Just in time for
Valentine’s Day the Super Bowl lunch.
This week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge was selected by Amanda of Homekeeping Adventures: Silken Chocolate Walnut Tart. As written, it’s a rich chocolate tart with a layer of walnuts hidden inside.
I eliminated the walnuts and replaced the recommended rum and a couple tablespoons of the heavy cream with raspberry liqueur. And then served it with fresh raspberries and sweetened whipped cream.
It was a beautiful, beautiful thing. An intensely beautiful and beautifully intense chocolate tart that was closer in texture to a dense fudgey brownie than a flourless chocolate cake… inside a pie crust.
My 9.5-inch tart pan is smaller than the recommended 10-inch pan so I only made 2/3 of the filling – it was exactly the perfect amount.
It’s totally the rockstar indulgent dessert that you serve at the end of a light lunch to make up for all of the calories that you just didn’t eat.
Head over to Homekeeping Adventures to get the full recipe. And check out how the other PPQ members’ baked up their tarts.
This week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge was selected by Sarah of 20 Something Cupcakes: Espresso Creme Brulee.
With a broken oven and no one else in the house on-board with a coffee-flavored dessert, I was going to take a pass. But then my oven came in a week early. So we celebrated. With Grapefruit Creme Brulee.
Creme Brulee is not hard to make. Not at all. And Sarah can prove it – she has a video posted to go along with the recipe.
I at least stuck to the spirit of the challenge this week… but I’m afraid not much else
I scaled the recipe down by 2/3 to accommodate a generous 2-serving dessert, and then adjusted some of the odd-ball measurements. Like 2.33333 egg yolks. Because that was just not going to happen.
I infused the custard with citrus flavor by heating grapefruit zest with the cream and letting the mixture rest. And then I rubbed a little grapefruit zest with granulated sugar and used that for the bruleed topping. The resulting creme brulee has pronounced citrus and grapefruit notes without the overwhelming bitterness of the fresh fruit. Although, I happen to adore fresh grapefruit.
And I’m so glad I didn’t make a full batch! After calculating the nutritional information, we ended up splitting a dessert for 2 nights instead of eating it all the first night
Grapefruit Creme Brulee
Creme brulee infused with grapefruit. Use your favorite variety of grapefruit. If you are so lucky to have Texas grapefruit in your produce department, grab one!
- 1 grapefruit, zested (and segmented, if desired)
- 1 cup cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup + 4 tsp sugar
- Reserve a pinch of grapefruit zest (~1/2-1 tsp), and put the rest in a small sauce pan along with the cream and sugar.
- Heat until very hot and steaming (but not boiling).
- Remove from heat and let rest while oven is preheating to 300.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
- Reheat the cream mixture until very hot (again, don't boil).
- Strain 1/4 cup of the cream mixture into the egg yolks, while whisking (this will temper the eggs and prevent scrambled eggs).
- Strain the rest of the cream mixture into the yolk mixture and whisk thoroughly.
- Divide custard between two 6 oz baking dishes and place in larger pan.
- Carefully pour very hot water into the pan, taking care not to splash water into the custard, until it comes halfway up the creme brulee dishes.
- Transfer to the oven and bake ~35 minutes, until set - the center should jiggle but not be fluid.
- Remove baking dishes from the water bath and let cool for 20 minutes, before transferring to the fridge uncovered to chill thoroughly.
- Preheat broiler.
- Massage the reserved grapefruit zest with the remaining 4 tsp sugar.
- Evenly sprinkle over the baking dishes and broil for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar has melted and caramelized (a kitchen torch can accomplish the same task).
- Serve garnished with chopped grapefruit segments, if desired.
Yields: 2 servings
Estimated time: 3 hours
Amanda chose this week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge: Texas Tortilla Soup.
I was super happy to put this on the menu this week. One, our oven is broken (waaah!) and that has really messed with my mind. And our menu. Second, I’ve posted the soup before and it was in dire need of a new photo. But really, it’s because the soup is freakin’ awesome.
The Pastry Queen’s Texas Tortilla Soup has been our go-to chicken tortilla soup recipe for the last 5 years. It’s broth-based, so it’s the rare Mexican food dish that won’t kill you with fat, calories, and sodium. But what really sets it apart from your average tortilla soup is that the body of the soup is built with roasted tomatoes.
Slow-roasting (or fast… depending on how much time you have) the tomatoes removes the excess water, concentrates the flavors, and caramelizes some of the sugars in the tomatoes. The tomatoes are then pureed and added to the broth. The resulting soup has far deeper flavors than the soup from your favorite Mexican restaurant. And topped with a little avocado, chopped onions, cilantro, and jalapenos, and a dollup of fat-free Greek yogurt, it’s wonderfully filling with far fewer calories than the Mexican restaurant soup.
Um, did I mention it’s good for you?
This is one of those great meals that you can make on Sunday and not worry about making dinner again until Wednesday. And it freezes beautifully. One batch feeds us for 3 nights. We usually split a grilled cheese sandwich to go along with it, made with one of those small $.50 bakery baguettes, a couple slices of avocado, and shredded monterrey jack.
Thanks to Amanda for getting my husband so excited about going to the grocery store this week! You can check out the full recipe here and the other PPQ members’ take on the soup here.
Merry Christmas, y’all!
My week to host Project Pastry Queen fell during Christmas so I picked the most Christmasy recipe I could find: Glazed Lemon-Cranberry Loaf Cake.
It’s “just” a small loaf cake scented with lemon zest, studded with fresh cranberries, and topped with a lemon syrup that soaks into the cake. I brought the cake to Christmas Eve dinner and it “just” went over really well.
I stayed true to the recipe but have no doubt it would work as beautifully with orange instead of lemon.
Glazed Lemon-Cranberry Loaf Cake
A moist lemony cake studded with fresh cranberries and glazed with a lemon syrup.
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 2/3 cup flour + 1 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temp
- 1 cup sugar (I reduced to 2/3 cup)
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk (I used 0% fage)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Toss the cranberries with 1 Tbsp flour and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs and lemon zest and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.
- Add half of the milk and mix on low speed just until combined.
- Add the remaining flour, mixing just until combined, and then the remaining milk.
- Add cranberries and mix a few seconds longer.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake 45-60 minutes, until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs attached.
- Cool the cake for 15 minutes and then remove it from the pan.
- To make the lemon glaze, combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil for 30 seconds.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Gently pierce the top of the loaf cake many times with a toothpick.
- Use a pastry brush to apply the warm glaze evenly over the top of the loaf.
- Slice into ~10 slices to serve.
- Store leftovers tightly wrapped, will keep ~3 days.
Yields: 10 slices
Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Check out how the other Project Pastry Queen members fared with their cakes.