Archive for the ‘Pies & Tarts’ Category

Happy Mothers’ Day!

Monday, May 11th, 2009

              Mont Blanc

Just a few photographs of the dessert I made for mum on Mother’s Day for now. I haven’t got enough time to write a proper entry; I’ve got to go to bed soon …

Mont Blanc

The recipe for this Mont Blanc comes from Aran at Canelle et Vanille. I’ve replaced the chocolate mousse bombe centre with a green tea mousse.

Mont Blanc

Many thanks to Evan for inspiring me to take some time to bake this weekend!

Mad about Meringue

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Chocolate & Nutella Cream Macarons

Chocolate & Nutella Cream Macarons

What do you do with 400g of egg whites leftover from making ice cream and custards? Make meringue, of course, you’d think. Except that meringue on its own isn’t all that exciting. I guess it was time to make macarons again!

              Chocolate & Nutella Cream Macarons

It’d been 4 months since I made my last batch of macarons and I was definitely worried that I’d lost my “macaron mojo” (to quote Veron, who incidentally makes lovely french meringue macarons). I decided to go with that same method since the egg whites had already been sitting covered in the fridge for quite some time. I figured that could only help since french meringue macarons usually calls for 1 - 2 day old egg whites.

Inside a Nutella Cream Macaron

I was a little apprehensive, since my french meringue macaron batter tends to end up on the fluid side and I’d chuck the entire batch without even piping the batter. I braced myself for failure.

This time, however, the 1st batch of cocoa batter turned out perfect! The shells looked just like Helen’s beautifully tall french meringue macarons! The best part was not seeing a single air pocket in sight, a phenomenon that I’d encountered frequently with italian meringue. I did think they were slightly chewier than the italian meringue ones, but filled them and left them overnight in the fridge.

Chomped!

I took a bite the day and fell completely in love. The macarons were possibly the best that I’d ever made: thin crisp shell with an unbelievably soft and moist interior as well as beautifully high feet. Sis, however, preferred the harder shells of macarons made with the sucre cuit method.

              Salted Burnt Caramel Macs

The bad news: I haven’t been able to achieve the same results with plain or coloured batter; the shells were flatter, the feet were smaller and the taste was sweeter. I’m not sure if it was because I’d used fresher eggs for those, if I’d left the shells to dry too long, if the meringue didn’t like the rainy weather, or a combination of everything. I see more macaron experiments round the corner!

Mini Lemon Curd Meringue Tarts

Over-the-top meringue

Another way I like to use meringue is in combination with a lemon tart. The last time I’d made these, the tarts were much larger and the crust was less than ideal. This time I went with proper crusts but in a mini pop-in-your-mouth size.

              Close up of meringue

Imagine a burst of lemon, crunchy bits of crust and silky soft meringue all in one mouth full. Just thinking about it makes me want to whip up another batch right away! The most encouraging part: even mum, who’s not a big on desserts and sweets, thought these were good. :)

Mad about Fruit Tarts

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

              Fruit Tarts

Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Tart Dough)

In my opinion, the most important part of a fruit tart, or most tarts for that matter, is the crust. For fruit tarts, I prefer a firm, crisp, not-so-crumbly that it falls apart on the first bite, sort of crust. The perfect dough for that is pâte sucrée.

Pâte sucrée is a really simple dough to make in your stand mixer or even by hand and there’s really only one rule to follow: Don’t overwork the dough. What I really like about pâte sucrée, is that I can make a huge batch, divide the dough into several portions and freeze them. That way, I have an emergency stash on hand whenever I need to whip up a tart shell in a hurry.

More Tarts

Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)

I’ve always had issues with pastry cream. Most of the time, the cream doesn’t set firm enough. It’d be relatively firm off the stove, but gradually become more fluid as it cooled to room temperature. The first batch I made for these tarts became fluid as expected. I’d followed Dorie’s recipe to a T, so what was I doing wrong?

Initially, I thought it was because I hadn’t cooked the cream to the right consistency and had taken it off the stove too early. Then hubby, who loves his chocolate puddings and has been making them since he was a kid, pointed out that I’d probably stirred the pastry cream too much after it’d cooled past a certain point and broken down the starch.

              Fruit Tarts

I stubbornly insisted that the recipe said to wait for the pastry cream to cool to 60 degrees C before incorporating the butter or the custard would break. *humpf* Besides, he’d always cooked his puddings from Dr Oetker pudding mixes, what did he know about making custards from scratch or about stirring in butter? *grummel* Still, I secretly wondered if he was right.

              Peach Tarts

So for the second batch, I cooked the custard a little longer than usual, very bravely stirred in the butter almost immediately after transferring it to a bowl and resisted the urge to stir the pastry cream while it was cooling. The result: a custard that stayed firm even after cooling to room temperature! Fine, so I was wrong and hubby was right after all. Hmm… I wonder what other tidbits on cooking he has hidden away… Perhaps it’s time to quell the kitchen Nazi in me and share some stove space with hubby!

              Dark Chocolate Tart

An alternative to a pastry cream filling is dark chocolate ganache. I’d have preferred to top it with edible gold leaf, but didn’t have any on hand, so I went with gold luster dust instead.

Note: The design ideas for the blueberry, raspberry and chocolate tarts came from the wonderful dessert spread at Brasserie Les Saveurs (St. Regis, Singapore). The dessert spread is available as part of afternoon tea or Sunday brunch buffet.

Brasserie Les Saveurs
The St. Regis, Singapore
29 Tanglin Road · Singapore 247911
(65) 6506 6866

Daily Afternoon Tea 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sunday Brunch 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM