CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT TARTLETS

I’ve made this recipe twice, first time I thought they looked pretty nice but the filling was too dry for my taste. So I tweaked the recipe and now share with you the winner. Compared to the first attempt, they baked a little more flat, but the texture and taste were spot on, in my opinion. A big thank you to Matt Adlard, who helped me optimize it. As to the crust, it is my favorite. Very easy to handle, bakes like a dream. It goes in the oven as soon as the filling is piped in, no need to blind bake if using this type of filling. Easy as pie. Or, if you prefer, easy as tartlet.

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TARTLETS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by Carole Bloom)

makes about 8, depending on the size of your molds

for the shells:
120 g cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 orange
45 g butter, cut in small pieces and very cold
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream (or a little more depending on the final texture of the dough)

for the filling:
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g powdered sugar
75g eggs
12g cornstarch
80g hazelnuts flour
60g mini chocolate chips (the smallest you can find)

to decorate (optional)
drizzle of candy melts or chocolate
sprinkles of your choice

Add to a food processor the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Pulse until all is combined and the orange zest very fragrant. Add the chilled butter, pulse a few times until the butter is cut in small pieces. Whisk the egg yolk, and one tablespoon of cream in a little bowl. With the processor running, pour this mixture and wait until the mixture starts to form a dough. If needed, add a little more heavy cream. Shape the dough into a flat disk and place in the fridge for 15 minutes. If you prefer leave it longer, I like to use it while it is still very pliable.

Roll out the dough until it is about 12 inches in diameter, and cut circles that will allow it to fit inside and all the way up your molds. Place the filled molds in the freezer for 20 minutes or longer, as you make the filling and heat your oven to 350F.

Make the filling: Beat the butter and sugar until smooth. I used a handheld mixer. Slowly add the eggs and beat again. Add the cornstarch and hazelnut flour and mix to combine, then finally fold in the chocolate chips. Pipe that mixture into the unbaked, frozen tart shells and then bake until the filling is set, about 25 minutes, but check at 20 minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am really happy with the way these turned out. The recipe for the shells is definitely my favorite because it is very easy to handle. Plus, the inclusion of orange zest is a nice touch. Most recipes will tell you to chill a pie dough for hours or even overnight. It does not work well for me. I much rather roll the dough while it is still pliable and then freeze before baking. But do what works for you, as I often say… your kitchen, you rules. The combination of hazelnut and chocolate is fantastic and perfect for the Fall and upcoming Thanksgiving. Keep that in mind…

ONE YEAR AGO: Turkey Taco Salad

TWO YEARS AGO: Cheese and Pesto Emmer Roll-ups and Elaine’s Cookbook Review

THREE YEARS AGO: Mango-Hazelnut Entremet Cake

FOUR YEARS AGO: Lebanese Lentil Salad and a Cookbook Review

FIVE YEARS AGO: Cottage Loaf

SIX YEARS AGO: Sourdough Loaf with Cranberries and Walnuts

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sichuan Pork Stir-Fry in Garlic Sauce

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Our Green Trip to Colorado

NINE YEARS AGO: Ditalini Pasta Salad

TEN YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

BRAZILIAN CANDY: SURPRESA DE UVA

Surpresa de uva means “Grape Surprise”. It is essentially the most traditional of all Brazilian sweets – the brigadeiro – hiding a full grape inside. Everybody back home loves it, but I must admit this was my first time trying one. It was not “a thing” when I was growing up a few years ago (cough, cough). We loved it so much that the husband requested me to work on a “blueberry surprise.” I am on it!

SURPRESA DE UVA
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 can condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup white chocolate, cut in small pieces
pinch of salt
16 to 20 small seedless green grapes
sanding sugar to coat
sprinkles to decorate (optional)

Add the condensed milk, butter, heavy cream, chocolate and salt to a heavy non-stick pan and cook, stirring constantly over medium to low heat, until bubbly and the mixture starts to release from the sides of the pan. Once that happens, lower the heat as low as it will go, and keep stirring for another couple of minutes.

Remove from heat, transfer to a small baking dish to cool faster. Place in the fridge if you like to speed up the cooling process. Once at room temperature, grab small amounts with a spoon, spread on the palm of your hand and place a grape in the center. Carefully roll the mixture around (wet hands help), enclosing the grape. Roll on sanding sugar. Decorate with a sprinkle, if so desired.

They will keep at room temperature for a day or two, many days in the fridge, and even longer frozen.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These are sooooo delicious! Brigadeiro is sweet, very sweet. The inclusion of the grape is brilliant, it cuts the sweetness with just the right amount of fresh. I envision a blueberry version in the future, trying to imagine the right flavor of brigadeiro to enclose it with. Stay tuned!

