Tag Archives: cake

Doris Greenspan’s French Pear Tart, Recipe Link

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There really is something about the French and their pastries. The professionally done ones in shops are always so delicate and like little works of art and you can barely stand to eat (I said barely). Then you have the home bakers who seems to just throw something together effortlessly, pop it in the oven, and pull something gorgeous and inspired out. I’m certainly no pastry expert but I like to think that with Famille Jolivet blood running through my veins I can claim a smidge of that talent but I have a long way to go.

When I bought my first tart pan a few years ago I experimented with numerous different kinds of crusts and fillers before finding Dorie Greenspan’s French Pear Tart recipe. The recipe looked complicated, long, and intimidating but the results looked well worth it. I’ve since made it a few times and each time time its been absolutely fantastic. There is a lot of effort that goes into into this tart but it will show in the final product, I promise you. I don’t have any changes or edits to Dorie’s recipe, she has far perfected it.

French Pear Tart after cooling but pre-powdered sugar.

Cheesecake Pops, Recipe

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Last year Cake Pops took the world by storm! This was a bandwagon I had to get on.

I had just made a cheesecake that barely had a dent in it when I was invited to a dinner party so thought this was the perfect opportunity to try these cute little pops out.They are easy to make and look really impressive (to make it even easier, just buy a pre-made cheesecake at your grocery store). You can serve them in little narrow short containers, like shot glasses, or upside down in pretty cupcake liners, which is a lot easier for transporting. You can also be your own chef here by dipping and rolling them into the toppings of your choice. White chocolate with chopped pistachios and dried cranberries, dark chocolate with candied ginger, milk chocolate with sprinkles – the possibilities are endless (and delicious)!

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Cheesecake Pops

I used leftover cheesecake from this recipe but you can use any recipe or even buy a pre-made cheesecake at your local grocer.

Instructions:
Scoop, avoiding the crust, out balls of cheesecake with an ice cream scoop. Roll out little balls using your hands, about 1 & 1/2 inches round. Insert a popsicle stick into each ball about 3/4 of an inch in (hallway). Freeze until frozen, about 2 hours.

Once cake pops are ready, melt 1 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2 tbsp vegetable shorting in a double boiler over low heat. Remove pops from the freezer and dip them, holding the stick, in the chocolate to cover the entire pop. Gently tap the stick on the edge of the bowl to shake off excess chocolate. Immediately roll chocolate covered pop in crushed nuts (I used almonds and walnuts).

I used an upside down colander to dry my pops (put the sticks in the little holes) but you can dry them in an upright, short, narrow container or even laying down if you don’t have anything (not ideal as then they get a flat side).

These always go quickly at parties so make sure to make plenty!

Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce, Recipe

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There are fluffy-cheesecake people and dense-cheesecake people. Then there are people like me who like any and all cheesecakes. Fluffy, dense, light, heavy, ricotta, cream cheese, plain, flavored. Bring it.

My brother, Jeremy, is actually the cheesecake master in our family. About 8 years ago he flew in from Tokyo, where he lives, to Sonoma, where my dad was currently living (we bounce around a bit), where we met up for Christmas. He made a cheesecake that, to this day, my dad still raves about. Anytime I even mention cheesecake my dad immediately references this amazing cheesecake that was made years and years ago. I think my brother had it right by making one stellar cake to leave us all craving more. So, like much of my childhood, here I am trying to imitate my big brother.

This is a very dense, New York style cheesecake. Hope you like it as much as I did!

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Cheesecake
From Seasons and Suppers
Adapted from ”New York Cookbook,” by Molly O’Neill via the New York Times

1/4 – 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons sifted cornstarch
30 ounces (3 3/4 large packages) cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy (35% whipping) cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blueberry Sauce:
1 1/2 cups blueberries (wild, if you can find them)
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Pre-heat your oven to 350° F. Butter the bottom and sides on an 8-inch spring form pan.

You can use a 10-inch but the cake will be thinner. Take the graham cracker crumbs and sprinkle evenly over the bottom of the pan, just so it covers the bottom of the pan without any bare spots. Place the pan in the fridge.

In a large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer), whisk together the sugar and the cornstarch. Beat in the cream cheese and then the egg. Slowly add in the heavy cream, beating constantly. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Remove pan with cracker crumbs from the fridge. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated 350° F. oven until the top is golden, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 3 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate, 4 hours or more.

Prepare Blueberry Sauce: Combine sugar and cornstarch in small saucepan. Take 1/2 cup of the blueberries and crush with a fork. Add to the saucepan with 1/2 cup of water. Stir. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce is thickened and translucent. Remove from heat and add remaining 1 cup of blueberries. Allow to cool at room temperature.

Serve cheesecake drizzled with blueberry sauce.

Looking for something to do with your leftover cheesecake? Try these Cheesecake Pops!

Veal Scaloppine, Herb Roasted Potatoes, Carrot Salad and Molten Chocolate Cake, Recipes

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I don’t have guests over for dinner very often (New Years resolution to do that more) so when I do I spend an exorbitant amount of time pouring over tastespotting looking for the perfect recipe. This time I was looking for the perfect menu for a dinner at my place. I was excited.

So I searched for something both special but simple. How about Veal Scaloppine with Mushrooms & Marsala, Herb Roasted Potatoes, Carrot Salad with Lemon and Herbs, and Molten Chocolate Cake? Well, I’ve never cooked veal before and I’m not even sure I have ever had it before. But it sounds kinda fancy but looks kinda easy so lets do it.

I found both the Veal Scaloppine recipe and Herb Roasted Potatoes on Kitchen Runway’s blog, the Carrot Salad recipe in the NY Times Dining & Wine section, and the Molten Chocolate Cakes on Culinary Covers as it was featured in Woman’s Day magazine last year. Hows that for research and siting my sources?

Everything was fantastic. The recipes were all easy to follow and I was able to do 95% of the work before my guests even got to my house allowing me to enjoy time with them. The veal was tender and the sauce was rich and velvety. The potatoes were flavorful and the  thyme running through made them a natural pair with the veal. The carrot salad was light and a good alternative to a more typical greens salad. But then there is the cake… Mmmm the cake. The cake was so simple (5 ingredients which you could prepare ahead of time) and plated beautifully. The outside was set and firm like a cake but the center was gooey and spilled out like lava. My ramekins were a little wider than I wanted (or maybe I should have filled them up higher!) so the cakes came out a little short but they were delicious and beautiful. This recipe is for two cakes which you can double if you’d like (but its actually nice not to spend the following day eating leftover cake batter out of its bowl as I watch bad TV).  Its definitely a keeper (scroll all the way down for it).

I need to make those cakes again, who wants to come over so I have an excuse??

Here are the recipes – enjoy!

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Veal Scaloppine with Mushrooms and Marsala  adapted from Mario Batali

Prep:  15 minutes        Cooking time:  ~30mins            Serves: 4

Ingredients:
¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
¼ C all purpose flour
salt and fresh ground black pepper
8-10 (2oz) veal medallions (scaloppine)
2 C sliced crimini mushrooms
1½ C sweet Marsala wine
3 Tbs cold unsalted butter
2 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp corn starch, 1 Tbs cold water (optional – if you prefer a thicker sauce)

Directions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat until the oil is almost smoking
  • Place flour in a shallow dish (i.e. rectangular tupper-ware), season with salt and pepper
  • Dredge the veal in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess flour
  • Placed dredged veal into hot pan and cook until golden brown on both sides (about 2 minutes each side)  Make sure to only turn once
  • Place cooked veal on platter
  • Add crimini mushrooms to the same pan and saute until tender, browned and the juices have evaporated.
  • Add Marsala wine and bring to a boil.  Cook until wine has reduced by 1/3
  • Add butter and place veal back into the pan.  Bring back to a boil and reduce heat.  Then simmer for 5 to 6 minutes
  • Mix corn starch and cold water, slowly add to pan and stir to thicken the sauce
  • Add thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Place veal on platter and pour the sauce over the meat and serve immediately

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Herb Roasted Potatoes 

Prep time:  5 mins  Cook time:  45-60 mins

Ingredients:
2-2½ lbs. assorted small potatoes (Fingerlings, Red Bliss, Yukon Gold)
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh rosemary
1 Tbs fresh thyme
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp garlic salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400º.
  • Place the clean potatoes in a large bowl.
  • In a measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, garlic salt and pepper.  Pour olive oil mixture over potatoes.
  • Using your hands, combine the ingredients and make sure the potatoes are well coated.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil for easier clean up.  Using your hands, transfer the potatoes to the baking sheet.  Make sure the potatoes are in a single layer.  Save any unused oil from the bowl to dizzle over the potatoes after roasting.
  • Place baking sheet on the middle rack and roast for 45min to 60mins, until fork tender.  Turning the potatoes every 20 mins to prevent burning.
  • Remove from oven and add reserved oil to the potatoes, toss and serve.

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Carrot Salad With Lemon and Herbs

Adapted from “The Complete Robuchon” by Joël Robuchon (Knopf, 2008)

4 large or 6 medium carrots, peeled
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or use more olive oil)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, tarragon or a combination
Salt to taste

Buttery crackers, small biscuits or toasted slices of baguette brushed with olive oil, for serving.

Grate carrots in a food processor or by hand. Transfer to a bowl. Whisk lemon juice and oils together, pour over carrots, and toss. Add herbs and toss. Add salt to taste. Serve with crackers, biscuits or toast.

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Molten Chocolate Cakes
Source: Women’s DayFebruary 2011

ingredients:
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for the ramekins
1 Tbsp. flour, plus more for the ramekins
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

instructions:
1. Heat oven to 450°F. Butter two 6-oz ramekins and dust the inside with flour.
2. Place the butter and chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high in 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg, egg yolk and sugar in a medium bowl until thick and lighter in color, about 1 minute. Add the melted chocolate mixture and flour and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.
4. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins. Bake until edges are set and center still jiggles slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand 15 seconds. Run a knife around edge, then invert each cake onto a plate. Dust with confections’ sugar and serve with fresh mint or berries, if desired. Serve immediately.