Monday, 9 July 2012

Summer Dessert

Fruit Tart

This tart is wonderful for the Summer when all the berrie are in season. It's actually a Martha Stewart recipe and it's absolutely delicious! The custard is light and fluffy. The trick is to fold whipped cream into the custard so the custard isn't too thick. The crust is buttery and flaky. Be careful when you make this though because you'll want to eat it up all at once.

First you need to make the custard (Pastry Cream) because it needs to chill completely in the fridge before you can add it to the tart.

Pastry Cream

1 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split
5 tablespoons sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour (preferably rice flour for lightness)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  1. Place milk, vanilla bean, and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over high heat; cook until almost boiling.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar until thickened. Sprinkle in cornstarch and flour and continue beating until well combined.
  3. Remove vanilla bean from milk. While whisking constantly, slowly pour heated-milk mixture into egg-yolk mixture. Pour mixture through a fine sieve back into saucepan, and cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat, until it thickens and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in butter until melted. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the pastry cream; refrigerate until completely cooled.

Paté Sucrée

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup ice water

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and sugar. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 20 seconds.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks; add ice water. With machine running, add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour.
Assemble Tart

  • 1/2 recipe Pate Sucree
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pastry Cream
  • 1/4 cup red currant jelly, seedless raspberry jam, quince jelly, or apricot jam
  • 4 cups mixed berries, preferably blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/4-inch thick. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off excess flour; fit dough into a 9-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing into edges. Using a sharp paring knife, trim dough flush with pan. Chill tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Line with parchment paper, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges are just beginning to turn golden, about 40 minutes. Remove parchment paper and weights; continue baking until deep golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool tart shell completely on wire rack. For this step, I only cooked the crust for 30min, uncovered and cooked another 8min and it was perfect. Any longer and it would have burned.
  3. Meanwhile, place heavy cream and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat until soft peaks form. Working in batches, gently fold whipped cream into pastry cream; set aside.
  4. Place jelly or jam in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until melted and smooth. Set glaze aside to cool slightly.
  5. Spoon pastry cream mixture into cooled tart shell and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Top with berries; brush berries with glaze. Tart is best served the day it is made. I actually prefer this tart without the glaze. The glaze made it a bit too sweet and rich. I suggest you make the glaze but serve it on the side.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Triple C Treats

Brownie Cream Cheese mini-Cupcakes

These delectable bites are tiny enough to gulp down in one bite. They're not too sweet and the cream cheese adds a little bit of saltiness so if you like sweet and salty, this is the cupcake for you.

The recipe said it makes 5 dozen but I was only able to squeeze out 4 dozen of these little beauties. 

I found this recipe in a Fine Cooking magazine.


For Brownies
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 tsp table salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Topping
6 oz cream cheese at room temperature
3 tbsp granulate sugar
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 cup semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚F
Line your mini cupcake pans with paper liners

Brownie Batter

Combine the butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over simmering water or in a microwave and heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth. Set aside.

With a stand mixer (use the whisk attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the eggs and salt in a large bowl on medium speed until very foamy, about 2 minutes. Continue beating while gradually adding the sugar. Beat until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. With a large rubber spatula, scrape the chocolate mixture into the eggs, add the vanilla, and fold until the two mixtures are just barely incorporated. Add the flour and continue folding until just incorporated. 

Scrape the batter into a 1-gallon heavy-duty zip-top bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal.

Cream Cheese Topping
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolk and mix until blended. Pour in the chips and mix until blended. Scrape into a 1-quart zip-top bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal.

Assemble and Bake

Snip off 1/2 inch from one corner of each bag. Fill each lined muffin cup about two-thirds full with the brownie batter and then top with about 1 tsp. of the cream cheese mixture.

Bake the three trays in the center of the oven until the brownies are puffed and a pick inserted in the brownie comes out just barely clean, about 20 minutes. Let the brownies cool in trays on racks for 5 minutes before carefully lifting the liners out of the tins and transferring them to racks to cool completely. Be sure the tins are completely cool before lining and filling them with the remaining batters.
Store at room temperature or freeze in an airtight container, separating the layers with waxed paper.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Méli-Mélo of baked goods

Here are some pictures of various baked goods I've made throughout the years. I'm feeling somewhat lazy tonight so I won't bother writing the recipes. Maybe I'll add them laterJust thought it was about time I added another post so here are a bunch of pictures for your enjoyment (or your mouth's)!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Caramel Crème Brûlée

Vegan Strawberry Cupcakes

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Swirl Brownies

4 Tier Cinnamon and Chocolate Cake

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Hazelnut-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Bowtie Cookies with Apricot Preserves

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Apple and Pomegranate Tarte Tatin

A tarte tatin is a French dessert that was first baked in 1880. It is basically an upside down tart where the fruit is first caramelized in butter and sugar before being baked. The traditional tarte tatins are usually made with apples but today a wide variety of berries and other fruits are used. 

Here I have used golden apples and reduced pomegranate juice.

The pomegranate syrup which is added to the apples adds a nice tartness that balances all the sugar and butter.

Make sure you have plenty of extra apples (or any other fruit you're using). They tend to shrink while cooking. Just add more fruits as necessary. 
The crust was deliciously flaky because of the sour cream. I find the best crusts always have some sort of cream in them. 

The best way to eat it is as soon as it comes out of the oven with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Yum! 

This was the first time I had attempted to make this and it was a grand success! It was gobbled up within the day.

Recipe to come.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Spring Flowers!!!

So sorry for not posting a lot these days. I haven't baked in the past 2 months :O 
Mostly because we're trying to eat healthier and the weather has been so nice so I like to spend a lot of time in the sun while I can. In honour of the 20 and plus degrees we're having this week here are some cupcakes that I decorated as flowers for my brother's wedding last year!

