Peach Crostada

Peaches have always been one of my favorite fruits and it need not be summertime in order for me to enjoy them. I purchased a can of fruit pie filling, in order to enjoy the delectable flavors of a peach dessert. This technique is a rustic pie called a Crostada, and is easier to slice and serve than a traditional pie. Serve after it is cooled with ice cream or a dollop of whipped Creme Chantilly.

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"Sweet dough folded over in a rustic way, brushed with heavy cream and sprinkled with sugar"

“Sweet dough folded over in a rustic way, brushed with heavy cream and sprinkled with sugar”


'The crust is flaky and complements the softness of he peaches"

‘The crust is flaky and complements the softness of the peaches”

"Double pans allow for an even bake without complications of a burnt bottom crust"

“Double pans allow for an even bake without complications of a burnt bottom crust”

"The filling needs to bubble before it is removed from the oven"

“The filling needs to bubble before it is removed from the oven”


"Baked to a golden Brown ... once cooled the bottom crust has a crunch which is precisely what one wants to achieve"

“Baked to a golden brown … once cooled, the bottom crust has a crunch which is precisely what one wants to achieve”


A Time For Plums

Over the next few days I am going to locate a recipe to prepare using fresh plums. Because they are a fruit I seldom buy, I will be trying something new for the impending holidays. By making the recipe ahead, I will understand how this fruit performs and if I need to tweak the recipe I finally decide on making. I have found that plums are used in cakes, puddings, tarts, salads, jams, jellies, sauces, as an accompaniment for poultry and pork, and in tarts and pies. I’ll figure out the best way to make them and show you how the dish turns out.

Chocolate Raspberry Torte`

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This recipe is in this month’s Everyday Food, A Martha Stewart Magazine.

Since I hadn’t prepared a torte` in such a long time, I figured I would get the few ingredients I needed at the grocery store last night and prepare this as a surprise for my husband. He takes good care of me and knowing how much he loves chocolate, I got started as soon as I had my morning coffee.

It keeps overnight in the refrigerator and you do not apply the raspberries to the top, until just before you serve it. Additional serving suggestions is with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

32 chocolate wafer cookies (about 8 ounces)

2 TBSP sugar

1/2 tsp coarse salt

6 TBSP (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted


12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

1 pinch coarse salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream


1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (6 ounces)


1) Preheat oven to 350º

2) In a food processor, combine cookies, sugar and salt. Process until fine crumbs form.

3) Add butter and pulse until mixture just comes together.

4) Press crumbs into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.

5) Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is dry and set, about 20 minutes.

6) Remove from oven and place on cooling rack and allow to cool completely.


1) In a large bowl, combine the chocolate and a pinch of salt.

2) In a small saucepan, bring cream to a bare simmer over medium-high heat.

3) Immediately pour heated cream into the center of the chocolate and let stand for one minute.

4) Stirring gently, blend together until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

5) Pour into the cooled tart shell and refrigerate until set. About 30 minutes.

To serve, remove tart from the pan and scatter the fresh raspberries on top.

Note: My tart pan was 11 inches, a whole two inches larger than what the recipe called for. So I got out my calculator and I figured out how much more of each ingredient I would need, in order to make it come out correctly. I also added 1 TBSP freshly ground dark French roast and hazelnut cream coffee beans to the chocolate, as a flavor enhancer. I used Kosher salt and raw sugar. *

I wanted to surprise my husband but he actually surprised me, because he had to leave for an appointment. Sadly, we both have to wait to eat this fabulous dessert until he comes back! He told me, “You should have said something.” To which I replied, “It wouldn’t have been a surprise.” We both laughed.

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Worthy Of Celebration

weekend baking, originally uploaded by cannelle-vanille.

Tonight I was searching photographs of sandwiches. What I really wanted was a picture of half a sandwich with a big bite taken out of it. I had a whole story planed out about how when you get kicked about and you feel as if the world has taken a bite out of you, then it was time to fight back.

In my search for this icon of a sandwich I espied the photographs by this very talented baker. Simply click on the picture and you will be transported to Flickr, where you may see the beautiful little desserts she has concocted. Desserts makes life worth living and are always welcome for any celebrations.

My decision to return post haste to The Pastry Kitchen is the right choice for me. I had been burnt out, so to speak and now … “I’m Back!” Wonders never cease.

Pastry Strawberries and Cream

Tonight I espied this fabulous photograph when I was searching for French Pastry on Flickr.

