{Caramel Banana Pretzel Tart} – Tarta cu banane si caramel

pretzel tart-1-7b

It seems that I’m not yet over my salty-sweet combination of tastes and I keep finding excuses to try these new ideas I keep getting. Although this tart is not something I invented, rather something I craved for and since I had all the ingredients on hand, here it is – a rich, buttery, packed with flavor tart that combines the most amazing caramel with some over-ripe bananas, plenty of chocolate and a delicate cloud of whipped cream.

pretzel tart-1-9b

This caramel banana pretzel tart is sweet, fragrant, rich, creamy, silky and yet texturized, it’s basically all you ever wanted from a tart and much more. It’s a banoffee pie brought to a whole new level with the addition of a rich chocolate ganache and a salty, crunchy pretzel tart and it’s absolutely perfect if you like bananas, pretzels, chocolate and the mix of silky and crunchy in the same bite.

{Caramel Banana Pretzel Tart}
 
Author:
Serves:: 6-8 servings
Ingredients:
Crust:
  • 150g pretzels
  • 100g graham crackers
  • 100g butter, melted
Filling:
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (or dulce de leche)
Topping:
  • 100ml heavy cream
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • 200ml heavy cream, whipped
Directions:
Crust:
  1. Combine the pretzels and crackers in a food processor and pulse until fine and ground.
  2. Add the melted butter and mix well then transfer into a round tart pan (20cm diameter). Press the crust well on the bottom and sides of the pan and bake in the pre-heated oven at 350F for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Filling:
  1. If you have dulce de leche, things are very straight forward - arrange the banana slices in the crust and pour the dulce de leche over the bananas.
  2. If you don't have dulce de leche, make a whole in the top of your condensed milk can and place the can in a pot. Fill the pot with water until it reaches the top, then place over low heat and cook for 3-4 hours until caramel begins to show through the hole you made in the can. Remove from heat and allow to cool then cut open the can and use.
Topping:
  1. Bring 100ml cream to the boiling point in a saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate.
  2. Mix until melted and smooth then stir in the vanilla and rum. ALlow to cool then pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche and place in the fridge.
  3. Allow to set then top with whipped cream.
  4. Decorate with chocolate and pretzels and serve chilled.

pretzel tart-1-8b

ROMANIAN

In ultimul timp am fost putin (putin mai mult) obsedata de combinatia de dulce si sarat, dar mai ales de ideea de a folosi pretzels – covrigei sarati in deserturi. Si cum necum, de la fursecurile astea nemaipomenite cu unt de arahide si pretzels, am ajuns la o tarta atat de aromata si delicioasa ca inca ma gandesc la ea. Este, sa zicem, o banoffee pie usor modificata – pentru cei care se intreaba, banoffee pie e o tarta englezeasca cu banane si dulce de leche/caramel. De fapt, singura mare diferenta e crusta care include covrigei sarati, cu toate ca am simtit nevoia sa adaug si un element extra – un strat de ganache de ciocolata care mi s-a parut mie ca a echilibrat foarte placut celelelate componente. Multa frisca deasupra si un decor simplu din aschii de ciocolata si pretzels sunt tot ce aceasta tarta mai are nevoie.

Ingrediente:

Crusta:

  • 150g pretzels/covrigei sarati
  • 100g biscuiti graham
  • 100g unt topit

Umplutura:

  • 2 banane bine coapte
  • 1 conserva lapte condensat sau dulce de leche

Topping:

  • 100ml frisca lichida
  • 100g ciocolata neagra
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 1 lingurita rom
  • +200ml frisca lichida, batuta
  • Ciocolata si pretzels pentru decor

Mod de preparare:

Crusta:

  1. Combinati pretzels si biscuitii intr-un robot si pulsati pana se macina fin.
  2. Adaugati untul topit si pulsati din nou apoi transferati amestecul intr-o tava de aprox 20cm diametru si presati bine pe fundul si peretii formei.
  3. Coaceti crusta la 180C pentru 10-15 minute pana devine usor aurie apoi lasati sa se raceasca si dati la rece pana va ocupati de celelalte elemente.

Umplutura:

  1. Daca aveti dulce de leche gata facut, asezati feliile de banana peste crusta si acoperiti cu dulce de leche.
  2. Daca nu aveti dulce de leche, veti avea nevoie de o conserva de lapte condensat. Faceti o gaura in partea de sus a conservei si asezati conserva intr-un vas cu apa fierbinte, suficient cat sa-l acopere pana la marginea de sus. Puneti vasul pe foc mic si fierbeti 3-4 ore pana lichidul care iese prin gaura din conserva e de culoarea caramelului. Aveti grija sa mai completati apa din vas pe masura ce se evapora. Dupa ce ati facut dulce de leche, asezati feliile de banana in crusta si acoperiti cu dulce de leche.

