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Bake It Like You Mean It: Gensine Bullock-Prado's Recipes

Chelsea Lately, Gensine Bullock-Prado

KRAPFEN
Makes 20 Krapfen

 

Fasching is the German version of Carnivale or Mardi Gras. Fasching is a week of splendid masquerade balls and extravagant food and drink. Not at all surpris¬ing is that this bacchanal leads up to the spiritual depri¬vation that is Lent, so why not binge like you mean it?

 

And the food I think about when all bets are off, when I'm staring down the reality of my last sugar-and-fat-laden hurrah before I repent? Donuts. More specifically Krapfen, the official guilty pleasure of the Fasching season. They are extra special because they are traditionally filled to the rim with glorious jam fill¬ing! I prefer apricot, but it's your kitchen, so choose a filling of pastry cream laced with melted bittersweet chocolate if you like. And for parties, I like to tip my hat to the genius of the French croquembouche, that tower of cream puffs, and build a Krapfen tower.

 

FOR THE SPONGE:
¾ cup (180 ml) warm whole milk
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
pinch granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups (175 g) bread flour
FOR THE DOUGH:
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
¼ cup (60 ml) warm whole milk
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of . lemon
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup (65 g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, very soft
2 cups (280 g) bread flour

 

FOR THE ASSEMBLY:
vegetable oil (enough to fill a stockpot 4 inches / 10 cm deep for frying)
1 cup (240 ml) apricot jam (or the jam or filling of your choice)
confectioners sugar, for dusting

 

Make the sponge:
Place the warm milk (not hot—you don't want to kill the yeast) in a small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast and granulated sugar. Let sit undisturbed 3 to 5 minutes to bloom the yeast (blooming is the term for letting the yeast become active and bubbly in a liquid).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the yeast mixture and flour and mix until smooth. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow the sponge to rise at room temperature. Proceed to the dough stage just as the sponge starts to fall, which takes about 1 hour.

 

Make the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and allow to bloom. Add the sponge and mix at low speed.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together egg yolks, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and granulated sugar. Add to the sponge mixture. Add the butter, small pieces at a time, mixing until incorporated. Slowly add the flour and mix until the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Spray the dough with a light coating of nonstick baking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

 

Divide the dough in half. Roll each piece into a rope and cut each into 10 shorter ropes. Roll each rope into a tight round bun, using no flour on your surface (to avoid flour burning in the hot oil). Place the buns on a parchment-lined sheet pan and allow them to rise in a warm place until slightly less than doubled in volume. Place a moist dish towel over the buns while they're resting to prevent them from developing dry skins.

 

Add at least 4 inches (10 cm) of vegetable oil to a large stockpot and heat to 360°F (180 C).

 

Add the Krapfen to the oil, one at a time, gently placing them in the oil seam side up. Six per batch is usually the perfect amount. Allow to brown for 4 to 5 minutes, then flip the Krapfen and cook the other side for 3 to 4 min¬utes, until brown. Transfer the Krapfen to a cooling rack or a paper towel–lined sheet pan to allow oil to drain off and the Krapfen to dry. Repeat with the remaining dough.

 

To assemble:
Fit a pastry bag with an open tip (large enough to allow jam to flow freely but small enough not to create a huge hole) and fill with the jam or filling of your choice. Insert the pastry tip into the Krapfen and gently fill.
Sift confectioners' sugar on top of your Krapfen. Serve immediately.

Chelsea Lately, Gensine Bullock-Prado

MY BIG FAT CREAMSICLE MERINGUE MOMENT

 

Makes 8 meringue tarts

 

My favorite shop window is in a side alley in Venice. Walking around with friends one summer day, in search of lunch, I was stopped in my tracks by a sight of such unadulterated beauty that I began to tear up in wonder: meringues the size of a pug's head, from win¬ter white to pastel pink and Easter yellow, piled into lovely pyramids. I had stumbled onto the Valley of the Pastry Kings, the Giza of sweets. Before our hungry group could move along, I insisted on purchasing one of each flavor, and all during lunch I stole bites from those cumulus clouds of sweetness, scattering crunchy white crumbs about me and finishing my sack of meringues before I'd touched my pasta. Mamma mia! What a meal.

