Another birthday … and another challenge completed…

by Sunita on August 29, 2007

It’s that time of the year again…for wishing many happy returns of the day…this time it’s none other than our first born…Rengoni.

Six years ago to this day, she came spreading light into our lives…she was the one who made me realise what motherhood was all about. The myriad of emotins that her cute, little and innocent face stirred inside me could hardly be expressed in words…all those months of waiting were over and there was actually a sweet bundle of joy in my arms, so fragile at the time…when she looked at me, when she wrapped her little fingers around mine, when she snuggled beside me, the feeling was out of this world. She made me a feel complete…
She was a lively baby, and exactly a week before her first birthday, she gracefully made way for her little brother.

Since those early years she has come a long way…physically and mentally…behind this inquisitive, jolly, artistic and at times mischievous six year old, is also an equally sensitive and matured little lady(which surprises me no end).
I can go on and on about her…there’s something in her that I find quite interesting at times to observe…not just as a daughter, but also as a separate individual.

On her birthday today, I can wish her all the happiness that a mother can shower…we love you sweetheart…you really came into our lives as a ray of light…which is why we named you Rengoni in the first place (‘Rengoni’ means ‘a ray of light’ in Assamese).

By the way, did I mention that she is an absolute poser, when it came to facing the camera…check out the following…you’ll know what I mean…

With so much of baking going on, I didn’t think I would be able to complete the daring bakers challenge for this month. It was Veronica and Patricia’s turn to choose the challenge for this month, and they opted for Eric Kayser’s milk chocolate and caramel tart. With my ardent love for things of the chocolatey kind, the challenge had been looming over my head during the month. I so wanted to make it…just didn’t know when…but hey, didn’t someone say that ‘where there is a will there is a way’?…so I found out a way…at the last moment…and voila! the challenge was completed…just a day before the deadline. Phew!!!!

After last months challenge, this month’s seemed to be much simpler. I followed the instructions in the given recipe, except the decorations…also, while making the caramel layer, I did not use the dry method…I use the alternate one with a little water. As I was already in the icing mood( with all those b’day cakes), I just added a bit of it on the top( icing is what I’ve been seeing around me for quite a while now, what with two birthdays in a span of a week!!!). And I made it in my fluted 8 inch pan.

Here’s the recipe-

Chocolate Shortbread Pastry

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration :o vernight
To make 3 tarts, 9 ½ inches (24 cm) square
or 10 inches (26 cm round)

1 cup (250g ) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
2 level teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
2 eggs
4 ½ cups (400 g) cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder

A day ahead
1. In a mixing bowl of a food processor, cream the butter.
2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together
3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly
4. Sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.
5. Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight.

The tart-
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration time: 1 hour
One 9-inch(24-cm) square pan; 1 10-inch (26-cm) round baking pan

½ lb (250 g) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe above)
1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30-40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche
¼ cup (50 g) butter
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream
½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate

How to-
1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
2. Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes.
3. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. Incorporate the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.
5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.
6. Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
7. Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream.
8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.
To decorate: melt ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar in a saucepan until it reaches an amber color. Pour it onto waxed paper laid out on a flat surface. Leave to cool. Break it into small fragments and stick them lightly into the top of the tart.( I didn’t do this step, as no one is too keen on it)

Apart from the cinnamon in the pastry( which I found to be a bit overpowering), I loved every bit of it…the caramel, the mousse…heavenly. All the three layers were gorgeous. I’m not very confident when it comes to tarts, but, thankfully, didn’t face any mishaps doing this challenge. That, of course, doubled the taste:)
All in all, that was another challenge completed with satisfaction. I hope the other daring bakers had as much fun doing it and of course having it as I have!!!

I rolled the leftover chocolate shortbread pastry, cut some of it into fingers and with the rest, made some balls and then flattened them. They were then baked at 160 deg cel for around 20 minutes and came out of the oven looking gorgeous as below.
I think I’ve done enough baking of the sweeter variety to last for quite a while now….but with my very sweet tooth around, you never know :)

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{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

1 wmpe September 3, 2007 at 5:26 am

Your tart is so festive with dragees and colored icing. Your layers are so perfectly even. I love the little cookies you made. Lovely tart. Wendy


2 sunita September 3, 2007 at 6:25 pm

kajal, thanks…I enjoyed the challenge…glad you dropped by.


3 sunita September 3, 2007 at 6:26 pm

chris, thanks..glad you took a peep:)


4 sunita September 3, 2007 at 6:32 pm

wendy, thanks…there has indeed been quite a festive atmosphere in the house…couldn’t help being carried away;)


5 Andrea September 4, 2007 at 6:39 pm

Your tart looks so pretty! And the cookies are very cute.


6 sunita September 5, 2007 at 8:46 am

andrea, thanks…I enjoyed making them as well:)


7 breadchick September 8, 2007 at 11:37 pm

Wow! What a lovely birthday cake!! And great idea to use the leftover pastry on cookies!


8 Sharmi September 9, 2007 at 6:43 pm

I am so sorry about the belated B’day wishes. you daughter looks so pretty! the cake looks simply awesome! hope you had a great time.


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