Tarts Continued

Hazelnut Chocolate Tart

May 16, 2016

This elegant tart is one of our more elaborate holiday desserts”. With that quote from the Standard Baking Company ensconced in my mind, I’ll put on my apron, roll up my sleeves and get ready to complete this next bake.

This recipe requires a 9-inch sweet tart dough shell, unbaked and chilled. Again, I will use my 9-inch spring form pan.

I’m using the sweet tart dough shell recipe in the back of the cookbook. Again the dough was too crumbly (not as bad as the chocolate tart dough) to roll out. So, I did the “dump in the pan routine” then pressed the dough into the spring form pan. Put the shell into the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Tart Shell Ingredients: 1/2 c. almond meal/flour, 1/4 t. salt, 2 3/4 c. all purpose flour, 1/4 t. vanilla extract, 1 egg plus 1 yoke at room temperature, 14 T. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.

Hazelnut Filling Ingredients: 2 c. sugar, 1/3 c. milk, 4 T. unsalted butter, 1/2 t. vanilla extract, 1/8 t. salt, 1 1/2 c. hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and finely chopped, 1 egg, beaten.

Apricot Glaze:  2 T. smooth apricot jam

Ganache Ingredients:  2/3 c. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, 3 T. half n’ half, 12 Candied Hazelnuts (recipe in back of cookbook) Flake sea salt for garnish.

The hazelnut filling was a cinch. Combined the sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt in small sauce pan bringing the mixture to a boil. Removed the pan and added the chopped hazelnuts and cinnamon stirring to combine. Then set aside to cool. After that the egg was added.

After the allotted time, the tart shell was removed for the refrigerator and the filling was poured into the shell. Baked the tart for 35 minutes at 375 degrees. Again, a lovely bake. Picture perfect if I do say so myself.

The apricot jam was then poured over the cooled tart spreading evenly with my off set spatula.

The ganache is the final step. Placed finely chopped bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Poured the 1/2 and 1/2 into a small saucepan and cooked to a boil. Removed this from the heat and poured the cream over the chopped chocolate stirring until completely incorporated. The ganache is then poured over the apricot glaze making sure to spread the chocolate evenly. Epically perfect!

So proud…not so fast, Miss Gaylie…you forgot to sprinkle the sea salt over the finished tart!!! Duh…daughter #1 didn’t seem to care as she gobbled up the tart. Love it when one of the kids stops by when I’m finishing up a recipe. Happy Mom!

Chocolate Irish Cream Tart

May 30, 2016

Baseball rules my time along with the garden. Grandsons are doing well pitching and batting, too. Love these lazy afternoon games…no more quilts and winter gear to wear. We are in full-fledged summer attire. Sunglasses, bug spray and light clothing are the items being used now. Goodbye hand warmers!

Along with the baseball games my time is spent in the gardens. The veggie garden is coming along nicely. Thought of growing potatoes but changed my mind. Kennebec seed potatoes where hard to come by locally so I’ll wait to grow them next year. The spinach is growing by leaps and bounds. The cukes have not shown themselves as of today…I do get impatient waiting for that first sign of  growth. Tomatoes and peppers along with various herbs are dotting the uneven rows. (I know, I know but the rows are quite good enough for me.)

June is also my #2 grandson’s 18th birthday. He’ll also be graduating from Morse High School in Bath on June 12th. Big year for this dear boy and a sad one for his Mamie who will miss him terribly when he heads off to Johnson & Wales in the fall. But, I’ll try to focus on the upcoming baseball playoffs and all the fun of the upcoming events. Hummmm….hard to watch them leave the nest but I’ll manage as I did with grandson #1.

Back to the latest bake…

The tart dough is called the perfect tart dough which can be found in the back of the cookbook. This is chilled for 4 hours. In the meantime…

The chocolate filling: 1 c. plus 1/4 c. chopped bittersweet chocolate. ( I think I am the sole user of this product at our local grocery store.) 1/4 c. whiskey, 1 T. vanilla extract, 3/4 c. instant espresso powder, pinch of salt, 3 eggs separated and a 1/3 c. sugar.

The ganache:  3 T. Irish Cream Liquor, 3/4 c. chopped white chocolate, 1/4 c. butter, softened and bittersweet shavings for garnish.

Cut out 6 inch parchment squares setting them aside. Then I positioned the oven rack in the middle position and set the temperature to 400 degrees. The dough is then cut into 5 1/2 inch circles placing them in the tins making sure to pierce the bottoms with a fork. The tins are then placed in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

After the tins are removed from the refrigerator the parchment circles are placed over the dough followed by the dried beans to hold the dough in place. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the tarts from the  oven and CAREFULLY remove the parchment and the beans. (That sounds easier said than done, btw!) After chasing

beans all over the kitchen, the tarts are placed in the oven for 3 minutes making sure to pierce any puffed down with a fork. Now I set the tarts in the tins to cool.

