Skip to main content

white peaches

Stone Fruit Galette

Stone Fruit Galette


I sort of took last week off from blogging, writing, commenting, etc… It does not mean I took the week off from cooking or shooting but I had to focus on prepping the coming months. We celebrated a friend’s birthday, enjoyed the fireworks for the 4th of July while I already started shooting Fall and Thanksgiving features for a couple of magazines.

I thought shooting pumpkin pies and plump turkeys would make me crave the cooler weather of Fall but nope…did not happen. At the hand of a day spent in the heat of a covered porch or a well lit studio, all I wanted was to dive in some ice cream, grill a little and just put my feet up while sipping a gin & tonic.

Stone Fruit Love


I also made a commitment to be gentle of myself last week. A way to protect my time with friends and family before the chaos of the next few months. When I going over my schedule with my mother-in-law, she exclaimed in the sweetest Southern drawl "Da’lin…you made my head spin. Let me fix you some iced tea". Iced tea fixes everything. I am about 95% convinced of this by now.

Starting this week, it will be a few months of "crayzeeeee" until the Christmas holidays. Kicking things off when I head out to Alabama today for a real tasty two day shoot. Then it’s Scotland and Ireland, Washington D.C, Seattle, Canada, New Hampshire, more Canada and home for more shoots. There is time enough in between two planes for an anniversary, his birthday, a load of laundry and a few good meals with friends.

Stone Fruit Galette


A good mix of workshops and photo shoots. I was asked to submit a couple of bids for photography on cookbooks (which got accepted) and while I must wait a little longer to give you all the deeds on them, I am very grateful for the opportunities they provide. One takes me out of the country while the other lets me create a team with stylist and assistants I am friends with but also trust with my eyes closed. And the fun part? I won’t have to pay them in lollipops! All legit!! Ahahah!! Feels stupendous to be able to spread the love and create a team that inspires you and has the same need to create.

If only I did not have to have to crunch numbers, prepare bids and tally invoices. Always feel like it’s taking me away from creating, heading in the kitchen on a whim and just unplug and bake and write and blog. It’s a balancing act I am still trying to figure out. Everything I have done so far was to lead me to what I am doing now so it’s my responsibility to find the balance, the happy medium.

Cherries


And thank goodness for pies! Galettes, tarts, tartelettes… you name it. Where there is a crust and a filling, there is me, generally baking one or trailing not too far behind a piping hot generously filled pie.

They bring balance into my life. Or more precisely, the act of making a galette or tart forces me to stop. The action of rubbing flour and butter together gives me those five crucial minutes I needed to just take a moment. Rolling pie crust is incredibly good for stress relief. The moment you take a pie out of the oven. That wonderful "ahhhh…" that follows a sigh. Happy sigh.

Peaches


Then comes the wait. The ever so long twenty minutes to let that wonderful pie cool so you can go right ahead, grab a fork and dig in. If it’s for dinner with friends, it’s even harder to wait. But the rewards are well worth it. The smiles on other people’s face as you hand out a slice of pie. As long as I have served pies, I haven’t seen any furrowed brows yet…

Right in the middle of Summer, it would be criminal not to fill such a galette with all the stone fruits well abundant around at the market. Apricot, velvet apricots, peaches, cherries, nectarines, etc… Stupendously delicious. My new favorite word combination.

Baking With Stone Fruits


I love the simplicity of free formed galettes once in a while. It’s relaxing not to have walls and edges, trims and pie shells. Make dough, roll a rectangle, a square or a circle and fill. Pull the edges together and bake. Then dig in.

I am leaving some of that stone fruit galette in the fridge as I head out of town but you can be sure I am fixing myself a little slice for the plane ride. Or breakfast. It’s all about finding balance.

I hope the months ahead provide you with the same feelings of exhilaration, accomplishment, necessary adrenaline rush and relaxation. Hopefully with pie…

Stone Fruit Galette


All pictures © Helene Dujardin Photography.

