Mini Fruit Tartlets with Mascarpone Filling

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mini Fruit Tartlets with Mascarpone Filling

Okay, I'm writing this post during commercials while watching the Olympics. I'm one of those crazy Olympic watchers that walks into work completely sleep deprived everyday for 17 days. I love the Olympics!

Wedding Dessert Bar - The Food Librarian - July 2012
I made these mini fruit tarts for the wedding buffet earlier this month. Originally, I planned to fill them with lemon curd, but the curd didn't firm up enough for my liking (don't worry, we just ate the lemon curd later) so I improvised and made a mascarpone cream filling and topped it with fruit. I think that was even better! I'm going to make that from now on.

Wedding Dessert Bar - The Food Librarian - July 2012 
The tart dough is from Sweet Miniatures: The Art of Making Bite-Size Desserts by Flo Baker. This is a wonderful book with so many great ideas and hints for making small desserts. I picked up these mini tart tins at Sur la Table years ago....I haven't seen them since though. I think these from Amazon are pretty close. 

  Wedding Dessert Bar - The Food Librarian - July 2012 
Miniature Tartlet Pastry
From: Sweet Miniatures: The Art of Making Bite-Size Desserts

Makes 8 dozen round fluted miniature tartlet shells, 1 1/2 inch diameter

2 1/2 cups (350 grams) unsifted all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Flo Baker has excellent instructions in her sure to pick it up for full directions and hints.

1. Put flour, salt, sugar in food processor. Pulse a couple times to blend. Scatter butter slices on top, and pulse in one second intervals until mixture is like cornmeal.
2. Whisk egg and vanilla together. With motor on, pour egg mixture into tube. Process until it forms a ball (doesn't take very long!). Remove and press together until smooth.
3. Pinch about 1 teaspoon of dough (depends on the size of your tart shell) and roll into a ball. Drop into the tin, and press into tin. As Flo suggests, I pinch off the dough and roll all the balls, then press all the dough into the tins. I highly suggest watching TV while doing this as it is very assembly line.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Cool on rack. Gently squeeze them out of tins.

Flo says you keep unfilled shells in an airtight container for up to a 1 week. I prepped all the tins and froze them (with dough in the shell). The day before the wedding, I baked them from the frozen state...just added a few minutes to the baking time.

Mascarpone Cream Filling
8 ounce tub of mascarpone cream (I used one from Trader Joe's)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream, chilled

In a mixer with whisk attachment, whisk together the mascarpone cream and sugar until blended. Add the heavy cream and whisk together until desired consistency. It will be stiff. I used an off-set spatula to fill my little tartlet shells. Next time, I think I might put it into a piping bag and pipe the filling.

Fill tart shell with mascarone cream filling.
Top with fresh fruit. I didn't use a glaze - just put strawberries and blueberries on top. If you want to use a glaze, heat some red currant jelly or strained apricot jam, and brush on top of the fruit.

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London Olympics 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mini Olympic Donuts

Are you excited?! I'm clearing off my DVR, making tea and scones, and reading about Los Angeles, UCLA, and California athletes heading to the games (I cheer for the whole team...but take special interest in the locals!)

Made these mini donuts a few years ago... and love them every couple years when the Olympics comes around!
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Nectarine Upside-Down Muffins

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nectarine Upside-Down Muffins
Nectarine Upside-Down Muffins

So, how is your summer coming along? Vacations? Family visits? Trips to Disneyland? Sweltering in the heat? We've been fortunate in Los Angeles to be having a pretty easy summer (I live near where you get "ocean breezes" so it's always pretty nice - I don't take this for granted :). We even had some rain in July. There were many tweets about it.

I'm looking forward to a trip to San Francisco next month. Perhaps we'll have a brunch and I can make these upside-down muffins for friends. I suggest you do. Your friends will love them.

Nectarine Upside-Down Muffins
You start these muffins with a well-buttered muffin tin. A bit of brown sugar goes on the bottom, then a few slices of nectarines. I eat a minimum of two nectarines a day all summer! This recipe used about 2 nectarines. The batter goes on top and the dozen muffins bake in a hot oven.

Nectarine Upside-Down Muffins
This was the first time making these muffins from The Art & Soul of Baking  (Easy Morning Muffins with Raspberries -- altered to be upside-down muffins). What took me so long? The muffin is delicious! Also, the muffin has a lovely crown and it doesn't flatten. Therefore, they didn't sit flat when turned upside down. But that just gave them a cute slant like a Weebles toy.

Nectarine Upside-Down Muffins
Adapted from the Easy Morning Muffins in the Art & Soul of Baking, page 148 (find it in your library via WorldCat)

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 stick (3 ounces) butter
Zest of one lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (I added this because I think ginger goes great with fruit)

2 medium nectarines, ripe but still firm
Light brown sugar (1 1/2 teaspoons per muffin)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Butter 12-cup muffin tin generously. I melted the remaining 1/4 of stick of butter and used that to spread in the tins.
3. Place 1 1/2 teaspoons of light brown sugar in each muffin tin. Lightly pat down.
4. Place 3-4 thin slices of nectarine (leave the peel on) on the bottom of each muffin tin. Set aside muffin tin while you make the batter.
5. Melt the 3/4 stick of butter in a saucepan or microwave, then pour into small bowl. Add the zest and buttermilk and let sit for a few minutes to cool off. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
6. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
7. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour the butter/egg mixture into the dry ingredients and quickly fold together. Don't overmix. Don't worry if you have a few small lumps.
8. Using an ice cream scoop, dish batter on top of the fruit in the muffin tins.
9. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.
10. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and then carefully turn over the muffin tin onto a sheet tray.

