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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The New Darlings

Marshmallow Moon Pies

vanilla brown butter shortbread, chocolate sauce, and fluffy marshmallow


Thursday, April 28, 2011

J walkin

we've been j-walking back and forth to the new deli/bakery space for two days now! moving a kitchen takes alot of work! but we are nearly thereand getting set to open our doors to the public very very soon. we've begun to do some baking there and being in a new space is both exciting and challenging.

for those of you that may not know, Diva Boutique Bakery & Cafe has begun expansion! wow! with the new space: Diva Boutique bakery & Deli! just across the road.... next to Lordan's Butchers. we are making more space for ourselves to create delicous cakes, bread, pastries, and more. also Featuring deli items, salads, sandwiches, and cured meats. all for take away in friendly happy ballinspittle! perfect for quick party planning or a picnic at garretstown beach.

we are focusing our strengths in the wedding, catering, and wholesale world too. its just all happening at once, bam! and at this moment we cant wait to open the new space, then, hopefully we will be settled in, and wont have to be running across the road a dozen times daily!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Croissants are Delicious

Croissants are a pastry made from chilled yeasted dough and layers of chilled butter that get folded and refolded, this yields the flaky moist pastry some of us dream of. (don’t you?) They are a basic bakery staple, And for good reason! They are delicious in all ways, fresh with nothing else, with more butter and jam, the next day, grilled with fillings, baked twice with frangipane, baked in a bread pudding, im sure you could put a croissant with every meal and no one would bat a lash. Im wondering how many have actually tried making them? I will write a post describing each step of the process, but first I feel our croissant story needs telling. It takes place years ago. Maybe 2 years…..

Croissants are delicious!

This is a bakery, Lets make them!

Ok… I’ve made croissants in a few places with good result. Studied recipes late in the night…. Why not give em a go?

A note on our bakery: its special, we rely on nature and room temp to rise our breads. Most bakeries have a proof box to control temperature for rising yeasted breads and pastries. We just shut the door to the kitchen or turn on the ventilation and set the stuff above the oven. Works for almost everyting but those croissants. (croissants are delicious!) they always eluded this system….

Sure our croissants bake and are edible, but there was always a lacking to them: Kinda small, kinda not light enough, kinda ugly (see above). While baking the butter would pool out around the pastries. We went for a couple years of trying then not being happy then trying again a half year later, Then getting too busy to start and try again. And I just thought we’d wait and get a proof box.

It got really dull.

then I guess Diva going to paris last christmas really shook us up. I think for the 3 days we stayed, I ate a dozen croissants! Then brought 6 pain au chocolat home on the aer lingus flight. (Half made it home) so afterwards I had to have a croissant for breakfast everyday….. but from where? Nowhere makes em like the French do…. At least in my local area. We had to stop this nonsense, I mean what did they do before proof boxes really?

I have found out recently that the reason for our past sad croissants might be that while rising, the temperature gets too high. So I monitored the temperature of the air around these little guys. They like it warm but cool, around 25 celcius, Which some in Ireland call hot. I don’t notice that the kitchen is hot anymore, I guess im like sourdough: I like it warm and humid. Anyways…. im obviously not a croissant or id have realized the problem straight away.

So during the 2 hour rising time, I kept making sure the butter plugs were happy. And yep they were looking tastier already! the dough was surrounding and encasing the layers of butter, instead of kicking it out the sides.

Just before baking the croissants get a lovely brush of egg wash and go straight into the hot oven. 15 minutes later they were something altogether different from croissants of our past. What a moment it was! Shannen even came down to see them late in the evening!

the finished croissants are twice the previous size (left) and handsome!

doesnt he look so happy?

Now we are baking croissants every day, with some variation. They take awhile to rise so they aren’t out right at the start but definitely before 11am! We would love feedback on these guys. They have a long overnight rise, which gives them an almost sourdough flavour, and a moist buttery interior. Not your usual jet puffed variety you find in supervalue.

