Brown Butter Wonderment

First and foremost, Selamat Berpuasa to everyone. Today marks the 16th day of the fasting month. Soon, it’ll be time to bake Raya goodies and hopefully that will mean more posts!

Before that though, it is time to reveal the Daring Bakers’ challenge.

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 Alasa or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

This month, I was introduced to brown butter and oh my, was I glad I signed up as a daring baker. Just the memory of the aroma of the brown butter is enough to make me salivate. On top of that, I had to overcome my nonsensical fear of making custard-based ice cream. I tweaked David Lebovitz’s chocolate ice cream recipe to churn out this marvelously creamy roasted almonds mocha ice cream to go into my bombe Alaska. Overall, this month’s daring bakers’ challenge was absolutely fun and a wonderful learning experience. Plus, I finally had a reason to invest in a blow torch.. Crème brûlée here I come!


Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) 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.

Almond Mocha Ice Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop

2 cups heavy cream

1 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

2 tbsp instant coffee powder

5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

5 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup lightly toasted almond slivers

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder and coffee powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa and coffee powder into the cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth before stirring in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the mocha mixture until smooth before stirring in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. Remove mixture from freezer and whip to break large ice crystals. Repeat procedure at least thrice, adding the toasted almond slivers at the last step.

Meringue

8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
1 cup (220g) 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.

Assembly Instructions

1. Line four 4” (10cm) 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” (10cm) 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 Alaska on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500°F/260°C oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.

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4 Responses

  1. Fabulous ice cream flavor! Great job!

  2. Almond mocha sounds delicious! Nicely done.

  3. Mmm… that roasted almond mocha ice cream sounds decadent! Great job on this month’s DB challenge, your baked Alaska’s look delish!

  4. Good job on your cake! It looks good!
    -Tawny @http://theyearofthecookie.blogspot.com/

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