Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Daring Bakers' Dobos Torta

Dobos Torta

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torta based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Dobos torta (/'doboʃ/, Hungarian: dobostorta, Slovak: doboška) is a famous Hungarian cake, famous also in Slovakia, invented by and named after a well-known Hungarian confectioner, József C. Dobos (1847-1924) in 1884. It is a five-layer sponge cake, layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with thin caramel slices. The sides of the cake are sometimes coated with ground hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts or almonds but the original cake is without coat, since it was a slice of a big cake. Dobos's aim was to make a cake that would last longer than other pastries, in an age when cooling techniques were limited. The caramel topping helps keep the cake from drying out. The cake is also often called 'Dobos-torta' or 'Dobostorta'.

Dobosh or Dobos Torta (type of cake) was first introduced at the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885; Franz Joseph I and his Empress Elisabeth were among the first to taste it. The cake soon became popular throughout Europe as it was different from all others. It was simple but elegant, as opposed to the multi-storey, flaming cakes of the age. Its other secret was its use of fine buttercream, which was very little known at the time; cake fillings and frostings were usually made with cooked pastry cream or whipped cream. The chocolate buttercream and the batter of the cake were both invented by Jozsef C. Dobos.

Dobos travelled around Europe and introduced the cake wherever he went. For a long time he kept the exact recipe confidential, until 1906 when he retired and gave the original recipe to the Budapest Confectioners' and Gingerbread Makers' Chamber of Industry, providing that every member of the chamber can use it freely.

Dobos Torta is known everywhere in the world and there are more than one hundred recipe variations. It is a commonly made torta in the upscale hotels, restaurants and pastry shops of the world.

Thanks Angela and Lorraine for a fantastic choice.

First torta
This was an effort it has 32 layers and I followed the recipe below I coated the layers of sponge with unsweetened coffee syrup. Tastes like elegance and definitely worth it. No real problems with any part of the challenge. Try it with coffee it is even better. I used ground hazelnuts on the sides and the toffee had a nice lemon after-taste that really set off the cake. (A lot of the Daring Bakers' found the buttercream was too soft and that the lemon wasn't the best taste for the caramel and it was very difficult to apply to the top of the cake slices). This is a two person cake though it feed four after a lunch. I think I got the toffee layer too thick on the torta pieces but it was nice and crisp. I followed the recipe I just did a jelly roll (Swiss slice) pan of sponge very thin and cut the baked sponge into many squares. Then I cut each square into halves to get thin layers of sponge.

Above #54595 Tastespotting
The Verdict - This is a very delicious torta and the addition of the coffe syrup really adds to the taste. The buttercream is sweet so I only used the bare minimum if you don't have a sweet tooth use unsweetened bitter chocolate in the buttercream this will counteract the sweetness. I like the lemon aftertaste in the caramel and even if it was thick it was crisp and a nice contrast to the softness of the torta.

Second Torta

I did chocolate sponge layers (added some cocoa powder to the batter). I did a much better job of doing the caramel pieces this time I was very happy with them.
I then filled the torta with coconut buttercream and bittersweet chocolate buttercream in alternating layers and garnished with moist fresh shreaded coconut.
The cut torta I soaked the layers in strong coffee.
The Verdict - Even better than the first one, the contrasting flavours and colours were delightful and this time I toned down the sweetness. I also like I had a nice close grained crumb in the sponge which was very nice to eat.

If you want to see some truely creative versions of the Dobos torta see here it is Lisa's site (Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives)

Tips and hints on torta making and baking

How to make level even thick or thin torta layers

Remember you are the boss and not the cake. I'm very bossy when it comes to torta. Below is the method I use to make layer cakes. It can be used to make thick or thin even layers. You will found that the edges will be slighter thinner than the middle but not by much. And making a great torta is about mixing and matching the cut-outs to make the finished torta even there will be some wastage.

I used 1/12 (one half of an egg white and half an yolk) of the recipe to make a 30cmx30cm (12"x12") thin layer of torta for demonstration purposes below.

Prepare the baking paper – iron both sheets to make them flat and smooth. Then spray some oil spray on the baking sheet and place one sheet on it do not spray the top side. Then spray the other sheet and cover the oil evenly with cocoa powder (or flour).

