Monday, May 9, 2011

Chocolate-Avocado Entremet

The avocado-chocolate combination stuck to my mind ever since I saw it on Asha's blog Fork Spoon Knife. I love avocados, but since far I've never tried them in sweet variations. I'm glad I fixed that since this combo happened to be extremely good. Rich and fresh at the same time.

I had some doubts if the avocado mousse will keep it's nice colour long enough after assembling the entremets. This is why we did our best to eat them the same day we made them, and honestly, it would have been hard not to do so, since the taste was addictive. However we left one of the pieces as an experiment to see how long it would keep it's colour – 24 hours after the avocado mousse was made it's colour was still nicely green although not as fresh as in the beginning. We couldn't keep it any longer. It was crying to be eaten ;)

With the sponge layer we improvised with the ingredients we had on hand but we liked how the orange flavour and walnut taste and crunchiness combined with the chocolate-avocado duo. The recipe makes too much if it's to be cut into just 12 rounds, like we did, so we had a lot of leftovers, but we used them in another recipe.

Chocolate-Avocado Entremet Recipe:
Serves 6

For the Spongy Layer:
  • 90 gr sugar(divided);
  • 4 egg whites;
  • 3 egg yolks;
  • 40 gr millet flour;
  • 30 gr rice flour;
  • pinch of salt;
  • 50 gr butter(melted and cooled);
  • 35 gr walnuts(roughly chopped);
  • 15 gr candied orange peels(finely chopped).
Note: For a non gluten free version substitute cake flour for millet and rice flours.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line with buttered and floured paper a 28 cm round baking pan.

Sift together flours and salt, set aside. Beat egg yolks and half of the sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in butter, then flours, walnuts, orange peels. The mixture is quite stiff but don't worry, the egg whites will fix it.

Beat egg whites and the other half of the sugar to firm, glossy peaks. Fold a third of the egg whites into the above mixture to loosen it, then fold the rest of the whites. Transfer to the prepared baking pan and flatten the mixture to an even layer. Bake for around 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

For the Simple Syrup:
  • 40 gr sugar;
  • 40 gr water;
  • orange zest.
Combine the ingredients and bring them to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. Stain through a fine sieve and discard the orange zest.

For the Dark Chocolate Mousse:
  • 120 gr dark chocolate 75% cocoa (we used Cacao Barry's Tanzanie);
  • 35 gr sugar;
  • 10 gr powdered glucose;
  • 40 ml water;
  • 2 egg yolks;
  • 280 ml heavy cream.
Make pate a bombe - beat the yolks until very pale in colour. On medium heat cook the sugar, glucose syrup and water to 118°C. Drizzle the syrup over the yolks beating all the time. Beat until cool. The batter should be thick and foamy.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, watching out not to burn it. Then fold it into the pate a bombe.

Whip the cream until soft peaks. Fold 1/3 of the cream into the chocolate-yolks mixture. Then fold in the remaining cream. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Use as fast as you make the mousse since it sets really fast.

For the Avocado Mousse:
  • 1 ripe avocado;
  • 1 ½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice;
  • pinch of salt;
  • 20 – 30 gr sugar (according to your taste);
  • 10 gr water;
  • 80 ml heavy cream.
Heat sugar and water to dissolve the sugar, let it cool. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Puree the avocado, lemon juice, salt and sugar syrup. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip.

To Assemble:

Prepare 6 rings – 5,5cm in diameter and 6cm tall. Cut 6 cellophane strips - the height of the rings and 20cm long – use them to line the inner walls of the rings.

Using one of the rings, cut 12 spongy rounds. Place a spongy round at the bottom of each ring, brush it with simple syrup, then pipe a decent quantity of the chocolate mousse. Place another spongy round and repeat the procedure, piping chocolate mousse till the rim of the ring. If you wish you could flatten it with an offset spatula. Place in the fridge for at least an hour.

Remove the rings and peel off the cellophane strips. Pipe the avocado mousse. Refrigerate for half an hour before serving.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mum's Kozunak Recipe

It took me ten days to gather my strength to write down this recipe. Firstly I thought not to post it since I find it difficult to write about something I haven't done all by myself. But I promised to my sister and a couple of friends I'll systematize mum's kozunak recipe to an easy to follow step by step guide.

