Chocolate Raspberry Tart

This recipe is from my sister, Meg that she got from a chef that worked at Tuscan Express in Grand Rapids, MI. I found the crust to be a little bit difficult and only rolled out one 10″ tart and used half of the filling mixture and 2.5 pints of raspberries. You can make the tart a day ahead which for me is a huge plus. It is very impressive looking and delicious!

Chocolate Raspberry Tart
Recipe By: Dana, the pastry chef at Charie’s Crab who used to work at Tuscan Express

I use this recipe to make this recipe a 12″ round and three 4″ tarts **note-I made one 10″ and froze the remaining dough.
SWEET DOUGH CRUST:
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter-very cold, (or salted)
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
2 egg yolks
2 T. heavy cream
FOR FILLING:
20 ounce semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
4 pint fresh raspberries, This takes 4 pts. but I usually buy 6 pints so I can pick through for the good ones.

CRUST: Using a food processor, combine butter, sugar, and flour until it resembles course sand. Add yolks and heavy cream. Mix until all ingredients combine. Pour out onto table and kneed together until it forms a ball. Make sure not to over work the dough. Chill 5-10 minutes.
Roll out dough until 1/4 ” thick. Coat tart pan with veggie spray and place dough into pan. Push side of dough down to make sides fit evenly within the pan. Place in freezer 5-10 minutes until chilled. Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes. Prick any bubbles that may form at bottom of pan, then continue to bake until golden brown (12-15 minutes) Cool completely.

FOR FILLING: Place chocolate (chop it up) in a bowl. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat to a boil. Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into tart shell.
Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes .
Place fresh raspberries on the top, close together in a nice pattern of some sort.. Chill a few hours or longer.

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Lemony Farro Orzo Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Mint

This pasta salad is by far the most delicious pasta salad I have ever made! From the NY Times. I love all of the different flavors and textures-especially the apricots and sliced almonds. It makes enough for a crowd or to share with neighbors.

Kosher salt
1 cup farro
2 bay leaves
1 pound orzo
¾ cup diced dried apricots
¾ cup thinly sliced red onion
¾ cup thinly sliced celery
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ cup sliced almonds
2 cups baby spinach leaves (2 ounces)
1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)
½ cup torn mint leaves
½ cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE DRESSING:
2 large lemons
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add farro and bay leaves and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add orzo to the pot and continue to simmer until farro and pasta are cooked through but still al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes longer.
While farro is cooking, prepare the dressing: Finely grate zest from the lemons, and place zest in a large bowl. Squeeze juice from 1 1/2 lemons and add to zest along with salt, pepper and red-pepper flakes, whisking to combine. Gradually whisk in oil. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice from the other lemon half, or both, if needed.
Drain farro-pasta mixture, discarding bay leaves. Add to bowl with dressing and toss well. Stir in apricots. Let farro and pasta cool, soaking up the dressing. This can be done up to 1 day in advance. Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before proceeding.
In a small bowl, combine onions, celery, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and a large pinch of salt. Let sit while the pasta cools, at least 20 minutes.
Just before serving, add onion mixture and almonds to the bowl with the farro and pasta and toss well. Gently fold in spinach, goat cheese, mint and parsley. Taste and add more lemon, red-pepper flakes or salt if needed.
Drizzle with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper before serving.

Savory Leek, Corn, Swiss chard and Gruyere Clafouti

From the wonderful Melissa Clark of the NY Times-this is a wonderful brunch, lunch or light dinner recipe. It’s a cross between a pancake batter poured over sautéed vegetables and a crustless quiche. Very easy to make. Plan on eating it hot out of the oven or warm.

¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup crème fraîche
4 large eggs
2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more as needed
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère or Cheddar (about 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large or 3 small leeks (white and light green parts), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 cups corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears, or frozen and thawed)
1 large garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or minced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (8 cups)
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Fresh lemon juice, for serving
Red pepper flakes, for serving
Flaky salt, for serving

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, whisk together milk, crème fraîche, eggs, flour, parsley, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Whisk in 3/4 cup Gruyère.
Heat olive oil in a 9-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until they are soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in corn, garlic and a pinch of salt; cook until garlic is fragrant and corn is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chard leaves a handful at a time, and cook until they are wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Season the mixture with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Pour crème fraîche mixture over the corn and chard mixture, and then sprinkle the remaining Gruyère and the Parmigiano on top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until custard is lightly set, about 40 minutes. Serve topped with a sprinkling of lemon juice and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Nanaimo bars

A recipe from Vancouver Canada via my friend Jen and the NY Times . My crust was a little crumbly and I think I might add 2 more ounces of butter next time. I also think this bar could be baked in a 9″ square pan. I ordered the Bird’s custard powder from Amazon.

