YOGURT TART

Not too long ago I was browsing the internet searching for entremet cakes, and stumbled on a site that was new to me: Cooking Me Softly, hosted by Arianna, a chef from Italy. All I can say is that I had a very hard time moving away from the computer. Her concoctions are things of complete beauty, her flavor combinations unique and her presentation style superb. Not only she shares detailed recipes, but also short videos with the crucial stages of preparation. Basically, her site is culinary gold for those into patisserie. She blogs in Italian, but I can follow most of it closely enough to get the important points. Or so I hope. I fell in love with her Yogurt Tart the moment I first saw it, and could not wait to try and make it. The use of semi-spheres of mousse on top of the tart? Genius.

YOGURT TART
(slightly modified from Cooking Me Softly)

for Sablé Breton:
80 g egg yolks
100 g granulated sugar
125 g very soft butter
125 g pastry flour
2 g salt
5 g baking powder
grated lemon peel (1 lemon)
MyCryo cocoa butter (optional)

for white chocolate ganache:
340 g Lindt white chocolate
85 g heavy cream

for yogurt mousse:
120 g full-fat Greek yogurt
30 g granulated sugar
15 g of lemon juice, sieved
240 g fresh cream
6 g gelatin, 200 bloom
18 g cold water for gelatine hydration

for decoration:
small meringues
Gold dust
sprinkles of choice

Make the cookie base. In a Kitchen Aid type mixer, whisk the yolks with sugar and lemon zest until pale. Replace the whisk with the leaf beater, add the sifted flour with baking powder, salt, and then the butter. Mix well until creamy.  Place in a piece of plastic wrap, form as a disc and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Roll between two sheets of parchment paper to 1 mm thickness an put in the fridge for another hour, as you heat the oven to 350 F.

Cut a disc of dough with a 20 cm ring (7 + 3/4 in), and bake inside the ring for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and while still hot sprinkle MyCryo over the surface. Allow it to cool completely. Before continuing with assembling, place the base inside the ring and add a band of acetate around it so that the ganache will be poured nicely on top. I like to use a ring that is adjustable, so that I can tighten it better around the base. Often the base shrinks a little during baking.

Make the chocolate ganache. Melt the chocolate gently in the microwave or in a double boiler. Heat the cream to simmering (about 175 F). Add to the chocolate in three additions, whisking gently to fully incorporate the chocolate and the cream.  Reserve. Cool to about 90F before pouring into the cool base. Place in the fridge to cool completely and then in the freezer overnight.

Make the yogurt mousse. Hydrate the gelatin in the water indicated in the recipe. Heat part of the yogurt with the sugar to about 140 F.  Melt the gelatin heating gently for a few seconds in the microwave (do not boil it). Add the melted gelatin to the warm yogurt/sugar mixture.

Add the lemon juice, the remaining cold yogurt and mix. Whip the cream to the consistency of melted ice cream, and fold gently into the yogurt base. Spoon the mousse into a piping bag (no need for a piping tip) and fill half-sphere molds (3.4 and 5 cm in diameter), smoothing the surface well. Put in the fridge to cool and then freeze overnight.

Assemble the tart. Remove the base with chocolate ganache from the freezer, place in a serving tray and remove the acetate. Arrange the mousse spheres of different diameters over the ganache. Decorate with mini-meringues plain and painted with gold spray. Put in the fridge for about 6 hours to allow the ganache to soften and the mousse to thaw.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I truly enjoy making desserts that involve multiple components particularly because they can be made in advance and wait in the freezer or fridge. Finishing the dessert then is easy and fun (assuming it all worked well in the previous steps). For this preparation, Arianna’s video was very helpful, as the Sable Biscuit is quite a bit softer than I anticipated. Watching how she handled it was key to succeed. Also make sure you make the dough the day before you intend to bake it, it needs those 8 hours in the fridge. Another important point is the white chocolate ganache: you need it to be firm enough to slice and hold its shape. Arianna uses a specific brand of chocolate that would be a bit of a hassle for me to find. Using her proportions with the Lindt bar, the ganache ended up way too loose, so I made another batch using a 4:1 ratio chocolate to cream. You can probably get by with a 3.5:1, but not much less than that.

My schedule went like this: I made the biscuit dough on a Friday evening, baked it Saturday morning and made the mini-meringues, the chocolate ganache and the mousse on Saturday afternoon. Once the ganache cooled enough I spread it over the biscuit base and froze it. Sunday afternoon I un-molded the frozen mousse spheres, sprayed some of the meringues with edible gold color, and assembled the tart.

The only issue I had was the golden stars used for decoration. The ones in contact with the ganache held their shape well, but the yogurt mousse (probably due to its acidity) melted the stars within an hour or so.

