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Craving Grandma’s Apricot Tart

I have been craving my grandmother’s tart ever since I saw the first apricots at the store a few weeks ago. Well, actually I crave it all year long and while it is quite good with quality canned apricots, there is of course nothing like fresh, velvety and fragrant ones. We don’t really need a reason to indulge in our cravings. By definition, giving into them is giving into reckless abandon of our senses and indulging in what brings us comfort and joy, as temporary as it is.

When Jennifer announced this month Sugar High Friday, my brain started racing towards many a childhood favorites (and made me wonder if I did not live in a state of perpetual craving), before the only obvious dessert was Mamie Paulette’s apricot tart. It would also give me the opportunity to spend some time with my memories of watching her make the dough and filling countless times with the same love and care.

Then a few days ago, Ivonne wrote about her Nonna Pia and shared fond memories of her life and approach to cooking. I think that Paulette and Pia would have been great friends if given the chance. They both had six children and both knew how to turn the simplest ingredients into scrumptious dishes. I left Ivonne a comment mentionning Paulette’s apricot tart and she emailed me suggesting that I post about it and share my memories. She also threatened to bug me until I did…! Well, here it is my friend!

I have talked about my grandmother many times before, always mentionning her apple or apricot tarts and always making something else. Her tarts were so simple, yet so absolutely delicious that she knew to keep us happy by always having one ready. My grandparents' house has always been the place of gathering throughout the week and especially on sundays. Four out of six children ended up living within close proximity and thus started the sunday tradition of "coffee and tart" around three in the afternoon meaning if you cannot come for lunch, try to make it for dessert. Even as a teenager and young adult, I would always try to make it for tart…especially if a paper or thesis was calling my name!

There was something so soothing and comforting in seating down with her and my grandfather to sip coffee, talk about the family, the neighbors, their garden, and eat pie.

There is even a funny anedocte associated with her apricot tart. At some point her eyesight got worse and worse, and she often made two pies, freezing one in case she would be too tired one weekend to make a fresh one. We were all gathered at the dinner table one sunday evening and when dessert time came, she asked me to go fetch the tart warming up in the oven (you know, so that the ice cream on top melts faster!). I came back trying to hold the tears of laughers streaming down my face…she had mistakingly put a quiche in the oven and not the tart…. ! Everytime I make quiche or tart, I think about that day and immediately look up at the sky and whisper "Love you Grandma".

Apricot Tart

Serves 6-8 (I made individual one for pictures)


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup chilled (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2 Tbs ice water
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Place flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the ice water then the egg yolk, processing just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Place on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form into a disc. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

Preheat oven to 350F and blind bake the tart shells: roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, lay into tart shell, cover with parchement paper or foil, pour dry beans or pie weights on top and bake fro 15 minutes. Let cool before proceeding with the apricots.


8 to 10 apricots, halved, pitts removed

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup creme fraiche (sour cream can be substituted)

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup ground almonds

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract

slivered almonds

Whisk the sugar and the eggs until pale. Slowly add the milk and creme fraiche and whick until combined. Add the extracts and ground almonds and whisk one more time. Slice the apricots, lay them in the bottom of the tart. Slowly pour the batter on top. Sprinkle some slivered almonds on top and bake until the custard is set and the tart is golden brown.

Hazelnut Quince Tartlets, Tea Time Style

Quinces are one of the fruits I miss the most since I moved to South Carolina. My mom used to make the best quince jelly and I remember freely spreading it on fresh bread, spooning it into my yogurt in the morning. Little did I know back then that I would have such a difficult time finding it here and that the mere thought of it would send me into severe nostalgia!

Marce’s post a couple of weeks ago made me come up with these little tartlets. I could taste the quince in her tart right through the monitor screen. I left a comment saying that I had found quinces, but at $1.99 a quince (yes, you read right) I was really hesitating investing just to satisfy a nostalgic craving! Well, I broke down and bought one…yep, just one…It was small, but smooth and fragrant and my little orphan quince was nice enough to allow me to make 4 little tartlets, perfect for an afternoon tea.

I first thought about making quince tartlets after seeing a picture in this wonderful and magic book, La Cuisine des Fees. Each recipe is inspired by a dish featured in a well known fairy tale and here the character of the "King of tartelettes " in "L Oiseau de Verite" by E. Le Noble inspired beautiful round glistening quince tarts.
Well, the recipe required 4 plump fruits and my single quince needed to be stretched further than that! I made a hazelnut shortbread dough for the tartlets base and carefully sliced and roasted thin slices of the quince with some spices and in no time at all, I had the best four-bite snack, satisfying my craving and sending me back to the time I used to put a stool by the stove and help my mom stir the quince jam she was making.

