Friday, February 18, 2011

Chocolate Tart with Nutella, Raspberry Curd & Berries

Chocolate and Raspberry. Need I say more, ladies? I think not. However, this tart says plenty more by taking chocolate and raspberry to another dimension: chocolate crust with Nutella and raspberry curd with fresh berries.

Can you believe that I kept this in my fridge for a whole 24 hours just to bring into school to share? 24 hours. 24 long, long hours. I even gave the mini tarts to my roommates. I never had a taste for 24 hours! Ok, fine, that's a boldfaced lie. I had spoonfuls of curd and Nutella, and maybe a berry or thirteen while assembling this tart. I'm only human.

This recipe for Chocolate Tart Dough is adaptable to all your chocolate tart needs (Make this tart and you will discover that you have chocolate tart needs.). This combo is satisfying, to say the least, but pick your own favorite fillings - pastry cream, custard, curd, ganache, fruit, etc. Let me know what you come up with!

Chocolate Tart Dough

Martha Stewart

yields 4 2x4-inch rectangular tarts; or 1 9-inch round tart + some extra for mini tarts

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add yolks, cream, and vanilla and process until mixture comes together.

Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, flatten into a disk, and wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to use, up to 2 days.

Now it's time to make the tart! Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove dough from fridge and let sit on a floured work surface for 5 minutes. Roll dough about 1/4-inch thick. Press dough evenly into tart pan. Bake for about 20 minutes (You're whole house will smell like chocolate - this is the best part!). Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for an hour.

Fill tart with delicious things. Enjoy.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Pecan Linzer Heart Cookies with Black Cherry Filling

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  This year I finally got around to making Valentine's Day cards, except I mailed them really late. But that's ok, right? That makes them extra-special, because when Valentine's Day is over, and you think you're done getting trinkets of love in the mail, BAM - there's my Valentine (late...). Well, here you go. You can at least look at them on Valentine's Day... :)

I've always wanted to make Linzer cookies, but never tried. They looked so complicated and time consuming with their double layers and filling (this coming from a girl who will spend hours decorating cookies...). "And in short, I was afraid." (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is the best poem, ever. Just don't read it on Valentine's Day...)

But fear not! These cookies are hardly time consuming, especially if you have Linzer cookie cutters, and you can fill them with whatever kind of tasty jam you like.

These cookies are perfect for Valentine's Day because they look like little doilies with hearts in the middle. I even baked the heart cut outs and made little heart cookie sandwiches...

And you feel healthy, because... uh... there's fruit in the jam... never mind the excessive powdered sugar mustache you now have... um... it's Valentine's Day, so it's alright...

Pass the box of chocolates, please! ...and another cookie.

Pecan Linzer Cookies
Martha Stewart

yields 32 cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup red jam (I used black cherry, but any kind of red/purple fruit will do.)

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. Pulse pecans, confectioners' sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely ground (but not wet). Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Add butter and granulated sugar; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and egg. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Halve dough and shape into disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours (I suggest overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 F. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Cut out squares with a 2-inch fluted cutter. Cut out centers of half the squares with a 1/2-inch heart cutter; reroll scraps. Space 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake squares and hearts until pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.

Meanwhile, heat jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced and thickened, about 7 minutes. Strain and let cool.

Sprinkle cutout cookies with confectioners' sugar. Spread jam onto uncut squares and top with cutout ones. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days. Enjoy.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Leave of Absence, Deviled Eggs, and a Baby

Dear Readers (if there are any of you left...),

I'm not well versed in the art of deception, but I can see how it would appear that way. I started this new blog on New Year's. I started cranking out recipes on a regular basis. I started to make you believe that I would keep on posting suchlike recipes. And then nothing. Nothing. Nothing for a month...

You might have blown me off. You might have cursed me. You might have thought "Oh, she can't handle keeping up a little blog." Well, now you're going to feel bad about that for two reasons: 1) I had a sinus infection, pink eye, bronchitis, laryngitis, and a urinary infection that spread into a pelvic infection landing me in the hospital for 8 days (you can't hate on the sick...) and 2) I have new recipes all ready for posting (you can't hate on those giving you tasty ideas...).

I'm back! and I hope you will take me back. Also, we're not allowed to get sick for all of 2011. I took one for the team, so we're all going to stay healthy now.

In happier news, my friends Chiara and Emanuele are the parents of a new baby girl, Caterina! We luckily threw a shower for Chiara a mere 36 hours before Caterina decided to show up. There was fun, games, food, and loads of presents and laughs.

Before I got sick, I had so been looking forward to making adorable baby shower desserts, namely a pink, girl version of Bake at 350's cute as a button cookies and i am baker's animal baby shower cookies. So. Cute. Sadly, I wasn't up to the task (Maybe for their next shower... Emanuele still wants a boy :o] )

I was able, however, to whip up some delicious deviled eggs, which were well received, so I thought I'd share the recipe with you, even though no baking was involved. My roommate Erin has this nifty crystal deviled egg serving platter. I never knew these existed. It's now on my list of "Things I don't need, but have to have" (don't judge! you know you have one, too...).

I'm sorry for deserting you, but I'll never be sorry for dessert-ing you, so stay tuned for Valentine's Day treats and other sugary goodness!


Deviled Eggs
yields 12 servings (if you can stop eating at 2 halves... good luck!)

1 dozen eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons dijon mustards
1/4 cup chopped chives or green onions
salt and pepper to taste
paprika to garnish

Place eggs in a large pot. Fill pot with water such that the water level is about one inch above the eggs and add vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat and cover for 30 minutes. Remove eggs and put in an ice water bath. Once eggs are no longer hot, roll eggs on surface to gently crack. Remove the shell and skin. Cut eggs lengthwise down the middle. Remove the yolks and place the yolks in a bowl.

Mash the yolks with a fork and combine with mayonnaise, mustard, chives/green onions, salt, and pepper. Spoon mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle the tops with paprika. Enjoy.

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