Monday, January 14, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Mini Tarts

This recipe comes from pastry chef David Lebovitz.  I love his blog; it's such a great escape to Paris and the city's food and his wonderful recipes.  

These tarts were worth going out and buying the mini tart pan needed to make them.  I used TSOB's creamy caramel sauce recipe again; the only caramel sauce recipe I will probably use from now on.   I also had the pleasure of working with some unusual Peruvian unsweetened chocolate I got as a gift from family that went there on vacation. 

The chocolate was really aerated and crumbly when I cut it.  When I added the cream to make ganache, it was more like a pudding than a ganache.  So Good!  

Other Baking Final

I forgot I had a picture of my other baking final- making a whole fruit tart from scratch. (We also had to make 2 loaves of bread and 10 eclairs and 10 cream puffs that day!)  My teacher liked my tart; her only comment was that the dough was a bit too thick.  I used TSOB's pastry cream recipe, which has some orange zest in it for added flavor.  Since my class was the last baking class of the week, it was slim pickings for the fruit toppings, which is disappointing.  I'm very proud of it though.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chinese Almond Cookies

The next chapter in TSOB is cookies.  Nothing difficult there, right?  Well, I did learn that you want cold butter for creaming, which was surprising.  This helps keep the cookie from getting thin.  I hate thin chocolate chip cookies.

As you know if you've read my other posts, I love the chocolate/hazelnut combination.  My next favorite flavor has got to be almond.  At work we make these almond scones and I just get so happy smelling the almond extract.  So when I started flipping through the cookie recipes, I settled on the almond ones. These cookies have almond paste, Disaronno (an "Italian liqueur flavored with herbs and fruits soaked in apricot kernel oil" that tastes of almond), and whole almonds on top.  

I'm not sure what makes them Chinese.  In TSOB, Yard shares that apricots are in the same family as almonds.  Their pits are often marketed as "Chinese almonds" and are used in traditional Chinese dishes.  I don't eat much Chinese food, instead I prefer Italian.  And to me, these cookies are a great almond shortbread made with an Italian liqueur.

Before I go on to the next TSOB chapter, pies and tarts, I think I'll revisit the financier chapter.