Mum is famous for her kozunak amongst all her friends and all the neighbourhood. (Maybe I have to mention that Kozunak is the Bulgarian Easter bread.) A couple of days before Easter there are people calling, e-mailing and skyping just to remind her of their existence in order not to be forgotten in the kozunak give away. This is why when she makes kozunak, she usually makes 10 – 12 loaves (yep, no mistake here) and it takes her a whole day, not to mention the pile of dirty baking pans and the mess in the kitchen. Mum has a special equipment for kozunak making – the set consists of special bowls(large as basins) for mixing an proving the dough, linen towels for covering the bowls, pot for the sponge, special clothes and hair bands. The day when she makes kozunak nobody is allowed to enter the kitchen, in order to prevent hairs from flying here and there and wise advices to be given. The latter applies mainly for Ivan, who always tries to rationalize her recipe, and my father, who keeps saying for almost 30 years “My mother used to make it otherwise!”.

This year, I don't know how, but I managed to convince mum to make only half the recipe, so we ended up with just 5 loaves. Originally the recipe comes from my grandmother, but mum improves it every year and currently there are significant differences in mum's and grandma's kozunak making techniques. Grandma mixes the dough to firm stage and have some kind of ritual to “beat” it in the counter top to develop it's gluten, whereas mum mixes the dough to an extremely sticky stage and works it with her hands directly as it is in the basin in her own special manner.

Mum's Kozunak Recipe:
Makes 5 loaves

For the Filling:
  • 70 gr sugar (A);
  • 100 ml water;
  • 400 gr ground walnuts;
  • 230 gr sugar (B);
  • 150 ml milk;
  • 20 gr cocoa powder;
  • 100 gr butter;
  • 15 ml rum.
Caramelize sugar (A), then pour over the water and leave it on low heat until all the caramel is dissolved. Add sugar (B), ground walnuts, milk and bring to a simmer. Add in butter and cocoa powder. Mix well and bring to a simmer again. Turn off the heat. Cover with a lid and leave it to cool down. Stir in the rum.

For the Sponge:
  • 1 cube (42 gr) fresh yeast;
  • 100 ml whole milk;
  • flour, enough to form a mixture with the consistency of cake batter;
  • ½ tsp sugar.

For the Dough:
  • sponge;
  • 300 ml whole milk;
  • 14 eggs(room temperature);
  • 700 gr granulated sugar(divided 400 + 300);
  • 150 gr butter(melted and cooled);
  • 55 gr sour cream;
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract(or 1 vanilla pod – scraped and mixed with the milk);
  • 15 ml rum;
  • zest of 4 lemons;
  • 1 tsp salt;
  • 3 kg all purpose flour - sifted (it won't be used the whole quantity);
  • 100 ml vegetable oil(mum uses sunflower oil).

For Glazing:
  • 2 egg yolks;
  • 1 Tbsp apple vinegar. 
Note: The room temperature when making kozunak must be at least 22 - 23º C.
    Make the sponge. Dissolve yeast in milk, add a teaspoon of sugar and flour enough to form a mixture with the consistency of cake batter. Sprinkle one tablespoon of flour on top. Cover with clean towel and leave it to triple in bulk.

    the sponge after proving

    In a small saucepan heat milk together with 400 gr of the sugar and vanilla just to dissolve the sugar. Leave to cool to lukewarm.

    In another bowl beat eggs and the rest of the sugar (300 gr) just to incorporate the sugar.

    In a large bowl combine sponge, milk-sugar mixture, egg-sugar mixture, melted butter, sour cream, rum, lemon zest, 1,5 kg of the flour and salt. Use hand mixer for mixing. The batter would be very sticky.

    At this point mum continues to knead the dough by hand.

    Add a little bit of the vegetable oil, then knead.

    Add a handful of flour, knead again.

    Repeat 5-6 times until all the vegetable oil has been used and around 500 gr of the flour. Then start kneading the dough with two hands for around 20 – 30 minutes.

    Cover and leave the dough to become double in bulk. The dough is still very sticky, but this is how it's supposed to be.

    Pour a part of the dough onto a heavy floured working surface and knead to form a soft dough.

    Spread it with your hands(it would be still too soft to use a rolling pin), add some of the filling and fold the way you want.

    Arrange into a buttered baking pan. Cover with a linen towel and leave it to become double in bulk. Bear in mind that dough triples in bulk during proving and baking. Repeat until all the dough is arranged into baking pans.

    Till far we've used around 2,5 kg of the flour.

    Whisk egg yolks with vinegar and glaze the loaves, sprinkle some sugar on top and bake into a preheated to 180º C oven.

     there was no way to take a photo of all the 5 loaves since we gave 2 of them away as soon as they were baked

    We are sending this post to YeastSpotting.


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