recipe

Pistachio plum tart

 
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I had some pistachios left from the time I baked a pound cake with it for my friend's birthday. They're the pre-shelled and salted kind, that I don't like to necessarily eat on it's own. I have this weird rule that says I should only eat pistachios if I break it open myself. And I always have to roll around the second half of the shell in my mouth, getting every bit of salt out of it. That's how I've always had pistachios and that's how it'll stay.

So these pistachios just sat in my pantry for two months until yesterday. I was making a plum tart, and halfway through it was decided that there needs to be some savory aspect to it. They were the perfect last ingredient I was looking for. The nuttiness really showed through and paired exceptionally well with the slightly tart plums. If you're on pie duty for Thanksgiving, why not branch out and make something slightly different this year?

 

Pistachio Plum Tart

Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ice cold water

Frangipane:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup pistachio meal 
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 lb plums, sliced cored and sliced thin

For the pie crust, cut the butter into small 1cm x 1cm cubes. They should each be about the size of a pea. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Dump the butter cubes in, and flatten out each cube using your fingers making sure that each piece is coated with flour. There should be clumps of butter left, but the flour should feel moist with not much dry parts left. Add the ice cold water and mix with a wooden spoon. Round up the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten out the crust a little and let sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F. 

Retrieve the pie crust from the fridge and roll it out on a well floured surface. It should be big enough that it'll cover the bottom of the pie dish plus the sides. Carefully transfer the crust onto the pie dish and press along the bottom, edges, and sides. Trim off the excess. With a fork, stab the bottom of the crust to poke holes evenly, about 20 times. This is so that when we blind bake the crust without pie weights, there's room for the steam to escape thus preventing the crust from blooming. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. 

If you haven't already, cut the plums in half, core and slice them. 

Take the salted pistachios (about half a cup) and pulse in a food processor until it's about the same size/consistency as the almond flour. Make sure not to over pulse... they might become pistachio butter if you do.

For the frangipane, add the butter and sugar into a KitchenAid mixing bowl and whip with the whisk attachment until light and soft making sure to scrape the bottom with a spatula at least once. Add the whole egg and whip until combined. Add the egg yolk and whip again, scraping the bottom. Add the almond extract and mix until combined. Add the all purpose flour, almond meal, and pistachio meal and mix on medium speed until combined, making sure to scrape down the sides once or twice. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

Once the pie crust has had enough time to chill to room temperature, spoon in the frangipane. Make sure the frangipane makes an even layer. Starting from the outside working in, layer the plum slices to make a spiral pattern.

Place the pie plate into the oven (top rack) and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 °F and bake for 20 minutes. If the edges look golden brown, it's done! Chill to room temperature before serving.

 

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Citrus Marinaded Salmon

 

 

This is a guest post by Anthony. He helped me prepare the main course during the dinner party I hosted for Camille Styles. Enjoy!

 

With the big dinner party looming just days away, Rui nonchalantly says "By the way, I haven't planned a main course.  Can you think something up?"  After saying, "No problem." I frantically started breaking down the event to figure out what type of dish to prepare.  Looking over the menu so far, the main course needed to be seafood.  It was a warm Texas day, so it needed to have a refreshing element to it.  Of course I go for my favorite source of inspiration, The French Laundry Cookbook, with a basic idea of what I'm thinking.  Flipping through the pages I come upon "Citrus-Marinated Salmon with a Confit of Navel Oranges, Beluga Caviar, and Pea Shoot Coulis".  Salmon and citrus is a great combination and just the inspiration I needed.

 

Time to Make: 150 minutes * Servings: 4

 

Citrus Marinade

Finely ground zest from 1 Orange

Finely ground zest from 1/2 Grapefruit

Finely ground zest from 1 Lemon

Finely ground zest from 1 Lime

1/4 cup of Salt

2 tablespoons of Sugar

1 tablespoons of White Pepper

 

Citrus Marinaded Salmon

24 ounces of Salmon Filet

2 tablespoons of Light Olive Oil

Chives

Caviar

 

Orange Confit

1 Orange

1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon white wine viniger

 

* Preparing the Marinade *

Now that I had my inspiration, it was time to design a recipe.  Based on the Citrus-Marinated Salmon, I went with a similar marinade, but chose to change the proportions to include more citrus zest and less salt.  This would allow more leniency in the marindate time and hopefully create a more refreshing flavor.  The combination of grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime zest with a little sugar and salt is a simple, yet powerful flavor base.  I found it best to prepare the marinade ahead of time (even the night before) and let it rest sealed in the fridge.  This gives the oils from the zest time to mingle with the salt and sugar more completely.

