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gfron1

Creations from The Art of the Dessert

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Thanks, but it was so undercooked. My guess is that it needed a good 20 minutes more, and probably should have had less dough. The recipe called for a 10" fluted metal tart pan. We used a 9" terra cotta shortbread pan. One thing that we did right was sprinkle with demerera which was a great contrast to the cakey texture.

However, that didn't stop me from having it for dessert and breakfast.

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Chess Cake - which is a tartlet not a cake.  Plumped raisins (I used currants) with crushed walnut in a light custard.  I didn't care so much for these last night, but I really enjoyed them for breakfast.  I focused on thinning my pastry shells on this dessert...better than the last one, but I think they could be thinner.

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Anyone know if these are similar to the tarts sold in Vancouver at the coffee house (Blenz) on Robson, at Bute. I think they called them butter tarts, but they had raisins or currents.


Edited by tsquare (log)

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Ann probably wouldn't recognize these as her own, but here are her Pistachio Cakes. I made pistachio tuiles using pistachio compound, pistachio encrusted vanilla ice cream (I was going to fry it, but thought it a bit much), and my sunken pistachio cakes. I tried three times to not have these suckers collapse on me and finally figured I would just work with it since they were light and airy and really tasty. My first attempt was a standard alititude adjustment, the second as per the recipe, and the third I varied quantities of batter - all three sunk. So some flatlander should give this a try.

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Lemon Caramel Tartlets Her technique called for upended ramekins of the lemon custard. I opted for something a bit more fun. I also used her option of adding lemon juice to the caramel.

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Holy smokes, Rob!!!! How do you keep your figure?...or don't you :blush:. I'd be 400 lbs with all the baking you do.

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I've been fingering a hotdog sized roll around my waist all night wondering about that. But its not me that you need to worry about - its my friends and neighbors. The lemon caramel tartlets are going to church tomorrow - trying to plump up those old ladies! Poor dears - they're skin and bones!

I, amazingly, still float away in the wind, but I do turn 40 next April...and you know what they say happens then. :unsure:

[i just remembered, that once in undergrad, I was out running in New Orleans the night before a hurricane was coming near, and I was literally picked up by the wind and blown on my back. So my "float in the wind" comment isn't too far from the truth.]

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I love the way you make your pate sucree, Rob-- it's very clean. (Left a comment about your lemon tartlet on your blog.) The pistachio tuile is your recipe? If there was some way to minimize the browning on the edges while keeping the cookie crisp, it'd be a great way to make faux leaves.

(Aside: yeah, I've seen pictures of you and you definitely can be carried by the wind! Dessert-makers everywhere are jealous.)

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The tuile recipe was a modification of something I found in a pastry book for a "white tuile." I picked that one to capture the green color of the compound better. I'm hoping someone can tell me how to shape a tuile without bunching it - for example in a half dome. For the browning, I was considering baking it between two parchments, weighted with a second sheet and slow bake. Maybe next time.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Squares - I have been fighting this dessert for 3 months! Back in October I thought, "I'll hold off until Thanksgiving." Then I decided I didn't want to do it. But I said, "Well, it will still be good for Christmas." But I just wasn't excited about it. I mean, I'm just not a pumpkin guy or a bar guy. So I procrastinated and procrastinated. But today I decided I had to get it done and move on with my life (it was my Catholic guilt bothering me).

Then when the cheesecake came out of the oven I said, "See! I knew it would suck" as I ate a small piece slightly warm out of the oven. So I went to walk the dogs and chill it a bit.

Her directions said to cut the cheesecake and pecans squares separately and assemble - blahhh! That's a bunch of bull - I'm not spending my time assembling a dessert I don't even want or like. So I carefully held both components on their sides and merged them - very nice handiwork if I do say so myself. Then I just cut them with a hot knife. And just to make sure I still hated them I took a bite of the assembled scraps (post trimming). Damn - its good! Who knew?! The one downside to this recipe is that I made a 3/4 sized version and its still huge. Anyway, drama aside, here it is.

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I think I'm done for the weekend :rolleyes:

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I'm a bit sweeted out right now, but I'll be fine in the morning - no need to send cards. This is a benchmark point, however, for me and the book. I'm finished with the Cakes and Tortes section and Pies and Tarts. There are a few recipes in each that I haven't done, but I'm just not motivated to make one more batch of buttercream - plus that was getting expensive. Now I move on to Warm Desserts.

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Tuiles can be shaped in/over almost anything while they are still warm - rolling pin, glass, coffee cup, spoon handle, baguette pan, etc. If they get too stiff, just pop them back in the oven for a few seconds.

