Chocolate coeurs á la créme

DSC_0311_3101 copyCoeurs translates as heart in French. This simple dessert isn’t shaped anything like a heart, it doesn’t contain any hearts… so I’m guessing Chocolate Love with Creme is a closer translation. Chocolate, creme, berries + EASY definitely = love/heart.

Serves 6-8
Ingredients:

  • 225 g ricotta cheese, strained
  • 55 g confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 300 ml heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 55 g semi-sweet chocolate, finely grated
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature

Coulis

  • 225 fresh strawberries or raspberries
  • confectioner’s sugar to taste

Press the ricotta through a strainer into a bowl. Add the sugar, cream and vanilla extract and beat until thick.

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Stir in the finely grated chocolate.

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Whisk the eggs whites until peaks form and fold into the cheese mix.

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Spoon the mixture into molds lined with cheesecloth. Refrigerate overnight. If the dessert hasn’t set enough for your taste, put it in the freezer for an hour or so. I like mine semifreddo (semi-frozen).

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To make the coulis, place the berries in the food processor and purée. Press the purée through a strainer and add confectioner’s sugar to taste.

Enjoy!

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Posted in Chocolate, Mousse, Parfaits & Ice Cream | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad

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As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, I have a lot of crab to play with right now and it makes me so happy! Crab is versatile. It can be light or heavy, depending on how you serve it. Last night’s vol-au-vent was rich and heavy, but this crab salad is refreshingly light.

Steamed crab can be served cold, but I chose to serve this crab warm. I melted about 1 tbsp of butter in a pan and sprinkled it with some cayenne pepper. The avocado and mango are so mellow, I thought the crab could use a little kick.  I also added some chopped cilantro and black pepper.

Chop your avocado and mango, then use a pastry ring to layer the ingredients. Layer the avocado then use something to press it down (not too hard). I used the bottom of a port glass. Next, layer the chopped mango and press. Layer the crab; press. Lift off the ring while pressing down gently from the top. Garnish with red pepper strips and water cress.

Enjoy!

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Posted in Fruit, Seafood | 1 Comment

Vol Au Vent, Feuilletés Aux Fruits De Mer

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Oregon is an Eden for food lovers. In Portland, where I live, it seems on every corner there’s a Farmer’s Market bursting with the colors of the latest harvest. This weekend I found orange beets, glowing Meyer lemons, delicate watercress and the last of the fading avocados.  I have my favorite spots for seafood, too – like the Flying Fish Company’s seafood shack at Kruger’s Market on Hawthorne, or Phil’s Meats with scallops the size of my fist.

I learned last weekend that, despite the plethora of markets scattered around town, the absolute best place to get Oregon seafood – particularly crab – is right out of Tillamook Bay. Thanks to some good friends who took me crabbing, I now have about 4 pounds of unbelievably fresh crab meat to play with.

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This Feuilletés Aux Fruits De Mer combines two of my favorite things: pastry and seafood. Plus a fancy name. An experience this cool deserves no less than a dish I can’t pronounce (not without help).

But first, let me tell you about crabbing… I’ll oversimplify, of course, because my knowledge is still pretty shallow.

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Crabs love raw chicken. Bait the crab pots and drop them at about 30′. Wait. Circle around and pull them up. This sounds simple but it’s a work-out, especially when it’s raining and kind of cold (this is Oregon, remember?).

IMG_8096Dump the pot and chase the crabs around. Try not to get pinched. Throw the females back in and then measure the males.

IMG_8015IMG_8045If you’re feeling cocky, you can tease the keepers. Name them “Chowder” and “Thermidor” until they pinch you.

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We had a great haul. 17 the first day and 20 the second. Back at the dock, we had our catch steamed in a huge kettle. It took about 45 minutes.

IMG_8130IMG_8154 After steaming, the crabs have to be cleaned. The bright yellow gunk is called crab butter, but it’s not butter. Not even close.

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Shelling, of course, is the last step. Everyone seems to have their own method: shaking, crushing, peeling, picking. It’s tedious. But many hands make light work and crabbing, from start to finish, is definitely a sport best shared.

