Thank you everyone for your get well wishes. It was a slow cooking/blogging week. Perfect opportunity to tell you about a project I was thrilled to be part of earlier last year. Along with some pretty awesome authors, photographers, bloggers, crafters, I was asked by the magazine Where Women Cook, to be part of their book project, "Where Women Cook: Celebrate!". The book is a collection of women’s stories on how they celebrate and gather the people they love around them.
The instant I read the first lines of the project, I knew I wanted to tell the story of how my grandmother used to celebrate. Above all the traits I inherited from her, this is by far the strongest one. The project was easy: tell with pictures and a few recipes your favorite way to celebrate, how you gather the people you love ad create lasting memories.
Tthe theme I chose to feature and photograph was the same one my grandmother would pick for family gathering: a Berber Couscous with merguez sausages, stewed veggies, chicken and mutton. Plenty of couscous and harissa to go around too. Both my grandparents were in Morocco for a extensive period of time, ten years apart, both my parents were born there, ten years apart. Moroccan cuisine is very much part of my family coding. It’s celebration food for us.
My friend John at Lana Restaurant provided all the bistro bowls, silverware and napkins I needed. We set out a pretty table with flowers in mason jars and lots of natural twine.
We strung some lights across the trees and all over the yard.
The girls got busy making pretty flower arrangements while I was finishing cooking and John was grilling. The other guys in the group got busy with quality control and opening wine bottles.
We sat down by the water and cheered, laughed, ate well, raised our glasses and polished off many servings of couscous. My grandmother would have been proud of us!
We took a break, played some silly games and found some room for Honey Saffron Ice Cream and Cardamon Shortbread Cookies.
Fanny and Patrick from Bin 152 provided much of the wines and we lingered at the dinner table and watched the sun set over the water. We talked for hours and I completely forgot to serve a family favorite palate cleanser, a Citrus Mint Salad.
So here it is. The one recipe that never made it into the cookbook, my grandmother’s super easy refreshing Citrus Mint Salad (check at the end of the post).
For the Berber Couscous and the Honey Saffron Ice Cream & Cardamom Cookies recipes, I encourage you to check out the book, "Where Woman Cook: Celebrate!". You will also be able to discover some of the amazing women who participated in the project such as Ree of Pioneer Woman, Angie of Bakerella, and Molly of Orangette.
You could also…enter a giveaway to win a copy of the book, right?! Well, here it is! I am indeed giving away one copy of "Where Women Cook: Celebrate!". All you have to do to enter is leave a comment to this post, between Friday March 30th and Monday April 2nd, midnight Eastern Standard time when a winner will be picked at random. And yes, I will ship overseas. Just a few guidelines: no anonymous comments, one comment per person and prize must be claimed within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Citrus And Mint Salad:
1 pink grapefruit
1 white grapefruit
1 large orange
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
3 tablespoons honey
Supreme the pink and white grapefruit as well as the orange. (here are great instructions on how to supreme citrus)
Place the fruit segments with the mint and honey in a non reactive bowl and let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Divide among bowls or ramekins, adding some of the natural juices over the fruit.
I hope that those of you celebrating Thanksgiving last week got to spend some quality time with their family and friends. Maybe there were a few odd moments and uncomfortable silence but heck, that’s family dynamic right?! Our holiday was kind of bittersweet. A house full of close friends, kids, games and laughter interrupted by the news of B’s uncle passing away the day before Thanksgiving. Lots of time spent on the road visiting relatives and work/gigs that would not take a vacation (except for Thursday of course).
When calm finally found a momentary reprieve on Friday, I looked around at the little bodies running about the house, verrines of Grapefruit And Pomegranate in Tea Jelly being lined up on the table, friends sitting down together and decided to keep the sweet part of bitter closer to my heart.
I’ve had this recipe and post in my draft box since Friday but have not had much chance to sit down with my thoughts and write something coherent. The first thing I did that morning was to rush out of bed and drink about a gallon of grapefruit juice. My body was obviously gearing up for detox mode. I pretty much spent the rest of the day noshing on grapefruits, oranges, kumquats (citrus season is just around the corner here in the South) and drinking copious mugs of tea. When I get into this mode, I make sure to never run out of anything tart, sour, juicy and fresh (hmm sounds like I could be describing B’s sense of humor!).
It’s not that we ate a lot, we just ate at odd hours and foods prepared by salt-shaker happy relatives. I know I am not the only one who drank a pond came Friday morning but I always wonder: what type of foods do you crave after a few extras?
It hit me at three in the afternoon that I should turn all these lovely, clean and fresh ingredients into a dessert that we could all enjoy. One of our friends loves those little fruit and jello cups sold at the grocery store and I know from a sure source (his wife) that it’s about the only instance he’ll be seen with a fruit. I like the concept (I’m French, anything "aspic" related is part of our food DNA) but I don’t like the idea of additives, extra sugars and what not. I also like fruit over gelled mass a lot more. Plenty of reasons to make these at home and play a good game of Scrabble while they set.