Topping:

  1. Incalziti 100ml frisca pana la punctul de fierbere. Luati de pe foc si adaugati ciocolata. Amestecati bine pana se topeste complet apoi incorporati vanilia si romul si turnati ganache-ul peste dulce de leche si dati la rece.
  2. Decorati cu frisca batuta, ciocolata si pretzels maruntiti.
  3. Sa aveti pofta!

pretzel tart-1-6b

Raspberry Lemonade Cake – Tort cu zmeura si lamaie

raspberry lemonade cake

Ever since Christina Tosi replaced Joe Bastianich in the new Masterchef season, I’ve been slightly obbsessed with her recipes. She’s a pastry chef and I am somehow excited to see pastry chefs stepping out on tv shows like this one. I kept reading on various blogs that the recipes found in her Momofuku Milk Bar book are time consuming and hard to master and I thought this was the challenge I needed, although I don’t mind complex and time consuming cakes (do check my entremets for that matter). But I was intrigued by the elements she used in her cakes and the fact that she relies on the pure beauty of a naked cake to impress. And it works, it really does as after revealing my cake, I was in pure awe and I’m not that easily impressed when it comes to cakes, believe me!

raspberry lemonade cake

My recipe uses Christina Tosi’s Strawberry Lemonade Cake as a base, but I added my signature to it by reducing the sugar and butter (the cake is incredibly rich and sweet even so, I’ll probably reduce it a bit more next time, but again, it might only be a matter of personal taste) and replacing part of her recipe with my own tried, fail-proof recipes. I ended up with a rich, tangy, sweet raspberry lemonade cake that I just couldn’t stop eating. Yes, it’s sweet, yes, it’s buttery and yes, it’s delicious! It’s definitely not a cake for the faint of heart in terms of calories, but hey, we don’t eat cake every day and this one is well worth the time spent in the kitchen and the sacrifice of breaking the rules of your diet!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Raspberry Lemonade Cake
 
Author:
Serves:: 8-10 servings
Ingredients:
Vanilla Cake:
  • 225 butter, softened
  • 280g white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 125ml vegetable oil (sunflower or canola oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 210g all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Raspberry Sauce:
  • 200g raspberries
  • 100g white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pectin powder
Liquid Cheesecake:
  • 225g cream cheese, softened
  • 80g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lemon Curd:
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 90ml lemon juice
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 200g white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
Milk Crumbs
  • 45g milk powder
  • 30g all-purpose flour
  • 30g cornstarch
  • 10g white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 70g butter, melted
  • 15g milk powder
  • 70g white chocolate, melted and cooled
Directions:
Vanilla Cake:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F - 180C and line a rectangle pan with baking paper. Ideally, the pan has around 35x25cm or a similar size. Place aside.
  2. Sift the flour with salt and baking powder and place aside.
  3. Mix the butter with sugar in a bowl for 3 minutes until creamy and pale.
  4. Add the eggs, one by one, and mix well after each addition.
  5. While mixing at medium speed, slowly pour in the buttermilk, followed by the vegetable oil and vanilla then turn the mixer on high speed and mix for 6 minutes until double in volume.
  6. Fold in the flour then spoon the batter in your prepared pan.
  7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown and the cake springs back if pushed slightly on its surface.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool aside.
Raspberry Sauce:
  1. Puree the raspberry then pass it through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.
  2. mix the raspberry puree with the sugar and pectin powder in a saucepan and place over low heat.
  3. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Liquid Cheesecake:
  1. Line a small baking pan with baking paper and grease it with butter. Place aside.
  2. Mix the cream cheese with sugar for 2 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the eggs with cornstarch, milk, salt and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Slowly pour the egg mix over the cream cheese, mixing well.
  5. Spoon the cheesecake in the prepared pan then place the pan in a bigger one. Pour hot water in the bigger pan and place in the pre-heated oven at 350F for 20 minutes. You don't need to cook this cheesecake down, the center is supposed to still be jiggly and the sides shouldn't turn brown at all. This cheesecake will be used as frosting and spread between the layers of the cake.
  6. Allow to cool in the pan.
Lemon Curd:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl and place over a hot water bath.
  2. Cook for 20 minutes, whisking all the time, until the curd begins to thicken.
  3. Remove from heat when done and pass through a fine sieve to remove the zest which turns bitter otherwise.
  4. Allow to cool completely.
Milk Crumbs
  1. Combine 45g milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix with a fork until clusters of dough form.
  3. Spread the crumbs on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven at 180C for 10 minutes.
  4. Allow them to cool in the pan then transfer in a bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining milk powder and drizzle with melted chocolate, mixing to coat the crumbs evenly.
  5. Place in the fridge to set.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Mix the liquid cheesecake with half of the lemon curd. Reserve the remaining curd as you will be using it as well.
  2. Place an 18cm cake ring on your cake board and line the ring with acetate sheets.
  3. Cut 2 vanilla cake discs and place aside. Using the leftover cake, form at the bottom of the cake ring the first layer of the cake. It won't look pretty, but don't worry as this layer will be well hidden.
  4. Top the cake layer with ⅓ of the raspberry sauce. Spoon ⅓ of the cheesecake mixture over the sauce then spoon dollops of lemon curd on top. What follows is a few fresh raspberries and ⅓ of the milk crumbs. Place one of the vanilla cake discs you cut earlier into the cake ring as well and press it over the bottom layers. Repeat the same steps with raspberry sauce, cheesecake, lemon curd, milk crumbs and fresh raspberries.
  5. Place in the fridge a few hours, preferably overnight then remove the cake ring and decorate with fresh raspberries.

