Cherry Bakewell Tartelettes With Cherry Pit Ice Cream Milkshakes

114

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bakewell Cherry Tarts & Cherry Pit Ice Cream

June has definitely been a strange month starting by my baking the latest Daring Bakers challenge the first week it was revealed. That has not happened in almost two years but there are too many work deadlines this month to monkey around with all forms of important business. Work and Daring Bakers that is. These Bakewell Cherry Tarts served with Cherry Pit Ice Cream Milkshakes don't monkey around either.

Oh yes, even after all this time I still take my DB very seriously!! Our challenge this month was to make this traditional British tart and beside the three key components of the shortbread pastry crust, preserves and frangipane filling, we were pretty much let loose to do as we desired. If you have been catching my latest Daring Bakers challenges, when I am given this much freedom, my mind goes in overdrive and the kitchen turns into super porduction for a few hours. All around me usually rub their hands knowing there will be an abundance of desserts for the next few days while B. sighs as he approached the scene of the crime.

Bakewell Cherry Tarts

This time, I decided to throw myself a real challenge. To only make one possibility. How did I do? Well, I thought everything was groovy, sticking to my one idea of cherry preserve and almond frangipane. Then my brain got a little looser and I had this urgent craving to make cherry pit ice cream while pitting a few boxes of cherries for jams. Summer is here, I am jamming people and stone fruits are definitely high on my list. I like to get the darkest one I can find for jams, makes the finished color really pretty.

Having made Bakewell tarts before, I wanted to fiz things up a bit and serve them with tiny milkshake shots. I have had cherry pit ice cream on my mind ever since Shuna from Eggbeater posted about it last year. I am not going to get into the whole controversy of using pits in ice creams (or jams for that matter). Shuna wrote three very detailed posts about it so please read them well if you are interested in the topic.

All I can say is I did not hear a peep out of my guests when dessert came around. I think that means they'll be back, ahahah!

Bakewell Cherry Tarts

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

Cherry Bakewell Tartelettes:

Notes: The only change I made to the recipe given by our hostesses was to prebake the tart shells before filling them with jam and frangipane. The high ratios of butter in both the crust and filling can hinder the crust from baking all the way through while your filling overcooks.

Makes ten 3-inch tartelettes.

Sweet shortcrust pastry:
225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Frangipane:
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds (or other nut of your choice)
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Jam or preserve of your choice
Prepare the dough:
Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the frangipane:
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Assemble the tartelettes:
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pans, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Place the tarts on a baking sheet line with parchment paper and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish.

For the milkshakes: process about one cup of the cherry pit ice cream (or you favorite one) in blender with enough milk to achieve milkshake consistency. Serve in glass shots alongside the tarts.

Gone Fishing!

39

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Work Mate

I had a feeling I ought to put a "Gone Fishing" sign on this page last monday and leave you to meet my beta, Elliott instead of pacing my hotel room trying to find a good internet signal. I also did not realize that our schedule of eating and meeting wonderful people here would leave me happily tired and satisfied but with only one desire, that of saying "hi" to my pillow as soon as possible each evening.

But where the heck am I? Curently in Asheville, NC (typing this from the little alcove between the closet and the microwave for as long as I don't lose this internet signal) and heading home today. Why? Research of course....bloggers are relentless researchers and will take on all forms of food torture in the name of information.

When Jaden from Steamy Kitchen sends you an invite to go with her to Asheville to discover all the wonderul farms, artisans, foods of the city and region, you are unlikely to say no. You are very likely to jump for joy and run to pack your bag!!

It's been amazing sharing this experience with her and a super group of ubber wonderful bloggers all orchestrated by the brilliant Dodie. My partners in crime these past few days were Todd and Diane from White On Rice Couple, Brian from The Food Geek, Tammy from Running With Tweezers and Alison from The Humble Gourmand.

Yeah...pretty lucky me! Wonderful talents, energies, stories. I was a little blogger struck when we all met one morning for breakfast. I mean how would you not? If only I could keep close that trap that is my mouth whenever my brain screams "shut up Helen!" Yes, I always feel like I talk too much or ask too many questions. Sorry folks, can't help it, I love interacting and conversing. And eating....

And eat we did, do, will do again today before heading home. There are so many wonderful artisans, local chefs and food crafters that I met these past few days that just plopping a few names here tonight does not do them justice. I need to go through my notes and finish downloading 700+ pictures from the trip. I know that it's nothing compared to what Diane and Todd have been shooting, but that's their job and they rock at it.

I will definitely be back tomorrow with the recipe for one of the amazing desserts we have had this week as well as few more delicious bites. In the meantime I am going to dream of fresh local cherries and strawberries hoping it can start a detox process!

Asheville In Season

Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse And Raspberry Tartelettes

65

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse Raspberry Tartelettes

I realized a couple of years into our marriage that the occasions to take out our china and break into grandma's pretty silveware were going to be limited if we did not expand the meaning of "occasions". Even a simple and casual dinner with friends is now considered one. A moment to celebrate friendship, time set aside to connect or reconnect, all made special by the conversations and the people around them. Even a simple dinner calls for a special dessert like these Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse And Raspberry Tartelettes and my grandmother's vintage dessert spoons. Just because.

I like to set a pretty table and make a special meal when we have company and you can guess that there is a treat awaiting them for dessert. We are not stuck into fussy table settings and usually end up taking our plates to the back deck during Spring and Summer or cozy up in front of the fireplace during the winter. I also love the fact that I can take the dogs to the dock around 7pm and sit there watching the sunset while the porpoises give us a little show. Pretty idyllic. Something to take in and make time for.

Pumpkin Seed Mousse & Raspberry Tartelette

We had friends over the other night and decided to get some crabs at the dock and have a simple crab boil for dinner. I knew we'd have to cover the deck table with layers of newspaper and just get ready for things to get messy. But oh so much fun! What I did not expect was for B. to call me from the dock and ask us to bring the party over there. I trust him and I knew there was a reason. We were not disappointed. The sea was at full tide, the sunset gorgeously pink, yellow and red and the porpoises were giving us the funniest game of hide and seek. Good company, good food, delicious surroundings. I don't know how I got so lucky and I tried to take it all in since I know we won't be here forever.

I wish my dad would have been there with us that night because it would have been the perfect setting to wish him a Happy Father's Day (he also had a birthday just a few days ago!). I know he would loved it and he would have loved the whole meal, complete with these tarts. And I know my grandma would have loved to see her pretty silverware hanging out at the dock in a very informal setting. She was cool like that.

Pumpkin Seed Mousse & Raspberry Tartelette

My intentions were to make pistachio and mascarpone mousse tarts but I was already using all of my pistachio stash for another project. I am stubborn though. I wanted something green to contrast with the red of the raspberries I intended to use. I looked around in the pantry and remembered a container of raw pumpkin seeds. Hmmm...would it work? Well, there is no better way to find out than to just do it, right?


Oh yes...it does! The tartelettes start with basic shortcrust rounds (or sable dough) set at the bottom of a tart ring and topped with a layer of almond cream. The pumpkin seeds are finely ground before being mixed in with mascarpone and whipped cream to make the mousse. To finish the tarts are studded with plump and tasty fresh raspberries. I admit there is a new store opening up nearby and with opening specials running all week, I got ingredients for close to nothing but if either mascarpone are hard to find or cost prohibitive where you live, you can substitute cream cheese and other berries like strawberries .

Pumpkin Seed Mousse & Raspberry Tartelette

Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse and Raspberry Tartelettes:

For the tart shells:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (93 gr) powdered sugar, unsifted
1 large egg
1 1 /2 cups (190gr) flour
2 tablespoons (20 gr) cornstarch (makes for a lighter crumb)
pinch of salt

For the almond cream:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 gr) granulated sugar
1 cup (100 gr) ground almonds
2 eggs
1/4 cup (60gr) heavy cream

Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse:
200 ml heavy cream
4 oz (120gr) mascarpone, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
1/3 cup (80gr) raw pumpkin seeds, ground

2 cups fresh raspberries

Prepare the tart shells:
In a mixer, whip together the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix briefly. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Do not work the dough while in the mixer or it will toughen it up. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between the sheets of plastic. You will need half the amount of dough to make the tartelettes. The other half can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen, well wrapped for up to 3 months. Cut out eight rounds with a 3-inch pastry ring. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Prepare the almond cream:

Place the butter, sugar, almond powder, and the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth (can also be done in a food processor). Add the cream but stir it in carefully instead of whisking it (you do not want to emulsify it or it will rise while baking). Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place the 8 baked rounds of dough in eight 3-inch pastry rings, divide the cream evenly among the rings and bake 20 minutes at 350F. Let cool.

Prepare the mousse:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to medium stiff peaks and reserve it in the refrigerator while you prepare the mousse.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and sugar with a spatula (really no need to put your mixer to use on that one). Add the ground pumpkin seeds and mix thoroughly until incorporated.
Carefully fold the reserved whipped cream into the mascarpone base by placing your spatula in the center of the bowl, scooping the bottom over the top. Give your bowl a 45 degree turn and repeat until the batter is smooth.

Assemble the tarts:
Place the mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a large dollop of mousse right in the center of the tartelettes, leaving a small border all around. Place raspberries all around the mousse. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I need to end this post by telling you that I feel like the luckiest girl on my block lately and I'll tell you more about it during the week when I am done rubbing my eyes in amazement. All I can say is that you will see a group of bloggers doing a bunch of fun and food related things in a pretty cool place. All in the name of research. Of course. Which reminds me I need to start packing...

Vanilla Tapioca And Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux

73

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Vanilla Tapioca and Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux

Update 6/18: You can head over Simply Hue written by the adorable Vicki to read a little interview she did with me about work, dessert, inspirations and passions. Then come back here for dessert, ehehe!

Thank you for all the good vibes you sent throughout the weekend, they were truly uplifting. You can trust that they are already bottled up and ready to be used for the next phase of whatever this is we are in. One sure thing for Bill and myself right now is that our marriage is stronger than ever, our couple and friendship thicker than glue. If a dessert could define it in a nutshell, it could well be these verrines of Vanilla Tapioca and Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux.

Can I be annoyingly tacky by saying that our relationship is as comforting as vanilla tapioca pudding? Will you believe if I added that it has this sexy layer of milk chocolate cremeux to it? And that we still find a way to add a little spice and humor to life like adding lime to chocolate? I can, I am and I stand by the comparison. It certainly got B. to say outloud "These are so good! Will you marry me? Again?"


Tapioca Pearls and Chocolate Cremeux

I did smile at that one because at that precise moment I was reading a very interesting email and knew he'd giggle with me. It was a marriage proposal. From a reader. Oops! A "back-up" of some sort. A quite funny note actually ending in "you know, just in case things don't work out for you guys" that just about made me bust my sprained rib again. He looked at me, grabbed my shoulders and pretending to be mad exclaimed "who have you been baking for? Ha ah!!" followed by "are there anymore of those tapioca chocolate thingies?" Yep, that's him, my man, never losing sight of what's important!

I did make those little pots with him in mind knowing that where I could not fix what was broken, I could certainly ease his worries for a brief moment. Chocolate is always a good start, wouldn't you say? Milk chocolate to be exact. He loves it, I love it. Can't get enough of it but we are picky about it and usually keep the good quality kind for special occasion. Now is a special occasion.


Vanilla Tapioca and Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux

A milk chocolate cremeux is the most perfect way to say "you're smooth man, I love you". Add a bit of lime zest and you round it up with that little touch of sass that keeps things interesting. He loves tapioca pudding, I love riz au lait made with arborio rice, which is a little bit more toothsome this way. I found a pleasant compromise by using large tapioca pearls instead of the fine grained kind but both work equally well here.


Hard to describe the pleasure of digging your spoon in such a creamy chocolate layer before the contrasting layer of tapioca and vanilla. As if it was possible to be improved upon, a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche on top actually makes them even better. That little bit of acidity is perfect to set off the creamy chocolate and round up the touch of lime.


Vanilla Tapioca and Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux

One year ago: Cherry Orange Blossom Cakes

Vanilla Tapioca With Milk Chocolate Lime Cremeux:

Makes 6 to 8 depending on your serving dishes.
Note: it is best to prepare this the day before and let the cremeux get a bit firmer in the fridge overnight. Not quite a pudding, not quite a cream but the perfect cousin to both.

