Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TWD - Chocolate Cream Tart

This week's recipe for Chocolate Cream Tart was chosen by Kim of Scrumptious Photography. Please take the time to visit her blog. You will not only can you find the recipe for the Chocolate Cream Tart, you will also find absolutely stunning photos of yummy food! You can also find the recipe on pages 352 and 353 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours."

Once again, I struggled with the TWD recipe. I seem to have lost my baking mojo! I've baked Dorie's shortbread tart crust before with no problem but this time around, the crust was super dry and crumbly. I'm not sure where I went wrong - other than the fact that it was over baked - oops! The chocolate cream filling came together easy and was creamy and delicious. I decided to make mini tarts this time around.

I also decided to sneak in a layer of homemade peanut butter because ... well, just because I could. Everything except for the crust was to die for yummy! I will definitely try this one again. In the meantime, please visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see what they cooked up this week!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers - Cheesecake

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Have you ever eaten something so good that the taste of it haunts you? Many years ago I made a Key Lime Cheesecake with Strawberry Butter Sauce that was absolutely divine. I think about that cheesecake with a frequency that borders on obsession. We were allowed to choose our own flavors for this challenge and not surprisingly, the key lime cheesecake crept back into my brain.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake was wonderfully smooth and creamy. I added about 1/2 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice which made it over the top delicious! The strawberry sauce wasn't as good as I remember but it certainly didn't stop me from eating it! I served a slice to my official taste tester and he pronounced it "evil" and licked his plate clean.

The photos are actually from a mini cheesecake that I kept at home for myself and the taste tester. After the photography session, I remembered some blackberries that I had stashed in the refrigerator so I made a quick single serving of blackberry butter sauce. Oh my ..... the combination of the key limes and blackberries was indescribable. Yum!

I can't wait to see what the rest of the Daring Bakers have concocted this month! You can also check out the new Daring Kitchen website which is full cool cooking stuff! May will also be the inaugural month of the Daring Cooks Challenges! I can't wait for these challenges!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TWD - Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

This week, Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle chose the recipe for Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding, which can be found on pages 410 and 411 of Dorie's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". The recipe can also be found on Lauren's blog.

So, bread pudding was this week's directive and I'm fairly certain that I failed miserably. I have never tasted bread pudding. I have never made bread pudding. I have no idea what bread pudding is supposed to look like or taste like. Since I was wondering around in unknown territory, I decided to halve the recipe and bake it up in ramekins. I had some leftover liquid and in hindsight I think I should have added more of the milk/cream mixture.

I tasted it at room temperature and after chilling overnight in the refrigerator and I wasn't really excited about it so I brought some to a co-worker who professes to love the stuff. She thought the taste and texture were excellent but the pudding was a little dense. I'm glad tried something new! Thanks Lauren!

Please check out the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they did. I'm sure they baked up some decadent creamy concoctions that will make me want to try this recipe again!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

TWD - Banana Cream Pie

I have a confession to make .... I had a complete kitchen meltdown on Sunday. The kind of meltdown reserved for those moments when you have screamin' PMS and somebody stole the last chocolate bar from your super secret hiding spot. And left the wrapper the behind out of spite. You know what I'm talkin' about!
So here's the story. Phase I of the banana cream pie extravaganza required pie crust making. I made Dorie's "Good for Nothing", I mean "Good for Almost Everything" Pie Dough as instructed. I've baked this crust before and sadly had to throw it out because it shrank. It shrank A LOT! I decided to give it another go and valiant efforts resulted in ... shrinkage.

Sigh ... so I had a little fit and was ready to call the whole thing off. Sorry folks, no pie for you. Luckily, some cooler heads in the TWD group prevailed and I was convinced to give it another go round. For the second attempt, I decided to take the graham cracker crust route. Since I had some leftover macadamia nuts, I threw those in the mix too - just for good measure! :) I made a couple more changes along the way too. The biggest tweak to the recipe was my decision to use my 10-inch tart pan instead of a regular pie pan. I made a half batch of both the custard and the topping and used only a single layer of bananas.

Would you just look at that beautifully fluted and well behaved graham cracker macadamia nut pie crust! I was quite happy with the results! I've never baked banana cream anything so I had to dig into this one right away and despite my crust troubles, I think I may come back to this recipe! The custard was smooth and creamy and the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar wonderfully complemented the bananas and the macadamia nuts. The topping was rich and delicious with a light touch of sour cream.

Thanks to Amy of Sing for Your Supper for choosing this week's recipe which can be found on her blog and on pages 342 and 343 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours." Don't forget to check out the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they baked their Banana Cream Pie.