 

Use a microplane zester to prepare the zest from each fruit.  Then combine all of the zests, sugar, pepper and salt in a bowl.

 

* Marinating the Salmon *

Living in Central Texas, our fish isn't always the freshest, fortunately it was salmon season.  The goal was to get a cut with good marbling and a fairly consistent thickness.  We were in luck and able to get a nice fatty chunk of fresh, wild salmon from the store.  The French Laundry removes the skin and slow cooks the salmon in an oil bath.  While that sounds amazing, I don't have the equipment nor patience for that.  Instead, I chose to leave the skin on, trim the thinnest part from the filet (make sure to save it and prepare it as another dish).  Take a piece of foil large enough to wrap around the filet, sprinkle half of the marinade in the middle in the shape of the filet.  Place the filet skin side down on the marinade and then use the remaining marinade on the top of the fish.  Wrap it tight, squeeze it between a pair of plate and put in the fridge for 90 minutes. Be careful not to marinate too long or it will become increasingly salty.

 

* Orange Confit *

While the fish is marinating, prepare the orange confit.  First peel the orange, this part kind of sucks, cause I mean peel them all the way.  Remove the peel and the pith and the thin membrane around each slice.  Don't worry you have 90 minutes... whew still have like 30 minutes left.  Discard the membranes, etc. and place the orange slices in a bowl.  Once done with preparing the orange slices, combine the water and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar fully disolves.  Once disolved add the white wine vinegar and bring to a boil.  Pour the syrup over the orange slices and let cool to room temperature.

 

* Cook the Salmon *

With some time to spare, slice up the chives, get out the plates and prepare to cook the fish.  When the 90 minutes are up, pull the fish out of the fridge.  You'll want to cut the filet into 2 inch slices.  In a large stainless, cast iron, or carbon steel skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering, then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Start by placing the salmon slices in the pan skin side down.  Cook for approximately 4 minutes occassionally pressing gently to ensure full contact with the pan.  The salmon should lift geasily from the pan.  Start with a corner of the filet, if the skin resists coming up from the pan cook for another minute or so.  Once you flip the filets, cook for another 3-5 minutes until the filet center reaches 125°.  Beware of over cooking or you will get a salty, chalky, leathery filet.

 

* Bringing it all together *

Start with a layer of Orange Confit in the center of the pan, usually 3-5 slices are enough for the Salmon to rest upon.  Place the Salmon filet on top of the Orange Confit with the skin side down.  Top each filet with a scoop of Caviar and a sprinkling of chives.  Finally finish it with a light drizzle of the confit syrup.

 

Financiers

 
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Financiers are French almond cakes flavored with beurre noisette (brown butter). I found out about them because I was searching for ways to use almond flour since I kept buying more thinking I didn't have any left. I'm usually not a fan of cakes because there's nothing exciting about them. There's no texture other than this soft spongey thing, and not much flavor other than sugar and maybe chocolate. Anthony is the same way, but we are both addicted to these mini cakes. The sugar caramelizes slightly on the outer layer making it crispy, while the inside is delicately soft and filled with the flavor of almond and beurre noisette. And if you haven't tried beurre noisette, you've been missing out. Brown butter tastes like butter (which is already amazing) with a nutty flavor and aroma. As soon as I start browning butter, my pups sit by the stove and watch me because it fills the house with this amazing smell.