Croissants are delicious!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Home-made Frangipane

Ok...due to a few requests here is an easy was to make your own frangipane at home:
4oz ground almonds
4oz caster sugar(or if you are north american side, regular or fine ground sugar)
4oz butter
1 egg
1 Tbs flour.
Cream butter and sugar together, add egg, when blended add ground almond and flour.
At this point the mixture should be thick and creamy...
Spread on brioche or day old croissants!
If you want to make more...just remember equal parts sugar, butter and almonds...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bostock!! and almond croissants...

Here are a few ideas of what to do with your day or two day old brioche and croissants....

The first is Bostock...we came across this recipe in a baking book that Taylor had ordered last is as good as french toast, but better because, you can eat it 'on the go'... we make our own brioche at the cafe for our french toast, so we always have a lot on is how you can create your own Bostock...

First, brush thickly sliced brioche with a simple syrup...a little orange zest would be nice
Then spread some jam on we are using orange marmalade..
but we have also used raspberry, which is my favourite...

Then spread with frangipane...we made our own

Then sprinkle with sliced almonds and into the oven at a moderate heat
until the brioche turns
golden and eat!

I will post more about the almond croissants in our next this space!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Overnight versus same day bread

Over our break I decided to try an experiment with bread. I’ve heard plenty about the idea and practiced it at culinary school.

the process im talking about involves, retarding (proofing or rising) bread in the fridge overnight to intensify its flavours.

I used a recipe from Essential Bakery in Seattle, I got the recipe from Amy Glezer’s book: “Artisan Baking.” An easy to follow book with really tasty recipes for serious home bakers, it won the James Beard Foundation Book Award and is worth the buy for the pictures and bread stories alone.

This recipe uses sourdough starter, I’ve been keeping the cafes alive for the winter, with help from others while I was on holiday too!

The Experiment:

Make two loaves of bread, bake one the same day. Leave the other one overnight in the fridge to slowly rise and bake the next morning.

The result could shape our bread baking schedule in the café, and also make some really tasty bread.

I baked the breads exactly the same way, except for leaving one overnight and some minor difficulties I encountered baking with home equipment.

Once the breads were baked there was already a noticeable change in appearance. The bread on the left is the overnight loaf, when the bread was baking it sprung up to attention and took on much deeper carmelization in the crust. The same day bread was beautiful in itself, but was out shined by the competition. I did under flour the tea towel it was rising on, which caused sticking. So, I had to peel the bread off the towel, and bake it with the rest of its dignity.

The cross section of the breads is just as telling. The left (overnight) bread has a larger and wetter crumb, so fun to eat!

Our same day bread has a tighter crumb.

Taste Test: the overnight won by far in the blind tasting. It’s just better, and totally worth the effort of waiting over night to bake your bread.

To do this at home:

Leave your bread wrapped in cling film half way through its rise, before going in the oven. (8-12 hours) The next morning pull your bread into a warm place and let sit for about an hour. Then bake as normal.

The key to a shiny crust is to get lots of steam in your oven during the first half of baking. I brush the crust with water, and leave a bowl of water in the bottom of the oven. You can also block your oven vent with a tea towel to hold the steam in.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why are our chips so good??

It always amazes me when I go out for dinner or lunch and I get frozen chips, especially from a well known restaurant or even one that is known for its amazing food....So why are ours so good? Because we use real potatoes! Amazing huh? For the little extra time it takes, cutting real potatoes just make such a difference..Also there are a few little tricks to make sure the chips are tasty...

First, soak potatoes in cold water...this gets the starch out, so that as they cook the starch doesnt turn to sugar, when this happens they will brown too quickly....

Next, pat dry...remember water and oil don't mix..!

Now, the double dip! Fry once at a little lower temp....
Let sit for a few min or even hours!

Now for the final fry...cook until golden brown...toss on paper towel..and salt!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Brown Butter!

One of our best selling tarts is ANYTHING with our brown butter, i am not going to reveal OUR recipe, but here is a little hint...
You can use brown butter in pretty much anything that calls for the use of do you do it? well...take the amount of butter called for in your recipe and put in a shallow pan, turn on a low heat and need to keep an eye on the butter, as it can burn quickly once it starts browning...the colour you are going for is a nutty brown, then just add that to the mix...I also will use brown butter tossed with pasta and add a few fresh herbs with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan...and maybe a few toasted nuts..quick and delicious!
Experiment and let us know what you think... ;)