Tart au Citron (French Lemon Tart)

I made this as well as chocolate ganache tart and brought them on my last day of work. Many of my lovely colleagues aware of the calories intake as all of us have already being too indulgent recently. They asks which is less fattening. I was like, er.. probably similar I guess. But at the end, the lemon tart is more popular.

Despite the amount of butter used in the lemon cream (not to mention the crust), which is the reason that makes the tart so dreamy creamy, the tanginess of the lemon is so refreshing and it almost gives you an illusion that it is not fatty.

To my regret, the tart is supposed to baked in the french round tart tin, I couldn’t find it near my neighborhood so I used the flower tart tin instead.

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Tart au Citron (French Lemon Tart) (Adadpted from Baking with Dorie adapted from Pierre Hermé)

Ingredients

Lemon Cream

1 cup sugar

finely granted zest of 3 lemons

4 large eggs

3/4 cup freshly sqeezed lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)

10 1/2 oz unsalted butter, at room temperture

Tart Shell

refer to the pâte sucrée recipe

 

Directions

1. Getting Ready: Have an instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

2. Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

3. Set the bowl over the pan, and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk—you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

4. As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

5. Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

6. Pour the lemon cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days and, or tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)

7. When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate ‘until needed.

Serving: It’s a particular pleasure to have this tart when the cream is cold and the crust is at room temperature. A raspberry or other fruit coulis is nice, but not necessary; so is a little crème fraîche. I know it sounds odd to offer something as rich as crème fraîche with a tart like this, but it works because the lemon cream is so light and so intensely citric, it doesn’t taste or feel rich.

Storing: While you can make the lemon cream ahead, once the tart is constructed, it’s best to eat it the day it is made.

Focaccia

 

 

It is looking so beautiful even before cooked.

 

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Focaccia (Adapted from Jamie Oliver)

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 400 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g fine ground semolina flour or strong white bread flour
  • sea salt
  • 5g dried yeast
  • ½ tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 300 ml water, lukewarm
  • olive oil
  • extra virgin olive oil

For the balsamic onion topping

  • 2 red onions, finely sliced
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

For the three-cheese and rosemary topping

  • 30 g Taleggio cheese
  • 1 small log goat’s cheese
  • 1 handful Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked

Directions

1. Place the flours and ½ tablespoon of sea salt into a large bowl, and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, and mix with a fork. Leave this for a few minutes and, when it starts to foam, slowly pour it into the well, mixing with a fork as you go.

2. As soon as all the ingredients come together, which may take a minute or so, knead vigorously for around 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.

3. Lightly oil a large bowl with some olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Dust with a little extra flour, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size.

4. While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 220°C and prepare the toppings.

5. For the balsamic onion topping, fry the sliced onions and thyme leaves in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, reduce for a minute or two, then leave to cool.

6. To cook the focaccia, as soon as the dough has risen, pound it then place on a baking tray and spread it out to cover the tray. Push down roughly on top of the dough like a piano to make lots of rough dips and wells.

7. Divide the onion toppings over 1/2 of the focaccia. For the three-cheese and rosemary topping, break up the Taleggio and the goat’s cheese over the remaining third of the focaccia. Sprinkle over the grated Parmesan and rosemary leaves and season with pepper. Finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Leave to prove for a further 20 minutes.

8. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden on top and soft in the middle.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate M&M’s Cookies

You can see how many elements are in these little bad boys.

I added the M&M’s on top just to give it a little aesthetic touch. And the cookies look so cheerful with the colorful M&M’s on top!

The oatmeal gives a great texture to the cookies. Not too soft, kind of chewy and firm.

I reduced the amount of sugar since i afraid it would be too sweet when there’re already so much chocolate inside. I am glad I did, because the white chocolate is really sweet.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal M&M’s Cookies (Adapted from Averie Cooks)

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg + 1 yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup old fashioned whole oats

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup M&M’s

Directions

1. In a medium-sized microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and peanut butter together.  Power on for 30 seconds, take out, stir.  Repeat.  Should take no more than about 90 seconds.

2. Add the brown & white sugar to the melted butter & peanut butter mixture and stir.  Set this is the freezer to cool for a couple minutes.

3. Remove from the freezer (or just wait for the mixture to come to room temp on it’s own) and add the egg + yolk (you just don’t want to add eggs to that hot mixture.  We don’t want scrambled eggs here), add the vanilla extract, and stir.

4. Then add the flour, oats, baking soda and stir.  You should have cookie dough consistency dough and if you don’t, either add a touch more flour if it’s too wet or a touch more peanut butter if it’s too dry.

