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Linzer Cookies

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Linzer Cookies

Here is one of my wife’s favorite cookies when we end up spending summer time on the west coast. We have a few favorite bakeries that do a great job of making the delectable cookies. I think these cookies started in Austria, but what inspired me to make this recipe other than my wife loving them; was the fact that I was taking a flight back to Austin and they had a documentary on European baking traditions around the holidays. And to me it was really interesting to see how shortbread is made all over the world and how versatile it is as well. Just a few simple ingredients of butter, sugar, and flour can be the start of something wonderful. I took it a step further by using some of my jams that I had made from the summer fruit. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Shortbread

2 sticks of butter

3/4 cup of sugar

2 cups of flour

1 tsp of salt


Raspberry vanilla jam

30oz raspberry

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 tbsp low sugar pectin

1 vanilla bean


Strawberry jam

3lb strawberry

1 2/3 cup water

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

7 1/2 tbsp low sugar pectin


powder sugar for dusting


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 and form into a round disk. Wrap in parchment paper and cool in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. Then take out and roll the dough into 1/8 inch thickness. Dust your board with flour if you need to. Then using a heart shaped cookie cutter cut out cookies and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Continue the process until you have all the dough cut out. Then take a smaller size heart shaped cookie cutter and cut the middle out of half of the cookies.

Then place in the oven and bake until golden brown about 12-15 minutes depending on how big of cookies you cut. Take out and allow to cool

To see how to make the jams go here

Then take your jams and fill the bottoms without the small heart shaped cut out. Then dust the tops of the cookies with the small heart shape cut out with powder sugar. Place that on top to sandwich the cookies in between the jam. Continue the process until you have all the cookies finished. Serve and enjoy!

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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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Challah Bread

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Challah Bread

A classic Jewish style bread that is normally braided and consumed a the beginning of the Sabbath. This bread is rich with eggs, milk, and similar to brioche with the exception that it isn’t loaded with butter. Challah is fantastic for sandwiches, french toast, bread pudding, and simply sliced with a little butter and salt. This dough is really not difficult but, like most baking, takes a bit of patience but can be done in one day. Here is the recipe, I hope you try it and enjoy it!


Challah Bread 2 loaves

1 3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 tbsp of yeast ( a little more than 2 packages)

1 tbsp of sugar plus 1/3 scant cup

1/2 cup of oil

4 eggs plus 1 more for brushing

6 cups of bread flour

1 cup of all purpose if needed

1 tbsp of salt


For the Dough, Preheat oven to 350

In a mixing bowl add warm milk, yeast, and 1 tbsp of sugar. Whisk together well and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then add oil, eggs into the bowl. Add 6 cups of bread flour and salt and turn the mixer on low speed. Mix until the the dough starts to come together. If need be add the 1 cup of the all purpose flour. Once the dough comes together. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead for 5-7 minutes. Coat the mixing bowl with oil and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a towel and allow the dough to double in size. Then take the dough out of the bowl. Divide the dough in half. Then divide each half into 3 equals parts. Take the 3 equal pieces of dough and roll them out to about a 1 - 1 1/2 ft long. Then take the 3 ropes and braid them interweaving them. Place the braided dough onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Cover the loaf with a towel and allow the loaf to proof for another hour. Take the last egg and beat well, brush the loaf with egg wash and cover with poppy seeds and place in the oven and bake 30-35 minutes until the internal temperature hits 190 degrees. Take out and let it cool on a rack until completely cooled.

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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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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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Banana and Hazelnut Bomb with Cinnamon Banana Ice-cream

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Banana and Hazelnut Bomb with Cinnamon Banana Ice-cream

Here is a dessert that is a true winner if you want to take the time to bring it all together.  It really doesn't take as long as the recipe ingredients look, but of course that is coming from someone who thinks everything doesn't take that long.  The flavors are straight forward with banana, nutella, and caramel.  All of these flavors go together so harmoniously without having to go above and beyond.  The presentation looks amazing but that is deception using bomb molds.  In short the recipe consists nothing more than a hazelnut banana "bread" (cake), banana cinnamon ice cream, banana and nutella mousse and caramel sauce.  The end result is fantastic and I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Banana and Hazenut bomb with banana cinnamon ice cream 