Read the book for more yummy recipes and variations!

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Wedding Dessert Bar for L & C

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wedding Dessert Bar Collage #1
My cousin's friends threw a cocktail party with a very surprise announcement: They got married a few hours earlier on the coast of Los Angeles!

Wedding Dessert Bar Collage #2
I made a few things for the party. I learned a lot from Jun's Wedding Buffet (see the post here). This party was for 50 people (Jun's was 125) so I felt like I could handle it better. I made a few things beforehand and froze the dough (cookies, cream puffs, tartlets). I'll try to post recipes in the next few weeks!

Fruit Tartlets with Mascarpone Sream
Carrot-Ginger Mini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies topped with sea salt
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bites
Vanilla Cream Puffs

Congrats L & C! Wishing you many years of happiness!
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Meyer Lemon Muffins - Los Angeles Times

Monday, July 9, 2012

Meyer Lemon Muffins
Meyer Lemon Muffins from the Los Angeles Times

My dad has a meyer lemon tree and I always have a few lemons around. I know...I'm totally lucky! If you happen to have access to some meyer lemons, try this muffin!

Meyer Lemon Muffins
This recipe comes from the Los Angeles Times Food Section... my favorite reading of the week. I changed up the topping a bit, but hope to try the original soon. The original has a cinnamon-sugar mixture with a thin slice of lemon on top.

Meyer Lemon Muffins
You take two Meyer Lemons and process them...skins and all. I don't think you should do this with a regular lemon. Meyer lemons have thinner skin and are sweeter than regular lemons. The muffins don't rise very much.

Meyer Lemon Muffins

Meyer Lemon Muffins
Los Angeles Times
I adapted the Meyer Lemon Muffins that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, but I changed up the topping. I skipped the cinnamon, sugar, thin slice of lemon topping for a powdered sugar/lemon glaze.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 Meyer lemons
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep muffin tins with liners or Pam with Flour spray.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. Cut two of the lemons into 1-inch pieces. Remove the seeds. Put them in a blender or food processor and pulse until the lemon is finely chopped. (I would only make this recipe with Meyer lemons, not regular lemons.)
4. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the milk, butter and chopped lemon mixture, and stir to combine.
5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the lemon mixture. Stir just until all ingredients are moistened.
6. Spoon the batter into muffin pans, making about 18 muffins.
7. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
8. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
9. Glaze: Combine powdered sugar with enough lemon juice to make a glaze. Pour over the muffins.
Note: The LA Times recipe has a cinnamon, sugar, lemon slice topping. Please see the recipe for those instructions.
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Nectarine Buttermilk Upside-Down Cake - Bi-Rite Creamery

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake
Nectarine Buttermilk Upside-Down Cake

Oh stone fruit. You rock my world. 

Have you been to Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco? Oh, some of the best ice cream around! They have two books in print. I picked up Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food: A Grocer's Guide to Shopping, Cooking & Creating Community Through Food at the library. I've never been to the market, but it is on my list for my next visit. 

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake
I used Mango Nectarines to make this cake. I get them from Ken's Top Notch Produce - he's in many Southern California farmer's market. These nectarines are the best...I mean, the BEST. I load up on them every week during the summer.
Nectarine Upside-Down Cake
Melt some butter and brown sugar and pour into the bottom of a 9" x 3" pan. A scattering of sliced nectarines are placed on top. The simple buttermilk cake batter goes on top...and in about an hour, you have something yummy!

This recipe for Nectarine Buttermilk Upside-Down Cake is in the Market cookbook (page 147) and you can use pears, apples or other stone fruits. 

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake
Nectarine Buttermilk Upside-Down Cake

Adapted from: Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food: A Grocer's Guide to Shopping, Cooking & Creating Community Through Food
Find it on Amazon or in your library (WorldCat listing)

Topping (placed on the bottom of the pan):
6 Tablespoons or 3 ounces or 3/4 of a stick of butter
3/4 c (150 grams) light brown sugar
4 medium ripe nectarines, cut into 1/2" slices (I used three large mango nectarines)

Melt the butter and the brown sugar. Stir until smooth. Place in the bottom of a 9" x 3" round pan.
Arrange fruit on the bottom in a pretty pattern.

6 Tablespoons or 3 ounces or 3/4 of a stick of butter, softened
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup (6 3/4 ounce) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher slat
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together the flour, powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar in a mixer with paddle attachment until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well between each addition.
On slow, alternately add 1/2 the flour, followed by the milk, then remaining of the flour mixture. Add the vanilla. Do not overbeat.
Spoon batter over the fruit mixture.
Bake in the center oven for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let rest on a wire rack for 30 minutes and then invert onto a serving platter.
Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

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Strawberry Shortcake Cookies - Martha Stewart

Monday, July 2, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

It's now the season where you can get a flat of strawberries at the farmer's market for $8-10. Awesome. I usually pick up a three pack every week. Love strawberries in yogurt, just plain and in dessert. These are Strawberry Shortcake Cookies from Martha Stewart.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
These cookies are supposed to be like a traveling strawberry shortcake. Um, I'd rather have a real strawberry shortcake. They were okay, but they didn't rock my world.

If you want to bake with strawberries, I would go for Joy the Baker's Strawberry Upside Down cake or Martha Stewart's Strawberry Cake in a pie pan.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

From Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart Living, June 2009

12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons, 3/4 of a stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Combine the cut strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. 
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. 
Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 
Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
Drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment (I used a small cookie scoop).
Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool.
These cookies don't keep. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
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