Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TWD: Honey Peach Ice Cream

This is Bella and her mom Teresa. Their family has been visiting us this past week from Florida. Bella will be four in July and I don't think it's ever too early to learn how to make ice cream. I didn't have any trouble convincing her. Good thing this week's TWD recipe happened to be Honey Peach Ice Cream. There she is cooking the peaches and honey.

Then she pureed them. She looks quite the pro, doesn't she? She decided to take a break from making ice cream to play for awhile.

But she came back for a taste test and gave it her approval. We should have chilled the ice cream for a couple of hours in the fridge, or even overnight, but we couldn't wait! So we put it in an ice bath to chill it quickly. Consequently, our ice cream didn't freeze as well as it could have. After we tasted it we put it in the freezer. Here's our finished product:

It was delicious! And Bella is going to make a great baker and cook! I love that Dorie added honey to this recipe.

We have Tommi of Brown Interior to thank for choosing this week's recipe. Mosey on over to her blog and find out what she thought. You can also see the recipe. And if you want to read other opinions, you can visit 300 other bakers!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TWD: Parisian Apple Tartlet

If any one thinks that simple can't be elegant or classy, they've never made or ate this week's TWD recipe. The Parisian Apple Tartlet. Seriously folks. It doesn't get any easier than this.

Four easy steps. That's it. Okay five if you make your own puff pastry. I did not. I used Pepperidge Farms.

Step 1 - Cut a 4 " cirlce of puff pastry
Step 2 - Peel half an apple, cut in four pieces, place on pastry
Step 3 - Sprinkle with brown sugar
Step 4 - Place butter on top and bake

Simple. Elegant. Delicious. My future children will be raised having these as their after school snack. But they make an impressive dessert at a dinner party as well.

Dorie says you can eat it one of two ways. Fold it up in wax paper and pretend you're walking the cobblestoned streets in Paris. Or, put it on a fancy plate. I chose the fancy plate. But I was walking along the Seine in my mind.

Jessica of My Baking Heart chose this week's recipe. Thank you Jessica! I loved it. Go check out her blog and see if she was as happy as I was with her pick. And be sure to check out Dorie's masterpiece. I promise, you won't be disappointed. And click here to meet the other bakers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TWD: Chipster-Topped Brownies

Is it midnight yet?! Nope. 10:30pm. Whew, I still have time to post.

This week on TWD, we made the Chipster-Topped Brownies. These are not just any brownies. They're brownies with chocolate chip cookie dough on top!

I had some trouble spreading the cookie dough evenly on top of the brownie mixture. Some of the brownie swirled into the cookie part. (sigh) Any tips on how to make this easier are welcome. So my finished brownies don't look like how I imagined them. I thought the cookie part would look like chocolate chip cookie rather than blend into the brownie. I haven't looked at any of the other bakers' brownies yet, so maybe this is what they're supposed to look like.

I couldn't resist. I had to try it right away. They're very good. Ooey, gooey good! Dangerously good.

Up close and personal. Is your mouth watering yet?

This recipe involved melting chocolate and butter together. This can be done by placing a heat resistant bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water. Or, you can use a double boiler, aka a bain marie. I got this as a wedding present and have used it often over the years. It's great for making lemon curd and melting chocolate. Anything that needs to be heated gently.

Jeff is out of town working and I don't want to wind up eating the whole batch, so I packed them up and am sending them to a swap partner in a yarn swap who loves chocolate chip cookies. I hope she likes them! I saved a few for Jeff.

Thanks goes to Beth of Supplicious for picking this week's recipe. Feel free to visit her blog and see how she liked her pick. You can find the recipe there and on page 94 in Dorie's book.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TWD: Tartest Lemon Tart

I'm back to baking! I had a busier schedule than usual the last couple of weeks, and while I could have probably squeezed in the time to make the weekly recipes, it would have been more stress than pleasure.

I was glad I didn't have to miss this week, since Barb of Babette Feasts chose the Tartest Lemon Tart. I love anything lemon. Cake, tarts, cookies, pie, bars, sorbet, chicken, pasta....bring it on!

This recipe wasn't difficult at all. When I read it though, the crust didn't register in my brain as the "sweet tart dough with nuts", so I just made the regular sweet tart dough and noticed that part afterward. I can imagine it would be delicious with the ground almonds in it. Next time. And there will definitely be a next time! I read the P&Q on the TWD website and took the advice to peel the lemon and separate the pith so as not to make the tart too bitter. It worked like a charm.

I made this tart today and it's already gone. I had dinner plans with my parents and my friend Becky, her husband, daughters and parents. Becky and I go waaaay back to being little girls together. We were meeting at a restaurant and I decided to bring our own dessert. It was a casual family restaurant, so I figured they wouldn't mind. I even brought my homemade whipped cream in my handy dandy cream whipper. It was pretty funny when I pulled it out and started squirting whipped cream on top of the tart slices.

The tart was an absolute hit! Visit Barb's blog using the link above and see how she liked her chosen recipe. And if you want to make one yourself, you can get the recipe there too, or buy Dorie's fabulous book. You can see how the other TWD bakers made out here.

See you next week! Happy baking!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TWD: Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

My aunt is in town from Memphis and my parents brought her over Sunday for a visit. I thought it was the perfect time to make this week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe, Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding.

