Monday, February 25, 2008

Goat Cheese Tart


Don't be turned off by the idea or sound of goat cheese. This was SO good. It sounds impossible for something to be rich and light at the same time, but it was. I will make this over and over again.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
Kosher salt
13 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
3/4 cup chopped shallots (3 to 4 shallots)
10 1/2 ounces garlic-and-herb soft goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet}
1 cup heavy cream
3 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the crust, put the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Cut 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) of the butter into large dice, add to the bowl, and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, add the ice water all at once and process until the dough becomes crumbly. Don't overprocess. Dump the dough out on a floured board, gather it loosely into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll the dough on a well-floured board and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable sides, rolling the pin over the top to cut off the excess dough. Butter 1 side of a square of aluminum foil and fit it, butter side down, into the tart pan. Fill the foil with rice or beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and foil from the tart shell, prick the bottom all over with a fork, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small pan and saute the shallots over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tender. Place the goat cheese in the bowl of the food processor and process until crumbly. Add the cream, eggs, basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and process until blended. Scatter the cooked shallots over the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the goat cheese mixture over the shallots to fill the shell (if the shell has shrunk, there may be leftover filling). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tart is firm when shaken and the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve hot or at room temperature.

I made this in a long rectangular tart pan . . .

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy Saturday


My awesome cousin arrived from Boston this morning and I'm taking a few days off this week to relax with her, read a little and bake. I made her favorite thing this morning and couldn't resist making this because The Pioneer Woman Cooks! can really sell a recipe. I read that post and re-read it . . . and then called others to read it with me again. I really didn't need convincing. The pie is chilling in the refrigerator as we speak and it looks like creamy, chocolate velvet.

More later...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gâteau au chocolat fondant de Nathalie


The most fun read in the blogging world for an amateur cook would definitely be Orangette. I have spent weeks and weeks reading archive material on this blog. When USA Weekend claims "reads like fiction" it is with authority. Love it. She also refers to this cake as 'Kate's Winning-Hearts-and-Minds Cake' and I can see why. It's every bit as easy as Desert Island Butter Cake and just as luscious. Try it.

7 ounces best-quality dark chocolate
7 ounces unsalted European-style butter (the high-butterfat kind, such as Lurpak or Beurre d’Isigny), cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, and butter the parchment too.

Finely chop the chocolate and melt it gently with the butter in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring regularly to combine. Add the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture, stirring well, and set aside to cool for a few moments. Then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition, and then add the flour. The batter should be smooth and dark.

Pour batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake looks set and the top is shiny and a bit crackly-looking. Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes; then carefully turn the cake out of the pan and revert it, so that the crackly side is facing upward. Allow to cool completely. The cake will deflate slightly as it cools.

Serve in wedges at room temperature with a loose dollop of ever-so-slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Note: This cake is even better on the second day, so consider making it the day before serving.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Julia Child's Clafouti


1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar
powdered sugar

In a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7 or 8 cup lightly buttered fireproof baking dish. Place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan. Remove from the heat and spread the cherries over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about for about 45 minutes to an hour. The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm.

Yes, there's another variation here. I love it so.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Katharine Hepburn Brownies


Made these last weekend . . . the brownie was actually better the second day.

1. Melt together 1 stick butter and 2 squares unsweetened chocolate and take the saucepan off the heat.

2. Stir in 1 cup sugar, add 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and beat the mixture well.

3. Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (In the original recipe, 1 cup chopped walnuts is added here as well.)

4. Bake the brownies in a buttered and floured 8-inch-square pan at 325°F for about 40 minutes.

Try topping these with some ice cream and this on top. Heaven.

"A Harried Cook's Guide to Some Fast Food" by Laurie Colwin from Endless Feasts | April 2003, edited by Ruth Reichl