Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Daring Baker's Challenge: Savarin

My dear friends this month I'm very honored to be the Daring Bakers' host and I followed the site to check every recipe that came up and..didn't think of posting mine ! Let pretend I live in the very last bit of soil before the International Date Line (and I would be late too).
When I read Lis' post about missing a host for April I wrote (out of craziness) and proposed a few ideas that seemed interesting, she chose Savarin which didn't relate to any of the recipe we will be baking and that was it. 

I started looking for recipes on my (too many) books and on the web and I selected three of them and started baking...on the very last day for the draft I was to send to Lis I found another recipe by a very famous Neapolitan blogger which used a different method I had to try it and found THE recipe for the challenge.

Please visit the Daring Baker's blogroll to see all the daring people who took the chance to try the recipe and visit Adriano site to see more of his wonderful yeast recipes. 

I'm very sorry to say that some people didn't like or didn't manage to achieve the Savarin : I take all the blame for it , I'm sorry if my instructions weren't clear enough !

Here is the post you Daring baker's know already well..

Ciao I’m Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina.  I’m a textile conservator, wife, mother of two, cat lover,  crocheter and on and on but since I was a kid I have always been deeply  in love with baking and, obviously, baked treasures!
I must tell you that I started blogging  to participate to The Daring Baker’s group, thanks to the help of Enza of da grande who taught me many things about blogging; so it goes without saying how very honored I am to host this challenge ! I really hope you enjoy my choice the recipe I chose is Savarin: a yeasted cake made with the same dough as Rum Baba who has its controversial origins in the Polish Babka. Apparently, in the eighteen century the recipe traveled with the exiled Polish king Stanislas who  once soaked a dried Babka in an alcoholic solution  creating what is now known as Baba au Rhum. The original Babka (Christian version) is often baked in a tall ring mold but it is in the Julien brothers’ Patisserie in 1844 that it was baked in the classic Savarin mold  (who takes its name from the eclectic lawyer, politician and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin). Years later thanks to an unknown French cook the Baba traveled to Naples were it is still one of the most popular treat: o’ Babbà!  
The Savarin ‘hole’ is filled with different creams, or custards and decorated with fruits, candied fruits and so on.

Recipe Source:  I must tell you that I tried many recipes (we are submerged in Savarins!) and the recipe I chose is a mix of the recipes from a very famous Italian Blogger, Adriano Continisio of Profumo di Lievito, and a very famous Italian Chef : Luca Montersino.  He has his show on Alice TV, a cable  channel that focuses on cooking . The link to their recipes are: and. For the pastry cream I followed the recipe in Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen. For the syrup I followed the recipe from Luca Montersino  

Blog-checking lines:  Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling!  We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes! 

Posting Date: April 27, 2013

Note:  This is a very rich dough but following Luca’s and Adriano’s tips and with the help of a mixer you won’t have any trouble!

The key is to know how to handle a very rich dough.
We need a very healthy and active gluten in this recipe but fats can inhibit it; so we have to develop the gluten well before adding any fat. For this reason I liked the fact that Adriano adds even the yolks after the autolyse not to disturb gluten at all. The salt crystals can cut the elastic strands of the gluten too so they are added later as the butter who is the last addiction.
After the first proofing we proceed in a couple of folds to strengthen the structure of our dough with the ‘Dough Package fold’ method that will result in a smaller and tighter crumb. After that the dough will be shaped on the work bench  with a method called “Pirlatura” (that is used for Panettone as well) put in the pan, proofed , baked and then soaked in a flavored syrup. In my recipe I chose to fill the hole with what we, in Italy, call Chantilly that is a pastry cream thinned with whipped cream. And then I decorated it with fresh fruit.

Mandatory Items: You must use this recipe for the Savarin

Variations allowed: You can create your own syrup to soak the Savarin and choose a different filling to put in the ‘hole’ too!

