Monthly Archives: February 2015

Baking Chez Moi: Pink Grapefruit Tart

Up Close Grapefruit Tart

I’m always on the hunt for a good grapefruit recipe.  That big beautiful tree out my kitchen window?  Not a lemon tree, it’s a giant white grapefruit tree.  Something I wasn’t even aware existed before we moved into this house.  I was quite excited to try Dorie’s recipe but as I began to read through it my excitement dimmed a bit.  This wasn’t going to be the quick easy tart I had hoped for but a multi-step process.

Lemon Almond Cream Ingredients

The first layer of the tart is a lemon almond cream.  The process was simple, basically mixing up the ingredients and letting it rest in the fridge.

Premix Lemon Almond Cream

The most interesting and somewhat odd part of the tart was up next: the grapefruit cremeux.

Grapefruit Cremeux Ingredients

So I have to confess I had a little help with this part.  Scott has been making lots of limoncello from our citrus and is quite the expert at using a microplane to extract the very top layer of zest.  He graciously lent his skills and zested both my lemon and grapefruit.

Grapefruit rubbed sugarGrapefruit Cream on Stove

 

At first it seems as though you are making a regular custard out of the mix but once the custard is done it goes into a blender so that gelatin, campari and butter can be added in. The final mixture gets popped into the fridge.

Straining CremeuxAdding Gelatin to CreamAdding butter to creameux

The next day the tart shell and topping gets made.  The tart shell is a simple sweet tart dough that gets pre-baked in a pan with a removable bottom.  The topping consists of segmented grapefruit.  I hate segmenting grapefruit.  Mostly because my juicing grapefruit really isn’t meant to make pretty segments.  I had asked a friend and neighbor for some pink grapefruit which she graciously gave me but they are also of the retro petite variety and not the current super-sized one. I pressed on with my humble grapefruit but I’m sure I’ll be envious of the beautiful rosettes that others were able to make.

Segmenting Grapefruit

 

Once the tart has cooled and the segments dried it’s time to assemble the tart. The almond lemon cream gets spread in a thin layer on the base and baked to set.

Spreading CreameuxUpclose Spread

 

The cremeux layer was where I had to divert from the instructions and go rouge. The instructions say that you will need to whisk it to soften before adding to the tart.  I whisked and whisked and the texture looked like scrambled eggs.  Scott jumped in and whisked and whisked to no avail.  After some discussion I jumped in with my hand mixer and that finally tamed the cremeux into submission.

Clotted CreameuxCreamy Cremeux

 

This has to be gently added to the almond base and topped with the grapefruit segments.

Topping CremeuxAdding Grapefruit

 

My final tart was certainly not the most beautiful one I’ve made but I was very glad to be finished.  I brought the tart to Sunday dinner at my neighbors and everyone ate a piece and enjoyed. I was relieved it wasn’t too tart but I was wishing I had sprinkled a teeny bit of sugar on some of the pink segments.

Final tart close

 

I’m not sure I would make this tart again.  While the final tart was good and everyone seemed to enjoy it, it’s not the kind of tart that everyone is diving in for another piece.

Grapefruit tart on stand-Christie

 

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Cookies, Death and Babies: A Valentine’s Day Post

Valentine Cookies TitleAnother year, another Valentine’s Day.  Has any holiday every been so divisive?  Personally I think it’s pretty great. Even in the pre-Scott days I thought it was fun to celebrate who we love.

I took on another Dorie recipe for the weekend as she’s writing a column for the Washington Post now.  I’m hoping I can keep up with this as well as Baking Chez Moi but we’ll see how that turns out.

The recipe that she shared was for some lovely crispy chocolate heart cookies.  I really enjoyed these and making them was a breeze.  I think the best part was getting to decorate them.Drying Valentine CookiesWhile the suggestion was to make large cookies I found I much preferred the smaller versions.  Perfect for nibbling or devouring in ‘Scott’ bites with a cup of tea.  It made for a very relaxing Valentine’s weekend.Finished VDay Cookies

My sister and I were having a conversation the other day about female characters in trilogies.  We found we were both often disappointed that the journeys were so vibrant but the conclusions so limited.  Your choices if you are said female: death or babies.

Death is inevitable for us all and according to a Gallup poll a whopping 90% either want or already have children.  Having this as a conclusion to your heroine’s adventure is nearly akin to saying that she continued to breathe or not breathe as the case may be. It’s as if you die or have kids but either way your life is over.

We need to provide other options for our heroines beyond mother or martyr. I’m not a mother myself but I think my own and many that I know would tell you that motherhood is an adventure in itself and not a neat bow to tie on a pretty package.

There is so much more to say on this.  For now I’m going to leave my musings for another day.

-Christie

Baking Chez Moi: Marquise au Chocolat

headline marquise

For the first time since beginning the Baking Chez Moi adventure I decided to make a half recipe.  Typically I love to share but I only serve recipes with raw eggs in my own house and I was feeling a bit too under the weather this week to have a dinner.  Marquise is basically a frozen mousse.  The ingredients aren’t complicated and neither is the flavor.

Marquise Ingredients

Chocolate and butter is just melted together and then left to cool.

melting chocolate for marquise

Once the chocolate cools down a bit a mixture of whipped egg yolks and sugar is added in.

Marquise egg separatingWhipped eggs marquiseAdding eggs marquiseMixed eggs marquise

Finally some whip cream is gently folded in.

Whip cream marquiseMixing whip cream marquise

 

The mousse mixture is placed into prepared molds and frozen.  The recipe called for a loaf shaped pan but since Valentine’s Day was coming up and I’d made a half batch I opted for something a little different.  At this stage you can layer in some cookies and I opted to make one of my hearts with a graham cracker crust.

Prepared Tins marquiseMousse in tin marquiseGraham cracker marquiseFinal tins marquise

The final product looks nice and is easy to dress up a bit.

Marquise with berries

While this was really simple to make and the flavor was good it was really just frozen mousse.  That’s not a bad thing I guess but it isn’t necessarily something I will remember to make again.

i love u marquise

Big thanks to my Scott this week.  Doubt I would have gotten this done without his assistance and encouragement.

-Christie

A note on raw eggs: Personally, I’m not super fussy about eating raw eggs.  I accept the risk and I have a few neighbors who come over and it doesn’t bother them at all either.  It does limit the shareability of a dish since I would never serve an item with raw eggs outside of my house. I think it’s funny that the recipe calls for fresh, organic eggs-this has no bearing on whether your eggs will be contaminated with salmonella.  I have my own chickens who are healthy and they are good layers.  My eggs are about as fresh as you can get but they could still contain salmonella as I’ve never had my girls tested.  It’s a risk I accept and am not too worried about.