23
Mar
09

Macaron Round 2, Chocolate Bread pudding, and more

While I usually like to plan what I want to bake days in advance, sometimes little things just pop up in the middle of the day that remind me of a certain dessert.  Last week at the grocery, I noticed some croissants on sale as “manager’s special” because they were a bit old and thought, “Perfect!  Stale croissants for bread pudding!”  Normally I’d prefer to make my own brioche or challah than either let them go stale over a couple days, but croissants are nearly as rich as brioche so I figured I could make do with these cheaper alternatives.  Plus, since bread pudding uses more egg yolks than whites, I could use the spare egg whites for more macarons!

Chocolate bread pudding

Chocolate bread pudding

Pistachio macaron with ginger chocolate ganache

Pistachio macaron with ginger chocolate ganache

Bread pudding is one of those desserts that are incredibly easy to throw together, but sometimes don’t achieve the right consistency.  Dorie’s pudding tasted great, though I’m sure it would have been better with homemade brioche 🙂  I opted for chocolate bread pudding without any raisins (as some people really hate having raisins in their bread pudding), and this had to be one of the simplest desserts I’ve made in a while.  Definitely was a nice change from the previous week’s macarons!

Speaking of macarons, I decided I should have another shot at them.  Since Dorie’s bread pudding uses more egg yolks than whites, I aged the spare egg whites for 2 nights to get them ready for another batch of macarons.  I attempted the pistachio macarons again, since I still had spare pistachios in my pantry (thanks San!).  After 10 minutes of peeling the shells, I was finally ready for another go at these cookie creations.

This attempt fared much better, with a success rate around 50%.  They all rose well and developed feet, but some batches were still difficult to remove from the silpat.  I believe it’s because I didn’t bake them enough, as the bottoms were quite sticky and underbaked.  I baked the later batches for an additional 2-3 minutes, and they peeled from the silpate quite easily.  Another thing I want to try is the Italian meringue method… the current method is a basic french meringue, where you simply whip the egg whites and sugar to peaks then bake.  In the Italian meringue, the sugar is boiled along with water to form a simple syrup.  This syrup is then slowly added to the egg whites while whipping to stiff peaks.  I think this might make an even better texture for the macarons, so I’ll try this method next time.

As for this batch, they turned out nicely with a subtle green finish.  My only regret is putting too much ginger in the chocolate ganache (I only used about 1/2 tsp, while the recipe calls for 1 full tsp… if I ever make this again, I’d use even less, maybe only 1/8 tsp).  Also, I probably put more filling than necessary for each macaron, since I had so much ganache leftover.  This resulted in the ginger chocolate flavor overpowering the subtle pistachio flavor of the cookies.  Oh well, live and learn…

Finally, I attempted making miniature versions of my cheesecake recipe so that they could be sold at the upcoming Vox Pop (3/27 – 3/28).  I’m preparing 4 or 5 different types of desserts to sell there, and all funds go to charity… please contact me for more info if you’re interested!

mini cheesecake tarts

mini cheesecake tarts

Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Ingredients

  • 12 oz bread (preferably brioche or challah, I used croissants), preferably stale
  • 1/2 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cherries (optional, I didn’t add these)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

1. Have a 9-by-13-inch baking pan at hand (a Pyrex pan is perfect here), as well as a roasting pan big enough to hold the baking pan in hot water. Line the roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels.

2. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. If the bread is stale, put it and the raisins or cherries, if you are using them, into the baking pan. If it is not stale, spread it out on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and bake in a 350°F (175°C) oven to “stale” it for 10 minutes, then toss into the pan (with the fruit if desired).

Bread cut in 1 inch squares

Bread cut in 1 inch squares

3. Bring the milk and cream just to a boil.

4. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar together in a bowl. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in about one quarter of the hot milk mixture — this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they don’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk. Add the chocolate and whisk it in gently until it is melted and the custard is smooth. Rap the bowl against the counter to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then pour the custard over the bread and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help cover it with liquid. Leave the pan on the counter, giving the bread the back-of-the-spoon treatment now and then, for 30 minutes.

chocolate egg custard

chocolate egg custard

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

6. Put the baking dish holding the unbaked pudding into the roasting pan, and then slide the pan setup into the oven and very carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pudding is uniformly puffed, the top is dull and dry and a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

bake in water bath

bake in water bath

7. You could serve this pudding warm, but it is better at cool room temperature or even chilled — it also cuts better when it is cold. I served the pudding with a simple dusting of confectioner’s sugar and some ice cream.

Pistachio Macarons with Ginger Chocolate Ganache filling

adapted from Stephane Glacier and Tartelette

Ingredients

For the macarons:

  • 225 gr powdered sugar
  • 60 gr almonds
  • 65 gr pistachios
  • 3 egg whites (about 100gr)
  • green food coloring (optional) (powdered is better)
  • 25 gr granulated sugar

For the ganache filling

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger  (I’d recommend using only 1/8 or 1/4 tsp of the ginger)

Directions

1.  In a food processor, run the nuts and powdered sugar until the nuts are finely ground. Run through a sieve if needed.

shelled pistachios

shelled pistachios

2.  Whip the egg whites until foamy, slowly add the granulated sugar, until they are glossy. Add the green food coloring if using.  Slowly fold the nut/sugar mixture into the whites with a wide spatula. The mixture should remain shiny and flow easily.

green meringue and nut mixture

green meringue and nut mixture

3.  Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment lined baking sheets.

pastry bag

pastry bag

4.  Let the macarons rest for 20 minutes or more to dry the shells (I actually let them rest for an hour).

pipe onto trays (these were actually too small)

pipe onto trays (these were actually too small)

5.  Preheat the oven to 315 and when they are ready, bake them for 12-15 minutes.

6.  While cooling, prepare the ganache.  Place the chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

7.  Heat the cream in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes.

8.  Add the butter and stir with a whisk until smooth. Add the ground ginger. Let cool to room temperature and use as desired.

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2 Responses to “Macaron Round 2, Chocolate Bread pudding, and more”


  1. 1 Patrick
    March 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    man looks so good

  2. 2 sciencewins
    March 29, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    less butter, more duckies


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