Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easiest Ever Rustic Apple Tart


I will probably be away until the first of next week, and this post will be brief (just like this recipe!)  A friend of mine is giving her daughter an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party this weekend, and she has asked me to bake for the occasion.  I love all things Alice, and I'm thrilled to be asked.  I just hope I can come up with something cute before Saturday.  I have lots of ideas, but not enough time for them all!

Being short on time made me think of this recipe.  It is really easy and so delicious.  And even though it is rustic, it is still a very beautiful dessert.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Orange Tian: Daring Bakers Challenge


The uplifting aroma of citrus has filled my home all this week.  Monday I made the marmalade for this recipe with both orange and grapefruit.  The blanching was especially nice.  The fragrance from the boiling citrus water was just so beautiful and fresh.  It seems fitting for this time of year.


The 2010 March Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lemon Pots de Creme and Creme filled Chocolates


I made Creme-Filled Chocolates this past weekend for the very first time, although the recipe has been in our family for years.  I have memories of my Mother making these for holidays and every surface of the kitchen and dining room would be covered with chocolate candies.  They are so easy!  You don't even have to mold them, (as pictured above) they are easily formed by hand into whatever shape you can manage.  And you can flavor them with whatever essence or extract strikes your fancy.

In addition to the chocolates I've made bright and lemony pots de creme. I wanted to continue the sunny disposition of my previous post.  Another welcome sign of spring, (below) my forsythia are blooming! 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Light and Springy Chocolate Souffles


More and more,  little indications of spring are sneaking into our days.  A little crocus bloom here, a daffodil there... and my mother is disappearing into her greenhouse. During planting season she says "When evening comes I can't wait to fall asleep so I can start planting again tomorrow!"

I'm so glad her favorite season is here. 

Spring is in my heart too.  I want to celebrate this effervescence with something delicate and light from my kitchen.  Within 20 minutes I had these unfussy, light-as-air chocolate souffles at the ready. And boy, are they ever yummy! 

(a few of my favorite things)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Croatian Easter Bread Dolls

With all the St. Patrick's Day preparations I've been making, I almost forgot that Easter is right around the corner! In my search for Easter fare, I found (yet another) Eastern European bread recipe that I fell in love with. Traditionally, a large loaf of this bread  is made for the Easter table and the leftover dough is fashioned into little dolls for the children of the family.

The dough itself is easy to make, but it is a yeast bread so plan ahead for rising time. While you are waiting you can boil and dye your eggs (or doll heads).


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Guinness Chocolate Pudding or "Chocolate Guinness Goodness"


Everywhere I look food bloggers are preparing celebratory dishes for St. Patrick's day in the same way, with Guinness!

While I claim to love everything, (it's a growing problem) I have to say that extra dark stout beers are not high on the list.  The last dark beer I tried was on the aforementioned (previous post) Scotland trip, and I didn't even drink half of what was given to me. It was good, but so filling! Afterward, I felt like I had eaten a large, yeasty piece of bread. My husband on the other hand, likes them just fine.  When I saw this recipe for chocolate pudding made with Guinness I knew it would be something we both could appreciate.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Celtic Knot Cookies


St. Patrick's Day always brings fond memories of the trip my husband and I took a few years ago, surprisingly not to Ireland, but to Scotland.  I was in awe of the green landscape, the castles, and the odd way the frequent drizzling rain made the scenery look even more beautiful.

My favorite part of the trip was our venture to the Isle of Iona.  It's an isolated community that is accessible only by ferry, and holds ancient ruins and burial grounds of Scottish kings.  I was enamored with the Celtic engravings and relief work upon many of the old artifacts.  They were all so intricate.  And incredibly beautiful, of course.

(photo from our trip, Isle of Iona)

For this year's festivities, I've decided to replicate a simple celtic knot into cookie form.  It's easier than it looks!

 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Mousse in Tuile Cookie Spoons


Recently a friend asked me to bake for an upcoming party she's having, so I've been researching all kinds of bite-sized dessert canap├ęs.  One recipe that caught my attention is from BHG; a rich mousse that is served in the bowl of a teaspoon. The mousse sounds inviting, but I'm not sure I want to commit a good portion of flatware to the project (32 spoons!). The idea of a disposable plastic spoon came to mind, but for a single bite - well, that would be environmentally unsound and just too wasteful.  Then, it came to me suddenly.  Edible spoons!

Do they exist? Can I make them? (google, google, google) Well. Yes and yes.

I've wanted to try stencil paste (or tuile batter) for some time, and now I had the perfect opportunity!  I found the spoon stencil online (here) and decided to give it a try. I had so much fun while experimenting.  There are so many shape and flavor possibilities!


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