Tags: baking, fruit, tarts
I do like a good baked pear dessert. Apples and pumpkins will be around for a long while yet, but pears are more delicate and have a quicker season. Use ’em while you can! This Pear Tart with Crunchy Almond Topping has Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough holding a mound of lightly caramelized pears and a topping of sweet and crispy glazed sliced almonds. Pear-plus-almond is a classic combo, and for good reason– it’s delicious! I did one thing to my tart that wasn’t in the recipe. I had a little bit of almond frangipane in the freezer that I’d been looking for a home for. After blind baking the tart shell, I spread it on in a thin later before piling on the pears and the almond topping. Not a bad call, if I do say so myself.
This tart is really best the day it’s made. The topping and the tart shell both go a little soggy after sitting overnight…although that sure didn’t stop us from finishing it!
Tags: baking, cake, fruit
This Custardy Apple Square recipe is one I’ve actually made a few times now…maybe three or four. It was the first recipe I tried out when I got Baking Chez Moi and it’s so simple and tasty that it went right on the “make again” list. Apple slices tossed in a quick batter that’s whisked by hand get layered in a baking dish. It goes into the oven kind of a hodgepodge but comes out a stack of beautifully soft apples with a bit of vanilla (and rum, in my case) custard holding them together. A mandolin makes quick work out of neat, thin apple slices (and of course adds a thrilling element of danger to baking prep–watch your fingers!). This also reminds me quite a bit of something called Bolzano Apple Cake that I posted about many years ago. It’s great with whipped cream, but just fine on it’s own.
P.S.: Thanks so much for all the kind comments on my last Baking With Julia post! xoxo
Tags: baking, cake, dessert
So folks, we’ve come to the end of TWD Baking with Julia. The last recipe…I can hardly believe it. I admit that I have skipped a handful of them, but still, 107 completed recipes from one cookbook isn’t too shabby. The biggest and the toughest has been saved for last– a Glorious Wedding Cake! This is three tall, stacked tiers of dense almond cake sandwiched with jam and a crisp layer of almond dacquoise, topped off with rum-laced buttercream and decorated with marzipan fruit. I mean, Martha Stewart even gets not one, but two episodes devoted to this thing. Unfortunately though, no one asked me to make them a wedding cake in the past few weeks, so I had to go small instead of big on this one. Instead of a three tier show-stopper, I made a single tier cutie. Maybe it’s not so glorious, and I guess it’s basically the top tier that married couples put into the freezer for their first anniversary (R and I eloped…no cake for us, so I’m unclear on these traditions).
You may notice that there isn’t an interior shot of this cake. That’s because I definitely did something wrong with the almond cake layers. What, I am still not sure, but I was too stingy to waste all the almond paste and eggs that went into making it, so I just ploughed ahead with what I had. I’ll tell you though that there was a lot of patchwork involved and I am too embarrassed to show you what was going on in there. It was still delicious, so whatevs. No one paid me to make it for them after all.
Since my cake was tiny, the rest came together with out too much trouble. The dacquoise (almond meringue) layer was wonderful to crunch through and the egg yolk-based buttercream was super luxe. Rather than the marzipan cherries and raspberries Martha made, I did some strawberries and also some flowers and ivy leaves using the wacky hodgepodge of gum paste flower tools I have in my red pastry toolbox.
Tags: baking, bread, breakfast
We’ve used Nancy Silverton’s brioche recipe left and right by now, but we’ve never just made plain brioche with it. Brioche is one of my favorite breads to make…all eggy and buttery and stuff. It’s easy to mix and to work with, when the temperature is right. I’ve made a different Dorie brioche loaf recipe before, so this time, I tried to make brioche à tête. For some reason I own three of the small fluted molds used for this…why, I don’t remember. My tête shaping skills need a little work. These looked more like brioche à goose egg. No matter, it tasted the same– delicious! Salty butter and plum jam were my toppings of choice here.
