Baking Chez Moi: Rewind: Cream Cheese and Toast Tartlets

This is the kind of recipe that really makes Baking Chez Moi standout. Every day ingredients in completely new ways.

I really wanted to try this with ciabatta from Noble Bakery but they were down to country loaves. The bread is really what makes this recipe so special.I’m not feeling 100% so I had a major assist from Scott with this one. I cut my bread pretty tiny to begin with. The little roasts are made by browning with butter and then caramelizing with sugar. Afterwards they go into a cinnamon and cocoa dry bath. My house still smells amazing.Once the tarts were baked and the toast was chopped up the only thing left was making a simple cream cheese filling. I couldn’t find actually mini tart pans so I used mini pie pans which weren’t quite as cute but worked out ok. Such a unique and interesting dessert. The little toasts really add interest and elevate the dish. I can see how they could be used in a variety of ways.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Petite Apple Croustades

I love apple season in Arizona and feel super lucky that we got some apples in Sedona on a drive back from Flagstaff.

It was fun to have a variety to try and this recipe was fairly simple in ingredients.

Creating a caramel sauce and cooking down the apples was fun and I love how my kitchen started to smell like fall.Luckily Scott came home in time to help me with the phyllo crust because I had to majorly adjust my strategy. By the end I felt like I had the hang of it and we managed to fill and crinkle all of them.The croustades looked super pretty coming out of the oven. I didn’t take them out after the 5 minute cool down but they ended up coming out ok anyways.They turned out super pretty. Definitely more interesting than a standard apple pie.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Caramel-Topped Rice Pudding Cake

One of the best things about working through this book is baking something that I really have no idea what it is or looks like and forging ahead. I always hope that it looks like the real thing and it’s fun to taste something unexpected.DSC_0093.jpg

The rice pudding cake had almost deceptively simple ingredients.DSC_0096.jpgDSC_0106.jpgThe first portion of this recipe takes short grain rice and turns it into a simple and rich rice pudding.  Mine took quite a bit longer than expected and I only had one boil over (even though I was standing right there).  Easy but definitely time consuming.DSC_0099.jpgDSC_0101.jpgDSC_0103.jpgIn the middle of cooking the pudding you make a caramel sauce.  Reading through this the recipe really reminded me of making flan.  I was really nervous about making the caramel, for such a simple thing it can often be tricky.  This was smooth sailing the whole way and I even got a little up the side of my pan.DSC_0110.jpgDSC_0112.jpgNot sure impressive when it first comes out.  All the drama is when it gets turned out onto a platter.  A tricky move I thought I had pulled off perfectly….DSC_0116.jpgNote the carefully edited edge.  I couldn’t help but laugh since we were only going to eat this at home and even with the curled edge still looked beautiful.  I slipped a little getting the tin off and it just raised a bit too much.DSC_0117.jpgDSC_0118.jpgAll’s well that ends well though and it looked great on a plate with a little extra caramel sauce.  To me, this tasted exactly like a marriage between flan and rice pudding.  I like both these things and we liked the taste.  I’m not sure if I’d make it again since it was quite a bit of work and somewhat time intensive but I’m glad I tried it and had fun doing something new.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Cats Tongues

It’s always fun to make something when you’ve never actually seen it in real life. I’m very grateful that Dorie made a comparison to Milano cookies-at least gave me some frame of reference. The ingredients were simple and all things I usually have on hand.

The batter whipped up great. I was surprised how many cookie I got from the small amount.

I really experimented with piping them out different ways since I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out. The ones that look very dark brown were actually quite flavorful.

I’m not sure if these turned out quite correct but I really enjoyed he flavor. My favorite ones were the cookies that looked a little burnt so I think if I make them again I’ll be sure to get a deep bake.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Roasted Rhubarb with Bitters and Mascarpone Mousse

With Scott already back in school I wasn’t sure if I could get both recipes done this month. Luckily they seemed like they might go well together I went ahead and made the July recipes at the same time.

Started with the mousse. Fairly straightforward and simple, this case together pretty quick.

