Saturday, July 27, 2013

July Daring Bakers' Challenge - Choose your own Adventure

In a "celebration" of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we'd like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!
I got very excited with this challenge because I wanted to make pie for last months's challenge hosted by Rachael from pizzarossa but was unable to participate. We were off on a vacation adventure and I could not figure out how to blog from an IPAD. So, I made Peach Pie for this month's challenge and it is a happy pie time over here. The peaches were calling my name at the store. I smelled their sweet scent before I even saw them. I practiced the technique of putting them in boiling water for about 30 seconds before ice water shocking them. The skins just slipped away from the pulp for the most part. I had a couple of naughty ones that required manual peeling   I used the recommended crust recipe that our June host specified. I have a pie crust recipe that I have used for years but I actually prefer the recipe given for fruit pies.

Below is the recipe. Hurry to the market if you are in the summer side of the world and get some juicy peaches. If you are not, use what is in season at your spot in the world and bake yourself up a pie using this crust. You know you've been" pie"ning for one, hehehe.

Peach Pie

2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5-1/3 oz) unsalted butter 
1¾ cups (420 ml) (250 gm) (8-2/3 oz) all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoon (10 ml) (10 gm) (1/3 oz) sugar 
1/4 teaspoon (1½ gm) salt 
3-8 tablespoons (45-120 ml) cold water 

1 – 1½ kg (2¼ to 3-1/3 pounds) peaches (depending on the depth of your pie dish) 
1/2 cup (120 ml) (200 gm)4 oz) light brown sugar, lightly packed (more or less to taste) 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon flour
1 - 2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) (5-10 gm) white sugar for sprinkling (optional)

1. Weigh/measure out the correct amount of butter, wrap it in foil and freeze it for at least 30 minutes. 
2. Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. 
3. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the frozen butter directly over the flour in the 
bowl. Hold the butter by the foil to avoid warming it up too much and work as quickly as 
possible.  Using a table fork, toss the grated butter in the flour until it's all coated. 
 Alternatively, finely chop the butter and rub in with your fingertips, working quickly to avoid 
 warming it. This is best left to those lucky folk with cool hands! 
4. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of cold water over the mixture and mix together with the fork. 
Add more water, spoon by spoon, as needed - it will depend on temperature, humidity and a 
million other factors, but the finished dough should be moist and starting to come together, 
but not wet. I used 7 tablespoons (315 ml). Use your fingertips to test if it's sticking together. 
5. Finish by using your hands to quickly bring the dough together into a ball. Just press, don't 
6. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

1. Preheat oven to hot 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7 . Lightly grease a deep 9"/24cm ceramic or metal pie dish. Note that a dish this size results in quite a thin top crust - if you want a sturdier top which cuts more cleanly, then you should use a smaller dish so you don't need to roll it out so thinly. I like to use a glass pie plate so I can monitor the cooking of the bottom crust.
2. Take 2/3 of the pastry dough (I weighed my dough and 2/3 was about 12oz/340g) and roll out to fit pie dish, right up to the rim. Line the pie dish with it, prick all over the bottom with a fork and set aside.

3. Peel, pit  and chop the peaches into large chunks and place in a bowl. How tightly you can pack them into the pie depends on how thinly they are sliced - I like them chunky
4. Sprinkle the brown sugar , spice and flour over the peaches and toss well to coat. 

5. Pack the peaches tightly into the lined pie dish. The filling can come up above the rim of the dish in a mound. 

6. Roll out the remaining pastry dough to fit over the peaches. 
7. With a wet finger, moisten the edge of the pastry in the dish. Place the dough lid on the pie and press the edges together. Trim the edges as necessary and crimp the seam closed with your fingers or the back of a fork. 
8. With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut three vents in the top of the dough. You can either cut leaf shaped vents and use the pieces you removed to fashion decorative leaves, or you can cut straight vents and use any pastry trimmings to fashion decorations as desired. Moisten the back of the decorations with a wet finger and gently press onto the top of the pie. 
9. Glaze the top of the pie with a beaten egg or milk, then sprinkle the top with a little white sugar. 
10. Place pie dish on a baking sheet and put it into the center of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and bake for a further 30 minutes. The top should be light golden brown. The bottom should be golden brown as well.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gumpaste Iris Tutorial


I have uploaded a tutorial for making a gumpaste Dutch Iris. You can locate the video through this link:
Gumpaste Iris Part 1
Gumpaste Iris: Part 2

Here is the template for the Iris cutter if you do not have access to one of my cutter suggestions. Print the template on heavy card stock paper, cut it out and use it cut your gumpaste petals.Most of the tools that I used can be found at Nicholas Lodge or  Global Sugar Art.

