Asian Pear Ginger Froyo & Lemon Ginger Macarons

INGREDIENTS:
Asian pear-Ginger Frozen Yogurt

  • 1 lb. Asian pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. Greek yogurt, or strained yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor, puree the Asian pear and fresh ginger until smooth and no chunks are left.
  2. Fold the pear and ginger puree into the Greek yogurt and add the sugar.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Chill the mixture thoroughly, and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

Lemon Ginger Macarons
makes ~60-70 shells

  • 30 grams sugar
  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 110 grams slivered almonds
  • 4 Tbspn dried lemon zest*
  • 5 grams ground ginger
  • 1/2 tspn yellow powder food coloring, optional
  • 90 grams egg whites, at least two days old (separate eggs in advance, put the whites in an air tight container for at least two days–I usually keep them for five days before use)
  • freshly grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. Have ready: pastry bag fitted with a round tip with about 1/2″ opening and two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process the regular sugar for a few seconds.  Remove and set aside.
  3. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, dried lemon zest, ground ginger, and food coloring in the food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Set aside.
  4. Place the egg whites in a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment.  Begin whisking on low, until the egg whites start to foam.
  5. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium high and beat the egg whites while gradually adding the regular sugar. Beat on medium high until you reach a glossy, soft-peak meringue.
  6. At this point, remove the mixer bowl from the mixer and continue the rest of the way by hand, using a large balloon whisk.  Pour (lightly!) the processed powdered sugar and almond mixture into the meringue.  Fold to combine, quickly at first, and then slowly after the first few strokes.  Make sure to always use deliberate strokes when folding.  Mix only until combined, no more than fifty strokes.  Usually, it only takes me fewer than thirty, if that.  The batter is ready when the peaks will collapse on their own.
  7. Immediately transfer the batter to the prepared pastry bag. On the silpat baking sheets, squeeze about 1 to 1.5″ rounds.  Top each shell with freshly grated lemon zest.  Let the sheets sit for at least 30 minutes.
  8. While the macarons rest, preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.  Bake the macarons for 15-20 minutes, rotating after about 10.  Macarons are done when the shells do not give when gently touched.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

*To make dried lemon zest, zest lemons and leave the zest out on a piece of paper towel for 24 hours.

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Coconut Rose Chocolate Macaroons

INGREDIENTS:

makes ~50 small macarons or 20-30 large macaroons

for macaroon shells*:

  • 200 gr powdered sugar
  • 120 gr blanched and slivered almonds
  • 20 gr unsweetened dried coconut flakes (not the sugared kind!)
  • 30 gr granulated sugar
  • 100 gr egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tspn cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tspn coconut extract
  • 1/8 tspn rose extract

METHOD:

  1. Prepare two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper and a pastry bag with a large round piping tip.
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, and dried coconut flakes in a food processor and grind until a fine powder. Sift thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, have ready the granulated sugar.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, quickly stir the mixture until the entire surface is covered with foam. Then, start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding in the granulated sugar once the egg whites are very frothy. Whisk until you reach glossy, almost-stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in two to three stages, adding the coconut and rose extracts as you go. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter slowly re-absorbs peaks. Do not overmix!
  6. Transfer the macaroon mixture to the prepared piping bag and pipe rounds on the lined baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets on the table a few times to release air pockets.
  7. Rest the macaroons for at least 30 minutes (and up to 60), until the outside shells are no longer tacky and sticky to a light touch.
  8. Preheat oven to 145 degrees C, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  9. Bake the macaroons in the oven, one sheet at a time, for 24-28 minutes total, rotating the sheet half-way through the baking time to insure even baking.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool.

*Note: the resting and oven temperature and times are adjusted to what works in my kitchen and oven (which, to my knowledge and according to two oven thermometers, is quite accurate). Please note that you may have to adjust according to what works in your kitchen and oven.

for coconut-rose chocolate ganache:

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (see note below)
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 1 tspn rose water
  • 2 tspn corn syrup
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut cream, butter, rose water, and corn syrup. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Once the coconut cream mixture is simmering, remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Let cool completely, and use to fill macaroons.
  4. Once the macaroons are filled, let them “cure” in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Note: for coconut cream, skim the cream off the top of a can of coconut milk. A little bit of milk is okay.

