Monday, November 24, 2014

Apple Strudel


This was supposed to be easy-ish.  The filling was.  But the dough was another thing.



It's not actually making the dough that was hard--that part is a cinch.  It's manipulating it once it's made.




You have to do a lot of pulling and tugging and stretching to it--until you get it tissue paper thin. And when you get it tissue paper thin, it tears so easily.






So you start over and then start over again and then realize that it's not going to stop tearing so you just learn to live with the fact that your strudel dough is going to look like Freddy Kruger's wretchedly burnt skin.



And then you sigh to yourself and come to the conclusion that making strudel dough and rolling it out is something that probably just takes practice--something German and Austrian bakers have been doing for centuries or something like that.


It was sort of a frustrating endeavour but on the plus side, it tasted really good!


I do have one note about assembly.. I suggest that once the dough is rolled out, do one of two things: Either place it over a piece of parchment paper or silpat that you will then transfer to the baking sheet.  Or, find a second person to help you pick it up and transfer it to the baking sheet.  I suggest this because I did not do either of these and once the strudel is rolled out, it's kind of unwieldy.  It took a bit of maneuvering to get it in place after I rolled it out and I was cursing myself for not thinking ahead.

From the beautiful blog, lilvienna.com

Dough ingredients:

1/3c/80g lukewarm water
1T+1/2tsp/15g vegetable oil
1/2tsp vinegar or lemon juice
1/8tsp table salt
1c + 2T/145g all-purpose flour
1/2tsp vegetable oil for brushing dough
flour for dusting

Filling ingredients:

3 1/2T/50g unsalted butter
3/4c/100g fine plain bread crumbs
5T/65g granulated sugar
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
4T/50g raisins
3T rum or lukewarm water
2lbs tart apples--I used granny smith
1T lemon juice
2T melted butter for brushing dough
confectioners sugar for dusting the finished product

For the dough:

-Using a big bowl, mix the lukewarm water, oil and lemon juice together
-Add in the flour and mix until everything comes together
-Knead the dough on a clean, lightly dusted work surface until it is tacky but not sticky
-Slam the dough against your counter a few times.  According to lilvienna.com, this helps promote gluten development.
-Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Brush the dough with oil, cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temp. for 1 hour

For the filling:

-Using a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum--or lukewarm water--for at least 10 minutes
-Using a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat
-Add the breadcrumbs to toast them stirring them constantly so you don't burn them.  You want them golden brown.  Remove them from the heat and let cool completely.
-In a small separate bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together and set aside
-Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/8-1/4 inch wedges or slices
-Using a large bowl toss the apples with the lemon juice and the raisins (not the rum)
-Once the bread crumbs are cool, mix them with the cinnamon and sugar mixture and set aside

To assemble:

-Start by rolling out the dough on a lightly floured clean surface
-When it starts getting about somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick, start to stretch it gently with your hands and or place the dough over the back of your hand and use the back of your fingers/knuckles to stretch it (lilvienna.com has a good tutorial on this--although I do think it requires practice)
-Then when it gets to be too big or thin to handle, place it  back on the work surface and lightly stretch it to a large rectangular shape--trying to avoid tearing it all the meanwhile.  You want it to be paper thin (so you can basically see through it) so whatever sized rectangle it takes you to reach that goal, then that's the size.  It will be a big rectangle.
-Once you have your rectangle, move it to a silpat or piece of parchment paper that will allow you to transfer the rolled up strudel to the baking sheet with some ease
-Next, spread the bread crumb mixture over half of the dough leaving about an inch or two around the edges
-Spread the apple/raisin mixture atop the bread crumbs evenly
-Then, fold the edges in--about an inch or two--and starting with the filled end, carefully roll the thang
-Transfer the rolled strudel to a baking sheet (good luck!)
-Brush the rolled strudel with the remaining 2T of melted butter and set aside while you preheat the oven to 375 F
-Bake the strudel for 30 minutes
-Remove from the oven and let cool completely, dust with confectioners sugar and then slice it up and enjoy--it maybe with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream...