The flavors were quite amazing, as the sweetness of the white chocolate ganache stood well to the bright flavor of the yogurt mousse. The biscuit base had excellent texture, even if I overbaked it slightly. It was hard to see it inside the ring, next time I’ll be more careful.

Arianna has a cookbook published online and I could not resist getting my copy. It is absolutely amazing, you can get it with a click here.  The name is just too clever: Aria di Dolci. Loved it! Keep in mind it is in Italian, so you need to have some level of understanding of the language.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Grilled Lamb-Stuffed Pita Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Elderflower Macarons

THREE YEARS AGO: A Duet of Sorbets

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sobering Peach Sorbet

FIVE YEARS AGO: Spiralizer Fun

SIX YEARS AGO: Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Secret Recipe Club: Corn Chowda

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Page-A-Day Calendar (Pits and Chief 5 minutes of fame…)

NINE YEARS AGO: Home Sweet Home (our beloved Pits in one of his last photos)

TEN YEARS AGO: Marbled Rye

POST-WORKOUT CHIA YOGURT BLISS

After blogging for more than seven years, every once in a while I wonder if I could be repeating myself?  Have I mentioned this before?  Have I said this in the past? Of course, a search in my own site could be helpful, but I prefer to go with the flow, if a thought crosses my mind and seems relevant enough, it becomes printed material.  So, if you’ve read before that I was probably the last person to join the Chia Seed Cheerleading Department, here I go with the encore. Truth is, the more I have it, the more I like it. They are gelatinous in nature, a bit slippery even, so if you have issues with some types of texture, they could be challenging for your taste bus. This texture thing bothered me at first, then a little less, and now I find chia seeds playful, fun, happy little beings. In this picture, you can see three variations of chia-yogurt concoctions that I like to have after working out.

compositeChia

 

CHIA-YOGURT BOWL OF BLISS

Basic mixture:

1/2 cup yogurt (full-fat)

1 heaping tablespoon chia seeds

1/8 cup of coconut milk, almond milk, or cashew milk

Optional additions:

Sweetener (agave, honey, brown sugar, date syrup)

Matcha powder

Mix it all together and leave in the fridge at least one hour, but overnight is best.

When ready to enjoy it, add the toppings of your choice. My favorites are toasted shredded coconut, toasted slivered almonds with a bit of cinnamon, toasted walnuts, blueberries, raspberries, diced apricots. I also love a little sprinkle of cocoa nibs. Every time I make it a little different, every time I tell myself I should make this exact version again “because this one is a winner.”   What can I say? I am easily amused.

to print the basic “recipe” click here

Something about this mixture of yogurt with chia seeds is quite satisfying after working out. During the week, I exercise before lunch or dinner, but on Saturdays and Sundays I really look forward to these little chia bowls. I make sure to get my basic mixture ready in the fridge the night before.  I once tried using store-bought blended yogurt with fruit, but decided it was too sweet for my taste. Full disclosure: very soon I will experiment with a different type of yogurt, a strike of genius from Sue. Take a look at her post, and be ready to be amazed! I can hardly wait to give it a try, but if you do it let me know in the comments (and of course, let Sue know too!).

😉

Chia-Yogurt Post-Workout Breakfast, from Bewitching Kitchen
ONE YEAR AGO: Tomato Tatin

TWO YEARS AGO: Best Thing I Ever Made: Chocolate Chip Cookies

THREE YEARS AGO: Farofa Brasileira

FOUR YEARS AGO: Thai-Inspired Pork Tenderloin

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

SIX YEARS AGO:  Summer’s Tomatoes

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Leaving on a jet plane… 

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SECRET RECIPE CLUB: FRESH STRAWBERRY YOGURT BUNDT CAKE & A BONUS RECIPE

First Monday of August, summer going at full blast, many many days in the triple digits which means triple joy for yours truly. I know it will end too soon, but for the time being, allow me to celebrate the joys of this fantastic season…  Apart from the weather, I have even better reasons to celebrate: this month at The Secret Recipe Club I was paired with a food blogger who is very dear to my heart, Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious. Both Dorothy and I are “old timers”  with the group, we’ve been members for many years, together first in Group D, and now in Group A. A lot goes on behind the curtains in the club, did you know that? For instance, we have a closed Facebook page in which announcements are made, reminders are sent by the moderators so that no one forgets to sign up for next assignment, or to post on Reveal Day. And of course there is a bit of chit-chat that goes on.  Years ago I noticed that Dorothy is incredibly efficient. Assignments would go out, and within a day or two she would come back and say that her post was pretty much ready to go. Everyone else was perhaps only starting to stalk the assigned blog. To make a long story short, we  became fierce friendly competitors, every month trying to beat each other  in picking the recipe, cooking it and composing the post.  I always have a ton of fun with it, although she is pretty hard to beat. But seriously, now, she is a top-notch blogger, with 25 years of experience in food writing. Did you get that part? Twenty-five years. And she is quite active in recipe development, as you can tell by the many recipes listed here.  I urge you to read her About page, because it reflects so well the type of person she is: witty, positive, intelligent, upbeat. We almost met in person last month, but unfortunately she had family issues that prevented her from joining a fun lunch I had with two other fellow secreters, Karen, from Karen Kitchen’s Stories, and Lauren from Sew you Think you can Cook. We had a blast! Next time, I hope she can join us…   But, back to her blog, I’d like to quote one paragraph from her About page, one I could sign below with gusto (literally!):

Even if I trim the fat, or salt, or sugar, it has to taste fabulous. If it tastes like cardboard, I don’t care how healthy it is, no one will eat it. And where’s the joy in that?

I have a shockingly long list of stuff that I bookmarked as possibilities for this post. A few examples to water your mouth are: Farro Date Salad with Mango and ArugulaChicken Brie and Apple TurnoversSticky Lemon Oregano ChickenPopeye Pasta… World’s Best Smoky Burger (oh, yeah…), Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon, Kale, and PecansFlourless Oat Caramel Cookies (swoon!)…  Crunchy Granola Bars better than Nature Valley… or how about Slow-Cooker Paleo Ribs in Tablecloth Stainer Sauce? So, what did I pick? I had to go with two recipes, just because…. first, a Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake, because if you cannot face your cake baking demons in the name of a great food blog, there’s gotta be something wrong with you! And the following week I made the cutest meatloaves ever: Cherry Chipotle Meat Loaf Cupcakes.  Both were… how should I put it?  Shockingly Delicious!  

Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake

FRESH STRAWBERRY YOGURT BUNDT CAKE
(from Shockingly Delicious)

for the cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
8 ounces plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
12 ounces fresh strawberries, diced
for the glaze:
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set it aside.
.
In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in lemon juice and almond extract. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. Gently stir strawberries into the batter.
.
Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake for 70-75 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool 25 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Makes 12-16 slices.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositecake

Comments: One of the things I loved about this cake is that the recipe calls for enough batter to actually fill the Bundt pan to the appropriate level. More often than not, I face the problem of the disappearing cake batter: no matter how closely I follow the instructions, it seems the amount is never adequate. Not this time. And the smell, while baking was intoxicating, in the best possible way…   Of course, un-molding a cake from a Bundt pan can be quite stressful, I could feel my heart pounding as I negotiated the big hot pan, the rack underneath it, the kitchen cloth, and the hot pad. Tap, tap, tap, hope, hope, hope, and voilà the thing of beauty, smooth and fragrant, out of the pan in a single piece!  There was a happy dance. With a shriek (a la Karen).  I glazed the cake next morning, very early, then sliced it and took the full batch to our department, because the best part of baking a cake is sharing it. The cake disappeared fast. It was exactly what Dorothy promised it to be, very moist, excellent lemony flavor, the sweetness of the strawberries a perfect addiction to the smooth crumb.

pieces

Of course, where there is cake, there is agony. Turning the Kitchen Aid on with the paddle still up, that was a mistake. Flour in the eyebrows, anyone? And the correct place for icing is definitely not the human thigh, although the pups could disagree. They were following me around for a while even after I washed it all off.

compositecake2

Strawberry Bundt Cake, from Bewitching Kitchen

Before I say goodbye, one more featured recipe from Dorothy’s great blog!


BONUS RECIPE


Meatloave Cupcakes221

CHERRY CHIPOTLE MEATLOAF CUPCAKES
(slightly modified from Shockingly Delicious)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled, trimmed, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed, finely chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped mini sweet bell peppers, stemmed, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
A few grinds black pepper

1 pound organic ground grass-fed beef
1/4 cup almond flour (or almond crumbs, see notes)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup
1/2 cup minced Italian parsley

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Make vegetable mixture: Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add shallots, carrots, celery, mushrooms, peppers, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.  Turn heat off and remove pan from burner; set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Make meat loaf cupcakes: In a large mixing bowl, combine vegetable mixture, beef, almond flour, Dijon, egg, Not Ketchup, and parsley. Use hands to combine well. Lightly oil 8 muffin tins. Divide meat loaf mixture among 8 muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove pan from oven and cool for a couple of minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

quadruple

Comments: How could I resist meatloaves in cupcake format? User friendly, impossibly cute, and giving me the chance to try a new product, the “Not Ketchup”, praised by Dorothy in her blog. Not Ketchup comes in several flavors and is  produced by another food blogger I follow, Erika from Erika’s Kitchen.  It is very tasty, like a grownup ketchup with very complex flavor and not as sweet as your regular kind.  I loved it so much that I placed another order for her Tangerine Hatch Chile version, apparently even lower in carbs.  For the meatloaves I replaced regular breadcrumbs with Toasted Almond & Pecan Breading, a product that was a bit of an impulse buy on amazon. They often show a list of suggestions based on your previous searches, and I fell for this one. I do realize I could make my own almond-based crumbs, but every once in a while I like to splurge. I was very pleased by this product, actually. It smells amazing, and offered the right texture to the loaves, not dry at all.  If you’d like to try it, click here. (I am not affiliated with amazon, and will not make a single penny from your purchase).

We loved these little loaves!  The recipe made eight little servings, half of them were gone for our dinner, the others enjoyed for lunch two days in a row, they re-heat beautifully in the microwave. Between you and me, they taste fantastic straight from the fridge, but if you do that, be discreet and take tiny morsels from the bottom, so no one will notice.

Cherry Meatloaf Cupcakes, from Bewitching Kitchen

Dorothy, as you imagine, I could hardly contain  my excitement when the email arrived with your blog as my assigned site to stalk…  I hope you had a blast with yours too this month!  And be ready to jump on the next one, because I am revving my engines, baby…. 

As usual, my readers are invited to browse through the collection of recipes posted by other members of Group A of The Secret Recipe Club. Just poke the frog and be ready for some virtual fun!

ONE YEAR AGO: Quinoa Salad with Red Grapes and Avocado

TWO YEARS AGO: Strawberry Coffee Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

FOUR YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Brownies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Salmon Tacos

SIX YEARS AGOCinnamon Turban Bread

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin

 

A NEW TAKE ON CAULIFLOWER PUREE

Regular readers of my blog will likely say to themselves – there she comes AGAIN, with yet another recipe for mashed cauliflower.  When is she going to stop?  Probably not in the near future, because I keep finding interesting ways to enjoy one of my favorite side dishes. This version turned out pretty tasty,  so I must share with you, magnanimous person that I am. I got the idea from a post over at  Closet Cooking, and made a few changes to use what I had around in the fridge.  The spinach adds a lot in terms of flavor and nutrients.  This one will definitely be a regular appearance at our table.

Cauliflower Puree

 

CAULIFLOWER-SPINACH PUREE
(modified from Closet Cooking)

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 ounces spinach
squeeze of lemon juice (1 or 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, full-fat if you can find it (good luck!)
freshly ground nutmeg
almond milk to taste
salt and pepper
fresh chives, minced

Place the cauliflower in a steamer over boiling water and steam until fork tender, about 10 minutes. While the cauliflower cooks, sautée the fresh spinach in olive oil until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, add a little lemon juice and reserve.  Place the cooked cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the feta cheese, yogurt, nutmeg, salt and  pepper, and process until well combined.  Add the reserved spinach, process for a few seconds.  If too thick add almond milk until you reach the right consistency.   The puree can  be warmed up for a minute in the microwave if the cold ingredients added to it cooled it down too much, but probably it will not be necessary.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

I loved this take on cauliflower puree so much that I made it again the following week,  using kale instead of spinach, and adding a little bit of sun-dried tomato to the mix.  It turned out almost great, but not quite.  A few details that I should have paid more attention to compromised the quality of the dish. I used chopped kale, pre-bagged, thinking it would make my life a lot easier. Well, it did, but it didn’t.  In the bagged version, the stems are chopped together with the leaves, so because I cooked them very little to preserve that nice bright green color, the stems were a bit tough.  Not pleasant in the middle of the smooth cauliflower puree.  So, my advice is to either go for spinach, or if you like the assertive taste of  kale, buy the leaves, and chop them. If the food police is not around, you can discard the stems, but if you have guilty feelings about it, cook the kale in two steps, stems first, leaves at the end.

This is such a nice side dish, it goes well with almost anything, from seafood to beef, and leftovers keep well in the fridge.  I bet they could be wonderful made into little fritters, adding an egg, maybe a bit of almond flour. This spinach version I shared today we enjoyed a while ago with Chicken Thighs with Roasted Tomato Salsa. The kale variation was matched with another interesting recipe from Cooking Light magazine, which I shall blog about in the near future: a Cremini Mushroom Meatloaf, which is actually a lot more mushroom than meat. Great recipe, stay tuned…   😉

ONE YEAR AGO: In My (NEW!) Kitchen

TWO YEARS AGO: The Lab Move and New Beginnings

THREE YEARS AGO: Honey-Oat Pain de Mie

FOUR YEARS AGO: Carrot and Leek Soup

FIVE YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmigiana 101