Preparation time:

Sponge: 30 minutes
First Mixing and Autolyse: 35 minutes
Second Mixing: 35 minutes
Proofing: 2 to 3 hours
Shaping: 20 minutes
Final Rising: 1 to 1,1/2 hour
Syrup preparation: 15 minutes
Glaze preparation: 10 minutes
Pastry cream preparation: 30 minutes
Whipped cream preparation: 15 minutes
Baking: 40 minutes
Soaking: 1 hour
Glazing: 10 minutes

Equipment required:
Scale or measuring cups and spoons
Stand mixer with paddle and beater or hand held mixer with dough hooks and beaters or very motivated arms!
Dough scraper or spatula
Grater for lemon and orange zest
Knife for lemon and orange peel
Small bowl for the sponge
Bowl for egg whites
Bowl for yolks
Small bowl for butter
Saucepan for pastry cream
Bowl for Pastry cream
Saucepan for syrup
Saucepan for the glaze
Brush for the glaze
28 cm (11 inches) Savarin mold (springform or not)
Cling film
Cooling rack to let the cake drip
Pan that fits under the cooling rack to catch the drippings
Big bowl for soaking the Savarin

Servings: 8/10

2½ cups (600 ml) (12-1/3 oz) (350 gm) bread flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water, lukewarm
6 (320 gm) large eggs at room temperature, separated
½ satchel (1½ teaspoons) (4 gm) instant yeast or 15 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast
4 teaspoons (20 ml) (20 gm) sugar
2/3 stick (1/3 cup) (80 ml) (75 gm) butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) orange and lemon zest (optional)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) butter for greasing the work surface, hands, dough scraper & baking pan


In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons (1 oz) (25 gm) flour and yeast , cover with cling film and let rise 60 minutes

1.After 30 minutes put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and start working with the paddle at low speed adding flour until you have a soft dough that sticks to the bowl (about 2 cups or 270 gm) and work until it comes together , cover with cling film and let rest 30 min
2.Add the sponge to the mixer bowl along with a tablespoon of flour and start mixing at low speed (if you wish to add the zests do it now)
3.When it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl add one yolk and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
4.Add the second yolk , the sugar and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
5.Raise the speed a little
6.Add the third yolk and the salt and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
7.Keep on adding one yolk at the time and the flour saving a tablespoon of flour for later
8.Mix the dough until is elastic and makes threads
9.Add the butter at room temperature and as soon as the butter is adsorbed add the last tablespoon of flour
10.Keep on mixing till the dough passes the window pane test
11.Cover the dough with cling film and let it proof until it has tripled in volume 2 to 3 hours.
12.You can prepare the Pastry cream now if you chose to use it, and refrigerate it
13.While you wait prepare your baking pan buttering it very carefully not leaving too much butter on it
14.Grease your dough scraper, your hands and your work surface and put the dough on it and fold with the Dough Package Fold two or three times around (5 folds twice or three times). Cover with cling foil and let it rest 15 minutes on the counter
15.Turn the dough upside down and with the help of your buttered dough scraper shape your dough in a rounded bun
16.Make a hole in the center with your thumb and put it in the prepared pan
17. Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm spot until the dough reaches the top of the pan about 1 hour
18.Pre-heat oven to moderate 340°F/180°C/gas mark 3 
19.Bake the Savarin for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown
20.Meanwhile prepare the Syrup
21.When the Savarin is done take it out of the oven, let it cool and remove carefully out of the pan
22.You have two choices now : you can immerge it in syrup right away or you can let it dry out (so it will lose some of its moisture that will be replaced by the syrup) and soak it later on.
23.To immerge it in syrup it is a good idea to place it in the mold you baked it in (I’m afraid a spring-form one wouldn’t work for this) and keep adding ladles of syrup until you see it up to the rim of the pan. Or you can just soak it in a big bowl keeping your ladle on top of it so it doesn’t float. Once the Savarin is really well soaked carefully move it on a cooling rack positioned over a pan to let the excess syrup drip
24.The soaked Savarin gains in flavor the next day
25.Whatever you decide the day you want to serve it glaze it and fill the hole with your filling of choice and decorate it. You can serve the Savarin with some filling on the side
26.Enjoy it !

Peach Flavored Syrup:

Servings: 1 savarin

1½ cups (350 ml) peach tea
1½ cups (350 ml) peach juice
1½ cups (350 ml) water
1 cup (240 ml) (8 oz) (225 gm) sugar
zest of one lemon
one cinnamon stick


1.Combine tea, water, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil
2.Let boil 5 minutes and remove from the stove
3.When cooled a bit add the peach juice.