I got this idea from this great book and all you need are small marshmallows and coloured sugars.

I coloured the sugars myself by shacking food colouring and sugar in a mason jar.

Then you cut the marshmallows diagonally and you toss them in the sugar. Only the sticky part (the part you cut) will have sugar glued to it and it will look like small petals. Once you iced the cupcake, you just place the petals on he icing and they will stick there perfectly. It takes 22 marshmallows for a regular sized cupcake.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

It's Snowing!

We thought Winter was over and Spring was in the air. 
Were we ever wrong! Snow came tumbling down and we had to switch back to boots :(

Ischl Tarts

For these cookie sandwiches, there are 2 doughs. The bottom cookie is a spiced dough and the top is a normal sugar cookie dough.

1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2-1/4 cup all purpose flour

Spiced Dough

In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium heat until butter turns light brown (about 12 minutes). Remove from heat and poor into a medium mixing bowl.
Chill until butter solidifies (45 min)
Then, beat the chilled butter with an electric mixer for 30sec. 
Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar + 1 egg yolk + 1 tsp Vanilla + Cinnamon + ground cloves + 1/8 tsp salt.
Beat until combined and then add 1 cup of the flour and mix until combined.
Cover dough and chill for 1 hour.

Plain Dough

Meanwhile, beat 1/2 room temperature dough with an electric mixer for 30sec.
Add remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar + 1 egg yolk + 1 tsp vanilla + 1/8 tsp salt.
Beat until combined and add 1-1/4 cup of remaining flour and beat in until combined.
Cover dough and chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll each dough to 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and for the Plain Dough, Cut out 1/2 inch shapes in the cookie (So you will be able to see the jam once you assemble the cookies). 
Do not cutout those shapes in the spiced dough.

Place the cutouts on cookies sheet about 1 inch apart.
Bake about 8 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Spread about 1 tsp of jam on the bottom of each Spiced cookie and top with plain cookie. 
Sift powdered sugar on cookies before serving.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Vegetarian pizza

I posted earlier in the year my homemade bacon and pepperoni pizza. Well here's one for the non meat eaters (you know who you are). 

Blue cheese

Just brush the pizza dough with a generous coating of olive oil. Then, scatter thin slices of fresh pear and dollops of blue cheese. Sprinkle some fresh basil and finish off with lots of freshly ground pepper (and a pinch of salt). 
You can also add thin slices of red onion if you want. If you slice them thin enough, they caramelize in the oven.

A Break from these Carbs (Part 3)

photo from here

I've realized I've only posted once this month but I haven't really had time to bake since it was midterm season so here is a little something I had to write a couple of years ago for English class. It's a description about my ride home on the bus through Mile End and Parc x. Enjoy.


              I love riding the bus. It is much better than the stuffy and dark metro. I always try to sit by the window so I can see outside. There is always a line up to get on the 80. I watch people with their hoods up and their scarves around their face. I smile as I see a dog waiting outside for its owner. Its nose on the ground searching for whatever animal was there last night. Men in big, furry, black hats walk across the street as if they’re late. You can almost hear the heels of their leather shoes go “toc-toc-toc” on the sidewalk. The bakeries and butchers pass by in a blur one after the other. As people get on and off the bus with their bags, the smell of Fairmount bagels floats around our heads. My stomach growls with hunger. Bikes zoom past us and in and out of cars unafraid of the traffic. The streets go by me one by one; Bernard, Van Home, Beaubien. I’m almost home.

            As I get off the bus, the air hits my face and my eyes water with the cold. I must walk ten minutes to get home and I’m impatient to escape this cold. I pass many food stands outside. Oranges, bananas and avocados line the sides of the streets. My eyebrow goes up as I walk past. It is too cold for fruit outside. Car horns honk as I run across the street on a yellow light. I fiddle with the lock. It takes a couple of minutes for me to unlock the door and I burst in. I feel my fingers once more. 

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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

4 Tier Chocolate Cake with Fleur de Sel Caramel Filling

This is the perfect cake for special occasion. I made this cake for my brother's birthday. I've also been seeing a lot of the caramel-fleur de sel combination a lot these days different desserts: from cookies to cupcakes. It's the new baking trend for 2012 apparently. 

If you want to try out this cake just remember that the caramel filling and the chocolate ganache must be made a day before the cake because it must chill in the fridge overnight so plan ahead!!


Caramel Filling

1 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Large pinch of fine fleur de sel* plus additional for assembly

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1 1/4 cups almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped



  • Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup in deep medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium; Bring to boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, occasionally brushing down pan sides with wet pastry brush, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cream (mixture will bubble). Whisk in butter, then crème fraîche or sour cream, lemon juice, and pinch of fleur de sel. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.


  • Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate; let soften 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is smooth. Cool, then cover and chill overnight. DO AHEAD Ganache can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.


  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. 
  • Sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Add milk, eggs, and melted butter. Using electric mixer, beat at low speed for about 2 min. 
    Stir 1 cup hot water and espresso powder in small bowl to dissolve. Add to batter; beat until blended (batter will be thin). Divide batter between pans.
  • Bake cakes about 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Cut around cakes; turn out onto racks and cool completely.


  • Using long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. 
    Place 1 layer on platter; spread with 1/2 cup room-temperature ganache. Spoon 3/4 cup ganache into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch plain round tip. Pipe ring of ganache around edge of layer. Spread 1/4 cup room-temperature caramel filling evenly inside ring. Sprinkle caramel with large pinch of fleur de sel, then 1 tablespoon almonds. 
    Top with second cake layer, ganache, ganache ring, caramel filling, fleur de sel, and almonds. 
    Repeat with third cake layer. 
    Top with fourth cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Press remaining almonds onto sides. 
    Cover with cake dome and chill. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.