Time is flying, isn't it? It's Daring Baker post time again, so make yourself comfortable and enjoy the deliciousness that was this month's challenge.
The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.
To make it even cooler, Sunita not only "permitted" the daring bakers to deviate from the challenge recipes with respect to flavors, she encouraged us to let our imaginations and creativity run wild and see what we could each come up with.
When I first read this challenge, I happened to be sitting at the breakfast table with little miss, who loves to hear what each month's challenge will bring. When I explained this challenge - cake, rolled with whipped cream, turned into an even bigger cake using ice cream, I probably don't have to tell you that she was all on board for me to start in as soon as possible.
The more I read through all of the details of the challenge, the more nervous I became. There were a lot of components involved, each of which required several steps, which further necessitated a not-insignificant amount of planning and considerations to be made for timing. The challenge also required all of us bakers to make not one, but two flavors of ice cream. From scratch. Whether or not we have an ice cream maker (which I don't). I didn't even know it was possible to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. It was time to learn that one, and fast! This challenge further intimidated me as I began reading about (and seeing the pictures of!) the amazingly creative concoctions created by my fellow daring bakers, as they began sharing their completed desserts on the forums. I knew I had to step up my game.
After much thought, I finally decided to try to make an apple pie a la mode bombe. Now it was time to create the layers to make the bombe.
The first step was to prepare the cream mixtures for my two ice cream flavors. The first flavor that I chose to make was classic vanilla bean, for the "a la mode" portion of the apple pie bombe. I decided to make Philadelphia style ice creams, rather than custard based ice creams (ie: I did not make my ice creams with eggs), and was amazed at how straightforward the process was. I used this recipe for the vanilla ice cream, and was pleased with how simple it was. Once the cream, sugar and vanilla were heated, mixed, and fully incorporated, the mixture went into the refrigerator to cool overnight prior to freezing.
Once the vanilla cream was completed, I tackled the second flavor of ice cream that I had chosen - caramel. I thought that the caramel ice cream would be a good representation of the yummy syrup that develops when apple pie bakes. I chose this recipe (the Philadelphia style version), and began by carmelizing some sugar. Once the sugar is completely melted and golden, heavy cream is poured in. Which automatically makes all of that caramel syrup harden up. It took quite some time to finally re-melt the hardened caramel, but it was well worth it, as the resulting cream was smooth and had a very even flavor and color. Then the caramel cream joined the vanilla cream in the refrigerator to cool and await the freezing process.
For anyone with an ice cream maker, the next step in ice cream making, from what I understand, is pretty simple - freeze the ice cream maker's canister, fill with the prepared and cooled cream, and simply follow the manufacturer's directions. From what I understand, the ice cream will then be completed in a very short period of time.
For those of us without ice cream makers, it takes a little longer. It isn't difficult, but takes a bit more elbow grease and a lot more time. The cooled cream is put into the freezer, but has to be churned manually. On a regular basis. For a period of several hours. Both the vanilla and caramel creams were placed into the freezer, and little miss and I had a lazy morning, knowing we would have to mix them every 30-40 minutes. Basically, as each cream began to freeze around the edges, it is stirred to break up those ice crystals and ensure that the mixture freezes uniformly, to create a creamy ice cream, rather than mere frozen, icy cream. In true documentary style, I did actually photograph both creams each time they were removed from the freezer and each time they were mixed. I will spare you the full flip-book-style detail, but these snippets give the idea as to how the process works. Little miss and I mixed both creams every 30-40 minutes for a good four and half hour, but I honestly believe that that was what made our ice creams so smooth and creamy, so I am really glad that we did.
Once the ice creams were made, the next component I wanted to tackle was the swiss roll cake. After reading the Daring Baker forums, I saw that many of the bakers had difficulties with the cake, so I was very careful to follow all of the tips that the bakers had shared with the group. I took no shortcuts in preparing the ingredients for the cake. I separated the eggs to whip the whites and yolks separately, as recommended. I sifted my all purpose flour with cornstarch to make cake flour, I gave my granulated sugar a spin in my mini-blender to create my own caster sugar. I had very high expectations for this jelly-roll style cake. After the specified amount of time in the oven, the top of my cake was a beautiful, lightly golden color and it sprung back nicely when touched. I was so excited. Until I turned it out onto my powdered-sugar-covered towel and tried to peel back the parchment paper. When I was greeted with this:
Uh oh. That's not right. Somehow, the cake did not cook all the way through, and portions of the bottom were downright raw. And, try as I might, there was no way that I could get this cleanly back into the pan to re-bake in any way that would still be rollable. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed.
But I persisted and tried again, this time using a slightly different recipe (this one). Luckily, I had much better luck this time. I am not really sure what went wrong the first time, nor am I sure why it worked better the second, but I was pleased when I carefully peeled back the paper to reveal a beautiful, fully-cooked, golden layer that could easily and cleanly be rolled with the filling of my choice.
And what was that filling? Continuing with my apple pie a la mode flavor, I made a cinnamon sugar whipped cream, which little miss helped me to spread onto the cake and roll into a nice spiral.
At this point, there was only one component left to prepare. The given recipe for the challenge called for the two ice cream layers to be separated by a layer of fudge. This middle layer was actually the inspiration for my entire dessert. Instead of fudge, I pulled together an apple compote, combining chopped gala and granny smith apples with butter, brown sugar and a little bit of water, creating the "filling" layer for my apple pie inspired dessert.
All that was left for the final day of preparation for the bombe was the actual construction of the dessert, yet even this required plenty of time and patience. Each layer, once carefully arranged into the serving dish, needed to be completely frozen before the next layer could be added. From the spiral slices of the swiss-roll to each layer of ice cream to the middle layer of apple compote, this dessert is built upside down and then completely frozen.
As you can imagine, after three full days of measuring, mixing, stirring, freezing, baking and layering, I was very excited to unmold the dessert and see the results of all of that hard work. When the dessert came out of the bowl, the layers of plastic wrap were peeled back to reveal this:
Which would have looked much cooler if the caramel ice cream hadn't been so soft that, somehow, it managed to mostly seep through the swiss roll cake and coat the outside of the bottom of the bombe, rather than the inside. That aside, though, we thought that the dessert came out really well. Despite the mishap with the caramel ice cream, the other layers came out really beautifully, and, all together, the dessert really did taste like apple pie a la mode! What it lacked in presentation points, it certainly made up for in taste.
This challenge was a lot of work, but was very worth all of the effort that it entailed. I was so happy to learn that I can, in fact, make ice cream at home without an ice cream maker, and it was a lot of fun to exercise a little creativity within the challenge to make a unique dessert to share with the daring baker community. I can definitely see making another bombe for a special event, and can guarantee that I will make each component again individually.
Thank you, Sunita, for a really wonderful, creative, delicious challenge!
To see some of the other absolutely amazing work by the other Daring Bakers, check them out here.
4 days ago