This is the most important step place some batter on the paper without the oil and spread as evenly as possible take your time and do a good job, the better you do here the easier it is to cut and you will have less wastage.

Then place the other paper with the cocoa (or flour) on top of the spread out layer. The cocoa helps you remove the top sheet and helps when you spread the top of batter with the rolling pin. Now use a light weight 12oz (330grams) or less rolling pin and roll very gently over the paper, do it very gently, at first use your fingers to take the weight of the rolling pin then slowly and gently while rolling use the full weight of rolling pin, you shouldn't have batter coming from the edges this makes for a very flat even layer. Hold the rolling pin level to the pan with your fingers just below the height of the paper so when you roll gently the action is only making the top of the layer even. The idea is to even out the top of the batter and not move batter to edges. A good torta sponge can take the weight of the rolling pin and not move too much of the batter to the edges. This method does not work well if you haven't done a good job on spreading the batter onto the parchment paper in the first place. It makes for a very smooth flat thin layer when presentation is paramount.

Bake in the oven, when you smell sponge it is ready this layer took about 4 mins and you will find that the top parchment paper lifts and puffs up from the sponge layer and makes for easy removal. If you are making very thin layers - when the sponge is still warm cut into the shape you require using a knife or scissors. How thin can you make the sponge. See for yourself I used scissors to cut the sponge. No the sponge isn't crisp in fact it is soft - I find that thin layers are nicest and hold the max amount of icing.

The torta tower I made for the challenge used thin layers about a matchstick thick. It was only about a matchstick and half high and I used one egg (that is 1/6 of the recipe) enough for two people I had about 5% wastage of the baked layer near the edges. The sponge is not crisp also I usually use coffee or liquor to moisten the sponge when I make the completed torta.

Lightly pressing the still hot unmoulded sponge cake with another unused sheet pan to level the top of the cake is the easiest method I think to make the sponge layers even and also I did spread the cold buttercream between two pieces of parchment to make those layers very even and then placed them in the freezer to make them hard and then cut them to the same shape as the cold sponge layers then I assembled the torta. Cold sponge is much firmer and easier to cut and handle than room temperature cake. This is how to make the most even and level torta you can.

Icing the Torta
*Chill the torta between the filling of the layers and the final icing. The torta will be much easier to work with.
*Apply a thin layer of icing to the torta then refrigerate until it is set before applying the final, heavier layer of icing. This will seal in the crumbs, ensuring a clean final appearance.

Making even thin layes from a thick layer
1.To split a cake into layers, loop a length of waxed dental floss around the outside of the cake at the point you want the cut, then cross the ends and pull gently but firmly. The floss will cut right through the cake.
2.An easy way to split layers evenly: Measure halfway up side of each layer and insert wooden picks into the cake all around, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart. Rest a long serrated knife on wooden picks, using them as a guide on where to slice. Discard wooden picks before proceeding with the icing.

How to ice many layers at once and keep them straight.
1.If tiers of a multi-layer cake slip as you are applying icing, insert strands of uncooked spaghetti through the cake for support. Carefully pull out spaghetti when the icing has set.
2.To prevent icing from running off your cake, try dusting the surface lightly with cornstarch or cocoa before icing.

Testing for doneness
When testing a large cake to see if it is done, use a strand of uncooked spaghetti. It reaches where a wooden pick won't.

Cutting your torta
Use unflavored dental floss to slice evenly and cleanly through a cake or torta. Simply stretch a length of the floss taut and press down through the cake.

Recipe Dobos Torta

2 baking sheets
9” (23cm) springform tin and 8” cake tin, for templates
mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
a sieve
a double boiler (a large saucepan plus a large heat-proof mixing bowl which fits snugly over the top of the pan)
a small saucepan
a whisk (you could use a balloon whisk for the entire cake, but an electric hand whisk or stand mixer will make life much easier)
metal offset spatula
sharp knife
a 7 1/2” cardboard cake round, or just build cake on the base of a sprinfrom tin.
piping bag and tip, optional

Prep times
Sponge layers 20 mins prep, 40 mins cooking total if baking each layer individually.
Buttercream: 20 mins cooking. Cooling time for buttercream: about 1 hour plus 10 minutes after this to beat and divide.
Caramel layer: 10-15 minutes.
Assembly of whole cake: 20 minutes

Sponge cake layers
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
pinch of salt

Chocolate Buttercream
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Caramel topping
1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

Finishing touches
a 7” cardboard round
12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

Directions for the sponge layers:
NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).

