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Desserts

Pistachio and Raspberry Tart

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Pistachio and Raspberry Tart

I love pistachio and raspberry combination. You get the sweet with a little bit of tart, no pun intended there. This was a tart I made for Jp’s 75th birthday weekend. This was the first time trying out this recipe and I have to say it was a keeper. Pistachio is a flavor that takes me back to my childhood because my dad always liked pistachio. I remember eating boxed jello pistachio pudding on special occasions and it always left me wanting more. Here is a better version of the boxed dessert, or at least I hope so. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Pistachio tart

6oz pistachios

2 1/4 cup cream

6 egg yolks

1 cup plus 1/8 sugar

1 tbsp vanilla bean

1 tsp pistachio extract

Few drops of green food coloring if wanted

Pate brissee dough see recipe

2-3 pints of raspberry

Powdered sugar for dusting

For the Tart dough

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees. Using the food processor again add flour to the bowl along with the salt.  Pulse a few times to combine well.  Then turn the processor on and begin to add all the butter a tbsp. at a time.  Once the butter has been combined.  Drizzle in the cold water.  Finish with a few tbsp. of flour if needed.  Normally now you put the crust into the refrigerator to let the dough come together as it gets cold.  I don't like when my dough is so cold I can't roll it and usually I am in a rush.  If you can put the dough in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes it will really help; if not simply take the dough and put a light dusting of flour onto the parchment paper and place the dough on top.  Then dust flour on the top of the dough and put a second piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. With a rolling pin roll out your dough to a thin crust consistency.  Take your tart mold and carefully place your tart dough inside the mold.  Using a rolling pin roll the pin over the mold to trim off any excess dough.  With a fork prick the dough all over.  Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the tart and add pie weights or dried beans to weight the paper down on top of the tart.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.  Take out the pie tart and allow to cool completely.  Take off the parchment and save the weights for another baking day. Then turn down the oven to 300 degrees

For the pistachio filling,

In a food processor puree pistachios with half the sugar to make a pistachio paste. Place the paste in a medium sauce pot along with the cream and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot and turn off the heat when the cream starts to a boil. Beat the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar in a stand mixer set to high, until the eggs and sugar form pale white ribbons. Temper the eggs by whisking in one ladle of cream at a time until all the cream is incorporated with the egg mixture. Finish with pistachio extract and green food coloring if desired. Then pour the custard into the pre-baked tart shell and place in a 300 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the custard has just set. Take out and cool completely. Then place raspberries on top. I think this tart is better when it is cold so I would chill this completely in the refrigerator for a few hours. Right before serving take out and dust with powdered sugar. Serve and enjoy!

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Chocolate Cigars with Honey Ganache

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Chocolate Cigars with Honey Ganache

So when you’re in Cuba you have to try a cigar right? Here is a dessert that was fun to make for a new years eve party. I made these last year for a themed party called “Havana nights”. The night was filled with lots of little fun cuban themed items but the dessert was the real show stopper. I have to admit that I found a similar recipe online which I have based mine off of. I know there are a lot of different recipes for dessert cigars but this one was one that was probably the least labor intensive compared to the rest of them. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Chocolate Tuiles

3 large egg whites

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

pinch kosher salt and a pinch of cinnamon

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly


Honey ganache

1/4 cup honey

7 oz bittersweet chocolate

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp butter


For the Honey Ganache

Add cream and honey to a pot and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl.  Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute.  Then whisk until completely smooth.  Then add the butter until shiny and smooth. Let it cool for 20 minutes and then fill a disposable pastry bag and let it cool completely. Don’t put it in the refrigerator if you are going to fill them right away because the ganache will be too cold to fill the cigars.

For the Cigars

I had an old silicon mat that I took and cut a 2 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch rectangle. This is what I used as my template for my cigars. Then in a food processor or bowl mix all the ingredients together well until it becomes a smooth batter. Place the batter in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. Then Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take a sheet pan lined with a silicon mat (silpat) and using your template spread 3 thin rectangles of batter in the template using a small off-set spatula. Place in the oven and cook for about 8 minutes. Working fast now, open the door to the oven and take one tuile out of the oven. Immediately using a cannoli tube or a small wooden rolling pin roll the tuile around the tube. Hold it for a second and then continue with the other two. Three was about as many as I could do at one time before the other ones became to crisp to work with. As soon as the tuiles start to cool they become crisp. So you have to work fast when take them out of the oven. It will probably take a few trial runs before you get into a groove cranking them out. I think I doubled the recipe and ended up making about 50 or so of these cigars. So it was a little bit of a process but the end result was great.

To Finish,

You can get some edible paper from an arts and crafts or specialty baking store (Michaels in Austin) along with edible ink which allows you to make your wrapper (more for looks because it doesn’t taste that great). Then once cooled completely you can take your pastry bag with honey ganache and fill your cigars with them. You don’t want to fill them too far in advanced because at some point the tuiles will soften from the ganache. You can fill them 20-30 minutes probably an hour but I wouldn’t do these a day before you are going to serve them. I was lucky enough to have a nice wooden box that had the top glass so you could look in. I filled the box up with coffee beans which gave them a bit of a coffee aroma. Just another flavor boost! Now time to serve and enjoy!


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Poached Pear, Sabayon, Palmiers

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Poached Pear, Sabayon, Palmiers

This dessert recipe is actually one I decided to use for a brunch item. I needed something easy and simple that wasn’t going to take all day to make. I already had poached pears left over from another application and all I needed to make was the palmiers and the sabayon. You have texture with the cookie, rich with the sauce and fruity with the pears. Simple and easy but very delicious. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Poached Pears,

4-5 bosc or anjou pears peeled

1/2 cup of mead

6 cups of water

1 cup of sugar

1 lemon zest and juice

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1 star anise

1 tsp of salt

Sabayon

4 egg yolks

4 tbsp of mead

4 tbsp of sugar

1 orange zested and splash of juice

Palmiers

1 sheet of puff pastry

1/2 cup of sugar (roughly)

pinch of salt


For the Poached pears,

Cut peeled pears in half and take out the cores.  Then place them in a pot with water, sugar, mead, lemon peel and zest, all the spices.  Then take a piece of parchment paper and cut a square.  Then fold it over in half into a triangle and then fold it again diagonally into a smaller triangle.  Then fold two more times continuing the triangle.  Then cut the point of the triangle off and cut around the outer edge to fit the size of the pot. Open the paper up (This is called a Cartouche), the paper should be a round circle that fits inside the pot with a whole in the middle of the paper.  This is basically a lid for the pears so they stay submerged.  Slowly bring the pot to barely simmering.  Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the pears are tender all the way through.  Check them with a cake tester or toothpick.  Cool to room temperature. 

