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DMBLGIT – Introducing The Judges

Raspberries-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
Before I introduce the judges for this June edition of Does My Blog Look In This, I have a confession to make. Today is my dad’s birthday…Happy Birthday Dad! Joyeux Anniversaire Papa!

My confession is that I had planned to make him a cheesecake and send it virtually via this site but things did not turn out that way…Raspberry cheesecake was indeed made, but eaten faster than I could take pictures…sorry! We thought about you though! I looked for a while for a photograph of my father but quickly realised that very much like me, he is the one behind the camera most of the time, and when I did find a couple he was making his notorious "moon face" (giant smiling face from ear to ear). Yeah…a bowl of fresh raspberries is a little more tempting than a strange French man with a scary face on a Monday!

Reserved as he is, I also know that he would not want me making a big deal about his birthday so…moving on to the judges of DMBLGIT. I have started to refer to them as "my peeps" whenever I start updating the gallery and creating nice spread sheets with every participants' blog on them. I am glad I did not have to bribe them (macarons don’t travel that well) to become judges and that they were as excited as I was to be part of this event. Some described themselves in their on words, some left me the task of making it short…ugh! One day I’ll tell you about the two ladies in the train when I was four or five and you will understand why I can’t do short stories, but let’s see..for the sake of you eyes:

Brilliant Graeme: " Blood Sugar was started in June 2007, with its premise of simple, thoughtful and engaging content, remaining the same following a creative decision to Hermit crab over to WordPress in December of last year. Graeme is in his final year at the University of Lincoln, majoring in photography. With inspiration gathered from everywhere between blogs and newspaper articles, Blood Sugar aims for high-end fun, with an edge on simplicity."

Rockstar Jennifer: "Jen Yu runs her mouth and her food blog over at use real butter where she combines two of her passions: food and photography. She totes a camera with her everywhere giving readers a glimpse into other noodlings like hiking, skiing, Colorado’s beauty, and her goofy dog. "use real butter" is not so much a directive for the kitchen as an attitude on life. Grab it by the hojos, kids."

Soulful Nadia runs three beautifulblogs, all with a different "je ne sais quoi", call it flair, style or creativity but each showcase her photographic skills of capturing the moment, a feeling, a memory. She is woman, child, daughter, friend finding beauty in things big and small. With a perfect eye for color and light, she is one talented artist!

I met ubber cool graphic designer Alyson through her site Unruly Things….yeah go check it out, gawk and come back, I’ll wait…See what I meant? I was impressed by her graphics, impeccable style and I was delighted when she decided to start her own food blog, Milk Eggs Chocolate…now both my eyes and tummy could be satisfied!

And the fifth judge? Well that would be yours truly! Oh, heck…here is the two ladies in the train story….Once upon a time when I was about four or five, I took the train with her mom who wished the little girl would stay still and quiet longer than five minutes. I was fidgetting and paying closer than natural attention to the conversation two other ladies were having, sitting across from us. Obviously I was distracting them quite a bit so the ladies decided to move to the seats behind me. Not satisfied for a penny, Tartelette turned around and propped her elbows on the banquette and said "Talk louder I can’t hear!"… Now you know why a story is never just a story for me.

So folks, there is one week remaining to send me your entries (details here), Monday the 23rd being the deadline. Over 100 of you have done so, and we could not be more delighted by the turn out…but we are greedy for more pictures. So go on! Don’t wait until the last day….!

Does My Blog Look Good In This? June 2008 Edition

(Andrew, I hope you will forgive me this little side story)

Andrew knows how to make my heart jump…and I am not talking about his fabulous pictures or his mouth watering recipes…Nope, the man behind Does My Blog Look Good In This, a.ka.a DMBLGIT and Is My Blog Burning, sent me an email last week that made me literally jumped in my seat : "Hiya! Are you still OK to host DMBLGIT this month. You are down on my list as host for June." Did I write him in my sleep?…has my brain that many short circuits lately that I can’t remember? When? How? Who?…..

I remembered signing up when he asked for hosts months ago but I had not heard back so I figured I had been deemed not worthy of this great event…Sigh….After a few emails back and forth we figured out that his answers had bounced back and never reached me….Ugh…so ok, quick thinking….Contact people I wished to have as judges, badge tweaking, email account set up, gallery set up,…and long story short (I am trying, really!)….Tartelette will be your host for DMBLGIT June 2008 Edition!

I love this event and not only because I have had the honor to be a winner, a judge and now a host but because I am truly in awe of all the talents out there! Whether you have minimal or top of the line equipment there is always that one shot that makes you say "Yeah baby!" and for those moments, there is Does My Blog Look Good In This?

Before I give you the details, instructions and guidelines, let me introduce you to the four other judges this month: Graeme from Blood Sugar, Nadia from La Porte Rouge, Jen from Use Real Butter, Alyson from Milk Eggs Chocolate. I will tell you more about them later next week…

Each food blogger can submit one photograph that was posted to their blog during the contest month (May). Photographs are reviewed by a panel of judges, who score them in three categories: edibility, aesthetics, and originality. The host then compiles the scores to determine the winners. The specific things the judges will be looking for are as follows:

Aesthetics: composition, food styling, lighting, focus, etc.
Edibility: “does the photo make us want to dive in and eat the food?”
Originality: the photograph that catches our attention and makes us want to say “wow!”, displaying something we might not have seen before.
Overall Winner: top overall scores in all three categories combined.

There are three overall winners for photographs with the highest point totals in all three categories combined, and one winner in each of the three individual categories.

