Jaconde Imprime/Entremets: that’s French for fancy cake filled with good stuff

I was excited to get to brush off my college french for this month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge.  Then I realized that being able to ask for the location of the library or discotheque isn’t of much use when making pastry.  Oh well.

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a biscuit joconde imprime to wrap around an entremets dessert.

Is biscuit jaconde imprime simply Greek to you?  Well, it was to me until I read the challenge several times.  And watched the suggested video.  And scoured the links included in the challenge.

It turns out this challenge is actually two methods put together to create a single entity of deliciousness.  A biscuit jaconde imprime is really just a fancy  dessert wrapper made out of a very flexible sponge cake with a pattern in it.  The entremets refers to the filling the biscuit jaconde imprime houses.

This recipe starts with paste. A pastry paste which will give the cake its fanciness.  For this recipe, I piped the paste on to a silicon baking mat.  More traditionally, a very thin layer of the paste is spread onto the mat and then a pattern is done in relief.  As a note, I halved the paste recipe and still had plenty left over.

I did this pattern free-hand but if you wanted something specific, you could easily trace your pattern on to parchment, slip it under the mat and then trace with your paste.

The pattern then gets some time in the freezer to firm-up.

While the pastry is resting, it’s time to make the cake.  In my case, I added a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder but you can make it any color you would like.

Returning to the paste, once firm to the touch, the mat is fitted into a half-sheet pan.

And then the sponge batter is poured over it.

After a very quick turn in the oven, the silicon mat is inverted on to a flat surface.

And when peeled-away, the pattern is revealed.  Cool or what?

Once the cake is completely cool, it is ready to mold.  I used two four-inch spring molds.  However, because you are done with the baking process at this point, you aren’t limited to baking pans.  Foam board and duct tape could be equally as effective if you wanted to get really groovy with your shapes.

I first lined the bottom of the pans with plastic wrap and then lined the inside of the mold with parchment that was cut to stick out vertically by a couple of inches.  I cut the strips of sponge to reach just under the height of the mold.

A quick calculation and homemade compass helped me with the diameter of the bottom and middle layers.

And then it was time to fill.  The instructions of the challenge said the entremets could be anything.  ANYTHING.  So, my mind went to ice cream.  And ganache.  I’m a little worried that this bastardization could get my spatula confescated, but the instruction did say “anything.”

Each little mold was filled with alternating layers of the extra sponge, mint chocolate chip ice cream and ganache.  Once the mold was filled to the top, into the freezer my little friends went for a couple of hours.

Once completely solid, I un-molded the spring-form ring and added a final layer of ganache to top the whole thing off.  My understanding is that the jaconde imprime often only goes half-way up the dessert with other delectable layers topping it off as sort of a penthouse floor.  For this attempt, I played it conservative and took advantage of the support of the cake.

And then, back into the freezer.   The top should have been completely smooth. That it isn’t is a complete rookie error on my part.

Once more frozen, I unwrapped each of the cakes

Here is the pattern on the bottom.  I know, nice outlets.

A little detail work with the extra ganache and a cherry on top.  Et voila! My take on an ice cream cake.

It isn’t perfect, but was really fun to make . Unlike a souffle or the French macaron, this is one of those recipes that is passably successful if you simply follow the steps carefully.

As a note.  If you are thinking of doing this with ice cream, once completely frozen, the layers are much more defined than the picture below.  This cut was made only a couple of hours after I completed the cake.  A day or two later, I cut it again and the layers were  very clean.

I’ve included the recipe here verbatim as posted by accro

Joconde Sponge
YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan


  • ¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal – *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2? oz/ 75g confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  • ¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
  • 3 large eggs – about 5? oz/ 150g
  • 3 large egg whites – about 3 oz/ 90g
  • 2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ? oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted
  • *Note: How to make cake flour: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/


1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
5. Fold in melted butter.
6. Reserve batter to be used later.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste
YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan


  • 14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  • 7 large egg whites – about 7 oz / 200g
  • 1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
  • Food coloring gel, paste or liquid
  • COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
3. Fold in sifted flour.
4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:

1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.

2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.

3. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.

4. Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.

5. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.

6. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.

7. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

Preparing the MOLD for entremets

Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Then a large piece of cling wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½ inch. CUT the parchment paper to the TOP OF THE MOLD. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.

Preparing the Jaconde for Molding:

Video: MUST WATCH THIS. This is a very good demo of the joconde and filling the entremets:

1. Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.
2. Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.
3. Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)

4. Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.
5. The mold is done, and ready to fill.

Additional Information:

*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of gluten-free ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. Please consult your physician with any questions before using a product you are not familiar with. Thank you! 🙂

A mini post brought to you by Nutella

Last weekend we were invited to a dinner party by our soon-to-be-wed friends Ron and Ashley.  Ron’s parents were out of town and he promised a serious rager.   So, TD liberated my varsity jacket of its protective plastic garment bag and claimed it as his “costume.”  To make-up for my husband’s cross-dressing, I baked up a batch of Nutella brownies as a host-gift.

Oh, Nutella.

This really is a mini-post because the brownie recipe is, of course, my tried and true, never fail, always pleases recipe.  To make a good thing even better, all you need to do is drop dollups of Nutella throughout the batter once it is in the pan.  Then, take a knife and run it through the batter creating pretty little Nutella swirls.  Finally, bake as usual.   The beautiful thing about adding Nutella is that baking doesn’t really change its consistency which means you’ve now added rich, nutty and supple to moist, decadent and slightly crumbly.  Wait…we are talking about brownies right?

Once completely cooled, cut and wrap them up in a pretty box.  Then, dust off your red Solo plastic cups and you are armed for some serious shenanigans.  Or, a beautiful dinner party, which is really what Ashley and Ron had in store for us!

Oh, and we figured the goodies might come in handy should Ron’s parents discover we had a party at their house while they were out of town.

Sparkly…very…sparkly Glittery Lemon Sandwich Cookies

On the first Saturday of December, I lost a bet.  Again.  So, now that the holiday dust has cleared I figured it was time to pay-up.

When it came to deciding exactly how to make-up my debt, I knew I had just the thing.  While I had already bookmarked the recipe before the madness of the end of the year, not one but two people sent me the same recipe saying that it “sounded like me.”

Boy was I glad the recipe wasn’t for sauerkraut.  Or pigs in a blanket.

Nope, this little cookie is sweet.  And citrusy.  And most importantly, very, VERY glittery.  And I for one, never, ever pass up the chance at using glitter.  Especially the edible kind.

The dough is very similar to shortbread.  No eggs and a good amount of cornstarch.

Then the dough gets rolled into tiny little balls.  The recipe calls for a scant teaspoon but I found it easier to weigh each at .25 ounces.

Naked balls.

Are you ready?  Because here come the sparkles.

Each ball gets rolled in sanding sugar until it is a sparkly little sphere.  When you are rolling the ball, don’t worry about keeping the shape, you can easily re-shape it back into the perfect orb once you’ve reached sparkle saturation.

And now the magic happens.  During the baking process our little disco balls transform into perfect little cookie buns.

Oh, but we aren’t done yet.  Not even close.  Each one of these lovely little glittery globes gets matched up with a mate and then filled with a lemony buttercream-like frosting.  If your frosting is melty (as mine was), just pop it into the fridge for half an hour before filling the cookies.  Otherwise, the two halves will slide when you try to put them together.

That’s right, these nuggets are even sparkly on their undersides.

I think you know what comes next.

While not quite as brilliant as a trip to Tiffany’s, they are ooh and ahhh worthy.   These sparkly sandwich cookies have earned instant classic status in the Misanthropic Hostess’ arsenal of go-to treats.  How cute would these be wrapped-up in pairs of two as party favors?

And maybe, just maybe, they’ll pay off my football debt and bring my team good karma into the new year.

Post script.

We agree these are adorable little sparkly sandwiches of goodness correct?  You associate that description with this recipe don’t you?  Okay, now I’m going to ruin it.  When I gave one to TD he immediately asked where its eyes were?  Huh?  To him they look like muppets.  Or worse yet, South Park heads.  Boys.

Glittery Lemon Sandwich Cookies

The sources for this recipe are multiple.  I believe it first appeared int he December 2008 issue of Gourmet magazine.  However, it has more recently appeared in The Gourmet Cookie Book (I’m guessing these babies were 2008’s best thus earning a place in the now retired magazine’s new cookbook).  And, I swear I saw a similar recipe in a Martha Stewart holiday publication.   I used the magazine version of the recipe from Gourmet but assume they are the same.

I’ve kept the ingredients the same but slightly altered the method.  I find that rolling out all the balls and then dipping in sanding sugar is more efficient than rolling-out a pan, dipping, getting glitter everywhere and then repeating.

