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 Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
Where to begin? The challenge this month was basically to brown butter and use it in a pound cake that was then used in Baked Alaska or Petit Fours. I have wanted to make both of these desserts for a while now and while I thought about making both I decided that our budget, waistlines, and sanity couldn't handle completing both. Therefore, since the Petit Fours could be divided easily between more people, leaving less for me to eat, I went with those.
I first made the ice cream which was easy enough because I used the same recipe I used last month, Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry from David Lebovitz. I fell in love with this ice cream last month and could literally feel myself biting into the chewy almonds just thinking about it. I didn't have any issues with this step because I felt like I had just whipped up a batch a short time ago and knew the steps, if not the measurements, by heart. (For that recipe, click here.)
Next up, brown the butter and make the pound cake. I have to say that I have never specifically browned butter to include it in a dessert. I thought at first that this might be difficult for me since I wasn't sure at what point the butter would be browned, etc . . . However, upon making it I realized that I have indeed done this before in the form of making almond roca or toffee or any number of recipes for candies.
Yum! Doesn't that last picture look incredibly appetizing? It's almost like I just cleaned a grease trap or something. Believe it or not, that is my browned butter after sitting in the freezer for a bit. Mmmm, makes you want to stick a spoon in and eat it up. (Did you catch the sarcasm? I hope so.)
On to the pound cake. The batter mixed and baked up beautifully. I didn't exactly cut my cake evenly, but it worked well enough for its purpose.
Up until now I have followed the directions exactly. Notice I said, up until now. This is where I re-read the directions and realized that after reading them the first time about a week prior and then brushing up on the steps the day before I must have left out the middle. You know, the part that explained that you would be freezing and re-freezing overnight and re-freezing for at least an hour to get your Petit Fours to come out the way you want. Unfortunately, I couldn't follow those steps because I had guests who would be eating them a few hours later so I had to improvise.
I froze the cake so it was somewhat frozen when I slathered the ice cream between the layers. Instead of freezing the ice cream in the pan and then removing it and setting it on the bottom layer, I ended up just squishing scoops of ice cream between my hands and then patting them down in a somewhat even layer on the cake. I then put on the top layer of cake and stuck it back in the freezer to firm up before slicing.
I sliced half of the cake into skinny rows and made half of a batch of the chocolate glaze so that I could at least try to make Petit Fours for the guests I was having over for dinner. They were a bit rough around the edges but they still tasted good. The rest of the cake went back into the freezer to harden up overnight so I could play around with the look of the Petit Four the next day.
Ahhhh, the various stages of melting chocolate. Have I mentioned before that I love chocolate? While it was cooling, I was able to slice the cakes a bit more neatly and trim the rough edges away. I also was able to trim the top layer of cake a bit because that was thicker than the bottom layer.
When it came time to coat the cakes it wasn't a smooth process for me. There is a pun in there if you realize that I could not get a smooth coating of chocolate on the outside of those little cakes. It really didn't have so much to do with the ice cream melting and the cake sliding off, it was just that if the chocolate was thin enough to pour it was too hot for the ice cream and if it was cool enough for the ice cream it was a bit too thick to pour. After having some horrendously covered cakes, I made the decision to coat the top and have chocolate drizzle down the sides. Much prettier presentation and actually a nice amount of chocolate for the size of the dessert.
Although it was an interesting process, I love any excuse to make homemade ice cream, and it was on my Top 100 list of things to do, I probably won't be making these again, at least not the ice cream version. It was just a bit too much work, especially right now for our family. Who knows what the future holds though . . .
If you want the recipes for the Brown Butter Pound Cake and Chocolate Glaze, email me. Enjoy!