Tags: baking, cake, fruit
I have to say that I wasn’t too sure about this Apple Kuchen when I started putting it together. I did not doubt that it would be tasty…I mean, apples and custard inside a sweet crust….yeah, that’s good, obvi. This sounded like it would be the high-rise cousin to the low-rise Alsatian Apple Tart. It’s just that I did not get off to a very good start making it.
The crust was easy enough to make and roll out, but let me tell you that getting a soft, delicate crust pressed neatly into a tall springform pan is a pain in the you-know-what. It was frustrating enough that the dough cracked into like a 1,000 pieces, but while I was pressing them back together into something crudely resembling a crust, the clasp on said springform decided to pop and now will not stay closed (actually, now it’s in the recycle bin). Ugh. I needed to go with it at that point, so I put a tight rubber band around the pan to hold it closed, dusted cookie crumbs on the bottom, piled it full of apples and chucked it in the oven to par bake. Not my most brilliant idea, as within a few minutes, the rubber band popped in the heat and the buckle opened up again, cracking the crust. I scrambled around and found a small pie pan that was big enough to hold the springform but tight enough to keep the buckle in the closed position. The dough was still soft at that point and seemed to come back together when the pan was re-closed, but with all those apples in there, I really couldn’t tell what condition it was in.
After the par bake, I poured in the crème fraiche custard (confession:I replaced 1/3 of the crème fraiche amount with buttermilk to lighten the calories a bit) and scattered on some plumped raisins. I was amazed that the custard did not immediately leak out the pan, so I hoped for the best. I was just making a half-recipe (6″), but I left it in the oven the full time. A knife poked into the center still didn’t come out completely clean after an hour, but I took it out away. After it came to room temp, I popped my springform-in-pie-plate contraption it into the fridge for extra insurance that the custard would be fully set. And then the moment of truth…
Guess what. The crust was perfect. There was not one spot torn or cracked and not a drop of custard had leaked out. How this happened, I do not know. It’s like it self-healed in the oven. It was very handsome, actually, and delicious…chockablock full of chunky apple pieces with rummy custard seeped around them. Now that I know to relax about the crust, next time, I’ll either mix the raisins in with the apples at the start or I’ll skip the final step of running the kuchen under the broiler with extra sugar and butter on the top…or maybe I’ll do both. The raisins were a little too brûléed for my tastes…they started off as golden raisins, but you can see in the picture what happened to them under the broiler!
Tags: baking, fruit, tarts
We’re on a roll with tasty tarts from Baking Chez Moi and this week we’re continuing to make the most out of summer fruit with a Cherry Crumb Tart. Here, we have our old friend STD (sweet tart dough, that is) housing lots of fresh cherries that are nestled in an almond frangipane filling and topped with streusel crumbs. Yum, right!?! This tart sounds like it has a lot of components, but you can make your dough (and roll and pan it, too), frangipane and crumb topping all a day or two ahead of time. Then when you’re ready to go, just par-bake your crust, pit your cherries and follow the bake-off instructions.
When I came home from vacay, I was pretty sure the summer’s cherries were a thing of the past (just like that gorgeous Montana view…boo) and I planned to pick up a punnet of blackberries to use in this tart instead. But lo and behold, I found some sour cherries at the greenmarket and snapped them right up. Sweet cherries would be just as good here, btw. My streusel didn’t really keep it’s crumbly, piecey shapes in the oven but kind of melded together into a (quite sweet) crispy shell. Not sure why, since I used cold ingredients and chilled it overnight, but it was still delicious. I flavored it only with cardamom, no orange zest, and thought it was the perfect subtle flavoring to go with the cherries and almonds. I liked the tart with a little whipped cream and thought it held up just fine in the fridge for a couple of days, as we cut off slices after dinner and whittled it down to nothing.
I’m wishing now that I’d taken a side view photo of a slice. It really was full of red cherries! For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, fruit, tarts
A full-on fruit tart is never one of my go-to desserts. I don’t know why, since I’m big on the combo of fruit and crust…I can certainly get behind a good slice of pie or a big scoop of crisp. But I just don’t really think of fruit tarts. It takes the peer pressure of organized group baking to get me to make one, like this Apricot-Raspberry Tart, and remember how spectacular they can be.
This tart is really all about the apricots. Luckily, they’re in season now where I live, and at the farmers’ market I found baskets of the tiniest blushing apricots. Even though I made a small tart using a half batch of sweet dough, I was able to stuff it full of the little guys. At the bottom of the tart shell. a layer of cake or brioche crumbs (or even ladyfingers) acts as a sponge to absorb any juices from the baked fruit. At the restaurant where I work, cakes for specials orders are usually baked off as sheets that are then punched out and assembled in ring molds. That means there’s always some cake off-cut or trim in the walk-in that’s up for grabs. I took home an square of hazelnut cake last week with this this tart in mind. My apricots and raspberries held shape pretty well and didn’t release too much juice, but I liked the added flavor that the hazelnut cake crumbs gave. Having used it, I garnished my tart with some candied hazelnuts instead of the pistachios Dorie suggests.
Really, this tart was so pretty I hesitated to cut it! It’s a fine treat to celebrate Bastille Day today. Even though it may be best eaten up the day of baking, we had a couple of slices left over and I don’t think they suffered too much from a night in the fridge. For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, fruit, tart
Okay, so this recipe isn’t from BWJ, BCM or even BFMHTY, but it is from another Dorie book, Around my French Table, so I’m trying to pass it off as a rewind this week and hope no one calls me out on it. Also, I’ve made it before, but I liked it enough to play around with it again.
I don’t have a lot of new insight or commentary to add here. It’s still so tasty! I just wanted to show that, even though cherries (which I used last time) are the traditional Gâteau Basque fruit filling, you don’t have to be bound by tradition. Here, along with pastry cream, I used roasted strawberries that I had leftover from last week’s shortcake. The delicious cookie-like double crust would be great sandwiching so many different fruits. Using fruit that’s cooked in some way, whether that be candied, roasted, jammed or sauced, is most ideal, since the fruit is concentrated and you’ll have less liquid seeping into the crust. I plan to try jammy plums next time.
Tags: fruit, pie, tarts
I’ve done a pretty traditional LMP here before, so I guess it’s time to try out Gale Gand’s Not-Your-Usual Lemon Meringue Pie. Forget about making pie crust for this– lemon curd and meringue are sandwiched Napoleon-style between layers of crispy sugared phyllo dough. BTW, based on the previous Gale Gand stuff we’ve made, I was not at all surprised to see phyllo pop up here.
This is a pretty dessert and it’s pretty straightforward, too. It does need to be served fairly soon after it’s stacked up, but you can make the lemon curd and bake the phyllo crisps plenty ahead of time. Wait till the last minute to get the brown sugar Swiss meringue done, though.
We liked this “pie” a lot. The pretty layers do smoosh as soon is they’re hit with a fork, but that’s okay. The lemon curd is a gentle one…not too puckery. The recipe left me with extra curd, which is no problem in my books, but I would recommend reducing the meringue amount by at least a couple of whites, if not by half.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Here’s a video of the BWJ episode (this dessert is in the second half). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, cake, dessert, fruit
I’ve had a busy September. It’s one of the nicest months of the year in New York City, but I’ve hardly been home to enjoy it. (Not that I’m complaining…I’ve been here and here instead, and it was all in the name of fun.) Luckily, I was able to squeeze in the Raspberry-Plum Crostata from Leslie Mackie before I began running around. This crostata recipe originally called for a raspberry-fig combo, but I swapped out the figs for plums, just because I already had them. I also tweaked the proportions a bit, and instead of a 1:1 ratio of each fruit, I used 2 parts plums to 1 part raspberries (keeping the combined weight the same 1.5 pounds called for in the recipe). I decreased the sugar in the filling a little, too.