Stone Fruit Galette:

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
2 peaches, skinned, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 apricots, skinned, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 velvet apricots (or 2 large plums), skinned, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Saturn peaches, skinned, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup cherries, pitted and halved
juice and zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Your favorite pie crust. Or this one which I love.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, toss all the prepared fruits with the lemon zest, juice and the honey. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
On a silpat or piece of parchment paper, roll the dough into a 10×15 rectangle (approximate). spoon the fruits right in the center, leaving about a 2-inch border on all edges. Fold the edges of the two short edges over the fruit, do the same for the long edges as if you were closing up a package but not quite closed all the way in the middle.
Brush the milk over the crust with a pastry brush. Sprinkle with the sugar and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

Comforting Recipes: Quinoa, Watermelon & Feta Salad, Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart, Peach & Nectarine Granita

Quinoa, Watermelon & Feta Salad


We’re back home. Everything and everyone is getting back to normal. Groceries, laundry, walks with the pups. And yet, everything’s different. Every move taken and every thing said is tinted with a veil of deep sadness and compassion.

As some of you may have learned, one wonderfully kind and talented food blogger, Jennifer Perillo, lost her husband suddenly this past weekend. I did not know Jennifer well. We had met briefly at several conferences in the past. We were Twitter and Facebook friends. We did not live close. We did not email. We did not talk on the phone. Yet, if I could wrap my arms around her today and hope it helped a little, I would.

Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart


Over the year, I have come to deal with the fact that I don’t care that much of August. I have a love-hate relationship with August actually. My brother passed away in August. My grandmother too. It’s my mother’s birthday in August. And my grandfather’s too. He’s 101 this year by the way. Talk about witnessing life and mortality.

I am finally ok with August being a crappy month for myself. I hate, hate, hate the fact that now it will be a difficult time for Jenny and her daughters. I, and others who have lost dear ones, know the journey ahead. And we hurt inside for Jenny and her daughters already. How to make it better? How to make it easier?

Peaches


Just like finding a few dishes prepared for you when you come back from travels, or finding the fridge a little fuller than when you left. Just like noticing a full basket of fruits on the counter and a "welcome home" note; we can be there for Jennifer and her family just the same.

Those little gestures mentioned above done by my mother in law right before we walked in the door, were immensely appreciated and resonated deeply within us. Caring for one another does is not about climbing the highest peaks or diving the deepest sea. Little gestures. A meal. A note. A walk. A hug. Expressing respect. And compassion.

Quinoa, Feta and Watermelon Salad


When I went back home to my brother’s funerals, I came back to many cards of condolences, many phone calls and texts. I also had many friends drop by with a bite to eat. They knew food was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to disappear. I was numb. But mechanically, I ate the dishes they brought over. It was sustenance. I let Bill rocked me too sleep many many nights. It was a necessity. I still sleep as little now as I did then.

For weeks, life was on auto-pilot but I do remember the comfort of sharing memories with people who came over with a giant green salad or a pint of sorbet. I remember those moments gently pulled me out of this quiet space I had made for weeks. The comfort of my neighbor Camille’s voice as she scooped her famous peach granita into little cups for us and her kids. The warmth of the oven touching my cheeks as I opened it to retrieve the first tart I had made since…since Thierry had left us.

Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart


Normalcy mixed with extraordinary circumstances. Jennifer and her family are going through this as I write it. They need us, our thoughts, prayers and memories of them for those who knew them. They need them now but they will need them months and years form now. Thankfully, and because the food community and humanity in general is pretty damn grand, reaching out to them is already happening.

Erika from Ivory Hut, who went through her own tragedy last year, losing everything in a house fire, is gathering the troops to help out. A care package program is being organized for those who are not in Jennifer’s area so a little piece of love and care can be delivered now and for months to come right to her doorstep. Locals are also organizing a relief effort to show her that not only we care but we are here for her.

White Nectarines


To get more details and to lend a hand and a comforting gesture, please email Erika at erika@ivoryhut.com

My heart is heavy for the Perillos right now. But it is also full of hope. I know there will be many a smiles in their future even only through the solace of your thoughts and words for them.

When someone around Bill and myself is going through tough times and could use a night off, we volunteer to take care of their kids, their pups or we just drop off a collection of dvds and a good meal. It’s small compared to the void we cannot fill but it’s a start. Food I can do. Which is why I am sharing three recipes (click on "continue for recipes" that are good options to bring to someone who might need a little comfort and a lot of hugs.

