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Blame it on blogger

When I spot a yummy thing I just have to try it and when I read about these I immediately thought of the perfect snack bar to have around the house at the end of the summer.

Blogger has been playing tricks with me since last night so I am going to leave you with a "devinette". The game is to guess which other blogger provided this recipe and what it is.
I will come by this afternoon for a real post.
If you recognize your dessert, please don’t say a word.
There will be a goodie for the winner.

Well, since nobody wants to play the game … I am just going to continue with the post.
The answer was Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars.

I don’t know if it is because of my European background but I am not a big fan of peanut butter. Well, let me rephrase that, I am not a big fan of peanut butter straight out of the jar and I’d rather have it in a cookie or a confection. On the other hand, Mr. B. really does not care what form it takes as long ther is some around the house!
These bars were made yesterday and as of today they are gone. No, we did not eat the whole pan! My friend S. called with an emergency: she needed to bring a cookie bar type snack for a potluck and the girl can’t cook to save her life. Could I help? "Well, let me cut some and take a picture and there, you can have the rest." I saved the sample and now I have got to make another batch tomorrow or Mr. B. will never let her step foot in the house again. The sounds coming out of our mouths were something like "Hmmm…wahhh…dang…hmmm", you get the picture.

Now for the reveal: you can find the recipe for Mary on her fantastic blog Alpine Berry, here.
Thank you dear for such a good recipe.

"Zee" Lemon Meringue Pie

I am not the one saying this but over 400 people at Marmiton, a French recipe site much like the Food Network TV one. Now that’s some feedback.
We were invited to Sunday night supper and a game of Scrabble at my in-laws with T & D, and somehow the prospect of leftover banana pudding for dessert did not appeal to me. Being the dessert freak that I am, I volunteered to bring something. I must be completely hormonal or seasonal, but I am craving lemons again, and I wanted to try something different.
The last time I made Lemon Meringue Pie, I was probably 12 or 14 and I remember vividly looking at a gorgeous picture in one of my mother’s magazine. It was my first attempt at meringue on a pie, and if I remember correctly, I did a fair job.
I had forgotten how comforting Lemon Meringue Pie can be. This particular recipe gives a very tangy filling, a not too sweet meringue in a nice shortcrust bottom. Perfect to mark the end of summer (although here it is year round, but we like to pretend we have seasons).
You can find the original recipe here, but here is a translation:

Lemon Meringue Pie

For the crust
25o gr. flour
125 gr. butter
70 gr. sugar
2 egg yolks
5 cl water (1/4 cup)
In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and the sugar until pale, add 2 Tb. water.
In a separate bowl, mix te flour and butter until ressembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg/sugar batter and mix quickly until the dough forms into a soft ball. Add a couple extra Tbs. water if necessary while you incorporate the ingredients.
Refrigerate 30 minutes, roll the dough out and fit it into 10 or 12 inch pie plate. Prick with a fork, cover with foil and pie weights (I use dry beans) and cook at 350 until the dough is completely cooked through.

Lemon Fillling:
4 lemons, zested and juiced
150 gr. sugar
3 eggs.
1 tbs. cornstarch
Mix sugar and eggs into a bowl, add the cornstarch and mix well.. In a saucepan, heat up the lemon juice and zest. When it is hot, slowly pour over the eggs and sugar to temper them and return to the saucepan, let it thicken over low heat, stirring constantly until the consistency is like mayonnaise.
Pour into the cooled pie crust and refrigerate.

For the meringue:
3 egg whites
100 gr. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
With an electric miser, beat the egg whites to a foam, slowly incorporate the sugar and baking powder, one Tb. at a time, until the egg whites are stiff.
Arrange the meringue on top of the lemon filling and bake at 290 for about 30 minutes.

So good, light and tart. My kind of comfort food.

