Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring In June

June Daring Bakers Challenge
Ground cardamom.....$10.99
One vanilla bean.......$11.29
Gas to the store......$300.00
Happy coworkers....priceless

Originally I wanted to make of filling of fresh figs, mascarpone, honey and pistachios...but since figs are not in season that idea was a bust. I decided that the fruit stand would make my choice for me . Fresh apricots with almond cream and fresh blueberries with lemon cream it is. Both creams were adapted a little from Dorie Greenspan Baking From My Home To Yours. I could eat the lemon cream all day everyday and the almond cream is amazing when it bakes and turns creamy with a sticky sweet crust. I made the dough and the creams first, but 2:30am was the wonderful time to form the braid and let it rise, 4:30am to turn on the oven, and yes 5am to begin baking so it would be fresh and warm for my job at 6am. Thursday they received the apricot almond braid and Friday the blueberry lemon. Two nights of very little sleep. I should be nominated for sainthood. Saint Amber Teresa. It has a nice ring. The pastry smells absolutely "divine" (another saintly word) while baking but I will say, let it cool at least a little before you taste it please, trust me.

And be patient with my photos it took a long time to even get one on here.

The danish pastry recipe is quite long so I am only posting my fillings. I will be happy to send it to you on request.

1 cup sugar
zest of 3 lemons
4 eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 sticks + 5 T soft butter

Mix sugar and zest in processor. Add eggs and juice.
Pour in top of a double boiler over simmering water and whisk often until thick and reaches 180 degrees, 10 - 20 minutes. Remove. Pour into a blender and cool 10 minutes. Blend on low to medium slowly adding soft butter a few tablespoons at a time and blend a few minutes more. Place in a bowl cover top of cream snuggly with plastic wrap and chill.

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries mixed with...
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sugar

For the braid use 1- 1 1/2 cups of the lemon cream and cover with the sugared blueberries. Braid pastry over.

3/4 stick soft butter
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup ground blanched almonds
2 t flour
1 t cornstarch
1 egg
2 t dark rum or 1 t pure vanilla extract

Using a mixer, fluff butter and sugar. Add almonds. Mix flour and cornstarch together and add to butter mixture. Add egg. Add rum. Cover and chill.

1 1/2 cups fresh apricots diced mixed with...
1/2 cups sugar then to taste

For the braid use 1- 1 1/2 almond cream and cover with fresh sweetened apricots. Braid pastry over.


Em said...

Congratulations! I bet they DO call you a saint at work :) As for photos... flash is the enemy! LOL. That's my biggest piece of advice. If there's not enough natural light for the shot, don't take it. The alternative is to build yourself a mini light studio so you're not dependent on Mother Nature ;-)

Congrats on getting your challenge completed!

Have a delicious day :)

Jaime said...

your coworkers are lucky! i cannot believe you really made the whole recipe overnight and baked it up in the morning for them! you're better than i.... i bring them in for my coworkers but i made it the day before and then let it sit overnight...

you don't need a fancy digital camera to take good pics. i think my camera was $100? it's a canon powershot. the key to good photos is (1) good lighting (natural light is better than indoor lighting, though many of my photos are taken after the sun has set due to my work schedule) (2) don't use the flash - ever. this means if lighting it sub-optimal, you either need a tripod or a very steady hand to avoid fuzzy images - i try to rest my arms on something to keep them steady (3) use the macro setting (flower symbol) for your pics - it will let you get close up w/o blurring everything. (4) take lots of pics from lots of different angles from various distances - i take about 100 images per food item to get the handful that i post.

hope that helps! :)

HoneyB said...

Congrats on completing your challenge! I can't get over the price of one vanilla bean for you! I paid $2.99 for one and bought 3! Blow my mind away.

I just started to think I am only 5 years away from 50 myself...and I want you to know - that isn't old! I in no way consider myself old even if it sounds it, I intend to stay young!

Madam Chow said...

You are too funny, and I bet your coworkers are a happy, well-fed bunch!
Madam Chow

Ben said...

Great job. Thank you for baking with us :)

Kate / Kajal said...

Hello Amber,
You have a wonderful blog here, and 50 yrs is a lot of experience from life. Be proud of it :)
I'm Kate frm Aapplemint, and apologies for replying back so late. Been a bit tied up with jumping continents :)
As for advice, i dont know how really can i help. Its not easy being in different nations , but once you get used to it, it comes naturally. Your daughter is 22, shes younger than me, and an a very influence- able age. I dont know what shes up against, so i dont really know what to say. U can however e mail me at if you like.

Anonymous said...

All I needed to see were the words almond cream and lemon cream to know that this was a WINNER - serious kudos to you - and man, what a steep price for the cardamom and vanilla bean, good grief, eh! Aren't they just heavenly though? P.S. your co-workers are very lucky to have you baking such tastiness for them!

Amber said...

Thank you to everyone who commented. This is my first challenge so I was really excited that I got comments at all and they were all so nice. And also for the great advice on photographing. If my pictures get better you have your selves to thank. See you at the end of July.

Anonymous said...

Congrats... with your first challenge... that the price you paid for the braid? Cardamom is cheap here, but real vanilla bean is about the same.

Anonymous said...

Happy co-workers are priceless indeed! Great challenge!

Jacque said...

Wow! up all night making danish! Definitely a candidate for sainthood. It looks and sounds fantastic.

Michelle said...

Your braid looks wonderful!!! Are you gearing up for the July Challenge yet? I think I'm ready and may whip it up this weekend. I'm sort of hoping it's either rainy or so stupid hot that we'll have the AC on!

SARAH! said...

OMG- 12 bucks for one vanilla bean!? HOLY (fill in the blank)! THAT SUCKS- not sure if you have World Market there- if not freaking A- give me your address and I'll pay you forward some vanilla beans! Guess what!? TWO BEANS FOR 3 BUCKS! Can you believe that!? YEPPERS! pretty awesome huh? much cheaper than anywhere else I've found!