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Mille-Crêpe Tiramisu Birthday Cake

4 Sep

millescrepes-recipe

You know you want to make this….

Mille-Crêpe Tiramisu Birthday Cake

Recipe adapted from Francisco Migoya of Hudson Chocolates, Poughkeepsie, New York

Yield: One 8-inch cake

Cook Time: 40 minutes (plus 5 hours chilling)

INGREDIENTS

Crêpes

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons Armagnac or cognac
  • Nonstick pan spray

Tiramisu Filling

  • 1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 cups mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup sweet Marsala wine (or half as much rum or coffee liqueur)
  • ¼ cup natural cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS1. Make the crêpe batter: In a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour and sugar. Whisk in the salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth and webby (it will be very thick). In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the butter, then the milk and the Armagnac, until the batter is smooth (if there are any lumps, strain the batter through a fine-mesh sieve and into a medium bowl). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat with nonstick pan spray. Gently stir the crêpe batter, then pour ¼ cup of batter into the skillet. Holding the skillet by the handle, tilt and turn the skillet to quickly disperse the batter. Cook the crêpe until the underside is golden-brown, about 1½ minutes. Lightly jerk the skillet to loosen the crêpe, then flip the crêpe over using a spatula, a more vigorous jerking motion, or your fingers. Cook on the other side until golden-brown, about 30 seconds, then slide the crêpe onto the parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all of the batter is used (you’ll end up with about 20 crêpes total, and will need 18 for the cake). Refrigerate the crêpes on the baking sheet until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

3. Make the tiramisu filling: To a fine-mesh sieve set over a large sheet of parchment paper, add the confectioners’ sugar. Transfer the confectioners’ sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer), and add the mascarpone cheese and the Marsala wine. Use the paddle attachment to combine the mixture on low speed until well combined.

4. Remove the crêpes from the refrigerator. Insert an 8-inch cake round (a cardboard circle for the cake to rest on) into an 8-inch cake ring. Add 1 crêpe to the cake round so it lies flat. Add ¼ cup of the tiramisu filling to the center of the crêpe and use a small offset spatula to evenly spread the filling over the crêpe. Repeat with the filling and 17 more crêpes, leaving the last crêpe on the top plain (refrigerate the leftover filling; you’ll use it to finish the cake). Leaving the cake in the cake ring, chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

5. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and use a blow-dryer to warm the sides of the cake ring and loosen it (a hot, wet and wrung-out kitchen towel pressed against the sides of the ring works too). Remove the ring by setting the cake on top of a tall, quart-size cylindrical can (a 28-ounce can of tomatoes works well). Slide the cake ring down (if it sticks, apply more heat); the ring should slide right off while the can supports the cake. Remove the cake from the can and set it on a cake plate or platter. Spread the remaining tiramisu cream on top of the cake. Add the cocoa powder to a fine-mesh sieve and sprinkle it over the top of the cake. Slice and serve.

Read more:http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/chefs_recipes/12552/Mille_Crepe_Tiramisu_Birthday_Cake_Recipe.htm#ixzz3koGBco7a

What’s been haunting me: Brazil Sao Judas Tadeu Coffee

30 Jul

Brazil Sao Judas Tadeu

May 2012 – July 2012

49th Parallel notes: Sweet, soft – dried apricot, chocolate & toasted almond.

Elysian Coffee notes: well balanced and mildly acidic with a medium, buttery mouth-feel.  Aromas of: almond, marzipan and vanilla, with: pistachio, apricot and milk chocolate. You want to brew this on Clover there.

My notes: Sweet, smooth, extremely well balanced. Buttery, caramel, chocolate, bit of almond, some fig. A bit of cream brings out the best of it. Mindblowingly amazing, yet hauntingly delicious. Liquid heaven.

 

My childhood in a dessert: Ovaltine & Rice Krispies

24 May

Growing up in Vancouver as a child of immigrants in the 80’s, it wasn’t easy to assimilate into the Western culture and still have to struggle to maintain my Chinese heritage. I didn’t have Saturday morning cartoons because I had Chinese school, had thick glasses from grade 4 onwards and I wanted to bring a ham and cheese sandwich to lunch because the other kids would make fun of me that I was eating worms, when it was really chow mein.