Peach & Nectarine Granita


This post is dedicated to Mikey, Jennifer and their daughters. We don’t know each other all that well, but I really wish I could change your August. Now and forever.

Please read this.

Quinoa, Watermelon and Feta Salad:

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish

When it comes to food and comforting friends with a little something to nosh on, I always gravitate towards dishes that can easily last a few days and only get better with a bit of time. Lately, we have been feasting on bowls after bowls of Quinoa, Watermelon and Feta Salad many days in a row. Sometimes with a poached egg on top. In the heat of the summer, this salad is not only healthy and light but also super refreshing.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups water
1 cup watermelon, rind removed and cut into small cubes
2 oz feta, crumbled
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped thin
1/3 cup loosely packed mint, chopped thin
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:
In a large saucepan, bring the quinoa and water to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot halfway and cook until the water is completely absorbed and the quinoa is translucent (about 20 minutes). Let cool completely.
When the quinoa is cooled, add the remaining ingredients and fold carefully. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

————————————————————————-

Roasted Red Pepper & Ricotta Tart:

Serves 4 as a light main dish.

Another dish that I always find easy to fix, transport and leave in someone’s fridge or freezer for them to reheat easily and quickly is a gluten free Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart. Accompanied by a green salad and you have something satisfying and nourishing. A little balm for the heart. And the belly.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
5 tablespoons (70gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (or pinch red pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3 egg yolks (save one white for the filling)
pinch salt
1/2 cup (80gr) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (60gr) millet flour
1/4 cup (30gr) sorghum flour
1/4 cup (40gr) potato flour
(or 1.5 cups of all purpose flour if not using gf flours)

For the filling:
3 to 4 bell peppers of various colors (red, yellow, orange)
1 cup ricotta
1 egg white
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Prepare the crust:
In a mixer, whip together the butter, piment and mustard on medium speed until light and airy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Mix until incorporated. Add all the different flours and mix briefly. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured (use more rice flour) board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. 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 two sheets of plastic to fit your preferred tart pan. If the dough tears while you roll or/and transfer into the pan, just patch it with your fingertips. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months and prepare it up to 4 days in advance.

Prepare the filling:
Method 1:
Preheat the oven to 400F and then roast the peppers until their skin turn black, remove from the oven, place then in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them cool completely. Remove the plastic, and peel the skin right off the pepper, seed them too and cut them in halves or at least fairly large pieces.

Method 2:
Blacken the skin of the peppers over an open flame such as a gas stove or grill. Place then in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them cool completely. Remove the plastic, and peel the skin right off the pepper, seed them too and cut them in halves or at least fairly large pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, egg white, salt and pepper. Layer at the bottom of the prepared tart shell. Layer the roasted pepper pieces on top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

———————————————————————————

Peach and Nectarine Granita:

Makes enough for 8

Since it’s August, and it’s still mostly to very warm just about anywhere, I got to say that the most comforting thing for me and many others I know, is still to dig my spoon in soft soothing ice cream. Or sorbet. Or granita. In this case, I was pressed to use the four peaches and nectarines we still had from our trip to the market before heading down to Florida. So easy to make and since it’s stored in the freezer, it’ll be there anytime you need a little cooling treat.

Ingredients:
2 peaches, skin and pit removed
2 nectarines, skin and pit removed
1/4 cup honey
juice of one lemon
1 cup Greek yogurt or creme fraiche

Directions:
In a food processor, puree all the ingredients together. Place in a large baking dish and freeze. After two hours, run a fork along the length of the dish, breaking up the fruit mixture into a granita. Repeat the process every hour or so for about 4-5 times until the mixture is completely frozen but you get a shaved ice consistency all the way through. We like ours chunky but the more times you run your fork in the mixture, the thinner the shavings will be.

White Peach Tartelettes With Rosemary Sugar & Some Book Tour Updates

White Peach Tartelettes With Rosemary Sugar


Up until an hour ago, I was having one of those posts starting with a sentence I’d write and erase, and re-write. Not anymore. Obviously. Here are three sentences I have not started over. Yet. So much I have to say and about the same I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

First, it may sound like a broken record, but if I don’t say this a gazillion times, I won’t say it enough: for all your emails, tweets, facebook notes and messages telling me how much you are learning from the book… Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. To hear you say that you are inspired by its content, its approach, its voice, leaves me humbled and honored. It’s been giving me a smile on my face and a skip in my step this past month and a half that the book has been out.