I packed glasses and other ramekins with a combination of white and red grapefruits, sprinkled a small handful of pomegranate seeds over each of them and poured just enough white tea jelly to seal the deal. After a couple of hours in the fridge, we had the healthiest and most flavorful fruit dessert of the week. Suddenly my feet starting tapping on the floor, I began to giggle and fidget in my seat. My energy was back! So was my brain and the ability to come up with endless possibilities for these! We made a couple of other batches, one with pomegranate juice and one with Grand Marnier for a more festive and grown up version.
Can hardly wait to make these with Spring berries paired with some green or bergamot tea, or Summer stone fruit with some ginger beer or Champagne… Grapefruit And Pomegranate In White Tea Jelly
Notes: For a clean presentation, I like to spend some time making sure I properly segment the citrus, removing as much of the white membrane as much as possible. Click here for a good explanation on how to do it.
On the same vibe, pomegranate can make a royal stained mess and if more cleaning is not on your list that day, click here for an illustrated step-by-step.
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1 bag white tea or 1 tablespoon loose white tea leaves
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons sugar (more if you like a sweeter tea)
2 red grapefruits, peeled and segmented
2 white grapefruits, peeled and segmented
1 pomegranate, seeded
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Reserve.
Steep the tea into the boiling water for 2-3 minutes or to the strength you prefer. Add the sugar and reserved gelatin mixture until both are completely dissolved. Let cool a few minutes.
Divide the grapefruit sections and pomegranate seeds evenly among four glasses or ramekins and pour just enough tea jelly to reach the top.
Refrigerate until set, about 2 to 3 hours.
I was making a dessert for a client the other day to celebrate their anniversary when I started wondering if there was any anniversary for B. and I to celebrate soon. No first kiss, first dinner cooked together, no first trip anniversary in sight. Actually there is one soon…if I wrote real fast and everyday: I almost have written 500 posts on this blog. Five hundred stories, five hundred desserts, five hundred times I shared, laughed and cried with you… Now that made me nervous, like after a first date…"Did I talk to much? Did I laugh too hard? Did he/she have a good time?" Thanks for stopping by and offering a minute of your time as well as your stories, comments and emails. Let’s plan a big bash for post 500! Any (sweet) suggestions welcome!
Back to that lady’s anniversary and dessert. I like bumping into patrons I knew at the restaurant, it’s always fun to catch up and as fate would have it, I always end up with an order for macarons, tarts, cakes, you name it. The occasions are as varied: birthdays, showers, romantic dinners, business luncheons. In Lauren’s case, a 30th wedding anniversary and a dessert request for a quiet dinner at home with close friends. I really like Lauren. Impeccable taste in everything, down to earth and sincere. That to me is sophistication. She mentionned how much she loved my creme brulees I could not help but frown. She added that anything would be great but that they did not need anything super fancy or elaborate this time. Woohoo! I have zippo time for elaborate these days. Actually I have zippo time to even notice my socks are mismatched (oh yeah…not so cute at 33!).
I went home and told B. about our meeting and mentionned the creme brulees bit and frowned again. He noticed it. "Do you realize it’s lack a nervous tick with you everytime someone mentions creme brulees? You frown." Yes dear, I know. "Wouldn’t you frown too if you made them day in -day out, twice a day, every day and you can’t even recall which batch you are on and the restaurant’s owner does not want, will not have anything but vanilla creme brulees, and that the only time you got away with flavor was for a Grand Marnier tasting and that was cutting close and what was once your favorite dessert became "the one that shall not be named"? Phew… I needed to breathe so I stopped….He was staring, with that "oh my god, she is crazy" look on his face and took a step back before asking what I was going to bake then. Smart man, taking a step back.
I actually did not think about it long because it always boils down to this, what the client wants and what the client likes and I like them both a lot. They will get creme brulee. Only I’ll have my say in it, somehow. Since we are in full citrus season, I went for a tangerine creme brulee tartelettes: a tangerine pastry cream, baked in cocoa and cardamom shortbread (sable) shells and finished with a little sugar creme brulee crust. To commemorate their 25th anniversary of "tying the knot", I toppped each tartlet with a knotted candied citrus zest. I am such a love dork sometimes…
Tangerine Creme Brulees Tartelettes Recipe:
Kitchen Notes: The dough recipe was enough for four 4 inch fluted tartelettes and four 3 inch straight edged tartelettes, so I would say it makes between 6 to 8 tartelettes depending on your molds. You can replace the tangerine with orange or grapefruit, and leave the Grand Marnier out.
For the cocoa cardamom sable dough:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (93 gr) powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 1 /2 cups (188gr) flour
1 tablespoon (10 gr) natural cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon (2gr) ground cardamom
pinch of salt
In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, cocoa, cardamom and salt and mix briefly to incorporate. 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 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 have extra dough that you can save for another use in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen, well wrapped for up to 3 months. Cut out 8 rounds two inches larger than your pastry rings. Fit the dough inside the rings with your fingertips and trim the edges with a sharp knife. Line the rings with small squares of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.
