Chocolate Marshmallows

I’m sure many of your diets have switched away from rich holiday meals and desserts to something a little more reasonable for every day life. I’ve been trying to do the same, but my mind keeps wandering back to sugary treats. I think I may have an addiction. I have a hard time going more than a day without something sweet to calm the cravings. It’s hard to believe that not too long ago I cut sugar and gluten completely from my diet.

One of the sweet visions that I go back to regularly are these Chocolate Marshmallows I made in December. There is nothing quite like a homemade marshmallow. Although you can see the resemblance to store bought, looks are really all they have in common. Homemade are much more flavourful, their texture light and fluffy. Unlike store bought, I could eat them as is, no need for anything else.

It was quite the adventure making these, not that the recipe is difficult, I was just having a particularly klutzy weekend. I made a batch and was about to unmold it when somehow I dropped the whole pan on the kitchen floor, sticky side down (of course). There is no 5 second rule when it comes to sticky marshmallow, I had to scoop it up in chunks with my hands, the whole thing ruined.

I still wanted marshmallows, so I made another batch. This time the entire marshmallow making process went off without a hitch.

Unfortunately the photo session didn’t turn out so well. I took a few shots like the one above then started to take photos of the marshmallows in a mug of hot chocolate. It was a gloomy day out, so I had a whiteboard set up to bounce some light onto the mug. I have no idea exactly what happened, but while I was shooting, the white board fell over onto the mug, causing it to topple over and the hot chocolate to spill. There was hot chocolate everywhere; on the table, the carpet, even on my parents upholstered dining room chairs. Disaster. After scrambling to clean it all up I decided there was only one thing to do: sit down and eat marshmallows.

Marshmallows make everything better.

Chocolate Marshmallows

(makes approx 36 marshmallows)

  • 2 tablespoons gelatin
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup clear corn syrup
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  1. Line an 8 by 8 inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly grease the plastic.
  2. In a small sauce pan, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let the gelatin expand. Add the sugar to the pan and gently heat while stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely.
  3. Pour the sugar and gelatin mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the corn syrup and then beat for 10 to 12 minutes until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Stir in the chocolate using a spatula to mix.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan spreading with a greased spatula. Refrigerate for about 1 hour until well set.
  5. Cover a work area with half the cocoa powder. Unmold the marshmallow onto the cocoa powder, then cut into squares using scissors or a pizza cutter. Cover each square with the remaining cocoa powder.
  6. Keep in a well sealed container at room temperature for 3-4 days. (if they make it that long)

Enjoy!

Chocolate Hazelnut Snowballs

Snowball Cookies

Tonight, I was crucial to the success of a rescue operation.

It has been bitterly cold in Montreal this week, with today’s high around minus 15 degrees. My plan was to avoid the cold by sitting at home by the fire and napping/watching TV all day. Midway through Jeopardy the call came; my brother needed help. He had parked his car outside a metro all day and it wouldn’t start. Normally I would let my dad handle this type of situation, but this time it was decided we both would go. We donned our snow gear, grabbed the jumper cables and headed out.

When we arrived at the scene my brother looked half frozen, but he refused to put on a hat. The plan was to push my brothers car out of it’s parking space so that we could boost it. The men attempted to push the car while I got the cables.

But the car wasn’t moving.

So I headed over to help. And with my measly little pipe-cleaner arms I succeeded in getting the car moving.

I don’t know what they would have done without me. We got the car out of the spot, boosted it and everyone headed home, safe and sound.

