Warm Pear Tart with Spiced Crème Chantilly

This was the final course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. When I was thinking about what to make, peaches were still in season. Then I’ve done apple tarts so many times already so I really didn’t want to make it again so I settled for pears! But once again, it looks and tasted amaaaazing!

Makes 8-inch tart.


[100% organic]

For the Tart Shell

  • 150 g AP flour
  • 150 g cake flour
  • 150 g cold butter, small cubes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60 g sugar
  • 1.5 egg + 1.5 TBS water, whisked

Preheat oven to 400°F. Sift both flours on work surface, mix sugar and salt into it. Using a bench scraper, cut with cold butter (sablay). Create a well, and add the egg-water. Next, fraisage the dough. Working quickly, compress the dough using the palm of your hand piece by piece. Form the dough flat and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Butter the tart mold and place in freezer.

For the Compote

  • 3 large Asian pears peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 75 g sugar
  • 45 g water

Add all the ingredients into a saucepan and cook on medium-low until slightly chunky and dry, approximately 10-15 minutes. Cool over ice.

For the Garnish

  • 2 Bosc pears
  • 75 g butter, melted

Peel pears and cut in half. Remove the seeds and cut the halved pears in half again. Mandolin them but not too thin and rub lemon juice over each slice.

Take the dough out of the fridge and brush off excess flour. Roll dough into a thin layer larger than the tart mold. Carefully place over tart mold and press into buttered mold.

Layer all of the cooled compote into the mold, tightly arrange mandolin pears over the top but do not hang over the edges. Brush melted butter over everything.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F, then turn temperate down to 350°F and continue baking for 50 minutes.

For the Finish

  • 150 g apricot glaze
  • 30 g water

Mix together and brush on after tart is slightly cooled, out of oven.

For the Crème Chantilly

  • 300 mL heavy cream
  • 25 g confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients into an iSi dispenser and charge twice.

Serve whipped cream with slice of warm tart.

Smoked Dry-Aged Duck Breast, served with Chinese Steamed Buns, Cucumber, Scallions, Cilantro, and Tian Mian Sauce

This was the fourth course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people.

This year I decided to serve the last savory course family-style! And it turned out so great!!!! I would have been happy if this was the only course served because it’s that amazing!!!

Serves 6.


[100% organic]

For the Duck

  • 3 ducks (legs used in previous course)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Once the duck has thawed completely, remove the backbone and have the ducks lying open with breasts up on a wire rack over a sheet tray. Place in fridge and dry-age for 2 weeks.

After two weeks, butcher duck breasts off and score them. Season duck breasts with salt & pepper, turn heat to the lowest setting and place a large pan on the stove. Place breast in the pan with skin-side down. Render the fat to all the breasts slowly. Every few minutes, pour away rendered fat. After 10 minutes, turn breast around and cook flesh side for 3 seconds and remove from pan and place on a wire rack, skin-side up, to rest.

Using a smoke gun, place duck breasts in a single layer in a glass dish and wrap in plastic. Smoke duck for 10 minutes.

In a pre-heated oven of 500°F, flash heat duck breasts for 1 minute, allow to rest, then slice and serve.

For the Accoutrements

  • Steamed buns (I used 2 packs of 15 for six people)
  • 12 Persian cucumbers, cored and julienned
  • Scallions, julienned
  • Micro cilantro
  • Tian Mian 甜面酱/sweet bean sauce (needs to get sautéed with oil, then cooked with some water for consistency, and salt/sugar for taste)

Shredded Duck Leg Confit in Cream of Mushroom and Chestnut with Crackling & Parsley Chips

This was the third course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people.

Last year’s roasted duck legs didn’t turn out so well and I didn’t want to braise them again so I took the classic, ambitious French-route this year, which is why I had to cut a course out because it was too overwhelming for my tiny studio kitchen. It also made sense because why have two soups?

Serves 6.


[100% organic]

For the Confit

  • 6 legs from 3 ducks, Frenched
  • 2 cups salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 garlic head, minced
  • 12 bay leaves, crushed
  • 12 thyme sprigs, picked and crushed
  • 3 TBS black peppercorns, cracked
  • 2 quarts rendered duck fat

Sprinkle a shallow layer of salt and sugar into a shallow glass/plastic container. Scatter with half the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns over the salt/sugar and lay duck legs on top in a single layer. Scatter over remaining herbs, spices, salt, and sugar. Wrap/cover and refrigerate duck for 1-2 days.