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Now let’s make something…

Vol Au Vent sounds and looks more complicated than it is. It literally means “windblown” because the tops seem to have been “blown off”. I’ve noticed that most of the recipes online start out with a pre-made puff pastry. Please don’t. This puff pastry recipe is actually pretty easy and, I promise, it will taste better. Vol au vent can be filled with sweets, fruits… anything. So this is a staple to learn and revisit with variations.

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Rough Puff Pastry (this variation is simpler and quicker than the Classic Puff Pastry. It still rises to about 75% of the original and takes far less time).

  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 500 g very cold butter, cubed
  • 6 g salt
  • 250 ml ice cold water

Make a flour mound on the counter and create a well. Put the butter and salt in the well and begin to blend with your hands. Work the flour in from the sides until the butter is a crumble.

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Add the ice water gradually (either transfer to a bowl or mix right on the counter). Blend with your hands until incorporated.  Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

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After 20 minutes, roll the dough onto a floured surface. Roll into a long rectangle, then fold into thirds. Give it a half turn and roll out and fold into thirds again. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

DSC_0121_2983 copyRepeat the process: roll, fold; roll, fold for a total of 4 turns. Refrigerate again for 30 minutes, after which the dough is ready to use.

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Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thick. Cut circles. Within half of the circles, cut additional inner circles.

DSC_0137_2999 copyDSC_0138_3000 copyHeat the oven to 350 degrees. Make an egg wash (1 egg, dash of milk, mix).

Place the larger circles on a lightly buttered cookie sheet or baking pan. Brush them with egg wash. Place the rings on top of them and brush the tops with egg wash (careful not to drip egg wash down the inner or outer sides. It can disable them from rising properly). Set the small circles (the lids) on the sheet and brush lightly with egg wash.

DSC_0140_3002 copyDSC_0141_3018 copyBake for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove to a cooling rack. Gently scoop the hot centers out to make a deeper well (don’t pierce the bottoms!).

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Let’s make the filling:

Bechamel Sauce with Crab & Mushroom Duxelles:

In my quest to like mushrooms, I picked up some Criminis at Kruger’s to use in the filling. Did you know that Portabellos are mature Criminis? (See? I’m really trying to learn about and like mushrooms.)

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Chop the mushrooms and melt 1 tsp butter in a pan. Add the mushrooms and stir; cook the liquid out. Squeeze in a little lemon juice and, after about 5 minutes, add a chopped shallot. After a minute, add a little heavy cream and cook down for another 3 minutes. Set aside.

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Bechamel Sauce: 

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyére

Melt the butter in a saucepan then mix in the flour until blended. Remove from heat. Bring the milk to a boil in another saucepan. Whisk in the roux until blended. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil until lumps dissolve. Remove from heat and add the cheese.  Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add mushrooms and crab, as you like, to the sauce. Gently fill the pastries, placing the lids on in a haphazard fashion. Garnish with cilantro and lemon. Enjoy!

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Thanks again to Jim, Lidia & Brian for an unforgettable experience. I owe you dinner.

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Posted in Dough, Pastries, Seafood | 2 Comments

Orange Granitas in Chocolate Teardrops

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Tempering chocolate is tricky and I still don’t have it down. Luckily, the granitas is frozen so that alone inhibits the normal melting that would be happening to this dessert at room temperature.

Instead of explaining tempering, I’ll include a video here. Maybe we can learn together.

The granitas, luckily, is much easier.

  • Juice of 5 oranges
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/3 cup fine sugar

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Juice the oranges and strain. Mix in the sugar to dissolve. Add the zest. Pour into a shallow dish and put in the freezer. Stir every 15 minutes until it’s the perfect consistency.

For the teardrops, cut parchment into thin strips (about 1 1/2″) and slide one side along the melted (and tempered) chocolate to coat. Form your shapes and secure with a paperclip (easier said than done, BTW). Refrigerate 30 minutes. Once cool and set, peel the parchment away.

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Fill chocolate with grantias and enjoy.

