Peach Preserves for Cake Filling

Stewed Peaches for Peach Preserves
Stewed Peaches for Peach Preserves

Now, I am sure your getting tired of my peach schlepping. Last one, I promise. I just have to get it all out there for you. My peach eating friends are getting their fill, let me tell you.

Preserves. They are really quite simple. Do you remember the Simple Syrup post? You were already half way to your preserves.

If you are going to save them for a later date, my suggestion is to use the formal canning method. I will add one at the end of this post for your convenience. Simple prep for me because I used mine right away. And then someone (we won’t name HIM) ate the leftovers on icecream, just ’cause “That’s how we roll”.

Ready, lets start.

3 lb peaches
1 cup sugar
sprinkle cinnamon and splash of vanilla
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Peel, core and slice your peaches.  Soak in a citrus bath, drain well.
Peel, core and slice your peaches. Soak in a citrus bath, drain well.

Peel, core and slice your peaches. Soak in a citrus bath, drain well.

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Cover the pot and simmer on low heat
Cover the pot and simmer on low heat

Place your sliced fruit into a stew pot. Allow to sit for 1/2 hour so the initial syrup can develop around the fruit. Cover pot and simmer on low heat for another 1/2 hour. You may add vanilla and cinnamon at this point. You are well on your way to peach preserves!

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Pour off excess liquid
Pour off excess liquid

Once fruit has stewed down and is fairly soft but not mushy, pour off the liquid. Reserve this SIMPLE SYRUP for later use. I use a potato masher for break the fruit up into finer chunks. If you want your peach preserves a bit more gelled, like jam, this is the point that you would add pectin. I like mine just the way it is. Any extra moisture is readily soaked into the cake and that is a great thing. Pour the fruit into freshly sterilized jars. And the seals and rings (that have been sterilized as well). Secure the rings finger tight and cool overnight. The seals should pop down on their own during the cooling process. If you have prepared your fruit in this fashion, it will have to be kept in the fridge. Here it will remain useable for about 2 weeks.

For a longer preserve time, please follow formal preserve instructions:

1) Boil jars, seals and rings to sterilize
2) Add hot preserves to clean hot jars
3) Place hot seals onto filled jars
4) Finger tighten rings over the seals
5) Place hot filled jars into a pot of boiling water, water must be 1/2 – 1 ” over the top of the jar
6) Boil the filled jars for 20 minutes plus the time frame suggested in the Altitude Guide for Canning

“Elevation has more of an impact on the processing of preserves because once water boils, it can’t get any hotter. This means that even if your canning pot is happily boiling away, it might not be as hot as you think. The way that the USDA and the National Center for Home Food Preservation has you compensate for this temperature differential is by increasing processing time.”

Here’s the Altitude Guide for making these adjustments.

1,001 to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes
3,001 to 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes
6,001 to 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes
8,001 to 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes

I hope that you have made good use of my Peach September offerings. I would like to see some of your peachy creations. Please visit my Facebook page and post something so we can all enjoy.

In the meantime,

HappyCaking

Lesi

Let’s Talk Simple Syrup

Fresh "brewed" Peach Simple Syrup
Fresh “brewed” Peach Simple Syrup

Lets Talk Simple Syrup

In my world the ultimate flavour/moisture enhancer for most of my cakes would be simple syrup or sugar syrup.

Simple syrup is made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and then cooling it for use. It is dispensed with a spray bottle, thru a pour spout or even with a pastry brush.

The sugar to water ratio can range anywhere from 1:1 to 2:1 depending on the desired thickness or syrupiness (probably not a word but you get my point). If you were to add pectin, it does gel quite easily and this makes it perfect as a base for fruit preserves and sauces.

In cake use however, it imparts a moistness that may have been lost in the baking process. Perhaps you froze your cake sometime ahead of using it and need to add a bit of moisture lost during the freeze time.

I like to use my cakes fairly soon after baking, so for me, it is all about flavor. More flavor, more flavor, more flavor. It can take a basic cake of any flavor and turn it into something of a masterpiece for your palate.

A few variations on the simple syrup recipe might include:

Vanilla: place a fresh vanilla bean or it’s scrapings into the sugar water mix while heating.

Espresso: replace a portion or all of the water with espresso (great on chocolate cake)

Lemon: replace a portion of the water with organic lemon juice. (Less water and more lemon makes this a truly tart experience….my fav)

Caramel: switch out your white sugar with Demerara sugar or brown sugar.

