Lemon Tart

Since last Thanksgiving, I’ve been making this tart about every two weeks. That’s much more frequently than before when I would just make it once or twice a year. I have definitely been eating a lot more desserts, that is at home or outside in restaurants. I’ve been making a lot more ice-creams too.

Makes 8-inch tart.

DSCN2597b

[100% organic]

For Pâte Sablée (Short Bread dough)

  • 150 g butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 90 g powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 255 g cake flour (sifted)
  • 1-2 TBS cold water (optional)
  • Butter, as needed, for tart pan

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using a rubber spatula or spoon, flatten out butter and powdered sugar. Add yolk one by one and then add sifted cake flour. If you don’t have cake flour, substitute with pastry/AP flour (for every 1 cup of pastry/AP flour, remove 1 TBS of it and add 1 TBS cornstarch). Mix slowly to combine. If dry, add the cold water. Form into a ball and flatten it, wrap with plastic and place in refrigerator until firm.

Butter the tart pan and put in freezer.

In between two sheets of parchment paper/plastic wrap/SilPats, roll dough to 1/16 inch. Carefully place into buttered pan, press into place and roll over the top of the pan to remove excess hanging dough. Using a fork, puncture tart shell with holes. Blind bake with weights for 20 minutes. Remove weights and continue baking until golden.

Reserve shell at room temperature before pouring in the tart filling. Lower oven to 300°F.

For the Tart Filling

  • Pinch of flour
  • Butter, as needed
  • 5 eggs
  • 6 lemons: zested, and 150 g juice
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g heavy cream

Zest lemons and mix the juices together. Infuse for as long as possible.

In a bowl, add the eggs and sugar. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add cream, mix lightly and continue to whisk. Stir in lemon juice, zest, and pinch of flour. Skim the foam off. Strain before putting it into the cooled pastry shell.

Bake 25-30 minutes. When removing from oven, the custard should jiggle. Cool on wire rack and serve with fresh berries and whipped cream.

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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.

DSCN2558

[100% organic]

For the Tart Shell

  • 100 g AP flour
  • 100 g cake flour
  • 100 g cold butter, small cubes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 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. Working quickly, compress the dough using the palm of your hand piece by piece (fraisage). 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 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 50 g sugar
  • 30 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

  • 2-3 Bosc pears
  • 50 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 juice
  • 30 g water
  • 20 g sugar

Mix together, reduce until thick, 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
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients into an iSi dispenser and charge twice. Place in refrigerator.

Serve whipped cream with slice of warm tart.

Dark Chocolate Custard with Mint Chocolate Soil & Raspberry Coulis

This was the sixth course to my 6-course New Year’s Day Dinner party for 8 people.

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[100% organic]

For the Chocolates

  • ¾ cup cream
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 4 yolks
  • 4 gelatin sheets

In iced water, bloom gelatin sheets. In a non-stick pot, warm the cream and milk together. Do not boil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until light yellow. Then temper the eggs by pouring little by little of the warmed cream-milk mixture into the eggs, while whisking constantly. Pour all of the cream-milk into the bowl then using a rubber spatula, transfer egg-cream-mixture back into pot and bring to 178°F, stirring with the rubber spatula constantly.

Take pot off heat and using an immersion blender, blend in gelatin sheets and coco powder. Strain through a fine mesh strainer/chinois. Blend more and make sure to aerate it – there should be a lot of bubbles!

Pam spray the molds and pour into molds. Freeze immediately, approximately 4 hours.

Once frozen, remove from molds and place in fridge.

*Chef Jasmine Shimoda’s recipe.

For the Raspberry Coulis

  • ½ cup sugar, more or less to taste
  • 12 oz. packet frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup water

Combine sugar, frozen raspberries, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low; cook until sugar is dissolved, about 8 minutes.

Use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan. Remove from heat; cool completely. Place mixture in a blender until smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve, and discard seeds.

For the Mint Chocolate Soil

  • 1½ cups AP flour, sifted
  • ⅓ cup dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, cold
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.

With a hand mixer, cream butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Beat in egg until just combined. By hand, whisk in flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Then add in peppermint extract and blend.

Remove dough from bowl, make a ball, and then push into a large disc and wrap with plastic. Chill dough disc for 45 minutes.