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bourbon Oatmeal Brown Butter Cream Pies


I've had my eye on these cookies for a while now.  I tend to forget about how much I like other cookies.  You see, I--like most people in the world--gravitate towards chocolate chip cookies.  What's not to like?  They have a sweet buttery dough with chocolate morsels dispersed throughout and every time you bite into one of those morsels it's quite pleasant.  Quite pleasant indeed.  So every time I want a cookie I always just default to the chocolate chip cookie.  But every once in a while I'll take a bite from a peanut butter or oatmeal raisin cookie and I'm like, oh this is also a fucking amazing cookie!  So one day I saw these oatmeal cream pies and I felt drawn to them, to both make them and shove several of them in my mouth in a glutinous, greedy fashion.


A few weeks ago I made an attempt to make them but I was thwarted by lack of butter.  This recipe calls for five sticks of butter.  I only had four.  So I put the kibosh on that endeavor and decided to put them on the back burner when I had a sufficient supply of butter.  And a couple of days ago I had such a supply and moved forward with the cream pies.  There are a lot of things that appeal to me about these cream pies.  As if two cookies sandwiching buttercream isn't enough, they also called for bourbon in the cookie batter and browned butter for the cream filling.  It seemed so warm and cozy and boozy and perfect for the crap cold Fall weather that just engulfed our city.  And they were. These cream pies were damn good, amazing.  I loved them.  But I felt there were a couple of things that could be improved.


When I was reading through the recipe I saw that, for the cookies, it included mostly brown sugar plus some molasses which made me think these were going to be very soft and chewy.  And they were--so much so that they immediately reminded me of those Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies--which for some reason I had completely forgotten about.  But these weren't as wholesome as the Little Debbie ones because--and since I'm not a parent I suppose I couldn't vouch for this--I don't think a parent would send their kids to school with something that had bourbon in it.  However, since these only had a tablespoon they actually weren't so boozy.  Maybe it's because I used Makers Mark instead of actual bourbon?  I doubt that actually.  I think they could use more than a tablespoon perhaps to taste the liquor.  But that wasn't the only thing that I felt could be improved with the cookie portion of the cream pies.


Overall they were good but they were also a little bland. They either needed more salt to bring out some of the flavor or some other spice like cinnamon or nutmeg or allspice or some shit like that.  I think I would try maybe some more salt and some cinnamon.  As for the cream filling, I wouldn't really change a thing (except I added a bit more salt because I'm really into salting buttercreams lately).  Browned butter is good in itself --as an addition to most things.  But browned butter buttercream is so fucking good. And as the thing that ties these two seemingly blander cookies together, it's truly the shining star of the overall cream pie.  And maybe it's supposed to be that way and that's why the cookie portions are a little just so..  But, I personally would like to try to add a little zing to the cookies too.  Nevertheless, this is a fantastic recipe and it reminded me that I should be more open-minded with my cookie making and consuming (I still love chocolate chips more than anything) because there are a ton of good ass cookies out there.



Original recipe just oh so slightly adapted from Food52

*Bring everything to room temperature--specifically the stuff you normally keep cold (butter, eggs)

-Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside

Ingredients for the oatmeal cookies:

2c all-purpose flour sifted
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt (next time, I might use 3/4tsp)
1c/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp.
1c light brown sugar
1/2c granulated sugar
2T unsulphured molasses
2 large eggs at room temp.
1T whiskey (original recipe called for bourbon)
1 1/2tsp vanilla paste or extract
2 1/2c rolled oats

-In a medium bowl, sift and whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
-In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the sugars and butter for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
-Add the molasses and beat to combine.
-Add both of the eggs and beat until well combined
-Add the whiskey and vanilla and beat until well combined
-Add the flour mixture all at once and using the lowest setting of your stand mixer, mix until just fully incorporated
-Add the oats and still using the lowest setting mix until just incorporated.  Or, cease using the mixer at this point and using a rubber spatula, fold the oats into the batter.
-For each cookie, place a heaping tablespoon on the baking sheets.  I fit 12 on each sheet and spaced them apart about 2 inches on all sides.
-Bake for 8-12 minutes (took me 10) or until golden brown.
-Remove from oven and cool completely on some cooling racks or something like that.

Ingredients for the cream:

1 1/2c/3 sticks of butter at room temp., divided
2T heavy cream
2tsp vanilla paste or extract
3/4tsp kosher salt
3c confectioners sugar

-First, brown 1c/2 sticks of the butter (here is a great tutorial on browning butter if you have never done it--it's very easy).  Once browned, remove from the heat and place it in a freezer proof bowl. Let it cool for about ten minutes and then place it in the freezer for about 25-30 minutes until it solidifies but isn't frozen.
-Once all of that is done, in the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, cream both the browned butter and the third stick of unbrowned butter together until well combined and light and fluffy.
-Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until well combined.
-Add the confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, until fully combined.
-Beat until fluffy and light--another minute or two.