You can add rose petal, lavender, cherry essence.

You might even try substituting some of the water for the liqueur of our choice, although I would not recommend serving this variation to your children.

As you may have known, I have been on a peach kick of late. It’s harvest time in the Okanagan and the peaches are heavenly. So is the region they are grown in, incidentally.

So, without further ado, please welcome my most recent addition to the simple syrup family.

Okanagan Peach Simple Syrup

Ingredients

3 lb peaches
1 c. white sugar

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Preparing your fruit to "brew"
Preparing your fruit to “brew”

Once you have peeled, cored and sliced your fruit, wash in a citrus bath to prevent the fruit from browning.(just add a tbsp of lemon to the water). Be sure all of the fruit has been submerged, pour off the citrus water and drain well.

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Sugar soak
Sugar soak

Place your fruit into a stewing pot and sprinkle the sugar over top. Let this sit for a half hour or so. The moisture of the fruit will melt the sugar into the beginnings of your wonderful syrup. Once this syrup has started, place the covered pot on low heat to simmer. Be sure to keep your heat low, so as not to evaporate the liquid with a high boil.

Cover the pot and simmer on low heat
Cover the pot and simmer on low heat

After about a half hour or so, you will note a great increase in the amount of syrup around your fruit. Pour this off and reserve for use in flavoring your already baked cakes.

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Pour off the liquid and this is your simple syrup
Pour off the liquid and this is your simple syrup

The flavor that this adds to a plain vanilla cake is out of this world.
I recently had one of my students use this syrup. Her words to me were, “My husband said it was the best cake he had ever eaten!”
Now that’s saying something!

 

This “brewing” process can be applied to any fruit.

Try it with strawberries, blueberries, or even mango…..the list of syrups becomes endless.

I hope you enjoy. Still more to come in my Peachy September. Stay tuned and in the meantime,

Happy Caking

Lesi

Fat Chef Sculpted Cake Workshop

If you have ever wondered how you go about sculpting a cake to be something other than what you might expect out of a cake,  no need to look any further.

Lambert Academy has a sculpted cake series that features a different sculpted design each month.  The techniques that you will pick up in this class are far beyond anything that you will learn in your average craft store cake decorating class.

The classes are all inclusive, meaning, there are no tools to buy, no cakes to bake, no icing to have to perfect prior to attending your class.  And they are fun!  Smaller groups allow for a more one on one approach to the teaching/learning experience.

Learn all the newest techniques from Lesi as she walks you through the process and guides you every step of the way.  You have questions, she takes the time to answer and provide assistance while you are involved in the project.

Sound good?  Well check out the upcoming classes in the Sculpting series.

 

Fat Chef Workshop – July 26th & 27th, 2014 

Watch this Video Preview of the Sculpted Fat Chef in progress

 

Garden Party Gown Workshop – September 20th, 2014

Garden Party gown
Garden Party gown

 

Steampunk Owl Workshop  –  next class  October 2014  Watch for dates!

steampunk-owl cake

 

 

Don’t miss out on getting a seat for the Fat Chef Workshop.  Book Now!

Eat Cake, Lose Weight?

French Chocolate Cake

Question of the day:    Can I eat cake, lose weight?

Well maybe not the way you’d think, but this truly is the closest thing to chocolatey heaven as far as cake goes,  and you won’t have to feel bad about eating it.

This is a perfect cake to serve if you are following a low GI diet or  you just simply enjoy deep,  rich decadence without the guilt.  You can even serve it to  guests.  They will never know…..my promise!

It’s easy to prepare, amazingly fast and has only two ingredients.  Both of which are good for you.

Eggs,  which  are a great source of protein and high cocoa solid chocolate, which has many health benefits as well.  This cake is rich and moist and carries a huge flavor kick.  It’s like a chocolate bomb!

I have been making this cake for several years and I think I’m getting pretty good at it now.  Each time I prepare it, the folding process becomes more rhythmic and zen like as I attempt not to deflate my egg whites. That being said, you really don’t have to pussy foot around this one.  It comes together quite easily and like I said before, it has surprisingly  few ingredients and a really short bake time.  So without further ado,

 

Chocolate Cake (The Mediteranean Method)

 

Makes one 8” round

Oven temperature:   500 degrees

Prep time: 30 minutes plus 12 hours /overnight refrigeration

Bake time: 8 minutes

 

Ingredients

11 oz. (310 gm) 70 – 80 % cocoa solids dark chocolate (for cake batter)

plus and extra 7 oz.(185 gm) dark chocolate ( for topping)

10 large eggs, separated

 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

Line an 8” springform pan with parchment paper.    The liner for the pan sides, should be an inch or so taller than the pan to allow for rising.