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Posted in Chocolate, Fruit, Parfaits & Ice Cream | Tagged | 1 Comment

Beef Wellington with Béarnaise Sauce

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I’ve always loved the idea of Beef Wellington – lovely, tender beef wrapped in pastry. Seems ideal, doesn’t it? One problem: I don’t like mushrooms (one of the key ingredients). I’ve never liked them. They taste like dirt and they’re slimy.

For the sake of making a proper Beef Wellington, however, I put aside my prejudices and chose to trust my faithful food guru, Michel Roux – mushrooms and all.

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Well, I don’t know what kind of mushroom I had tasted in the past that so put me off them entirely, but today I can say that I am happily proven wrong. Mushrooms, done right, rock.  In fact, this recipe as a whole absolutely blew me away.  If you have a day to kill (and really want to impress someone), this is the prize winning, blue-ribbon recipe you need. It comes from Michel Roux’s book Pastry, with some additional tips thrown in from Gordon Ramsey.

We’ll start with the brioche dough. This particular brioche recipe is firmer than regular brioche so it’s perfect for this beef en croûte.

  • 260 ml tepid milk
  • 12 g fresh yeast
  • 450 g all-purpose flour
  • 10 g fine salt
  • 90 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 45 g caster sugar

Put the milk and yeast in a bowl and mix to dissolve.  Blend flour, salt and eggs in a separate bowl (or in a bread mixer, if you’re luckier than me). Add in the yeast mix and knead for 10 minutes, scraping the sides as you go. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

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In another bowl, mix the sugar and butter. Incorporate this mix into your dough as best you can. I’d imagine a bread mixer would help here… I just spread it in by bits and hand mixed. It was a mess but eventually it came together.

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Mix together until your dough is smooth and shiny. Put your dough in a bowl and cover loosely with cling film. It will need to proof (get larger) for about 1.5 – 2 hours.

The best way I have found to create a home “bread proofer” is to heat a bowl or mug of water for about 2 minutes in the microwave until steaming. This will make your microwave into a little make-shift proofer. Put your covered bowl of dough into the hot microwave with the cup of water (don’t turn it back on!). Just let it proof there for the recommended time. The dough should double in size.

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After proofing, punch it down by flipping it twice in the bowl. Re-cover and refrigerate for an hour or until ready to use (not more than 24 hours).

For this recipe, you want a nice tender cut of meat – a tenderloin or beef filet. Mine was a 1lb tenderloin from Phil’s Meats. Dry and rub salt and pepper into your meat. Sear your tenderloin or beef filet in a very hot skillet briefly until all sides are brown. This will seal in the juices and give it a roasted flavor.

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Immediately, while your meat is still warm, brush it with dijon mustard. I used a mustard/horseradish mix for more kick.

DSC_0039_2906 copySet the beef aside and let it cool.

Mushroom Duxelles 

  • 1 lb mushrooms (You can use a blend of many, or any kind you like. I chose Portabello because, remember, I hated all mushrooms, so it didn’t matter to me.)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 shallot
  • 260 g of heavy cream

Heat 60g unsalted butter in a pan on medium heat. Add chopped mushrooms and lemon juice. Stir occasionally and cook down to remove moisture. Add a chopped shallot and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook until all liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste and cool.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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Clean spinach leaves (the amount will depend on the size of your fillet).  Dry well and set aside.

Assembly

Beef Wellington requires a moisture barrier between the pastry dough and the meat. Mushrooms are not enough. Even spinach is not enough. You don’t want soggy dough. Michel Roux calls for crêpes as a barrier, but I had enough going on without having to make crêpes on top of everything else.

Gordon Ramsey uses paper-thin parma ham. I went with phyllo sheets. They worked well. Lay out a piece of cling film and then a sheet of phyllo. Top with spinach leaves.

DSC_0051_2918 copyNow another layer of the super thin phyllo, then the mushrooms.

DSC_0052_2919 copyWhile sizing it up, keep in mind what it will take to cover your particular piece of beef. Lay the meat in the middle and begin folding the phyllo over the meat  like a package. If it tears a little, no problem.  Phyllo dries out quickly, though, so don’t waste time. Wrap your package tightly in cling film and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

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Now lightly flour the counter and roll out brioche dough large enough to envelope your meat. I just love this light and pillowy dough!

