Habeas Brulee » Sweets http://habeasbrulee.com Sun, 17 Mar 2013 03:04:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.21 Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/03/09/matcha-whoopie-pies-with-sakura-buttercream-filling/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/03/09/matcha-whoopie-pies-with-sakura-buttercream-filling/#comments Sun, 10 Mar 2013 02:31:11 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=797

We went to Fletcher’s Brooklyn BBQ for my mother’s birthday last month, where the owner helped us celebrate by plying us with meat, whoopie pies, and shots of some sort of moonshine that made my mother scrunch her eyes shut after every sip.

“Whoopie!” we declared in lieu of the usual cheers. Happy birthday, Mom! Whoopie!

Today, my friend Nicole came over to visit with a treat – sakura extract and powdered salty sakura (cherry) leaf. Why not make whoopie pies together, we figured? The best and most interesting whoopie pies ever, for the record. I love the moments where you notice salty bursts of flavor from tiny clumps of sakura powder in some bites.


Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling
for the cakes (recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
1 C granulated sugar
1/2 C butter or Earth Balance
2 large eggs
1/2 C buttermilk (or 1 tsp vinegar plus enough milk to reach 1/2 C liquid total)
1/2 C water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp matcha (green tea powder)
for the buttercream filling (recipe adapted from Magnolia Bakery)
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
1/4 C whole milk
1 tsp sakura extract (I have no idea where to buy this without a friend traveling to Japan, sadly)
0.2 oz sakura cherry leaf powder
Maldon salt (or any sea salt with nice big crystals)

First, make the cakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beach sugar and butter/shortening together thoroughly.

3. Mix in the buttermilk and water, then the eggs and vanilla. It’ll look lumpy and curdled; don’t panic.

4. Mix in the dry ingredients and beat only until they come together, taking care not to overmix.

5. Place 1 tbsp scoops of batter about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

6. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes are springy to the touch, rotating the baking sheets from back to front and top to bottom once halfway through.

While waiting for the cakes to cool, make the frosting:

1. Beat the butter and 2 C confectioners’ sugar together.

2. Add the milk and sakura powder and extract.

3. Gradually add the remaining sugar 1/2 C at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

When the cakes are cool, fill the whoopie pies, adding a sprinkle of Maldon salt on top of the frosting before covering each with its top cookie. Whoopie!

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Lazy, Rustic, Haphazard, and Amazing Sour Cherry Pies http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/06/24/lazy-rustic-haphazard-and-amazing-sour-cherry-pies/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/06/24/lazy-rustic-haphazard-and-amazing-sour-cherry-pies/#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2011 14:22:18 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=567

I’ve gotten seriously lazy with my sour cherry pies.

I make at least half a dozen every year, or my father sulks. It’s just one of those things. The tree is ready in mid-June, so everyone gathers together to pick, pit, barbecue, and eat. I’ve learned to make the crust dough in advance at home and just bring it over and stick it into Dad’s freezer before we attack the tree. These things get easier over time.

But since the tree keeps growing and I make more and more pies each year, I’ve had to learn a few shortcuts along the way. A few improvements. How do you make so many pies without anyone getting bored, without driving yourself nuts with irritation, while maintaining high quality and tastiness? Well, I think I’ve finally figured it out. This is how.

Forget pie tins. Forget measurements and mixing up the filling carefully. Forget lattices or double crusts. Forget everything you’ve ever learned about how to make a beautiful pie. No one cares if these are beautiful. If they’re delicious, dayenu, it’s more than enough for us. Don’t lead us through the desert. Just make us a few more pies!

Lazy. Haphazard. I make an almond-meal based tart dough, roll out chunks of it, and just splat them onto foil-covered baking sheets. I squeeze much of the juice out of cherries, handfuls at a time, and spread them across the middle of the sheet of dough. Sprinkle on some sort of starch to absorb the liquid, brown sugar, flavorful booze, a bit of cinnamon, some vanilla and almond extracts.

Want variety? Sure, make a few wishniak pies, a few with whisky, some with amaretto. Whatever makes you happy. Just splash it right on top. Then cover all your sins with crumblies, and stick it in the oven. One or two pies per baking sheet. My oven fits four baking sheets. We get the job done. Someone else runs out for ice cream in the end.