Remove dough from plastic, roll dough out to an even thickness. Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Using cookie cutters, place cut dough onto a half sheet lined with SilPat or parchment paper with a 2-inch clearance around each one and the edge of sheet. Place sheet with cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 16 minutes.

Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

To make soil, food processor cookies.

For the Finish

  • Fresh raspberries
  • Mint sprigs

TO ASSEMBLE

Carefully place chocolate custard onto plate. Drizzle coulis over custard. Place 3 fresh raspberries onto custard then sprinkle with mint chocolate soil and garnish with mint sprig.

Pistachio Pudding with Raspberry Granita & Mint Crème Chantilly

For the 4-course dinner party, I wanted to sample all the techniques that I’ve learned from school, interning, and work so I decided to make this dessert to cap off for the night. It’s also a great party gathering type of dessert, I think.

Makes just enough for 15 martini glasses.

[100% organic]

For the Pistachio Paste

  • 3 cups pistachios, without shell
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 TBS water

Place the pistachios in a food processor and pulse until the pistachios are in small pieces. Add the sugar and water, blend until relatively smooth.

For the Pudding

  • Pistachio paste, from above
  • 6 cups non-fat milk
  • 6 yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 TBS cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 TBS butter, softened

Spoon the pistachio paste into a saucepan and add the milk. Whisk over medium heat until simmering.

Whisk together the sugar, yolks, cornstarch and a pinch of salt until smooth. Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk mixture and continue to whisk. Return the milk-egg mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in the room temperature butter and vanilla extract, until butter is melted. Spoon into martini glasses, wrap with plastic over the individual puddings, and refrigerate overnight.

For the Granita

  • 12 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cups water
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 TBS lemon juice

Make syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat: combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil and carefully stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool over an ice bath.

Blend raspberries in a blender until smooth. Then mix with the cooled sugared water and lemon juice. Pour raspberry mixture into a shallow pan and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove and scrape the crystallized raspberry purée from the sides of the pan and return to the freezer. Repeat this process every 45 minutes, until completely frozen or for about 4 hours.

Serve by fluffing the flakes with a fork.

For the Crème Chantilly

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 TBS mint extract
  • 3 TBS powdered sugar

Whip the cream with the mint extract and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Finish

  • Pistachios
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Mint sprigs

TO ASSEMBLE

Remove plastic wrap from martini glasses, flake granita with a fork and spoon a generous helping over pudding, top with piping of chantilly, and garnish with pistachios, fresh raspberries, and mint sprigs.

*Inspired by Le Cirque.

Mini Fruit Bites with Lemon Crème Chantilly, Strawberry Compote & Consommé

Like I wrote in the previous posts, I’m still obsessed with making finger food. I have leftover dumpling wrappers in my freezer and I’m trying to find a good way to use them. A couple of years ago, I made something similar but with mango, avocado, and tomato. I find them to be so cute.

I wish I could find/buy microbasil because the addition of a little green thingy would complete this dish.

[100% organic]

For the Fruit Bites

  • Dumpling/wonton wrappers
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Butter @ room temperature

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spray a mini muffin tray and place one dumpling wrapper in every space. Using a brush, butter each wrapper. Place muffin tray into oven and cook for 8-10 minutes. Take crispy dumpling wrappers out of the muffin tray and set on a cooling rack.

For the Lemon Crème Chantilly

  • ½ lemon, juiced & zested
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar, as needed

Whip cream until stiff peaks and add 1-2 TBS powdered sugar, or to your liking. I don’t like overly sweet things. Add in the lemon juice and zest and fold well. Place in a pastry bag with a small star tip and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Strawberry Compote & Consommé

  • 2 cups strawberry trimmings
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

In a saucepan, add whatever overripe strawberries and strawberry scraps/trimmings that you have, and all the other ingredients. Toss and bring to a boil and turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and turn off heat. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and place it in a warm area and let it infuse for as long as possible, 4 hours ideally.

Strain the liquid and place inside a clean saucepan, set aside the solids. Bring strawberry liquid to a small boil and whisk in cornstarch that has been mixed with a little water. Bring back to a boil and turn off heat. Place both liquid and compote in the fridge.

TO ASSEMBLE

For one serving: place 5 blueberry halves as the base and pipe a rosette of whipped cream in the center. Place the dumpling cup on top and pipe more whipped cream in it and decorate with strawberry compote, sliced strawberries, and sliced blueberries. Drizzle the strawberry sauce around the base at the end.

