Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart

Oooohhh man. I found a spot in my house with some good lighting. Also, I was awake when the sun was up. These gorgeous photos speak for themselves

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Even though the crust was a little snaggle toothed, this tart tastes like a giant reeses cup.

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Shortbread crust, topped with peanut butter cream cheese filling and a chocolate ganache. Just for good measure, some sea salt to balance out the whole deal.

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Whats that? Closer you say?

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Oh lighting, you did me good.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart

Recipe from SmittenKitchen

For the crust:
2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs, finely processed in food processor
3 tablespoons melted butter
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the peanut butter filling
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup plain cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoon room temperature butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Etc:
Fleur de sel for sprinkling
Angled spatula for spreading

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine all of your crust ingredients until wet crumbs form and press into a 9 inch tart pan. Make sure you press it into the edges to get the nice rim. This part can be hard, but even if your crust crumbles, know that it will taste delicious. Bake on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out any imperfections fresh out of the oven. Let cool in the fridge while preparing the rest.

Whisk together your peanut butter, cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Spoon over your shortbread crust until you have an even layer of peanut butter filling. I found that an angled spatula is the perfect tool for this because the peanut butter tends to want to lift off the crust with every move. If you don’t own one, a spoon and some patience will do. Let cool again in the fridge while making the ganache.

Place your chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute at a time until the chips are completely melted. I like to use a whisk. I find that it breaks apart secret chocolate chips much faster than any other tool. Spread on top of your peanut butter mixture, again, using an angled spatula if possible.

Sprinkle with fleur de sel, or any other high moisture salt. Place in fridge until ganache hardens (approximately 1 hour) or overnight for optimal cutting experience.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Chocolate Tart with Sugared Cranberries

Back to back labor and delivery rotations mean the blog got placed on the back burner. Thus, my return to posting photos of delectable holiday treats had to be with a bang! Hence – the chocolate tart with sugared cranberries.

IMG_5719This baked good epitomizes the holidays! Sugared cranberries! I mean, come on. They look like they fell out of a Christmas tree. IMG_5737I went to Williams Sonoma recently and they had a bunch of things on sale so I came home with a cake stand (YES!) and a tart pan (double yes!). I was so excited to use both of this for this recipe and pictures.

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This chocolate tart is perfectly lightly sweet and not at all overwhelming. Made with semi-sweet chocolate, it’s a perfect pairing with the slightly tart contrast of the sugared cranberries.

The sugared cranberries, by the way, are fresh cranberries coated in sugar. They turn fresh cranberries in a holiday treat that you can pop into your mouth. Not to mention, they make one heck of a garnish.

Chocolate Tart with Sugared Cranberries

Adapted from Tyler Florence

Tart Shell Pastry:
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
1 large egg, separated (save both parts)
2 tablespoons ice water

Combine your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt) in a bowl. Add the butter cubes and using a pastry cutter or your hands, cut into your dry ingredients until it looks like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the middle your pastry. Add in your egg yolk and ice water. Keep the egg white! Using your hands, work it into the dough and squeeze together until it comes together to form a disk. You will see still chunks of butter in the dough. Ask more ice water (1 tablespoon at a time) if you need to form the disk. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll out your dough into approximately a 12 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Place into a 9 inch tart pan. Press into the bottoms and sides making sure to get each nook and cranny to get a pretty edge when you take out the finished product. I also used this step to even out the dough a little bit. Take the extra dough off the edges by pressing against the sharp edge or your pan or with a knife. Cool in the fridge for 15 minutes and preheat your oven to 350.

Using pie weights or dried beans, bake for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and using your egg white, brush your tart pastry. Bake for another 8 minutes. The crust should not be golden brown, but still light in color. Let the pastry cool and reduce your oven temperature to 325.

For the chocolate filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
10 ounces semisweet chocolate (bar or chips)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten

Heat the heavy cream and milk in a pot over medium heat until it slightly bubbles at the edges. Remove from heat and add in your chocolate. Whisk until completely melted and silky smooth. Sprinkle in the salt. Very, very slowly add your eggs until completely blended. Be sure not to add it too quickly or they may scramble!

Pour into your prepared shell and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until surface is shiny. Cool while making your sugared cranberries.

Sugared Cranberries
1 package fresh cranberries, rinsed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
sugar for coating cranberries (approximately 2 cups)

Over medium heat in a medium pan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar completely dissolved to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat. Add your cranberries in until all of them are coated in the syrup. Using a slotted spoon and working in batches, toss them in sugar until completely coated. Let cool on a baking sheet for 1 hour until the sugar has hardened.

Sprinkle on top of the baked good of your choice.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Lemon Meringue Pie

Holy hiatus.

Well, I’ve been on night shift for a hot minute. That’s my excuse for not baking for the last…however many weeks its been. Argh… But I think I’m at a good place to be back at it! Although, I must say – now it’s summer and I’m going to be looking for recipes that are less oven intense to avoid cranking up the heat.

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But look…pie…
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I made this pie a few weeks back and the pictures have just been sitting on my camera for too long, I’m ashamed to say….but they’re here now! It was topped with extra-fluffy meringue and I got such a kick watching it come out perfectly browned and toasted!

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Lemon is a great summer flavor — this recipe is great for any 4th of July party coming up.

IMG_5336_2Mile high meringue! Enjoy! Get excited for some summer recipes!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Recipe from Alton Brown

For the Lemon Filling 
4 eggs (divided into yolks/whites)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1  pre-baked pie shell

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk your 4 egg yolks in a mixing bowl until a smooth, fluffy yellow consistency. Meanwhile, in a saucepan – mix together your cornstarch, water, sugar and salt. Heat over medium with frequent stirring, bring to a boil and let boil for approximately 1 minute.

Remove from heat and very slowly add in half of your hot mixture to your egg yolks so as not to scramble them. Once you have about half of it in, you can dump your egg mixture all into the sauce pan with the rest of your heated ingredients. Reduce your heat to low and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in your butter, lemon juice, and zest. Pour your lemon filing into your pie shell and top immediately with your meringue (the key to getting your meringue cooked all the way through and avoid watery meringue topping)

For the meringue
4 egg whites (from above)
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar (optional)

Whisk your egg whites until stiff peaks form (side note, I love doing this!). If it’s a humid day, or you happen to have cream of tartar – go ahead and add it to help. Once you have stiff peaks, slowly add in your sugar.

Top your hot lemon mixture with all of your meringue, making sure you get it to the edge of the crust and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cool completely to room temperature and then for at least 2 hours in the fridge before serving to ensure the smoothest cut.

Enjoy!!

Pear Galette

Being on night shift means sleeping all the time. Literally, 20 hour shifts of just sleeping. I’m like a newborn baby. Happily, I stayed awake for more than 2 hours today and baked all the fruit in the fridge that I’ve been too sleepy to eat. Namely, a bag of pears.
IMG_4833A pie crust, some cream cheese, pears and spices. It’s like a grown-up fruit pizza! Just prettier. Also, I’m still getting a huge kick out of the new camera. Trying out all kinds of lighting tricks and what-not.

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The combination of a flaky crust, delicious cream cheese and the caramelized pears was perfect for my window of being awake.

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IMG_4842Not that I had any issues before, but going to bed is even easier after eating this and filling the house with smells of the holidays. Also, I recommend baking this while Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” is playing on repeat in the background.

Pear Galette

2 pre-made pie crusts at room temperature
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
3-4 small bartlett pears
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sanding sugar for spinkling

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine your two pie crusts into one big pie crust ball. Flatten and shape gently into a pie crust rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll into a rough rectangle shape on a lightly floured surface. Your crust should be around 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut your cream cheese into thin stripes and press onto your crust, leaving about 1 inch around the edges to fold over later.

Slice your pears into very thin slices and toss in sugar and spices. Layer your pears on top of the cream cheese. Overlaying the pears on top of each other makes for the prettiest of effects! Fold over the edges to make a rustic looking galette and bake for 30-40 minutes or until your crust is golden brown and caramelized fruit juices are spilling over the edge.

Optional: sprinkle your galette with sanding sugar for a gorgeous effect.

Enjoy!

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

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New camera! A fancy Canon real camera! Thank you hugely to my brother-in-law who shipped it across the country and my husband who presented it to me on my birthday! I am SO excited! I wanted something beautiful to photograph for my first use of the fancy camera and a pumpkin cheesecake would have to do.

IMG_4805Alas, it has been raining for the entire duration of this weekend. Entire. Well, for the entire duration of the lifespan of this cheesecake so the lighting wasn’t optimal but boy was it better than it has EVER been with a real camera! I can’t wait to play with this some more and get better at photographing with it!

IMG_4810Oh, I guess I should tell you about the cheesecake. Let’s see. Gingersnap crust, perfectly dense pumpkin filling, caramel slathered all over the top.

Pretty much sums it up!

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

Adapted from onceuponachef

For the crust
1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line the bottom of your springform pain with aluminum foil twice, allowing for the edges to come above the side. Your cheesecake will sit in a water bath soon and you won’t want water seeping in!

Food process all of your ingredients together and press your moistened crumbs into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes and remove to cool. In the mean time, make your filling!

For the pumpkin filling
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream, cold
Three 8 ounce packages of plain cream cheese, room temperature
5 large eggs, room temperature
4 quarts hot water

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat your pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt until the sugar is melted and the mixture takes on a dark brown nutty hue (about 5 minutes of a soft simmer).

While you’re at the stove top, start heating up your water for your water bath. Cheesecakes need water baths otherwise you’ll end up a cracked cheesecake surface.

Let cool slightly by processing in a food processor. Add in your heavy cream and process until combined. Add your cream cheese about 1/3 of a package at a time until well incorporated. Finally, add in your eggs and pulse just until combined!

If you don’t have a food processor, you can do all of this with just a hand mixer. Just make extra sure to incorporate the cream cheese well. It would probably help to sift the filling at the very end into the pan to ensure a silky-smooth finish.

Either way, pour your filling onto the prepared gingersnap crust (doesn’t that just sound lovely?). Place your entire springform pan into a large roasting pan and pour the hot water into the roasting pan until your springform pain is about halfway immersed in water.

Bake the entire thing (roasting pan and all) for 1-1/2 hours until there is no jiggling! Let cool in the water bath for about 45 minutes before removing the pan. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight and then remove the springform pan, loosening the sides with a knife.

Top with homemade caramel sauce…oorrrr…with pre-made ice cream sundae caramel sauce topping (I did the later…oops…).

Want it salted? Fleur de sel on top will do it for you!

Enjoy!