Sunday, February 10, 2008

Big Easy Desserts

This is my fifth and final Mardi Gras 2008 post. Here is a recap of my Fat Tuesday menu:
Now, what is all that without a good dessert? My goal was to make beignets and cafe au lait. I was too tired and had no space left in my kitchen to do so. This was supposed to be in addition to bread pudding and a Doberge cake that was a lagniappe surprise. Yes, I cooked for four straight days. I actually made the dirty rice later in the week and took it to work for lunch.
Now for the bread pudding and Doberge cake. Here are the disclaimers:
  1. I forgot to take pictures of the finished bread pudding. The one above is from Food
  2. I forgot to make the sauce for the bread pudding
  3. The things I suck the most at are torting a cake and icing a cake (you'll soon see why this is a problem.)
Let's tackle the bread pudding first. Emeril Lagassee has a wonderful recipe and it hasn't failed me yet. Start by cubing your French bread.

I cube fresh bread and leave it out to stale.
Once you have stale bread, make your custard and soak the bread. I like to soak the bread overnight.

See that little lone raisin in the corner? The rest are at the bottom of the bowl. Pour this into a buttered casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Moving on to the Doberge cake. This cake is unbelievable. It is six or seven thin layers of cake separated by pudding. The cake is then covered in buttercream. Lemon, chocolate and caramel are the flavors of choice. I chose chocolate. Some chocolate versions are all chocolate. I like yellow cake with chocolate filling and icing.

Here's a picture of a professional cake from Haydel's in New Orleans.

I'll show you my poor facsimile later. I started with the recipe in New Orleans Classic Desserts by Kit Wohl. However, it had so many crucial errors that I had to find additional recipes on the Web.
This is a job for Old Faithful, (stand mixer) and Miracle (food processor) too. If you have a second mixing bowl, now would be a good time to use it. (You'll have to beat the egg whites separately.) Cream the butter and sugar. Take the dry ingredients for a spin in the food processor (unless you prefer to sift the long way.)

After the eggs have been added to the creamed butter and sugar, Add the wet and dry ingredients to the batter. Start and end with the dry. Do not over mix!
Fold in the stiff egg whites.

I'll say it again. I am not good at torting cakes. I thought I'd help myself out by baking this cake in three layers and then splitting each layer. Prepare the pans with parchment and a baking spray. I like Pam for Baking and the Crisco version.
The cake strips around the right and center pans help the cake bake evenly. The cakes will brown perfectly and won't be domed. See the makings of cheese straws behind the cake pans? It was a marathon cooking session. This was Super Bowl Sunday and I also worked out some nachos.

Needless to say, I failed again at torting. I could've easily just stacked the three layers and been done with it, but where's the challenge in that? And once again my buttercream refused to be light and fluffy. But, I got it all together. Not flawlessly beautiful, but good. I forgot to tell you how I made the chocolate pudding. I didn't take any pictures of that either.

I know you can't really see them, but I promise there are six layers. My issue when torting is that by the time I get to the center of the cake, the knife is coming through the top of the cake. I just need more practice.
Tools of the trade:

1 comment:

glamah16 said...

My layers come out pretty good with that tool by Witon. Its a cake leveler and it works like a dream. Plus I find freezing the cake helps make it easier to cut.
You went all out with this. Im sure it was delicious!