Pear Almond Tart

20160120-222517-80717677.jpgI love any french pastry that includes almond on it. I love macarons, financier, pithivier, any dessert with frangipane and also I can eat almond croissant for breakfast everyday (setting aside the calories). I love the flavours and the texture and everything about it.

Actually, I’ve made this pear almond tart around last october. I’ve been meaning to post it but another dishes comes up and I’ve been keeping this one in my archive.

Now it’s time to share this awesome dessert!

On to the cooking then.

20160124-022050-8450682.jpgFirst thing first is the pastry crust. I’ve made this a couple of time and I’ve explain the how to make the perfect buttery and crispy crust for the tart on my earl grey creme brûlée tartlets recipe.
But here I’ve decided to tweak the recipe a bit.

Start with some cold butter, sugar, salt, milk, egg yolk and flour.

20160124-022141-8501992.jpgCombine the sugar, salt, flour and butter in a bowl.

Now this part is my favourite thing to do in making shortcrust pastry…

20160124-022239-8559631.jpgWhich is rubbing the butter and flour together.
I have no idea why but I love love love to do this.

You need to combine it until it looks roughly like coarse sand.
I like to stop until most of the butter has been incorporated but there’s still some big chunks on it. Just to be sure I did not work the butter too much.. Need to keep it cold to make a great pastry.

20160124-022341-8621486.jpgNow that’s done, put in the yolk and mix them up.

Be sure not to over work it!

No one wants a tough base on their tart. Don’t knead it, so that the gluten doesn’t develop.

20160124-022831-8911661.jpgWrap the dough in some cling film them put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

This process helps to relax the dough, again, in order to not resulting in a tough pastry

20160124-022729-8849371.jpgOnce chilled, roll them into the desired thickness then fit it into a buttered and floured tart pan, prick the bottom of the base with fork to prevent the air being trap and making a bump on the base while baking.

Put it back into the fridge until needed

20160125-132951-48591334.jpgNow on to the poached pear.

The ingredients are super simple. You’ll need pears (of course), sugar, water, cinnamon and vanilla.

I would definitely recommend using cinnamon sticks but turns out I’m out of those. For the vanilla I’m using powdered vanilla which works great but if you want to use vanilla pods, it’s up to you, I just felt that it’s kind of a waste since we’re not using the seeds (won’t show anyway in the final product).

20160125-133424-48864309.jpgJust peel and core the pears, cut them in half, throw it into the saucepan with water, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.

Boil it until the pears begin to soften.

20160125-133938-49178093.jpgMeanwhile the pears are cooking, let’s make the almond filling!

The ingredients to make the filling are eggs, almond powder, vanilla extract, rhum, corn flour, sugar and softened butter.

This part couldn’t be any easier, just dump everything in a bowl then whisk them until incorporated.

20160125-135301-49981155.jpgPour the almond filling into the tart case.

Cut the poached pears into quarters and slice them diagonally into thin slices, then arrange them immediately on top of the almond cream.

Got to be honest here, this is the first time I’ve made this pear almond tart in this size, usually I made some in personal sizes but I thought making big ones will look better in photo. Also it’s the first time I’m using this tart pan. So.. As you may notice, the almond filling just fills up half of the pan. I just realise that the tart pan’s side is that high and I end up not having enough almond filling.

Anyway, The recipe below is for the portion of slightly shallower tart pan, you can see the size below.

20160125-144155-52915886.jpgBake the pear almond tart until golden brown and I put some glaze on top of the whole thing, especially on the pears to make it extra shiny.

For the glaze I’m using some mirror glaze. But you can use apricot jam, marmalade or honey mix with a bit of water just to make it easier to apply, but it won’t be as shiny though.

And dust with icing sugar!

20160125-144512-53112546.jpgAnyway, this photo was taken before I got into the real food photography stuff. Before I use any props to enhance the photo. Still the good ‘ol fashion photo of food.

20160125-145600-53760081.jpgLook at how shiny it is! I just wish I’ve got enough fillings to fill it all the way up.

I wouldn’t mind a thick filling of almond cream… Loooooooove almonds in french pastry.

20160125-145804-53884069.jpgI’m sure you want to see the inside of the pear almond tart. Here you go!

I hate how when I watch or read a recipe that seem so good but they don’t show how it look on the inside… Why?! Why are you torturing me?! Let me see the filling!!

