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Daring Bakers: Orange Tian

March 27, 2010

Oh, Daring Bakers.  I can always count on you to keep me humble.  I knew I had a kitchen disaster headed my way at some point, and I should have predicted that it might be the March 2010 Daring Bakers challenge.  Who knew baking could be rife with such melodrama? 

It all started out innocently enough.  This challenge had many parts, so I broke it down over two days.  First I made my whipped cream, orange marmalade and pastry crust.  The next day I segmented my oranges and neatly placed them in the tin can form that I was using.  (I have no biscuit cutters, so I had to improvise.  I cut the bottom off a used tin can and sawed the thing in half.  The whole time I was thinking “Don’t cut yourself, don’t cut yourself, don’t cut yourself.” There was potential for major blood shed.)

After segmenting the oranges, I put my perfectly round pastry that was exactly the size of the can in the oven to bake.  Then I made the caramel.  Or should I say “caramel.”  Here, you see, is where things started to go wrong.  

Before I delve into my tale of woe, I want you to look at my orange marmalade.  Isn’t it pretty? 

Yes, I thought so too. 🙂  At least I know I did one thing right!

At any rate, these were the directions for the caramel: “Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it. Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.”  I did exactly that, up to the “slowly add the orange juice” part.  As I added the o.j. the caramel hardened and by the time the “mixture started boiling” I had a massive clump of melted sugar swirling around in the o.j.  I kept the heat on until the sugar melted, although it did not even come close to resembling caramel and then I poured half of it over the orange slices.  Yeah, it pretty much bypassed the orange slices and turned into a pool of sickeningly sweet orange juice in the middle of the plate.  Needless to say, the caramel didn’t turn out right.

But then things got worse. Once again following the directions, I layered the whipped cream on top of the oranges and warm “caramel.”  I remember thinking “Maybe I should wait until the caramel cools a bit…” but I slathered it on anyway.  The whipped cream started to liquify, so I threw the whole shebang in the freezer and started to pray.  In the meantime, I slathered the pastry disk with marmalade.  (I know I’ve used “slather” now twice in three sentences, but it really is the most accurate verb to describe my actions.  I apologize if I have offended your sensibilities.) 

I placed the pastry/marmalade disk on top of the whipped cream and left it in the freezer for another 10 minutes to set and solidify.  At this point, after removing the tin can, I was supposed to have a circular stacked dessert with pastry and marmalade on the bottom, followed by a layer of whipped cream, with caramel and orange segments on top.  Instead, I got this: 

Even though I’d added gelatine to my whipped cream, it wasn’t as solid as it was apparently supposed to be and the caramel debacle is a mystery, as far as I’m concerned.  That being said, it actually tasted pretty good.  The pastry was really yummy, and I really liked the oranges with the whipped cream.  Hopefully, aesthetically speaking, next month’s challenge will turn out better!

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2010 11:18 am

    Oh, this story is sad but funny at the same time ;p Although it didn’t turn out as planned, your dish looks dreamy. All of your foods look dreamy, actually, somehow, all soft and delicate. Ahah, that comment sounds kinda funny, huh? But good food!

    • March 27, 2010 11:39 am

      Thanks! Luckily it still tasted good. I’m glad you’re enjoying my photos! 🙂

  2. March 27, 2010 12:16 pm

    I had the same thing happen when I tried to make my caramel. It took me two tries to get it right. Glad your tian was still yummy! Just a question: did you let the orange segments soak in the caramel in the fridge overnight? I know my caramel sauce was somewhat warm when I poured it over the tian but I don’t remember it being so hot it would melt the cream. It also took me longer than the time to get it to freeze.

    • March 31, 2010 10:01 am

      I didn’t soak my orange segments overnight, but it probably would have been a good idea. I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only one that had problems with the caramel 🙂 At least it still tasted good! And thanks for checking out my blog!

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