And the Daring Baker's strike again!!!
This month's challenge was ... guess??? Eclairs!!!
The elements of this challenge were three-fold... eclair shells, a pastry cream filling and a glaze... chocolate was a required ingredient but we had the choice of either a chocolate pastry cream or a chocolate glaze... or both!
The first challenge was making pastry shells, and preventing them from collapsing flat... To accomplish this, halfway through the baking, i had to rotate the two pans and prop the oven door open to allow any steam to escape and help the shells stay puffed up... One tray made it out fine but the other flattened out and remained moist in center, but so. what. ... Once they were out of the oven, I cut them in half, and set the tops on a rack to make it easy to drizzle them with the glaze
The pastry cream and glaze were the easy parts and, since we had a choice, we decided to make a bittersweet chocolate glaze for the tops and Steven was the lucky one to glaze them... See?
Now, I mentioned we had the choice of flavors for either the glaze or the pastry cream, but one HAD to be chocolate, and since we used chocolate for the glaze, I decided to go a little tropical for the pastry cream... We thought about mango but I had an inspiration and went with kiwi! I had Steven pipe the cream as opposed to spooning and this is what they looked like, post-piping...
The kiwi gave the eclairs a beautifully earthy sweetness, and in the end, they looked like this...
Of course, Steven and I took them to our respective jobs where they promptly disappeared... I d-eclair!!!
I'm excited about our upcoming open-house at the commercial kitchen that we rent occassionally... Lot's of stuff available for tasting and some things available to buy and take home to enjoy... More news to come VERY shortly!!!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
We found some cool, coffee-inspired tins on sale and bought them up...just to package biscotti in! Usually, when you purchase our biscotti, they come in a cello sleeve (10 ounces, which is approximately 8-10 pieces, depending on size, as they ARE all handmade, at $10.00 a package). Now, if you are so inclined, you have the choice of purchasing this fun and funky tin, which makes a wonderful gift package, filled with approximately 6-8 pieces (once again, depending on their handmade size) for the same price!
What a great way to say "you jazz me up!" - by giving a gift tin of, oh, say, some chocolate biscotti, or maple pecan praline, or maybe some cranberry-orange (my personal favorite)..or a couple of each? Any of our flavors can be packaged this way, and the receiver (friend, partner, sweetheart, teacher?) will get to enjoy the wonderful, aromatic flavors of Joey Biscotti's best, and keep the tin to use for any number of things...cookies, coffee beans, jelly beans - I am sure you are all creative enough to continue this line of thought!
Order yours today and put a smile on the face of someone you care about - even your own! And don't forget about our Open House (ok, Kitchen) on September 20th in Hell's Kitchen. The sweet smells from the kitchen will be wafting down the block, enticing you to come in and try free samples of many of our best selling fall flavors. (More on this later.)
We can't wait to see you there!
Ciao for now...
Friday, August 8, 2008
...not to worry...just dig into a slice of our latest winning creation: Hazelnut Mocha Joe cheesecake. Two amazing layers of thick, rich cream cheese decadence, the first filled with semi-sweet chocolate, the second graced with the flavor of hazelnut espresso, and topped with more semi-sweet chocolate. And did I mention that the crust is actually a layer of hazelnut mocha brownie??? My co-workers' eyes were popping out of their heads as they experienced this one, folks, and many actually pushed their way through the crowd to try for a second slice, though it was basically gone before they had the chance!
We're proud to put this one on the menu, and it will surely be one of the stand-outs at our "Open Kitchen" on September 20th in Hell's Kitchen. Yes, you heard right: anyone still unaware should put this one on his/her calender, because it may be a while before everyone will have the chance to sample so many of our sinfully rich sweet things all in one place - and for FREE. This is a kind of "thank you" to all of you who have supported us over the past year or so, and a chance to try new menu additions, purchase favorites and order your holiday party desserts all in one fell-swoop (what a Midwestern term, eh?)- not to mention introduce us to your friends, family and neighbors (yes, please feel free to pass this info along - we will be eternally grateful for the new friends and the opportunity to sweeten a few more dinner tables!)
When the date is closer, we'll inform you of the hours and exact location, so that you can plan accordingly (meaning: don't eat for several hours, come hungry and stuff your pockets with extra cash, since, after trying them, you'll certainly want to take some home to your families, or just stash them away for future nibbling!)
Feel free to send us suggestions as to which of our items you would like to see there that day - we can't make everything on the menu, but we will certainly take your requests into consideration. Email us at email@example.com, or simply leave comments here at our blog.
Ciao for now...