Everything but the kitchen sink cookies

INGREDIENTS:

makes nine 6-inch cookies 

  • 2 1/4 cups (320 gr) AP flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn finely ground Turkish coffee
  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (120 gr) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (200 gr) white sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn dark molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbspn cream or milk
  • 1 Tbspn vanilla extract
  • 4 cups of mix-ins: 1 cup each of pretzels (chopped), Butterfingers (chopped), marshmallows, dark chocolate chips

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. Whisk to combine the AP flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and finely ground Turkish coffee. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugars and mix until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the molasses to the butter and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk and vanilla extract. In two stages, beat in the flour mixture on low until thoroughly combined. Fold in the mix-ins.
  4. Scoop the dough into large rounds onto the prepared cookie sheets, about two cookies per half-sheet baking pan. Leave ample room between each cookie. Dip your fingers in water and lightly spread out and press the dough into a circle.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Note: If you don’t have Turkish coffee, substitute with finely ground regular coffee and a pinch or two of ground cardamom.
Note: This recipe can support up to four cups of mix-ins. Feel free to mix in anything you can think of or have in your cabinets: potato chips, nuts, dried fruits, chopped candy bars, cereal, last year’s Halloween candy, next year’s Halloween candy…. The sky’s the limit!

Chai Tea Sandwich Cookies

Vanilla cardamom cookies
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 3/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1 heaping Tbspn ground cardamom (or more, if you want extra spicy cookies)
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tspn vanilla
  • vanilla sugar, optional (recipe found below)

METHOD:

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium.
  3. Mix in the egg and vanilla to the fluffed butter and sugar.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients in two batches and mix until combined.
  5. Wrap the dough in 2-3 separate portions in parchment paper and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling:
Darjeeling tea filling
INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4-5 Tbspn loose leaf Darjeeling tea
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup veggie shortening
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine milk and Darjeeling tea.  Bring to almost a boil.
  2. Remove the milk from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Return the milk to heat and simmer until the liquid reduces by about a half or more.  Let cool.
  4. In a mixer, beat butter and shortening for about 2-3 minutes on medium.
  5. Add milk tea and gradually mix in powdered sugar.
  6. With mixer on high, beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Baking and assembling:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Take one portion of dough out of the freezer at a time. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper or on a floured surface until about 1/4″ thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  3. Place prepared dough on a pan with a silpat or sheet of parchment paper. If using, sprinkle each piece with vanilla sugar.
  4. Bake cookies for ~15-18 minutes, rotating once half-way through.
  5. Remove cookies and let cool.
  6. Fill a pastry bag with the filling and pipe a small amount on a cookie.  Sandwich the filling with another cookie and gently press down.

for vanilla sugar:

  1. Fill a clean jar with sugar.
  2. Split open a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar in the jar.  Mix.
  3. Bury the vanilla bean in the sugar as well.
  4. Seal the jar tightly and keep in a cool, dark place for at least 1 week until the sugar absorbs the vanilla fragrance.

Hazelnut Plum Tarts

INGREDIENTS:

makes six 4-inch tarts

  • 255 g (2 cups + 2 Tbspn) AP flour
  • 80 g (1/2 cup) hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tspn Turkish coffee
  • 1/4 tspn ground cardamom
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn sea salt
  • 2 sticks (1 lb) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tspn hazelnut extract
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbspn orange juice
  • 4 – 6 small plums
  • turbinado sugar

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C. Lightly grease the inside of six 4-inch tart molds. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, hazelnuts, Turkish coffee grounds, ground cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Process until the hazelnut is finely ground.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Meanwhile, rub the orange zest into the sugar with your fingertips. Slowly add the sugar into the butter, creaming thoroughly until well-incorporated and aerated. 5. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the hazelnut and vanilla extracts and the orange juice. Beat well.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two stages, beating until combined and until a smooth dough forms.
  6. Divide and press the dough into the prepared tart pans. Slice the plums and arrange the slices on top of the dough, pressing down lightly. Sprinkle with a healthy amount of turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake the tarts for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before unmolding from the tart tins.

