RLB White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Mousseline

 

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Preparing these cupcakes went fairly smoothly, given the multi-part nature of the recipe. There’s something about being instructed to make something and keep it waiting while concocting something else, and combining various parts that stresses me out. I’m certain that I’ll leave out an important ingredient out, or forget to remove something from the oven or the fridge so it can’t be used and mess up the entire project. The upside of my fear is it usually causes me to read the recipe a few times so I understand the order in which everything should be made and the reasons for it.

So it was with trepidation and determination that I started making raspberry sauce this morning. None of the steps was difficult, but I was a little concerned about removing the seeds. I had vague memories of attempting to force raspberries through a sieve and finally giving up and including the mushed yet seedy whole berries in my sauce. This time however, I had the right tool for the job and that made all the difference. Once I figured how to assemble it, that is.

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The easy part -juicing the berries.
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I couldn’t figure out why the food mill was going round and round but no berries were getting squashed. Then I looked at the bottom of the mill, and noticed that I’d put the disc in upside down. Explained a lot!
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These berries are properly smushed!

It was easy enough then to mix the raspberry pulp and reduced juice, and let them wait while I made the cupcakes.

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Eggs and milk, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder all came together to make the batter on the right. I rarely make white cake, so I’m always surprised by how very white it really is.

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Of course this batter also had a special guest star in the form of a 4 ounce bar of white chocolate which I melted and added to the batter. The cocoa butter added an extra level of creamy smoothness and a heavenly smell.

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Here are the completed cupcakes, in a silicone pan that I just can’t clean all the way. Too much cooking spray, I think.

Now it was time for the mousseline, which offered a fresh challenge; how to whip the egg whites and beat the butter with only one mixer bowl and no other electric mixers in the house, my immersion blender attachment having given up the ghost last week.

After weighing my options I decided to beat the butter by hand. There was no way I was trying to beat egg whites to a stiff peak with a hand whisk, much less add and beat in boiling hot sugar syrup, so that left me with butter. It went pretty well, I think:

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It helped that the butter sat out for a couple of hours beforehand

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sugar syrup-to-be

 

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The eggs did just fine in the mixer. I was good about stopping the mixer, pouring in the syrup and then beating everything together, but I think I took a tiny bit too long to add the last of the syrup, which caused a bit of a hiccup later on.

 

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Here are the sugar syruped eggs and the butter, ready to combine.

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Now raspberry syrup, yum.

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The rose look didn’t work out so well for me. Maybe my tips weren’t quite right, or maybe it was because the top of my cupcakes was too flat, I don’t know But they looked okay, I’m not complaining. I even learned why Rose calls for an open star tip. Here are the tips I used:

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It’s hard to see in the photo, but the tip on the right is more closed than the tip on the left. It, plus a small chunk of hardened sugar syrup were responsible for the squiggly cupcake at the top of my post. After I iced a few cupcakes with squiggles instead of nice spirals, I decided to examine my tip and found the culprit

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That white blob is a hard chunk of sugar syrup.

I’m still learning, even as we approach the end of this bake along.

RLB Pomegranate Winter Chiffon Meringue Pie

This pie looks so delicious in The Baking Bible, I was looking forward to making it, and even to practicing my piping skills with the meringue crust. I assembled the ingredients, and planned to make the crust before heading out on a walk with my sister. But I hadn’t seen that the crust needed to bake for two hours, so I postponed the pie-making until my return. Which was possibly Minor Mishap #1. The weather was damp, with grey skies and intermittent rain in the morning. I got home, ready to go, beat the eggs into peaks of perfection, then reached for my pie pan and couldn’t find it. I looked where it is supposed to be, I looked where it’s doesn’t belong, I couldn’t find it anywhere. (Minor?) Mishap #2. I used my old Pyrex pie plate, which is a perfectly adequate pie pan, but wasn’t quite deep enough for this project:

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I had fun piping the crust, but there’s not a lot of room left for the filling!

I figured I’d just put the extra chiffon filling in a couple of bowls, but it bugged me that the filling ratio would be off.

