Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Caramel & Pear...

I went to Venice with my family as a celebration of passing my PhD viva.
These are the scenes from Venice, it’s a pretty city.

I baked a Japanese cotton cake before going to Venice & immediately fall in love with the light & spongy texture.
I baked it again when I got back to England but a plain & simple sponge cake wouldn’t satisfy my obsessions with photo & food styling.
I poached some pears with white wine then I whipped some cream with salted caramel I made from last time.

My decorating skills become worse… Luckily I bought some shimmer sprays last time when I visited a supermarket.
Shook the can & sprayed on, the cake was covered with a gold shimmer, the photo couldn’t really show the shimmering effect but it does look much prettier.

Recipe (Caramel & Pear Cake):
Japanese Cotton Cake (7” square)
60 g unsalted butter, softened
80 g plain flour, sifted
80 g full fat milk
6 eggs
80 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Separate 5 egg whites & yolks, refrigerate the egg whites until needed.
Line a piece of baking paper on a 7" baking pan.
In a small saucepan, bring the butter to boil under gentle heat, remove from heating & immediately fold in the flour.
Pour & fold in the milk in 2-3 portions until combine.
Mix 5 egg yolks with 1 whole egg, pour & fold to the batter in 2-3 times until combine, set aside to rest for at least 15 min.
In a large bowl, combine egg whites & salt, whisk at high speed until it’s foamy.
Whisk in the sugar in 2-3 portions, continue whisking to just before stiff peaks.
Fold 1/3 meringue into the egg yolk batter until combined.
Pour the egg yolk batter to the remaining meringue & fold gently until smooth & combined.
Pour into the prepared tin & tap gently to remove large air bubbles.
Put it in a large baking pan & fill with some cold water (about 1/3 height of the cake tin).
Bake in a preheated oven at 140C for 60-70 min.
Remove from oven & turn the cake upside down to cool on wired rack.

Pear Compote
2 pears, peeled, cored & quartered
187 ml white wine (small bottle)
45 g sugar
1/4 lemon, zest only
2/3 vanilla pod, cut & split

Put all ingredients except pears in a large cooking pot, gently bring it to boil.
Put in the pears & simmer for 20 min, set aside to cool.
Drain & reserve the white wine.
Cut the pears into smaller pieces & set aside until needed.

Caramel Whipped Cream
60 g salted caramel (see here)
300 ml whipping cream
1 tsp Cointreau

Bring 50 g whipping cream to boil, turn off the heat & pour into salted caramel, mix until combined then leave to cool.
Pour in the remaining whipping cream & add Cointreau, whisk to stiff peaks.
Refrigerate until needed.

Once the cake is cool, cut out the uneven edges & top, then cut in the middle into 2 pieces.
Brush the cake with some white wine syrup & spread the whipped cream on top.
Arrange the pears evenly on the cake & spread a layer of whipped cream.
Place another piece of cake on top & brush with some white wine syrup.
Spread remaining whipped cream all over the cake & decorate as you like.
Refrigerate to set before serving.

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