Showing posts with label meringue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meringue. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tropical Meringue Tart, with lime, coconut, and sesame



First off, I'm quite honored to be a finalist for Saveur Magazine's Best Baking and Desserts Blog! Thank you to whoever it is out there who was a big enough fan of this blog to submit a nomination. I heard the news in the middle of a week that was riddled with rejection letters and hearing a lot of "no"s and "you're not good enough"s, so it feels pretty good to be recognized for some accomplishment, even if it's just me prattling away here and in my kitchen every week or so!


Lots of off-line things have been happening for me this week (things so big that the Saveur news only registered as a tiny blip on the radar), but I'm still in the middle of processing them all before I feel like I can talk about them here on the blog. In the meantime, though, I wanted to share one of my latest flavor obsessions: limes.

Oddly, this year more so than in any previous year, I've become horribly impatient about wanting warmer weather. It's uncharacteristic of me, because I'm so warm-blooded that I usually prefer the cold. Maybe, though, it's a symptom of too much non-stop stress, and I just need some sun, sand, a warm ocean, and a couple of nice, deep breaths. Barring a currently-impossible trip to the beach, limes have been the next best thing, their sweet, tart crispness reminiscent of frozen drinks and fish tacos. Ah, the fish tacos.


This tart des tropiques is my 'I wish I were in the tropics' spin on my favorite kind of pie: the lemon meringue. Here instead, nestled in a slightly nutty sesame seed crust, is a sweet and tangy and lusciously creamy lime curd--not quite as bright but more subtly flavored than lemon curd--covered with fluffy and puffy clouds of lightly-caramelized coconut meringue and sprinkled with some toasted sesame seeds and dried coconut chips for some extra crunch. The lime flavor here is definitely the star, with just a whiff of coconut, like the faint scent of the tropics that wafts through the warm night air when you're sitting in a rocking hammock strung between two palm trees on the beach, soft sand at your tiptoes and the ocean gently, softly ebbing away in the close darkness.... sigh.


Lastly, in other news, the second issue of sated is almost done! More news on that front to come very shortly. Stay tuned!


Read on for recipe....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Basil, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Cakelettes, and Meet My Blog-doptees!



I'm back!  Ha, has November been a crazy month or what?!  Thank you all for your questions on the "Ask Away" post last week--I'll start answering them coming up later this week, so you still have a little bit more time to submit your questions.

But this post isn't about me.  Nope.  This post is about something far more awesome: my Adopt-A-Blogger mentees: Ari and Anita from Braised Anatomy.  It's exciting for me to have officially "graduated" into mentorshiphood, though I have to say, it took a bit of a push out of the nest (so to speak) from my own mentor, Kristen of Dine and Dish and founder of the Adopt-a-Blogger program.  One day, shortly after meeting Kristen at BlogHerFood, she twittered (tweeted? twat? twhat?) me saying that she had the perfect blog adoptees for me, and after seeing Braised Anatomy, there was no way I could say "no."  Ari and Anita are med students (like, studying to be proper doctors who can actually save lives, unlike my pretty useless little Ph.D.!), and their blog is just so downright hilarious.  They have such a great sense of humor in their writings and musings about food that their posts always bring a huge smile to my face when I see them pop up in my reader feed.


My first memory of their blog was this post on basil syrup and homemade basil soda that happened to be on the front page the first time I visited their site.  I'm such a huge fan of herbs in sweets that the idea of sweet basil has been stuck in my head ever since.  So, I decided to make a dessert to accompany their basil soda--something that I'd serve Ari and Anita if we weren't on opposite sides of the country, something that we could sink our forks into while sipping bottles of basil soda through striped green straws, sitting on the porch, laughing over nerdy jokes and commiserating about student life.  That something: hazelnut and chocolate cakelettes with basil buttercream.


These cakelettes feature a thick layer of dense, flourless dark chocolate cake topped with a layer of hazelnut and dark chocolate meringue, baked right on top of the cake.  The roughly-chopped chocolate folded into the meringue develops into these veins of dark chocolate running through the cracks of the hazelnut and meringue.  But really, the unifying element to these cakelettes is the basil buttercream.  The fragrant sweetness of the basil balances out the darkness of the chocolate beautifully, and the herbal earthiness blends with the nutty hazelnut flavor seemlessly.  (It's like dessert pesto!)  The basil is a surprising and pleasantly unexpected flavor, and, unlike your traditional mint, it actually doesn't overpower and completely take over the dessert.