Snowball cookies

Once home, I felt it was time to reward myself with a hot chocolate and a couple of these Chocolate Hazelnut Snowball cookies.The recipe was adapted from this one in the December Food and Wine. These were the last of the Christmas cookies I made this year. The texture is kind of similar to biscotti, a great cookie to have with a cup of tea or coffee.    I used hazelnuts instead the pecans called for in the recipe because of an allergy. I also cut the quantity of nuts used by half a cup, because I felt that the hazelnuts would overwhelm the cookie.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Snowballs

Makes 30-36 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Icing sugar for coating
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast them for 5 to 10 minutes until lightly toasted.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt together. Stir the flour into the butter mixture until well combined. Stir in the hazelnuts. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Roll the dough in to tablespoon sized balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. The cookies will be slightly firm to the touch when done. Let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then cool completely on a rack.

Enjoy!

Pain D’Epices

I had this post all done last night. It was quite possibly the best thing I had ever written. The words just flowed from my fingertips and onto my screen. I even spell checked and edited, something I rarely remember to do. I tagged and categorised the post and finally hit publish. At that point a message I had never seen but often wished for appeared. It said “Are you sure?” My spidey senses started tingling at this point, because even though there have been times when I needed an “are you sure” option, I knew this would not turn out well. I clicked yes, but the same screen reappeared. I clicked no and was returned to my edit post screen, except all of the words that had so magically flowed from my fingertips were now gone. I searched for an auto save version, but there were none. The post had just disappeared into the interweb.

Thankfully I still had some of these mini Pain D’épices to console myself with. I had made them after a long day of Christmas shopping and tree decorating to keep my holiday spirit up. The honey and spices are perfectly Christmas-ey. The flavours intensify and meld over time, so this is one of those recipes best made in advance. French spice loaves are generally very dense, and this one is no exception. I followed Laura Calder’s recipe and made very few modifications. I baked it in mini loaf molds rather than a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, I infused the milk with anise seed instead of grinding the seeds, and I sugared the molds instead of flouring them to create a sugar crust on the sides of the loaves. The recipe is quite easy to follow, and doesn’t require any special equipment. The loaves would pair well with a cream cheese icing, but I decided to eat them as is.

Pain D’épices

Recipe by Laura Calder

  • 2/3 cup dark honey
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3-4 anise seeds
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup sugar and 1 tbsp butter for the mold
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a mini loaf pan with the butter and pour a little sugar into each mold. Tap the pan to spread the sugar around each mold then discard any excess.
    2. In a medium saucepan, bring the honey, sugar, milk, butter, anise seeds and orange zest to a boil. Set aside to cool as the rest of the ingredients are prepared.
    3. Sift the flour, spices and salt into a large bowl. Dig a well into the center of the flour mixture and pour the egg into the well.
    4. Discard the anise seed from the milk mixture, and then pour the milk into the well. Whisk the milk into the flour until combined.
    5. Pour an equal amount of batter into each mold. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean. If using a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan bake for about 50 minutes.
    6. Let the loaves cool for 5 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely. Cover in plastic wrap let the flavours blend together for about 24 hours.

Enjoy!

Things I Should Be Doing..

I’ve been meaning to write this post since Tuesday. I had it all planned out; what funny little story I’d tell, how I’d lead into the round up. Then Tuesday my cell phone broke, so I spent the evening researching new phones, bought the phone and played  learned how to use it Wednesday night. Thursday I had an eye doctor appointment, where crazy drops were put into my eyes which stopped me from being able to focus. Now it’s Friday night, I’m home, relaxing with a cup of cocoa and planning what to make this weekend. I finally have time to share a few treats I’ve seen. I wish I could make them all, but I know something will always come up. Hopefully some of you will be inspired to make something you see here.

First up are Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga’s Baked Eggnog and Vanilla Donuts. The name just says it all, really. I can just imagine waking up to these first thing Christmas morning to these beauties.

Next on my list of things to make is this Bourbon Spice Cake from Russell at Chasing Delicious. I’m a big fan of Russell’s blog, everything he makes looks delicious and comforting, and this cake is no exception.

Ken over at Hungry Rabbit made these Ginger Snowdrops for the 2nd annual NYC Cookie swap, and I can tell you I seriously wish I lived in New York. The cookies look perfect, with crystalized, fresh and ground ginger to make sure you’ve had your ginger fix.

