Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 2010 Daring Bakers' Orange Tian

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Thank you Jennifer for a fun dessert (and a new one for me). I used CSR jam-setting sugar to make the jam it is very easy and takes only about 10-15 mins to make. I had no real problems with any of the components. The Pate Sablee was very simple and quite tasty and very new to me. They are a wonderful treat to make and to eat, simple and very tasty.


Fairy Banana Tian – some guests (who cannot have citrus of any sort) with children were coming over for lunch and I knew the kids love fairy bread with bananas so I did a version that had a banana with 100s and 1000s sprinkles. I used kiwi jam. Fairy bread is a very very popular kids party food in Australia it is buttered white bread triangles covered in 100s and 1000s (coloured sprinkles).

Blueberry tian - for the adults I used some of the blueberry jam in the cream to make a swirl effect in the cream layer.


The cream set up very firm which was good. I used thicken cream with added gelatin and I added the caramel sauce to it also I think this made it so firm. I thought the caramel sauce on top would spoil the appearance of the finished product.

How to do the caramel sauce

Sugar starting to melt

Totally melted sugar

The finished orange caramel sauce (it is so so yummy)

Note: There are quite a few steps to making this dessert; however a lot of them can be made in advance. The orange marmalade can be made several days ahead of time and the caramel sauce and orange segments preparation should be made the day before you make the dessert. Also, if you have a scale, try and use the weighed measurements as they will be the most accurate.

The recipe can be a little bit tricky to put together, especially the first time. My main tip is to make sure the whipped cream is firm enough when you make it and be sure to leave the desserts to set in the freezer for long enough or they will fall apart when you unmold them.

Variations allowed:
• You can choose to serve the dessert ‘family-style’ and don’t have to make it in individual portions
• You can use your favorite “Pate Sablee” recipe if you have one, but it must be a pate sablee
• You can add any additional flavoring to your whipped cream
• You can play with different citrus in this dessert (grapefruit, blood orange, lemon) at any step in the recipe.
However, you must make the tart dough, the whipped cream, the caramel sauce, citrus segments and marmalade.

Preparation time:
- Pate Sablee: 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to rest, 15 minutes to roll out, 20 minutes to bake
- Marmalade: 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to blanch
- Orange segments: 20 minutes, overnight to sit
- Caramel: 15 minutes, overnight to sit
- Whipped Cream: 15 minutes
- Assembling: 20 minutes
- Freezer to Set: 10 minutes

Equipment required:
• Cookie cutters . Ideally, you should have about 6 cookie cutters to build the desserts in and cut the circles of dough (see photo). The cookie cutters will be the size of your final dessert, so they should be the size of an individually-sized tart mold. If you don’t have round cookie cutters you could use an individually-sized cheesecake mold without its base.
• A food processor (although the dough could be made by hand too)
• A stand-up or hand mixer
• Parchment paper or a silicone sheet
• A baking sheet
• A rolling pin

For the Pate Sablee:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Celsius.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges.

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

[See YouTube video in the References section below for additional information on segmenting oranges.]

For the Caramel:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.

Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Resources: (An article about the dessert known as tian.)

YouTube link on how to segment an orange:

To learn more about Pectin:

What to substitute for Pectin:

Tips, flavours and decoration ideas

Today's culinary trends are for mixing flavours, so add aromatic herbs and spices such as rosemary or thyme to apricot, mint and bee balm to strawberry, ginger and cinnamon to citrus fruit and vanilla to melon or chestnut jam. Also delicious are dried fruit, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, figs, apricots etc. Finally, flowers and vegetables have made their way into the jam aisles too, and you'll find rose petal, bay, violet and hibiscus jelly as well as tomato, carrot and pumpkin jam, onion chutney...anything is possible!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 2010 Daring Cooks' Risotto


The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

This month's challenge was a delicious one risotto - creamy and luscious and oh so hearty. Thank you Eleanor and Jess for a wonderful challenge.

For my 1st batch I just wanted to try out my new imported risotto rice and use a simple chicken wing stock just to see what results I could get.

Chicken Flavoured Risotto
My expensive 2 kg bag of risotto rice

Close up view of risotto rice grains

Home made chicken wing stock – heavy with gelatinous goodness. Roast 1 kg of chicken wings and then simmer in 2 litres of water for 1 hour (with veggies and herbs/spices) and refrigerate overnight. Remember the golden rule The better the stock the better the risotto.

Initial coating the grains of rice with oil – notice the transparent coating on the rice and the interior white capsule of rice. Risotto rice has a outside coating of starch that forms the creamy texture of the finished risotto, and an inside nodule of firmer rice that stays 'firm' even when fully cooked.

Process of cooking the rice photos taken every 6 minutes.

Final risotto rice – nice and creamy and I didn't have to add cheese or cream, since the stock and rice were the of the highest quality.

Comparison of the uncooked and cooked grains of rice.

Second Batch
I wanted to make a vegan umami risotto – I used powered shiitake mushrooms, powered seaweed, sesame seeds with sweet corn. My stock was seaweed with garden veggies.

Vegan Umami Risotto (Sweetcorn, shiitake mushroom and seaweed)
Powdered shiitake mushrooms and seaweed.

Finished Risotto

This risotto was extremely tasty in fact it had such a 'meaty' taste I thought that I had used beef stock instead of the seaweed veggie stock I had prepared but I checked and I had used the correct stock. This was so colourful and superb as a lunch snack.

What to with left over risotto?
Arancini di Riso (Cheese-Filled Risotto Croquettes)
I had some left-over risotto so I made arancini di riso – add an egg yolk and some grated hard cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano is best) to the cold risotto mixture form into balls (use about 1 ½ tablespoon of mixture), you can place a small cube of soft cheese in the centre if you wish, then coat the rice ball in fresh sour dough breadcrumbs then deep-fry until golden if your arancini are very large you can place the freshly deep-fried croquettes into a 180C (350F) oven for ten mins.

The name Arancini derives from the food's shape and color, which is reminiscent of an orange (the Italian word for orange is arancia, and in Sicilian, arancici means "little oranges"). Arancini is masculine plural, the singular is arancino (or in Sicilian arancinu). In some parts of Sicily, the feminine plural, arancine, is common.

Arancini are usually filled with ragù (meat sauce), tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. Though I really like roasted eggplant a lot and mushrooms are wonderful.

Here is a link to a video showing you how to make them it is best to form the balls and place them in the fridge for an hour before deep-frying them.

Here is link to a great classic recipe for arancini (the recipe is on the second page you have to click on the continue button on the bottom of the page.

Risotto al salto
Risotto pancakes (risotto al salto) are best made with classic risotto Milanese, flavoured only with onions, butter, cheese and saffron. Simply mix leftover risotto with egg as a binder (about one beaten egg per cup of cold risotto), form thin patties and sauté over relatively high heat until crusty on each side. It’s a great luncheon dish with salad or vegetable.

Risotto stuffing
Plain, mushroom or other risotto makes a great stuffing for poultry and many vegetables. Simply stuff the bird and bake. For peppers, artichokes, zucchini and eggplant, steam or boil until they’re barely tender, then scoop out the centers, stuff and bake until soft and the rice is crusty. Cabbage and green leaves are other possibilities, needing only brief blanching before stuffing. Tomatoes don’t need to be pre-cooked, just emptied of seeds and juice.

Risotto Focaccia
You can make bread with left over risotto - use your favourite focaccia recipe but replace 1/2 of the flour with pureed risotto rice, and follow your recipe.

Unbaked focaccia
Baked risotto focaccia
Close up of risotto focaccia
Underside of the baked risotto focaccia
The cut focaccia bread - notice the large holes of the crumb - typical of rice bread

Risotto Recipe

Preparation time:
Stock: 20 minutes prep time, 3 hours cooking.
Pumpkin Risotto: 10 minutes prep time, 20-30 minutes cooking. ,
Lemon Risotto: 10 minutes prep time, 20-30 minutes cooking.

Equipment required
• 5 Litre stock pot, or other large pan
• knife
• chopping board
• tablespoon
• teaspoon
• sieve
• ladle
• hand blender (optional)
• wooden spoon or other stirring implement
• grater
• saucepans
• measuring cups
• scales

Chicken Stock

1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
2 onions, roughly diced
1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
2 sticks celery, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. allspice


1. Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
2. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
3. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
4. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
5. Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
6. Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
7. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.

Risotto Base

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L


1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.