After 24-28 hours, pre-heat oven to 225°F. Remove duck from cure mixture and rinse salt off. Pat dry duck and place in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. In a saucepan, gently warm fat until just melted. Cover duck completely with melted fat.

Cook in oven very slowly – you should only see a small bubble every now and then – until the meat is tender and ready to fall off the bone. Approximately 2-4 hours. If the duck seems to be cooking too quickly, or the fat begins to simmer, reduce temperature to 200°F.

When the duck is ready, remove from oven and cool in the fat. Once cool, peel skin off and reserve for cracklings. Using your fingers, shred duck meat and store them in the fat. Duck should be completely submerged.

This entire process can be done in advance because the duck submerged in its own fat can store for several weeks.

For the Duck Skin Cracklings

Under a broiler, crisp up reserved duck leg skin from confit process. Season with salt. For extra crispiness, place in a dehydrator.

For the Cream of Mushroom & Chestnut

  • Butter, as needed
  • 6 leeks, white & pale green parts only, sliced
  • 3 quarts packed mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb roasted chestnuts, cut
  • Chicken stock, as needed
  • ¼ lb AP flour
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

In a pan, sauté mushrooms to get color and aroma. In a saucepan, sweat leeks with butter and add the sautéed mushrooms and roasted chestnuts. Add enough chicken stock to cover. Season and bring to a boil. Turn heat down for simmering. Cook for 15 minutes.

In a separate pot, make a blond roux using ¼ lb butter and ¼ lb AP flour. Scoop away little by little of roux and put it in the saucepan until desired consistency and thickness. Add the heavy cream and adjust for seasoning.

For the Finish

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • Salt

Pick parsley leaves and set aside.

Fit a medium saucepan (with thermometer) and pour in oil to measure 1”. Heat over medium-high until thermometer is at 350°F. Fry until parsley is translucent, about 15 seconds. Season with salt.

For extra crispiness, place in dehydrator or 110°F oven.


Scoop soup in bowl, place a large ball of shredded duck confit in the center, garnish with skin cracklings and fried parsley. Serve with toasted bread.

Quail with Glutinous Rice, Chinese Sausage, Dried Shiitake & Spiced Black Currant Ximénez Reduction

This was the second course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. I decided to go with two quails per person again. They’re such tiny birds and one per person is just not enough because Thanksgiving is all about being gluttonous, right? Also, I was going to stuff the quail but I allowed the quails to rest too long after being seared so it was impossible to open them. Don’t make my mistake!

Serves 6.


[100% organic]

For the Brine

  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 quarts water
  • 8 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup black peppercorns
  • 12 quails

Bring everything to a boil and cool down immediately. Using a cake tester or sharp paring knife, stab quails, then submerge quails in this brine for 6 hours in the fridge.

Once the 6 hours are up, drain and pat dry.

For the Sauce

  • 2 cups black currant juice
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 bottle of Montegrato Pedro Ximénez vinegar

Reduce all ingredients nine-tenths of the way. Take out spices. Allow to cool and place in a squeeze bottle.

For the Stuffing

  • 2 cups glutinous rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 Chinese sausages, cubed
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted, diced
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • Salt, as needed
  • Soy sauce, as needed
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Cook rice in rice cooker.

Sauté garlic, ginger, and scallions with sausages and mushrooms. Add brown sugar, and season with salt. Turn off heat and add in cooked rice. Add soy sauce and taste for seasoning. Keep rice stuffing warm in rice cooker.

For the Quail

  • 12 brined quail
  • Salt, as needed
  • Oil, for searing
  • Black currant juice, reduced
  • Celery ribbons (I forgot)

Once the quails are patted dry, sear quail well on both sides for color. Stuff the quail and finish in the oven at 450°F. Glaze quails with reduced black currant juice. Peel celery ribbons in iced water and set aside.


Squeeze sauce on plate, prop 2 stuffed quails on celery ribbons, and squeeze more sauce over quail. Garnish with micro greens.

