Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A celebration tart ^^

This started out as a spinach and capers tart. But along the way, it got sidetracked with the addition of bacon, caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes!

And became celebration tart ^^ since it was a mouthful to name all the yummy ingredients ^^||, plus it was indeed made in celebration of big pig's good results in his AP World History. ^^

Celebration tart (recipe adapted from Dean Brettschneider's PIE and strandsofmylife)
Pastry (recipe from Dean Brettschneider's Sausage, Sun-dried Tomato & Potato Tart)
160g flour
120g butter, diced
a pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp fresh milk

100-150g bacon, sliced thinly
2 medium onions, sliced thinly
2 handsful of spinach (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp capers
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup fresh milk (or heavy cream, if not on diet ^^)
cherry tomatoes, halved (as many as you like ~ put lots, yums ^^)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (or a handful, or 2 ^^)
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (a handful, or 2)
salt and pepper, to season

1. Prepare pastry. Blitz flour, butter and salt together with an electric mixer or processor, till they resemble breadcrumbs. Add fresh milk and mix till a dough is formed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins or overnight. Or shortcut by rolling out pastry immediately and place on greased 22-cm round or rectangular tart tin, prick the base and then cover and refrigerate ^^.

2. Bake-blind pastry shell at 200C for 15-20 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake for another 5 mins. Or just use as it is, straight from the refrigerator, no baking required.. it works too! ^^

3. In a non-stick pan, cook sliced bacon till brown and fragrant. Remove and leave to cool.

4. In the same pan, saute onions for at least 40 minutes on medium heat for caramelized onions. Add a bit of water to soften onions if you wish. When it's nicely softened, remove and set aside to cool.

5. Wilt spinach quickly in a pot of boiling water. Drain and squeeze out the water from the spinach. Leave to cool.

6. In a bowl, mix beaten eggs, fresh milk, salt and pepper till well blended.

7. To assemble, place spinach evenly on the pastry shell, followed by caramelized onions. Then add capers and cooked bacon. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese all over filling. Gently pour the egg mixture over. Dot the halved tomatoes all over the filling and top with some grated cheddar cheese.

8. Bake in a preheated oven of 200C for 40 minutes, or 220C for 30 minutes, till golden.

This tart may be made with big pig in mind, but this just became my favorite tart! And all because of the cherry tomatoes! I love its sweetness and flavor that perfectly balances the savory of this tart.

Well, I'm happy to report that big pig loves this. Well, all of us did! My carnivorous baby pig couldn't even taste the spinach at all ^^. Neither could we of the capers! And my spinach stayed very much green even post-baking! ^^

This is a delish tart I'll be making again ~ a keeper! ^^

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tiramisu for you?

I had a request for tiramisu last week.

But I couldn't quite bring myself to do it immediately. I procrastinated because I had major reservations about making tiramisu. More so when it came from a friend's son who was recovering from a bout of viral infection. I was worried about the use of raw eggs! ^^||

Besides, I just don't have the best/perfect recipe for tiramisu yet ^^||!

The few times I made tiramisu, my piggies didn't exactly "ooh-and-aah-ed" over it, so I knew the quest continues.. Nevertheless, they still wiped it clean each time ^^!

Anyways, after much googling and using pasteurized eggs, I decided to have another go at tiramisu ^^

Tiramisu (recipe adapted from browneyedbaker)
~ makes 12 servings 
2 cups espresso
4 tbsps rum
4 egg yolks (use pasteurized eggs ^^)
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound mascarpone (I used 500g ^^ since a tub came in 250g)
3/4 cup whipping cream
36 savoiardi / ladyfingers / sponge biscuits
some cocoa powder
grated dark chocolate

1. Mix in 2 tbsps rum to the 2 cups of espresso.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks at low speed till combined. Add sugar and beat till pale yellow at medium speed for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add remaining 2 tbsps of rum and mix till well blended. Fold in mascarpone and beat till smooth, around 45 seconds.

3. In another bowl, beat whipping cream till firm and soft peaks form.

4. Put 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and mix till well blended. Fold in the rest, and set aside mixture.

5. Dip ladyfingers one at a time into the coffee mixture, flip over and remove. Do not submerge ladyfingers in the coffee mixture. Arrange the soaked ladyfingers in a single layer into a 9x13inch glass dish (I arranged them into 3 medium rectangular tubs and 1 freestyle on a plate ^^).

6. Next, spread half the mascarpone mixture over. Dust with some cocoa powder (use a strainer/sieve). Repeat the same steps with layering on soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone mixture and cocoa powder. Cover and refrigerate for 6-24 hours before serving. And if you like, sprinkle with grated chocolate before serving. ^^

The result? "It's horrible.. just horrible! You can't take them to your friend or even chubby pig!", says baby pig.. "But you can leave them all here with us! We'll have them!" *evil laugh*

Ooh, that conniving little pig! My heart totally sank when I heard "horrible" and then soared with joy when I knew he enjoyed it.. A LOT! Big pig thinks it's very good too ^^ So does mama pig! I reckon it must be the rum.. they are suckers for anything with rum! ^^

Well, I just had some and I think they're DIVINE! Fatty hubby loves it too! I think I just might have hit gold with this recipe! ^^

Hope my friend's boys.. and chubby pig (+ chubby big brother + chubby mama) enjoy the tiramisu too! This delicious recipe makes a lot for sharing! ^^

p.s. I made yummy financiers with the leftover egg whites ^^