2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)

3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)

4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.

5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)

Directions for the chocolate buttercream:
NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.
1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.
Lorraine's note: If you're in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you'll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!

Directions for the caramel topping:
1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.
Angela's note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

Assembling the Dobos
1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

I (Angela) am quite happy to store this cake at room temperature under a glass dome, but your mileage may vary. If you do decide to chill it, then I would advise also using a glass dome if you have done. I should also note that the cake will cut more cleanly when chilled.

Shape: The traditional shape of a Dobos Torta is a circular cake, but you can vary the shape and size if you want. Sherry Yard in her book Desserts By The Yard makes a skyscraper Dobos by cutting a full-size cake into four wedges and stacking them to create a tall, sail-shaped cake. Mini Dobos would be very cute, and you could perch a little disc of caramel on top.
Flavour: While we both love the dark chocolate buttercream and this is traditional, we think it would be fun to see what fun buttercreams you all come up with! So, go wild! Or, you could brush each layer with a flavoured syrup if you just want a hint of a second flavour. Cointreau syrup would be divine!
Nuts: These are optional for decoration, so no worries if you're allergic to them. If you don't like hazelnuts, then substitute for another variety that you like.

Egg concerns
The cooking process for the buttercream will produce lightly cooked eggs. If you fall into a vulnerable health group then you may wish to use an egg-less buttercream.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hazelnut Citrus Stone Fruit Macarons #4

More of my macaron binge Hazelnut Citrus Stone Fruit (orange/apricot/cherry) Macarons with dark chocolate ganache filling. See here for the French recipe I used for making macarons it has full instructions and many links to macaron resources. I used citrus/stone fruit 'herbal tea' powder (1/2 tsp of each flavour orange, apricot and cherry) to colour and flavour the hazelnut macaron shells. The hazelnuts leave nice little speckles in the shell I used half almond meal and half hazelnut meal. I did 1" sized (exactly the same size as an Australian 20 cent piece) shells and found that 50grams of egg whites makes 50 shells over 2 dozen macarons!!!

I used flavoured 'tea' powders to colour/flavour the macarons. These are available in the tea section of the supermarket. They are in a mixed pack of 'herbal' teas that contains pure cherry, pure apricot, pure mint, pure lemongrass and pure orange (they have no actual tea in the ingredient list). This is an easy and cheap way to include a strong flavour base to the macaron shell. Grind the dry tea powder along with the nut meal to fully incorparate it into the macaron mixture.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Chocolate Mint French Macarons 3

Chocolate Mint French Macarons

I have been on a macaron baking binge lately. This is latest batch. I made the shells as per this recipe (using the simple French method) but I added 1 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder and 1 teabag of pure mint tea and filled the macarons with nutella. The mint had exactly the right punch for the dark chocolate shell and filling. (I froze the sliced macaron shown above so I could get a clean cut it is impossible to cut a room temperature macaron so well.)When you are grinding the almond meal add the contents of the dry mint tea bag so it is incorporated completely. Add the sifted cocoa powder with the icing sugar in the above linked recipe.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Daring Cooks' #4 Spanish Seafood Rice

Spanish Seafood Rice and a lesson in chemistry
August Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes she chose a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment. The recipe is from his US TV show Made in Spain. I hope you enjoy it. (Please note tips (2) and (3) at the bottom for alternative cooking). He trained under well-known Ferran Adria at his three Michelin star restaurant El Bulli. José Andrés lives now in Washington DC and he owns several restaurants in Washington DC area (El Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel…).

Thank you Olga for this month's challegene it really shows off the Spanish flair for seafood and rice.

