Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coconut-roasted Pineapple Dacquoise

Well.  This was a project!  But each piece can be made ahead which is always a welcome feature in a fancy, multi-step dessert.

Dorie says that a dacquoise is typically two round meringue discs which sandwich something yummy.  This has three layers of rectangular meringues--the meringues have coconut and ground almonds in them--which sandwich layers of white chocolate whipped cream, and roasted fresh pineapple.  The whole thing is spread with the whipped cream and then the sides are decorated with toasted coconut.  Gorgeous!  And delicious!
Getting ready to spread the meringue on the parchment paper.

Meringues ready to go into the oven:  3 hours at 225 degrees.

The chopped white chocolate, ready for the 3 cups of boiling heavy cream.


Cutting up the pineapple.  (A few pieces missing--eaten by the baker.)

Building the dacquoise--this is the second layer.

A side view of the finished dacquoise.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

The sensible part of me wants to avoid buying specialty pans that I won't use very often.  Okay, I admit to buying a mini madeleine pan but I'm proud to say that I resisted buying a kugelhopf pan.

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick is Chocolate Truffle Tartlets.  To make this recipe as written you need  six 4 1/2 " tartlet pans.  Well.  I own two 4" pans, one 7 1/2" pan and one 9" pan.  I love making tarts because whenever I do, I feel like I have leapt over the dividing wall between home baker and "professional" baker.  My tarts always come out beautifully perfect, thanks to Dorie Greenspan's excellent recipes.

So I hemmed and hawed about buying 4 more little tart pans and finally decided I would splurge and do it.  My husband and I went to our local cooking supply store and to complicate my decision-making process, they did not have 4 little pans!  They did have something that resembled a muffin tin with 4 tarts built in.  But somehow, that was not as appealing as 4 little individual tart pans.  And it was $26 which seemed like a bit of a splurge for something I didn't really need or want.

Next to the metal pans, they had stiff paper tart pans in assorted sizes--none of which were the size I was looking for!  And they seemed pretty pricey for something that you were going to toss away.  Plus I wasn't convinced that they'd provide the nice edge that metal tart pans do.

I left the store without having bought a thing!  Instead, I did the math and decided to use my two little pans and the 7 1/2 incher that I already owned.

The crust is made ahead and is sort of a cross between a pie dough and a cookie sweet crust.

Fitting the crust into one of the cute little 4" pans

Rolling out the dough onto freezer paper--a brilliant idea which prevented the dough from sticking.
I was so pleased with the dough!

I rolled the dough onto the rolling pin to move it to the pan.
The chopped white chocolate, milk chocolate, and homemade biscotti--ready to be stirred into the filling.

 Okay, so I have no pictures of making the filling because you need to be on your toes and your hands are really busy!

The cooling tarts.

Ready for my guests which somebody called a Mickey Mouse arrangement (!) with additional choices of chocolate biscotti and heart-shaped speculoos.  

Before the large tart was entirely eaten!

One comment about the texture:  when I was preparing the tarts, I had a bit of crust and a bit of filling left over so I put that in a little ramekin and baked it.  The recipe says to let cool for 20 minutes and then serve, so after 20 minutes, I tasted the ramekin tart.  The filling was gooey--almost pudding-like--and delicious!  A couple of hours later when I served the tarts to my guests, the filling was more solid.  Still very delicious.  I'm anxious to read about other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers' experiences.

For this recipe, rush right out and buy Dorie Greenspan's Baking with Julia or visit this week's Tuesdays with Dorie hosts,Spike of Spike Bakes or Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Basic White Loaves

So here we go!  My Baking with Julia book by Dorie Greenspan is pristine--no chocolate splotches, nor flour in the page creases, nor cover slick with a patina of butter.  I'm ready to begin baking through the book with over 300 other bakers who have joined Tuesdays with Dorie.   (And, since I have just over a dozen recipes to finish up in Dorie's fabulous Baking from My Home to Yours, I'll sneak in a few reports as I finish up those recipes.)

This week, we started out with Basic White Loaves, chosen by our founding mother, Laurie, and her able co-mother, Jules.

First, you must know that my husband and two of my sons have embarked on experiments baking artisan breads.  On the weekends, we have heated pizza stones, spritz bottles to add steam, razor blades for cutting decorative tops, and most noticeably, bowls of yeasty starter dough rising around the kitchen.  All well and good, but I what I loved about this recipe was its simplicity.

Short and sweet:
I used the dough hook on my mixer.  No hand kneading necessary!

I let the dough rise, then formed it and let it rise again.

The two loaves were perfect in appearance and wonderful, basic white bread!

This week I also baked Dorie's Chocolate Cream Tart, a delicious tart with a chocolate sweet tart crust, a lovely creamy chocolate filling,  whipped cream on top, a a generous scattering of chocolate shavings.  Dorie says to eat this within two hours of serving which was not a problem for my Monday night guests.  In fact, one was seen scraping the last bit of chocolate off the serving plate with her finger!