The crust dough is soft and needs to be worked with gently and quickly. Despite its fussiness, it’s easily patched, and I liked the interesting sesame-almond flavoring it has going on. The filling was tasty, too, and that hot pink color makes me a happy girl. I’ll make this one again, and maybe next time I’ll go buy the figs.
Tags: baking, cake, dessert, fruit
These Oven-Roasted Plum Cakes from Marcel Desaulniers were an easy little treat to make with my CSA plums. The batter was a simple butter cake, flavored with orange zest. I made half a recipe (6 cakelettes), so I just mixed it by hand. I had to sub some plain yogurt for the buttermilk, but that worked out fine. The recipe calls for the cakes to be baked in ramekins or custard cups…I was worried that I’d never get them out (although sounds like I needn’t have been), so I used some shallower mini pie tins instead, buttered and floured.
These were good, although the plums (even though they turned very soft in the oven) wanted to jump onto our forks all in one piece. I liked them best with whipped cream. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (there’s also a video). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, fruit, tart
Somehow I almost never miss a week of TWD but I hadn’t made an FFWD recipe in like forever. When I saw that Gâteau Basque was up, I thought it would be a good time to pop back around and say hello. Not surprisingly, Gâteau Basque is a traditional pastry of the French Basque Country. You can read up on it here and here, but it’s basically a layer of either pastry cream or cherry jam sandwiched between two almost cookie-like tart crusts. Hmmm…I wonder if it was the inspiration for Dorie’s Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake?
We made Gâteau Basque on weekends at the shop where I used to work (and they probably still do). We used a bit of almond flour and almond extract in our dough there, so I had assumed that flavoring was traditional…but that’s not in Dorie’s version, so maybe it’s not. Sometimes less is more, but sometimes more is more, so at the shop we always filled ours with pastry cream and fruit. I can admit that I’m a little greedy when it comes to sweets, and “more is more” is the way I like it, so that’s what I did here at home, too. I didn’t have cherry jam but I did have some dark cherries that I candied a couple of weeks ago…I dropped them on top of the pastry cream and they worked nicely.
This is pretty easy to make, and you can bust out all the components a day ahead of time. The dough is sticky, but forgiving, and you can even more or less pat it into the round shapes you need without too much rolling. It’s really delicious, and beautiful, too, with a pretty crosshatch pattern on top of the golden crust. For the recipe, see Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out my fellow francophiles’ posts.
Tags: baking, dessert, fruit
The promise of a blueberry pie made my husband finally agree to drive me out to the country for some berry picking last Saturday. It’s good to know that bribes do work, although I still haven’t made good on my end…this is obviously not blueberry pie. We came with a quart of U-pick raspberries, too, so using those delicate jewels became my first priority. Not turning on the oven became my second priority.
You may see the words “raspberry brûlée” and think immediately of Prince, or you may see them and think of crème brûlée…I assure you this is far less fancy than either, even though it looks and tastes like a million bucks. In fact, apart from straight-up fresh fruit, this might be one of the easiest summer desserts out there. It’s simply whipped cream folded with fresh raspberries and given a torched sugar top. It’s fresh and light as air, but with but with a sweet crunch.
A lot of times the broiler works as a reasonable alternative to a kitchen torch. I’m not sure how it would do in this case though, since whipped cream is not as sturdy as a custard. You want a bit of runny, melted cream just under the crispy brûléed top, but I suspect the boiler may take melting the cream a step further than a torch would.
Raspberry Brûlée- serves 6-8
adapted from Saveur Magazine, Issue 94
Steph’s Notes: The dish can also be made with tayberries (which I have never seen here before) or blackberries, and I’m sure diced peaches or nectarines would be tasty, too.
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
¼-½ cup powdered or superfine sugar (depending on how sweet you like it and how sweet your berries are)
splash of cassis or frambiose (optional)
2 pints raspberries
⅓ cup demerara sugar
– Put the heavy cream into a large bowl and beat until medium peaks form. Add the powdered or superfine sugar and the booze (if using) and continue beat to stiff peaks.
