Archive for ‘pies & tarts’

October 12, 2011

Pumpercake & Joy Of Kosher, What A Nice “Pear”

It’s been less than a week since our last guest blog appearance on Joy Of Kosher, yet, Pumpercake was, once again, lucky enough to be featured on our favorite online Jewish community and magazine!  This time, I was asked to create a special autumn, dairy-free dessert for this week’s Sukkot celebrations.

I wanted to do a recipe that incorporated several techniques I’d recently learned in pastry class in order to pass on some very useful tips and tricks to the readers at JOK and, of course, you!  This frangipane tart does just that with a rich almond filling, dimpled with poached pears.  The tart was baked into a dairy-free version of my favorite sweet shortcrust, and was finished with a brush of sweet Amaretto-honey syrup and a sprinkle of crunch toasted almond slices.  Reminiscent of the Harry Potter treat shared in August, this Frangipane Tart with Amaretto and Honey Poached Pears has more of a rustic touch amidst the medley of Autumn flavors.

Be sure to stop on over to Joy Of Kosher today and throughout Sukkot for lots of great menu and dessert ideas.  And, of course, while you’re there, don’t forget to gloss over Pumpercake’s latest article and recipe contributions!  Happy Sukkot!

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August 24, 2011

Pumpercake’s Cherry Chocolate Comeback

I’m ashamed of how long its been since I’ve shared a recipe with you.  There’s no excuse for my blatant neglect of the site, however, I assure you that the recent absence of posts doesn’t mean that there’s been any less baking going on in the Pumpercake kitchen.  Quite the opposite, actually.  The past couple weeks have been spent in preparation of and taking much joy in sharing a series of fun and delicious summertime treats to be enjoyed by friends and family during various visits and vacations.  In the weeks leading up to my jam-packed vacation week, I was able to plan and put together many delightful desserts, and even squeezed in a couple food-photo sessions (special thanks goes out to my favorite food photographer for these especially beautiful shots).What I wasn’t quite able to find time for, however, was the actual article-writing/recipe-posting/desperate-attempts-at-witty-storytelling.

Now, as I attempt to  find myself with a surplus of notes on pre-perfected recipes and hundreds of unedited dessert photos floating about my computer in a devastatingly unorganized manner, just waiting to be sorted and presented to you.  The recipe I chose to share today is one from the lovely vacation I went on with my favorite Virginia family (including my favorite Virginia baby) to Wrightsville Beach.

My cherry-almond chocolate ganache tart is inspired by my favorite kind of protein bar of the same flavor combination.  This version is gluten-free and to enjoyed by all.  As if that weren’t enough, the entire dessert can be made as a no-bake… perfect for a hot summer night when you can’t bare to turn on the oven.  Variations in the type of chocolate, fruit, and nuts used can be made according to your preferences, but I love this combination of silky bitter and semisweet chocolate freckled with juicy dark cherries and fragrant toasted almonds.  The simplicity of the ingredients and assembly seems to only enhance the rustic beauty of the final product.

Cherry-Dimpled Chocolate Ganache Tart

Inspired by: LUNA’s “Chocolate Cherry Almond Bar”

Adapted from Hot Polka Dot‘s Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Tart

1 cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cherry extract

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

6 ounces semisweet chocolate

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

¼ cup salted almonds

Chocolate Tart Crust
(recipe below)

1 cup dark cherries, pitted

– -recipe yield:
12 x 8½-inch rectangle tart

Pour cream in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and whisk in the extracts and corn syrup.  Place saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a rapid simmer.  While cream mixture is heating, roughly chop semisweet and bittersweet chocolate and place in a large bowl.  Pour simmering cream over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit, untouched, for about 2 minutes.  Then, whisk the mixture in the center of the bowl to melt the chocolate and form a smooth ganache.  Set aside for about 4-5 minutes to slightly cool and thicken.