Melting the white chocolate and cream together was easy because I went rogue and combined the two in a bowl in the microwave. Heated, stirred, presto! No photo though. The multiple preparations were wearing on me, and my photographic skillz tend to decline dramatically when I’m stressed. I did snap the crust with its white coating, though:

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There no cracks to repair, probably because my meringue was more like a cake layer than a pie crust. Making the pomegranate gel was straightforward:

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Pom Wonderful juice, gelatin and sugar cooking
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same mixture cooked and cooled

I ran into some trouble beating the second round of egg whites, though. I attempted my tried-and-true method of beating whites with the attachment on my immersion blender, only to be foiled by an unidentified substance leaking into the whites and keeping them from forming peaks. After some investigation I determined that the trick I’d used to keep the whites in their bowl had ruined the beater attachment and it was leaking oil. Minor Mishap #3.  Tossed those eggs and the attachment, beat the whites by hand. Now I was grumpy for real. Luckily I was also almost done. Cream beaten, both eggs and cream folded into the pomegranate gel, and into the crust!

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and indeed I had leftover chiffon

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I couldn’t get the crust out of the pie shell. I think I was supposed to take it out before filling it, but that wasn’t gonna happen. So I filled it in the pie pan where it looked just fine. Serving it was another story, though. It had to be scraped out like a baked pudding.

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looks more like ice cream than pie!

This was definitely not in my top ten recipes. The textures were great together, but it was too sweet and not particularly fruity.  But I’ve never been a fan of chiffon pies generally, so I guess it’s not surprising.

RLB Chocolate Sweetheart Madelines

These were another recipe I made in between doing other things, so I’m not sure if the ease with which they seemed to come together was because they were easy to make, or because of a few shortcuts I took, or because compared to the complicated dance of supervising college applications while not being overbearing makes most things look simple by comparison.

In the beginning, there was sour cream, and it was good:

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Soon cocoa joined the party, drying and darkening things a bit

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Next an egg arrived, bringing back the moisture

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Still a little lumpy and bitter, so time for the dry ingredients

batterand presto, we have madeline batter!

I have no madeline tins, and while a quick Amazon search revealed a likely candidate for under $10, my overflowing baking racks caused me to opt for mini-muffin tins instead.

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I piped the filling in, and baked.

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The only problem with madelines shaped like this is they look a lot like cupcakes. But never mind, we know their true identity.

Next came shortcut number 2, which was inadvertent. I plopped the right amount of chocolate chunks in a bowl and added cream. I should have chopped the chocolate up, heated the cream, and poured it over the chocolate, but instead I heated the mixture in the microwave, stirring periodically.

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Lucky for me, it worked out.

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Finally, inadvertent shortcut #3, since the madelines were smooth and small I dipped them in ganache instead of painting it on.

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They say all’s well that ends well, and this adventure into madeline land definitely ended well!

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RLB Prune Preserves and Caramel Cream Cake Roll

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Well, it’s a descriptive name, that’s for sure! I admit I didn’t tell anyone what the fruit filling this roll was. But then again, they didn’t ask. Above is a photo of the cake batter for the roll. This being the third time I made it, everything went smoothly and took only a little more time than Rose optimistically promises in the Baking Bible.

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Baked and ready to roll!

Making the sugar syrup was easy-peasy, Just mix sugar and water, heat until the sugar dissolves. Next up, caramel.

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Here’s the sugar syrup in the pan. You can tell it’s the syrup for caramel not the syrup for brushing on the cake because it’s starting to develop a lovely golden hue. I wish I could show you the bubbling mixture after I added the cream, but I’m a one-woman shop, and I never think to grab the camera until the moment has passed.

However all went well, despite a moment when I was worried I’d overcooked the syrup again, and I got soft, deep brown caramel:

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which I let cool while I put syrup on the cake and rolled it up:

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Doesn’t look like much, does it?

I did all of this really early one morning, then rushed off to work for a few hours while everything cooled down. When I returned, I unrolled the cake, which seemed to be in good shape:

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and got to work on the filling. There’s a Russian market in the next town over, so I stopped by for a jar of lekvar:

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thus I only had whipped cream and ganache left on the to-make list. Whipped cream done, I chopped up some chocolate and heated up some of the caramel with cream:

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caramel and cream before heating
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caramel, cream and chocolate melded together into a pretty ganache glaze.

I’m thinking as I type this that I’ve gotten things a bit out of order, as I made the cake a week ago. I’m pretty sure I made the ganache after everything else was taken care of. Anyway, the cake was unrolled and spread with lekvar, then caramel cream:

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and then rolled up.

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The edge view reminds me of a wrinkly-faced dog. Homely but appealing. Perhaps that was why I didn’t actually pipe the glaze on the cake, but opted to drizzle it from a fork, with decidedly homely results:

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My 17-year-old sometime food stylist was upset I didn’t employ her services. Next time.

Definitely a homely look, but a much more sophisticated taste! I brought it to a party where it disappeared.

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I snagged this piece before leaving home.