Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Mets la main à la pâte! Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

I had never really heard of a yeasted meringue coffee cake before. It didn't look like any coffee cake I had ever seen, but any cake with chocolate and nuts in it can't be that bad. We were given two different versions of a recipe, one was filled with pecans or walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and chocolate. The other used cashews, sugar, garam masala, and chocolate. I kind of wish I tried the second version, it sounds good to me, but I decided to play it safe so that my wife would enjoy it more.

I made it using the first version of the recipe with no variations, and using pecans for the nuts. It went together easily. I was a little concerned with how hot the liquid was when I added it to the flour / yeast mixture - I thought it might kill the yeast - but it seemed to rise just fine.

The coffee cake was much different than any coffee cake I have had before. It is much more like a bread than a cake. It was very nice though - not very sweet at all - just a little bit. The chocolate, nuts, and cinnamon were there but they were much more subtle than in a more typical coffee cake. The actual "cake" part was like a moist, slightly sweet bread. I couldn't really tell what the meringue added - I expected to get more texture from it but I think the effect was much more subtle than I expected - I am sure it added to the sweetness though.

The recipe made two small rings (at least it was small compared to the Christmas Stollen we made). My family ate one of the rings and I sent the other to my wife's work where it got many favorable reviews.

This months challenge was presented by two bloggers this month - Jamie of Life's a Feast and Ria of Ria's Collection. If you would like to try to make this months challenge you can find the recipe in the Daring Kitchen Recipe Archive.

On a final housekeeping note I decided to try out Disqus for the blog commenting system. I think I like it but let me know if you like the old comment method better. This system will give the blog threaded comments and would let me respond directly to your comments.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daring Cooks: Papas Rellenas

¡Me Encanta Perú! - that was the name of this past months challenge Daring Cooks challenge - and it means I love Peru. The challenge actually included four separate recipes - we had to make at least one of the main recipes and the rest were optional. We could make Papas Rellenas and/or Ceviche.

The timing of this challenge was perfect. I have been taking a Spanish class for the last few months - don't ask me to say anything in Spanish - my old brain is not picking it up very quickly. Anyway, the class was having a food night this past week where everyone brought a Latin American dish. I asked my Puerto Rican teacher if they have Papas Rellenas in Puerto Rico and she was very excited at the idea of me making them for class.

I pretty much stuck to the recipe in the challenge except I added butter and a little bit of flour to the potatoes - and I left the raisins out of the filling. The recipe was pretty straight-forward. It does take a while to complete because the different components all need time to cool - but everything could be made ahead of time and assembled when it comes time to cook it.

For my class I made a small version of the Rellenas. The small version only took a teaspoon or two of filling. I also made the Salsa Criolla in the challenge. They were a big hit at our dinner. Everyone was asking about them. The real test was my teacher. It passed with flying colors - my teacher went back for seconds, took one home for her husband, and asked for the recipe. She said she had not been able to get a crispy crust like this recipe. One interesting thing she told me was that in Puerto Rico it is common to have some of them made of beef - and some with corned beef. I would really like to try a corned beef version.

I did make a large version a few days later with the left over filling. I was able to put a lot more filling in these. The main thing I noticed with these was - the Salsa Criolla was much better after sitting a few days. The flavors really had time to meld - and they even turned a little pink and looked nicer on the plate.

This was a great first challenge for the Daring Cooks. I look forward to many more. Thanks to Kathlyn of Bake Like A Ninja. Love the name of the blog and her slogan. I need a cool slogan like that - any ideas? The recipes are all included in the pdf challenge here.