How to participate:

– Only one entry per person (a single photograph, no diptychs)
– The photograph must have been taken by you.
-The photograph must have appeared on your blog during the month of May.
– Entries must be received by June 23, 2008

Send your entry to [email protected] with DMBLGIT as the subject. Please include the following:
– your name
– your blog’s name and URL
– your photograph’s title
– the URL of the post containing the photograph
– type of camera used, lens if you wish
– Please send photos in an attachment to your email in a jpeg format, of no more than 500 pixels in width

All submissions will be posted to the June 2008 DMBLGIT gallery, which will be updated as I receive entries. Please give me a few days to update the gallery with your submission!
Good luck!

Blackberry And Almond Shortcrust Tartelettes

Blackberry Tartelettes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008I am warning you this is another loaded post but having a food blog makes you part of an awesome group of people worldwide and when this community reaches out for help…I just jump because they have given me so much already.

I never thought I’d say this but I am exciting to see June. I usually love May and all the promises that Spring carries. That lighter feel in your step, the days being longer and filled of beautiful sunsets, the trees in full blooms, produce getting a new skin at the store…But as much as the first half of May was filled with joyous and sweet moments such as Marcela’s visit or my birthday, the end of May turned quickly bitter-sweet as well as full and empty at the same time. Before I forget…I am having a bad case of what B. called "Gruyere Head": the lovely apron in the first picture was a handmade gift of Holly’s mother-in-law and I have been starring at it for a couple of weeks now, unable to put it on, afraid I’d stain it…I know aprons are meant to be worn…give me some time, ok?!!

We lost a dear friend, another one got diagnosed with a very invasive form of cancer and while my uncle and aunt are here visiting, we got news that our beloved great aunt Marcelle passed away.We found comfort in just sitting there over a cup of coffee and a pastry discovering different perception on events and people. All throughout May, the “aaws” turned to “yikes” so June is a welcome sight indeed.

I know that things won’t get better just because it is a new month, but the wonderful human interactions I have had in May have given me the strength to make sense of it all. I guess getting one year older does have a purpose beside another …My heart and soul are filled to the rim and just want to explode. Since I am a big believer of paying it forward, I was thrilled when Bee of Jugalbandi asked if I wanted to put a prize for bids in the fundraiser she was organizing for Bri of Figs With Bri. As a long time reader of her blog, I have enjoyed her cooking journey and was touched by her letting us know about the hard truth behind the words. Bri, wonderful and funny Bri has cancer, breast cancer.

I can hear you " Hey, Tartelette, I thought you just said June was going to be better!"….Well they are…because one more time we can move our derrieres and help a friend, offer comfort and support and do something. I have seen throughout this month what a amazing and kick ass community food bloggers are and I know this fundraiser is going to be a success. I also know that there is nothing like food to bring people together so of course this post is not without a sweet recipe. For details on how to help Bri, read the end of this post where you will find all the info necessary.

These little blackberry tartlets with a crunch sweet short crust were a true "baume au coeur", medicine for the heart this past week. Sharing one of my favorite recipes with my aunt and uncle while talking about aunt Marcelle, my ailing grandfather and the family history, was a moment I won’t be quick to forget. Picking the blackberries together under the scorching sun, mixing the ingredients for the dough while sipping lemonade and being rewarded with tasty little bites for dessert. We sat in silence, each thinking about the last time such a thing happened and how bizarre and crazy life can turn out to be. I sure feel better after a few bites of these!

Blackberry Tartelettes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008Blackberry & Almond Shortcrust Tartelettes:
Makes 6-8, depending on your tart molds.

Printable Recipe

For the tart shells:
1 stick plus 1 Tb. butter, cut in small pieces
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk

In a food processor, pulse all the dry ingredients. Add the butter and pulse again. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.Roll between sheets of plastic wrap and cut out circles larger than your tart shells, fit the dough into the molds and cut out the excess. Prick with a fork, cover with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. Reroll the scraps and cut into strips to use as decorative patterns once the shells are filled and prior to their last baking time. Let cool to room temperature before filling with the blackberries.

Blackberry filling:
1 pint fresh blackberries
zest and juice from one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tb. cornstarch

In a heavy saucepan, combine all the ingredients and heat over medium until the blueberries release their juices and the whole mix start to thicken, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Divide the filling among the tart shells, lay strips of the remaining dough over the tartlets. Brush with a little milk and bake another 20 minutes at 350F. Let cool completely before removing them from the tart shells.

Blackberry Tartelettes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
Bri is going through the expected rounds of chemo and other treatments as well as trying other healing alternatives such as holistic methods, which are unfortunately not covered by her health insurance. We thought we’d give them a break and a little boost with their medical bills. Hence, the team organising the JUNE edition of CLICK at Jugalbandi, "Yellow for Bri" has organised a fundraiser to help Bri and her family meet her out-of-pocket medical costs for ONE YEAR.

Yellow is the colour of hope. Through the work of the LiveStrong Foundation, it has also come to signify the fight against cancer. The entries can be viewed HERE. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2008. The fundraiser will extend until July 15, 2008. We appeal to our fellow bloggers and readers to help us achieve this. Bri deserves a chance to explore all options, even if her insurance company thinks otherwise. There’s a raffle with exciting prizes on offer.

After viewing the list, you may make your donation HERE or at the Chip-In button on any participating site. Your donation can be made securely goes directly to Bri’s account. This month’s photo contest also has some prizes. Details HERE. You can support this campaign by donating to the fundraiser, by participating in CLICK: the photo event, and by publicising this campaign.