 

Today, I make meringues with the same splen¬did taste and texture that I enjoyed as a kid, but I also take the time to make them beautiful. Here I combine two meringue flavors in one pastry bag and pipe them into rose shapes. (Other times I paint the sides of my pastry bag so a swirl of color descends as I pipe my little masterpieces.) Taking just a little extra time for details—like piping instead of plopping—goes a long way in creating a memorable cloud of deliciousness. Sandwich two crunchy beauties around a touch of fluffy meringue-based seven-minute frosting, and you've just made the Cadillac of meringue pastries.

 

FOR THE MERINGUE:
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon distilled white vinegar or cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup (200 g) superfine or baker's sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange extract (not orange oil)
2 drops orange food coloring (optional)

 

FOR THE FILLING:
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch salt
½ teaspoon orange extract

 

Make the meringue:
Preheat the oven to 225°F (107°C). Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.
Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high until just foamy and add the salt, vinegar, and vanilla bean paste. (The vin-egar acts as a protein stabilizer, helping to maintain the integrity of the protein networks and prevent overmixing.)
With the mixer on high, add the superfine sugar a scant tablespoon at a time, letting it trickle in slowly (I count to ten). This is crucial; you must ensure that the superfine sugar completely melts into the meringue (the friction of the whisking causes the sugar to melt). If the sugar isn't properly integrated and melted into the egg white mixture, your meringue will break and begin to weep while baking.

Beat the egg whites and sugar until very stiff, white, and glossy.

Place half of the meringue in a clean bowl, leaving the remaining half in the mixing bowl. Place the orange extract and orange food coloring (if using) into the mixing bowl and whisk on high until fully incorporated.

Chelsea Lately, Gensine Bullock-Prado

CHARLOTTE ROYALE

 

Makes 1 (10-inch / 25-cm) dome cake


The most common charlotte is one that's lined with ladyfingers, the sweet biscuits standing at attention around the perimeter of the pastry like little cake sol¬diers. But the Charlotte has another identity: the Royale. Ooh-la-la! Although the standard Charlotte is indeed a beauty, the Royale takes cake glory to another dimen¬sion. Instead of ladyfingers lining the outside, rolled sponge cake (layered with a rich almond filling) is sliced into swirls and used to line a bowl, creating a confec¬tionary kaleidoscope. The interior is filled with mousse. This particular Charlotte combines chocolate, almond, and marionberry, creating a sensory feast fit for royalty.

 

FOR THE CAKE:
2 (7-ounce / 200-g) tubes almond paste
9 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (65 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
1 cup (100 g) confectioners' sugar for dusting

 

FOR THE COFFEE SIMPLE SYRUP:
coffee simple syrup 1/2 cup / 120 ml coffee and 1/2 cup / 100 g sugar heated together until the sugar is dissolved)

 

FOR THE MOUSSE:
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
8 ounces (225 g) white chocolate (I use Cacao Barry), chopped
3 cups (720 ml) heavy cream, divided
1/4 cup (60 ml) marionberry juice concentrate
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (310 g) whole fresh marionberries

 

FOR THE CAKE BASE:
1/4 cup (55 g) unsalted butter
4 ounces (115 g) bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon strong coffee
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (20 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

FOR THE GANACHE:
4 ounces (115 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 

Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.
Roll the almond paste between two sheets of parchment paper into a 9-by-14-inch (23-by-35.5-cm) rectangle. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attach¬ment, add the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar and whisk just until foamy. Slowly add 1/2 cup (100 g) of the granulated sugar and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to overwhip to the point of dryness or clumping.)
Transfer the egg whites to a large, clean bowl.
In the same stand mixer bowl (you needn't clean it), add the egg yolks, the remaining granulated sugar, and the vanilla extract and whisk on high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and forms ribbons when you lift the whisk.

Chelsea Lately, Gensine Bullock-Prado

DRUNKEN FIGGY PUDDING LOG CAKE
Makes 20 servings

 

Bûches de noël are a holiday staple, and quite frankly, I've grown quite tired of them. They are meant
to replicate a Yule log. The dessert is meant to look like a hearty piece of wood, right? But it tends to resemble a refried bean–slathered burrito rather than a delectable, woodsy confection (that's why they always put a decorative mushroom on top, to let you know you're not ordering meat-filled, spicy Tex-Mex fare). I've done something to remedy this. I made a cake that actually looks like logs, and in case my message isn't clear, I've topped the cake with an edible ax. It's rich, sumptuous, and full of flavor (as well as a fair bit of rum). Together, let's put the "log" back in Yule log.