Quince Tartlets, inspired by La Cuisine des Fees:

Serves 4

For the dough:

170 gr. flour (6 oz)
60 gr. powdered sugar (2 oz)
100 gr butter, at room temperature (3 1/2 oz)
1 egg white
40 gr skinned hazelnuts (3 1/2 oz)
pinch of salt

In a food processor, place the hazelnuts and powdered sugar and pulse until finely ground. add the flour, egg white, salt and butter and pulse until the dough just comes together. Gather into a ball, flatten it between two sheets of plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. This can be prepared the day before.
When ready to use, roll the dough out in between the sheets of plastic wrap as it becomes soft and sticky very fast. Cut out 4 inch rounds with a cookie cutter.
Bake at 350 F until light golden. Let cool while you prepare the quince.
Bake cookies with the remaining dough or save and freeze for another project.

For the roasted quince:

1 quince, cored, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 Tb butter
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 Tb brown sugar

Layer the slices in a baking dish, sprinkle with the spices and sugar. Add the butter into small pats all over. Roast at 350 F, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To assemble: divide the quince slices evenly among the tartlet bases and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream would be great with it too!

You can be sure that the day quinces go on sale, this little Tartelette is stocking up!

Pistachio Ice Cream and Chocolate Pears

Beware: sentimental post to follow. I am working on another project and have very limited access or time to the computer today, but I have been meaning to post this for quite some time now.

When I started this site, almost 2 years ago, I had no idea my life would be altered forever by a handful of bloggers. All bloggers have different lifestyle, backgrounds, affinities. We sometimes click, we try to visit as many blogs as we can and try to leave as many pertinent comments or simple "hellos" here and there. Over the past year, I have become somewhat "internet" close to a few bloggers scattered all over the world. It is no wonder that they also happen to be Daring Bakers but we were already "regulars" on each other’s blog prior to forming our (ever expanding!) group.

About three weeks ago, there was a bad and nasty cloud over the Tartelette household. I shared this with those few bloggers, expecting a simple "sorry, thinking about you". Actually, I did not expect anything…I just wanted to tell them, I figured that if we shared croissant making and crepe cake inferno, that was just as good as washing our dirty laundry together!
What I did not expect was the week long delivery of small packages, from all corners of the world, filled with as much diversity as the people who sent them. From handmade beauty products, to carefully selected chocolates, candies, sauces, and such. I tried to use some in my cooking, like a huge bottle of Dulce de Leche used to make cookies. I devoured 4 chocolate mice in one sitting and took only 2 days to drink too much Godiva hot chocolate and eat half a box of handcrafted chocolate…hmmmm…..Bloggers rock!

I am not going to name anybody, they will recognize themselves. One day that I was scavenging for more chocolate I noticed a small yellow one from Michel Recchuiti on the coffee table. B. said it was "some sort of dried fruit dipped in chocolate". Yes, my husband is not very well versed in the world of chocolatiers, he’s just happy to blindly follow me in my chocolate quests.
The box contained Michel Recchiuti’s Key Lime Pears: key lime juice kissed dried pears dipped in dark chocolate…! I had one by itself and immediately thought about using them in ice cream sandwiches. I made a batch of pistachio ice cream, sandwiched it in between the chocolate pears, thought about clling the neighbors and quickly changed my mind. I needed that much chocolate and sugar all by myself!

Thank you again, my dear new and not so virtual friends. You were with me through the joy and the pain and I am here to do the same for you.

Bloggers Special Pistachio Ice Cream and Chocolate Pears:

For the Ice Cream:
4 egg yolks
2 cups half and half
4 oz sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground pistachios

For the sandwiches:
I used the dried pears I had received but you can use your favorite cookies or it the ice cream by itself.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick, add the vanilla and pistachios.
In a saucepan, on medium heat, bring the half and half to boiling point but do not let it boil.
Slowly pour the hot cream onto the egg yolks mixture and stir to combine (tempering). Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream coats the back of spoon. At this point you have made a custard sauce, also known as "creme anglaise".
Let cool completely, strain and refrigerate until cold. Process the custard according to your ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions or use a hand held immersion blender.
Freeze until firm and fill your favorite cookie or chocolate dipped dried fruit with it.

Waiter There’s Something In My… Citron

I almost missed that one, all entangled that I was in webs of spun sugar! This month’s edition of "Waiter There’s Something In My…" focuses on stuffed fruits or vegetables and is hosted by Jeanne from Cooksister.

There are those challenges when two or three recipes come to my mind and I keep oscillating between them for days…not for that one. For some reason only known to my brain (and trust me sometimes we don’t communicate very well), the only thing that came to my mind and stayed there was "Citron Givre", or Frozen Lemon, another typical bistro dessert in France back in th 70s and 80s: a hollowed lemon filled with lemon sorbet. This was my dessert of choice when I was a child, really, it never failed that anywhere we went with my parents I would either have "vacherin" (a dessert of meringue and ice cream) or citron givre. Imagine: a whole lemon stuffed with more refreshing tart and sweet lemon flavored! How fitting for the theme and the hot days we are having now!

As an adult, I did not lose my love for anything lemony but I also added a repertoire of spices, herbs and other ingredients to my palate. This particular sorbet falls more on the line of a sherbet as it contains milk but the French only have one word for "sorbet". The ice cream was inspired by Pierre Herme’s Lemon sorbet (sherbet) and kicked up a notch with crystallized ginger. The only downfalls to this particular dessert are that you don’t want to share and you wished you had more!!

Citrons Givres:

Serves 4

4 lemons
150 ml lemon juice (some coming from hollowing out the lemons + extra if needed)
150 gr. (2/3 cup) sugar
150 ml whole milk (less fat makes it curddle)
150 ml water
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (your taste)

Slice a tiny bit off of the bottoms of the lemons so that they can sit straight (relatively speaking). Slice the top off and keep that "hat".
Scoop as much of the flesh out of each lemon and set in a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. With your hands or the back of a spoon press as much of the lemon juice as you can and measure 150 ml. Add extra lemon juice if needed.
In a saucepan over medium high heat, bring the water and sugar to a bol. Add the ginger and let cool completely. Add the milk and the lemon juice, stir and process in your ice cream machine according to your manufacturer’s directions.
If you do not have an ice cream machine: freeze until soft serve consistency and mix with an immersion blender or whisk in a stand mixer. Put back in the freezer and repeat the operation 2-3 times, leaving enough time in between whippings for the mixture to get frozen.

Once your ice cream is ready, fill the lemon cavities and keep frozen until ready to serve.
The presentation always makes people happy and you have just made an easy bistro dessert in almost no time!!

Head over to Jeanne’s blog in a few days for a tasty roundup!

Previous Tartelette’s participations:
Waiter, There’s Something in My Brioche
Waiter, There’s Something in My Easter Basket
Waiter, There’s Something in My Pie

Mirabelle Clafoutis

We can all thank Beverly for this gorgeous mirabelle clafoutis, fit for A Taste of Yellow, the event ran earlier in the month by Barbara. I know, I know, the roundup is done and your eyes can feast upon more than one hundred creations, but keep reading, it’s important.

Beverly has been a member of my gym for over ten years, a soft and at the same time outspoken woman, she’s always had a comforting word when things were not going easy. She has that way of saying one phrase, with the perfect poise, perfect look and body language and you know things are going to be ok. Her gym time is her social time with a small group of women 55-75, and it is not uncommon for her to stay 2-3 hours between the cardio, chit-chat, some weights…and more chats in the sauna. A couple of years ago, she stopped showing up and after a couple of weeks I picked up the phone only to hear her daughter say that she was undergoing chemo to treat an advanced colon cancer. Beverly has come to know a lot of things about me, but what she does not know is how much I cried staring at the receiver that afternoon when I got the news. This nonchalant, life loving, sensitive and caring woman was down…but trust Beverly to put up a fight, beat the odds and become a survivor.

She knows about my geeky blogging obsession and when I told her about the LiveStrong Day Event, she vowed to bring me little yellow plums, "mirabelles", from her garden. A few days before the due date, she came to me panicking because they were not ripe enough to be pulled from the tree yet. This monday afternoon she brought me a basket full of the juiciest little yellow plum, apologizing for missing the event. I told her I would make a yellow dessert again anyway, unfortunately cancer knows no deadline. The first dessert that came to my mind is my grandfather’s favorite, clafoutis.