So before the recipe, make sure you go and check out Braised Anatomy, Ari and Anita's blog, and support my adoptees by saying "hello!"


Read on for recipe...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Pink Pie and Giveaway

I am so excited about today's post because desserts for breakfast is teaming up with CSN stores (purveyors of coffee tables, cookware, and oh-so-much-more) for an amazing cause: breast cancer awareness.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and, as I've mentioned on this blog before, it's a cause that's very near to me because close family members and friends of mine have had to fight and survive breast cancer.  So please.  Be aware.  Get tested.  Spread the word.


In commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, CSN stores and cookware.com have kindly agreed to give away to one awesomely lucky winner an Emile Henry "Bake for the Cause" 9-inch pink pie plate (Emile Henry donates 10% of the sale of each pie dish to breast cancer research!).  I myself am a huge (read: HUGE) fan of the Emile Henry pie plates (I own four of them!), so I'm uber-excited for one of you to receive one, too, and especially a pink, breast-cancer-research-benefiting one.  To sweeten the pot pie even further, my breast-cancer-surviving relative and I will together donate $50.00 to the American Cancer Society for breast cancer research in the winner's name!


Now, once you have the pie plate, you can make this pink pie I whipped up for the occasion, inspired by a mash-up of my favorite pie (lemon meringue) and one of my favorite pink drinks (strawberry lemonade--trust me, I'm addicted to the stuff): strawberry lemonade meringue pie.  Inside the pie is a mix of the classic, tart lemon curd filling and a sweeter strawberry-lemon curd filling, made from the super sweet late season strawberries that are still floating about the farmers' markets right now.  The combination of lemon and strawberry lends a particularly fun twist to the classic lemon meringue pie.  (And, of course, don't forget the massive amounts of cloud-like meringue on top--my favorite part of this pie!)


This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for participating, and please check back soon for the announcement of the winner!  To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment with your name, a way for me to get in touch with you (anonymous entries will be disqualified), and the answer to this question:
What is your favorite pie?
I'll also give you an extra entry in the drawing if you tweet about this post, but in your tweet, you must mention me (@shihbakes) and include a link to this giveaway (http://bit.ly/dfbCSN1) so that I can track all of your entries!  You have until 23:59 PST, Sunday, October 17th, 2010 to enter.  I'll pick the winner at random that night and make the announcement in next week's post, so be sure to check back then!  This contest is open in the U.S. and Canada only. (My apologies, international readers.) The pie plate portion of this giveaway is brought to you by the CSN stores and cookware.com.


Good luck on the giveaway, and remember to spread the word about Breast Cancer Awareness!


Read on for recipe...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gimme S'more Cakelettes



As promised: gimme s'more cakelettes!  Oh man, I am so excited about these little individually-sized cakes because they turned out super yummy.  Like, lick-your-own-plate-and-then-reach-over-and-lick-your-neighbor's-plate yummy.  They do take up quite a few steps and components, but let me tell you right now that they are well worth it.  Trust me.


Of course, no s'mores cake would be perfect without baking homemade graham crackers first, which are far deeper and complex in flavor than those store-bought crackers that taste uncannily like the cardboard they come packed in.  In homemade graham crackers, you can actually taste all of that honey and molasses and brown sugar goodness, and they're a must when you're trying to translate the humble s'more into a cake.  Plus, graham crackers are a fantastic snack to have around anyways!


Armed with good graham crackers, let's move on to the cakelettes!  Allow me to break this down for you.  The entire thing is made up of five different layers, packing in all of the graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow essence of s'mores that I could into cake form.  At the bottom is a graham cracker genoise, made from powdered graham crackers.  On top of the genoise sits the bulk of the cake: a thick layer of dense, velvety, and rich chocolate souffle cake.  Served at room temperature, the chocolate souffle cake nearly resembles the texture of warmed and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.  Then comes a thin layer of Italian meringue, topped by an actual graham cracker that is covered with dark chocolate ganache: that's already double the chocolate of a regular s'more, if you're keeping count!  Finally, the whole package comes enveloped in a cloud of sweet and fluffy Italian meringue, seared and browned on the outside into a perfectly and satisfyingly sticky marshmallow-like package.


In addition to capturing the right s'mores flavors in these cakelettes, I also tried to maintain the same smush-iness that you get in eating an actual s'more, too.  With the top layer of chocolate-ganache-covered graham cracker, you get the satisfaction of smashing the crisp graham cracker into the bottom meringue and chocolate layers when you plunge your fork into these cakelettes.  These aren't supposed to be tidy little cakes: they're supposed to evoke the same all-over-your-fingers goodness that you get from real s'mores!  (If you'd like a cleaner cakelette, you can leave the graham crackers out to soften for a day, and they'll be easily cut-able.)


