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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TWD: Boca Negra

What a decadent chocolate cake! I am not sure if we'll be making this again though. It was really hard to tell when it was done. The directions said that it was done once a crust formed on top, but after I took it out of the pan it was still really goopy for my tastes, so we put it back in for a while. We made a couple ramekin sized cakes and a big one to give away, so luckily we got to experiment. We found that we liked the cakes best when they were cooked to 195-200 F. Perhaps since we know that, they might be worth another whirl. They were quite rich, and delicious. The white chocolate cream (basically ganache) was wonderful! I'd definitely make that again. If you want the recipe for both, you can find it here. I substituted water and chocolate extract for the bourbon in the cake and vanilla extract with a little less white chocolate in the ganache.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Pomegranate Meringue Rose Tartlets

Here's the perfect treat to impress your sweetheart! With a pistachio-studded crust, rose and orange flavored white chocolate ganache, and a pomegranate meringue, it's the perfect medley of Middle Eastern flavors to end (or begin) a romantic night. While you may not have time to bake it for tomorrow, there's always this weekend to celebrate! Also, this lovely tart would fit in perfectly with a celebration of spring in a couple months.

Pomegranate Meringue Rose Tart
Makes 8 4" tartlets
From Saveur

Note: The original recipe made one 9" tart. I've modified it to make 8 4" tartlets because those are the pans that I have. If you want to make one big tart, see the original recipe for the correct proportions. You'll need a candy or instant read thermometer for this recipe. You could probably make the crust by hand by chopping the pistachios with a knife and using a pastry cutter for the dough, but I haven't tried that. You can pipe or spread on the meringue. The original recipe just has you toast the outside of the meringue, but we liked the texture better after cooking it for a while at a lower temperature. You can try either way.


3/4 cup pistachios (3 1/8 oz)
1/4 cup sugar (1 ¾ oz)
1 1/2 cups flour (7 ½ oz)
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (4 oz)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup cold water (2 oz)

18 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup orange juice (6 oz)
1/8-1/4 tsp. rose water (to taste)

1 1/2 cup sugar (10 ½ oz)
3/4 cup pomegranate juice (6 oz)
1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
¾ tsp. cream of tartar
6 egg whites
20 drops red food coloring (optional)

In a food processor, combine the pistachios and sugar and pulse until finely chopped. Add the flour and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the chunks are all smaller than peas. Add the egg yolk and water and pulse just a few times to combine. Press the dough into two equal disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour, or freeze for thirty minutes.  Find something circular that has just less than a 6" diameter. If you can't, you could cut a guide out of cardstock or you can just eyeball it. Flour a counter top and roll out one disk to a little less than 1/8" thick. You'll want to be able to get 3 circles out of one roll, and use the scraps for the 4th tartlet. Using your circle guide, cut out three circles. If you're eyeballing it, you can use the tart pan bottoms and cut an inch out from around them. Press the dough into three tartlet pans. Press the scraps into the 4th pan. If you can't get a whole three circles out, it's okay to use scraps for 2 tartlets. Repeat with the second disk. Prick the bottoms with a fork. Chill for an hour in the fridge or 30 minutes in the freezer. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F. Put all the tartlet shells onto a large baking sheet and bake until beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool before adding the ganache.

Put the orange juice in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. While that's heating, put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl. Once the orange juice simmers, strain over the chocolate. Remove the strainer and stir with a heatproof spatula until the chocolate is melted. Mix in rose water to taste. We used about 3/16 teaspoon. Quickly pour the ganache into the tart shells. Let it cool completely before adding the meringue.

Get a pastry bag with a large star tip ready. Boil the pomegranate juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring it up to 250 F. Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch, cream of tartar and egg whites in a stand mixer (or bowl to use with a hand mixer). Beat until soft peaks form. Once the pomegranate syrup has reached 250, pour it into a glass measuring cup. Beat the eggs on high in the stand mixer and slowly pour the syrup in. Add the food coloring while it is still beating. Beat until firm peaks form. Immediately pipe or spread the meringue onto the tartlets.

To finish:

Toast only for a gooey meringue: Chill in the fridge until the meringue is firm. Broil or torch the meringue until desired color. Be careful! It browns fast. Enjoy with your love when cool!

Bake for a more marshmallow-like meringue: Follow above directions. Take the meringue out of the oven if using the broiler. Set the over to 300. Give it time to cool down (ours took about 10 minutes). Bake the tartlets for an hour. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Leave the tartlets inside for another 1-2 hours to dry out more. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

TWD: Focaccia

We can now add Focaccia to the list of breads that we've made.  Thanks to the trusty Kitchenaid it didn't require a whole lot of physical labor either.  We started the work on Sunday of putting it together and letting it go through the pair of specified rises, then let it sit in the fridge till we were ready to bake it.

The dough was easy to work with and it baked up very nicely.  We seasoned ours with Z'atar and our favorite Italian seasoning mix, and the Italian seasoning was our favorite.  We froze one of the three Focaccias since we didn't think we'd finish it before it went stale and we'll see how well it thaws!

The recipe can be found here.