I practiced these three times to perfect the recipe. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Financiers (adapted from Kikit Kurn's recipe)

2/3 cups butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 cup almond meal or almond flour

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons flour

3 egg whites

 

First, brown the butter. In a lighter colored pot, melt the butter at medium-low heat. I say use a lighter colored pot so that you can clearly see the color difference when the butter starts browning. As soon as the butter is melted, start whisking slowly. This will cause the butter to foam and will speed up the process while making sure that the heat distributes evenly. Watch for the first hint of the butter starting to brown. There's only a small window in which the butter turns brown and then becomes burnt. You'll see little brown specs start to form. When this happens, stop the heat and pour the butter into a separate container to stop the browning process. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a very clean bowl, crack the egg whites, making sure not to get any yolks in them. With a very clean whisk, whip up the egg whites until it's frothy and foamy but still a little runny. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix the flour, almond flour, and powdered sugar. I just use a fork to get everything mixed together. Pour the egg whites into the bowl and cut mix together until all of the powder is wet. It's very important not to over mix, or else your cakes will become dense and corn bread like. We want to prevent as much gluten formation as possible to get a nice soft cake. Pour in the brown butter and almond extract and mix again, just enough to get an even batter.

Pour the batter into the molds or a muffin tin. If you are using molds, fill to the brim. If you are using muffin tins, fill about 1/4 of the way.

Bake in the oven for 22 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. 

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Lemon marshmallows

 

The thought of marshmallows tends to invoke a specific type of memory. S'mores and stories underneath the starry sky. Feeling the heat from the bonfire in your cheeks while rubbing the goosebumps in your arms. That lingering scent of smoke in your hair, and maybe some cheap beers with high school friends because well... there was nothing else to do back then. 

As much as I love everything associated with marshmallows in s'mores, I was craving something more elegant, slightly feminine. Instead of that overly sweet jet-puffed kind, there had to be a hint of tart. An adult twist if you must. Something that serves as a reminder of spring and can be served at tea parties. These lemon marshmallows provide just that, and will pair very nicely with a cup of earl grey. 

 

I found this recipe on Wanna Come WIth?'s blog when I was searching for a tart marshmallow. My first marshmallow making experience was a success with this recipe!

 

lemon marshmallows (by: wanna come with?)

3 envelopes gelatin

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

zest from 1 lemon

1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup water

1 cup confectioner's sugar

1  cup corn starch

 

Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper. Oil the sides and bottom of the parchment lined pan with a pastry brush (use flavorless oil like grapeseed oil). 

Soak the gelatin in lemon juice in a double-boiler without heating. The gelatin needs time to soak up the liquid for this to work! Set aside.

In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey, and water. Cook over medium heat while stirring to melt all of the sugar. Increase the heat and cook until the candy thermometer shows 252°F.

As soon as the sugar is at the correct temperature, be very careful and pour it into the KitchenAid bowl. It's safer if you pour it down the side of the bowl to prevent splashing. Let this mixture cool for 10 minutes.

While the mixture is cooling, heat the double boiler with some water in the bottom pan. Make sure all of the gelatin dissolves and add the zest into the liquified gelatin. 

Once the sugar has cooled, carefully pour in the liquified gelatin into the KitchenAid bowl. With the whisk attachment, whip the mixture at low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed one notch and whip for 30 seconds. Repeat until you get to the highest speed, and whip for 8 minutes.

Immediately scoop the marshmallow into the 9 x 9 inch pan using a spatula. Smooth out the top. Cover with parchment paper and let sit at room temperature overnight to set.

Combine the corn starch and powdered sugar and sift. Generously cover the top and bottom (seriously, a layer half an inch thick of the powder on each side is great), this will come in handy when cutting the sticky marshmallows. Using kitchen scissors, cut the marshmallow into squares. Make sure to coat each piece with the powder to avoid sticking.

 

 

Blood Orange Amaretto Sour

 

Remember when I made amaretto ice cream? I bought an entire bottle of it and had no idea what to do with the rest, and one night Anthony made me an amaretto sour. To be honest, I don't like the taste of alcohol so I prefer the cocktails that taste like juice, herbs, and spices or a glass of complex red wine with hints of chocolate. But this cocktail that he made is going to be my new favorite at home drink while blood oranges are in season. Sharing this with you because it's really not fair for me to keep the recipe to myself!

 

Blood Orange Amaretto Sour

1 shot of bourbon

2 shots of amaretto

juice from half of a lemon

juice from half of a blood orange

drizzle of agave nectar

slice of blood orange for garnish

luxardo cherry

ice

 

This recipe is super simple. Stir together the bourbon, amaretto, both juices, and agave nectar until all of the agave nectar dissolves. Add in the ice and stir some more. Finish with a luxardo cherry and a slice of blood orange for garnish.