I’m curious if this could be made with something else like sour cream instead of the mascarpone, maybe a sour cream and brown sugar variety?

For some reason rhubarb can be really hard to find here. There’s about a two week season that it’s available at the farmers market and then it’s really hit or miss at the store. I cleaned out my local store and it was still a little less than a pound so I adjusted accordingly.I couldn’t find grenadine so I subbed in some pomegranate juice and figured I could just add some extra sweetness if needed.

I really like the simplicity of transformation with sugar and heat. You can see how the rhubarb gets broken down into a syrupy goodness. I also really liked the smell of the bitters as this was cooking. Just a little element to make it stand out. I ended up not needing any lemon and only a little bit of honey.Once this was put together both Scott and I were teaching for some granola we had made. The mousse was sweet and kind of plain and I had purposefully left the rhubarb a little punchy, it just needed some balance with the nuts and seeds flavor and the crunch added great texture. I’m definitely adding some of the leftover rhubarb to my morning yogurt and granola.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Double Chocolate Marble Cake

My cake ended up being more of a single chocolate marble cake. My white chocolate was just not cooperating as far as melting timely and properly and I don’t even really like white chocolate so I just moved ahead with a chocolate and vanilla marble. Simple ingredients that I have on hand are always nice and it’s fun to see how much opportunity there is in my kitchen.

Luckily my semi sweet chocolate melted just fine.

I didn’t even really swirl or zig zag too much since alternately the batters looked pretty neat as it was.This smelled pretty great baking up.Really loves the finished look. Each slice was a little different and unique. Something about the swirls really make it worth the little extra effort to divide the batters. Overall this turned out pretty great and the white chocolate wasn’t missed at all.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Toasted Buckwheat and Chopped Chocolate Sables

Mm, so excited to see buckwheat cookies. I love buckwheat pancakes and this seemed simple and a little different.

I didn’t have the weight in chocolate already opened so I made it up with some cocoa nibs.

The smell of the buckwheat flour toasting was heavenly. I didn’t even realize toasting flours was a thing. What an easy and simple thing that makes such a difference. I saved my leftover buckwheat flour and am going to try it in pancakes.

I only baked up a couple cookies and saved the rest of the dough in the fridge so I can bake them fresh for the next few days. These came out really great and I think I may keep the cocoa nibs if I make them again. Possibly one of my favorite recipes from the book so far.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Banana-Chocolate Chaussons

This was sort of a tasty fail for me. I can’t seem to get them to seal right. Maybe I’m just too overeager in my filling. They tasted fab anyways.

Besides the puff pastry I tend to have everything needed for these.

My bananas were probably a bit ripe for this recipe but they made a super nice caramel like sauce.

The nutmeg was also a nice touch, added a little something.

So they totally burst during cooking but they still tasted really great.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Almond Stripes and Dark Chocolate Mousse

Sugar can be so many things: grainy and opaque; crunchy and well browned; clear and steaming. From the softest, creamiest caramel to the crunchiest brittle, sugar can transform our desserts into something spectacular and complex. Sugar is also a kitchen trickster that will crystallize, burn and send you into a sweet nightmare seemingly without provocation.

I’ve worked on my sugar sensibilities the past few years and pride myself on finding ways to get it to behave consistently. If I used cane sugar in testing a recipe, only cane sugar will do from then on. I learn to trust my eyes and intuition. Being present, aware and consistent seems to be the key.

The title of this post may declare I made a dark chocolate mousse but more accurately I epically failed at making a mousse and instead made a chocolate chip marquise. I got the funny feeling that my temps and prep for my sugar weren’t right but plowed ahead anyways and started a chain of events that changed what I ended up making.

So the beauty of this mousse is I routinely have all the ingredients on hand. My new chickens are laying beautiful eggs and it’s lovely to see them in my kitchen.

So everything was going to plan. My chocolate melted beautifully, my cream was whipped and lovely, and my egg yolks were broken up.

