sweet

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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Tea poached pears with crème fraîche

 
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The recipe for these tea poached pears are something I developed for Camille Style's Entertaining With series. They smell like fall, and the sweetness of the honey is balanced out by the tartness of the crème fraîche. Hope you like it!

 

Tea poached pears with crème fraîche (Serves 4)

1 cup black tea (I used ginger peach tea)

1/4 cup honey

6 cardamom pods (lightly crushed)

2 pears

crème fraîche 

 

Combine the tea, honey and cardamom in a pot what will fit the 4 pear halves in one layer but will still be pretty snug. Heat at medium heat until the honey dissolves completely. Place the pear halves with the sliced side down. Increase the heat to medium high and cover with a lid. Once you boil for 15 minutes with the lid on, start checking every few minutes until the liquid becomes thick and viscous while also making sure not to burn it off. Keep heating until the pears look done, it should be slightly brown and soft. If your liquid has mostly boiled off but the pears don't look ready, add more tea. Let them cool and serve with a smear of crème fraîche.

 

Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream

 

 

I have fond memories about peaches as a kid. My favorite candy flavor was peach, mostly because of the flavor, a little because I loved pink. I love their juiciness, and I would naturally wait until the last minute to eat them when the skin becomes soft and mushy. And most of all, peaches still have their seasons. They aren't like bananas or apples in the way that you can get them all year round. I always look forward to the summer each year because that's when white flesh peaches would hit the grocery stores. Something about their seasonality makes me miss them and appreciate them even more. So while you can still find them in the stores, please go make this ice cream, and you can enjoy them for a while until you finish the entire batch... for Anthony and I, that's about 2 weeks ;) 

 

Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup sugar (1/2 cup sugar x 2)

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

6 large egg yolks, beaten with a fork

2 pounds of peaches

1/2 cup buttermilk

 

Pit and dice the peaches. Simmer the fruit with 1/2 cup of sugar until the peaches become soft. Purée in a food processor.

In a double boiler, heat the heavy cream and 1/2 cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves. Slowly add the cream mixture into the yolk while whisking until a third of the mixture is used. Pour the yolk + cream mixture into the left over cream mixture (in the double boiler) while whisking. Turn the heat back on to medium-low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. When you feel the mixture thicken, draw a line through the mixture on the back of the spoon, and take off from heat when the mixture doesn't run. Let chill and strain.

Combine the peaches, strained custard, and buttermilk in a tupperware and chill overnight. Churn the ice cream!

 

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 Ice Cream

 

The combination of lemon and cream is one of my favorite things in the world. And lemon is such a generic fruit, it sounds like it should be a common flavor for ice cream but I don't remember ever seeing it in stores or at ice cream shops. There's nothing sour about this ice cream, just the perfect amount of tanginess and a hint of zest for a sophisticated finish. If you want another lemon dessert recipe, check out my lemon marshmallows.

 

Lemon Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream

6 egg yolks, whisked

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup lemon juice (juice of about 2 lemons)

2/3 cup sugar

zest of 3 medium sized lemons

 

Zest the lemons with a microplane zester, being careful to only get the yellow parts. This is really important, or else you will get the rinds and will turn your ice cream very bitter. Cut and juice them once you're done.

In a food processor, pulse the sugar with the lemon zest until it is thoroughly mixed and the sugar becomes yellow. 

Combine the sugar, cream, and whole milk into a double boiler. Fill the bottom with water and heat on medium heat, just until the sugar dissolves. You don't want to get this mixture too hot or else you might have egg drop soup instead of custard. Pour a little bit of this mixture into a bowl with the egg yolks while whisking. Once everything is mixed, pour a little more of the cream mixture and repeat until you use up about a third of the cream mixture. Pour the cream + yolk mixture back into the double boiler. Turn the heat on again (medium heat) and constantly mix with a wooden spoon. Once the custard starts to form, you can feel the spoon get heavy as you mix. At this point, check the consistency by running a finger down the back of the spoon. If the custard doesn't run and the line you made sticks, you're done.

Remove the pan from the heat and let cool 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice and mix once the waiting time has passed. Strain and pour into a container, cover, and chill in the fridge overnight. 

After the custard has chilled, churn the custard in your ice cream machine and let harden in the freezer for a couple hours.