chocolate roll

Baking with Jacques! I was looking for a “light” dessert and thought a cake roll with jam filling might fit the bill. I was at first thinking of citrus flavors but the Essential cookbook had this chocolate roll which sounded simple enough to make. Well, melting chocolate, separating eggs, whipping egg whites in separate bowl might be a tad fussy but so would being able to roll the cake without breaking. I read the instructions several times to become confident this would not be problematic. Here is my adaptation.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 4-6 ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons very strong coffee

I melted what chocolate I had on hand. I separated the eggs into two mixer bowls. I poured a quarter cup of prepared coffee and added a teaspoon of espresso powder. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a cookie sheet pan with buttered parchment paper.

Put water and sugar in small saucepan, bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes making a light syrup. Slowly pour this over the egg yolks while mixing vigorously for 5 minutes. This should be fluffy, smooth and pale yellow in color. Add the melted chocolate and mix well.

Whip egg whites into firm peaks. Add one-third of this into the chocolate mixture mixing vigorously. I used a hand whisk to do this in order to mix in the chocolate that had gathered at the bottom of the bowl under the egg yolks. Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites just until blended.

Smooth the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes until set. Let cool to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap. When completely cool this will be filled and rolled.

Traditionally this is filled with whipped cream. I used a jar of Sour Cherry Preserves. It took the entire 8 ounce jar. After removing the plastic wrap, spread the filling on the cake. Then beginning with the longer side roll gently removing the parchment paper as you go along. Use large spatulas to move the cake to a serving platter. I cut it in half to do that.

I am happy to pronounce that this came out nicely. I sprinkle powdered sugar on the top.

Serves 8 and I cut it into serving size pieces and we enjoyed this for 4 nights. It is very rich. Adding a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream would work well here.

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Boston Cream Pie

This is really cake. This one is from a recipe clipping in Mom’s recipe notebook and looks like it came from a magazine. There is no reference on the clipping. Did Mom make this? I’m not sure. I know she used to make a poppy seed cake with pudding filling and chocolate glaze, so maybe she did.

I read and re-read this recipe before proceeding. As I was making the cake I realized this is a hot milk sponge cake. I proceed hoping for the best and reasonably confident that the past two hot milk sponge cakes I baked were successful but not this recipe. Re-reading helped me see that this called for two 8 inch round cake pans. I recently bought nice 9-in pans. The amounts of the ingredients also seemed scant for two pans, so I doubled the recipe and am very glad I did. The recipe is almost exactly like the one from my previous blog entitled Hot Milk Sponge Cake so I will not reprint it.

I made the filling and the chocolate glaze from the recipe clipping. Making a pudding or cream-custard can by a little tricky and, I admit, mine had a bit of scrambled egg to it, but not much so you noticed.

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs (okay so the original called for 1 egg and 1 egg yolk but why?)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir dry ingredients together in medium saucepan and slowly add the milk and cook over moderate heat until boiling, stir and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Meanwhile have your eggs slightly beaten in a bowl or measuring cup. Pour some of the hot milk mixture into the eggs and then pour it all into the saucepan and cook and stir until returns to boiling. Add vanilla and let cool.

When cool and set beat until smooth and layer over one cake layer. Top with the other.

Make the glaze by heating one ounce unsweetened chocolate with 1 Tablespoon butter until melted and add one cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. I did this in a microwave safe measuring cup and not on the stove. Blend in 1-2 Tablespoons boiling water until drizzling consistency. Pour over top of cake.

“This elegant company dessert combines three American favorites–cake, cream-custard, and chocolate.”

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

I wanted to bake a cake. I wanted to try something new. I looked at my Soulard Market cookbook and found the 12th street hot milk cake and decided to try it. The first time I made this I halved the recipe. I remember my sister mentioned she uses this recipe. I then called her up and asked if it really called for so little butter. She then reminded me that this is a sponge cake and that she actually uses our mother’s Hot Milk Sponge cake recipe. The key to success, she said, was to aerate the eggs long enough.

I then went to my mother’s recipe notebook and found the Hot Milk Sponge recipe. The ingredients are almost the same as Soulard’s, except the typo in Soulard of “1 teaspoon flour” which most likely is the salt, except it calls for a “dash of salt” later in the ingredient list and it did not say when to add the vanilla. A bit confusing but when I made the half recipe it came out beautifully. We ate that one before taking a picture.

