Friday, May 31, 2013

Little Goats Cheese Cakes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

I found this recipe while blog hunting, I came across a beautiful blog called Kitchen at Camont written by Kate Hill.  I was fascinated by her picture of the little cakes all puffed up and golden and the fact that they were made from goats cheeseI had to give them a try.  Having read through the recipe, I realized these little golden cakes were really souffle's, I loved that she spooned the batter in little paper cake pans.  I didn't have any cute little paper cake pans on hand, so I used ramekin cups instead.  My little goats cheese cakes didn't puff as nice as Kate's cakes but I think I'll attribute that little irregularity to the fact that I also don't own a copper bowl as Kate does, so my egg whites didn't get that special treatment.  This was a super easy recipe to make and even though, as souffle's go, they do deflate, that only provides a nice little place to fill with a Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1" pieces
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
juice of 1/2 a small lemon 

1.   Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and water in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.  Set on high heat and bring to a boil. lower heat to med. high, add rhubarb and stir, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

2.   Add strawberries and stir, bring back to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until strawberries are soft and syrup has thickened.  Add the lemon juice, stir and remove from heat.

3.   Allow the compote to cool slightly and use warm or cold.

 Little Goats Cheese Cakes


400 gr fresh goat cheese, soft like cream cheese
200 gr white sugar, divided
4 Tablespoons milk
4 eggs, separated
50 gr flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla 

Preheat oven to 425°
Recipe makes 1 dozen muffin tin sized cakes or 7-8 ramekins.

1.   Pass the goats cheese through a food mill or ricer.  You can also use a mesh strainer.

2.   Beat the egg yolks into the strained goats cheese, using a wire whisk.  Add the flour, vanilla and milk and mix until well combined. 

3.   Whisk egg whites with remainder of the sugar on high speed of electric mixer, until stiff peaks form.

 4.   Fold a large spoonful of whites into the egg/cheese mixture.  Combine carefully with a large rubber spatula.  Add remainder of the whites and fold gently but thoroughly.   
5.   Spoon into ramekins or muffin tins that have been brushed with softened butter.

6.   Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, turn down the oven to 390° and bake another 10 minutes.  Don't worry if the tops puff up and brown, that's as it should be.  

These little golden wonders will fall as all souffle's do. so don't be shy with the Strawberry Rhubarb Compote!  Enjoy!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rhubarb Filled Ginger Shortbread

I've been wanting to feature these shortbreads since I started thinking about recipe blogging and waiting in anticipation for those little green rhubarb sprouts to come shooting through the ground.  When we moved to this old farm house 13 years ago, I was happy to find a beautiful patch of rhubarb growing near the stone foundation behind the barn.  Who knows how long this sturdy plant has been thriving in this warm and sunny location.  The long wait is finally here, my rhubarb is ready to be cut and this recipe is ready to be revealed.  The inspiration for my Rhubarb Filled Ginger Shortbread, came from Julia Child's  Baking with Julia  Her recipe for Hungarian Shortbread is what started it all.  This recipe requires a little arm muscle, I hope your up for it!


For the filling...

1 lbs. fresh rhubarb cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup of water
grated peel of 1 lemon 

1.   Place the rhubarb, sugar and water in a medium sized saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook stirring often, until the rhubarb softens and the rhubarb seems to melt.  Continue cooking until some of the juices evaporate about 10 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon zest and cool completely. 

For the shortbread...

4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large egg yolks
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, very finely minced
confectioners sugar, for dusting

1.   Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

2.   In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until it is pale in color and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks and sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low, add the crystallized ginger and mix in well.  Add the dry ingredients, mixing only until the ingredients are incorporated.

3.   Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball.  Cut in half and shape each half into a short fat log.  Wrap each half in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30-40 minutes.

 4.   Set oven temperature to 350°.  Grease a 9X12 inch baking pan with butter.  Remove one of the logs from the freezer, and using the side of a box grater with the largest holes, (now mind you this is where it gets fun) grate the dough onto a piece of parchment paper.  This technique is unusual but results in a light textured buttery shortbread. 
Turn out the grated dough into the greased baking pan and gently spread the dough throughout the pan evenly.  Don't press on the dough, you want to keep it light.

5.   Spoon the cooled rhubarb evenly over the top of the dough.  Grate the remaining dough and distribute evenly over the rhubarb.  

6.   Bake the shortbread for about 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.  Dust heavily with confectioners sugar.  Cut into 12 or 24 pieces.  
By now your arms have recovered from all that grating, you can sit down with a nice hot cup of tea, and contemplate your workout while enjoying your Rhubarb Filled Ginger ShortbreadEnjoy! 


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ancho Chili and Chocolate Macarons

Sunday May 19th is World Baking Day 
  It's a day to bake for fun, bake with friends or family, it's your day to bake brave!  How about trying something new, something out of your comfort zone, or maybe using an unusual ingredient in your recipe. My Ancho Chili and Chocolate Macarons are crispy, chewy little chocolate gems that have a surprise in the center, a creamy, spicy chocolate filling that really adds just a touch of heat.  Ooh la la Picante!

Ancho Chili and Chocolate Macarons

110 g. almond meal
1 teaspoon dry egg powder
100 g. aged egg white (egg whites that have been brought to room temperature, preferably overnight with a paper towel draped over top, this will help evaporate some of the water in the whites.)
50 g. granulated sugar
200 g. confectioners sugar
5 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
Ancho chili powder for dusting
1.   Place confectioners sugar and cocoa in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to remove any lumps.  Add almond meal and pulse a few times to incorporate sugar and almond meal.  Do not over mix.  Place in large mixing bowl and set aside.
2.   Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until frothy then add dry egg powder and mix until soft peaks form.  Add slowly the granulated sugar and whip on high until stiff peaks form.  Do not over mix or Macarons will be dry. 
3.   Add meringue mixture to the dry ingredients and fold in quickly at first to beat out the air bubbles from the meringue.  Do not over mix!  The mix should flow like lava and a small streak of the mixture on the surface should disappear after a minute. 
4.   Place in a piping bag and with a plain 1/2 " tip, pipe out 1 1/4" to 1 1/2 " rounds on two parchment lined baking sheets.   Holding the baking sheet in both hands, rap each baking sheet firmly on the counter two or three times. This smooths out the tops and helps form the "pied" or frilly foot on the bottoms of the macarons. Allow the piped macarons to dry, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. The macarons should form a very thin, smooth crust where, if you tap it lightly with your finger, the batter will not stick to your finger. If after 15 minutes, the batter is still sticky, let it dry longer. This may take up to an hour on humid days.
5.   Place baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, open the oven to allow any excess humidity to escape. Halfway through, swap oven racks and rotate the sheets for even baking. The macarons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are just hard. Take care to not under bake (insides will still be mushy) or over bake (tops will begin to brown). Remove them from the oven, and cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.

Ancho Chili Buttercream Ingredients

10 tablespoons butter, softened 
4 oz. confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 oz. white chocolate 
1 1/4 oz. dark chocolate

1.   Cream butter in a mixing bowl on high until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add confectioners sugar, cream, vanilla and spices, mix until incorporated then whip on medium high speed until light and fluffy.

2.   Melt white and dark chocolate together in a microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until melted.  Cool slightly, add to butter mixture and mix by hand until blendedFill a piping bag, using a plain 1/2 " tip, pipe half the shells and sandwich with the remaining shells.  



For more recipes click the link below!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hazelnut and Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Tart

Happy Mother's Day Mom, this ones for you!

In my little patch of Maine, this weekend finds me awash in lush greens and golds.  Forsythia's in brilliant yellow and happy daffodil's coming up thru last years fallen leaves.  This is my favorite time of year, when the new green leaves come bursting out, filling in the browns of winter.  It's also Mother's day weekend and I know my Mom spent this sunny day outside in her own gardens, her favorite place to be this time of year.  
My Mom has a real penchant for chocolate and I have a Mother's Day treat for her.  Hazelnut and Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Tart.  This tart has a buttery hazelnut crust with a touch of espresso and a lush and very creamy dark chocolate truffle filling.
Enjoy Mom, you deserve it!!
 Hazelnut and Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Tart

For the crust...
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder dissolves in 1 teaspoon hot water
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the filling...
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
Note:  This recipe uses a 9 1/2" tart pan, however for this post I chose to use my 4X14" rectangular tart pan.  There will be about a half cup of filling left over which will be chilled and piped as a border of rosettes on the 2 long sides of the tart.
1.   To toast hazelnuts, preheat oven to 375° and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and dump nuts into the middle of a cloth dish towel grab the corners of the towel to bundle it up, and rub the nuts vigorously against each other inside the towel for quite a while, until most of the skin comes off. All of it will not come off, but you can get them fairly clean.

2.   Finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor.  using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and add the powdered sugar and beat until well blended.  Add egg yolk and espresso and beat until smooth.  Beat in hazelnuts then flour and salt mix until combined.

Gather dough together and form into a ball, flatten slightly and wrap with plastic wrap.  Chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
3.   Lightly flour your work table and roll out dough about 2" larger than your pan.  Transfer the dough to your tart pan as carefully as you can, don't worry if you tear the dough, you can patch it up, trim excess dough from rim of pan and if you need to, use it to patch any holes, it's all good!  Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

4.   Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, prick with a fork should crust bubble up, continue to bake about 5 more minutes until set and a light golden color.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

 5.   Place chocolate in a medium size heat proof bowl, and set aside. In a small sauce pan bring heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat.  Immediately pour over chocolate and allow to stand for a minute.  With a wire whisk stir gently until chocolate dissolves. 

Pour chocolate mixture through a strainer into a medium bowl and then pour into tart shell  being careful to not create air bubbles.  Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.  Decorate as desired with white chocolate drizzle and hazelnuts.  Enjoy!

For more yummy recipes click the links below!

Lavender and Lovage

The Hedge Combers