For the tangerine cream:
2/3 cup (120gr) sugar
6 egg yolks
3 tablespoons (30gr) all purpose flour
1 stick butter (115gr), melted and cooled
2/3 cup (160ml) tangerine juice
grated zest of 2 tangerines
2 tablespoons (20gr) Grand Marnier (optional)
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, whole eggs and egg yolks until pale. Add the flour and butter and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in the tangerine juice and zest. Place the mixture in a saucepan over medium low heat and cook until thickened about 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly without letting it boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Grand Marnier if using. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the cream to prevent it from forming a crust while cooling. Let cool to room temperature.
1/4 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1/4 cup packed brown sugar for the brulee crust
tangerine slices and candied tangerine zest (use the recipe for candied kumquats, using tangerine zest instead)
Divide the cream evenly among the shells and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Top each tartelettes with about 1 tablespoon of the sugar mixed and using a blow torch, caramelize the top of the tarts to create a sugar crust. If you do not have a blowtorch, set the tarts on a sheetpan under the broiler and broil them until golden, watching carefully to monitor that the edges don’t burn.
Decorate with segments and zest of tangerines.
Update: Thank you to all of you who voted for Tartelette in the 2008 Food Blog Awards. I am grateful for your support in making Tartelette the Best Food Blog in the Chef Category and the Best Food Blog Of The Year. I will proudly honor this vote of confidence!
I just love December so much I could just wrap my arms around it and hug it so tight it would burst! What gets me so excited in December? Well, Christmas light, Christmas decorations, roasted chestnuts, cranberries, get-togethers, oyster roasts…Oh! I don’t know…a gazillion things. My heart burst, my head spins and my heart swells a little bigger comes December. Time to take a hand, lend a hand, bake a little, bake a lot, send a hug, write a card…ok,ok…you get it..sorry I tend to not filter my emotions come December.
Indeed, I ride high and I ride low…especially if I don’t get to go home for Christmas. B. knows when and how to get the arsenal of chocolate and tissues ready for when I hit my lows and I give him ample warning of long Christmas stories from my childhood are about to leave my lips the moment I start decorating the tree. The creche and the santons, the 13 desserts of Provence, our long dinners and lingering lunches, taking the young ones to a Disney movie on Christmas day, I just start and never stop (like now, oops!)
Like a lot of people away from home during holidays and important celebrations, I like to recreate atmospheres that make me feel closer to the ones I love and like most people they tend to revolve around food or the dinner table. Making homemade cards while having some cake and a cup of tea, making truffles and madeleine as was my "duty" for Christmas Eve as soon as I was able to reach the the counter top perched on my stool. One particular thing I do is make a giant fresh fruit, nuts and dried fruit bowl like my mom has on the dining room table, available at all times. Unshelled almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, dates, dried apricots and prunes, fresh apples, lychees and satsuma oranges. The bowl empties out fast with all the people around, dropping by or simply grazing.
The other day I realized that even with friends visiting, it was mostly the two of us partaking in my mother’s tradition and the fruits would end up ripening too fast before we’d get to them. I wanted to bring something a little festive to our weekly gathering with the neighbors, a little green, a little red, a little citrus. Pistachios, pomegranate, and a little satsuma orange, (zest and juice) one of my favorite scents, thrown together, somehow…At first I thought about making macarons with those flavors and then I decided to take the same batter and turn it into dacquoise petits fours instead.
The ingredients are the same for either macarons or dacquoise only your touch in folding will make a difference. Work the batter into a shiny mass and you get macarons. Gently fold your meringue into the nuts and you get a dacquoise. Bake it into disks and you get the base of a yummy cake or pipe into long shapes and you get the perfect two bite dessert to end a meal or to go with a cup of tea. Top with fresh fruits to keep it on the light side, or buttercream for a richer approach as I did here, keep them as one, or like macarons, sandwich two together…the possibilities in flavors and topping are as endless as you want them to be.
Satsuma Pistachio Dacquoise & Satsuma Pistachio Buttercream : Kitchen Note: feel free to substitute any orange, clementine, mandarin that you find for the satsuma orange used here. Same for the nuts, if you don’t like pistachios, replace the amount with any other nut of your liking but as with macarons, keep a certain ratio of almonds to prevent the batter from being too oily. Unlike with macarons, the egg whites do not need to be aged.
For the dacquoise "fingers":
3 egg whites (about 90gr)
70 gr almonds
30 gr pistachios
70 gr powdered sugar
1 tsp powdered green food coloring
2 tsp satsuma orange zest
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. Combine the almonds, pistachios and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the coloring and orange zest. Sprinkle the nut mixture over the meringue add carefully fold the two batters together placing your spatula in the center of the bowl, scrape the bottom and bring it over the top. Rotate the bowl 45 degrees and repeat the same motion until both mixtures are fully incorporated. Make sure not to deflate the meringue as you do so. Pipe 3 to 4 inches strips on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes at 300F.