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Brush the edges with egg wash and fold one side over the beef, then the other. Seal. Press the sides to seal and trim any excess. Wrap in cling film and  refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This is a great dish to make for dinner parties as well because it can be kept in this state overnight and baked the next day.

DSC_0058_2925 copyDSC_0059_2926 copyHeat your oven to 400 degrees. When you’re ready to bake, brush the dough with egg wash (egg yolks) and score a design in the dough if you like (careful not to cut all the way through the dough). Make a small hole in the side of the dough for steam to escape. For some extra crunch, sprinkle with sea salt before baking.

DSC_0069_2936 copyBake for 25 – 35 minutes. Keep an eye on the dough. If you see it getting too brown for your taste, create a tent from aluminum foil to shield the dough. You can also lower the temperature to 340 degrees.

DSC_0078_2945 copyLet your beef en croûte cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Unfortunately, when I sliced mine it was too rare, even for me. Next time, I think I will sear the beef longer before assembling.

DSC_0081_2948 copyI love it when things go perfectly but few things are insurmountable. I placed my slices flat on a baking sheet and baked them for an additional 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Perfect!

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For stunning results, serve this dish with béarnaise sauce.

Béarnaise Sauce

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  • 30 ml white wine vinegar
  • 30 g shallot, finely chopped
  • 45 ml tarragon leaves, snipped
  • 10 cracked white peppercorns
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 250 g tepid clarified butter
  • salt and pepper

Combine white wine vinegar, shallot and 2/3 the tarragon. Simmer and reduce. Let cool.

Whisk egg yolks over a low/medium heat bain marie until frothy and thick (8-10 minutes).

Off the heat, add the clarified butter gradually while whisking. Add salt and pepper to taste. Strain mixture and stir in the remaining tarragon. Serve immediately.

DSC_0075_2942 copyShare and Enjoy!

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Posted in Breads, Dough, Meats, Pastries, Vegetables | 4 Comments

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake with Berries in Lavender Syrup and Honey Parfait

Charleston is famous for many things: its history, charming architecture, sweltering heat… but have you heard about the food? A special thanks to my friend for bringing me Classic Charleston Desserts. Thanks to this book, we can all enjoy some famous Southern treats!

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This Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake recipe from Cypress looks like a good place to start.

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Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake with Strawberries in Lavender syrup with Honey Parfait.

Pound Cake

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

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Combine butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in between, just to incorporate. Beat together one more minute.

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Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a second bowl. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and lemon juice (be sure to strain the lemon juice).

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Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture.

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Pour batter into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn and bake for another 20. When I make this again, I think I will bake for 15 and 15.  I like my pound cake a little bit “gooey” in the center.

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Cool the cake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the mold and let cool completely. I sliced the crispy edges off mine so it would absorb more of the accompanying flavors once plated.

Honey Frozen Parfait    

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp plain gelatin
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

Whip the cream to soft peaks.

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Chill your empty metal bowl in the freezer for a few minutes before you whip cream.

Sprinkle gelatin over the cold water and stir.

Combine egg yolks, honey and salt in a stainless steel bowl. Split the vanilla bean and scrape in the seeds. Set the bowl over a bain marie to heat the eggs. Mix well until mixture is a lighter color and fluffy.  Remove from heat.

Reheat gelatin in the microwave briefly until liquid. Mix into the warm egg mixture and let cool to room temperature.

Fold in the whipped cream in thirds.

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Cover tightly and freeze overnight.

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This parfait doesn’t require an ice cream maker. It could be a dessert all by itself.

Lavender Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender flowers

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain and chill until needed.

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To serve, slice and toss fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) in the syrup to coat. Serve cake slices with berries and honey parfait. Share and enjoy!

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Posted in Cakes, Parfaits & Ice Cream | 1 Comment

Guinness Stout Chocolate Cake

It’s September and time to make a Birthday Cake! My friend, Lee, passed along this recipe from Epicurious for a not-too-sweet dark chocolate cake. The recipe makes a three layer 8″ round cake. If you make all three layers, your cake will be about one foot tall! I opted for a two layer 8″ round. My cake was very tall, and I had enough batter left for a “baby cake”.