It’s always a bit of a struggle talking about Plate To Pixel. I want the book to do well, for all the people who have worked hard on it. I was proud of it when it was just a PDF on my laptop. I am even prouder of it now that I read your messages. I am excited to see it in your homes, to get your "before" and "after" shots. I am even more excited for the space left within for more details, for a sequel.

White Peach Tartelettes With Rosemary Sugar


I am however completely left uneasy when a friend comes to the house with a copy to be signed. When my mother-in-law sends her aqua-aerobics group to buy a dozen copy at the bookstore or when my husband beams with pride when someone says "I heard Helene’s book is out" and he picks up a copy from the coffee table.

It’s surreal. It’s awesome. It’s weird. I have no idea whether to smile or run. So I usually sit there and take a deep breath, inhale the moment and silently thank the person across from me for the time they are giving me.

I’ve been doing this for weeks now. Almost two months actually. It seems like an eternity and it seems like yesterday. I know. It’s cliche. Well that’s fine. It’s corny. That’s fine too. That’s perfect actually. I can do corny. That I know. I just don’t know what authors are supposed to do. I have never done this before. "Breathe" "Take it in", "Enjoy"…Yes. I do that. Then a couple of trusted friends, my editor also, mentioned I should have a book release party, a book signing, a book tour. Ugh. Oh.

White Peach Tartelettes With Rosemary Sugar


I did have a party. For close friends in town, around a good dinner and a few bottles of Champagne. It made more sense to do it that way. They had been there during the writing, the rare moments of frustrations. I wanted to thank John for always making me something tasty to eat when I was too preoccupied to find my way into the kitchen. I wanted to thank Fanny and Patrick for pouring me a glass of wine and mandating I’d take a break. I wanted to thank those friends who made fatigue disappear and mended my soul with their kindness.

I even made tartelettes to celebrate…

And then the book was out, shipped off to you and I went back to work. Shooting, writing, styling, shooting some more. That’s my element. Then about 2 weeks ago, I was staring at my Twitter feed when it hit me. Here were three bloggers who were discussing the book and getting excited to learn from it and by including me in their exchange, it really hit me hard on the head. I got quiet again. I wanted to shout "thank you!". I did. But I wanted to shout it again and shake someone’s hand and give them a hug too for letting my work be a part of theirs.

White Peaches


The words book tour and book signing were reiterated by dear friends again. So yes. After taking the book on a little christening of sort in Sante Fe late April, I am officially taking the book around the US, little by little, one workshop at a time. I am writing it out loud so I can allow myself to say "I wrote this book and I think you might find it full of great pieces of information." Yes! Again. I found that I am much more comfortable giving a workshop as I take that baby out into your worlds.

So…I am kicking things off this weekend with a book signing in Charlotte, NC on Friday the 17th from 1.30pm til 3pm or so at Amelie’s Bakery. Big thanks to Taylor for getting it organized! If you are in the area, come say "hi"! Would love to meet you and thank you!

Next month, I have the great honor of returning to Evo 11 in Park City Utah as a speaker on July 7th-9th where I’ll do a food photography workshop. And while this is separate from a book tour, the wonderful Rachael and Jyl, the founders of Evo, have suggested bringing a few copies for a giveaway. While I am still working the number with my editor, I wanted to extend a warm Thank You to the Evo 11 team. Woot!

White Peach Tartelettes With Rosemary Sugar


Separately from the conference, when I told my dear friend Maria that I would be in her neck of the woods again, we started talking about doing a book release event of some sort for Plate To Pixel. A few emails later and because it is a technical book, the concept of a Book Workshop Tour came about.

So…The Plate To Pixel Book Workshop Tour(!) will indeed stop in Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 6th! The 4-hour workshop will be held at the Market Street Grill at Cottonwood, from 10am til 2pm. There are 12 spots available. It will be completely hands on and I want everyone to be able to benefit from one another and get as much out of it as possible. So yes, a small group is ideal.

