Friday, December 31, 2010

Apple Bretonne Tartlets

I saw this recipe in the bookstore (Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours by Sarabeth Levine and Rick Rodgers) and hastily copied it down because it looked so delicious. I was so excited to use our new tartlet pans. Before we just use old pie tins and it's always so difficult for the pie to look pretty...problem solved now!

almond tart dough recipe

Apple Filling:
4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
Seeds from 1/2 Plumped Vanilla Bean

Vanilla Cream:
3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the almond topping)
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
Seeds from 1/2 Plumped Vanilla Bean
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at soft room temperature
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Almond Topping:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 cups sliced natural almonds, toasted

Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. line eight 3-3/4 by 3/4-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms with the dough. Pierce the bottom of each tartlet in a uniform pattern with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Place the tartlet pans on a half-sheet pan. Line each with a round of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the pastry is set and dry but not beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Remove the parchment paper and the weights. Let cool.

Meanwhile, mix the apples, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes. Transfer the apples to a large colander set over a medium bowl and drain the excess juice. Return the apples to their bowl. Stir in the flour and vanilla seeds.

To make the vanilla cream, using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg yolks, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla seeds in a small bowl until thickened and light in color, about 2 minutes. Add the butter, then the flour, and beat until very pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

To make the almond topping, whisk the egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Whisk in the sugar. Add the almonds and mix gently with your hands (which work better than a spoon for this job) until the almonds are well coated; take care not to break the almonds. Set aside.

For each tartlet, using a tablespoon, place the vanilla cream in the cooled shells. Spread evenly with a small offset spatula. With an ice-cream scoop, add apple filling to each tartlet, leaving the filling mounded. Using your hands, spread the almond topping thinly and evenly over the apples, masking the apples as best you can. Place the tartlets on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper to catch any drips that might occur.

Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the crusts are golden brown and the tartlets feel firm when gently pressed with your finger in the center, about 30 minutes.
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mixed Berry Pie with Ginger, Orange, and Almond Streusel

First time making a berry pie. I was tired of chocolate and rich desserts and found this very refreshing. From Epicurious.

Pie Crust:
Almond Tart Dough

Streusel topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds

5 cups fresh berries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Pie Crust:
Bake 15 min 350 degrees

Streusel topping:
Blend flour, sugar, crystallized ginger, orange peel, and salt in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, blend until coarse crumbs form. Blend in milk (mixture will resemble moist coarse crumbs). Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Stir in almonds. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Gently toss blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, sugar, and orange juice in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Mix cornstarch and toss gently to coat. Transfer berry mixture to crust, mounding slightly in center. 

Bake 20 minutes. Remove pie from oven and reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over berry pie filling. Return pie to oven and bake until crust is golden brown and berry juices are bubbling thickly, about 25minutes.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake

Layer cakes take a really long time so Christmas was perfect since everyone could help out. I enlisted my sister as my sous chef. I combined Epicurious's Twelve Layer Mocha Cake, Joy of Baking's Chocolate Hazelnut Torte, and a Tiramisu recipe from a cookbook. Next time I'd probably leave out the souffle layer since it's similar to the cake layer and double the cream layer.

For cake layers (double everything):
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
3 ounces (170 grams)semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2-3 ounces (170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup granulated whitesugar(divided)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

For soufflé layers:
  • 6 ounces fine-quality 60%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

For meringue layers:
  • 2/3 cup hazelnuts (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For cream layers:
8oz container mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
heavy cream
Frangelico liquor

For cake layers:

Souffle Layers

Line second sheet pan with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate with water, then cool to lukewarm.

Beat yolks, salt, and 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes with a stand mixer or 8 minutes with a handheld. Fold in melted chocolate.

Beat whites with cleaned beaters until they hold soft peaks. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

Fold one third of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remainder gently but thoroughly. Spread batter evenly in lined sheet pan.

Bake until puffed and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack, then cover top of soufflé with 2 layers of damp paper towels. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove towels and cool soufflé completely in pan (soufflé will deflate as it cools). Sift cocoa over soufflé, then loosen edges with a sharp knife.

Halve soufflécrosswise, cutting through parchment, to form 2 (10-by 7 1/2-inch) layers.

Meringue Layers

Toast hazelnuts, then cool, wrapped in a kitchen towel, and rub off any loose skins. Reduce oven to 250°F.