Sugar High Friday #43: Citrus! The Round Up Part One

You guys….Wow! 130 entries!! 130 recipes to try and people to thank for coming strong to make this edition of SHF such a success. Thank you!
I am whipped!! Seriously, things started slow and nice and Bang! I turn around, enjoy a few boat rides with the family and just like that my tastebuds are overwhelmed with a delicious flow of creative, funny, fun, amazing entries! I don’t have much to add..really…pictures speak a thousand words they say! Well, it’s been a few all nighters here at Tartelette’s to bring all these to you so if I forgot your entry or messed up a link…go easy on me and we’ll fix this together over the weekend.

Before we start, I need to mention that Jennifer herself will be hosting the next Sugar High Friday! The theme is "How Sweet does Canada Taste to You" and she is asking not necessarily for favourite recipes but specifically for your favourite foods… Participants will be asked to bestow their favourite sweet treat that is made in Canada; home-made OR store bought (or both!). You don’t have to be Canadian or live in Canada, you just have to have a fondness for a Canadian-favourite.

And now the round up!!

Let’s start off this round up with SHF creator, Jennifer from Domestic Goddess who made a Lemon Cloud Cheesecake, (recipe here) which she says started out as a mess but ended up as a masterpiece. Aren’t most masterpieces and discoveries made that way?!!

Susan from Food Blogga pays tribute to her dad’s limoncello in these Mini Custards With Limoncello-Spiked Rasberry Sauce. Refreshing, sweet and healthy…I think I will have to eat two just to make sure! Gorgeous!

Kristen from Something Sweet finds the time to join us while in the middle of a big move and makes these puckery good and fluffy Lime Cheesecake Squares. I’d say they are the perfect companion to share while moving and boxing!

Sihan from Fundamentaly Flawed shares a wonderful Orange and Lemon Souffle with her family and friends. What a great finale to a gorgeous table and good times spent together!! A tower of citrus goodness indeed!

Lynne from And Then I do The Dishes starts a double birthday celebration on a perfet note with these Cranberry Orange Scones! I love that breakfast can be good and good for you too. Thank you!

Ambrosia from Brozy’s Baking participates for the first time to SHF and with such a yummy creation I hope it won’t be the last! She combines two of my favorite desserts: creme brulees and cheesecake in these Lemon Brulee Cheesecakes. Brilliant!

Patricia from Patricia Furtado-Recipe Book pairs limes and caramel in a Creamy Lime Mousse with Lime Caramel Sauce. Simple ingredients and preparation but a mouth watering result.

Lysy from Munchkin Mail gets inspired by lemons and makes the cutest star shaped Lemon Mousse Cheesecakes. We still need to help her use some limes….any ideas anyone?! Just kidding!

Cathy of Aficionado made a Trio of Ice Creams that had my eyes rolling in all directions with sugar desire: Sheep’s milk yogurt sorbet, crushed raspberry ice and white pepper ice cream, all enhanced by a good dose of lovely lemon.

Shari from Whisk: A Food Blog, makes the most tempting combination of velvety smooth and sugar crunch in her Pecan Coconut Pavlova with Lemon Cream. Hands off people! They are mine!

Rachel from Fairy Cake Heaven puts a very creative spin on some favorite recipe and delivers a tempting, no scratch that, mashing display of flavors. Check out her Pomelo and Lime Curd, Orange Mousse and Lemon Lavender Butterflies Tuiles.

Candice from Mmm, Tasty! makes a batch of flavorful Orange Date Walnut Buns based on a cinnamon buns recipe that she loves. Filled with orange juice and orange zest, I already wish it were morning, don’t you?

Michelle from Thursday Night Smackdown participates in her first SHF, calling it a "personal blogging milestone" ( I know that both Jennifer and I are flattered by that line) with a smackingly good Fuzzy Navel Upside Down Cake. How creative is that?!!

Julie from A Mingling Of Tastes makes the most mouth watering Lemon Bars with more filing than crust (yeah!) and gives us her secret ingredient: lemon sugar…So good…

Kristen from Sweet Pea Patisserie recreated her mother in law’s favorite cake and does a wonderful job in this scrumptious Lemon Cream Cake. That had to score major points on the mother-in-law scale!

Liz from VeggieGirl shows ingenuity with these Lemon Gem Cupcakes by turning a runny lemn glaze into a lovely lemon filling. Great thinking, they look delicious! Is the knife to protect the last muffin from lemon cupcake lover snatchers?!!!

Oom from Vanilla Orchid makes the cutest White Chocolate Almond Cupcakes with an orange icing. The marzipan butterflies are a wonderful and whimsical touch to her dessert!

I tend to think like Ranji from Ranji’s Kitchen Corner that lemon and blueberries go perfect together and I love that she paired them in mouth watering Blueberry Muffins for the event. Those would be great for breakfast and snack time…or lunch and dinner too!

Deeba from Passionate About Baking is also passionate about citrus (yeah!) and makes this gorgeous Tangy Fresh Lime Cake with as you guessed lime in the cake and in the syrup/glaze. Yum!!

Ulrike from Kuchenlatein in Germany makes a delicious sounding Lemon Yogurt Ice Cream that is a cinch to make and will refresh the whole family in under an hour. Perfect for summer!

Rachel from The Essential Rhubarb Pie decides to come out and play with us and relax in the kitchen as well by creating some delicious Ginger Creamsicle Muffins with cardamom, cinnamon, mascarpone and plenty of orange to go around! Yum!

