Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cakes and mix and match

I've been breading it up big at home lately - I realize just how much I seriously love to make breads.... But on the other hand I've also been playing around with cake ideas. I have my final quarter coming up at school early next year and I have a project called "Chef Of the Day" and I have to make a tart, a breakfast pastry, a chocolate (or a petis four), a bread, and a cake. Needless to say I'm worried about the cake portion as I feel it's something that I haven't really done much of.

As I've been learning more this quarter about cakes I've been liking them a whole lot more. There are so many variations to make, not only that but you can take parts of one cake you like and apply it to another one - it's really easy to integrate, and mix and match.

This cake is one I've been thinking about for a few weeks, sort of a baklava cake: the base is a walnut sponge, this is covered in a honey syrup. On top of this is a roasted pistachio and vanilla bavarian, then a layer of praline, and then a milk chocolate and honey yogurt mousse. I was pretty happy with the way it came out. I do need to work on presentation (it's a tad bland in looks), and also I'm going to change the bavarian layer to a roast hazelnut layer, but it's not bad. Al
so, all the layers are from different recipes, just proving you can make whatever you like as long as you have the basics down (ie. know how to make a sponge, a mousse and a bavarian).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hearty Breads

Oh beautiful grainy, hearty breads I seriously like you. I think it's something that I have learned the more I make breads, the more I like some substance to them. For me, this means grains. Some serious grains at that. Lately I've been 'oohing' and 'ahhing' over rye. Not rye the flour so much as cracked rye. It has this lovely nutty flavor and a beautiful soft/chewy texture that I adore.

I've made a ton of bread at school: rye baguettes (the photo on the bottom of this post), dreikornbrot (the first photo. It has flax, rye chops, sesame and oats), a rosemary levain bread (which looked more like a roasted potato than a loaf of bread but was amazingly tasty and moist) miche, sunflower and rye bread, plenty of baguettes (ranging from straight dough to many preferment's), pumpernickel bread (takes 24 hours in the oven in order to get the color and taste that pumper has! AND it's basically all rye chops [cracked rye soaked with water]) and many more fabulously grainy breads.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chocolates

I've been making chocolates lately. A lot of hard work, but I'm really enjoying it. Chocolate is challenging due to the finicky nature of sugar crystals - in order to make a pretty chocolate that has a beautiful shiny coat, with snap and an interesting filling. I've been loving the booze thing - all these exotic (at least to me) liquors such as St Germain (Elderberry), Pernod (seriously strong black licorice) and Absinthe (which I like to call "Van Gough" - just a really strong Pernod with a stronger 'chemicalness' to it).

I made Advocaat as well - it's an egg based liquor (egg yolks, brandy, condensed milk and vanilla bean) which I made into a ganache using white chocolate and filled dark chocolate molds. Chocolates are something I have really enjoyed. So watch out all you people I know (and like!) you may be getting some experimental choc's for xmas!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pink Macaroons

I finally found a good recipe. One that really works - consistently works. An Italian meringue base (egg whites whisked until bubbly, then add soft ball stage sugar water slowly down into the egg whites while whisking) adds stability. Cook in a convection oven (low around 160C), cook until you can pick up the macaroons freely off the sheet pans.

Small things make all the difference! Macaroons are so fickle it's awfully nice to find a reliable recipe!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

At School

I'm at school again. Busy, busy and seriously busy. I will try and post - I am taking picts of what I'm working on there it's just a matter of posting them!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Caramelized Fennel Tart

Ok, not the prettiest tart, and admittedly not the best I've had either. I do however, give this guy some points for using fennel. How many people really use fennel? How many people realize that the taste dramatically changes when it's cooked for a long period of time and is allowed to slowly caramelize? Let me tell ya, it changes. It becomes a really mellow flavor, very subtle. This one has been slowly cooked on a stove top for around an hour with olive oil, an onion and a few bulbs of fennel.

I remember when I had to travel into uni on the train. Fennel would grow wild next the railroad tracks. I always wondered if anyone actually picked it. At that time, I had no idea what I would use it for, nowadays I have a few ideas.