For Cookies

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • White and colored sanding sugars

For Filling

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

For Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position rack in center of oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Sift together flour, cornstarch and salt.  Set aside.  Cream butter.  Then cream-in confectioner’s sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, zest and vanilla.  At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Roll a scant teaspoon (about .25 ounce) into a ball.  Repeat until all dough is used (I just lined these up on an additional parchment-lined bake sheet).

Fill small bowl with sanding sugar.  Roll ball in sugar until completely covered.  Reshape if necessary.  I found the sugar stuck better if I gave the ball a quick roll between my palms before dipping.

Space sugared balls about 3/4 of an inch apart (dough will spread).  Bake 12-15 or until the tops of the cookies just crack but remain pale.

Let cool on parchment or cooling wire.

For Filling

Beat together all ingredients in a large bowl until well blended.  Transfer to a sealable bag or pasty bag.  Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

Match-up halves and fill one-half with filling.

The filling will be soft so finished cookies are best kept chilled.

Cue Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is about a month away. Yes a month.

While in college, I wrote a rather cynical article for the school newspaper about Valentine’s Day.  The article went on and on about the commercially incited evils of sending cards and chocolate and how when it comes to the big day, we are all pretty much damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell my 21-year-old self to lighten up a little.  Sheesh.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is ridiculous.  But, it is also fun.  If you take the serious out of it, Valentines Day can be a bright spot of pink and red glitter smack dab in the middle of what is often the dreariest month of the year.

It is with this spirit that I bring you a Valentine’s Day recipe that is a little off-beat. I’ll give you a hint.  Its main ingredients include this.

And this.

Intrigued? Curious? Thoroughly disgusted?  Stick with me.

When I began thinking about what kind of treats to post in preparation for Valentine’s Day, my mind went to ruby red grapefruit.  I happen to think it is pretty sexy; sweet, slightly bitter and that gorgeous pinky-orangish color.  Try saying it in French: pamplemousse rouge.  See?  Sexy!

So then I started thinking about what goes with grapefruit.  Immediately, my mind went to a salad I often serve during the winter months composed of red grapefruit, avocado, cucumber and shallot.  I happen to think the creamy nuttiness of avocado is an excellent counter for the sharp sweetness of grapefruit.  But…could it be made into a dessert?

The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when I spied the whoopie pie pan my Aunt Jullie sent us for Christmas.  Now before this, I’ve always done my whoopie pies freestyle like THIS.  However, January’s Bon Appetit magazine has a whole spread on the whoopie pie versus the French macaroon [sic–alas, this is how they spelled it throughout the article], so I figured now was as good a time as any to get professional with my pies.  And so, the Grapefruit Avocado Whoopie Pie was born.

Still not convinced?  Let me win you over.

The cake was inspired by the Lemon Whoopie recipe from Whoopie Pies: Dozens of Mix’em, Match ’em, Eat ’em Up Recipes by Billingsley and Treadwell (the book came with the pan).  My variation of the cake starts with a generous heap of grapefruit zest (I used Texas red grapefruit but use whatever toots your horn).

The zest gets incorporated into a buttermilk-based cake batter.

Even with the reddish zest, you can see the batter really wasn’t looking all that grapefruity.  Once upon a time I would have left well enough alone.  But then I started making French macarons which are, lets face it, the peacock of the petit fours.  If there is one thing I learned from the French macaron, it is that food coloring is not only my friend, but an important visual cue for taste.  So, I got out my hot pink food gel and colored half of my batter accordingly (note, I halved the recipe in these pictures).

While the batter tasted of grapefruit, the flavor was very subtle and I didn’t get that bitterness at the back of my tongue that I happen to like so much about grapefruit.  So, while the cakes were in the oven, I made a simple syrup of the ruby grapefruit juice and sugar.  As a side note, this syrup works well in cocktails with vodka and club soda.  Just so you know.

One of the cool things about whoopie pies is that they bake as quickly as cookies.  Twelve minutes and I had nearly a dozen ginormous pie halves.

Once out of the oven, I placed each still-hot cake on a cooling rack upside down.  I then poked several holes 3/4 of the way through the cakes and spooned about a teaspoon of the grapefruit syrup over cake.

While the cakes were cooling, I got busy with some avocado.  There are several recipes out there for avocado frosting/icing/filling.  However, all roads really lead back to an Alton Brown recipe.  A couple of avocados get beaten.

And then lemon juice, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla are creamed into the avocado.  The recipe is very simple and despite the ridiculous amount of sugar in it, the frosting has a nice mellow flavor.  After thinking about it for a couple of days, it struck me that at least to my taste buds, sweetened avocado tastes a little like banana.  This frosting is rather elastic and ploppy.  For this reason I let it rest in the fridge for an hour before loading it into a pastry bag to fill my cakes.

