Sunday, February 23, 2014

Passionfruit & Red Bean New Year's Cake

Life has been extraordinarily hectic as of late. I feel like (actually, I know) I spend more time on airplanes, in the car, or in the office these days than at home or in the kitchen or behind the camera. But I'm busy with things I love, so I don't mind that most of the time, I feel like I've been treading water nonstop in an attempt to keep from drowning in the deep end of the pool. As long as my nose stays above the water, I'm good. And it helps that I like the water. (I'm a water Zodiac sign, after all. :))

Then, there are these rare, glistening moments of calm in between. Extraordinarily rare, but they're like such a gulp of fresh air when they happen, as if someone has temporarily thrown me a flotation ring to hang onto. Like this one rainy Sunday a few weeks ago, when I was at a friend's house for lunch. You know what happens when you get three friends together who have a love a desserts? Impromptu dessert bar. For lunch. Cause that's just how we roll.

I brought a passionfruit and adzuki red bean Chinese New Year's Cake (gluten-free, pictured above, recipe below), and some poached, vanilla-scented, late season quince that were cooked to just a touch of pink. My friend, Rob (of dessert tour fame), showed up with a bagful of goodies from Tartine Bakery: banana creme pie, lemon-poppyseed almond cake (my personal favorite), chocolate hazelnut tart, and meringues. And my friend who was hosting the lunch busted out these beautifully wrapped gold-bar nuggets of hazelnut chocolates that she was recently sent from Switzerland (because, you know, it pays to have foodie friends in foreign places). Yes, I know, it's excessive to have a dessert bar so extravagant for a lunch that consisted of only four people total, but hey, you know what they say: work hard, play eat desserts harder!

Recipe for the passionfruit & red bean cake follows. It's my modern spin on my mom's old family recipe for baked New Year's Cake that is one of my favorite things she makes. It's satisfyingly mochi-chewy, and the pop of passionfruit brightens the whole cake like bursting, exotic streak of sunshine. (Oh goodness, excuse the cliches, I don't get much sleep these days!)

Read on for recipe....

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Grapefruit raspberry flourless chocolate cake

So many changes have been happening behind the scenes here at DfB that I've been waiting and waiting to have time to properly write about, but alas--that is all going to have to wait again for another post. Today, however, I'm being a good blogger: here's a recipe for Valentine's Day (or, you know, any day). And uncharacteristically, I'm actually posting it before Valentine's Day has already come and gone. Ah, #thelittlevictories.

This is a (gluten-free) recipe that I developed for my monthly Anthology Magazine Blog partnership (past posts for Anthology can be found here and here). Lately, I've been finding the desserts I make to be more and more maximalist (like this set of miniature quar-tarts that I never managed to post here). Maybe it's because I find myself with so little time in the kitchen these days that when I do go and design a dessert, I feel as though it has to, you know, somehow encompass the whole world. All this of course goes against my very nature of wanting to practice restraint with desserts--too much, after all, is too much. So I'm always really thankful when my time to design a recipe for Anthology rolls around each month. Given Anthology's wonderfully restrained nature, it's the perfect external force to require me to strip down my flavor instincts to the bare beauty of "simple" complexity, to let the bold flavors of a few carefully picked ingredients shine on their own. Anyways, click through to Anthology for the recipe, more description about the recipe, and more photos.

In the meantime, I'm really hoping to be able to steal some time somewhere to wrap up 2013 and talk about all of the big changes that have been going on already in the short time that has been 2014. Hopefully soon!

Read on for recipe....