For the Palmiers Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

Lightly roll your puff pastry sheet out into a square. Take 1/8 of a cup of sugar and pour all over your surface. Then place the puff pastry on top of the sugar. Then take about 1/3 cup of sugar or an even layer of pour all over the puff pastry. You can add a pinch of salt to the sugar as well to give a little contrast between salty and sweet. Using your rolling pin or your hands press the sugar into the dough, this way the sugar doesn’t fall out when your folding it. Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book. Once the puff pastry has been sealed then slice 1/2 inch slices and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 8 minutes and then flip over and bake for another 5 minutes until golden brown and caramelized. Take out and let it cool on a cooling rack.

For the Sabayon,

Place egg yolks, sugar, zest, juice, and mead into a stainless steel bowl.  Place over a double boiler or a pot with a little water in it simmering.  With a whisk continuously stirring, whisk the egg yolks mixture until they are thick and a airy but not scrambled (should take a few minutes to thicken).  Take the bowl off the heat.  Adjust the seasoning if need be.

To finish,

Simply place spoonful of the sabayon on the plate. Take a half of the poached pear and slice and place next to the sabayon. Take a palmiers and place on top. Serve and enjoy!

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Apple Rose Tart with Vanilla Bean Custard

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Apple Rose Tart with Vanilla Bean Custard

Here is a light and easy dessert that you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen preparing. This is basically homemade vanilla pudding with a poached apple baked inside a puff pastry square. That’s really what it boils down to for this recipe. The apples I used are fuji which are a little sweeter but you can use whatever your favorite variety of apple is. Maybe you like your apples a little more tart so maybe a granny smith or something similar would work better. Maybe you don’t like apples but love pears! Great! no problem, easy substitution. The most work is probably poaching and rolling the apples into “flowers”. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Apple custard tart

Pastry cream

2 cups milk

1/2 cup of sugar

1 vanilla bean

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup of corn starch

2 tbsp of butter

pinch of salt


5 fuji apples peeled cut in half de-seeded

4 cups of water

1 lemon peel and juiced

1/2 cup of sugar

1 cup of white wine

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick


6 2 oz puff pastry squares

1 egg beaten

sugar for topping

oven at 400 degrees


For the Poached Apples,

Cut peeled apples in half and take out the cores. Then place them in a pot with water, sugar, wine, lemon peel and zest, all the spices. Then take a piece of parchment paper and cut a square. Then fold it over in half into a triangle and then fold it again diagonally into a smaller triangle. Then fold two more times continuing the triangle. Then cut the point of the triangle off and cut around the outer edge to fit the size of the pot. Open the paper up (This is called a Cartouche), the paper should be a round circle that fits inside the pot with a whole in the middle of the paper. This is basically a lid for the apples so they stay submerged. Slowly bring the pot to barely simmering. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the apples are tender all the way through. Check them with a cake tester or toothpick. Cool to room temperature. Once cooled slice each half very thinly. Gently fan out the apple slices to you have a long line of slices but are still touch one another. Then roll up the slices into a rose shape. Set aside

For the Pastry

For the pastry cream, scald the milk and vanilla bean in a medium sauce pot. Turn off the heat when the milk starts to a boil. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a food set to high, until the eggs and sugar form pale white ribbons. Add the corn starch to the eggs and beat for 30 seconds. Temper the eggs by whisking in one ladle of milk at a time until all the milk is incorporated with the egg and flour mixture. Place the egg mixture back into the pot on low heat and whisk continually to thicken the pudding. Allow about 10 minutes on low, but don't boil. Once it has thickened, pour the pudding into a bowl ( you can pour through a strainer if desired ). Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding so it doesn't form a skin, and place in the refrigerator. Leave the vanilla bean in the pudding until everything has cooled, then discard the bean.

To Finish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl beat one egg and brush the outer edges of the 6 squares of puff pastry. Take an ice cream scoop and fill with cold pastry cream. Place 1 scoop of pastry cream in the middle of each puff pastry square. Then take your apple roses and place on top of the pastry cream. Repeat with remaining tarts. Then sprinkle the tops with sugar if desired. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and pastry has been cooked through. Take out and cool or eat immediately. Serve and enjoy!

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Chocolate Eclair with Vanilla Cream

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Chocolate Eclair with Vanilla Cream

Here is a classic chocolate eclair filled with vanilla cream. If it were a donut fan you might recognize it by the name boston cream. There is something comforting about having a little chocolate paired with custard and of course a little carb. Sometimes there is nothing better than a classic recipe and in this case a delicious pastry. Have it for breakfast, or in the middle of the day with a coffee. Doesn’t really matter when you have it because it all tastes great going down. To me the pate a choux dough is one of the easiest to make and very versatile. You can bake it, fry it, or steam it or boil it. In this recipe it is simply baked, filled with custard, and topped with chocolate. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Pate a choux dough (cream puff dough)

1 cup of flour

1 cup of milk

1 stick of butter

2 tsp of sugar

1/4 tsp of salt

4 eggs

Pastry cream

2 cups milk

1/2 cup of sugar

1 vanilla bean

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup of corn starch

2 tbsp of butter

pinch of salt

Chocolate mirror glaze

Gelatin 10 grams

Sugar 210 grams

Water 110 grams

Cocoa powder 65 grams

Heavy cream 65 grams

Dark chocolate 50 grams

For the Eclairs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, In a small pot add milk (or corn juice), butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer. As soon as the butter has completely melted stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and turn down the heat to low. Incorporate all the flour thoroughly and cook for about 1 minute. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Turn on medium speed for a minute and then turn down to low speed. Crack the four eggs into a measuring cup and add them to the dough one at a time. Make sure the egg completely incorporates before adding the next egg. Continue until all the eggs have been added. Then take the dough and place in a pastry bag fitted with a french star tip. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper pipe small straight lines of the dough. ( if you have any parts of the dough that sticks up you can wet your finger with water and push it down without it sticking to you or looking bad) Once the sheet pan is full of the eclair shapes, place in the oven and immediately turn down to 350 degrees bake for about 30-35 minutes until light brown. Then turn down the oven to 325 and bake for another 15 minutes. Take out and let them cool completely.

