Archive for June, 2009

Bakewell Tart


I almost fainted when I red this month challenge… c’mon, shortcrust pastry in 38′ C? I mean I love

tart and I love frangipane… but man… summer time in the desert is not the right best time to make short crust pastry.

Not only  I tried to be dare but  I also kept telling my self to be brave, even got a little bit delirious, because my brain was playing this mission impossible theme song through out the whole process of pastry making.

Long story short, I did my best and the tarts turned out better than I expected. I made  little “barquette” shapes with strawberry compote, because I think  these tarts are just like financiers on pastries.



The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England.



Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it’s overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Jasmine’s notes:
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It’s a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn’t have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
Annemarie’s notes:
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minute


Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.



Honey Strawberry Crumble for Deeba


Next on the series is  a very dedicated foodblogger, passionate baker, and family woman,  Deeba of Passionate About Baking from India.


What is your favorite kitchen gadgets?  The microplane zester – it’s radically changed my life in the kitchen.

What is your favorite drink? Iced cafe latte – Gives me an instant pick me up.

** I guess the series should have been about coffee 😉

What is your favorite dessert? Fruit crumble

What are  your favorite  herb/spices? Garlic & Oregano 

What are your favorite fruits? Mangoes, Apricots, Cherries & Peaches



For Deeba, I made  honey strawberry crumble,well… mangoes  are not in season here and  I would have made it with her other favorite fruits if only just she hasn’t make it yet, but she has.

Also, since she had to say adieu to strawberry last may, so I thought it would be nice to bring back a little scene of strawberry into her life right now 😉 .

Yogurt Panna Cotta For Gine


Today, I’m going to start a new series of posts. As you can notice that bloggers like to give awards, giveaway, test package etc…and I am no different by wanting to do the same.

Then I thought  instead of doing that, why don’t I make small questionnaires for some of my bloggers friends to answer, try to re-create one of their favorite desserts and and do posts base on that?

And I did .

The first blogger who was very kind to help me is, the lovely Gine of Dolcifelici  from Germany.


What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?– My coffee machine, does that count for a kitchen gadget :P? Besides I love my small cupcake-wrappers, a small cake-spring form, my mixer, my spoons, … oh well, I love all my kitchen tools:P!

What are your favorite drinks? – Coffee (could you guess this? :P)!! Italian one, very strong without sugar (I’m a very tough girl ^^). Rum coke for going out, fresh orange juice in the morning!

What are your favorite desserts?– My favorite, favorite, favorite one is a Neapolitan pastry, called sfogliatelle. It’s more of a breakfast than a dessert. I also love all kind of panna cotta and Sicilian cannoli! Besides I’m a huge fan of all South Italian desserts!

** I’d make for you Sfogliatelle, but the weather is too hot 😉

What are your favorite  herb/spices? – For desserts: vanilla! I’m quite basic with that :-).

What are your favorite fruits? – Raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries! Reminds me of when I was a child :-)!


For Gine, I made  yogurt panna cotta with coffee jelly, caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Gine also has her own delicious recipe of panna cotta, here.

Garlic Corn Muffin with Sun Dried Tomato


I’m having baking blues… not so much for the baking but more for eating the baking goods.  Strange but true, with the hot weather I ‘m just not in the mood for heavy sugary baked dessert. Lots of  sorbet and gelato are all I need.  I hope this post is about gelato but it’s not, it’s about the corn muffin and me cutting my meal portion, because these days  I am easily full without eating to much ( go figure…with all the  gelato I’ve been having… and there it goes, I’m talking about the gelato again…while I’m trying hard to focus on this writing, the gelato in my freezer keep calling my name 😉 ).


Back to the muffin, this corn muffin is the type of muffin that you can have it for appetizer or like me, I ate it  for lunch, with some halloum cheese, sun dried black olives and fresh cherry tomatoes skewers drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and garnished with dried oregano.  All in small portions but were very delicious and fulfilling too.


My apology for not including the muffin recipe, because I completely did it by the book,  no adjustment what so ever ( I know… I’m kind  of  lazy too these days).


The last picture I’m sending it to Jungalbandi for Click – June

Apricot and Mulberry Parfaits


Hot summer wave  starts here already, temperature rises to 92′ F (33′ C)… so  making my oven works is not in my priority list now… all I’m interested in is eating  refreshing or cold dessert.

Yogurt- Mascarpone parfait is my first choice of celebrating one hot summer day.



  • 1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 8 tbsp sugar
  • 3 ripe apricots
  • 1 cup mulberries



  1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the milk, stir and let stand for several minutes to soften
  2. In a FP or blender, combine cheese, yogurt, vanilla, salt, and 6 tbsp sugar. Process until smooth and well blended.  Scrape the mixture into a bowl.
  3.  Place the sauce pan with gelatin over low heat, stir until the gelatin has dissolve, about 2 minutes (don’t allow to boil). Add the gelatin to the  cheese mixture and whisk to mix thoroughly. Cover tightly and chill for 1-2 hours, stir occasionally (the mixture should remain quite soft).
  4. Bring 3/4 of  a sauce pan full of water to boil. Cut a shallow X into the blossom end of each apricot. Immerse the apricots in the boiling water for half minute, then using a slotted spoon, transfer to a work surface. When cool enough to handle, slip of the skins, half and pit then slice.
  5. In a bowl combine the the apricots, mulberries and sugar. toss gently to mix.
  6. Assemble the parfait  and refrigerate up to 6 hours before serving.