5. Finally, add the white chocolate chips and stir.

6. Roll or spoon out golf ball sized balls onto a cookie sheet, press down a little, place a few M&M’s on the dough if you are adding any. Leave the cookies about 2 inches apart.They spread but not tons.

7. Bake at 325F for about 12 minutes(or less for softer texture).  The cookies will look pretty raw even at 12 minutes and that’s ok.  Take them out and let the sit and cool well before eating.

Makes about 22 to 24 cookies

Apple Pie

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Apple Pie (Adapted from marthastewart.com)

Ingredient

Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Filling

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • 4 pounds apples
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

For the crust

1. In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.

2. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). To help ensure a flaky crust, do not overprocess.

3. Transfer half of dough (still crumbly) onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into a disk 3/4 inch thick; wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days). Repeat with remaining dough. Makes 2 disks.

 

For the pie

1. Lightly flour a large piece of waxed paper; place a disk of dough in center. Rolling from center outward, form into a 12-inch circle. (Use paper to rotate dough, and flour rolling pin and paper as necessary to prevent sticking.) Transfer dough (still on paper) to a baking sheet; cover and refrigerate. Repeat with second disk of dough.

2. Preheat oven to 240c degrees, with a rack set in lowest position. Remove first circle of dough from refrigerator; wrap around rolling pin (discarding paper), and carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently lift edges and lower dough into the pie plate so it hugs bottom and sides. Avoid stretching the dough, which will make it shrink during baking. Refrigerate.

3. Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices; halve crosswise, and add to lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown) as you work. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt; toss to combine.

4. Remove dough-lined pie plate from refrigerator. Fill with apple mixture, gently packing apples and mounding slightly in center; dot with butter. Lightly brush rim of pie shell with water. Remove remaining circle of dough from refrigerator. Lay over apples; Make a lattice if you prefer. press along moistened rim to seal. Using kitchen shears, trim overhang to 1 inch.

5. With floured fingers, fold overhang under itself to form a thick rim; pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around the rim of the pie plate.

6. To crimp edges: With thumb and index finger of one hand, gently press dough against knuckle of other hand; continue around pie. (Deep indentations anchor dough on rim and prevent it from sliding down sides of pie plate during baking.)

7. With a floured paring knife, cut 5 to 6 slits in top of pie, radiating from center; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes more. If edges brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Cool completely, before serving.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

biscotti

Chocolate Almond Biscotti (Adapted from David Lebovitz)

Ingredients

280g flour
75g top-quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
200g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (125g) almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped
3/4 cups (120g) chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the 3 eggs, sugar, and vanilla & almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts and the chocolate chips until the dough holds together.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into two logs the length of the baking sheet. Transfer the logs onto the baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Bake for 25 minutes.

5. Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to diagonally cut the cookies into 1/2-inches slices. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm.

Once baked, cool the cookies completely then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you wish, the cookies can be half-dipped in melted chocolate, then cooled until the chocolate hardens.

My Dreamy Scones Recipe

Scone is one of the perfect choices for breakfast in a Saturday morning (and pancakes for Sunday).

I’d like to make them weeks ahead and let them sit in the freezer. When anytime i want to have something fresh to go with the jam and tea. Simply just pop the frozen dough into the oven, and yay! Freshly baked scones will be ready in 15 minutes.

First and foremost thing for making flaky scones is the butter has to be chilled.

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Basic Buttermilk Scones (Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen)

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 scant teaspoon fine grain sea salt (table salt works too!)
1 1/2 stick (6 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled!

1/2 cup buttermilk, cold and shaken
1 large egg, cold

Optional: Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk (or 1 tablespoon water)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 220c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a box grater, grate the butter into the flour mixture. Transfer the bowl to the freezer while you gather the wet ingredients, about 5-7 minutes.

3. Measure out the buttermilk and add the egg; whisk until combined. In a small bowl, make the egg wash, whisking together the egg and milk. Transfer both to the refrigerator.

4. Grab the bowl out of the freezer, and gently break up the butter and combine with the flour, using your hands, until it resembles small peas. Add the buttermilk mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Mix until barely combined; and lightly knead the dough. until it forms one solid mass. Sprinkle your kitchen counter with flour and dump the dough onto it. Press the dough into a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut out the biscuits using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, ending up with about 6 biscuits. You can recombine the scraps and get 2 more biscuits. Transfer them to the baking sheet.

6. If you think you’ve been moving a little slow (like I was because I was..ahem..taking pictures), stick the baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes. This will get the bits of butter nice and cold again. After the biscuits are cold, brush the tops of with egg wash and bake in oven or 15-15 minutes, until tall and medium golden brown. Serve biscuits warm with honey and jam. YUM.

Yields 8 biscuits