For the Pastry Cream,

Scald the milk and vanilla bean in a medium sauce pot. Turn off the heat when the milk starts to a boil. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a food set to high, until the eggs and sugar form pale white ribbons. Add the flour to the eggs and beat for 30 seconds. Temper the eggs by whisking in one ladle of milk at a time until all the milk is incorporated with the egg and flour mixture. Place the egg mixture back onto low heat and whisk continually to thicken the pudding. Allow about 10-12 minutes, but don't boil. Once it has thickened finish by whisking in the cold butter. Pour the pudding into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding so it doesn't form a skin, place in the refrigerator. Leave the vanilla bean in the pudding until everything has cooled, then discard the bean.

For the Mirror Glaze

In a small bowl bloom gelatin powder in 3 tbsp of water. Place sugar, water, cocoa powder, and cream in a pot and turn on medium heat. Stir regularly until it comes to a boil. Then add in the chocolate. Stir until completely combined. Then add in the gelatin and stir until smooth. You can use the glaze immediately if you want but I found that I needed it too cool a bit because if it is too hot you have to glaze the tops multiple times or else the glaze will be too thin on top of the glaze. So I allowed it to cool almost to the point where it thickens ups but doesn’t set.

To Finish,

Cut the eclairs in half lengthwise, then take a pastry bag with a plain tip and fill with pastry cream. Pipe pastry cream to fill the bottoms of each eclair. Then take the tops and dip in the chocolate glaze (you can place them on a rack to dry slightly. Then place the tops carefully on top of the pastry cream filled eclairs. Top with cocoa nibs if desired. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Serve and enjoy!

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Lime Curd, Sorbet, and Meringue

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Lime Curd, Sorbet, and Meringue

Here is a simple dessert utilizing the winter limes we get here in Malibu. We actually have multiple varieties of citrus growing at this property and I actually used sweet limes for this recipe. Sweet limes are still sour, like limes, but with a hint of sweetness. This recipe is something that can be thrown together in a day but the results might look and taste like you spent days working on it. Here is the recipe and I hope you enjoy it!

Lime sorbet

1 1/2 cup water

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup glucose

2 tbsp milk powder

3 1/2 cup yogurt

6 tbsp lime juice and zest

1/4 tsp of salt

Lime Curd

1/2 cup lime juice

2 tsp zest

1/2 cup of sugar

3 eggs

1 stick of butter

Meringue

1/2 cup of egg whites

3/4 cup of sugar

Shortbread

2 sticks of butter

3/4 cup of sugar

2 cups of flour

1 tsp of salt

1 cup Raspberries

For the Lime Sorbet,

Place water, sugar, glucose and milk powder in a pot and bring to a boil or until all the sugar has dissolved.  Pour that into a bowl fitted within a ice bath to cool.  Once cooled add yogurt, lime juice, and a pinch of salt.  Blend with a hand blender to mix well.  Then place back in the ice bath or refrigerator for another 30 minutes to make sure it is very cold.  Then put into your ice cream maker.  Once done put into a container and place in the freezer.  

For the Lime Curd

Place all the ingredients into a small sauce pot and turn on medium low heat.  Whisking continually until the curd starts to thicken.  Should take about 10 minutes or so.  Strain into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool down.   After its cool place into a squeeze bottle or pastry bag.

For the Shortbread, Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Using an electric mixer beat butter until soft and fluffy.  Add granulated sugar and salt and mix well. Then add the flour in 3 stages until just blended.  Take out the dough and form into a using parchment paper and cool in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. Then take out and slice into 1/8 inch thickness. Then place in the oven and bake until golden brown about 13-15 minutes depending on how big of cookies you cut. Take out and allow to cool.

For the Meringues, Preheat oven to 200 degrees

Simply place your egg whites in a stand mixer with a pinch of sugar.  Whisk on high speed after a minute gradually add your sugar.  Keep whisking until you have siff peaks and shiny anbout 4 mins.  Place in a pastry bag with a plain tip.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pipe small rounds ( I did small and tiny ).  Place in the oven and bake for an hour, then take out and let it completely dry for 5 minutes.  Then take out and place in an air tight container. Then when ready to plate you can place them in plastic bag and smash them all up.

To Finish,

Simply place a spoonful of curd inside the bowl. Add raspberries next to the curd. Add a scoop of sorbet on top of the berries. Place a one or two shortbread cookies next to the sorbet. Finish with crushed up meringue all around the bowl. Serve and enjoy this light, refreshing, and easy dessert!

Lime Sorbet, Meringue .JPG

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Nutella and Cream Cheese Roll

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Nutella and Cream Cheese Roll

Here is a simple dessert that will take you no more than 30-45 minutes to make. Super easy and not a ton of ingredients. The cake is a classic sponge that is light and airy. The filling is rich with the addition of nutella but the end result is something everyone will absolutely enjoy. This for me is one of those desserts that can be pulled off quickly if you are in a pinch or want to make something that doesn’t require a ton of time. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.

Hazelnut Sponge

150g 3 eggs

54g 3 yolks

111g sugar

35g flour

60 g hazlenut flour

128g 3 egg whites

3 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp of frangelico

pinch of salt


1 lb of cream cheese

2 small jars 13 oz each Nutella


For the sponge cake, Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Place eggs, yolks, and 111g sugar into a stand mixer.  Whisk until thick and pale yellow about 5 minutes.  Then add the flour, hazelnut flour, frangelico, and a pinch of salt to the egg mixture and mix well.  Then pour the mixture into a large stainless bowl.  Clean out the mixing bowl and then place egg whites into the bowl.  Whisk egg whites until triple in volume and then add the 3 tbsp of sugar.  Whisk until stiff peaks and add.  Then fold the egg whites into the egg-flour mixture in 3 parts.  Pour the batter onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and smooth surface with offset spatula.  Place in the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean.  Take out and let it cool completely.