UPDATE: The workshop is full and registration is closed. Looking forward to meeting you if you signed up!
If you are interested in attending, shoot me an email at photoworkshopslc @ gmail . com and I will send you a packet with the class description, class fee and how to register and secure your spot. That’s not all though! The wonderful Heidi at Foodie Crush who literally put this whole thing together on her own, is sponsoring one person to attend the workshop for free! For a chance to win a spot at the workshop held in Salt Lake City on July 6th and brought to you by Foodie Crush and Market Street Grill, head on over to Heidi’s site and follow her instructions.

Rosemary


But this coming weekend, it’s Charlotte first! In the next week, I will be putting up a page dedicated entirely to the Plate To Pixel Book Workshop Tour with an ongoing list of the cities I will be traveling to, doing workshops and signing books.

Here is a tease of an awesome two day cooking and food photography workshop I will be doing with Squam Art Workshops, in New Hampshire in September. More details soon!

In the meantime, let’s have some pies, shall we? Tartelettes. Bien sur. White Peach Tartelettes With Rosemary Sugar. Shared with friends because they taste better this way…

White Peach Tartelettes With Rosemary Sugar



White Peach Tartelettes:

If given a choice, I will rush to grab white peaches without hesitation. They remind me of those we get back home. Some are white inside and some have rosy tones instead. Their peach flavor is bit more subtle than the yellow varieties but just as juicy and delicious.

Makes eight 3.5-inch tarts

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup corn flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1 stick very cold butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup ice cold water

For the rosemary sugar:
Mix together 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary.

Remaining ingredients:
8 small sized peaches – white or yellow

Directions:

Prepare the tart dough:
Sift together the millet flour, corn flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour and salt in a large bowl.
Cut the butter into very small pieces over the dry ingredients and quickly work it in the flours with your fingertips until you get large sandy pieces.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the egg and water and start working the dough from the outside toward the inside of the bowl, quickly moistening the flours and gathering the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate one to two hours.
Butter and four 8 mini tart shells. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. Roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to about 1/4 to 1/8 thick. Cut out circles a little larger than your tart shells and place them inside the tart pans, flush the borders with a sharp knife. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the sugar and peaches. For the sugar, just rub the rosemary into the sugar to release its natural oils. Set aside until ready to bake.
To prepare the peaches, peel them, cut them in half, remove the pits and cut into thin slices.

Assemble the tart by placing peach slices in a decorative patterns inside the shells. Sprinkle with as little or as much rosemary sugar as you wish.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the shells start getting golden brown and the peaches release their juices.

Peach Mousse & Strawberry Verrines

Peach Mousse - Strawberry Jelly


We’ve been drowning under peaches over here. Fresh, juicy local peaches. They were good starting in June but they are just tremendous right now. They got plenty more rain and sunshine to get even better. If that was even possible. Bu they did. The stalls at the farmers' market bear the same jovial velvet dresses of oranges, yellows and terra cotta. Makes me long for the fresh markets of Provence where I grew up. So colorful, so hot, so happy.

Thursday seemed to start with a peach sessions: roasting, jamming, cutting and peeling a bunch to freeze and enjoy during Fall. Lunch was the perfect time to make plans about their use. When dinner came, we enjoyed sweet concoctions like these Peach Mousse & Strawberry Verrines.

Friday started the same way but ended up with a batch of peach jam, peach pate de fruit and matcha macarons for wedding favors. By Saturday morning, first thing I twittered was "peach pate de fruit and matcha macarons I love you". I am telling you…summer makes my head twirl and spin. Bill did hide both from me or there wouldn’t have been any left for the wedding at the rate I was going. Sorry….

Strawberries


He’s been playing the same trick with the berries, the peaches, the tomatoes, and these verrines. I made six before he left to play music and when he came back there were 4.5 gone. Ooops! I just can’t get enough of the bounties of summer. I admit I have had such little desire for chocolate this summer that I have decided that no, nothing was wrong with me and that yes, I will enjoy these fine summer rituals until the end.

It’s still too hot to lose myself in chocolate yet. Well, that’s not entirely true. My friend Sarah came for dinner one evening with a pan of her famous brownies and I happily devoured my share (and that of my imaginary friend I hear!). For us lately it’s been fruit all the time, all the way. With peaches as good as these, it’d be a shame not to.