Place whole almonds in a dry non-stick skillet over low heat while the ganache thickens.  Toss the almonds to toast them evenly and remove them from heat as soon as they are fragrant (which should only take a few minutes).  Transfer nuts to a cutting boar, and, once cooled, give them a rough chop to desired size.  Pour the lukewarm, thickened ganache into a completely cooled tart shell and smooth evenly with an angled spatula.  Scatter pitted cherries into the tart, pressing them slightly into the ganache, and sprinkle on the toasted, chopped almonds evenly over top of the cherry-dimpled tart.  Allow to set up at room temperature for about 3-4 hours, or 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Gluten Free Chocolate Tart Crust

Adapted from  Dinners & DreamsCorn Flake Pie Crust

 6 cups gluten-free corn flakes

¼ cup Dutch process cocoa powder

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 egg, lightly beaten (omit for no-bake)

½ teaspoon salt

-recipe yield: one 12×8½-inch tart shell

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a large tart pan with a removable bottom and set aside.  Pulse together in a food processor the corn flakes and cocoa powder until completely crushed and combined.  Transfer to a large bowl.

Prepare a double boiler fitted with a small glass bowl containing the butter, sugar and chocolate chips and place over medium heat until melted and homogeneous.  Pour the chocolate-butter mixture over the corn flake mixture along with the lightly beaten egg and the salt, and stir until the crumbly mixture has fully combined.  Press crust firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan, and place into preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, or until crisped and slightly puffed.  Allow to cool completely in pan on a wire rack before filling with ganache.


July 8, 2011

Treacle Tart Even A Muggle Would Love

Exactly one week from today, the latest and last movie in the Harry Potter trilogy will premier in theaters.  I, like so many others, am a passionate fan of the book series and the movies and am devastated that the Potter-era is coming to an end.

While others my age have grown up reading each of the books as they were released and, therefore, feel as though they’ve grown up alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione themselves, this isn’t quite the case for me.  I developed an unreasonably stubborn attitude about HP & the gang back when the books first became popular.  My big, bad, middle-school aged self had barely skimmed through the second book (I didn’t even go in order!) before I decided that all the  “mystical stuff” was nonsense and not for me.  It wasn’t until this past December that Evan insisted I not only watch all the movies in order to accompany him to the latest premier, but he also insisted that I read each and every one of the books, too.  I thought this would be quite the chore, but was open to giving the books another shot.  Little did I know, I’d complete the entire series in just over one month and the only chore involved was my having to cope with the devastation of reading through the books much too fast and never wanting any of it to end.
Needless to say, midway through book 1, I was hooked. While so many other die-hard fans out there have had the pleasure of Harry being in their lives for over a decade, he’s only been in mine for a mere 6 months!

In order to savor and celebrate the final release of the end of this magical saga, I’ve decided that, starting today, it will be Potter Week here at Pumpercake.  From now until the movie premier next Friday, I’ll be sharing my interpretations of desserts mentioned throughout the series as we count down the days before the big movie premier.  Today, I’ve decided to start with a treacle tart, which is described in the books to be Harry’s favorite dish.  Treacle tart is a traditional English dessert and one that appears many times throughout the series… at least once per each of the seven books, if I’m not mistaken.  I chose a gingery version with a fragrant almond shortcrust and lemon poached pears.  I did my best to try and core the pears from the bottom but still keep the curvy, black stems attached, as I absolutely love the look they give to the dessert… dark, interesting and whimsical.

Ginger Pear Treacle Tart with Lemon-Almond Poached Pears

Inspired by: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry’s “(Harry’s favorite) Treacle Tart,”

“The first whiff he identified was of warm treacle tart. It brought back pleasant memories of eating in the Great Hall with Ron and Hermione, throwing jokes around and laughing over dinner.”  -Harry, smelling Amortentia potion for the first time in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Amortentia is a powerful love potion and has a different aroma suited for everyone who smells it, reminding each person of the things that they find most desirable or attractive.

