lychee ice cream

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For this blogpost, I thought I’d revisit a childhood memory, my Dad’s ice cream. My Dad’s ice cream is creamy, sweet, and redolent of condensed milk. My Dad flavors his ice cream with tinned lychee or longan with the syrup thrown into the ice cream for good measure. Lychee and longan  both have a woody shell that is peeled open to reveal the fleshy fruit inside around a shiny black stone. When fresh they have a chewy texture; while longan is delicately sweet, the fresh lychee is tart. Both of them make wonderful additions to ice cream.

This Songkran (Thai New Year), I longed for Dad’s ice cream. I remember when Dad used to make the ice cream in Jamaica in an old fashioned bucket with a crank, then later with an electric ice cream maker. The ice cream makers of my childhood depended on lots of ice and rock salt to make a brine cold enough to freeze the ice cream. So for this project, Andy bought me the ice cream maker attachment for Gracie, my KitchenAid mixer. No ice or salt needed.

Lychee Ice Cream
Prep time: 20 minutes
Base Chilling time: 2-12 hours
Ice Cream Freezing time: 20-30 minutes (KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker)

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar, optional
1 egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 can condensed milk (can reduce to 1/4 can)
1 can lychees, drained, and chopped. Reserve syrup

Place cream, sugar, if using, and egg in a saucepan. On low heat, heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the liquid reaches a temperature of 160˚F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, condensed milk, and reserved syrup. Stir to mix well. Pour ice cream base into a covered bowl and chill thoroughly 2-12 hours.

Pour chilled ice cream mixture into the ice cream canister, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately or scrape into an airtight canister and put into the freezer to harden.

vanilla-cardamom cake with vanilla-cardamom italian buttercream frosting

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This triple layer cake smells rich and wonderful with vanilla. Then the whole is frosted with an Italian butter cream frosting speckled with vanilla beans. An Italian butter cream uses a hot sugar syrup to sweeten the meringue. On a whim I added the initial “C” for Chitra’s birthday celebration today.

Vanilla-Cardamom Cake (adapted from Savory Simple)
Ingredients
10 1/2 ounces all purpose flour
3 ounces (9 tablespoons) cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups half and half (or 50% cream and 50% whole milk)
1/4 cup dark rum
1-3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (add more or less to taste; I added 1 tablespoon)
9 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
21 ounces granulated sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature

Vanilla-Cardamom Butter Cream Frosting:
12 ounces granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon corn syrup
5 egg whites
16 ounces (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
2  teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Instructions
Prepare the cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place an oven rack in the middle position. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and mix in 1 tablespoon flour. Brush the flour mixture inside three 9 inch x 1 1/2 inch pans. Then cover bottoms with parchment rounds. Grease and flour the parchment rounds. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cardamom in a medium bowl.

Cake Baker’s Note: Add 1-3 tablespoons vanilla extract to the half and half mixture.

In a separate small bowl, combine the half and half, brandy or rum, and vanilla.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. On low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer still on low speed, quickly alternate between adding the dry and liquid ingredients (ending with the dry) until just combined. Scrape down the sides well, making sure to reach the bottom of the bowl.

Distribute the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, using a spatula to even out the tops. Tap pans lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake until the center springs back when lightly touched, approximately 25-35 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan on wire cooling racks before unmolding.

Prepare the frosting
Add sugar, water and corn syrup to a medium sized sauce pan. Cover and turn the heat to high. Once the liquid begins to simmer and steam has developed, remove the cover (this helps prevent crystallization). Using a candy thermometer, cook the sugar to the soft boil stage, 235-240 degrees F.

While the sugar is cooking, whisk the egg whites on high in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until a soft peak has formed.

Cake Baker’s Note: Timing is delicate between getting the sugar syrup to temperature and the meringue to the soft peak stage. I start the sugar syrup then I begin the meringue. I turn the machine off when the meringue gets to the soft peak stage.

