28 March 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge - Orange Tian... Deconstructed

Vanilla Pannacotta, Pate Sablee stack and Marmalade Jelly

I have had my fair share of cooking disasters over the years. And through all of them - my mother has been an unwaivering pillar of support and good advice. At the top of her list of "fix-alls" is cream.

There has rarely been a disaster that hasn't prompted the answer: "Can you fix it with cream?"

The absolute best example of this is "Father-in-Law's Thrice Dropped Birthday Cake".

What began as a 3 layered Gateaux of Chocolate Mudcake, Baileys Cream and Chocolate Ganache was actually eaten as Chocolate Tiramisu / Chocolate Mess.

Explain, you say?

Running late as always (my husband has a genetic inability to be anywhere on time, and as his wife - I suffer the same fate) - I gave the (at the time) gorgeous cake to my husband to hold while I picked up all the essentials. Keys, Phone, Wallet... check. As I opened the door for him so we could leave, he spun around to pick up his sunglasses but the sudden movement did not agree with my beautiful cake.

I'm not sure what was more heartbreaking - my cake upended on the floor, or the look of sheer terror on hubby's face. Holding back tears, we picked it up - mostly intact - and as I set about righting as much as possible - hubby was dispatched to the 7-11 to buy a tub of cream and a Flake for the repair job.

15 minutes later and with everyone walking on eggshells - we made it to the car. In its new form - the cake wouldn't fit in my Tupperware dish so it needed a quick stop to Sister-in-Law's house to borrow hers. With everyone barely game to breathe, I had the cake sitting securely on my lap for the quick 200m trip up the road. Until, in all his nervousness, hubby missed a gear and the car lurched - the cake then ended up plastered all over the front of my top.

I am not ashamed to say that by this point I was in tears. We skipped SIL's house and drove straight to the party - still with the cake half in my lap, half in my underwear - and on arrival, I tripped out of the car and dropped it again.

On the verge of hysterics, and with tubs of cream, grated chocolate and valium awaiting my arrival - we went about resurrecting what was left of this poor cake. In the end - it was a strange hybrid of Cake, freeform Tiramisu and Eton Mess... it was ugly but it was still delicious.

Anyway... when I saw that this month's Daring Baker Challenge involved being built upside down - I already knew I was in for trouble. And I was, not that anything weird and wonderful happened - it was just really unattractive and I obviously needed a few practice go's to get it right.

So I decided to keep the elements but deconstruct the presentation... To see what the completed challenge should have looked like... please visit Jamie, Deeba or Y ...

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Pate Sablee  Recipe:

2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

Marmalade Recipe:

Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

Orange Segments:

8 oranges.

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

Orange Caramel:

Granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

Whipped Cream:

heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.

Assembling the Dessert:

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.

Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.


  1. Oh my, I've never heard of such bad luck with chocolate cake! Your luck obviously has changed with this one. And love your Mum's idea - anything can be fixed with some cream... and a flake of course.

  2. Fantatsic job! It looks like it could be served up at a restaurant! And yes Jamie, Deeba and Y did fantastic jobs!

  3. I enjoyed the expanded thrice dropped cake story, but I wish my baking "disasters" looked as good as yours! I like the look of the marmalade jelly too - how did you make it?

  4. @Trissa - lol, yes we like easy fixes in my family!!

    @NQN - Thank you!! I haven't seen yours yet - need to drop by and check it out because yours are ALWAYS stunning!

    @Amanda - Thank you! I made the marmalade as per the recipe - then added Orange juice to taste and then gelatine to thicken. I would just follow the directions on your gelatine packet - mine said 1 teaspoon to 100ml would set 400ml liquid! :)

  5. What beautiful styling and presentation *and* what's often lacking in food blogs for me, great writing. Don't get me wrong, I like food porn as much as the next person but what makes me subscribe is great writing and I enjoy yours, thank you.

  6. oh, good job! I saw this month's challenge and I was just like hell...no! you're a braver woman than me.

  7. Wow this looks great, I love your deconstructed version it looks amazing!!!

  8. Oh I am absolutely rolling on the floor with laughter at your story! Sorry, but after the facts you have to admit it is rather slapstick? But I know how horrified I would have been, too. But in my humble opinion, pretty doesn't get you anywhere if it don't taste great! And it sounds so like it did! And I am humbled by the mention of MY orange Tian when your deconstructed version is stunning! I love it and it is actually inspiring me to try great things! Hugs to you!

  9. Your deconstructed version is beautiful!

  10. wow .. what a story about the dropped cake.. the unluckiest cake ever :))
    love the deconstructed version ... each one is a dessert on its own .. :)

  11. what a great story - definitely made me laugh in a good way as I really shouldn't laugh at other people's misfortunes! Sounds like you still managed to save the day :) Love your deconstructed version and stunning photos.

  12. What a beautiful dessert!

    And great story!


  13. Wow! Your deconstructed tian is gorgeous! I want to make another now! And the story of the cake..hilarious:) I once dropped a cake on the way out the door and had to just leave it and walk away, because I was already late for work. What a mess!

  14. Love your presentation! I really want to see a picture of how the chocolate cake/trifle/mess turned out though. I don't know if I would have had the gumption to stick with it after dropping it once, twice, let alone three times. I probably would have stopped by the store. :)

  15. Beautifully done! I really love your deconstructed version, it looks fabulous!

  16. ^ugh I mean 'bites', not bits!

  17. Gorgeous! I love the idea that you can take little bits of a couple of 'parts', or all three, or just one.

    My man dropped a batch of my cupcakes once. I didn't even sugar coat my reaction. I stood there aghast, and repeatedly said, "look at them! You've wrecked them!" You are very calm :)

  18. I love the presentation! It looks really 'restaurant-ish'...=]

    I love your story too- I've never had any incident as unfortunate as yours......but I'll remember to use cream next time something goes wrong!