Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Raspberry Chocolate Bars

Turkce Tarif

Here is a bar cookie recipe from a Pillsbury booklet that the adults can appreciate as much as kids. The raspberry jam and white chocolate layers go very well together, and when you top that with a bittersweet chocolate glaze, you have something really special. The only difficulty I encountered was to spread the white chocolate cream without mixing the layers. (Taking a decent picture of the bars proved much more difficult for me than making them. I guess I really need to read the manual of my camera.) I changed quantities (and a few other things) in the original recipe, so I am going to write it down as I made it.
Note: Apparently, I forgot to mention how I used the milk listed in the ingredients. I corrected this in the recipe below.

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, cold
  • 1/2 c raspberry jam
  • 4 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbs milk
  • 1 1/2 c vanilla milk chips (or about 9 oz white chocolate, cut into pieces), melted
  • 4 oz chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs corn syrup
Heat oven to 375F. Combine flour and powdered sugar, and cut in the butter using a pastry blender until crumbly. Press into a 9-inch square pan (I used an 11-inch removable-bottom tart pan instead). Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread the jam to cover the base completely. Now, beat the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add the melted white chocolate to cram cheese, beat to combine. With a small spoon, carefully spread this on the jam layer to cover. Refrigerate. Meanwhile, melt the glaze ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, constantly stirring. Pour it on the white chocolate layer and quickly spread it with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate until the layers set. You can cut it into small squares as it is quite rich.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Chocolate Banoffee Tartlets

I was introduced to Dulche de Leche about 15 years ago by an Argentinean friend. She would kindly decline to share the recipe of her amazing flan, saying that some of the ingredients were not readily available in US. That was then, and now the secret ingredient to her flan, Dulche de Leche, is more widely known and can even be found in the ethnic food section of your supermarket. Of course, if you are more adventureous, you can make your own by boiling a can of condensed milk for a couple of hours. I took the easy route, and grabbed a can of Nestle brand Dulche de Leche on my last trip to the supermarket. I still do not have my friend's flan recipe, so I had to think of something else to make with it.

In the end, I decided to make a Banoffee (Banana and Toffee) tart. For this, I adapted the recipe in Simple Tarts for tartlets. The chocolate pastry for the crust (which I made for the very first time) was too crumbly making it impossible to roll, so I had to press it into the tartlet pans. Other than that, the recipe was easy to follow and the result deliciously rich. Mehmet declared it to be the best dessert I have made so far. Rest assured that your kid will love this. I also liked the chocolate-caramel pairing, but thought that a 4-inch tartlet was too much dessert for an ordinary person. Needless to say, it was no Argentinean flan, either. But now that I know where to get Dulche de Leche, I will continue experimenting with it, and who knows, maybe I can even get hold of that recipe...

  • Chocolate Pastry (recipe below)
  • 5-7 heaping tbs of Dulche de Leche
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c whipping cream (divided)
  • 2/3 tbs corn syrup
  • 3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz white chocolate, grated
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
Prepare the chocolate pastry and pat into 5 tartlet pans. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Put pastry weights (or beans) inside the pans and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and bake for a couple of minutes more. Cool.

Combine the chocolate, 1/2 c cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Cook and stir until smoothly melted. Pour 3-4 tbs of chocolate mixture into each tartlet pan and refrigerate for about an hour to set. Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Bring 1/2 c whipping cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Take it off the heat, and add the grated white chocolate and vanilla to it. Stir continuously until the mixture is smooth. Strain if necessary. Leave it to almost set. Whisk the remaining 1/2 c cream until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold it into the white chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until ready to top the tartlets.

Spread one heaping tablespoonful of Dulche de Leche over the chocolate layer for each tartlet. Thinly slice the bananas and place in overlapping concentric circles over the toffee layer. Spoon the white chocolate cream topping over the bananas. Dust the tops with cocoa if desired.

Chocolate Pastry:

(For a 9-inch deep dish pie pan or 5 4-inch tartlet pans)
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 c flour
Put all the ingredients except cocoa and flour into the bowl of a food processor and process for 25-30 seconds. Add the cocoa and process for a minute; then add all the flour and process, using the pulse button, for 10-15 seconds or until a uniform dough forms. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

When ready to use, soften it at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before you roll or press it into the pan(s).