Tuesdays With Dorie -Pear Tart with Crunchy Almond Topping

I feel like I haven’t done much in the way of these cookbook challenges. Life has been chaotic, and I feel like one day rushes into another. There were a few weeks where I just threw my hands in the air and said “screw it!”. 

Side note, I am nearly at my edge for fruit tarts. I am sure you are all about ready to disown me, but am really wanting some chocolaty and/or cakey desserts. Just non-fruity. I am over fruit in desserts for the moment!

Perhaps it was because I am not in the mood for fruit, that neither I or my husband really cared that much for this tart. I am only so-so with pears in the first place (I have always thought them a little bland), and was hopeful that the additives to the pears (rum, caramelization) would amp up the flavor, but I was still disappointed. Well, you can’t win them all, right? It wasn’t all a loss though… I did enjoy eating the raw dough scraps. That is ALWAYS delicious!

Posted in Baking, Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Tuesdays With Dorie – Custardy Apple Squares

I promise I am still here! It has just been crazy. We evacuated for Hurricane Matthew, and i am now on a business trip in Austin, TX. Oh! And we spent a weekend at Epcot Food and Wine.

Even amongst all of this churn and busy-ness, i did make the custardy apple squares (though no picture). I figured i could throw it together relatively quickly (which I did) before I left. Mine did not get a ton of height on it, though it did puff up. It has a very delicate flavor, but I could see this more on a breakfast or brunch buffet. I was really looking forward to making this but it didn’t pack as big of a flavor punch as I hoped it would. ::shrug::

Anyway, red eye flight home tomorrow and then I think I will have two more trips before we pause through the end of the year. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Cook the Book Fridays – Gazpacho with Herbed Goat Cheese Toasts

It doesn’t look like much, I know, but this really is a flavor explosion. Unfortunately we are out of fresh local tomatoes and used on the vine tomatoes imported from Texas, but I can only imagine how amazing this would be with fresh produce sun-warmed from the garden.

As you can see I put the whole darn thing through the Cuisinart. There is still a little chunk left to this that you could get a crunch of onion or cucumber. I eat salad on a regular basis and definitely wanted a different consistency than that. We had also gone down to Palm Beach last weekend and was fighting against the daylight for a picture, so I was trying to economize my time! Much as I always love to hone my knife skills (pun intended), it was just begging for the cuisinart. 

And those toasts. Oh how I love Goat Cheese. It is so tangy… the perfect counterpoint to the richness of the Gazpacho. I added dill to mine, but Basil would have been equally appropriate and delicious. 

I would definitely make this again, though I would shoot for when I could get local tomatoes. Still adjusting to the early seasonality of local produce here in Florida!

Posted in My Paris Kitchen | David Lebovitz, Soup | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Tuesdays With Dorie – Edouard’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Of all the things in the world to bake, Chocolate Chip Cookies have a swath of memories attached to them. Mom and I made these often (and I would always sneak bites of raw cookie dough when she wasn’t looking), and when I spent my summers dancing away at Boston Ballet, I was always sure to receive a care package with a few dozen cookies to share (or not). Of course I had to make these first when they came up on the list!

The great thing about these is that they can be put together with common pantry items. We had gone down to Palm Beach for the weekend to visit my sister in law’s family, and we went driving down to Boca in search of a french patisserie that turned out to be a total bust. I thought it would be super easy to just make these as a superior compensation (plus we got Shake Shack!). Then I don’t have to worry about having 50+ delicious cookies in my house to tempt me and the hubs at every turn throughout the week. 

My husband asked, “so what makes these different than normal chocolate chip cookies?” The cookies are made just a little more special with the addition of almond flour, in addition to all of your normal ingredients. The balance of sugars and leavenings makes a lovely cookie that doesn’t spread too much, and yet remains chewy on the inside. Of course these cookies are best when still barely warm from the oven! Let me tell you these didn’t last long. Once one was had, the family just couldn’t bear staying away!

