Friday, 26 March 2010

Orange Tian - March Daring Bakers

This month's challenge almost totally passed me by, and it was only last week I remembered I had to do it!

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Again, I didn't feel very inspired by this recipe. As a child, I always thought my Dad was strange for not liking creamy desserts, but in the last few years I've started to agree with him. Whipped cream in particular sets my teeth on edge. (I still love clotted cream though, no worries there.) This particular challenge contained a rather large whipped cream element.

Anyway, on I ploughed. The whole point of Daring Baking is to try something you wouldn't otherwise. First up was the pate sablee. This is basically an enriched shortbread, so it forms a very crumbly, crispy pastry when baked. This came together pretty easily, although I had to chill it for over an hour before it was strong enough to work with. As I only wanted to make a couple of tians at most, I halved the recipe, cut out 4 large circles and cut out several smaller circles to make petit fours with. As soon the pastry came out of the oven, I recut it with the plating ring to ensure it was the right size and hadn't spread too much.

Pate Sablee: tian discs at back, petit four discs at front.

We had to make marmalade to use as a layer. I'd already made some Seville marmalade earlier in the year, so I melted some of this down with extra sugar and juice to create a slightly sweeter version that was more suitable for the dessert.

Sweetened Seville Marmalade

Next was the caramel. I have yet to make a successful caramel. Although this one didn't burn, it was way too runny, and was a little bitter. One day, I will conquer caramel. Not today though.

The bit of this challenge that I found most useful was learning how to segment an orange before. A video showing how was posted, and after watching AWT mumble away I managed to do a pretty good job. This is actually quite a useful skill for me, as I love oranges but often avoid them as I hate the pith. (Weirdly, my favourite dessert as a child was orange segments with Cointreau cream. My Mum thought this was ok but watching ITV wasn't. She obviously stopped reading the parenting book before the booze chapter.)

Finally the dreaded whipped cream. Gelatine was added, along with some sugar to stabilise the cream. I didn't find the cream much different, except now the texture was gluey as well as foamy. Ick. We were meant to fold in some of the marmalade at this point, but I opted for a shot of Cointreau instead. If anything was going to make whipped cream with ground up beef bones better, it would be booze.

Orange Tian

The final stage was assembling the dessert. Orange segments went on the bottom, then cream, then a pastry disc spread with marmalade. The whole thing went in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden up a little. Once inverted on to a plate, a little caramel sauce was drizzled over the top.

The final verdict was mixed. I loved the orange segments, and the crispy pastry was a nice contrast to the rest of the dessert. It was let down by the slight bitterness of the caramel and the sickly cream; I ended up being glad that I'd only made one. In future, I'd replace the whipped cream with Cointreau ice cream, or a thin layer of clotted cream. I like the tian idea for desserts in general, and it was quite fun assembling it upside down.

You can see the full recipe here.


Chele said...

Wow! Well done Jenny, this is a very impressive looking dessert.

Lickedspoon said...

Wow, impressive! It's all a process of trial and error though isn't it, working out hat you will and won't do next time. Thanks so much for entering my cookbook give away competition.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Looks very nice, I like the sound of this dessert but couldn't quite get up the wherewithal to finish making it. I baked my pate sablee as easter cookies this morning.