I completely meant to post this the day after Thanksgiving however I never got around to doing much of anything really. Like I said in the post prior to this one, I don’t take much of a role in preparing Thanksgiving dinner but I’ve always been involved in one way or another with preparing the desserts. At one point, I was obsessed with Ina Garten’s Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits and made it every year only I made it into more of a big Trifle but for some reason or another, I seemed to be the only person that actually enjoyed eating it! So I think maybe about two years back, I just stopped making anything and began helping my sister with her pies instead. This year was different as my journey into the pastry world began back in October and I had told myself that I would put not just desserts out on the table this year but also fresh bread. Boy did I bite off more than I could chew!
First up, I wanted to make Brioche rolls and so I planned on thawing out a batch I had made a few weeks back. Everything was great until I started working with the dough and found that there were a couple of oddly goopy wet spots in the dough that began giving me problems. I figured the best thing I could do was just move quickly and get the dough in my muffin tins however a bigger problem appeared: I could not get my brioche to proof to save my life! I left it out on the granite counter for over two hours and my dough had absolutely no signs of life. I ended up baking the unproofed brioche roles and to make a sad story short, I didn’t even bother taking pictures. There were just these pathetic looking round nuggets and I was very disappointed. Once I got over my frustration, I did some research and discovered that I could use my microwave as a proofing box of sorts so long as my pan fit and because I have an extra wide microwave, I had no problem proofing the second half of the batch only this time, I made a loaf instead:
It still was not to my liking and so I decided that I would make a fresh batch of Brioche dough first thing Thanksgiving morning at 6 am (I’m an early riser so that really helped). My timing could not have been more perfect as the total hours it took for its first rise, it’s chill out period, and it’s final proofing made it so that they went in the oven after the turkey came out and were still warm and crusty when my family came over. I proofed the rolls in my microwave and that really seemed to be what made my Brioche rolls come to life. I chose to do a standard roll shape as my mother is not a fan of the traditional à tête look. My family and my brother especially (I made special note of his fascination as he is impossible to please!) were amazed with the fresh Brioche and let’s just say that despite their large size, I had none for leftovers! Well that’s not true exactly. I had left over Brioche loaf which I made into Pain Perdu the next morning and which I will share in another post. Here are my Brioche rolls:
My first actual dessert was my Kahlua Ménage à trois. I used this recipe for my chocolate cake base however I added East Asian Cinnamon and replaced the white sugar with Demura. My cake was three layers and I attempted to make Ganache three ways. I have to say attempted because my glaze sat too long on the counter and turned into frosting. I froze my cakes as I made them earlier during that week and perhaps I should have just kept them refrigerated because there were a pain the in the ass to cut. I have poor cutting skills to begin with so this only made the cake more uneven and although I am not exactly thrilled with it, I am glad that I got it done and my family enjoyed the warming effects of half of a bottle of Kahlua! I was told though by one uncle that he could not taste the Kahlua. That was unfortunate to hear as I made the gateau for him specifically but I personally found the cake too strong for my own liking. Glad to get some feedback though for sure. I knew I should have served his slice with a shot of Kahlua just in case. I served this cake with this ice cream and the combination was outstanding. Fleur de lait ice cream might be my new favorite flavour!
oh wow…….the middle chocolate frosting thing looks like a turd!
I definitely need much more practice with layer cakes as mine tend to sag. I also need to learn to cut them more accurately as well. BTW, this cake took me hours to make and assemble. I know it doesn’t look like much but let me tell you, making a layer cake from scratch and all of the filling from scratch is not as easy as opening up a box of cake mix and pre-made frosting!
My second dessert was a French Apple Cake from David Lebovitz. I had made it before and it was amazing. The cake was so light and the scent of fresh cut apples filled my house as it was baking. The first time I made it, I did not use the Rum as I did not have any but instead replaced it with Vanilla. The flavour was nice and clean however this time, I used some decent dark rum (Bacardi I believe) and the flavour was totally different. The aroma was still clean but had this very wonderful deep Apple Brandy type of smell. I’ve never had Apple Rum (does that exist?) but I have had Apple Brandy and it smelled exactly like my favorite which is called Applejack that I use to make a drink called a Jack Rose. I’ll post the recipe sometime. Back to the cake…….so my house smelled of fresh cut apples mixed with Apple Brandy while it baked and I was in heaven.
The recipe doesn’t call for it but I noticed last time that by simply whisking the eggs and sugar until just combined gave me a smaller volume in my cake. This time I whisked my eggs and sugar until they completely “formed the ribbon” and there was a big difference as my cake came out much nicer this time around and much more rich.
That’s about it really. I loved making the desserts however I was much happier with my Brioche and was so happy that they came out as perfect as they did. Thanksgiving was awesome this year.