Ayin from Flower In The Kitchen made the most delicious souding Lemon Swiss Roll With Lemon Curd. Thank you for persevering with this one because it turned out superb!

Super sweet Steph from A Whisk And A Spoon in Australia knows how to tempt me with two delicious entries! She first made one of my childhood (ok, all around time) favorites, Lemon Yogurt Cake. She added an extra delicious ingredient with a sweet orange marmelade glaze on top. Then, she added for extra sweetness Meyer Lemon Ice Cream Bombes, filled with a caramel orange sauce, similar to Baked Alaskas. Wooza!!

Marianna from Swirl & Scramble in France, remembers Italy and shakes things up a bit with this outstanding Limoncello Tiramisu. Great take on a classic! Thanks for participating!

Joanna from Salute To Sanity chose the less traveled road with her Grapefruit Curd Cups and I could not be any more pleased to get another curd recipe! Thank you!

Abby from Eat The Right Stuff made this outstanding Lemon and Rosewater Frosted Pistachio And Orange Cake…but wait… there is also a hint of cardamom in there. Brilliant combination!

Chriesi from Almond Corner took her love for lemon sorbet to the next level by making it herslef and pairing it up with crepes in this Orange Crepes With Lemon Sorbet. Sounds decadent and refreshing at the same time!

Emily from The Sweet Gourmand makes a comeback to SHF with a wonderful and flavorful Lavender Lemon Pound Cake. Glad the theme inspired this beauty!

Minko from Couture Cupcakes put on her creative hat and came up with these Hazelnut, Lime and Cracked Black Pepper Cupcakes! I am looking forward to trying them myself!

Sweet Abby from Confabulation In The Kitchen tried to please all the women present at her Mother’s Day table by making this Almost Fat Free, Almost Sugar Free Cheesecake. I think that everyone watching those calories will be happy with it!

Mindy from Mindy’s Deli in Venezuela brings us these ubber cute Lemon Cupcakes With Lemon Buttercream. Love the candied peel and leaves. What a way to celebrate a birthday!

First time participant to SHF, Gauri from Guj Food Guide created a wonderful interpretation of the classic lemon yogurt cake with this delightful Lemon Cake.

Magali from In The Night Kitchen made good use of leftover limes and created a perfect Lime Flan to help her friend unwind. Now, that’s one cool blogger!

Zita from Simplicious made a dessert that I know I will make very soon: Lemon Sponge Pudding with Cardamom Caramel Syrup….just the title makes me swoon!

Lori from Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness made great use of an abundance of oranges in this Orange Cake with Curacao Strawberries . Going with the flow was a great idea!

There are days I wish states were smaller around here so I could be over at Aran’s Cannelle Et Vanille in Florida and have some of her Lemon, Orange and Almond Savarin Cakes with Grapefruit Sorbet that she made while remembering her wonderful grandfather. Eskerrik asko !

Marija from Palachinka in Serbia made this exquisite Mojito Dessert: a cake filled with a wonderful mint and lime yogurt mousse. Very refreshing!

Smita from Smita Serves You Right in Rochester, New York made this inspired Olive Oil Pound Cake flavored with sherry and orange! I am putting the tea kettle on right now! Thank you for participating!

George from Culinary Travels Of A Kitchen Goddess made a wonderful Lemon Oil Cheesecake with a sweet pastry base and a pana cotta-like frosting. Now, doesn’t that scream yummy or what?

Judy from Judy Gross Eats in California reminisce of a favorite Baskin-Robbins flavor and create one which I think is to times better with this Chocolate Tangerine Sorbet.

Johanna from The Passionate Cook in the UK found some time during her move to make those scrumptious Mojito Cheesecakes. Thanks for participating and being such a pillar of SHF!

Psychgrad from Equal Opportunity Kitchen made a moist and comforting Orange Crumb Cake. Don’t wait for cooler days to crank up the oven!

Scrumptious from In My Box is a first timer to SHF and made some tasty and flavorful Candied Pomelo Peels With Bittersweet Chocolate.

Farida from Farida Azerbaijani 's Cookbook made a delicious Cheese and Yogurt Cake with lemon zest. Almost a cheesecake and a wonderful light snack at the same time!

Elizabeth from Stawberries In Paris made scrumtious Key Lime Tartlets that were devoured in no time on Mother’s Day. I believe that!

Tommi from Brown Interior made one of the most tempting treats out there: Grapefruit Tart With Candied Grapefruit Peel paired up with some beautiful lyrics and prose.

Thip from the delicious blog Bonbini made this beautiful Orange Sabayon in a tuile cup with fresh fruits. Crunchy and smooth all in one bite!

Elizabeth from Spice Girl gets her bloggin groove back for SHF and makes this delicious Lemon Olive Oil Cake. I think I could snack on it all day long!

Steph from CIA-Cooking In An Apron made some wonderful Iced Lemon Cookies. How can you go wrong with lemon on lemon, right?!! Thanks for participating!

Arfi from HomeMades reminded me with this fabulous Lemon Posset of all the possibilites of cream, sugar and lemon mixed together. Thank you for such a stylish dessert!

Basma from the yummy blog Bakerette is somebody I relate too as she can’t decide which one of her entries she likes best for the event and I thought "why not have both?". She first made the silkiest Rich Chocolate and Orange Mousse. Just give me the bowl will you?!! Best remedy to a tough day for sure! Then she tempts us with the cutest Mini Lemon Cheesecakes. Double yum!

