Waiter, There Is Something In My Nutella Ravioli...!
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Yes, I know…it may sound weird but they were utterly delicious! What prompted me to venture into the world of dumplings, ravioli and other dough wrapped around a filling was this month’s installment of Waiter, There’s Something In My…Dumpling, hosted by Johanna from The Passionate Cook. The directives were very generous with the definition of "dumpling" so it enabled your little Tartelette to go ahead and make one of her favorites: Toasted Hazelnut Ravioli.
It all started one winter weekend that we hosted a crepe party with our neighbors and I made my favorite crepes by filling them with Nutella and smothering them with a Frangelico Caramel Sauce. After the guests were gone and our plates licked clean, I started looking for a way to make sweet ravioli. I have made pasta dough before, painstakingly rolling it out by hand since B. said no to a pasta machine (he likes his countertops bare…like that is possible with a baker in the house!!), so that process was not new to me. I love toasted and grilled everything and very often end up toasting leftover savory ravioli and topping my salads with some and some cubed mozzarella and freshly cut basil..yumm..But I disgress, this is a sweet blog after all…
The sweet ravioli dough comes together very fast in a food processor and beside the rolling (very thin) part, it is a cinch to make. I thought about serving them with a dark chocolate ganache on the side, but after everybody had a couple of bites, the general consensus was that the Frangelico caramel sauce was quite enough. It is a multi step recipe but the dough needs to rest for a couple of hours and up to one day. You can make it, roll it out, fill and boil the ravioli later on and toast them right before serving. They are great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and more caramel sauce drizzled on top!
Toasted Nutella Ravioli:
5 oz. semolina flour
1 ½ oz almonds
1 oz flour
1 oz. sugar
¼ cup to 1/3 cup milk
Put all the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the eggs and ¼ cup milk and pulse until the dough comes together. If it does not seem smooth, slowly add the remaining milk, one tablespoon at a time, until soft and smooth but not sticky. If your dough seems to wet, you can add some flour, one tablespoon at a time until it becomes a little dryer. The dough is versatile enough to let you play around until you get it to the right consistency.
Place it a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to one day.
When ready to use, roll it out very thin on a lightly floured surface. If you have a pasta machine, I’ll let you decide the setting since I am not familiar with them, but it want the dough to be paper thin. Cut out rounds with a cookie 3 inch cookie cutter, fill with a heaping teaspoon of Nutella. With a pastry brush, lightly brush some water around the edges, place another round of dough on top, smooth out any air pocket and seal gently with your fingertips.
Boil the ravioli like you would fresh savory ones, about 5 minutes, drain. At this point you can layer them in between sheets of parchment paper and refrigerate until you are ready to toast and plate them.
For the sauce:
Melt together 2 Tb. butter, 2 Tb brown sugar ad 2 Tb Frangelico until the sugar melts and the sauce becomes thick. Set aside.
Melt some butter in a sauté pan (or coat with cooking spray) and toast the ravioli until golden brown. Plate them and drizzle some caramel sauce over and enjoy!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
If you don't, be sure to stop by my house because we have more than we can wrap our stomachs around. Part of it is my fault, part is due to this month Daring Bakers challenge. Our mission given by Jenny and Freya was to make Real Honest Jewish Purist's Bagels. They were honestly good and since I made mini ones, twice, I ended up with a bunch...
Funny thing is that I had never had a bagel prior to moving to the US. I am sure you can find them in France but my catholic provencal background probably shunned me from knowing this delicacy. I made up for lost time, believe me! I love how versatile they are. We eat ours with sweet spread sor breakfast, pile halves with pizza topping, or use mini ones with snoked slamon and mascarpone for little munchies with friends. I like having a bagel around the house even if I won't eat all of it...it's bumpy smooth belly brings me comfort...I know I am weird...but if you know me you kow I am also the one who makes bread like crazy just for the smell and feel of it, even if I don't eat that much.
Toppings (I had 32 mini ones and free time so I played around), left to right, back to front:
Herbes de Provence, poppy seeds, bacon, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, coarse demerara sugar, cheddar cheese and maldon sea salt.