These are definitely a keeper. I will definitely have to make these again! If you are interested in making these, you can find the recipe online here.

Posted in Baking, Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Tuesdays With Dorie – Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups

So yeah. Couldn’t get them out of the mold. The handles came right out of the mold. My husband tried running it under warn water, but then only half of one pop came out, just like Kara’s! We had to use a spoon to dig the rest out of the mold.

Don’t get me wrong… these are incredibly delicious (I used Chambord), and I opted to leave small chunks of chocolate, which is a fun contrast to the creamy silky-ness of this mousse. However, were I to do this again (and I probably will), I would make small ramekins of the mousse with a hard crack surface to mimic creme brulee. This recipe yielded 7 pops, but I would probably decrease the yield and make 4 slightly larger servings… when you scoop it out into a bowl there really isn’t that much in there. 

I am curious to see if anyone else had luck with these as pops…

Posted in Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Cook the Book Fridays – Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Cheese

Before we go any further, I believe I owe you a certain picture of me making crêpes when I was a tween. It took me a minute to dig out the album, but here you go:

Observe the level of concentration! Yes I was wearing a mood ring! 

Anyway, I had stayed the night at my friend’s apartment in Manhattan, and her dad made crêpes for us. With Nutella! I had never been exposed to either before this point and I was sold. This must have been after our annual jaunt to Montauk because I would never have made them for my family without the Nutella, and I definitely remember insisting that mom take me to the specialty food shop in Montauk, while we were there, to procure a jar of it. I was exacting (and eccentric) even as a kid! Wheee! 

Incidentally it was about this time that I first saw the Galloping Gourmet on PBS (also while out in Montauk) and I was mezmerized. My mom humored me when I asked her to recreate, at home, the lemony chicken dish that he made on that show with only half of a scribbled recipe. There was no dvr in “those days”. 

This week’s challenge was the Cherry Tomato crostini:

I couldn’t find goat’s milk yogurt so I used grass-fed cow’s milk yogurt instead. I used shallots, garlic, sage, chives, and rosemary in my cheese, and I am just realizing that I totally forgot the basil on top. 

OMG though. Were these not transcendent? I don’t know what else to say except that these were a total mic drop. I will definitely make these again for company. Or maybe just for us. I think my mouth is watering just thinking back on this.

Posted in My Paris Kitchen | David Lebovitz, Sides | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Growing up, when I wasn’t in ballet class, Saturday and Sunday mornings were always family breakfast routines. My dad would go to the German bakery a few blocks down and buy a crumb cake or Berliners (jelly donuts) for us. Sometimes Dad would even drive to the densely German neighborhood of Glendale (where he grew up) for their crumb cake, or even for amazing bagels and bialys. When I was in ballet class and rehearsals I would often run next door to the specialty food market and get one of their delicious coffee cake muffins. Yum!

Ever since I left home, I have been on the lookout for an authentic German crumb cake, and I have tried many recipes. Sadly many of the old traditional German bakeries are gone. Now that I am a more experienced baker I realize that most recipes have it all wrong by using a cake base. I will speak more to that in a later post. This recipe, however, is something altogether different. A delicate vanilla (cake) base with a swirl of cinnamon and brown sugar streusel in the middle and a base of even more streusel hearkens back to those very rare Hostess coffee cake treats. 

Perfectly served with tea, or even as a part of your breakfast/brunch buffet, this Barefoot Contessa recipe is a classic. I have made it countless times and it always hits the spot with rave reviews every time. While it is not the crumb cake of my youth, it is in a class of its own as you consider most other coffee cake recipes. The addition of maple syrup glaze is trapped perfectly in the crevices of my Nordicware Rose Bundt pan, though if you use a regular tube pan you will serve this streusel side up and the glaze will sit elegantly atop. 

Find the recipe here, and let me know how you and your guests enjoy it. Unless by guests I mean you, alone, with a fork, in which case no judgement! 

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