Banana mousse
9 frozen bananas thawed and drained completely of water
8oz mascarpone
3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla
12g gelatin
3 tbsp water 

Banana ice cream
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup cream
1 tbsp Mexican vanilla extract
4 ripe frozen banana
1 tsp cinnamon
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

Hazelnut banana bread
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil and 1 tsp of vanilla
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water from thawed bananas
1 cup chopped hazelnut 

Nutella filling
1/2 cup Nutella
4 oz cream cheese room temperature
1/4 cup of ground hazelnut
1 tbsp of frangelico

Caramel sauce
4 oz butter
8oz brown sugar
4oz of xo patron café
6 oz of cream

2 ripe bananas
sugar to (brûlée)
1/4 cup of roasted hazelnuts cut in half and 1/4 ground

For the Banana ice cream go here

For the nutella filling,

Mix all the ingredients well in a mixing bowl until you have one homogenous mix and then fill a 15 cavity half sphere mold (here).  Freeze until completely solid.

For the banana mousse,

Take ripened bananas and puree until smooth with mascarpone cheese with a hand emersion blender. In a small separate bowl add gelatin and 3 tbsp of water to bloom. Meanwhile in a stand mixer add heavy cream.  Using the whisk start to whip the heavy cream. When the cream starts to thicken add the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Whip until stiff peaks.  Place the whipped cream in a bowl and place in the refrigerator.  Clean your mixing bowl out and place your egg whites inside ; make a quick meringue by mixing the egg whites on high with the whisk attachment and when the whites start to foam, slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar and whip until you have stiff peaks. Melt the gelatin over the double boiler and then pour into the banana mixture and mix well. Working quickly now fold in your egg whites in the banana mixture then fold in your whipped cream. You want to incorporate the whipped cream well, but you don't want to over work it.  Then take 2 6 cavity bomb molds that are 3 oz each (here) and fill almost to the top. Once you have all 12 filled, take your frozen nutella half sphere mold out the freeze and place one half sphere in the center of each of the 12 banana mousse.  Take an offset spatula and smooth out the top, you might need to  add a touch more mousse to completely cover the sphere in the middle.  Once completely smooth place in the freezer overnight to completely set up.  

For the banana hazelnut cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, vanilla, eggs, banana water, bananas . Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Pour on to a half sheet pan that has been sprayed with non stick spray.   Bake for 30-35 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.  Take our and let it cool completely.  Once completely cooled you can refrigerate if desired and take a cookie cutter that is the same size as your bomb molds.  Cut out 12 cakes for your 12 bombs and set aside.  

For the Caramel,

Simply place brown sugar and butter in a small pot and turn on medium heat.  Cook until sugar and butter are melted.  Then add the patron and flambé.  Let all the alcohol cook off and then add the cream.  Whisk until all is combined, cook for 1-3 minutes until you have the desired thickness and turn off the heat.  Set aside until ready to plate.

To finish,

Place a round cake of the hazelnut down on the plate.  Take a bomb out of the freezer and un-mold, place on top of the cake.  Take ripe bananas and slice on a sheet tray.  Then sprinkle liberally with sugar on the tops of the bananas.  With a torch, caramelize the sugar on top of the bananas.  Add some ground hazelnuts next to the bomb and add a scoop of banana ice cream on top.  Then spoon some of the caramel on top and around the bomb.  Add the hazelnuts on top and around the bomb.  Finish with the caramelized bananas around serve and enjoy!

NOTE:  To make things a little easier and to not have the mousse so frozen, you can un-mold the bomb and place on top of the hazelnut cake and place that in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the dessert.  It will help serve everyone faster and it will help with the center not being completely frozen in the middle.  I hope you enjoy it!

