White Peaches and Raspberries with White Chocolate Mousse Tart

White Peaches and Raspberries with White Chocolate Mousse Tart

Peach and Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse Tart

This is a simple way to use those wonderful fresh fruits.  I had some excellent white peaches, soft and really juicy, and great raspberries recently so for a dinner with friends I made this wonderful tart.

Peach

I did manage to destroy it on the trip over and ended up with a giant blob.  It was wonderful tasting but not so pretty anymore, so I can say that I wouldn’t recommend it to take anywhere – eat it at home and don’t try to take it out in 110 degrees!
Printable Peach and Raspberry White Chocolate Tart
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package frozen puff pastry dough (the type I buy comes with 2 rectangles, I only used one but you could use another layer between the peaches and raspberries if you wanted)
  • 3 c Heavy cream
  • 12 ounces white chocolate melted (or 8 ounces of milk, semi-sweet or dark chocolate)
  • 4 fresh peaches sliced thinly and dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries

First thaw  the pastry dough.  I wanted a circle because I thought the peaches would arrange nicely so I rolled it and cut into a 10 inch circles but you could just use the dough in the rectangle shape it comes in.  I baked the scraps  of dough as well to use as decoration on the top.  Place the dough on cookie sheets, prick with a fork and bake according to the package directions until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
In medium-sized microwave safe bowl melt the white chocolate and 1/2 cup cream on high, stirring and checking at 30 seconds, then at 15 second intervals until white chocolate is almost melted.  Stir until white chocolate is completely melted. Cool to room temperature.
In chilled med bowl place remaining cream. Beat with mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold half the whipped cream into white chocolate. Fold in remaining cream just until blended.
Place one layer of the pastry on the serving dish.  Spoon a thick layer of the mousse mixture on (a little less than half), then layer the peaches, saving a few slices for decoration. Spoon on another layer of the mousse, reserving a small amount for decoration and arrange the raspberries on top.  Use the pieces of the pastry dough as decoration.

Recipe Test:  Cook's Illustrated Chicken Canzanese

Recipe Test: Cook's Illustrated Chicken Canzanese

Cook's Illustrated Chicken Canzanese


This weekend’s episode was Chicken Canzanese and it looked so good I had to give it a try.  I was not disappointed nor was the family!  The chicken skin was crisp, the interior was moist and the sauce was fantastic.    This is a chicken meal that you could definitely serve to company and was perfect for a nice Sunday dinner.  It isn’t really a mid-week meal as it took too long, but it was well worth it if you have the time.  Of course, since I could easily live on just mashed potatoes and gravy (well except for pizza and maybe some desserts) of course I had to make some mashed potatoes to go with it, and for the almost healthy vegetable, some brown sugar glazed carrots.  (Did I mention the sauce was phenomenal – potatoes and gravy for lunch anyone?)  The recipe for Cook’s Illustrated Chicken Canzanese is here.  It uses simple, fresh ingredients and instructions that were easy to follow.  I did make a double batch and used bacon because I didn’t have prosciutto but otherwise did exactly what the recipe called for.  I give it a full five stars and according to the family ratings – once a week, once a month, once a year and please, please never again – it rated a once a week!

The Daring Baker's Challenge – Candy and another French lesson

The Daring Baker's Challenge – Candy and another French lesson

Filled Chocolates White Chocolate and Pate de Fruit, White Chocolate Lime Ganache, Dark Chocolate Honey Almond Paste and Dark Chocolate Honey Caramel, Red Pepper Flakes, Sea Salt and Lime


It’s no secret that I am all in when it comes to any kind of sweets and the entire family are chocoholics so it was no wonder that this challenge was a winner in our household!  I made a variety of filled white and dark chocolates (honey caramel and chili peppers, lime cream, brown sugar almond paste and Raspberry Pate de Fruit (the learning French part – if I keep doing these challenges soon I’ll be fluent) and a Raspberry Pate de Fruit.
The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
The gracious hosts provided an excellent and very complete roadmap to making, tempering, dipping and molding the chocolates as well as some non-chocolate candy instructions here.  What a wonderful reference for when the holidays come around! I followed their directions (using the seeding method of tempering) with a few additions of my own.
Printable Version
Son was leaving for college so I made his favorite first, white chocolate filled with white chocolate lime ganache:
12 ounces white chocolate
1/2 cup cream
2 limes zested and juiced (4 key limes if you can find them)
2 tablespoons butter (optional if you want a softer more liquid filling)
1 additional lime for garnish

White Chocolate Lime Ganache


Add all ingredients into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute, stir and then heat in 15 second increments until melted and smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Temper the chocolate then I know this is probably awful, but I found it easier to fill the molds using a large plastic squeeze bottle.  I’ve never been neat in the kitchen (as Husband, aka official cleaner upper will attest to) so this helps me a lot.

Prep for Molded Chocolates


I used a silicone mini-muffin pan (there are no tiny bite eaters here) to make the molded chocolates.  It worked perfectly and each candy popped out with ease.

Fill the bottom of the mold with a layer of white chocolate


Using two spoons place a small amount of the cooled lime ganache in each cup


Fill the cups with white chocolate


Made one with raspberry filling


Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes until set.  Then they popped right out.
Next came the Pate de Fruit.  I followed the recipe given in the challenge for strawberry ones, but instead using raspberries and made one small addition. Lucky for me I’m not a professional and have no training, so it never bothers me to mess with tradition since I usually don’t know any better and sometimes it works, sometimes not.  After seeing that several people had trouble with it setting, I cheated and added just a pinch of gelatine.  Whether that had anything to do with it I’m not sure, but they came out with a great texture.

After blending and straining the fruit I brought all the ingredients to a boil and cooked


And cooked and cooked and cooked


and finally it was thick


and in the pan to cool


After they set I used a small cookie cutter to make the shapes.
Then it was time for the dark chocolate lovers (the other half of the family).  I had a little more trouble tempering the dark due to the high temperatures here even with ac it was still 78 so it took a while to get the chocolate down to 80.
For some additional fillings I used some things I have made before honey caramel and honey almond paste to add to the lime ganache and Pate de Fruit.  Using the same technique as the white chocolate I made the dark chocolate candy.  Just for Husband was the honey caramel with red pepper flakes and sea salt topped with a little lime!

White Chocolate with White Chocolate Lime Cream Candy


Lots of Candy


What great fun!

Cheesecake Custard Parfait with Fresh Fruit

Cheesecake Custard Parfait with Fresh Fruit

Cheesecake Custard Parfait


I’ve had such good luck with the summer fruits I just couldn’t resist getting more. This time they were even better, the raspberries and cherries were great and  I have never seen such large white peaches – only 5 of them weighed over 4 pounds and they were sweet and juicy!

Giant White Peaches and cherries


Since Son is about to go back to college and of course I bought the industrial size package of cherries, I needed a way to use them fast.  Not a surprise, cheesecake came up but to compromise (since we’ve had several cheesecakes in the very recent past) I decided on the parfait which is simple, no baking (or hot oven) and they just look beautiful.  You can substitute any fruits you have for the peaches and cherries.
Printable Recipe for Cheesecake Custard Parfait with Fresh Fruit
Ingredients:

  • 1 pounds of fresh peeled diced peaches (2-3 medium or 1 giant)
  • 2 cups of pitted and sliced cherries
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup of half and half cream (you can use whole milk if you prefer)
  • 5 tbsp. of sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. of cornstarch
  • 6 ounces of cream cheese (just enough left for the cooks breakfast bagel)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. of almond or vanilla extract
  • 1 cup(s) of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pound(s) of fresh fruit and cookies for garnish (I used peaches, cherries, raspberries and chocolate drizzled shortbread cookies from the store)
Procedure:
  1. Place peaches, cherries and brown sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until the fruit is soft and has released some of its juice – about 15 minutes.  Cover with plastic and set aside in refrigerator.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of the half and half and the sugar to a boil.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer using the whip attachment, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining half and half together.
  4. With the mixer on its lowest speed, add the boiling milk in a very slow stream into the egg yolk mixture.
  5. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisking constantly, cook over low heat for about 2 minutes until it thickens.

    Incorporating the cream cheese

  6. Add the cream cheese and extract and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

    Cheesecake Custard ready to chill

  7. When the custard is well chilled, whip the heavy whipping cream to soft peaks and then on the lowest speed, add the custard in small amounts until it is well mixed.

    Custard and cooked fruit

  8. Remove 1/2 of the mixture to a separate bowl. Add the cooked fruit to the remaining half, gently folding it into the custard/whipped cream mixture.
  9. In serving glasses or cups, layer the custard and fruit custard with fresh peach slices, cherries or other fruits and garnish with a small cookie.
This will make 6-8 parfaits depending on how much fruit and what size cups you use.

Cheesecake Custard Parfait with Fresh Fruits

A quinceanera, another birthday and Peanut Butter Cup Cake and Cupcakes

A quinceanera, another birthday and Peanut Butter Cup Cake and Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cup filled Chocolate Cake and Cupcakes


More birthdays, they just keep coming (not mine this time).  I’ve just returned from my niece’s quinceanera, which was beautiful as was she!  There was a lovely ceremony held on the beach then a great reception.  Her aunt made the cakes and decorations and there were amazingly beautiful flowers and scenery so I took lots of pictures.

Cake Table


Pier at sunset


Sunset over the water


And now for the food:  a friend’s daughter recently had a birthday so I made this arrangement with a small cake, cupcakes and mini-cupcakes with peanut butter cup filling and peanut butter buttercream icing using The Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing recipe.  I’ve tested this recipe before and it is a great one but this time I added the peanut butter cup filling rolled into balls and placed in the batter which made them even better.
The filling recipe is:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 6 teaspoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a microwave safe bowl, warm the butter and peanut butter for about 30 seconds and mix until it is smooth and slightly melted.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until it is thick enough to roll.  You may need slightly more or less sugar.  Roll the mixture into small, medium and larger balls for the mini-cupcakes, cupcakes and cake.  I made a single batch which made a small 6 inch cake and a dozen regular and a dozen mini-cupcakes.

Birthday Peanut Butter Cake and Cupcakes


Just place the balls in a ring around the bottom of the cake, and one in each cupcake and pour the batter over them and bake according to the directions in the recipe piping with the peanut butter icing when they are cool.  I added some flower candies or if you had them you could use a mini peanut butter cup.