Sunday, October 28, 2012

Creme Caramel & Bavarian Cream

Creme Caramel

This week in Baking Arts at George Brown College we made Creme Caramel & Bavarian Cream!
Bavarian Cream is actually a no-bake dessert and is made using gelatin (for vegetarians you can use Agar Agar as a substitute).
Both turned out really well and look so pretty!

Here is a modified version of the recipes we followed in class. This will make about 12 3" ramekins of Creme Caramel and about 22 3" ramekins of Bavarian Cream.

Creme Caramel (this is a two-step recipe)
Caramel (dry method)
White Sugar                 400 g

  1. Place a medium saucepan on the stove on high heat.
  2. Add just enough sugar to cover the bottom of the pot. Let it melt before you add more.
  3.  Continue this process until all the sugar is melted and turns into a nice amber colour (it should be the colour of a shiny penny).
  4. Remove from the heat and immediately pour a small amount into the bottom of each ramekin.
  5. Let the sugar cool completely before adding the custard mixture (see next step).
Eggs                            8
Sugar                          200 g
Vanilla Extract             5 g
Homogenized Milk     1000 ml

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar until blended.
  3. Add the vanilla and milk slowly while mixing. Mix until just incorporated.
  4. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps
  5. Pour the custard evenly into the ramekins. Remove any foam with a spoon.
  6. Bake in a water bath at 350F for approx 40 minutes until the custard has set.
  7. Once cooled, slide a knife around the edges to release the custard from the ramekin. Flip upside down to serve.
Bavarian Cream
Milk                            500 ml & 20 ml
Sugar                          250 g
Gelatin*                      20 g
Eggs                            4
Salt                             2 g
Vanilla Extract             5 g
Whipped Cream         500 ml

*can use Agar Agar as vegetarian substitute, but use 1/2 - 10g

  1.  Place milk in a medium pot and bring to a boil
  2. In a small mixing bowl blend together the sugar and the gelatin.
  3. Whisk in the eggs and salt
  4. Add second amount of milk to this mixture and whisk to blend together. Ensure that the gelatin has disolved
  5. Once gelatin has disolved, additional flavour may be added if desired. Such as, frozen fruits, flavoured emulsions, cocoa powder, coffee powder, etc.
  6. Let the mixture cool.
  7. Once cooled, add whipped cream and fold gently to incorporate. The mixture should be thick, but still runny.
  8. Pour evenly into ramekins and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  9. Can be served in the ramekin, or slide a knife around the edges to release the cream from the ramekin and flip upside down to serve.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tea Biscuits and Bran Muffins!

This week Chef Jo taught us how to make tea biscuits and bran muffins. I have made scones and muffins before, but I’ve never used currants or worked with bran. This recipe made so many biscuits and muffins that I’ve already given some away and plan on bringing the rest to work tomorrow to treat my coworkers (and get some feedback on the baking).

As a recent OCAD graduate I’m finding it strange to make something and not have an in-class critique on it. Chef Jo made samples of each for us to taste and get a sense of what the “product” should look, feel and taste like. But, that isn’t the same as having the expert taste what we’ve made and tell us how we’ve done.

Here is a modified version of the recipe we followed in class. This will make about 3 dozen muffins and 4 dozen tea biscuits.

Bran Muffins
Baking Soda                            30 g
Baking Powder                        10 g
Bread Flour                              200 g
Milk Powder                            75 g
Brown Sugar                            600 g
Salt                                          10 g
Whole Wheat Flour                  650 g
Bran                                         150 g
Raisins                                     200 g
Walnuts (roughly chopped)       150 g
Vegetable Oil                           460 g
Water                                       900 g
Eggs                                         4
Vanilla                                     5 g


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Sift together the bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, and milk powder. Do not sift the wheat flour as this will remove the wheat.
  3. Add the rest of the dry ingredients (salt, whole wheat flour, bran, raisins, and walnuts) and blend with a wooden spoon.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, eggs and oil until blended.
  5. Add the water to the egg mixture and whisk together.
  6. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture. Fold together until just blended. Do not over mix.
  7. Let the mix rest for approx. 20 minutes so the bran has time to soak up the liquid.
  8. Grease the tops of 3 muffin pans and line with paper muffin cups.
  9. Once the mix has rested, deposit the batter into the cups with a #10 ice-cream scoop.
  10. Bake muffins at 400F for approx. 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center.
  11. Remove muffins from tins directly after baking to prevent “sweating”.

