TWD: La Palette’s Strawberry Tart

This week’s selection came from Marie at A Year in Oak Cottage, and it was a perfect pick to top off four days of 90-degree plus weather. Nothing screams summer quite like strawberries! This recipe was described by Dorie as a rustic type of tart, with strawberry jam spread on the tart and each person piling on as many strawberries as desired from a big bowl served in the middle of the table.

More about the tart after the break…

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TWD: French Chocolate Brownies


*Note to self: Let brownies cool before taking pictures, they would look less messy!

Wow. Just wow. With all due respect to Ina’s Outrageous Brownies, these French Chocolate Brownies have trumped and become my all-time favorite brownie recipe. Many thanks to Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook for choosing this week’s recipe – what a fantastic job you did!!

These brownies were created in a pretty non-traditional way in terms of brownies. The eggs and sugar were whisked together in the stand mixture, and then the dry ingredients were added, followed by the melted chocolate/butter combination. In truth, Dorie states that when she created these she was aiming for a chocolate cake, not brownies. But wow, did she nail the brownies! These are dense, moist, insanely chocolatey, and just about everything you could want from a brownie. I couldn’t stop eating pieces off of them each time I walked into the kitchen!

This recipe says it yields 16 brownies, and after cutting these into 16 pieces I’m convinced that Laurie was right – these are French-size brownies, not America’s super-sized variety that we’re used to ;-)

Oh, you will note there are raisins in the recipe, pretty a-typical for a brownie. I skipped these as I only had a handful of raisins left and wanted to hoard them for my oatmeal ;-)

Recipe and some process photos after the break…

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TWD: Traditional Madeleines

This week’s recipe was chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home. I was so excited to see that Madeleines were chosen, as I have been wanting to try them for some time now. After a quick trip to Williams Sonoma to get my pan, I was all set to whip up these delicate, French tea cookies. I found these to be incredibly easy to make – the batter was a cinch to whip together, then a chill in the fridge and filling the pan mold, and into the oven for a short 11 minutes.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t love these. While the texture was very nice, spongey and light, I am not a fan of lemon so I wasn’t thrilled with the overall taste and my overall feeling was just “eh”. All in all, this is a nice delicate cookie, but I would opt for a muffin, scone or biscotti to pair with my hot beverage of choice. Even though Dorie states that these are best eaten the day that they are made (and even, warm from the oven), I would have to respectfully disagree. I thought they were significantly better after a night’s rest in an airtight container.

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TWD: No Attendance Star for Me

You may have noticed that I didn’t have a post up last Tuesday and I am sorry to report that I didn’t make the Florida Pie this week either. However, not without good reason! We just got back from our first vacation since our honeymoon two years ago, and we banished all laptops from the vacation. It felt great to unplug for almost two weeks and we had an amazing time.

We spent 5 full days in Destin, FL at a condo on the beach:

Then we drove to Orlando and spent 3 full days there, hitting up some theme parks:

We got back home on Sunday night and are getting back into the swing of reality, as much as we’d rather start our days with relaxing walks on the beach! I’ll be back in the swing of TWD next week when we make Madeleines, which I have had on my “to make” list for quite some time. In the meantime, check out the Tuesdays With Dorie blog and see everyone else’s pies!

TWD: Fluted Polenta Ricotta Cake

This week’s recipe selection comes to us from Caitlin over at Engineer Baker. I have to be completely honest – at first glance, this recipe didn’t seem all that appealing to me, but my mom and grandma thought it sounded fantastic, so I decided to make it and give it to them to enjoy. As I was putting the cake together, it smelled absolutely fabulous! Definitely a distinct Mediterranean aroma, and as it baked the smell only got better.

More about the cake and the recipe after the break…

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An Anniversary… but no TWD

If you came in search of carrot cake, you’ll have to keep cruising the TWD blogroll because you won’t find any around these parts today. Today is our 2-year wedding anniversary. These last two years have absolutely flown by, and yet at the same time I can’t believe we’ve only been married for 2 years. It’s hard to remember not living in this house together (which is a good thing!). I honestly couldn’t imagine a sweeter life.

My original plan for today was to use Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake (which we made for the March Daring Baker challenge), but to alter it to mimic our wedding cake, which had a mango filling. I made the mango jam, but then Nick suggested having dinner at my very favorite Italian restaurant. This is where my plan hits a snag. I cannot go there and NOT order tiramisu for dessert. It would just be, well, wrong. The planets may fall out of orbit. And so it goes… I might still make our pseudo wedding cake when we get back from vacation, but tonight it’s going to be all about the Italian and the tiramisu.

Not to leave you totally disappointed, here’s a picture of our wedding cake (white cake, mango filling, vanilla buttercream icing), which I loved to look at, loved to eat, and for which we received many compliments. Happy Tuesday everyone!