If you’re looking for a drink look no further than Carolyn of All Day I Dream Food’s Cranberry Ginger Mulled Wine. It’s got warm holiday flavours and it’s low carb (Carolyn’s specialty).

For something on the spicy side, this Cranberry Pepper Jelly from Janice at Kitchen Heals Soul sounds perfect. I think a jar of this would make an awesome gift. Hint, hint, Janice. Just kidding. Kinda.

Thin Mints from In Katrina’s Kitchen have been on my mind since she posted them a few months back. I’ve never had the real deal, but chocolate with mint is one of my faovurite flavour combinations, so I’m pretty sure these would be awesome.

Adam and Joanne of Inspired Taste’s Salted Caramel look perfect.

Chocolate Fudge S’mores Thumbprints from How Sweet It Is would satisfy any s’more craving you might have.

These Mini Anise Cakes from Just a Little Bite look adorable, and the I love the use of anise in a cake. (Recipe in Spanish)

Created By Diane’s Ginger Cheesecake Bites would be great for a cookie swap.

Can’t decide between chocolate or caramel? These Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies from Melissa at Eyes Bigger than My Stomach mean you don’t have to choose.

Enjoy!

Earl Grey Tea Cookies, Take Two

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who left a comment on my last post. My family has gone through a tough time lately, and although I’d prefer not to get into the details here, the virtual hugs are very much appreciated.

Secondly, I’d like to apologize to all my subscribers and followers for hitting “publish” instead of “preview” earlier today. This was the second time I’ve made that mistake, and I’m hoping I’ll never do it again. I hope having a broken link in your reader wasn’t too much of an annoyance.

Now onto the cookies. I was heading to a friends for coffee this weekend and didn’t want to show up empty handed. Cookies were the obvious choice; they’re quick, easy, and very transportable. I had a lot ideas about what to make but, as my mom pointed out, few ingredients. I took a look in the pantry and spotted a few containers of Mighty Leaf Tea. Tea in a cookie is something I’ve been meaning to try for awhile. I did a quick Google search and found a Martha Stewart recipe that sounded perfect. Then I had to make a tough decision; should I make the cookies as written, or should I make them with Jasmine Green Tea? In the end I chose to make them as written, but I will definitely be trying them with the green tea as well.

The cookies were perfectly crisp and very lightly flavoured with Earl Grey. Next time I make them I think I’ll omit the orange zest, because although Earl Grey is a citrus based tea, it’s flavour is too light to stand up to the orange. Despite that I really enjoyed these cookies, and I think I’ll be adding them to the Christmas baking rotation. I think they’d make a great gift along with some fancy teas.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Makes about 60 cookies

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp finely ground tea (tea can be ground in a spice grinder or mini food processor, use the best quality you can afford as cheaper teas have less flavour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest (optional)
  1. In a small bowl mix the flour, tea and salt together. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, powdered sugar and orange zest together with an electric mixer until the butter is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the flour, mixing until well combined.
  3. Split the dough in half and create two round logs, 1 1/4 inches in diameter, wrap them with parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. To keep the bottoms of the logs from flattening out you can slide the logs into paper towel tubes before refrigerating.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment, set aside.
  5. Cut the logs into 1/4 inch slices, place the slices on the baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes until the bottoms are just golden. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack before serving.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Pomegranate

Have you ever started to write a sentence in a card then completely lose your train of thought? It happens to me all the time. In fact it happened to me this weekend. I was signing a card for my friends wedding and for some reason I started a sentence with “after”. I’m still not sure where I meant to go with that. I do know that what I ended up writing might not have made much sense, I got myself all flustered. So Steph, if you’re reading this, I meant to say I love you and I’m so happy for you.

