Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pillsbury Bake-Off Experiment-Apricot Brownie Granola Tort

Ever since I saw the double peanut butter cookie that won the $1 million dollar prize at the 2007 Pillsbury Bakeoff, I resolved to use all of my creativity to create the greatest, most un-deniable of all possibly Pillsbury Bakeoff recipes. There was one majorly glaring problem-I barely if ever ate Pillsbury products. But, I always want $1 million dollars so entered this year's contest I did. Because of my un-familiarity of the main product, most of my brilliant concepts ended up as failed experiments. I tried all kinds of dreamed-up dishes:
  • crab rangoon pizza
  • baked jalapeno poppers with ham
  • jelly-filled zeppoles
  • capicola and basil calzone
  • artichoke, bacon, and roasted red pepper pie
  • peanut butter and jelly granola bars
  • mocha hazelnut bread pudding
  • and a few others I can't recall (or am too embarrassed to admit to)
All of these experiments captured a few of the qualities of a qualifying recipe, yet they all lacked a certain overall awesomness to win a contest of this caliber. It wasn't until I thought I perfected the Apricot Brownie Granola Tort did I have a worthy Pillsbury Bakeoff Recipe. It is no secret that I love to make granola bars. I do it probably once a month because me and everybody I've given them to just love them. I wanted to incorporate my family recipe into a bakeoff submission, and since a brand of peanut butter was an optional, second, mandatory agreement I thought give it the old college try.

Below is my first incarnation of the tort I made for a Triolo family party:
I made the granola and the brownie separately and baked them both part way. The brownie was mixed just like the Pillsbury box says plus I added some nutella for flava. The brownie was baked in a 9'x4' round cake pan and the granola in a long baking sheet. My granola recipe is pretty standard, but I almost always change up what fruits and nuts I add. In this version, I added apricot halves from a can and a dried tropical fruit mix. I also added apricot real fruit spread to the melted peanut butter and honey mixture that holds the whole shabang together.

When the granola baked halfway, I took it out of the oven and started spreading a layer of the mixture on top of the partially baked brownie. Once I had an even level (or so I thought), I put it back in the oven for another 8 minute or so. The first incarnation pictured above I left the granola on top. In the second version, I used a larger amount of brownie and flipped the tort so the granola was on the bottom and acted as a crust. Instead of mixing the apricot real fruit spread into the granola, is the second version I spread it in between the brownie and granola to help the two stick together.

Also in the round 2, instead of just a flower of apricot halves on top I covered the tort because when eating the first version of this I kept wanted more fruit than just the itty-bit on top. I also toasted hazelnuts, chopped them in the food processor and sprinkled them on top.

In the end, I learned so much lusting after that $1 million dollar prize that I don't care about winning anymore (mostly because I am sure I won't). This final dish is complete in flavor, ease of preparation, and has an awesome overall visual appeal. Its different for a dessert because it incorporates a lot of healthful foods and hardly any unhealthy fats. The flavor is suprising with the sweet chocolate, tart apricots, and velvety peanut butter and honey of the granola. Even if this dessert doesn't make me rich, it made me happy to create and really that's prize enough.


The Duo Dishes said...

This is definitely innovative. Who woulda thunk? Nice submission!

Angie's Recipes said...

The idea of putting a layer of brownie half way on the baking is just inventive and the finished cake looks refreshing and delicious.

Ricardo said...

I love granola is lovely, and delicious, what a great use here. loved it :) xx

Post a Comment