Meanwhile in a stand mixer bowl place cream cheese and whip with a paddle for 1 minutes. Then add the nutella to the bowl and whip until smooth (about another minute or so).

Once the sponge is completely cooled take a piece of parchment paper the same size as your cake. Lightly sprinkle paper with powdered sugar.  Flip the hazelnut sponge cake over onto the sprinkled parchment paper.  Peel back the parchment paper that is now facing you from the bottom of the cake.  Then take an offset spatula and add an even layer nutella cream cheese spread on to the sponge cake, leaving about an 1/2 border all around the sponge cake (option cut cake in half to make two smaller rolls)  Then roll the sponge cake up and keep it wrapped in parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  

To Finish,

Simple dust the top of the nutella roll with powdered sugar, slice and serve!

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Kouign-Amman

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Kouign-Amman

Here is the pastry that Dominque Ansel made famous here in America. Although this isn’t his recipe exactly it does come out amazing. This is basically the croissant dough from the bouchon bakery book with the addition of the Dominique’s technique for rolling out the kouign-amman. One of the differences between the two recipes is in Dominque’s recipe he uses bread flour instead of all purpose and I don’t think he makes a poolish for his as well. The bouchon bakery book doesn’t have a recipe for kouign-amman but it is basically the croissant dough rolled up with sugar and baked in a muffin pan. Dominique bakes his on a sheet pan with a ring mold. I used a large muffin pan to allow for maximum rising in the cooking process. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!



Kouign-Amman

Poolish

100 g flour

100 g warm water

pinch of yeast

3 sticks of good butter Kerrygold or president or plugra



Dough

500 g AP flour

75 g sugar

10g of yeast

200 g warm water

100 g of butter room temp

15 g of salt



1-2 cups of sugar



For the Poolish,

Mix the flour and yeast in a bowl. Pour in the warm water and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment for 12-15 hours.

For the Butter Block

Take a 1 gallon zip lock bag and unwrap the 3 sticks of butter. Place them in the bag. Using a rolling pin, pound and roll the butter into a nice square/rectangular shape. Try to use the bottom half of the plastic bag. Make the thickness about 1/8 - 3/16 thick approximately 6 1/2 by 7 1/2 rectangle. Place in the refrigerator to keep cold

For the Dough,

Add warm water to the poolish to help release it from the bowl. Using a spatula or scraper pour the poolish and water into a stand mixer bowl. Combine the flour, sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Then pour the mixture into the stand mixer bowl. Add the butter and with a dough hook mix well until the dough is formed about 2 minutes. Then add the salt and continue to mix about 10-15 minutes.

Once the dough is made, place on the your counter top ( try to resist from dusting with flour your counter top or cutting board) Roll the dough out to a perfect rectangle that is the same height as the butter block. Take out your butter and remove from the plastic back by cutting with scissors down each side of the bag ( now it is key to have your butter cold, but I think it helps the dough by having it cold but not too cold) I took mine out a few minutes before I locked in the butter. Place the butter block in the middle of your rectangular dough. Fold the left side of the dough over the butter and then ends should come just the edge of the butter. Then fold the right side like a book over the left side so it should look like a folded book. You want to pinch the seams so that no butter can escape the dough. Then turn the dough 90 degrees and roll the dough again out into a rectangle. The fold the dough like a book again and place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes until cold. Then repeat this process 2 more times. Once you have turned and chilled the dough 3 times this is when your dough is ready. Now you can make Kouign-Ammans from the whole batch of dough and it will roughly make 12-16 depending on how big you want to make them. I cut 1/3 of the dough and made just 4 decent sized Kouign-Amman from it. The rest I used for croissants which will be in a post coming soon.

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So once you have your dough turned 3 times take your dough (1/3 for me) and douse your cutting board with about a cup of sugar. Spread it all over your cutting board (think of it as your bench flour and us it heavily), if you are like Dominique here you can’t use enough sugar . Then roll the dough out into a nice square, flipping the dough over a few times insuring that both sides get plenty of sugar rolled into the outside. Once you have rolled a nice square dough cut it into 4 large squares. Then douse each square with more sugar. Then take the four corners and bring them to the center each time pushing down hard into the center making sure the corners don’t pop up. Sprinkle with sugar once more on the top of the kouign-amman. Then spray a large muffin pan with non stick spray. Place each kouign-amman inside one muffin slot until you have all of them in the muffin pan. Cover and allow to rise for 20-30 minutes.

This picture is before going into the muffin pan

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Preheat Oven to 365 degrees.

Place the kouign-amman in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then rotate the pan. Cook for another 15 minutes and then rotate again ( they should be getting close to being done, cook until golden brown, mine took another 5 minutes or so because they were big) Once you take them out of the oven turn them out onto a parchment paper lined sheet pan and allow to cool up side down for 5 minutes. Once you have allow the outside caramel to cool and harden you are good to go on eating them. Serve and enjoy!

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The Best Apple Pie

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The Best Apple Pie

It doesn’t get any more american than apple pie. I’m finally getting around to posting my recipe on apple pie that I always use during the holiday season. What separates this from other apple pies is using the yellow delicious apples or yellow opal. To me they have a sweetness and flavor that is perfect for apple pie. I used the left over pie crust to do a lattice design on the top. Feel free to top with a whole layer of tart dough or use a streusel topping. I’ve used both and either way you can’t go wrong. Here is the recipe for this straight forward apple pie recipe, but one that will definitely be in your recipe file.

Apple pie

6-8 big Yellow delicious apple or opal peeled and sliced.

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

Pinch of salt

4 tbsp of flour

2 tsp of vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of allspice, nutmeg

1/2 stick of butter cut into tiny cubes

Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.


