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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Daring Bakers - Tian

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

I don't know what came over me, but I just couldn't do citrus. I didn't even do a dessert. I made something savory instead, which is totally unlike me. So, I guess I was truly a "Daring Baker" this month: Golden Beet Tian with Balsamic Gastrique. My husband wasn't a fan, but he doesn't like beets. I thought it was tasty, but I don't think I'll make this particular dish again. The flavors were good, but I'll do another combination without the Pate Sablee. (While the gastrique tasted really good, it didn't photograph well-->)

My Golden Beet Tian consisted of 4 layers: Pate Sablee, Goat Cheese Mixture, Beets, and a Balsamic Gastrique

For the Pate Sablee:

2 egg yolks, room temperature

6 Tbsp + 1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp. butter, ice cold & cubed (use unsalted if making a dessert; I used salted)
1/3 tsp. salt (I used 1/2 tsp.)
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.
Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350F.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.
Using a large cookie cutter (mine was almost 4"), cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Goat Cheese Mixture (rough estimates...I didn't measure):
2 oz. goat cheese
1 oz mascarpone cheese
1 Tbsp. heavy cream

Mix thoroughly, adding more cream or milk if needed to thin to spreading consistency.

For the Beets:
Bunch of Golden Beets, tops cut off & beets washed, lightly oiled & generously seasoned with salt & pepper.

Roast beets in 400F oven until tender. Peel & slice thinly, ~1/8 inch.

For the Balsamic Gastrique:
Equal parts balsamic vinegar & granulated sugar. I used 1/4 cup each.

Combine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low. Simmer until reduced and thickened to desired consistency.

To Assemble the Tian:

Have the layer ingredients prepared and ready to use.
Arrange the beets at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the slices all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.
Next, top with a couple spoonfuls of the goat cheese mixture, gently spreading it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer.
Carefully place a circle of Pate Sablee over each ring. Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
(Note: If the dough does not fit, use a microplane grater to gently 'file' down the edges until you have the correct size.)

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure it will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of an unmolded tian (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter. Drizzle with the Balsamic Gastrique and serve immediately.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

So the menu for dinner was Italian, and I needed a veggie side. I remembered that I had some pre-cut broccoli florets in the fridge, and I also remembered I'd seen Ina Garten roast broccoli. After a quick recipe search (with some adaptations, of course), the broccoli was in the oven, and we were treated to a delicious new side dish. I was really pleased with this dish, and friends with whom we shared the meal also raved about it. That's why I'm sharing it here - it's definitely a keeper.

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

2 to 2.5 pounds broccoli (or ~24 oz. florets)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (or 1-2 tsp. minced garlic)
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
~1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (~1 large lemon)
~2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (~1/2 large lemon)
Parmesan or Romano cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 4 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets in a large bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, and salt & pepper to taste. Pour broccoli mixture onto a sheet pan large enough to hold it in a single layer. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with the lemon zest and lemon juice*. Use a vegetable peeler and shave the Parmesan or Romano cheese over the broccoli. Serve hot.

*If desired, you can also add nuts to this recipe. Add 2-3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or slivered/sliced almonds when you add the lemon zest & juice just before serving.

Adapted from Ina Garten