Then I started melting the sugar. Things didn’t feel right but I plowed ahead instead of trusting my gut-mistake one. The desert temps can change rapidly this time of year and I was aware that I was attempting this at an hour my ingredients may not be happy with. My pan was too wide for the amount of syrup if I wanted to use my thermometer and I didn’t prepare any cold water for the ball test if I needed it. I was watching my sugar and I could tell that it was ready and instead of trusting my gut I tried to read them temp and then rushed for some water to test. Pulled it off too late and when I went to add it to my eggs it crystallized on the way him. I heard the ca-chunk ca-chunk in the mixer and my heart sank. Ok. Start my sugar and eggs over. I had cool water ready but I pulled it when I could sense it was ready. Pour it in my eggs and got them whipping and it whipped up beautifully. Success!! Except my cream had gotten super chilled in the extra time and my chocolate had gotten a bit too cool and my room temp had dropped. My first dollop if cream mixed in well but then I could tell my chocolate started partially turning into little chips just like when I make mint chocolate ice cream and pour my melted chocolate in.

So do is start over with my cream and chocolate? I had burned my finger pretty bad on my second batch of sugar and couldn’t imagine starting again. So I went ahead and mixed it with my whipped egg and sugar mixture and stuck it in the fridge. I’ve tried to make almond stripes before but have never been really happy with the result so I was happy to try Dorie’s recipe.A quick mix and my piping bad was filled and ready to go.Like many of the other bakers I had issues piping and my wonderful icing extruder broke last year and I haven’t replaced it. So I loaded up a little ball of dough into the piping tip and used my clean thumb to push out the cookie. Repeat and the sheets were filled and I was very happy with the result.Some dips in chocolate for some and I would up with some delightful little coffee cookies.

Now to figure out what to do with the mousse. I wasn’t happy with the finished chippy texture but the taste was good. Thinking of my ice cream I realized the mousse was basically a marquise recipe and thought I’d give a try freezing it in some molds. It turned out really cute and I’m happy with the end result. So maybe didn’t end with what I thought I would but it turned out lovely and tasty and what more can you really ask for.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi:Gâteau Basque Fantasie & Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling

Decided to make both of the recipes at the end of the month.

For sure my favorite of the two is the chocolate cream puffs. DSC_0081.jpgSimple ingredients and pretty easy to make.  I made about half my puffs and froze the other half. DSC_0083.jpgIt was super fun when mixing up the hot dough you could see the steam rising from the mixer.

DSC_0086.jpgI used a small cookie scoop and they came out perfect.

DSC_0089.jpgA little eager to try these so the pics aren’t perfect but these were great.  I used rose extract and I loved the flavor.  I also experimented with freezing the extra filling to use on some of the frozen puffs. Just spooned a little bits out on parchment and froze them.  Once I brought to room temp it was only a couple minutes till they started getting creamy.  Glad we’re going to have these on hand.

The basque fantasie was something else.  When I saw this in the book it reminded me of fruitcake and sure enough it tastes like a fruitcake in a lot of ways.DSC_0094.jpgI really regret not changing up the ingredients, I mean I have a whole bag of fresh cranberries in my fridge.  I knew this combo wouldn’t be my fave and despite it being really clear in the recipe that you could do what you want I forged ahead anyways.DSC_0095.jpgDSC_0097.jpgIt really does look curdled as described in the recipe.DSC_0101.jpgOnce the flour was mixed in all was well.

DSC_0103.jpgDSC_0106.jpgThis smelled pretty good while cooking.  It was interesting to make an apple filling on the stovetop for something that was going to look like a pie.  This reminded me of apple turnovers.DSC_0107.jpgDSC_0109.jpgI didn’t fuss with some of the fancy criss cross topping but it turned out looking pretty good anyways.  I really like the cake/crust/cookie thing the pastry part of this has going on.  This filling was not the right combo for my particular taste but it wasn’t hard to imagine about a billion different ways to make this.  Pears, cranberries and crystallized ginger; peaches and cream; strawberry and rhubarb; maybe even roasted butternut squash with maple sugar and some toasted pumpkin seeds.  This seems like a really good base to play around with some different flavors.

All in all, it was a good month to try and get on track with baking and I had fun making everything.  Hoping to keep this momentum up through December.

-Christie