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 love browned butter. I've come to realize, you either love it or hate it. I sang it's praises to my friend Angela as we sipped tea while I was making the browned butter for this challenge. I really built up how fabulous browned butter was to her.... so much so, that it was a disappointment when I made her taste it straight from the spoon after I successfully browned the butter instead of burning the butter. She hated it.
I never thought we had much in common anyway.
I've had browned butter on pasta with Mizithra cheese (welcome to heaven), as well as browned butter atop freshly steamed broccoli florets. I've had browned butter in the frosting for the caramel cake we made for the November 2008 DB Challenge. Now I've had brown butter pound cake! Tasty-- and simple to make! I didn't think it was sweet enough, but the ice cream and sweet meringue added the sweetness I was craving after tasting the pound cake alone.
I chose to make the Baked Alaska, however, I got it in just under the wire. We've had an egg recall here in my area and I wasn't sure I'd get the challenge done before the deadline! I luckily found eggs at a county store that either
A.) Did not use the supplier that was affected by the recall.
B.) Used the eggs from the supplier that was affected and didn't care.
C.) Was so far in the sticks that they don't have electricity and don't know about the recall.
Either way, I"m happy to have a finished product in time! Enjoy!
**Baked Alaska Recipe**
3 components needed:
*Brown Butter Pound Cake
*Ice cream (homemade or purchased)
Brown Butter Pound Cake
19 tablespoons unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) 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.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. 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.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) 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.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.
1. Line four 4” diameter tea cups with plastic wrap, so that plastic wrap covers all the sides and hangs over the edge. Fill to the top with ice cream. Cover the top with the overhanging plastic wrap and freeze for several hours, or until solid.
2. Level the top of the brown butter pound cake with a serrated knife or with a cake leveler. Cut out four 4” diameter circles from the cake. Discard the scraps or use for another purpose.
3. Make the meringue (see above.)
4. Unwrap the ice cream “cups” and invert on top of a cake round. Trim any extra cake if necessary.
5. Pipe the meringue over the ice cream and cake, or smooth it over with a spatula, so that none of the ice cream or cake is exposed. Freeze for one hour or up to a day.
6. Burn the tips of the meringue with a cooking blow torch. Or, bake the meringue-topped Baked Alaskas on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500°F/260°C oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.
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