 

FOR THE CAKE:
¾ cup (180 ml) coffee, very hot
¼ cup (60 ml) Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
1½ cups (225 g) chopped dried figs
1 cup (230 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups (660 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
7 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk
3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

 

FOR THE FROSTING:
6 (8-ounce / 225-g) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
6 cups (600 g) confectioners' sugar
1 cup (220 g) maple sugar
1½ cups (345 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

 

FOR THE ASSEMBLY:
8 ounces (225 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

 

FOR THE AX COOKIE:
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup (80 g) unsalted butter
½ cup (110 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons organic barley malt syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (peel a nub of ginger root and use a Microplane to grate)
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 egg white
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar

 

Make the cake:

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick baking spray.

 

In a bowl, combine the coffee and rum. Add the figs to the bowl to soak.

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla bean paste and whisk until well incorporated.

 

Remove the figs from the coffee-rum mixture and set aside; reserve the liquid.

 

In a bowl, combine the reserved liquid with the buttermilk and stir to combine.

 

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the egg-sugar mixture, then one-third of the buttermilk mixture, stirring just to combine after each addition. Repeat until all the ingredients are just incorporated. Fold in the figs.

 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. The cake should spring back when you touch it.

 

Make the frosting:

 

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients and beat until smooth.

 

To assemble:

 

Cut three 5½-inch (14-cm) rounds of cardboard and place a 5½-inch (14-cm) round of parchment on top of each.

 

Cut 6 rounds from the cake, each 5½ inches (14 cm) in diameter. Place a cake layer on each of the parchment-lined cardboard rounds. Top the 3 rounds with ⅓ cup (65 g) frosting each, then top with another cake layer and press gently to adhere, so you have 3 double-tiered cakes. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.

 

Using a small offset spatula, frost the tops of the cakes smoothly and frost the sides roughly, to resemble bark. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, gently melt the chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave. Transfer the chocolate to a pastry bag fitted with a small open tip. Pipe several thin concentric circles on the top of each cake to resemble tree rings.

 

Stack the 3 cakes in a zigzag configuration. If you're afraid that the layers are unstable, secure them with a few long wooden skewers: Poke the pointy end down and through the three cakes and tap gently with a hammer to force the skewer all the way through the three cakes and into their cardboard rounds (but remember where the skewers are so you can remove them before serving).

 

Make the ax:

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.

 

On a separate piece of parchment, draw (to the best of your ability) an ax that's about 12 inches (30.5 cm) in
length. Cut the ax from the parchment. Set aside.

 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, white pepper, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and barley malt syrup until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until completely incorporated. Add the vanilla bean paste. Slowly add the flour mixture, fresh ginger, and orange zest. Mix until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

 

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to a ¼-inch (6-mm) thickness. Place the ax template, drawn side up, on the dough and use a sharp paring knife to carefully cut into the dough along the outline. Set the ax aside and continue cutting axes from the dough (it's great to have extras in case of breakage). Transfer all the cut-out axes to the prepared sheet pan. Brush the ax-head portions of the cookies with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place the sheet pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.

 

Bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are just beginning to brown around the edges. Allow to cool completely. Right before serving, carefully embed an ax head in the cake.

Chelsea Lately, Gensine Bullock-Prado

CHECKERBOARD
[Using lemon and raspberry cakes with buttercream from prior recipes.]

 

This cake can be made with a special pan available online or at cake shops. This would certainly make it much easier, but also more expensive. If you don't want to spend money on a piece of equipment you may only use once, this tutorial will allow you to checkerboard most any cake.

 

I suggest using the recipe for the interior heart on page 163. Divide the batter evenly between 2 bowls. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) raspberry purée and 2 drops of red food coloring to one bowl and 1 teaspoon of lemon extract to the other. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Spread the raspberry batter on one and the lemon batter on the other. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 30 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched. Use a 6-inch, 4-inch, and 2-inch (15-cm, 10-cm, and 5-cm) ring to make the cuts as shown in the tutorial photos at right.

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