To fill the tins first set aside 1/4 c. of chocolate. Put the remaining chocolate in a medium bowl then place the bowl over simmering water. Stir until completely melted. That done, whisk in the whiskey until smooth then add the vanilla, espresso powder, salt and yolks.

In a standup mixer beat the egg whites until frothy. Gradually add the sugar until whites are stiff enough to hold a peak. Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.  Continue adding half of the remaining egg whites followed by folding in the 1/4 c. chocolate. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites. Add by spoonful’s the chocolate mixture into the tart shells …about a 1/2 inch from the top. Put the prepared tarts in the freezer for 2 hours or until firm.

To make the ganache I used a small sauce pan to heat the Irish cream just to the boil stage. Removed the pan and stirred in the white chocolate (yum) and set aside until cooled. When cooled the butter is then whisked in making a delicious looking ganache that just begged for a swipe of my index finger. It’s more than “yum” it’s yum-delicious! The mixture needs to be refrigerated for a few minutes. Remove the ganache and beat again well until creamy. Repeat this process a couple of times. Now to set aside at room temperature.

Now to bake the tart. Preheated the oven to 350 degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Then carefully removed the tarts from the tins and placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes and turn the pan and bake another 8 minutes. With great care, slide the parchment paper onto  a cookie rack. 

The last stage to this bake is to spoon about a T. of the ganache on each tart. The cookbook suggested using a small cookie scoop or a piping bag. I just went with the spoon to complete this DAY LONG bake. Garnished with chocolate shavings and headed to bed!!! All kidding aside, this is a fantastic dessert for any occasion…tea with friends would be perfect.

 

 

 

 

(I have added a few pictures of my spring gardens and a picture of my grandsons.  Thought you might enjoy seeing them.)

 

 

 

 

June 7, 2016

Sadly I have to report that both grandson’s, #2 and #3, have been eliminated from the Division B championship baseball games. That wraps up the season. So proud of these two fine young men who have been a source of  pride for me on and off the field.

Fruit and Cream Cheese Tart

To my delight this bake sounds good and quick! Decided to use cherries in the recipe.

Ingredients: One 9-inch Perfect Tart Dough shell, 1 c. cherry preserves, 1 (page 167) recipe cream cheese filling, at room temperature and 1 (page 170) recipe streusel.

Ingredients for the cream cheese filling:  1 egg yolk, room temperature, 1/2 t. vanilla, 1/4 t. almond extract, 1/8 t. orange zest,  pinch of salt, 1 c. (8oz.) cream cheese at room temperature and 1/8 c. sugar. Set aside.

In a small bowl stir the egg yolk, vanilla, almond extract, orange zest and salt using a fork.. In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar with a wooden spoon (yes, so it is written, so shall it be done!) until the mixture is completely incorporated. If not using now, then refrigerate until needed making sure to bring it to room temperature to insure the mixture spreads smoothly.

Ingredients for the streusel is on page 170 of this cookbook. Since I have made this prior to doing this tart I will not repeat the instructions. And, since I froze the remaining streusel from a prior bake I don’t have to mix this topping today before finishing the tart.

Then finally…put the oven rack in the middle position and set the oven for 350 degrees. With my small off-set spatula the preserve is spread evenly over the tart. Now, spoon the cream cheese filling over the fruit, spreading it evenly with a small off-set spatula. Spread the streusel over the cream cheese layer covering the entire top of the tart.

Bake 40 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the bake. Remove and set to cool on cookie rack. Tart and sweet…my idea of perfection and it is.

This is graduation week at Morse High School in Bath. Grandson #2 graduates on Sunday at McMann Field in Bath behind the Bath Middle School. Looks like rain is in the forecast but I’m calling on my mother in heaven to intervene. With that said, it will be a perfect day! I’ll miss #2  grandson…not sure if I ‘m ready to watch him spread his wings and head to Rhode Island in the fall. This is the second grandson to leave the nest and it doesn’t get any easier Sad smile …more later.

Babka

March 21, 2016

Chocolate Babka

Today is the beginning of three new recipes, the first being a chocolate babka. I brewed a cup of coffee, sat down and studied the recipe. ( Just a side note, the babka is steeped in Polish and Jewish tradition and may have various fillings other than chocolate.)

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The dough is mixed in an upright stand mixer. Flour, sugar, yeast, milk, almond extract, lemon oil and butter  are combined, put in a warm place to rest while the chocolate filling is assembled.

The chocolate filling, consisting of wonderful things like melted butter, brown sugar, Dutch processed cocoa, honey, an egg, vanilla extract and chocolate cookie crumbs. These are combined and set aside.

After an hour the dough is rolled into a 10 X 24 inch rectangle. (The dough didn’t rise much in the hour required even though it was set in a 75 degree environment. Checked the recipe fearing I had neglected some measurements. Everything looked A-okay so I continued.)