I realize that the color is interesting.  It looks a lot like the Kid’s Choice (or You Can’t Do That On Television if you are old school like me) slime.  But remember, we’re having fun with the day of love.  What says fun more than green slime?

I know that for many, Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolate.  And, I promise a chocolate recipe before the big day.  But, if your honey/brother/sister/best friend/ stranger-who-looks-like-they-could-use-a- Valentine’s-treat likes things a little wild, this might just do the trick.

Grapefruit Whoopie Pies with Avocado Filling

Grapefruit Cake inspired by the Lemon Whoopie recipe from Whoopie Pies: Dozens of Mix’em, Match ’em, Eat ’em Up Recipes

Frosting adapted from Alton Brown



  • 2.25 C all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • .5 t salt
  • 4 T unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 4 T vegetable shortening
  • .5 C granulated sugar
  • .5 C packed golden brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • .5 C buttermilk
  • Grated zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 2 T fresh grapefruit juice
  • .5 t vanilla extract

Grapefruit Syrup

  • 1 C fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 C granulated sugar

Avocado Frosting

  • 8 oz ripe avocado (about 2)
  • 2 t fresh lemon juice
  • 1 LB confectioner’s sugar
  • .5 t vanilla extract

To Make Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, powder and salt.  Set aside.  Using a standing mixer or electric mixer, cream butter, shortening and sugars until fluffy–2 or 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs one-at-a-time.  Mix in Zest, juice, vanilla and buttermilk.  Fold in flour mixture.  Spoon 2T of batter onto parchment-lined cookie sheets or oiled whoopie pie molds. Bake until cake springs back when touched–12-15 minutes.

While cakes are baking, combine 1 C each of grapefruit juice and sugar in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to boil and reduce to summer until sugar dissolves (do not stir).  Take off heat and set aside.

When cakes come out of the oven, let sit on pan for 5 minutes and then carefully flip and place each on a cooling rack, top-side-down.  Poke each cake about 3/4 of the way through several times with a bamboo skewer or toothpick.  Carefully spoon grapefruit syrup over each.

While cakes are cooling, mix-up filling.

Cream avocado until smooth (I mashed it with a fork guacamole style and then introduced the hand-mixer).  Cream-in lemon juice and then confectioners sugar and vanilla.  If the consistency is not to your liking, you can slowly add-in additional sugar until you get what you want.  Spoon or pipe filling onto half of the pie-cakes.  Top with remaining pie-cakes and WHOOOOPPPPIIEEEE!

Portuguese (or if you live on the West Coast, Hawaiian) Sweet Bread

Yes, I know it isn’t Thursday.  But, we missed the first Thursday of the month so I’m making up for lost time.  Consider this Saturday school.

One of my goals for the new year is to work my way through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  While I bought this book last summer, it sat on the shelf for a couple of months until I was reminded of its genius for last month’s Daring Bakers’ Stollen Challenge.

I don’t have much experience with bread.  But, I like to learn new things. It will just be you, me and a whole lot of yeast.

Because starting at the beginning is just so predictable, my first Peter Reinhart recipe comes from about 3/4 of the way through the book.  If you live near, have traveled on or have ever been within sniffing distance of the 405 freeway, you are most likely well-versed in the delicacy known as King’s Hawaiian Bread.  This eggy, slightly citrusy bread is fairly irresistible.  It’s fantastic with sandwiches, as french toast or as an addition (in roll form) to any celebration from summer BBQs to Thanksgiving dinner.

While plowing through the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, I was delighted to learn that what I know as Hawaiian bread really originated as Portuguese sweet bread.  I was also delighted that this bread would serve as my introduction to sponge.

Sponge is a wet pre-ferment, or levain levure en Francais.  The purposes are multiple but, if we are going for parsimony in description, a pre-ferment basically makes the final product taste better through all kinds of magic that happen between the yeast and flour.

In this recipe, the pre-ferment is quick, only a couple of hours.  It begins by mixing flour, sugar, yeast and some water into something that looks a lot like pancake batter.

You let it rest for an hour or two and the mixture rises and takes on some…wait for it…spongey qualities.

When all seems on the verge of collapse, it’s time to get boogying.  In a separate bowl, sugar and the fats are creamed together.

And then some eggs are added.  Once the eggs are beaten in, it’s sponge time.

To the now sponged-dough, flour and water are mixed in to create a soft dough.

