Saturday, May 31, 2008

L'Opera Cake

"L'Opera Cake"

This was a very fun challenge. I have Dorie Greenspans "Paris Sweets" book and love it. I was going to try this recipe soon, and I am glad I waited. It's apparent that I didn't read the part of keeping the recipe light in flavor. I couldn't find my print out of instructions sooooo I went to the source, the book. I had only one problem with the buttercream, I let it boil a wee bit to long and it started to smoke a little, I thought it would be fine and add a taste of carmel to the buttercream filling................well it tasted like burnt coffee, not pleasant at all!! I made another batch and everything was fine and way better tasting! I blanched the almonds and then had to dry them in the oven for about an hour or so on 300. I let them cool and then ground them for the sponge. This was very time consuming recipe, but totally worth it. The end result was wonderful. I had fun with every step of the process and made mental notes as to what I will change with the next Opera cake. My taste testers LOVED the cake. Everyone had the same response to the first bit, "it was just ok" then the second bit hooked them. The complexity of the textures and flavors was fantistic! The entire cake was gone in 2 days. My tennis buddies were waiting for their taste test pieces and I had to make something else for them later in the week. The family and friends are now waiting for the next month's challenge. I am starting to worry the list of tasters is starting to get long. :o} You can find the recipe on the Daring Bakers Kitchen website, or in Dorie Greenspans book "Paris Sweets".

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cheesecake Pops

This is my first Daring Bakers challenge.They may not look pretty, but they tasted good. I had very limited freezer space, that's why the lollipop sticks are all wonky. I have made many cheesecakes in the past, so making the cheesecake wasn't difficult, but making them round without most of the cake sticking to my hands was another matter. I let them take on whatever shape they wanted, then dipped them in chocolate and rolled them in graham cracker crumbs. I left some in the refrig and everyone liked the posp I kept in the freezer best. The taste testers were divided. The individuals that liked cheesecake perferred cheesecake over the pops, and the people that aren't so thrilled with cheesecake LOVED the pops. Go figure. I am looking forward to the next challenge. :o)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

This is our little neighbor that comes for her daily peanuts, unsalted of course. She is friendly and will take the nut gently from my fingers. She is very inquisitive. She will jump from the roof tops into the tree and rush down and wag her tail to get my attention. There are several squirrels, a pair of Scrub Jays and a flock of Magpies that come every morning for breakfast. This squirrel and the male Scrub jay (Sam) will tolerate each other and even hang out eating together. I have seen Sam pick at the squirrel and it seem s like they are playing at times. They always end up on the lawn eating only about 2 feet apart from one another. There are a few other squirrles that come, but none with this little girls personaility. She will bark at me to get my attention if I haven't noticed her, or the dogs are bothering her.

Monday, April 7, 2008


This is Hannah, our 3 year old Yorkie. She is one of our rescue babies. She also runs the household. She is one of 3 dogs, 5 cats, and one bird. All but one are rescues. Hannah was dumped on us by a woman that purchased her and couldn't handle her, not drinking, or eating and having diarrhea. She had her only 3 days and then wanted to give her back to the breeders. The breeder wouldn't except her calls. She called our office in tears and wanted to leave her with us. Hannah was then delivered to us at only 8 weeks old and 2 lbs. What a tiny bundle of joy! and attitude!! She had a parasite that was easy to treat. Hannah has been healthy to date, with the exception of her tiny weight issues. She's soo cute we can't say no, but we do, at times. Obviously the eating really was no problem, I think her previous owner was just stressed out. Hannah yells at the cats when they get near a screen to scratch. I guess she learns from her Mommy, she also yells for Daddy to come down stairs when Mommy wants him for something, she hates delivery people and mailmen (can't figure out why, she was always fed treats by the office delivery people) She is a wonderful little spirit.

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

My first recipe with the group "Tuesdays with Dorie". It was a challenge from the start, and the end result was completely worth it!

The crust was not coming together as what the book had stated. Mine looked like sand with a few clumps, but I went ahead and pressed it into the buttered tart pan, froze it for a couple of hours then baked it. Wow, it looked like the tart shells I see in the stores!
Well, close anyway. :o)
Now it was time for the Lemon cream curd. I found my bowl and added all the ingredients, whisked and whisked and whisked and hmm, it's past the 10 minute mark, still only 140 degrees on the instant read thermometer. Okay, well, whisk and whisk and whisking ..........another 10 minutes and it's now 150 degrees if I put the thermometer all the way down to touch the bottom, did I mention I had to add another bowl of hot water to the pan. At this point there are trails behind the whisk and it is thicker. I gave it another 5 minutes then strained it into the bowl of my trusty cuisnart and it was already at proper temp to add butter (it already was at proper temp coming right out of the bowl) I whirred the butter and then it was lemon dream on a spoon and in everyone else's mouths for the taste test. Passed! Okay, into the fridge. I only chilled it about 3 hours and it was very thick. I assembled the tart and served. It was amazing! Everyone loved it, the perfect tart with the perfect sweetness,and the crust was like sweet shortbread. Yum :o)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Our Hawaiian Honeymoon Spot.