But of course, as a fellow food blogger, I kinda know why not.. Some of the possible reasons are either it doesn’t look as good as the outside, or they forgot to take a picture of it, or the pictures are bad so they decided not to post it, or it was meant to be for someone (how can you give someone a cake that has been cut?), probably so much more reasons.

I guess what I’m saying is that I wish to see the inside of the food and don’t like if they don’t show it, but I might do it later in the future (or any previous post) so as a disclaimer I’m just putting it out there.

20160125-205603-75363733.jpgOh yeah, you can see the buttery crispy crust with the sweet vanilla and rhum almond filling and cinnamon poached pear… All comes together to one rustic piece of pie….

20160125-205900-75540046.jpgA piece of pear almond tart for you and the rest is for me.

20160127-101554-36954116.jpgHave a great one everybody!

20160127-101640-37000545.jpg

Pear Almond tart recipe
Makes 1 tart diameter of 23cm height 2cm

Crust ingredients:
• 200g pastry flour
• 1tsp salt
• 60g sugar
• 75g unsalted butter (cold)
• 1 egg yolk
• 25-30 ml milk (use 25 first, if need more add the rest)

Filling ingredients:
For the poached pears:
• 2 pears
• 80g sugar
• 1 cup water
• 1 cinnamon stick
• ½ tsp vanilla powder/ 1 tsp vanilla extract/ ½ vanilla pod

For the almond cream:
• 100g unsalted butter (room temperature)
• 100g almond powder
• 10g corn flour
• 80g powdered sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp dark rhum

Decoration:
• to glaze: mirror glace/ apricot jam/ marmalade/ honey (diluted with a bit of water)
• powdered sugar

How to make:
Make the base:
1) Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl then add the cold butter, rub them together until resembles coarse sand. Add the egg yolk and milk, mix just until combined, wrap the dough in cling film, put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
2) Butter and flour the tart pan. Roll the chilled dough then fit it into the pan, prick the bottom base with fork then put in the fridge until ready to use.
Poach the pears:
3) Peel and core the pears then cut in half.
4) Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon and vanilla then the pears.
5) Boil just until the pears start to soften. Once boiled, let cool to touch.
Make the almond cream:
6) Cream the butter then add the almond, corn flour and sugar, beat until combined and creamy.
7) Add the egg, vanilla and rhum, mix until combined
Assembly:
8) Pour the almond cream into the tart shell.
9) Cut the pear halfs into quarter then slice horizontally into thin slices.
10) Put directly on top of the almond cream, repeat until full circle.
11) Bake at 180°C or 360°F for 30-40 minutes until the almond cream is golden brown.
Finishing:
12) Take out, let cool slightly then brush the top (especially the pears) with the glaze of your choice.
13) Put a plate smaller than the pan in the middle then sift some powdered sugar on the sides.

Advertisements

Red Velvet Cake

20150917-011014-4214147.jpg Elegant, moist, and super appealing. The red velvet got it’s name for a reason. The signature bright red colour and the velvety texture it has.
And the best part of a red velvet is it’s best friend, none other than creamy and smooth cream cheese!

I made butter and buttermilk yesterday and I thought why not make red velvet cake?

Let me tell you something about red velvets and this cake recipe in particular is very moist.

So the second time I made red velvet was for cake pops, using this very same recipe. It did not work out. Like at all. The cake was too moist , and oh dear me who didn’t realise it until I put some frosting in and only came to face the truth after trying so hard to stick the cake balls to the pop sticks. It kept falling off. I’ve refrigerate it, and the moment it thaw during the waiting for the chocolate coating, they just slides downwards from the stick.

So this recipe is not advisable for cake pops. Well you can.. Probably…. Just adjust the amount of oil when baking and the amount of frosting to form the cake pops. Haven’t tried it..

I made a red velvet related recipe as one of my very first post. It is a triple layer cheesecake which got a chocolate biscuit base, red velvet cake bottom and a creamy cheesecake filling. And I do promise to maybe post about a red velvet recipe someday so here it is.

So for the red velvet cake, the ingredients needed are:

20150922-005315-3195037.jpgVegetable oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, red food colouring, eggs, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.

The thing that makes this cake red (other than the food coloring) and moist is all the work of science.

The cocoa powder, buttermilk and vinegar act as the acids react together with the baking soda causes the red colour and the moist texture of the cake.

20150922-010548-3948119.jpgSo now that we got the ingredients prepped, the making of the red velvet cake is super easy all you need to do first is sift the dry ingredients and whisk them together.