Scallop Crudo with Shichimi, Shimeji, Haricots Verts Salad & Fennel Foam

This was the first course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. Originally, I had another course before this but I cut it once I realized that the duck confit would take too much of my time and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself.

Serves 6.


[100% organic, wild scallops]

For the Fennel Foam

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • Bouquet garni: white peppercorns, 1 garlic clove, fennel fronds
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream

In a pan, sweat the onion, fennel, and bouquet garni with vegetable oil. Once the vegetables have soften, deglaze with white wine. Reduce until au sec, then add the cream and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into a blender and blend well. Do not strain. Pour purée into a whip cream dispenser and charge twice. Keep warm.

For the Salad

  • 2 packets brown shimeji mushrooms
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1 bunch cilantro, picked
  • 1 cup neutral oil

Cut base off of mushrooms (save for stock making) and cut off ends of green beans. Blanch in salted water then shock in iced water.

In a blender, blend on high the cilantro leaves and oil. Blend until the oil is warm, then strain through a fine mesh strainer or through cheesecloth/coffee filters. Reserve oil into a squeeze bottle.

For the Finish

  • 18 diver scallops, soaked in salted cold water, drained, then sliced
  • Shimichi Togarashi
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Cilantro oil (from above)
  • Micro cilantro
  • Fennel fronds (if saved, and I forgot to use it)
  • Sea salt/Maldon salt
  • Lemon


In a bowl, lightly toss blanched mushrooms and green beans with cilantro oil,  lemon juice, and salt. Slice scallops into thin rounds.

On the plate:

  1. Season mushrooms and green beans with lemon, cilantro oil, and salt. Arrange salad.
  2. Place scallops on plate, season scallops with crushed sea salt, lemon, and togarashi.
  3. Squeeze an odd number of fennel foam dots.
  4. Garnish with micro cilantro, pomegranate seeds, fennel fronds, and more cilantro oil.

Plans for Thanksgiving 2015

It’s that time of year again! I already set on my menu this year; I just haven’t typed it out yet. And since I don’t want to go outside because it’s cold, and I have caught up with all my TV, I am going to write out all the recipes today.

This year, it’s going to be a small Friendsgiving because I’ll be hosting in my new apartment and my kitchen isn’t all that big. I don’t even own a gas oven so I have to make do with my tiny (but the largest that I could find) convection oven and my two-top gas stove. I bought a smoke gun and an iSi dispenser, so things should be interesting at home!

I originally had six courses but when I was writing up the recipes, I realized that the duck confit would take a lot of my time and that it didn’t really make much sense to have two soups on the menu.

(Note: subject to changes)

Scallop Crudo
Shichimi, Shimeji, Haricots Verts Salad & Fennel Foam
1st Course

Glutinous Rice, Chinese Sausage, Dried Shiitake, Spiced Black Currant Ximénez Reduction
2nd Course

Shredded Duck Leg Confit
Cream of Mushroom and Chestnut, Crackling, Parsley Chips
3rd Course

Smoked Dry-Aged Duck Breast
Chinese Steamed Buns, Cucumber, Scallions, Cilantro, Tian Mian Sauce
4th Course

Warm Pear Tart
Spiced Crème Chantilly
5th Course

Watermelon Sago with Kiwi Fruit

This was the dessert and end to the rooftop party that I held yesterday. Cold, naturally sweet, hydrating, refreshing!! And, totally drinkable!!!

watermelon sago

[100% organic]

For the Sago

  • 1 cup Sago/Tapioca pearls

In a large non-stick pot, boil 6 cups of water. When the water comes up to a boil, add in the sago and stir with a rubber spatula frequently. Continue boiling for 10 minutes, stirring.

Turn off heat after 10 minutes, place a lid on the pot, and let it sit there for another 10 minutes. When ready, pour and cool in a running bowl of iced water.

Store in some cold water before assembling.

For the Watermelon

  • 1 watermelon
  • 4 kiwi fruits

Cut watermelon into large chunks and place in a blender. Do not add any water. Blend in batches and then strain watermelon juice through cheesecloth. We do not want the pulp to be part of the dessert.

Peel kiwis and cut into thin quarters.


Using a slotted spoon, add sago to the serving glass/bowl. Pour in the watermelon juice, stir, and garnish with kiwis.