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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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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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Strawberry Fraisier

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Strawberry Fraisier

Here is a classic dessert that I decided to take a stab at.  It really is a delicious dessert in the height of summer when the strawberries are extra sweet.  This is normally made in individual servings in pastry shops.  I had a large cake ring and decided to use that instead of making several individual ones.  Because of the size and the weight of what I added on top it was a little top heavy, as you can see slightly in the picture, but that didn't effect the taste and flavor.  This is french pastry 101, if you go to any patisserie in the summertime you bound to find these in their pastry case.  Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

Strawberry Fraiser 

Sponge Cake
9 eggs separated
1 cup of sugar plus 3 tbsp
1 tbsp of vanilla bean
1 cup of cake flour
3 tbsp of corn starch
pinch of salt

Pastry cream
2 cups of milk  
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp of butter
2 tsp of gelatin

1 cup of heavy cream
1 tsp of vanilla bean
1/4 cup of powder sugar

strawberry gel
1 lb strawberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
2 tsp agar

Butter cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp of half and half 

1 pint of strawberries sliced , I pint of blueberries and raspberries and mint

For the Sponge Cake, Preheat oven to 425 degrees 

Place egg yolks, vanilla, and 1 cup of sugar into a stand mixer.  Whisk until thick and pale yellow about 5 minutes.  Then add the cake flour and corn starch to the egg mixture and mix well.  Then pour the mixture into a large mixing 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.  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.  

For the Pastry Cream,

Scald the milk with 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 stand mixer 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 mixture.  Place the egg mixture back onto medium low heat and whisk continually until it thickens.  Allow about 10 minutes, but don't boil.  In a large bowl mix 2 tbsp of water and powdered gelatin together to bloom. Once the pastry cream has thickened incorporate butter then pour the pudding into a bowl with the gelatin ( the gelatin should melt, and whisk to incorporate well ).  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding so it doesn't form a skin, and place in the refrigerator.  Cool completely.

For the Whipped cream

Meanwhile place heavy cream in a mixing bowl and whip on high.  After 45 seconds add the powder sugar and vanilla.  Whip until medium peaks.   Then fold the whipped cream in to the pastry cream in 3 intervals to make what is called a diplomat cream.  Place back in the refrigerator to cool completely

For the strawberry gel,

Puree strawberries with water in a vita mix.  Strain out and put the rest of 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 cake ring and cut a round the same size as the cake ring.  Take the rest of the gel and place it all into a vita mix and puree until smooth.  Pour into a squeeze bottle and set aside until ready to use.

For the Buttercream, If you want a real recipe for buttercream go here

This is a quick version of buttercream.  Place butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer and whip until smooth.  Add vanilla and a splash of half and half.  

To Finish,

On a half sheet lined with parchment, use a large cake ring (if desired you can make individual fraisier use a small cake rings) and cut out 2 large sponge cakes.  Place one of the sponge cakes inside the cake ring.  Take sliced strawberries and place on the inside of the cake ring wall standing up on the bottom layer of the sponge cake.  Then fill the center of the cake with the diplomat cream.  Then place the second sponge cake on top of the cream and strawberries.  Place on top of the second layer of sponge the thin layer of strawberry gel (optional).  Then add a small layer of the buttercream on top of the strawberry gel.  Place in the refrigerator overnight preferably to help set.  Then before serving add the rest of fruit on top with dots of the strawberry gel.  Add some fresh mint serve and enjoy!

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Passion Fruit and Coconut Baked Alaska

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Passion Fruit and Coconut Baked Alaska

Not your traditional flavored baked alaska here.  I couldn't resists make a dessert with all of the seasonal passion fruit in California right now.  This dessert was the result.

 

Passion fruit baked Alaska
Coconut parfait
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup cream
1 cup white chocolate
12 g gelatin powder 

1 cup heavy cream whipped folded in
1 vanilla bean
1/4 powdered sugar

3 egg whites. Whipped folded in with white chocolate base
1/4 cup sugar

Passion fruit sorbet
2 1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
14 passion fruit

Swiss meringue see recipe 

Passion fruit sauce
1 1/2cups passion fruit
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup pear juice
1/2 cup sugar
4 passion fruit
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 egg yolks 

Cake
1/2 cup of coconut milk room temp
2 eggs room temp
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups of flour
1 lime zested
1/2 scant cup coconut oil melted
Drops of coconut extract
 

For the Sauce,

Place egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer and whisk on high for 3 minutes, then add the cornstarch.  Meanwhile place all the juices in a pot and bring to a boil.  Then temper the eggs with the hot juice.  Place the mixture back into a pot and cook over low heat until it thickens.  Strain out and cool completely.

