Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be my Valentine: Lovebirds pastry

Since I started my life with cookie molds, I wanted to create something special for Valentine's day. Gene Wilson lovebirds mold on selfmade strawberry marzipan. Pastry what makes you so happy, that you can only praise baker with nothing else than a kiss.
This pastry is quite jigsaw to create, but it won't be that big hazzle. It is simple two layer cake with New York cheese cake crust. I baked crust myself, since I don't really like that much crust what is made from crushed cookies and some butter. Mine tasted soooo much better, with little love in it. Cinnamon that is, in case you wonder.
Two layers I added consisted whipped cream, vanilla flavoured thick curd and melted white chocolate. Another layer, which I added after first one was solid enough (with use of gelatin) whipped cream and strawberry jam. I left cake in frigde overnight, and cutted it with round metal ring next day. Althought edges might get little messy, other parts will remain layer texture. And I will cover pastry with marzipan, so it is OK. 

Next part I prepared myself strawberry marzipan. This recipe still requires bit tweaking, but I certainly have some hopes on it. I feel less baker if I use commercial marzipan, yet, it takes little practise to prepare good marzipan my own. 
Crushing freeze dried strawberries.

Looks good enough.

Add one part almond and one part powdered sugar. Mix well.

So far so good...

Add egg white and start mixing.

Needs bit more kneading, bits of almond showing.


After I had marzipan ready for cookie mold use, I simple pressed cookie mold against marzipan and cutter bigger round parts than mold itself. Doing so I could wrap extra marzipan around pastry's edges. 

You can press marzipan against pastry with your fingers, but getting nice clean edges is easier with metal cutter. First use fingers, only in end metal cutter. Pictures might give little clue what I am talking about.

Metal cutter must be bigger than pastry!

Start moving metal cutter gently against pastry.

Notice how pastry have moved 270 degrees.

Little practise makes you master of cookie shaking!
Problem with my marzipan is too dry content, so I will look for solution how to make it bit more moist. I was reading some swedish confectioner book few months ago and there was some useful info about making marzipan, I think it was liquid sugar what they added in it. More research coming up!

I added little red color on hearts. Otherwise I left it au naturel. Color is not totally uniform, but at least it is own made. Rustic appearence, I could say. I made extra heart from white chocolate too.
 Oh and the main part: Taste is excellent. Allow pastry to chill in frigde few hours before serving, it allows marzipan to age a bit. I was worried about taste, since it was rather strong during making marzipan. Might be part of strawberry jam filling, since it tasted really nice pastry. No odd flavors or anything else, just pure love of baking.

Happy Valentine's Day for my readers!