Tag Archives: sweets

One Delicious Pecan Tart

pecan pie

Ingredients:

Tart:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 cups chopped toasted pecans
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Steps:

Crust:

Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.

Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in–you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.

Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, whisk will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds.

Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and , very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

How to press the dough into pan
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_vsVYhJZGIrw/R_tZaVgvuVI/AAAAAAAAIRs/4Y5ERgrOsy0/s1600-h/pressing%2Bcrust.jpg

To press the dough into the pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked.

Don’t be too heavy-handed–press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To partially or fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust.

(Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet to bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a coking rack (keep it in is pan).

Filling:

While the crust is baking make the filling: In medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts and the vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. (If the crust has cooled, return it to the oven for 5 minutes to warm through.)

Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth. Put the pie shell on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the hot crust.

Reduce the oven Temperature to 175 degrees C.

Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 40 to 45 minutes. (If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil half way during baking.) Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

The above recipe is adapted from the following two recipes:
http://cafejohnsonia.com/2008/04/dorie-greenspans-sweet-tart-dough.html
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/pecan-pie-recipe.html?oc=linkback


Though I am not the most dedicated baker and I have probably made less than 10 pies in the past 4 years, I would still like to say that I have not been completely satisfied with the crusts of any of the pies that I made. Filling is just so much easier to make than the crust! Somehow, the crusts always ended up being either a little too dry or a little too hard. So, instead of making a pecan pie, I decided to make a pecan tart for our New Year’s house party.

Since the crust recipe did not call for kneading nor rolling, I really started to doubt the recipe when I was pressing the dough crumbs onto the pie pan (see the photo link above). Especially since I made the crust in winter so the butter stayed pretty cold, it was hard to stick the dough together. I added an extra york in but I think it is also OK to add a little bit of ice water to moisturise the dough. Just make sure it’s not too much water.

The tart had the exact same tart consistency as the strawberry tarts found at Japanese cake shops and cafes. I was pleased. It is going to become my go-to recipe for sweet pie crust. It is delicious!

Serve it with whip cream, but remember not to add too much sugar to the whip since the pie is rather sweet.

delicious pecan tart

Crispy Oatmeal Cookies – Making the Best of Such on Your First Try

crispy oatmeal cookies

I am the only person I know who likes crispy cookies.

I have been studying ways of making crispy cookies and I would say that my biggest discovery is to make cookies by using granulated sugar. It appears that yellow sugar or brown sugar will likely give cookies a softer texture.

Like many of you, being a food enthusiast, I often search for new recipes online and see if I can make the best version of such and such. I wonder if what I am about to share is just common sense in the world of food enthusiasts (I hate stating the obvious, so please forgive me if it is). Instead of trying out a few of different recipes and see which one is the best, what I do every time I try to make something I’ve never made before is to compare a number of recipes of the same dish, combine or take out a few things, take some mental notes and then begin. Compare the similarities and the dissimilarities. Usually, by reading a few number of recipes, you will get to see what are the essential ingredients and what can be without. What needs to be done before what is extremely important. If you read through the steps and have a pretty good understanding of the process of making any particular dish, even if you’ve never made it before, the failure rate would be drastically lowered. If you are a picky eater like me, this tip can be a life-saver. I really don’t like wasting food and I really really don’t like eating stuff that doesn’t taste good, not even if it’s something I made.

crispy oatmeal cookies

I went through about 20 different recipes and decided to go with the following 2:

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/dishing/2013/04/the_fabulous_oa.html
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/thin-and-crispy-oatmeal-cookies/

Here’s how it looks when they are side by side:

crispy oatmeal cookies recipe

The two recipes look fairly similar, though one claims to yield 4 dozen and the other one claims 2…

Here’s what I get out of using the two recipes together:

  • Baking power, chocolate chips and raisins can be included or can also be left out
  • Follow whichever one when it comes to the proportions of butter v.s. flour; you can adjust the amount of flour during the process, see if your dough is too wet or too dry but keep the amount between 1 cup to 1 1/2 cup
  • Adjust the proportion of brown sugar v.s. granulated sugar to your liking, but brown sugar and granulated sugar should add up to an amount between 1 1/4 cup to 1 3/4

Voila! Make them exactly the way you like them even if it’s something you’ve never made before. Mine were very crispy, not dry, with lots of raisin and a little bit of chocolate chips, exactly how I wanted them to be.

 

 

Le Salon Jacques Borie

Amazing french desserts at Le Salon Jacques Borie
Amazing french desserts at Le Salon Jacques Borie

Yesterday, we were at Le Salon Jacques Borie located on the 4th floor of Isetan Department Store in Tokyo.

They had a cartful of traditional(at least they looked so to me) French desserts. Some I had seen, some I had never seen and some I felt like I may have tried before but couldn’t remember. My knowledge of French isn’t great. It was a small, fancy-looking cafe. Maybe I would call it a tea room rather than a cafe, but calling it a tea room doesn’t do it justification since the place was not in any way British.

Anyways, I am going to keep this post short. The place was a bit pricy. We chose 3 different kinds of desserts from the cart to share. There were three of us. Each of us got a drink, coffee or tea. It came up to about 7000 yen. Not cheap. But their desserts were insanely good. Part of the reason why they were so good was the reason that there were a lot of fancy dessert items that I’d never seen before. I love food, I love food that’s delicious but I really really love delicious food that I have never seen before.

A RING-SHAPED CAKE MADE FROM A CHOU PASTRY, FILLED WITH PRALINE CREAM AND COATED WITH FLAKE ALMONDS
A RING-SHAPED SPONGE CAKE, IMPREGNATED WITH A CITRUS AND SPICES SYRUP FLAVOURED WITH RUM

Found their English Menu online today. I didn’t not know what I ate yesterday. Someone please enlighten me, tell me what they are in French.

 

 

Did I ever tell you that I’d never seen so many French products before I got to Tokyo? Food, make-up, clothing, interior items and store exterior. French or French-inspired things are everywhere in Tokyo. Coming from Canada, I thought I would have seen my fair share of French things. But since I  lived in Vancouver,  it probably doesn’t apply. The name, Le Salon Jacques Borie made me assume that it’s a famous French franchise, but it actually wasn’t so. The waiter told us that Chef Jacques Borie is a famous chef in Japan. He is/was (at the age of 60-something, he might have retired) the chef at Shiseido Parlour. Shiseido as in the make-up brand Shiseido? You might ask. Guess what, I don’t know. I am still trying to find out if it is related to Shiseido the make-up company or not.

I was lucky today and got to take a photo with chef Jacques Borie himself.
I was lucky today and got to take a photo with chef Jacques Borie himself.

Located in Isetan Department store in Tokyo. I thought it’d be a great place to go and just have coffee when you get tired of shopping. It turned out to be a lot fancier than I thought. Such impressive desserts though. I would go again when I felt the need to spoil myself.

For expensive but insanely good desserts: http://parlour.shiseido.co.jp/lesalon/index.html

expensive but insanely good desserts at Le Salon