Thursday, July 5, 2007

Remembrance of Things Past

I don't have many photos of things that I've made in the past. Certainly not really beautiful ones. I never took pictures with the intention of displaying them, only of having for reference. Still, I went through old files and found a few and thought I'd post them here. I even have one or two recipes to go with them.

Fruit Tart with Boysenberry Cream
Not the easiest tart, but really beautiful and tasty. Adapted from a recipe by Epicurious.

Filling and dough may be made 1 day in advance, and need at least 6 hours and 45 to chill, respectively. Tart may be assembled 3 hours in advance of serving.

1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1½-pint basket fresh boysenberries or 1 1/3 cup frozen unsweetened boysenberries, thawed
½ cup sugar
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter

1¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (yellow part only)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1-pint basket strawberries, stemmed, halved
1½-pint basket fresh raspberries
1½-pint basket fresh boysenberries or blackberries
1 large peach, cut into ½-inch-wide slices
5 tablespoons currant jelly

2 small bowls
Fine sieve
Wooden spoon
Plastic wrap
Food processor
Microplane or similar tool for zesting
Rolling pin
9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
Dry beans or pie weights
Pastry brush

Beat egg and yolks together in small bowl. Set aside. In another small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in lemon juice, then mix into eggs. Purée berries and sugar in blender. Strain purée through a fine sieve into medium saucepan, pressing through wire mesh with a spatula or wooden spoon. From time to time you may need to scrape down the exterior of the sieve with a clean spatula—at the very least, be sure to do so at the end. Add butter and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk hot berry mixture into egg mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan and cook until filling is very thick and boiling, whisking constantly, about 3 minutes. Transfer filling to small bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface to prevent skin from forming; refrigerate at least 6 hours. Can be prepared 1 day ahead.

Blend flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Add butter and lemon peel and pulse until coarse meal forms, erring on the side of under-processing. Fluff with a fork—the largest pieces should resemble large peas. Add lemon juice and process until moist clumps form. Gather into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate 45 minutes. Dough can be prepared 1 day ahead. Let soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch-thick round. Rotate the dough every few passes to ensure that it does not stick and add more flour as needed. Fold dough over floured rolling pin and transfer to tart pan. Gently press dough into pan. Trim and finish edges. Chill 15 minutes. Line dough with foil and fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake 15 minutes. Remove beans and foil and bake until crust is golden, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer crust to rack and cool.

Spread filling evenly in crust. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, in irregular pattern on filling. Fill in with raspberries and boysenberries. Tuck peach slices between berries. Stir currant jelly in heavy, small saucepan over low heat until melted. Brush jelly over fruit to glaze. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Refrigerate.)

Serves 8.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Simple and delicious.

Cake may be made several days before serving. Keep in refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic. Do not dust with powdered sugar until serving.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1½ cups butter
3 cups white sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Powdered sugar for dusting

10-inch Bundt pan
Electric mixer with large bowl
Wooden spoon
Toothpicks or wooden skewers

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Carefully grease and flour Bundt pan. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, scraping down sides as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the flour all at once; stir with wooden spoon until just combined. Add vanilla and mix gently. Pour into prepared pan, scraping sides of bowl with spatula.

Bake at 325ºF for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check for doneness at 1 hour. A toothpick inserted into center of cake will come out clean. After cake has cooled enough to pull away from sides of pan a bit, invert into a plate and allow to cool further with pan atop cake.

Dust with powdered sugar.

Serves 12.

Cake decorating
My first attempt at cake decorating—chocolate "plastic", a fondant rose, chocolate leaves, and candied rose petals. Judge kindly, gentle reader. I was young and just as foolish as I am now.

Saffron Princess Ring
My first adventure with saffron. Did I pay for it myself? I think not.

Orange Bundt Cake
Taken from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax.

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