Oh! I was wondering if anyone else has noticed how much fruit surrounds them? I noticed plums in a local public park, no one picked them but the birds. I also saw a giant apple tree in an apartment complex, a fig tree on capitol hill (they are looking mighty ripe right now), there are blackberries a few hundred meters up my street... we need some sort of program that allows people to pick some of the bounty (of course I already obliged this with the blackberries a few weeks ago...)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Plum Danish

Although Tricia did bring plums over they were prune plums, and I happened to see some beautiful duarte plums at the market that very same week. These were a deep red plum, very fragrant. Little did I know that they had a beautifully sweet, ruby red flesh on the inside.

This is a simple Danish dough, cut into flower shapes. The filling consists of almond cream and the fresh pulp of the plums - no sugar added.

Danish's are such a simple pastry, and I think that as the base is simple the fillings should be simple. I like the taste of butter - and I like the taste of butter in these guys.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Simple Plum Tart

Yes, some more plums. Once again from the lovely Tricia.

I've taken to making tart dough like there's no tomorrow and just keeping it in the freezer until I have a filling to put in it. Once again this tart relies on the fruit to do it's best in flavoring the tart. It's a simple pate sucre, I put panko on the base to soak up the juice left by the plums, and then layered the plums.

No this wasn't as easy as I'm making it sounds...I had to do it twice. On the way to the oven I managed to hit the oven door and the pieces managed to stay within the tart, but completly lop sides. It looked rather good actually.. I figured it would be kinda weird to eat a tart that had nothing on one side and everything on the other. So I rearranged them again.

I sprinkled the top with cinnamon, sugar and cardamon, baked it. Glazed it with some apricot glaze and that was it.

It was a tart sweet tart. I should have precooked the base longer than the 10 min I did as it was a smidge unstable. But otherwise it was pretty alright.

Plum Scrolls

wow, its been a while!

A friend bough a ton of plums the other week - I mean seriously a lot. They were Italian prune plums. And so she made her way out to my place and we thought we'd see how much we could use.

These babies were inspired by a german plum cake. This usually means a very simple cake made with yeast dough, rolled out to fit a baking sheet and then plums layered on top.
We used the same yeast dough, rolled it out into a rectangle, slathered it with melted butter, sprinkled on some sugar and cinnamon, scattered some plum chunks. They were finished with a simple vanilla icing.

So very good, and very seasonal!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nectarine Tart

I'm not usually a huge fan of nectarines, always been more of a peach lady myself, however it is the end of summer fruit season (sniff sniff) and so I thought I needed to use some nectarines.

This is a simple tart that relies on good, fresh nectarines that are at the peak of their season.

It has a simple almond cream base, with fresh nectarines cut, and arranged on top. That's it.

It smelled amazing, the texture was really nice, soft - like apricots from a can, but a lot more fragrant.

A tart I would make again.

Chocolate Stout Cake and No Cake Decorating Skills

So this may seems like an innocent cake - one with a whole lotta chocolate, a splash of booze and a bit of caffein. But this guy drove me to the end of my tether.

Easy to make, this cake sounded interesting because of the beer content - I was curious what kind of flavor and/or texture it would add to the cake. When I tried the batter (as you must) I could taste the beer, yet when I baked it, there really wasn't anything yet. The cake was a not-quite-chocolate cake. But not quite sure what it was kinda cake.

Whatever right? Just ice it and send it off.
I tried. I tried for maybe an hour and a half, and learned a very very good lesson. It takes time to ice a cake... specifically to ice it nicely. My forearms physically hurt - still.

Kudos to all of you people who can ice (you know who you are Wendy, Sarah N). It's something I really need to work on.

The recipe for the cake and icing is from: Octobers Bon appetit:http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2009/10/chocolate_stout_layer_cake_with_chocolate_frosting

Monday, September 14, 2009

Concord Grape Tart

I've been thinking about this tart for about a year. I first met the concords at a farmers market last Autumn. They looked pretty - like large blueberries, but they smelled of my childhood.....specifically a bubble gum I used to have a s a kid. So ate them. Then looked for them the next week at the market, but alas they had finished for the season. That day I vowed to exploit the grapes the next year.

All the grape tarts I looked at seem to begin the same way: pop the middle part of the grape out and save the skins.

