Sunday, May 29, 2011

Belleau Kitchen Dessert Challenge

These challenges of Dom's Belleau Kitchen are so much fun.  We had to once again go to our bookcase and pull out all our dessert cook books. Then randomly choose a book (I closed my eyes) and plucked The Good Housekeeping Illustrated  Dessert Cookbook out of the pile. I need to be honest here.  The first page I opened to had so many decorations on the cake I knew my skill level for decorating cakes was not anywhere near that level.  I flipped again and opened to The Berries and Custard In Coconut Shell Tart.  Off to the specialty kitchen to buy a tart pan.  I have only made one tart in my life and I had to borrow the pan from my sister.  Tarts are not in my comfort level either, but at least I knew it wouldn't look like a kindergartner made it. Here's the recipe with a few fruit changes.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 large lemon
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 pints raspberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  1. Prepare Coconut Pastry dough, measure flour, coconut, butter, sugar, and egg yolk.  With fingertips, mix together just until blended.
  2. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of 10-inch tart pan. With fork, prick tart shell in many places to prevent puffing and shrinkage during baking.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line tart shell with foil: bake 10 min.  Remove foil; again prick dough.  Bake tart shell 10 to 15 minutes until golden.
  4. While tart shell is baking, prepare Lemon-Custard Filling. From the lemon grate 1 tsp. and  squeeze 2 tbsp. juice; set aside.  In heavy 2 qt. sauce pan over medium- low heat, heat butter, sugar,  and cornstarch, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils; boil 1 min.
  5. In small bowl with fork, beat egg yolks; stir in small amount of hot sugar mixture.  Slowly pour egg yolk mixture back into sugar mixture in pan, stirring rapidly to prevent lumping.
  6. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats spoon, about 170-175 degrees.  Remove from heat.
  7. Stir lemon peel and lemon juice into custard; cover custard and refrigerate about one hour.
  8. In small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form.  With rubber spatula fold whipped cream into custard.
  9. Evenly spoon Lemon Custard Filling into cooled shell.
  10. Topped with berries.
I used blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and mangoes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lily of the Valley....

Legend has it that lily of the valley are what became of the tears shed by Eve after she was expelled from the Garden of Eden.  I don't  know if I believe this legend to be true or not,  but there sure is something heavenly about them.
Lily of the valley are also the birth flower of May, which  happens to be the month I was born in.  Needless to say I have a great affection for these delicate fragrant beauties.
Used often in bridal bouquets their flower meaning states that they represent happiness, humility, sweetness, chastity and purity.
Regardless of  the legend or flower meaning,  I love looking over the railing of my deck and seeing their sweet fragile beauty.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Simple Pleasures, Simply Delicious...

What a delicious afternoon snack.  No fussy ingredients needed for this simple pleasure. Just fresh mango and strawberries.  Fruit, one of Mother Nature's best gifts.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lilac Lane...

Are you wondering about the title of my post?  Maybe you're a tad curious to know what a lilac lane is.  Well, I actually don't have a lilac lane of my own, but my Great Aunt Ethel did.  It was located smack dab between her property and that of her long time neighbor of many, many years.   A nice elderly gentleman named Sam.  Sam would come to visit with my great aunt in her yard through the lilac bushes which separated both their backyards.  Although Ethel and Sam were just good friends, Aunt Ethel would affectionately call the foot worn path through the heart shape arches of the bushes "lilac lane." 

Aunt Ethel's lilac bushes were fragrant, mature and lush with purple flowers.   They were seasons old and left to be how Mother Nature intended them to be.  Tall, wide and wild with the aroma of their perfume.  My lone little lilac bush is but three years old.  These photos are of the first flowers I have enjoyed from my pretty purple bosket.   Although modest in its size, I was more than thrilled to see my own aromatic harbinger of spring finally bloom.

As you can see, I hardly have enough flowers on my small shrub to make my lilac the perennial show stopper that lilacs have become famous for.  There isn't even enough for a small centerpiece.  I just can't for-see my just barely established shrub propagating into my very own lilac lane.  But next year if I am lucky enough to be blessed with more flowers,  I will lovingly cut a  nostalgic bouquet, place it thoughtfully in a crystal vase and for a moment think of my Great Aunt Ethel and her "lilac lane."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Early Supper...

This is what I had for my supper tonight.  The only problem being it was about three hours before my actual dinner hour. YIKES!!!  Once I thought about making this I just couldn't wait.  That means around nine o'clock tonight I am going to be starving. Anyway, here's what I did.

Drizzled Extra Virgin Oil on Tuscan bread.  Grilled the bread until it was crisp and brown.  Spread with Mascarpone Cheese that was whipped with fresh strawberries, honey and light cream.  I then spread it on the grilled bread added a little more honey on top along with some diced walnuts.  Sooo delicious.

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