Times have changed, of course… kids don’t have to struggle with their cultural identity as much anymore and I’m sure there’s a “Chinese Day” in high school cafeterias with chow mein, spring rolls and all.

So when I saw this recipe it brought me back. Back to the good old days of comfort food, homemade sweets and I smile thinking that this is symbolic of my childhood growing up… Ovaltine and Rice Krispies….

Ovaltine Pudding with Honeyed Rice Krispies

Malty Ovaltine flavors these puddings from New York City chef Pichet Ong.Ovaltine_Pudding_with_Honeyed_Rice_Krispies

SERVES 8

  • 2 1/4-oz. packages unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Ovaltine powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped and reserved
  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies
  • Whipped cream, for serving

In a 2-qt. saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk and let sit for 5 minutes. Add cream, Ovaltine, and vanilla seeds and heat over medium heat; cook, stirring often, until gelatin dissolves and mixture is warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and 1/4 tsp. salt until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a large pitcher; then pour into eight 6-oz. serving glasses or ramekins. Cover each glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, heat sugar, honey, and butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling pan often, until mixture turns the color of medium-dark caramel; add remaining salt and cereal and stir to coat evenly. Transfer mixture to a greased baking sheet and spread out evenly; let cool and then break into small chunks.

To serve, uncover each pudding and top with some of the crisped-rice mixture. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and serve immediately.

A VERY Late Xmas Wishlist & Gift Ideas pt. 1

23 Dec

The older I get, the less I buy for myself and the more I buy for others. I’ll buy you what I think you’ll like or need, or I won’t buy you anything at all. If I see something I think you’ll like, I probably won’t be able to wait till your birthday/anniversary/Christmas – it’ll just show up at your door. I’ve bought stuff for everyone else but myself this year, but think I’ll start my wishlist around Xmas and hopefully acquire it throughout the year.

Here are a few things I’m lemming, and hoping that if you’re stuck for some last minute Xmas gifts, my list will give you a few ideas.

  1) CHOCOLATE – you can NEVER go wrong with chocolate, unless it’s Black Magic or Ferrero Rocher (not that I’m a chocolate snob, but these are GIFTS, you see). I always go local (no Godiva) because the local stuff are more artisan and tend to be fresher (there IS a difference). My go-to places for impressive, unique, local artisan chocolates are Thomas Haas (they also have the most buttery pastries) and Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France (new on the chocolate scene). Like last year, order a day or 2 ahead at Thomas Haas (they’re closed on Sundays and Mondays, unfortunately), but I spotted their gift boxes at Whole Foods on West 8th and Cambie Street. If you want to impress someone, the Earl Grey chocolate at Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France is to die for.  

2) LOLLIA WISH PARFUM – I’ve always loved the Lollia line, especially their Shea Butter handcremes (the perfect hostess gift) and their candles. I was in a store the other day and overheard 3 different people inquire and rave about the Wish parfum (which were conveniently sold out, by the way) and they were added to the waitlist. I have the Wish handcreme, and it dawned on me how dreamy it would be in a parfum (a sweet bouquet of sugarcane, vanilla bean and jasmine). Now on the hunt for it. Get on the list at Beautybar, U Life and Nikaido Gifts. Or online at Anthropologie.

3) URBAN DECAY NAKED PALETTE – This gorgeous neutral palette has sparked a lemming and buying frenzy almost as crazy as Chanel Vamp (’94)and Black Satin (’06) which went international. No, it’s more of an underground lemming craze a la Bobbi Brown’s Shimmering Nudes Palette (’08) that’s not based on the current fashion craze or fad but because it’s timeless. This palette was released at the end of summer and is completely SOLD OUT.

I have to admit I’ve lapsed on this beauty thing, but when I saw Jen from FrmHeadToToe.com use it (I’ll write a post on her later – she’s my newest makeup guru), I just HAD to have it, only to add myself to the waitlist of 300 at Sephora at Pacific Centre. Want to know how many people want it? I posted on Twitter that I was going to look for it and 4 girls joined in on the conversation – everyone wants it! I stood in the UD section just looking over the collection when the salesperson approached me and said “let me guess, you’re looking for the Naked palette too. Let me add you to the list, we should have some coming in after Christmas.” The proof is in the pudding. If I ever get my hands on it I’m buying 2. I can’t review it because I’ve never held it in me hands (there wasn’t even a tester at Sephora! Guess someone pried it out of the case and swiped it!) but Temptalia, Makeupgeek, MusingsOfAMuse and many other beauty sites gave it full marks, no cons and pretty much a must have in everyone’s collection!