Ingredients
Concord Filling
1 1/2 lbs. concord grapes
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. potato starch
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Oat Crumble
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cuptightly packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
not quite 1/2 cup of flour
1/4 cup unsalted better - melted

1 Tart base (mine was a pate sucree)

Method (preheat oven to 375F)
1. Wash the grape and gently squeeze the internal part of the grape into a bowl, keep the skins in a separate bowl.
2. In a small saucepan place the internal part of the grapes and boil for around 10 min.
3. Put them in a sieve over a bowl and using the back of a spoon squish the grapes until most of the pulp has been transferred to the bowl below.
4. empty the contents of the bowl into a medium saucepan, add the skins, sugar and melted butter. In a small bowl place the potato starch and lemon juice and stir until well combined (you may need to add a little extra water to make a paste). Add the paste to the grape mixture and stir to combine.
5. Heat over medium heat until slightly thicker.
6. Let cool a little
7. Meanwhile make the crumble. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the butter and using your finger tips mix until all the dry ingredients have been integrated.
8. In your tart base place some of the filling - fill it up around 3/4 full. Then sprinkle your crumble on top.
9. Bake for around 45 min, but check for the setting of the tart - the consistency should be like that of a thick jam.
10. Let cool to room temp and serve.

A very good tart - a little tart, very nice with the sweet crust of the sucree. Also a slightly sweetened whipped cream works very nicely!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Naan

I adore Indian food; its complexity, warmth, the fact that you can eat it all with your hands. I have made naan before. Unfortunately, it wasn't a great experience.

At school when you are 2nd quarter you are in charge of supplying the bread rolls and other such sundries the schools restaurants require. The week I was doing my bread rotation just happened to be the week when they were doing a middle eastern/ Indian theme. All I remember is standing by the sheeter (a mechanical rolling pin essentially) and making flat breads for what felt like hours. Under stress - because they wanted the bread now.

But, I went to dinner at Tricia and Tim's place and well, it was Tim's birthday and he requested naan, so I had to make it!

It was alright. A little dry - I like my naan moist and filled with pannier- which I din't use in this naan. A really easy bread to make though, only requires one fermentation (rather then two) and has a little zing due to the yogurt used.

It was a good accompaniment for all the delicious Indian food we had made - so that means success for me.

It's really is funny though, how I'm never satisfied with what I make. It's never perfect. It can be 'alright' or 'pretty good' but usually not brilliant (note the exception below this post the tomato, mozzarella tart - go and buy yourself -if you are in the Northern hemisphere, some beautifully ripe tomatoes, some good buffalo mozzarella and make the tart tonight).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Raspberry and Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

A friend had their birthday last week, and he loves chocolate. I wanted to make something that I hadn't made before, something that used both fruit and chocolate. This tart seemed like the answer. It is a simple tart made with very high grade ingredients.

A simple ganache made with a bittersweet chocolate with 72% cacoa, raspberries were squished on the bottom, the ganache poured over the top and then a little decoration and that was it.

I simply used some left over bittersweet chocolate and a hand made chocolate piping bag (made with parchment paper) to pipe the decoration onto a sheet of parchment which I then froze.

Simple, rich, elegant. Recommended - a heavy dose of sweetened whipped cream on the side.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mozzarella and Fresh Tomato Tart

Amazing. Seriously, really damn amazing. So very simple as well. This tart consists of a pate brisee base, dijon mustard smeared over the top, gruyere on top of that and then beautifully fresh tomatoes are placed between layers of buffalo mozzarella.

Over all of this olive oil infused with thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, garlic and salt and pepper. Bake.

Amazing. I can't really say anymore. A great tart that I will be making many summers from now.

Creme Fraiche and Berries Tart

A tasty tart, but when I made it it was a rather ugly tart. It has a simple pate sucree base, some blackberry jam on the base, blueberries and raspberries are then placed on top. On top of al this you make a blackberry compote and pour that on top, pour on the creme fraiche and broil in your oven until it looks like a creme brulee.

It was a popular tart (although I did forget to put the blackberry compote into the tart but served it on the side). And it was a savory/sweet tart that requires very ripe, fresh fruit for it to really be any good.

I want to make my own creme fraiche next. I just found a recipe for it, and i have a recipe to use it in...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rhubarb

I adore rhubarb, and the amount of rhubarb I use is pretty good evidence of this. It's in season all summer long and pairs well with strawberries raspberries, lemon or simply sugar. So a couple of the tarts I've made lately have rhubarb in them. The bottom one is simply rhubarb + strawberry + kirsch and some whipped cream.

The top one is a vanilla tart with rhubarb infused with lemon zest and a few left over raspberries. A really tart tart.

