is a nice change from the regular potato starch cakes and the tea ganache, with  the real tea essence, had, as Mimi described it, "an assertive flavor."  I already got one "this does not even taste like a Passover cake!" comment and expect some more. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Peanut Butter Ingots (with ground almonds)


These were fabulous!

Mis en place:

Toasted Almonds.

Flour mixture. I did not get every last powdered sugar ball!

Beurre noisette.

Keep it warm... ;)

Mix mix...

Ready to go.

The unique thing about these seems to be the ground almonds and the beurre noisette which change this from a regular peanut butter cake to someting "Heavenly."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Sicilian Pistachio Cake With Golden Neoclassic Buttercream


I would just like to thank Marie from heavenlycakeplace for schedualing 2 Passover cakes. There is no way I would have been able to plan a non-Passover cake for the day before Passover (the 28th) nor the next week, on Passover. I appreciate being included. I hope I can get my kitchen ready on time...


This was just a wonderful cake!

The egg mixture.

Grind the pistachios with the sugar. I used plain old unsalted pistachios. Still it was $25 a pound (I bought 1/2 pound which was more than enough.)

Mix with butter and sourcream etc.

Watch out! The pistachios have to dry after blaching for a long time. I left them out in the paper towels overnight and they were still moist. I toasted them on 150 for an hour or two and they came out nice, dry (and toasted.) :)

You can see the parallel burn marks from the  toaster's top heating element.

-The buttercream.- When the sugar and corn syrup are bubbling I pour straight from the pot to avoid pre-mature hardening.

Mix mix... I left out one of the sticks of butter since I do not like my buttercreams very buttery-tasting.

Ooh La La! Oh wait, that's French...

The pistachio's flavor was unique and delicious. I did not put the pistachios on the top of the whole cake as my kids would not have eaten it if I did. I highly recomend this cake, fancy pistachios or no!

And no, pistachio's are not mentioned in the Bible that I can tell. Sicily is not either (Venice is hinted at, but don't ask me to find it again...)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Posting issues


Having some posting issues. Please check out my two latest posts below.


BBA - 100% (Dark) Rye Sourdough


I used dark rye instead of white since I did not want to buy new flour before Passover and already had a bag of dark rye.

First make an all rye starter from the regular one (which allready had a bit of rye in it.) Feed for three days to get it really going.

Make a firm starter the from the rye starter. and leave it for a day. Then add the flour and caraway seeds to it along with a soaker. I used an extra 1/2 cup of rye starter instead of the soaker since I ran out of flour. 

"I too messy!"

I learned from Joe pastry that different tasting microbes live in the firm starter than the wet one. At any rate the starters were rip-roaring and ready to go so this bread tasted the most sourdoughy yet of anything  I tried. I am not sure if it's because I used a firm starter or if it was just because my wet starter was not weak. At any rate it had a much more tangy flavor, much like I was trying to acheive with my sourdough  baguettes. I'll have to experiment with the different starters to achieve consistent results.

Pretty dense (but delicious.) Next time I'll spike it with some vital wheat gluten and some instant yeast.

Byby starter. :( I'll have to get rid of the starter that's sitting in my fridge before Passover. An exercise in humility, getting rid of all those things that puff (you or your bread) up!

Naan and Kosher Indian food!


This is the first kosher Indian food we have ever had. Boy what  we we're missing!

The Naan bread.

Clockwise from top. Mango chutney, Naan, Lamb with ginger and cilantro etc, baby eggplants stuffed with spices stewed in coconut sauce, zuchini bread of some kind, chili chicken.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Chocolate Apricot Roll


"נֶזֶם זָהָב בְּאַף חֲזִיר, אִשָּׁה יָפָה וְסָרַת טָעַם"
–משלי יא, כב

-"A beautiful women without taste or brains is like a pretty gold-nose-ring in the snout of a  swine."
-Proverbs 11:22

It may look O.K. but this cake did not turn out very well for me. I was way too goopy in the middle and too rich. It also had some kind of funny "off" taste (almost metallic) that I am not sure exactly the cause of though there are a few things that may have caused it. I did make a few mistakes that I will enumerate.

I made this cake over a period of three nights. Lekvar, ganache and then cake.

Process the cooked apricots. There was other food on the stove (must defer to the Mrs...) so I could not get to the apricots when I was supposed to.

You are supposed to put it back in the pot to reduce but since it had already cooked for an extra 15 - 20  minutes I realized that it was already at the desired color and consistency. Hey, not bad! However, the taste did not seem uniform. Some of the lekvar was sweet while some of it was more tangy. It may just be that our apricots were too old or just not all the same sweetness. This is one of the things that may have contributed to the off taste.

Mistake number 2:

I used regular sugar instead of superfine. Whoops! I think this hurt the texture and flavor of the cake. Here is the flour sifting the flour on the liquid mixture. 

Spread it out. I made this cake parve.

The Rich Whip available now in all the stores in my neck of the woods is the kosher for Passover version. Perhaps it is what caused the ganache to be cloyingly rich. I may have also used too much chocolate or it could have been 2 1/2 ounces of 72% cocoa chocolate that I mixed with the lower quality in an attempt to give it some oomph.

The ganache and lekvar.

Looks pretty but... looks can be deceiving...

The 1/2 cup of the lekvar did not seem to cover the whole cake. I should have attempted to spread it thinner. Instead I just used an extra 1/3 cup of it. 

I used a little over a cup of the ganache.

Getting ready for the lacquer glaze. I wonder why Rose says to use a metal "bowl?" What's wrong with plastic?

Mistake number 3. I should have used real kojel - kosher gelatin. I found this unflavored kosher jello in the store and figured, it's got collagen, what more do you need? Real Kojel and a thermometer apparently! The jel did not dissolve completely and also had a funny taste.

Mistake number 4. I ate the left over ganache before realizing that you were supposed to spread some on to make the glaze look even...

Glossy? Yes!

Take a guess at the temperature, add the unflavored gel and mix...

 Pour on:

Was it glossy? Yes. Was it pretty? Yes (if you can ignore my bad photography...,) but it was like a beautiful women without "taste."