Daring Baker - April 2013: Savarin!

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

One of the good thing about participating to the daring bakers, is that it gives you the little push you need to take on a recipe that may seem too complicated or time consuming in the first place.
The savarin belonged to that list to me, it's a classical dessert but everytime I read the recipe, I thought I'll have to plan this ahead of time rather than last minute. The funny thing is I have a savarin mold for years now, I just used it for cakes so far.

And I'm so glad I got that little push, the savarin is a elegant dessert with a rich dough, and we got to choose the kind of filling we wanted to. I guess I didn't choose the lightest version there is, but a combination that I think works very well: Chocolate, Pear and Vanilla. So a chocolate mousse filling, a vanilla/pear tea syrup and fresh pears to decorate.
I think a good standmixer is a big help in the process, and I would advice to be prick a few hole in the savarin's bottom when you soaked it, because it is a bit easier to get your syrup into it this way, and it won't show when you place it on your serving dish.


Servings: 8/10

2½ cups (600 ml) (12-1/3 oz) (350 gm) bread flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water, lukewarm
6 (320 gm) large eggs at room temperature, separated
½ satchel (1½ teaspoons) (4 gm) instant yeast or 15 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast
4 teaspoons (20 ml) (20 gm) sugar
2/3 stick (1/3 cup) (80 ml) (75 gm) butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) orange and lemon zest (optional)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) butter for greasing the work surface, hands, dough scraper & baking pan


In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons (1 oz) (25 gm) flour and yeast , cover with cling film and let rise 60 minutes

1.After 30 minutes put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and start working with the paddle at low speed adding flour until you have a soft dough that sticks to the bowl (about 2 cups or 270 gm) and work until it comes together , cover with cling film and let rest 30 min
2.Add the sponge to the mixer bowl along with a tablespoon of flour and start mixing at low speed (if you wish to add the zests do it now)
3.When it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl add one yolk and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
4.Add the second yolk , the sugar and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
5.Raise the speed a little
6.Add the third yolk and the salt and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
7.Keep on adding one yolk at the time and the flour saving a tablespoon of flour for later
8.Mix the dough until is elastic and makes threads
9.Add the butter at room temperature and as soon as the butter is adsorbed add the last tablespoon of flour
10.Keep on mixing till the dough passes the window pane test
11.Cover the dough with cling film and let it proof until it has tripled in volume 2 to 3 hours.
12.You can prepare the Pastry cream now if you chose to use it, and refrigerate it
13.While you wait prepare your baking pan buttering it very carefully not leaving too much butter on it
14. Grease your dough scraper, your hands and your work surface and put the dough on it and fold with the Dough Package Fold two or three times around (5 folds twice or three times). Cover with cling foil and let it rest 15 minutes on the counter
15.Turn the dough upside down and with the help of your buttered dough scraper shape your dough http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta2_h6Qogp0 in a rounded bun
16.Make a hole in the center with your thumb and put it in the prepared pan
17.Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm spot until the dough reaches the top of the pan about 1 hour
18.Pre-heat oven to moderate 340°F/170°C/gas mark 3
19.Bake the Savarin for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown
20.Meanwhile prepare the Syrup
21.When the Savarin is done take it out of the oven, let it cool and remove carefully out of the pan
22.You have two choices now : you can immerse it in syrup right now or you can let it dry out (so it will lose some of his moisture that will be replaced by the syrup) and soak it later on.
23.To immerse it in syrup it is a good idea to place it in the mold you baked it in (I’m afraid a spring-form one wouldn’t work for this) and keep adding ladles of syrup until you see it along the rim of the pan. Or you can just soak it in a big bowl keeping your ladle on top of it so it doesn’t float. Once the Savarin is really well soaked carefully move it on a cooling rack positioned over a pan to let the excess syrup drip
24.The soaked Savarin gains in flavor the next day
25.Whatever you decide the day you want to serve it glaze it and fill the hole with your filling of choice and decorate it. You can serve the Savarin with some filling on the side
26.Enjoy it !

