Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Daring Cook's April 2012 Challenge: Create Your Own Recipe!

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Jam filled Parsnip Buns

Our April 2012 Daring Cooks hosts were David & Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients!

They required us to use at least one ingredient from each of the following three lists – to force us to think carefully about flavor combinations.

List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant (aubergine), Cauliflower
List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle peppers
List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas


I was really excited to do this challenge because it reminded me of one of my favorite shows "Chopped" on Food Network.

I always thought the dessert round was the hardest and most exciting of the 3 rounds, so I decided to go for a dessert like item.

After mulling over the list (fortunately, I had a whole month instead of 20-30 minutes like the "Chopped" chefs),  I decided to go with parsnips, goat cheese, and maple syrup as my chosen ingredients.

My dish: Goat cheese and Jam filled Parsnip Buns.

The bread recipe I used is similar to a potato bread recipe, but subbing boiled and mashed parsnips for the potatoes and maple syrup for the sugar. I also read about a Japanese method of bread baking that helps keep bread soft and moist called "tangzhong," so I decided to implement that into my bread as well.

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Jam filled Parsnip Buns

Parsnip Buns


1/2 cup water
1/6 cup flour

Whisk together the cold water and flour (there should be no lumps) and cook over low heat (stirring all the time) until the temperature reaches 149ºF or until the spoon you’re stirring with leaves a trace. The mixture should have the consistency of something between crème anglaise and pastry cream. Leave to cool down to room temperature.

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup boiled and mashed parsnip
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
All of the tangzhong
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)


4oz log of goat cheese
1 jar of strawberry jam (you won't be using the whole container)


1. Combine the flour, salt, maple syrup and instant yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center. Add in all wet ingredients: milk, egg, mashed parsnip, and tangzhong. Fit the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer and begin mixing on medium speed and knead until your dough comes together and then add in the butter and continue kneading.  Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not too sticky on the surface and elastic.

2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil.  Place dough into  greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and punch down. Divide into 10 equal pieces, rolling each into a ball (I find a kitchen scale very helpful for this). Working with one ball at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll dough into a 5-inch circle.

4. Place about 1 1/2 teaspoons each goat cheese and strawberry jam in the center of the circle. Carefully fold the edges of each round up and around the filling.  You can't get any of the filling on the edge or it simply won't seal.  Pinch all of the edges together and seal as well as possible (although be careful to not strech the dough too thin on the filling side...).

5. Place buns, seam side down, on a baking sheet coated lightly with cooking spray (or use parchment paper). Tuck ends under and cover. Repeat until all the buns are prepared this way.

6. Lightly coat formed buns with cooking spray, cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Out of the oven
 These were such a success. The buns themselves were soft and sweet and the filling gooey and yummy.


  1. It is so fun to see everyone's clever interpretations of this month's challenge. I used parsnips, goat cheese & maple syrup also, but it didn't look as good as this :-)

  2. Delicious spin on the challenge! I'm finding I now love goat's cheese with everything so I can imagine how amazing your recipe must taste :)

  3. What an interesting and cool recipe you came up with! I really like how you thought outside the box and chose to do a dessert. Nice job on the challenge!


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