Pastry Cream and Chantilly:

Servings: 1 savarin plus some for serving

2 cups (500 ml) milk
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) sugar
zest of one lemon
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1¼ oz) (35 gm) cornstarch
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream


1.In a saucepan bring to a boil milk and sugar
2.In a bowl whisk together egg yolks, egg, cornstarch and sugar
3.Add the hot milk to the eggs one tablespoon at the time to temper it
4.Pour in the saucepan again and bring to a boil stirring constantly
5.When the cream thickens remove from the stove
6.Put cling film onto the cream (touching the surface) and cool
7.Pour 1 cup (250 ml) cold heavy cream in mixer bowl with the whisk attachment
8.Beat until whipped
9.Combine with the cooled pastry cream adding a tablespoon at the time of whipped cream until it gets to the right consistency. Or it looks right to you !


Servings: 1 savarin

2 tablespoons (30 ml) apricot Jam
2 tablespoons water


1.In a saucepan mix jam and water and warm up
2.When the savarin is cool and soaked brush it with the glaze

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

You can store the dried savarin for 5 days in a airtight container. If you have soaked it, cover well with cling foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Bread Baking Buddies : Pane Bianco

This lovely loaves are baked thanks to the Bread Baking Babe Natashya who chose their recipe as the recipe of the month.
Actually this is not any recipe: it's the winner of the National Festival of Breads so you can imagine how good it is.

The great part of this is that the bread is quite easy to put together and beautiful (please visit Natashya for beauty).
The changes I made to the recipe are a few: I used sourdough (one third of the total amount of flour) I used soy milk instead of milk and flaxseed flour instead of eggs.
For the fillings I used dried tomatoes and pesto in the one below and tomato sauce, pesto, dried tomatoes and capers in the one above.

Tomato, Basil, & Garlic Filled Pane Bianco
King Arthur Flour website
The winning recipe from the first-ever National Festival of Breads, this white bread filled with fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic powder, and shredded cheese has a wonderful soft texture and is packed with flavor. The unique shape is simple to achieve and makes an impressive presentation. Congratulations and thanks to Dianna Wara of Washington, Illinois, for creating this recipe — it's a winner, for sure!

Ingredients by volume: 
* 1/2 cup warm water
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 4 teaspoons instant yeast
* 1 cup warm low-fat milk
* 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 6 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
* 1 (8 1/2-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
* 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
* 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
* 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil

 Ingredients by weight: 

* 4 ounces warm water
* 1 3/4 ounces sugar
* 4 teaspoons instant yeast
* 8 ounces warm low-fat milk
* 2 3/8 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 25 1/2 ounces King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
* 1 (8 1/2-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
* 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
* 6 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
* 1/2 ounce chopped fresh basil

    113g warm water
    50g sugar
    4 teaspoons instant yeast
    227g warm low-fat milk
    67g extra-virgin olive oil
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons salt
    723g King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
    1 (241g) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
    3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
    170g shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
    14g chopped fresh basil


1) Combine the water, sugar, yeast, milk, olive oil, eggs, salt, and flour, and mix and knead by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine until you've made a cohesive, soft dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 5 to 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and turn to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 45 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the sun-dried tomatoes; lay them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Using kitchen shears, finely chop the tomatoes.

3) Line two baking sheets with parchment. Gently deflate the dough and divide it in half. Roll one piece into a 22" x 8 1/2" rectangle. Sprinkle on half the garlic, cheese, basil, and tomatoes.

4) Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal.

5) Place the log seam-side down on a baking sheet. Using kitchen shears, start 1/2" from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1" deep, to within 1/2" of the other end.

6) Keeping the cut side up, form an "S" shape. Tuck both ends under the center of the "S" to form a "figure 8"; pinch the ends together to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.

7) While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

8) Bake the first loaf for 35 to 40 minutes. Tent the loaf with foil after 15 to 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. Bake the remaining loaf.

9) Remove loaves from their pans; cook on racks. Store any leftovers well-wrapped, at room temperature.

Yield: 2 loaves.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Cake Slice Almond Streamliner Cake

This cake is fantastic. And it's easy.

It's The Cake Slice cake of the month and I'm not the only one who thinks so...
Last week-end I was in Pescara for a class on natural dying and, knowing nobody would have eaten the cake at home, I packed it and brought it along on the bus to Pescara.

Between a blue and a green we took a break and had the cake which disappeared and had a lot of ravishing comments.
In the group in the last month there were some discussions about publishing recipes or not. Not really knowing what to do I just googled the name of this cake I found it on Ophra's site here, and on a blog here, and since a few days almost all the blogs in The Cake Slice blogroll will have it so just go ahead and check them before deciding to buy the Vintage cakes book.
Please bake this cake !!