For the satsuma pistachio buttercream:
3 egg whites
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 sticks (170 gr) butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons satsuma orange juice
1 teaspoon satsuma orange zest
1/4 cup finely ground pistachios
1/2 tsp powdered green food coloring
In the bowl of stand mixer, whip the egg whites until they have soft peaks. In the meantime, combine the water with the sugar and bring them to a boil in a heavy saucepan. 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 curdle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the juice and zest from the orange, the pistachios and food coloring.
At this point you can refrigerate the buttercream for a later use up to 4 days or freeze for up to three months. To assemble the dacquoise petit fours, make sure the buttercream is of spreadable consistency and fit a piping bag with a large star tip (or the nuts might clog the flow as you pipe) and pipe on the meringue. Decorate with pomegranate seeds if desired.
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?!!
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!
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!
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.
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?
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?!!!
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!
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!!
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!
Gluten Free super blogger Nathalie from Gluten A Go Go creates a gorgeous Kumquat Lychee Preserve to go along some perfectly puffed choux. Once again my hat’s off to you for making a classic available to all.
Monica from Nervous Chef decides to take the plunge and post her first SHF entry! She made a fabulous Lemon Mousse Cake…and for a non citrus person that is a lot to do! I guess the subliminal messages I have been sending did work!
Meeta from What’s For Lunch, Honey? knows how to mix the classic and the sexy in a perfectly executed Lime Creme Brulee. Tap,tap,tap…that’s me cracking the top (or tapping on my screen pretending!). Thank you for joining the event!
Super sweet mom Holly from PheMomenon brings out two culinary giants and creates this superb Orange Mousse Creme Brulee. Everything, from the presentation to the taste looks fantastic! Thanks for baking with us!
Elizabeth from The Red KitchenAid finds inspiration in a new cookbook and makes this gorgeous Orange Cake, light and fluffy and with a touch of orange liqueur in the glaze. Perfection with a cup of tea..or for anytime of the day really!
Rita from Clumbsy Cookie may be a newbie to SHF but she sure makes a grand debut with these lovely chocolate bonbons, Orange Curd Pyramides, filled with orange curd ganache and orange curd. Bravo!!
Francois from FXCuisine makes an exquisite Sicilian Tangerine Sorbet perfect to cool us off this summer. He also included a lengthy explanatory post so you have no reason not to try your hand at making them.
Bunny from Bunny’s Warm Oven creates a local classic with this Lemon Sponge Pie, "cake like top with a nice smooth lemon flavor bottom. […] the best of both worlds". Great first participation to SHF and cheers to many more!
Koy from Pepsakoy participates for the first time in a blogging event with these Crunchy Crusted Citrus Scones. Full of lemon and tender with cream cheese, they are also light and crunch from a little sugar sprinkle. I am thrilled that the theme inpired you to dive in and post!
Future SHF host Susan, from The Well Seasoned Cook brings us a bright and tangy Lemon Fudge, bringing together the sweetness of white chocolate and the tang of citrus. Well done!
Bakenista and friend Ivonne from Cream Puffs In Venice brings us the cutest little morsels, Pistachio Lemon Bites, similar to Mexican Wedding Cookies….Ivonne, first you try to seduce me and now you make me wedding cookies…One Mr.Tartelette is going to get jealous!!
Cassandra from 202 tasks in 1001 days is a woman after my own heart as she uses lemons on almost everything from sweets and desserts to savory dishes. She brings us a batch of freshly made Lemon, raisin & yoghurt muffins. Tender, moist and full of healthy and good for you ingredients.
First time SHF participant and friend Rachael from La Fuji Mama uses another favorite recipes of mine with madeleines but adds a definite Japanese touch by turning them into Yuzu Madeleines….Glad you decided to join us!
Lori from The Recipe Girl makes the perfect after school treat, Lemon Almond Cookie Brittle. Since Jennifer is our headmaster for this SHF field trip, I’d say we all qualify for this break apart cookie with a shortbread texture…now I wish I had the whole pan!!
Priya from Live2Cook returns to blogging after a short hiatus and brings us a batch of Orange Poppy Seed Muffins. It’s like sharing breakfast with an old time friend you have not seen in a while. Welcome back!
Gretchen Noelle from Canela&Camino in Peru trades her favorite coffee and lemon muffin treat for a delightful Queque De Limon, a Peruvian Lime Bread topped with a dainty lime glaze. I am excited to be able to duplicate it soon in the kitchen!
Reading Jasmine from Confessions Of A Cardamom Addict makes me hungry. Reading Jasmine’s desserts makes me hungrier. Reading Jasmine Chilled Lemon Souffle late at night makes me hurt my head on the screen I am so hungry! Light and creamy, I agree that it is the perfect summer dessert!
