Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ho, to the Ho, Ho.

This year, I decided to attempt the Bûche de Noël — so beautiful...and challenging. And I may or may not have shed a tear during the transfer from parchment paper to plate, but thankfully ganache conceals all. If you're feeling ambitious, the recipe I used is from Saveur.

Oh, and those adorable meringue mushrooms — are they ever fun to make. I used a different method for the mushroom assembly, instead of carving a hole in the cap of the shroom, I just used a microplane to sand down the stems, so they can adhere easily to the caps using ganache. 

This was made for my in-laws, so unfortunately I won't know until Christmas if it's safe for consumption.

As this will be my last post for 2012, I'd like to wish everyone Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The flavors of fall

The outdoor farmers' market is slowly coming to an end. I've worked on a few new tartlet flavors for the season: apple rum, white wine poached pears with frangipane and this one, which is my favorite. It pairs pumpkin filling with a chocolate shell and is topped with a mascarpone espresso cream.

I will have these available at the Pilsen Community Market, but of course, in cutesy tartlet form. I'll be at the outdoor market two more Sundays this season: October 14th and October 28th. The Pilsen Community Market is currently organizing their first annual indoor market — will post when I receive more details.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mucho gusto, pastel de tres leches

Have I really not posted anything new since February?! Good gawd! It's true, my farmers' markets have been keeping me busy this season, but occasionally I have found time to bake something other than tartlets. And so finally, a post...

My most recent non-tartlet dessert attempt was a tres leches cake that I brought to a taco-themed get-together. Traditionally, it's a sponge cake that's soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream, but this recipe suggests the use of whole milk in lieu of the heavy cream. I found very little difference in flavor and texture; it was just as rich, dense and delicious.

I used a 9" metal cake pan instead of a baking dish. If you choose to do the same, you will need to decrease your baking time. My cake was ready in about 25 minutes instead of the 30 to 35 that is noted in the recipe.

By not having access to my DSLR camera, I had to resort to using my iPhone and Instagram (my newest iPhone app obsession) for the photograph...not too shabby, eh?

Tres Leches Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled, plus more for baking dish
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 cups fresh fruit (optional), such as oranges or berries, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and 3/4 cup sugar on high until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine. With a rubber spatula, fold in melted butter until incorporated. Transfer batter to dish and bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating dish halfway through.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milks. Poke warm cake all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick, then pour milk mixture over top and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Whip cream and 1/4 cup sugar to medium peaks. To serve, spread whipped cream evenly over cooled cake. Top with fruit if desired.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who needs love when you've got chocolate?

This Valentine's Day is the TWENTIETH (!!!) that Kevin and I will be celebrating together. And although this commercialized holiday may not resonate well with some, I think it's the perfect excuse to make, and eat ganache.

Dark Chocolate-Cherry Ganache Bars
Adapted from The New York Times

  • 150 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 90 grams confectioners’ sugar (about 3/4 cup)
  • 26 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 52 grams cherry jam (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 340 grams bittersweet chocolate, at least 62 percent, chopped (12 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons kirsch, rum, brandy or other spirit
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, for sprinkling

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and fine sea salt. Pulse in the butter and vanilla until the mixture just comes together into a smooth mass. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment or wax paper. Press the dough into the pan. Prick all over with a fork. Chill for at least 20 minutes and up to 3 days.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the shortbread until firm to the touch and just beginning to pull away from the sides, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Brush jam over shortbread’s surface and let cool thoroughly.

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl.

In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the kirsch. Spread over shortbread. Sprinkle fleur de sel on. Cool to room temperature; cover and chill until firm. Slice and serve. Yields: 18 bars.

Friday, January 6, 2012