After the last few weeks, I’m on chocolate overload. This tart marks the end of the great chocolate run for TWD and, while it’s been great, I’m glad it’s over. I’m sure I’ll start going through withdrawals soon though. Mmmmm… chocolate.
This tart is basically a normal diner style chocolate cream pie but with an updated crust of chocolate shortbread. I LOVED the chocolate filling and the whipped topping though I overmixed it a bit. Dorie really nailed the filling flavor in my opinion, I’d say it was close to perfect. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the crust… it was a bit too bitter but that was easy to overlook when eating all the components together. I think maybe adding more sugar to it or using something like an Oreo crust would work better for me.
I made a half recipe and used two 4 inch tart pans. I baked the crusts for only about 15 minutes. The only issue I had was I picked up one of the assembled tarts and it just crumbled in my hands and landed in a big mushy mess on the baking sheet. Whoops!
Chocolate Cream Tart was chosen for the April 28th, 2009 Tuesdays with Dorie by Kim of Scrumptious Photography. Thank you, Kim! The recipe can be found on Kim’s blog here or on pages 352 and 353 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours. Next week, Megan of My Baking Adventures has chosen Tiramisu Cake on pages 266-268 of Baking: From my home to yours. I can’t wait for this one!!!
I used to hate french toast.
Maybe it’s because I had never had croissant french toast with soft caramel apples.
I like french toast now.
Peeling apples is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. I always dread it because of the “arthritis” in my hands but once I get started, I find it therapeutic. It also makes me think of the scene in Sleepless in Seattle when Tom Hanks is telling his young son about his deceased mother and how “she could peel an apple in one… long… curly strip. The whole apple.” And us viewers know that Meg Ryan sits in her kitchen all the way across the country able to do the exact same thing. I love that movie.
I always try to peel the apple in one long, curly strip but it never works out. The below picture was the best I could do this time around. Have you ever done it?
Caramel and Apples. Mmmm. Now Tyler says “don’t freak out” if your caramel seizes on you. Mine did and I’ll admit I freaked out even though he said not to. I was stirring caramel the consistency of peanut brittle for a long time. But it all worked out ok in the end. I found the apples needed a longer cook time than the 10 minutes he suggested, I think they needed more like 15 or 20.
No, that fourth picture is not chicken that I slipped in this post by mistake. But it kind of looks like chicken.
I really liked this and I’d recommend it for your breakfast this weekend. It’s easy to make, doesn’t cost that much and most of the ingredients you’ll already have at home. It gets a five star rating on Foodnetwork.com as well.
My boyfriend thinks this post is taking too long for me to write since he wants to go to bed and my light is still on. He says “it’s apples, two slices of french toast croissant to make it a sandwich, topped with a little powdered sugar and cinnamon… it’s good. What else is there to say?”
So there you have it.
Tyler Florence’s Croissant French Toast with Soft Caramel Apples
Show: Food 911 Episode: B&B Breakfast
From the book Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen
Cook Time: 35 min Yield: 4 servings
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut in 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large croissants, halved lengthwise
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Ground cinnamon, for dusting
Click here for directions!
Croissant French Toast with Soft Caramel Apples is my twelfth post for Tyler Florence Fridays, a group with the freedom to make any recipe of Tyler’s that they choose and then share their experiences every Friday.
I mentioned to my friend that I was going to be baking this “four-star” chocolate bread pudding over the weekend. They asked if the words “four-star” should really be in a recipe’s name, like maybe it could be a bit presumptuous.
I hadn’t really thought about it that way since I’ve come to trust Dorie over the last 60 of her recipes I’ve tried, with her I know I don’t have to be skeptical. But yeah, not just anyone can give out those kinds of names to their creations. As I expected though, I was happy to report back that Dorie appropriately named this bread pudding “four-star”. I said “that s*** was good!” which is how I generally give reviews if I’m saying I like something… not on my blog, but that would make it way easier if I did.
This was easy to make. There really wasn’t much to it – bread, raisins, milk, cream, eggs, sugar and chocolate. You could go a step further and follow Dorie’s suggestions of serving with creme anglaise, chocolate sauce or whipped cream but I decided to just stick to a dusting of powdered sugar. I enjoyed it warm, at room temp and straight out of the fridge cold. It could do no wrong. I wasn’t disappointed and would make this again.
This might not be what you’re used to with bread pudding. So if you don’t like bread puddings, this one could maybe turn you around if you were willing to give it a shot. My experience with them can be hit or miss as too much mushiness turns me off. This version struck a good balance because the custard part generally rested on the bottom of the pan while the bread crumbs rose towards the top. This gave it a distinct texture difference that I really appreciated and enjoyed.
What I Did: I used white bread stuffing cubes that I staled in the oven for ten minutes. I was really nervous about using these cubes, but it turned out great. I used 2% milk instead of whole. I would’ve loved to have used cherries in this, but used dark raisins instead due to cost differences. I used bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips. I halved the recipe and baked in a 8×8 pan for 25 minutes.
Thanks to Lauren of A BAKING BLOG aka upper eastside chronicle for choosing Four-Star Chocolate Bread Pudding for the April 21st edition of Tuesdays with Dorie. To see the recipe and to find out what Lauren thought of her choice, visit her blog and check out posting date April 21st, 2009 (I can’t seem to be able to get a direct link to it, sorry!).
Next week, Kim of Scrumptious Photography has selected Chocolate Cream Tart. See you next Tuesday!
Roasted Acorn Squash with Cheese Tortellini ranks as one of the best Tyler Florence recipes I’ve made so far.
Acorn squash is hollowed out, roasted in the oven and then used as a serving dish to hold cheese tortellini in a creamy, alfredo like sauce. A little garnish of parmesan and sage leaves is sprinkled on the top. The cheese tortellini ends up getting kind of crispy which makes for a great texture difference. Everything together has a smooth, creamy, and subtle richness that I absolutely loved.
I think the presentation factor makes this a perfect dish to serve at a dinner party. Plus, it’s meatless so it would be good for vegetarian guests.
My only recommendation would be to roast the squash a little bit longer than the recipe suggests. I’ve found this to be true with a few of Tyler’s roasting times. Maybe it’s just my oven or something with my own personal preferences, but just be aware.
I actually made this a few weeks ago but just hadn’t had the time to get it posted. So tonight I seriously felt bummed inside while looking at these pictures at the same time I had Sloppy Joe Hamburger Helper simmering away on the stove. It just didn’t seem right. :)
Tyler Florence’s Roasted Acorn Squash with Cheese Tortellini
2 medium acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1 garlic clove crushed
1 sprig thyme
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 pound cheese tortellini (store bought)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated parmesan cheese for topping
Fresh sage leaves for garnish
AOL has the recipe here with directions
Roasted Acorn Squash with Cheese Tortellini is my eleventh post for Tyler Florence Fridays, a group with the freedom to make any recipe of Tyler’s that they choose and then share their experiences every Friday.
Coeur a la Creme is one of my most favorite things in the whole world.
I’ve made Ina Garten’s sweet version, Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce before and it ranks up there in the top five things I’ve ever made.
I whipped this up in only a few minutes then balled it up inside a cheesecloth and placed it in a bowl in the fridge. Ina’s sweet version didn’t have any excess moisture drip out so no worries about not using the specialty molds with the holes in the bottom for this one. Even cutting the recipe in half still made a pretty large amount, especially for just two of us.
For the chutney, Ina recommends the brand Cross and Blackwell Major Grey’s. I couldn’t find this particular brand so I used Kitchens of India’s Sweet Sliced Mango Chutney. I’m assuming this was close enough, but next time I might give it a whir in the food processor since the mango pieces were a bit big.
I was not disappointed, this was good. It was sort of spicy, a little peppery, kind of sweet, and smooth and chunky at the same time. If it wasn’t for all the cream cheese and heavy cream (and those little things called calories didn’t exist… Booooo!!!) I think I’d eat Coeur a la Creme every day, the savory for dinner and the sweet for dessert.
Thanks to Anne for another great choice. She always picks the best recipes when it’s her turn to choose.
Ina Garten’s Savory Coeur a la Creme
Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: Say Cheese
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bottle chutney (recommended: Cross and Blackwell Major Grey’s)
Crackers, for serving
Click here for directions!
Holly of Phe/MOM/enon has chosen 15 Minute Magic: Chocolate Amaretti Torte for the April 14th, 2009 edition of Tuesdays with Dorie. This recipe marks the beginning of the TWD CHOCOLATE marathon! For the next few weeks, it’s going to be chocolate city around here.
In Baking: From my home to yours, Dorie says if you can push a button you can make this cake. She’s not lying. She got the 15 minute part right, too. This was one of the easiest recipes I’ve made along with the group so far. There are only two or three components: the cake, the chocolate glaze and an optional Almond Whipped Cream.
The recipe calls for Amaretti cookies which are Italian almond macaroons. Dorie’s favorite brand is called Amaretti di Daronno from D.Lazzaroni & Co. that come in a big red tin. My “local” Italian market (30 minutes away) carried a brand of cookies in a big red tin, but I don’t remember if that was the brand or not.
I went with this little bag for about $3.00. Works for me.
Let me tell you, I got freakin’ ADDICTED to these cookies. I’m surprised I had any left to make this cake. I bought them a full week before and each day the supply got lower and lower.
If you can’t find Amaretti Cookies locally, you can easily make your own. Many recipes can be found on the internet. Here’s a couple to get you started, one uses almond paste and one uses ground almonds.
Joy of Baking Amaretti Cookie Recipe – uses Almond Paste and has a nice little write up on amaretti cookies. Including the correct way to pronounce “amaretti”, just in case you wanted to make sure.
Allrecipes Amaretti Cookies – uses Ground Almonds.
I went the Playing Around route and made individual tortes in 4 inch springform pans.
I was pretty happy with this cake. It wasn’t the best version of a chocolate cake I’ve ever had, mainly due to the texture from the ground nuts and cookies that replaced using flour, but I really didn’t mind that too much. I did like the bites better if they had the almond whipped cream so I would definitely recommend making it even though the recipe marks it as “optional”. The boyfriend doesn’t like almonds so he wouldn’t try this one. His loss, my gain (I hope not too literally!).
Thanks to Holly for the pick this week. To check out the recipe, stop by Holly’s blog Phe/MOM/enon.
Next week, Lauren of A BAKING BLOG aka upper eastside chronicle selected Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding, pages 410 and 411 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours. See you next Tuesday!
I have to take another pass on Tyler Florence Fridays this week.
I have a few things to post about that I’ve made over the last few weeks. I just can’t find the time to get them out of the “draft” phase to move them to the “publish” phase. I’ll be back. My apologies to Deb, Megan, and Natashya!
The first April Barefoot Bloggers recipe was Chinese Chicken Salad chosen by McKenzie of Kenzie’s Kitchen.
Chicken, red peppers, asparagus and scallions are paired with a dressing that has a nice Asian zing to it. Peanut buttery and gingery… it reminds me of the salad dressing my favorite Hibachi places use. I never thought I’d ever try or get even close to duplicating that kind of dressing at home.
The recipe is pretty easy, I threw it together in the same amount of time it took to cook a box of angel hair and jarred pasta sauce from start to finish. Although I did take a shortcut and use pre-cooked chicken breast strips to make it easier. I used crunchy peanut butter instead of smooth. I read some comments from others that the salt could potentially be overwhelming so I just left it out.
I wasn’t sure I’d like this recipe going into it but I ended up being very pleased. I loved cooking with mostly fresh ingredients and making my own salad dressing. The salad had a ton of crunch and seemed to hold up well mixed together with the dressing which was light and had a great flavor. The apple cider vinegar gave it a fresh boost that I really liked.
I’d highly recommend this one. Thanks, McKenzie!
The Fabulous Ina Garten’s Chinese Chicken Salad
From the book Barefoot Contessa Parties!
TV Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: Back to School
4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
Good olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound asparagus, ends removed, and cut in thirds diagonally
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
For the dressing:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Click here for directions!
There’s lots of great things starting to happen with the Barefoot Bloggers group, especially this month. My schedule is getting a little hectic right now but I hope to participate as much as I can. Thanks so much to Tara and Rebecca for coming up with so many interesting ideas. The group just gets better and better!
This week’s Tuesday with Dorie assignment really had me worked up. I would have thrown in the proverbial towel for real had I had any towels in the kitchen. Banana Cream Pie. Who would’ve thought a little banana cream pie would do me in?
I think I was just distracted by the Scary Movie marathon on Comedy Central and was totally disorganized because of that. I actually love having baking experiences that aren’t 100% foolproof though, but I don’t love them at the time I’m experiencing them. It’s just those little checks and balances that make baking so fun and still challenging for me.
Seriously, even taking pictures of this pie made me frustrated. I couldn’t cut a good looking piece for anything.
But it tasted oh so good. It totally made up for the destroyed kitchen I had to clean up afterwards. I had stuff everywhere and a sink full of dishes.
My thoughts and changes:
Crust. I made Dorie’s graham cracker crust instead of the pie crust. It came out perfect and then I accidentally burned it to a crisp after I pulled it out of the oven. Tip: never put a pie plate of perfect graham cracker crust on top of a burner that you aren’t aware is still on. Fortunately I was able to salvage the edges of the crust and use those as a crumbly unstable bottom layer.
Custard. I used 2% milk for the custard. I curdled it, food processed it and everything was ok. But the custard was extremely thick and kind of gloppy. After chilling I added some more milk to it and put it in the food processor again to try to thin it out a bit. That helped.
Whipped Topping. I totally forgot the sour cream in this but it was still good.
Me and the boyfriend both LOVED this pie. I made a full recipe and it was gone by the end of the night. I can’t think of another time recently where that has happened (I think it’s a good thing that I can’t think of another time). This pie was a bit different than what I’ve come to expect from Banana Cream Pie though. Dorie’s version uses cinnamon and nutmeg in the filling which I really liked. I would make it again and eat it in one night again.
Thanks to Amy of Sing for Your Supper who chose Dorie’s Banana Cream Pie for the April 7th, 2009 edition of Tuesdays with Dorie. Stop by her blog to check out the recipe and read what she thought about her choice. Next week, it’s the 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte chosen by Holly of Phe/MOM/enon that I’ll be testing out.