Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer, Sun and Strawberries

I love this weather. Summer's almost here but there's still a light breeze in the air!

Also, I can eat my Strawberries!!!

Photo Credit: Diana Loutfy

Photo Credit: Diana Loutfy

And other than simply eating the awesome juicy sweet citrus-y  (yes, both :P) fruit all by itself, I did the next best thing:

A Strawberry Tart

Photo Credit: Diana Loutfy

I used the same pie crust recipe I always use. It took me some time to find the perfect one but I finally found it (and by some, I mean YEARS). Then I used the Cake Boss's Italian Custard Cream recipe (I wanted to try and use something other than my French Crème Pâtissière recipe). 

The pie crust is too good not to share so you'll find the recipe below.

Then I sliced up some strawberries with my new strawberry slicer =D and arranged them on top of the tart.

Photo Credit: Diana Loutfy

Photo Credit: Diana Loutfy

Then I used some my Aunt's strawberry jam to glaze the top.

Photo Credit: Diana Loutfy

Pie Crust

What You Need

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 170 g unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
What to Do

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Add the butter and mix using your hand or a pastry blender.
  3. Whip the egg yolk with the water.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and add the egg mixture.
  5. Mix the dough well until it holds together. If it's too sticky add some more flour, if it's too crumbly add some more water. (But be careful not too add too much as it will affect the texture of the crust)
  6. Wrap the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Take out your dough, roll it out and place it in your pie pan. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  8. Using a fork, punch holes in the dough in order for it not to rise during baking.
  9. Place aluminum foil over your dough and place some beans over the foil (this will also help the pie not rise)
  10. Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 176 degrees Celcius.
  11. Take your crust out of the oven and using a brush, spread some whipped egg white over it.
  12. Return and bake for another 8 minutes, until it's golden in color.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Back to Basics - Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was looking around Deezert and noticed that I had a very important thing missing! I have no idea how I could have forgotten such an important part of the dessert world!

Yes, you've guessed it:

Chocolate Chip favorite kind of cookies!

Photo Credit: Deezert

Crunchy on the outside, goey and moist on the inside.

I found this amazing recipe on (my go-to site for recipes) and tweeked it a bit to suit my chocolate-y needs. You'll find the recipe at the end of this post. 

Photo Credit: Deezert
Photo Credit: Deezert

Photo Credit: Deezert
Cookies and a cup of milk!

What You Need:
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature  (around 225 g)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

What to do:

  1. Cream together the butter and sugars till light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs - one at a time - and beat the mixture. Stir in the vanilla using a spatula.
  3. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the mixture along with the salt.
  4. Sift and add the flour. Drop in the chocolate chips. Mix using a spatula. DO NOT over mix the dough. Work it just until the flour disappears.
  5. Cover the mixture and refrigerate it for at least an hour. (The longer you wait - if you can wait (I never can) - the yummier the cookies will turn out to be). The reason for this is that if you directly bake the cookies, the mixture will get soggy and directly start melting. It's better to let the dough rest and then bake the cookies.
  6. Scoop up 1 tablespoon of dough (I use an ice cream scoop) at a time and place them around 2 inches  apart on a baking sheet or an ungreased pan (the dough already contains lots of butter and should not stick). Recipe will make around 2 dozen cookies.
  7. Bake the cookies for around 10-12 minutes in a preheated oven (170 degrees Celsius), or just until the edges brown.
  8. Directly transfer them to a cooling rack in order to let them toughen up a bit (if they're crumbly, let them cook for a minute or so on the pan)
  9. After they've cooled down, DIG IN! (Don't forget to place the rest in an airtight container to keep them fresh - if there was any left!)

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Twirls of Happiness

Twirls of Happiness Indeed!

I recently got this amazing cake decorating book that I was VERY impatient to try along with my new tools!

The book is called Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible by Lindy Smith!

This is my first post with all these new awesome decorating tools and I can't wait to try them all!

Anyway, it's a hot Saturday evening here in Beirut and I was very bored (and by very i mean VERY). So I thought I'd give the book a try. I baked some chocolate cupcakes (Recipe Below) in my new colorful cupcake cups and whipped up some swiss meringue buttercream.

Mixing Pink into the Buttercream =D

I also had some leftover white rolled fondant, so I got out my color pastes and tinted the white fondant with some colors.

I opened the book and started trying out the techniques, and here's what I (and my sister Lana) came up with:

Yellow Flower

Circles of Joy 

Lollipops and Cupcakes

Buttercream Roses

 Don't they look all cute and pinky?!

The mess after:

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