So, I’ve done my rewind early – surprising, since I’m usually late on most of these things! I wanted a relatively easy dessert for this past Sunday, and I’ve never found paté choux particularly difficult. I filled them with chocolate pastry cream, and might I say, Dorie’s pastry cream is delicious!
I did have difficulty making the little “siamese triplets” staying connected. I’m not sure if I didn’t smush them together enough or they just weren’t sticky enough, regardless, all except about four of them split apart as “mini” cream puffs. Did not effect the taste, however! I’ll try again another time. Or, maybe just make cream puffs or long, thin eclairs!
My only “whine” is that I gave myself a blister on my little finger, stirring the bejeezus out of the paté choux. (Can’t whine too much – it earned me a kiss on the finger from my husband!)
I’m not sure what possessed me to decide baking on a 100+ degree day was a good idea, but because cherries are nearing the end of their season here in Oregon, this was my choice for dessert today.
I began by doing all the prep work yesterday (OK, yesterday was the 100 degree day, today merely upper 90’s). I followed Dorie’s suggestion of using a chopstick to push the cherry pits through to remove them. It worked fairly well (had the cherries been softer, it would have been the ideal technique), although messy. (My nails and cuticles have dark-cherry red stains that will be remedied by a shower later this morning.) However, never having pitted cherries before, perhaps messy is just what happens! I used both vanilla extract and almond extract in my streusel – l love cherries and almonds together! – thus breaking my own rule for following the recipe exactly the first time through. Oh, well!?!
The actual tart went together surprisingly easily – and I love the directions of “45-minutes or until the filling is golden….bake it another 30 – 35 minutes or until the streusel is the color you like – you can’t over bake the filling. Dorie is a genius! The hardest part has been waiting for it to cool enough to cut into.
Who knew panna cotta was really this easy? I needed a quick dessert for this evening; friends coming over on a Monday – now there’s a novelty – and this one just fell into my lap. The fact that I don’t have to heat the kitchen to make it is just an added bonus.
So, I don’t have the cute jar/bowls that Dorie has, but you know what works? 1/2-pint canning jars! Practical and inexpensive!
I loved the creamy top, not so much the mango puree. I’d like to try it again – this time with peaches.
So, I skipped the entire month of March – who knew a month that in the past, for me, seemed to be a 90-day endurance test, flew by in about 72-hours!
But, I’m back with April. These cupcakes were the very first thing I baked out of this book on the day it arrived! And, they are delicious! And, baking them on Passover/Easter weekend seems absolutely appropriate.
You’ll note that I use larger baking cups – I’ve always hated the look of a cupcake or muffin spilling over the top of the muffin paper (uh, thus the unflattering term for tummies falling over the top of blue-jean waists: muffin-top!), so I buy baking cups just a might taller. (This also allows for a slightly larger muffin when I bake them.) In the case of these cupcakes, it allowed for the syrup to be slightly more contained. I also dusted them with sanding sugar. My intent was to use yellow sugar and you’d think that being an Oregon Duck fan, I’d have tons of yellow – nope – nearly every other color, but no yellow! So, I settled for white.
Since I have a different dessert planned (and made) for Easter dinner, I’ll be delivering these to neighbors.
Happy Passover/Easter, everyone!
Yeah, I know – only about two weeks late. I have a really good excuse (I hear all you teachers out there!) – my mixer was being repaired! Oh, and a word to the wise: if any of you use a flexible paddle beater with your KitchenAid mixer, know that if it’s not an authorized KitchenAid product, you are setting yourself up for burning out your mixer’s insides. The repairman said that was the issue – because the flexible scrapers were on both sides of the paddle there was too much stress on the sides of the bowl, translating to too much stress on the gear mechanism. So, I’ve discarded the flexi-paddle and bought an authorized KitchenAid model. Now she’s good to go (after a complete rebuild of her insides) and she works wonderfully. But, back to the Marquis.
It was delightfully easy to put together – and the end product is among the most decadent things I’ve ever made! In addition to Dorie’s recipe, I have a recipe by Thomas Keller of Bouchon – amazingly similar. I served the Marquis last Sunday with creme anglais and pistachios. (Did you know last Thursday was National Pistachio Day?)
Let me first say, that I love, love, love the idea that French home-bakers bake cakes in loaf pans. I know, all you cake aficionados love a beautiful layer cake, but the truth be told, I’m just not any good at them. But a cake in a loaf pan? I am all over that!
My vanilla beans are a little old, so I made mine with the scraped vanilla bean and two-teaspoons of vanilla. My version of compromise! To brown the butter to the shade of honey, I placed my honey bear right beside my stove so I could compare. My butter came out just a slight shade darker, but not black – and I really can see how that could happen if you weren’t paying attention (“…the difference between brown and black is measured in seconds.”). And, I do love the smell of butter browning!
I served this with a little ice cream and raspberry sauce, just to fancy it up a little. And, I have to say, it was delicious!