Our challenge was to follow it without changes so we could all compare notes. Seems like we all pretty much experienced the same things. For more reports, you can click on the side bar blog roll for Daring Bakers. All this to say that I had a blast making these and would make them again. Actually I did make them twice, just to see if the recipe would end up differently if halved. A few observations to keep in mind if you decide to try them: the dough was wickedly rising fast and high. Kneading does not take that long, about 8-10 minutes but do not skip this step. It's good for the nerves and it really helps the texture of your bagels in the end. When the time comes to shape your bagel, divide the dough in half and refrigerate the batch that you are not working on. The recipe mentionned that the bagels would sink to the bottom of the pot and then rise and float in the water. My first batch yielded about 32 mini ones, and only 10 sank, the rest nagged me by floating their little merry way ... Floaters or sinkers, they still tasted the same. I used all of the flour measurement, kneaded appropriately, respected rising times and still floaters. Same issue when I made them again a couple of weeks later and halved the recipe. I decided to go for the poke method to form them, and I had to push a rather large hole in the middle as the bagels had a tendency to swallow it back up upon their rising before their little trip in the water.
Thanks Jenny and Freya for a fun challenge. I will keep the recipe and make it again with some tweaking....I still want to make my bagels sink!
Since we eat them mostly at breakfast and since we are a mostly sweet household, these are some of the spreads we have with our bagels: mirabelles jam (yellow plums), cherry preserves, coconut honey and wildflower honey. Since I have so many bagels, I have been using them for mini sandwishes also with a spread of chive cream cheese, sprouts and some turkey slices.
Craving Grandma's Apricot Tart
Sunday, June 24, 2007
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup chilled (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2 Tbs ice water
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Place flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the ice water then the egg yolk, processing just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Place on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form into a disc. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.
Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream and White Chocolate Cardamom Tartlets
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I wish I could remember when I first heard about the Vietnamese coffee filters you see in the pictures. Was it in a magazine, on a food show on tv...dunno... All I know is that I thought they would be a great piece of conversation when time came to serve coffee to my guests. I love having friends over and to me plating foods in fun or interesting dishes is as much important as making or eating it. These work like mini French coffee presses, you just set them up on top of your cup or mug, pour some coffee into them, screw the lid and let the water drip. I have had them for about five years now and I use them constantly not only because they are fun, but they give the best coffee too.
In France, Asian food is very different than here and I remember going to more Vietnamese restaurants than Chinese or Thai, and as a kid I would automatically go for ice cream or fruits and not coffee to ed my meal. My parents would always end up their meal with a little cup of sake, the ladies' cups would have a little flower in the bottom and the men's the picture of a naked lady...don't ask me why, but we (the brother and I) thought that was truly hilarious especially around 7-8 years old. Anyway....no Vietnamese coffee in all my childhood years of eating Vietnamese foods...It was not until I got here to the US that "Roomie" introduced me to Vietnamese coffee and I have been hooked ever since! If you are a coffee drinker what not try this sweet but light combination of sweetened condensed milk topped with Vietnamese coffee or if you can't find it, a French roast or a coffee with chicory.
A couple of weeks ago, Old Chef and I were playing our favorite game: come up with new menu items for upcoming catering functions. B. thinks it is hilarious to watch us elaborate because we seem to have a language of our own, a mix of French and English, words flying across dishes and piles of notes, sketches of towering concoctions of sugar, butter, cream, fruits, nuts,... We love doing that over a good cup of coffee at the end of an event or after a long day on the phone placing orders and visiting purveyors. I knew he would like Vietnamese coffee as much as the filters necessary to make it and after a cup or two, we had come up with a couple of different desserts featuring it. These tartlets and ice cream are one of them....yes, you'll have to stay tuned for next week's second installment because today's dessert is not the one we decided we would keep in the end.
This one was not bad but the white chocolate ganache was overly sweet. Since we try to be cost effective, and we foresee people leaving half the tart on their plate even if we make them smaller, we decided to make another version. Don't get me wrong, the flavors are great: coffee, cardamom, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and work well together but the white chocolate is the overkill with a condensed milk sweetened Vietnamese coffee, no matter how powerful.
In the meantime, here is part one of our experiments:
Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream:
6 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can sweetenedcondensed milk
1/4 cup freshly ground French roast coffee
Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk to scalding with the groud coffee. Pour 1/3 hot milk over yolks, whisking constantly until well combined. Pour in remaining hot milk, then pour mixture back into saucepan and return to low heat. Stir constantly until mixture has thickened enough to coat back of wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the condensed milk. Strain in a fine mesh colander to filter out as much of the coffee grounds as possible. Let cool to room temperature, cover ad refrigerate until completely cold. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions.
