Archive for November, 2010

Pasta Frolla Crostata – Chevre Tarts

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

The pastry is similar to pate brisee, but a little more egg.  Good news for me is that I needed some egg whites for macarons anyway. The pastry handles beautifully with a little rest in the fridge first.  The recipe for the pasta frolla is on the Daring Bakers site.

After considering the possibilities and what I had on hand and wasting a lot of time reading on my baking shelf (yes, I confess to being a compulsive cookbook buyer!) I decided to make a version with chevre tart filling adapted from a recipe in Kate Zuckerman’s The Sweet Life, one of my favourite pastry cookbooks.  I happened to have some pomegranate I had already stripped (I love these little red berries, but they make a complete mess, even spattering little red dots on my face!)

I needed these for a Christmas party that night, so I used the extra pastry for some medium and small size stars.  Sprinkled with a little sugar, these made a red sparkly platter of tarts.  They disappeared quickly once people started eating dessert.

Thanks again to Simona for a great challenge.  I will definitely make this again.

Chevre Tart Filling

Adapted from The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman

This simple cheesecake type filling can be used in tart shells, or simply based on its own and covered with fruit or nuts.  It has a definite goaty taste, so those who do not like the classic chevre taste beware.

Ingredients Method
  • 10 oz goat cheese (about 2/3 of a 16 oz log)
  • ½ cup regular(14%) sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp corn starch (optional)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend.  Don’t worry too much if there are still some little lumps of chevre.
Fill unbaked pie or tart shells with filling.  Bake @ 350 until the custard is puffed and firm.  Cool.  Best served at room temperature.  Can be frozen.   Top with fresh fruit, pomegranates are terrific on this.

Crab Souffle…A Daring Cooks Challenge

Monday, November 15th, 2010


Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

I have to compliment Dave and Linda, their explanation and pictures were great, and a nouveau souffle baker would be able to follow their directions easily.

I have made souffles before when I was younger and trying to learn about French cooking.  Souffles were considered very exotic, so of course I wanted to make some.  My early attempts all turned out, and chocolate was the one I remember making. However, since I have mot made many since, I guess that although they are interesting, souffles are not at the top of my extensive food loving list.

For this challenge I wanted to try a seafood souffle, inspired by some of the ones I saw in the Daring Cooks posts.  I decided to look through my several French cookbooks, and guess what, there were very few souffle recipes in them.  Finally I went to my foundational French cookbook, Julia Child’s  Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and of course she has a wonderful section that thoroughly explains souffles and gives a generic recipe and variations. So, I ended up using her recipe but using cornstarch and buckwheat flour to make it gluten free.  For the additions I used 3/4 cup of canned crab (ok ok for purists, it was what I had in the cupboard!) and about 1/4 cup of chopped up marinated artichokes.  I spiced it with a tsp of Dijon mustard, and some fresh grated nutmeg (see, I am not a cooking Cretin, I did use fresh grated nutmeg!).  As you can see from the picture, all the sizes of souffles rose to the occasion, and watching them in the oven was the best part of the cooking entertainment experience. The souffle tasted delicious and had a delicate texture and good flavour (ok I have to admit fresh crab would have been better.)

The other souffle memory I do have is that my mother often made a family favourite dessert called lemon pudding.  Well guess what, turns out it was a souffle and we all loved it.  I think one time my brother wanted a whole batch of lemon souffle for himself on his birthday. If you want a souffle recipe they are on the Daring Cooks website now.

Doughnuts: Daring Bakers October Challenge

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

When I was a kid my grandmother made the most delicious doughnuts.  There was no Tim Horton’s then! She made cake versions, and in my mind still these are the doughnuts I love to eat.  My grandmother always had these covered in sugar in a cookie can for us.  There was never any variation, and in my mind this was because they were perfect!.  They were always spiced with nutmeg and dunked in sugar.  My grandmother’s recipes live in various versions in my family.  My version has no amount of flour, you were just supposed to know when the dough was right. I used to make them at Christmas as a treat for my children, who looked forward to helping make them and eating them.

I rarely make doughnuts now due to calories and also because my husband, one of the fans, has to have gluten free now.  So with this challenge, I made a gluten free version.  I did not use the daring bakers gluten free recipe because it has mainly rice flour, which I cannot use due to allergies.  So I used a recipe directly from The Gluten Free Kitchen by Robin Ryberg (See my gluten free section for information about this book which I recommend as a first intro to baking gluten free).

I will post the recipe later.There were so good you could not really tell they were gluten free. Mmmmmm….good thing I did an hour of walking this morning!

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