First we feast on the beauty of food with our eyes. It is almost criminal to destroy the perfection of the art which sits on our plate before us. Go ahead … pick up your dessert fork or spoon and gently remove a small bite sized portion. You can feel the slight thud when you break through the pastry to the surface of the plate.

As you lift this mouthwatering combination to your mouth, notice how your eyes close when the first taste connects your tongue with your brain. If you were quick your clever nose would have captured the sweet bouquet from the fresh red strawberries.

Cool, sweet, creamy and a satisfying crunch provide you with the energy to aim your utensil back toward the partially eaten treat. It is not long before you are sad the experience has come to an end but are satiated to drink an aperitif, wine or a rich coffee.

Dessert, especially French ones make life worthwhile.

Pastry Art … Edible Art!

Vacherin with Assorted Sorbets, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

Dessert like any other course of the meal should be the icing on the cake. the piece de resistance` and most importantly, a memorable experience. I once was told that dessert is the portion of your bill where all of the profits are made. And with the cost of ingredients today, well believe me when I tell you that they are expensive.

When something is scrumptious, melt in your mouth, eyes rolling upwards in appreciation and satisfying, then it has worked its magic. French desserts are special in that the majority of them take many steps in order to produce the workmanship that is presented to the diner.

A Vacherin is an edible container. It’s components are disks and rings of baked until dried meringue, and iced with butter cream or whipped cream. It’s like a beautiful gift basket and all the chef needs to do is fill it with say, a chocolate mousse, ice cream, macaroons, candy or anything that would be appealing. In this instance, assorted scoops of sorbets are peeping out from beneath the top.

My chef worked his charms and talents on this masterpiece. Pastry is an art and the part I like the most is that it is edible art.

Linzer Tart


Linzer Tart, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

This tart comes from Austria. It is very highly seasoned and spicy. It bakes like a cookie. It handles like pate sucree. it also makes good cookies.

8 oz butter softened (but still cool)
4 oz sugar
1 large egg
1 yolk
1 lemon zest (seasoned)
4 oz almond flour
10 oz all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 dash vanilla extract
1 dash of salt
1 cup+ raspberry jam

1) Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
2) Cream butter, add sugar, zest and egg yolk in mixing bowl, using paddle.
3) Add in flour mixture and mix until it just comes together. Finish by hand on work table.
4) Frasiage and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to allow dough to rest and to cool the butter.
5) Roll out dough, a little on the thicker side. Place into 9″ tart pan.
6) Spread raspberry jam on the bottom of the uncooked tart shell. Perhaps about 1/4 of the way full.
7) Place three strips of dough about a third of the way from both dsides of the pan. Place three more dough strip across the two, a little more than halfway past the middle, on a diagonal. Cool in refrigerator before baking.

Bake 350º to 375º for about 40 minutes or until the jam bubbles. Sprinkle with 10X powered sugar around the outer edges of the finished tart. Allow to cool fully before serving.

Yield is about 18 to 20 portions.

May be stored wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for about three days.

Danish Black Cherry Tart

Danish Black Cherry Tart, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

One of the finest ingredients used in baking is almond flour or almond paste. Prepared in classic French recipes it lends a delightful and delicious flavor and it’s name is Frangipane.  When combined with Kirsh Cherries, it reflects a beautiful balance. For those of you who do not know about these liquored cherries, they are immersed in kirsch and then they sit for a long period of time, at least a year. This enables the alcohol to be absorbed by the cherries and together, they produce a strong but exciting fruit.

Danish Black Cherry Tart

1 pate sucree 9″shell uncooked
1 cup frangipane
15 to 20 black cherries (graittes)
hot apricot glaze
rum 10X glaze
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

1) Press the sucree dough into the bottom and up the edges of a fluted tart pan.
2) Pan the raw sucree shell 3/4 full with the frangipane.
3) Top with cherries by gently poking them into the frangipane.

Bake preheated 350º oven 40 to 50 minutes. Do not under or over bake. Remove from oven and brush with first the hot apricot and then the rum 10X glazes. Sprinkle liberally with lightly toasted almonds and allow to cool before slicing.

Yields 12 to 16 portions

Stores nicely in refrigerator for two to three days.

Danish Brioche Swiss II

Danish Brioche Swiss II, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

Danish – Sweetened Brioche` rolled up and placed into a bottom layer of brioche`. Baked and then brushed with hot apricot, rum & 10X icing. Finished by sprinkling lightly toasted, sliced almonds on the top.

After it is a tiny bit cooled, you actually tear off your portion, instead of using a knife to cut. The rough appearance only lends to the beauty of this tasty morning delight.