I have no idea how I came up with these verrines. I just started to think about the best way to use peaches in their "natural" state, as unaltered as possible. I know I am not the only one to think that with fruits this good it’d be a shame to start messing around too much. Yep, Jen’s crisp is next on the list.

Baking Feels Just Like Velvet


The base of the verrine is simply some peach puree with lime juice, sugar and a bit of gelatin to help support the peach mousse. I started thinking about doing an Italian meringue based mousse but I was kneed deep in meringue for macarons and a bit tired of washing dishes. Instead, I opted for a simpler fruit mousse base, whipped cream and that worked perfectly as the peaches were already full of natural sugar. The top was leaving me pondering and thinking until I spotted a bag of strawberries I had frozen last May when they were in full season. Score!

And then it was like a little piece of white sand on crowded beach. Nothing else mattered…

Peach Mousse - Strawberry Jelly


Peach Mousse Verrines:

Serves 4

For the peach puree:
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup (200gr) peaches, peeled and pitted diced small
juice and zest of a lime
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar

For the peach mousse:
1/2 tablespoon gelatin
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup (130gr) peaches, peeled and pitted, diced small
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) heavy cream, cold

For the strawberry topping:
1/2 teaspoon gelatin
2 teaspoons water
3/4 cup (115gr) fresh strawberries, halved
1 tablespoon of sugar (or to taste)
splash of lemon juice

Prepare the peach puree layer:
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and reserve. Process the peach dices with the lime juice and zest and the sugar until completely processed. Heat the mixture in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Add the gelatin and stir until it is completely melted. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Divide evenly among 4 glasses. Refrigerate until set.

Prepare the peach mousse:

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and reserve. In the bowl of a food processor, puree the peaches until completely smooth. Place the puree and the sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat and heat until it bubbles. Add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. When the mixture starts to set, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and gently fold it in the fruit mixture. Divide evenly among the glasses. Refrigerate until set.

Prepare the strawberry puree:

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and reserve. In the bowl of a food processor puree the strawberries with the sugar and splash of lemon juice until completely smooth. Heat that mixture in a small pan set over medium high heat and cook until it bubbles. Stir in the gelatin and stir until it dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Divide it on top of the peach mousse and refrigerate until set.

Daring Bakers Strut Their Strudels

Mascarpone Ricotta Tarts in Strudel Rings


It’s been a long time since I made strudel dough and it’s been even longer since I made it for our own eating pleasures. When I first moved to the US, one of my first pastry jobs was at a German bakery where we would make strudel dough by the buckets, starting fresh and early around 3am. I made so much strudels in that one year there that I overdosed a little and never made it at home after that. When I saw that the Daring Bakers challenge for May was strudel I had a split reaction. A "meh" followed by "oh wait I have always wanted to do this and this and this…"

The instructions were to make the strudel dough per the recipe given but allowed us to get creative as far as the fillings, shapes and sizes. I started with one idea and as (most) usual, I ended up with three. My first idea was not to make a traditional strudel and I blame Richard Leach for that. I have been itching to make his Ricotta Cheese Tarts in Strudel Rings since the first day I flipped the pages of his book "Sweet Seasons". I refrained from it up until now because of that studel making overdose mentionned above. Ha! No more! I had the perfect opportunity!

Tarts and Rhubarb Sorbet In Strudel Cups


For the strudel rings, I rolled and stretched the dough until I could see through it and cut four 1 1/2-inch strips that I rolled around a 3-inch cake rings about 3-4 times. I baked them just until the rings were golden brown. I let them slide of the cake rings and let them cool while I prepared the mascarpone tart base. It is really like a light cheesecake baked right inside the rings. Once they were cooled, I placed them inside the strudel rounds and plated some with fresh cherries and others with lemon balm infused cherries. Both versions were equally good but my heart goes toward the lemon balm one.

Rhubarb Sorbet In Strudel Cups


Of course the strudel dough recipe would give me a lot more than the quantity necessary for the strudel rings. I used the same technique to make slightly higher rings with the intention to use them as baskets for ice cream or sorbet. I even made handles for them but a mini trip over pupp Bailey and the handles flew across the room and broke to pieces. Sorbet cups would have to do. I made Garrett’s rhubarb sorbet over the weekend and it was a wonder there was enough left to fill the cups. If you have the chance, run to make it! Absolutely delightful. My only change to his recipe is that I did not strain the rhubarb but pureed the heck out of it. Worked like a charm. Pink, smooth and creamy all at once.