Sour Cherry Archives
2008: Sour Cherry Coffee Cake
2007: Almond Buttermilk Biscuits with Sour Cherry Compote, Butterscotch, and Candied Pickled Ginger
2007: Sour Cherry Braised Lamb Shanks
2006: Dave’s Sour Cherry Barbecue Sauce and Baby Back Ribs
2006: Sour Cherry Almond Milk Sorbet
2006: Sour Cherry Sage Flower Jam
2006: Sour Cherry Pie (Old Version)

Lazy, Rustic, Haphazard, and Amazing Sour Cherry Pies
For the crust:
2 C flour
1/2 C almond meal
1/2 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 C butter (slightly softened, but still cold)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
For the filling (and no, this section doesn’t have precise measurements):
Sour cherries, rinsed and pitted
Flour or corn starch
Dark brown sugar
Almond extract
Vanilla extract
Booze (I prefer wishniak (a sort of cherry liquor), but kirsch or amaretto or whiskey or rum or whatever you like will work just fine)
For the crumblies:
1/2 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 C butter

Mix together the dry ingredients for the crust. Add the butter and mix or squish together by hand until the dough reaches a texture like bread crumbs. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until the dough just starts to come together. Slam it against a hard surface to remove the air bubbles, as you would if working with clay. Form it into a squat, chubby cylinder, and cut the cylinder in half so that you have two disks. (Or into smaller chunks, if you prefer smaller pies.) Wrap each disk separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate them for at least half an hour, and up to twenty-four hours. Alternatively, you can stick them in the freezer and they’ll keep for a few months. This makes enough dough for two reasonably large tarts (or more smaller ones).

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Prepare an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. (Or several!)

Take one chunk of dough out of the fridge at a time. I like to roll out my dough between floured layers of waxed paper, to keep my rolling pin clean and make it easier to flip it as I go. Every few moments, just gently remove the wax paper and sprinkle on a bit more dough to keep it from sticking. When it’s about 1/8″ thick, flip it out onto a prepared baking sheet.

You’re going to build a really haphazard filling right on top of the dough, keeping about 1.5″-2″ clear around the edge.

First, the sour cherries. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cherries before piling them on top of the dough – no matter how much liquid you remove, you’ll still end up with too much remaining. I promise. (Save the liquid you squeeze out – you can use it to make syrup for soda!)

Next, sprinkle on some flour or corn starch to help absorb the liquid. A nice dusting over all the cherries should do just fine. You really can’t go wrong here. Then sprinkle on a light dusting of cinnamon as well.

Drizzle a few little dashes of vanilla and almond extracts over the cherries.

Heavily sprinkle brown sugar over the cherries next. My brown sugar tends to solidify, so more often than not I use a knife to just slice the brown sugar over the cherries. I use rather a lot, but it’s just a matter of taste. Sour cherries are more flavorful than sweet ones, and you add a lot of sweetness with ice cream at the end anyway.

Last, splash some booze over the whole mess. Rather a lot more than you did with the extracts. Definitely more of a splash than a drizzle, this time. Don’t panic. The alcohol will cook off, and it’ll be lovely.

To finish things up, make the crumbles by mixing together the non-butter crumbly ingredients and then cutting in the butter until the texture is, well, crumbly. Sprinkle over the cherries.

At this point, if you’re making pies in bulk for a parent who sulks if he doesn’t get enough pie each summer, you can just freeze your pie in his freezer and instruct him on how to bake it himself whenever he wants. That’s a bit silly, though. He always bakes and eats them all within the first week anyway.

Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375° F and bake for another 30 minutes, or until it looks done.

Serve with vanilla ice cream for best effect.

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Welsh Cakes with Dried Apricots and Candied Ginger http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/04/05/welsh-cakes-with-dried-apricots-and-candied-ginger/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/04/05/welsh-cakes-with-dried-apricots-and-candied-ginger/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 13:42:18 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=535

Rose was going on and on about how incredibly easy and delicious Welsh cakes were, so I had to make them! But I couldn’t find my nutmeg and had to substitute mace, and then it occurred to me that I have slightly more flavorful turbinado sugar around, and then I glanced upon the candied ginger and dried apricots when hunting for the currants… and how could I resist messing with the recipe then?

These are sort of pancake-ish, sort of scone-ish, and really fantastic for breakfast. You can make the dough in advance (though really, it comes together very quickly), and the cakes are fried up in an ungreased pan just before serving (none of them lasted long enough to test whether they’re still good the next day).

Also, I’m still a Hipstamatic addict:

2008: Goose Stew
2007: Curried Cauliflower
2006: Freeform Caramel Prawn Pies

Welsh Cakes with Dried Apricots and Candied Ginger
(blatantly stolen and tweaked from King Arthur Flour’s recipe)
3 C (12 3/4 oz) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 C (7 oz) turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 C (8 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into smallish chunks of some sort
2 1/2 oz (a bit under 1/2 C) candied ginger, chopped into currant-sized chunks
3 oz (a bit over 1/2 C) dried apricots, chopped into currant-sized chunks
2 large eggs beaten with enough milk to yield 3/4 C liquid

1. Get a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need, and whisk together the powdery ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and mace).

2. Smoosh in the butter by hand (I love my nitrile gloves for this sort of messy operation) until the mixture is fairly evenly crumbly – as with scones, a few bigger chunks of butter remaining will be just fine.

3. Mix in the candied ginger and dried apricots.

4. Mix in the milk/egg mixture, until the everything is fairly evenly moistened.

5. With this sort of sticky dough, I like to roll it out between two sheets of floured wax paper. So, get a big sheet of wax paper out onto your counter. Sprinkle it liberally with flour. Turn the sticky, moist dough out onto it, and flour it on top until you can gently pat it into a nice mount. Cut the mound of dough in half, and shape each half into a thick 4″-ish disc. Wrap one of the disks in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge.

6. Roll the other disc of dough between two floured sheets of wax paper until it’s about 1/4″ thick.

(To keep dough from sicking, I tend to occasionally pull off the top sheet of wax paper, sprinkle on some more flour, put it back down, flip over the whole operation, pull off the formerly-bottom-now-top sheet of wax paper, sprinkle on some more flour (or spread the remaining flour around a bit more evenly), and keep going.)

7. Using a 2 1/2″ to 3 1/2″ round cookie cutter (or the rim of an appropriately sized wine glass), cut the dough into circles. Gather and re-roll the scraps, cutting until you’ve used all the dough. Or if you don’t care about circularity, cut it into squares. Whatever makes you happy.

8. Heat an ungreased (yes, really!) non-stick (possibly not necessary, but that’s what I used) pan (or skillet or griddle) over medium heat.

9. Fry the cakes for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, until they’re golden brown and cooked all the way through. Definitely try just one sample cake at a time for the first few until you’ve figured out the right temperature, and then of course do as many at once as you can manage.

10. Transfer the fried cakes to a rack to cool. Don’t expect them to actually have time to cool before they are scarfed down by everyone in the immediate vicinity.

11. Repeat with the refrigerated dough. After you roll it out and cut it, let the circles (or whatever shapes) warm at room temperature for about 10 minutes before frying.

12. King Arthur Flour suggested dusting the cakes with cinnamon-sugar or splitting them and smearing on some butter and jam. Personally, I think they’re dead perfect eaten totally plain, straight out of the oven. Though they certainly do go well with tea.

Yield: About 6 people worth of breakfast around these here parts.

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Kentucky Coffee Spread http://habeasbrulee.com/2010/07/05/kentucky-coffee-spread/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2010/07/05/kentucky-coffee-spread/#comments Mon, 05 Jul 2010 05:16:54 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=473

I went on another foraging hike with Wildman Steve Brill this past Saturday in honor of Dave’s 30th birthday. This time, I came prepared – I dropped pins on my iPhone map whenever we passed a tree or bush that I knew I’d want to be able to find again later! But putting aside the tale of our first attempt at wild foraged NYC nocino, I want to tell you about the seeds of the Kentucky coffee tree.

Early in the hike, we passed a huge Kentucky coffee trees with leaves like the tailfeathers of a bird. The Wildman pointed out the seed pods on the ground, and told us that the seeds could be roasted and used as a tasty caffeine-free coffee substitute. After a bit of hunting, our eyes adjusted to looking for seeds instead of seed pods, and we collected baggies full of what looked like malted milk balls hidden among the dead leaves at the side of the path.

This next photo is by the Wildman himself, reposted here just so you can see what the seeds actually look like.

Following the Wildman’s instructions, when we got home we roasted the seeds in a foil-covered baking pan at 300 F for 2 hours. (The foil is there because some of the seeds end up popping like popcorn!) Our kitchen smelled like roasted chicory, and we thought of grinding up the whole seeds to make Kentucky coffee.

Dave and I are halfway through an elimination diet at the moment, though, and we’ve been craving chocolate much more than coffee. So, thinking back to when I made chocolate from scratch, we shelled the roasted seeds and used only the meaty innards.

Those innards, we ground to as fine a powder as we could. (We used a coffee grinder, but I’d strongly recommend using a superblender or sumeet instead.) I can pretty much guarantee you’ll want to sieve out the lumps.

Finally, we added in agave nectar (2:3 :: roasted and pitted Kentucky coffee tree seeds : agave nectar) and salt to taste, and blended until smooth.

It’s like a wild foraged chocolate spread or nutella substitute! What a perfect spread for toast or pancake. The Kentucky coffee spread had an intense, interesting darkness to it, and a touch of bitterness that was perfectly mellowed by the agave. As soon as this elimination diet is over, I am treating myself to a breakfast of crepes with sour cream and this Kentucky coffee spread.

One of these days, we have to go back and pick up more. In the meantime, you should go on one of the Wildman’s hikes. I think this was third or fourth one I’ve been on, and I still learned new things and had a great time.

2009: Son-In-Law Eggs
2008: Sour Cherry Coffee Cake

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Double Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones http://habeasbrulee.com/2010/02/23/double-ginger-chocolate-chunk-scones/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2010/02/23/double-ginger-chocolate-chunk-scones/#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2010 15:21:06 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=443

My honorary aunt and dear friend recently gave me a copy of Enlightened Chocolate by Camilla V. Saulsbury. It’s a collection of ‘healthy’(-ish) chocolate recipes. My concept of healthy-ish cooking is to bake infrequently and give away most of my cookies, not fret over ingredients, but some of the recipes here actually look pretty tasty.

These scones are just wonderful. Dave has slowly introduced me to enjoying baked goods made with whole wheat flour over the past few years – he started by sneaking a little bit into his breads, and then increasing the percentage slowly over time. It’s pretty amazing, but now I love that touch of whole wheat flour flavor mixed with the ginger in this recipe. Next time I might even go so far as to make it with half whole wheat flour, half cake flour! (“I’ve really learned how to manipulate your brain,” says he.)

I added extra chocolate and extra ginger, messed with the flour percentages, and used whole milk instead of fat-free. I also like cutting smaller scones, because they’re so much easier to share. And oh, they’re absolutely perfect with a big mug of genma chai for breakfast in the morning.

2008: Quick-Pickled Cucumbers with Chili Bean Sauce
2007: Chicken and Rice, Curry Banana, Roots and Rhizomes Stew
2006: Aztec Marshmallows

Double Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones
(adapted from Enlightened Chocolate by Camilla V. Saulsbury)
2/3 C whole wheat flour
1/3 C all-purpose flour
1 C cake flour
1/4 C packed dark brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp butter, cut into chunks
1/2 C plus 2 tsp milk (I used whole milk, but fat-free would be fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg white
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks
4 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger (or Ginger People ginger chips – yum!) (Dave prefers trading half of the ginger for an equal quantity of chopped dried strawberries)
2 tsp raw/turbinado sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 450 F.

2. In a food processor, blend together the flours, brown sugar, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, and butter until the mix resembles coarse meal.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the 1/2 C milk, egg white, and vanilla.

4. Blend the milk mixture into the flour mixture just until it starts to come together.

5. Pour the fairly liquidy dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and separate into two parts. Flatten a bit by hand.

6. Press half the chocolate chunks and half the crystallized ginger into the top of each mound of dough.

7. Knead each mound of dough about 4 times, sprinkling a bit more flour on it as needed. Don’t be afraid of it – it will stay gooey, and the chocolate and ginger will try to escape. Just squish it together as best you can, don’t overwork it in an attempt to solidify it, and don’t panic. It’ll all work out just fine. Honest.

8. Press each mound of dough into a 4″ diameter circle on a parchment lined baking sheet.

9. Cut each mound into 8 wedges, but don’t separate or worry about really cutting the lines all the way through.

10. Brush with the extra milk and sprinkle on the turbinado sugar.

11. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden, rotating from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.