Vanilla-Pear Syrup

1 liter of Tea (vanilla pear)
225gr of Sugar

Heat up the water, let the tea infuse for 10 minutes, than pour it in a sauce pan with the sugar. Bring it to the boil and keep an eye on it for 5 minutes, than remove to cool.

Chocolate Mousse

20gr of Butter
180gr of Dark Chocolate
1 Tablespoon of Milk
10cl of Cream
3 Eggs
15gr of Sugar

Leave the butter out, for it to reach room temperature. Break the chocolate to small pieces, and transfert it to a bowl.
Heat up the cream and milk until it boils, then pour over the chocolate and whisk for a couple of minutes. Add small cubes of butter and keep whisking.

Separate the egg yolks and white. Whisk the egg white to a soft peak with the sugar, in the very end, add the egg yolks and whisk just until combined.
Add a little of the egg to the chocolate mixture to make it lighter, than carefully add the rest and combine gently. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.


Servings: 1 savarin

2 tablespoons (30 ml) apricot Jam
2 tablespoons water

1.In a saucepan mix jam and water and warm up
2.When the savarin is cool and soaked brush it with the glaze

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
You can store the dried savarin for 5 days in a closed container. If you have soaked it cover well with cling foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Additional Information:
Folding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta2_h6Qogp0


Garlic and other ingredients (but mostly garlic)

I've often shared here my questionning about having a sense of belonging, about what official paper may say, compared to how I feel and how strange and scary the "national pride" turns out to be these days...
After weeks of avoiding watching most of the news, for it being filled with hate and anger, France finally did something good. I couldn't be more grateful for the women and men who fought to make this law pass, to become, as a friend of mine said, a civilized country.

But, on a lighter note, I do have something very french about me: my love for garlic!!! Yes, it makes your breath smells for hours and it's not the best pick for a recipe on a romantic evening, but who cares when it's so good. It's has been used for centuries for both food and medecine in many cultures. And also, I think it's worth mentionning that it's a great way to keep Vampires away!

So when you use ingredients with a mellow flavor, such as spinach or shrimps, like in this recipe, there is no better way to kick it up a notch with some garlic. If you have everything in your pantry, this can be made under 15 minutes, even by someone as slow as me. So no excuses here, let's all have garlicky breath for the evening!

Spinach Garlic and Shrimps Mie Noodles

Serves 2

80gr Mie Noodles
80gr Spinach (just steamed and shredded)
80gr Shrimps
3 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tablespoons Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower Oil
Rice Vinegar
Soy Sauce

In a non-sticky pan, with no fat, roast the sunflower seeds until there have a nice golden color and set aside.

Heat up some water, bring it to the boil than take it off the heat, add the mie noodles in the water, place the lid on and leave it like that for about 5 minutes.

In the same pan you roasted the sunflowers, on a high heat, pour in about a tablespoon of rice vinegar and soy sauce then add the shrimps to glaze them. Add a bit of sunflower oil, the spinach and the crushed cloves of garlic, stir to combine.

Add the drained mie noodles with just a bit of the water it cooked in. Serve with the roasted sunflower seeds and add soy sauce to your taste.


Hope or Chocolate Tart?

Once, on a bus ride thru a big city, lost in thoughts and listening to music, my eyes caught a grafitti tag on a road sign that read "HOPE DIED LAST". This simple statement got me thinking, would that be true? Would hope be the last thing we hang on to in the end? Is being hopefull the very essence of being human?

If you came looking for answers, well let me tell you, this is not the place. I simply have none of them. But I believe that hope is a great power, that it moves us forward, gets us up in the morning and keeps us standing thru difficult times. And for being a helpless believer, I have had my hopes shattered more than once. I don't know if that makes me any less hopefull, but maybe just more carefull.

"Let's hope for the best" or "Get your hopes up" are expressions I want to embrace, even when I turn on the news and see hate and violence all over the world. Because after all, what else can we do? If the proverbial "all hope is lost" were to be true, how would we react? I think I'd rather not know.