Medena from Cafe Chocolada combined citrus and chocolate in the perfect Orange Infused Chocolate Buttercream Roll and even made marzipan type citrus fruits. Way to go Medena!

Brittany from The Pie Lady knows how to make me blush and swoon with this wonderful Citrus Creme Brulee Tart. All my favorites wrapped into one: crust, citrus, caramel crunch…yum!

Sugar High Friday #43 Citrus! The Round Up Part Two…Click here.

Sugar High Friday – Citrus : Reminder

Yes, I know, it seems like the 25th is weeks away and there is still plenty of time to make something for the event….and you are right…but you know what they say: time flies. I was happy to see from your comments and the wonderful entries I have already received that you dig the theme this month, but I am difficult and I want more. Pleeeeeaaaase!!! Don’t forget to send the entry at sugarhighfridaycitrus AT gmail DOT com. For all the rules, see this post.

I have been baking a lot for home and work these past few days and there will be another SHF-Citrus entry tomorrow for a special someone and a celebration but in the meantime I thought I’d give you something from the archives to entice you and maybe inspire you for this round.

Citrons Givres : one of my favorite treats as a child and still has an adult, although now I like to add a little vodka to the lemon sorbet. Funny story is that in most French restaurant a lemon sorbet with a touch of vodka is called a Colonel…interesting isn’t it? Even my dad the Army guy can’t figure out why…and he knows everything (of course, he is a dad and that’s his job!)

Full post and recipe can be found here and I have already made a couple batches this week to cool us off with this crazy humid and hot week we have had. By the way, don’t you just love the fingerprints on the lemons?….Not!!

Announcing Sugar High Friday #43: Citrus!

I love reading the archives of Sugar High Friday, the monthly event created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess . Imagine recipe upon recipe dedicated to sweets, months after months, year after year….all at the click of button. While browsing one night last February, I noticed that the blog hosting SHF citrus way back when three years ago did no longer exist. It must have been really late in the night because I found myself emailing Jennifer telling her that if she was interested in a citrus theme again, that I’d love hosting it. I had heard that the list of future hosts was close to a year long so I put that thought to rest until she emailed back later that week and offered that I host in May…this year! Yippeee!

Why "Citrus"? The simplest answer I have is that after chocolate (or right alongside), citruses are my favorite flavors. Lemons, lime, oranges, tangerines, clementines, mandarines, grapefruits, kumquats,…you name it, I dig it. I know that this does not apply to everybody and without putting citrus as the star of the show, even a touch of lemon juice or grated zest can enhance a dessert tremendously. The bright colors of the fruits and the desserts they are prepared with cannot but make you happy and ready for summer. Let’s get all zesty and let’s pucker up with citrus in May!

To participate all you have to do is make a dessert featuring any sort (or all if you feel ambitious!) of citrus. Post something that you create something specifically for the event, not from your archives. Use it as the main ingredient of a dessert or as an accent if you are somewhat "citrus hesitant". The possibilities are endless: mousses, cakes, ice creams, custards, brownies, blondies, sauces, candies,….Let your imagination and your creativity run loose!

Life is wild around here in May (I am turning a year older next week and I have lots of cakes to eat!) with celebrations and visitors so here a few guidelines I would like participants to follow to make sure I do not misplace anybody’s entry while on a work or sugar coma 🙂

– The deadline for this month SHF is May 25th. Late bloggers will have to send me a care package of sour lemon candies 🙂

– In your post, please include a link to Jennifer’s blog and mine so it is easy to track back posts that might have fallen through our careful eyes.

– Once you have posted, send me an email at sugarhighfridaycitrus AT gmail DOT com. We are all busy and I sometimes don’t check my links back for days and I might miss that you posted for the event. Please, pretty please, let’s make it hassle free by sending me an email with the following information:

  • your name
  • your blog name
  • your blog URL
  • your post title and short description is you wish
  • your post URL
  • a picture of your dessert resized to be 200 pixels wide with your blog name as your picture file name

– If you do not have a blog and wish to participate (Yes, I am looking at you Bina), send me an email at the above address with a description and picture of your creation. If you wish to provide a recipe, and I encourage you to as we can never have too many (!) I will put it on a separate page of this blog.

Now this being said: no excuse people….I want to see your citrus 🙂

Feel free to use this badge in your blog post or side bar.

Ispahan Cupcakes And A Cookbook Giveaway

Ispahan Cupcakes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
Before I talk about these cupcakes, I need, I have to, I must and want to thank you all who visit this site and leave fun and thoughtful comments. I am overwhelmed each time you wish to share something with me. I try my best to visit as many bogs as I can but I always seem to run out of time. I apologize if I am sporadic in my visits on your sites. I try to give, share and support and I just wanted you to know that I am sorry if you don’t always see me around in a timely manner. You guys are the best!

The cupcakes? Oh, yes….I did say in my last post that the next one would be about cupcakes, didn’t I? For the cookbook giveaway, you have to either read this until the end or scroll down to the bottom.

One of my friends just had a baby a few weeks ago, a little preemie named Rose. Now that mom and baby are back home and settling down into their new routine, we decided to throw them a very special "Welcome Home" since the birth and following days were rather traumatic for the both of them. A soon as her husband called me to ask if I could take care of the dessert table, I knew I would have to make little Rose, Ispahan cupcakes, inspired by Pierre Herme famous macarons dominated by flavors like rose, raspberry and lychee, and that he now spreads to a whole array of creations.

