Friday, April 2, 2010

Still here!

On the off chance anyone is wondering if I'm still here, I am! But with moving, herb school, and everything, I haven't had a chance to bake. And I don't really anticipate baking much over the next little while. But in the mean time, check out my herb school blog,!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Daring Bakers: Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.
Tiramisu is a traditional Italian dessert, but in all my years studying Italian and going to department dinners, I don't think this dessert ever came up. I think I first learned about it only by accident a few years ago. So I suspect it's not really that big of a deal in Italy, but maybe I'm wrong. I've never actually been to Italy. Someday when I've made my millions as a farmer (hah hah), Florence is at the very top of my list of places to visit (I might have a mild obsession and crush on Dante).Whatever the case, this was so much fun to make. It's a good thing I took a day off of work to make the tiramisu, it's another one of those projects. We had to make from scratch our own custards (zabaglione and pastry cream), our own lady fingers, and even our own mascarpone cheese. I think the mascarpone is the best part: it's really expensive at the grocery store, but super cheap and easy to make on your own. (Note: I found out, like others did, that the cream never did get to a high enough temperature in the water bath, so I just put the pot of cream straight on the burner, and it turned out fine.) Great challenge!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meyer Lemon Mania!

I wasn't even supposed to be buying anything. I was just there for moral support. But then there they were. A bag of perfect little meyer lemons. How could I say no?

In case you didn't know (and I didn't): Meyer lemon = regular lemon + mandarin orange

You can see why they would be so popular; recipes with meyer lemons are all over the place. They're lemon-y, but sweet and less harsh than a regular lemon. And they're so cute and little! See Rule #7

Meyer Lemon Souffles

(adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

5 T flour

¼ c sugar

Pinch salt

½ c milk

2 T butter

5 eggs, separated

2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced

Pinch cream of tartar

Another ¼ c sugar

Combine flour, sugar, salt and milk in medium sauce pan, off heat.

Cook until it starts to come together, constantly stirring, until the mixture pulls away from pot.

Transfer to bowl. Add 2 T butter and egg yolks. Add lemon juice and zest. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar, until foamy, add ¼ c sugar, beat until shiny. Whisk whites into milk mixture.

Pour into small ramekins (makes ~10). Break surface tension by running finger in circle through top in dish. Bake at 400 F for 12 minutes.

Meyer Lemon Blondie Bars


3 egg yolks

3 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced

¾ c sugar

¼ c butter, cold and cut into pieces

½ c whipping cream, cold

Combine egg yolks, ½ lemon juice, zest, and sugar in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously. Cook for about 7 min, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and strain. Add the butter and stir until combined. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until cold.

Whip the cream. Fold into the lemon curd. Refrigerate until brownie base is ready.

Brownie Base

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour, sifted
1/3 cup butter (melted)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix brown sugar and melted butter. Add egg and mix well. Add dry ingredients, a little at a time, until mixed well.

Line a 9-inch pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray. Spread out dough in pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a toothpick or fork to test if it is cooked in the center. Let cool. Remove from pan and spread mousse on top. Freeze and then cut.

Meyer Lemon Baked Alaska

Ice Cream

(Adapted from Half Baked)

1 T Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 pinch salt

One (or two if they're short) round layer white cake with lavender in it.


3 egg whites

1/2 c sugar

Zest lemons directly into food processor. Pour in sugar and process until the sugar is faintly lemon-colored and the zest is finely ground. Pour the measured juice into the sugar/zest mixture. Blend until the sugar dissolves. Add milk and cream and blend. Chill for about an hour; the product may break up, but just stir it back together. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions.

Line a bowl with plastic wrap; press the ice cream into the bowl, and freeze.

Preheat the oven to 500 F. Beat the egg whites until foamy; add the sugar and continue beating until shiny and stiff. Cut the cake layer to the same diameter as the bowl; place the cake on top of the ice cream and invert onto a cardboard cake round. Spread the meringue on top. Bake for about 90 seconds, until just browned. (The meringue and short baking time will allow the ice cream to remain frozen.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Random Fruit Gallette

Yes, blueberry, blackberry, pear, and pomelo. That's what was available at the market in the middle of winter. Fortunately, they make a pretty good combo!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Nanaimo Bars

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

These ought to have been easy, right? Believe it or not, I messed up every layer! First, I didn't make my own graham crackers. We were supposed to make them gluten free, and I really wanted to do it, but as I don't bake gluten free at all, I couldn't justify buy expensive flours I would never use again. And I'm lazy, it was easier to just use graham crackers from the cupboard.

Second, I followed the recipe exactly for the second layer, but the texture was like sand. I had to add more cream, but when the mixture was finally soft, it was also starting to separate.

Third, I ruined two batches of chocolate (death by seizing) before giving in and making a cream ganache topping (instead of mixing the chocolate with butter.)

See, all these things should not have been so difficult. This is why I make souffle, not chocolate chip cookies.

They are pretty sweet, lots of sugar, but I took them to work the next day and all my students and professors loved them! Great challenge!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cherry Chocolate Cake

When you're a kid you don't get tragedy. Personal pain, yes, but the stuff on the news, the stuff that makes your mom cry, it doesn't really inspire emotion. Or maybe that was just me. But I think I'm only just starting to feel other tragedies, instead of just see them.
And then I was thinking,what are the statistical probabilities that I would be born in poverty, live through a natural disaster/war, or both? I imagine the're pretty high. I remember hearing once that if you make more than $25,000/year, you're richer than 95% of the world. It blows my mind, I'm so used to seeing just one way of living. All this around me seems normal. But in reality, only 5% of the world's population understands "living" the same way I do. It's a little overwhelming. Just do the best we can, I guess, and send what I can to Haiti.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winter Tea Party

Well, now I know. Apparently by January it's no longer apple cider season. I was pretty disappointed in the only cider I could find, but better than nothing. And hopefully the cider was overshadowed by the meringue mushrooms, my favorite part ;) Buon anno! (Two month count down!)

Mulled Cider
1 gallon cider (not apple juice)
3 T orange juice concentrate
1/4 c brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 T cloves

Steep the cider with the other ingredients for an hour, or to taste.

Caramel Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta (from David Lebovitz)
4 cups (1l) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water

1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

2.Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

4. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours.

180 grams heavy cream
1/2 t vanilla
45 grams sugar
60 grams egg yolks

Bring the cream and the vanilla to a boil. Reserve.

In the meantime, make a dry caramel with the sugar. Deglaze the cooked sugar with the heated cream. Be careful because it will bubble over if all the cream is added at once. Whisk so all crystalized sugar has dissolved. Pour this caramel over the egg yolks and whisk. Return this to the pan and cook for 1 minute.

Meringue Mushrooms from Martha Stewart