Category Archives: gingerbread

Apple, Almond and Ginger Tart

Apples seem to last forever in the refrigerator. Luckily I had some on hand, from over a month ago, but they were the perfect thing to celebrate Obama’s Inauguration. Nothing is more American than apple pie, well apple tart in this case.

Apple, Almond and Ginger Tart

Crust:
1 ½ cups flour
1 stick of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball.

Separate the dough into two equal rounds. On a well flowered counter top, roll out each round of dough till it fits into each tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the corners and trim off the top. Set each aside.

Apple and Almond Filling:
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 large pieces of candied ginger (about ¼ cup)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 stick unsalted butter, divided
¼ teaspoon vanilla
3 large granny smith apples, pealed, cored and sliced into 1/8 inch slices
Juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons honey
¼ cup water
1 piece of candied ginger, finely chopped
few toasted sliced almonds

Toss the apple slices in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons sugar then set aside.

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a blender puree the almonds, ginger, sugar, egg, ½ stick of butter and vanilla until they form a paste. Spread the almond paste over the bottom of the pastry.

Starting from the outside arrange the apple slices, over lapping to make a rose pattern. There should be no pastry or hazelnut peeking through. Really pack in all of the apples. Dot the remaining ½ stick of butter over the apples. Bake in the over until the apples and crust are golden brown, about 1 hour.

When the tart is close to being finished, heat the honey and water in a small saucepan until melted. Once the tart comes out of the oven brush the honey mixture over the apples, coating lightly, so that they apples are shinny. Sprinkle the tart with the almonds and ginger. Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving with some fresh whipped cream.

Thanksgiving Mini Desserts

By the time I get to dessert at Thanksgiving I’m always stuffed. I want to try everything but it seems impossible since there isn’t any room in my tummy. This year I got smart and made everything as miniature bite-size desserts. Each of these deserts uses the same mini muffin tin for a consistent size. We had a sea of mini pastries, simply delicious.

Mini Stout Gingerbread 
Cupcakes

Gingerbead:
1 cup Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3 large eggs

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil


Boil the beer and molasses in a large pot. Then remove it from the heat and add in the baking soda. Whip the mixture and let it sit to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the eggs, sugar and oil. Then add the flour, baking powder and the rest of the spices. Pour in the beer mixture and mix to combine.

Fill cupcake liners to half way and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks. Make these cupcakes one day in advance and let them sit overnight at room temperature before frosting. The cake gets better after a day.

Caramel Butter Cream Icing:
1 cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream
2 1/2 sticks butter
3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla Extract

Heat the cup of sugar on medium high heat in a heavy bottom pan. When the edge starts to turn brown and bubble, swirl the pan and keep heating to make an even caramel. The sugar will met totally and caramelize, take the sugar off of the heat and swirl the pan to make sure that all crystals dissolve and that the sugar doesn’t get too dark or burn.

Pour the cup of cream into the sugar and let it continue to cook. After 10 minutes, stir to pull the sugar off of the bottom of the pan and continue to cook so that the mixture thickens. Take it off the heat and set it aside to cool.

Beat the butter and margarine together on high, till fluffy, with an electric mixer, set aside.

In a heat proof metal bowl, over simmering water, like a double boiler, wisk the egg whites and remaining sugar. The sugar crystals will dissolve and the mixture will get thick and turn white. Be careful not to cook the eggs.

Wisk the vanilla into the egg whites using an electric mixer. The egg whites will thicken and form soft peaks. Add the egg whites and the caramel to the butter mixture. Beat on high until well combined and fluffy.

Using a star tip and a zip lock bag, pipe the icing onto the top of the cupcakes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Mini Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot Cake:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots (4 carrots)
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs in a large metal bowl. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Fold in the carrots. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and whisk to form a smooth batter. Fill cupcake liners to half way and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks to room temperature before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 package of powdered sugar (1 lb)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and butter on high in an electric mixer until fluffy and combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar, stirring on low speed after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat it on high again for about 3 minutes till fluffy. Using a plain tip and a zip lock bag, ice the cupcakes. Store the finished cakes in the refrigerator before serving.

Mini Poached Ginger Pear and Chocolate Tarts

Crust:
1 ½ cups flour
1 stick of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup water

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Pull out about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten into a round, place it into a mini-muffin pan to form a miniature pie shell. Fill your pans and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Poached Pear:
½ cup rose wine
1 cup sugar
¼ piece of fresh ginger, pealed
½ cinnamon stick
3 cloves
water
1 ripe pear, pealed, seeded and cut in half
caramelized ginger

In a medium heavy pot, mix the wine and sugar and a little water to dissolve. Add the spices and pear. Add enough water to cover the pear, place a small plate over the pear to keep it submerged. Cook the mixture on medium heat for 30 minutes to cook the pear until tender. Cool to room temperature. Drain the pear on a paper towel. Cut the pear and ginger into small chunks.