Rose is a precious baby in all aspects of the word, and since she is a preemie, her parents decided to have a donation box by the dessert table to contribute to the amazing work done by the March Of Dimes foundation. In my case, I am virtually sending these to Holly who graciously shared her story with us to spotlight this foundation by organizing a Little Wonders Event. Holding Rose in my arms was a very emotional moment for me, that little wee bittie girl fighting so hard to be part of this world just made me melt and the least I could do was to try to make it a comfortable place.

Back when my mother was here in February I baked his Ispahan Cake from his latest book "Confidences Sucrees". The cake was so good it was gone before I could take a picture, which in a way was not that bad since I had to use a bright pink colored rose extract that made the cake a little too fashion forward for my taste. For the cake a mix of rose water and rose essence works best so as soon as my new stash arrived I put the idea of making the cake into cupcakes into action. If you can’t find rose essence, add more rose water which you can find in health food stores or Asian grocers. The cake recipe was great but not fit to be used as is into cupcakes, instead I use a basic white cupcake batter to which I added almonds and a good dose of rose flavor. Hidden inside the cupcake is a whole lychee to stay true to the original Ispahan macaron and the frosting is my tried and true cream cheese frosting enhanced with raspberry puree to keep up with the whole rapsberry-rose idea.

I understand that not everybody like lychees as much as I do, and I understand it is an acquired taste and texture but if you can find fresh ones, go ahead and use these, the canned ones are awfully sweet. For the cupcakes I had to use canned lychees which I rinsed off a couple of times under cold water and patted dry before incorporating to the cupcakes. Same things with the raspberries, use jam or preserve instead of fresh but reduce the sugar in the frosting a little. I just loved these and given the empty box I came back with, I think they went quite well! I can’t wait for Rose to be old enough to have one instead of watching a bunch of adults passing these in front of her nose!!

Ispahan Cupcakes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008 Ispahan Cupcakes:

Makes 24
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup rose water
1 tsp rose essence (if available)
24 whole lychees (or 24 halves if they are big)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 cupcake liners with cooking spray and set them on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the flours and set aside.In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and rose water. Do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon half the batter into the liners, place one lychee int he center and top with the remaining batter, leaving a two inch space to the top as the cupcake will rise. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup raspberry puree (run enough fresh raspberries in the blender to make up 1/2 cup)
or use 1.5 cups powdered sugar with 1/2 cup raspberry jam.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the frosting and pipe on the cupcakes. Top with a fresh raspberry.

Ispahan Cupcakes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
Now…..The cookbook giveaway I mentioned at the beginning. I find myself with an extra copy of this book and thought to share it with one of you. It is full of great recipes for cakes, pies, cookies and brownies made famous by the folks at Nestle, both American and International.

All you have to do is leave a comment (and why not tell me about your favorite cookbook at the same time) and I will let the random generator pick the lucky winner, anywhere in the world by Monday night.

A Taste Of Yellow 2008 – Tropical Fruit Verrine and Peach Macarons

Verrines and Peach Macarons. Copyright©Tartelette-2008 There are many events I like to participate in but there is one I would not miss for the world: LiveStrong Day With A Taste Of Yellow launched and hosted by Barbara from Winos and Foodies . Last year 149 bloggers from all over the world answered her call to celebrate life, remember our loved one who passed away from cancer and this year I have no fear that more will rally on May 13th to support the LiveStrong Foundation. I have previously talked about my brother passing away at an early age from cancer and then my grandmother a few years later. There is not a day that goes by without their memory influencing my thoughts, my choices and my attitude. I laugh more, I try not to sweat the small stuff (does not mean I succeed all the time) and I live and love stronger, for me and others. I tried to write this post all weekend long but everytime my eyes got cloudy and my heart heavy, no exception this very minute. I miss Thierry, I miss Mamie Paulette. I wish I could write a more eloquent post to their memory but I can’t even write the word cancer without hurting. The anger and disbelief has given way to sadness but last year I did manage to write some about it which you can read here.

Instead I want to focus on the woman behind the event, Barbara. Although I have never met her in person, I like to believe that we would be good friends if we were neighbors. I first "met" Barbara when I sent her a package during one round of Blogging By Mail….all the way to New Zealand! We kept in touch through emails, we discovered more about each other as the months went by and she is in my thoughts just about everyday. She has her own battle with cancer to fight and yet she never cease to amaze me by dropping me a line or sending me a little package when I come here and open up about some of my "mishaps". Thank you for being here, for being fierce, for being strong, for being such a support when I needed a little boost.

When she launched Taste of Yellow this year, she added a little photo contest opportunity with the request that our picture had to feature the yellow cancer wristband. Name your color, I got it, but in this case when I went to get mine wrapped around Teddy The Mini Bear I discovered that this ferocious beast had a field trip with the bear and the bracelet. I got online and figured I would order a bag of 10 and give them out to friends and family and right after I hit "buy", an email from Barbara came in reading that she had some and would I like her to send me one (from Australia this time, because she moved) Yep, Ma’m! I gave the whole bag I purchased away and kept hers for the photo shot and away from the beast of the house! Thank you my dear, macarons look great wrapped in yellow! The "funny" thing this year is that LiveStrong day falls on my birthday, a date my brother never missed although he was completely in his own world when it came to dates and celebrations. Life has a way to remind you of the big things doesn’t it?

Allright, what about Barbara’s event and the food…. It has to be yellow for one and since it has been in the 80sF around here lately I decided not to turn the oven on too long and make something refreshing. A tropical "verrine" of mango, fruit salad, and whipped Greek yogurt with peach ganache macarons…yellow, yellow…Of course I had to stick a macaron in there..eheheh!! That went down so easy last night as we were sitting on the porch, reminiscing about the first time B. met my bother in Montmartre in front of a big bowl of spaghetti and the first time he met my grandmother at her house in front of one of her famous tarts and a cup of tea. Great memories…the best (someone pass me a Kleenex).

I need to add after reading several comments that you do not need a yellow wristband to enter the event, it is just to take part in the photo contest. However, purchasing one or several through the Lance Armstrong Foundation will help fight this nasty disease.

Verrines and Peach Macarons. Copyright©Tartelette-2008
Tropical Fruit Verrines With Peach Macarons:

Printable Version

For the verrines (serves 4)

2 mangoes

2 Tb lime juice

1 pint fresh raspberries

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

2 kiwis, skinned and diced

1 bananas, skinned and diced

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

For the bottom layer, peel the mango and cut in rough chunks, run them through the food processor with the lime juice until you obtain a fine puree. Divide it evenly among four glasses or dishes.

Peel and dice the remaining mango and mix it with the other fruits to get a nice fruit salad, add a couple of Tbs of lemon juice to prevent the fruits from turning brown if you want. Divide on top of the mango puree evenly among the glasses.

Mix the Greek yogurt and the whipped cream and top each glass with it. Sprinkle with crushed sugar cookies if your desire. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Macarons shells:

3 egg whites (I like to use 1-2 day old egg whites)

50 gr. granulated sugar

200 gr. powdered sugar

110 gr. ground almonds

1 drop yellow food coloring

1 drop red food coloring

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature on a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won’t work. Combine the ground almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a quick pulse. It will break the powdered sugar lumps and combine your almonds with it evenly. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold and remove some of the batter that will remain uncolored. Add the food colorings to the rest and fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.

If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Pipe or spoon some ganache on one shell and sandwich with another one.

If you use fresh whites, zap them up in the microwave on medium high for 20 seconds to mimic the aging process.

For the Peach Ganache:

150 gr good quality white chocolate

1 peach

75 ml heavy cream

Bring a small pot filled with water to a boil on the stove and cook the peach in it for a couple of minutes. Remove from the water, let cool, peel and chop into rough chunks. Run them through the food processor until you get a fine peach puree. Set aside.In a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the white chocolate until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream and peach puree. Gently incorporate all the ingredients together until your ganache is smooth. Refrigerate until of piping consistency and fill the macarons shells with it.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

First, I wanted to thank you all for sharing your pet stories when I posted about our collie/sheltie Tippy and the great demise of the cinnamon buns. It really brightened my weekend and brought on a couple of welcome laughs! Those animals sure are unbelievable!!

Now, the Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes… B’s mom called Monday night and we started to chat about everything and nothing as we usually do, and she started to beat around the bush, as she usually does, about needing me to bake something for her garden club. She is a talented baker but she does not get in the kitchen much nowadays, and she knows I am happy to give her and "her ladies" a hand whenever I can. I usually try to fit the cake, treats, and sweets to the theme of their meeting, but when she pronounced the words "Easter" I admit I drew a blank. I am still warming up to Peeps and Chicks (nothing wrong there just different countries different candies) and really beside liking the colors I don’t think I wanted to make a bunny cake or something like that (nothing wrong there either). I hung up and went outside to consult with my favorite baking associates, the Twins. We sat down on the sidewalk and after a good ten minutes of dreaming out loud about their favorite desserts, I asked them their favorite questions "So, what do you think I should bake?" They both said vanilla cupcakes with yellow frosting and tons of sprinkles.

They got very distracted by the two little girls at the end of the street so I went on baking and told them to come later help me with the sprinkles. I think it was the loudest "Yeah!" I had ever heard!! I don’t know if they were more excited about the little girls or the sprinkles. In my perfect little world I don’t think I want to know!!

While I was getting all the ingredients ready, I remembered that one of my favorite bloggers, Arfi from HomeMades was hosting a Cupcake Spectacular this month. Very timely! For the cupcakes I went with the tried and true Vanilla ones from Magnolia Bakery and Rose Levy Berembaum mousseline buttercream. I could eat both together or separately by the bucket… I went for minis for a couple of reasons: I love treats that fit in the palm of my hand and the ladies at the garden club have an easier time pretending they only ate four two. When the kids arrived for the decorating part they were really happy to empty a couple of bottles of sprinkles on the cupcakes. Their words? "Look it’s raining sprinkles! Cool!"….and I now have multicolored floors!

Vanilla Vanilla Mini Cupcakes:

Makes 4 dozens minis

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two 24-cup muffin tins with mini cupcake papers.
Combine the flours together and sift them. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Do not overmix the batter. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full (I use a mini ice cream scoop to do that) Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tip of a knife or skewer inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the buttercream and pipe it on the cupcakes. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

4 sticks butter at room temperature
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar divided
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
food coloring if desired

In the bowl of stand mixer, whip 5 egg whites until they have soft peaks.
In the meantime, combine 1/4 cup water with 3/4 cup sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and bring the syrup to 250F. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the egg whites. If you use hand beaters, this is even easier and there is less hot syrup splatter on the side of your bowl and in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. Continue to whip until the meringue is completely cooled.
Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. The mass might curddle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the vanilla extract and the food coloring if using.

