Archive for June, 2008

Lemon Curd Tart.

Superbly tangy, yummy lemon tart.

Superbly tangy, yummy lemon tart.

Lemon Curd Tart 
adapted from Once Upon A Tart

Yield: As many slices as you’ll like to make out of an 8-inch pie pan. 

Pastry shell

  • 125g soft butter
  • 90g sugar 
  • 1 large egg
  • 250g flour 

Filling

  • 115ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 160g sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 125g butter
  • fresh blueberries

Pastry

Mix butter with sugar until pale. Add one large egg , when incorporated, add flour. Mix until dough just comes together. Roll into ball, flatten, wrap in clingfilm and let rest in the fridge for an hour or so.

Roll out between two sheets of baking paper and fit into a 20cm (8 inch) round pastry tin. Fill with baking beans and bake at 180c° for about 15 minutes. remove baking beans and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden. (I personally used another disposable baking pan to sandwich the pastry. Bake upside down for 15 minutes, remove 2nd pan, flip over, and bake for another 15 minutes) Let cool. 

Note: IMHO this makes far too much pastry for an 8 inch pie. I ended up using only about half – perhaps its my preference for thinner crust but it can get a bit too much to chew. 

Filling

Pour water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Combine lemon juice, whole eggs and egg yolk, sugar and salt in a bowl (no stainless steel – adds a yucky taste to anything with lemon!), that sits securely in the rim of the saucepan over the simmering water. Whisk ingredients until the mixture becomes very thick. This will take about 15-20 minutes. When cream is thick, remove from heat and let cool, stirring from time to time, to release heat.

Cut butter in small pieces and add butter – one at the time – until incorporated, before adding the next piece. Cream will be pale yellow and wonderfully thick but soft.

Let rest until cold, then its ready to use. will keep in the fridge for about 4 days.

To assemble, fill lemon curd into shell and top with blueberries. 

Note: Although I assume that the tart is suppose to be eat-ready, I found the texture to be too runny if consumed immediately. This tart is best served after being chilled overnight to achieve some semblance of firmness. 

This was a really yummy recipe and I’ve actually already done it twice. The first time my pastry ended up too thick, the second time – too thin. Haven’t mastered the art of pie pastry yet, evidently. But I do so love the tangy taste of citrus so this pie was REALLY addictive for me. 

Rating: 4/5 
Would I make this again? The curd, yes. I’ll keep looking for more interesting tart recipes that are also manageable for an amateur like me. Will probably want to try this recipe as lemon squares or some variation of another.

June 29, 2008 at 2:23 pm 1 comment

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies.

This was an almost failed attempt. Fortunately, even though I made it twice and it still looked devastating both times, everyone found it yummy (or in some cases, too sweet). Which was good. Else I’d be stuck with heaps of failed meringue. 

 

Failed meringue! Not rising yo!

Failed meringue! Not rising yo!

BUT. It is honestly a good recipe.

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
adapted from Dozen Flours 

4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups mini chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with a Silpat mat. Preheat oven to 300F.

In a medium mixing bowl with whisk attachment bowl, beat egg whites on super high speed until soft peaks form. Add cream of tarter and vanilla and mix again. Scrape bowl. Return on high speed and add sugar 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time (I measure the sugar into a 8oz glass then slowly pour the sugar a little at a time into the meringue. I find the glass easy to grip and less messy).If you want cocoa flavored cookies, add the cocoa now(I recommend it!). Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop mixture by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until firm and the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let them cool.

 

This is how your meringues should NOT look.

This is how your meringues should NOT look.

 

 

UPDATE: Despite having failed twice (I now know its due to my insufficient beating of egg white, excuse the n00b baker!), my 3rd attempt (Chocolate Mint Meringue) turned out so beautifully that I knew for sure I’d got it right at last! 

Rating: 4/5
Would I make these again? Yes! I love meringue, and these are really easy to make and a really good recipe to turn to when you’ve been using too many egg yolks for something else and need a relatively fuss-free way to turn those remaining egg whites into something yummy.

June 29, 2008 at 12:06 am 1 comment

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies.

Decadent brownies.

Decadent brownies.

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies
adapted from Spatula, Corkscrews & Suitcases and taken from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home To Yours 

Yield: approx. 32 1.5inch squares (its so sweet and rich that you’ll want them bite sized!)

