To be honest I thought I wasn't going to get a post in this week due to the fact that I was invited to Iowa with a friend. We had an amazing time, but weather was going to make it a bear to drive home, so we left right before the storm on Saturday night. My Sundays are usually very quiet, so I always find a project to do along with my baking. This sunday? A picture hang for my room, and teaching myself the guitar. So its with very sore fingers I write to you today. I am determind through to get a few songs down on the guitar.
So this week, I found a recipe searching the web a bit. I wanted to make somthing not to hard this weekend, and a bit more snacky. The tiny financiers I fount on Dessert First were great. Click here to see the original recipe.

Vanilla Financiers with Hazelnut Strudel and Yuzu Cream

about 20 financiers

Financiers

1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely ground
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, 40 degrees C (104 degrees F)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Cut butter into pieces and place in a skillet or saucepan. Melt over medium heat on stove, swirling occasionally, until it starts to turn brown and smells nutty. Do not let the butter get too dark or it will burn. Strain butter into a clean bowl. Sift sugar, ground almonds, flour, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add half of egg whites and whisk to combine. Add in rest of egg whites and whisk until fully incorporated. Check butter is at 60 degrees F (140 degrees F). Add butter slowly in four additions, whisking to combine before adding the next addition. It should be a thick, smooth batter. Add vanilla and whisk to combine.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate batter overnight. (I did not do this step, cause I was running out of time, and it worked fine, I have also never had to refrigerate the batter when making these)

Hazelnut Streusel

1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup ground toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed, moist dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) butter, chilled


Combine the flour, hazelnuts, sugars, and salt together in bowl of food processor. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Process until mixture resembles small peas. Do not let it combine fully into one ball of dough.
Refrigerate streusel until ready to use.

Baking:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a mini muffin tin or financier tins with cooking spray. Divide the batter among the prepared tins, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle tops of financiers with streusel. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating tins halfway through. The financiers should be golden brown and just firm to the touch. Let cool on wire rack for a few minutes before unmolding.

Yuzu Cream

adapted from Pierre Hermé’s Desserts
makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups

1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup yuzu juice (since this is really hard to find, I used Meyer lemon juice
5 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, softened but not melting
1/2 cup whipping cream (this is optional, yet I would really do it because it gives it a nice texture and helps it set on the financiers)

Create a water bath by placing a saucepan of water over heat to simmer and placing a metal bowl unto the pan so its bottom does not touch the water. Whisk the sugar, eggs and yuzu juice together.
Cook the mixture over the simmering water, whisking constantly, until the cream reaches 180 degrees and thickens. Keep whisking while the mixture is heating up to prevent the eggs from cooking.
Once the cream is thickened – you should be able to make tracks in the mixture with your whisk – take the cream off the heat and strain it into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Let the cream rest for a bit until it cools to about 140 degrees.
Add in the butter pieces a few at the time and combine on high speed. Once all of the butter has been added, let the mixture combine for a few minutes longer to ensure the mixture is perfectly smooth.
Once the cream is finished pour it into a container and let it chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour before using.
To make a mousseline, whip the whipping cream in a stand mixer to soft peaks. Gently fold into the yuzu cream.






And as another hobby I am working on my food photography, its not great yet, but I've gotton a couple books, so lets see.

For a few weeks with no inspiration what so ever, suddenly everything started pouring in. Recipe after recipe popped up before me via the Internet, magazines, restaurants, you name it! The deciding factor to make creme brulee came from going to to eat for my mother's birthday. We went to one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, and of course when it's your birthday and you go out to eat you get a free dessert. She choose creme brulee, and I had never had the famous dessert before. One bite and I was hooked, one bite and I realized that this is why I bake and blog in the first place. The melted brown sugar, the custard, all of it was nothing short of heavenly. I knew I had to make it. I found an extremely simple, extremely great recipe, and I would love to share it here.

Perfect Creme Brulee

Adapted From: The Best Recipe Cookbook
Serves: 6

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
6 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, chilled
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat to 275 degrees. Butter six 1/2 cup ramekins or 2/3 cup custard cups and set them in a glass baking pan. Whisk yolks in a medium bowl until slightly thickened. Add white sugar and whisk until dissolved. Whisk in cream, then pour mixture into prepared ramekins. Set baking pan on oven rack and pour warm water into a pan to come halfway up the ramekins. Bake uncovered until custards are just barely set, about 45 minutes.
Remove baking pan from oven, leaving ramekins in the hot water; cool to room temperature. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours, or overnight. While custards are cooling, spread brown sugar in a small baking pan; set in turned-off (but still warm) oven until sugar dries, about 20 minutes. Transfer sugar to a small zip lock bag, seal, and crush sugar finely with a rolling pin. Store sugar in an airtight container until ready to top custards.
Remove chilled ramekins from refrigerator, uncover, and evenly spread 2 teaspoons of brown sugar on top of each. Using a blow torch and holding the flame 6 inches away from the sugar, quickly move the flame back and forth until the sugar is completely melted. (Also, watch to see if it catches on fire and blow it out quick!)
Your can serve a few minutes later once the tops have cooled. The sugar tops will deteriorate in about an hour.
 Eat Up!



