25.11.12

Pear in Sauternes Wine Tartlets





When I saw these cute Seckel pears on the grocery store I immediately thought to use them to decorate some tartlets. These little sweet pears are perfect for a delicious and beautiful dessert, especially when they are poached in sweet wines. I used this time French sweet wine Sauternes, but you can also use Tokay, Beaumes de Venise, and orange Muscat. The tartlets crusts were made with almond sweet pastry and filled with mascarpone cream. 





Pear Mascarpone Tartlets
(Makes  8 mini tartlets)

Pears in Sauternes wine
Adapted from the book Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard by Nigel Slater

4  small pears ( I used Seckel pears but you can use other hard varieties)
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup / 200g sugar
A vanilla pod
1 tbsp honey
200 ml Sauternes wine or other sweet wine

Wipe the pears and cut each one in half lengthwise. Put into a deep saucepan with the juice of the half lemon, the sugar, vanilla, wine, and 1 2/3 cups / 400 ml of water. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the pears cook gently until they are completely tender to the point of a knife. This will take a good forty-five minutes, maybe longer. Don’t even think undercooking then.


Pâte Sucrée aux Amandes
Sweet almond Pastry
From the book Ladurée Sucré
(Makes 16 oz/ 450 g of dough)

½ cup /120 g butter, very cold
½ cup + 1 tbsp / 70 g confectioners’ icing sugar
¼ cup/ 25 g ground almonds
1 pinch of fleur de sel (or other coarse sea salt)
1 pinch of vanilla powder (or a few drops of vanilla extract)
1 egg
1 2/3 cups / 200g cake flour

Sift the confectioners’ sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Work the butter to homogenize and then add the following ingredients, one by one, making sure to fully incorporate each into the mixture before the next addition: sifted confectioner’s sugar, ground almonds, fleur de sel, vanilla, egg and flour. Combine ingredients just until the dough comes together; do not overwork the dough. This will give the pastry its desired crumbly texture.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours before using. If possible, it is better to prepare the dough one day ahead; it will be easier to cool out.
Butter the tart pan. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/10 inch / 2 mm thick and press into the buttered pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 340 °F / 170 °C. Remove tart shell from refrigerator. Using a fork, prick the surface of the dough to keep from puffing up during baking. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until light coloured.

Mascarpone Cream
Adapted from the book Ladurée Sucré

2 gelatin sheets (1/2 tbsp / 4 g powdered gelatin)
¼ cup / 60 ml heavy cream
½ cup +tbsp / 125 g granulated sugar
2  cups / 400 g mascarpone

Place the gelatin sheets in a small bowl of very cold water. Allow to soften for 10 minutes.
Drain the gelatin sheets, squeezing hard to remove all excess liquid. In a saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and incorporate the drained gelatin. Allow to cool completely.
Using a wooden or rubber spatula, first mix the mascarpone by itself in a bowl until smooth. Continue to mix and little by little, pour in the cold mixture above. Fill the cooled baked tarts shell with mascarpone cream. Freeze for 20 minutes until the cream is firm.

Finishing the tart by placing the pear on top of the cream.


21.11.12

Golden Hubbard Mascarpone Tart



Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I prepared for dessert a delicious Golden Hubbard Mascarpone Tart. My inspiration came from the pumpkin compote that my mom used to make (or "doce de abóbora" in Portuguese). This is a very traditional dessert in my country and it’s basically made like a preserve using squash, sugar and spices.



First, I chose a beautiful Golden Hubbard squash. Then I cooked it with sugar and some cloves, but feel free to add other spices you like. To get a smooth filling, I incorporated to the compote a cardamom-infused mascarpone cream. The tart crust is a sweet almond pastry from the book Ladurée Sucré. I also made a little leaf with fondant to decorate it. 





