Ruth from Oshkosh (2017 Week 10: The Final)





Baking Challenge

Wisconsin Picnic

Give your creation a name based on the flavors and decoration – and tell us about your recipe.

Wisconsin Tailgate Brunch: With 11 different items; three different quiche (Cheeseburger, Beer Brat and Bacon Hash), three different tarts (Blue Moon, Cranberry Cream Puff, and Brandy Old Fashion), three different croissants (Rachel, Salty/Sweet, and Beer Cheese Soup, scones, and a 10-layer chocolate cake, the list of recipes would be very long. I will, however, talk about my two favorite items. The beer cheese croissants were my favorite savory item. I made homemade croissant dough which took three days to make (worth it BTW). I ended up cooking carrots and broccoli in a bit of bacon grease and Wisconsin butter. After cutting rectangles in the dough, I layered lager cased cheese, veggies and a mild cheddar. After proofing overnight, I brushed with an egg wash and popped them in the oven for 15 min at 400 and then 15 at 350. They were crispy, soft, salty and so much more. The other recipe that turned out really well was the Chocolate Celebration Cake. I poured a dark chocolate sponge batter into an angel food cake pan. In between each of the five layers of chocolate cake, I piped an inside and outside ring of homemade maple caramel swiss buttercream as walls to hold in my special apple pie filling (mashed to lay flat). I covered the outside with a dark chocolate swiss buttercream. The decorations are comprised of homemade hard caramel maple leaves, piped dark chocolate and hard gelatin maple leaf cutouts.

What was your favorite thing about The Great Wisconsin Baking challenge overall (whether you participated in one or all challenges)? What did you learn from this final challenge? What are you most proud of when it comes to your bake?

My favorite part was a combination of trying new recipes, experimenting with older ones, and feeding people so much yummy food. From what a set tart should look like to making croissants for the first time, there were so many learning opportunities. The biggest lesson? Find out how to keep items and if they can be made ahead. A good five minutes of frustration was had when I learned that croissants can be prepped, shaped and then frozen a month ahead of proofing/baking. Another note to the home baker? Don’t expect your tart to have a firm/flaky crust if it has sat in the fridge with filling inside of it for two days. I’m proud I did it! I’m proud that so much turned out better that I could have hoped. I’m proud that I managed to get something out every week, no matter how imperfect it turned out.

Did you incorporate three local ingredients into your Final creation? Tell us about your Wisconsin twist!

My husband kept having to remind me that the challenge only asked for three local ingredients. I used as much as I could. The list of individual items is kind of ridiculous so I will just include the locations and brands: Widmer, Hennings, Union Star, Steve’s Cheese, Penzey’s Spices, Weyauwega, Ski’s Market, Organic Valley, The Little Farmer, Oakridge Farms, Olden’s Organics, Allen’s Allenville Produce, Seaquist Orchard, and Milwaukee’s Pickles (the only pickle I could eat for any of the pregnancies). Every baked good was either inspired by very Wisconsin-proud foods and drinks, or by family specific dishes. For instance, Salty/Sweet Croissant was from one of my grandfather’s breakfast dishes: fried brats, green peppers and onions combined with maple syrup … he would add pancakes and eggs to this combo and call the morning a good one.

How did you do?

Rocked it.