Adapted from Gingery Treacle Tart,” Good Food, December 2008
and Dinah Bucholz’s “Almond-Ginger-Peach Treacle Tart,” The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

1¼ cups golden treacle syrup

zest and juice of ½ lemon

1½-2½ teaspoons fresh ginger root, finely grated

¾ cup fresh honey wheat breadcrumbs

3 eggs

5 lemon-almond poached pears (recipe below)

9-inch sweet almond shortbread shell (recipe below)

–recipe yield: one 9-inch tart

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Pour syrup into a small saucepan and combine with lemon zest, juice and ginger.  Place over medium-low heat, warming the syrup until runny.  Pour the warm, runny syrup in a large bowl over the breadcrumbs and toss together until coated.  In a small bowl, whisk to break apart the eggs.  Pour the eggs into the syrup-breadcrumb mixture and stir to combine.

Slice the very bottom of each pear so they’re able to stand straight up.  Place pears into tart shell and spoon treacle filling into shell around the pears.  Place into preheated oven for 55-65 minutes (placing foil over tart edges if they become too brown), or until filling has set.  Allow tart to cool completely in pan on cooling rack before removing, slicing, and serving.

Lemon-Almond Poached Pears

These pears aren’t fully poached, as they’ll soften more when they’re baked with the tart.

5 bosc pears

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

zest & juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon almond extract

–recipe yield: 5 (partially) poached pears

Peel 5 whole pears, keeping core and stem in tact.  Combine sugar with 6 cups water in a large pot over medium heat.  Once sugar has dissolved and water has come to a low simmer, add in lemon zest, juice, and almond extract.   Bring water up to a very low boil and add in whole pears.  Allow pears to poach in simmering water for 12-15 minutes, or until they’re almost tender (as they’ll cook more in the oven later).  At this point, remove pears by their stems, set on paper towel and allow to cool.  Pears can be poached a day in advanced and stored in their cooled poaching liquid in an airtight container the refrigerator.

Sweet Almond Shortbread Tart Shell

1 cup all purpose flour                     ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold

¼ cup almond flour                          1 egg yolk

½ cup confectioner’s sugar              1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

½ teaspoon salt                              ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Combine in a food processor the flour, almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt.  Add cold butter in very small pieces and pulse together until entire stick has been added and the texture is crumbly.  Using a fork, break apart egg yolk and combine with cream and almond extract.  Gradually pour the liquid into the mixture while pulsing together until a soft dough forms.  Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, kneading it lightly if necessary, and form into a disk.  Wrap disk completely in the plastic and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Press chilled dough into a buttered 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Line the shell with parchment paper, fill with baking beans, and place it in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  Remove paper and beans, and place it back in the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before filling.

June 19, 2011

Food For Thought

Where there would normally be an abundance of sugar, flour, butter and maybe the occasional frozen pizza, lately, I’ve been finding some less-likely foods. Goodies such as avocados, tuna salad, pomegranate juice, and mixed nuts have been gracing the shelves of my refrigerator and pantry most recently. When I inquired about the sudden additions to our snack collection, Evan, who has been avidly preparing for his GMAT exam, shared with me an article he’d read. The article described how to improve brain function and memory by means of consuming foods rich in Omega-3 fats, antioxidants and fiber. It also listed the top 20 foods to “supercharge your brain.” I was intrigued. And after reading through the list of “brain foods,” I was inspired.

I set out to create a dessert recipe using at least ten of the twenty foods as ingredients.  There were the obvious choices, like nuts (#4), coffee (#6), oats (#7), chocolate (yes! # 12), and cocoa nibs (#20).  And there were the more challenging choices, like avocados (#1),  seeds (#5), pomegranate (#9), and olive oil (#14).  After recipe hunting, tweaking, taste-testing and a bit of improvisation, I came up with today’s recipe.  It includes all of the brain-fueling ingredients listed above, as well as the #2 ingredient, blueberries.  That’s 10 of the “20 Best Foods For Your Brain,” with 7 ingredients coming from the top 10.  The result?  A heavenly combination of velvety smooth chocolate cascading over crisp, fresh blueberries, tart pomegranate jam, and a crispy-crumbly crust… a decadent pie to spark both the appetite and the brain.

