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.

Peach Froyo and Basil Snickerdoodle Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS:
makes 10 – 12 three-inch sandwichesfor peach frozen yogurt:

  • 2 medium peaches, ripe
  • 3 Tbspn (38 g) + ⅔ cup (133 g) sugar
  • 1½ cups (345 g) whole milk
  • 2 Tbspn (15 g) tapioca starch
  • 4 Tbspn (57 g) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (134 g) light corn syrup
  • 1¾ cups (367 g) Greek yogurt

METHOD:

  1. Peel and pit the peaches. In a food processor, roughly puree the peaches, leaving very small peach bits in the puree. Measure out ¾ cup (165 g) for peach puree and stir in 3 Tbspn (38 g) of sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 Tbspn (43 g) of milk with the tapioca starch to make a slurry. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining (302 g) milk, (133 g) sugar, and corn syrup. Over medium heat, bring the milk mixture to a boil and let boil for 4 minutes, being very careful not to let the milk boil over.
  5. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the starch mixture.
  6. Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring to a boil. Let cook for about 1 minute, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
  7. Gradually whisk the milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the Greek yogurt until smooth, then stir in the peach puree.
  8. Cover the yogurt base and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions. After freezing, let firm in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.

for basil snickerdoodles:

  • 3 cups (383 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tspn cream of tartar
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • ½ tspn salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups (300g) + 2 Tbspn (25 g) sugar
  • 14 g fresh basil leaves, very finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tspn ground cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter, 1½ cups (300 g) sugar, and chopped basil leaves in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add in the flour mixture, beating on low just until the flour is incorporated. Cover the dough and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 190° C. Prepare cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicon mats.
  6. Combine the remaining 2 Tbspn (25 g) sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using about one heaping Tbspn of dough, form a ball and roll the ball in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  7. Place the dough balls on the cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Do not flatten.
  8. Bake each sheet of cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking time. 9. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to let cool briefly. After about 2 or 3 minutes, use a spatula to remove the cookies from the tray. Place the cookies on a wire rack and let cool completely.
  9. for assembly. Remove the peach frozen yogurt from the freezer and let soften briefly. Scoop a spoonful of frozen yogurt onto the bottom of a cookie and top with another, pressing gently. Freeze until firm.

Note: I highly recommend seeking out good cinnamon that packs a spicy kick for these cookies because it will make all the difference.

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.

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!

Key Lime Pie

DSC_4141

INGREDIENTS:

makes ~24 mini hearts
for graham cracker crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

METHOD:

  1. Combine graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix in butter.
  2. Press the crumb mixture into (sprayed and lined) the bottoms of the pans, about 1 Tbspn per heart.  Use something like the side of a small rolling pin to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and a little bit up the sides.
  3. Put the crust in the freezer while making the filling.

for filling:

  • 2 14oz. cans condensed milk
  • 8 large egg yolks (save those whites for meringues/macarons!)
  • 2-3 Tbspn key lime zest
  • 1 cup key lime juice (~25 key limes… have fun!)
  • green food coloring

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Combine milk, yolks, zest, and juice in a bowl.  Whisk until smooth.  Whisk in one to two drops of food coloring for a light green color.
  3. Pour mixture into the crumb-prepared pans, filling about to about two-thirds full.  Bake for 13-15 minutes until the center looks set but moves like jello when you give the pan a bit of a gentle shake.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Keep the pies in the pans until you are ready to serve.

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.