Biscotti

19 Dec

Pistachio-Orange Biscotti

Recipes are not all the same — no, not to state the obvious, but some work, and some don’t. For example, I can quote a ton of people who can testify that the majority of Martha Stewart’s recipes don’t turn out right. If you want recipes that turn out most of the time, try Epicurean, Saveur or my go-to (especially for baking) Williams Sonoma.  The last time I made Orange Almond Biscotti – it was so hard it chipped the tooth of the person eating it. But armed with the right recipe, you’ll never have to make sure your loved ones have dental insurance in advance again.

What I love about these biscotti recipes from Williams Sonoma that they’re soft and crumbly enough that you don’t need to dip them in milk/tea/coffee and adapt as you will… enjoy!

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Perfect Summer Delights: Rhubarb Lavender Crumble

25 Jun

Saw a bunch of juicy, thick and crunchy rhubarb at the grocer the other day, and it reminded me of this delicious recipe that’s perfect for summer, family gathering, BBQs, potlucks, or just to share for 2. Love the tarty rhubarb, the sweet fragrant lavender aftertaste, and the crunchy crumble. Pair with vanilla,  strawberry  or homemade honey ice cream (recipe below).

NOTE: The more sugar the better! You can’t say that about most recipes, but this one is fool proof. Use white granulated with some packed brown or golden. You can’t go wrong because it needs to counter the tartness of the rhubarb.

***

Rhubarb Lavender Crumble

9×13 pan of rhubarb crumble – serves 4-8

2 pounds fresh rhubarb, leaves removed and discarded
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds
1 batch of Basic Oat Crumble Topping for Fruit – Softer Version (below)
3/4 cup sliced and toasted almonds
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a 9×13 pan by greasing lightly with butter or with oil spray. Cut the rhubarb stalks into small pieces – about the size of your knuckle. They should be evenly sized. Toss with the sugar, honey, and salt. Rub the lavender between your hands, crushing it into the rhubarb. Stir everything and spread evenly in the baking pan.
  2. Spread the crumble topping over the rhubarb. Melt the butter, toasted almonds, and brown sugar together in the microwave or in a small saucepan, and dot over the crumble topping.
  3. Bake at 375°F for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, then serve with whipped cream or strawberry ice cream.

***

Basic Oat Crumble Topping for Fruit – Softer Version

tops a 9×13 pan

1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
Spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Nuts (optional)
Water or milk

Mix the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter. Add just enough water or milk so that the mix comes together in loose clumps – not too wet. Stir in the nuts, if using. Dot the fruit with the mixture evenly and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.

***

Honey Ice Cream

4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup pure honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups half-and-half
Optional infusions, inclusions* (add-ins) or swirls (see “Four Ways To Customize,” below)

*Infusions are flavors that are infused into the milk or cream; then the flavoring element (cinnamon stick, ginger, etc.) is removed. Inclusions is the industry term for what many of us call “mix-ins.” Of course, “inclusions” simply means “other things that are included” in the ice cream—nuts, chocolate chips, pieces of whatever.

  1. Whisk together eggs, honey and salt in medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring half-and-half to a full simmer with any infusions. Remove from heat. If infusing, cover and let steep 2 hours; strain into another medium saucepan and bring to a simmer again.
  2. Slowly add 1 cup of the simmering cream mix to the egg-honey mixture while whisking (to avoid scrambling the eggs); then return the egg and cream mixture to the saucepan.
  3. Again bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the custard thickens enough to coat a spoon and the thermometer reads 170°F to 175°F, about 4 minutes (do not boil).
  4. Strain into a clean bowl and allow steam to escape before covering and chilling until cold (at least 3 hours and up to 1 day).
  5. Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions; add soft add-in ingredients half way through freezing or chunky ingredients during the last 2 to 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a bowl or tub, add any desired swirls and serve, or cover and freeze until firm—at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