My First Sugar High Friday

Well, it’s about time a blogging pastry chef decides to participate in this great event better known as SHF. I was inspired by its very own creator, the Domestic Goddess, to start a blog but always seemed to miss the call for entries deadline. Not this time!
The theme this month is "Can You Can?", and is hosted by Nicky at Delicious Days.
I’ve always felt inspired by the other SHF themes because they often pushed me to look at an ingredient in a different manner or to open a cookbook I had forgotten was on my bookshelves or even to come up with something completely ad lib.
I never thought of jam as anything other than a topping, a common ingredient for breakfast.
I make jams and preserves on a regular basis but they only seem to be either topping our sunday scones or being given away to friends or family.

Since I make danishes about every weekend and use diffrent kinds of fillings or toppings, I thought I could use some of my recently made Fig and Hibiscus Jam.
A few years ago, Mr. B brought back from a trip to Egypt a pack of loose Hibiscus tea leaves and we have become in love with the slightly tart taste and flowery fragrance.
I had promised Danielle at Habeas Brulee a jar of Fig and Lemongrass jam but decided for hibiscus instead. After browsing online I finally decided upon this recipe for the jam. I cut the figs, mixed them up with the sugar and put a hibiscus tea bag in the pot and let it steep overnight. The result is incredibly fragrant and light.
The danish were wonderful with it.
You can find the recipe for the danishes in a previous post, and the recipe for the fig jam here.

The best part about this jam? It was great to use as a filling for some rose macarons I made yesterday! But that’s another post.

I am taking another poll though. I am thinking of dropping the "aux USA" (in USA) for a more casual "Tartelette" as a blog title. What do you think?

8/23/06 Update: I have to add that the labels are made out of a picture of the jams I made a couple months back, printed on cardstock and glued on the jars.

Starting the Day…

…like this is not too bad according to Mr. B and the neighbors. The recipe for the Cinnamon Rolls makes 2 pans so I took some to the 2 houses next door. I make these about every weekend and I always forget to take a picture before they are all gone. They are that good!

I had already posted the recipe a while back without pictures here, so no need to repeat (plus I have issues with my copy/paste right now).

On another note: as you can see, I have changed the template of my blog and I still hesitate between the 2 so I am taking votes (for the very readers that I have). Which one to keep?

Camille’s Banana Muffins

No, this is not the name of another pastry but the name of my new niece, born on August 14th. She does not look anything like a wrinkly banana, but she sure is cute as a muffin. So these are for you little one.
I got the recipe from Cooking Light for their banana bread and baked these in muffin tins, added some brown sugar and chopped pecans to the tops and voila.
You can find the original recipe here.


Chou who? Chouquettes I tell you. Little rounds of Choux Pastry, crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. In France they are a common afternoon snacks and mom used to buy them fresh at the bakery quite often since they were the only pastries my brother enjoyed eating. There was never enough of them!
Mr. B asked me to make something typically French that he could take to his students for their last day of class and I thought these were the perfect ambassadors. Choux are at the base of many a French specialties: Paris Brest, Religieuse, Saint Honore, Piece Montee (traditional wedding cake), Gougeres. They are used sweet or salty, filled, caramelized or left hollow.

I have one prefered recipe for chouquettes but it makes a giant amount (I use it for catering) and a big stand mixer, even a full class a hungry students did not justify it so I visited one of my favorite blogs, Cindy’s kitchen and found an excellent one. Never fails.

Chouquettes (makes about 36 small ones). Start with a basic choux pastry.
Here is her original and here is my version:

1 cup water
5 Tbs. butter
1/2 oz sugar
4 eggs
4 1/2 oz all purpose flour
pinch of salt

Boil water, sugar and butter. Remove from heat and add flour at once, return to heat and stir continuousl with a wooden spoon to make a smooth shiny paste. Cool a few minutes. Beat the eggs in one at a time until shiny and smooth ( about the consistency of thick mayonnaise).

Form the choux on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, sprinkle with some coarse sugar (I did not have any but I had some coarse brown sugar crystals). Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Mr. B. only brought 6 back so guess what we are having tonigh for dessert? Profiteroles! Choux , ice cream and chocolate sauce…we are truly lucky!