Green Apple Jasmine Sorbet Sandwiches with Chocolate Snaps

INGREDIENTS:
Green Apple Jasmine Sorbet

  • 1 1/4 lbs granny smith apples, cored and chopped (leave peel on!)
  • 1 cup + 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup pearl jasmine tea leaves
  • a pinch of powdered green food coloring (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Combine the apples, 1 cup of water, sugar, salt, and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover loosely, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the apple chunks are very tender.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the remaining 3/4 cup of water to a simmer and brew the tea leaves. Let steep covered.
  3. Once the apples are tender, remove the pot from heat and add the tea and tea leaves into the pot. Cover tightly and let cool at room temperature.
  4. Once cool, press the contents of the pot through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the apple peels and tea leaves that are left behind.
  5. If a smoother sorbet is desired, puree the strained apple sauce in a food processor with the powdered green food coloring, if using, until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  6. Once chilled, freeze the sorbet base in your ice cream maker of choice. Once churned, you may want to let the sorbet harden further overnight in the freezer.

Note: now’s the time to break out the good quality green tea–the better the green tea you start with, the better this sorbet will taste.

INGREDIENTS:
Chocolate Snaps

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 gr) AP flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbspn (75 gr) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 tspn baking powder
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz./112 gr) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbspn (125 gr) sugar
  • 1/4 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks

METHOD:

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks to the butter and sugar, one at a time and beating well after each addition.
  4. Mix in the prepared flour in two to three additions. Press together into a dough, wrap with parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  6. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut out your desired shapes. Keep the dough cool as you work with it.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating once halfway through the baking.
  8. Once done, remove from oven and let cool briefly before removing the cookies from the baking sheet and placing them on a wire rack to continue cooling. Cookies will continue to harden as they cool.

Berry, Apple, and Rosemary Shortbread Bars

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 13″ pan, about 24 squares
for shortbread:

  • 4 cups (560 gr) AP flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 1/2 tspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 – 4 Tbspn fresh rosemary, finely chopped*
  • 4 sticks (1 lb.) butter
  • 2 cups (400 gr) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks

for filling:

  • ~330 gr crisp tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • 2 tspn sugar
  • 1 tspn AP flour
  • 1 cup blackberry + wild blueberry jam (Recipe Below)
  • powdered sugar, optional

METHOD:

  1. Make the shortbread. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide the shortbread dough in half. Wrap each half in parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze until hard, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with foil, leaving overhang at the sides.
  7. Prepare the filling. Toss the chopped apples, lemon juice, sugar, and flour together and let sit for a few minutes.
  8. Heat the jam briefly until it reaches a somewhat liquid, spreadable consistency.
  9. Remove half of the shortbread dough from the freezer. Grate using a coarse grater or the grater plate of a food processor. Spread the grated dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  10. Spoon the jam over the first layer of shortbread dough and distribute the apple chunks in one layer on the jam.
  11. Remove the second half of the dough from the freezer and grate. Pour the grated dough evenly over the jam and apple layer.
  12. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the edges and top are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  13. Using the foil, lift the shortbread out of the pan. If using, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Note: for a strong rosemary taste, use up to 4 Tbspn of chopped rosemary. For a more subtle rosemary flavor, use just 2 Tbspn.

Blackberry and Wild Blueberry Jam
makes about one cup of jam
INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 gr wild blueberries
  • 195 gr blackberries
  • 17 gr freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 160 gr sugar

METHOD:

  1. Place a few spoons on a plate in the freezer.
  2. Mix the berries together in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Let sit for a few minutes to macerate. Divide the berries in half, and set half aside.
  3. In a non-reactive saucepan over medium low heat, combine half of the berries with the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the juices run. Increase heat to medium high until the berries boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the remaining berries. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and stir every thirty seconds or so. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
  5. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the stove. Retrieve a spoon from the freezer and scoop a small amount of liquid and berries. Return the spoon to the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, hold the spoon vertically. If the jam does not run off the spoon and is a thick, spreadable consistency, the jam is done. If not, return the pan to the stove and continue to cook for a few more minutes before testing again.
  6. Cool the jam completely, preferably overnight in an airtight container in the refrigerator, before using in the bars recipe.