Turn the mixer speed to medium low and very slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Don’t pour the hot syrup directly into the meringue. If you have a pouring shield, use it.

Once the syrup is completely incorporated, turn the speed to high and allow the meringue to continue to form a stiff peak while cooling down. Mix on high until the meringue has reached room temperature. The bottom of the bowl will be cool to the touch. This can be 8-20 minutes.

Cake Baker’s Note: Because the kitchen may be hot, refrigerate the butter cubes until ready to use.

Once the meringue is at room temperature, slowly begin incorporating the soft butter on medium speed.

Cake Baker’s Note: The mixture may curdle and deflate, but don’t worry, it will come together.

Once all of the butter has been incorporated, turn the mixer speed up to high and very slowly add the vanilla paste, vanilla extract and cardamom. I knew it was “done” when the frosting was smooth and shiny.

Cake Baker’s Note: The final color of the frosting was creamy, not white, probably because the butter I was using was too soft.

Assemble the layers
Place the first layer of cake upside down on a revolving cake stand and remove the parchment paper. Placing a cardboard round below the cake is recommended as it will make transporting the cake easier after it is assembled.

Spread approximately one cup of butter cream on the cake and spread it around evenly with an offset spatula. Add more butter cream as needed to reach the desired thickness. Repeat with the second and third layer (don’t forget to remove the parchment each time). Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting to the side and top of the cake. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set this first layer of butter cream. Cover the entire cake with a final layer of frosting.

Cake Baker’s Note: Because my kitchen is hot, I refrigerated the extra frosting. To re-use I brought it to room temperature and whipped it until it was a spreadable consistency.

Cake is best when served at room temperature. To get clean slices when cutting the cake, use a long, sharp knife. Run it under hot water, wipe it dry and immediately cut one slice in a straight down, non-sawing motion. Don’t pull the knife up, pull it straight out toward you. Then repeat the process for the other side, starting with the hot water.

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parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and garlic: pan fried herbed pork chop

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Like the song, it’s a recipe for love and this pan-fried herbed pork chop. It’s served with mashed cauliflower, spinach with chili flakes in coconut oil, and steamed sugar snap peas.

Pan-Fried Herbed Pork Chops
2 pork chops, 2 inches thick
1 tablespoon cilantro (the parsley), minced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Put the herbs in a small bowl. Pour the oil into a large plate. Place the pork chops in the oil and turn. Spoon the herb mix evenly over each side. Fry on a griddle 6-8 minutes per side or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.

Mashed Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower cut into florets
1/3 cup cream cheese
1 tablespoon milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the cauliflower in boiling salted water for about 6-10 minutes or until tender. Drain and put into a food processor. Process until fine. Add the cheese and milk to make it creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach with Chili Flakes in Coconut Oil
1 bunch spinach
Crushed chili flakes to taste
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Chop spinach into 3 inch lengths. Saute lightly in vegetable oil. Add chili flakes to taste. Add the coconut oil. If it is solid, let the heat of the food melt it.

Steamed Sugar Snap Peas
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
Salt to taste

In boiling salted water, cook the peas until they turn bright green. Remove from heat and drain. Rinse the peas in cold water to stop the cooking. Plate, and sprinkle sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to taste.

brown rice thai curry chicken lettuce wraps

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This was originally a vegan recipe but because Andy likes meat, I made the wraps with chicken instead. It’s actually a rice salad that’s eaten with lettuce.

Brown Rice Thai Curry Chicken Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Vegan8)

For the Golden Curry Rice
1/2 cup (106 g) brown jasmine rice
1 1/4 cup (300 g) water
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 tablespoon (4 g) yellow curry powder
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

For the Thai Curry Chicken
1 packed cup (140 g) finely chopped white onion
2 long medium carrots (154 g) diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus another 1/4 teaspoon later
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
2 tablespoons red curry paste (I recommend a Thai brand such as Lobo)
1/2-1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (depending on how strong you like it)
2 cups chopped chicken tenders seasoned with salt and pepper and 2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed together
3 teaspoons brown sugar, optional
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
large romaine lettuce leaves

Thai Curry Lime Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar, more or less to taste
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 teaspoons grated onion
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions
1. Add all the ingredients for the curry rice to a rice cooker. If the rice isn’t tender, add a bit more water to the rice cooker and cook again until the grains are cooked but still firm. Set aside.

