Valentines-Raspberry Pistachio Frangipane Tart

18 Feb dsc_0598

It was Valentines this week. To make this week special, I decided to make something sweet for my friends and family. I recently bought 2 boxes of raspberries. Initially I was going to make a cheesecake but at the last minute I craved tart. Tart it is. I have not made frangipane for a while thus I decided to make a frangipane tart with pastry cream.

Tips:
1. For a stronger pistachio taste, toast the pistachios first
2. Pour the hot milk into the eggs not the other way around.

To make the tart, I first made the pate sucre. The frangipane came next. I wanted a roasted pistachio taste to the frangipane so I toasted some pistachios and gournd them till fine. A coffee grounder will do the trick. Butter was then measured and heated. Whipped cream, sugar and eggs where mixed in with the pistachios to form a semi paste and then the cooled butter was poured in. I baked the tart shell for approx 15 minutes first. When done, raspberry jam was spread over the bottom of the tart shell. The Pistachio frangipane was then poured into the tart shell and baked some more. ** I suppose I could blind bake the tart shell with the frangipane in it. But will leave it till next time I make it. Once the pistachio frangipane and tart shell is cooked. The pastry cream was next to come. Once the pastry cream was done. Set it to cool. Once cooled pour over the pistachio frangipane tart and garnish with raspberries. Voila!!!

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Pistachio Frangipane

1 stick butter unsalted
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 cup ground pistachios
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream

Creme Patiserrie
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
2 egg yolks
2 table cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean

Pate Sucre

1 stick butter
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 tablespoon ground almonds
1 pinch salt
1 egg
1 2/3 cup flour

Bon Appetit!!! Happy Valentines Day.

Baked Tapioca Pudding w/ Pineapple Bun Crust

28 Jan dsc_0593

We celebrated my brother’s birthday over the past few weeks by dining at a chinese restaurant. The meal was decent for the price they were charging but the dessert was very good. It was a baked tapioca pudding; the ones you see being served at dim sum. It had a crust similar to the ones seen on the pineapple crust bun. The tapioca had a smooth texture and tasted sweetened milk. Yummm….

I have seen recipes for the baked tapioca pudding from time to time but this time was different as I wanted to make it. Off I went to find recipes of baked tapioca pudding w/ pineapple bun crust. Alas I found one here.

Tips when making the tapioca pudding:

1. When cooking the tapioca make sure to cook it till maybe 75 percent cooked only. Take of heat and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside. I used the sieve for the tapioca and ran cold water over it.
2. Measure out the milk. Half for the custard powder and egg mixture. Half for the sugar, evaporated milk and butter mixture.
3. Heat the milk/butter/sugar mixture and pour onto the egg mixture. Return to heat and cook until thickened.
4. Only add the tapioca to the custard when thickened as the tapioca will continual cooking.

Crust:
1. Combine the flour, butter and lard first and mix until sand like texture. Then add the rest of the ingredients. This will ensure a flaky crust.
2. The dough is quite soft, so I rolled it out in 2 pieces of saran wrap. The alternative is to refrigerate it until not as soft then roll out.
3. To ensure the round cookie shape use a round cookie cutter.
4. Egg white wash the cookie.

Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes.

Voila

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Ingredients

Tapioca Pudding

50-60 g small whole tapioca pearls
250 ml milk, divided into 100 ml and 150 ml
2 tbsp custard powder
1 large egg lightly beaten (set some egg white aside to paint over the crust)
50 ml evaporated milk
45 g sugar
20 g unsalted butter

Pineapple Bun Crust

110 g all purpose flour
80 g sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
20 g unsalted butter, softened
40 g vegetable shortening
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 tbsp evaporated milk

Results: This is a amazingly light dessert and not too sweet. There are variations of it with red bean, black sesame, taro and lotus paste. Next time I think I shall try lotus paste with the pudding. The evaporated milk gives the pudding a fragrant taste while the lightness and crispness of the crust compliments each other well. A keeper!!!

Bon Appetit.

Holiday Cake Project II: Gateau St. Honore

4 Jan dsc_0576

Nothing says winter quite like being snowed in and resting up wih a nice cup of milk tea while watching the snow come down. Yes it is New Years Eve. Ha ha you might wonder why it took longer to write this. I’ve got no answer except been busy baking. As the holidays are coming to an end, I decided to add in a couple of baking projects with the first being a Gateau St. Honore. With a batch of freshly made puff pastry dough in the fridge, I decided to revisit this classic.

To make the base I used inverted puff pastry. The dough was rolled out, circle and placed in the fridge to rest. By resting, the dough relaxes. While the dough is resting I made the choux paste. When that was done I piped it over the puff pastry. I also made smaller choux puffs to decorate the gateau with.

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I baked it at 385 for 30-35 minutes.

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Once the puff pastry/choux paste base had baked, I proceeded to make the pastry cream. When done, I cooled the pastry cream and spread it one the gateau. I made a dry caramel. The caramel was ready when it reached a golden amber colour. The little choux were then dipped into the hot caramel. Once the caramel has hardened, pastry cream was piped into the choux and then dipped into the caramel again to stick on the gateau. Lastly, I whipped up some whipped cream and pipped in on pastry cream.

Voila

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Recipes:
Pate a Choux

All purpose flour ( I used bread flour) 175 g
Granuated Sugar 33 g
Water 240 g
Unsalted Butter 120 g
Salt 2.5 g
Egg 250 g

Inverted Puff Pastry

340 g bread flour
220 ml Water
10 g butter

6 g Salt
450 g Butter
150 Bread Flour

Pastry Creme: Vanilla
500 ml Milk
100 g Sugar
40 g Corn Starch
2 piece Egg Yolks
.5 piece Vanilla.

Result: Stunning. This cake has the flakiness from the puff pastry as well as the softness from the cream puff. It is creamy and fragrant. While it is time consuming to make the results are well worth it.

Holiday Cake Project-Mont Blanc-Angelina (Paris) Version

27 Dec dsc_0567

Key in making the chestnut puree:
1. Boil in chestnuts in water (milk) till tender aprrox 30 minutes. Sometimes, it will require more liquid depending on the size of the chestnuts.
2. Food process until you can pipe it and it will maintain its shape. Add the sugar syrup while processing.

Ingredients:

1.4 kg chestnuts ( I used 700 g chestnuts)
175 ml water ( I used milk)
1 vanilla bean ( I used 2 vanilla beans)
65 ml sugar

Result: Excellent version of chestnut puree. It was subtle and sweet and had a vanilla flavour. As an option I would add rum into the mixture. This recipe is a keeper.

Christmas Cookie Project: Linzer Cookies

23 Dec dsc_0565

With 2 more days till Christmas, I decided to switch gears and make some cookies.  There are lots of cookies outside and I wanted to make some traditional cookies for Christmas.  This time I decided to make some Linzer cookies.

To make the linzer cookies, I first toasted up some hazelnuts and grounded them.  I then creamed the butter and sugar.  Once the butter/sugar mixture was nice fluffy and incorporated, the eggs and vanilla were added.  Continue mixing and add the salt.  Next came the dry ingredients.  Add the cake flour, cinnamon, bread crumbs, baking powder and hazelnuts.   Mix and form ball with the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.

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Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.  Spoon jam onto the cookies without the holes and coat with icing sugar on the cookies with holes.

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Linzer Cookie Ingredients  (Culinary Institute of America)

3 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

2 eggs

3 cups cake flour

2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups bread crumbs

2 1/2 cups hazelnuts

Confectioner’s sugar for coating

Raspberry jam for filling

Result:  These cookies were light and crispy.  Delicious and beautiful.  Perfect for gift giving.

Happy Holidays!!!