Petra from Food Freak brings us a gorgeous Lemon Sorbet, Sorbetto di Limone, inspired by cutie Jamie Oliver. Look how creamy and perfectly smooth this looks! Thank you!
Rock Star blogger Jen from Use Real Butter makes what I consider "the dessert that makes me melt": Crystal Almond Pound Cake. That’s ok that it did not turn out as the recipe said, to me it means more concentrated lemon goodness!
Denise from Chez Us makes a tempting treat to end the perfect outdoor dinner: Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake, served with fresh blackberries. Like her I often wonder why I wait for warmer days to make it since it is perfect for all seasons.
Bron from Bron Marshall, Classic and Creative Cuisine is my (now not so) secret anymore girl crush….just because of all the beautiful foods she dishes out not to mention that I got weak in the knees reading her post…For SHF this month she made the cutest and most delectable Meyer Lemon Kisses. I think they just called my name 🙂
Elsye from Dari Dapur Saya has a great eye for photograpy but also a wonderful palate wen it comes to sweets and her Baked Lemon Pudding is the perfect touch to enjoy a little sweetness after a hard day’s work!
I envy the scenery over at Butter&Beans written by Daniel and Angelica, deep in the heart of Bavaria…and I am thrilled about their creation: Citrus and Spruce Sorbet….that is the only way I can tolerate gin it seems! I bet eating this sorbet is like getting a giant breath of fresh air!
Paula from Half Baked made me blush and laugh at the same time when she baked a favorite recipe of mine: Key Lime Squares with the added bonus of ginger. Glad she made them because I never got around to this month!!
Linda from Make Life Sweeter combines the tartness of rhubarb and the fragrance of bergamot in a wonderful Rhubarb and Bergamot Cream Tart. Thank you for taking the time to participate while in the middle of birthday celebrations. The pie has to be the most intoxicating one so far!
Sara from Cupcake Muffin dishes out another scrumptious and fragrant tart inspired from Martha Stewart while her sister was visiting: Lemon Chamomille Cream Tart. I have the tea kettle on and I am ready to dive into this one!
Katya from Second Dinner gets inspired by the works of Sir Conan Doyle and the famous Baker Street and creates a tantalizing old faashioned Lemon Cake With Lemon Frosting. Happy to see a fellow bookworm (thereis something wrong with this word in a deesert round up but anyways…) get creative while reading. Great choice!
This is why I love blogging: to see first timer SHF new bloggers like Kelly from The Pink Apron get out of her comfort zone and bake something…delicious! Thank you for this wonderful Coconut Lime Pudding Cake! Yes, you read right: put da' lime in the coconut and pudding and cake!
For Nicisme from Cherrapeno, SHF started as petits fours, morphed into a lemon Swiss roll, got threatened by a teenager with a blow torch and ended up in the most mouth watering St Clement’s Cake (!): orange cake, brushed with a Cointreau syrup, filled with lemon cream and topped off with an orange/blueberry sauce. When life gets crazy, make cake!
Tessa from Dizzee Cake makes outstanding creations and created this wonderful Cherry Blossom Citrus Bliss Cake to wish her grandmother to get well soon. I hope things are better now and I am sure she enjoyed your creativity and skills!
Isabel from Isa’s Cooking misses her vacation due to a fallen bridge in Chile but get here in the nick of time for SHF with one of my favorites (yes! Again…you guys are just spoiling me!): French Lemon Cream Tart. For me, the tart is a vacation in itself…
I am thrilled that Mimi from Mimi On The Move found time in her busy school schedule to participate this month! Her No Quite Cannoli filled with Key Lime cream would be the perfect bite with a cup of tea for a little snack in the afternoon!
First timer to SHF, Jackie from Gasterea’s Table chooses flavors dear to my heart and makes a delightful Lemon and Fromage Blanc Custardy Ice Cream. It is like having the creamiest lemon custard tart without the fuss of making the pastry base. Perfect for spending time playing outside this summer and still have time for dessert!
Allison from Sushi Day makes one of my favorites Asian treats Japanese rice cakes with a serious dose of orange flavor. Check out her recipe for Orange Mochi to get on your way to making your own!
I am happy to have Deborah from Taste And Tell join us in time after her little escapade in New York! Her small batch baking is just perfect for a small household but I would ask her to make me a double batch of that frosting! Check her Cupcakes With Orange Cream Cheese Frosting for more goodness!
Lynn from Cookie Baker Lynn makes these wonderfully intoxicating Lime Cooler Cookies as a peace offering after a little quarrel with her husband over….lime coolers! What a way to kiss and pucker up!
France based Pamela from The Cooking Ninja bakes herself a delightful Orange Almond Cake for Mother’s Day. Topped with chocolate frosting this has got to be a great end to a perfect bbq with loved ones!
