Friday, May 13, 2005

Baking for Zeynep's Talent Show

Normandy Apple Tart, White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake, Apricot Dessert Bars and Chocolatey Raspberry Crumb Bars

The month of May is always very busy for us because of the children's hectic school activities. Year-end music and orchestra concerts, the Music Festival, baseball and softball games and practices, and class trip preparations are all packed into the 2nd half of May. This Saturday, Zeynep's class will put on a Talent Show complete with food and drinks, skits, singing, dancing, and many other performances. (Zeynep will play the Moonlight Sonata on the piano.) The proceeds will go towards their class trip which will take place in early June. Some time ago, Zeynep and I made a commitment to bake for the Talent Show. Usually, a group of Zeynep's friends will come to our house and do the work on such occasions, and all that I have to do is to supervise them. However, this is such a busy time of the year that it was difficult to arrange for that, so Zeynep and I decided to do it on our own after she comes home from school today. Add to that the ongoing wedding cake baking, and you can see that it will be a busy day in my kitchen. (I baked the 2nd half of the 10" cake last night, and I hope to bake the 1st half of the 12" cake today.) I am writing this in the morning still undecided about what to bake for the Talent Show. I will post it after I add the recipes and the pictures later in the day.

Normandy Apple Tart

This is from my recipe book which means that I will not be able to provide a source. I substituted my own crust recipe, and changed a few other things so that I can call it my own.

1 11-inch pie crust (Follow Ceyda's pie crust recipe with 1 1/3 c flour and 8 tbs butter)
8 tbs butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tbs whipping cream
1 1/4 c finely ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
2-3 peeled, cored and thinly sliced apples
1 tbs apricot preserves (optional)

Roll and fit the pastry into an 11-inch pie pan. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Now add the whipping cream, ground almonds, vanilla and almond extract. Mix it well. Spread the almond filling on the crust. Arrange the apples decoratively on the almond filling. Bake at 375F until the filling seems set and the apples are lightly browned. If desired, brush with warmed, strained apricot preserves for a glaze.

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

The batter for this cheesecake tasted great, but I do not know how it tasted after it was baked, maybe Zeynep will report back later tonight. It was a bad idea to put raspberry preserves on top, because it caused this "crater" look. Next time I make it, I will put the preserves in between two layers of cheesecake batter. This cheesecake may be very good served with Rose's raspberry sauce.

1 c finely ground vanilla wafers
1/4 c butter, melted
2 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 oz white chocolate, cut in samll pieces.
1/4 c raspberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine melted butter with ground vanilla wafers; stir well until you obtain a uniform mixture. Press this to the bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Melt white chocolate in a pan suspended over simmering water, leave to cool a little bit. Beat cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Now add the cooled white chocolate and vanilla, and beat shortly until the batter comes together. Pour into the prepared springform pan. Warm the preserves shortly for easier swirling. Spoon teaspoons of it on top of the cheesecake batter. Swirl gently with a skewer. Bake until edges are set but the center is still slightly jiggly.

Chocolatey Raspberry Crumb Bars

We made these bars for an earlier class event with Zeynep's friends. They loved the chocolatey taste so much that we have been making them over and over again. The recipe is from a Nestle cookbook.

1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 c flour
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 c (12 oz) chocolate chips (divided)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional; we did not use it)1/3 c seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 13"x9" baking pan. Beat butter until creamy. Beat in flour, brown sugar and salt until crumbly. With floured fingers, press 1 3/4 c crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan; reserve remaining mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Combine 1 c chocolate chips and condensed milk. Warm over low heat, stirring until smooth. Spread over hot crust.

Stir nuts into reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle over chocolate filling. Drop jam by rounded teaspoon over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with remaining chips. (We used much less than a cup.) Bake for 25-30 min or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.