I’ve been meaning all year to properly get back into the Daring Bakers Challenge… I can’t believe it’s taken me this long! I had a few months there where I even baked the challenge but just never get around to blogging about it. I was determined for this month to be different.
And what a month to jump back in: The August Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by kürtőskalács, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!
There’s a number of challenges I’ve fallen off the bandwagon with lately. My favourite of which is the Daring Bakers Challenge. Last month I was absolutely determined that I’d jump back in. Well, I did the challenge. But I didn’t get around to getting the blog done in time. ‘Better late than never’ has been my motto lately, so I figured I’d pop these recipes up belatedly. Cinnamon is certainly one of my favourite things on this planet, so skipping it felt like a crime.
The challenge was of course cinnamon rolls. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required! They are one of my favourite things on the planet. There are so many varieties it was so hard to choose any given one. So in the end I went with one very traditional, and the other not so traditional.
I’ve had a slight hiccup with the Jupiter cake tutorial: I have the video done but it just won’t save! All my attempts at troubleshooting haven’t worked so I’m having to sort that out. I’ll have it for you soon!
In lieu of that, it’s time to move on to the Daring Baker’s challenge this month!
This month’s challenge was entitled ‘Eenie Meenie Miney Moe!’ In a celebration of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like. The real challenge was picking which delicious recipe to try!
I set about trying to find the hardest recipe I could. I was going to challenge myself to the most ludicrous challenge I could find. But I struggled to find something that scared me. The most fearsome challenges I’d heard about from other bakers were things I have or now regularly bake: french macarons, joconde, croquembouche. The desserts I hadn’t tried all used techniques I’m familiar with. It was actually a nice moment to reflect on how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned over the last 3 years.
I couldn’t find something as challenging as I’d wanted, but there was one…
The chocolate marquise. It was the challenge from May 2011. I’d never heard of it before and it looked divine. But the recipe was massive and had a bunch of pressure points that seemed difficult, so I decided to take it on.
I discovered as I made it that it wasn’t that scary, but it does force you to plan ahead. You need to be organised and to think through the components, particularly during plating. You have to have a plan of attack and stick to it. I’m a hot mess in the kitchen so perhaps this was the biggest challenge of all…
The end of June is approaching, meaning it’s time to share another Daring Bakers’ challenge!
Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens. Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie.
Pies are something that I love but get really easily intimidated out of in the kitchen. It’s more to do with the crust than anything. When I first started baking I attempted a number of pies, and they were largely hit and miss. Mostly miss, for when I tried unmoulding them from the tin they would either stick or snap or crumble or all of the above. So I ran away from pies. This challenge was a good way for me to test the waters again and see how I’d go now that I have many more kitchen hours under my belt.
There were four pies on offer. I went from saying I’d do one to taking on three of them!
It's been a while since I've been able to participate in the Daring Bakers' Challenged for one reason or another. In fact, I think this might be my first challenge of the year. And what a challenge to jump back in on! This month, Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta!
One of my favourite things about the Daring Bakers' challenges is getting to try things you've never head of before. The Prinsesstårta was one of those things. Brand new, but my oh my it sounded heavenly. Sponge cake, custard, jam and whipped cream — let me at it!
When I described the challenge to my boyfriend, he said he thought the cake might be an appropriate treat for his dad's birthday cake.
The occasion warranted a couple of minor changes…
This month in the Daring Baker's challenge, we got a little bit festive. Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us. She gave us 12 cookie recipe to choose from and challenged us to bake at least one of the 12 cookies, as well as our own celebration cookies.
Here's the two I baked for the challenge.
Double the noms…
I've been on a bit of a baking hiatus over the last few weeks. My thesis was due on the 26th and so I needed to cut out all forms of procrastination. Even so, I still ended up pulling two consecutive all-nighters in the days before it was due, spending every waking moment sitting in front of my computer typing like a mad woman. It was an absolute relief to get that done.
Now that my Masters degree is over, it leaves me with a lot more free time. Not a concept I am yet used to, but I am sure I will soon acquire a taste for it.
The thesis deadline left me with a day to fulfil the Daring Bakers Challenge, so I eagerly set about baking it. My sleep deprivation and general lack of looking after my health for the two weeks prior quickly caught up with me and I fell sick soon after baking this and so I am posting this late. But this dessert was so good it will be worth the wait.
Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!
Have you ever baked home-made puff pastry?
This month's Daring Bakers Challenge filled me with excitement the second it was posted. Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pâté à choux shapes, filled with crème pâtissiére or Chantilly cream. We were encouraged to create swans or any shape we wanted and to go crazy with filling flavors allowing our creativity to go wild!
For me, there was no choice other than swans. I have been wanting to make these for a while but never found the excuse. What a perfect excuse this was.
“But calm, white calm, was born into a swan…”
Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.
The challenge required us to bake two crackers using two of three methods: hand rolled, pasta machine rolled, or the icebox method. I don't own a pasta machine, so the choice was immediately made for me.
Unlike the last two challenges, these are something I've baked before. I've never blogged any of my recipes, however, so it was a good excuse to return to two of my favourite recipes and share them with you guys.
Let’s crack some open…
This was my second month partcipating in the Daring Bakers challenge and it didn't disappoint. Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.
As with the challah, I'd never herd of a Battenburg Cake before, much less eaten one. I love being able to learn about something completely new.
Normally I would try a unique variation of a classic recipe given, but Mandy's classic Battenburg looked so lovely. Besides I love almond buttercake, and loved the symbolism behind the pink and white squares said to represent the four princes of Battenburg. Classic it is.
Plenty more under the cut…