Tags: baking, fruit, tarts
I guess it’s about to be fall here, although the outside temperature isn’t quite on board with that yet. Maybe I’ll hurry things along by baking up an apple dessert, like this Apple Tarte Flambé. Everyone says that tarte flambé can be thought of as Alsatian pizza, so I’ll repeat it. Usually it’s savory, with onions and bacon (like the Alsatian Onion Tart we made a while back), so this one’s a twist, with a sweet creamy topping and see-through slices of mandolined apple on top of a thin yeasted base.
It’s key to roll the dough on this really thin. It shouldn’t really have much of an outer crust at all. Pricking the dough all over the place also helps keeps it from poofing up in the oven. I used a red apple, and would do so again, if only because the paper-thin slices bake up with such pretty frilly pink edges. Once this tarte is out of the oven, it’s time to slice and eat it straight away, when it’s crispiest and most delicious.
Tags: baking, fruit, tarts
As soon as I saw the picture in the book that accompanies the recipe for Dorie’s Philadelphia Blueberry-Corn Tart, I knew it would make adorable little tartlets. When I’m baking for just the two of us, I often like things that can be assembled “to order.” This tart, with its whipped cream-cream cheese filling and and dark purple blueberry and sweet corn topping, sounded like maybe it wouldn’t take well to four days in the fridge as we whittled down a large version.
Once you have your tart shell(s) made and baked, you can power off the oven because the filling is no-bake and comes together quickly. Even the jam only takes a few minutes on the stovetop. I left the fresh rosemary out of the jam, and rather than using lemon zest and juice, I used a splash of OJ. Also, some of the reports from the last posting date noted that the jam was a little loose, so I put in a touch of cornstarch to make sure it wouldn’t run too much. This is not have the feel of a full-on hefty cheesecake…in fact, the filling is light and delicate and has the right amount of tang for the sweet crust and fruity (corny!) topping. Perfect for exactly this time of the year.
Tags: baking, bread
Baking bread isn’t my typical 90° day activity. I didn’t really have any other choice, though, if I wanted to get Beatrice Ojakangas’s Swedish Limpa made within the first two weeks of this month. Limpa, if you haven’t had it (I hadn’t myself until today), is a rye bread favored with orange zest, fennel, anise and caraway seeds and molasses and brown sugar. It’s often eaten at Christmas time in Sweden…in my house it will be eaten in mid-August.
I don’t have any anise in my spice collection and didn’t really feel like getting any either, since I’m not much of a licorice fan…I just used a bit more caraway and fennel to compensate. The recipe makes two loaves, which is a bit much for us, so I made half. The bread is traditionally baked in round cake pans, but I’ll be putting most of it into the freezer for later. With easy future toasting in mind, I baked my half-recipe in a 9″x5″ loaf pan instead.
This bread is delicious! I’m the one who added the molasses and sugar to the dough, yet somehow I forgot until the first bite that it would be slightly sweet. And the orange zest, seeds and rye–yum! Seriously, heat wave be damned…I’m glad I turned the oven on for this one. The recipe notes say the bread goes well with meat and cheese, and I believe it, but it’s also not bad with just a smear of salty butter.
Tags: chocolate, ice cream
Hot summer days call for cold treats, everyone knows that. Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups are frozen chocolate mousse on a stick, with booze (I used Cassis) and chopped chocolate bits added for more fun. No ice cream maker– but several bowls!– required. I had my suspicions about these freezing too hard, actually, but they were perfectly airy and delicious. A “make again” for sure.
Tags: baking, cake
If you can handle turning on the oven in the middle of summer, it’s nice to bake with berries. These little golden Cornmeal and Berry Cakes, made with olive oil, are a lovely addition to my standard repertoire. And they’re easy to make, too. The recipe calls for raspberries, but blueberries would be great and blackberries may be even better. I actually used red currants, since I had a pint that I didn’t really have any other plans for. They give a tart little pop to the cakes, so I definitely wanted to add a little powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze to their tops. These can be made as mini loaves or cupcakes…I used a friand tin bought when we lived in Sydney because I like the oval shape.
These don’t make me think of cornbread or corn muffins…they are really cakes. I think actually they’ll make good breakfast treats with coffee, and that’s how we’ll have the ones I’ve wrapped for the freezer.