Easy as pie (tart) really!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ice Cream

I'm holding onto the thought that it is still summer (despite watching the trees beginning to turn all shades of red) and so I've proceeded to make a bunch of ice cream of late. I made a peach honey ice cream from Dorie Greenspan 'Baking From My Home to Yours - result = so so. A little hard when frozen, not enough peach taste despite having both fresh and cooked peaches in it. I made a fabulous greek yogurt ice cream - the flavors are cream and butter... Really amazing and texturally good (for the recipe see: http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2009/09/greek_yogurt_ice_cream).
Yesterday I made a rum and roasted walnut ice cream. All signs are positive on this one - smooth texture, a serious punch of rum and the crunch of walnuts (from chez panisse dessert book). Finally I made a clove ice cream to go with a rhubarb strawberry tart that I'm making (once again from chez panisse desserts).

I wonder about the difference in recipes though. Some use half and half, other use whole milk, some like the liquor raw (no burning/heating/cooking) others like to have it cook off. Mostly I'm curious about the milk part mostly - about how the fat content effects the texture. The greek yogurt one was lovely and smooth (and it lasted a while being that way) and I imagine this is in part the result of having not only milk and cream but also the yogurt. So why not always up the fat content? Why not always use half and half instead of milk?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blackberries

I live on a street that boarders a public park area. It is seriously infested by what we in Australia call prickles. Here in America I've noticed that they aren't really called that, instead they are called blackberries after the fruit, rather then the thorns.

I've been eyeing them off for a while, and as I've been riding my bike past the bushes laden with heavy ripe berries I've seen a lady come by and pick a whole bunch of them. This week I decided to do the same. Once again, my berry picking accomplice was Tricia (of the blueberry escapade last week). We picked around 2.5 pounds. I started using them straight away as they were gorgeously ripe. I simply rinsed them in cold water, tossed them with a bit of sugar (not much was needed to be honest) and then made a crumble with oats for the top. Baked them and voila! Breakfast for the next few days!

Note to self = blackberries are in most of August... at least that's when the lady has been picking them....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kirche Mousse

I've been playing around with a mousse recipe I have. It has a serious amount of kirche and a bit of vanilla. I adore it because it packs a serious punch. I'm thinking of using it in a cake (the recipe for the mousse comes from a cake - but I wasn't brilliantly happy with the cake when I did make it). I'm thinking of using a recipe for a shortbread type cookie with a bunch of salt in it as the base - maybe a sponge with kirche soaked cherries or cranberries as another layer or maybe a cherry/cranberry gellee layer and then some more mousse. But I'm not sure yet.

For the top one it was simply put in a mold with the salty short bread cookie, the one in the wine
glass had mousse with layers of the cookies crumbled, and another layer of kirche soaked tart cherries.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

I love oats. Seriously I love the texture (gritty and dense) and I adore the flavor (earthy and nutty).... and I had blueberries so I made blueberry muffins with sweet little gold muffin tins protecting their bottoms.

I used the recipe from: http://www.recipezaar.com/Blueberry-Oatmeal-Muffins-44023

I found they are a smidge dry, so next time I may add more blueberries (or more butter when I eat them...). But I have a whole lotta blueberry muffins frozen in the freezer ready to be defrosted and microwaved at my leisure!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blueberry Shortcakes

I haven't tried making the American 'Biscuit' before. But I thought that I would give it a go this week, and an attempt to make blueberry shortcakes. The biscuit recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking from my home to yours' and mostly involves a ton of butter and a light touch. They did turn out well though, buttery, tender and flaky.

For the blueberries I simply heated them in a small saucepan, added some sugar and some blueberry liquor and then reduced them so that they were pretty congealed.

The cream is whipped with sugar and a bit of marzipan liquor.
Overall a good tasting dessert, very simple, very clean and a little boozy. Pretty god by my books!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blueberries - In Season Now

Tricia called me up and asked excitedly if I'd like to go pick blueberries with her the next day. Of course I'd love to so off we went. There is a farm down the road from where she lives. We aren't talking a rural gal' here either she lives downtown in a 'mini city' just outside of downtown Seattle. Needless to say, I was pretty impressed by this farm.

I grew up listening to the nostalgic talk of my Nana telling me about her childhood in Germany and how she had picked blueberries off the bushes in the forest near her house. One year mum decided she would get Nana a pair of blueberry bushes so she could in essence, re-live her youth. She loves those bushes, covers them with nets and picks the berries in the morning so she can make cakes with them.

