Friday, May 28, 2010

Apologies to all!

So I have been the worlds worst blogger lately! I have an excuse. All I've been cooking lately have been recipes for the restaurant. While I will post ssome teasers and small recipes before we open I can't really do that yet. I do have good news on that front, we have been looking at a few places and may be putting in an offer on the place we looked at yesterday!!! If that is the case we will be able to open in August!!! So I'm sorry I haven't been around and I promise I'll think of something to post soon. As soon as this heatwave is over and I'm eating more than salad.
until then here is an oldie but a goodie. I don't have instructional pics but it's pretty easy to put together.

This is a poached pear tart. It is devine! I got this recipe from one of my all time favorite cookbooks The Seven Sins Of Chocolate.

This book is stunning and the recipes are to DIE for. Who could not love a book all about chocolate? Some of the recipes are a bit advanced for the average home cook but many are so simple (spiced hot chocolate anyone?) I highly reccomend it. I just love looking at it on a rainy afternoon the photos are stunning. I wish I had a better pic of this but trust me no one will believe you made this. It takes 2 days (you want to let your pears sit over night) but is really simple if you don't let all the steps scare you!!!
Lets start with the pears shall we? You want to do this the night before!

Poached Pears
3 firm pears
1 3/4 cups light red wine
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon Stick
1 vanilla bean split open (you can use a tsp of extract in a pinch but it really is so much better with the bean!!)
1 Star Anise (available in most asian markets)

Peel and Core your pears and slice in half add everything but pears into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once your sugar dissolves turn down the heat to a simmer and add your pears. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until tender when peirced with a knife. Wrap and refridgerate overnight.

Sweet Pastry
3/4 cup AP flour
2 tbsp almond flour (If you don't have it just throw some raw almonds into a coffee grinder)
2 tbsp confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
6 tbsp butter chilled
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tbsp ice water.

Now I'm going to tell you a secret of making perfect pastry at home! Are you ready it will be here in a few moments in preperation for it stick your butter in the freezer! Now gather and mix all your dry ingredients you want your butter to be in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Now grab your cheese grater and grate that frozen butter rub it all together until it makes a course meal. I love this method beccause it makes that happen a lot faster with less handling. Which means less melting which in pastry is good! Now add your egg yolk water mixture and stir until it just comes together. If it's not add a little bit more water until it does!

Now wrap it and Stick it in the fridge for at least 2 hours but up to 12. Now beat the crap outta it with a rolling pin until you can roll it out. Roll it out to an 1/8 of an inch thick. roll it onto your rolling pin to transfer to your tart pan. Lay it in the tart pan and use your rolling pin to trim the edges. Just roll it over the top. Wrap it and freeze it for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375f place the tart pan onto a baking sheet. Dock the dough with a fork and fill with parchment paper. Weigh the paper down with beans. This is called Blind baking. Bake like this for 10-12 minutes until the dough is set. Then remove the weights and parchment and bake for anothe 10 minutes until golden brown.

You may want to do this step the night before as well or at the latest in the morning. It needs to chill completely before you pour in the ganache!

Chocolate Red Wine Ganache
5 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp unsalted butter cut into small peices
3 tbsp light red wine (use the same as the pears. I even used the poaching liquid to be honest with you! I think I drank the rest of the wine with a girlfriend the night before.

Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl. bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Wisk until smooth and then add the butter a peice at a time. Wisking this whole time add the wine and wisk until smooth.

Pour still warm ganache into your pie shell. tap it a few times so that the ganache is smooth. Drain and pat dry your pears and slice them very thinly. place in a circular design around the chocolate. Dust the edges with sugar and ta-da! It's done!!!

I know this looks like a lot of work but it's not really. Same as baking a pie. Try it and you won't be dissapointed!! It's so pretty and always looks proffesional.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Epic Cake.

I have a friend. My friend and I have been friends since grade 10. When we were young we got into trouble, we were however adorable (mainly her) and people would pretty much forgive us anything. We used to talk about gettng a loft. We had similar champagne tastes (that we couldn't afford.....and still can't.) with kooky, kitchy thrown in, (which we could afford and still can.) For birthdays and Christmasses we get each other similar gift bags that are bought at places like Urban Behaviour, Specialty candy stores and Outer Layer. Our dream for our loft was to have a Hello Kitty kitchen. We used to talk on the phone at night looking at these Hello Kitty sites wishing we had the credit cards to order something! In those days when our mid twenties (which we are now in) were as far away and exotic as the flying car.

Now this old friend is the Godmother to my child. So I decided to give her the gift of love and time. In cake form. Happy Birthday Jo we all love you!!!

I will post better pics/more intructional info at a later date. I more just wanted this out there! Believe it or not the cake was super tasty!!!

So here are a few more pictures. I would be here for days showing people how to make this cake. I recommend this book. It is a great instructional book and is worth the money for the templates alone. The Hello Kitty cake is in here and I made a few additions and changes (all cosmetic none structural) from her Hello Kitty Cake. I love this book and has really Simple cakes as well as more advanced ones. I highly reccomend picking it up!!!

So here is the straight on cake from the front. The cake was 6 cakes (3 6 inch domes, 1 3x5 inch round and one 9x9 inch square) Not to mention all the lumber in there to keep it together (countless skeweres and toothpicks) The base was a 12 inch hexagong covered in fondant and coated with powdered black food colouring set with vodka. I used just the powder to give it that ashy, sort of apocolyptic look. I used this to create a stensil for the skulls on the base. They are also fondant. I did this while the cake was baking so that it would have a few days to dry. *Note* Beware traveling with this cake as the black colouring can get everywhere!! It will wash out of your clothes but it can get messy. I kinda looked like Cinderella by the end of it!

Here is a back side view. I don`t have a straight on back view right now but I am sure i will soon!! The cake was crumb coated with a raspberry buttercream. after that chilled over night I applied the fondant peices and then used a /10 tip bead on the snowsuit. Hello kitty has a bitten off ear and a cracked skull which is the exit wound from the necessary headshot. (I`m sure I don`t need to explain why a Zombie is shot in the head do I?) I used fondant for the skull and raspberry coulis for the blood. I also brought a squeeze bottle of the "blood" with me to the party to cover any imperfectiond from travel or so people could squeeze blood all over their cake. (This went over very well with a group of 20 something slightly inebriated individuals! The ribs are white fondant on black with a little blood for colour!

Here is her face. The face is rolled fondant shaded with powdered food colouring. I was inspired by this cartoon for the face. The eyes and nose are fondant attached with Royal Icing. The whiskers are toothpicks covered in royal icing. the drop of blood? More raspberry coulis.

Now you must be saying what my BD was saying. "OK that looks cool but it can't taste very good." He also says this whenever he watched Ace of Cakes, I agreed with him I could not figure out how to make a cake dense enough to do this taste good. Well Kate totally helped me there! The cake recipe I usedwas in the book I mentioned earlier and, well wow. It was chocolatey with a hint of coffee and some tanginess from buttermilk. It was delicious even when I left out the butter in one of the cakes! All in all if you like to decorate cakes (which I love!!) I highly reccomend inventing an occasion to make a cake out her book. Kate Sullivan you are a God. It was nice to be inspired by such a tallented individual. Not to mention my girl Jo without whom this cake never would have come into existence!!!!!