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Chevre Truffles http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/12/04/chevre-truffles/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/12/04/chevre-truffles/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2009 16:38:09 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=325

These truffles were inspired by Goat Lady Dairy, which I encountered at the farmers market in Greensboro, North Carolina last winter. Her chevre truffles were a blended ganache, about 60% chocolate to 40% chevre, with a bit of vanilla and salt as well – and they were fantastic! Of course, I had to come back home to NYC eventually, so I had to figure out how to make my own replacement instead of just relying on Goat Lady Dairy for my fix.

The Greensboro farmers market was just amazing. It turns out that Goat Lady Dairy does an occasional restaurant sort of like ours (sigh), excepts theirs takes place in their barn. I also met Ross Flynn of Cane Creek Farm, who chatted with me about tasty cow hearts, Ossabaw pigs (apparently more like historical Iberico than the Iberico available today!), and other meaty topics along those lines.

After getting home and going through some experimentation, I came to the conclusion that I liked simple salted chocolate-dipped chevre even better than blended chevre truffles. They look nicer to me, and I love the texture contrast as you bite through the chocolate shell and and the cold, creamy chevre bursts out into your mouth.

I’m a bit fussy, and I only like very mild cheeses. I always buy my chevre at the Union Square or Grand Army Plaza greenmarkets from Lynnhaven Farm, which has the mildest, sweetest, creamiest chevre around. It has just the right level of tanginess for my taste, and it works perfectly in these truffles.

I’ve also included cheat to get you out of having to temper the chocolate. It turns out that if you melt a bit of neutral oil in with your chocolate, it will help stabilize the crystal structure and keep your chocolate from blooming or otherwise appearing to be out of temper. It’s a great trick for dipping things in chocolate when you just don’t have the time or inclination to go through the whole process of actually tempering the chocolate properly. Seems too easy to work, but it does.

2008: Home-Cured Salmon with Black Pepper and Coriander
2007: Forbidden Rice with Persimmon and Coconut
2006: Truffled Gruyere Risotto

Chevre Truffles
4 oz chevre
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 tsp safflower (or other neutral) oil
Maldon (or other crunchy) sea salt

Roll the chevre into small spheres and spread them out on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Put them in the freezer and allow them to freeze.

The oil lets you cheat on tempering the chocolate. It helps stabilize the crystal structure, and keeps the chocolate from blooming even when it hasn’t been tempered.

Gently melt the chocolate with the oil, stirring it until all lumps are gone. Let it cool a bit.

Dip the chevre spheres into the chocolate and put them back onto the parchment paper to set. Sprinkle a bit of crunchy salt on top of each one after it is dipped – act fast, though, because the chocolate will set very quickly!

Store in the fridge. Serve cold but not frozen.

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Clementine Sassafras Ice Cream http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/11/29/clementine-sassafras-ice-cream/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/11/29/clementine-sassafras-ice-cream/#comments Sun, 29 Nov 2009 17:34:24 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=302

This recipe was inspired by Wildman Steve Brill, who has a foraged, vegan version in his Wild Vegetarian Cookbook. The Wildman uses cashews for their creamy texture and actual sassafras roots foraged from city parks for their vivid flavor, but our civilized ovo-lacto interpretation can be made with ingredients actually purchased in stores.

It’s clementine season again, and our apartment is never without a big wooden bowl full of clementines in the middle of the dining room table. I get my sassafras extract at New York Cake Supplies, though you can easily order it online or find it in other gourmet food stores.

This ice cream tastes like melted sunlight. (Sunlight qua frozen hot chocolate, perhaps?) It has all those wonderful bright citrus notes – though maybe I’m a bit overexcited, given what a clementine addict I become every winter. And sassafras is one of the key ingredients in root beer, and it tastes like root beer without all the distractions getting in the way.

In other news, we got some press by winning the savory category of the First Annual Brooklyn Pie Bake-Off with our muffin-sized individual saffron duck pot pies. Thank you to everyone who came out to eat and compete!

There was a big crowd with about 40 pies on the table, and we had a great time tasting as many as we could and hanging out with other food bloggers and pie enthusiasts. With such a great start, I’m awfully tempted to compete in more cook-offs from now on!

