Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Archive for September, 2009

Cinnamon-Peach Ganache Tarts

Posted by osakaben41 on September 28, 2009

Cinnamon Peach Tarts1

This was a quick experiment in making flavor infused chocolate ganache.  As a technique, it’s fairly simple.  A standard ganache is just adding some warmed heavy cream to chopped pieces of chocolate until it’s all melted together.  Here we’re just adding something to the cream to add a little kick before straining it over the chocolate.  This works well with coffee, or lavender (with white chocolate).  The other day, while researching Macarons, I came across the idea of a Cinnamon-Peach Ganache, from Syrup & Tang. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Chocolate, dough, Fruit, Peach, Tarts | 1 Comment »

Vols-au-vent, DB September Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on September 27, 2009


Baking Fail

Baking Fail

I’ll admit defeat this month, lick some wounds and gear up for next time.  If you can judge a cafe by its laminated dough, I’m not quitting my day job anytime soon.  But perhaps I should start this story at the beginning.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

In summary, we were to make puff pastry from scratch, shape it into a container, typically a cylinder, which is then filled with a savory or sweet stuffing.  Puff pastry, like any laminated dough consists of layers of butter and dough rolled into thin layers, such that when the butter melts, the steam released puffs up the thin layers of dough, resulting in an ethereal buttery flakiness.  Normally the challenge with this dough is to roll out and fold it as thin as can be without breaking through the layers.  Its a tricky thing, and when done right a wonder of engineering.  But like all things worth doing, all too easy to screw up. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in DB Challenge, dough, Pastry, Recipes, Savory | 5 Comments »

Key Lime Pie

Posted by osakaben41 on September 25, 2009

Key Lime 1

I do so love me some limes.  

One of the first things I wanted to try making from the Charlie Trotter Desserts book was this recipe for a stacked, crustless Key Lime Pie.  However until Starfruit made themselves available I was sadly thwarted. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Fruit, Tropical Fruit | Leave a Comment »

Lemon/Lavender Macarons

Posted by osakaben41 on September 14, 2009

A study in the many ways to ruin a perfectly good cookie

A study in the many ways to ruin a perfectly good cookie

In honor of Lance Armstrong and the LIVESTRONG foundation, WinosandFoodies is hosting another Taste of Yellow challenge.  In short, those of us that are either biking fans, or just care about cancer research, bake something yellow in honor of the man and his cause.  It isn’t in itself a fundraiser so much as a reason to mark the day, and something you’ll come across often in the food blogging world.  If you enjoy seeing just how creative a dedicated army of home bakers can be, go and click through some of the past entries.  Humbling and inspiring work, that I was itching to be a part of.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, Fruit, Lemon, Recipes | 3 Comments »

Chocolate Kahlua Birthday Cake

Posted by osakaben41 on September 13, 2009

C-K cakeI am just loving these birthday cake commissions.  A good friend asked for a chocolate cake for her 40th, more specifically a Chocolate-chocolate with a hint of chocolate cake.  No nuts, no coconut, no fruit, just that sweet dark embrace.

Other things worth considering, 1) she has three kids, so for her birthday no more ponies, rainbows, or princesses (but yes to the liquor). 2) she’s a legitimate rock star, performing at her own party, and lastly 3) there might be a whole bunch of people looking for their slice of cake.  So we set off on a search for a massive, alcoholic, musically themed cake.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cake, Chocolate | 1 Comment »

Black Forest Cake

Posted by osakaben41 on September 11, 2009


This one was another birthday cake commission, which despite some trepidation ended up being a whole lot of fun to put together.  On it’s own a Black Forest Cake didn’t seem to offer much of an interesting challenge.  We’re talking about a fairly straightforward chocolate cake with cherries and whipped cream.  But in the spirit of making your own fun, lets try to find a way to get slightly offbeat while staying true to the basic premise.

Let’s stipulate off the bat that we’re going to stay true to the strict Chocolate, Cherry, Cream formula, and focus instead on presentation.  Flipping through flickr for ideas, the traditional approach looks to be slapping a good half inch of whipped cream on the sides, maybe throw a maraschino cherry or two on top, or just hose the whole thing down with chocolate shavings.  In short, the standard just felt ham-handed and inelegant. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cake, Chocolate, Fruit | Leave a Comment »

Blood Orange Gelato

Posted by osakaben41 on September 3, 2009


I came across an enlightening thread on e-gullet the other day regarding how to make respectable quenelles.  It’s a forum a number of people “in the industry” use for comparing notes, asking obscure questions, etc.  The take away was, if you want to get good at this, if you want your ice creams or mousse to look more elegant than a glob of goo on a plate, the only way to get it right is to practice practice practice.  So that’s what I’ve been up to.  

At the same time, I found some Blood Oranges, and just had to grab them while they were available.  Intending fully to make a sorbet,  I ended up with a faux gelato recipe.  As a beginner I was reluctant to go with a sorbet, given that we’re shooting for a nice workable consistency, not too hard but not melting either.  Looking for something forgiving, I went with a high-fat, and lots of air whipped in approach.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Fruit, Ice Cream | Leave a Comment »