raspberry lemonade cakeROMANIAN

Inspirata de retetele Christinei Tosi, acest tort nu e pentru cei slabi de inima. Nu doar ca necesita ceva timp de pregatire, dar e si destul de dulce si cantitatea de unt folosita e suficient de mare incat sa-l faca delicios, dar nicidecum sarac in calorii. Pentru cei care nu stiu, Christina Tosi e noul membru al juriului Masterchef US, dar si pastry chef-ul din spatele deserturilor servite la Momofuku Milk Bar in New York.

raspberry lemonade cake

Cartea ei, intitulata Momofuku Milk Bar, e destul de faimoasa printre bloggerii din afara si din ce am citit eu, retetele ei sunt considerate complicate si greu de realizat. Evident ca acest lucru m-a intrigat atat de tare incat au inceput sa ma obsedeze retetele ei, cu toate ca nu sunt straina de retete complicate si care necesita timp (a se vedea sectiune de torturi de pe acest blog). Am citit zeci de postari pe tema asta, am studiat multe dintre retetele ei si am creat acest tort, modificand mare parte din reteta ei, in special reducand zaharul si untul. Chiar si asa, tortul e destul de dulce, dar daca nu as fi redus zaharul, nu cred ca ar fi fost comestibil pentru mine. In general retetele americane contin cantitati halucinante de zahar asa ca ma asteptam la asta. Tortul recupereaza prin aroma intensa insa – zmeura, curd de lamaie si o crema cheesecake absolut delicioasa plus un blat de vanilie delicat sunt straturile unui tort pe care l-as repeta fara sa ma gandesc de doua ori.

raspberry lemonade cakeIngrediente:

Blat cu vanilie:

  • 225g unt moale
  • 280g zahar
  • 3 oua
  • 125ml lapte batut
  • 125ml ulei vegetal
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 210g faina alba
  • 1 1/2 lingurite praf de copt
  • 1/4 lingurita sare

Sos de zmeura:

  • 200g zmeura
  • 100g zahar
  • 1 lingura pectina (Dr. Oetker pentru dulceturi)

Cheesecake:

  • 225g crema de branza
  • 80g zahar
  • 1 lingura amidon
  • 2 linguri lapte
  • 1 ou
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie

Curd de lamaie:

  • 5 galbenusuri
  • 90ml suc de lamaie
  • Coaja de la 2 lamai
  • 100g unt
  • 200g zahar
  • 1 praf de sare

“Firimituri” cu lapte:

  • 45g lapte praf
  • 30g faina
  • 30g amidon
  • 10g zahar
  • 1/4 lingurita sare
  • 70g unt topit
  • 15g lapte praf
  • 70g ciocolata alba, topita si racita

Mod de preparare:

Blat cu vanilie:

  1. Pre-incalziti cuptorul la 350F  – 180C si tapetati o tava cu hartie de copt. Tava mea a avut in jur de 35x25cm si va trebuie si voua una similara.
  2. Cerneti faina cu sarea si praful de copt.
  3. Mixati untul cu zaharul intr-un bol pentru 3 minute pana devine cremos si deschis la culoare.
  4. Adaugati ouale, unul cate unul, si mixati bine dupa fiecare.
  5. In timp ce mixati la viteza mica, adaugati laptele batut si ulei, precum si vanilia apoi dati mixerul la viteza mare si mixati pentru 6 minute pana compozitia isi dubleaza volumul.
  6. Incorporati cu o spatula faina cernuta apoi transferati aluatul in tava pregatita si coaceti pentru 25-30 minute pana blatul devine auriu si trece testul scobitorii. Nu-l lasati mai mult pentru ca incepe sa se usuce.
  7. Lasati sa se raceasca in tava.