For the vanilla tapioca:
1/3 cup (60gr) large tapioca pearls
1 cup (250ml) water
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (12gr) sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded

For the milk chocolate lime cremeux:
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
zest of one lime
5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
4 oz (120gr) good quality milk chocolate, chopped

Prepare the vanilla tapioca:
In a medium bowl, soak the tapioca pearls in the water for an hour. Drain and discard the water. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the tapioca, milk, sugar and vanilla to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until the tapioca looks translucid. Remove from the heat and place a piece of plastic wrap right on top to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Once completely cooles, divide the tapioca in between your serving glasses or ramekins.

Prepare the chocolate cremeux:
In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the cream and lime zest to a simmer.
In the meantime, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and sugar until pale. Once the cream is hot, slowly pour it over the yolks and sugar, stirring constantly to prevent curddling. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium low heat until thick ( a bit thicker than creme anglaise but more fluid than pastry cream), stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate to the pot. Let stand a couple of minutes then stir until completely smooth and the chocolate is completely incorporated. Let cool to room temperature and divide the mixture evenly on top of the tapioca. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until slightly firmer, preferably overnight.

Peach Chamomille Mousse Cakes

115

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peach Chamomille Mousse Cakes

There are times in your life when you need to pull out all the stops, set up a special table, make an extraordinary tasty meal and just twirl some caramel strands around pretty mousse cakes. When crap hits the fan outside of my comprehension I just try to deal with it the best way I can: doing the things I know, doing them with dedication and focus. Yes, like twirling caramel strands around Peach and Chamomille Mousse Cakes.

Granted, my normalcy may not be yours but we all deal differently with stress and incredible circumstances. You might set out to clean your closet or reorganize your files. B. takes the house on a vaccum marathon. I usually go to the dock, take a huge breath in and go home to try to find some way to reconnect and it always ends up with the kitchen counter covered in sugar and flour. I also forge ahead in the photography and writing projects I have (portfolio is up!) happy not to have a minute to think too much about the telephone ringing. (I did previously established that I had a weird sense of logic, didn't I?!)

Peach Chamomille Mousse Cake

I have been quite open here in the past, sharing painful sentiments and emotions, bringing you to share with me the positive in rather difficult moments. But there are circumstances that only a handful of people (if that many) have been made aware of and I wish to keep for ourselves for now. Sorry to tell you that things are not always as they seem without elaborating but not having to formulate yet again things into words here is such a relief.

All day long we make plans, rationalize, explain, and I find peace knowing that I can come here and just hint at stuff and then tell you in the lightest manner possible to go bake a cake because things are prettier all wrapped up in sugar. Thank you for allowing me to do that. Being here with you and sharing what I am passionate about whether it be pastry, baking, photography, ingredients is one of the best part of the day. Thank you.

Peach Chamomille Mousse Cake

One thing I am passionate about when Spring comes around is going down to the farmer's market and get all my produce fresh and at ridiculously low prices. Egss, raw milk, vegetables and fruits galore. Happy, happy! I got so excited the other day when I got the first local peaches of the season. Velvet skin, rich colors and intoxicating scent. Happier, happier!

With peaches this fresh and juicy in my basket, I could only think about making ice creams and mousse. I wanted to create something soft and subtle, something that makes you want to close your eyes and focus on what it is you are eating and not only just eating it. I made a simple lemon and olive oil cake for the base, opting for a grassy flavored oil to play up with the peaches. The two different mousses start with the same base, a pate a bombe for which I flavored the sugar syrup with a good handful of dried chamomille buds (organic, usually by the bulk teas), and added pureed peaches to half of the mousse base. You can simply refrigerate the cakes until set and enjoy them chilled or freeze them and let them soften a bit for 10-15 minutes. We had them both ways and enjoyed them equally.

Peach Chamomille Mousse Cakes

One year ago: Snickers Macarons

Peach Chamomille Mousse Cakes:

Makes four 3-inch cakes
Notes: I build these cakes in 3-inch wide entremet or mousse cake rings but you could build one single cake in a 8-inch round or 8x8-inch cake pan. Only the look will be different. Instead of using rhodoid to line the rings, (nothing against it, just did not have any on hand), I used a much less expensive medium: plastic proctector sheets (yes the ones used around the office to protect documents) and cut them to fit the inside of the rings.
I did brush the cake base with Limoncello but you can skip this step if you wish.

