Monday, August 11, 2008

day o' baking

It's amazing how much you can get done if you wake up before noon...
after a quick trip to the grocery store, I spent the day baking up a storm!

From an old little baking book I bought for $3.00 from Michaels years ago:
Cookshelf Baking by Emma Patmore

From the Pies & Pastry chapter - Mini Frangipane Tarts with Lime
1C All-purpose Flour
1/3C Butter, softened
1 tsp. lime zest
1 tbsp. lime juice
4 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4C ground almonds
For Glaze:
1/3C confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2tsp water

Reserve 5 tsp. of flour and 1 tbsp. of butter.

Rub rest of the butter into the rest of the flour, until it looks crumbly. Stir in the lime zest, and lime juice, to form a soft dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough thinly. (My dough was pretty dry... so I added more lime juice as needed when rolling out the dough.) Cut out 3 inch rounds and place into muffin pan. (12 cup pan) This took a while since the dough was so dry and crumbly and would crack when rolling it out.

In a separate bowl, cream together reserved butter and the granulated sugar. Add in the egg, ground almonds, and reserved flour. ( I ground whole almonds for this. Not sure if it makes a difference.) Spoon about 1 Tbsp. of mixture into the "tart shells". (Divide evenly.)

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, until set and lightly golden. Remove from pan and let cool.

Mix the confectioner's sugar and water to make a glaze. Drizzle over the tartlets.

Notes: I was actually pretty surprised at the taste of these little tarts, especially since I was so frustrated with rolling out the dough! The crust came out to be really light and flakey, and the lime isn't overtly noticeable. Also, thickness of the crust affects how pretty the tart looks. So, next time, I'll be more careful to roll out the dough thinly for all tarts. And although there wasn't much of an almond flavor to the filling, it was still pretty tasty. I didn't do a great job with the sugar drizzle, so I probably should have just not done that. I'd say it's optional anyways.

From the Cookies chapter- Millionaire's Shortbread
1.5C All-Purpose Flour
1/2C butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp light brown sugar

4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp light brown sugar
14 oz can condensed milk
5.5 oz milk chocolate

Sift flour into bowl and rub in butter with fingers until mixture is crumbly, like fine breadcrumbs (the book reads.) Add the sugar and mix to form a firm dough. (It was a pretty crumbly dough for me.)

Press dough into a greased 9in square pan (I used round) and prick with a fork. (Since I pressed the dough into the pan, I don't think it mattered much if the dough was crumbly... unlike the preceding recipe.)

Bake in a preheated oven of 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden. Cool completely in pan.

Meanwhile, for the topping, melt the butter, sugar and condensed milk in a non-stick saucepan. Stir constantly until boiling. Then turn the heat down and continue to stir until the caramel turns pale golden and thickens. (This took a while, so I'm not sure if I let it thicken long enough before I got tired of stirring and stopped altogether.) Pour mixture over the shortbread base and let cool.

When the caramel is firm, melt the chocolate and spread over the top. Set aside to cool and firm up. Cut and serve.

Notes: I'm not a fan of the sticky caramely nougat-y type stuff. But I do like the shortbread. It's crisp and buttery. Yum. It does help to contrast the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate though. So it's a pretty good combination. Making shortbread is pretty easy... I think I'll be making more in the future.

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