Four Ways To Customize Honey Ice Cream

  1. Switch your dairy: Replace up to 1 cup of the half-and-half with heavy cream, plain yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream.
  2. Infusions: Infuse the cream base with 1 to 2 tablespoons of your favorite herbs (such as lavender or mint), spices (crushed sticks or cloves), botanicals (grated citrus rind or chopped ginger root), a split and scraped vanilla bean or a few saffron threads.
  3. Inclusions (Add-ins): Halfway through the churning process, add up to 1 cup of fruit orvegetable purée, soft cream cheese or blue cheese. Or, during the last 2 to 5 minutes, add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of juicy berries, chunks of ripe fruit, nuts, bits of pure honeycomb or chocolate pieces.
  4. Swirls: Immediately after churning and before serving (or packing in freezer tubs), swirl in whatever creamy, thick confection that tempts, such as caramel or chocolate sauce.

Yield: 1 Quart

Lavender Honey Ice Cream

13 May

So I’m hosting a cheese and wine thing this Friday – doing the usual pairings: 

  • meats from Oyama Sausage Company on Granville Island – wild boar procuitto and lamb chorizo.
  • condiments – Silkameen honey, spanish peppers, cipollini onions, date bread, quince paste
  • cheese – a blue, stilton, cheddar, riopelle, a spanish hard cheese.
  • fruit – pears, dried figs and cranberries
  • drinks – a Moscato d’Asti (my drink of choice for a sunny Sunday afternoon), Golden Star White Jasmine Sparkling Tea and a Kettle Valley Starboard (port).

So what am I missing? Dessert! Which will be Lavender Honey Ice Cream. Variations of the recipes below. Bon appetit! 

Lavender Honey Ice Cream – from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz  

  • ½ cup good flavored honey
  • ¼ cup dried or fresh lavender flowers
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  •  5 large egg yolks

1) Heat the honey and 2 tablespoons of the lavender in a small saucepan until the honey is fluid. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep at room temperature for one hour. 

2) Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. Pour the lavender infused honey into the cream through the strainer, pressing on the lavender flowers to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard the lavender and set the strainer back over the bowl. 

3) Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking, then scrape the mixture back into the saucepan. 

4) Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon. (UPDATE: Don’t think that it’ll turn into a thick custard! Just when it starts to get glossy and thick, get it off the stove or in a few seconds it’ll turn into scrambled eggs!) Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lavender flowers. Refrigerate overnight. 

5) Before churning, strain the mixture again. Press the lavender flowers to extract as much of their flavor as possible. Discard the flowers, then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

TOPPINGS: Roasted Blueberries :  spread fresh or wrinkly blueberries out on a cookie sheet, sprinkled them with sugar and roasted them at 400F until they soften and release their juices. OR throw them into a pot of maple syrup and warm it until they pop. 

NOTES: Since whipping cream comes in 355ml(?) and it calls for 275ml, what to do with the 80ml? Dump the whole thing in I say, cut down on the milk if you want to. More lavender better than less. Infuse the lavender and honey overnight if you want, final infusion 12 hours at least. Don’t overdo the sugar.

Update: This is my go-to HG recipe! HG in makeup speak = holy grail. The honey binds the flavours together creating an all rounded taste. Best part is, no one can guess that it’s honey.

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More sorbet recipes for inspiration – the Alcoholics Anonymous edition

10 May

Finally a use for leftover wine! – always adjust my measurements as you see fit!

Passionfruit Sherry Sorbet

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 passion fruit pulp.
  • 1/4  cup water, apple juice or passionfruit juice
  • 4 tbsp sherry

Combine sugar and liquids (minus sherry) over low heat till the sugar is dissolved. Add passionfruit. Cool in fridge and then make according to ice cream maker’s instructions. Add some sherry before it reaches a hardened consistency.

Pomegranate Chardonnay Sorbet

  • 3 cups fresh pomegranate juice or 1 (24-ounce) bottle pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup chardonnay
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds

1. Place juice, chardonnay and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and chill well.

2. Pour into the canister of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions (or for granita, pour mixture into a 9×9-inch pan, and freeze 8 hours, scraping occasionally with a fork). Spoon into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds. Serves 8.

Recipe by High Cotton Food Styling & Photography, “Relish the Healthy Table,” December 2006

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