2008: Pork & Sundried Tomato Cappelletti with Pomegranate Walnut Sauce
2007: Cubed Radish Kimchi
2006: Kabocha Beef Tagine with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemon

Clementine Sassafras Ice Cream
2 C heavy cream
1 C wholemilk
Juice of 3 clementines
Zest of 6 clementines (just eat the rest!)
6 large egg yolks
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/8 tsp sassafras extract
1/4 c candied clementine rind (optional)
A bit of citric acid to taste (optional)

In a medium saucepan, stir the cream, juice, and zest together with half of the sugar, reserving the other 3/8 C sugar for later.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the other 3/8 C sugar until thoroughly combined.

Bring the cream mixture to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and slowly pour it into egg yolks, whisking constantly.

Pour the mix back into the saucepan and bring to 180 degrees F, stirring constantly. When it hits the right temperature, remove it from the heat and strain into medium bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water.

Stir until it cools to 120 degrees F.

Stir in the sassafras extract. Add the candied clementine and citric acid to taste (optional).

Chill and freeze churn according to your cream maker’s instructions.

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Saffron Turmeric Cake with Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Argan Oil Whipped Cream, Almond Brittle, and Thyme http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/06/10/saffron-turmeric-cake-with-meyer-lemon-sorbet-argan-oil-whipped-cream-almond-brittle-and-thyme/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/06/10/saffron-turmeric-cake-with-meyer-lemon-sorbet-argan-oil-whipped-cream-almond-brittle-and-thyme/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2009 23:23:26 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=303

I’ve been meaning to post this for months! Since a few of you requested it, I may as well start with the backlog here. This was a really fun dish to throw together. The saffron turmeric cake was an adaptation of a chocolate cake recipe, where Dave started by replacing the cocoa powder with turmeric and went on from there. It is intensely flavorful and moist and one of the most perfect cakes we’ve ever developed.

You can see from the photo how vividly red the inside of the cake is. It turns out that turmeric, a bright yellow root most commonly sold as a powder here in the U.S., turns red when it reacts with alkaline substances. In fact, the red dot traditionally worn by many Indian women in the center of the forehead is made by mixing powdered turmeric with lime (not the fruit!).

I can’t remember why we decided to pair it with the thyme brittle and the meyer lemon sorbet (I’m sure it made sense at the time, and it worked really well), but I definitely recall that we added thyme because we had read that meyer lemon contains one of the same flavor compounds as thyme.

Our few sets of our muffin pans are still stained red from making rounds of these cakes, but it was entirely worth it.

Now, what you’ve all been waiting for: the winners of my CIA book giveaway! I used a random number generator to pick winners from the comments. The winners are Sandy, Kathryn, Vicki, Alison, Esme, and Red! Winners, please email me your addresses and I’ll have a book sent out to each of you pronto. Thanks to everyone for playing along!

2008: Chocolate-Whiskey Pudding Cake
2007: Rum-Drenched Cocoa-Nana Bread
2006: Saffron Dill Cappelletti Stuffed With Leeks

Saffron Turmeric Cake
1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter, in 1 inch cubes
1/2 C warm water
2 tbsp turmeric
1 small pinch saffron
1 C sugar
1.7 oz all-purpose flour
0.7 oz whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 c sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Prepare muffin tins with butter and flour, and set aside.

In a large saucepan, steep the saffron in the water. Whisk the flours, salt, and baking soda together, and set aside.

Add the butter and turmeric into the saffron water, then turn on the heat and simmer until the butter melts. Remove from heat.

Whisk in the sugar, but don’t panic if it doesn’t dissolve. Whisk in the flour mixture. Whisk in the egg and then the sour cream, until the color is even.

Fill the prepared muffin tins about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes. Don’t worry about it setting fully – it will finish setting as it cools.

Makes 10 muffin-sized cakes.

Meyer Lemon Sorbet
470 g meyer lemon juice
80 g glucose syrup
80 g agave nectar
80 g sugar
100 g water
1/2 tsp guar gum (or substitute pectin or a commercial sorbet stabilizer)

Blend together. Freeze in your ice cream churner as per usual.

Argan Oil Whipped Cream
Heavy cream
Argan oil

Mix to taste and beat until whipped.