For the Dark Chocolate Tartlets Dough:
1/4 cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
Place hazelnuts and 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar in food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, cocoa powder, ground nuts and salt on medium speed until well-combined. Slowly add remaining powdered sugar and flour and mix well. Slowly add eggs and mix until incorporated. Shape dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to use, roll in between sheets of plastic wraps and cut out rounds to fit 4 4-inch tartlet molds. Prick with a fork and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
For the Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache:
2 pods cardamom, crushed
1 cup heavy cream
12 oz white chocolate
Set the white chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream with the cardamom until very hot. Pour the cream over the white chocolate. Let sitfor a couple of minutes and stir until completely smooth. Pour into the cooled dark chocolate tartlet shells.and refrigerate until set.
To plate: make yourself a nice cup of coffee and serve the tartlets with a generous scoop if ice cream.
Note: I was going to post this tuesday night but decided to do a little roud of my favorite blogs and went right away to visit my girl Anita at Dessert First and stumbled upon her latest delectable creation: Chocolate and Vietnamese Coffee Tart ! I am not surprised anymore when Anita, Bea and I share a dessert with you guys and they are eerily similar in concept or taste (and believe me it has happened more than once!)....all 3 of us are Taurus!
Hazelnut Quince Tartlets, Tea Time Style
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Quinces are one of the fruits I miss the most since I moved to South Carolina. My mom used to make the best quince jelly and I remember freely spreading it on fresh bread, spooning it into my yogurt in the morning. Little did I know back then that I would have such a difficult time finding it here and that the mere thought of it would send me into severe nostalgia!
Marce's post a couple of weeks ago made me come up with these little tartlets. I could taste the quince in her tart right through the monitor screen. I left a comment saying that I had found quinces, but at $1.99 a quince (yes, you read right) I was really hesitating investing just to satisfy a nostalgic craving! Well, I broke down and bought one...yep, just one...It was small, but smooth and fragrant and my little orphan quince was nice enough to allow me to make 4 little tartlets, perfect for an afternoon tea.
I first thought about making quince tartlets after seeing a picture in this wonderful and magic book, La Cuisine des Fees. Each recipe is inspired by a dish featured in a well known fairy tale and here the character of the "King of tartelettes " in "L Oiseau de Verite" by E. Le Noble inspired beautiful round glistening quince tarts.
Well, the recipe required 4 plump fruits and my single quince needed to be stretched further than that! I made a hazelnut shortbread dough for the tartlets base and carefully sliced and roasted thin slices of the quince with some spices and in no time at all, I had the best four-bite snack, satisfying my craving and sending me back to the time I used to put a stool by the stove and help my mom stir the quince jam she was making.
Quince Tartlets, inspired by La Cuisine des Fees:
For the dough:
170 gr. flour (6 oz)
60 gr. powdered sugar (2 oz)
100 gr butter, at room temperature (3 1/2 oz)
1 egg white
40 gr skinned hazelnuts (3 1/2 oz)
pinch of salt
In a food processor, place the hazelnuts and powdered sugar and pulse until finely ground. add the flour, egg white, salt and butter and pulse until the dough just comes together. Gather into a ball, flatten it between two sheets of plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. This can be prepared the day before.
When ready to use, roll the dough out in between the sheets of plastic wrap as it becomes soft and sticky very fast. Cut out 4 inch rounds with a cookie cutter.
Bake at 350 F until light golden. Let cool while you prepare the quince.
Bake cookies with the remaining dough or save and freeze for another project.
For the roasted quince:
1 quince, cored, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 Tb butter
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 Tb brown sugar
Layer the slices in a baking dish, sprinkle with the spices and sugar. Add the butter into small pats all over. Roast at 350 F, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
To assemble: divide the quince slices evenly among the tartlet bases and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream would be great with it too!
You can be sure that the day quinces go on sale, this little Tartelette is stocking up!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
I can't believe I have waited this long to make "canneles" (ka-ne-lays), just because I did not have the proper canneles molds. This specialty tea cake from the region of Bordeaux is one of my all time favorites but when I moved to the US, those little shiny molds where not part of the "must have" items I took with me. Literary folks, I moved here with 2 suitcases full but not much from the home country. My parents have been filling the gaps and fulfilled my nostalgic demands with every visit they make but very soon after my moving here the craving started to hit really bad.
To fix my sweet tooth, I started baking them in muffin tins and small ramequins but I always hesitated posting about them, fearing "canneles" traditionalists and purists woud give me the evil eye and roll their shoulder in disappointment. Well, that was until I read this post by Melissa at The Traveler's Lunchbox. It made me realize that if something is good, does it really matter if the shape of the final product is different than the traditional? Isn't respecting the ingredients and baking method the most important?
How to describe a "cannele"...hmmm...that's kind of a tough one. Dark but not burnt on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The batter is like a thick crepe batter turning into a cake right before your very eyes while wrapping your senses in an intoxicating aroma of vanilla and rum. Do not wait to get the right molds to try these as the one you eat quickly becomes two and three and pretty much you forget they were supposed to make it to the neighbors' house (oops!). When the time came to make these the other day, I could not find my little blue notebook with all the recipes I had gathered before I left France and after looking at many recipes and variations for canneles, I finally settled on this one which gave me the most wonderful little morsels.
Makes 12 muffin sized ones
750 milk (2 1/2 cups)
50 gr butter (1 1/2 oz)
3 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
300 gr granulated sugar (10 oz)
1 Tb vanilla extract
6 Tb rum
150 gr all purpose flour (5 1/4 oz)
In a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, add the butter cut into dices. Mix well and let cool to lukewarm.
In a bowl, mix the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla and whisk until foamy. Slowly add the rum and flour. Add the milk slowly and whisk until smooth. Pass it through a sieve if neessary.
Let the batter rest in the fridge for a ouple of hours or overnight. (I make mine the day before)
When the batter has rested, preheat the oven to 425F and divide it evenly among the muffin tins, generously coated with cooking spray or well buttered. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
If you can wait, you will find that they are better the next day.
Apologies to all "canneles" purists but what is a girl to do when the cravings strike and cannot wait?
Berry Salad on Yuzu And Mascarpone Creams
Thursday, June 14, 2007
It is probably no news that I love berries, lemons, and mascarpone, but what I love when two bloggers give me the chance to put them together. Lisa from La Mia Cucina and Kelly from Sass & Veracity got together and concoted a Salad Extravaganza event in their quest to shrink their hips and thighs.
I first thought about doing a simple fruit salad with a drizzle of honey and lemon juice, maybe a dollop of barely sweetened whipped cream. However, after several email exchanges with Lisa and her desire to keep the taste and bang factor while watching what she eats, I wanted to share with her that one can keep that "wow" factor by using regular ingredients but decreasing the portion size. I too have had my battle with my thighs and over the years I have found out that they respond well the old "quality over quantity" phrase (although I have been known to have my cake and eat it too!).
I first tried yuzu in a tart purchased from the amazing pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki while in Paris last Christmas. How to describe the taste? Sometimes it is like a grapefruit or a perky tangerine in your mouth, sometimes it has a lemon kick to it, the kind that makes you gums go "ouyee" overall it just is plain good if you love citrus! I cannot find fresh yuzu fruits here but thanks to the internet the juice is easily accesible.
These "verrines" are a dessert we have often as it is light and tasty, easy to put together and extremely refreshing. Don't tell be but I even enjoy a few spoonful in the morning before my run. With the yuzu juice, I make a simple (lower calorie) curd that I layer with a mascarpone cream spiked with lemon zest. The berries don't really need anything else as you dip your spoon and mix them with the creams.
Berry Salad on Yuzu and Mascarone Creams:
For the yuzu curd:
2/3 cup yuzu juice
1/3 cup sugar
Combine the sugar and juice in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs until light.
Beat some of the yuzu mixture into the eggs to temper. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook stirring constantly until it thickens up, about 5 minutes.Strain and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap until ready to use.
For the mascarpone cream:
8 oz mascarpone, at room temp
1/4 cup powdered sugar
grated zest of one lemon
Mix all the ingredients together and keep at room temperatue, it will be easier to layer.
For the mixed berry salad:
1 cup cut up fresh strawberries
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
To assemble: layer the yuzu curd and mascarpone cream in glasses or cups and top with a generous amount of the mixed berry salad.