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

Peach and Lemon Verbena Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 8-inch deep dish pie

for pastry:

  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks (226 g) butter, cold
  • ½ tspn salt
  • 1 Tbspn almond extract
  • 6 – 7 Tbspn water, cold

for filling:

  • 3 lb (1.36 kg) ripe but firm large yellow peaches
  • 10 – 12 lemon verbena leaves
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (30 g) tapioca flour
  • 1 tspn almond extract
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 Tbspn heavy cream
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas. Add the almond extract and mix briefly. Gradually add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed between two fingers. There should still be chunks of butter. Do not overmix! Form the dough into a disc, wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and pit the peaches, and cut each peach into 8 slices. Toss the peach slices with the lemon verbena and sugar. Transfer the peaches to a strainer suspended over a saucepan. Let macerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Reserve about  ⅓ of the dough. Roll out the other ⅔ of dough on a lightly-floured surface to ⅛-inch thick. Place the dough in a 8-inch springform pan, trimming the excess. Combine the excess dough with the reserved dough and roll out to ⅛-inch thick. Return both the pan and the prepared dough to the refrigerator to chill.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220° C, with the baking rack in the bottom-most position.
  5. Transfer the peach slices to a bowl. With the juices in the saucepan, cook over medium high heat for 12 – 15 minutes, until bubbling and thickened. Pour the reduction over the peaches. Add the tapioca flour and almond extract and toss to combine.
  6. Separate the egg. Whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream. Remove the prepared pie shell and pre-rolled dough from the refrigerator. Brush a layer of egg white on the bottom of the pie shell. Fill the pie shell with the peaches. Cut strips of the rolled dough and create a lattice pattern on top of the pie. Brush the top with the egg yolk wash, and sprinkle very generously with turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake the pie on the bottom-most oven rack for 20 minutes. When the top of the pie turns brown, place a piece of foil lightly on top. Reduce the oven to 190° C and bake for 40 more minutes, until the fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool briefly on a wire rack. Serve warm or cooled, but preferably on the same day the pie is made.

Pumpkin pie with caramel brandy hard sauce

INGREDIENTS:
makes two 4.5″ piesfor pumpkin puree:

  • 1 small pumpkin

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Split the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Discard the seeds.
  3. Place the pumpkin halves face down on a baking sheet with sides.
  4. Bake for 1 hour until fork-tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Puree the pumpkin pulp in a food processor until smooth.

for pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold, in small cubes
  • 4 Tbspn water, cold

for pumpkin filling:

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbspn dark brown sugar
  • white sugar, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • pumpkin pie spices, to taste (try: ginger, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, white pepper)
  • heavy cream, opt., for crust
  • turbinado sugar, opt., for crust

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add the water, 1 Tbspn at a time until, when you press the dough between your fingers, it holds together. Do not overmix!
  4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, make the pumpkin filling. Combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, white sugar (if using), eggs, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1/4 cup whole milk into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out, about 1/8″ thick. Place the dough into the pie plates and crimp the edges. Using a fork, pierce the bottom of the crust several times.
  8. If the dough has become soft from rolling, place in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes.
  9. Line the inside of the pie crusts with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans.
  10. Bake for 15-17 minutes, then remove from oven. Remove the beans and parchment paper and, if desired, line the edge of the pie crust with foil. Return to the oven for 5-7 more minutes until the crust is golden. Remove and fill with pumpkin filling.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake the pumpkin pies for 30 minutes, then brush the exposed crusts with heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if using. Return the pies to the oven and continue to bake for ~10-15 additional minutes until pie is mostly set but jiggles just slightly in the middle when gently bumped.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool briefly. Serve warm with caramel brandy hard sauce (recipe below).
Caramel brandy hard sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbspn butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 Tbspn brandy, to taste

METHOD:

  1. Have all ingredients pre-measured and ready next to the stove.
  2. In a small light-colored saucepan (with tall sides, preferably), wet the sugar with just enough water to make it the consistency of wet sand (~1 – 1 1/12 Tbspn water).
  3. Cook the sugar on medium heat.  Do not stir once the sugar starts boiling–swirl the pan around gently instead to insure even cooking. Cook until the sugar is a deep amber color. Immediately add the butter and whisk thoroughly. Be careful–this will splutter!
  4. As soon as the butter has completely melted, remove from heat and carefully add the heavy cream, whisking continuously.
  5. Once the cream has incorporated, pour the caramel into another heat-resistant container to cool, straining through a fine mesh sieve to remove unevenly cooked sugar, if necessary. Let cool briefly and whisk in brandy to taste. Caramel will continue to thicken as it cools.

