Category Archives: Dessert

Pears & Blue Cheese Tart

Celebrating Fall: Pears & Blue Cheese Tart Recipe

Pears & Blue Cheese Tart

It’s officially fall! Which means the leaves are turning a glorious red and orange, we can finally declare sweater-weather, and we can finally go back into the kitchen without sweltering in the heat.

One of our favorite ingredients for autumn is always orchard fruit, like apples (of course), but also the ripe and juicy pears that start popping up on the market stalls during late summer. It’s a bit early still for Anjou, but you can find wonderful Bartlett pears and Bosc varieties at great prices.

Pears & Blue Cheese Tart

Pears are fantastic partners for a cheese plate, their crispness and juiciness a great match for earthy, rich cheeses. And one of the greatest pairings is definitely with creamy blue cheeses, a combination that just seems to define this beautiful season.

Since we’re so elated we can bake again, we decided to make a seasonal tart featuring pears and blue cheese, encased in a sublime puff-pastry crust and topped with toasted almonds. Buttery, savory, cheesy and with just enough sweetness to balance it, this Pear & Blue Cheese Tart has become a seasonal favorite in our offices.  You can buy the pastry sheets pre-made, or if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make your own.

Pears & Blue Cheese Tart

When choosing pears for our Pears & Blue Cheese Tart recipe, if it’s at all possible, chose from reputable local growers – this will ensure you get a freshly-picked pear. It’s better if they’re not fully ripened yet, so buy them hard a few days in advance, and leave them to ripen in your kitchen. Avoid any that have bruised skin or very evident blemishes.

You can pick your favorite blue cheese for this recipe, keeping in mind that some blues are much more intense than others. Roquefort tends to be stronger, while Gorgonzola Dolce is a milder option, and Fourme d’ Ambert somewhere in the middle in intensity.  The rule of thumb is, if you love the cheese, you’ll love it in this Pear & Blue Cheese Tart recipe! (See our full selection of blue cheese!).

 

 

Pears & Blue Cheese Tart

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 Tart

Pears & Blue Cheese Tart

Ingredients

  • 4 pears, washed and cut into wedges (seeds removed)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsps. Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 7 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tbsp. Blue cheese, crumbled or chopped
  • ½ tsp. Black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 250 g blue cheese
  • 3 tbsps. Toasted almonds, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • 3-4 tbsps. blond cane sugar

Instructions

  1. Fill a bowl with water and add the two lemon halves.
  2. Cut the pears into wedges, and as you go along, place them in the lemon and water bath, so they won’t darken.
  3. Heat up a saucepan with butter and oil over medium heat and sauté the pears on both sides, about 3 minutes.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. Preheat oven at 375 F.
  6. Place a sheet of puff pastry in a baking sheet. Mix the egg yolk and 1 tbsp of water in a bowl and whip until just combined. Brush the mix on the puff pastry. Cut the other puff pastry sheet into strips, about ½ inch wide, and use them to create a border at the edge of the bigger pastry sheet. Brush with the yolk. Note: If your pastry sheet is thin and the border isn’t at least ¼ inch tall, use extra strips to give the border some height..
  7. Mix the mascarpone with the crumbled blue cheese, pepper and whole egg and distribute evenly over the pastry sheet. Place the pears on top, and then add the rest of the blue cheese. Sprinkle with almonds and sugar.
  8. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling is firm. Serve warm or cool.

biscotti recipe

Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti Recipe

biscotti recipe

A great, foolproof Biscotti recipe is something that every baker (even the weekend-warrior type) should have in his or her arsenal. Like a little black dress, crunchy biscotti is an ideal treat that carries from day to night, as perfect with your latte during your morning commute as with your after-dinner herbal tea.

Biscotti are a quintessential Italian cookie that’s also known as cantuccini - coffee bread – aptly called since it’s usually presented alongside a steaming cup of coffee. The traditional shape is a thin and long, with rounded ends. The actually meaning of the word biscotti comes from the Latin word biscoctus, which means, “twice baked”, and which pretty much describes how this treat is made. The double baking renders the biscuit dry and crumbly, giving it a longer shelf life than other baked goods, and making it ideal to carry on long trips, for mailing as holiday gifts, or for storing.

biscotti recipe

The basic recipe for Italian biscotti is simple and straightforward – flour, eggs, salt and sugar – but the American version also adds butter and baking powder, for a moister and more airy texture. It’s the perfect canvas for culinary creativity – you can use your imagination (and your favorite ingredients) and make savory biscotti with cheese and herbs, or sweet with chocolate or sour with cranberries or cherries…there are no limitations…but there are some rules.

The trick to a great biscotti is making sure that you get the texture just right, crunchy but not tooth-breaking hard, and crumbly enough to be enjoyable without disintegrating in your hands. And that means paying attention during the baking process to make sure you don’t overcook the dough – which will turn the biscotti rock-hard. The biscotti dough itself is pretty wet – thanks to the butter and eggs – and that great moisture will turn your biscuits light, so you don’t want to dry them out completely.

biscotti recipe

We like our biscotti like we like our latte – grande! Our walnut biscotti recipe is simple and easy, and turns out some deliciously crunchy biscotti with just enough sweetness. To amp up the wow factor, we dipped them in tempered chocolate for a “corner bakery look” and incredible flavor. Plain biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks (note that they will turn harder as days pass). If you choose to dip them in chocolate like we did, they will last a 3-4 days.

Need some ingredients? Go shopping! Check out our great selection of biscotti ingredients in our Baking and Pastry section.

Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti

Rating: 51

Yield: About 2 dozen

Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. In a different bowl, cream the butter with the sugar using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer. Add the eggs one by one, beating to incorporate one before you add the next. Add the vanilla extract and slowly incorporate the sifted flour mix until the dough is stiff. Stir in the walnuts.
  4. With floured hands, divide the dough into two equal pieces, and shape each into loaves of about 10 x 4 inches, and about ¾-1 inch tall.
  5. Transfer both dough pieces onto a baking sheet lines with parchment paper, spaced apart (as they will grow).
  6. Bake until just golden, no more than 30 minutes and remove from the oven. Cool until just warm. Using a serrated knife, cut crosswise with into ½-inch strips.
  7. Transfer to a freshly lined baking sheet, and continue to bake for another 12 minutes until crisp, turning the biscotti over halfway through.
  8. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Dip the cool biscotti into the melted tempered chocolate, about halfway through, letting excess drip off. Let cool on a rack.

Mad About Matcha! (Plus, A Matcha Ice Cream Recipe!

Matcha Tin courtesy of Serena on Flirk (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Matcha Tin courtesy of Serena on Flirk (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

If you’re a modern foodie, chances are you’ve encountered matcha in one of your culinary outings. Matcha refers to powdered green tea, and has been used for centuries in Japan for the traditional tea ceremony, where only the finest green tea leaves were milled to a fine powder. Fast-forward to 21st century America, and matcha is showing up in sweet and savory dishes, bringing that intense green hue and a great bitter flavor.

Green Tea Noodles courtesy of kattebelletje on Flikr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Green Tea Noodles courtesy of kattebelletje on Flikr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From noodles to mussels, lattes to mint juleps, a spoonful of matcha not only gives flavor and color to an incredible array of dishes and beverages, it also delivers a boost of energy and all the antioxidant benefits of green tea. This triple-threat ingredient, adding flavor, color and health, is a must-have in your pantry!

 

00235000The Health Benefits of Matcha

One of the main factors that makes Matcha such a powerful health food is that, rather than regular tea bags that you steep and toss, matcha green tea comes in powdered form. What’s the difference? It means that by using matcha, you are consuming the entire tealeaf, not just a green-tea-flavored water. The health benefits are then much more concentrated.  And the benefits of matcha are MANY. For example, according to recent research by Tufts University, matcha has 20 (yes, TWENTY!) times more antioxidants blueberries (and no sugar).

While giving you a caffeine perk-up, there’s an interesting and very important difference between coffee and the caffeine in matcha. Its main component is L-Theanine, an amino acid that promotes a state of “alert relaxation”. Rather than the jitteriness that too many cups of java can cause, L-theanine creates alpha waves, which promotes a state of the mind called “relaxed alertness” – calm, not agitated, but functioning and alert. Beloved by models and celebrities, matcha also brings great detox and metabolism-boosting perks. Without raising blood pressure or heart rate, matcha gets the body’s fat-busting mechanisms going, and naturally (and safely) aids weight loss. Plus, that intense green color? That comes compliments of chlorophyll, which helps the body naturally remove toxins like heavy metals. (source)

 

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

matcha ice cream

Homemade matcha ice cream courtesy of Isaac’licious on Flikr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

You might not go for a hot cup of tea during the summer heat, but how about some of the wildly popular Green Tea Ice Cream? The perfect dessert to cool you down, energize AND calm you! All you need is a few simple ingredients and an ice-cream maker.  Matcha ice cream is deliciously sweet but with a nice bitterness, and the show-stopping intensity of its green color makes it a fun and striking addition to your summer dessert repertoire. Although matcha can be a bit bitter, the sweetness of the sugar, milk and cream all work to balancing it out, dulling it so that the ice cream just has an interesting-yet-mellow edge. Tip: add more or less matcha powder if you want more or less color and flavor.

