Monday, September 28, 2015

French Lemon Cream Tart

I'm a fan of lemon pies (see here and here), so when I saw "The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart" in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, I knew I needed to give it a try.  It just so happened that my dad was in town when I made this pie (lemon pie is his absolute favorite)!  Essentially, this pie consists of a sweet tart shell that gets filled with lemon cream.  I then whipped some cream and piped little stars around, just to be fancy pants.  If, like me, you aren't sure of the difference between lemon curd and lemon cream, let me share my newfound education!  They basically contain the same ingredients:  eggs, lemon zest and juice, sugar and butter.  The difference is how they are made.  In curd, all of the ingredients are cooked together until they thicken, so you get that nice silky, buttery spread.  In cream, the butter is left out of the cooking - only the eggs, sugar and lemon are cooked until thickened.  Then they are put into a blender, allowed to cool, and whipped with the butter.  This way the butter doesn't actually melt, it gets emulsified, so you end up with a really light, velvety spread.  Lemon cream and lemon curd can be used interchangeably in most cases, however your mood dictates! 
The conclusion?  Lemon cream is blissful!  I would probably reduce the sugar next time (a common theme in my lemon pies) but it was super!  The best part though was when I gave the clever boy a taste of the lemon cream.  He is always eager to try anything I am baking, but had not connected the ideas of "lemon" and "tart".  So when I put a bit of lemon cream into his mouth, his eyes got really wide and he did this little shiver/convulsion throughout his 2-yr old body.  It was hysterical!  Sweet boy. 

You can find The Most Extraordinary Lemon Cream Tart on pages 331 and 332 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or by going here, to Dorie's website. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tuesday's with Dorie July Catch-up!

Well, all I can say is that my free time seemed to disappear over the summer...  I did a lot of baking, but never managed to set aside the time to edit photos and post to the blog.  Summer is a busy time with two kids!  Better late than never, though! 

The first recipe in July is the White Chocolate Patty Cake from Baking with Julia.  What appears to be a simple white cake, above, is actually a rich, velvety cake made of white chocolate and lots of eggs.  It was fluffy and velvety and scrumptious.  I am not generally someone who jumps for joy for white chocolate, but it really made this cake something special!  The cakes themselves collapse a bit when taken out of the oven, but that's totally fine.  You sort of smoosh the cakes together anyway!  There is a layer of "raspberry crush" in between the layers, and also some on top of the cake (that's the red sauce you see).  It was supposed to be made with frozen raspberries in a light syrup, but my raspberries were simply frozen - no syrup involved.  That worked fine with me though, as it was not too tart by any means.  Plus, the cake itself is sweet (all that white chocolate!) so the contrast between the sweet cake and the tart sauce was perfect!  Once the sauce is spread over the bottom layer, the top layer is placed and then the edges are smooshed together.  Then more sauce is put on top, with fresh raspberries.  This is a delicious summer treat!  It looks and tastes like you worked really hard, and it is actually quite simple!  Try it!  You can find the recipe here

Ready for some more raspberries?  I am!  Truly, when raspberries start showing up in the grocery store, I am thrilled.  My kids love them (call them "finger berries") and I could easily eat an entire tray (no matter the size!) in a sitting.  If you are a Costco member, go there for your summer raspberry fix.  They are AWESOME and like everything at Costco, comes in a bigger container than in the grocery store, for about the same price!  Win! 

This particular recipe is from Baking Chez Moi, and is the Apricot Raspberry Tart.  You can find the recipe on page 145.  This recipe was supposed to have a layer of stale cake crumbs or brioche between the sweet tart and the fruit layer, to absorb the juices.  OR, Dorie suggests that you create an Apricot-Almond Cream Tart and spread a layer of almond cream over the bottom of the tart.  Yeah, HELLO?  I'll take that option, thank you very much!  But I didn't see the purpose of losing the raspberries in the process (Dorie leaves them out in this version) so I used them anyway.  Are you with me here?  Sweet tart dough, almond cream, apricots, raspberries, and pistachios on top.  NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS!  Delicious.  This is totally my kind of dessert.  I tend to lean towards the fruity pie-ish type desserts and this baby is right up my alley! 

Finally, in July we made Vanilla-Mango Panna Cotta.  This recipe is also from Baking Chez Moi and can be found on pages 370-372.  This I made at my parents house, where the kids and I went to help my mom after a minor surgery.  Surely delicious food and love from grandkids helped her heal well!  I like to think so, anyway!  This is another recipe that looks like a million bucks but is actually fairly simple to make!  If you've never made a panna cotta, you really need to give it a try.  It takes minimal time to prep and can (in fact has to) be made in advance, so at the right time you just have to get it out of the refrigerator and BAM an amazing dessert is served! 

The panna cotta sits on a puree of mango and lime.  You could also add honey to the mix, but my mangoes were sweet so I didn't add any.  The puree goes on the bottom and into the refrigerator.  Then you make the panna cotta, which is made by infusing vanilla bean into heavy cream and milk, then adding bloomed gelatin.  Pour this on top of the cold puree, refrigerate at least 2 hours, and there you have a beautiful dessert!  If you don't care for mango, you could use a different fruit puree or use NO fruit puree, set the panna cotta in a lightly oiled mold, and then pop them gently out to serve on a plate with berries or some sort of syrup.  Panna cotta is super versatile!

Oh, and I can't believe I took this picture.  I probably couldn't do it again if I tried but I love how it turned out!  I'll take my successes where I can!

There you go for a July catch up...  There is still one recipe that I haven't gotten around to making yet, but I'll get there.....  eventually.....