Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Tart Cranberry Tart

I had cranberries in my refrigerator that were begging to be used, so I made this tart. The original recipe was from The Art of the Tart by Tamasin Day-Lewis, but I made several changes to it (which I now wish I had not). It turned out to be a little too tart for my taste. Maybe if I mixed half of the cranberry filling with the cheese layer, and did not omit the lattice crust on top, it would have been less so. Or if I used less of the cranberries... Oh, well...

Here is an outline of the recipe as I made it. For the crust, I used my favorite crust recipe, replacing half the flour with finely ground nuts. I refrigerated the crust for about half an hour before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. The filling was a package of cream cheese mixed with 1/4 c sugar, 1 egg and some orange zest. For the topping, I cooked 3 1/2 c cranberries with orange juice to cover and added 3/4 c sugar at the end. I baked the tart at 375F for about half an hour.

Maybe it will taste acceptable with ice cream ?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Chestnut and Matcha Cake

I like the combination of chestnuts and matcha as well as the idea of experiencing the same flavor in different textures. I experimented yesterday, and the result was this multi layer cake with 2 different cake layers and 2 kinds of buttercream. I usually have a large batch of RLB's Classic Buttercream recipe from the Cake Bible stacked in my freezer. (For her easier Neoclassic buttercream recipe, refer to this link.) For this cake, I flavored half of my buttercream with chestnut puree, and the other half with matcha. I normally prefer whipped cream to buttercream in taste, but I must say that the chestnut buttercream was so good that I had to fight the urge to spoon the leftovers. The unusual and quite dense chestnut cake recipe is from The Art of the Cake by Bruce Healey and Paul Bugat. This is the first time I make it, but it surely will not be the last. I am already dreaming it glazed with bittersweet chocolate (as suggested in the book.) The green cake layer is my tried-and-true Hot Milk Sponge cake (from Alice Medrich's Cocolat) flavored with matcha. The result, as you can see, was pleasingly colorful to the eye. It was very tasty, too. But then again, how can one go wrong with such a heavenly combination?

Chestnut Cake (from The Art of the Cake)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated and warmed to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 17 oz sweetened chestnut puree
  • 4 tbs melted butter
  • A pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/3 c + 1 tsp flour
Preheat the oven to 425F. (I baked mine at 400F, and it took a little longer.) Grease a 9" springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and dust the insides generously with flour.

Put aside 4 tsp of the sugar. Combine the rest with vanilla and the egg yolks, and beat until light and thick. Beat in the chestnut puree and the butter.

Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until light peaks form. Now gradually add the reserved 4 tsp of sugar, and continue beating until the whites are stiff but not dry.

Sift the flour over the chestnut mixture. Add about 1/3 of the meringue as well. Stir quickly with a spatula. Then gently fold in the remaining meringue.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface from the center up the sides of the pan. (I baked half the recipe in a loaf pan, and forgot to do so without any adverse results.) Place the cake pan on a baking sheet. Bake until the center is springy to touch, about 17 to 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chestnut Macarons with Matcha Ice Cream

I would like to thank you for your kind comments regarding my decision about the future of Our Patisserie. As much as I would like to, I just can not post everything I cook or bake these days. But I will continue to share pictures --and in some cases recipes-- as my circumstances permit.

Last week, I baked pistachio, green tea and chocolate macarons for Zeynep to take to school on her birthday. Unfortunately, I had no time to take pictures because I finished late at night and she had to leave quite early the next morning. Later, I made matcha creme anglaise with the leftover egg yolks. I am quite intrigued with the matcha and chestnut pairing these days. Since Zeynep loves anything matcha, I hoped to make her a chestnut and matcha birthday cake and to serve it with the creme anglaise. When it became evident that I would not have the time to do so, I decided to use the creme anglaise as a base for green tea ice cream. There were 2 more egg whites still lingering around, so I whipped up another batch of macarons, this time with chestnut puree. I sprinkled them lightly with matcha powder while I waited for them to dry (which, in retrospect, did not do much in terms of looks or taste). We served our ice cream sandwiched between chestnut macarons, and I must say that it tasted very, very good. However, when I tasted the leftovers the next day, I noted that freezing does not become macarons as one cannot experience the different textures anymore. The thing to do then, is to freeze rounds of ice cream seperately and to sandwich them with macarons right before serving. This way they will be more photogenic, too. I will definitely heed my own advice when I make these again.