chocolate mousse cake with pomegranate overhead The wedding had me in a celebratory mood the following day. Celebrations to me mean cake, and the best cake I can think of is my mom’s famous chocolate cake. Family members have left their sick beds for a slice of that cake. I would to share the actual recipe with you, but my mom honestly can’t say what the recipe is. It’s been altered and modified so many times it only exists in her mind. I can tell you it’s chocolate cake spiked with Kahlua, with layers of ganache and whipped cream. I based this cake on that but made it my own. I used a chocolate genoise baked in a jelly roll pan, and filled it with chocolate mousse and whipped cream.  I think chocolate can always use a little fruit, so I topped the cake with pomegranate seeds. And, of course, I spiked the cake layers with Kahlua.

 

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Pomegranate

For the Chocolate Genoise

  •  1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a 15 by 10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment, then grease the parchment.
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa together. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large heat proof bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Place the bowl over and pot  with 1 inch of simmering water and whisk until the eggs reach a temperature of 130 F, about 4 minutes depending on the size of the bowl and pot. Remove the bowl from the heat. Using an electric mixer (hand held or standing) beat the eggs until the have tripled in volume are back to room temperature (about 10 minutes).
  5. Fold the flour into the eggs in three additions. Stir a spoonful of the batter into the butter, then fold the butter into the batter gently. The batter will deflate a little at this point.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet, then bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the center springs back when touched.

For the Chocolate Mousse

  • 4 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  1. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the cinnamon once melted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk the egg yolk till double in volume and the colour has lightened. Mix into melted chocolate. Refrigerate while whipping the egg whites.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.
  4. Take a small amount of the egg whites and mix it into the chocolate to thin the chocolate, then fold the chocolate into the egg whites.
  5. Set aside.
For the Cream
  • 1 cups35% cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  1. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks. Add the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
For the Kahlua Syrup
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua
  • 1 cups water
  1. In a saucepan bring sugar and water to boil. Remove from the heat, let cool, then add the Kahlua.
To assemble
  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate
  1. Slice the cake into three 5 by 10 inch slices. Place the bottom layer on the serving plate. Soak with 1/3 of the Kahlua syrup, then top with the chocolate mousse. Place another layer of cake on top of the chocolate mousse. Soak that layer with 1/2 of the remaining Kahlua syrup. Top that layer with half of the whipped cream. Place the final layer of cake on top of the whipped cream layer. Soak with remaining Kahlua syrup. Top with the remaining whipped cream, then decorate with the pomegranate seeds.
  2. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the cake to set.
Enjoy!

 

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

I discovered something this weekend, something I probably should have known. It turns out I can no longer stay out till 4 AM without suffering any consequences.

I was out for my friend Steph’s bachelorette party. I had a great time, and I hope she enjoyed her “last night of freedom”.

Unfortunately, even though I didn’t have much to drink, I was completely exhausted the next day. I had a busy day planned to so forced myself to get up early. The people at Eat In Eat Out Magazine have been kind enough to include I’ll Have What She’s Having in their Holiday edition. I need to submit two holiday recipes to them, so I planned to make at least one dish last weekend. But I was tired and cranky and really not in the mood for a holiday style dish.

I wanted something easy and comforting. I wanted a cookie. And a glass of milk.

So that’s what I made. A simple oatmeal cookie, the kind of cookie that brings back memories of childhood and makes everything better. These cookies are crispy on the outside with a chewy center. The sour cherries are a great contrast to the sweet cookie, and the cardamom adds a touch of warmth.  I had them with a glass of milk, and then I took a nice long nap.

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the oats, flour, cherries, baking soda, salt and cardamom together. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until well combined.
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using about a tablespoon of dough per cookie, and drop them two inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy!

Maple Apple Pie

apple pie slice

I hope all my Canadian readers had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

For the first time in as long as I can remember we spent Thanksgiving in Montreal. There was a very good reason for that; my cousin Ramy got married. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy. Carla is wonderful and I am very pleased to call her family. It was a beautiful ceremony, followed by an incredible feast. There was poutine at the midnight sweet table!