Almond Brittle
Sliced almonds
Cream of tartar

Toast sliced almonds in a dry pan on the stove until they start to brown and smell delicious. Set aside.

Heat the water, sugar, and a bit of tartar in a saucepan until it is lightly golden, a bit paler than you eventually want it to be. Stir in the toasted almonds, and spread on a silpat to cool and set.

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Cinnamon Marzipan Sichuan Peppercorn Truffles http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/11/01/cinnamon-marzipan-sichuan-peppercorn-truffles/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/11/01/cinnamon-marzipan-sichuan-peppercorn-truffles/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2008 13:32:07 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/11/01/cinnamon-marzipan-sichuan-peppercorn-truffles/

While I’m playing catch-up and trying to get back into the habit of blogging, here’s another set of truffles I made over the summer. I have a great love of the tingliness of Sichuan peppercorns in sweets as well as in savory dishes, and the flavor of them always makes me think of libraries and crinkling yellow pages of gorgeous old books. In a delicious way, I mean. If books were made of candy, this is what they’d taste like.

A few publicity announcements:

Our occasional restaurant, Jack, is mentioned in the Fall 2008 issue of Edible Brooklyn. You can see a scan of the cover and the page 11 article about us here.

And if you’re of a mind to stop by a bookstore or order a book to read about business and leadership, we were also mentioned on page 21 of Seth Godin‘s latest book, Tribes.

Incidentally, we went apple-picking last weekend.

We found that apple already bitten but still on the tree like that when we walked by. My youngest brother added the eyes.

Several apple pies later, we’re down to only about 30 pounds of apples left! Well. It’s time to get more creative with them.

2007: Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Nib Brittle
2006: Rosemary Currant Shortbread with Cumin Ginger Apples

Cinnamon Marzipan Sichuan Peppercorn Truffles
(adapted from Chocolates & Confections by Peter P. Greweling)
4 tsp ground cinnamon
60 g (2 oz) corn syrup
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
980 g (34 oz) 62% semisweet chocolate, tempered, chopped
490 g (17 oz) heavy cream
Ground sichuan peppercorns to taste
300 g (5 oz) marzipan
More chocolate for dipping

Set the chocolate aside in a bowl.

Stir together the glucose, cinnamon, and heavy cream in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into the cream, then throw the beans in, too. Bring to a boil, whisking to break up the cinnamon, then remove from the heat and pour the cream mixture over the chocolate.

Stir the chocolate into the cream as it melts from the heat of the cream, creating a ganache/emulsion.

Make sure all the chocolate has melted. If it hasn’t, melt it very very gently over a warm water bath as needed.

Pour onto a baking sheet in a thin layer, and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the ganache. Set it aside until it reaches a “slightly firm, plastic consistency,” which should take about an hour.

In the meantime, roll the marzipan out into a square of about 10″x10″ and about 1/16″ thick. Trim the edges to make them nice and straight. Eat the trimmings.

Temper at least some of the chocolate you have for dipping. The best guidelines I’ve ever found on how to temper chocolate are by David Lebovitz, and you can read them here. The details he explains that made it finally make sense for me were using big chunks of seed chocolate instead of smaller chopped pieces, and removing what’s left of them once your chocolate is tempered instead of worrying about melting them in completely.

Coat one side of the marzipan square in chocolate.

Once it sets, flip the marzipan chocolate side down. Cut it into strips 1/2″ wide.

Stir the ganache and fill it into a pastry bag with a small plain round tip. Pipe two cylinders side by side and then a third cylinder atop and between the other two on each marzipan strip. Sprinkle some ground sichuan peppercorn on top to taste.

Leave them alone to set until they’re firm enough to handle. I did this by sticking them in the fridge for a few minutes.

Cut them into pieces about 1″ long.

Temper your dipping chocolate and dip the pieces. Put them on parchment paper until they set.

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Zambian Honey and Rumquat Truffles http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/09/24/zambian-honey-and-rumquat-truffles/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/09/24/zambian-honey-and-rumquat-truffles/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2008 13:46:20 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/09/24/zambian-honey-and-rumquat-truffles/

You can make the honey truffles with any honey you like, but I used Zambian honey from Zambezi. I met the woman who imports it at the Fancy Food Show this year, and loved her story. She was in Zambia with the Peace Corps and loved the honey there, and started up the import business of it when she moved back to the U.S. I have a carboy full of mead made with it brewing up right now, half of which will go straight to her as soon as it is ready.