Clafoutis is another traditional home and bistro dessert in France. Traditionally made with cherries, it is the dessert your grandmother was most likely to serve to comfort you and probably the first one you would learn how to make with your mom. It is best served at room temperature and it is the perfect cross between a cake and a custard. Oh goodness, did I eat my share growing up in Provence on a property with 2 humongous cherry trees.
I can’t speak for all French families, but in mine we never pitted the cherries or plums we used in the dish, it truly adds depth of flavor. The dish is so simple to make and eat, it is nice to stumble on the pith and take the time to savour each bite.

Mirabelles Clafoutis

Serves 4

1 handful yellow plum per dish
3 ounces flour
1 ounce cornstarch
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 ounce butter, melted
4 ounces sugar
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, flour, cornstarch, sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, melted butter. Slowly pour the liquids over the dry ingredients, whisking well making sure there are as little lumps as possible.
Divide among 4 dishes and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

See what I mean about easy and satisfying? You can change the fruits and the liquor everytime you make one. You can even skip the liquor as does my grandfather: clafoutis has been on his breakfast menu for many many years. He might be on to something as he is 97 years old, still drives short distances, 20/20 vision and all his mental faculties ( I dare say better than mine!). Thank you Beverly and thank you Papi for putting this dessert on our table tonight!

Rhubarb Banana Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Some of you are probably wondering if I am growing banana trees in my backyard…Every time I turn around there is a banana or two ready to be used. I even found a big bag of them in the freezer…We are being invaded and I have to come up with the recipes faster than I can run. I hope that this is my last banana installment for a while, not that I am getting tired of the taste but it’s time to move on and play with other things in the kitchen.
I looked at pages after pages of banana centered recipes, and although they were all fine and dandy, there seemed to be something missing. After reading so many recipes for muffins and cupcakes, I already had formulated a basic recipe that would allow me to play with the ingredients and the spices.

I quickly scribbled this one on a piece of paper, using some of my sad bananas and extra roasted rhubarb. Then, I added two of my favorite spices, ginger and cardamom and to round things out I included some orange zest. The frosting used is a cream cheese one I have used several times on this blog before and could eat with a spoon on m morning toast.

Rhubarb Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting:

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cardamom
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil ( I used apricot)
1 tsp. vanilla
grated zest of one orange
2 bananas, mashed
1 cup roasted rhubarb

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour through cardamom). In a separate bowl, stirr the eggs and the oil. Add the bananas, rhubarb and orange zest. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Divide into muffin lined tins and bake 35-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cream cheese frosting:

1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar, sifted

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. Pour into a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes.

Bananas Foster Tartelettes

Well, the same says it all. This was an impromptu dessert made last night. The boys were working on the boat and I decided to have T. stay over for dinner. There was plenty for 3 but I did not have any dessert fixed up….ok I am lying, there was ice cream but only for one and if we did not want to fight over it I’d better come up with something fast. I had half of the inside-out puff pastry chilling in the fridge and some banana that were getting a little too yellow for B. so there you have it:

Bananas Foster Tartelettes:

(serves 4)

Inside Out Puff Patry (or store bought)
2 bananas
2 Tb. butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark rum

Roll enough puff pastry to cut out 4 3-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchement paper, cover with another sheet of parchement paper and set another baking sheet on top. They will puff up but won’t get wild on you. (I did not press them flat after baking like I did with the Mille-Feuille)
Bake at 375 (F) until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

For the bananas:
Cut them into 1/2 inch thick slices.
In a sautee pan, over medium heat, melt the butter, add the brown sugar and the rum and sloow the sugar to melt and the mixture to thicken up a little. Put the slices in a single layer in the sauce and cook 2 minutes. Flip and cook another minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Once cooled, place them in a decorative pattern on top of the tart shells, and serve.

Oh man that was good…so good I am glad I made extras….!
See…I can do uncomplicated sometimes!!!

Meet My Sugar Daddy…

Well, Lisa and Ivonne are never going to forgive me but it seems like I have an affair with Pierre Herme almost every weekend, at least on sunday afternoons when I finally can sit down and fantasize about him..ok, maybe not "him" but his culinary ventures and creations. Every macaron, gateau, pastry is a poem in itself…so does the man. As I tried to put into words what I felt for and thought if Pierre Heme, I remembered a post I had bookmarked from ubber talented pastry chef Shuna at Eggbeater. Read this and you will understand why we are infatuated!