To assemble:

-Place a giant spoonful of cream onto the bottom of one, completely cooled, oatmeal cookie.
-Top that with another cookie and press them together very lightly to make sure they stick together.
-Eat and enjoy them in a major fucking way--with a glass of milk.





Monday, November 3, 2014

Candy Corn Cake


I've been thinking a lot about Christina Tosi's famed Crack Pie and Corn Cookies--both of which I have made.  To get the corn flavor in both, she uses freeze-dried corn that's pulverized into a powder. When I first made the Crack Pie and tasted it, I wasn't so sure I liked it.  The corn flavor seemed strong to me and I like corn but I don't love corn.  But it also had this salty taste which I did like.  But then I made the corn cookies--which had that same corn flavor and salty taste--and I realized I had in fact fallen for Tosi's culinary witchcraft.  And I wanted to do one of two things:



Make the Crack Pie again or create a cake that could match the flavors she so flawlessly imbued into my psyche.  And since it was Halloween and I wanted to make something festive and I love candy corn, I sat down and tried to make a cake that was inspired by the crack pie and corn cookies of Momofuku Milk Bar and also that captured the spirit of the candy corn candy.  That part may be lame--like Pinterest lame--but sometimes I like doing kitschy things.


Anyway, I had some problems with the outcome of the cake.  For one thing, the salty corn flavor didn't come through so much.  My partner says he can taste it a bit but I don't--at least not to the extent I could when I bit into the Crack Pie.  So I think that either I need to add more of the pulverized freeze-dried corn OR cut back on the butter so that flavor doesn't come through so much? Or maybe both.


The cake tastes good, but it tastes just like a normal yellow butter cake.  Also, and this is purely aesthetically speaking, I wish my frosting deco had come out better.  It's funny how much I can envision things in my head--for example the look of this cake--and then how they actually come out. I had an image of clean lines--or at least cleaner lines--of separation between the colors and then I imagined a rainbow ribbon of candy corn that was strewn across the cake.  It was going to be magical...like something out of a candy fairyland or some shit like that.


Of course I wasn't sure how this ribbon would come to fruition.  But then I was thinking on my way to work one day how I haven't even had a piece of candy corn during the build up to Halloween--which was odd because I love it.  And I was like, well I wonder how hard it is to make it... Turns out it's not hard at all.  So I made that too and decided to somehow make this magical ribbon come true.


But that didn't pan out so well. Making the candy corn was easy enough but trying to make an actual ribbon of it kind of failed.  So I just decided to place the candy corn all over the cake at random--which looked ok.  It wasn't the vision I had dreamily conjured in my head but it worked out well enough.  I probably need to look into cake decorating classes because sometimes I do good stuff, but other times it's just a fucking mess and then I get mad.


Recipe for 1 - 6" 3 layer cake

Ingredients:

200g cake flour
40g corn powder ( I bought this brand at Whole Foods and pulverized it in my food processor until if formed the powder)
300g granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2tsp salt
150g large eggs at room temp.
1c milk at room temp.
150g butter melted and cooled to room temp.
40g vegetable oil
3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
candy corn for decorating

At least 3-4c of buttercream frosting of your liking.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease 3 - 6" cake pans with butter and line the bottoms of each with a 6" circle of parchment paper.

-Using the bowl of a stand mixer, sift all of the dry ingredients together and set aside
-In a separate medium bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients together well
-Pour the wet into the dry and using the paddle attachment of the mixer and on the lowest setting, mix everything until just combined (the batter will be very liquid-like)
-If you want to make the candy corn theme, the divide the batter equally between 3 medium bowls and dye one bowl with orange food coloring and the other with yellow food coloring.  The 3rd bowl will be the white color and can basically just be poured into the baking pan right away.  After you've stirred in the dyes, pour the batters into their respective baking pans
-Bake cakes for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean
-Remove cakes from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before remove each cake from its respective pan.  Let cakes cool completely on some cooling racks
-Once the cakes are cool, frost as desired and decorate with candy corn.

If you want to make your own candy corn, then follow the instructions from thekitchn.com found here.  It's quite easy and personally I think it tastes better than the actual stuff...






Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sweet Green Tomato Hand Pies


You know those McDonalds apple pies?  Yeah, well these tasted like those.  I know, it's sorta surprising because these are made with tomatoes--green tomatoes at that--but yes, I swear that's what they tasted like.


I have an aversion to trying things that I'm skeptical about.  Not like trying tofurkey or pickled eggs--which are the two things in this world that will undoubtedly make me gag.  But things that I think might be good and probably are good but I'm still iffy on.


These were one of those things.  Which is funny because I really do love tomatoes.  But I love them for the natural sweetness they acquire as they ripen or roast--or the way they taste when you sprinkle some salt and balsamic vinegar on them.


However, when you intentionally try to make a dessert out of them, I'm thinking... umm... ok... maybe...  It's one of those times where I'm pretty sure they will be good because I got this recipe out of a cookbook and they wouldn't intentionally and knowingly put a recipe in there that tasted bad...


But at the same time it grosses me out a bit.


Nevertheless, this iffy feeling was unfounded--as expected because these were good.  But I might have mucked up the pastry dough though.  I don't think it cooked through all of the way so it was soft and not very crispy or flaky--maybe also because I used part whole wheat flour and part cake flour.


I didn't have any all-purpose on hand so I compensated.  I don't think it worked too well  And they got worse after the first day so I actually ended up throwing them out in a fit of anger/disappointment/annoyance.  It was sad and a waste but--and I need to work on this issue--when one of my culinary concoctions fails in some way, all I want to do is get rid of it and pretend it never existed--out of sight, out of mind.


Anyway, I think the problem was that the dough didn't bake long enough--which is just one more good reason to always use a recipes baking time as more of a guideline than a rule.  Or, in other words, know your oven.


I feel like I know mine but during the process of making this dessert we somehow grew distant and our connection was lost.  I have no one to blame but myself.  Alas, I do think this is a good recipe. The sweet green tomato filling is a bit unique and is pretty tasty.


I would say that the acidity that does come with tomatoes is washed away with this recipe--maybe it's just cooked off--and you're left with pure sweetness (also, the added sugar that goes into the recipe probably helps a bit too).






Recipe--just oh so slightly adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook:

For the dough:

1c cake flour
1/2c whole wheat flour
(The original recipe calls for just 1 1/2c all-purpose)
1T + 1tsp of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8T unsalted butter chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2c whole milk Greek yogurt

(You can use a food processor for this part, but I did it by hand)

-In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt
-Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs
-Add the yogurt and mix in--just until completely combined so that when you pick a piece of the dough up and pinch it together it will hold together
-Divide the dough evenly into two discs, wrap each of them tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour

For the filling:

2 green tomatoes (recipe calls for each to be about 10oz each--mine were less and I still have extra filling leftover) cored and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1 other tomato (the recipe calls for a plum tomato but I used an heirloom variety I had on hand--I don't think it really matters) cored and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1/3c granulated sugar
1/2tsp grated orange zest
1/8tsp salt
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground ginger (the recipe calls for 2T finely chopped crystallized ginger but I used what I had on hand)
1T fresh lemon juice
1T cornstarch

-In a medium saucepan, mix everything together EXCEPT for the orange juice and cornstarch
-Cook over--stirring constantly-- medium heat until the sugar has dissolved
-Reduce the mixture to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes are soft and tender--took me about 20 minutes
-Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the orange juice and cornstarch and stir until the cornstarch is fully dissolved
-Once the tomatoes are soft and tender, add the cornstarch/orange juice mixture to the filling and stir over low heat until the mixture has thickened--about a minute
-Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature

Egg Wash:

1 large egg
1T cold water

To assemble:

-In a small bowl make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water until fully combined and set aside
-Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, roll one disc out at a time on a lightly floured cold surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick
-Cut out 4 1/2 inch circles using some sort of round cookie cutter or something similar (you should get about 8-9 circles)--re-rolling the dough as needed to get all circles
-For each circle, spoon about 1T (maybe a little less because it will spill out otherwise when you fold each pie) of the filling onto the bottom half of each circle leaving 1/2 inch border all around
-Using a pastry brush, brush the border of each pie with the egg wash
-Fold the top half over the filling and press the edges to seal
-Brush each pie with the egg wash and place on a parchment paper or silicone lined baking sheet
-Place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven to 325 F
-Bake pies for at least 20 minutes--checking to make sure that the dough is fully cooked through
-Serve warm


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Corn Cookies


Yes....corn cookies.  They sound a little different, right?  Well they are a little different but in a good way--like a really good way.  They are sweet and salty and most definitely have a corn flavor to them. And for someone like myself who isn't in love with corn--whether it be corn on the cob or creamed corn--I thought that these were some dope ass cookies.  My partner, who on the other hand is a giant corn lover (something that always perplexes me), was entranced by these cookies.  He loves corn and sweets so this was the perfect dessert for him.  They hail from Christina Tosi's Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook which is essentially a product of the Milk Bar bakeries in NYC.  I've been to one of them and sampled some of their pies which were pretty amazing too.  One of the ones that I tried was their "crack pie" which is also a salty sweet corn flavored pie. In fact, that was the first thing I made from the cookbook.  In my opinion, these cookies are really the crack pie in a cookie form.  I'd give Christina Tosi an A++ on this gem of a cookie.

However, on a different note, I do have one qualm to pick with Christina Tosi.  I mean, there's no doubt that she is an amazing baker and I am greatly excited to bake just about everything in the Momofuku Milk Bar book--they are all drool worthy.  Yet, somewhere in the beginning of her book she states how she wanted to create recipes using traditional ingredients.  Well, now that I've whipped up just two of her recipes--and perused many more--I've discovered that her ingredients aren't so traditional.  The corn flavor in both the crack pie and corn cookies come a la freeze dried corn that's crushed into a powder.  I had never bought freeze dried anything so it took me a bit to find out where I could get some.  Eventually I found this brand at Whole Foods and another local grocery chain. And then there are ingredients she lists out for other recipes like milk powder and citric acid--not necessarily every day baking items.  Or she calls for certain equipment that's not all that common for the home baker. For example, she uses cake rings and acetate to assemble all of her cakes.  As a fairly regular baker who does not normally have those things on hand, I'd be pretty surprised if I found out that most home bakers do have a stockpile of acetate and an array of different sized cake rings in their kitchen cabinets. And yet to be fair, at the beginning of the book she does list out pretty much all of the ingredients that she uses and suggests locations to find them. But, my point is that more often than not--to make one of Christina Tosi's recipes--you can't necessarily just decide on a whim to whip one up on any given day.  There's a good chance that you're going to need to hit up the market or order something from Amazon to be able to make it--which in my mind isn't so traditional. Grant it, if you're a resourceful individual or a seasoned baker you can compensate or substitute for any number of the ingredients or equipment she specifies.  But again, I would argue that her recipes aren't exactly traditional--amazing yes--but not so commonplace.


Recipe courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar

225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp.
300g (1 1/2c) granulated sugar
1 large egg at room temp.
225g (1 1/2c) all-purpose flour
45 (1/4c) corn flour OR if you don't have corn flour you can use 40g (1/4) flour + 8g (4tsp) freeze-dried corn powder
65g (2/3c) freeze-dried corn powder
3/4tsp baking powder
1/4tsp baking soda
1 1/2tsp kosher salt

-In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients EXCEPT the sugar
-In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed
-Add the egg to the butter-sugar mixture and beat for 7-8 minutes on medium speed
-Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until well combined
-On a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet--for each cookie--measure out 1/3c of the cookie dough and then pat the tops of each cookie so it flattens a bit
-Wrap the tops of the baking sheets in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week
-Before you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 F
-Bake the cookies for 18 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown
-Remove cookies from oven and let them cool completely

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Peach (and blueberry) Cobbler


I almost made a crisp--not a cobbler.  I actually wasn't sure what the difference was until I read about it online.  A cobbler has a biscuit topping and is called a cobbler because when the biscuits are baked they look like cobblestones.


Well I thought that was great and all but I like a sweet brown sugary streusel more. Biscuits are good but they aren't as sweet in my opinion and are tad more involved to make.


So when I decided I wanted to make a cobbler and then actually realized what one was...I was like..."F" that! But then I simmered down and decided that it might be a good experience to actually make a cobbler.  Plus, I might like it more than I was anticipating.


I found a recipe in the cookbook that I have--the one that divides recipes according to the four seasons, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook.


Its been a great cookbook to me. Every time I think of a classic dessert I want to make, I flip through it and--so far--find what I'm looking for. The one thing about this recipe is that although it's named "Peach Cobbler," it has some blueberries in it.