Astrid from La Cerise in Zurich makes the most fabulous Lemon Millefeuille, inspired by the Sugar Daddy himself, Pierre Herme: caramelized puff pastry filled with a luscious lemon cream. A wonderful creation and a wonderful baking journey all at once!
Suzana from Home Gourmets in Portugal makes the perfect dessert to chase away the rain and welcome Spring: Lemon Curd Frozen Yoghurt. Tangy, refreshing, healthy and easy to share with friends during a dinner al fresco.
Zorra from 1x umruehren aka kochtopf makes the best use of her homegrown bitter oranges in this perfect marbled Bitter Choc-Orange Cake. Anything baked or made with the fruits of your garden is top notch in my book!
Y from Lemonpi uses simple techniques and fresh ingredients to create this amazingly refreshing Chilled Oranges in Rum Caramel Syrup. With a touch of lavender, this is the perfect dessert to boost up your vitamin C intake and finish a dinner with fuss-free style.
I have been under a shower of SHF citrus entries this past week and although I need to (happily) bathe in over 100 entries in the coming days, nothing would make me happier. Thank you in advance to all of you who participated and remember I will accept a few stragglers if you come to the party with an extra box of lemon sour candies! Before I proceed with these lovely Rum Babas, I need to announce the winner of the Cherry Blossom Extract: Congratulations to Suzana of Home Gourmets ! Please email me with your mailing address so both Rachael and I can get the 2 bottles on your way.
When I was little, I loved going with my mom to the bakery in town after church on Sundays, helping her select the little mini pastries that would end up on a dessert tray after lunch at my grandparent’s. There always was a selection of different flavored eclairs and cream puffs, a couple of mini fruit tarts and Napoleons and a couple of mini rum babas. I used to repeat that name on the way there and on the way back to the house: "baba au rum…baba au rum…baba au rum…" I just found its resonance funny and comforting, thoughts of roundness and "plentiness" and exotic places. Except for one thing: even though I was already allowed to drink a little wine drowned with a lot of water on Sundays, I was not allowed more than one bite of the rum babas because they were drenched in alcohol…and drenched they were (no wonder our baker was a happy man!).
As soon as I started working in bakeries and put in charge of babas production, I figured I was old enough to eat them too. I had my share of this traditional pastry: a yeast based cake, with a very spongy and delicate texture all bathed in a orange and rum flavored syrup. Nothing else…no gilding the lilies with whipped cream or fruit. Although it is a little more on the bready side than a cake, there is nothing heavy about it….pure rum air….try not to inhale half a dozen minis at once! It had been a long while since I had made some but the arrival of a lovely birthday present prompted me to change that situation.
Last year, my buddy Inne and I started to discuss the pastry work of Hidemi Sugino, Japanese pastry virtuoso. I have loved and admired his creations for years and when she mentioned she had a friend who could get the book in Japan and bring it back to her so she could then send it to me, I know I let out a loud "Yes!". Lucky me, it came in the mail for my birthday along with some plates I used here and here. Thank you Inne! I don’t read Japanese but thankfully in this book, the recipes are translated in English. Allright, so translated may not be the right word as the English used is really wrong in some sentences but you get the gist of it fairly quickly. I was relieved to see that the original measures in grams had been kept although there are equivalences given in spoons and cups. I can’t tell you if this part is accurate because I had no time to double check and I must add that I used the grams, my personal preference in baking.
His Citrus Babas caught my eye the first couple of minutes I started looking at the mouth watering desserts put together for the book. The dough was mixed with a citrus puree, the baked babas soaked with an orange syrup and topped with an orange liqueur flavored pastry cream. The citrus puree called for whole citrus to be poached and puree, skin, pulp and rind. Where it might work beautifully for the kumquat recipe used, I thought not so much if I did a mix of grapefruit, lemons, lime and oranges since kumquats are out of season here now. I kept the rinds of the lemon and limes and used all the citrus fruit pulp. I changed the syrup to incorporate some rum and since I had half a batch of Lime and Mascarpone Mousse left, I topped the finished babas with a dollop of these.
For the babas:
3 gr. instant dry yeast
20 gr. lukewarm water
5 gr. sugar
100 gr. all purpose flour
2 gr. salt
1 large egg
60 gr. milk
40 g. butter, melted and cooled
50 gr. Citrus Compote, pureed
For the Citrus Compote:
100 gr. of mixed citrus fruit of your choice (I used a mixture of lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit and some of the lemon and lime rinds)
100 gr. sugar
100 gr. water
6 whole cardamom pods
Use the flesh and some of the rinds of the fruits, add the sugar and water and put all in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Let cool. Remove the cardamom pods. Puree until completely smooth.
For the syrup:
100 gr. orange juice
100 gr. rum
70 gr. sugar
Bring all the ingredients to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer the syrup to a wide, shallow pan.
Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and sugar and let stand until foamy. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and the milk together.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the yeast mixture, flour, salt, add the egg mixture and butter. Mix until all the ingredients are combined and you get a soft dough. Let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume.
