Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dessert Wars. The April Challenge. Vanilla!

When I saw Dessert Wars' April challenge for Vanilla Dreams, I was one happy camper. From the website: Dessert Wars is going Vanilla this month! For a very good reason... Brent from Beanilla will be our guest judge and is generously providing 3 vanilla beans to the first 15 people to comment! The twist is to use all three vanilla beans in your dessert. In three different ways. Didn't think you were getting off that easy did you? If you aren't lucky enough to get a free sample of vanilla beans then just use your own vanilla extract. And a big YAY! for Rosie. She was in the first 15 who commented. I got vanilla beans! From Beanilla. Thank you very much. I love vanilla and I immediately came up with my dessert.
I'm going with vanilla pots de creme, vanilla/chocolate-dipped vanilla biscotti, vanilla meringues, and a vanilla-butter sauce - a veritable Vanilla Harmony Quartet.
Ta daaaa! I'm giving the pictures and recipes here. Just the facts, Ma'am. If you want Rosie's detailed step by step instructions, please click on the links.
Let's start off with the Vanilla Biscotti. Don't you love the chocolate drips?
Vanilla Biscotti 6 TB butter 2/3 cup sugar 1/4 tsp salt 2 tsp vanilla extract seeds of 1 vanilla bean 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 2 large eggs 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter until light. Slowly beat in sugar. Keep beating until mixture is light-colored. Beat in salt, vanilla, and baking powder until mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs. At low speed of mixer, add the flour, stirring until smooth. Scrape out the sticky dough onto a lightly greased 13 x 18-inch baking sheet. Shape it into a log about 14" long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Smooth the surface with a wet spatula. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Spritz room-temperature water over top and sides of biscotti log. This softens the crust a bit, making for easier slicing. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Wait another 5 minutes, then use a serrated knife to cut the log in 1/2 - 3/4-inch slices. Set slices on edge on baking sheet. Return to oven for another 25-30 minutes, until they start to turn golden. You want them a tiny bit moist in the very center. If you press your finger in the center, it should give a bit. Cool on racks, then dip in the Vanilla/Chocolate Glaze. Vanilla/Chocolate Glaze 3 ounces dark chocolate seeds from 1 vanilla bean 1 tsp Crisco Melt and dip ends of biscotti in the mixture. Rosie Tip: I have made very unsuccessful (texture-wise) biscotti before. That was before I had a Biscotti Class at a neighbor's kitchen. She uses King Arthur Unbleached Flour and I'm convinced that's what makes the difference in these successful biscotti and my previous biscotti. Vanilla Pots De Creme 3 egg yolks 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup sugar seeds of 1 vanilla bean This recipe makes 3 6-ounce ramekins. You can easily double it. Beat yolks. Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla seeds and the scraped-out bean in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cut off heat, cover, and let steep for about 20 minutes. Remove the bean. Whisk about 1/4 of the mixture into the yolks, to temper, then pour that back into the sauce pan and thoroughly mix. Pour into 3 6-ounce ramekins set in a baking dish. Pour water halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, then turn and bake an additional 10 minutes. You want them slightly jiggly in the center. Refrigerate. Rosie Tip: When serving, if you like, you could turn these into Creme Brulees. Simply sprinkle sugar over top and take a blow torch to it.
Vanilla Meringues Rosie tip: Never attempt meringues in high humidity. It doesn't work. Wait for a dry day. 3 egg whites 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 tsp cream of tartar 1/4 tsp salt seeds of 1 vanilla bean 2 tsp vanilla extract Whip egg whites until light and foamy. Beat in cream of tartar, salt, and vanillas. Beat in sugar gradually until stiff peaks form. Place by tablespoonful onto parchment paper. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes. Rosie Tip: If you want to fold a cup of chocolate chips and/or chopped pecans in the batter, you have my permission. Vanilla Butter Sauce 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/2 stick butter 1/4 cup sugar pinch salt seeds from 1 vanilla bean Mix all in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Serve hot.
Here's Rosie's Vanilla Harmony Quartet:
Such vanilla goodness! Sweet Vanilla Dreams, indeed. Here's the prize list for this month:
And a new prize this month: King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion Cookbook from King Arthur Flour
Vanilla Harmony Quartet. Be a warrior.


C&C Cakery said...

This is like a tasters plate you would get from a fine restaurant after a rich meal. I love all the different textures you're playing with. I'm sure all three would be delightful together! Good luck in Dessert Wars!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thanks, C&C Cakery. Good luck to you too!

Marilyn said...

Looks wonderful, Rosie. said...

you serious out did yourself here! That vanilla sauce and pots de creme oh yah that looks so good.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thank you, Mar and you-made-that.
Good luck to you both!

Reeni said...

Wow. Wow. And Wow! You put a lot of work into this! Great job. Thanks for entering!

Elizabeth said...

Gorgeous! good luck!