For the lemon olive oil cakes:
1 1/2 cups (185gr) all purpose flour
1 cup (200gr) sugar
1 tablespoon (14gr) baking powder
1/4 (1.5gr) teaspoon salt
1/2 cup egg whites (about 3-4)
3/4 (175ml) cup milk
1/4 cup (62.5ml) lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
6 tablespoons (80gr) olive oil

For the chamomille and peach mousses:

1.5 tablespoons powdered gelatin
7 Tablespoons (130gr water), divided
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
2 tablespoons dried organic chamomille buds
3/4 to 1 cup peach puree (I process 2-3 cut peaches until finely pureed)

For the caramel decorations, please read here and here. I just twirled the caramel around a large tin can instead of a wooden spoon.

Prepare the cakes:
Preheat oven to 300F and position a rack in the center.
In a bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients for the cake. Set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and the milk. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and slowly add in the egg white mixture while stirring with a whisk. Add lemon juice, zest and the olive oil. Mix with a whisk until smooth. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper, lightly spray with cooking spray and pour in the batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back clean. Let cool and cut out four 3-inch rounds to fit your cake rings (extra cakes freeze well for up to 3 months). Line 4 cake rings with rhodoid or plastic sheets cut to fit and place your cake bases at the bottom. Place the rings on a baking tray and set aside.

Prepare the mousses:
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water and let stand while you prepare the pate a bombe.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or hand held beaters), beat the cream until it holds soft peaks. Chill it while you prepare the mousse base. Wash your bowl and whisk attachment.
In a heavy saucepan, stir together 5 tablespoons of water, sugar and chamomille buds. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Since you are not making caramel, it is ok to stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Let it boil and bring the mixture to 238°F on thermometer (soft-ball stage). Strain the syrup to remove the chamomille over a container with a spout (makes it easier to pour over the egg yolks)
In the clean bowl of your mixer, still using the whisk attachment, beat the yolks slightly to break them up. Increase the speed to medium high and slowly pour the hot syrup over the yolks. Go fast enough to prevent the eggs from scrambling but not so fast that you end up with most of the syrup on the wall of the bowl or the whisk. Dissolve the gelatin in the microwave for 10-12 seconds and quickly add it to the pate a bombe. Continue to whip until the mass is completely cold and airy.
Fold about one third of the pate a bombe base into the chilled whipped cream to loosen it up and make it easier to incorporate homogeneously. Fold in the remaining pate a bombe.

Assemble: Divide the mixture in half and carefully fold the peach puree into one part. Spoon or pipe the chamomille mousse over the cake base and do the same with the peach mousse. Refrigerate or freeze until set.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Pate De Fruit

102

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Pate De Fruit

As I woke up this morning, I quickly put on my shoes and ran downstairs to get the boat ready for a little outing. We were indeed rushing, grabing pieces of buttered toast and ushering the dogs up and down the stairs. You see it's rain season here, so every opportunity to be out and about in a dry and sunny moment is fully taken advantage of. We got all the way to the boat landing and all of a sudden the clouds darkened and the skies broke lose. B. looked at me, hands open to the sky, raising his shoulders as if to say "sorry sweets, not today".

No big deal, being flexible is the name of the game in June around here but there is plenty for me to do to actually tie myself to a chair instead of going around playing on the water (more on that at the end of this post). When things don't go as planned, there are ways to make the situation a little sweeter. Tons sweeter. Little confections like pate de fruits are especially good to turn grey skies into sunshine, if only in your head. More so if the they take advantage of the seasonal bounty around you as in these Strawberry and Rhubarb Pate De Fruits (fruit paste candy).

The town of Provence I am from, Apt, is known as the capital of fruits confits (candied fruits) and subsequently as a great pate de fruit producer. We take that craft very seriously and we just don't go to a patisserie to buy them. Non, non, non...we go to a confiserie. I feel like I have turned my kitchen into one these days stirring as many pate de fruit batches as I have. Friends and family have been dropping off pounds after pounds of ripe local strawberries, rhubarb, peaches, apricots that have ended up in pate de fruits at some point or another during the week.