This is one magnificent dish the first flavour you notice is the seafood taste of the rice then you get the taste of the sofregit and saffron and when you eat the dish the textures of the rice, seafood, artichokes, mushrooms just work to perfection – if you cannot get fresh artichoke use only ½ the amount of marinated artichokes since they are much stronger tasting than fresh – also I think okra a green vegetable would be very nice. The allioli is incredibly potent only do 1/3 cup of the recipe below (i.e. use only one clove of garlic and 1/3 cup of olive oil) and I only used about ½ teaspoon on my serving and yes it did take 23 mins to do the whole process very tedious. I did half the reveal recipe and it served 4 people for lunch with crispy bread and fruit salad as afters. I used sushi rice it was exactly right for this dish it absorbed the liquid it was creamy and held all the ingredients together and its tooth bite was a slight contrast to the other ingredients it worked very well. I added ½ tablespoon of powdered seaweed in the fish stock to increase its 'seafood' taste. Also I added some Spanish chorizo sausage it really adds a nice touch to the dish and it doesn't make the dish taste any less 'seafoody'. I used all fish stock since my guests had ethical problems with wine. Please use fresh bay leaf if you can it really does make a huge difference.

Allioli this is very very pungent but great in small amounts. I think the final colour depends a lot on the colour of the olive oil that you use, my olive oil was very green and its taste was fruity which I think helps the final colour and taste, my three guests all liked it (in small amounts). Don't make too much. I was expecting it to be white like garlic mayo. See a full and detailed recipe with quantities below.

Ingredients for allioli
Grinding the garlic as finely as possible
Prepared allioli

Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times have different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms) – this is wonderful (I will be making this again and again) it is so aromatic and sweet tasting I will be having the leftovers on cheese toast tomorrow. It tastes of summer very 'fruity' with a great vegetable overtone.

Ingredients for the sofregit
Cooking the sofregit
The finish sofregit

Ingredients for the rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Fresh artichokes and saffron
Cleaned artichokes remember to use some lemon juice to stop browning of the hearts
Rice, cuttlefish, prawns (shrimp), clams, mussels, octopus, squid, Spanish chorizo sausage , saffron, bay leaves and mushrooms. I used about 250grams of seafood for the half recipe - this was plenty it felt generous when eating the dish. I used only one half sausage chopped again plenty. Sushi rice worked very will indeed it really absorbed all the liquid and flavour so is very tasty in the final dish.
Salmon heads for fish stock – lightly fry in olive oil add water and simmer for 30 mins - one salmon head yields 2 1/2 cups of stock, or 1 kg of fish heads gives 3-4 litres of stock. There is no need to add anything else to this fish stock since the sofregit adds the extra flavours needed to complete the final dish. I added 1/2 tablespoon 'seaweed' powder leftover from the last DC challenge to the stock also. If you simmer too long the stock will go bitter. Strain through a fine sieve discard all solids. Skim any fat off the top of the strained liquid.
Cooking the recipe

Final dish

Recipe for one cup of allioli
3 cloves garlic – peeled
1 cup (25 cl) extra virgin olive oil – If at all possible use Catalan arbequina olive oil. Failing that, use a mild Greek or Italian extra virgin olive oil.
1 pinch salt
A few drops of lemon juice
How to prepare allioli
1.Peel the garlic cloves and cut them in half lengthwise to check if they have greenish shoots. If you see sprouts, cut them off, and discard them. Garlic sprouts make it more difficult to bind the allioli, and they make it much too hot as well. If you are sure that the garlic is very fresh, just peel the cloves, and you can begin to mash them in the mortar without cutting them in half.
2.Drop the garlic cloves in your mortar, add a pinch of salt, the lemon and start pounding with the pestle.
3.Pound and mash the garlic and the salt with the pestle until you obtain a very fine and smooth paste. This step is essential for binding garlic and olive oil properly with mortar and pestle. If your garlic paste is not smooth and fine enough, the allioli will tend to break much easier.
4.Now, while you stir the mixture with the pestle in one hand, start adding the olive oil very slowly, almost drop by drop, with the oil dispenser that you hold in the other hand.
5.Stir constantly and always in the same direction, describing circular movements, until you obtain a thick paste. In the picture, you can see the texture of an authentic allioli in Catalan style.