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Baby cake

Baby cake

The original recipe comes from Barrington Brewery, Great Barrington, MA and is copied below from Epicurious (with my own process photos and notes in italics).

yield:Makes 12 servings

ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups stout (such as Guinness) I used Overcast espresso stout from Oakshire Brewring in Eugene, Oregon. 
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
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Icing

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8″ round cake pans with 2″ sides. Line with parchment paper. As mentioned, I used two pans. 

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Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

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Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. This seemed like a ton of flour and sugar to me, but it worked!

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Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine.

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Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans.

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Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. (Because I made just two layers they may have been thicker.  I had to bake my cakes for about 40 – 45 minutes. I used the extra batter to make a baby cake in a loaf pan.) Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

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Icing:
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours. It took about 3 hours to get the icing to a proper, spreadable consistency. If it gets too thick, just warm slightly over a bain marie.  

I inverted the cakes again after cooling and sliced the tops off with a serrated knife to  flatten.

Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. (Adjust for layers.)

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I topped my cake with some fresh mint and raspberries. This cake is DENSE and delicious. The recipe says it serves 12 but I think it would probably serve about 30. And then everyone would take a nap. 

Enjoy!

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Find this recipe on Epicurious.com © Condé Nast Digital, Inc.

Posted in Cakes, Chocolate | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gravenstein Apple and Pear Tart

DSC_0240_2725 copyWhen my friend and fellow foodie, Susan, exclaimed, The Gravensteins are in season!, I didn’t know what the heck she was talking about.  Well, apparently this Gravenstein is the comet of apples. It has a very short season and, once plucked (or fallen, as they tend to do), their life is short.

Susan, my inside-track on things Oregon, explained that these fragrant apples soften quickly so they are great in applesauce, apple butter and pie fillings. Apparently, they freeze well, too, so you can cut, core and peel your extras to freeze for off-season treats.

Since I already had some crème pâtissière in the fridge, I decided to make an apple pear tart with vanilla custard filling.

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Tart dough, also known as pâte à foncer.

  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 125 butter, unsalted, cubed and softened
  • 1 medium egg
  • 6 g caster sugar
  • 3 g fine salt
  • 40 ml cold water

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Heap the flour on the counter and make a well. Put butter, salt, sugar and egg in the well and begin to blend with your fingertips, slowly drawing in more flour from the edges. Work until grainy. Add the water and work until dough forms.

Wrap in cling film and chill until ready to use.

Crème Pâtissière

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 40 g all purpose flour, sifted
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Whisk egg yolks and 1/3 of the sugar together to a light ribbon consistency. Whisk in the flour.

Heat the milk in a pan with the remaining sugar and vanilla bean. As soon as it boils, pour it into the egg mix continuously stirring. Return the mix to the pan and on medium heat stirring continuously. Let bubble for 2 minutes and allow to cool. Remove the vanilla bean.

Assembly

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Roll your tart dough out into a circle about 1/8″ thick to fit a lightly buttered 9″ round tart ring.  Place dough in the ring, carefully shaping the outer edges. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

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Peel, core and slice 3 apples and at least 2 pears. Chop the pears and place in a pan with 30 g butter.  Cook down until pears are soft. Blend into a compote.

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With a fork, poke some holes in the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the crème pâtissière into the tart shell and smooth.

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Top with the cooled pear compote.

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Begin layering apple slices in a ring around the outer edge. Create a second ring from the center going in the opposite direction. *Why are my apples shiny? I poured the sugar syrup over the apples before I baked it. Don’t do that. That’s what happens when I get distracted. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Let the tart cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes before removing the ring.

While it’s cooling, make the sugar syrup using 80 g caster sugar and 40 ml of water. Boil for 4 or 5 minutes to reduce. Brush the syrup over the cooked apples. I dusted mine with some demerara sugar and caramelized the top to compensate for my “syrup error”.

Enjoy!

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Posted in Pies, Tarts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lifesaver a.k.a. Raspberry Roulade

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I visited my family in South Carolina recently. Anyone who has read my Carrot Cake post will already know that I didn’t go back for the food. I love my family, bless their hearts, but that inherited knack for “Southern cooking” never dipped its toe into my gene pool.