Pate De Fruit

I usually make pate de fruit the way confiseurs have been making it for generations, cooking and stirring only 3 ingredients together: fruit, sugar and lemon juice. If you think about these items cooked down to make a paste, you can suspect it usually takes quite some time. During the winter or early spring, that's not a big problem but given that we are in and out getting things done according to the rain and tide schedules these days, it's safe to assume, I took a bit of a time shortcut for a couple of batches by using pectin. Inexpensive and easy to find liquid pectin to be exact.

There are as many recipes for pate de fruit as there are people making them. Some call for apple pectin, yellow pectin or simply nothing. Let's face it, if you know you are not going to be making pate de fruit often, it's easier and more economical to get good old liquid pectin than the others for the same result (if you are not going to go the 100% natural route that is). The trick is to learn how to cook the pectin differently, by bringing your fruit mixture to the right temperature in stages. I also have to say my pocket book is screaming "I love you" to the liquid one.

I had planned on showing Jen how to make pate de fruit during my visit to her place in Colorado without knowing that she had always wanted to try her hand at them. Well, Colorado did not happen because the organization hiring B. royally messed up on all fronts possible. Another thing not going as planned. Another reason to practice flexibility. I still went ahead and made pate de fruit, assuring Jen I'd post about them this week.


Obviously I am running a bit behind, busy wrapping up book edits. I have this vision of her tapping her foot on the floor, hands on her hips, telling me "it's about time girlfriend!" But again, I know Jen is busy running the trails and enjoying the outdoors and I have to say I can't blame her considering where she lives.

Oops! Sun's out again...I am out of here! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pate de Fruit

One year ago: Strawberry Lemon Thyme Shortcakes.
Two years ago: Pink Fraise Tagada Macarons.

Strawberry And Rhubarb Pate de Fruit:

Notes: I use store brand liquid pectin so I can't vouch for how others might behave. I use a large stainless steel pot so the evaporation and cooking could happen faster (much like with making mava). I recommend not straining the fruit in a fine mesh colander otherwise you are at it for a week. I use one with medium sized holes just to make sure I get rid of any pieces of fruit that has not been pureed properly.
For a superb pectin free recipe, follow this recipe posted by the awesome Anita from Married with Dinner.

6.5 oz (190gr) strawberries, cleaned and hulled
6.5 oz (190gr) rhubarb, cleaned
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups (400gr) sugar, divided
2.5 tablespoons liquid pectin

Line a 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Roughly chop the strawberries and rhubard and puree them really well in a food processor. Strain the fruits over a heavy saucepan and add the lemon juice. Stir in 1/2 cup (100gr) saugar and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook until its temperature register 113F, stirring constantly. Add the remaining 1.5 cups (300gr) sugar and the pectin to the pot and slowly bring the mixture to 200F, still over medium high heat while stirring constantly. Turn the heat down a bit and keep the mixture at 200F for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat back up and slowly bring the mixture to 223F. Keep it there for an additional 2-3 minutes (turn the heat down if necessary to do so). Remove from the heat and immediately pour the mixture into your pan lined with parchment paper. Let set for a couple of hours. Cut shapes with a sharp knife and roll the pieces of pate de fruit in sugar. Refrigerate if not eating all of them at once.


On another note, after many requests by some of you to know if I sold my pictures as prints, I finally took the time to set up a shop on etsy called Delicious Images where I have uploaded some of my favorites from this blog as well as many still life pictures and some never seen on this site yet. Thank you for asking about that and thank you for your support and readership. You guys are the best!


Indian Cardamom Mava Cakes

105

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Indian Mava Cakes

Many days of the week, I wish I could just call up my friend Bina to come and have tea or coffee with me. I know my afternoons have never been sweeter as since she shared her Mava Cakes recipe with us. I am very fond of a little tea break and I am very fond of Bina. We "met" when she emailed about her macarons issues. We just went through every problem, one by one, laughing along the way. Like with most friendships, it is difficult to explain how the pieces of the puzzle just fell into place. We started sharing a bit more each day, her about India and me about France.

We finally met in person and confirmed our friendship went deeper than a computer screen. We cook the same way, from memory, from family, for others, always worried people are going to enjoy themselves and have enough. Our cultures are miles away from each other and yet we relate by cooking like our ancestors did. Our way to keep alive the generations before us and pass it on to the ones after us.