Pie crust (recipe here)


Directions:

For the Tart dough

Using the food processor add flour to the bowl along with butter and salt.  Then turn the processor on for 30 seconds until the butter has been combined.  Drizzle in the cold water until the dough has come together.  Normally now you put the crust into the refrigerator to let the dough come together as it gets cold.  I don't like when my dough is so cold I can't roll it and usually I am in a rush.  If you can put the dough in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes it will really help; if not simply take the dough and put a light dusting of flour onto the parchment paper and place the dough on top.  Then dust flour on the top of the dough and put a second piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. With a rolling pin roll out your dough to a thin crust consistency.  Take your tart mold and carefully place your tart dough inside the mold.  Using a rolling pin roll the pin over the mold to trim off any excess dough.  With a fork prick the dough all over.  Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the tart and add pie weights or dried beans to weight the paper down on top of the tart.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.  Take out the pie tart and take off the parchment and save the weights for another baking day.

For the apple pie

Slice apples place in a bowl thin sprinkle with brown sugar. Add vanilla, flour, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Fill pre baked pie shell really full. Add the pie crust lattice by alternating the strips of the pie crust on top. Add cubes of butter in-between each open square. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes or until apples are tender. Take out and allow to cool completely

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Pecan Pie (Tart)

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Pecan Pie (Tart)

The Best pecan pie recipe!

Are you looking for the secrete to the best pecan pie ever! Look no further because I’ve got the answer for you and it isn’t something that will take hours and hours in the kitchen. It really isn’t that different than any other recipe. Find the best ingredients and combine them with great flavor and technique. This is what I made for Thanksgiving weekend and it was definitely an indulgence. My secrete to the best pecan pie is fresh vanilla bean and doubling or tripling in some cases the amount of pecans in most other recipes. In this pecan pie there is not small layer of pecans on top and then a middle section of gel ( custard) and then crust. The custard or gel in the middle is filled with pecans and vanilla along with other flavors. So the secrete is out of the bag, and now it is time to go and try for yourself. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Tart dough

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), diced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Flour, for rolling the dough

Filling:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/8 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup light corn syrup or (1/4 plus 1/8 apple low glycemic and 1/4 plus 1/8 maple syrup)

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

3 cups chopped toasted pecans

1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon

1 vanilla bean scraped or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp of orange zest (optional)

For the Pie Crust

Preheat oven to 350°F with a baking sheet on middle rack.

Place all the ingredients into a food processor except for the egg. Puree for 20 seconds and then add the egg to the processor while it is still running. Puree for another 10 seconds until the dough comes together. Wrap in parchment and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and fit into a 11-inch tart shell. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of shell and remove the excess dough. With a fork prick the dough all over. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the tart and add pie weights or dried beans to weight the paper down on top of the tart. Place in the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes. Take out the pie tart and allow to cool completely. Take off the parchment and save the weights for another baking day.

For the Filling

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, zest (optional), and salt. Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk in corn syrup mixture.

Put pecans in the bowl with the syrup-egg mixture and mix well then pour in pie shell. Bake on sheet pan lined with parchment paper until filling is set, 35-45 minutes. Cool completely.

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Ricotta Cheesecake with Passion Fruit and Feuilletine

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Ricotta Cheesecake with Passion Fruit and Feuilletine

Cheesecake is really an easy dessert


Ricotta cheesecake

1 lb Ricotta fresh

8oz cream cheese

1 cup 3 tbsp sugar

2 oz of creme friache

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 tsp of almond extract

3 eggs

3 yolk


Hazelnut shortbread

2 cups flour

1 cup of Hazelnut

2 sticks of butter

1 tsp of salt


Passion Fruit Curd

1/2 cup of passion fruit juice (approx 12-15 fresh)

1/2 cup of sugar

3 eggs

1 stick of butter


Feuilletine recipe

For the cheesecake,

Place cheeses and sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment whip for 3 minutes. Then add vanilla, and almond mixing on low. Finish with adding the eggs one at a time. Mix until a smooth batter is formed. Finish with the creme fraiche.

I lined a spring form pan with parchment paper and par baked the pecan shortbread see recipe underneath, then poured the batter on top. Bake the cheesecake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For the Shortbread,

Go here to so see the recipe and just add the Hazelnut from this recipe. I placed the dough in a spring form pan lined with parchment paper and par baked it for 25 minutes.

For the Passion fruit curd,

Place all the ingredients into a small sauce pot and turn on medium low heat. Whisking continually until the curd starts to thicken. Should take about 10 minutes or so. Strain into a bowl and cool for about 10-15 minutes. Once cooled slightly, pour the curd over the top of the cheese cake and using an offset spatula smooth the top off. Place the cake back in the refrigerator until the curd is set and completely cold.

To finish,

Take the pre-baked feuilletine cookie and place 1 cup into a plastic zip lock bag. Using a mallet or your hand crush the cookies into the bag (you don’t want to pulverize them into powder you still want a little texture to them). Then using a round cookie cutter or a knife cut desired shapes from the cheesecake and take crushed feuilletine and place around the cake. Serve and enjoy!

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Biscotti with Mulberry, Blueberry, and Ricotta Ice Cream

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Biscotti with Mulberry, Blueberry, and Ricotta Ice Cream

Jp loves biscotti,  and Eloise wanted me to make some for the week of his birthday.  I also love biscotti and I don't think I had ever made it before up until this point.  I thought I could make a good dessert out of the leftover biscotti that hadn’t been eaten yet. During the summer months in Malibu we have these wonderful mulberry trees that normally produce exception mulberries. This year we didn’t get a good crop and I happen to get these from the local farmers market. These mulberries I think were of turkish or pakistani variety and were very sweet. Here is the recipe using basically nothing but leftovers; ice cream, sorbet, and biscotti with fresh fruit! Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Biscotti
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons Amaretto
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole almonds with skin, lightly toasted , cooled, and coarsely chopped plus 1/4 cup pistachio
3 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blueberry Sorbet
1lb of blueberries
2 cups of sugar
2 1/2 cups of water
1 lemon juiced

Strawberry gel
1 cup of strawberry juice or puree
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tsp of agar 

Ricotta Ice Cream (here)

1/2 cup Strawberries sliced, mulberries, and red vein sorrel to garnish

For the Biscotti,  Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle,

Stir together sugar, butter, amaretto, and extracts in a large bowl, then stir in almonds and eggs. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.  Chill dough, covered, 30 minutes.
Using moistened hands, halve dough and form 2 (16-by 2-inch) loaves on an ungreased large baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, about 30 minutes. Carefully transfer loaves to a rack and cool 15 minutes. Cut loaves into 3/4-inch slices with a serrated knife. Arrange biscotti, with a cut side down, on a clean baking sheet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely. Then take a few pieces of the biscotti once completely cooled and place in a plastic ziplock bag with as little air as possible inside. Using a mallet crush the biscotti inside the bag, leaving rough pieces. Set aside for later use.

