Summer Tartlet With Crème d’amande & Crème Pâtissière

INGREDIENTS:

CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 30g cornstarch
  • 30g all-purpose flour
 METHOD: 
  1. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.
  2. In a saucepan, add milk, vanilla seeds and pod and half of the sugar (35g).
  3. Heat the milk mixture to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar in a heat proof bowl until creamy and pale in color. Add the cornstarch and the flour. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk.
  6. Temper the eggs: Pour 1/2 of the warm milk into the bowl with the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
  7. Now warm the remaining milk in the saucepan to a slow boil.
  8. Pour the egg mixture into the pan while whisking vigorously and constantly until the you have a smooth cream and you see the first bubbles in the pan. Remove from heat.
  9. Immediately pour the cream into a large baking pan. Spread out the cream and cover the surface with plastic wrap.
  10. Refrigerate over night or until completely cold.
PÂTE SUCRÉE
  • 300g butter
  • 180g icing sugar
  • 50g almond flour
  • 1 vanilla bean/1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 500g all-purpose flour

METHOD:

  1. Cream the butter until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar, almond flour and vanilla seeds. Mix until combined. If vanilla extract is used, mix the vanilla with the eggs and add in the next step.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until combined.
  4. Mix the salt with the flour.
  5. Add the flour in three additions. Mix for about 10 seconds after each portion or until it just comes together. Once the flour is added it is important not to overwork the dough. Be quick because you want to stop gluten protein formation.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 portions. Plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. The dough you wont be needing can be frozen at this stage. Thaw over night in refrigerator.
  7. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a flour dusted work bench. Beat it with the rolling pin a couple of times to flatten it. Then roll it to a thickness of 3-5 mm. Again, try to be quick and not to overwork the dough.
  8. Line the tart pan or flan ring with the dough. Let it rest for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
  9. Preheat the oven to 175°C.
  10. Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and fill the tart pan with beans or rice.
  11. Blind bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Remove the parchment paper and the beans.
  13. Allow to cool on wire rack still inside the tart pan or ring mold until the crème d’amande is ready.
LA CRÈME D’AMANDE
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g almond flour
  • 250g butter, room temperature
  • 250g eggs
  • 35g all-purpose flour
METHOD: 
  1. Mix sugar and almond flour.
  2. Beat in the butter until very smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs in two additions. Beat with a whisk to make the cream airy and light.
  4. Cently fold in the flour.
  5. Pipet a 1 cm thick layer of the cream into the blind baked tart shells.
  6. Bake for another 10-20 minutes. Time depends on your almond cream. Bake until the almond cream has puffed up and surface starts to get golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack still inside the tart pan or ring mold.
SERVING
Pipet a layer of crème pâtissière on top of the crème d’amande and decorate with a mixture of beautiful summer berries.
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2014 Chocolate Kings Cake With Crumble

A very traditional cake we usually do every Christmas in Greece & Cyprus with a chocolate twist! The King Cake (Vasilopita in Greek or galette des rois in French),  is a New Year’s Day cake which contains a hidden coin or trinket which gives good luck to the receiver. It is associated with Saint Basil’s day, January 1, in most of Greece, but in some regions, the traditions surrounding a cake with a hidden coin are attached to Epiphany or to Christmas.

On New Year’s Day families cut the vasilopita to bless the house and bring good luck for the new year. This is usually done at the midnight of New Year’s Eve. A coin is hidden in the cake by slipping it into the dough before baking. At midnight the sign of the cross is etched with a knife across the cake. A piece of cake is sliced for each member of the family and any visitors present at the time, by order of age from eldest to youngest. Slices are also cut for various symbolic people or groups, depending on local and family tradition.  In older times, the coin often was a valuable one, such as a gold sovereign. Nowadays there is often a prearranged gift, money, or otherwise, to be given to the coin recipient.

Image

INGREDIENTS:

VASILOPITA:

  • 250 g. dark chocolate 72% cocoa
  • 400 g. butter
  • 300 g. brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 bulb fresh ground nutmeg
  • 400 g. almond powder
  • 10 eggs
  • 175 g. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Decorative nuts and bonbons

ALMOND CRUMBLE:

  • 125 g. butter
  • 150 g. brown sugar
  • 30 g. dark chocolate 72% cocoa
  • 125 g. flour
  • 50 g. almond powder

METHOD:

  1. Melt the chopped chocolate with the butter in the microwave.
  2. In a bowl add the eggs and beat with a hand blender or whisk.
  3. In another pan , place the melted chocolate with the butter , add the brown sugar , cinnamon, cloves , nutmeg , the almond powder , beaten eggs , flour and lastly the baking powder.
  4. Mix well and pour the mixture into a 28cm diameter tin, with a built bottom foil.
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 170 degrees C for 30 minutes and at 160 degrees C for another 30 minutes.

FOR THE ALMOND CRUMBLE :

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave.
  2. In a bowl add the butter, brown sugar, almond powder and stir briefly with an electric mixer.
  3. Add the melted chocolate and flour, continuing to stir.
  4. Take it out of the bowl and roll it out into a thin sheet of thickness 3 mm with a roller pin and place it in the fridge.
  5. When frozen cut a disc diameter smaller than the hoop of the Kings Cake.
  6. Cover the surface of the almost cooked cake with the crumble and continue baking for 15 minutes until the crumble is cooked.
  7. Garnish with decorations of your choice .