So I don't know if that's an actual "classic" peach cobbler or not.  But I wasn't opposed to it--blueberries are a great addition to just about any fruit dessert.



And the biscuit topping that I thought would be a little more intensive than a crisp's crumble topping really wasn't bad.  You just cut some butter into the flour, add some buttermilk, cut some circles out of the dough and then drop it on top of the fruit.  Easy as pie--or cobbler in this case.


Recipe ever so slightly adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook:

Filling:

1 1/2 lbs peaches sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch wedges and peeled if you want--I didn't (I used a combination of white and regular)
1c blueberries
1/4c granulated sugar
1/4c packed brown sugar
3T corn starch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt

Biscuit topping:

1 1/4c all purpose flour
3 T granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 T cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes--divided
1/2c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
coarse sugar for sprinkling

-In a large bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients and toss well so that all of the fruit is well coated
-Pour the filling into an 8x8 inch baking pan and set aside
-Preheat the oven to 375 F
-For the biscuit topping, in a large bowl sift together all of the dry ingredients
-Using a pastry blender, your fingers or two forks, cut in 4T of the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal or "pea-sized" chunks
-Add the buttermilk and vanilla and stir to combine
-On a lightly floured surface roll out the biscuit topping so that it is about 1/2" thick
-Using a 2 1/4" round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter of some sort, cut out 9 rounds--or as many as you can
-Drop the rounds of dough atop the filling
-Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the dough and the remaining butter over the entire pan
-Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbling
-Remove from oven and let it cool a bit--but serve warm and maybe with some whipped cream?  Like I did?  Yeah!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Raspberry and Chocolate Tarts


Basically I made these for two reasons:  I wanted to make use of these little tart pans I purchased that I feel I don't use enough--and by making these I can justify my purchase.  The second reason is that I wanted to make something fancy looking with raspberries.



I have to say that making pie dough turns me into a nervous wreck.  The temperature in my apartment does not fall below 75 degrees during the summer so I'm sweating something fierce rolling it out in a frenzied fashion and attempting to prevent any butter from melting into the dough.  But I have a system in place which involves a pizza stone and the energy inefficient method of opening and closing my freezer door every 5 minutes or so.  Gotta keep that shit cold!  You know??  You know.  


So making 6 little pie doughs can be extra nerve-wracking.  It's not like I can roll out the dough once and cut out 6 individual circles.  In one roll I can only get 3 and then you have to clump the scraps back together without working it too much so you don't get a tough pie crust all the while keeping it cold. It's a mad dash to the finish.  



But I manage and luckily my system--however inefficient may be--seemed to work this time.  The pastry dough is the hardest part about these tarts.  The rest is just melting chocolate and putting some raspberries on top of it.  And I did add a glaze for the raspberries to make them shine a bit.


I really love the taste of chocolate and raspberries together in one bite.  It's sweet and sour and maybe even a little bitter.  Delicious.  I don't have a lot more to say about these so I'll leave it at this--these are easy but fancy and they taste fantastic so I'd go for it.  Love yourself.  But love these tarts more.



Recipe for 6 - 4" tarts

Pie dough:
Your favorite pie crust recipe--enough for a top and bottom crust for a 9" pie

Chocolate ganache:
10 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
1c of heavy cream

Raspberries:
As many as you want--I used 8 for each tart so 48 total

Simple sugar glaze:
50g water
50g sugar
25g lemon juice
3g pectin

-Roll out pie dough and cut out 6 - 5" circles
-Line the tart pans with the dough
-Line each tart with parchment paper and pie weights
-Place all of the tarts on a baking sheet and refrigerate while you preheat the oven to 350 F
-Bake the tart shells for 18-20 minutes or until they are golden brown
-Remove from oven and let cool completely
-Meanwhile make the ganache
-Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl
-Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan and heat to the point where it's just about to boil--small bubbles will form around the edge of the saucepan
-Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate
-Whisk together the cream and chocolate until all of the chocolate is fully melted and it's a silky smooth mixture
-Divide the ganache equally between the tarts
-Place the tarts in the fridge until the ganache is set
-Once set, remove from fridge and prep the raspberries by washing and drying them with water
-Divide the raspberries evenly between the tarts and just set them atop the ganache
-To make the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 3 minutes
-Remove the glaze from the heat and with a pastry brush, glaze all of the strawberries--while the glaze is still warm
-The glaze should set pretty quickly so when it does you are done!