(Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.)

Another fun month!  Every time I do one of these pretty desserts, I wish I entertained more. This would have made a perfect dinner party dessert.

I didn’t take a million assembly pictures this time – none of the sub-recipes was particularly hard or particularly photogenic, so I didn’t drag out the lights for them.  Someday, I’ll have a kitchen with beautiful, natural light, but not this month.

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The top and bottom are a basic chiffon cake. I was worried about mine – I get eggs from my CSA, but they’re not very consistent.  They’re always fresh, but they’re never quite large enough to be large or small enough to justify adding an extra one to a recipe, so I worry about baking with them.  The chiffon cake involved beating 5 egg whites to firm peaks, while mixing the rest of the batter (oil, egg yolks, flour, a bit of lemon zest), then carefully folding everything together. 

I’m getting better at folding, so mine came together without a hitch, and baked up beautifully. 

While the cake was baking, I made the pastry cream.  It was also a reasonably standard recipe – heat the milk, temper in an egg, cook until thick, then cool.  One it’s cool, fold into whipped cream to lighten it.  Did I mention how good I’m getting at folding things into other things?

I should have added some sugar to the whipped cream – I like mine pastry cream a little sweeter then this turned out to be, but it was still good.  I saved a bit of whipped cream and colored it pink, to decorate with later.

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Assembly was straightforward.  There’s a Good Eats episode where Alton Brown shows you how to precisely split a cake with a hacksaw blade, but I never remember to get an extra one when I go to Home Depot, so mine came out a bit crooked. 

The bottom gets soaked with a simple syrup, then the fruit goes on top.  I put some around the edges and the rest in the middle.  The pastry cream goes on top, then the top layer of cake.  I left it in the fridge overnight at this point to make sure it was entirely set up before trying to cut it.

When I took it out the next day, I dusted it with powdered sugar, added some accents of pink whipped cream, and served.IMG_5918

It turned out great!  There weren’t a lot of strong flavors besides the strawberries, so they really stood out.  I’d have liked the pastry cream to be a bit sweeter, but next time I’ll just use a different recipe or add a bit more sugar.  I’m thinking next time I’ll try a chocolate chiffon cake, with fresh cherries in the middle.  Or maybe a banana pastry cream with bananas.  Or…

( see the recipe )

There’s an ice cream social in my future, and I thought it would be fun to make my own waffle cones.  I decided that it would be best if I made a batch far in advance, so I could figure out the process without the stress of doing it on party day.

I wandered around Amazon, and found one that was reasonably priced and got good reviews – Chef’s Choice Waffle Cone Maker.  While I waited for it to show up, I went looking for a recipe.  I found a wonderful tutorial and recipe on Cupcake Project.  She had a smaller waffle maker then the one I got, but I figured it would work just fine.

The recipe was easy enough – whisk some cream and sugar, then sift in flour, cinnamon, and some cornstarch.  I was expecting something more like waffle batter, but it pretty much matched her pictures, so I figured I must have done it right.

 Waffle Cones

It looked like cookie batter, so I used my cookie scoop to drop it on the waffle iron.

Waffle Cones

Centering it didn’t work very well – because of the hinge, it squished out the front.

Waffle Cones

So for the rest of them, I put the dough near the back, and that worked much better.

Waffle Cones

Once it’s at the doneness, you want, the waffle gets lifted off the iron and onto a clean towel.  At this point you have to work fast, because it will harden quickly.

Waffle Cones

It’s really hot, so use the towel to form it around the cone mold.  I found it was easiest to wrap it, then flip it seam down and hold pressure on the seam for 15 seconds or so to make sure it joins properly.  The instruction manual just says to pinch off the bottom to get the point to seal, but I had mixed results with that.  I’ll probably just cheat and do what the Drumstick people do and drizzle a "plug" of chocolate in to seal it.

Waffle Cones

Besides cones, I also tried bowls.  I put the waffle in the bowl, then pushed a second bowl on top to form it.  This bowl came out a little shallow.

Waffle Cones

I had better luck with a more straight-sided bowl (this one was Pyrex). You can’t use the two-bowl trick here, though, since a second bowl won’t fit inside.

Waffle Cones

Overall, it was fun, and a great excuse to polish off some ice cream later in the evening.  I’m looking forward to making a few batches for the party – I think I’ll dip a few in chocolate, maybe roll them in sprinkles….

( see the recipe )

It was time to clean out the pantry.  In the pile of leftover-baking-ingredients, there were two half-full bags of Jammy Bits.  One bag was raspberry and one was blueberry, both leftover from fruitcakes this past Christmas.  I didn’t want to make fruitcake in July, but I did have this really good peanut butter cookie recipe from the Fluffernutters. 

 

So I made the cookies, again.  I learned, this time, that an 18oz jar of peanut butter was almost exactly the two cups I needed.  I didn’t mention the oatmeal last time, but it adds some structure and texture that most peanut butter cookies lack.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

And this time, as the very last step, I added in just over a cup of mixed Jammy Bits.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

I was worried they’d break up in the stand mixer, but they held up fine.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

In the oven, the jam bits melted into tiny pockets of jelly.  I was worried that it would overwhelm the peanut butter, but they came out nicely balanced. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

All in all, one of my more successful pantry-cleaning afternoons!

( see the recipe )