Sos de zmeura:

  1. Blenduiti zmeura apoi treceti piureul printr-o sita fina pentru a inlatura semintele.
  2. Amestecati piureul de zmeura cu restul ingredientelor si puneti pe foc mic.
  3. Fierbeti pentru 5 minute apoi luati de pe foc si lasati sa se raceasca complet.

Cheesecake:

  1. Tapetati o tava mica (18cm) cu hartie de copt si ungeti cu putin unt.
  2. Mixati crema de branza cu zaharul pentru 2 minute.
  3. Intr-un bol separat, amestecati oul, amidonul, laptele, sarea si vanilia. Incorporati acest amestec in crema de branza.
  4. Turnati amestecul in tava si puneti tava intr-una mai mare. Turnati apa fierbinte in tava mare, suficient cat sa acopere 1/2 din peretii tavii mai mici unde coaceti cheesecake-ul. Daca aceasta tava e din aceea detasabila, aveti grija sa o acoperiti bine cu folie de aluminiu astfel incat apa sa nu patrunda pana la compozitia de cheesecake.
  5. Coaceti la 180C pentru 20 minute, nu mai mult. Acest cheesecake nu trebuie sa se coaca complet, centrul trebuie sa fie inca putin moale iar marginile sa nu fie deloc maronii pentru ca veti folosi acest cheesecake pe post de crema pentru tort.
  6. Lasati sa se raceasca complet in tava.

Curd de lamaie:

  1. Combinati toate aceste ingrediente intr-un bol termorezistent si puneti pe baie de aburi.
  2. Gatiti pentru aproximativ 20 de minute, amestecand continuu cu un tel, pana incepe sa se ingroase.
  3. Luati de pe foc si treceti printr-o sita fina pentru a inlatura coaja de lamaie.
  4. Acoperiti cu folie la suprafata si lasati sa se raceasca complet.

“Firimituri” cu lapte:

  1. Amestecati laptele praf, faina, amidonul, zaharul si sarea intr-un bol.
  2. Incorporati untul topit si amestecati cu o furculita pana se formeaza firimituri.
  3. Transferati intr-o tava tapetata cu hartie de copt si coaceti la 180C pentru 10 minute.
  4. Lasati sa se raceasca si transferati intr-un bol apoi adaugati restul de lapte praf si ciocolata topita. Amestecati pana firimiturile sunt acoperite in ciocolata si dati la rece.

Pentru a asambla tortul:

  1. Amestecati cheesecake-ul intr-un bol cu jumatate din cantitatea de curd de lamaie. Pastrati cealalta jumatate de curd de lamaie pentru ca o veti folosi si pe ea.
  2. Montati un inel de tort de 18cm pe un platou si tapetati-l cu folie de acetat.
  3. Luati blatul cu vanilie si taiati 2 cercuri/discuri de 18cm pe care le dati deoparte. Folosind resturile de blat, formati un al treilea disc de blat direct in inelul de tort. Nu va arata prea bine momentan, dar cremele vor ascunde acest prim strat inegal si inestetic.
  4. Dupa ce ati asezat bine primul strat de blat, acoperiti cu 1/3 din sosul de zmeura, apoi 1/3 din amestecul de cheesecake, 1/3 din curdul de lamaie ramas, 1/3 din firimiturile de lapte si 1 mana de zmeura proaspata.
  5. Acoperiti cu un disc de blat pe care il presati usor si continuati sa stratificati cum am explicat mai sus.
  6. Dati tortul la rece peste noapte si decorati-l cu zmeura proaspata din belsug.
  7. Sa aveti pofta!

raspberry lemonade cake

{Raspberry Cheesecake Bars} – Prajitura cu branza si zmeura

raspberry cheesecake bars

I hate throwing away leftover ingredients, therefore sometimes, like today, a baking day starts with scouting the fridge and my magic cupboard (aka the place where I keep all the ingredients that aren’t at risk of going stall if not kept at a certain temperature) and coming up with a recipe to use all those ingredients. And today is was the turn of cream cheese – I bought a bucket of silky cream cheese a few days ago and after making a Romanian cheese pie, I was left with about 1 pound of cream cheese that was going to sit in the fridge for days if I wasn’t going to use it. But boy, I’m happy things happened this way because I got to make and taste these cheesecake bars which might be one of the best cream cheese desserts I ever made and tasted!

raspberry cheesecake bars

These raspberry cheesecake bars are incredibly easy to make, you don’t need to be a professional to master a perfectly juicy, fragrant, soft cheesecake bar and there’s nothing you can’t pair them with. I used raspberries this time, but chocolate chips or other fruits are just as good.