For vegans I found squid flavoured tofu the packaging says vegetarian but it's only made of spiced tofu and yes it does taste like squid.

Costs about $4.18 per serve for lunch - I could of saved $1 per serve if I had left out the artichoke and replaced it with asparagus which was on special only 10c per bunch. I think asparagus would go well with this dish.

Spanish seafood allioli nori rolls
I made another batch of seafood rice this morning but we decided to go on a picnic since the weather was so nice. What to do with the cooked seafood rice dish? I made nori rolls. To the cooled dish I added some deep fried squid tofu, a lot of allioli, and a touch of the following ingredients oyster sauce, seaweed powder, wasabi power and lemon powder then I wrapped them in nori sheets. They are surprising good as nori rolls. We had a great time on Sydney Harbour looking at the sailing ships and walking across the bridge. Great picnic food very tasty and the rolls had a real kick to them which was great on a clear sunny winter's day on the harbour. You can have a lot more allioli in the cold dish then in the hot dish.
Wrapping Spanish seafood rice with allioli in nori sheets
Formed Spanish seafood allioli nori rolls.

The Chemistry Lesson
One of the Daring Cooks' msmflo said "Your sushi rolls are such a wonderful idea!" and "I am posting because for the life of me, it got me boggled why your allioli is dark green in colour when its suppose to be a creamy off white. The chemist in me meant that I must get an answer for it lol. I spend the day rifling through my chemistry books and I think the answer lies in the oil and the garlic that you use as compared to the other participants uses.

You are using extra virgin olive oil. Is that a first pressed /cold pressed extra virgin oil? Is it really dark in colour (yes I think you mentioned it was really green)? May I know what kind of olive oil are you using? Is it just normal olive oil which is light in colour or is it dark green as well?

Cold pressed/first pressed extra virgin oil actually contains a large amount of chlorophyll in it. nd i think that is what causes the allioli to turn green in colour as when you grind it. also note that garlic contain sulphur compounds which can react with copper to form copper sulphate, (blue/blue-green/aquamarine). This enzyme that changes the colour of garlic only happens to raw garlic as heat destroys the enzyme that's why cooked garlic would not turn blue and green. Still, the grinding of the garlic is an effective way of breaking the garlic's internal membranes and mixing with the cells chemicals that when react together with an acidic catalyst (in this case is the citric acid of the lemon) to create the green pigment. From the microchemical journal, it is stated that "The dependency of the trace elemental content of olive oils is dependent on their geographical region" and traces of copper can be found in extra virgin olive oil. although it is quite minute (about 1.5 microgram).

So that's why the aioli was green? I need answers."

I answered Yes Ma! Here are your answers. Girl I just love your questions - yes I just looked at the very very expensive bottle of olive oil I used and YES it is I quote "a first and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil that is grown in the mineral [i.e. copper] rich soils of South Australia using an ancient wooden oilve press imported from the old country so retaining large amounts of the green chlorophyll found in olives hence its vivid colour and depth of fruity taste". And it is the strongest green colour it is great on bread. Also the garlic was from friends in the Hunter Valley (a wine growing region close to Sydney) with Grey Dermosol type soil with a well structured B2 horizon containing low levels of free iron. The parent materials of dermosols range from siliceous, intermediate to mafic in composition. Also in these soils decreased iron availability increases copper and sulphur uptake by garlic for example.....

You are one clever cookie well done bravo I like smarties. Now everybody knows - what low iron garlic and high copper olive oil with high chlorophyll gives - green allioli LOL LOL

I will try it again without the lemon juice (i.e. the citric acid) and see what happens.