In a large metal bowl, over a pan of simmering water, melt  11 oz. of chocolate.    Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.   Stir often.

Once melted, allow the chocolate to cool slightly but not return to solid.

In a large bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peak consistency.  Do not over beat.

Transfer the bowl of warm chocolate to your work surface and gently stir in the beaten egg yolks.  Then add a couple of tablespoons of the egg whites to temper this mix. Stir just to combine. Once combined, quickly and gently fold in the remainder of the egg whites until the mixture has the consistency of a light mousse. Do not over mix or you will deflate your mixture.

Pour this mixture into your prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes EXACTLY.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow the pan to cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Place it in the fridge to chill for at least 12 hours.

Turn the cake out of the pan onto a cake plate and pour a thin film of melted chocolate over the surface of it.

To serve, dip a sharp knife into hot water and use it to slice the cake.

 

My personal favorite way to serve (EAT) this is with a few fresh berries and a bit of cognac infused whipped cream.  Or if the eat cake, lose weight thing isn’t your schtick and you just want to  eat cake, it’s great with ice cream too!

Learn more recipe creation like this in our Cake Decorating Basics classes.

http://lesiskitchen.com/cake-decorating-basics/

We are always striving to add something new to your list of flavor pairings.

 

Happy Caking

 

 

In Search of the Best Frosting

Best Frosting

My search for the best frosting has proven to be quite a challenge.  Now, with the warmer weather, there appears to be to have been a shift in people’s taste for icings.  My swiss meringue has always been a staple but recently has come under scrutiny forcing me to seek out a lighter and less buttery alternative.

I tried a few that would be eaten on naked cake…not under fondant.  Since I love sharing, here are my two top choices.

The first is a recipe that was given to me several years ago by a lovely Columbian lady.  She spoke no English but was a fiend in the kitchen and her cakes were nothing less than amazing.  She explained to me, through an interpretor, that this was the icing used in her home country. Being a very hot climate, it stood up well in the heat,  was light, fluffy and had a more subtle sweetness. I love this lady so much, sweet as pie. I did not have the heart to correct her English grammar, so you get the recipe just like it was given to me.

 

Mrs. Muneton’s Icing Meringue

1 lb granular sugar

6 egg whites

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp lemon juice

 

Whip the eggs to snow.

Apart, In a well clean aluminum pot, simmer sugar, lemon, and water until the sugar dissolves well and  mixture is little bit thick. (Note: Beware that this mixture not become dark) This hot mixture is gradually add to the egg whites while continuing to beat until you get medium consistency. If you want thick, you have to beat more.

I prefer to use hand blender. (Her words, not mine)

 

 

This next one I found on a little food blogging site by Andie Mitchell.  She had, like, a million really nice compliments about this recipe. (I exaggerate a little, but you get my jist) All those compliments could not be for naught….so I had to give it a try.  I have added compliment number 1 million and 1.

 

Andie Mitchell (Food Blogger)

Best Whipped Frosting (Ever)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk one cup of milk with 5 tablespoons of flour. Heat over medium until the mixture begins to sputter, whisking constantly. Continue to stir as the mixture thickens. You will know it’s done when it reaches the consistency of thick cake batter, after about 7 minutes of heating and whisking. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and set aside to cool COMPLETELY.
  2. Now, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or using a hand held mixer, beat 2 sticks of softened butter (1 cup) with 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar until light, fluffy, and white in color, about 3 solid minutes of beating on medium-high speed. You want the sugar to be totally incorporated into the butter.
  3. Be sure that the milk/flour mixture has completely cooled, and add it to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat all ingredients for about 1 minute on high speed, scraping down the bowl halfway, until they are smooth and well blended. The frosting should be as light and fluffy as whipped cream.

 

 

And there you have it. A slight skip off of the buttercream path. I’m still experimenting with flavor additions. I’ll keep you posted.

 

In the meantime, you might want to check my website for the addition of the New Cake Basics class. It’s the perfect primer if you’re just getting started in this cake decorating thing.

 

Happy Caking,

 

Lesi