Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Daring Bakers' August Challenge - Browned Butter Pound Cake and Ice Cream Petits Fours

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alasa or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I’m here! I’m here! I’m four days late and probably nobody cares at this point – but I do! The challenge is done!

For the second time in a row, the monthly Daring Bakers’ challenge featured ice cream. Which finally gave me the push I needed to go buy an ice cream maker. It’s a purchase I’d been meaning to make for a while, and every time I came upon a fellow blogger’s post featuring delicious homemade ice cream I would feel the urge to finally go for it… and then I’d put it off again. But now, it’s here, and Laurent is making his first batch of raspberry sorbet as I’m typing. (He’s really happy about the new gadget – had I known, I’d have gotten one months, maybe even years ago.)

This month’s challenge was a bit long, but worth the effort. Let’s start with the browned butter pound cake. We were supposed to make it and then pair it with ice cream, but it was so delicious I was tempted to just keep it plain and eat it as it was. I’d been hearing people rave about how insanely good browned butter made everything – they weren’t kidding!

But, well, I had the ice cream machine and everything, so I carried on. I stuck with vanilla ice cream, because I’ve never been a huge vanilla fan, and was curious as to whether the homemade variety would win me over. And I had some good vanilla beans lying around. The verdict: not bad at all! I still think vanilla ice cream is at its best when paired with chocolate sauce, but then, I’m a chocolate lover.

I’d made Baked Alaska once (one of my most memorable kitchen disasters), but the Petits Fours seemed more attractive to me – not to mention easier to store and eat in small portions. I have to say, cutting the frozen cake and ice cream into bite-sized pieces was hard work, and I ended up hurting my hand from the pressure. Glazing the pieces was literally a balancing act: my petits fours were a tad too tall, and kept tipping over from the edge of my fork and diving into the (very yummy) chocolate glaze. I also had issues with the ice cream melting while I was working. There were definitely some logistics to work out here.

The results were worth it, though. These petits fours are a great snack or dessert, and the different textures are great together. Not to mention that it’s muggy and humid as hell right now, so frozen treats are more than welcome!

Thanks, Elissa, for this lovely challenge! And my apologies to the Daring Bakers for being so late!


  1. Valerie, you've done a wonderful job with this challenge. Kudos. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Waw!! These treats look divine,..oooh,..yes!

    MMMMMM,...That's a whole lot of work,..but just look at the stunning endresults!

  3. Great job, I love them. yeah mine kept diving into the chocolate to as if the fork was a diving board. YAY you bought the machine!!!

  4. Val..gorgeous petit fours! I didn't do them because my chocolate dipping 'anything' always ends up off the fork and in the chocolate lol Phenomenally done as always, the layers of cake and ice cream are perfect!

  5. hey, i just found your blog, this looks good! -Tawny @http://theyearofthecookie.blogspot.com/