The bushes we picked from were not the cute, baby bushes Nana has but scraggily bushes taller then I. Easier to pick let me tell you!

So we picked a bunch of blueberries, and I've been attempting to use mine ever since.

Note to self: August = Blueberry Month

Friday, July 10, 2009

Deniz's Birthday Desert: Brownies and Caramel Ice Cream

Once again, I won't be here for my good friend Deniz's birthday later this month. But I'm also seeing her today and knowing that she loves caramel and she always orders brownies when we go out I thought I would make her a brownie with lots of walnuts, and a caramel ice cream.

The brownies are rich and dark, rather sweet and nutty. They need a tall glass of milk to balance them out... or some ice cream! And it's hot... so ice cream is always better then milk when it's summer!

The ice cream recipe (amazingly good - great texture - dense and rich) is from Tartelettes blog http://tartelette.blogspot.com/2009/07/recipe-chocolate-torte-caramel-ice.html and the brownie recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home To Yours" and it's the 'classic brownie'.

Lisa's Tart: Lemon Cream And Blueberries

It's Lisa's birthday in August - but I won't be here to bake for her. I'm seeing Lisa today so I thought I would make her my favorite lemon cream tart (pate sucree and lemon cream) with some tasty, fresh and local blueberries from the local farmers market.

So simple, happy birthday Lisa!

Cherry Sorbet

It is cherry season, and as cherries are my utterly favorite fruit in the universe I decided to make a very simple sorbet from them.

A while back I read the book 'Animal Vegetable Miracle: A year of Food Life' by Barbara Kingslover This recipe (http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache%3AkzyPq7JAQcwJ%3Awww.animalvegetablemiracle.com%2FSorbet.pdf+cherry
+sorbet&hl=en&gl=us) is one of theirs as mentioned very simple, cherries, sugar and water are all that is required. where she and her family decided that they would spend a year living off the land. Meaning eating seasonally, living local and sacrificing things like bananas in order to stick to those goals. A pretty amazing and inspirational book. I want a garden....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Strawberry, Raspberry and Balsamic Vinegar

Yet another jam with strawberry's in it. This is a beautiful rich spread with strawberry's, raspberries, lemon, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Such a simple combo, but it leads to a really beautiful color and tasting spread.

Great on a rich rye, the flavor holds its own.

Away Again

I will be having a break in posts for a couple of months.

On the weekend I leave for a farm in Washington State that makes goat and sheep cheese. I'm looking forward to learning about how to make and cultivate cheeses of various varieties, how to live without internet(!) and hopefully getting back to and experiencing more nature as well.

Wish me luck!

Gateau de Crepes with Green Tea Cream

I had a couple of fellow bakers and the idea was we would whittle away the afternoon with board games and trying out some food. The invite stated something along the lines of 'bring a baked good that you've been trying out/ experimenting with'. I really always experiment so I thought I would continue with the theme. I saw this at Desserts Magazine http://tartelette.blogspot.com/2008/08/two-chocolates-some-salted-butter.html It's from the book:'Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes and Confections for Everyone' by Fran├žois Payard.

If you can roll out a ton of crepes in a small amount of time then let me tell you this is the recipe for you. If you can't then it's a labor of love...a seriously long, drawn out love. Let me tell you I spent over an hour making the crepes for this guy.

However, it is a visually stunning cake - all the lovely layers of brown contrasting with the vibrant green pastry cream (a light one - with the pastry cream being 'lightened' if you can call it that... with whipped cream). I tried the pastry cream without the added cream and it had a really intense matcha tea flavor. The interesting thing was, once you added the crepes and the whipped cream, the flavor wasn't really there anymore. It was lost - and only found at the end of a bite. Which, as I'm not a massive fan of matcha tea was a good thing.
The crepes themselves are infused with oran
ge zest which really dominates the flavor.

This is not a sweet treat - it is a rich treat. It's about the dense pastry cream and the rubbery crepes.
I adore the way it looks utterly ragged on the outside, and yet when you cut into it it looks amazingly organized.

Ravioli/Lasagna

I've been meaning to attempt home made pasta for years but have been too wimpy to give it a go. Once again the farm I went to was an inspiration - they made pasta and I got to watch and feel the dough. So when it came to making the dough at home I wasn't as scared of giving it a go. I made mini lasagna's and with a ricotta (homemade of course!) mushroom and thyme filling, as well as a sauerkraut filling.

