Category Archives: Sweet Stuff

Mazarin Tarts


I saw a link to a Mazarin Kage on Facebook and when I read how to make it, my mouth started watering.

But not for the cake per se, I wanted the tart.

It’s been years and years and years since I’ve had a taste of a Mazarin Tart.

I did wipe the drool off the keyboard, and continued to my cookbooks and decided to see if I had a recipe in one of them that I could follow.

There was a Danish baker in the town I grew up in, where we would get all our special occasion ‘cakes’ or special treat cakes.   They weren’t cakes as Americans think, they were more small tarts.

But oh, they were so good.   And the funny part is that I didn’t care for this particular tart that much back then, but for some reason, I’ve now decided I liked it more than I realized.

Confused?  I am.

So I decided to do a search and see if I could find a recipe online.   I found lots for Mazarin Kage.

I found a recipe here as well as here  and here and now cannot find the original posting I read.   sigh

And then there is this recipe over at My Danish Kitchen.  So many recipe sources and yet…

I wanted a tart recipe!!!

As I remember the Mazarin Tarts from childhood, they had a pastry bottom and there was a kind of  marzipan for the filling.   And they had a glaze icing on top.

I found a recipe in a cookbook one of my sisters gave me a few years ago, but it was for the cake, not the tarts.   But, that was the only recipe I found.  (And can I show off my very red face here?  I just got an email from the very sister who gave me the cookbook, showing me the recipe I managed to not see, my first 3 times through the cookbook.)

Amazing…  I do have several Danish cookbooks.   Oh well.  Just didn’t have what I wanted.

BTW…   The Mazarin Kage/Tart was named after an Italian Cardinal named Mazarin.
Just thought I would throw in a mini, very mini, historical reference there.

Then I found a couple of recipes for tarts and I was happy.   But, since I’m the cook baker here, we’re going to do it my way.

And I got to use my new food processor as well.

So here goes.

First off I mixed up the pastry in the food processor and managed to get it out without cutting myself on the blades this time.
It was a personal victory, OK?

I formed the pastry into a flat disk and put it in the fridge to rest a little.
After the workout the food processor gave it, it needed a time out.

I then made the filling, and got to use the processor again.

I think I love it.

Sorry,

At any rate here is the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  This recipe yielded 48 mini tarts.
Pastry:
1 1/2 cups flour
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

Filling:
1 tube Almond Paste, 6 oz.   I like Odense brand for this. Cut into small chunks or grated.
4 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 tsp. Lemon Extract or Almond extract.  (I used some of my homemade Lemon Extract for this.  For more of an almond flavour use the almond extract)

Place the flour, sugar and butter into food processor or cut the butter into the flour and sugar until it is well incorporated.   Add the egg and process just until the dough comes together.  Form into a disk and place into the fridge.

While it is cooling, make the filling.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the butter, sugar and Almond Paste and mix together, until combined.

Add an egg and continue to blend until incorporated, then add the other eggs, blending in between each egg.    Set aside.

Take the dough out of the fridge, cutting  it in half.   Roll out each half on a well floured board.

Cut circles out, either for mini tarts, which is what I made or for full size tarts, making sure the dough disks are slightly larger than the depressions.

 

When you have all the depressions covered, try this little trick.
Using a heavy bottomed shot glass, lower it gently into the cut out round, pressing it into the depression on the tart pan.  You do need to be a little careful here that you don’t tear the dough.  But you can easily press it together if you do.

 

See how perfectly they snuggled into the tart depressions?  Cannot believe how easy this was and is a trick I will continue to use.
Fill the tart shells with some of the filling.

About 3/4 of the way.   The filling will poof up a little, but trial and error showed me they didn’t poof up as much as I thought they might.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes for the mini tarts.

 

I did have to taste test one of them.

It was good.  And one of those I used a scant amount of filling in.   Oh, and I also used my mini scoop to get the filling into each tart shell.   Love my scoops.

You can see the fine crumb in the tart here.

Mix up some glaze with confectioners sugar, a little milk and some vanilla or almond or other extract.   I actually used a scant 1/2 teaspoon bourbon liqueur for flavouring.  I didn’t measure, but it was about a cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of milk and the liqueur.   You want it to be able spread out a little but not too much.
I glazed the tarts while they were still a little warm.  If you put the glaze in a pastry bag you can fancy up the presentation just a tad.  I did circles, thinking they would kinda ooze together and form a nice little ‘cap’ of icing, but they didn’t.
Looked pretty though.

And here they are on a platter at Boat Club.

All of them were eaten.   But, I have to admit to saving a couple out for myself.
Well…
I did bake them.   I also shared a few with a neighbor, I wasn’t totally selfish.

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Cranberry Cream Cheese Tarts


After I made that great pie crust last week and baked up the pumpkin pies, I had some pastry left over.