This recipe was surprisingly easy to whip up. It was much more challenging for me to find Challah or brioche bread on a Saturday afternoon. I went to three bakeries in my town. One has turned into a cafe and no longer sells loaves of bread. The second only sells Challah on fridays, which makes sense. And the third had only three small individual brioches. Not enough. So I decided that after I did the rest of my grocery shopping, I would look up a recipe when I got home and make my own. No need. Trader Joes had both Challah and brioche bread. Score!

I like bread pudding a lot, so I was looking forward to making this. I've never had chocolate bread pudding. I thought it was good, but I prefer it without the chocolate. (gasp) This coming from someone who thinks everything is better with chocolate. Maybe it's because I'm used to the other version.

I served it while it was still warm, which I also preferred to room temperature or cold. I decided that in order to give it a fair review, I should try it all three ways. ; ) Dorie thinks it tastes better at room temperature or cold. C'est la vie. Maybe I would have liked it more with the chocolate sauce or creme anglaise topping. I took the lazy way out.

This recipe stands up to company, but is simple enough to make as part of the family dinner. My family liked it!

We have Lauren to thank of the Upper East Side Chronicle for this week's recipe. Thank you Lauren! I love making recipes that I've never made before and this is one of them. Surf on over to her blog and see how she liked it. You can see what the other bakers did here. And for over 300 delicious recipes all in one book, get yourself a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Lucy (my red Kitchenaid stand mixer) is feeling neglected. Her services haven't been needed for three weeks now. I think I'll make some cookies this week and show her a little love.

Next week: Chocolate Cream Tart - Yum!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TWD: 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte

This week's recipe is called the 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte. That's quite a mouthful, isn't it? The name of this dessert alone creates high expectations. Chocolate. Amaretti. Torte. Magic. All in 15 minutes. Tell me more.

A torte is a slim European style cake that is based on ground nuts instead of flour. In this case, almonds are the nuts of choice. Ground amaretti cookies are also part of the recipe. I had never heard of these cookies before. They're an italian almond macaroon. Luckily, I was able to find them at my local italian market.

All of the ingredients go into the food processor and voila, you have your cake batter. Pour it into a cake pan, bake for 25-30 minutes, cool, pour on glaze (which you can make while the cake is cooling) and you're done. Magic!

It's rich and delicious! A little too rich for Jeff, but not for me. It definitely fulfills a chocolate craving. I love the gritty texture from the ground nuts, and chocolate and almonds together are one of my favorite combinations. And because it has almonds rather than flour, it's a healthy cake, right?

Thanks goes to Holly of Phe/Mom/enon for picking this week's recipe! I've never made a torte before and now I have. Head on over to Holly's blog to see the recipe. And see how the other bakers liked this week's recipe.

I'm going to have to send this over to my parents, or else trouble will ensue. Chocolate overdose, anyone?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

TWD: Banana Cream Pie

Is it possible for a pie to hold a grudge? A banana cream pie to be exact? That's how I felt as I made this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe.

Now, I'll confess upfront. Pie and I don't have a love affair going on. It's not my favorite dessert. I much prefer cake. And cookies. And ice cream. But there are some pies that I like. I love french apple, and I make a great cranberry/apple every Thanksgiving that is my all-time favorite. It has a cornmeal crust that compliments the filling to perfection. And yet, I've been having such a good time making recipes that I wouldn't normally make, that I went into this week's selection with much enthusiasm and hope. The pie was not fooled.

My first inclination that trouble was brewing was with the crust. I did not take Dorie's advice and chill the rolled out dough before attempting to place it in the pie plate. My bad. I was in a hurry and wanted to get the pie done. I had rolled it out between parchment paper and the dough got too soft making it almost impossible to remove the parchment paper. There were rips and tears (both of the holey and weepy variety). So I decided to do some patchwork, figuring it would still taste the same.

So I baked my crust and look at what happened. I guess my patchwork didn't hold. sigh

Still, I was not deterred. It was going to be okay. It would still taste good even if it wasn't the prettiest pie ever made. Don't get worked up Annette. Calm down. It's going to be delicious.

I had chilled the custard while the crust was baking. When the time came to assemble the pie, I vigorously whisked the custard as Dorie told me too. I have to say, I was surprised at how gelatinous and gloppy it was. I was expecting it to be much more creamy, almost pudding-like. Maybe I wasn't vigorous enough? Maybe I should have whisked it in the stand mixer. Did anyone else have this problem? It almost wasn't spreadable.

See what I mean?

While spreading the custard, gently I might add, the crust came right up!

At this point, I almost threw in the towel and gave up. I had been beaten down in the kitchen. By a pie. It's not often that my confidence is shaken in the kitchen. Seriously. But I didn't give up. I had invited my parents over (they love pie), they were on their way and I didn't want to disappoint. And it would still taste good, even if it turned out to be a spoonful of pie instead of a nice pretty slice. So I finished it up the best that I could. Thankfully, the whipped cream topping was easy and didn't give me any trouble.

The end result? My parents really liked it. They loved the crust! We thought the custard could be a little sweeter, and I think creamier. Maybe I over cooked it? It wasn't half bad for pie. I only had a few bites and I sent it home with mom and dad where it would be much more appreciated (I was still bitter).

I have Amy of Sing for Your Supper to thank for choosing this week's recipe. Thank you Amy! You've provided me a challenge. I will master the pie.

I'm off to see how the other bakers fared this week and see if I can gather any tips for improving my crust and custard. Suggestions are welcome! If you want to put your own pie making skills to the test, you can find the recipe in Dorie's delicious book and over on Amy's blog.

Happy baking!