I really appreciate your dedication in making those cheesecake bars! How nice that they turned out delicious. Was the pistachio cake a genoise or something with beaten egg whites folded in? It looks like it rose too fast. I've been having a terrible time with baked meringues at altitude, so I'm thinking a bubbly batter might be part of the problem.


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

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ding, ding, ding - we have a winner! It was an egg white based cake and it felt like it rised (?) too quickly to me also. In my altitutude adjustment I decreased the leavening quite a bit (40%), but virtually no difference.

My problem with the tuiles is that they bunch or break. I know I overcooked the edges (the browning) but I think my bend is too extreme. Still I want to make a cute little pistachio case.

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In my mind tuile batter is very flexible but not very stretchable. Geometrically you'll always come up with excess material when you place a circle on a demisphere. Maybe the bunching could be minimized if the baked tuile was draped over the bottom of the mold rather than the inside. If that's the way you do it already, maybe you could just use a mini brioche tin-- it would be a neat container with the bunching minimized by the flutes.

I am guessing it will be a long while before you make another pistachio cake anyway :)

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Tuile flexibility also depends on the recipe. My honey tuiles can be shaped into tubes, corkscrews, etc., but my chocolate ones are too brittle. My guess is the sugar content is part of the equation, more sugar should mean more flexibility. Also, I like my tuile batter pretty loose, about the consistency of thick snot. If it is stiffer to begin with, it will probably also be stiffer when you try to shape it. If you want a hemisphere from a circle, you need to cut a wedge out of the circle so you don't have extra.

As for the pistachio cake, I believe the recommendation is to under-whip whites a bit at altitude, but like I said, I'm still having problems with meringue-y things. I should have taken a picture of my last attempt at french macaroons. Two tries might be enough to decide they are just not going to happen at 7000' :angry:

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Brioche Domes with Fruit

Using a process I discussed HERE, these are brioche cups filled with pastry cream and rum soaked raisins and cranberries. My spouse and his merry band of non-sweet eaters loved these. I liked them but wanted much more sugar involved. I do have to say that the texture of this brioche was the best I've ever had.

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The filling is much better than the picture would lead you to believe.

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Orange Essence Soufflé

A subtle orange flavor makes this soufflé perfect for a diverse crowd, but its too subtle for me. It was very fast and easy to make however. This picture was after about 3/4" deflation.

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The cookies are orange sablés from the same recipe.

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I'm on a run of not-my-favorite desserts! I had been looking forward to this one and it was a disaster!

Poached Cheese Dumplings

A pretty basic idea. Farmers cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, flour, sugar. Chill. Roll in flour and poach. I followed the directions and ended up with glop. My dumplings didn't hold together. I sensed it was going to happen since my batter was so loose, but I thought I would plough through. I ate my glop anyway and it was okay - nothing special. She calls this comfort food, so it probably carries memories for her. If someone fixed the recipe (or used ingredients that worked better than mine did), it would be fun to poach in champagne, reisling, etc. I served mine (to myself) in blood orange reduction.

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My loose batter

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Me trying to save the loose balls by rolling them in heavier flour

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The glop after the dumplings broke up in the hot water

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Mmmm...scrambled eggs in blood orange anyone?

BTW - I hate dessert failures!

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Eager to please. Happy to serve. Bon appe-shit!

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Just had another failure - the potato apricot puffs. I think these past two recipes had ingredients that are not universal. On this one, she calls for a baking potato. I bought one. But mine may not be as starchy as hers. In the last recipe, farmers cheese may not be the same everywhere. I'm done with the dumplings and will go back to things that have less variability.

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Leaving the failure section of the cookbook...

Shnecken - Brioche filled with raisins, pecan meal and muscovado/butter. These didn't sell well at all at my store, but the eight that I enjoyed were super.

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Rob, that's one of the few recipes I made while I had this book out of the library and eveyone that tried them thought they were amazing! I made half with nuts, half without and made some minis and some regular size. Your looks great in the fluted pan.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Squares

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I think I'm done for the weekend  :rolleyes:

I know I'm late, but...just wow...

these look delicious...

good work!

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Here is the baked version of the nectarine buns. I have some more in my freezer to do the steamed version. I didn't so much care for the baked version.

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I really want to make the cranberry bars. Maybe this fall.

The cranberry bars are the only recipe I've made from this book (I am an intermediate-level baker at best) and they turned out great. A half-recipe is still massive.

I'm still finding tiny globs of bright red in odd spots on my cabinets months later after putting a stick blender in the cranberry puree, but other than that, it's pretty foolproof. Crumbly dough pressed down, puree/egg white mixture poured on top, cook and go. Time-consuming but not at all hard.

Might have to make some of the ice creams...

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