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Daddy’s funny.

After two days of eating bad take-out fried chicken and a weird “strawberry-jello pie” (thanks, Nanny) with family, I ran away to find some good food.

Weird frozen-strawberry jello pie

Weird frozen-strawberry jello pie

My own limited talent for cooking was born solely from exposure, exploration and experimentation. My first taste of tiramisu, for instance, was in Greenville on a date at Trattoria Giorgio. I don’t remember the date, but I still remember the dessert. My love affair with food has been the longest relationship of my life…

Trattoria Giorgio

Trattoria Giorgio

I ran away on Sunday morning – that’s Brunch Day in the South – and headed downtown. Greenville has become so charming in the last 10 years or so… outdoor cafes defy the heat by settling in around old growth oaks whose roots crack the sidewalks. Southerners sip Bloody Marys and Mimosas under the shade umbrellas, fanning themselves with menus. I can’t help but feel a little like an outsider now, having settled so far away. I listened to the melodious buzz of Southern voices surrounding me and I felt my accent turn up a notch.

Soby's

Soby’s

The brunch buffet was comforting, but it didn’t amaze me. Actually, the gravy and biscuits might have been out-of-this-world, but I’m an odd-bird Southerner who doesn’t eat pork so I had to skip the sausage gravy. I just had a croissant, some fruit, and a coffee but I was happy enough. It wasn’t until I went back for dessert that I was “tickled pink”, as they say.

On this particular Sunday, Soby’s Raspberry Roulade was my lifesaver. After my fried meat overdose, this light and airy treat reminded me of all that is right with the South. It was subtle, with just a bite of  tart. Yielding and sharp. I could have eaten the whole thing. I relished it. I analyzed it. I made plans to recreate it. The one thing I neglected to do was take a picture of it.

It was dusted with a crisp sugar coating (was it vanilla sugar?). It was filled with whipped cream (was it chantilly?) and raspberry (was it jam?). I’ve been thinking about this roulade for almost 3 weeks now. It’s time to do something.

I’ll be combining several simple recipes to see if I can recreate this remarkable roulade, or at least come close. But, first, one thing I swear to you – no jello.

Let’s begin.

Genoese

  • 20 g butter to grease the pan
  • 125 g flour, sifted (Softasilk)
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 125 g superfine sugar
  • 30 g melted butter, cooled

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 11 x 14 shallow baking pan.

Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a bowl for about 10-12 minutes until the mix trails in ribbons. Dust with flour and gently fold to incorporate. Be sure to mix thoroughly without over mixing.  Lastly, gently incorporate the melted butter.

DSC_0188_2674 copyImmediately pour the batter evenly into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the sponge cake is golden and springs back to the touch.

DSC_0194_2675 copySet the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then flip the cake out. The crust of my cake was crispy and delicious but I was concerned about this cake’s ability to roll without cracking. Using a long, serrated knife, I sliced off the thin bottom layer to make it more malleable.

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I used a raspberry fruit spread for the filling. From what I could tell in the store, this spread looked to have fewer seeds than the others.

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Next, Chantilly cream.

  • 500 ml heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 50 g confectioner’s sugar

Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the cream. Put the cream in a chilled metal bowl with the sugar and whip with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes at medium speed. Increase to high speed and whip until a ribbon consistency is achieved.

Layer the cream on the raspberry filling. Spread evenly with a palate knife.

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Transfer to waxed or parchment paper and trim what will be your inside edge.

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I rolled from the short edge, but I have seen roulades rolled from the long edge as well. I don’t know which is best. Obviously, rolling from the long side will give you a longer roll, but smaller slices. I went for shorter and thicker.

Fold the parchment over the roll and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

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After the roulade has set, place on a cutting board and peel away the wrap. With a clean, serrated knife, trim the two ends to reveal clean edges.

roulade

roulade

I dusted the top with vanilla sugar and toasted it lightly with a torch for a slightly crispy texture. Cut into slices with a serrated knife (wiping clean after each cut), and serve with fresh berries.

Bon appetit, ya’ll.

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