Tart des Tropiques (Tropical Meringue Tart with lime, coconut & sesame)

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9-inch round tart, or equivalent thereoffor pastry:

  • 260 g all-purpose flour
  • 72 g sesame seeds
  • 50 g sugar
  • ⅛ tspn salt
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tbspn sesame oil
  • 3–3½ Tbspn water
  • 1 large egg white

for lime curd:

  • 8 Tbspn butter, cut in pieces
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 125 g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 large eggs
  • zest of 2 limes

for meringue:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 94 g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 tspn coconut extract
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • toasted coconut chips

METHOD: 

  1. for pastry. Combine the flour, sesame seeds, sugar, and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the egg yolk and sesame oil and pulse to combine. Add the water, one tablespooon at a time, while processing, just until the dough holds together when pressed between two fingers. Do not overmix. Remove the dough from the food processor, form into a small, flat disc, cover tightly with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least one hour. The dough should be firm to the touch.
  2. Preheat oven to 220° C. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the cold dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Transfer to tart pan, press in the bottom and sides, and prick the bottom a few times with a fork. Return the pastry to the refrigerator if it has softened. Line with a piece of parchment paper, fill with pie weights or beans, and bake for 13 to 15 minutes. Remove the weights and the parchment paper, brush the insides of the pastry with a small amount of egg white, and return to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. for lime curd. Preheat oven to 190° C. Suspend a bowl over simmering water. Place the butter, lime juice, sugar, and salt in the bowl and let cool, whisking occasionally, until the butter has completely melted. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the eggs and yolks to combine. When the butter has melted, temper the eggs by gradually and slowly pouring about half of the butter mixture into the eggs, whisking continuously. Continue to cook over simmering water, stirring and scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, until thick, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the zest, and pour the curd into the prepared tart shell. Bake the tart for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
  4. for meringue. In a bowl suspended over simmering water, beat the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar until hot to the touch (60° C on an instant read thermometer). Immediately add the coconut extract and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat just until stiff, glossy peaks form. Do not overbeat! Immediately pipe the meringue onto the cooled tarts, and brown under the broiler or with a kitchen torch. Top with toasted sesame seeds and coconut chips.

Strawberry-Lemonade Meringue Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9″ pie

for pastry:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 6 Tbspn ice water

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Cut in the butter in ~Tbspn-sized chunks.
  3. Process the flour, salt, and butter for a few pulses.
  4. Slowly add in water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition.
  5. Process just until water is integrated and the mixture is the texture of tiny pebbles. When you press the mixture between your fingers, it should form a dough.
  6. Dump the dough onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured board and form into a ball. If the dough has warmed up too much during this process, freeze for ten to fifteen minutes before continuing.
  7. Roll out the pastry dough and place into pie plate. Prick the bottom of the pie several times with a fork. Return to the freezer for ten to fifteen minutes if the dough has warmed up too much in the rolling process.
  8. Before baking, line the inside of the pie crust with a piece of parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights (or dry beans, which is what I use).
  9. Bake in the oven for ~15-17 minutes, until the outside rim of the crust begins to turn a golden brown. Carefully remove the pie weights and parchment paper, lower the oven temperature to 190 degrees C, and continue to bake for 5-7 minutes more, until the pie crust has turned golden brown and is no longer shiny. Remove from the oven and let cool.

for strawberry-lemonade curd filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn cornstarch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbspn freshly grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the strawberries until smooth.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually blend in the strawberry puree and lemon juice.
  3. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  4. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  5. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning). Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  6. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Let cool.

for lemon curd filling:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbspn cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 Tbspn butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbspn freshly grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually blend in the lemon juice.
  2. Add the egg yolk and butter, blending until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  4. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning). Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  5. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Let cool.

