Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I won!! I won!!

I'm so excited! I just found out I won a scholarship from the Culinary Trust. I'm off to New York City for a week to study at the Institute for Culinary Education's Centre for Advanced Pastry Studies!! Any tips on where to stay and what to do would be appreciated!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spring Rhubarb

One of the first things I did when I moved in to my new house was plant rhubarb. Every house I have ever lived in had rhubarb growing in the backyard. I don't know if it's a Canadian thing but rhubarb is always a sign to me that spring is here and summer is on its way. The first harvest of delicate ruby stalks immediately end up in a pie or cake that is devoured by the day's end. Here's a recipe I used today to make a delicious coffee cake that stays moist for days (if it lasts that long!).
Rhubarb coffee cake

160g butter
350g brown sugar
2 eggs
500g / 1 pound rhubarb, sliced into 2cm pieces
finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
250ml or 1 cup sour cream
brown sugar and cinnamon for top

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Stir vanilla then the sifted flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Gently fold in sour cream. Pour half the batter into a greased and lined 9 or 10 inch round cake tin and then top with rhubarb and orange rind. Cover with remaining batter. Sprinkle mixed brown sugar and cinnamon over the top. Bake for 40 minutes until cake is puffy and golden. Let cool 15 minutes before unmolding. Enjoy!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Memories of childhood visitors

When I was a young girl my favourite sweet treats always came from the U.K. Growing up in Canada with relatives in England, my brothers and sister and I would always be an enthusiastic welcoming committee (on our best behaviour, naturally) when our relatives from abroad would arrive because we knew that tucked in the suitcase would be something sweet for us. We could count on a large Cadbury's milk chocolate bar for each of us, perhaps some Dolly Mixture candies or Toybox cookies but I would always cross my fingers and hope that a box of bakewell tarts would appear.

I loved the look of the pristine white icing on the individual tarts topped with a bright red cherry. There was never enough cherry filling for my liking but the delicate flavour of sweet almonds always won me over and left me wanting more. When the Marks & Spencer stores opened in Canada when I was a teenager I thought I was in heaven when I saw shelves stacked with the same bakewell tarts I loved as a child.

I just rediscovered my love for these tarts after a fellow Foodbuzzer reminded me how popular they are in England. They are easy to make and delicious to eat: a sweet dough crust, seedless raspberry or cherry jam and frangiapane cream as a topping. Here's my recipe:

Sweet dough
400g Flour
200g Sugar
200g Butter
2 eggs
4g Baking powder

Mix dry ingredients together. Crumble butter until small. Add eggs and knead until it comes together well. Wrap and chill. Roll out thinly and line a tart tin with a removable bottom. Spoon in some seedless raspberry or cherry jam and spread out along the bottom.
Frangiapane (almond) cream

125g butter
125g sugar

2 eggs
125g almond powder (ground almonds)
25g flour
10ml rum
10ml vanilla

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, rum, vanilla and almonds. Pipe into tart shell and smooth. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the frangiapane puffs up and is golden. Remove from oven and cool completely before removing from tart shell. Drizzle with some flat icing (confectioners sugar and water) and top with berries.
Enjoy with some friends and a good cup of tea!

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Lunchbox Project

Check out my new blogger friend's site The Lunchbox Project. Lisa is a talented graphic designer and chose my lemon dessert to draw. I think she did a wonderful job. Thanks Lisa!!
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