Golden Hubbard Mascarpone Tart


Pâte Sucrée aux Amandes

Sweet almond Pastry
From the book Ladurée Sucré
(Makes 16 oz/ 450 g of dough) Equipment:Tart pan, 9 1/2-in/ 24-cm diameter

½ cup /120 g butter, very cold
½ cup + 1 tbsp / 70 g confectioners’ icing sugar
¼ cup/ 25 g ground almonds
1 pinch of fleur de sel (or other coarse sea salt)
1 pinch of vanilla powder (or a few drops of vanilla extract)
1 egg
1 2/3 cups / 200g cake flour

Sift the confectioners’ sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Work the butter to homogenize and then add the following ingredients, one by one, making sure to fully incorporate each into the mixture before the next addition: sifted confectioner’s sugar, ground almonds, fleur de sel, vanilla, egg and flour. Combine ingredients just until the dough comes together; do not overwork the dough. This will give the pastry its desired crumbly texture.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours before using. If possible, it is better to prepare the dough one day ahead; it will be easier to cool out.
Butter the tart pan. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/5 inch / 5 mm thick and press into the buttered pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 340 °F / 170 °C. Remove tart shell from refrigerator. Using a fork, prick the surface of the dough to keep from puffing up during baking. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until light coloured.

Golden Hubbard Compote
(Doce de Abóbora)

500g Golden Hubbard (remove the seeds, peel and cut in small cubes before measuring)
200g sugar
6 cloves

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and mix well. It's not necessary adding water as the squash will start release water in contact with sugar. Cook over lower heat about one hour or until the liquid is gone, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.


Cardamom- flavored Mascarpone Cream
Inspired by the books Ladurée Sucré and Pierre Hermé Pastries

4 g green cardamom seeds
1/2 tbsp / 4 g powdered gelatin
¼ cup / 60 ml heavy cream
½ cup  / 75 g granulated sugar
1  cup / 300 g mascarpone

Place the gelatin sheets in a small bowl of very cold water. Allow to soften for 10 minutes.
Drain the gelatin sheets, squeezing hard to remove all excess liquid. In a saucepan, bring the cream, cardamom and sugar to a boil. Set aside to infuse for 30 minutes, then strain. Pour the mixture back into saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and incorporate the drained gelatin. Allow to cool completely.
Using a wooden or rubber spatula, first mix the mascarpone by itself in a bowl until smooth. Continue to mix and little by little, pour in the cold mixture above.

Golden Hubbard Mascarpone Cream


In a bowl, place the Golden Hubbard compote and the mascarpone cream (left about 1/2 cup for decorating). Blend with a handheld immersion blender until smooth.



Assembly



Fill the cooled baked tart shell with Golden Hubbard mascarpone cream. Freeze for 20 minutes until the cream is firm. Transfer the 1/2 cup cardamom marcarpone cream to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and decorate the tart with swirls.






16.11.12

Mini Flower Cake





Hello my dear friends, how are you? I've been working on some holiday recipes and soon you will see them published here.  In the meantime I tried something different. I picked up some sugar flowers from previous posts and arranged them in a mini cake.  Just a reminder, the magnolia is from this Easter post, the dahlias from this tutorial, the roses from this recent one and the blue a new try.

Hope you have a marvelous weekend!





8.11.12

Sugar Peony and a Chocolate and Pistachio Brigadeiro Cake







Last week I was checking some photo albums on my computer when I found pictures of peonies that I bought last spring. Looking at the photos, I remembered the time I was living in England. I was fortunate to have a peony on my house's garden. Better then that! At every corner of my neighborhood, there was a garden with a lot of peonies of every color and shape. Can you imagine my happiness? 





So, inspired by my photos and that magical spring in England, I decided to try my first sugar peony. I have to tell you that this pink peony was the hardest flower I've ever made. I took some time to figure out how to shape the petals to look like the real one.





After making the flower, I started to think about the cake flavor and a combination of chocolate and pistachio came to my mind. So I prepared two different sponge cakes (dark chocolate and pistachio), two different brigadeiro as filling (dark chocolate and pistachio, again) and dark chocolate ganache as frosting.  This is a delicious cake for any occasion and celebration.



Chocolate and Pistachio Brigadeiro Cake
(From Lulu's Sweet Secrets)

Dark Chocolate Cake
Makes two 6-in round cake

200g unsalted butter, room temperature
175g granulated sugar
225g all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 whole large eggs, room temperature
135ml whole milk
200g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the base of 2 round 6-in cake pans. Place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil and then add the dark chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Place the chocolate and milk mixture over the eggs and sugar cream and beat for a minute. Fold in the flour and baking powder with a rubber spoon until just incorporated (don't overmix).  Bake for 40 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.