For the sorbet,

Place water and sugar in a pot.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.  Then cool slightly and place in a blender with the 2 cups of blueberries.  Puree until smooth, and the lemon juice, then chill until completely cold.  Place in your ice cream maker according to their instructions.  Place  in an air tight container and place in the freezer until you need it.

For the strawberry gel,

Put all the ingredients in a small sauce pot.  Bring to a boil stirring consistently and cook for 5-7 minutes.  Then pour gel into a half sheet pan or baking dish.  Place in the refrigerator until the agar has set.  Then take a knife and cut the set gel into sections.  Place it all into a vita mix and puree until smooth.  Pour into a squeeze bottle and set aside until ready to use.

To finish,

On a plate add some of the strawberry gel in any design you want. Then add a hand full of the crushed biscotti on to the plate. Add the sorbet and ice cream. Finish with fresh strawberries, mulberries and red sorrel. Serve and enjoy!

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S'mores

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S'mores

Sometimes you have to go with what works and what is delicious. There are classic recipes and combinations for a reason, because they delicious.  Of course this is my interpretation of the classic s'mores.  I served a small scoop of vanilla ice cream that isn’t shown in the picture. Jp said "this was one of the best s'mores he's ever had" The addition to this recipe is the feuilletine cookie and the honey ganache. Incorporate the meringue and it is a great version to the classic. Here it is I hope you enjoy it!

Homemade Feuilletine

4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature 4 ounces brown sugar 1 Tablespoon baking soda 6 ounces molasses optional: vanilla bean, a teaspoon of your favorite spice or extract, orange zest, etc 1 egg 13 ounces flour, sifted 2 ounces milk

For the Feuilletine, Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream butter and sugar together. Add molasses, vanilla bean, egg, and milk. Mix well, scraping the sides. Then add the flour and mix until well incorporated. Add a few spoonfuls of the batter onto a silicone mat and using a offset spatula spread the batter very thin. Then place in the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes until dry and crisp. Take out and allow to cool completely. Then break up into pieces and store in an air tight container.

Honey ganache see recipe Meringue see recipe Graham crackers crushed (store bought)

To Finish,

Take a mini ice cream scoop and scoop out balls of the honey ganache once firm. Place in the refrigerator 20 minutes just to firm up a bit. Then place the meringue in a piping bag with a plane tip. Pipe in a circular motion around the ball of chocolate ganache. Then carefully using a spatula place it on top of crushed graham crackers on the bottom of the plate. Using a torch, brown the meringue and place pieces of the feuilletine around the smores. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired. Serve and enjoy!

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Vanilla Pavlova with Cara Cara and Candied Buddha Hand

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Vanilla Pavlova with Cara Cara and Candied Buddha Hand

Here is the classic meringue dessert. Meringue is actually not one of my favorite desserts but this one was really exceptional. I didn’t grown up on meringues and that is probably one of the reasons it isn’t my top dessert. My wife on the other hand loves meringue and gets it when ever she can. We just got back from Italy where she ordered a similar dessert twice. Pavlova is normally a meringue that is baked and the outer shell of the meringue is hard and crunchy while the center has that gooey, marshmallow type consistency. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Vanilla Pavlova with Cara Cara sorbet and anglaise 

Orange sorbet
2 1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
4 Cara cara oranges peeled and deseeded
2 zested Cara Cara

Pavlova
8 egg whites
2 1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla bean
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp of corn starch
1/2 lemon juiced

1 cup of cara cara orange segments

Candied buddha hand
1 buddha hand sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar

Creme Anglaise
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350

For the pavlova,

Add egg whites and vanilla to a stand mixing bowl.  Beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form then slowly add the sugar to the egg whites and beat until the meringue is stiff and shiny ( about 3-4 minutes.  Then fold in the cornstarch and lemon juice. Once well incorporated place the meringue into a pastry bag with a plain tip. Then on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper you can pipe out individual meringues in a circular motion.

Place the sheet pan in oven and immediately turn down to 300 and cook for 1 hour and 15 mins.  Turn off oven and allow to cool completely in the oven.  Should look something like this.

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For the Preserve,

Bring small pot of water to a boil, place the sliced buddha hand in the boiling water and blanch for 3 seconds.  Strain off the water.  Repeat the same step two more times blanching and staring the buddha hand slices.  after 3 times add the measured water and sugar and bring to a boil.  Add the buddha's hand blanched slices to the pot.  Cook for 5-10 minutes and then pour into a preserve jar seal properly. 

For the Sorbet,

Place sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and cool completely.  Then puree with oranges and zest.  Strain the mixture if you desire.  Then pour into a ice cream maker and follow your instructions.  Take out and place in a container in the freezer. 

For the Anglaise
Combine milk and cream in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring milk mixture to simmer. Remove from heat.  Whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return custard to saucepan. Stir over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Strain sauce into bowl. Cover and chill. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

To Finish,

Place a spoonful of anglaise on the bottom of the plate. Add one pavlova and place on top. Add orang segments, and preserve around the meringue. Add the sorbet on top. Finish with leaves of basil. Serve and enjoy!