{Raspberry Cheesecake Bars}
 
Author:
Ingredients:
Crust:
  • 200g biscuits (I used some simple vanilla biscuits, but feel free to use your favorites)
  • 100g butter, melted
Filling:
  • 550g cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries
Topping:
  • 70g butter, softened
  • 40g powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 160g white flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Directions:
Crust:
  1. Crush the biscuits in a food processor until they form a fine powder.
  2. Add the butter and mix well.
  3. Transfer the mix in a baking tray (20x20cm or a similar size) lined with baking paper and press it well on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Place aside.
Filling:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and give it a good mix.
  2. Spoon the batter over the crust and top with fresh raspberries. Place aside until the topping is done.
Topping:
  1. Mix the butter with powdered sugar until creamy and pale.
  2. Add the egg and mix well then fold in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Break small pieces of dough over the filling. The dough is quite soft, but that's how it's supposed to be, don't be tempted to add more flour.
  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven at 350F for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.
  5. Allow to cool in the pan then cut into small squares or bars.

raspberry cheesecake barsROMANIAN

Zilele in care fac ceva dulce incep adesea cu a cauta in frigider dupa ingrediente care mi-au ramas de la alte deserturi pentru ca mereu se gaseste cate un ingredient din care mai am cate putin. In plus, am mereu unt, oua si faina in casa si o vizita la “dulapul magic” in care se afla vanilia, scortisoara si alte mirodenii intregesc tabloul unui desert cat se poate de reusit, desi facut din resturi mai mult sau mai putin. Si de data aceasta mai aveam crema de branza, aproximativ 1/2 kg pe care imi doream sa o folosesc inainte de a nu mai fi buna de nimic. Sigur vi s-a intamplat sa va ramana vreun ingredient si sa uitati de el in frigider cateva zile apoi sa va dati seama ca trebuie sa-l aruncati. E o risipa ce poate fi evitata cu putina imaginatie. Cumparasem branza cu gandul sa fac cheesecake, dar intr-un final am facut o placinta si am ramas cu un rest pe care l-am folosit pentru a face aceasta prajitura cu topping crocant si umplutura cremoasa de branza. Zmeura aduce un plus de gust, dar la fel de bine puteti folosi picaturi de ciocolata sau alte fructe. Reteta e cat se poate de simpla, dar ce iese e atat de gustos incat indraznesc sa spun ca e una dintre cele mai bune prajituri cu branza facute de mine vreodata!

Ingrediente:

Crusta:

  • 200g biscuiti obisnuiti (sau biscuiti cu vanilie)
  • 100g unt, topit

Umplutura:

  • 550g crema de branza
  • 2 oua
  • 100g zahar
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 1/2 cana zmeura proaspata

Topping:

  • 70g unt moale
  • 40g zahar pudra
  • 1 ou
  • 1 lingurita coaja de lamaie
  • 160g faina alba
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 1/2 lingurita praf de copt

Mod de preparare:

Crusta:

  1. Puneti biscuitii in robotul de bucatarie si pulsati pana obtineti o pudra fina.
  2. Adaugati untul topit si mixati bine apoi transferati amestecul intr-o tava tapetate cu hartie de copt. Tava necesara e destul de mica, aproximativ 20x20cm sau una similara.
  3. Presati bine biscuitii in tava si dati deoparte.

Umplutura:

  1. Amestecati bine ingredientele intr-un bol apoi turnati umplutura peste crusta.
  2. Imprastiati zmeura deasupra si dati deoparte.

Topping:

  1. Mixati untul cu zaharul pudra pana devin cremoase apoi adaugati oul si mixati bine.
  2. Adaugati restul ingredientelor si amestecati bine cu o spatula. Veti obtine un aluat destul de moale si lipicios, dar nu fiti tentati sa-l suprasaturati cu faina.
  3. Rupeti bucati din aluat si puneti-le peste umplutura.
  4. Dati la cuptorul pre-incalzit la 180C pentru 30-35 minute pana toppingul devine auriu.
  5. Lasati sa se raceasca in tava inainte de a taia in patrate ori dreptunghiuri ori alte forme dorite.

raspberry cheesecake bars

{Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets} – Tarte cu ciocolata si zmeura

chocolate raspberry tartlets

My morning walk always, but always, includes a market run. The vibe of the busy market excites me, there’s always something to catch my attention, there’s always fresh produce available and I never leave empty handed from there. This time it was lavender, beautiful fresh and highly fragrant lavender which I bought without thinking twice. It proudly sits on my desk at the moment, making me think about Provence every time I take a look at it or feel its intense aroma and see its beautiful color. This market run also included fresh raspberries and fresh heavy cream from a local producer, the kind of cream that whips into fluffy clouds and tastes amazing.

chocolate raspberry tartlets

I thought for a while how to use the lavender, how to incorporate it into a dessert and I came up with these chocolate raspberry tartlets, hiding its aroma in a thin layer of white chocolate ganache. Lavender is not the star of this dessert, but it surely supports it well. The star is the chocolate, no doubt about that, but it wouldn’t be as tasty if it didn’t have a lavender touch and fresh raspberries to make it shine into a delicious, elegant dessert.

{Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets}
 
Author:
Serves:: 12-14 tartlets
Ingredients:
Crust:
  • 140g butter, softened
  • 70g powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 300g all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch baking powder
Raspberry Jelee:
  • 200g fresh raspberries, pureed
  • 60g sugar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4g gelatin
  • 40ml cold water
Lavender White Chocolate Ganache:
  • 100ml heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon culinary lavender buds
  • 180g white chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Chocolate mousse:
  • 100ml heavy cream
  • 120g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200ml heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground pink pepper (preferably freshly ground)
  • Fresh raspberries to decorate
Directions:
Crust:
  1. Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix until creamy for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla and egg and mix well.
  3. Stir in the flour, salt and baking powder and knead just to bring the dough together into a ball.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough on a floured working surface and roll it into a thin sheet, about 3-4mm thickness. Cut the dough into rounds that are big enough to fit your tartlet pans. Press the dough on the bottom and sides of the pans and remove the excess of dough.
  6. With a fork, score the bottom of each tartlet a few times to prevent air pockets from forming and bake in the preheated oven at 350F for 10 minutes until golden brown on the edges.
  7. Allow the crusts to cool in the pan before removing them.
Raspberry Jelee:
  1. Pass the raspberry puree through a fine sieve and pour it in a saucepan.
  2. Add the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Cook just until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Bloom the gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes then melt it and mix it with the raspberry puree.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature then evenly distribute it into each tartlet crust. A thin layer of jelee is enough. Place in the fridge.
Lavender White Chocolate Ganache:
  1. Bring the cream to the boiling point in a saucepan. Don't allow it to boil. Remove from heat and add the lavender. Allow to infuse until cooled then drain well.
  2. Place the cream back on heat and bring it to the boiling point.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate. Mix until smooth then add the butter.
  4. Place aside until cooled then spoon the ganache into each tartlet.
  5. Place back in the fridge.
Chocolate mousse:
  1. Bring the cream to the boiling point in a saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and a pinch of salt. Mix until melted and smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla and a pinch of pink pepper then allow to come to room temperature.
  4. Whip the cream with powdered sugar until stiff then fold it into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Spoon the mousse over the white chocolate ganache.
  6. Allow to set in the fridge and decorate with fresh raspberries.

ROMANIAN

Nu stiu voi, dar ritualul meu zilnic intotdeauna include mersul la piata. Nu e de ratat, mai ales acum cand gasim atatea ingrediente proaspete, care mai de care mai colorate, parfumate, delicioase si sanatoase. In plus, zgomotul pietei dimineata e sublim, varietatea de produse e maginifica si mereu plec de acolo cu bateriile incarcate si sacosele pline cu una, alta. Azi a fost cu levantica si zmeura. Cand am vazut buchetele de leventica a fost dragoste la prima vedere. Movul intens, aroma care acapara intreaga piata si toate gandurile care ma napadeau m-au impins sa cumpar un snop de leventica.

chocolate raspberry tartlets

Planificasem aceste tarte de mult timp, dar uite ca socoteala de acasa nu se potriveste cu cea din targ asa ca din momentul in care am cumparat leventica am stiut ca ele vor avea o aroma extra. Insa una subtila pentru ca leventica folosita in exces da un gust de sapun ori cel putin mie asa mi se pare, motiv pentru care mereu o folosesc in cantitati limitate si mereu in diverse combinatii. Le-am decorat simplu cu zmeura proaspata din belsug. Sincer, nici nu au nevoie de mai mult!

