Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

The second recipe in the Tuesdays with Dorie baking series brought us these decadent, restaurant quality desserts.

I finished these chocolate bombs over the past weekend.  The recipe was altogether very forgiving and easy to follow, but there were a few more steps (like 5) than I am accustomed to doing prior to eating my efforts.  But I could taste the difference those extra steps provided in the velvety smooth filling and balanced, not too sweet tart crust.

The crust was fun to make by hand as instructed and it felt very old school.  The crust dough turned out a bit dry as many fellow bakers have noted but not unreasonably so.  I just kept patching away as needed.

The cantucci used in the filling.
As for the filling, the recipe calls for biscotti to be added to it.  Our local store did not have any, so I was left with either going to another store (ugh) or just making my own.  So I decided to make my own. (Possibly adding to the sense that this recipe had too many steps!)  I used the cantucci recipe in Baking with Julia and they turned out just as biscotti should.  But for use in this chocolate tart recipe, they had big almost whole almonds, leaving too many chunks in the filling.

I borrowed my friend's 6,  4 inch tart pans leaving me with extra chocolate dough and filling, and since I only had those 6 pans,  I froze the leftover dough.  I baked the leftover filling in two ramekins using a hot water bath.  Those turned out just as delicious and coveted as the whole tart (note to self when needing a quicker, equally rich dessert).

Will I make it again?  Maybe... just not anytime soon.

Will I eat it again?  Definitely.  I would right now if I could.

All 6 tarts cooling.

For more reading on this recipe and to read our hosts' blogs check out:
A Whisk and a Spoon
Spike Bakes
Good Eats and Sweet Treats

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

White Loaves

White Loaves: The one on the right was baked in a 9 x 5 pan and thus came out shorter but tasted the same.
The first recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group was scheduled for today.  I made it a few days ago when I had a bit of time.  Rhiannon (4 months) was asleep in her bassinet for the initial dough forming stage and her older brother Quinn (3 years) was out for a haircut.  It was one of those rare moments I could be alone in a quiet kitchen.  I will have to find more of those "moments" if I am to keep up with this baking crew.

I bought the recipe book, Baking with Julia, a week ago and I must say, at first glance I was thoroughly intimidated.  I consider myself a decent baker but not near the level of this book.  Croissants!  I have to make croissants.  Living in Portland, Oregon, where food snobbery is prevalent, there are heavenly croissants to be bought at my neighborhood coffee shop.  Why would I even attempt it at home?  But I will.  And it will undoubtedly be hilarious I do.

So, White Loaves, today's recipe, looked like something I could handle.  I have made plenty of bread loaves in the past and this did not vary too greatly from what I have done with one great exception: the instructions were written for a mixer.  I do not have a mixer (yet).  I have almost bought one multiple times but alas, I am mixer-less.  So, I did my best to adapt it to hand mixing the dough and it worked out great.  I added the butter and salt mid-way through the flour additions instead of at the end to get a better blend.  I kneaded for about 12 minutes.  And the dough felt good when I was done; it felt ready.

I made one plain loaf and one with a small cinnamon swirl like I had read about people doing on the main blog.  And they both tasted wonderfully homey.  But maybe I baked my a bit too long or added a hair too much flour because the shelf life was incredibly short (and not due to my 3 year old son).  The open sliced end seemed to dry out so fast.  And by the next day we had to toast it to make it more palatable.  Sandwich bread for one day only.  I will try this recipe again sometime to see if it happens again.   Maybe I will use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour.  Or if anyone has any insight on how to avoid this? 

To find the recipe used above or to join in on the fun, follow the link below.  Or buy the book Baking with Julia  by Dorie Greenspan.