½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups/235 grams graham cracker crumbs
1 cup/85 grams unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup/50 grams finely chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans (or a mixture)
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:
¼ cup/60 grams unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons custard powder, such as Bird’s
2 cups/245 grams confectioners’ (icing) sugar
FOR THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
4 ounces/115 grams semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-inch (1 1/4-centimeter) pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
Line an 8-by-8-inch (20-by-20-centimeter) metal baking pan with parchment, allowing parchment to overhang by about 2 inches (5 centimeters) on two sides.
Prepare the base: In a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water, whisk butter with granulated sugar, egg, cocoa powder and vanilla until melted. Continue whisking until mixture thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in crumbs, coconut and nuts until the mixture is well combined and resembles wet sand.
Transfer mixture to the parchment-lined pan and use your fingers to press it into an even layer. Transfer pan to the refrigerator to chill until firm, at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add heavy cream and custard powder and mix until combined, scraping sides and bottom of the work bowl as needed. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl as needed, then mix on medium-high speed until smooth, light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove pan from refrigerator. Dollop the buttercream on top of the base layer then gently spread it evenly on top using an offset spatula. Transfer pan to the refrigerator to chill until buttercream is set, about 30 minutes.
Prepare the topping: In a small, heavy saucepan or a double boiler, heat the chocolate and butter over low, stirring often, until melted and evenly combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Take pan from refrigerator and pour chocolate on top of buttercream layer. Working quickly and carefully, spread the chocolate evenly over the buttercream using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using.
Return pan to refrigerator and chill until chocolate hardens, about 25 minutes.
To serve the bars: Lift excess parchment to remove Nanaimo square from the pan. Cut into 16 2-inch (5-centimeter) squares. Store bars in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before serving. Store remaining bars in the refrigerator for a few days, or wrap well and freeze.

Citrusy Brisket with Spring Lettuces

From Melissa Clark of the NY Times. Very light and vibrant with citrus flavor.

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) beef brisket
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons finely grated garlic (from about 5 large cloves)
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 large white onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Juice from 2 lemons
Juice from 2 oranges
1 cup dry white wine
FOR THE SALAD:
1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
4 cups spring lettuces or baby spinach
2 cups sliced endive (from 2 to 3 endives)
1 small head radicchio, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup mixed soft herbs (leaves and tender stems), such as dill, basil or tarragon
Season the brisket all over with salt and pepper, then rub the meat with 2 teaspoons grated garlic, thyme and rosemary. Place brisket in a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
When you are ready to cook the brisket, heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 6 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high. Sear the brisket in the oil until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer meat to a plate.
Add remaining 4 tablespoons oil and onions to pot, and sauté until lightly browned on the edges and very tender, about 8 minutes. Return brisket and any juices to the pot with the onions.
Place lemon and orange zests in a small bowl and reserve. Measure out 2 tablespoons lemon juice and reserve for the salad dressing. Pour remaining lemon juice, orange juice and wine over the brisket, then add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the meat (about 1 cup). Bring liquid to a simmer over high heat.
Cover pot, transfer to the oven, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the meat over in the pot and stir in remaining 2 teaspoons garlic. Cover pot and continue to cook until the meat shreds easily with a fork, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer.
Uncover pot, stir in the reserved lemon and orange zests, and continue to cook, uncovered, 15 minutes more.
Just before serving, prepare the salad: In a large bowl, whisk together reserved 2 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic and salt. Let it sit for 1 minute, then whisk in oil. Toss with greens, endive, radicchio and herbs. Taste and add more salt or olive oil, if needed.
Slice meat and serve, with pan juices spooned over and some of the salad piled on top. Serve the rest of the salad in a bowl on the side.

Carrot Pecan Snacking Cake

  • From Food and Wine-another simple snacking cake that does not disappoint!

    2 cups almond flour (about 7 ounces)
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces) or gluten-free all-purpose flour (about 2 3/4 ounces)
    2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 large eggs1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup honey
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract1
    1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (about 2 large carrots)
    3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (about 2 ounces), divided
  • FROSTING
    4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to overhang about 2 inches.