Choco-Pom-Berry
“Brainpower Pie”

Inspired by: “The 20 Smartest Foods On Earth”

Adapted from Renee Mahon & S. Duquet’s
Dark Chocolate, Avocado & Berry Pie

This recipe is gluten free, 100% vegan and should be enjoyed by all!  The avocado is used in place of butter or margarine as the main source of fat in the chocolate filling and makes for a delicious, almost pudding-like texture (and tastes nothing like guacamole, I promise!).

1/3 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons orange juice

1½ tablespoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

0at, nut & seed crust (recipe below)

½ cup pomegranate jam (recipe below)

1 pint fresh blueberries

2 ripe avocados

12 oz. semisweet chocolate (vegan)

–recipe yield: one 8- or 9-inch pie
(about 8-10 servings)

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together milk, orange juice and vanilla extract and place over medium heat.  Once liquid has come to a delicate simmer, remove from heat and whisk in coffee granules.  Set aside and allow mixture to steep.  While liquid is steeping, spoon pomegranate jam into prepared crust and spread into a thin, even layer to coat entire surface.  Sprinkle blueberries over top of the jam layer and arrange them to cover the jam entirely.

Core and slice avocados into a food processor.  Strain the warm, steeped liquid into the food processor as well, discarding any whole coffee granules that may remain.  Puree the mixture until desired consistency is reached.  Transfer the smooth avocado mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat.  Constantly stirring, heat mixture for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour in chocolate chips.  Stir to completely melt the chocolate until the mixture is completely homogeneous.  Pour the entire mixture into the pan over top of the blueberries.  Using an angled spatula, smooth out the chocolate mixture into a flat, even layer.  Transfer to refrigerator (or freezer) to chill overnight until set.  Serve cold.

Pomegranate Jam

Adapted from “Pomegranate Jelly,”
Taste Of Home

1½ cups pomegranate juice

¼ cup water

2 cups sugar

2½ tablespoons pure fruit pectin

–recipe yield: about 2 cups jam

Pour juice and water into a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and allow liquid to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Measure out sugar in a separate container and set aside.  Add pectin into juice, whisking until dissolved.  Bring liquid to a full, rolling boil.  At this point, quickly dump in the sugar while constantly whisking.  Return to a rolling boil and allow to boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring.  Remove from heat and skim off any foam on the top of mixture.  Pour into jars/containers and allow to sit at room temperature overnight.  Store, covered, in refrigerator or freezer.

Oat, Nut & Seed Pie Crust

Adapted from “Vegan Oat-Nut Pie Crust,”  SmarterFitter and The Whole Food Bible

½ cup walnuts                                    ¾ cup almond flour                        ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup rolled oats                                 ¼ cup flax meal                              3 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons cocoa nibs                   ¼ teaspoon salt                             1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spread walnuts out onto a sheet tray and toast them in a 350 degree oven for 8-9 minutes, tossing them halfway through baking time.  Remove them from oven, allow to cool, and increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.  Prepare a 8- or 9-inch springform pan by well-oiling the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides.  Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse together walnuts, oats, and cocoa nibs until ground.  Add in almond flour, flax meal, and salt, and pulse to combine.  In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, syrup and vanilla.  Pour the liquid into the food processor and pulse to mix.  Remove mixture from food processor and press into pan in an even layer.  Bake crust for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly crisp.  Set aside to cool.

-Optional
Pomegranate seeds or cocoa nibs may be used as a garnish.  To make swirl design, heat pomegranate jam and use a small paintbrush dipped in the jam to paint onto dish.

