Monday, September 26, 2005

Honey-Walnut Tart

Got the latest Bon Appetit magazine last week and for some reason the Honey-Walnut Tart recipe by Susan Loomis looked really really good. I knew I had to make it pretty quickly or it would end up in that giant magazine backlog pile. Since I was driving up to The OC this weekend to see my parents and youngest sister, I brought the ingredients with me and made it up there. I even got to use the orange peel I'd candied a few months back. The filling for the tart is mostly walnuts and brown sugar, with some honey, orange and lemon zest, candied orange peel, and eggs to give it some substance, displayed all nice in my parents' wedding china.. One ingredient that I looked everywhere for but couldn't track down was orange-flower water. Hopefully, the three other citrus ingredients could handle that aspect of the flavor by themselves.

So, I made the tart Friday night with my sister. It smelled great. It looked totally cool and rustic with the folded over crust, which I am definitely using again. It could cool and make a great breakfast for the next morning. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that neither of my parents particularly likes walnuts. And my dad's folks are allergic. Well, I liked it. And my mom's mom apparently loves that sort of thing, so I took her about half of it. Thanks, Grandma! If you can get your hands on all the ingredients, this is a pretty easy one to make. Mix together flour, water, and butter and roll out the crust. Toss together the filling. Fold, bake, eat.

Honey-Walnut Tart crust ingredients Honey-Walnut Tart crust dough Honey-Walnut Tart filling ingredients Honey-Walnut Tart pouring filling into crust Honey-Walnut Tart mixing filling Honey-Walnut Tart with filling Honey-Walnut Tart crust folded Honey-Walnut Tart baked Honey-Walnut Tart slice Honey-Walnut Tart remains

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Quince Apple Candy

Last weekend at the local Farmer's Market I saw a guy selling quince, which I've neither seen nor tasted before, so I bought one. Fifty cents, and he threw in a couple random citrus fruits for good measure. I had thought that quince was a kind of citrus, but it turns out it's related to pears and apples. It looks like kind of a squat pear, but it has a much tougher flesh. I knew I had seen a recipe with quince in Room for Dessert. When I checked it out at home, the recipe was for Quince Paste, which I used to make a candy.

Now, the recipe called for four quinces and I had only bought one. I did have an extra apple in the fridge, which is related to the quince, and which the recipe said you could substitute. So, rather than quartering the recipe, I added in the apple and halved the recipe. I have to admit, I made a quite a few other adjustments as well. The recipe calls for half of a lemon, which I didn't have handy, so I used half of a lime. After simmering the fruit for a while, you're supposed to press it through a sieve, which I had trouble with, so I used my trusty hand blender. Worked great. I also used a silicone baking sheet to keep the paste from sticking to the tray while it cooled. Last step, chopping into squares and tossing in sugar.

The candy tastes basically like apples and has kind of an extra soft gummy bear texture. Pectin? I would like to try it sometime with just quince, to see the flavor difference. I'm bringing it into work, otherwise I would eat it all, as usual.

Quince Paste ingredients Quince Paste - chopped up fruit Quince Paste - blending cooked fruit Quince Paste - simmering Quince Paste - reducing Quince Paste - chopping into pieces for candy Quince & Apple Candy

Friday, September 09, 2005

White Chocolate Lime Cake Pictures

Here are the pictures for the white chocolate cake with lime. Ingredients, mixing, baking, decorating, serving. Of course, as soon as I'd brought the cake into work the next day, I remembered the whole white-chocolate-tile-mosaic decorating thing I wanted to try out, inspired by my cousin's wedding cake. No wonder I had two pounds of white chocolate left over. Where was my head that night? I even remember thinking, "Gosh this cake looks so plain. I'd better pipe a trim or something to liven it up." Well, that'll just be something for everyone to look forward to on the next cake.

Also, a quick update on my homegrown bread yeast starter... I'm not sure what went wrong, but somewhere in the refrigeration and feeding process, I think I killed it. It hardly seemed to be growing at all after I took it out of the fridge. Feeding it with extra flour and even some honey (sugar) didn't help. I started the Kalamata Olive Bread recipe anyway, but after about 36 hours of proofing time with no rise in sight, I finally let it go. I'll do a fresh starter this weekend and try the bread again soon.

White Chocolate Cake with Lime - ingredients White Chocolate Cake with Lime - adding sugar to batter White Chocolate Cake with Lime - mixing batter White Chocolate Cake with Lime - in the oven White Chocolate Cake with Lime - fresh from the oven White Chocolate Cake with Lime - assembly White Chocolate Cake with Lime - mid-frosting White Chocolate Cake with Lime - finished White Chocolate Cake with Lime - slice White Chocolate Cake with Lime - going fast

Friday, September 02, 2005

White Chocolate Lime Cake

Well, I finished the cake last night. I used the white chocolate cake recipe from The Wedding Cake Book. You actually pour melted white chocolate (the real kind, not the cheap vegetable oil kind) into the cake batter. Made two 8-inch cakes and cut them in half for a total of four layers. In-between the layers, I used the lime curd from a few days ago. For the outside, I blended together the plain buttercream and some lime curd. Even though I followed the directions in the book, the blending process was causing the buttercream to separate again. I wasn't sure if the torch trick I used making the plain buttercream would work again, but I tried it and it seemed to do the job. That was a relief. I'm not sure why the buttercream is so sensitive.

Anyway, I finished frosting the cake (two coats) and it looked really plain, so I piped a little spiraly trim pattern around the top edge, reminding me that my piping skills need some practice. I'll garnish it with a lime wedge or two before serving. I've got some pictures ready, but I want to take some more of the cake after it's sliced, so you can see the layers. I'm bringing the cake into work today, so I'll take some pictures at lunchtime and post them tonight or tomorrow. If you're someone who got to try it, write a comment and let me know what you think of the flavor combination. Personally, I love lime, but it's not something you see in a cake too often. Enjoy!