Sunday, November 27, 2011

November Daring Bakers Challenge - Sans Rival

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog. Please stay in touch for a December post for the Bibingka.  I am making salted eggs for it and that takes a few weeks.
I have made both dacquoise and French Buttercream before. I opted for my Meringue Buttercream recipe for this challenge though because I did not want the dessert to be too rich for my Thanksgiving guests.  I have posted the Meringue Buttercream recipe already so follow the link for it and add 2 ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate after adding all the butter. I used Scharffen Berger chocolate. It is one of my favorites.
The dacquoise was very easy to make. The key is to add the sugar slowly and beat it on high til you see those shiny stiff peaks. The recipe advised putting it in cake pans but I used my usual method of drawing circle guides on parchment and filling in with the meringue mixture. It worked fine. The cooking time varied from my previous recipes. I pulled one out for testing at the prescribed time and felt that it was not quite done enough  so I left the others in for about 10 more minutes making the total cooking time about 40 minutes. The layers were nice and crunchy with a little give on the interior. They crisped up a little more as they dried. It was raining buckets that day ( meringues do not like rain as they absorb moisture from the air- a cool clear day is best for making meringues) so I let the meringues rest in a cold oven overnight and they were good to go the next day.
There were a lot of cashews in this recipe. We could not really taste them too much in the dacquoise...just a nice toasty, nutty flavor with a lovely cashew aftertaste. The cashews on the outside felt like overkill and next time, I will put on my thinking cap and add something else. Let me know if you have suggestions!
The overwhelming response to this dessert was, "I didn't think I was going to like it and I loved it!"
Although there were a lot of desserts offered, almost everyone had a second helping of the Sans Rival.
Thank so much,Catherine, for sharing your challenge and your culture with us. Our waistlines are a little bigger for it but our horizons are even broader for it.

Sans Rival

1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews - I used half , finely ground for the meringue and half coarsely ground for finishing the the sides of the cake at assembly.

1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
2.Using an 8-inch cake pan, outline the diameter of the pan in pencil on parchment. Flip the parchment paper over and use as a line guide.

3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10 mins.)

4. Mix cocoa powder with the nuts.Fold nut mixture into egg mixture.
5. Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread onto parchment rounds and spread gently with a metal spatula.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.

Perfectly cooked one on the left and slightly undercooked one on the right

7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.

Make Meringue Buttercream! add 2 oz. melted, cooled bittersweet chocolate to buttercream after all butter has been added. Flavor with vanilla extract or other flavoring.

Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Romanesco showed up at the farm stand and who can resist this look? Not me!
I thought it was the wildest looking vegetable I had ever seen and would surely shock the family.

Romanesco is compared to cauliflower but it tastes more like broccoli. It has an almost nutty flavor to it.
I steamed the whole head stalk side down as I read online to do and it cooked easily. I made a topping of tomato concasse, chopped garlic and a little olive oil simmered for about 20 minutes and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then I tossed on some fresh basil  I got at the store because our crazy weather has killed off the basil outdoors.

I served this with a little penne that I buttered and shaved some fresh Parmesan on top. It was a light dinner and perfect for leaving room in my tummy for Halloween candy! The boy racked up the chocolate on his neighborhood tour of Halloween duty. He does not like candy so it is up to me to get rid of it!

I have included a link about Romanesco which is supposed to be around through November. I think it would look great on that Thanksgiving table. Maybe I could sculpt some alien looking garnishes to set around it....yeah, maybe I should cut back a little on the sugar.