I did make some leaves and stuff to decorate the pies, however there was still a little dough left so I had some fun.

I rolled out the dough, then pressed them into these little tart pans.

I then grabbed some cream cheese out of the fridge and softened it in the microwave.     Dumped it into a bowl and mixed in some confectioners sugar, and added a teaspoon or so of Grand Marnier.
Then I took the cheese mixture, spooned it into the tart pans

and dolloped some of my Boozy Cranberry Sauce on top.

Recipe:
3 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier

Baked them off until the tops were nicely browned and took them out of the oven.

They were so good.

Really good.

But I had to share them.   The bird wanted a taste and after she’d eaten a nice corner of it, she came back for more.

So this recipe is bird approved.   And if you’re wondering about the bit of alcohol in this, it had cooked off long before she got her beak into the pie.

I’m so going to make some more, but next time I’ll make enough to share with more than the bird.

Here’s the decorated Pumpkin Pies

 

Remarkable Flaky Pie Crust


I posted a recipe for a totally amazing pie crust last year, and while it was good, it wasn’t quite right.

I’d done part of it from memory and part from a scribbled note I’d made at the time, which I totally, ummm, screwed up.

I found the correct recipe last week.

The whole recipe this time, and I made it and then proceeded to bake two pumpkin pies.   I also had some dough left over which I had fun with.  I’ll tell you about that one later on.

I have to say, this is fiddly.   But worth it.   And only three ingredients to worry about.   Just make sure your butter is cold.  And if you happen to have a marble or stainless steel counter or work area, go for it.   I also place a bowl of ice on the stainless top of my little island.  You also need some kind of scraper to get the dough off of the counter.   I used my off-set spatula along with a dough scraper.

Recipe:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting.
8 oz. cold salted butter, cut up into chunks
1/4 cup ice water

To start with, measure out the flour and dump it in the middle of your counter or your pastry sheet.   Then place the cut up butter on top, and toss them together until the butter is covered with flour.

 

(this does get a little messy).   Then using your fingers or the heel of your hand or your rolling pin, press the butter into the flour and roll it.
You’ll get long streaks of butter here, then use the dough scraper and scrape the dough together into a rough pile, use your rolling pin and roll it out again, repeat this a couple of times, then make a well in the middle of the dough pile and add the ice cold water.

 

Work the water into the flour/butter mixture and then roll it together one more time.
Sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto the counter/ pastry sheet you are using.  Then,  roll into a rough rectangle,

 

 

and then fold the dough into thirds, like a letter.  Turn this 90 degrees and roll out again, forming a rectangle.  Repeat the folding and rolling twice more.  The dough will have come together beautifully by now.

Form into a rough disc and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  This gives the flour time to relax, and cool down.   Divide it into two pieces at this point, cause it does make two crusts.
Trust me on this, it’s a lot easier to roll out each piece, rather then fight with one big one.

After the final roll out, form it into a nice round and roll it over the rolling pin,

 

then transfer the pastry sheet to the pan, draping it in the middle.

Fill with your favourite filling, in this case it was pumpkin pie.   And bake.
And this dough also lends itself well to make lattices for the top of the pie.  I haven’t done that in forever, but I think it’s time to give it a try.  It’s kinda hard to overwork this dough, really.
You can make up a couple of batches of this pie crust and freeze it for later on.  And I just got a great tip the other day, a friend said her grandmother would roll out her pie crusts, then freeze it flat, and that way she could whip up a pie in no time at all.   I’m going to be a copy cat and try that myself, just as soon as I get couple of things out of the freezer, and make room for more stuff.

Nutty Persimmon Cake


Nutty Persimmon Cake

It’s that time of the year, and Persimmons are ripe and ready.   You can see them on the trees, these bright orange globes, just hanging, waiting to be picked, eaten and savoured.I stopped by a friends house the other day, and went home with a big bag of Persimmons.   They weren’t quite ripe yet, but were getting close.

The one on the left is ripe, the one on the right is not.

The kind I got was the Hachiya which are best eaten ripe, cause otherwise you pucker right up from the tannins and that’s not fun.  They’re very astringent in other words, when they’re unripe.

It’s really fun to have them sit on the counter and ripen, cause you can tell, just by looking at them when they’re ripe.    The orange globes deepen in color and get totally translucent.   At which point, “THEY’RE RIPE” and need to be eaten or frozen to eat later on.   And they really do feel like filled water balloons when you pick them up.   And so easy to get the pulp out.  Just cut off the top, or twist the calyx off, then use a spoon to scoop it out into a bowl.

Just use your immersion blender to whip it up.

(I bet you can use these in smoothies as well.)