TWD: Marshmallows

This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was chosen by Judy over at Judy’s Gross Eats. She chose homemade marshmallows, which were surprisingly quick and easy to make! I had just caught a segment on the Martha Stewart Show not too long ago on which they were making homemade marshmallows. It didn’t seem all that hard, but I probably would have never taken the initiative to try them myself if this Dorie recipe hadn’t been chosen, so thank you Judy!

These marshmallows turned out lighter and fluffier than any store-bought marshmallow that I have had in the past, and were completed with minimal effort. It took me less than 30 minutes from the time I started prepping the pan until the marshmallow mixture was poured in to set. That’s not too bad! I’m thinking that this year in place of my customary Christmas tins for friends and family, I might do some homemade cocoa mix with homemade marshmallows.

Be sure to check out the blogroll on the Tuesdays With Dorie blog to see all of the other marshmallow creations!

Last week: Fresh Orange Cream Tart
Next week: I am taking a pass on TWD and will be *attempting* a cake for our anniversary (that happens to fall on Tuesday) that mimics our wedding cake (at least in flavor!).

Marshmallow-making tips and the recipe after the break…

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TWD: Fresh Orange Cream Tart

My first tart, hooray! I am in awe of the beauty of the fluted buttery crust!

This week’s Tuesday With Dorie recipe was chosen by Mary of Starting From Scratch. Her choice was The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart; however, with so many people not necessarily having a taste for lemons, we were given an alternate choice – the Fresh Orange Cream Tart. Since I am not a huge fan of lemon, I went for the Fresh Orange Cream Tart.

This tart can easily be described as a creamsicle wrapped up in a buttery shortbread crust. The first part of this tart involved making the cream. A number of people had noted problems with getting the cream up to 180 degrees, but I used a metal bowl and hit 180 degrees in just about 10 minutes, as the recipe indicated. After heating the cream, the butter is whirred in, in more of an emulsion type of procedure. A quick taste confirmed that this was a silky smooth and perfectly orange mixture.

The dough for this tart was nothing short of amazing. Using a food processor to combine it the key was to have patience. Some said that their dough turned out crumbly and dry. After adding the egg it did appear to be dry and course, but after about five of the 10 second pulses, the sound changed (as Dorie indicated it would) and the dough clumped up. It didn’t form a cohesive ball, but clumped together enough to be able to be rolled out very nicely.

The tart had a nice, light flavor to it, was nice and creamy, and I just can’t say enough about that crust! I typically prefer richer desserts over citrus ones, but this was a nice change of pace and I’d love to fill that tart crust with some luscious chocolate! :)

I did try to brush the tart with the boiled down apple jelly, but it was just too much for my delicate cream. You can see some imperfections on the surface, and that’s where I tried to lightly brush it on, but I chose to just skip it as it seemed to be too much for the surface.

The Tuesdays With Dorie group is nearing 125 members, so be sure to head on over to the blog and check out everyone’s lemon and orange tarts!

Next week: Marshmallows
Last week: Gooey Chocolate Cakes

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TWD: Gooey Chocolate Cakes

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Wow, another successful Dorie recipe (not that I am the least bit surprised). I was treated to two in one week, with the Daring Baker’s Perfect Party Cake earlier in the week, and these Gooey Chocolate Cakes for dessert on Sunday. Thanks to Leigh of Lemon Tartlet for choosing such a fabulous recipe!

I scaled this recipe into one-third of the original and made them in two individual 6-oz. ramekins (the smallest size I have). I have a “standard” molten lava cake recipe that I have been using for years, but I have to say, I think these have it beat. I am not as big of a fan of the runny middle that is characteristic of the classic lava cake, and as a result usually end up overbaking mine so as to firm it up a little. Dorie’s recipe is absolutely perfect because the middle is just as the name implies – Gooey! It’s very soft and, well, gooey, yet not runny. I am in love!

You really have to be a chocolate lover to appreciate these cakes (no problem with that in this house!). There is just a smidge of flour and sugar in the recipe, so be prepared for the total onslaught of bittersweet chocolate flavor. These pair perfectly with ice cream and some fresh berries.

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Next week: Fresh Orange Cream Tart
Last week: Caramel-Topped Flan

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Tuesdays With Dorie: A Quarterly Review

I can’t believe that it has been three months already since I told Laurie that I would bake from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours” with her each week, and hurriedly whipped up the Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies. In these past three months I have somehow managed to only miss one week (the Snickery Squares), and have been churning out Dorie recipes each week like a champ.

While every single thing that I have made has proven to be fantastic, I do of course have my favorites. Out of the recipes we have made so far, the following are the ones I am dying to make again (and likely will in the near future). Since we make so many things, I thought I would take a moment to share my favorites (so far) with you! Enjoy :)

Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte
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Perfection Pound Cake
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Almost Fudge Gateau
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Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake
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