Bina is funny, talented, attentive and generous. There is no better guide than her when going grocery shopping at an Indian grocery store which is precisely what I did on my last visit. A lot of dishes and treats were mentionned on that last trip but nothing prepared me to the little box she sent me last month.

Mava Cakes

"I am sending you some mava cakes I just made. It's a recipe I have been working on for a while". As soon as the package arrived, I ripped the wrapping to shreds and stared at the container, wondering if I should wait on B. to sample one. I did not, and a moment of sheer bliss quickly followed. I started counting the mini cakes wondering how many I could eat before B. would find it strange she sent so little...

Hints of butter, milk and cardamom hit me all at once sending my senses in a very happy dance. I quickly shut the box closed and sent her an email "please, please, please, tell me how to make those! What's the story behind them? What's mava?"


Turns out mava is a reduction of milk and/or cream that gives a thick spread complementing the butter and other ingredients in the cakes. Her recipe calls for evaporated milk and heavy cream and I am sure there are others out there but this is the one that makes Bina feel closest to home and that sounds perfect to me! On a side note, she tops hers with cashew halves but I ran out on my last batch and plopped a pitted cherried right in the middle instead.

Mava Cakes

Thank you dear Bina for adding your words and memories to this post. I am just the one telling people "you must make this!".

Mava cakes bring back all the wonderful memories I have of growing up in Mumbai– my family, friends, college, monsoons, red double-decker buses, Marine Drive, amazing food, wonderful bakeries...

The bakeries were not the trendy places more common now, but simple Irani/Parsi ones which had the best mava cakes! Our family favorite was the City Bakery which was a ‘must-stop’ for us, often around 5 am, on our way back from the airport after helping a friend or relative catch an international flight (which always left at some crazy hour like 3 am!). The city always looked so quiet and peaceful at that hour and as we approached the bakery, we would be greeted with the amazing aroma of freshly baked bread. Next to the breads, piled high on a tray were the mava cakes. Not particularly impressive to look at, plain looking almost, occasionally dressed with a sprinkle of cashews or almonds. One bite of these delicious cakes was all it took to get hooked! We would return with our stash of baked goodies and sit in our balcony overlooking the Arabian Sea, sipping hot tea and munching on these cakes, watching the sky get brighter. Home for me is now over here but whenever I make these cakes, I feel like I am back on that balcony and that always makes me smile.


Mava Cakes

One year ago: Loquat Creme Brulee Tartelettes.
Two years ago: Lemon Mascarpone Charlottes.

Mava Cakes:
Makes about 12-18 depending on the molds
Notes: I used canele molds but feel free to use anything that you have, like muffin tins or cupcake liners.
Make sure to use a large pot so the milk and cream cook down properly.


For the mava:
2 cans (14oz each) evaporated milk (not low fat)
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream

For the cakes:
1 1/4 cups (155gr) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2gr) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (100gr) mava, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (85gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (100gr) sugar
2 eggs
6 tablespoons whole milk
cashew halves (optional)

Prepare the mava:
Place the evaporated milk and heavy cream in a large stainless steel pot or wide saucepan (12-inch) with tall sides. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high and let it cook, stirring more than occasionally for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and let the mixture cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to thicken. Turn the heat to medium low and cook another 10 minutes. At this point, the mixture starts looking like a grainy butterscotch pudding. No worries, everything is going according to plan. Turn the heat down to low and continue cooking another 10-15 minutes. Do more than stirring occasionally there too: there is very little moisture left and the higher risks of scortching happen at that point.
The whole process should take about 50 minutes, pay close attention to the mixture during the first and last 10 minutes of cooking. The final consistency is that of a very thick pudding.
Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate if not using right away. The mava can also be frozen for up to 3 months. With this mava recipe, you have 3/4 cup to 1 cup of mava, enough for 3 batches of cakes.

Prepare the cakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 and position a rack in the middle. Lightly spray with cooking spray (or brush with melted butter) small cupcake, muffin tins or other mini cake moulds. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Reserve. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with hand held beaters), beat together the mava, butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Still with the motor running on low, add the reserved flour mixture and the milk. Turn the speed back up to medium and beat until the mixture is smooth. Divide evenly among the prepared cake tins, top each with a cashew half if using and bake for 20-25minutes.


Tartelette All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger