Category Archives: Pastry

White Wine Cake

For 6-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 pack of Jell-O instant vanilla pudding mix (1 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cup white wine (Chardonnay was used)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 handfuls sliced almond

Recipe:

  1. Preheat to 350 F
  2. Lightly stir all the ingredients (except for slice almonds) together using a spatula
  3. Mix well with electric mixer for about 3 minutes
  4. Carefully fold in the sliced almonds
  5. Pour the mixture into your preferred, pre-sprayed/buttered pan
  6. Bake for 1 hour or till it passes the toothpick test
  7. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: tea, milk, coffee . . .

NOTES: This is a lazy, super easy, fancier than plain yellow-cake  CAKE to use up the Chardonnay I didn’t love. It came out delicious!!! You can easily switch things up a bit by adding other nuts, dried fruits or white cake mix… Probably would have even worked better without the vanilla pudding mix, as it might have overpowered the white wine fragrance

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French Pear Tart

For 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 large jar of pear halves
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
  • 3/4 cup ground blanched almonds
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp dark rum

Tart shell

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 9 tbsp frozen unsalted butter (cut into little pieces)
  • 1 large egg yolk 

Recipe:

Tart dough:

  1. Combine flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor
  2. Throw in pieces of butter and pulse until they’ve been processed into the size of oatmeal flakes
  3. Add in the egg yolk (stirred), a little at a time, pulse after each addition
  4. After the egg yolk is in, process untill the dough forms clumps and curds
  5. Take the dough out onto a work surface just before the dough gets truly clumpy, the sound of the food processor will be a clear indicator
  6. Knead the dough VERY VERY lightly just to incorporate any unmixed dry ingredients
  7. Press the dough into a tart pan and freeze for at least 30 minutes before baking
  8. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit it closely against the crust, bake at 375 F for 25 minutes, carefully remove the aluminum foil and bake for another ~4 mins, take it out of the oven to let it cool – you have just achieved a partially baked tart shell

Filling

  1. Process butter and sugar untill smooth inside the food processor
  2. Blend in ground almonds, add flour and cornstarch, process and then add the egg
  3. Process till the mixture is cream-like and homogeneous
  4. Add rum or vanilla to blend a little more
  5. Fill the partially baked tart shell with the almond cream and lay the pear halves (or slices) on top to your own aesthetic standard
  6. Bake for 50-60 mins at 350 F or until the tart browns and puffs up
  7. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: milk, coffee, tea, book . . .

NOTES:  It’s got pear and almond!!!! 😀 French pear tart is one of  very few tarts I love but good ones  are difficult to find and it can be pricey.  So I am elated to have found this recipe online and succeeded (for the most part) on my first try! It’s truly amazing, why can’t it become a staple at bakeries in the States just as it is at the patisseries in France?! A favorite! 🙂

** Rach 1 & Brahms 4 in a couple of weeks, I shall make something special to commemorate the first of such occasions in 2010 😉 excited!

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Cocoa-Wine Cake

For ~ 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened & dark)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 dry red wine (Syrah was used, again!)

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter with sugar at medium-high speed  until fluffy (~4 minutes)
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat til incorporated. Add in vanilla extract and beat for 2 more minutes
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients (step 2) and the wine alternately, until incorporated
  6. Scrape the butter into a pre-butter & floured pan and bake for 45 minutes
  7. Do the toothpick test to make sure it is well-baked and let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving
  8. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  RED WINE!!!!!! whipped cream, dust with confectioner’s sugar, fruits, flavored syrup . . .

NOTES: There is no need to cut down on the sugar since unsweetened cocoa powder was used and the wine wasn’t on the sweet side to begin with. The slight boozy flavor is simply wonderful! A bundt pan is recommended to use for a prettier representation.

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Pumpkin Muffins

Yields ~30

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups & 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 eggs
  • 2/3 (29 ounce) can pumpkin (Kabocha was used)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raisins pre-soaked in rum

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In one bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon
  3. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin puree, and applesauce, until smooth
  4. Blend  mixture from step 3 to the dry ingredients in step 2 until smooth batter forms
  5. Stir the raisins (drained from rum) and pumpkin seeds into the batter
  6. Spoon batter into the lightly greased muffin cups or pans
  7. Bake for ~ 35 minutes in oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  8. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  milk, soymilk, tea, coffee…

NOTES: This was late night snack during the Grammy :). I made the mistake of steaming the Kabocha instead of boiling, so it was slightly challenging to get them into puree form. I might also have added more eggs than needed since accidentally broke one. It seems that I could have filled up each cup with more batter, these were petite muffins :P. My version is definitely lighter, more Asian taste pleasing. Add more cinnamon, 1 tsp of ground cloves, chopped walnuts, canned pumpkin puree and MORE sugar if you prefer American taste.

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