But for any lost cause, I have the same answer: Chocolate! This chocolate and candied orange tart is yet an other proof, that I'm hopeless when it comes to staying away from chocolate! Why should I anyway...

Chocolate and Candied Orange Tart (based on a recipe from Petit Larousse Pâtissier)

For a 28cm Pie

120gr of Butter
2 Eggs
80gr Icing Sugar
4 Tablespoons Ground Almonds
220gr Flour
A pinch of Salt
30cl Cream
200gr Black Chocolate
50gr Milk Chocolate
3 Tablespoon of Candied Orange Peel

Cut the butter into small cubes. In a standing mixer, whisk the eggs and add the sugar, the almonds and the salt, keep whisking until it's well combine and light. Change to the paddle attachement and add all the flour at once, mix in slowly, than start adding the cubes of butter, one by one, until you have a shiny dough. Form a ball and cover it with cling film and leave it to rest at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Roll out you dough to fit you pie dish (I had some dough left). Prick the dough with a fork, than cover with parchement paper to put some weight on it (like dried beans) to bake your pastry blind for 12 minutes. Than (carefully) remove the beans and cook for 10 more minutes. Leave to cool.

To make the ganache, heat up the cream in a sauce pan. Break the chocolate into little pieces and place them in a bowl, pour over the hot cream and start mixing carefully with a spatula, just until it's smooth.

Dice the candied orange peel and place them in the pie crust, than carefully pour over the chocolate ganache, try to make it even and not have to much air bubbles (your can prick them with a knife). Place in the fridge until you serve it.


Let's all cry: Onion Tart

Let me share a secret here: I'm a big cryer. Whether it is because I'm sad, happy, upset, moved, I can't help it, I just cry. Last week only, I cried in front of a cooking contest on TV, a home improvement show, an episod of "Battlestar Galactica"... Anything can get me going, it's embarrasing really. I must have seen the last episod of "Friends" about 10 times, and I still cry, or as Phoebe would say "here comes the water works"!

Beside all the positiv aspects on your health, for your sight, your blood pressure... etc. I believe there is something cathartic about it crying. Letting your emotions flow, releasing tensions and just being in touch with your feelings, that's why we even sing a lot about it. We are the only mammals who cry, so I guess it's also what makes us human.

Now, quite often, I cry in my kitchen, but for a different reason: I love onions! While cutting them you releases a gas, called propanethiol S-oxide, that mixed with certain enzime of the onion creates a sulfur gas that irritates your eyes, hence the crying. Or in other words: it's not my fault this time!
To me, this recipe is worth all the crying. To my knowledge, this a traditionnal swiss recipe, but I'm sure there are many versions around the world, here's mine.

Onion Tart

For an 18cm Pie Dish

For the dough (based on a Betty Bossi recipe)
125gr of Flour
50gr of Butter
5cl of Water
1 Tablespoon of Vinegar
A pinch of Salt

For the filling
400gr of Onion
100gr of Bacon
10cl of White Wine
80 of Parmesan
2 Eggs
Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Thym
Salt, Pepper

Make the dough first. In a bowl, weight the flour, and add the butter cut into cubes and the pinch of salt. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour, like you would for a crumble. When you have something ressembling sand, pour in the water and vinegar, and work until you have smooth dough. Place in the fridge while you work on the filling.

Peel and cut the onions into half moons. In a big pan, heat up some olive oil and then add the onions, aswell as a pinch of salt and the thym. Cook for about 20 minutes, stir with a wooden spoon quite often, you want the onions to brown a little.

Cut the bacon to small cubes or thin slices, grate the parmesan and set both aside. When the onion has a nice pale brown color, pour the white wine in the pan and stir to scrape the brown bits of the bottom of the pan. Let the wine evapoarte and add the bacon, cook for a couple of minutes and take off the heat to cool a little.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

When the onion/bacon mixture has cooled a little in a bowl, add the parmesan, the 2 eggs and pepper to taste. Roll out your dough and place it in your pie dish, pour in the filling and place in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the top has a nice golden brown color. Serve with a green salad.