ONE YEAR AGO: Red Quinoa “Tabbouleh”

TWO YEARS AGO: Cucumber Salad with Yogurt-Harissa Dressing

THREE YEARS AGO: Sundried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte 

FOUR YEARS AGO: Hickory-Smoked Beef Tenderloin

FIVE YEAR AGO: Spaghetti Squash, Revisited

SIX YEARS AGO: Stir-fried Chicken and Cabbage in Spicy Almond Sauce

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Fifteen Years!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Light Brioche Burger Buns

NINE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Blues

TEN  YEARS AGO: Headed to Hawaii

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba’

TWELVE YEARS AGO:  Hidden Treasure

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Avocado Three Ways

A TRIO OF SUPERSTARS

Today my blog pays homage to three amazing bakers who put great effort into each post they compose. Their blog articles end up as detailed tutorials that allow even a beginner baker to tackle what might seem very intimidating at first. I share three recipes, in the chronological order I baked them in the past couple of months.

SUPERSTAR BAKER #1
HELEN FLETCHER

BLUEBERRY LEMON POKE CAKE

BLUEBERRY LEMON POKE CAKE

One of the tastiest cakes baked in our kitchen, and I am not exaggerating. Moist. Sweet to the perfect level. Luscious. Everything works in this cake. For the recipe and very detailed tutorial, visit Helen’s blog with a click here. You will make a blueberry jam to fill the cake, and I advise you to give enough time to allow it to set a bit, just to make it easier to work with…. Below, a little comparison between Helen’s neat work and yours truly… my jam was still bit too loose. No major harm done, though, I just thought it was funny to share.

Helen’s site and her cookbooks are a constant source of inspiration for me. Plus, she is tremendously helpful and whenever I get into trouble I drop her an email. She has rescued me more than once. A lot more than once (wink, wink).


Every once in a while, Helen offers online classes, and I’ve taken a couple of them. One of my favorites was last year, in which she taught how to make Chocolate Tartlets with a caramel filling. A thing of pure beauty and absolutely decadent! Make sure to subscribe to her blog, so you get notification of upcoming classes.

SUPERSTAR BAKER #2
CAROLINE
RED VELVET OREO STYLE SANDWICH COOKIES

RED VELVET OREO STYLE SANDWICH COOKIES

Absolutely delicious, you can make them without the cutouts if you’d like to simplify your life, but of course turning them into Linzer territory is not a bad move at all! For the full recipe click here. I made a very slightly modification adding strawberry extract to the filling and a touch of pink gel color. Other than that, I followed her recipe to a T.

You can modify the filling, use jam, or Nutella, the cookies are very flavorful and will be perfect no matter your choice of filling. Caro has countless baking lessons in her site, I highly recommend you pay her a visit and subscribe to be notified of new posts. Caroline is one of the moderators of a Facebook group with almost 18 thousand members, for lovers The Great British Bake Off, and that’s how I got to know her. I don’t know how she manages to do all she does…

SUPERSTAR BAKER #3
TANYA OTT
RED VELVET CAKE DONUTS

As you can see, I’ve been on a red velvet kick lately. These are spectacular and simple to make, especially if you follow the detailed instructions and the very helpful video available in Tanya’s blog. Essentially two bowls, no need for an electric mixer until you get into frosting territory.

Another example of a great baking instructor, Tanya’s articles are always carefully composed, and I am in awe of the amount of work she puts into the making of each of the videos often included in her posts. In case you don’t know, Tanya was one of the contestants in season 5 of The Great American Baking Show, and I shared the tent with her a few times. She even got a handshake from a certain guy with penetrating blue eyes…

That’s all for now, folks! I hope you visit my friends’ sites, and get as inspired
by their baking as I do…

ONE YEAR AGO: Turkey Meatloaf

TWO YEARS AGO: Prue Leith’s Smoked Salmon and Beetroot Blinis

THREE YEARS AGO: Mandioca Frita 101

FOUR YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Raspberry Dome Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Blueberry Crumble Coffee Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: Pickled Red Onions

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Mini-Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

NINE YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Grated Tomato Sauce

TEN YEARS AGO: A Taste of Yellow to Honor Barbara

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Gratin of Beefsteak Tomatoes

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Tour de France Final Stage: PARIS

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Snickerdoodles with a Twist

TIRAMISU TART

This is a perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day, not only for the flavors and whimsical look, but – I won’t lie to you – because it is a labor of love to put it together… The recipe comes from Savour, the Australian online cooking school run by the amazing Kirsten Tibbals. I cannot share the recipe in all its many details, as it is copyrighted. One must join the site to have access to, but I can share just the list of ingredients, and include a link to the mousse I’ve used, which is not the same from Savour. I wanted something a little less rich than the original version, which was a pâté à bomb-based mousse, the most indulgent of all.


OVERVIEW OF THE RECIPE

It all starts with a chocolate-sable base, which is rolled as thin as you can, and baked in a rectangular tart pan. I used a perforated frame for that. You can also do it in a round format, using a normal tart pan with removable bottom.

Ingredients for chocolate sable base
120g unsalted butter
80g powdered sugar
1g salt
1g Vanilla Bean Paste
50g whole eggs
20g almond meal
175g plain (all-purpose) flour
30g Cocoa Powder

The ingredients are used to make a dough, rolled very thin and baked in a 290 x 90mm
(11 x 4.3 in) rectangular tart pan.