I made the full recipe in a greased 9×13-inch cake pan as directed in the Soulard book. Mom’s recipe calls for an ungreased 9-10 inch tube pan. There is also a difference in directions in putting together the batter. I used the Soulard because I knew that one worked. I have not had much luck with sponge cakes before but this one is going to be a repeat!

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour (or sifted cake flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter per Soulard (2 Tablespoons per Mom’s)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or 2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix butter and milk in saucepan or pyrex (for microwave) and heat until butter melts. This takes 1-2 minutes in the microwave. In the mixer bowl put the eggs and beat 5-8 minutes and then slowly add the sugar. This will look fluffy when ready. Now fold in the dry ingredients except the baking powder. I mixed this in on low speed for 30 seconds. Stir in the hot milk mixture. This is where to add the vanilla. Now fold in the baking powder and allow to stand for 10 minutes “to allow the baking powder to expand”.

Pour batter in a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Frost with icing of your choice. My choice of frosting is a super easy chocolate one from a King Arthur Flour sales flyer. Melt one stick of butter in a saucepan. Stir in ¼ cup cocoa and 6 tablespoons buttermilk or plain yogurt. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in 4 cups confectioner’s sugar. This makes a wonderful fudge like frosting.

Variations: one can use coconut oil in place of the butter. This will give the cake a slight coconut flavor, a very mild one. It using coconut oil in place of the butter in the frosting this will be a stronger coconut flavor. I like the combination of chocolate and coconut. It is one of my favorite combinations.

Flan…or is it cake?

I got the pan for free at the Dump. You know how some municipal dumps have a “free shack” where reasonable items can be donated for others to take at will. This was my prize find along with a Trivia game of facts from the 1940s through the 1990s which proves to me how much I should remember but don’t!

We like flan. Flan is like custard, crème caramel. I find the pan where it had been hiding in my overfull kitchen cabinet. I have these ingredients. I’m making flan. This will be the dessert for the week, not counting the apple pie made 3 days ago which we have since eaten. 

In making the recipe I do wonder about flour and butter in a custard, but forge ahead. I did not separate the eggs very well so there are two whole eggs with one egg yolk. Otherwise all is as is printed on the pan.

This is a light sponge-y cake. I look up flan on the internet and find some pictures of this pan since the title of the pan is Nordic Flan Pan. But flan is custard. Or cake with custard.  This pan and cake are designed to be topped with fruit, custard, ice cream, etc. I sprinkle this one with powdered sugar for the first taste. The second slices are topped with jam and marmalade. It’s a nice light dessert, but it is not flan!

More custard, with fall flavors

This recipe is adapted from the Eating Well Magazine print edition Fall 2002.

Maple-Pumpkin Custards with Crystallized Ginger

  • 1 1/2 cups milk; I used half-and-half
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree; freeze the remaining puree for later use.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • whipped cream and crystallized ginger to serve

For this custard a bain marie is used so put the kettle on to boil. I did not line the roasting pan with a towel, nor did I heat the milk to steaming.

Whisk eggs and syrup until smooth. Add the milk or half-and-half, pumpkin puree, spices and salt. Whisk until blended. Divide between 6 custard cups or ramekins and place in the roasting pan. Pour boiling water to half-way up the sides of the custard cups. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Then refrigerate for at least one hour.

This was absolutely delicious. The texture was a combination of pudding and custard in my opinion.

Baking weekend: lemon snack cake

I wanted to make a lemon cake. I wanted to make a lemon cake with fluffy coconut frosting. I wanted to bake something. The grandkids were coming so I wanted something fun so I baked an ordinary banana muffin recipe in the “bug pan”.

Then I got out the snack cake recipe. I’ve made different versions before, https://mykitchenmythoughts.com/2019/06/20/snack-cakes/.

I figured I could make it lemon although that is not one of the options given. Would white sugar be okay instead of brown sugar? I just gave it a go.

So for the lemon cake I substituted all white sugar for the brown sugar. I added 1 teaspoon of lemon flavoring and one teaspoon of lemon zest. I added a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the water, still equal to 1 cup.

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup water, add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to measuring cup then fill to 1 cup with water
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray or brush with oil. I sprinkled unsweetened coconut flakes on top before putting it in the oven at 350 degrees F. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Looks a paler yellow in real life!

It worked; a moist lemony cake.

Custard

A while back I made custard. I read recipes in my newsfeed and I am not sure where this one originated. The writer talked about adding salt to prevent chewy custard and insure creamy. I’m not sure what chewy custard is like. But what struck me most was that the ratio of cream to eggs is what I have always used to make quiche that Hubby raves about. Taking that into account I was inspired to make custard.

  • 2 cups half-and-half or cow’s milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground nutmeg

Basically it is milk and eggs and sugar. For quiche omit sugar and add vegetables and meat, and cheese if desired. No need for a crust actually. Preheat the oven with a cookie sheet pan to 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs slightly with the salt then whisk in the milk, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Pour into four custard cups/Pyrex/ramekins. Sprinkle with generous amounts of freshly grated nutmeg. Bake in the oven on the cookie sheet pan for 30-35 minutes. It may be slightly wobbly but that’s okay. No need for a bain marie. I was thinking I don’t bake custard pies in a bain marie so let’s see about custard. We ate the custard before I remembered to take a photo.

Crème Caramel

The above picture is the second batch of custard made. This recipe is very easy to halve. For this I made the quick caramel by melting 1/4 cup sugar in a small sauce pan and pouring a bit into each of the four cups before adding the custard mixture. I reduced the vanilla and omitted the nutmeg. A full recipe of the custard would have more depth. But this was a lovely bite of dessert.

Happy Pi Day

What kind of pie to make for Pi day? This I asked Hubby. I had recently made an apple pie which we proceeded to eat 75% of in one sitting. Mincemeat is not seasonal. Pumpkin is a standard. Finally we settled on a Chocolate Cream Pie. No meringue. I went through at least half a dozen cookbooks to find a Cream Pie and not a Meringue Pie. So it was back to basic Betty, Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, page 302 in my edition.

Most of the recipes for pudding pies that I found use egg yolks. This allows the whites to be used for the meringue. I had to make a decision as to how to use whole eggs or have 4 egg whites sitting about the fridge for who knows how long? The next decision was to use cocoa or chocolate. I have these 85% chocolate discs and wondered if these would serve. I also had an 82% Belgian Dark Chocolate bar available. The third decision was about pie crust. Should I make homemade or use the “emergency pie crusts” in the refrigerated box. I had already made the decision to use canned whipped cream. It is easy enough to make it from scratch but then I would have a half-used carton of whipping cream sitting around in my fridge for, you guessed it, who knows how long? But as I write this I am envisioning cream puffs with crème patisserie. Darn! I did not think of that when I was at the store.

The pie crust is pre-baked for this pie. I used one of the emergency crusts. I have a pound of dried navy beans that I use for pie weights. Just let them cool and keep them for next time. Betty says to pre-bake the shell, well-pricked, in the oven at 475 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. I had never used that high of a temperature but gave it a go. Other than it taking longer than 10 minutes it worked well. It took my crust longer because I had also weighted down a tin pie pan with the beans for additional weight. This did not let the crust brown for the first 8 minutes.

So the first step in the recipe is to bake your pie crust for a 9-inch pie.

  • 1 cup sugar; Betty wanted me to increase this from 2/3 cup to 1 1/2 cups if making the chocolate version of the cream pie. I only increased it a bit. This probably matters depending on what type of chocolate is used. The chocolate I used had some sugar in it.
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk; I bought 2% milk and now have half a half-gallon sitting in my fridge for who knows how long? We usually drink/use/cook with nondairy “fake milk”.
  • 3 whole eggs; I decided this would work just as well as 4 egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ounces chocolate; I used the chocolate discs.
  • Sweetened whipped cream

First, melt the chocolate with the vanilla. Slightly beat the eggs in separate bowl, medium sized, so that half the hot milk mix can be poured in this. Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a good sized sauce pan. Pour in the milk slowly and bring this to a boil, stirring constantly. This will take at least ten minutes of standing by the stove. Betty intended for the chocolate mixture to be added with the milk but I forgot to read that part of the instructions. Let this boil for 1 minute, still stirring. Now pour half the hot milk mixture into the eggs, stirring those so as not to have scrambled-egg pudding. it was at this point I read about when to put in the chocolate so I put it in the sauce pan. I thought I might have chocolate-spotted pudding but it did blend all-together when put all back into the sauce pan. Now boil for one more minute. Remove from heat.

Pour into the waiting pie crust. Cover top of pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. Betty says not more than 48 hours, not sure why. Top with whipped cream for serving. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap!

This was very delicious and rich tasting. I added more whipped cream on each slice.

