Friday, August 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Ice Cream Petit Fours

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 the 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”.
I went with the Petit Fours, adapting both the pound cake and ice cream recipes so that they were dairy and egg free.  There were four challenges for me, replacing the butter and the eggs in the  cake, and replacing the milk and eggs in the ice cream.  
My first challenge was to see if you can actually create browned butter using Earth Balance, a non-dairy butter substitute.  I use the whipped version because it’s made with organic ingredients and I think it tastes better than the stick version.  I conducted a tested one with one tablespoon and yes, it does brown, not quite as dark as dairy butter but it also develops a nutty taste and smell.  With challenge #1 a success, I tackled the second challenge, to replace the eggs in the cake.  Lately, I’ve been substituting eggs with Bob’s egg substitute without a lot of success so I went back to the old standard of ground flax seeds and water. (I can’t use the EnerG brand product because it’s made with potato starch, which I’m allergic to.)  I was much happier with the  results of “flax eggs” and  I was please with the results of the brown butter pound cake.
I made a coffee ice cream using cashew creme.  I’ve had a lot of success lately using cashew creme as a substitute for regular cream in ice cream.  I tried every other non dairy milk and thickening agent and it just doesn’t come out creamy.  I wanted to see whether or not it made a difference if I cooked the cashew creme and added starch to make a custard first.  The results:  yes, it makes a difference.  The coffee ice creme I made for this challenge was good, but last time I made cashew ice creme, I made a custard first and it was even better.

Next, you cut the them into square pieces and put them back in the freezer to firm up. 

Lastly, you poured melted chocolate over the squares and put them back in the freezer again to harden up. I used the recipe provided for the chocolate coating but if I made them again I would use melted chocolate chips, I think they make a harder shell. 

I made half a recipe in a loaf pan and got eight squares.  You could double the recipe and make them in a 9x9 square pan and get sixteen if you want to make a big batch.
Vegan Petit Fours
Makes eight large squares - Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

For the pound cake:
9 tablespoons Earth Balance whipped butter substitute
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons flax seeds (I used golden flax seeds)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/6 cup raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Your favorite non dairy ice cream
Four the chocolate coating.
5 oz chocolate chips
1/2 cup Silk creamer (I use Wildwood but I’m not sure it’s available everywhere)
Preheat your oven to 325.
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper cut to line the long sides and drape over the sides.
Butter the unlined ends.
Put a metal frying pan over medium heat. 
When the pan is hot add the non dairy butter and cook for 3 minutes, it should be lightly browned.
Remove it from the heat and pour it into a bowl and then put the bowl in your freezer for 15 minutes.
Mix the cake flour and baking powder in a bowl.
Grind the flax seed in a seed grinder or high speed blender.
Mix the ground flax seed and the water, then beat with an electric beater for one minute.
Remove the butter from your freezer, add the sugars and beat for two minutes.
Add the “flax eggs” and vanilla to the sugar mixture and beat until incorporated.
Stir in the flour mixture and spread the batter evenly as possible in the loaf pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the pan by lifting the parchment paper and allow it to cool completely.
Level off the top of the cake with a serrated knife and then cut the cake in half the long way.
Line your loaf pan with plastic wrap so that it hangs over the sides.
Put half of the cake back in the pan.
Cover the cake with your favorite ice cream that has softened. (an offset spatula works well here)
Put the remaining half of the cake over the ice cream and cover with the plastic wrap.
Put the cake back in your freezer, for at least 6 hours.
Put the creamer in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  
Turn off the heat and add the chocolate chips.
Let this sit for 5 minutes and then stir with a whisk until the chips have completely melted.
Remove the cake from the pan and remove the plastic wrap.
Cut the cake into eight equal pieces.
One by one, put a square on a fork and holding it over the pot, use a spoon to pour melted chocolate over the square until it’s completely covered.
Put the squares on a cookie sheet and put then back in your freezer until ready to serve.
Decorate the tops with fresh fruit or dried fruit depending on what flavor ice cream you used.

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