 

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 innards of 12 passion fruit.  Puree until smooth, strain through a fine mesh strainer and 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 for later.  

One frozen take a small ice cream scoop and scoop out 12 little sorbet balls on a frozen sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Return the the scoops to the freezer for at least 4 hours.

For the Mousse,

Get an ice bath ready in a large bowl. Place white chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Place coconut milk and cream into a pot, turn on the heat.  In a small separate bowl add gelatin and 3 tbsp of water to bloom.  Pour the milk-cream mixture over the white chocolate and allow to sit for 1 minute.  whisk the mixture completely to melt the white chocolate.    Add a little of the white chocolate mixture to the gelatin to dissolve it.  Then pour the gelatin mixture back into the bowl of white chocolate and set it in the ice bath.    Meanwhile in a stand mixer add heavy cream.  Using the whisk start to whip the heavy cream. When the cream starts to thicken add the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Whip until stiff peaks.  Then when the white chocolate mixture has cooled but not gelled whisk in the whipped cream gently.  You want to incorporate the whipped cream well, but you don't want to over work it.  Clean out your stand mixer bowl and add the egg whites to the bowl.  Whisk on high speed until the whites start to whiten, then add sugar slowly and whisk until stiff peaks.  Fold the egg whites into your coconut white chocolate base.  Once you have combined it take semi sphere silicon molds and fill.  Then take out your scooped passion fruit sorbet and place in the middle of the mousse in the mold.  Working quickly using an offset spatula level the molds of the excess mouse.  You should be able to see the sorbet, it should be in the middle of the mouse.  Immediately place in the freezer overnight.  

For the cake,

Preheat oven to 350 degrees,

Mix all of the wet ingredients in a bowl together.  Then mix all of the dry ingredients together.  Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until well incorporated.  Pour onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes until done.  Take out and cool completely, then place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.  Take a ring cutter and cut out 12 rounds that perfectly match the size of the silicon molds.  Take the mousse out of the molds and place on top of each cake ring.  Place back in the freezer while you prepare 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 with a flower tip or a large #104 and pipe in a consistent motion on top of the coconut semi sphere.  Place in the fridge for 15 minutes

To Finish,

Place a spoonful of sauce down on the plate.  Take a torch and brown the meringue all the way around the baked Alaska.  Place on top of the sauce.  Serve and enjoy!

 

Passion Fruit Alaska.jpg

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Coconut Flan Tart

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Coconut Flan Tart

Here is the classic French flan tart with a little twist of coconut mixed in.  This recipe brings me back to walking the streets of Paris, stopping at any of the number of patisseries for a huge slice of the flan.  I love this dessert, to me it is almost a mid day snack than a dessert because I could eat this at any time of the day.  The recipe is adapted from the bouchon bakery cookbook.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Flan tart
3 eggs
6 yolks
1 1/2 cup sugar
6 cups milk (half coconut milk half whole)
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup custard powder ( I didn't have custard powder so I used a little instant pudding, or you can omit completely)
2 vanilla bean 

Pate Brisee
2 sticks of butter
2 cups plus 3 tbsp of flour
1/4 cup of ice water
1 tsp of salt 

For the Crust,

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. 

Using the food processor add 2 cups of 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.  Chill the dough for 25 minutes.

Roll out the dough, line the cake ring with the dough and place a piece of parchment paper on top., Fill it with raw rice, beans, or baking weights. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the edges of the dough are lightly browned and the bottom is set but still light in color. Remove the parchment and rice (store the rice for future use). Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place the eggs, yolks, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to combine. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans, add them to the egg mixture, and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to distribute the seeds evenly. With the mixer running on the lowest setting, add the custard powder and the cornstarch and mix for 30 seconds to incorporate. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour in the milk. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large saucepan.  Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking gently to prevent air bubbles. Boil for 1 minute, rotating the whisk around the edges of the pan to keep the mixture from scorching.

Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of the mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for about 3 minutes to release steam and cool the mixture slightly.  Then pour the custard into the tart shell and bake for an hour and half to hour and forty minutes. Take out and cool overnight.  Slice and enjoy!

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Strawberry and Fig Pavlova

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Strawberry and Fig Pavlova

The first time I had pavlova was when I took a trip to australia about 11 years ago.  There was a new friend of mine that I had met while I was there and she was from new zealand.   She asked me if I had ever tried pavlova before and I said no.  One night a bunch of friends got together for dinner and she decided to make one for me so I could try it.  It was a delicious egg white meringue that was crunchy on the outside and creamy marshmallowy on the inside, topped with fresh fruit.  

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

2 cups of strawberries sliced
8 figs quartered
1 cup of blueberries
1/4 cup of sugar
mint leaves
 

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.  Then on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper you can put a large cake ring in the middle of the pan ( if you don't have a cake ring then you can simply mound the meringue in a circle 

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.  

Meanwhile take the strawberries and blueberries and place them in a bowl with sugar to macerate.  Once you are ready to serve then add all the fruit on top of the of the pavlova and garnish with mint.  Serve and enjoy!

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Nectarine and Cheese Danish

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Nectarine and Cheese Danish

Here is a simple pastry or danish using puff pastry, cheese, and nectarines.  This is a recipe that can be substituted with any stone fruit you have on hand.  Very simple and classic flavors here.  Once change I made to this recipe is adding mascarpone instead of all cream cheese.  Summertime is filled with wonderful fruit and we have a nectarine tree here in california that produces over a hundred fruit this year.  So here is one recipe to help get "rid" of some of those nectarines.  I hope you enjoy this sweet treat!

10 medium size nectarines peeled and medium diced
1 vanilla bean cut in half
1/8 tsp of cinnamon
3 tbsp of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tbsp of butter
1 tsp of salt 

Cheese Filling
8 oz mascarpone
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean

2 packages of dufour puff pastry
1 egg

Demerara Sugar 

For the nectarines,

In a saute pan on medium high heat add butter, diced peeled nectarines, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. Cook for 4 minutes and then sprinkle flour all over and stir in.  Cook for another minute and then place on a tray to cool completely.  

For the cheese,

Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well until smooth without lumps. Then place into a plastic pastry bag with a plain tip (or none if you don't have one) and keep cool.

For the Danish, Preheat oven to 400 degrees

I took one box of puff pastry and cut them into four equal parts (you can make smaller ones or larger ones, whatever size you want).  On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper place the four pieces of puff pastry.  Pipe a 3-4 lines of the cheese filling leaving a 1 inch space around all 4 sides of the puff pastry.  Then take a few big spoonfuls of the nectarine filling and place on top of the cheese.  Then take a beaten egg and a pastry brush and brush four sides of the puff pastry.  Take the second box of puff pastry and cut four equal parts.  Using a lattice cutter cut the puff pastry into a lattice design.  Top each pastry with one lattice top making sure all sides are completely sealed.  Then brush the tops with the remaining egg.  Top with demerara sugar. You can place the pastry back in the refrigerator if the puff pastry has gotten too soft, this will firm up the dough and help with uniform baking.  Place the sheet pan in the 400 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.  (if you oven is too hot and it browns too fast you can turn your oven down a bit or place on a different shelf in the oven.) Take out and allow to cool completely!  Serve and enjoy!