Tiramisu normally uses store-bought lady fingers, but in Kirsten’s version we go the extra mile and make our own, which is quite a fun little project. As you can see from the composite above, the lady finger batter is piped, baked and then the resulting layer is cut to fit exactly over the coffee-chocolate mousse spread in the bottom of the tart. I used THIS RECIPE for the mousse, adding 1 tsp of espresso powder to the heavy cream before incorporating into the chocolate.

Ingredients for the lady-finger sponge:
85g egg whites, room temperature
30g egg yolk
30g granulated sugar
1g salt
5g Vanilla Bean Paste
35g cornstarch
35g all-purpose flour
sugar, for sprinkling

After baking, the sponge is soaked with a coffee-Marsala syrup.

Once the sponge is placed on top, the mascarpone cream is gently spread on top, and the whole thing goes into the fridge for a little while. The last step is piping additional cream on top using either a grass tip like Kirsten does in the tutorial, or a regular round opening tip (which is what I did). A shower of cocoa powder closes the deal.

Ingredients for the mascarpone cream:
8g gold gelatine sheets
700g mascarpone cheese
220g granulated sugar
10g Vanilla Bean Paste
300g fresh cream 35% fat
70g Marsala wine (I omitted)
Cocoa Powder, for dusting

I made some decorations with tempered chocolate to add to the top. Would love to repeat this tart using the grass tip as demonstrated in the tutorial, because the look that gives is simply stunning! But I only had very small grass icing tips that are used for cookies, and that did not work at all for the top of the tart. Obviously, that gave me the opportunity to order the correct tip. Are you surprised? 😉

I should also mention that all the ingredients are enough for TWO tarts, so I halved the lady finger and the mascarpone cream amounts. I made the full recipe for the tart base because I am not very good at rolling the dough and feel better if I have more to work with. Leftovers make great little cookies.

The tart is perfect for entertaining because it is actually better made the day before. Leftovers were still quite delicious a couple of days later, much to our delight!

ONE YEAR AGO: Joy Cookie Club: Valentine’s Day

TWO YEARS AGO: Uttapam, White Lentil and Rice Flatbread

THREE YEARS AGO: Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Cookies

FOUR YEARS AGO: Fesenjan, Fast-Food Style

FIVE YEARS AGO: Lavender Macarons with White Chocolate Ganache

SIX YEARS AGO: Raspberry Chocolate Truffles

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Red Velvet Cupcakes

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Happy Valentine’s Day!

NINE YEARS AGO:  A Few Blogging Issues

TEN YEARS AGO: Dan Dan Noodles

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Sophie Grigson’s Parmesan Cake

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Antibiotics and Food

VEGAN BLUEBERRY-LEMON CHEESECAKE

This post makes me thrilled and sad at the same time. Thrilled because I cannot believe that a vegan dessert could taste so good… and sad because I won’t be able to share the full recipe. I did my best to try and get permission from the author, but no luck. If you are truly interested in making this cute dessert your best option is buying her book: Incredible Plant Desserts, by Anthea Cheng. I modified the whipped topping, and will share that component of my version with you.

VEGAN WHIPPED CREAM
(from Berrybaker.com)

375g unsweetened soy milk
50g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract or paste
110g cacao butter, finely chopped
76g coconut oil
1/8 tsp xanthan gum, optional but recommended

Simmer 250g (or 1 cup) of soy milk, and sugar until almost boiling. Place the coconut oil and cocoa butter in a Vitamix type blender, add the vanilla, and the hot soy milk over it. Let it all sit together for a minute, then run the blender at high speed for 2 minutes.

Add the rest of the soy milk and blend until incorporated. Refrigerate for 6 hours to be firm enough to whip. When ready to use, sprinkle the xanthan gum on the surface, and then whip with a handheld mixer. It will be ready to pipe or spoon on any dessert you like.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

In the recipe devised by Anthea, the topping is the exact same component as the top layer, but whipped into piping consistency. I decided to change it by using a vegan whipped “cream” alternative, and the recipe I found with a quick internet search was a complete winner. Excellent texture, and a taste that mimics real whipped cream surprisingly well. I highly recommend you give it a try. I like the way the topping has a contrasting color with the layer of blueberry mousse below. Everything worked very well together.

This cheesecake is not baked, the bottom layer is made of almonds and dates. Both the lemon and the blueberry mousse are based on cashew cream, coconut oil and cocoa butter. With a bit of maple syrup to sweeten it all up. Truly delicious! Anthea has a very enticing Instagram page, which you can follow with a click here.

ONE YEAR AGO: Green Tea Rice with Edamame and Butternut Squash

TWO YEARS AGO: Santa Hat Mini-Mousse Cakes

THREE YEARS AGO: Fun with Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pasteis de Nata

FIVE YEARS AGO: New Mexico Pork Chile, Crockpot Version

SIX YEARS AGO: Chocolate on Chocolate

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Double Chocolate and Mint Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Story of my first Creme Brulle’

NINE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Mini-rolls

TEN YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Mediterranean Skewers

TWELVE YEARS AGO Fettuccine with Shrimp, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes