Archive for the 'dessert' Category

It’s Autumn.

October 23, 2006

I’ve not updated here in quite a while, but I have been busy in the kitchen.  Autumn’s arrival had me busy at the cottage, harvesting the last of what summer could squeeze out and ultimately turning over the season’s soil in preparation for next year’s prosperity.   At our last weekend at the cottage, Ross and I picked beets, tomatoes, beans, some scraggly looking carrots, onions and some gorgeous sugar pumpkins.

 Using the short crust recipe as I made to prepare my 2-bite butter tart crusts, I filled my cups of pumpkin after roasting the gourds for 45 minutes at about 350f, so they’d be soft.  And then I pureéd them.  Canned pumpkin is easier and just as sufficient.

For the filling, here’s what you’ll need:  

3 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

To my dismay, there were no ground cloves in the cupboard.  Just cloves on the stem.  Microplaning your fingertips does not affect this recipe at all.  If anything, it just injects more love into the final result.

Whisk the eggs in a glass bowl.  Stir and combine the other ingredients.  Smell them and resist the urge to eat them raw.  Spoon into tart shells and bake the pie for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the filling is set and the crust has browned.

Top with whipped cream and revel in this dessert’s ease to prepare.

2-Bite Butter Tarts

August 27, 2006

 spent the weekend playing Martha Stewart and consequently, I am no longer allowing myself to eat anything but celery and carrots for the next two weeks so that my cholesterol level decreases some, and the tightish feeling around where my waistline should be goes away. It was all worth it though. Butter tarts are delicious.

The history of the butter tart is disputed as are the variations on the recipe. Similar to the American Pecan Pie, as well as Quebec’s Tarte au Sucre and the Ecclefechan tart recipe known in Scotland, the butter tart has been claimed as the Canadian Recipe, which dates back to the early 1800s. Purists say no raisins or nuts belong in a true butter tart, but I never follow instructions, so mine contain pecans and bourbon.

Yields 24 little tarts or 12 big ones.

Pate Brisee (short crust pastry)

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into slices or cubes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Begin your pastry by combining the flour, salt and sugar. Then add butter and mix (either with a processor or by hand) until its coarse and crumbly.
Add water slowly and continue to mix until it holds together when pinched. Then wrap it in plastic & refridgerate for at least one hour.

Roll dough out from the centre (I found that by taking small bits and working with them, it was easier than using the whole wad at once) and cut into 10cm circles, using a cookie cutter or a small bowl. Place rounds into a 12-cup muffin tin and chill in the fridge.
Filling

You may prepare this ahead of time, but you will need to reheat it to boiling each time you let it cool. Do not let this boil for longer than 2-3 seconds, or you risk scientific intervention and your filling won’t be runny enough.

4 large eggs
2/3 cup unsalted, soft butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup half & half cream (10% butterfat)
2 tsp bourbon or vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins or nuts

Whisk eggs in a medium sized saucepan. Add butter, sugar and cream and whisk over low heat, and stir constantly, adding heat in increments.  Slowly bring mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Add bourbon or vanilla, and stir well.  Bring your muffin pan out from the fridge & line each with a few pieces of chopped nuts or raisins.

Then, spoon filling into the cups, garnish with nuts or raisins & bake at 375f for 15-20 minutes, or until pastry has browned nicely. Remove from oven, allow to cool and then serve.

Dragonfruit

June 11, 2006

I'm fascinated by Chinatown's bustle and ability to bring those who want something Dominion just can't sell regularly to those of us who are brave enough to explore.  And I'm getting a little bit more brave, week by week.  This is a dragonfruit.  A flower from a cactus also known as pitaya or Thang Loy.  I took a chance with this, since I had no idea what it actually was after passing it for weeks and its price was not really condusive to casual sampling ($4/piece) but I think now that I've tried it, I'd be interested in doing more with it in the near future.

Dragonfruit

Beyond its bold, defensive shell, the dragonfruit is quite soft and delicate inside.  Its flesh is very faintly sweet but its texture is similar to what you'd expect from a fig or a ripe kiwi fruit with lots of tiny seeds that pop when you eat them.  Articles indicate that it is fermented into wine, or made into ice cream, which paired with a very light syrup, I believe could be quite delicious.  If only I had the means to make ice cream!

A Dainty Dessert

May 28, 2006

Over Easter, I was invited to my brother's for dinner and decided to bring along a little something as thanks for all of he and his girlfriend's hospitality as well as their generousity in the wine department.  I don't follow instructions well though, so baking was out of the question.  

 I made custard tarts, which were quite easy and I reccomend them to anyone who is learning to cook as when you'll eat them, you'll love the reward they give you. 

You'll need:

  • 2 pkgs frozen tart shells
  • 6 large eggs, separated.
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Beat until the mixture is pale yellow and place over low heat, slowly stiring in the cream. Cook, stirring constantly, until custard coats a wooden spoon quite thickly.  Don't let it burn.Immediately pour the custard into a chilled mixing bowl; cover and place in the refrigerator until custard is cold, about 2 hours. When the custard is chilled, stir in the bourbon.

Whip egg whites until frothy, but not merangue.  Fold into custard and spoon into tart shells.  Sprinkle raspberries on top and bake shells according to package instructions, and chill again.  Serve and be loved.

custard tart