Lemon Blueberry Tartlets...Such A Steal...
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Why were these cute little tartlets a steal? As soon as Meeta posted the round up for her Monthly Mingle Birthday Bang, I started going through each post, each time more tempted than the next, (such beautiful creations), until I stumbled upon Asha's Strawberry Yogurt Pie.
I don't particularly like baked or cooked strawberries, unless in jams or preserves, and I had an abundance of blueberries and plenty of yogurt, so the decision to include them into our sunday brunch spread was easy.
Old Chef liked them so much that he wants "plenty" , which in his world means anywhere from 100-200, for an event next week....arghhhh!
The pie is easy to put together, has great flavor and very versatile as far as ingredients used. I made mini tartlets instead of mini ones since we already had plenty to share and the cute factor certainly helped make the table a little bit more inviting but feel free to make one large pie. Either way you will not be disappointed!
Lemon Blueberry Tartlets, adapted from Asha:
For the crust:
6 Tb butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
grated zest of one lemon
In a food processor, combine the butter and sugar. Add the egg and blend well. Combine the flour, lemon zest and baking powder and mix them into the wet ingredients to form a soft dough.With flour-dusted fingers, pat the sticky dough into the bottom of a pie pan or individual tartlet molds. Push the dough up to cover the sides of the pan.
Refrigerate until you make the filling.
For the filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen.
Mix all the filling ingredients except the blueberries until smooth.
Put the berries into the pie shell or mini ones and gently pour the fillings so the berries are coated and evenly distributed.
Bake for 50 or 60 minutes, at 350 until the crust is lightly golden and the custard has set.
For the mini ones, 30 minutes were plenty.
Cherry and Coconut Coffee Cake
Sunday, June 10, 2007
As I am writing this there is only one piece left of this delectable coffee cake. We had company over this morning and the six of us practically devoured it all. It took all the persuasion in the world to save this little piece for a photo opportunity. "Good" would be a small word to describe it...it brought silence to a table of people mighty hungry after a boating excursion.
I usually have a brioche ready for sunday brunches, either toasted with butter or turned into French toast, but I kept seeing coffee cakes popping on a couple of blogs and my stash of fresh cherries was demanding some attention, other than clafoutis or muffins.
I fell in love with coffee cakes a few months after moving to the US. What's not to love in a cake filled with spices or fruit and topped with shortbread crumbs? What's no to love in a cake so versatile that you can adapt it to the seasons ans have any time of the day? Made with coffee or served during coffee breaks, it seems to have taken a life of its own regarding ingredients much like creme brulee has its variations.
I figured that there was only a few authorities capable of giving me the "perfect" recipes, and I turned to our trusted Dorie Greenspan for ideas. I adapted her original recipes to fit the ingredients I wanted to use and since I am still on my coconut and cherry kick, well, here they are again!
Cherry and Coconut Coffee Cake, adapted from Dorie Greenspan
For the crumb topping:
5 Tb unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup almond, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Put all the ingredients, minus the nuts in a food processor and pulse until it forms coarse crumbs. Put into a bowl, sit in the nuts , cover and refrigerate while you prepare the cake.
For the cake:
2 cups, fresh pitted cherries (can use frozen, not thawed)
2 cups plus 2 tsp. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
grated zest of one lemon
6 Tb. butter, room temp
1 tsp. coconut extract
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup grated unsweet coconut
Toss the cherries with 2 tsp. flour and set aside.
Combine the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and grated coconut together.
With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together with the lemon zest. Add the eggs, one at a time and add the coconut extract. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure it is all combined. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the the flour mixture and coconut milk alternately, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
Gently stir in the cherries.
Pour the mixture in a 8x8 inch square baking dish lined with foil and coated with cooking spray. Spread the top with the crumb topping.
Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes back clean.
I have to say that this is one cake I am looking forward to make on a weekly basis and adapt it to whatever I have in the fridge or pantry.
I hope it will make a nice addition to Rosa's Sunday Brunch Event .
Pink Tagada Macarons
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Pink macarons, ok...but what is "tagada" you may ask. "Fraises Tagada" is one of my childhood favorite candies, and it is pink, and it is good and it makes me giddy like a kid again. I just like saying the name over and over! Since I introduced B. to the line of Haribo candies, the licorice rolls and "fraises tagada" have become his favorites, so it was no surprise that when we came back from Christmas with my parents in France that we had several bags tucked away in our suitcase. I thought we had gone through all the stash when I found a bag that had fallen behind my pastry box. The candy is like little pink pieces of strawberry flavored marshmallows.
