Book Club and Lace Doilies and the Baking Challenge, round III
November 8, 2011
My book club met last night, so I spent most of Monday afternoon making something special for them. Usually I match the dessert to the book, but we had read UNBROKEN by Lauren Hillenbrand. It was an excellent book about an American POW, but I didn’t want to serve the ladies rice balls and rat. So I thought I’d try something I learned about at my pastry class.
Begin by creaming the butter and brown sugar.
Lace doilies are made from a dough that’s mostly brown sugar, butter, and a wee bit of bread flour. Using a small ice cream scoop, you put a small lump (size of a ping pong ball) on a baking sheet. The lump will “melt” and spread out, then turn golden brown. Now comes the hard part–before the doily cools and sets, but after a minute so it’s not still goopy, you have to lift it off the baking sheet with cake lifters and mold it around a bowl or cup. As the mixture cools, the shape will set, resulting in lovely little bowls . . . they remind me of waffle cone bowls, but they’re more fragile.
Note: as I worked with the hot doilies, my fingers were burning but I could hear my chef/teacher saying, “Get used to working with hot things!” I wanted to reply that I make my living with my fingertips, but I doubt that argument would have meant anything to him, as he uses his hands for a living, too. 🙂
Spread FAR apart on baking sheet–they spread!
Gather your molds. 🙂
My first couple of trays were disasters. First, I waited too long, and the doily had already stiffened into a flat shape. Then I didn’t wait long enough to remove it from the pan, so the doily tore and became goopy when I tried to smush it together. And I think I took my early trays out of the oven too soon–I took them out when they were golden, not golden brown. Browner is better, I think.
Anyway, finally I began to get the hang of it. First tried to mold around small bowls, but those resulted in wide containers and I didn’t want to fill them with too much stuff. So then I used a coffee mug with a slender base–that worked better. In pastry class we used ordinary Styrofoam cups, and those had a lovely shape.
Right out of the oven.
My sorry early efforts molded around a bowl.
If a doily is too cool, it won’t mold. It’ll break.
What a busy countertop!
The rejects aren’t wasted–they’re broken up, frozen, and saved for something like crunchy ice cream topping . . .
The doilies destined to be bowls.
A little chocolate in the bottom (I should have spread it better.)
After working fast and furiously on the lace doilies (and about half of them ended up in the junk pile), I pulled a copper pot and copper bowl down from my pot rack (I still love it!) and melted a couple ounces of chocolate in the bowl held over boiling water. When the chocolate was melted, I spooned about a tablespoon full in to the bottom of each “bowl”–in order to “seal” it and provide an extra bit of yumminess. Chocolate always helps a dish.
Then I pulled a mousse mix from my pantry. (Yes, you read right–if I spend hours on part of a dessert, I have no qualms about using a mix for another part. 🙂 ) I mixed up two types of mousse, then piped them into my doily bowls. Finally, I made whipped cream from heavy cream and a little powdered sugar, then piped a final flourish on the top of the mousse.
Strawberry mousse, whipped cream, and some crunchies!
You can top these little treats with anything–fresh fruit would be nice–but I’ve been out of town and I didn’t have any fruit. So I crushed up my “reject” doilies and sprinkled the whipped cream with little bits of crunchy doily. It looks pretty and tastes delicious!
I can’t print the recipe, as I promised not to publish it, but you might try searching for it and see if you can find something similar. I think I may just get better at this as time goes on . . . Next time, maybe I’ll fill them with chocolate mousse and toss a cherry on top. Or nuts. Or more chocolate. 🙂
P.S. Tammy Alexander and I keep challenging each other to a bake-off, and she has a luscious recipe for a carmel cake on her blog. I just might have to make that, too . . .