Saturday, June 18, 2011

Leave Your Link-Rosemary Apricot Squares

For the Rosemary Short Dough
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Apricot Filling
2 cups dried California apricots (about 8 1/2 ounces)
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brandy
pinch salt

For the Crumb Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
⅓ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

Make the rosemary shortdough
Lightly spray a 9 inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to just overhang on two sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and rosemary. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla at medium speed until fluffy, approximately 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and stream in the flour mixture. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan, lightly flour your clean hands, and press it into an even layer. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Bake the short crust  until it is golden 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Cool the pan on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

Make the apricot filling
Place the apricots, sugar, honey, brandy, and salt in a medium saucepan with 1½ cups water and simmer over low heat for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the apricots are fork-tender and most of the liquid has evaporated or thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the mixture to release the excess steam. Scrape the apricot mixture into a food processor and puree until smooth.

Make the crumb topping
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, pecans and salt. Mix on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the butter and mix until a sandy crumb begins to form, about 1 minute. (At this point, the crumb topping can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.)

Assemble the rosemary apricot bars
Spread the apricot filling over the shortbread, then sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crumb has browned. Let the pastry cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan, then lift it out usingthe parchment paper overhang and cut it into bars. The bars can be stored in refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Tart -Leave Your Link

I should have done my research better and we could have made this in honor of National Creamsicle Day on August 14 !  But if your weather is anything like Seattle this week then a creamsicle will help make the heat enjoyable. The frozen creamsicle dessert has been in existence for many years. It was originally invented by Frank Epperson who discovered the possibility of a frozen treat on a stick in 1905 at age 11. He left his drink in the freezer with a stirrer in it creating what he called the “Epsicle”. The Epsicle eventually was renamed the Popsicle and then Mr. Epperson eventually created the creamsicle and dreamsicle.  So if you are a fan of creamsicles you should really love this recipe.

Yield – One 9 inch tart

For the Orange Cream Soda Filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
Zest and juice of 2 medium lemons (2 tbsp. zest and 1/4 cup juice)
Zest and juice of 3 large oranges (3 tbsp. zest and 1 cup juice)
1 cup of orange cream soda (Plain orange soda works too)
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

For the Orange Tart Dough

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange (2 tbsp.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Orange Whipped Topping

1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. orange cream soda

Make the Orange Cream Soda Filling

Place the butter in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a wide bowl, sprinkle gelatin evenly over the lemon juice (take care that the gelatin does not clump.)
In a medium saucepan stir together the orange juice and soda. Bring to a boil and cook until it is reduced by half, or 1 cup. Turn the heat to low and whisk to release excess heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon and orange zest, eggs, egg yolks, and sugar and pour the mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until a candy thermometer reads 180 degrees F, or the curd can easily coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the gelatin mixture. Whisk until the gelatin is completely combined. Pour the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer directly onto the butter. Whisk the mixture furiously until it has increased in volume (the faster you whip the more voluminous it will be). Cover the top of the curd with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the curd’s surface, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  

Make the Orange Tart Dough

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, zest, and salt until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat just until incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl, add the flour all at once, and beat until the dough comes together in a ball. Do not over beat, or you crust will be hard.
Remove the dough from the bowl, shape it into a disk with your hands, wrap it lightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 10-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. (Note: The dough will be sticky. Be sure to turn it over with a bench knife or offset spatula as needed and keep the work surface floured).
 Ever so gently, guide the dough, without pulling it, into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and lightly press it into place. Roll the rolling pin over the pan to trim off excess. Place the tart pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375º.
Line the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill it three-quarters full with pie weights or dried beans.   Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and the weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the tart to a wire rack to cool.

Assemble the Tart

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the curd on high for 5 minutes, then spoon it into the tart and level the filling with an offset spatula. Refrigerate tart for 1 hour to set completely.

Make the Orange Whipped Topping

Pour the cream into a chilled bowl and beat with a chilled whisk for 1 minute. Sprinkle the sugar and orange cream soda on top and continue whisking vigorously until soft peaks form. ( The whipped cream can be made in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, but the hand-whisking method burns more calories. )
To serve gently push up on the tart bottom to remove it from the pan. Top the tart with orange whipped cream.
The tart tastes best if eaten within 24 hours but can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days.

Baked Note
If you want to add a little more sweetness to your tart (and to keep the crust from getting soggy) brush the bottom of the tart shell with 2 ounces of melted white chocolate.  Let the chocolate set for about 5 minutes in the refrigerator, then pour the curd over it.

And if you love creamsicles why not try a Creamsicle Martini ?
1 oz of Vodka
1 oz of Triple Sec
1 oz of Orange Juice
1 oz of Vanilla Ice Cream

Mix everything together and enjoy a very adult version of a nostalgic treat !  (You can substitute half and half for the ice cream but if you do add some ice too )