20150922-014956-6596608.jpg

20150923-183519-66919217.jpgAnd then whisk all the wet ingredients.

Adjust the colour but remember that the red will be darker once incorporated with the dry ingredients

20150923-183240-66760961.jpgthen the last step is just pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Couldn’t be easier

20150923-183426-66866837.jpgWhisk until everything is incorporated.

Look at that bright red colour!

I kept thinking about “roses are red, violet are blue” whenever I typed “red” even though I can’t make out the rest of the poem (I’m bad at finding things that rhymes)

Anyway bake the cake, cool it off, level it then on to the layering the cake

20150923-184444-67484093.jpgNow let’s talk about cream cheese.

The cream cheese buttercream I used for this recipe uses swiss meringue buttercream method because the usual cream cheese buttercream still requires at least 3 cups of icing sugar so it’s still is too sweet for me.
Swiss meringue method does requires more steps so feel free to use any cream cheese method that you like.

But seriously though anyway it is, cream cheese buttercream is good no matter what…
My. Favourite. Frosting. Of. All. Time.
I can say a cake is good just because of the cream cheese frosting.
Smooth… Creamy.. Cheesy.
Cream cheese is probably the only buttercream that I actually would finish without a trace.

Anyway a red velvet cake is not a red velvet without it’s classic pair, the cream cheese frosting.
They complete each other. Any red velvet inspired dessert should somewhat have something cream cheesy on it.
I won’t admit that it is a red velvet without the cream cheese. IT SHOULD BE AGAINST THE LAW.

20150924-014652-6412031.jpgAnyway moving on from my cream cheese rampage.
This to me, looks like a blank canvas, ready to be painted.

Layer the cake, then crumb coat it.
For those of you who doesn’t know crumb coating, it is applying a thin layer of cream all over the cake (it doesn’t have to be pretty and neat, just covered) then refrigerate the cake, once the frosting hardened, another layer of frosting can be apply. This ensures the cake to be neat and doesn’t have any cake bits on it especially working with dark coloured cakes or light coloured frosting.

A little tips, to make sure the cake layers is even, portion the buttercream, for example people use ice cream scooper to portion it. I usually use cups to portion my buttercream layers

Ignore my awful, duct taped spinning cake board. I got it from my aunt, and I am pretty sure that the cake board is at least as old as me.
But it has helped me like… A Lot
Still works perfectly well too so…..
20150924-021700-8220846.jpgThis part is optional but I got a lot of leftover cakes cutouts from leveling the red velvet cakes so I decided to make crunchy crumbs to decorate the side of the cake.

All I do is break the cake apart, them crumble it.
Bake them in a low temperature, basically just drying them so that the cake don’t lose their red colour.
I’ll explain the how to more on the recipe below.

20150924-022145-8505572.jpgPut a second coat of cream cheese frosting to the cake.

Next is the messy part, there are no neat way to do this so put a tray big enough to catch the cake crumbs that fell, then start scooping a handful of cake crumbs onto the sides of the cake, pushing slightly so that the crumbs sticks, try your best to cover everything.

20150924-144540-53140500.jpgOnce done, put the rest of the cream cheese into a pipping bag with a tip, then pipe rosettes on top of the cake.

Here’s a tip, do some research on how to pipe the rosettes and which pipping tip you want to use.

20150924-144830-53310221.jpg Pretty, elegant enough to impress, easy enough for beginners.

If you still have a lot of crumbs left that haven’t been dried, you can make cake truffles (that’s what I did with the leftovers), or the triple layer cheesecake, that’s why I made that cheesecake, it was because I had some cakes leftover.

Or if you have some crumbs that has been dried leftover, sprinkle it on ice cream, waffle, etc.

I’m thinking of making a post about what to do with leftover cakes. Maybe soon.

20150924-152123-55283584.jpgI’m ready to eat it…

20150924-153127-55887280.jpgTime to see how’s the inside look.

20150924-153213-55933421.jpg Red cakes layers goes contrast with the white frosting layers.

Well not the reddest red velvet cake, but I was too horrified to put too much red food colouring in. Well I could use beets but I don’t find and buy beets very often.

The first original red velvet cake was by a guy who sell food flavourings and food colourings. No wonder if the original recipe got a lot of food coloring in it.

20150925-003703-2223238.jpgI made another one of a different top design for my cousin’s birthday

Anyway have a great one everybody!