In the meantime, I’ve been making these honey truffles nonstop, and they have been a hit with everyone who tried them, including everyone wandered into the VIP Suite at SalonCon, which we catered earlier this month.

Also, Dave finally put together a craft blog for me to post the inedible things I make when my fingers start itching and my brain starts sizzling. He named it Rumquat after the rum ganache and kumquat marmalade filled truffles I was making the night he put the site together.

I’m in the airport on my way to the California (mostly Berkeley, Mountain View, and San Francisco) for a week, my second trip off to visit Mike Develin (mostly named here because someday I’m going to get a wacky email from someone saying, “Hey, I know Mike! You know him, too? Let’s chat and cause wacky hijinks to occur!”). We entirely failed to make reservations for any exciting restaurants, but I’m mostly interested in time spent with friends wandering by the beach, in any event. Still, if you can think of any good foodie spots thereabouts that don’t require reservations made way in advance, please let me know!

2007: Chewy Cherry Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies
2006: Dave’s Sour Cherry Barbecue Sauce and Baby Back Ribs

Zambian Honey Truffles
(adapted from Chocolates & Confections by Peter P. Greweling)
70 g Zambian honey
20 g butter, soft
450 g dark chocolate, tempered, chopped (for the ganache)
225 g heavy cream
More chocolate for dipping and making bases
More Zambian honey for filling the truffles

Chop the ganache chocolate and set it aside in a bowl.

Stir together the honey and heavy cream together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and pour the cream mixture over the chocolate.

Stir the chocolate into the cream as it melts from the heat of the cream, creating a ganache/emulsion. Make sure all the chocolate has melted. If it hasn’t, melt it very very gently over a warm water bath as needed.

Stir in the butter next, making sure that it is entirely incorporated.

Pour onto a baking sheet in a thin layer, and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the ganache. Set it aside until it reaches a “slightly firm, plastic consistency,” which should take about an hour.

In the meantime, temper at least some of the chocolate you have for dipping. The best guidelines I’ve ever found on how to temper chocolate are by David Lebovitz, and you can read them here. The details he explains that made it finally make sense for me were using big chunks of seed chocolate instead of smaller chopped pieces, and removing what’s left of them once your chocolate is tempered instead of worrying about melting them in completely.

Spread it out about 2 mm thick over parchment paper on two normal (half sheet) size baking sheets. When it is about 90% set, use a round cookie cutter to cut out disks about 1″ diameter. I actually use a large pastry tip, because my cookie cutters are all too big at the moment.

Let the chocolate finish setting. Do not remove it from the parchment paper.

Stir the ganache and fill it into a pastry bag with a small plain round tip. Pipe a circle of ganache around the perimeter of each chocolate disk. Fill the center of each ganache circle with more Zambian honey. Then pipe increasingly smaller concentric circles on top of the first to create a sort of beehive shape.

Leave them alone to set until they’re firm enough to handle. I did this by sticking them in the fridge for a few minutes (or overnight, when it got too late to finish the project in a single day).

Temper your dipping chocolate and dip the pieces. Put them on parchment paper until they set.

Rumquat Truffles
Same as above, but use rum ganache (recipe below) instead of honey ganache and kumquat marmalade (my recipe is available here) instead of extra honey for filling.

Rum Ganache
(adapted from Chocolates & Confections by Peter P. Greweling)
430 g dark chocolate, tempered, chopped (for the ganache)
180 g heavy cream
60 g glucose or light corn syrup
20 g butter, soft
30 g dark rum

Chop the chocolate and set it aside in a bowl.

Stir together the glucose/corn syrup and heavy cream together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and pour the cream mixture over the chocolate.

Stir the chocolate into the cream as it melts from the heat of the cream, creating a ganache/emulsion. Make sure all the chocolate has melted. If it hasn’t, melt it very very gently over a warm water bath as needed.

Stir in the butter next, making sure that it is entirely incorporated.

Add the rum in steady stream, stirring constantly until it is also entirely incorporated.

Pour onto a baking sheet in a thin layer, and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the ganache. Set it aside until it reaches a “slightly firm, plastic consistency,” which should take about an hour.

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