The ravioli has a mushroom filling as well, but Josh added a bit of white wine as well.

Light Rye 60%

I adore rye bread. Something about the flavor adds a heartiness and depth that you simply can't achieve using white flour alone. This rye has caraway, a little dark rye flour and has a sourdough starter using some of the levain I've been faithfully keeping alive for the past few weeks. So it has a little added sourness to it, and the flavor gets better as the bread ages.

I like to call the style of cut I used on the bread "the comb over". From Hamelman.

Winter Sanity and Green Apple Pectin

I've been making an utter ton of jams, preserves and other fruity concoctions due to winter. Yes winter. It depresses me and in using the local delicious and oh so very in season fruits at the moment (note: cherries(!!!) and strawberries and soon to come raspberries) my theory is that when winter rolls around, then I will have some remnants of sunshine in the form of these preserves.

A lot of the jams using summer berries requires pectin which helps thicken the mixture as these tasty fruits don't have a large amount of pectin in them. I do use some powdered pectin but I'm really trying to use natural pectin donated by green apples instead. The idea is that the pectin derived from boiling down whole apples (simply quarter them and then put them in a pot just cover them in water and boil them slowly. Then strain the water - but make sure you keep it. Add some sugar and cook it down and then jar it. You should be good for pectin for a while) is enough to thicken a jam. I think it does. But the consistency is never that hugely dense, 'you can barely flick the stuff off a spoon' kinda thickness. Instead it's a soft gel. One that sometimes boarders on a syrup. But it's so good, and it's soaks your toast oh so well in it's sugar goodness.

Cherries and Preserving them

Cherries are my favorite fruit on earth. They are delectable when they are fresh and in season and local. Unfortunately the season isn't long enough for my liking so I decided to preserve some cherries in a sugar syrup with a bit of liquor added in. I made one set with rum and the other with brandy. I figure these beauties will be wonderful in tarts in winter.

The variety I used is called 'Tieton". They are mammoth, juicy and hold there shape well. I was talking to the people where I bought these pretties from, and they said they only have them for about 2.5 weeks per year. So sad. But I have a little treasure tucked away for the colder months.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rhubarb and Spiced Meringue Tart

Ok this one is kinda bizaare. And it's weirdly more savory then sweet. It is a simple base called a 'flaky pastry' which requires very little sugar and butter (I know rather disappointing). It was a really awkward base to roll as it required massive amounts of force to get it into a semblance of the shape/thickness needed. The taste was nothing either - very bland, and the texture when baked was tough, not one to repeat again despite it being so cheap (little butter + little sugar + AP flour instead of pastry flour + no eggs = very cheap indeed).

The middle part was chopped rhubarb with a flan cream/custard on top. Once again a really savory sort of middle bit - with no sugar added to the rhubarb - only in the flan cream - which really didn't have a lot considering the majority is rhubarb.

On top however was a lot of sugar in the form of a meringue. A simple meringue made with egg whites, a ton of sugar and the addition of nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper. Out of the whole tart this was my favorite part. I made mini macaroons out of the left overs. Very tasty.


Overall, if I were to make this tart again I would not use the sam
e base instead I would sweeten it up with a sucree. I also on the final product got carried away with a blow torch which I wouldn't do again (the photo's of the tart before it went in the oven and subsequently got torched by me later on). I really liked the top part (meringue) so I would make that again, maybe try it with another filling as well....

Monday, July 6, 2009

Macaroons: Choc Chip with Salted Caramel

I've been rather desperate lately to find the best recipe for macaroons - the french ones. You know the ones, all leggy on the bottom, slightly chewy yet crunchy. Yeah those, well I've had some issues with flavor and shape, and texture.

Usually they are too sweet. I can only handle a small one, and even then it may be too much for me. I've have also made flat pancake like macaroons that are bendable and bizarre looking.

These were little gems. They were nice in texture (chewy, yet a little crunchy), they were nice and small and I think the best thing about these guys was that they had a caramel filling.... I mean really how can you beat that?

I think the trickiest bit for me is the piping. I'm a little off, so I spent a while attempting to pair the macaroon halves with similar sized macaroon halves...
This recipe is from 'Desserts Magazine' a great mag
that is free online. It is from magazine issue #5. You can check out the recipe at: http://www.dessertsmag.com/desserts-magazine/issue5/. The recipe is by Gemmi Rizzzi and let me tell ya- this recipe works.

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