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Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Challenge

It's this time of the month when a group of fairly talented and smart group of bakers engaged themselves in a baking challenge. I'm sure you're familiar of them by now since they've been doing this for several months now. The Daring Bakers of course! I have been a follower of the group and I was pretty happy when they asked me to join them. I know I haven't thank them enough for extending their warm welcome to me. As you might all know this month have been a difficult month for me since all of my family got sick including me. I haven't been blogging and baking much for more than two weeks now. This is my first baking stint after a long break and I feel uneasy and doubtful if I'd be able to do the challenge right.


Helen of Tartalette and Anita of DessertFirst are hosting this month's challenge. They've chosen Gateau St. Honore for this month. I was pretty dumbfounded when I knew about it . I haven't tackled french patisserie before because I have this notion that it's pretty tricky and hard (not to mention hard to pronounce). At least it was consoling enough that they did not choose macaroons or else I know I will fail it miserably.



In these challenge we were given the option to choose whether to use store bought puff pastry or to make one from scratch. I chose to use a pre-made puff pastry since obviously I still don't have the power to engage myself in anything time consuming and complicated . My energy level is not 100% back yet. As for the cream puff dough, it was pretty easy since it was very similar to churros which I've already done a couple of times. For Saint Honore Cream, instead of using uncooked egg white I substituted it with powdered egg white. I'm just not comfortable using raw egg whites.I also omitted the rum and used vanilla instead. My only complain - it was pretty tiring stirring it and the weather here in Singapore made it worse since it was pretty hot. I still have dizzy spells every now and then so I did a lot of rest in between. It took me the whole day to finish everything. I did the cream in the morning. I did the cream puffs in the early afternoon. I assembled everything an hour before dinner time.



As for problems encountered, I'd like to mention that my puff pastry didn't puff out . I was disappointed about that. I also didn't know how big the cream puffs should be. I was also afraid of burning my fingers in hot caramel so instead of dipping my cream puffs, I decided to slowly pour the caramel on top of it. I think it would have been nice if I've cooked the caramel a bit longer to achieve a darker colour but then again I was afraid of burning it so I let it be. The most important thing I've learned from this challenge was making spun sugar. Although I did get a lot of laughs from my boys when they saw me making it (they said I looked like a witch) I can honestly say I did have a lot of fun making it. In fact, I couldn't make myself stop that my spun sugar came out thick and tall. At least now I know. I have more confidence trying it next time.

Over all the gateau came out really delicious. I liberally filled the gateau with the St. Honore cream and topped it with whipped cream. The whole family liked it at lot. Even though it created quite a mess in my kitchen, the experience was well worth it. Thanks Helen and Anita.

You can also check out how my fellow Daring Bakers fair out in the challenge by checking out their sites. You can view the list of the daring Bakers in my side bar. Enjoy!



28 comments:

Laura said...

That spun sugar is amazing you could nearly wear it! I can't imagine what you'll turn out next month when you're back to full health!

Meeta said...

Anne OMG that spun sugar nest looks amazing. Nicely accomplished well done!

Freya and Paul said...

Yours looks simply stunning! I love your spun sugar and the cherries are a perfect touch! Well done!

Ilva said...

It looks gorgeous and the spun sugar cloud is truly beautiful!

gilly said...

Hi Anne! Gorgeous work - congrats on your first challenge! The cherries and the spun sugar are such gorgeous touches!

veron said...

Well, I must say Anne that your gateau looks fabulous. And you were able to make spun sugar! That in itself is a great feat!

Kelly-Jane said...

What a stunner! The cherries are so pretty, and that spun sugar - wow!

Baking Soda said...

Anne! When can you come and teach me how to do this sugar hairdo? Please tell me the secret.
Stunning cake.

Brilynn said...

Your spun sugar is fantastic! And the cherries are the perfect topping.

CollyWolly said...

Welcome back Anne, its good to see you posting again. Your gateau is beautiful and your spun sugar is a real achievement :) Well done xx

Peabody said...

Beautiful job! Way to step up to your first challenge.

Helen said...

Gorgeous! I am so glad you made it despite the family and you being sick. That spun sugar is a work of art!

Ivonne said...

Oooh, the spun sugar!

Oooh, the pretty cherries!

Anne, congratulations on your first DB challenge. Your gateau is gorgeous!

Sara said...

Oh my gosh - that's beautiful!

Mary said...

The "tornado" of sugar is just gorgeous!

breadchick said...

WOW! Anne if this wonderful creation is what you produce when you aren't "100%" I can't wait to see what you will do with next month's challenge. And I love cherries and would have never thought to top the cake with them. Yum...

Canadian Baker said...

The spun sugar looks glittery and beautiful! The cherries are a nice touch too- they add a little burst of colour!

Lis said...

Awww Anne, I'm so glad your first challenge went well! I love your gateau - the cherries are so cute and perfect to top the whipped cream!

And your spun sugar?? AWESOME!

Great job!!

xoxo

Elle said...

Simply stunningly beautiful! That spun sugar is the best of all the Daring Baker's as far as I can tell. What a wonderful gateau. Glad you are part of the DBs!

swee said...

the spun sugar looks great!!
Well done!

Quellia said...

Your spun sugar looks amazing! The entire cake looks great! Good work!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Anne, the cherries are the icing on the cake - sorry for the lame pun!

It looks superb!

valentina said...

Anne, how gorgeous! what a lovely way to start. I love the fine threads of caramelized sugar.

Anita said...

I'm echoing everyone with the wow on the spun sugar! And I'm glad everyone found it so tasty as well! Wonderful job!

Cheryl said...

Hands down the best spun sugar ever!!! Both my husband and I went "whoa" when we saw your picture. Tremendous job, and great choice with the cherries.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Anne, you did an amazing job - it looks gorgeous. Your spun sugar looks like a cloud and I love the cherry accents - just perfect. Hope you feel better soon!

Alice Q. said...

Wow that is gorgeous!! I love your spun sugar and the cherries are adorable. Makes me want to go out and get some!

Culinarily Curious said...

Gorgeous! Like many before me, I love the spun sugar -- and the contrast the cherries provide is spectacular.