Punch the dough down and add the citrus compote. Mix until well combined.
Drop the dough by tablespoons full in babas molds or muffin tins or whatever you have available. Let rise until nearly doubled. Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks. Unmold the babas.
Soak the babas into the syrup, upside down first and then flip them over. Let them soak a minute and transfer to a wire rack to drain the syrup. Reserve the syrup. You can keep the babas in the fridge until plating time, well covered. To plate: top each babas with a dollop of mousse, drizzle with the reserved syrup and add some mint and lemon rind or zest if desired.
I thought that adding one more citrus post to this month of May could not hurt and wish to dedicate these Citrus Babas to my mother for Mother’s Day. I know I am a day late but I thought that she would forgive me if I made one of our favorites, a baba…all pretty and citrusy. Plus, she was spending the day with my dad, brother and her granddaughters. Mom, I love you! Everyday, you show me the importance of giving of oneself, giving love and friendship, lending an ear and a welcoming hand and I can only hope to be half as good as you are. You radiate love and laughter to all around you and I strive to make you proud although I make you worry sometimes and sometimes I make you laugh. I know I make you scratch your head and I know I make you raise your hands or roll your eyes…but I know that you and you only understands me when I sing you Sinatra or Singing In The Rain. Mom, you are my lucky star….I love you!
Everyday I wake up I count my blessings. Everynight I go to bed I think about the things I need to improve and realize that both my blessings and my shortcomings are numerous which makes me a standard-normal human being, and I am ok with that. What I am not ok with is being helpless when faced with death or diseases and wish I were a rocket scientist or super duper doctor working on some cure to help people. There are days I want to kick for not being a brainie and there are days I am fulfilled to focus on the things I know how to do, we all have to find our strong points and should stick to them. Being envious is a waste of time: maybe a rocket scientist can’t make as good a pie as my grandma’s?!!
Last Monday we had a couple friends of ours over for dinner, and as usual they came early in the evening so we could sit on the back porch and watch the sunset over the water (one of those blessings I am counting). We like to open a bottle of wine and get dinner ready together. He is an excellent cook and she has a personality to keep you entertained all evening. The evening started as usual until she announced she had pancreatic cancer, advanced stage. Silence fell upon us and B. went over her and just hugged her for a while, then him and finally said "Anything you guys need, anytime, day or night". I was not so quite vocal for the first couple of minutes. Flashbacks of my grandma and my brother dealing with chemo and radiation came rushing back and I kept starring at my feet. Clearly, you can’t say "it’s all going to work out", and "I’m sorry" seems so little.
She poured me another glass of wine and they started talking about their medical plans of attack. Invasive, long, painful…She talked about losing grip on the future, not knowing who she was anymore, that none of this fit in with being with their kids and grand kids. I finally broke my silence and said "Sometimes you don’t have to know the bigger picture or know for sure where you are heading. Sometimes it’s enough to know what’s next". She looked at me like I had become the Dalai Lama in the blink of an eye, then she said "So, what’s next?". The only words that came out were "Peeling tangerines for dessert". Silence again. "Oh crap, I have offended her" I thought. Everybody turned to me and bursted out laughing and she added "You have a funny and lovely way to put things in perspective"…Ah well, always count on me to put my foot in it!
I am kicking off this month Sugar High Friday with these light and refreshing Lemon tangerine Gratins. Honey tangerines are super juicy and quite flavorful and if you can’t find them where you are, feel free to substitute regular tangerines, clementines or even mandarins. We peeled the fruit and got most of the white membranes out and cut them in segments for the dish. The gratin part is sort of a cross between a custard and a creme brulee with its touch of flour and cream cheese. The original recipe called for mascarpone but the tub was being used for another purpose so cream cheese was the perfect substitute. For the top "gratin" part, I used half part brown sugar and half part white sugar and the blow torch to caramelize them but you could just as well put them under the broiler for a few minutes (keep your eyes on them though, they burn fast).
1 1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup finely grated lemon zest
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 Tb fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
4 honey tangerines (or 8 clementines or mandarins) peeled and cut into segments
14 cup brown sugar mixed with 1/4 cup white sugar for the top.
– Bring the milk and the zest to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let stand to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
– Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow in a large mixing bowl. This can be done totally by hand. Add the flour and salt and whisk until just blended. Slowly add the warm milk to the egg mixture, whisking as you go along to prevent the eggs from curdling. Return the mixture on the stove and cook, stirring constantly over medium high heat until it becomes thick. Remove from the heat as soon as you see the first boiling bubbles on the surface. Pour the custard into a bowl, stir in the lemon juice and let cool to room temperature, whisking from time to time.
– Beat the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, add the cream cheese and whisk until both are well combines. Add the whipped cream mixture to the cooled custard and fold gently to bring both masses together.
– Divide the tangerine segment among 4 dishes. Divide the custard mixture over each gratin dish. Sprinkle all evenly with the brown sugar/white sugar mixture and use a blow torch to caramelize the tops.