Christmas Chocolate Project- Caramelized Gianduja Hedgehogs-Curley

17 Dec dsc_0561

Brrrrrr it is freezing in Vancouver. The city has been hit with minus temperatures this week and to top it of more snow will be coming tonight and tomorrow. Yippee more snow to welcome the holiday season. With approx 1 week left to go, the city has gone into full swing with decorations and festivities. One of the rich traditions is the Gingerbread Town held at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver. Every year participants create wonderful masterpieces and display them in the hotel.

gingerbread-houses

gingerbread-houses-2

During the holiday season, I tend to bake alot for friends and family. For the last couple of weeks or so, I have been flipping through recipes to see what I can make. Well I stopped at praline again. Nothing brings more joy to my heart than to see the perfectly coated glistening nuts. It makes my heart sing as friends and I munch on the sweet and crunchy morsel. A good accompaniment to chocolate. I decided to create caramelized parline hedgehogs.

To make the caralized Gianduja
First toast some nuts until golden. Note: do not over toast them as they will have a bitter taste. Then make the simple syrup by boiling the water with sugar. Once the sugar mixture comes to the rolling boil add the nuts and stir. Keep mixing. As the syrup boils the water will evaporate leaving the sugar coating the nuts. Eventually the water will boil off leaving the sugar crystals coating the nuts.

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It will look granular and coarse but not to worry, this is the process of making sugar coated nuts. Keep stirring and mixing until the left over sugar crystal caramelizes and have coated the nuts entirely. Remove from heat and spread out on silicone mat to cool.

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Once the praline has cooled a bit place into food processor to grind to a paste. In the beginning it will look like chopped nuts but eventually it will become a paste.

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Melt the milk chocolate and dark chocolate and add to mixture. Once the praline/chocolate has been mixed well. Pour onto silicone mould for setting.

To make the chocolates
First melt some milk chocolate, temper it and fill into chocolate hedgehog molds. Pipe the praline into the molds and set. Finally fill the chocolate.

Voila

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Caramelized Gianduja

150 g almonds lightly roasted
150 g hazelnuts lightly roasted
150 g caster sugar
50 ml water
150 bittersweet chcocolate
150 g milk chocolate

Results: This is a very good recipe for making hedgehogs. The praline although time consuming was excellent.

Happy Holidays!!!

Pierre Herme-Truffles au Chocolat au Lait et The Vert Matcha

3 Dec dsc_0555

Christmas is around the corner. The city gets prettier and prettier each coming year with Christmas decorations around every corner and in every department store there is Christmas songs playing. Christmas would not be Christmas without snow and we are blessed as snow is on the mountains.

It has been almost 4 months without posting and now is the time as never to post as it is Christmas time!!! I have been busy with work and school and now that I have finished my final mid-term I am free till the final exam. I recently bought a book, “Chocolate,” from my favourite pastry chef Pierre Herme and flipping through its mouth watering pages I stopped at some of his chocolate recipes. I have always loved the taste of pistachio and matcha but am curious how they would work together. IMHO, Pierre Herme used the flavour combination so it can’t be so bad heheheh. Off I went to make the recipe.

To make the ganache, I first measured the ingredients. Herme mentioned to combine the chocolate together with the matcha and then pour the hot cream on it the mixture; however, how will that melt (for lack of better word) the matcha? You would get granules of matcha. Instead, I combined the cream together with the matcha and heated it up. Once heated up pour onto the chocolate and whisk out from the middle. Cool and set the mixture when it is homogenized.

Pierre Hermes truffles called for roasted pistachios thankfully I had some in the fridge. The ganache was quite soft hence after I scooped it out I froze them for a firmer texture to be rolled into chocolate. Once they were more firm, they were rolled in melted chocolate twice and on the third time coated with roasted pistachios.

Viola

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Ingredients:

200 g whole pistachios skinned

Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache
95 g butter
610 g milk chocolate 45% cocoa ( I used Valhrona Jivara)
30 g matcha green tea power
600 g cream

Result: This is an interesting combination. The ganache is not that sweet and has a hint of bitterness. However when combined with the enrobbed chocolate it becomes sweet. To top it off one get the roasted pistachios flavouring with the matcha. I would suggest this recipe for matcha lovers.

Let the holiday baking begin.

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