Whisk together flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center of mixture; crack in eggs, and whisk to beat. Add buttermilk, honey, and vanilla; whisk until well blended. Fold in carrots and 1/2 cup pecans. Spoon mixture into prepared baking pan.

Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging, 25 to 27minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove cake from pan using parchment as handles, and let cool on rack to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Make the frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl; beat with a handheld mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and salt; beat just until combined. Add powdered sugar; beat on low speed until just combined; increase speed to medium, and beat until smooth. Spread frosting over cake. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Rancho Gordo Marcella Beans

I discovered Rancho Gordo beans in San Francisco at the Ferry Building and have loved them for years. I had not tried the Marcella bean (named after Marcella Hazen) as it was her favorite bean in Italy. They are now grown in Napa and could not be better. You can order them online at Rancho Gordo or sometimes I find them in Whole Foods.The variety of beans that they sell is amazing!

This is a non recipe-ad libbed with what I had on hand and it could not have been better.
Soak Marcella beans overnight after rinsing.
Sauté onion, carrot, celery in olive oil in pot until soft, add a beautiful ham hock and cook a few more minutes. Add beans and their soaking water and cover by two inches of liquid. Add a bay leaf or two. Slowly simmer until soft-they will practically melt in your mouth. I cooked mine for over an hour and kept them in the bean broth. Season with salt and pepper when soft. Serve with any greens, shaved parmesan and extra virgin olive oil.

Chocolate Snacking Cake with Tangerine Glaze

The third of three in the NY Times article on snacking cakes. I love the idea of a snacking cake, meant to be served in the afternoon, any afternoon, no special occasion necessary! Cake is festive! *I did add an extra tablespoon of juice to the glaze to make it thin enough to glaze the cake.

⅓ cup/80 milliliters neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola, plus more for pan
¾ cup/95 grams all-purpose flour
½ cup/50 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ounces/60 grams chopped dark chocolate (about 1/3 cup)
½ cup/120 milliliters hot coffee
¾ cup/155 grams light brown sugar
⅓ cup/80 milliliters sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE GLAZE:
½ tablespoon finely grated tangerine zest
1 tablespoon tangerine juice *see above
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup/115 grams confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-inch pan and line with parchment paper, letting the two long edges hang over the sides by at least 2 inches.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between. Or you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water on the stove, stirring well. Whisk in hot coffee.
Whisk together flour mixture, coffee-chocolate mixture, brown sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla. Scrape into baking pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top is springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely before glazing.
When cake is cool, make the glaze: Whisk together tangerine zest, tangerine juice and lemon juice, then whisk in confectioners’ sugar. Taste, and if it’s too sweet, add another drop or two of lemon juice. Pour glaze onto cooled cake, and spread to the edges. Let glaze set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I realized I did not have a basic recipe for chocolate chip cookies on my blog so this is a good one from King Arthur Flour. I ground up the oats a little in my mini food processor. I also mixed up the chocolate-I used one cup each of semi sweet chips, milk chocolate chips and Heath toffee bits.

1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon regular table salt
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease with non-stick vegetable oil spray.
Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.
Add the eggs, and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each.
Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.
Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ to 2″ between cookies.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 17 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that’s OK, they’ll continue to bake as they cool on the pan.
Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they’re set enough to handle, transfer them to racks to cool.

Banana Snacking Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze

Another winner from the NY Times!

½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted, plus more for pan
1 ½ cups/185 grams all-purpose flour
¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine salt
1 cup/250 grams mashed banana (from 2 to 3 very ripe bananas)
¼ cup/60 milliliters sour cream
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE GLAZE:
4 tablespoons/65 grams unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into pieces
⅓ packed cup/70 grams dark brown sugar
¼ cup/60 milliliters heavy cream
Large pinch of fine sea salt
¼ cup/30 grams confectioners’ sugar
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-inch pan, and then line with parchment paper, letting the two long ends hang over the edges by at least 2 inches.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt. Whisk in bananas, melted butter, sour cream, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Scrape into baking pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
When cake is cool, make the glaze: In a medium or large pot (not a small one because the mixture will bubble up), combine butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and salt. Bring to a full boil and continue to boil over medium heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth, then immediately pour over cooled cake. Spread evenly across cake and let set for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt before serving.