Talk Takeaway: Cooking with Gesine Bullock-Prado

Posted on Mar 14, 2013 10:45am

Pastry chef and author, Gesine Bullock-Prado, visited "The Talk" for a Talk Takeaway: Cooking segment. She showed the ladies how to make delicious, decadent desserts. Here are the recipes!

Recipes adapted from "Bake It Like You Mean It"

Chocolate Pyramid
Makes 8 servings

For the CAKE:
2 egg whites
1 (8-ounce / 225-g) package almond paste
6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 scant cup (130 g) cake flour
1 cup (85 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use King Arthur Black Cocoa)

2⁄3 cup (130 g) granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch salt
1 cup (230 g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
8 ounces (225 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, melted, and cooled slightly

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

For the GLAZE:
4 ounces (115 g) bittersweet chocolate
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ cup (40 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 400º. Line a half sheet pan with parchment.  Do not spray with non-stick spray.

In the bowl of a food processor fit with the blade attachment, combine the egg whites and almond paste.  Process until the two are combined and the almond paste is soft.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment, combine the egg yolks and 1/4 of the sugar and beat until the mixture thickens but isn't stiff.  Switch to the paddle attachment and add the almond paste mixture a small bit at a time to avoid getting lumps. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl and clean the stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment thoroughly.

In the clean bowl of your stand mixer, combine the egg whites and salt.  Whisk until the egg whites become white and foamy.  Slowly add the remaining sugar and whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks. (Be careful not to whip to the point that they become chunky and dry.) Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture to lighten.  Add the remaining whites and gently fold until the two are incorporated.

Whisk together the flour and cocoa.  Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold together with a large rubber spatula. Spread the batter onto the prepared sheet pan in a very even layer. Bake for 10 minutes or just until it springs back when gently poked.

Make the buttercream:
In a heavy saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) water and stir constantly over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stop stirring.

Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan and cook until the sugar syrup reaches 240°F (116°C).

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Whisk until the eggs are broken. When the sugar has reached 240°F (116°C), continue whisking the egg mixture on medium speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup in a slow stream down the side of the mixing bowl. Once all the sugar is added, increase the speed to high and whip until the bowl is cool to the touch.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Transfer a large spoonful of this mixture to the melted chocolate and stir vigorously until incorporated. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the chocolate to the remaining buttercream mixture.

Make the simple syrup:
In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with 1 cup (240 ml) water and stir over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let cool slightly.

Assemble the layers:
Once the cake has cooled, use a pastry brush to gently brush off the top "skin" of the cake. Trim the edges of the cake, then divide the cake into 4 even strips, each approximately (or slightly less than) 4 by 12 inches (10 by 30.5 cm).

Transfer a cake layer to a serving platter. Using a pastry brush, brush a layer of simple syrup over the entire cake surface. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the sponge layer, spreading it as evenly as possible, about 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick. Top the buttercream with the second cake layer, pressing gently to adhere. Brush with simple syrup and spread with buttercream. Continue layering with cake, simple syrup, and buttercream until the fourth layer is applied. Cut the cake in half lengthwise. Spread an even layer of buttercream on top of one half and place the second cake half on top so you are left with 8 cake layers. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, about 1 hour.

Trim any uneven sides off the cake: Dip a long, very sharp serrated knife in scalding water and dry it off. Cut the cake in half diagonally, forming two long triangles.

Flip the triangles so that the uncut sides are facing each other.

Spread a thin layer of buttercream along one of the uncut sides, then press the two uncut sides together, with the buttercream acting as glue. You've now created a triangle. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make the glaze:
Place the chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Bring the cream and butter to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, then pour the cream mixture over the chocolate. Allow it to sit undisturbed for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
Place the cake on a cooling rack. Spread the glaze over the cake with a small offset spatula. Sift the cocoa powder evenly over the cake to coat the glaze.

My Big Fat Creamsicle Meringues
Makes 8 meringue tarts

For the Meringues:
4 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon distilled white vinegar or cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup (200 g) superfine or baker's sugar
¼ teaspoon orange extract (not orange oil)
2 drops orange food coloring (optional)

For the filling:
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Pinch salt
½ teaspoon orange extract

Make the meringue:
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 degrees Celsius).  Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Whisk on high until just foamy and add the salt, vinegar and vanilla bean paste. (The vinegar acts as a protein stabilizer, helping to maintain the integrity of the protein networks and prevent overmixing.)

With the mixer on high, add the superfine sugar a scant tablespoon at a time, letting it trickle in slowly (I count to ten).  This is crucial; you must ensure that the superfine sugar completely melts into the meringue (the friction of the whisking causes the sugar to melt).  If the sugar isn't properly integrated and melted into the egg white mixture, your meringue will break and begin to weep while baking.

Beat the egg whites and sugar until very stiff, white and glossy.

Place half of the meringue in a clean bowl, leaving the remaining half in the mixing bowl.  Place the orange extract and orange food coloring (if using) into the mixing bowl and whisk on high until fully incorporated.

Carefully transfer the plain meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, working the meringue into the bag so it fills up only one side (you don't have to be perfect).  Spoon the orange meringue into the other side of the pastry bag.  On the prepared pans, pipe the meringue into rosettes, starting in the center and carefully spiraling out until you've created a 3-inch (7.5 cm) rosette.

Bake for 2 hours, or until the exterior is crisp and sounds hollow when you tap the underside.  You can store the meringues in an airtight, moisture-free container for up to 2 weeks.

Make the filling:
In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites, granulated sugar, corn syrup, vanilla bean paste, salt, orange extract and ¼ cup (60 ml) water.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the temperature of the mixture reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius).

Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk the mixture until you achieve very stiff, white, glossy peaks.

To assemble:
Pipe a silver dollar-size dollop of the filling onto the flat side of a meringue rosette and sandwich with a second meringue.  Serve the assembled meringue tarts immediately.

Meringue is beautifully adaptable to flavors.  You can replace the vanilla bean paste with lemon extract or orange extract for a citrus spike; however, you cannot use oil-based flavors.  The oil will deflate the meringue.  You can also add a few tablespoons of fruit puree for both a flavor punch and a color splash.  Or fold in 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder once the meringue has reaches the stiff-peak stage.

Connect with the Talk