Instead of my traditional "internet fantasies by P.H", I became completely engrossed in a book my mom gave me for Christmas years ago… I love the book and yet I probably only made a handful of recipes from it, rice pudding, a couple of sorbets, creme brulees, chocolate mousses,etc. I am afraid to touch gold…I am afraid to mess with perfection…Oh what the heck?! I am far from his level so why not…after all, he put his recipes in book, he’s got to be thinking about us and (please say so) can’t be completely narcissistic….

I always read a cookbook from the end first: the materials and ingredient sources, the index, the ingredients and above all the techniques and tips from which I can always learn.
As I was reading the book, my eyes stopped at this recipe : "pate feuilletee inversee"…or…Inside Out Puff Pastry. Yes, you read right. In regular puff pastry, the layers are created by folding pastry dough over a butter block and folding and turning it several times. Well, leave it Pierre Herme to fold the butter block over the pastry dough, folding and turning. The result is fabulous, layers upon layers of soft, airy buttery goodness. I was really curious to see how that butter block (with a minimum of flour) would behave being on the outside. Things turned out perfectly and if I could have kissed my butter right then I think I would have, but the neighbors were around and I did not want to scare anybody off.
I don’t know if Herme created the concept but it would not surprise me a bit given his ability to re-invent classics and techniques.

One particular recipe in the book caught my eyes, a "mille feuilles" also known as "napoleon" with gorgeous red strawberries, rhubarb and vanilla pastry cream. I had the dough, fresh plump raspberries and freshly roasted rhubarb. I favor simple whipped cream with raspberries and I was short on time, trying to put together an impromptu dessert for our weekly friday evening al fresco dinner with the neighbors. In other words, I skipped the pastry cream, and I am glad I did because the finished dessert was light, tart and let the dough shine through instead of taking supporting role.

Raspberry Rhubard Mille Feuilles, adapted from Pierre Herme:

Inside Out Puff Pastry: (enough for 4 napoleons and 1 large tart)
Butter Block:
190 gr soft butter
75 gr flour
175 gr flour
7 gr. salt
60 gr melted butter
70 ml water

For the Butter block: mix together the soft butter and the flour and form into a ball, in between two sheets of plastic or parchment paper, roll into a disk 3/4 inch thick. Refrigerate 1 1/2 hours
For the dough: mix all the ingredients together, adding the water little by little until you get a smooth dough. Pat into a square 3/4 inch thick and refrigerate 1 1/2 hours.
Roll the butter block into a 1/2 inch thick disk, put the dough block on top and enclose it with the butter block (by pulling the extra butter dough over the pastry dough).
Roll into a rectangle 16×9 inch. Fold the top and bottom toward the middle, fold the dough in half. Put the folded edge toward your left, lightly press the dough with your hand and refrigerate for an hour.
Repeat one more time and refrigerate 1 hour.

For the third and final turn, roll out the dough into a rectangle again, visually dive your dough in 3 and fold the bottom and top thirds toward the middle tier. Refrigerate another hour before using in your recipe.
The dough makes more than what you might need for one tart or severl Napoleons, but it is easier to work a large quantity of puff pastry and refrigerate or freeze what you don’t use.

Remaining components:
1/2 Inside Out Puff Pastry
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks with 2 Tb sugar
1 pint fresh raspberries.
Roasted Rhubarb:
Heat oven to 375. Cut 2 rhubarb stalks into 1 inch slices. Put them in a medium sized roasting pan, sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar over it and roast until the rhubarb get caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, and slightly mash with a fork.

Roll the dough to a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Line a baking sheet with parchement paper, lay the puff pastry on it, cover with another sheet of parchment paper, put a baking sheet over it and bake at 375 until golden brown. The top baking sheet adds enough weight for your dough to remain under control and yet allows for the layers to puff up during baking. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Once cooled, cut the dough into equally sized triangles (decide the size according to your taste. I went for a base of 3 inches).

To assemble:
Put a pastry triangle on a plate, pipe or spoon some whipped cream over it, cover with raspberries. Top with a sheet of pastry, spoon some roasted rhubarb, cover with a final sheet of pastry and dust with powdered sugar.

Mango Mango – Taste Of Yellow

If you are not a food blogger you probably do not understand why so many of us are creating and posting yellow foods…. We are all in for a good cause.

Barbara of Winos and Foodies is the driving force behind so many yellow dishes popping on your screen. Currently fighting cancer, she still finds the energy to create an event, A Taste of Yellow, to raise cancer awereness. Her idea has been recognized as an official event supporting LiveStrong Day and the Lance Armstrong Foundation on May 16th. So, whether you blog about food, cancer knows no boundaries and I urge you to make a yellow dish and post about it before May 7th, and visit Barbara’s page to learn more about it.

I have already mentioned how cancer affected my life. My brother died of oesophagus cancer at 38 years old, and recently my grandmother passed away from complications of breast cancer. One life cut too short, the other one well filled and ready for the next journey. Pain, anger and sadness are part of my daily routine but I feel comfort and strength in reading or meeting people fighting or surviving cancer. Whoever said the pain dimishes with time was wrong, way wrong, that’s why I jumped on the occasion to participate. I hope and pray that no one has to go through the pain of saying goodbye to a sibbling, child or relative who suffered through cancer and did not make it. Our family has grown stronger and closer being tested in their faith, love and friendship and not in our futile attempts at cheating death.

I was staring at all the yellow foods at the store when I found my hands grazing a crate of beautifully ripe and fragrant mangoes. A couple lemons and four mangoes later I was back in the kitchen putting my yellow dessert together.

For this, I drew my inspiration from Richard Leach’s Sweet Seasons, once again, adapting his "Lemon-Mango Coupe" to be easily made in a home kitchen.
The components can be made over several days and the whole thing put together the day you plan on serving it. From bottom to top:
-base of Ultimate Lemon Pound Cake
– lemon custard cream
– diced mangoes
– sour cream topping
– mango sorbet in spring roll wrapper tubes

All Mango – All Yellow:

Serves 8

Ultimate lemon pound cake : 8 slices needed. Recipe here.

Cut the slices using 2.5 inch metal rings (8 slices-8 rings). Set the rounds on a sheet pan. Set aside.

Lemon Custard:

1 cup (236 ml) lemon juice

1/2 cup (118 ml) sugar

4 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup (118 ml) creme fraiche or sour cream

zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.Combine lemon juice, sugar, whole eggs and eeg yolks in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the creme fraiche and lemon zest. Incorporate well.
Line the inside of an 8 inch round cake pan with plastic wrap. Do not worry, it will not melt. Fill the pan with the custard and place it on deep sheet pan or roasting pan. Fill the larger pan with water and bake the custard in this water bath for 30 minutes or until set. Allow to cool and refrigerate.
Cut the custard using the 8 rings previously used for the cake slices. The custard should remain in the rings, place them on the sheet tray on top of the cake rounds. I did this tricky move by using a spatula, sliding it under the tubes, lifting them carefully with my hand and quickly setting them on the cake rounds.

Mango filling:

2 fresh mangoes, peeled and diced

1/2 cup sugar, divided

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

2 cups cream fraiche.

Lightly sprinkle the mango with 1/4 cup sugar and toss gently. Fill the rings with the mango to withing 1/2 inch of the tops.
Combine the creme fraiche with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Carefully spoon it into the rings and smooth the tops. Place in the refrigerator.

Mango Sorbet:

4 cups diced mangoes

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups granulated sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine all the ingredients ina saucepan and brigng to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, remove from the heat and puree until smmoth. Pass through a sieve. Cool completely and process in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keepp frozen until ready to use.

Spring Rolls Rings:

4 large spring roll wrappers

1/4 cup clarified butter

1 egg white, slightly beaten

Heat oven to 350. Cut the wrappers into strips 3 inches wide and 5 inches long. Butter the strips, with a pastry brush, leaving 1 inch unbuttered. Using 16 metal tubes 1 inch in diameter, roll the wrappers around the tubes. Brush the butter free space with the egg white and overlap a amll ostion of the wrapper, sealing it.Bake for a couple of minutes or until brown. Watch closely.
Slide them off the tubes and let cool completely.

To assemble: place some mango sorbet into a pastry bag and pipe it into the spring roll tubes. Place 2 on a plate, side by side. Unmold the mango dessert next to them. Decorate as you wish.

Lychee Rose Parfait and Orange Blossom Macarons

Lychee Rose Parfait Topped with Strawberry Sorbet, served with Orange Blossom Macarons filled with Blood Orange Curd.

I was truly excited by this month Sugar High Friday theme set out by Monisha and I have been playing with ideas in my mind ever since she wrote it was all about Flower Power for this 30th edition. I did not intend to wait until the last minute but I am in the middle of a round up myself and other baking activities so I apologize to my fellow South Carolinian for being among the last entries.