So, here was my plan: Go to the movie Les Mis, go to the grocery store to pick up somethings and make the pastry later in the evening. Well, when my sister and I got home from it all my sister and my dad were making spring rolls, and I knew my the time they finished there would be no time for a dessert. So, I jumped right in. Spring rolls are not only healthy for you, but they are really fun to make and at my house it easily turned into a family event. A kid any age can do this and you can get all the supplies for a little over $20. Even though you might have to take the hike to a speciality grocery store, it is well worth it!

Spring Rolls and Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce

This is a family recipe that we have made quite a few times for gatherings and trips to the cabin.
The serving amount with this simply varies on how many you want. You will see once you have all the ingredients you can make many.
We made about 7 large spring rolls for 5 people, but we still had plenty left over.

Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce

1 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/4 cup Peanut Butter (smooth)
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 minced Thai Chili Pepper

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add about 1/4 cup warm water until you reach desired consistency. Chill until you serve.

Spring Rolls

Please note that you don't have to limit yourself to ingredients listed here. Get creative!

1/2 pound frozen pre-cooked small shrimp
2-3 large carrots, peeled
1 cucumber, peeled
1 pkg. Banh Trang spring roll paper (only using the desired amount for how many spring rolls you are making)
1/4 cup sliced pickled ginger (optional)
1/2 package of thin rice noodles
3/4 cup rice seasoning

Prep:
Thaw out pre-cooked shrimp in microwave, about 1 min on high. Then put the shrimp in ice water, because we want the shrimp cold. Slice peeled carrots and cucumbers to desired width (you probably want them as thin as possible). A large pot full of water to a boil and cook rice noodles the amount of minutes instructed on package. (The time is different for different rice noodles). 

Assembly:
Place warm water on a plate and completely submerge the rice paper in the water. Be careful! The rice paper will try to curl up and break. Hold it down until the paper is flexible and and move with ease, about 1 to 2 minutes. Next, set the now floppy paper on a moist paper towel. Add a small handful of rice noodles, carrots, and cucumbers to the center on the paper. Next place 4 or 5 small shrimp in a line on the bed of noodles. Finally, sprinkle a little bit of rice seasoning over the whole thing (about 1 or 2 teaspoons). Add 1 or 2 pieces of pickled ginger if desired. Then roll it halfway, fold in the edges, and roll it up the rest of the way. 
Now start on the next one!



Happy New Year!

This new years eve landed me up a my cabin with my family, and we had an amazing time. Walking through the woods was definitely filled up my camera with some great shots, but as you know when the weather hits 12 below its time to come inside, roll up your sleeves and get to the kitchen.
This weeks recipe comes from the 2004 Bon Appetit issues and I was very limited with my recipe selection because of the very limited stock of the local grocery store. So, I settled on a bittersweet chocolate- citrus tart with candied citrus peels.





These photos came from the beautiful nature walks we took all throughout the weekend. The grayish skies with the light and dark contrast of the landscape made for some beautiful photos.



Bittersweet Chocolate- Citrus Tart with Candied Citrus Peels

Bittersweet Chocolate- Citrus Tart

Crust: 
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour

Combine first four ingredients in a medium bowl. Add flour and stir until blended; let stand for 5 minutes. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of a 9 to 9 1/2 inch diameter tart pan with removable sides (if your tart pan doesn't have removable sides simply grease the bottom and the sides of the pan). Chill 30 minutes. 
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake crust until deep golden, about 25 minutes. Cool crust in pan on rack.

Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
1/2 teaspoon (lightly packed) finely grated blood orange peel or orange peel
1/2 teaspoon (lightly packed) finely grated pink grapefruit peel
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup boiling water

Combine chocolate, butter, and both peels in a medium metal bowl. Place bowl in skillet of barely simmering water set over low heat.Stir just until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove bowl water. Place fine strainer over bowl with melted chocolate. Keep skillet with water set over low heat.
Whisk egg yolk in small meta bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup boiling hot water; stir constantly with heatproof rubber spatula, scraping bottom of bowl to prevent egg from cooking, until instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F, about 3 minutes. Immediately pour egg mixture into strainer set over bowl of chocolate. Stir just until egg is incorporated into chocolate and the mixture is smooth.
Pour chocolate filling into crust; tilt slightly to spread evenly. (crust will not be completely filled). Cover and chill over night or up to 3 days. (I simply chilled for 5 hours and the cake was ready.) Before serving let tart soften slightly at room temperature.
Remove pan sides. Place tart on platter. Pipe whipped cream onto the edge of the tart and garnish with candy peel (optional).
(For me, I simply cut the cake right out of the tart pan and it worked out fine, just make sure the knife goes all the way through the crust because the crust is very dense).

Candied Citrus Peel

1 blood orange (or any orange)
1 lemon
1 grapefruit
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Using a vegetable peeler, remove peel from fruit (colored part only) in 1 1/2 to 2 inch long pieces. (Ok, this was really hard for me and my really cheep carrot peeler. So, I settled on about 1 to 1 1/2 inch long wide strands of peel. Then I curled them and set them in whipped cream for a great looking garnish). Cut peel into very thin strips. (Like I said, this is very optional because I kept mine wide). Bring small saucepan to a boil. Add strips and boil 5 minutes. Drain. Repeat.
Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add blanched citrus peel, cover, and simmer 3 minutes. Transfer syrup with peels to a small bowl. Cover and chill overnight. (I only chilled for five hours because of a time crunch, and they came out fine, but for best results you probably want to chill overnight) can be made 1 week ahead of time. Using a slotted spoon, transfer citrus peel to paper towels to drain before using.