I know I said May was the month of things pretty and delicate but when you read the reason why I made these, you will understand.
I started thinking about these ever since I saw Requia' post about a pink event to support the fight against breast cancer. I wanted to make them very pink and very giddy...Well, yeah I am weird: just looking at them makes me happy, feels me with hope and the color even calms me down. I put it in the back of my mind until Bea's savory pink "verrines" reminded me it was high time I cranked up the mixer.
Cancer makes no distinction of gender, reace, age and social status. We live with cancer, know somebody with it and hold the hands of too many friends going through the same thing. Cancer is global, cancer is universal...so is hope, so is the fight against it. A few weeks ago I participated in Barbara's yellow event for LiveStrong Day, and today I want to pay tribute to all the women and men devasted by breast cancer.
I also wish to pay tribute to my grandma who found out in her early 8os (yes, you read right) that she had breast cancer. When her doctor suggested biopsies, exams, breast removal and what not, she looked at him straight in the eyes and said "you're crazy...let me live". AH!!! And there you have it, my grandmother in a nutshell...and the essence of the way I lead my life. She passed away at 93 from a cancer that had invaded her tiny frame but never her spirits or her will to live.
Now, and before you all start to yawn...These are just plain macarons shells colored with neon pink powder dye, with different pink sparkles and filled with a "fraises tagada" and white chocolate ganache. For the macaron shells I followed a different recipe than my favored Italian meringue one, and with good results. The first tray looked like the meringue was not folded enough so I gave it a couple of extra turns and the remaining tray turned out beautiful...I think I could get addicted to this lazier method!!
If you read French, here are some more "Fraises Tagada" recipes:
Cherries and Coconut Mini Cakes
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
How is it that every time I turn the computer on and spend more than 30 minutes looking at the screen, my "favorites" box ends up being full of luscious, simple, adventurous, down to earth recipes that I know I won't have time to get around? How is it that everytime I hit the market, my produce guy, Sunny, hands me a box of the best he's got around and charges me pennies for it? Maybe because he knows I will bring you a share of whatever I end up making.
Sunny knows my love for berries, blood oranges, lemon, all things tart and puckery, and naturally of all things "cherries". He tried to compete with Beverly for all things local and homegrown but when it comes to cherries, he knows one tree is not enough for me...so he brings me case after case.
Every night this past week, I sat down at the dinner table, covered in old newspaper and I pitted cherries, pound after pound. I have preserved, jammed (oh yeah, I am cool like that), jellied, pickled and froze 30 pounds so far. Crazy? maybe, I don't know...I see red everywhere...If I see one more pit I might scream...I think people wonder why I paint under my nails...! But there you have it: first installment of a very cherry summer to come (oh, yeah , I am funny like that) in the form of mini cakes inspired by 3 different recipes I had bookmarked from other blogs, and as a Taurean, not quite capable of making up my min,d I decided to combine all three and make my own little tambouille (French slang for nosh).
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup fresh or frozen pitted cherries
Birthday Mingle: Lemon Mascarpone Charlottes
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Yesterday, June 2nd was one special lady's birthday: Meeta from What's for Lunch Honey? blew another candle and knowing her I am sure it was done in style surrounded by many friends and family members. Happy Birthday one more time, dear Meeta!
During the last roundup of her event Monthly Mingle, she realised it was also a year ago that she started the Monthly Mingle event. Thus, she invited us for the June edition entitled Big Birthday Bang, to make a dish for her, the guest of honor. Smart woman, not only does she get to make her birthday last a little longer but given the past roundups, she can be sure to be served some pretty tasty things!
I have only known Meeta for a few months and through her blogs (she also writes The Daily Tiffin, and asked me to join its writers pool last month), The Daring Bakers, and emails and yet I imagine her to be strong willed, warm, organized and detailed, attentive, a great friend, wife and mother. I also imagine her stylish, feminine and full of pep and colors.