June 7, 2011

Mango Peach Tart For A Sweet Summer Start

Salsa is one of those go-to snacks that’s fit to satisfy all year round.  With different levels of spice, heat, and sweet, and a seemingly endless number of flavor combinations to choose from, there’s bound to be a salsa for everyone.  Evan’s favorite salsa is the mango-peach salsa made by Garden Fresh, a brand originating from Ferndale, Michigan.  And no, I promise it’s not just the homegrown comfort of the salsa that makes it so appealing to us Michigan-natives.  It’s legitimately incredible salsa.  And it also happens to be my inspiration behind today’s recipe.

I decided, if salsa-makers can marry mangoes, peaches and peppers together in sweet-heat harmony, so can I.  I used jalapenos and poblanos along with a dash of red pepper flake and cayenne to add some zip to the tangy-sweet fruit and piled it all into a buttery, cake-y shell.  All tasters agreed that it could handle even more heat, so feel free to turn up the amount of peppers and spice.  Please don’t be put off by the idea of a somewhat spicy dessert… it really was delicious.  Those too timid to add the peppers should definitely still whip up a batch of the cayenne cream.  That whipped cream and a spoon could keep me happy all summer long.

Mango Peach Tart with Cayenne Whipped Cream

Inspired by: “Mango Peach Salsa” -Garden Fresh Gourmet

Adapted from Marco Canora’s “White Peach Tart,” Food & Wine
and 
“Easy Peach Preserves,” Delicious Living

2 large mangoes                                                   1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

4 medium peaches                                                1/3 tablespoon gelatin

½-1 tablespoon grated red jalapeno                    1 tart crust (recipe below)

½-1 tablespoon grated poblano peppers             ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flake                       2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar                                        1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

-recipe yield: 1 ten-inch tart

Peel and remove the core from both mangoes, then set one aside.  Chop one mango and two peaches (skin on) in a medium-small dice.  Transfer the diced fruit, grated peppers, pepper flakes, sugar and vinegar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over the stove, constantly stirring.  Continuing to stir periodically, reduce heat to medium-low and allow mixture to rapidly simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until fruit has somewhat broken down.  In a separate small bowl, sprinkle gelatin into ¼ cup cold water and let set for about 1 minutes. Then, add it to the fruit and allow it to heat, stirring it until the gelatin is completely dissolved (about 3 minutes).  Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool completely before using or covering and refrigerating.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Slice remaining mango and peaches into ¼-½ inch wedges and set aside.  Prepare tart crust dough (recipe below) and bring mango-peach gelatin mixture to room temperature.  If cold gelatin has solidified, stir with a fork and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until lukewarm and spreadable.  Spoon ¾-1 cup of mango-peach mixture into tart pan atop the dough and spread into an even layer, setting aside the remaining mixture to be used later.  Arrange mango slices into a large circle on top of the fruit mixture in the pan, and then peach slices on top of the mango slices.  Arrange fruit so that it is slightly overlapping.  Place smaller fruit slices in the center portion of the tart. Place tart into the oven for about 20 minutes.  Remove the tart and, using a pastry brush, brush a bit of the liquid from the gelatin mixture onto the exposed fruit slices on the tart.  Place the tart back into the oven and allow to bake another 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is puffed and golden and the fruit is tender.  Allow tart to rest for at least 30 minutes, or until completely cooled, before slicing and serving.

To prepare the cream, place chilled whipping cream into a medium bowl and beat until soft peaks have been achieved.  Beat in the confectioner’s sugar and cayenne pepper until it’s reached stiff peaks.  Serve on top of or alongside tart slices.

Tart Crust

1½ cups all-purpose flour           ½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup granulated sugar              ½ teaspoon lemon zest

½ teaspoon baking powder        1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, softened butter, salt, and lemon zest . Pulse ingredients until combined.  Add in egg and egg yolk and process until a soft dough forms.  Remove dough from the processor onto a clean surface and knead until it just comes together. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

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