for meringue and assembly:

  • 7-8 egg whites
  • 1/2 tspn cream of tartar
  • 8 Tbspn granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Place egg whites in a large bowl and sprinkle in the cream of tartar. Stir using a whisk until the surface of the egg whites is completely covered with foam.
  3. Increase speed and whip the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar, until the whites hold glossy stiff (but still a bit rounded) peaks. Do not overbeat!
  4. Add in the vanilla extract with a quick stir.
  5. Fill the pre-baked pie crust with strawberry-lemonade curd and then swirl in the lemon curd.
  6. Top with meringue, making sure to seal the meringue to the pie crust at the outer edges.
  7. Bake for fifteen minutes, until the meringue is just barely golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool for at least one hour at room temperature before serving.

Blackberry Lemon Meringue Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes two 9″ pies (halving the curd recipes for one 9″ pie was a bit awkward to write because the curds use three egg yolks each, but it’s actually pretty easy in practice.  Prepare three egg yolks, then use only one and a half yolks per halved curd recipe–that’s roughly a Tablespoon and a half of yolk.)

for pastry crust:

  • 520 grams All Purpose flour
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 14 Tbspn butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 Tbspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 Tbspn freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice
  • 4 Tbspn cold water

METHOD:

  1. Combine the ingredients except the water in a food processor and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.
  2. Gradually add the water and pulse just until a dough begins to form.
  3. 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.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  5. 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).
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry looks golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool.

for lemon curd:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn corn starch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 1 1/3 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tbspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually blend in the cold water and lemon juice.
  2. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  3. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  4. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning).  Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  5. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Let cool.

for blackberry curd:

  • 2 cups fresh or thawed, frozen blackberries*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn corn starch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 Tbspn creme de cassis
  • 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 1 1/3 cup boiling water

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the blackberries until smooth.  If desired, pour through a sieve to take out seeds (I actually like the seeds for texture, so I don’t strain them out.)  You should have one cup of blackberry puree; if there is extra, set aside for other uses.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually blend in the blackberry puree, creme de cassis, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  3. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  4. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  5. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning).  Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  6. Remove the curd from heat and let cool.

for meringue and assembly:

  • 7-8 egg whites
  • 1/2 tspn cream of tartar
  • 5 Tbspn sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Place egg whites in a clean mixer bowl with the whisk attachment. Begin to whip at low until the egg whites start to foam.
  3. Add the cream of tartar and increase speed to medium high. Gradually add the sugar.
  4. Whip the egg whites until glossy stiff peaks, being careful not to overwhip.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and whip the egg whites on high for about three seconds, “sealing” the meringue.
  6. Spoon the blackberry and lemon curds alternatively into the prepared pie crusts. Top with meringue, making sure to seal the meringue to the pie crust at the outer edges.
  7. Place pies in the lower shelf of the oven, and bake at 220C for three minutes, until the tips of the meringue become golden.  Then, lower the oven temperature to 180 degrees C and continue to bake for 7-8 more minutes, until you reach the desired color on the meringue.  Remove and let cool.

Rose & Pistachio Layer Cake

INGREDIENTS:
For the pistachio layers:

  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 20g ground pistachios

For the rose buttercream:

  • 75g egg white (2-3 eggs worth)
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp rose water

To assemble & decorate :

  • 1 unsprayed rose
  • 1 egg white
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 20g ground pistachios

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease two 5″ round tins. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and add the eggs and pistachios. Beat to combine. Divide between the two tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer can be removed cleanly from the centre. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack until cool.
  2. To make the sugared petals, carefully pull the petals off the rose. Discard any bruised or brown petals. Separate an egg and put in a small pot. Put the sugar in a small bowl/pot. Using a paintbrush or pastry brush, lightly cover a rose petal in the egg white. Either carefully press the petal into the sugar or sprinkle it on. Put to dry on a sheet. Repeat for all your petals. Leave to dry for about 30 minutes or until fairly hard before using.
  3. For butter-cream – When you’re ready and have all your ingredients set out, combine the whites and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl and place it over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until the temperature hits 160F and the mixture is smooth (check by rubbing a little between your fingers).
  4. Transfer to a stand mixer (or just use a hand whisk with the same bowl) and start whipping on medium-high. Whip for about 8 minutes – it should be really thick and glossy and gorgeous. Check that it is room temperature – if not leave it for another minute or two slowly whisking. Turn the speed back up to medium/high and add a piece of butter (should be about tbsp sized pieces). Whisk until totally incorporated, then add another. Repeat until all the butter is used.
  5. At this point if it looks soupy and thin, pop it in the fridge. If not, keep whipping until it is thick and luxurious again – this can take quite a while. When ready, whip in the rose water teaspoon by teaspoon, checking after each addition for taste.
  6. Split each of the cakes into two. Place four strips of greaseproof paper on your cake plate and then place one of the layers on top. Remove 1/3 of the butter cream to another bowl and fold in the pistachios. Spread a 1/3 of this pistachio buttercream over a layer. Repeat with the rest of the layers.
  7. Use some of the remaining plain rose buttercream to smooth a thin layer of icing over the cake – a crumb coat. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes. Finally use the remaining butter cream to put a final coat of icing on top of the crumb coat. Arrange the rose petals on top of the cake and sprinkle with a few remaining pistachio crumbs if desired.

(Serves 5-6)

Pina Colad Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
Fresh pineapple puree

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium-large pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar and water without stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.
  2. Add the pineapple to the boiling sugar water and return to a complete rolling boil, without stirring.
  3. Remove from heat and cover the pot with a lid.  Let cool overnight.
  4. Once cooled, drain the liquid from the pineapple.  Save the syrup for other uses.
  5. Put the pineapple in a food processor and process until completely pureed with no chunks.  You will need 1/2 cup of this pineapple puree for the buttercream.  Save the rest for eating on its own or other uses.

Coconut cupcakes

  • 180 grams egg whites (~6 eggs)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tspn coconut extract
  • 400 grams flour
  • 2 Tbspn baking powder (if making a cake instead of cupcakes, decrease this amount to 5 tspn)
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 375 grams sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together egg whites.  Add 1/3 cup coconut milk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract.  Whisk to combine.  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. Place butter in a mixer bowl.  Beat on low for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.
  5. Gradually add sugar to the butter and beat for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Add 1 cup coconut milk to the butter and sugar mixture.  Beat until combined.
  7. In three parts, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients to the batter.  Beat thoroughly between each addition.
  8. Spoon or pipe batter into cupcake molds, filling the molds about halfway.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  (For mini-cupcakes, bake 15 minutes.)
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Pineapple Italian Meringue Buttercream

  • 11 oz. sugar
  • 5 oz. water
  • 150 grams egg whites
  • 65 grams sugar
  • 1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple puree
  • 2 Tbspn rum or tequila, optional
  • shredded coconut, optional
  • sprinkles, optional

METHOD:

  1. Combine water and 11 oz. sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat.  Without stirring, bring to a boil and let cook until the temperature reaches 115 degrees C.
  2. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a mixer bowl. With the whisk attachment, begin whisking the egg whites when the syrup cooking on the stove reaches 105 degrees C.  Start whisking on low until the whites begin to foam, then increase speed to high and gradually add the remainder of the sugar.  Whip until soft peaks.
  3. Once the syrup has reached 115 degrees C (soft ball stage) and the whites have been whipped to soft peaks, gradually pour the syrup in a small stream into the egg whites, whisking on medium high continuously.  Be careful not to allow the sugar syrup to fall on the beaters.
  4. Continue whisking until the bowl of the mixer is at body temperature and not warm anymore.
  5. Slowly begin to add the butter, about a half tablespoon at a time.
  6. Once all of the butter is incorporated, continue whisking while adding the pineapple puree and alcohol, if using. If the mixture looks curdled, keep whisking until consistency is restored.
  7. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes when complete, top with shredded coconut and sprinkles, if desired.