I had a list a mile long list of different birthday cakes I thought about making for her and that special day but once I imagined these Lemon Mascarpone Charlottes, I really found them fit for the event. Just like I envision Meeta, they stand tall with confidence, soft and strong in flavor and yet playful at the same time. A soft and just a bit decadent lemon mascarpone surrounded by Limoncello dipped ladyfingers...enough to make you happy, not tipsy!
Lemon Mascarpone Charlotte, inspired from Mercotte:
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 oz sugar
4 oz mascarpone cheese
150 ml. heavy cream, divided
2 tsp. powdered gelatin (1 sheet) + 1/4 cup water
zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Limoncello
In the meatime, warm up 5o ml. heavy cream until hot but not boiling hot. Stir in the gelatin and allow to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone with the sugar, add 2 egg yolks and whisk until well incorporated. Add the lemon juice and zest.
Whip 2 egg whites until stiff, fold them into the mascarpone mixture.
Whip the remaining heavy cream to medium stiff peaks, and fold into the mascarpone.
Dip the biscuits very briefly (1 second/turn/1 second/done...yes, that fast or you will end up with mush) in the Limoncello water and stand them straight one next to the other into the molds, fill with the mousse. Refrigerate until set. Trim the tops.
At this point I like to freeze the charlottes for a couple of hours, so it is really easy to unmold them. Just push through the bottom, they slide out of the molds very easily.
Decorate with sliced strawberries or whole raspberries.
Pistachio Ice Cream and Chocolate Pears
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Beware: sentimental post to follow. I am working on another project and have very limited access or time to the computer today, but I have been meaning to post this for quite some time now.
When I started this site, almost 2 years ago, I had no idea my life would be altered forever by a handful of bloggers. All bloggers have different lifestyle, backgrounds, affinities. We sometimes click, we try to visit as many blogs as we can and try to leave as many pertinent comments or simple "hellos" here and there. Over the past year, I have become somewhat "internet" close to a few bloggers scattered all over the world. It is no wonder that they also happen to be Daring Bakers but we were already "regulars" on each other's blog prior to forming our (ever expanding!) group.
About three weeks ago, there was a bad and nasty cloud over the Tartelette household. I shared this with those few bloggers, expecting a simple "sorry, thinking about you". Actually, I did not expect anything...I just wanted to tell them, I figured that if we shared croissant making and crepe cake inferno, that was just as good as washing our dirty laundry together!
What I did not expect was the week long delivery of small packages, from all corners of the world, filled with as much diversity as the people who sent them. From handmade beauty products, to carefully selected chocolates, candies, sauces, and such. I tried to use some in my cooking, like a huge bottle of Dulce de Leche used to make cookies. I devoured 4 chocolate mice in one sitting and took only 2 days to drink too much Godiva hot chocolate and eat half a box of handcrafted chocolate...hmmmm.....Bloggers rock!
I am not going to name anybody, they will recognize themselves. One day that I was scavenging for more chocolate I noticed a small yellow one from Michel Recchuiti on the coffee table. B. said it was "some sort of dried fruit dipped in chocolate". Yes, my husband is not very well versed in the world of chocolatiers, he's just happy to blindly follow me in my chocolate quests.
The box contained Michel Recchiuti's Key Lime Pears: key lime juice kissed dried pears dipped in dark chocolate...! I had one by itself and immediately thought about using them in ice cream sandwiches. I made a batch of pistachio ice cream, sandwiched it in between the chocolate pears, thought about clling the neighbors and quickly changed my mind. I needed that much chocolate and sugar all by myself!
Thank you again, my dear new and not so virtual friends. You were with me through the joy and the pain and I am here to do the same for you.
Bloggers Special Pistachio Ice Cream and Chocolate Pears:
For the Ice Cream:
4 egg yolks
2 cups half and half
4 oz sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground pistachios
For the sandwiches:
I used the dried pears I had received but you can use your favorite cookies or it the ice cream by itself.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick, add the vanilla and pistachios.
In a saucepan, on medium heat, bring the half and half to boiling point but do not let it boil.
Slowly pour the hot cream onto the egg yolks mixture and stir to combine (tempering). Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream coats the back of spoon. At this point you have made a custard sauce, also known as "creme anglaise".
Let cool completely, strain and refrigerate until cold. Process the custard according to your ice cream maker manufacturer's instructions or use a hand held immersion blender.
Freeze until firm and fill your favorite cookie or chocolate dipped dried fruit with it.