– If using the oven: preheat the oven to 425F and broil the custards 2 to 4 minutes depending on the strength of your oven.
Finally I would like to dedicate this post to another wonderful lady, Bri from the wonderful blog Figs With Bri who is right now fighting for a life trying to beat cancer. Though we have never met, Bri, from the moment I started reading, you made me laugh, you made me think, we visited and cheered each other and I just want to send your way a gazillion hugs and good vibes. I keep your family and husband in my daily thoughts, counting my blessings in the morning and trying to improve on my faults at night.
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 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.
Baking without eggs and butter past midnight a couple of days ago…"Why would that be?" you might be wondering. Did I run out of baking supplies when a sweet craving hit? Was I cramming in homework at the last minute? None of the above…although I did in fact re-do a post just to update the pictures as Santa finally delivered my present and accessories. Looking at the old shots could not do these baked good justice anymore. So I decided to bake them again and pretended today was December 25th…any excuse to stay in my pjs on my day off is a good one in my opinion. But why out of all the things I could bake, did I decide to make vegan scones and cake?
Well, a couple of months ago, I received a copy from my dear friend Hannah’s first cookbook, aptly titled My Sweet Vegan. I got to baking her Lemon Lime Sunshine Cake that very same day and about every other weekend since then. Same with the Peanut Butter Scones, they are on B’s list of most requested breakfast items. I feel bad because I have been telling everybody about this book, promising Hannah and her publisher a review of the recipes I have tried so far and in the end I keep it all to myself. No more! The book is a perfect reflection of Hannah’s personality, warm and friendly, inviting you to try new things and be opened to the world around. When I first got to know her, I had no idea this very mature soul both in her writing and approach to food, came in such a young and cute package.
Look at that breakfast of champions! That is one awesome Peanut Butter Scone! I love to make these for brunch and take them (minus the glaze) to the gym when the 4 o’clock sugar craving hits. In that spirit, the book is written with the whole spectrum of dessert lovers in mind, vegan or not, and it reads like a novel. Hannah generously gives us her tried and true, favorite recipes as well as tips and tricks to achieve the best tasting treats. Reading through it is like spending time with a good friend over a good brownie or a cup of coffee. Did I say brownie? Yes…and many more like Strawberry Love Muffins, Butterscotch Blondies, Whoopie Pies, Mocha Devastation Cake, Ginger Dream Pie, Five Minute Coconut Fudge….and I am just scratching the surface.
Although not vegan, B. and I do respect the animals that feed us, giving them the day off once in a while. I am more into tofu, soy milk agave nectar, with a weakness of vegan "cream cheese" than he is, but he is a good sport and when I told him I was going to bake from Hannah’s book, he took it upon himself to give me the "Carnivore opinion". So far, everything has been a hit and when he asked about all these alternative items, I handed him the book where Hannah explains in detail her vegan ingredient guide at the begining. I added that if he flipped a couple more pages, she had a section entitled "Tools of the trade" where she explained everything anybody needed to know for baking. His response "I might have agreed to try vegan, but am still not ready to step into the kitchen, meat-lover or not…nice try!" Ah well, can’t blame me for dreaming!
See my midnight snack right out of the oven…? That’s the Lemon Lime Sunshine Cake baked in individual portion instead of a Bundt pan, so I feel even more virtuous stuffing my face eating dessert. I have stopped counting the number of times I have taken this to our weekend oyster roasts with the neighbors. Everytime I make it I end up skipping the glaze that is supposed to go on top because somehow the yogurt, lemon and lime juice and sugar in the batter end up forming their own curd around the edges so that just a dusting of powdered sugar suffice.
I made the big mistake a couple of weeks ago to lend it to my friend "Lucy-The Vegan"…I thought I would never see it again. It appeared she was baking her way through it with great success and that is no small testimonial to Hannah’s recipe when you know that Lucy is not much of a dessert person and a novice baker. I love baking from it because I can relax, kick back, knowing that Hannah has tried her recipes several times and gives us only her favorites. I can open the book at any category (sweet tarts, cookies and bars, cakes and cupcakes, pies and tarts, miscellaneous morsels and desserts) and just make up a treat. Some items take a little longer than others but are by no means daunting or intricate. I also really like the food allergy index at the end of the book. I have more and more clients with food allergies or dietary restrictions so I know that I can bake something without second guessing if I did not sneak in something they could not have without even paying attention.
What is next on the baking list from My Sweet Vegan? Well, I am baking the Triple Threat Chocolate "Cheese" Cake to a friend’s baby shower tomorrow and the Cookies and Creme Pound Cake for my mother in law’s garden club next week.
What? No recipes? In the spirit of supporting writers and young writers out there, I strongly encourage you to buy the book. I have already gotten a couple more for wedding and birthday presents and both recipients fell in love with the recipes, feel and gorgeous pictures taken by Hannah.