Tea Biscuits
Bread Flour                  1200 g
Baking Powder             60 g
Butter                           250 g
Milk Powder                50 g
Eggs                             4
Sugar                           250 g
Salt                              20 g
Currants                       250 g


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Combine with butter in an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, for approx. 4 minutes until it reaches a mealy stage.
  3. Dissolve sugar and salt into the milk and eggs and add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix just until the dough is just slightly “developed”.
  4. Add currants to the dough and mix only long enough to incorporate.
  5. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead gently for about 1 minute to ensure all ingredients are properly incorporated and the dough is smooth.
  6. Roll out the dough to approx. 3/4” thickness and cut into rounds using a 3” cookie cutter.
  7. Place the pieces of dough into pans lined with parchment paper and coat tops with an egg wash (eggs and water).
  8. Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Apple Pie

My First Pie

For our first creation in Baking Arts at George Brown College was apple pie! This was made over two classes. We made everything from scratch, including the crust (it IS a baking class after-all! None of this “store-bought” business!), which we made last week and froze in order to make the pie yesterday.
I have made dough before, but not like this. The recipe called for shortening but it doesn’t freeze very well, so we used fat instead. You have to get your hands dirty for this, because you need to work the fat into the pastry flour by hand in order to get a flaky crust. Beware not to work the dough too much, otherwise you will end up with mealy dough, and that won’t be so nice.

Even the leftovers were yummy!
For the filling, we used Ontario grown Northern Spy apples. These apples are great for baking into a pie because they are nice and crisp and won’t get too soft from baking. Macintosh and Granny Smith apples aren’t very good in a pie for that exact reason. No one wants to eat mushy apple pie!

We added some lemon juice and lemon zest which I found gave a nice freshness to the pie. There was consent all around from my family that the pie was delicious! I had lots of fun making it and I’m very proud of the outcome.

Here is a modified version of the recipe we followed in class. It’s different than most recipes we follow in cookbooks because the ingredients are listed by weight in grams instead of by tsp, tbsp, cups, etc. This will make 2 pies.

Pie Dough
Pastry Flour                 750 g
Fat (or shortening)      500 g
Cold Water                 250 ml
Salt                              15 g
Brown Sugar               30 g


  1. With your fingers, rub fat (or shortening) into flour until reduced to pea sized crumbs.
  2. Dissolve salt and brown sugar together in cold water.
  3. Add to flour. Mix just enough to incorporate. Do not over mix.
  4. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Shape into a thick roll, cover and allow to rest for a few minutes before rolling.
  5. Divide dough into quarters.
  6. Roll two quarters to size and general shape of pie plate. Lift onto pit plate using a rolling pin. Save the remaining dough to roll out to make the top of the pie crust.
  7. Gently work the dough into the pit plate with your fingers, making sure the dough fits nicely. Cut off excess dough.
  8. Place pies and remaining dough in the fridge until the filling is ready.
Pie Filling
Northern Spy Apples  12
Lemon Juice                1 tsp
Lemon Zest                 1 tsp
Sugar                           500 g
Corn Starch*               50g
Cinnamon                    To taste
Butter                          60g

*if you are freezing the pies before baking, using Instant Modified Corn Starch

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Peel, quarter, core and slice washed apples. Sprinkle lemon juice over apples to prevent oxidization.
  3. Blend sugar and corn starch together. Add cinnamon if desired. Pour dry mixture over the apples, mixing thoroughly for even distribution.
  4. Take your pie crusts from the fridge and coat the rim with an egg wash (raw egg and water). Fill generously with apples, making sure to fill any gaps.
  5. Add some cubes of butter to the pie to add extra richness.
  6. Remove remaining dough from the fridge, roll out and place over the top of your filling. Secure the top crust to bottom crust and trim extra dough.
  7. Flute the edges and cover entire top with egg wash. Poke some holes into the top of the crust using a fork. This will allow steam to be released and prevent cracking of the crust while baking.
  8. Bake at 350F for about 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.