At any rate, I wanted to find a recipe to make with them.   So I googled and read and disseminated a bunch of recipes.   I found this recipe but didn’t want to go out and buy more stuff, and I really only wanted one cake.  I also wanted to use up some of the supplies I had in the cupboard.    So I modified and played with it, and this is what I came up with.   And I found out that most of the recipes had booze in them as well, and gee, guess what, I had booze in my cupboard as well.

The whole process of putting the cake together was kinda fun as well, cause you put the wet ingredients into the dry, which is basically how you can make muffins.

I vacillated between making one cake or a bunch of cupcakes as well.  And ended up baking it in an 8 inch square glass pan.

Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease pan, set aside.
2 cups self rising flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. molasses
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup American Honey bourbon
11/2 cups persimmon puree  (from 3 ripe persimmons)
6 oz. chopped walnuts
1 cup fruit cake mix or dried fruit of your choice, chopped

Sift flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl, add the fruit cake mix or dried fruit, set aside.

Mix the melted butter, persimmon puree, bourbon, eggs together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, then pour the liquids into the well.

Mix until just combined.

Pour into greased pan.  Bake for about an hour, I checked for doneness after 45 minutes, using a toothpick, and gave it another 15 minutes.

Tip out onto a cooling rack after about 10 minutes and let it cool.

**I sprinkled some Turbinado sugar in the bottom of the greased pan before I poured in the batter.   And it did make a lovely caramelized bottom for the cake.

I made a cream cheese frosting for the top, and piped it onto each slice.

Topping:
1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
1 jar Marshmallow Fluff  (7 oz)
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons American Honey Bourbon

Mix together, and taste.  Pipe or spread onto the cooled cake and serve.

When a recipe calls for sifted confectioners sugar, they do mean to sift it before adding it to the frosting.  I had to ‘push’ my frosting through a sieve to get the lumps out.

sigh.

I was just going to take the whole cake, let people cut a slice and then top it themselves with the frosting, but decided at the last minute that I could cut it at home, and then I took the frosting with me in a piping bag and piped it onto the cakes at Boat Club.

And that worked quite well.

I think this cake would be totally awesome served warm with some spiced whipped cream as well.

And guess what, I still have some persimmons left, and as soon as they ripen, they’ll be residing in the freezer until the next time I make this cake.   And I will make it again.

Sugar Cookies


 

Go ahead, tell me that everyone has a sugar cookie recipe that they think is the best.

I won’t argue with you, I’ll just keep making this particular recipe, my way.

Actually this past week was the first time I ever made sugar cookies.

Shocked?

I was, when I started thinking about it.   I’ve never felt the need to make them.  Everyone else makes sugar cookies and decorates them, you can buy the mix, or the pre made, slice and bake cookies, so why would I bother trying my hand at them?

I’m going to bother making them, now.   I started out making a recipe with the Mandarin Fused Olive Oil, then I graduated.

I decided to go online, and searched through my cookbooks trying to find the ‘ultimate’ recipe.
I found lots of recipes, they were all pretty basic.  Some were drop cookies, and others you had to roll out the dough.

But I was searching for one particular recipe.  A friend of mine used to make one with Sour Cream in it, and hers were so good.  But Renée is no longer with us, so I couldn’t call her up and ask for the recipe.

I want to say I made the cookies this way, because I liked hers better than most.

Recipe:

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound)
1 egg
1-2 teaspoons Kahlua  (or some of your or my home made Vanilla Extract)
3 tablespoons Sour Cream
2 1/2 -3 cups good all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (if you are using unsalted butter, if not, omit the salt)
Powdered sugar for rolling out.

Sift all dry ingredients together, and set aside.  If using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, if using salted butter, omit the salt.

Cream the butter, sugar together until light and fluffy, then cream it some more.  Let your stand mixer do the work if you can.   Add the egg and continue to cream, then add the Kahlua and the sour cream.   Continue to mix until they are all incorporated.  Then add half the flour, mix and add the rest.  You will have a very soft batter/dough at this point.  If you feel it is too soft, you can add an additional 1/4 cup of flour.  Take out of bowl, and dump onto a cutting sheet, and divide it into quarters, wrap well, and place in fridge for at least an hour to rest.

Preheat oven to 350 deg.

Grab the powdered sugar out of the cupboard and sift onto the surface where you will be rolling out the dough.

Take one portion of the dough out and roll out thinly, using enough of the powdered sugar to keep it from sticking too much.   Cut into desired shapes and place onto a silpat or parchment covered cooking sheet.
Bake for 7 minutes, turn the pan around, bake an additional 3-5 minutes, or until they are just browned a little.   Remove from oven and place onto a cooling rack.  Continue with the rest of the dough until all the cookies are baked.

I got the hint for using powdered sugar from Alton Brown on Food Network, and will never use flour to roll out my sugar cookies again.  The powdered sugar gave them a lovely little crispness and crunch.