For party presentation: pipe a tiny amount of the whipped cream on the plate so that dumpling cups don’t move. Pipe more whipped cream in it and decorate with strawberry compote, sliced strawberries, and sliced blueberries. Serve with strawberry sauce.

*I made this for my birthday get-together.

Shiso wrapped Hamachi with Coconut Paste, Lotus Root, Toasted Nori & Yuzu-Sake Sauce

The first day of level 6, May 17, it was my night being at the entremetier station again. Level 5 gave us the freedom to design a vegetarian entrée, and in level 6, we have to come up with a canapé/amuse bouche for service, part of the first of a 5-course dinner. To maximize product usage and cut down on waste, canapés/amuse bouche are made with scraps, trimmings, and leftovers in the kitchen.

We were given three meats: pulled duck leg, pulled chicken leg, and marinated hamachi. No was else jumped at the task so I was more than happy that I got to do it on the first day. Being aware of the previous class and how much time they got, I was only given a limited time to plan, prep, make, and plate all the canapés: 40 minutes. That’s not a lot of time but at the end, I pulled it off, along with some assistance towards the end. I just grabbed whatever I could get my hands on.

Originally, my idea was to wrap the hamachi with the shiso leaf along with a 1-inch stripe of coconut milk paste and one line of julienned Thai chili peppers, served with the yuzu-sake sauce and garnished with a julienned red bell pepper. However, when I made my three testing spoons, the chef instructors didn’t like how it was “spicy”. It tasted good they said but to start off a heavy multi-course dinner with something so “spicy” doesn’t do well for the stomach. The production chef told me that for any other event, such as a pool party or somewhere serving cocktails, the spiciness would have been perfect. Personally, I didn’t think the peppers were that spicy but that’s because I eat spicier foods.

So here’s the final product from school:

Shiso wrapped Hamachi with Coconut Paste & Yuzu-Sake Sauce, Julienned Red Bell Pepper

I didn’t bring my camera that night so I don’t really like the photos that I took at school with my iPhone. I decided to redo it with the stuff I had at home. I didn’t have any bell peppers lying around but I had lotus root (for the crunch texture) and toasted nori sheets. At home, I have just ponzu by itself but if you don’t have an array of Asian ingredients in your pantry, you can just buy ponzu sauce which is the yellowy yuzu mixed with soy sauce.

[100% organic, farmed yellowtail hamachi]

For the Marinade

  • 3 oz. hamachi fillet
  • 1-inch ginger, grated
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup ponzu
  • ¼ sake
  • 1 lime, juiced

Mix all ingredients and marinade for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.

For the Sauce

  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • ¼ cup ponzu
  • ¼ sake
  • ¼ lime wedge, juiced

Mix and set aside.

For the Finish

  • Half a 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • Equal mixture of 2 TBS cornstarch and water
  • 2-3 TBS powdered sugar
  • Shiso leaves, stem removed
  • 1 red Thai chili pepper, julienned
  • 1-inch small lotus root
  • Toasted nori strips

In a small pot, bring the coconut milk to a simmer and whisk in powdered sugar. Depending on how sweet you like your coconut milk, add the full 3 TBS of powdered sugar. Once the coconut milk is to your desired sweetness, slowly add in the cornstarch mixture and continue whisking to remove lumps in the coconut paste. It is not necessary to use all the cornstarch mixture, just until it comes together and is less fluid-like. Immediately place in an ice bath to cool down.

For the lotus root, peel and then slice thinly with a mandolin. Make sure to place shaved lotus root in a bowl with water and a splash of vinegar. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the lotus root for a couple of minutes. Drain and cool in an ice bath, drain again. Cut each lotus root slice in half so that it fits into the Chinese spoon.

TO ASSEMBLE

Drain fish from marinade and cut into ½-inch strips.

The wrapping is like making sushi: place the shiso leaf with the presentation side down, landscape oriented. Brush/spoon with coconut paste along the center (on the stem). Line with one hamachi strip and 1-2 julienned chili peppers. Roll from bottom to top edge and using a very sharp knife, slice off ugly ends and then in half.

Place halved lotus root slice onto spoon, place hamachi shiso sushi on top. Spoon ½-1 tsp of the sauce and garnish with toasted nori strips.