Apricot and Blackberry-Marzipan Hamantaschen

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~30 hamantaschen total (~15 of each flavor)for cookie:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 385 gr (2 1/4 cups) AP flour
  • dash of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 8 oz butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
  • 1 large egg, beaten

METHOD:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, butter, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough begins to form.
  2. Remove the dough from the food processor and wrap in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the fillings–recipes included below.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare cookie sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  5. Lightly sprinkle your workspace with powdered sugar or flour. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter (~2.5 – 3 inches in diameter), cut out rounds.
  6. For apricot hamantaschen, spoon about a teaspoon of filling into the center of each cookie. For blackberry-marzipan hamantaschen, place about a teaspoon of almond paste in the center of each cookie round and top with a small amount of blackberry preserves.
  7. Fold the edged of the cookie rounds up and pinch the corners together. Place the cookies on the prepared lined cookie sheets. Brush the outsides of the cookies with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Note: Despite tasting really good, this is perhaps one of the most temperamental doughs I’ve worked with. It likes to be rolled out cold (otherwise sticks to everything, even parchment paper) but folded into cookie form when it’s a little closer to room temperature.
Note: Don’t roll the dough out thinner than 1/4 of an inch, either, which will make it difficult to work with.

for dried apricot quick jam filling:

  • 1/4 lbs dried (California) apricots (~7 gr)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • sprinkle of lemon juice, freshly squeezed

METHOD:

  1. Combine the dried apricots, water, and sugar in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Over medium-low heat, cook covered for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes more, until the liquid has reduced.
  4. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a food processor. Add a small sprinkling of lemon juice. Pulse until the apricots are roughly chopped but do not process until smooth.
  5. Let cool before filling cookies.

for blackberry-marzipan filling:
blackberry preserves
almond paste (marzipan)

or
Another filling could be:
Poppyseed
Mascarpone
figs

White Cheddar and Cinnamon Apple Hand Pies

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~12-14 pies

  • 2 cups (260 gr) AP flour
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 4 oz.(113 gr) extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup (151 gr) butter, cold
  • 5-6 Tbspn water, cold
  • 500 gr apples
  • 1 Tbspn lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (25 gr) sugar
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tspn ground cloves
  • 1/2 tspn freshly grated nutmeg
  • heavy cream
  • turbinado sugar

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Coarsely grate the cheese. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cheese and cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed. Do not overmix!
  4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Peel, core, and chop the apples into small chunks. Toss to combine the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  6. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to about 1/8″ thick. Cut out 5 inch circles. Fill each circle with apples and fold in half. Press the edges together tightly, crimping with a fork. Cut three small slits on the top of each pie. Chill the pies in the refrigerator or freezer briefly if the dough has softened.
  8. Before baking, brush the tops of the pies with heavy cream. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  9. Bake at 230 degrees F for five minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15 more minutes, until the crust is golden.
  10. Remove from oven and cool briefly before serving.

Peanut Butter Sticky Buns

Peanut butter sticky bunsPeanut butter sticky bun recipeEasy homemade sticky bunsINGREDIENTS:

For the dough:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons Peanut Butter Powder

METHOD:

  1. In a small pot melt the butter. Over low heat stir in the milk and sugar until just warmed and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in the yeast and allow this to sit and bubble for 8-10 minutes. In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt and peanut butter powder.
  2. When the yeast is ready stir it in along with the egg yolks until a dough begins to form. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for 2 hours.
  3. Toward the end of the rise time prepare the peanut glaze. You’ll need: 3/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 1/2 cups chopped peanuts. In a pot melt together the butter, sugar and corn syrup until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and peanuts.
  4. Pour the batter into a buttered 9×13 baking dish. Or, if you find you don’t have a 9×13 baking dish for some reason, then two 8×8 baking pans.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a large square. For the inside brush on 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle in 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
  6. Roll up and slice into cinnamon rolls. Place the rolls in the prepared pans. Bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and CAREFULLY flip the rolls out of the pan, revealing the peanut glaze on top. The best is if you can lay a cutting board or serving dish over the pan and flip it all together. Use oven mitts. Be careful. Don’t get hot peanut glaze on your forearm. That would totally hurt, like a lot.
  8. These are best if served immediately, while they are still warm. The glaze will begin to harden as the sticky buns cool. But you can always just give them a few minutes in the microwave or a warm oven if needed. Peanut sticky bun recipeSticky bun recipe

Cardamom-Lime Sweet Rolls

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces), divided
  • Cooking spray

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime rind
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted, divided

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

METHOD:

  1. To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Combine sour cream and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Gradually stir yeast mixture into sour cream mixture. Lightly spoon 2 1/3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour to sour cream mixture, stirring to form a soft dough.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly tacky).
  4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (30°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
  5. To prepare filling, combine brown sugar, rind, and cardamom. Divide dough into two equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, roll dough into a 12 x 10–inch rectangle; brush with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle half of filling over dough. Beginning with a long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll). Repeat procedure with remaining dough, 1 tablespoon butter, and filling. Cut each roll into 12 (1-inch) slices. Place slices, cut sides up, in a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  7. Uncover dough. Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack.
  8. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.