Weekend Dog Blogging

We are spending a lovely lazy sunday, enjoying a cool breeze but Tippy is sending me a message: "Time to put on your running shoes girlfriend!".
Not food post today, the dog needs my undivided attention.

Head over to Sweetnicks to see this weekend’s roundup.

Another Little Secret

It’s summer, it’s hot, I live in my underwear, I read Epicurus, and I swoon over fresh cherries. If you already know me, you already know that, if not…welcome to my food world. The way I eat is the way I love, the way I love is the way I eat: fresh, honest, bold and in abundance.
Here is an other secret of mine: you can "have" me with a bowl of fresh dark red cherries.

Madeleines de Commercy

Another rainy afternoon here. It is unbelievably hot throughout the day with bright blue skies above and when 4 o’clock rolls around so do the thunder, lightning and rain. The wind picks up, the clouds break in and it pours. Just enough time to bake and take a picture.
I felt like baking one of my comfort childhood snacks. My mom used to by them packaged from the store but once you have tasted homemade madeleines there is no going back.

A couple of years ago, my mom gave me this book at Christmas and I have made only a couple of the madeleines recipes in it. I have vowed to bake my way through the book, a couple of madeleines a week. The book is organized by season and month so as to make the best use of seasonal produce but nowadays items seem to be available year round (at least here in the US), which leaves you with complete baking freedom.

History behind these madeleines: in 1755, the pastry chef of Stanislas Leszczynski quit his job in the middle of the dinner service, taking with him all his cakes and pastries as well as the recipes. A young maid voluntered to bake the little cakes her grandmother used to make. This young maid named Madeleine, from Commercy, apparently saved the day!

Madeleines de Commercy, adapted from "Les Madeleines salees et sucrees de Sophie" by Sophie Dudemaine.

For 16 madeleines
2 eggs
130 gr. (4 0z) all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
130 gr. (4 oz) sugar
130 gr. (4 oz) butter

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Melt the butter either in the microwave or in a saucepan on low heat. Let it cool a bit.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs and the sugar until pale yellow. Add the flour and baking powder. Mix on medium high speed until everything is well incorporated, add the melted butter.
Pour one Tb. of the batter into the center of madeleine molds (I use silicone ones). Bake in the center of your oven for 4 minutes at 500, then lower the temperature to 400 and bake another 4 minutes.
Unmold as soon as they come out of the oven.

These are great with everything: jam, nutella, ganache, tea, coffe, milk….heaven!

My Little Secret

My idea of food heaven is raspberries, chocolate and whipped cream. I always look for ways to put them together and come up with total food porn. It was scorching hot today and while at lunch with my friend Sarah, we were devising plans on how to stay cool and fresh and the only thing that came to my mind was to eat a big bowl of fresh, plump raspberries…. we had to stop by the store on the way home and voila… 10 minutes top of baking and 1 hour later here it is:

Chocolate filled Raspberries and Cream:

I have to admit that I cheated for the crust and bought those mini graham cracker crusts. I brushed them with a beaten egg and put them in the oven for 10 minutes at 35o. I inverted them when they came out of the oven and let them cool completely. Tap the top gently until the crust falls from its aluminium case.

In the meantime:
Whip 1 block (8 oz) softened cream cheese with 1/3 cup sugar and zest of one lemon.
Whip 1/3 cup heavy cream to medium stiff peaks and gently fold into the cream cheese.
Spoon into the shells. Refrigerate until the cream gets a little stiff.

For the raspberries:
Prepare a simple ganache with 3/4 cup heavy cream heated up and stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Let stand for 2 minutes and gently stir until all the cream incorporates in the chocolate. Refrigerate until of spoonable consistency. Fill a pastry bag with a plain tip and fil the cavities of some nice looking raspberries (1 pint was enough for 6 tarts). Let the ganache filled fruit get hard in the fridge.
When ready to plate position the raspberries on the cream and dust with powdered sugar.

I don’t want to know what these would be like with mascarpone…ok…I DO want to know!