Saturday, June 27, 2009

Raspberry Tiramisu Cake

I warn you, with the abundant amoung of berries showing at the farmers' market and grocery storess, you would see a lot of berry-flavored cakes showing often :D. I'm such a sucker for berries, especially raspberry. It's really hard for me to resist really good-looking raspberries, super sweet strawberries, deep purple color cherries, fragrant stone fruits. I could very easily pass those things in grocery store, but when it comes to farmers' market, uh oh... I would be in a really big "trouble" :).

Again, I also made this a while back for my dear friend's birthday. I always use every opportunity I got to experiment with type of cakes I've never made before. I mean, this is the best way to learn new stuff, plus you have the people to eat it, right??? (assuming the end result is edible :D). Fortunaltely, I have friends who are willing to eat anything including failed or ugly-looking cakes (well, most of them at least).



I was determined from the beginning to make raspberry tiramisu cake. My other option was mango tiramisu cake (my two most ultimate favorite fruits or cake flavors). I believe that there are things that are meant for each other (flavor or ingredient-wise :P). This includes raspberry-mascarpone, raspberry-white chocolate, dark chocolate-rum-coffee, mango-mascarpone, I could go on and on and on about this. So here's a way to combine them, raspberry tiramisu cake.

I thought of regular tiramisu components, mascarpone, cream, savoiardi (italian lady fingers), coffee, rum, coffee soaking mixture. I want this rasp. tiramisu to have the same components that make up a tiramisu, a tiramisu :P. I decided to use the soft lady fingers, instead of the hard ones like savoiardi as I don't think that making a raspberry solution to soak the lady fingers is going to be as good as the original tiramisu with coffee. So I made my own lady fingers or what French called biscuit a la cuillere. Instead of piping the batter one by one to look like a "finger", I just spread it all in a sheet pan. It'll be stacked together anyway, so no one will notice :). The lady finger is then brushed heavily (not soaked) with raspberry solution with lots of framboise (clear raspberry brandy), just like you brush a cake with simple syrup. Then, a thin layer of raspberry jam that I thinned out a little with framboise goes on top of the lady finger, a layer of mascarpone cream, and lots of fresh raspberries inside. This process is repeated twice. I didn't use egg yolk for the mouse as I don't usually use raw egg yolks to make a fruit-based mousse/cream.



The end cake is a lot higher than I would have liked. After a quick trip to the freezer and trim all of the sides, the cake is now ready to be glazed. Now, this is where the problem started :(. I always have problem with glazing a cake, especially if I use Oetker clear glaze. I followed the direction carefully, but it just set up like a jelly in a minute after taking it off the heat. I kept reheating it, adding more water and raspberry puree, adding my own homemade glaze, etc but nothing works. You can see the really poor glazing on top. I was really frustrated, and I was already late to the dinner (hence the poor decoration :( ). I was a little disappointed with the height and the glazing and the decoration, but hey, this is an experiment, I should have expected something like this.

But unfortunately, that's not the end of the problem. The real disaster followed 30 minutes after. As I mentioned, the oetker glaze set up like a jelly layer on top of the cake that wasn't really "glued" to the cake. I wasn't really paying attention to this as I drove really fast (a little speeding and maybe juuussttt a tad "zig zag-ing" :P to the dinner place where all of my friends were waiting. When I opened up the box after I arrived, I was just speechless. The glaze/jelly layer on top was sliding down the cake and it looked like a mess!!! I just couldn't say anything at that point.

Here's a picture of the cake after the "accident":



I made a good note of the ingredients proportions (that I might need to try next time), and I will definitely make the lady finger layer thinner. But I'm not done with raspberries, I mean how can I be with lots of them lying around everywhere I go, tempting me to pick up a basket or two (maybe four). So, more raspberries or berry posts comiinnggg :)

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Raspberry Rose Pots de Creme

I think it is the longest time I haven't updated my blog. My apology, and I would use the same excuse everytime :(, and I would blame it on...time of course!!! :D. But really, I wish I have 30hrs/day, and if I do, I'm sure I would have asked for 35hrs/day :).



Actually, I made this a while ago. I don't remember when exactly but I remember when I started to have my eyes on these little things. Back when I was in college, when I still had my own apartment in TX, I used to make lots of different custards and desserts, not so much for cakes though. I was more interested in fine cooking, desserts, and I would invited my friends to have a dinner together in my small one-bedroom apartment :). Pots de Creme is among all of the different custards I loved to make (and I still do). From the many times I baked different types, I started to notice the difference between all of them. Custard consists of eggs, sugar, and dairy, those are the main things. I would say pots de creme is nothing different than creme brulee, minus the caramelized sugar on top. The texture is supposed to be silky smooth and velvety.

About a few months ago, I visited my dear friend's house, Kiki and played with her adorable baby Max. The foodtv was on at that time and I wasn't really paying attention on what show is playing. But then I heard the words "dessert", "raspberry", "rose", and "cream", and you know me well that those words get to me very easily. As a HUGE fan of raspberry, rose, custard, I would be really interested in anything with those ingredients in it, among other ingredients of course. Unfortunately, the show ended before I got the change to know what was it. So I began my search immediately (thanks to internet), and finally got this Raspberry Rose Pots de Creme recipe from Giada and immediately to my "to-make" list it goes. The plan was suspended for a while because I was waiting to have leftover raspberries and cream from other cake I made and finally got the chance!

I would say the ingredients are pretty standard for custard. I baked mine in 6-oz ramekins, while the recipe stated for 4-oz. No biggie, it will just yield less amount of ramekins, that's all. I didn't mash the raspberries however, I thought that it would make the appearance less desirable. I just put whole raspberries inside and I also omit the pop rocks candy.



I didn't really eat a lot of this as my friend gulped them all down, but it has a really nice floral taste in the back ground. Be careful not to use a lot of the rose water as it can be very overwhelming. The only thing I would have done differently though, is bake it a little longer. I forgot to increase the amount of baking time, and as a result, the texture was still a little too soft even after being refrigerated overnight.

I think this is a perfect dessert after a dinner party. It doesn't take too long to make, it's easy, and it certainly will wow your guest :)

Raspberry Rose Pots de Creme
Source: Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water*
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries, mashed
  • 4 packets carbonated candy (recommended: Pop Rocks)
Directions

Special equipment: 4 (4 to 5-ounce) ramekins

*Can be found at specialty gourmet markets

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, and rose water over medium-low heat until warm, about 4 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until smooth. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture. Stir in the mashed raspberries. Using a ladle, divide the mixture between 4 ramekins. Place the ramekins in an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes until the custard is almost set. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the ramekins to cool while still in the water, about 1 hour. Remove the ramekins from the water and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until set.

Serve with a packet of carbonated candy.

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