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Pistachio Cream Puffs

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Pistachio Cream Puffs

If you were me pistachios are one of those ingredients that you really have a hard time disliking.  Whether they are simply roasted with salt or pureed and made into ice-cream, this is one ingredient that I always love.  This recipe is a simple cream puff (Pate a choux dough), stuffed with pistachio pastry cream and topped with a white chocolate glaze.  This recipe is easy and absolutely delicious.  I hope you enjoy this one because this recipe is one you will come back to time and time again.  Classic pate a choux dough that can be baked ahead of time and filled with pistachio cream that also can be made a day in advance.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Pistachio pastry cream
7 oz pistachio paste or cream   
3 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or half of a vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
1/4 plus an 1/8th cup corn starch
3 tbsp butter

Pate a choux (cream puff)
1 cup milk
1 cup of flour
1 tsp of sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
4 eggs
1 stick of butter

White Chocolate Ganache/Glaze
1/4 cream
1 cup of white chocolate chips

For the Cream Puffs 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees,  In a small pot add milk, 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 plain tip.  On a sheet pan lined with  parchment paper pipe small rounds of the dough.  If the tops of the rounds have a tip from piping take your finger with a little water on it and push it down lightly.  If you don't have a piping bag just use two spoons or ice cream scoop.  Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.  Try not to open the oven door once you have put them in the oven because the cream puffs might deflate a bit.  Take out and let them cool completely.

For the Pistachio Pastry Cream,

Scald the milk with pistachio paste and vanilla bean paste in a medium sauce pot, stirring often with a whisk. Turn off the heat when the milk starts to a boil.  Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer set to high, until the eggs and sugar form pale white ribbons (3-4 minutes).  Add the cornstarch 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 mixture.  Place all of the egg/milk mixture back into the pot on medium low heat.  Whisk continually until it thickens, allow about 10-12 minutes, but don't boil.  Once it has thickened incorporate butter, then pour the pudding into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve to cool.  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding so it doesn't form a skin, and place in an ice bath or the refrigerator.  Cool completely. Once cooled completely place the pastry cream in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip.  

Then take your cream puffs and your pistachio pastry cream.  Take your cream in the pastry bag in one hand and take a cream puff in your other hand.  Using the metal point or tip of the pastry cream poke a hole in the bottom of the cream puff.  Squeeze about a half an ounce or until you can feel the cream puff getting full in your hand.  Continue until all the puffs are done.

For the White chocolate ganache,

Place white chocolate in a heat proof bowl.  Place cream in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 1 minutes.  Then with a whisk stir until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.

Once the ganache is smooth you can take each cooled cream puff and coat the tops of the puffs by simply dipping them halfway into the ganache.  Once all of the tops are coated with white chocolate top with finely chopped pistachios.  Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.  Serve and enjoy!

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Chestnut Madeleines

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Chestnut Madeleines

Winter is almost here and that means baking, holidays, and lots of cold weather ingredients including chestnuts.  Chestnuts, in my opinion, are highly underrated here in America.  If you go to Europe you can find them all over.  If you have been to Europe specifically France in the fall or winter you will find street vendors roasting chestnuts on the side of the street ready to eat.  Chestnuts are such a unique tree nut that has a texture and flavor all their own.  Madeleines are a classic french cookie that are baked in a form of a shell and they normally have a hint of citrus in them.  Since we are going into the Thanksgiving weekend I thought I would give a twist on a classic recipe.  Straight forward with the exception of the chestnuts.  I hope you enjoy!

Chestnut paste

10 oz or chestnuts roasted and peeled (frozen, in a jar or un-sweetend puree is fine)

2/3 cup of sugar

6 tbsp of butter

1 egg plus 1 white

1 tsp of vanilla

1 tsp of cornstarch

 

Chestnut Madeleines 

11 oz of Chestnut paste

4 oz of sugar

3 eggs

6 oz of browned butter

1 tsp of vanilla

3 oz of bread flour

1/4 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt

1 tbsp of orange zest

 

For the chestnut paste

Place chestnuts, butter, and sugar in a food processor.  Puree until smooth, then add eggs, cornstarch and vanilla.  Set aside 11 oz for the madeleines and use the rest for another purpose.

For the Madeleines,

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a stand mixer add chestnut paste, sugar, eggs, and mix until smooth.  Then add zest, vanilla, browned butter.   Then combine the dry ingredients (salt, flour, and baking powder) and add to the mixer until just combined.   Using spray or melted butter brush madeleines mold. Then fill mold 3/4 full and place in the oven.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve and enjoy!


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