Plated Horns, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

I have a feeling that what I have been learning recently will take me on a journey, for which I have longed to travel. The road toward a wealth I never thought could be mine. By sharing this gift I can help others to achieve what they need and in turn, I will earn all that I want.

Because it is an open door where the sky is the limit, I need only apply myself half as hard as I have for someone else and I will be living the dreams I dreamt as a young woman. It’s like wanting to eat this dessert, everyday and never gain an ounce and having beautiful and positive people all about me, and we are on this quest together. I am inspired and will be an inspiration to others.

Creme Caramel

Creme Caramel, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

In this photo you can see the caramel which has sauced the baked custard. The caramel is poured into the ramekin, before the custard mixture, and then baked in a Bain Marie, a water bath, at a very low temperature. When it is ready to be plated you use a sharp knife and loosen the custard. Place a clean serving dish top side toward the top of the dessert and place a hand on top, and one hand underneath the ramekin.  Flip it over and then remove the ramekin.

Three Creme Brulees

Three Creme Brulees, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

One of the very last projects in culinary school was to prepare one of the desserts we had at our internship. In this photograph, which I took, there are three different creme brulee’s presented.

My pastry arts classmate, Jessica prepared this plated dessert, for this last assignment. She, as were the rest of our class were at major hotels, gaining hands-on experience. She made pistachio, coffee and vanilla brulee. After the tops were torched, she added the garnish and a tiny portion of fresh raspberries and strawberries. A touch of mint and she was done.

We all really loved the flavors and congratulated her on a job well done. She is living on the west coast and doing quite well.

The Bombe`

The Bombe`, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

One of the many things you learn in culinary school and specifically in pastry arts, is ice cream and the applications thereof.

Sometimes we would work in teams and since our class was the smallest, in the school’s history, we had two students to a team. Jessica and I prepared the ice cream, sponge cake and mousse. Then made glazing ganache`, baked delicate cookies and made a vanilla sauce for plating. But not in that order.

First we poured the mousse into a dome shaped silicone mold. Much like muffin tins made out of a rubbery feeling silicone. They can withstand sub 0º temperatures and can be used for baking up to 450º. But it is better to keep them separate and use one for freezing and one for baking.

The silicone mold should be placed inside a sheet pan for support. Once the mousse is poured half-way, transfer the mold to the freezer. After the mousse is set and your ice cream maker is finished it’s cycle, spoon the ice cream into the mold to the rim and wipe away any excess. Cut a round of sponge cake to cover the top and return the dessert to the freezer. Make sure the molds are level and not filled too overflowing.

Once frozen, turn out the number of molded desserts you need, onto a wire rack. Do not leave fingerprints on the dome shape. Warmed up (not hot) glazing ganche` is quickly ladled over the entire dome. This sets rapidly so be quick. Using two off-set spatulas, slide them one at a time and criss-cross them underneath the bottom of the bombe`. Carefully transfer the portions to the serving plates.

Garnish the plate with fresh raspberries, vanilla sauce and tuiles, thin fragile cookies. Voila. We had a good time preparing this dessert. A bombe` is a dessert which is frozen, inverted and glazed.

Photo March 2005.

Pound Cake & Le` Cake

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Pound Cake & Le` Cake, originally uploaded by Theresa111.


Le` Cake

This is the only cake called a cake in France. It is served on French tea service all year long. The rum soaked raisins and glace` cherries are drained and then tossed in flour before being folded into the batter.

6 oz glace` fruit cherries
6 oz golden raisins
1/2 c dark rum

(use drained juices from fruit in a glaze with 10X sugar)
6 oz butter very softened
6 oz 10 X sugar
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks

7 1/2 oz A/ P/ flour
1/2 t baking powder
pinch of salt

hot apricot and rum 10X

1 T sliced raw almonds

Prepare mini loaf pans with butter and line inside with parchment paper.

1) Cream butter, 10 X sugar and then add vanilla.
2) Sift flour and salt. Set aside. Save a little flour to toss over fruit.
3) Add yolks to eggs and Add eggs in mixing bowl one at a time. At medium speed, add some flour, mix, egg, mix, flour, mix, egg, mix and end with flour.
4) Drain fruit, toss in flour and fold into the batter.
5) Pan the batter 3/4 full and sprinkle with almonds.

Bake 350º 40 to 50 minutes. Golden brown and clean toothpick test. While hot, splash with dark rum.