Ganache:
1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 heavy cream

Place a small metal bowl over a small pan of water on medium heat. Heat the chocolate and cream until the chocolate melts. Remove the chocolate from the heat. Whisk, starting in the center of the bowl till it forms a silky ganache.

Fill the tart shells with a spoon full of the chocolate ganache. Place one chunk of pear and ginger in each tart. Serve at room temperature.

Mini Pumpkin Pie

Crust:
3 cups flour
2 sticks of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
2 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Pull out about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten into a round, place it into a mini-muffin pan to form a miniature pie shell.

Pumpkin filling:
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 5 oz can evaporated milk
¼ cup sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Fill the mini pie shells 2/3 of the way full and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature.

Mini Pecan Pie

Crust:
1/2 cups flour
1 sticks of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Pull out about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten into a round, place it into a mini-muffin pan to form a miniature pie shell.

Pecan Filling:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
8 oz chopped pecans

Pre-heat the over to 350 degrees. Add all of the ingredients, except the pecans to bowl and beat with a whisk until combined. Fill the tart shells with the chopped pecans. Cover with a spoonful of the sugar minter. Bake for 30 minutes until the pies are golden brown and crisp. Cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature.

Cupcakes A Go Go

November was super busy and I enjoyed a lovely 10 days in Mexico. It’s finals season so that has contributed to my cooking delinquency. However, the final project in my Social Entrepreneurship class is pitching my organic bakery concept, Patisserie Carbon. So with that in mind, I’ve been making cupcakes, like crazy.

I got these cute little mini muffin tins so that I can feed my whole class on my batch of cupcakes and people can taste both flavors without feeling guilty. I made vegan chocolate cupcakes, with a raspberry jam filling and a fluffy vanilla icing. I also made gingerbread cupcakes with a caramel butter cream icing. Of course everything is made with organic ingredients.

For the chocolate cake I used an old recipe from war times. It amazing me how good this tastes for being vegan, really.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
1-1/2 c unbleached white flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c brewed coffee
2 t pure vanilla extract
2 T vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.

2. Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar into a large bowl.

3. In a 2-cup measuring cup, measure and mix the oil, water (or coffee), and vanilla. Slowly and gently pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl and mix the batter with a whisk.

4. When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls (and some bubbling) in the batter where the baking soda and vinegar are reacting. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter (the color becomes more consistent throughout).

5. Pour batter into a lined muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes–testing with a toothpick. Remove to a cooling rack and frost.

Vegan Vanilla Icing

2 c shorting (transfat free)
6 c powdered sugar
1 T vanilla extract
¼ c soymilk

Beat all ingredients on low, then high with an electric mixer, until fluffy.

Gingerbread Cupcakes (Courtesy of Bobby Flay and The Food Network)
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour 

1 t baking powder 

3/4 t baking soda 

1/4 t salt 

1 T ground ginger 

2 t ground cinnamon 

1/4 t ground cloves 

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted 

3/4 c brown sugar 

2 large eggs 

6 T black strap molasses 

3/4 c water

1. Pre-heat the over to 3:50 degrees.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside.

3. In an electric mixer, bead the butter, brown sugar, eggs and molasses will well blended.

4. Gradually add the dry ingredients and water, alternating to form a thick batter.

5. Pour the batter into muffin tins with paper liners and bake for at least 20 minutes, checking doneness with a toothpick.

6. Cool on a wire rack and frost.

Caramel Butter Cream Icing
1 c sugar
½ c heavy cream
2 sticks butter
2.5 oz margarine
3 large egg whites
1-1/2 c sugar
1 T vanilla Extract

1. Heat the cup of sugar on medium high heat in a heavy bottom pan. The sugar will met and caramelize, take the sugar off of the heat and swirl the pan to make sure that all crystals dissolve and that the sugar doesn’t get too dark or burn.

2. Pour the cup of cream into the sugar and let it continue to cook. After 10 minutes, stir to pull the sugar off of the bottom of the pan and continue to cook so that the mixture thickens. Take it off the heat and set it aside to cool.

3. Beat the butter and margarine together on high, till fluffy, with an electric mixer, set aside.

4. In a heat proof metal bowl, over simmer water, like a double boiler, wish the egg whites and remaining sugar. The sugar crystals will dissolve and the mixture will get thing and turn white. Be careful not to cook the eggs.

5. Wisk the vanilla into the egg whites.

6. Add the egg whites and the caramel to the butter mixture. Beat on high until well combined and fluffy.

7. Put the mixture into the refrigerator to cool. Stir occasionally until it is the right consistency for piping.