The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
I went the baked alaska route. As I am still operating with a minimal kitchen since the move, I tweaked things for size, and made a parfait in place of the icecream.
The standard pound cake recipe follows, I made a 1 egg version and mini alaska’s:
Brown Butter Pound Cake
275g unsalted butter
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Of course, as I was doing everything in miniature, I had to fiddle with the temperatures. But it worked out.
I incorporated a chocolate parfait I had prepared for a previous dinner into the mix. Parfait turns out to be incredibly easy and nicer than any icecream i have ever succeeded in making without an icecream maker. Make up a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar) and boil for 3 mins, then dissolve 200gm or chocolate in the syrup. Let it cool a bit, then whisk this mix through 4 egg yolks. Add 300mL whipped cream (300 pre-whipping mLs), stir to combine, add a shot or two of your favourite liqueur, and some slivered almonds. Freeze.
Meringue follows from parfait, you whisk the egg whites reserved from above with caster sugar until glossy and peaking.
To assemble, cut a round from the cake, add a scoop of parfait, spread meringue (uncooked, as yet) over, and freeze for a long while (few hours, or overnight).
When you are ready to eat, chuck the frozen treat in an extremely hot oven for a couple minutes, and/or torch the outside with a kitchen blowtorch.