I still had plenty of dough to make a traditional strudel like most of my Daring Bakers partners. I filled this one with roasted quince that I had in the freezer and fresh roasted white peaches. I sprinkled a basic hazelnut crumble on the dough before layering the fruits and rolled the dough in a log. In the cacophony of friends coming over for brunch, I completely forgot to take pictures of the log and had just a split moment to take pictures of the small strudel bites I cut for everybody to sample.

White Peach & Quince Strudel Bites


I found the dough a litte bland at first but paired with a punch of flavors it really took a life of its own and today I am glad to have leftovers of all three desserts to chose from after dinner!

See below for all the recipes and my notes.


The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Mascarpone Ricotta Tart in Strudel Rings


One year ago: Daring Bakers' Lavender White Chocolate Opera

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

Notes: I used a printed tablecloth so I could see better how thin the dough was getting and how much I could keep on stretching. I found out that no pleats or wrinkles was much better or the dough will take on those at the same time you roll.
Use plenty (and more) flour to roll and instead of rubbing my hands on the cloth to make the flour stick down, I rolled my rolling pin over a few times. Do not refrain from kneading a full 8 to 10 minutes. It will develop all the gluten strands necessary to make this dough stretch like a breeze

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).
It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.
The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

To make strudel rings and cups:
Cut four 1.5-inch strips of dough, brush them with melted butter and roll them around cake rings. Bake at 350F until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Cut four 2-inch strips for the sorbet cups. Proceed as with the rings.

For the hazelnut crumble, quince and white peach filling:
Notes: this will make enough for 1/3 of the dough. Adapt if necessary.
2 white peaches, cur in half and pitted
1 large quince, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
equal parts light brown sugar, flour, butter (cut in 1/4-inch cubes) and chopped hazelnuts (I did 50gr of each)

Place the peaches and the quince in a medium baking pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray and roast at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes until caramelized. Check at half time and add 1/4 cup of water to the pan is necessary to prevent them from scortching. Once baked, let cool completely to room temperature. Slice the fruits thin.
In a large bowl, stir together all the crumble ingredients and mix with your fingertips until the mixture forms pea size crumbs.
Fill the strudel with a layer of crumble and top with the roasted fruit. Roll from the short end, lightly brush with melted butter and bake at 350 for 30 minutes (more if you are doing the whole quantity of dough as a regular strudel).

Mascarpone Ricotta Cheese Tarts In Strudel Rings, adapted from Richard Leach.

Makes 4

Tart Rings:
See above

For Lemon Balm Cherries:

2 cups (290gr) pitted and halved cherries
1/2 cup (125ml) water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
4 leaves lemon balm, roughly chopped

For the Mascarpone-Ricotta Tarts:

3/4 cup (180gr) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90gr) ricotta cheese
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half and seeded
1 whole egg
1 egg white
1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream

Prepare the cherries:
Place all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain to discard the lemon balm. Use to decorate the tarts.

Prepare the tarts:
Wrap four 3-inch dessert rings with foil and place them on baking sheet. Lightly spray the inside with cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together the mascarpone, ricotta, sugar and vanilla bean seeds at medium speed, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg and egg white and beat until smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of your bowl if necessary. Still on low speed, add the heavy cream and whip until incorporated.
Divide the mxiture evenly among the prepared cake rings and bake for 20 minutes or until just set. Let cool completely.
Once cooled, place a strudel ring around each tart and spoon some marinated cherries around the tarts.

Rhubarb Sorbet For Strudel Cups, adapted from Garrett’s.

3 1/2 cups of chopped fresh rhubarb (4-5 stalks)
2 1/2 cups of water
1 2/3 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of lemon zest
2 tablespoons of corn syrup (I used glucose)

Placethe rhubarb, sugar, water, and lemon zest in a large and heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes, uncovered.
Let cool to room temperature. Working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender until smooth. Stir in the glucose. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight.
Process the ice cream according to your machine’s manufacturer’s instructions. The sorbet will have a soft texture right out of the ice cream maker. Freeze a couple of hours before serving.