-Add the raspberries to the whipped cream and fold gently to coat. Carefully transfer raspberries to a wide serving dish or divide them between 6-8 individual gratin dishes and liberally strew the top with demerara sugar. Using a kitchen torch, evenly caramelize the sugar until it gets bubbly and darkened in some spots. A bit of the top layer of cream will start to “run” in this process, but if you don’t hold the torch too long in one place, what’s underneath will stay whipped.
-Refrigerate brûlée for about 15 minutes to let the sugar harden. If you’ve used one large serving dish, scoop servings into bowls, making sure that each scoop includes some of the crunchy sugar topping. If you used individual gratin dishes, just grab spoons. Serve immediately.
Tags: baking, dessert, fruit
Have you already moved on from rhubarb for the year? I haven’t– it’s one of my absolute favorites, and I’m happy to pick up a pound from the Greenmarket every week till it disappears. Right now, I’m in that glorious overlap moment when I can find rhubarb and raspberries at the same time. Why is strawberry-rhubarb the combo that gets all the love? Raspberry-rhubarb bakes up deliciously. Raspberries are often less sweet than strawberries, but I’ve always liked to keep my rhubarb desserts on the tart side anyway. And that hot pink color…I’d paint my whole house that color if it wouldn’t look like (ummm) questionable things might be going on inside.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m confused about the difference between a crumble and a crisp (I guess we didn’t cover that in pastry school), but I do know that they are both easier than pie- truly- and, I think, just as tasty. Flipping through Tina Nordstrom’s charming latest book Tina Nordström’s Scandinavian Cooking, which is less a tome of traditional Scandinavian recipes and more a collection of tasty things from around the world she likes to cook in her Swedish kitchen, I saw a recipe for Raspberry Crumble with Almonds that I knew would work with the addition of rhubarb (and a bit of extra sugar). The sweetness of the crumbly (and crisp!) topping balances the fruit nicely. You can probably further tinker with the recipe quite successfully, if you’d like. Swap the vanilla flavoring for cardamom, use oats instead of almonds, and so on. The one thing I wouldn’t mess with, though, is the ball of ice cream on top. That’s a given, at least at my house.
Raspberry-Rhubarb Crumble with Almonds- serves 6
adapted from Tina Nordström’s Scandinavian Cooking by Tina Nordström
Steph’s Notes: The original recipe in the book is for a straight-up raspberry crumble. If you want to make this without the rhubarb, use 500g raspberries (fresh or frozen) and cut back both the white sugar and the vanilla sugar in the fruit by half (leave the topping as-is). If you don’t have vanilla sugar, replace with an equal amount of granulated sugar and a dash of vanilla extract. I like to keep the fruit on the tart side, since the topping’s quite sweet, but if you know you’d like your rhubarb sweeter, add up to a couple of extra tablespoons of sugar to the fruit mixture.
for the crumb topping
3/4 cup, plus 1 1/2 tbsp (115 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup (100 g) coarsely chopped or slivered almonds
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 1/3 tbsp (75 g) unsalted butter, room temp
for the fruit mixture
about 1/2 lb (250 g) rhubarb, cut into 1″ lengths
about 1/2 lb (250 g) raspberries, fresh or frozen
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla sugar
-Start by making the crumb topping. Combine all dry ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl, and use your fingers to mix it all together with the butter. I like a combination of some clumps and some sandy crumbs. Put the topping in the fridge or freezer while you preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
-For the filling, toss the rhubarb pieces, raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla sugar directly in the bottom of a greased ceramic or glass baking pan, 8-10″ in diameter (22-24 cm).
-Sprinkle the chilled topping evenly over the fruit mixture. Bake until topping turns golden and juices are bubbling, about 35-40 minutes, turning at the halfway point. If you notice that your topping is browning too quickly, turn the heat down to 350°F for the remainder of the baking time.
-Let cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before serving.
Please note that the publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, sent me a copy of this book.