Daring Bakers August: Baked Alaska

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

This will be a short post, cause there's simply too much going on right now. Let's just say this was a delicious challenge! I made the Baked Alaska with apple ice cream, the brown butter pound cake as written and then covered the whole thing in vanilla flavored meringue.

Markus is in Beijing at the moment and has the camera with him so this post will be updated with photos when he gets back has now been updated with pictures. Yes, I'm definitely making this one again! Thank you Elissa for a wonderful challenge!

For recipes and to see the other Daring Bakers' creations, head over to the Daring Kitchen!

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)*
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*You can make 1 cup of cake flour by placing 2 tablespoons of corn starch in a 1 cup measure, and filling to the top with all purpose flour.

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
1 cup (220g) sugar

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.

Assembly Instructions

1. Line four 4” (10cm) diameter tea cups with plastic wrap, so that plastic wrap covers all the sides and hangs over the edge. Fill to the top with ice cream. Cover the top with the overhanging plastic wrap and freeze for several hours, or until solid.

2. Level the top of the brown butter pound cake with a serrated knife or with a cake leveler. Cut out four 4” (10cm) diameter circles from the cake. Discard the scraps or use for another purpose.

3. Make the meringue (see above.)

4. Unwrap the ice cream “cups” and invert on top of a cake round. Trim any extra cake if necessary.

5. Pipe the meringue over the ice cream and cake, or smooth it over with a spatula, so that none of the ice cream or cake is exposed. Freeze for one hour or up to a day.

6. Burn the tips of the meringue with a cooking blow torch. Or, bake the meringue-topped Baked Alaskas on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500°F/260°C oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.


Daring Cooks Augusti: Pierogi

Woohoo, the Deer Eaters are finally Daring Cooks again. Sorry about neglecting the blog so much lately, there simply has been too much other stuff going on. And what better way is there to finally be back in the Daring business, than to totally misread the challenge?
The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.
For some reason (and I can't understand why, because it's all there, right in the first few paragraphs of the challenge presentation post on the private Daring Cooks' forum) I misunderstood the challenge. Not going to elaborate on why and how, but the fact is that we didn't make the challenge recipe. Sorry about that! We did, however, make pierogi. Two different kinds. I hope that makes up for misreading the challenge.

First up, Karelian pierogi, a Finnish specialty. We made these because they're delicious and because Markus is half Finnish, so that kind of represents his locale, or something. Anyway, maybe they're not pierogi in the challenge sense of the word (Wikipedia calls them Karelian pasties) but let's not dwell on that. These pierogi are made from a thin rye crust and filled with rice porridge. I know I know, it sounds weird and to be honest not very tasty, but trust me, they are good! The hardest part about making Karelian pierogi is cooking the rice porridge - it takes forever and the porridge always get burnt in the bottom of the pot. Luckily, there's a handy solution for that in Swedish grocery stores: ready made rice porridge in sausage form!

No it's not really a sausge, just rice porridge packaged in a plastic tube.
By the way, you can get yellow pea soup packaged the same way.

The next pierogi we made were more traditional, although oven-baked instead of boiled. For that local touch we filled them with ground moose and chantarelles. A note on the recipe, we found these a bit dry, so if you want to make them you might want to add some sort of liquid to the filling.

To see what the other Daring Cooks made, head over to the Daring Kitchen where you can also find the original recipe!

Karelian Pierogi

makes about 20

50 g butter
5 dl rye and wheat flour mix (Sw. rågsikt)
1½ tsp salt
2 dl water

For the rice porridge filling:
1½ dl round grain rice (Sw. grötris)
½ tsp salt
3 dl water
7 dl milk
...or use ready-made rice porridge (Sw. risgrynsgröt)

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp water

Start with making the filling. Let rice, salt and water simmer under a lid for ten minutes without stirring. Add the milk, stir and bring to a boil. Simmer very slowly under a lid for about 40 minutes. Watch closely so it doesn't burn! Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
OR, as I said, skip this step and use ready-made!

Heat the oven to 175-300°C.

Cut the butter into small cubes, add the flour and use you fingers to make a crumbly dough. Add salt and water and work into a uniform dough. If it's to loose, add more flour, if it's too hard, add more water. Spread some flour over your work surface, and roll the dough out into a long roll. Cut it into about 20 pieces. Use a rolling pin to turn each piece into an thin oval. Put a heap of rice porridge in the middle and fold up the edges around it (see picture). Transfer to a parchment-covered baking sheet. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes, lower the heat if it looks like they get done too fast.

Melt the butter, add the water and heat. Brush the piergoi with melted butter as soon as they are out of the oven. Let them cool covered with a cloth (although I think they are best eaten warm).

Pierogi with moose and chantarelle filling

makes about 12

25 g fresh yeast
1 tsp salt
3 dl luke warm water
2 tbsp oil
1 egg
9 dl flour

For the filling:
2 yellow onions (medium sized)
Oil and butter
100 g fresh chanterelles
500 g ground moose
2 tbsp tomato puré
1 tbsp concentrated vegetable stock
black pepper
1 egg for the egg wash

Crumble the yeast into a big bowl, add salt and some of the water and stir to dissolve. Add the rest of the water, oil, egg and finally the flour. Work into a dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes while you make the filling.

Finely chop the onions. Cut down the chanterelles into smaller pieces. Heat oil and butter in a pan and fry the onions and chanterelles until lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl. Add a little more oil and butter and brown the ground meat. Add the onions and chanterelles, tomato puré and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper. Let the filling cool.

Heat the oven to 225°C. Knead the dough a little and roll it out into 12 large ovals. Put 3-4 tbsp of filling on the middle of the dough. Brush the edges lighly with water to make the dough stick together, fold the dough over the filling and press down with a fork to seal and make a decorative pattern around the edges. Transfer to parchment covered baking sheets and let the pierogi rest for about 25 minutes. Brush with egg wash. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes. Let the pierogi cool under a cloth. They freeze really well, just heat them a little in the oven before eating.