Strawberry and Rosemary-Caramel Buckwheat Tart

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9″ round tartfor tart crust:

  • 100 gr buckwheat flour
  • 160 gr AP flour
  • 50 gr sugar
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold and cut in pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4 Tbspn cold water

METHOD:

  1. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, mix the buckwheat and AP flours and sugar until combined. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the size of small peas.
  2. Add the egg yolk and gradually add the water just until a dough begins to form when you press it between two fingers. Do not overmix.
  3. Form the pastry into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  5. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and press the dough into the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork, cover with parchment paper, and weigh down using dry beans or pie weights. Return to freezer/refrigerator for a few minutes if the dough has softened.
  6. Bake for ~13-15 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the beans and the parchment paper and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes more, until the crust has completely turned golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

for rosemary-caramel:

  • 100 gr sugar
  • ~2 heaping Tbspn fresh rosemary leaves (~1 1/2 large sprigs of rosemary)
  • 3 Tbspn butter
  • 1/2 tspn coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tspn freshly squeezed lemon juice

METHOD:

  1. Have all ingredients pre-measured and ready next to the stove.
  2. In a small, light-colored saucepan, wet the sugar with just enough water to make it the consistency of wet sand (~1 – 1 1/2 Tbspn water). Add the rosemary leaves.
  3. Cook the sugar and rosemary on medium heat. Do not stir once the sugar starts boiling–swirl the pan around gently to insure even cooking. Cook until the sugar is a deep amber color, right before it is about to burn. Immediately add the butter and salt and whisk thoroughly. Be careful–this will sputter!
  4. As soon as the butter has completely melted, remove from heat and carefully add the heavy cream, whisking continuously.
  5. Once the cream has incorporated, pour the caramel into another heat-resistant container to cool, straining through a fine mesh sieve to remove unevenly cooked sugar, if necessary. Let cool briefly. Stir in the lemon juice. Let cool briefly, and spread a thin layer onto the bottom of the tart crust. Save any extra caramel for other uses. Let the caramel cool to set.

for cream:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 150 gr sugar
  • 2 Tbspn AP flour
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Bring the milk and cream to just a simmer.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar. Whisk in the flour.
  3. Using the simmering milk, temper the egg mixture by adding a little bit of the hot liquid at a time, whisking constantly.
  4. Return the milk and egg mixture to heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the saucepan until the mixture thickens and can thickly coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  6. Let cool. Once cool, pour on top of the caramel in the tart crust and smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let it set.

for strawberry syrup and final assembly:

  • 12 oz. (~285 gr) frozen strawberries, thawed with juices
  • 1 tspn (~5 gr) lemon juice
  • 1-2 Tbspn sugar, to taste
  • fresh strawberries, sliced or whole

METHOD:

  1. Extract all the juice from the frozen strawberries by pressing them through a fine mesh strainer. You should have a little more than a 1/2 cup of juice. Set the pulp aside for other uses.
  2. Boil the strawberry juice until it has reduced by more than a half (~3-4 Tbspn left).
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and then stir in the sugar to taste. Let cool briefly.
  4. Arrange the fresh strawberries on top of the prepared tart. Brush the strawberries with the slightly warm strawberry syrup.

Raspberry Rose “Hidden” Chocolate Tart

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9″ tart for pastry crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour (~6 oz/260 grams)
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4 Tbspn dried rose buds
  • 1 Tbspn rose extract
  • 1-2 Tbspn water

METHOD:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until a dough begins to form.
  2. Remove the pastry dough from the food processor, form into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  4. Roll out the pastry crust. Prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork. Then, line the pastry with parchment paper and weigh it down with pie weights (or dry beans, which is what I use).  If making tartelettes, just prick the bottom of the pastry without weighing them down.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry looks golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.

for “hidden” chocolate ganache filling:

  • 3 oz. bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2.5 oz. heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tbspn butter
  • 1/2 Tbspn Godiva chocolate liquor, optional

METHOD:

  1. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream and butter. Heat on medium high, stirring and scraping the bottom constantly until it reaches a gentle simmer.  Remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot cream onto the prepared chocolate. Let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and evenly distributed.  Stir in the liquor, if using.
  5. Immediately pour the chocolate into the bottom of the prepared tart crust and let cool.

for pastry cream:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbspn AP flour
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Bring the milk to just a simmer.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar.  Whisk in the flour.
  3. Using the simmering milk, temper the egg mixture by adding a little bit of the hot milk at a time, whisking constantly.
  4. Return the milk and egg mixture to heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the saucepan until the mixture thickens and can thickly coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Immediately remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  6. Let cool.  Once cool, pour on top of the chocolate in the tart crust and smooth.  Refrigerate for at least an hour to let it set.

for assembly:

  • raspberries
  • raspberry-apricot jam (or, just apricot jam)

METHOD:

  1. In a large saute pan, melt a few tablespoons of jam–how much you’ll need will be proportional to how many raspberries you dare to pile on top of your tart.
  2. Once the jam has melted, add the raspberries and gently! roll them around the pan so that they are evenly coated with melted jam.  Remove from heat immediately and pile away!

Lavender Honey Ice Cream, Cardamom-Almond Tuile & Lavender-Honey-Cardamom-Lemon Dark Chocolate Tart

Lavender Honey Ice Cream
INGREDIENTS:
makes ~one quart
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender flowers
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup honey (I used wildflower)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn sugar
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lavender and milk. Bring to just a simmer, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for at least ten minutes.
  2. Stir together the honey and heavy cream in a bowl and prepare a fine mesh strainer on top. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until light. Set aside.
  4. Strain the lavender from the milk, making sure to press all of the liquid possible out of the lavender buds. Discard the lavender buds. Return the milk to the stove and add the sugar and salt. Bring to a bare simmer.
  5. Whisking constantly, pour a small but steady stream of the heated milk into the egg yolks to temper. Do this slowly while whisking quickly. Once the milk and egg yolks are combined, return to the saucepan and to the stove.
  6. Heat the egg yolk and milk mixture while stirring constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so that nothing burns or sticks. Slowly cook the mixture until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat immediately once it thickens.
  7. Pour the hot creme anglaise through the strainer into the honey and cream. Stir to cool.
  8. Chill the mixture thoroughly.
  9. Freeze the ice cream bas in your ice cream maker of choice.

Cardamom-Almond Tuile
INGREDIENTS:
makes ~30-50 cookies, depending on size

  • 1 1/2 oz sliced almonds
  • 5 Tbspn unsalted butter, very soft
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbspn sugar
  • 1/2 tspn ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tspn vanilla
  • 1/3 cup AP flour

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Bake the sliced almonds for 5-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and chop very finely.
  3. Prepare at least two baking sheets lined with silpats or non-stick parchment paper. (You may want to lightly grease the parchment paper, but you won’t need to grease the silpats.) Also have ready a very thin and wide spatula and a rolling pin (or something similar) over which to drape the tuiles while they cool.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, salt, sugar, cardamom, and vanilla until well combined. Add the finely chopped almonds and flour and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Using an off-set spatula or the back of a spoon, spread very, very thin discs of batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Make sure to allow plenty of space between each tuile–they will spread.
  6. Bake for 7-9 minutes, depending on the size of the tuiles, rotating the pan half-way through to facilitate even browning.
  7. Remove from oven and immediately use the thin spatula to drape the tuiles over the prepared rolling pin. Let cool completely.

Note: Tuile batter may be made and stored, tightly-covered, in the refrigerator for a few days, if you’d like to make it ahead of time.
Note: Store tuiles in an airtight container if not using immediately. They are best used the day of.

Lavender-Honey-Cardamom-Lemon Dark Chocolate Tart
INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9″ round tart, or the equivalent rectangular or square sizes.
for pastry:

  • 260 gr AP flour
  • 1 (heaping) tspn ground cardamom
  • 1 Tbspn freshly ground meyer lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbspn water, cold

METHOD:

  1. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, mix the flour, cardamom, lemon zest, and sugar until combined. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the size of small peas.
  2. Add the egg yolk and gradually add the lemon juice and water just until a dough begins to form when you press it between two fingers. Do not overmix.
  3. Form the pastry into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour. (or stick it in the freezer for a shorter amount of time.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  5. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and press the dough into the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork, cover with parchment paper, and weigh down using dry beans or pie weights. Return to freezer for a few minutes if the dough has softened.
  6. Bake for ~13-15 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the beans and parchment paper and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes more, until the crust has completely turned golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

for chocolate ganache filling:

  • 10 oz. heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender buds
  • 12 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 Tbspn honey
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • coarse salt
  • dried lavender buds

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the cream and lavender buds until just barely a simmer. Cover and remove from heat. Let steep for at least ten minutes.
  2. Place the chocolate and honey in a heat-proof bowl, place a fine mesh strainer on top, and set aside.
  3. Add the butter to the cream and lavender bud mixture and return to a simmer. Once the cream simmers, remove from heat and pour the hot cream through the sieve onto the prepared chocolate, making sure to press all of the liquid from the lavender buds. Discard the lavender buds. Let the chocolate sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and evenly distributed.
  5. Immediately pour into the prepared tart crust.
  6. Using your fingers (or a mortar and pestle), rub together an equal but small amount of coarse salt and dried lavender buds. Sprinkle liberally over the top of the chocolate. Let the tart set at room temperature until completely cool, about 1-2 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Orange/Pomegranate/Almond Dark Chocolate Tart

INGREDIENTS:
makes 1 large 9″ tart
(if making tartelettes, double the pastry crust recipe.)

for pastry crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour (~6 oz/260 grams)
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-2 Tbspn freshly grated orange zest (I used one blood orange)
  • 1 Tbspn almond extract
  • 1-2 Tbspn water

METHOD:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until a dough begins to form.
  2. Remove the pastry dough from the food processor, form it into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  4. Roll out the pastry crust.  Prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork.  Then, line the pastry with parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights (or dry beans, which is what I use).  If making tartelettes, just prick the bottom of the pastry without weighing them down.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry looks golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool

for chocolate ganache filling:

  • 12 oz. bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 10 oz. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 2 Tbspn Pama pomegranate liquor

METHOD:

  1. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream and butter.  Heat on medium high, stirring and scraping the bottom constantly until it reaches a gentle simmer.  Remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot cream onto the prepared chocolate.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and evenly distributed.  Stir in the pomegranate liquor.
  5. Pour into the prepared tart crust.  Let set until completely cool, about 1-2 hours.  If adding toppings, like fresh pomegranate seeds or almond slices, add these right when the ganache begins to set, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve at room temperature.

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.

Fig, Mascarpone, and Pistachio Tart

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9″ tart, or six 4.5″ tart, or ~32 mini tartlettes

for pastry:

  • 240 gr AP flour
  • 65 gr shelled raw pistachios
  • 50 gr sugar
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4 Tbspn water, cold

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, pistachios, and sugar and process until the pistachios are finely ground.
  2. Using the food processor or a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the size of small peas.
  3. Add the egg yolk and gradually add the water just until a dough begins to form when you press it between two fingers. Do not overmix.
  4. Form the pastry into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour. (or stick it in the freezer for a shorter amount of time.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  6. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and press the dough into the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork, cover with parchment paper, and weigh down using dry beans or pie weights. Return to freezer for a few minutes if the dough has softened.
  7. Bake for ~13-15 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the beans and parchment paper and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes more, until the crust has completely turned golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

for filling:

  • 450 gr mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • freshly grated zest of 1 lemon

METHOD:

  1. In a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment, whip the mascarpone, brown sugar, and heavy cream on medium high until soft peaks.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest and continue to whip just until stiff peaks. Do not overmix.
  3. Spoon the filling into the cooled tart shell, and smooth with a spatula.

for topping:

  • 2 punnets figs
  • 2 Tbspn honey
  • 2 Tbspn raspberry jam (or fig or apricot, or any mixture thereof)

METHOD:

  1. Cut the figs into quarters and arrange on top of the mascarpone tart filling.
  2. Warm the honey and jam together, either over the stove or in the microwave. Brush over the arranged figs.

Drunken Pear Frangipane Tart

INGREDIENTS:

Please note that the amounts in the recipe for poached pears are approximate.