These cakelettes went over as a huge hit at the dinner party where I served them--I kind of wish I'd made more!  Incidentally, too,--and this was completely unplanned--the day I made them also happened to be National S'mores Day.  But really, it would be a shame to save these cakelettes for just one day out of the year!



Read on for the recipe...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Farmer's Market Obsessions: savory tarts and fresh strawberries



Today's post is going to be short and sweet.  And savory.  I hope you don't mind.  Because, it sort of looks like this outside right now, and I want to be sitting under that tree:

Romp

Yes, after more rainy days than we've gotten in the past few years (though, we needed it!), it's finally been consistently sunny and gorgeous for the last week or so--while, ironically, I've been longingly gazing out the window and being stuck inside for work.  When the weather is this good (think not-to-hot days and mild, jacket-less nights), I start hankering after more and more spring and summer fruits and vegetables and constantly finding every opportunity and free minute to hang out at farmers' markets.  Hence, today I bring you my ideal farmers' market meal: a caramelized onion, goat cheese, and heirloom tomato buckwheat thyme quiche/tart finished off with a lemon curd cream and strawberry pavlova.  Oh spring/summer, how I adore thee.


I call this tart a tart/quiche, because it's really a tart but with a layer of egg on top to hold everything together.  There's a healthy handful of fresh thyme baked into the buckwheat crust, which makes a super-flavorful base for the tart/quiche (quirt? tarche? tuiche?).  Then, there's a thick layer of caramelized red and sweet yellow onions sitting on the bottom, topped off with a lighter layer of creamy egg, thick yogurt, and goat cheese.  I also love these mini heirloom tomatoes on the tart, which impart tiny little bursts of fresh and juicy flavor to the deep and dark onions sitting underneath.  Pair with a spicy arugula salad for extra om nom nom.


For dessert: lemon curd cream pavlova with fresh organic strawberries.  Though I've learned that pavlova is probably one of the hardest desserts to make look pretty on film, I've also learned that it is one of the best, lightest desserts for the springtime.  Those Australians/New Zealanders (or whoever invented it first) were geniuses.


 Though the highlight of this dessert was supposed to be the sweet and tiny organic strawberries lightly macerated in vanilla sugar and lemon juice, I have to say--and everyone who had this dessert agreed-- that the lemon curd cream stole the show.  I'm going to the record for this: if you haven't had lemon curd cream, you haven't lived at all. And I will swear by that.  The concept is super simple, just tart lemon curd folded into sweet whipped cream, but sometimes, the simplest things are just the best.  I literally ate it by the spoonful out of the bowl, and I didn't have a spoon large enough.  Top the crunchy-outside, soft-inside pavlova meringue with the lemon curd cream and fresh strawberries, and you have a gorgeous-springtime-weather-worthy dessert.


Okay, I'm off to find some excuse to enjoy more of this gorgeous weather!  Too bad there's no more of this lemon curd cream sitting in the fridge....


Read on for recipes...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blackberry Lemon Meringue Pie and the Amazing California Redwoods

It has taken me seven long hours to write this post about these delicious meyer lemons and fresh blackberries.


Okay, not really. But, it's taken at least a good, long five hours to upload all of the photos for this post, and that in and of itself was a tedious process.  Because, folks, this is where I am:


Okay, well not *technically* in the middle of the forest, but pretty darn close.  For the past few days, I've been visiting one of my favorite places on Earth, the Redwoods, and while the Redwoods themselves are undoubtedly gorgeous, the internet connection is as horrid as 1990's dial-up.  I have so many other pictures that I wanted to post, too, but, unfortunately, my patience could only handle uploading these few, so they'll have to wait for future posts when I return to the Land of Cable Internets.

But, I really shouldn't be complaining too much, because the Redwoods are downright gorgeous.


There are these ridiculously tall trees that make you crane your neck and stare upwards in wonder.  Walking among them, you really remember how small your place is in the world and that there are much, much larger things than us.


The Redwoods are also this incredible place because you can stand and face the Pacific Ocean on the most secluded beaches and then turn around to see hills upon hills of dense forest stretching out in front of you.

