Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Christmas Stollen

Stollen is one of those things you see every Christmas piled up by the checkout at the fruit shop, or even Aldi. I tend to think of it (rather unkindly) as Panettone's ugly cousin.

As it turns out, I don't mind Stollen at all. It's a fruity, yeasty bread, not dissimilar to Greek Tsoureki although less buttery and moist. The think I enjoyed the most about this challenge was watching Martha Stewart's instructional video on how to make bread in the shape of a wreath. If you are a Martha freak like I am you can have a look at Martha's recipe and the video demonstration here. I am besotted with Mrs Kostyra. She is one feisty old duck!

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Specialty Christmas Cake Class at Planet Cake

In an effort to hone my skills working with fruitcake and marzipan I signed up for a new two day specialty class offered by Planet Cake. I found marzipan to be so much cleaner than working with ganache so I will definitely be promoting the fruitcake/marzipan wedding cake option to people in the future. Sometimes a little tradition is a good thing!

Spending almost a full day making 3 elves has left me with much more confidence in making figurines. Although I am not sure that I would be able to model anybody who does not want to resemble Noddy...
It was also the first time I've used a pasta machine to roll fondant icing and believe me it was a complete revelation. The red ribbons were rolled and cut from fondant "lasagne" and the green ribbon was made from fondant fettucine. The pasta machine is also fabulous for making elf girl hair.
As usual post Planet Cake course I am thrilled with the outcome and left feeling quietly confident about the looming wedding cake decorating... stay tuned...