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Strawberry Pop-tarts

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Strawberry Pop-tarts

Who doesn't love pop-tarts? Well this is my version of a pop tart.  It's basically a filled pie crust but with strawberries at the height there sweetness it is a recipe that not only anyone can make but that everyone will love.  In the summertime it is hard not to over buy fresh fruit  at the farmers market.  When all the farmers are giving out fresh sample of their delicious fruit and they give you price breaks on the more you buy it is hard not too.  Well, that was the case on this particular occasion,  so I was forced to make some amazing strawberry jam that was a low sugar since the strawberries were so sweet naturally.  Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

Strawberry Pop Tarts

Dough
2 cups of ap flour
2 sticks of butter
1 egg
1 tbsp of sugar and salt
3 tbsp of milk 

Strawberry Jam
3 lb of sweet summer strawberries
1 2/3 cup water
1 3/4 cup of sugar
1 vanilla bean
7 1/2 tbsp of low sugar pectin

Topping
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp of strawberry jam 

Fresh sliced strawberries 

For the Jam,  Link here for proper instructions for canning

Better if done a day or two ahead of time.  Place strawberries, water, sugar, and vanilla into a sauce pot.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Once on simmer add the low sugar pectin.  Cook for another 3-5 minutes and then with a masher (if you want a chunky jam) or a hand blender (if you want a smooth jam) mash or puree the jam.  Then fill your canning jars with jam and preserve (according to link instructions)

For the dough, Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.

Using the food processor add flour to the bowl along with the salt.  Pulse a few times to combine well.  Then turn the processor on and begin to add all the butter a tbsp. at a time.  Once the butter has been combined.  Add egg and drizzle in the cold milk.  Normally now you put the crust into the refrigerator to let the dough come together as it gets cold 45 minutes or If you can put the dough in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes it will really helps.  Then simply take the dough and put a light dusting of flour onto the parchment paper and place the dough on top.  Then dust flour on the top of the dough and put a second piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. With a rolling pin roll out your dough to a thin crust consistency in the shape of a rectangle.  Then with a knife or pizza cutter cut the dough into even rectangular shapes.  Place a spoonful of the cooled strawberry jam filling in the middle of the of dough. Brush the edges with egg wash.  Then take another piece of dough and place on top. Pinch the edges to seal and then with a fork press the dough all over the edges and prick the top of each pie.  Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan and place the finished pies on top. Once all are done brush with more egg wash. Place in the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Take out the pies and allow to cool completely.  

To finish,

In a bowl mix together cream cheese, jam, and powdered sugar until smooth.  Then once the pop tarts have cooled completely top the tarts with the cream cheese mixture.  Add sliced strawberries on top and your done! Serve and enjoy!

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Plum Meringue Tart

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Plum Meringue Tart

Plum meringue tart you say? Never heard of it! Me either, I'm sure someone had made this but I've never heard of it or seen it.  The thought behind this is actually very simple.  We have plum trees here in Malibu and they are some of the best tasting plums I've ever had.  If you let them ripen like you should they have a certain sweetness to them that isn't completely tart.  Lemons are very similar tasting profile in my mind.  They have a natural sweetness to them but they are very tart.  Why not exchange the fruits for the classic lemon meringue tart.  Add a little vanilla bean to the mix to help with some of the tartness and you have one of the best tasting tarts ever.  Everyone said it was really amazing, so delicious.  Again, almost every single recipe depends on how great your ingredients are.  If you have plums that really have little to no flavor, your tart is going to have little to no flavor.  Going to farmers markets and being able to taste different varieties of fruit would really go a long way for this recipe.  Or if you like me and have access to a tree in your backyard and it has years of maturing behind it, the result is truly amazing.  With that being said it really is an easy dessert.  I hope you enjoy it!

Pate Brissee
2 cups of flour
2 sticks of butter
1 tsp of salt
pinch of sugar
1/4 cup of ice water 

Plum Meringue Tart
1 scant cup of Plum juice (puree strained)
5 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of heavy cream
1 vanilla bean 

Swiss Meringue
1/2 cup of egg whites
3/4 cup of sugar

Plum Sorbet (here)

Plum slices and lemonade blueberries to garnish with fresh mint

For the crust 

Place flours,sugar, and salt into a food processor.  Pulse a few times and then add the butter.  Keep the processor running until butter has been incorporated. Then while the food processor is still on start pouring in the ice water until a smooth dough has formed.  Take the dough and divide into two equal parts.  Wrap in parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes.  Then take out and roll the dough in between two pieces of parchment paper into a 1/4 inch thick.  Then place dough into your tart mold and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make the filling

Place all the filling in a mixing bowl and place over a water bath.  Stir softly until the mixture comes to 140 F.  Then strain the mixture into the tart crust. Place the tart into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minute or until it is firm with a little wiggle.   Set aside and let it cool completely.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to top with the meringue.

For the Meringue

In mixing bowl heat eggwhite and sugar over water bath until it reaches 160 F. Then immediately place in a stand mixer and whip for 5 minutes or until cool.  Put the meringue in pastry bag and pipe in a consistent motion on top of the plum tart.  Then with a torch, brown the top of the meringue.  Add the blueberries, plums, and mint.  Serve and enjoy the fresh taste of plums!

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"Berries and Cream" Greek Honey Cake with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

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"Berries and Cream" Greek Honey Cake with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

This might be one of my favorite cakes I have made in recent times.  Who doesn't love honey!  And who doesn't love a moist cake that is saturated with cinnamon, honey, and citrus.  Add some summer fruit to the dish along with some creamy ice cream and you have an unbeatable combination.  This is a slam dunk if you have a sweet tooth and can deal with the components.  This recipe can be broken up into parts so you don't feel like you have to accomplish all this in one day.  Also the description looks and might sound complicated but in reality it really isn't that hard.  Here is the recipe for a fantastic summer dessert!

Greek honey lavender cake
1 1/2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of corn starch
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp of fresh lavender chopped flower buds
1 tsp lemon zest

Honey glaze
1 scant cup honey
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice

Strawberry coulis
1/3 cup of white wine or champagne
1 lb of strawberries cut in half
1/3 cup sugar
5 sprigs of fresh chamomile

1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of small strawberries
1/3 cup of wild strawberries (Alpine, Fragaria Vesca
1/2 cup of halved cherries
1 snow princess flowers
3 chamomile flowers
1/4 cup red vein sorrel leaves 

Creme fraiche ice cream
415g milk
135g trimoline inverted sugar
110g sugar
50g glucose
335 creme fraiche
85g cream cheese or ricotta
10g lemon juice
6g salt

For the Creme fraiche Ice Cream,

In a small sauce pot heat milk over medium heat then add in the sugar, trimoline, glucose, until dissolved.  Then pour the milk into a bowl and whisk until smooth.  Strain through a strainer into a bowl with an ice bath.  Add lemon juice and salt to season.  Cool completely then pour into your ice cream maker and use according to your ice makers directions.  When done place in a air tight container in the freezer until ready to use.  