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 Tbspn cloves
  • 2 extra ripe Anjou pears
  • 10 firm ripe Seckel pears (4 Bosc pears also work, if Seckels aren’t available)

METHOD:

  1. In a deep medium saucepan, combine the wine, water, and sugar.  Split the vanilla bean; scrape the seeds into the saucepan and add the entire bean.  Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
  2. In a food processor, puree the extra ripe Anjou pears.  Strain the puree through a fine sieve into the wine mixture in the saucepan.
  3. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, use a melon baller to remove the center of the seckel pears, starting from the bottom.  Peel each pear.
  5. Once the wine mixture has come to a simmer, add the seckel pears.  Cook at a simmer until done, about 10 minutes, depending on the original firmness of the pears.
  6. Strain the pears from the liquid once they are done and set them on a cooling rack to cool and drain.  Keep the remaining poaching liquid in the refrigerator for future use.

Frangipane tart filling

  • 3/4 cup blanched and slivered almonds
  • 2 tspn AP flour
  • 1 tspn cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1 tspn almond extract
  • 1 tspn brandy

METHOD:

  1. n a food processor, combine the almonds and flour.  Grind finely.
  2. Add in sugar, butter, and flavorings.  Blend.
  3. Finally, blend in the eggs until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Allow the filling to rest in the refrigerator for two to three hours.

Sweet tart pastry crust
makes enough for a 9″ round tart

  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 7 Tbspn cold butter
  • 4 Tbspn sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn water
  • 1/2 Tbspn almond extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend just until a dough begins to form.
  3. Remove from food processor and place the dough on a floured work surface.  Knead gently just until the dough comes together.  Chill if the dough is too warm.
  4. Roll out the pastry or pat down evenly into the bottom of the pan. (The patting works perfectly for this crust.)
  5. Chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the freezer.
  6. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry several times.  Top with a layer of foil or parchment paper and then fill the crust with pie weights.  (I use dried beans–multi-purpose! Don’t waste your money on pie weights.)
  7. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until almost done.  Remove and let cool.

Tart assembly and final baking

  • additional ingredient: apricot jam/preserves

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Spoon the frangipane filling into the baked tart shell and smooth.
  3. Slice the poached pears thinly and arrange on top of the frangipane filling.  The filling will puff up during baking, so keep that in mind when you make your pear arrangements.
  4. Bake the tart for 40-50 minutes, until the frangipane is puffed and firm to the touch.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Heat the apricot jam in the microwave until it is liquid.  Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of glaze onto the tart.

Passion fruit Whoopie Pies

INGREDIENTS:
makes 6 large whoopie pies, or numerous more small onesfor cake:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbspn vinegar
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/8 cup black cocoa powder (if you don’t have black cocoa, just substitute regular cocoa powder)
  • 1 tspn sea salt
  • 1 1/4 tspn baking soda
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 scant cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside for five minutes.  (Or, use buttermilk instead of milk and vinegar.)
  3. In a bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, black cocoa, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter mixture, creaming until combined.
  6. Alternatively in three stages, add the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter and eggs, making sure to mix thoroughly between each addition.
  7. Using a piping bag with a large round tip or an ice cream scoop, pour the batter into round shapes on baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper, making sure to leave at least 3-4 inches between each cake
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, adjusting for the size of the whoopie pies.  Cakes are done when they are springy and retain their shape when gently touched.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling with frosting.

or passion fruit curd:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz. passion fruit nectar/juice/syrup
  • 1/2 oz. water (if using passion fruit syrup or nectar, leave out if using fresh juice)
  • (2 Tbspn sugar, if using passion fruit juice)

METHOD:

  1. Have ready a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.
  2. Combine ingredients in a double boiler.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  3. Immediately strain through the mesh strainer and let cool completely.

for passion fruit frosting:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 5 Tbspn flour
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3-3/4 cups cooled passion fruit curd

METHOD:

  1. Place milk in a medium saucepan.  Scrape in the vanilla bean and throw the whole bean in.  Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for ten minutes.
  2. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk.  Add the flour.  Whisking constantly, cook the milk and flour until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  3. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
  4. Add the passion fruit curd to the butter and whip until combined.
  5. Add the thickened milk mixture to the butter and passion fruit, whisking until light, whipped, and fluffy.  Use immediately.
  6. Pipe the passion fruit frosting onto a cake round and then sandwich with another cake.
  7. Refrigerate to allow the frosting to set before serving.