Ingrediente:

Cruste:

  • 140g unt, moale
  • 70g zahar pudra
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 1 ou
  • 300g faina alba
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 1 praf de praf de copt

Jeleu de zmeura:

  • 200g zmeura proaspata, puree
  • 60g zahar
  • 1/2 lingurita zeama de lamaie
  • 4g gelatina
  • 40ml apa rece

Ganache de ciocolata alba si leventica:

  • 100ml frisca lichida
  • 1 lingurita leventica culinara uscata
  • 180g ciocolata alba, tocata
  • 2 linguri unt

Mousse de ciocolata:

  • 100ml frisca lichida
  • 120g ciocolata neagra, tocata
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 1 praf de piper roz macinat
  • 200ml frisca lichida
  • 2 linguri zahar pudra
  • Zmeura proaspata pentru decor

Mod de preparare:

Cruste:

  1. Mixati untul si zaharul pentru 2 minute pana devin cremoase.
  2. Adaugati vanilia si oul si mixati bine.
  3. Incorporati faina, sarea si praful de copt si framantati aluatul doar pana ii dati forma unei bile. Infasurati in folie si dati la rece pentru 30 minute.
  4. Intindeti aluatul intr-o foaie subtire, ajutandu-va de faina pe blatul de lucru. O foaie de 3-4 mm grosime e suficient.
  5. Taiati cercuri din aluat si puneti-le in formele de mini tarte. Tapetati formele bine si inlaturati excesul de aluat.
  6. Faceti cateva gauri in partea de jos a crustelor folosind o furculita pentru a impiedica formarea buzunarelor de aer apoi coaceti la 180C pentru 10-15 minute pana devin aurii pe margine.
  7. Lasati sa se raceasca in forme.

Jeleu de zmeura:

  1. Treceti piureul printr-o sita fina apoi turnati-l intr-un vas.
  2. Adaugati zaharul si sucul de lamaie si dati in clocot. Fierbeti doar pana cand zaharul se dizolva complet.
  3. Hidratati gelatina in apa rece pentru 10 minute apoi topiti-o si amestecati-o cu piureul de zmeura.
  4. Lasati sa se raceasca la temperatura camerei apoi turnati jeleu in crustele coapte si dati la rece.

Ganache de ciocolata alba si leventica:

  1. Infierbantati frisca lichida pe foc mic fara a o da in clocot. Luati de pe foc si adaugati leventica. Lasati sa infuzeze pana se raceste apoi strecurati.
  2. Puneti frisca inapoi pe foc si infierbantati. Luati de pe foc si adaugati ciocolata.
  3. Amestecati cu un tel pana ciocolata se topeste complet apoi incorporati untul.
  4. Lasati ganache-ul sa se raceasca apoi turnati-l in crustele de tarta, peste jeleu. Dati din nou la rece.

Mousse de ciocolata:

  1. Infierbantati 100ml frisca fara a o da in clocot. Luati de pe foc si adaugati ciocolata.
  2. Amestecati pana la topirea completa apoi adaugati un praf de sare si piper roz proaspat macinat. Un praf de piper e suficient, se va simti in gustul mousse-ului.
  3. Adaugati vanilia si lasati amestecul sa vina la temperatura camerei.
  4. Bateti frisca ramasa cu zaharul apoi incorporati-o in mixul de ciocolata.
  5. Impartiti mousse-ul in mod egal intre tarte si dati la rece cateva ore.
  6. Decorati cu zmeura proaspata.

chocolate raspberry tartletschocolate raspberry tartlets

{Empire Biscuits} – Fursecuri Empire

empire biscuits-1-4b

Empire Biscuits, also known as Imperial Biscuits, German Biscuits or Double Shortbread, are sandwich cookies popular in UK, particularly Scotland. It is very similar to a linzer cookie, being formed by sandwiching 2 shortbread cookies together with raspberry jam. Nothing out of the ordinary till here, but then the cookie is glazed with a simple sugar glaze and decorated with half of glace cherry and that brings these cookies out of anonymity. Honestly, these biscuits shook my world the other day when I made them. I wasn’t expecting them to be this delicious, I thought they would turn out good, but nothing special and they blew me away.

empire biscuits-1-5b

And when I took the first bite I had a revelation – these tender, fragrant, sweet and tangy cookies are perfect and taste better than any store bought cookie you might ever have! The shortbread dough is easy to make and an absolute joy to work with, but the surprise comes when you bake it – it’s tender and melts in your mouth with every bite, leaving a rich, buttery taste behind. The cookies are filled with seedless raspberry jam and then topped with a tangy, delicate powdered sugar glaze which I chose to thicken with a touch of melted butter. And their taste made me remember what a lucky girl I am to have found a passion as strong as baking, how fortunate I am to be doing what I love and how happy this makes me.