Freezes nicely about a month. Storage wrap in cheesecloth splash with rum and glaze to seal. Place into a can, repeat once a month and will keep refrigerated about 2 to 4 months.

Yield is four mini loaves or one large cake.


M.R. PDS Pound Cake

Award winning cake created by my Pastry Arts Chef Instructor. The extra sugar helps tenderize the cake and the crumb is finer.

12 oz butter Lands O Lake (Only)
24 oz sugar
8 large eggs
1 t vanilla
1 t lemon juice
1 t almond
16 oz cake flour
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c milk

1) Cream Butter, sugar and flavorings in 5 qt mixer bowl.
2) Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
3) Add 1/2 eggs, 2 at a time.
4) Add small amount of flour, mix, add eggs, mix…Repeat until all incorporated, ending with flour being added to batter last.
5) Pan the batter 3/4 full.

Bake 350º 10 minutes, split top, lower temperature to 300º and bake 45 minutes or until tests done with a cake tester. Cool on rack on it’s side, of a loaf.

Pans: Use any shaped pan you wish.

Freezes very nicely about a month.

Mini French Pastries

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Mini French Pastries, originally uploaded by Theresa111.

These were some of the notorious Mini French Pastries we made for our Phase II Final Buffet, May 2005. The little white ones are so good I had two. This is the assembly for this dessert.

Tarts and Pies
Zuger Kirsch Torte

Bottom = Japonaise
Middle = Vanilla sponge spritzed with rum syrup
Top = Dacquoise

Kirsch butter cream

Iced with Kirsch butter cream
Patted with toasted sliced almonds

Double 10 X sugar

Knife marks
Chopped pistachios
1/2 glacee cherry

As you can see it gets very involved. Each dessert had four or five recipes we had to prepare in order to assemble the results. In the real world most of the time you don’t get to make these beauties.

Napoleon Cake Plated Dessert

Napoleon Cake Plated Dessert, originally uploaded by Theresa111.


These are a few ways to plate this dessert. The cake has stupendous fillings between each layer. Any layered pave cake is considered to be a napoleon. Pave means brick and indicated the shape of the cakes assembly.

Napoleon Pave

This is a pave cake which is shaped like a brick, cobblestone or shoe box shapes 2 1/2″ high x 3″ wide. This cake has a winter finish of soft fondant, chocolate fondant pulled with a knife for feathering. The summer finish is powdered sugar on the top with criss-cross, skewer marks.

3 pieces puff pastry {baked in sheet pan, cooled and divided equally}
2 – 3 c vanilla pastry cream (see recipe)
2 c sliced toasted almonds

1) Roll out puff pastry roll with roller docker to perforate the dough. Drop in sheet pan, cover with plastic, rest and bake 375º 20 minutes and dry out 20 minutes. Cool on rack. Divide the puff sheet into three equal pieces. The best piece for the top, the second best for the bottom and the third best for the middle. Place together and trim edges for uniformity.
2) Bottom piece is anchored to the assembly plate or cardboard with some pastry cream. Spread 1/2″ pastry cream over surface. Add middle piece and repeat. Add top layer then ice all of the sides with pastry cream.
3) Apply sliced toasted almonds around all of the sides.
4) Let rest in refrigerator overnight.

Serving will be easier if you precut the top portion by marking where the cuts should be.

Creams and Curds
Pastry Cream / Creme Patessiere

Pastry cream is a custard using corn starch. You cannot freeze it. It is used is filling choux, tarts, souffles and is a remarkable base for butter cream. It flavors beautifully with vanilla, milk chocolate, liquors etc.

16 oz whole milk
4 egg yolks
5 T corn starch (1 1/2 oz)
4 oz sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt

1) Bring milk just to a boil in a medium, heavy saucepan. Remove from heat.
2) In a mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks and add in the sugar until creamy. Little by little, add the cornstarch mixing constantly.
3) Temper the egg mixture by slowly whisking in 1/3 of hot milk. Then stir in the remaining hot liquid. Stir and return to heat.
4) Play piano by removing then returning the saucepan to the heat. You must be careful not to curdle the mixture by heating the ingredients over 185º.
5) Stirring constantly, bring pastry cream to a boil. When it looks thickened and shiny. Taste should be sweet.
6) Immediately strain through a Sieve into a clean cool bowl and place over a larger bowl filled with ice.
7) Add flavoring.

Keep cool, covered with plastic, melted butter, sugar, crumbs, etc, in order to seal it.

You may store in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Never freeze. You can bake as in a raw pastry tart.