Baking with Pears

I had some beautiful red pears in my produce delivery. I put them in a paper bag for a few days and they were ready to eat. This had given me time to research what to do with them. These pears would be good for eating but I wanted to bake. The goal was to make the Pear Tatin recipe from my Essential Pepin cookbook.  I do find that I make alterations to the recipes that I have used. This one however I did not. Oops, yes I did. I did not have apple cider, but no worries, the Tarte Tatin recipe used water and lemon juice for the same purpose.

This was baked/cooked in a ten inch cast iron skillet as instructed. The first batch of caramel was burned so I started over. I sliced the pears instead of using pear halves. And I doubled the dough as there was no way I was going to get a ten inch circle from the original amounts using only ½ cup flour. Here is the result:

In future I would revert to brown sugar and butter and not make a caramel. I would slice the pears the same. I would then use a short crust tart pastry on top and bake in the oven until done. Or make it an upside down cake and use cake batter. Or use Pepin’s Meme’s Apple Tart dough and top with pears.

I had two pears remaining. I found a copy from a diet book for a Peach Flat Cake. I can use pears! Here are my ingredients, slightly modified from the recipe page.

  • Two pears, sliced; I did not bother to peel them.
  • ½ stick butter
  • ¼ cup dry milk powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons,  approximately, almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

This called for a round cake pan but did not indicate size. I selected an 8 inch pan and am very glad I did. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray the pan with cooking spray.

In mixer bowl, beat the butter the dry milk, sugar and almonds until creamy. Add the eggs and beat for a few minutes to aerate the batter. Add the flour and baking soda until well blended. Pour the batter into the pan and place the pear slices on top in a circle. Or as my grandson said, “looks like fireworks!” Bake for 20 minutes until golden. I added a few more minutes.

The description of this recipe says the dough “rises slightly as it bakes to embrace the fruit”. Well it did, very slightly. Hubby and I enjoyed this. It did not have the texture of cake. It was more like clafoutis or dense custard. It was much less sweet than the Tatin above and prettier too.

Custard Tarts!

I had a baking weekend! Two types of bread and custard tarts. I have been fascinated by custard tarts ever since being a devotee of As Time Goes By on PBS. Lionel’s favorite was custard tarts. These pastry treats are not easily found in my grocery bakery. Nor are they a staple in many of my cookbooks. What type of custard is to be used? My two French cookbooks had several types: patisserie, baked, Chantilly, anglaise. I had recently made a pumpkin pie which is essentially a custard pie. Should I pre-bake the tart shells or could I bake the custard and the pastry at the same time? So I got out several cookbooks. I looked at the custard/pastry cream recipes. I had to choose what to do. So here’s what I did.

The Art of French Cooking suggested pastry cream for tarts. These recipes are a bit fussy. French Feasts instructions are not always clearly written. So that left (not really, I have over 50 cookbooks) Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. And his pastry cream recipe was simple and not fussy at all. The only change I made was to add the zest of one orange.

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs or 4 egg yolks (I used two eggs)
  • 2 cups cream, half-and=half, or whole milk (I used light cream)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • zest from one orange (my addition)
  • orange marmalade for glaze (my addition)
  • 4 tart shells; I used a refrigerated pie shell and cut it into four to line four individual tart pans. Pre-bake these.

Do you notice a theme of “2s”?

My successful blind baked tart shells. I used parchment filled with beans to hold the shells in place and to prevent shrinkage.

In a saucepan combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix the eggs with the cream. Whisk the egg mixture into the dry ingredients over medium heat for about ten minutes whisking constantly to prevent lumps. This will thicken. The test for readiness is when the mixture coats a spoon and when you draw a line through the coating the line will hold its shape. Remove from heat and stir in butter and extract and zest. The butter will melt. Let this cool to room temperature before filling the shells.

I filled the four tart shells and had a cup of pastry cream leftover. I think this amount of cream would fill a 9 inch pie, or 2 more individual tarts. I then melted a small amount of orange marmalade to spoon onto each tart for added orange flavor and to make them pretty. I then grated a very small amount of dark chocolate on top. Chocolate curls would have also been nice. I put these in the fridge to set for about an hour. I then popped them, carefully, out of the tart pan and placed them on a platter to serve.

They kind of look like poached eggs!
The first day we each had half. The next day we each ate a whole one.

And here are pictures of the breads. These were not so successful. Eaten when first baked but then left alone. They seemed underbaked and either overproofed or underproofed. I think I will buy fresh yeast before trying bread again.