Time To Make The Donuts – Second Batch

Thank you for your patience waiting for the second batch of the round up here. Turns out that even though we tried to split entries and forward to each other the proper ones, Peabody and I had pretty busy schedules this past week and you may find some entries twice or misplaced. The important thing is that we do not forget anybody. If you do not see your post right away, no worries, we are adding and squaring things out over the course of the day. For me that means going back and editing my typos….!

Where was I again? Oh yeah….Doughnuts!!!

Katia from Gourmet Girl makes little fried jewels with these Brandied Apricot Beignets. An extra dose of powdered sugar and we are all screaming for more! Thank you for sharing this with us.

Lynne from And Then I Do The Dishes sent us those mouth watering Dutch Ollie Bollen, ovecoming her fear of doughnuts and frying. Thank you for braving your fear, look at the results and for your patience with the roundup!

Zorra from the always mouth watering 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf made us some "Fasnachtschüechli", a typical Swiss Carnival pastry. They remind me of a pastry my grandmother used to make me on Mardis Gras called "ear beignets". They are crsipy and sugary, perfect with a cup of coffee or tea. Thank you for finding the time to make us these!.

Another favorite bread baker of mine, Sandra from Le Petrin in France made traditional Alsatian Beignets, "Fasenachtskiechle". I am glad I begged because they turned out perfect! Hope you get to try these are they are texture perfect.

Pat from Feeding My Enthusiasms goes all out with these Gingerbread Doughnuts with Lemon Curd Filling because you are not likely to find those at a donut shop! Thanks for a mouth watering recipe. I love that they look like they are stiking their tongue at me!

New mom and blogger and talented pastry chef Aran from Cannelle et Vanille makes some of the most incredible doughnuts: Caramelized Banana Beignets with Chocolate Soup. Did I hear you go "hmmhmmhmm"…That’s what I thought! Thanks Aran for your entry!

Lisa from Pittsburgh Needs Eated was among the first ones to send her entry and I started drooling right away! Those Sugar And Spice Doughnuts are sure crowd pleasers! Thank you Lisa!

I may not undestand everything Ile Ghetta Mabel from La Cocina de Ile wrote about but if you were ever wondering how to make a donut take a bath, just look at the pictures! Great post! I love how descriptive and nerve calming it was for frying newbies. Thanks for participating!

Wonderful and talented Anh from Australia at Food Lover’s Journey, makes another one of my favorites with Churros With Dulce De Leche Sauce. Do I hear your stomachs growl? Mine did! Thanks for tempting my tastebuds once more with such a great recipe!

Judy from Judy’s Gross Eats in California makes the fluffiest Beignets Souffles in honor of her mother and her past. That electric skillet was sure put to great use! Thank you for a mouth watering entry!

Joel and Amy from Foodmonkeys happily took out the toolbox and made us a batch of traditional French inspired Beignets. Thanks for sending a dozen to my way (fresh please!)

Marye from Apron Strings And Simmering Things made a full batch of Breakfast Donuts. Perfect cake donuts with coffee, the breakfast of champions! Thanks Marye for an easy and perfect recipe!

Sukanya from Hot N' Sweet Bowl gets creative with pizza dough and makes this colorful arrangements of doughnuts. Thanks for taking part in the event…they sure have some pizaz!!

Soul Sister and future godmother to my next furry and four-legged child, Lisa from La Mia Cucina, makes a fresh batch of Pan-fried Apple Fritters with Apple – Honey Dipping Sauce. Talk about good! Finally my lood pressure is settling down, she had me believe for a second that she may not have time….ahahah!!

Angie from Angie’s Pangies made the traditional Polish Paczki in her bread machine and filled them with jam and lemon curd. Nothing wrong with that! They turned out beautifully and I always love to see a fry-daddy in pictures! Thanks for your creations!

Witty Susan from Food Blogga remembers Dunkin Donuts doughboys and decides to fry up a batch. Not only is her post hilarious (read it out loud) but the resulting Doughboys are mouth waterig! Thanks for making me hold my ribs wishing my screen had a "smell" button available.

Ivy from Kopiaste, To Greek Hospitality makes Akoumia Symiaka, a traditional doughnut made to celebrate all happy occasions. They will make you even happier as they are spiked with Ouzo and coated with either cinnamon sugar or Greek honey. Thank you Ivy for sharing such a fantastic tradition and culture bit!

Dear to my heart Bron from Bron Marshall, Classic and Creative Cuisine, takes fried dough to a whole another level with these Mini Chocolate Matcha Doughnuts. I think they will be made very soon..I can only imagine the flavors! Thanks for taking part with suh a creative entry!

Jaime from Good Eats and Sweet Treats tries her hand at doughnuts for the first time and makes these scrumptious looking Candied Ginger-Orange Cake Doughnuts. No matter what you think Jaie, I think these cake doughnuts look very inspiring. Thanks for trying so many firsts for the event!

Francie from Ramblings of a Frantic Home Cook, recalls her honeymoon and the flavor associated with it in these tender looking Pina Colada Doughnuts. Very creative!

Without even knowing it, Baker Extraordinaire Mary from The Sourdough made one of my childhood favorites : Pets de Nonne – Nun’s Farts. The name alone used to make us giggle as children! But wait…she also made three more types, Paczki, honey and chocolate glazed, and powdered sugar doughnut holes, to accomodate our fancy! Thanks Mary for filling my dreams with so many choices!!

Sweetest Jenny from All Things Edible uses her new sourdough starter Marvin (love the name) to make these wonderful Sourdough Timbits. I can only imagine how flavorful they must be! Thanks for taking part to our little "lust after donut" event!!