For the Cake, Bake at 375 for 15-20 min

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan. Combine the dry ingredients ( flour, starch, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, lavender, and lemon rind). Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.   Pour batter into prepared half sheet pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut into desired shapes. Pour honey syrup over the cake.
For the Honey Syrup, 

In a saucepan, combine honey, 1 cup sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

For the Coulis,

Combine all the ingredients in a small pot except for the chamomile and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 10 minutes.  Then puree until smooth.  Add the chamomile and let it steep for 10 minutes.  The discard the chamomile.  Place in the refrigerator until completely cold.  

To Finish,

Add a few pieces of cake around the middle of the plate.  Add alternating strawberry, blueberry, and cherry in-between each piece of cake.  Add a some wild strawberries on top of the honey cake.  Then add a some of the flowers and herbs for garnishes.  Ladle some of the sauce in the middle of the plate and then finish with a scoop of the creme fraiche ice creams.  Serve and enjoy!

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Stone Fruit and Almond Tart

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Stone Fruit and Almond Tart

Simply summer!  That sums up this recipe in a few words.  When it is blistering hot outside and you want to create a dessert that doesn't mean slaving all day in the kitchen, this is your go to dessert.  Puff pastry, almond paste, and fresh stone fruit.  That's really all there is to this recipe.  It can be eaten all times of the day and and doesn't need to be made specifically for dessert, brunch would also be great.  You can purchase already perfect size square puff pastry so you don't even need to worry about cutting it.  Make the almond paste place in the center of the pastry, add the fruit, egg wash and almonds.  Bake and your done!  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Stone Fruit
3 Nectarines sliced and pitted
4 plums sliced and pitted
3 white nectarines sliced and pitted
3 peaches sliced and pitted

Almond Cream
6 tbsp. of butter (room temp.)
2/3 cup of powder sugar
1 1/2 cup of almond flour
2 tsp of flour
1 tsp of cornstarch
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp of almond extract

12 Puff Pastry squares really cold   Here 
sliced almonds
1 egg for wash

For the Almond cream,

Place almond meal and sugar in a food processor and puree for 30 seconds.  Then while the machine is running add the butter a tbsp. at a time.  Once all the butter is in add the eggs again while the machine is running.  You can stop to scrape the sides if there are any clumps but once the eggs have been added you should have a really smooth and creamy almond cream.  Finish with both the vanilla and almond extract.  I normally double this recipe which gives me extra laying around that I can make something else with.  But you should have enough to fill the tart with just one batch.  Place the almond cream in a plastic pipping bag and place in the refrigerator to firm up a bit (but not too cold where you can't pipe it out) .

To Finish

Take two sheet pans lined with parchment paper and place 6 puff pastry squares on each pan.  Take the pastry bag filled with almond cream and pipe out 1 line of almond paste down the center of the puff pastry.  Then take sliced fruit and place on top of the almond cream.  Continue the same process with all of the puff pastry squares.  Take egg wash and brush around the edges of the pastry.  Top with almond slices and place in a preheated oven at 425 degrees.  Cook for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  You might want to rotate and readjust from the bottom rack in your oven to the top rack with other pan for even cooking.  Once golden brown take out and cool completely.  Serve and enjoy!

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Ginger Snaps

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Ginger Snaps

Ginger snaps are one of Jp's favorite cookies.  He likes cookies that are thin and crunchy and I like soft chewy one 99% of the time.  This recipe was perfect mix because they are crunchy on the outside and soft and chew on the inside.  Not much more to ramble on about, this couldn't be more straight forward. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it! 

ginger snaps

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup of shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cup ap flour
2 tsp  of baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
granulated sugar 

For the Cookies, heat oven to 375°F.

Spray sheet pans with cooking spray, or line with cooking parchment paper or silicone baking mat.  In stand mixer, beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses and egg with paddle attachment on medium speed. Until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar.  Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls. Dip tops into granulated sugar. On cookie sheets, place balls, sugared sides up, about 3 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or just until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Serve and enjoy!

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Coconut Ceviche

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Coconut Ceviche

This summer we took a wonderful trip to Colombia.  While there we visited both Cartegna and Medellin.  Both cities we really enjoyed.  Cartegna was a beach city very much like visiting some of the tropical "islands".  Medellin was a beautiful city that was nestled in between the mountains and it was like my father-inlaw described it, "they built a city in the middle of the jungle".  Very green and lush.  One night in Cartegna I think I had one of the best ceviches I've ever had, coconut ceviche.  It was really amazing, so smooth, refreshing, and addicting.  I don't think there was much to it other than the fish was probably just caught off the coast, the coconuts were probably just picked along with limes and cilantro.  It was really spectacular!  Here is my attempt at it, I hope you enjoy it!

Coconut ceviche
10-12 limes juiced
3 mandarins juiced
2 lemons juiced
1 can of coconut milk
Lots of salt (2-3 tbsp or more)
1 1/2 lb of snapper diced
1 lb of wild sea bass (not Chilean)
2 Serranos 1 diced and 1 sliced
3 tbsp of chopped cilantro
1 radish sliced

For the ceviche,

Place the juice of the all the citrus in a large bowl.  Add diced serranos, cilantro, and 2 tbsp of salt.  Season all the fish really well with salt and place in the bowl.  Make sure that the fish is completely covered in the citrus juice.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.  Then after 3 hours you can add a can of coconut milk to the ceviche.  Let it marinate for another 45 minutes and at this point the ceviche should be ready to serve, but it can sit for longer if need be.  To serve, place some sliced serranos, radishes, and cilantro flowers.  Serve and enjoy!

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