Yet I still craved a Thanksgiving dinner. So on Sunday my mom made us a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins and I took care of dessert. I went the traditional; apple pie and pumpkin pie. I decided to throw a little twist into the apple pie by using maple sugar. I was hoping for a more pronounced maple flavour, but I don’t think I used enough to get the effect I wanted. Next time I think I’ll put half a cup of maple sugar, though I’ve written the recipe as I made it.

I usually use an all butter crust recipe, but this time I used half butter half shortening. It made a really nice flaky crust, and the bottom held up nicely to the moisture from the apples. Just a note about pie crusts in general, recipes will usually give a quantity of water to add, but depending on where your flour was made and the humidity in the air you may need more or less. In this case I almost doubled the amount of water I normally use. If as you stir with a fork the dough doesn’t come together, add a little more water, then a little more if necessary.

I only have one photo for this post. By the time the pie had cooled there was no light, so I worked some leftover slices the next morning. Unfortunately the sun was so strong that even with diffused light I was getting crazy shadows. Thankfully I got one good photo out !

Sour Cream Pastry

(from Canadian Living)

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup shortening, frozen
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  1. In a large bowl stir the flour and salt together. Using a box grater, grate the butter and shortening then add them to the flour. Toss the butter and shortening through the flour to cover it, then using your finger tips rub the butter into the flour until a few small pieces of butter/shortening are visible.
  2. Mix the water and sour cream together then pour onto the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Add more water if necessary. Using your hands bring the dough together and knead one of two times. Split the dough into 3 balls then flatten them into disks, cover individually with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Maple Apple Pie
  • 4 cups apples peeled and cored (I used Cortland)
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/4 cup fine maple sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp four
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • sugar for sprinkling
  1. Toss the apples with the sugar, maple sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and flour. Set aside.
  2. Roll out one of the pastry disks till 1/4 inch thick and large enough to cover a 9 inch pie plate. Place the dough in the pie plate then fill with the apples. Dot the apples with the butter. Roll out the second disk and place on top the apples. Trim the edges then roll them in making sure to have a tight seal. Cut some slits into the upper crust, then place the pie in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450F. Whisk the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water, then brush the upper crust with the yolk. Sprinkle some sugar on the the crust (I used a course sugar to prevent burning).
  4. Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F and continue baking for 60-65 minutes.
  5. Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins


Last weekend I made my annual journey to St-Joseph-du-Lac, one of the apple picking hot spots in Quebec. The weather was incredible, close to 30 C with the humidity and sunny. Not at all the typical apple picking weather I was expecting. Normally the air up north is cool and crisp at this time of year, instead it was hot and sticky.

There were tons of people out there. We even got stuck in apple picking traffic, who knew there was even such a thing? The traffic was frustrating, but we eventually made it out into the orchard.  We repeated last years taste test, and once again decided the Cortland was the way to go. Cortlands were originally bred from McIntosh, but they are firmer and sweeter. They’ll hold their shape in a pie, but you can also make a sauce out of them.

We got our hands on a good ladder and claimed a Cortland tree, then picked 20 lbs for each of us. Hopefully that’ll be enough for all the things I have planned!

When of my favourite things about apple picking is the cider doughnuts. Unfortunately, this years doughnuts were sub par, too greasy, not enough cinnamon sugar. I left the orchard craving  something more, something better. The solution was to make them myself,  but my deep frying experience has yielded mixed results and I didn’t want another disappointment. Instead I decided to make doughnut muffins with an apple cinnamon filling. The nutmeg in the batter and the cinnamon sugar coating completely satisfied my craving. They really do have the texture of a cake doughnut. The fact that they’re dipped in butter probably helps too.

Though these tasted amazing, I have to say that some of them fell apart when I took then out of muffin tin. I think it was my fault for letting the apple filling spread too much in the muffin, it basically created a complete separation between the layers of batter so the muffin top just came off. If you’re going to fill the muffins like I did make sure to make a little well in the batter for the filling.