20150928-004922-2962278.jpg

Red Velvet Recipe
Makes 3 tiered 22cm in diameter cake

Ingredients

Red Velvet Cake
• 3 ¾ cups (480g) all purpose flour
• 2 ½ cups (500g) sugar
• 1½ tbsp (11g) cocoa powder
• 1½ tsp (7g) salt
• 1½ tsp (7g) baking soda
• 3 eggs
• 2¼ cups (540ml) vegetable oil
• 1½ cups (300ml) buttermilk
• 1½ tbsp (23ml) vinegar
• 2 tsp vanilla essence
• 2 tbsp red food colouring

Cream Cheese Buttercream
adapted from korenainthekitchen’s recipe
• 2 egg whites
• 120 g granulated sugar
• 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter (cubed and room temperature)
• 225g cream cheese (cubed and room temperature)
• 1 tsp vanilla essence

how to make:
The cake
1) Preheat the oven and smear 3 baking pans with non-stick pan release or butter all over the pan and line the bottom with parchment paper and coat the sides with flour.
2) Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder,salt and baking soda in a bowl then whisk to combine.
3) Whisk the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk,vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring until combined.
4) Pour the wet mixture to the dry mixture, whisk until combined.
5) Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake at 350°F or 180°C for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6) Once the cakes had cooled, level the top and make sure all the layers are even.
7) Crumble the leftover cakes from the leveled cakes and put them in a baking pan, spread evenly then dry them in an oven at 266°F or 130°C and leave the oven door slightly ajar for 1-2 hours (until the biggest chunk of the cake is crunchy)

The buttercream
1) In a heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar and whisk over a pan of simmering water, don’t let the bowl touch the water. Whisk until all of the sugar has dissolved (when you rub the mixture between your finger it is smooth).
2) Take the bowl off the heat, then whisk with an electric beater until stiff and glossy and the mixture is no longer hot
3) Beat the room temperature butter one cube at a time until all the butter has incorporated thoroughly.
4) In another bowl, beat the cream cheese until no big chunks left then start incorporating the meringue buttercream one spoon at a time until everything are well combined.
5) Add the vanilla and beat well. Store in the fridge until ready to use (thaw it first if it took more than 1 hour)

Assembly
1) In the plate you want to present the cake, smear a little bit of cream cheese in the bottom of the plate.
2) Put the first layer of the cake then put about 1-2 cups of frosting in between, evenly spread then put the second layer of cake, keep doing it until the last piece of cake.
3) Thinly spread the buttercream all over the cake (crumb coating) and put the cake in the fridge for about 1 hour.
4) Once cooled, spread the second coat of the buttercream.
5) Put a big tray on the bottom of the cake then start gently pushing handfuls of cake crumbs all over the sides of the cake until all around the sides of the cake has coated.
6) With the rest of the buttercream put in a piping bag, pipe rosettes on top of the cake.

DIY Non-stick Pan Release

20150523-132046-48046228.jpgI always felt that cutting a parchment paper into circles to line the bottom of a pan is a waste.
I mean, the rest of the cuttings is unusable anymore.

Meanwhile non-stick spray is quite hard to find in my local groceries and even if there is, it’s not a cheap stuff to buy.

20150523-145825-53905675.jpgAnd so i was searching the internet to solve this problem and stumbled upon Homemade Pan Release.

I love this gloopy concoction thingy!
This non-stick gloop is (so far) always works!

And the best thing is this gloop is suuuuper easy to make.

20150524-004827-2907407.jpgAll you need is oil, shortening and flour. That’s it!

20150524-132543-48343265.jpgPutting it up together is even easier!

Just mix everything together and you got yourself a non-stick gloop!

Easy peasy right?

20150524-133520-48920425.jpgNow it’s time to get your trusty brush and brush away!

20150526-124606-45966894.jpg

20150526-124606-45966363.jpgI’ve used this gloop on many types of cakes and it has never failed me.

Obviously using this is much much more practical than cutting parchment paper into the size of your pan or having to butter a pan then coat them with flour…

I’ve used it on a dark coloured cake such as chocolate cake also with light coloured cake such as vanilla sponge cake. It has never failed me.

20150526-140336-50616662.jpg
I didn’t store them in the fridge and it stays up quite good. But as the original article says to put it in the fridge so that it won’t seperate, maybe you should do that.

Your choice really

I just don’t have the patient of waiting for it to thaw so that i can use it.

But in my part, i don’t experience any separation on my non-stick gloop.

I hope this DIY non-stick gloop makes your life a whole lot easier! Cause it sure did help me a lot!