I made the allioli using no lemon juice to compare the colours, my olive oil is a very green colour. I used the same garlic in both batches.
Left side made with lemon and the right side made without lemon.
As you can see the colour difference is huge even without lemon juice it still is yellow-green. Thanks for the chemical analysis and chemistry lesson msmflo.
Here endth the lesson

I had a late afternoon BBQ for some very close friends and mates. I made another batch but I decided to plate it in a more dramatic manner. Sorry for the harsh shadows but the available lighting wasn't the best of photos. I made the rice dish a bit drier so I could mould it using an old tuna-fish can (never throw them away they are great of several purposes). I used cooked asparagus shavings on the side of the moulded rice seafood. I used the allioli with some white wine vinegar as a dressing (which makes it more runny than normal) on the cherry tomatoes, cut asparagus and seafood rice. Simple plating and so yummy, I love this dish very easy and tasty. And it's cheap so long as you use seasonal fish and veges.
The dessert was a wild cherry marshmallow swirl roll with cream and wild cherry jam. The pink marshmallow is cherry flavour the white is vanilla. I have never made this before and it worked out well I thought. The design was based on something I saw in a bakery in Sydney which looked so cute. Just concocted (no recipe) at the last moment since I was making something else that needed marshmallow and wild cherry and I had spare ingredients.

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

1 Chopping Board
1 knife
1 medium saucepan
1 Paella pan (30 cm/11” is enough for 4 people. If not available, you may use a simple pan that size)
1 Saucepan
Ingredients (serves 4):
4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or freezed if fresh are not available)
12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
1 glass of white wine
2 Cuttlefish (you can use freezed cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh)
“Sofregit” (see recipe below)
300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person) Please read this for more info on suitable rices.
Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder)
Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) - optional

1.Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
2.Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
3.If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video in tip #7. Cut artichokes in eights.
4.Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
5.Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
6.Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
7.Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
8.Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
9.Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
10.Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
11.Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
12.Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
13.Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)-
Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 Bay leaf
Touch of ground cumin
Touch of dried oregano
1.Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
2.Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)

Allioli is the optional part of the recipe. You must choose one of the two recipes given, even though I highly recommend you to try traditional one. Allioli is served together with the rice and it gives a very nice taste
Allioli (Traditional recipe)
Cooking time: 20 min aprox.

4 garlic cloves, peeled
Pinch of salt
Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)
1.Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
2.Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
3.Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
4.Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
5.Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
6.Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.
José's tips for traditional recipe: It's hard to think that, when you start crushing the garlic, it will ever turn into something as dense and smooth as allioli. But don't give up. It's worth the extra time and effort to see the oil and garlic come together before your eyes. Just make sure you're adding the olive oil slowly, drop by drop. Keep moving the pestle around the mortar in a circular motion and keep dreaming of the thick, creamy sauce at the end of it all.

Allioli a la moderna (Modern recipe)
Cooking time: 3-4 minutes

1 small egg
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (as above, Spanish oil is highly recommended)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice (if Sherry vinegar is not available, use can use cider or white vinegar)
Salt to taste
1.Break the egg into a mixing bowl.
2.Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.
3.Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste.
4.Little by little, add what's left of the olive oil as you continue blending.
5.If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce.
6.Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli.
7.The sauce will be a lovely yellow color.
8.Add salt to taste.
José's tips for modern recipe:
(1) If you do not have access to a hand blender, you can use a hand mixer (the kind with the two beaters) or a food processor. If you use a food processor, you must double the recipe or the amount will be too little for the blades to catch and emulsify.
(2) What happens if the oil and egg separate? Don't throw it out. You can do two things. One is to whisk it and use it as a side sauce for a fish or vegetable. But if you want to rescue the allioli, take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water in another beaker and start adding to the mix little by little. Blend it again until you create the creamy sauce you wanted.
Olga’s Tips:
(1) In Spain, rice is not stirred as often as it is when cooking Italian risotto. You must stir it once or twice maximum. This tip is valid for all Spanish rice dishes like paella, arròs negre, arròs a banda…
(2) When cooking the alternative style you can change the cuttlefish or squid for diced potato.
(3) If you can’t find cuttlefish or squid, or you’re not able to eat them because of allergies, you can try to substitute them for chicken or vegetables at your choice.
(4) Sofregit can be done in advance. You can keep it in the fridge or even freeze it.
(5) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video
(6) To watch how Jose Andres cooks this dish click here.
(7) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video
(8) To tone down the taste when you do it by hand in a mortar, then add an egg yolk. If you want to tone it down in the alternative way use milk or soy milk. Anyway, the best alternative way is the original oil and garlic alone.
(9) Allioli must be consumed during the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it.
(10) For help on conversion on metric to imperial, visit this page.