Brownies

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, (8 Tablespoons) cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons strong coffee (I didn’t add this)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces premium quality milk chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store bought milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Glaze

  • 6 ounces premium quality white chocolate, finely chopped or 1 cup store bought white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add, in the following order, the butter, the two chocolates and the coffee. Keeping the pan over low heat, warm just until the butter and chocolates are melted-you don’t want the ingredients to get so hot they separate, so keep an eye on the bowl. Stir gently, and when the mixture is smooth, set it aside for 5 minutes.

Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Don’t beat too vigorously-you don’t want to add air to the batter-and don’t be concerned about graininess. Next, stir in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. You should have a smooth, glossy batter. If you’re not already using a rubber spatula, switch to one now and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Finally, stir in the milk chocolate chips and the nuts. Scrap the batter into the pan.

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out streaked but not thickly coated. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the brownies rest undisturbed for at least 30 minutes.

Turn the brownies out onto a rack, peel away the foil and place it under another rack-the foil becomes the drip catcher for the glaze. Invert the brownies onto the rack and let cool completely.

To make the glaze, put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds, then, using a rubber spatula, gently stir until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth.

Hold a longer metal icing spatula in one hand and the bowl of glaze in the other. Pour the glaze onto the center of the brownies and using the spatula to nudge it evenly over the surface. Don’t worry if it dribbles over the edges, you can trim the sides later (or not). Refrigerate the brownies for about 20 minutes to dry the glaze.

Cut into about 32 1.5 inch squares. 


These brownies were really, really rich and sweet and one of the most tedious brownies I’ve ever done. (Maybe the instructions just took too long to read) My glaze didn’t turn out very beautifully, but it could’ve been due to the fact that I just didn’t have good baking white chocolate and used a cadbury bar instead. No loss because I’m not a white chocolate fan anyway.

But in all honesty, these were really too sweet for anyone who doesn’t see dessert as a compulsory component of every meal. Fortunately for me, most of my friends did have a tooth sweet enough to appreciate this particular brownie.

Rating: 4/5
Would I bake this again? Probably, if I ever feel crazy enough to. I might do away with the white chocolate glaze and go for some other frosting though.

June 24, 2008 at 10:58 pm Leave a comment

Raspberry Chocolate Muffins.

Fresh Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Fresh Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Okay, so here’s the first thing I ever baked successfully on my own.

 

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins 
adapted from Fresh from the Oven (who adapted it from Cook and Eat) 

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 1 (6 oz container) fat free yogurt
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy milk (or 2% milk or skim milk)
  • 3.5 fl oz (100 ml) canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (280g) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • zest from 1 meyer lemon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (or a mixture of different berries)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or grease it and set aside.

Whisk the yogurt, milk, oil and eggs until smooth, then mix in the vanilla.

In a separate, large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Stir in the lemon zest, if using; brown sugar and granulated sugar. Then, get your berries. First, pick out 12 of the larger berries to stick on the top of each muffin, and set those aside. Now, stir the berries and chocolate chips into the flour sugar mixture until they are well coated.

Fold in the yogurt mixture, and stir until there are no significant bits of dry flour. The batter will be quite dry, more like scone mixture.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, dividing evenly between each hole. You can fill these all the way to the top… they will rise some, but not excessively. Top each with one of the berries you picked out, and press a few more chocolate chips to the side, if you like.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the tops are nicely golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

 

Eat me!

Eat me!

 

These muffins are definitely healthier than the average muffin because it uses yogurt and the word ‘butter’ doesn’t even get to make a cameo. However, you do definitely sacrifice flavour, texture and taste. These were easy muffins for me to start with, and although they’re kinder on the waistline this won’t be one of my keeper recipes – unless I’m baking for some real health conscious people.

In fact, I’ve actually done this recipe several times, once using 2 medium sized bananas instead of raspberry along with several heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder. Bananas make everything taste wonderfully moist and flavorful, which nullified the need for butter to some extent. Doing this will also yield up to 16 muffins instead of 12 because of the content of the bananas. 

However, I tried this recipe again with just cocoa powder and chocolate chips, and it didn’t taste very exciting at all. 

Rating: 3/5 
Would I bake this again? Only if I feel particularly guilty about the butter.

June 19, 2008 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment


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