Non-stick Pan Release recipe
Adapted from iambaker’s Homemade Pan Release.

Ingredients
• 1 cup oil (i used vegetable oil)
• 1 cup shortening (make sure it is soft or at room temperature)
• 1 cup all-purpose flour

How to make:
1) Put everything together in a bowl then mix them until smooth and combined
2) Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge (to prevent seperation) or at room temperature.

Eenie Meenie Jar Cake

20131230-230405.jpg

Just as its name, it is a cake inside a jar just made smaller. But my version is more like a cake layered with pudding. This is super simple and easy to eat too. No fuss if you want to eat a cake while you’re walking because all you need to do is scoop scoop scoop into your jar. Nom nom.

If you have left over cake or you were planning to make a full cake but then when you take it out of the pan you break it into pieces or whatever, worry not.. You can just assemble them and putting them in a jar.

Making the cake:

The dry ingredients are

20131222-183030.jpgCocoa powder, salt+baking soda+ baking powder, flour and sugar

20131222-183424.jpg

20131222-183440.jpgSift them a couple of times

The wet ingredients are

20131222-183709.jpgEggs, vegetable oil, milk, vanilla essence

20131222-183940.jpgPut the wet ingredients to the sifted dry ingredients

20131222-184055.jpgStir until combined then scrape the sides

20131222-184146.jpgPour in boiling water then mix it

I bake my cake in a cupcake form but if you want to bake it in a tin then break them apart after that it’s pretty much the same.

Line your cupcake liners

20131222-185138.jpg

Fill in the cupcake liners

20131222-185316.jpg
Bake!

Pudding ingredients:

20131230-202110.jpg cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar, milk, chocolate, vanilla extract.

20131230-202722.jpg
put the cornstartch, sugar, and cocoa powder in a pan and stir until combined

20131230-203018.jpg pour in the milk and stir

20131230-204355.jpg heat it on medium high heat while stirring so it won’t curdle

20131230-205451.jpgstir until thickens and add the vanilla essence

20131230-205811.jpg until it’s about this thick
Refrigerate about 3 hours or over night.
For the white chocolate pudding, do the same as the chocolate pudding but eliminating the cocoa powder and substitute the chocolate into white chocolate.

20131230-211149.jpg

It’s time to incorporate the cake and pudding

20131230-210245.jpgtake out your cake (cupcake in my case).

20131230-225645.jpg

20131230-225950.jpg a layer of cake,

20131230-230129.jpg white chocolate pudding,

20131230-230243.jpg last is the chocolate pudding.

20131230-230405.jpg
My eenie meenie jar cake. Of course i’ve made bigger ones but i forgot to take a picture of it. Me and my sister just gobble it up.

Anyway, sorry that some of the picture are in bad quality, it was raining when i made this cake and the lighting on my house is not that good so i lack of good lighting because the sun is not shining.
This is going to be my last post of 2013!! 2014 is coming. I hope it will be a better year and i will be able to post more daily. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY.

How to:
The chocolate cake is adapted from bakerella’s just a cake chocolate cake.
Chocolate cake ingredients:
· 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
· 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
· 1 1/2 cup sugar
· 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 2 eggs
· 1/2 cup vegetable oil
· 2 teaspoons vanilla
· 3/4 cup milk
· 2/3 cup hot water
Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease your pan with butter and cocoa powder, or line your cupcake tin with cupcake liner.
3. Sift dry ingredients together and place in a large mixing bowl.
4. Add eggs, oil, milk and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until combined.
5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add hot water and mix together.
6. Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 28-30 minutes. Batter will be very liquid.
7. Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Chocolate pudding ingredients:
· 2 tablespoons cornstarch
· 1/4 cup cocoa powder
· 1/4 cup sugar
· 2 cups milk
· 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Steps:
1. Put the cornstarch, cocoa powder and sugar on a sauce pan, stir until incoorporated
2. Pour in the milk and heat it on medium high heat stirring until boiling and thickens.
3. Put in the chocolate and vanilla extract and stir until the chocolate melted.
4. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or overnight.
[do the same for the white chocolate pudding; substitute the bittersweet chocolate with white chocolate and eliminating the cocoa powder.]

Jar cake steps:

1. On your preferred jar put your cake layer on the bottom on your jar.
2. Layer with the chocolate pudding.
3. And then add another layer of chocolate pudding.
4. Refrigerate or you could just eat it right away.