I knew I wanted something light and springy, something that reflect who I am when I think about desserts for dinner parties. I like light flavors, I like individual and miniature. I use orange blossom flower water on a (almost) daily basis. I am a serious ice cream fanatic. I eat fruits like they are going out of business. I love making macarons and I love citrus anything. Most importantly I always try to use flavors I do not tend to gravitate towards like rose extract. I bought a bottle a long time ago and I stare at it everyday….I am not too fond of it or at least I have not come up with a dessert that would allow me to appreciate it, until today…

I tried to get fresh lychees but here it is nearly impossible so I used canned ones and they did the job just as good. They are a little sweeter than fresh ones of course but the texture and final taste was the same. All the components can be (and were) made ahead of times and refrigerated so it gives you plenty of time to tend to more important activities.

Lychee Rose Parfait with Strawberry Sorbet:

Makes 8

Cookie Base:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Divide the dough in half and refrigerate. Roll out one half to 1/2 inch thick and put the sheet of dough on a parchment lined abking sheet. Bake8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 2 minutes. While still warm cut out 8 rounds with a 3 inch cookie cutter. Set aside. Use the remaining half for regular cut out cookies if desired.

Strawberry Sorbet, adapted from Richard Leach:

3 cups fresh diced strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup wildflower honey
1 cup water
3 Tb lemon juice

Combine the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve then freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions. Keep frozen until ready to use.

Lychee Rose Parfaits, adapted from Richard Leach:

1 14oz. can lychees
2 tsp. rose water extract (or to taste)
2 eggs, separated
6 Tb sugar
3/4 cup creme fraiche (can substitute sour cream)
1/4 heavy cream

Drain the lychees and keep or discard the juice. Puree in a food processor with the rose extract. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and 2 Tb. of the sugar and whisk until pale and thick. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm peaks are formed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and whip for one more minte, until glossy. Whip the creme fraiche and heavy cream together until firm peaks are formed.
Fold the whites into the egg mixture. Add to the lychees. Lastly, fold in the cream mixture. Place the parfait in a piping bag.

Using 8 3 inch metal rings, place a sugar cookie at the bottom of each ring. Pipe the parfait mixture evenly between the 8 rings, leaving some space for the strawberry sorbet. Set in the freezer for 30 minutes or until firm. Fill the remainder of the tubes with the sorbet. Smooth the tops and keep in the freezer until ready to use.

Orange Blossom Macarons with Blood Orange Curd:

For the shells:

120 gr. egg whites, divided
35 gr. sugar
150 gr. finely ground almonds
150 gr. powdered sugar
1 Tb blood orange zest
For the boiling syrup:
150 gr. sugar and 50 gr. water

Sift the ground almonds and powdered sugar. Add the blood orange zest. In a stand mixer, whip 60 gr. egg whites to soft peaks, add 35 gr. sugar.
In the meantime, in a saucepan on high heat bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 230 F. on a candy thermometer.Slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium – high speed until they are completely cooled and you have a shiny meringue (10-15 minutes).
Mix the remaining 60 gr. of egg whites and the sifted almond/sugar and carefully fold into the meringue.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the mixture and pipe macarons about 3 inches in diameter on parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes if desired. This is often done to assure those little feet at the bottom but I found that I can skip this step with this recipe and still end up with the same result.
Bake at 320 for 15 minutes. Let cool.

Blood Orange Curd, adapted from Alice Medrich:

grated zest of 1 blood orange
2/3 cup strained blood orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs

Combine the zest, sugar, juice in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs until light.
Beat some of the orange mixture into the eggs to temper. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook stirring constantly until it thickens up, about 5 minutes.
Strain and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Fill the macarons with about 1 Tb of the curd and refrigerate.

The final decorating step was to melt some white chocolate and form rose petals to set the parfaits on to them in a flower like manner.

I have to say I am acompletely in love with this dessert. The rose flavor is not too strong and it is really "ice cream for adults". Sophisticated, yet simple to make. All the steps are easy and let you set your own cooking pace.

Note: metal rings can be quite pricey so when it comes to assembling cold plated desserts like this one I use pvc pipe. Go the hardware store and select the diameter you need (I like having 2, 3, and 4 inch diameter rings around) and have one of their sales associate cut it for you. If you promise them a few brownies, they will do so without a problem.