The Daring Bakers

Mandarin Orange and Lemon 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.

I fully intended to post this on the day it was due, but just as I was putting it all together my daughter called. She and hubs were sick and could I come take care of the Baby. Let’s see – post DB or take care of baby – not a hard choice!! Sorry, DB, but you lost the coin toss. And then I got sick, so here it is Wednesday and I am finally finding time to put it all together.

...with a lemon curd drizzle....

There were several componants to this dessert which had to be made by the baker:

    The Tart Dough – “Pate Sablee”I used the recipe given,
    The Whipped Cream ditto and mixed in some lemon curd because my marmalade was way too chunky,
    The Caramel Sauce this I did not make. Just ran out of time. Plus not a big fan of caramel and citrus.
    Citrus SegmentsI used mandarin oranges which was basically cheating tweaking the recipe. .
    The Marmalade I used lemon marmalade from my go to recipe .

I liked the mix of lemons and oranges.

The Tian consists of a pate sableecrust with a thin layer of marmalade covered with a layer of citrus flavored whipped cream and topped with an arrangement of oranges. (This done from the bottom up and flipped – so to speak)

Layers of deliciousness!!

I liked the mix of citrus flavors. The tartness of the lemon marmalade offset the sweetness of the mandarin oranges just right. I am sorry now that I only made 3 4″ minis (1/2 of the pate sablee recipe gave me 5 crust bases). Guess I will just have to make this one again – often.

    The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

I love being a member of the Daring Kitchen!! I either do the Baker’s challenge or the Cooks’s Challenge each month, but rarely have time to do both. This month, I chose to do the Baker’s Challenge, even though we were told we weren’t baking this month – well, technically. We doughed. We rolled. We cut. We FRIED!!! Holy Moley!! We made


I have a couple of confessions to make:

    1. I don’t like the taste of Red Wine. I like to cook with it but don’t like it alone. When I saw the addition of red wine to the dough I was a little skeptical. Wouldn’t the dough taste like wine? I checked several other recipes and they ALL called for red wine. Well, FINE!!!

    2. I don’t have cannoli tubes. Could I use dowl rods to shape the cannoli? How about PVC pipe? Then I realized you have to fry the tubes IN the cannoli!! DUH!! There is NO WAY I would find cannoli tubes in Podunk, USA!!. But TH came to the rescue. He made me one tube out of brushed aluminum. PERFECT!!!

It was big, but it worked great.

One of the fillings suggested was pumpkin/ricotta. I followed that but used Sweet Potato instead. And dipped the ends in candied pecans (left over from MSC’s Candied Sweet Potato Cup Cakes.

I didn’t have marscapone cheese so I used this substitute from My Recipe Collection. Using that recipe I will fill the two empty tubes I have with the regular cannoli filling – eventually.

This was a fun challenge. The Daring Kitchen has opened up a lot of baking/cooking avenues for me – soups, desserts, sides. Some of the challenges I won’t repeat, but this isn’t one of them. But I think I will find some ‘real’ cannoli tubes first.

    The September 2009 Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan

I found out this past week that I enjoy making Puff Pastry. Rolling. Folding. Butter. Folding. Butter. What’s not to love? It is time intensive – prepare to spend an afternoon getting the pastry ready to bake – but it is so worth it. What you end up with is a delicate, flaky, buttery treat. Another fun challenge from the The Daring Kitchen. And fairly easy.

What is a vol-au-vent (French for ‘windblown’) you ask?

DSC04229It is a small hollow case of puff pastry. DSC04230

The hollow can be filled with a sweet or a savory filling. I chose a sweet milk chocolate mousse. DSC04246

Topped with a drizzle of chocolate ganache and bits of caramel. Clean. Simple. Elegant.

Please visit other members of the Daring Bakers and see their creative takes on this lovely challenge.(Just click on The blogroll.)


You won’t find many cookies coming from this kitchen. If I rank desserts in our house cake would be first, pie second, ice cream with everything and cookies on the bottom. That is just the way it is. So, when I read the challenge for July from the The Daring Kitchen was cookies, I knew they would last forever in my house. I saw 1/2 a recipe in my future. And it wasn’t a cookie that really interested the MEN in the family. Here is the story.

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Then I popped them in the oven and they came out looking like — ATTACK OF THE AMOEBAS!!!
And I was supposed to make SANDWICH cookies from these??? **SIGH**
(Fill in rest of story here…..) but in the end they actually turned out alright.

I made 1/2 of the cookies with coco with chocolate filling and those were pretty good. But, overall, I don’t think I will make these again. I made them over a week ago and there are still some left, even tho’ I made only 1/2 of the recipe.
Interesting to make, but not a keeper. The cookies seemed a little heavy. Maybe if I left out the lemon they would be more popular in this house.