Another thing you should know is that they are huge muffins. I adapted this from a Fine Cooking recipe, many of the commenters said they made these in mini muffin tins which I think is a great idea if you’re not using a filling.

Apple Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

(makes 12 muffins)

Filling

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 apples, peeled cored and diced
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp flour
Doughnut Muffins
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tsps cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Make the filling: In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Cook stirring often until the apples are tender and release their juices. Add the flour and stir until the juices thicken. Take off the heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Make the muffin batter: In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time beating till well combined after each addition. Add the vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Add the flour into the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk and yogurt (you should start and finish with the flour).
  5. Grease a muffin tin. Scoop half the batter into the muffin tin, make a little well in each muffin and fill each with a tablespoon of the apple filling. Top with the remaining batter.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Let cool completely.
  7. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together for the topping. Dip the tops of the muffins into the melted butter then dip them into the sugar to coat.
Enjoy!

 

Poached Pear and Custard Tart

Money money money money, MONEY.

I’m currently on a wordpress.com blog, which means that even though I own my domain my terms of service do not allow me to advertise. Those of you who don’t have ad blockers might be scratching your heads right now because you see an ad asking you how old you think Javier Bardem is. Those ads are not mine: wordpress is advertising on my blog.

I’ve considered monetizing my blog before, but given the cost of self hosting I’ve always decided against it. My trafiic is pretty low and I know I won’t make a profit. Now that I’ve realized wordpress is making money off of me I’m starting to reconsider. I’m not doing this to make a profit, but I don’t like that someone else is reaping the rewards of my work.

Have any of you made the switch to self hosting? I’d love to hear any tips or recommendations you might have. I’d also love to hear opinions on the different advertising networks out there. Is it worth putting myself on a waiting list for Blogher? Are there any other good networks out there?

None of this has anything to do with the recipe I’m sharing today. I made this tart for a dinner with some friends. She loves pears, he loves custard, and their son just loves desserts. This tart had their names all over it.  I really enjoyed the poached pears with the custard, poaching them with =cinnamon gave the tart an extra dimension of flavour.

I was a little worried that the crust would take longer to bake than the custard, but it worked out pretty well. I would have preferred that the crust be a little crisper, the texture I ended up with was almost cake like, probably because of the baking powder in the dough. Next time I think I’ll try with an unsweetened crust and blind bake it for a few minutes first.

Poached Pear and Custard Custart Tart

Pastry Dough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk (if necessary)
  1. In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Add the butter, then using your fingers rub the butter into the flour until there are just a few small pieces of butter left and the mixture holds together when squeezed. Add the egg, stirring in with a fork. Stir until the dough comes together, adding the milk if necessary.
  2. With your hands form a ball with the dough then flatten it into a disk. Cover in plastic wrap a refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Dough will keep for three days in the fridge or can be frozen in an airtight bag.
Poached Pears
  • 4 large pears, peeled, halved and cored (melon ballers work well for coring pears)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  1. Place the pears in medium pot. Cover with cold water, then add the sugar and cinnamon stick. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn off the heat and let pears cool completely in the poaching liquid.
Poached Pear and Custard Tart
  • Sweet pastry dough
  • Poached Pears
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Icing sugar to top tart
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F
  2. Roll out the pastry dough till it’s large enough to fill a 9 inch tart pan. Place the dough snugly in the pan, trim off the edges. Arranged the poached pears on the dough.
  3. In  medium bowl, whisk the flour sugar and eggs together. Stir in the vanilla. Add the milk mixing until well combined. Skim off any bubbles then pour around the pears.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the filling is set.
  5. Mix the honey and lemon juice together, using a pastry brush glaze the pears with honey mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with icing sugar.
  7. Let cool completely and serve at room temperature.
Enjoy!