Sunday, August 21, 2011

Strawberry tart

Pastry cream

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat up the milk and dissolve the sugar in a small saucepan.
Whisk the eggs with the remaining sugar and cornstarch.
Pour a little hot milk in the eggs to temper them little by little constantly stirring with a whisk.
When half of the milk is incorporated in the eggs, pour the egg mixture in the saucepan and let the cream thicken on slow heat.
When the right consistency is reached, blend the vanilla and the butter in.
Store with a layer of cling wrap on the surface to prevent drying.

Tart crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Roll out the dough and fit into a tart pan with removable sides. Don’t stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan.
    Line the tart shells with a piece of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or rice. Blind-bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and the paper, prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

    Tart glaze

    Have 2 grams of gelatin blossom with 3-4 tablespoons of water.
    Cut the strawberries on the sides, reserving the spongy cores.
    Add 10 to 15 strawberry cores to 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar.
    Dissolve the sugar over low heat and make a flavored syrup this way. (do not overheat) 
    Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the reconstituted gelatin: dissolve over low heat and set aside.

    Dispense the pastry cream over the tart crust, arrange the strawberry slices over it and brush with the glaze, making sure to add enough to cover the entire surface and fill up the empty spaces. Place in the fridge for a few hours and you’re golden.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011
    Miso sweet spread.
Honestly, the best thing after marmite.
(from the guy who taught me how to make miso)

    Miso sweet spread.

    Honestly, the best thing after marmite.

    (from the guy who taught me how to make miso)

    Thursday, December 9, 2010
    Chekkalu….absolutely addictive.

    Chekkalu….absolutely addictive.

    7:29 pm →
    0 notes
    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Nitrous Oxide infusions

    Basil-infused mozzarella

    I’ve thought of using this approach but never really had a crack to this technique. Apparently it works like a charm and it’s so versatile!

    IDEAS IN FOOD: Aromatic Mozzarella And So Much More

    More here.

    Friday, August 13, 2010
    Canvas Underground - The great porchetta:
    • - Fresh mozzarella wrapped with grilled summer squash, roasted heirloom tomatoes, basil vinaigrette
    • - Smoked garlic soup with gypsy pepper cream
    • - Porchetta marinated with rosemary and sage, creamy polenta, slow cooked greens
    • - Roasted peaches and nectarines, chestnut honey ice cream, toasted almond biscotti

    More pics.

      Friday, July 23, 2010
      Sprouts cooking club - Gnocchi

      Sprouts cooking club - Gnocchi

      Thursday, July 22, 2010

      Akamiso, mint and Thai basil marinated black cod

      This dish is as simple as it sounds. Simply marinate 4 black cod skin-on fillets with 1 heap tablespoon of akamiso (red miso), one teaspoon of a light extra-virgin olive oil and a few whole leaves of Thai basil and mint (not peppermint). Gently rub the fish fillets with the miso/oil paste, add the leaves (whole) and put them for a minimum of 24 hours in the fridge. I kept them two days but even after three, they were still well balanced and not overpowered in flavors. After the fish has marinated, let it come to room temperature and quickly grill it (2 minutes per side, skin side first) on a non-stick grill pan. A light side of fragrant jasmine rice and you’re set.


      Thanks very much to Marco for hosting a terrific convivium at the San Francisco Baking Institute. Besides the inventive pizzas that many participants have created, I had the chance to refresh my palate with flavors such as gorgonzola and pears and Italian wild arugula (the pointy one) on top of an awesome focaccia di Recco (with Bellwether crescenza) and superb eclaires (recipe for the choux pastry from Sherry Yard).

      My pizza was OK…I was light handed with salt and the dough came out bland in flavor althoug it has huge potential. A different take on the classic Gorgonzola and pears combination where the silky texture and the truffley flavors of goat cheese are contrasted by the tart crunchiness of green apples. For this pizza I always use an aged goat cheese like a Laura Chenel‘s taupiniere (very reasonably priced at Rainbow grocery).
      Walnuts are also very welcome too as an additional topping.

      Here is the recipe for my fail-proof dough (and it only takes 2-3 hours to have it).

      • 500 g strong flour (W250 like the Ultimate performer from Whole Foods)
      • 1 tsp of barley malt
      • 1 tsp of gluten flour
      • 4 good pinches of kosher salt
      • 2 good pinches of sugar
      • one little piece of fresh yeast (1 x 1 x 0.5 inches) diluted in a glass of lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar

      I do normally work the dough a lot, something like 10-15 minutes, until silky and elastic. I let the ball of dough rise in the oven for an hour (with the light on, or just turn it on for 30 seconds to generate a gentle heat) then punch it down, let it rise another hour or so and then it’s ready to use.
      The wood-fire oven created beautiful blister and the dough was perfectly crusty and soft at the bite….I love it like that….

      Tomini elettrici

      Soft cow’s milk cheese with herbs and crushed red peppers preserved under oil: most probably the most soul-touching food I miss from Piemonte (after truffled cacciatorini). The tragedy is that there’s no close relative being sold in the US and even fresh cheeses like farmer’s cheese are too grainy and lacking the twang of a real tomino from Piemonte. Needless to say, I undertook the challenge and started from scratch.
      I followed the recipe of Dr. Fankhauser for Neufchatel cheese and made some tweakings.
      I used ½ tablet rennet, got 2 pounds of cheese out of 1 gallon of Clover Stornetta Organic Vitamin D milk and mixed with 3 tsp of salt.

      I molded the cheeses into logs and sprinkled the surface with kosher salt.
      Wrapped the logs into cheese cloth and sprinkled the cloth with salt too. I aged the cheeses for one week in the upper part of the fridge into a tupperware for herbs (the ones with a grid on the bottom and some apertures on the sides to keep the right amount of moisture).

      I finally cut the logs into rounds, sprinkled them with crushed red pepper and dried oregano and parsley and covered them with safflower oil. Now they are in the fridge and they just taste phenomenal.
      Considering the amount of handling that the cheese has underwent I won’t keep these more than two weeks in the fridge.

      Mangialonga SF

      Menu and path:

      (A) Cantine Barbone
      - tomino elettrico 
      - lingua in bagnetto verde
      - vitello tonnato

      Mutti Noceto 2007 Cortese Colli Tortonesi
      (B) Antica Prosciutteria
      - peperoni in bagna caoda
      - zucchine in carpione 
      - tartine di polenta con crema di porri, fondue e bagna caoda
      - tagliatelle fatte in casa al castelmagno e ragu’

      Bovio Barbera d’Alba 2005
      (C) Pasticceria Baldini
      - brasato al barolo con patate al forno e pure’ 
      - cotechino con lenticchie

      Massa Pertichetta 2004 Croatina
      (A) Cantine Barbone
      - torta alle nocciole
      - pesche all’amaretto
      - panna cotta
      - fragole e panna
      - caffe’ e amaro

      La Morandina Moscato 2007

      A huge thanks goes to Ceri Smith of Biondivino in SF for having made the wine selection possible within a very limited budget. Pure Piemonte, thanks Ceri!