{Empire Biscuits}
 
Author:
Ingredients:
Biscuits:
  • 140g butter, softened
  • 50g powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 50g cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
Glaze and filling:
  • Seedless raspberry jam as needed
  • Candied cherries
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 200g powdered sugar
Directions:
Biscuits:
  1. Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix well with an electric mixer until fluffy and creamy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Stir in the flour, cornstarch and salt and knead the dough just to bring it together into a ball. Wrap the ball into plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the fridge and place on a floured working surface.
  5. Roll the dough into a thin sheet, about 3mm thickness.
  6. Cut small rounds of dough with a cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  7. Bake in the pre-heated oven at 350F - 180C for 10 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
Glaze:
  1. Mix the melted butter and lemon juice in a bowl.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and mix well until the glaze is thick, but still runny. If needed, add more powdred sugar or lemon juice until the consistency is right.
  3. Sandwich the cookies two by two with ½ teaspoon of raspberry jam and place them on a wire rack or baking sheets.
  4. Drizzle the cookies with the sugar glaze and top with half of a candied cherry.

ROMANIAN

Mi s-a pus pata pe aceste fursecuri de foarte mult timp si iata ca in sfarsit m-am mobilizat si le-am facut. Ma amuza putin faptul ca acum cateva luni fursecurile erau mereu ultimele pe lista mea, insa in ultimul timp am postat destul de multe retete de fursecuri. Ce sa zic, e bine sa ai ce rontai cand ai pofta de ceva dulce. Adevarul e ca ultimele luni au fost un amestec de suisuri si coborasuri si entremet-urile au cazut pe un loc secund, orientandu-ma spre deserturi care nu iau zile intregi de pregatire. Pentru ceva timp am simtit inclusiv ca imi lipseste inspiratia, sentiment care nu e tocmai placut pentru o persoana atat de creativa ca mine. Dar sunt aici, alive and kicking.. and baking.. si am multe retete planificate, asa ca stati aproape.

empire biscuits

Avand origini britanice (mai bine zis, scotiene), aceste fursecuri sunt lipite intre ele cu gem de zmeura, apoi acoperite cu o glazura simpla de zahar pudra si zeama de lamaie pe care mi-am luat libertatea sa o imbogatesc cu putin unt topit. O data glazurate, fursecurile sunt decorate cu o jumatate de cireasa confiata. Au fost o revelatie pentru mine, nu ma asteptam sa fie atat de gustoase, sa se topeasca efectiv in gura. Gustand din aceste fursecuri mi-am adus aminte cat de norocoasa sunt ca am o astfel de pasiune, cat de norocoasa sunt ca pot face asa ceva si ca pot sa si gust din ceea ce fac, ce sentiment placut cand ii vezi pe ceilalti bucurandu-se de deserturile tale si cata fericire imi aduce gatitul si prajituritul. E una dintre minunile vietii mele dupa fiul meu si sunt extrem de recunoscatoare pentru aceste cadouri pe care viata si Cel de Sus mi le fac. Ce vreau eu sa spun, oricat de clisei ar suna, e urmatorul lucru: faceti ceea ce va place, pasiunile sunt cele care ne ofera provocarile cele mai mari si mai importante, acele provocari care ne ajuta sa crestem si tot ele sunt cele care ne aduc si cele mai mari satisfactii!

Ingrediente:

Biscuiti:

  • 140g unt la temperatura camerei
  • 50g zahar pudra
  • 1 ou
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 250g faina alba
  • 50g amidon de porumb
  • 1 praf de sare

Glazura si umplutura:

  • Gem de zmeura fara samburi
  • Cirese confiate
  • 2 linguri unt topit
  • 2 linguri zeama de lamaie
  • 200g zahar pudra

Mod de preparare:

Biscuiti:

  1. Mixati untul si zaharul pana obtineti o compozitie cremoasa, albicioasa. Adaugati oul si vanilia si mixati bine.
  2. Incorporati faina, amidonul si un praf de sare si framantati cat de putin aluatul, doar cat sa-i dati forma unei bile. Infasurati in folie alimentara si dati la frigider 30 minute.
  3. Transferati aluatul pe masa de lucru infainata si intindeti o foaie dubtire de aproximativ 3mm grosime. Taiati fursecuri cu un cutter rotund si asezati fiecare fursec pe o tava de copt tapetata cu hartie de copt.
  4. Coaceti in cuptorul pre-incalzit la 180C pentru aproximativ 10 minute sau pana cand marginile incep sa devina aurii.
  5. Lasati sa se raceasca in tava apoi lipiti biscuitii doi cate doi cu gem de zmeura fara seminte. Asezati biscuitii pe un grilaj sau o tava mare.

Glazura:

  1. Amestecati untul topit, zeama de lamaie si zaharul pudra intr-un bol. Adaugati zahar in plus daca glazura e prea lichida, sau zeama de lamaie daca e prea groasa. Consistenta ideala e curgatoare, dar nu extrem de lichida.
  2. Glaurati fiecare fursec in parte cu 1 lingura de glazura si decorati cu o jumatate de cireasa confiata.

empire biscuits