But go visit the other Daring Bakers and see how there Milan Cookies came out

In the past, British cooking was considered rather bland. But in the last 40 years or so, that has changed. There has been a tremendous influx of other cultures into the British Isles so that bland is no longer a useful word. Indian. Jamaican. French. Asian. They have all become part of basic British cuisine. But, there are still traditional foods that are way beyond enjoyable. Bangers and Mash. Treacle Tart. Toad in a Hole. Rhubarb Pie. And the Daring Bakers this month chose a traditional dessert that goes back quite a ways in British History – Bakewell Tart!

    The term “Bakewell pudding” was first penned in 1826 by Meg Dods; 20 years later Eliza Acton published a recipe that featured a baked rich egg custard overtop 2cm of jam and noted,

      “This pudding is famous not only in Derbyshire, but in several of our northern counties where it is usually served on all holiday occasions.”

I would say more, but there is a great history on Jasmine’s page – so go there. Recipe, too!

I made only 1/2 a recipe and came up with two 6 inch tarts. I already had two shortbread crusts in the freezer – one plain and one chocolate – so I used them. A layer of strawberry preserves with the almond custard on top and voila – Bakewell Tart/Pudding.

It’s good. It’s easy. It’s great with ice cream.

Only two things – I didn’t put a thick enough layer of jam so I couldn’t really taste it. And my mistake to use the chocolate crust. Too overpowering for the almonds. Didn’t care for that one so muchDSC03802

I will make this again. Cherrio until then, Ducks!

The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England.

It seems that every culture of the world has a Meat Pie. The English call them Hand Pies and they were common fare for the working man. The Spanish have Empanadas which ‘require meat’. In India, Pakistan, and other countries of that area one will find Samosas. Kreatopitas in Greece, Pierogies in Poland, and Biff paj in Sweden. Here in the south the Fried Meat Pie is a Louisiana specialty and can be found in just about any filling station between Shreveport and New Orleans. (But that is another post for another day). Today we are looking at another country’s answer to meat pie (or dumpling) – Chinese Pot Stickers/Dumplings (aka Gyoza in Japan).DSC03733

The second Daring Cooks’ challenge is hosted by Jen of use real butter and it is Chinese dumplings which can be steamed, boiled or fried (called pot stickers).

This challenge allowed me to do two things I have not done before – make a non-southern meat pie aka pot sticker, and use my steamer which I have had for years still in the box. Oh, and have fun – again. These dumplings have a pork filling, but if you go HERE – you can see the wonderful variety the Daring Cooks used in this challenge. The only change I made was in the Cabbage – Napa is hard to find here and when I did it was pricey. And since I had just spent extra on the Sesame Seed Oil, just plain green cabbage would have to do. And it did fine.

Before they get steamed...

Before they get steamed...

There are about 10 Chinese Restaurants in and around Podunk, Louisiana, and they all serve Pot Stickers. And none of them have ever been my favorites. The Hunk enjoys them, but I wasn’t sure how much I would like them. Needless to say, home made is sooooooo much better.
After steaming...

After steaming...

They were hard, at first, to form, but after about 50 of them you finally get the hang of it. (Well, maybe!!) They are little purses ready to be dipped in a tasty ‘sauce’. I will make them again and try different fillings. DSC03739

Especially since I know The Hunk enjoyed them.

This was fun. Cannot wait to see what July Brings. Thanks, Jen!!!

Okay, so here I am again, a day two days late and a dollar 5 dollars (it is a recession you know) short. I just completely, totally forgot about Daring Bakers for this month – until I started reviewing for TWD and found all the beautiful apfelstrudels from my fellow bakers. So here I am with the strudel in the oven. But while we are waiting – here is the required:

    The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

This challenge, as Linda and Courtney mentioned, is all about technique. Now I have never made strudel (thus the membership in this great group) and I was somewhat intimidated when I read (finally) about the challenge. But the more I read of others who had made the strudel the less leary I was of trying it. In the end, i found it is really quite simple.

    Step One: Make the dough.
    Step Two: Spread the dough.DSC03700This was the part I was a little ‘scared’ of, but it really went rather well.
    Step Three: Sprinkle bread crumbs. I did make one error here. I used the whole stick of butter because evidently – I CANNOT READ!!!! Also, I only used about 1/2 of the toasted bread crumbs and that almost seemed like too much.
    Step Four: Add filling. I went basic and used the given recipe – well, sorta. I don’t like raisins, didn’t have any rum, added blueberries to 1/2 and sprinkled a little cardamom on 1/2.
    Step Five: Roll up. This was easy, just roll up the table cloth and the strudel just goes along for the ride.
    Step Six: Bake. I think next time I will use an egg wash instead of butter on the top. Prettier sheen.DSC03705
    Step Seven: Devour.DSC03708

    I only have one thing to say. Diese Strudel ist so sehr gut!!! Danke schoen DB for this challenge.

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