Several minutes with a dough hook later and a lovely smooth dough results.

The dough is formed into a ball and left to rest in an oiled bowl for a couple of hours until it doubles in size.

Then it goes into a pie tin (starting to look familiar isn’t it?) for another nap.

Once the dough reaches the sides of the tin, it’s ready to go into the oven after an egg wash.  Because of the high sugar content, the crust of the resulting bread is dark brown and gorgeous.

And now comes the hard part.  It’s important to wait at least two hours before cutting the bread.  But, it’s worth it.  Soft, and sweet with a tender crust, this bread makes me wish I was Portuguese, or Hawaiian just so I could stake just a little heritage claim.

Portuguese Sweet Bread

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Peter Reinhart, 2001

Makes 2 round loaves

Note: I used the weighted measurements


  • .5 C (2.25 oz) unbleached bread flour
  • 1 T (.5 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2.25 t (.25 oz) instant yeast
  • .5 C (4 oz) water, room temp


  • 6 T (3 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 t (.25 oz) salt
  • .25 C (1.25 oz) powdered milk (DMS)
  • 2 T (1 oz) unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 2 T (1 oz) vegetable shortening
  • 2 large eggs (3.3 oz)
  • 1 t  (.17 oz) lemon extract
  • 1 t  (.17 oz) orange extract
  • 1 t  (.17 oz) vanilla
  • 3 C  (13.5 oz) unbleached bread flour
  • about 6 T (3 oz) water, room temp.

To make sponge

Stir together flour, sugar and yeast in a small bowl.  Add the water and stir until all ingredients are mixed into a smooth batter.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temp. for 60-90 minutes or until the sponge is foamy and on the verge of collapse.

To make dough

Combine the sugar, salt, powdered milk and fats into a 4-quart mixing bowl (or bowl of a standing mixer).  Cream together until smooth then add in eggs and extracts.  Switch to a dough hook or knead by hand and mix in sponge and flour, adding in water as needed to make a soft dough.  The dough will be very supple and easy to knead and not wet or sticky.  It will take 10-12 minutes with electric mixer or 15 minutes by hand.  Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer dough to bowl, rolling it to coat in oil.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let proof for two hours, until the dough doubles in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and cut into two pieces.  Form each of the pieces into a boule (ball).  Lightly oil two 9-inch pie tins and place one boule, seam-side down in each.  Mist dough with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Proof dough two to three hours or until the dough fills the pans.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, placing racks in center of the oven.

Gently brush boules with egg wash.

Bake the loaves for 50-60 minutes rotating 180 degrees halfway through for more even baking.  The dough will brown very quickly and get darker as the center gradually catches up with the outside.  Remove from tins and place on a rack to cool at least 90 minutes before slicing.

The Misanthropic Hostess sets some goals for 2011

Happy New Year!  I just love new beginnings.

Each year TD and I sit down on the last day of the last month and write out our goals for the coming year.  We don’t do resolutions; just categorical goals covering different parts of our lives.  For me, it is much more palatable to look forward to working towards something than away from it.

For this first time, I’ve included The Misanthropic Hostess in my goals for 2011.  I’ve kept them simple and attainable (I would be remiss if I were to ignore the SMART method).  And, I’ve kept them fun.  Of course the definition of fun in this context is operational and I make no assumptions that what I think is fun applies to anyone else (that is what your blogs as for).

2011 Goals for The Misanthropic Hostess

  1. Post at least four times each month.  Regular posting day: Thursday (we’ll count this post as a pre-post as there is no recipe to go with it).
  2. The last regularly scheduled post of each month will be for the Daring Bakers’ Challenge.  Since they set the reveal date, it may not always be on a Thursday.
  3. At least one of the four monthly posts will be from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  I bought this book last summer and have just now begun to explore its yeasty amazingness.
  4. To work one my photo skills (yeah I know, what photo skills).  I’ve upgraded my camera and while it is still a point and shoot, it does have manual controls.  I’ll know when this goal is obtained when I’ve gotten rid of the shadows, fuzzies and general poor composition that, let’s face it, are the current hallmark of my photos.
  5. To upgrade my website and technology knowledge.  I hired someone to set up this site and haven’t really explored the cool plug-ins and design options that can come with blogging.  I’m fairly certain that my near future includes a class at a local community college on website design/blogging/other stuff that I don’t understand.

So, I’ve got 12 months and 3 goals (really, goals #2 and #3 belong to goal #1).  And, because I like to start things out on the right foot, January is already in the bag.

Happy new year!