Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chocolate Pots de Creme ( William Sonoma )

If you are looking for some easy make ahead desserts, you can try making some pots de creme, just like this one here. Easy here means simple, no mixer required, no complicating or confusing steps, no beating of egg whites ..etc. We just need to melt some chocolate together with some cream and milk and then blend them into the egg mixture... that's probably all...goes into  the oven.

This is a custard type of dessert, it is cooked by using the water bath method  Making pots de creme reminds me of making creme brulee in one of our bake along session long time ago. I remember when i did my first creme brulee, i had some calculations made worrying that my custard wont set properly but here i didnt bother, it sets beautifully. The texture is neither too solid or runny, i'm just very pleased with the outcome. I must confess though half way thru the baking, i was on the phone and totally forgotten about the custard in the oven after that. So my pots de creme actually sat in the oven 30 mins more after the heat went off! It didnt do any harm to the pots de creme luckily, the custard is very smooth and the surface didnt get rough...could be also due to the pan has been covered with some foil paper, phew!

can be kept for several days before serving. Serve chilled!

So if you are keen on some make ahead chocolate desserts, do consider trying out this and get some good quality chocolate or make some this weekend and join JoyceZoe and myself in this bake along.

Recipe ( from Williams Sonoma Baking Book )
this is half of the original recipe
170ml heavy cream
170ml milk
3oz bittersweet chocolate ( i used dark choc with 50% cocoa) finely chopped
1/2 tbsp expresso powder/instant coffee powder
3 large eggs yolks
25gm sugar

Get ready 3 180ml ramekins and a shallow roasting pan. Preheat oven to 150C

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, chopped chocolate, coffee powder and cook, whisking frequently until the chocolate has melted and the liquid is hot. Do not let boil. Remove from heat.

In a bow, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together using a hand whisk until well blended. While whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture. The pour the custard over the sieve into a glass measuring jug. Skim off any foam and bubbles from the top.
Divide the custard evenly among the ramekins. Place them in a shallow roasting pan and pour hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with aluminium foil.

Bake the custards until they are set but centers still jiggle slightly when  the ramekin is slightly shaken, about 55-60 minutes. ( after 55 minutes, i left the custards in the oven for another 30 mins with power off ) . Remove the pan from the oven, cover the ramekins and refrigerate until well chilled. at least 2 hours or overnight.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Salted Pretzels - Auntie Anne's Pretzel's Copycat Recipe

With this copycat recipe, we can now make these very similar auntie anne's pretzels at home! Pretzels can be very addicting. Flavours aside, the soft , the fluffiness and the chewiness of the pretzels are loved by many. I have tried pretzels from another chain outlet but i personally like Auntie Anne's more...

..and so to bake this, i began searching for a recipe. Wow,  there are actually Auntie Anne's copycat version of pretzels in the internet, quite a number of them, each with almost similar recipes. So i settled for this recipe here for my bake along with Joyce and Zoe. The dough was easy to form and handle though i read from the reviews that the dough is a bit sticky but mine was alright . No additional flour was needed..everything works well. The harder part was forming a balanced long rope at both ends before shaping them. Noticed how long it takes for the workers at the mall to shape pretzels? Probably just 2 seconds for each pretzels.....genius!

This recipe makes 6 regular size pretzels. It comes with a sauce, i didnt make the sauce. I just made some simple salted plain ones. If we do not want to shape them like pretzels, we can turn them into nuggets.  Yes, these pretzels are comparable to Auntie Anne's :D

Recipe ( from cooking classy, )
1 cup milk
2 tsp / 6gm instant yeast
3 tbsp brown sugar
280gm bread flour
2 tbsp melted butter
1tsp fine salt
1/3 cup baking soda
kosher salt/coarse salt for sprinkling

8 tablespoons of melted butter ( for dipping the warm pretzels ) - i didnt do this. I brushed the pretzels with some egg wash and sprinkled some kosher salt just before baking.

Combine milk, instant yeast and sugar in the mixing bowl and using a dough hook, whisk till well mixed. Stir in the 2 tbsp of melted butter. Using low speed, gradually mix in the four and salt . Increase the speed and let it knead till the dough is smooth. Shape into a ball and transfer the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic and let it proof till almost double its size.

Deflate the dough and divide into 6 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece of dough into a long rope, about 25-30 inch , holding the ends and slapping the dough as you stretch. Shape each dough into a pretzel shape.

Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzelin the soda solution and arranged on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake for 10-12 mins.After baking, dip the warm pretzels into the 8 tbps of melted butter, turning to coat. Let excess butter drip off.  ( i changed the method here : Prepare a pot of boiling water ( 8 cups of water ) and let it simmer . Dissolve the baking soda and it gently transfer the pretzels into the pot ( i do 2 at a time ) and let it boil in the soda water mixture for 30 seconds. You can use a slotted spoon to gently press the pretzels down as it is boiling ( cos i did not flip over the pretzels ) . Drain and place the pretzels onto a prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, spinkle a generous amount of kosher salt onto each pretzels and bake in a preheated oven at 230C for 10-12 mins or till golden brown.