Kiksekage (Danish Biscuit Cake)


Want to make something sinfully delicious, rich and soul satisfying?

Have I got a recipe for you.

If you’re a chocoholic, it’s all  that and more.

I’m talking Kiksekage here.   I made one a few years back, and brought it to Boat Club, but this was in my pre-blog days and all I have left of that experience is a dim, sweet memory and no pictures.

 

I know I have no pictures of it cause I just checked.

I have lots of pictures of my dogs playing on the beach and in the water from that time period, but no pictures of the Kiksekage.

Of course at that time we were ‘homeless and living on the beach’.

Just kidding about the homeless part, we lived in a very nice fifth wheel, but didn’t own a house at the time.    And as I recall, it was hot at the beach in the summer, but we loved it.  And because it was hot, and I didn’t want to cook I happened to make this for a Boat Club potluck that one time, and the fact that Boat Club that year fell on my birthday, well, gee, it was a no-brainer.

It’s been 4 years, and I want another one.  So, since it’s my birthday, I’m going to make one.  And take it with me to NPA tonight.  Gotta share out some of those calories.

I saw this recipe over at the Danish Kitchen, and then I made it my own.  Cause I can.  Well, I kinda followed it mostly, but did put my own twist on it.

Recipe:
8 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate
1 1/3 cup Heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier  (opt.)
7 Tbsp. Butter, cut into chunks
7 oz. Butter Biscuits  I used Pepperidge Farms Chessmen Cookies, but you can use Lorna Doone as well.

Topping:
1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream, whipped with a tablespoon of sugar.

Break the chocolate up into a large bowl, set aside.
Heat cream and confectioners sugar until boiling, making sure to stir the pot from time to time so that it doesn’t scorch.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let sit for a couple of minutes then mix it together with a whisk.  You want the chocolate to soften just a tad so you can mix them together.

Add the Grand Marnier if you want at this point, stir together.   Then add the butter, stirring until it dissolves into the butter.   Place in fridge for a half hour, just to start it to thicken.

In a loaf pan, cut and place parchment paper, one piece lengthwise, the width of the pan, then another piece crosswise, extending it up the sides of the pan.
Unwrap and sample the cookies.  Well, I guess you really don’t need to sample the cookie, but if you want to try one out, you can.
I did.
Take the chocolate out of the fridge and stir it, making sure it is well blended.
Spoon or pour a layer of chocolate onto the bottom of the pan, making a nice layer.

Smooth it out to keep it level.   Place cookies in a single layer across the bottom of the pan, then spoon more chocolate on top.  Make another layer of cookies, more chocolate, then a third or even fourth layer of cookies, making sure you finish with the last of the chocolate.

Place a piece of cling wrap over, and put in the fridge overnight.

Then go and lick the bowl the chocolate was in, just make sure no one’s looking.   I won’t tell if you won’t.

The next day, take the parchment paper by the sides and carefully remove the cake.  Peel back the sides of the paper, and unmold onto a serving plate.

Cut into slices, and serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipping cream.

 

I did say I was taking some to NPA, so I cut them into slices, and I’ll be sharing them soon.

Home Made Lemon Extract


I actually made this out of desperation.

I had a recipe that called for Lemon Extract, but because I read it in a hurry, I totally skipped over the fact that it called for Lemon Extract, a whole 1/2 tsp. and didn’t pick any up at the store, and I had already started making the recipe, and did not want to drive 7 miles to the store, again.

But…

I had some lemon zest in the freezer and a couple of lemons waiting to be sliced up for Ice Tea and there was this bottle of vodka in the cupboard and I went “AHA” and put them all together.

I now have some lovely Lemon Extract waiting to be used.

Waiting…

But in the meantime, the quickie lemon extract I used in the Apple Cake actually worked very well.  There was a little lemony zesty thing going, and I’m quite pleased with myself.

Here’s how I did it.

First off, last fall when I got a surfeit of Meyer Lemons, I made some 3 Citrus Marmalade, then I zested away madly, and finally juiced all the lemons I’d zested.  (Is that a word?, it is now).    I froze the zest because I could, thinking it would come in handy, sooner or later.  So when I needed some for the Lemon Extract I pulled it out and dumped it into the vodka.  And used a half teaspoon of the Lemon Extract right away in the Apple Cake.

I then peeled, very, very carefully, making sure not to get any of that nasty pith, the lemon I had sitting out.  I also zested a couple more lemons, and placed all of that peel and zest into a little glass jar and let it sit, in the cupboard, in the dark.  I do take it out and swirl it around once a day or so, but the magic has already begun.  I open up the jar and inhale this wondrous, lemony scent and I get inspired.

 

If nothing else I can get a nice lemony whiff every day, but I’m thinking of recipes I can use it in.

I know I have some, somewhere…