Pistachio Cake
Makes two 6-in round cake

200g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g granulated sugar
170g all-purpose flour, sifted
60g ground pistachios
2 tablespoons Bronte Pistachio Cream
4 whole large eggs, room temperature


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the base of 2 round 6-in cake pans. Place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Add the pistachio cream and beat for a minute. Add the eggs one by one and beat until well incorporated. Fold in the flour and ground pistachios with a rubber spoon until just incorporated (don't overmix).  Bake for 40 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.



Dark Chocolate Brigadeiro Filling

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate

Place all the ingredients into a medium saucepan. Over low heat, stir the mixture until thick consistency or it starts to show the bottom of the pan while you scrape it with a spoon (about 15 min).  Transfer to a greased bowl to cool. 

Pistachio Brigadeiro Filling

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon  Bronte Pistachio Cream
30g ground pistachios

Place all the ingredients into a medium saucepan. Over low heat, stir the mixture until thick consistency or it starts to show the bottom of the pan while you scrape it with a spoon (about 15 min).  Transfer to a greased bowl to cool




Dark Chocolate Ganache

18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream

Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stand until melted (5 minutes), stir until smooth and glossy. Refrigerate until firm yet still pliable (45 minutes-1 hour) then stir until smooth.



Assembly

Place one chocolate cake on a serving plate. Spread half recipe chocolate brigadeiro over top. Place the pistachio cake on top. Spread the pistachio brigadeiro over top. Repeat the chocolate cake and chocolate brigadeiro.  Top with remaining pistachio cake. Cover with chocolate ganache.







2.11.12

Rose Water and Pink Peppercorn Brigadeiro


This is my last of three recipes from the sweet table that I prepared to celebrate my 2th blog anniversary. Today I share with you rose water and pink peppercorn brigadeiros. It has been a while that I want to try this combination and I felt this was a great opportunity to test it on my brigadeiros. I have to say I loved the result. I should try that before! Pink peppercorn has a delicate fruitiness taste that gave a unique and delicious flavor to the brigadeiros. 

I also tried another thing different. Normally brigadeiros are covered with sprinkles, but this time I used fondant instead. The fondant makes them more dainty to math with the cake decoration.





Rose Water and Pink Peppercorn Brigadeiros
( from Lulu's Sweet Secrets)

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon rose water
1 teaspoons (or to taste) finely ground pink peppercorn
100g white chocolate
Sprinkles or fondant for coating


Place all the ingredients into a medium saucepan. Over low heat, stir the mixture until thick consistency or it starts to show the bottom of the pan while you scrape it with a spoon (about 15 min).  Transfer to a greased bowl. Grease your hands with butter, take small portions of dough and shape it as little balls. Coat them with sprinkles or fondant and place them in small paper cups.




1.11.12

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Rose Buttercream




Hi dear friends!

As I promised on Sunday, here is the recipe of the white chocolate cupcakes with rose buttercream that I created to commemorate the Lulu’s Sweet Secrets anniversary.

It took me some attempts to figure out how to make a light and fluffy white chocolate cupcake. But now I’m proud and glad to say that I made a wonderful treat to your afternoon tea or party dessert table!

The best way I found was to first melt the white chocolate in boiling milk. Then I whisked eggs and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow in color, and added the hot white chocolate mixture. Finally, after the flour addition, I incorporated melted butter.  The rose buttercream on top is the same recipe I used to filling the rose and pistachio cake

I hope you love it as much as I did!





White Chocolate Cupcakes with Rose Buttercream

White Chocolate Cupcakes
(From Lulu's Sweet Secrets)
Makes 10

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 whole large eggs, room temperature
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
160g/ 5.64 ounces white chocolate

Line 10 cupcake cups with papers lines. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil and then add the white chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Place the white chocolate and milk mixture over the eggs and sugar and beat for a minute. Add the vanilla and mix until combine. Fold in the flour and baking powder with a rubber spoon until just incorporated (don't overmix). Fold in the melted butter.
Fill each cupcake line two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Rose Water Buttercream 
(from Jamie Magazine Issue 29)

Cream 80g softened butter and 115g sifted icing sugar with an electric mixer or spatula until you have a smooth, creamy buttercream. Add a splash of rose water and beat for a further minute. Taste and add more if needed.



Tomorrow I will share the rose and pink peppercorn brigadeiros recipe.






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