 

This recipe is adapted The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.  

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 quart

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 4 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
  • 6 large egg yolks

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the cream and whisk in the matcha. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, sugar and salt (warm, not hot or boiling).
  3. Whisk egg yolks in a separate bowl, then slowly add the heated milk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour this mix back into the saucepan and turn the heat on to medium. Heat while stirring, scraping the bottom, until the mixture slightly thickens. DO NOT boil!
  4. Set a mesh strainer over the matcha cream mix bowl, and pour the custard through, stirring. Once all the custard is strained into the cream, start whisking (vigorously, put some elbow into it!), until the custard turns frothy and the matcha powder is fully dissolved.
  5. Place your preparation over a bowl of ice, and continue to stir until cool. This is your ice cream base.
  6. Chill the ice cream base in the refrigerator until fully cold then transfer to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Serve with chocolate sauce!

Passion Fruit Mousse Tart Recipe

Passion Fruit Mousse Tart Recipe + Make The Perfect Italian Meringue

Passion Fruit Mousse Tart Recipe

Light, sweet yet tart, with a melt-in-your-mouth buttery crust, this Passion Fruit Mousse Tart has it all! The perfect dessert for summer, the airy mousse won’t weight you down when you head for the pool after lunch.

You can make this as one big tart, but another great way to present this would be in individual mini-tarts. Just use smaller tart molds and cut the dough accordingly. Not passionate on Passion Fruit? No problem? Use any of the other flavors of frozen fruit purees by Ravifruit, and adapt the recipe to your (or you guests’) taste.

The trick to this dessert is the recipe for Italian Meringue. This somewhat little-used meringue recipe uses a sugar syrup, rather than caster sugar, for stiff, super glossy peaks that are unwaveringly stable and firm. This makes for perfectly firm mousses (and also allows torching, if so needed), making Italian meringue sturdier and much more forgiving than French meringue. To make sure you get the right consistency, take care to add the sugar syrup slowly, in a slow, thin stream.

Running short on time? Skip making the tart shell and use pre-made tart shells (you can find our great selection here – including round and square shells in an assortment of sizes).

 

Passion Fruit Mousse Tart

Yield: 6 servings

Passion Fruit Mousse Tart

Ingredients

  • PASTRY SHELL:
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ or 1 stick cup cold butter, cubed
  • Grated peel of 1 orange
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Cold water, as needed
  • PASSIONFRUIT MOUSSE:
  • 2 eggs (separated into 2 yolks and 2 egg whites)
  • 11 tbsps. Granulated sugar (separated into 2 tbsp. and 9 tbsp.)
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 ½ tsp. of plain gelatin
  • 6 tsp. cold water
  • ¼ cup water (for syrup)
  • ¾ cup Passion Fruit Frozen Puree, defrosted
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, whipped
  • GARNISH:
  • Whipped cream, fresh mint, Passion Fruit Frozen Puree

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, place the flour, sugar and butter. With a fork, mix and blend pressing down on the butter until the mix takes the consistency of breadcrumbs.
  2. Incorporate the orange grating and the egg yolk and start forming the dough with a spatula first to gather everything together, then with your hands to unify, adding in 2 or 3 tablespoons of water until a dough ball forms.
  3. On a flat working surface, place a sheet of plastic wrap and place the dough over it, covering it with a second sheet of wrap. Using a heavy rolling pin, and without kneading, roll out the dough in between the film. Once it’s flat, remove the film and press the dough into a tart mold. Pinch the base of the tart with a fork (this will prevent it from rising), and leave in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and bake the tart shell until golden, about 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Set aside to cool.
  5. Create a sugar syrup by bringing ¼ cup of water to a boil and add in ½ cup sugar, stirring until it thickens into syrup. In an electric mixer, whip egg whites into stiff peaks. Without stopping the mixer, very slowly begin to incorporate the sugar syrup in a thin, steady stream. Keep whipping until you get an evenly thick, shiny meringue. Set aside to cool down.
  6. In a simmering double boiler bath or bain marie, whisk 2 yolks with 2 tbsp. sugar and the orange juice, whisking constantly until you get a thick cream. Mix the plain gelatin with ¼ cup water and add into the cream, blending.Set aside at room temperature.
  7. Once cooled, incorporate the Passion Fruit Frozen Puree, and add the whipped cream and meringue - the preparation should be even and smooth.
  8. Pour into the tart shell, and take to the fridge to cool down and set.
  9. To serve, garnish with a few dollops of whipped cream, Passion Fruit frozen puree and some mint leaves.