Finely chop nuts. Beat whites with salt and cream of tartar using electric mixer until they just hold soft peaks. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until meringue is stiff but still glossy.

Line bottom of third sheet pan with parchment. Put small dabs of meringue under corners of parchment to secure to baking sheets.

Fold nuts into meringue and spread evenly in pan. Bake until set and pale golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Halve meringue crosswise, cutting through parchment, to form 2 (10-by 7 1/2-inch) layers. Return to oven and bake until crisp, 45 minutes to 1 hour more. Cool in pan, then peel off parchment.

Cream layers
Beat the mascarpone and confectioners' sugar. Stir in coffee.
Whip the cream and liquer til stiff peaks, Fold in mascarpone.

Cake assembly
Cut the torte, souffle, and meringue layers in half and aseemble alternating layers with the cream.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Hazelnut Crust

Adapted from Epicurious. This is a half batch recipe, and I was surprised it filled up one pan anyway... the the real one must make 2 cheescakes. The marshmallow topping look pretty and hides cracks but otherwise isn't neceassary (and I'm a whipped cream person anyway)

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Hazelnut Crust

1 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
1 cup hazelnuts
1/8 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger
5 tbps unsalted butter, melted

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3/4 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
2 extra large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 cup marshmallow
1/8 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/16 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream

Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with nonstick spray.

Grind cookie crumbs, pecans, brown sugar, and ginger in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add butter; using on/off turns, process to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; press onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan. Bake crust until set and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating on low speed to incorporate each addition. Add flour, spices, and salt; beat just to blend. Beat in vanilla.
Transfer filling to cooled crust. Bake until filling is just set in center and edges begin to crack (filling will move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool 1 hour. Run knife around sides of pan to release crust. Chill cheesecake uncovered in pan overnight.

Topping: Stir marshmallows and milk in medium saucepan over low heat until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Cool marshmallow mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Add sour cream to marshmallow mixture; fold gently just to blend. Pour topping over cheesecake and spread evenly, leaving 1/2 inch uncovered around edges. Chill to set topping, at least 1 hour.

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Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

My dad is kind of obsessed with these cookies. They were so good I regretted just half batching them as they ran out so quickly. I didn't have any toffee and added extra hazelnuts. From Giada de Laurentis.


1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces English toffee candy (recommended: Heath or Skor bar)1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, and chopped
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Finely chop the oats in a food processor. Transfer the oats to a medium bowl. Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the toffee, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips.

For each cookie, drop 1 rounded tablespoonful of dough onto sheet, spacing 1-inch apart (do not flatten dough). Bake until the cookies are golden (cookies will flatten slightly), about 15 minutes.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Honey Walnut Prawns

Originally posted 12/12/10
Recipe updated 9/14/13

Made this with two friends a while back and made it again for B. Whenever we go to any Chinese restaurant he ALWAYS orders this dish, so he keeled over when I told him I could make it.

We made the batter and sauce and coated as many shrimp as possible since I like very little batter. This recipe is definitely healthier than what you get at buffets and even more delicious... you've gotta eat it fresh. Adapted from Allrecipes.

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup walnuts
3 egg whites
1/3 - 1/2 cup mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
2 lbs large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup mayonnaise (can substitute up to 1/8 cup with plain Greek yogurt)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canned sweetened condensed milk (or substitute honey)
vegetable oil for frying

Stir together the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the walnuts. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain and place walnuts on a cookie sheet to dry. Optional: Bake in oven until crispy, about 10 mintues

Whip egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Stir in the mochiko (add more if necessary) until it has a pasty consistency. 

Heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat. Dip shrimp into the mochiko batter, and then fry in the hot oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with chopsticks and drain on paper towels.

In a medium serving bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, honey and sweetened condensed milk. Add shrimp and toss to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle the candied walnuts on top and serve.
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Gingerbread Men

We always decorate sugar cookies for Christmas but we're not really into eating them. I wanted to try gingerbread men since they look so cute. I realized I've never eatn gingerbread before, though I feel like I know the taste. These looked and smelled amazing, though I would add more spices for a stronger kick next time. From Joy of Baking.

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup unsulphured molasses

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated. Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease pans. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies. Bake about 10 min when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown.
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