Tools for Making the Gumpaste Iris

Artist Brushes for dusting – I like the nail art brush sets
Cel Board by CelCakes
Cel former Set #1 by CelCakes or Wilton flower former tray
Cel pad by CelCakes
Cel Shredderby CelCakes
Dusting colors: Canary yellow, Prairie Green, Royal Purple, Lilac, Cinnamon
Dusting pouch
Floral Tape
Floral Tape – I used light green
Florist wire: 22g., 24g. 26g.
Gel colors: brown and lemon yellow
Gum glue adhesive 
Iris Cutters – I used Framar cutters
Jem petal veiner
Jem Veiner Set #1
Long flat tweezers
Medium Cel pin by Nicholas Lodge
Petal pad by CelCakes
Practice board
Rolling pin
Thick foam and cosmetic sponge for cupping
Vegetable shortening
White gumpaste

Wilton Confectioners Tool Kit: ball tool, dog bone tool, pencil tool, 

Written Instructions are below.

Dutch Iris Instructions
*      Roll paste over three ridges of a grooved board to about 1/16th inch, remove paste and flip over.
*      Cut three of each Iris shape (standard petal, secondary fall petal, fall petal)
*      Store the petals under protective flap to prevent paste from drying out.

Fall Petals:
*      Insert a moistened 26 gauge wire about 1 inch into the base of the petal and pinch slightly at the base.
*      Using a cosmetic sponge, press the petal onto a veiner of choice, grooved side first, then the flat side.
*      On foam pad, using a ball tool, soften the petal, grooved side upwards, around the top edge of the petal almost down to the neck of the petal.
*      Using a petal veining tool (porcelain tool) or pencil tool, gently fold the base (neck) around the tool to form a hollow area.
*      Dry in the Styrofoam large Cel former or on a flower forming try with the flat side upwards.
*      Repeat with remaining two fall petals.

Secondary Fall Petals:
*      Insert a moistened 26 gauge wire about 1 inch into the base of the petal and pinch slightly at base to secure.
*      Using a cosmetic sponge, press the petal onto a veiner of choice, flat side first then grooved side.
*      With the dog bone tool on a foam pad, soften the two end pieces (rabbit ears)
*      Using flat tweezers create a deep ridge on in the center of the grooved side of the petal.
*      Again using the dog bone tool, Cup the two end pieces (rabbit ears) on the cosmetic sponge
*      Using the petal veiner tool (porcelain tool or a pencil tool, gently mold the base of the petal to form a hollow area.
*      Arrange the petal on top of a fall petal in the Cel former or dry on a flower former tray with the grooved side downwards. If using the Cel former, you may need to prop up the end of the petals with a bit of tissue.
*      Repeat with the two remaining secondary fall petals.

Standard Petals:
*      Insert a moistened 26 gauge wire about a third of the way into the base of the petal.
*      Using a cosmetic sponge, press the petal onto a veiner of choice grooved side first, then the flat side.
*      Using a ball tool on a foam pad, soften the petal edges slightly, using light pressure, so as not to create a frill. Using a ball tool on the cosmetic sponge, cup the end of the petal on the grooved side. Using the petal veiner (porcelain tool) or pencil tool, gently mold the base on the grooved side to form a hollow area.
*      Repeat with the remaining two standard petals.

*      Roll light green paste over three ridges of a grooved board, remove paste and flip over. Cut three leaves using a lily leaf cutter or other long slender leaf cutter. Insert a moistened 24 gauge wire about halfway into the leaf at the base and pinch at the base to secure.
*      Using a cosmetic sponge, press the leaf onto a cornhusk veiner (may also use a lily leaf or lily of the valley leaf veiner).
*      Using a ball tool on a foam pad, soften the leaf edge with grooved side upwards.
*      Using a veining tool on soft thick foam, slide the tool down the center of the leaf starting at leaf base and ending at leaf tip to create a center vein. Dry the leaf on top of crumpled foil. Tape the leaf at the base with ½ width floral tape. Dust the leaf with Prairie green dusting powder over large sections of leaf. Add accents of a darker green dusting powder in small sections if desired.

Dusting the Petals:
Use your creative flair for this please …here is what I did:
*      Fall Petals: Prairie Green petal dust in center of petal back and at base of petal front. Lilac petal dust on the petal edges and all over the back of the petal. Royal Purple petal dust for inner parts of the front of the petal brushed to form an arc shape and blended towards petal edge.
*      Secondary petal: Prairie green at the base of the petal. Royal Purple intensely brushed on groove of petal, center of petal back and gently blended towards petal edge. A quick brush with the lilac brush at petal edges.
*      Standard Petal: Brush front and back of petal with Lilac dusting powder. Brush petal edges in a few areas with the Royal Purple dusting powder.

To Assemble:
*      Tape all the petals with ½ width floral tape. Tape a Secondary fall petal to each fall petal so that the secondary fall petal rests atop the fall petal using ½ width floral tape.
*      Tape, using full width floral tape, the three Standard petals at the petals base to a 22 gauge wire with floral tape. The grooved side of the petals should face each other.
*      Add a Secondary fall/fall petal combination to the Standard petals, situating them so they rest in between each standard petal (see video for details).
*      Add two more 22 gauge wires at the base of the assembled petals and tape the length of the wires adding in leaves as desired.
*      Steam the Iris to set the color and give the flowers an attractive sheen.

Please email if you have any questions.  I hope you have fun making this flower.