Spread the decadent chocolate filling onto the rolled dough leaving a 1/2 inch border. Now, with the bottom edge I rolled the dough into the middle of the rectangle (not perfect I have to admit) then did the same with the other edge meeting them both in the middle. With the “roll” done now comes the “fold.” Taking the ends in hand I fold the left side of the dough so it meets in the middle of the roll and doing the reverse side so both meet in the middle.

With the above process I flipped the dough over so the seam was on the board. Gently I gather the dough in my hands and make a slight twist in the middle. After that the dough is brushed with an egg wash then put in a bread pan to rise.

When the dough has “rested’’ for about an hour I again brush the bread with the egg wash and sprinkle the streusel over the top. Baked in a 375 degree oven for 40 (not 50 as suggested in the cookbook as my oven runs a bit hot) making sure to turn the bread half way through to insure even baking.

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What an amazing result before me as I slice the babka in half revealing the beautiful chocolate swirls. Very impressive presentation if I do say so myself…and I do. These were relatively easy compared to the croissants.

We have had a few hiccups slowing down my progress with “Next”. What I am realizing is this…starting this little project at 70 when the fingers aren’t as nimble, the eyes struggle to decipher small print, the shoulder is facing therapy or worse yet, an operation, Dick having carotid artery surgery and lastly, my two month battle with bronchitis was a bit of a folly.   However, being blessed with a stubborn nature and a strong determination to finish this from start to finish I will prevail!

March 22,2016

Hazelnut Babka

The same process as above for the dough. A nutty, cinnamon filling replaces the chocolate filling making it a very different mixture and , may I add, a surprisingly welcomed one!

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The ingredients are a combination of sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, salt, hazelnuts, cinnamon and an egg yolk.

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True to the recipe, I roasted the hazelnuts at 350 degrees until the were evenly toasted.  Then I proceeded to skin the hazelnuts by putting the nuts into a clean towel and rubbing the nuts against each other until most of the skins fall off. Following this technique, I then finely chopped them!

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.Then the above ingredients except the cinnamon and nuts were put in a small pot and brought to a boil. Removed the pot and added the nuts and the cinnamon. Cooled the mixture then whisked in the egg yolk.

Spread the mixture on the dough making sure to leave a half inch boarder and continued using the same technique as in the chocolate babka. Darn yummy!

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March 23, 2016

Apricot Cream Cheese Babka

Again, the same instructions for the dough as before is used. The filling, however, is far different than the prior two recipes.

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I combined orange juice, lemon juice, dried apricots and sugar in a small sauce pan brought them to a boil for 20 minutes. The mixture is then cooled and put in a food processor and mixed until a smooth jam is achieved. Set this aside and began the cream cheese filling.

The cream cheese filling is a creamy mixture of an egg yoke, vanilla and almond extract, orange zest, a pinch of salt, cream cheese and sugar. These, except the egg, were beaten together with a wooden spoon . When the filling is fully combined the egg is added.

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After the dough cooled the apricot jam was spread evenly over the surface leaving a half inch boarder as done in the previous babkas. This was topped with the luscious cream cheese filling.

With that done I proceeded to roll the babka as done in the other three recipes. How amazing this finished product is. Such wonderful taste filling the palate making just one not enough. This concludes the section on babkas…they are so worth the extra effort.

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April 10, 2016

FRENCH PUFF

(Today I am making French Puffs. They do not come under any specific category. Daughter #1 is coming over to do her taxes. Thought these little puffs would make the ordeal a bit sweeter for her, as it did for daughter #2.  We can easily see which daughter is the procrastinator.)

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Another great recipe to have in the morning or tea in the afternoon. Oh heck, they are great any time of day. Here we go…

The ingredients are readily at hand for these puffs. Buttermilk gives this batter a distinct  flavor one can’t mistake. To begin with, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and freshly grated nutmeg in a large bowl. With your stand mixer, cream together the softened butter and sugars (white and dark brown) on medium speed until smooth. So far, so good but I’ve had a funny feeling there might be a fly in the ointment. Well, not really you know.)

Lower speed to low adding 2 eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla and half the buttermilk followed by half the dry ingredients making sure to scrape down the sides. (So far…no flies) Add the remaining buttermilk followed by the dry ingredients making sure the batter is mixed thoroughly.

Scoop two heaping tablespoons into well buttered muffin tins. Bake for 14 minutes making sure to rotate half way through the baking.

Meantime, prepare the topping which consists of butter, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon. When the muffins are removed from the oven cool them for a few minutes. Then, add vanilla to the melted butter, dip the tops of each muffin in the cinnamon mixture…set aside.

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With the conclusion of this recipe I am pleased to report NO FLIES appeared during this heavenly bake.

NEXT…TARTS