Then, on this trip, I discovered Fern Canyon, which I had never been to before:


Fern Canyon is this amazing stretch of canyon where all of the walls are covered in gorgeous ferns.  Apparently, we weren't here at the right time of year, though, to witness the height of Fern Canyon's majesty, but it was quite amazing as it was.  And for someone like me who really likes water, getting to Fern Canyon was super fun as well, since we had to pick our way up the canyon floor through the stream (thank goodness for water-proof hiking shoes!, though this didn't prevent water from flooding in around the ankles when the water got too deep) and climb under, over, and between the fallen wreckage of giant redwood trees.


Visiting the Redwoods again has been one of the best decisions that I've made in a while, and coming back North felt a lot like coming home, since my family used to take road trips to this area almost yearly when I was younger.  I remember always begging my dad to stop at the crooked Mystery House south of Eureka, and we would always make it a point to visit Samoa Cookhouse for a traditional logger's breakfast during our trips.  One of my earliest memories of the Redwoods was pulling over on the side of the road and picking wild blackberries with my grandpa, how prickly the bushes were but how sweet the fruit would be and how deep blue my fingers would be stained afterwards.  Which brings me to the food.


Blackberry lemon meringue pie.  These are by far not your ordinary lemon meringue pie.  First of all, the pastry crust is actually a tart crust rather than a pie crust, and it's infused with freshly grated meyer lemon zest, making the crusts taste like part of the lemon filling itself.  Then, inside, there's a dual combination of lemon curd and blackberry curd--finally, all topped off with a mountain of just-sweet-enough meringue.  I know you're dying for a look inside, right?


Now, if you've never had blackberry curd, you're so missing out.  It's like lemon curd, but almost better!  (I really adore lemon curd, so it's a hard judgement call to make. :-P)  The blackberry curd is sweet and packed full of deep and rich berry flavor, and I personally like to keep the seeds in as well since it mimics the berries in their original form.  Together with the lemon curd, the two curds make a refreshing, tart, yet sweet filling for the pie that *might* have you never looking at a simple lemon meringue pie the same way again.


The only sad part of this whole post is that I couldn't bring some of these blackberry lemon pies with me to the Redwoods and enjoy one all to myself in the middle of the forest... but, next time, right?  ;-)

Happy Spring, everyone!


Read on for the recipe...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Help Haiti! [Mini lemon meringue pies]

Update: A huge thanks to all who dropped by the bake sale and traded hugely appreciated donations for yummy treats.  Thanks also to all of the organizers of the sale and those who donated various delectable baked goods.  Remember--you can still make donations, and every bit helps: see info below!



I know that many of you who read this blog aren't local in the area, but please bear with me.  The Stanford Alpine Project, a group of geologically-minded Stanford students, is having a bake sale tomorrow morning (Tuesday, January 19) to benefit the Haiti earthquake relief efforts.  All of the proceeds of the sale will go to the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti--the only standing hospital left, and these donations will be matched by Stanford Hospital as well.  If you are near Stanford at all tomorrow, please drop by the foyer of Building 320 (Geocorner) from 9am to noon, pick up a yummy baked good, like these mini lemon meringue pies, and help this important cause!

Even if you aren't in the area, you can also help by donating directly online to the Albert Schweitzer Hospital: http://www.hashaiti.org/C1a_w1.html.  Please, please, if you can--make a contribution!  Or organize your own local bake sale... and try these mini lemon meringue pies, which are little bites of scrumptious heaven.



As a California native (with relatives and family in Taiwan), I totally understand the power and disaster that earthquakes can bring.  We ourselves are overdue for a Big One here in the Bay Area, so while we can, let's help those that have been affected by these forces of nature.


Read on for recipe...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Brittle Bones


the prognosis ain't good.

While everyone else has a 'thang' for macarons, my roommate and I instead have an obsession with meringues.  It's probably one of the most common things that leaves our kitchen, from meringue kisses to lemon meringue pie (light on the curd, heavy on the meringue).  So naturally, I had to do meringue bones for the Halloween party!


But wait! these aren't just plain meringues... A genius idea of my roommate's was adding a strip of licorice string as marrow in the bones.  After baking them this way, I found out, biting into one, that the licorice both looks like marrow and simulates the softer center of bones when you bite into it, too!  Creepy.  :-D




Anyhow, get a good night's sleep, all.  Tomorrow is a big day: Happy Halloween!

(More Halloween treats from this week:
Chocolate mini-cupcakes with pomegranate-orange mascarpone buttercream
Seasalt cacao nib oreos with meyer lemon caramel filling
Candied crabapples.)
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