2. Cook the chicken in a little oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat until no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside. Add the onions, carrots, just the 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water to the empty pan over medium heat. Stir the veggies well and as soon as it comes to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. If the water dries out, add a bit more.

2. Remove from the heat and add the cooked chicken, curry powder, red curry paste, lime juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, if using. Stir and turn the heat to low. Cook for just a couple of minutes until heated through. Taste and add any more salt if needed. It should be spicy.

3. For the Thai Curry Lime Sauce, mix all of the ingredients in a small pot with a whisk. Turn to medium heat and cook for just a couple of minutes to heat through and dissolve the sugar. It should be spicy and slightly sweet.

4. Combine rice and chicken mixture. Spoon onto a lettuce leaf, then drizzle on Curry Lime Sauce and garnish with cilantro. Eat!

vietnamese summer rolls

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This is another recipe from the cookbook I got recently. Summer rolls are an appetizer made with rice paper, a brittle opaque circle of rice flour dough that must be softened until it turns transparent. It’s then filled with cooked shrimp, Chinese roast pork, and rice vermicelli.I bought the rice paper but I made my own roast pork. Roast pork can be bought at shops in Chinatown. I had bean threads on hand so I used that instead of the vermicelli.  After trial and error, I found that the rice paper shouldn’t be completely softened or they become too difficult to handle, but the vermicelli/bean threads can be left to soak as long as possible until they become soft; the softer the better. Unlike spring rolls that are always deep fried, summer rolls are eaten fresh. As you can see from the progression in the picture, I got better at rolling once I found the secret about the rice paper.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls (adapted from Chinese Cooking and More)
Makes 12 rolls
Prep time: 45 minutes

Vietnamese dipping sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 1/2 ounces rice vermicelli (can substitute bean threads)
12 rice paper wrappers, about 6 inches in diameter
36 whole fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 pound Chinese roast pork, sliced 1/8 inch thick (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
lime peel, optional

1.You can buy red roast pork or make your own. To make your own, marinate the pork tenderloin one night before then bake it the next day. Remove from oven to cool.
2.Prepare the Vietnamese dipping sauce and set aside.
3.Bring large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add shrimp. Simmer 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon to a small bowl. When cool, slice shrimp in half lengthwise.
4.Soften vermicelli or bean threads in a medium bowl of hot water 20-30 minutes. Drain, and cut noodles into 3 inch lengths.
5.Soften rice paper wrappers one at a time in a large bowl of warm water 30-40 seconds or until just pliable. Drain wrappers one at a time on a kitchen towel then transfer to a work surface.

Cook’s Note: If the wrapper is too soft, it will curl over on itself and it will be very hard to straighten out. So soak each wrapper until it just softens; it’s okay if the edges are slightly stiff. My work surface was a kitchen towel because I found the wrapper stuck to the paper towel. I also found that the wrapper continued to soften while it was stretched out on the kitchen towel.

6.Arrange 3 cilantro leaves in the center of the wrapper, layer with 2 shrimp halves, 2 pork slices and about 4 tablespoons the rice vermicelli/bean threads.

7.Fold bottom of wrapper up over filling. Fold in each side then roll up. Repeat steps #5 and #6.
8.Just before serving sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Garnish with lime peel if desired. Serve with Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce: Combine 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup fish sauce, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 clove minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon chili oil in a small bowl and mix well. Makes 1 cup.

Homemade Chinese Roast Pork (CBT Lee)
I’ve been making this recipe for years; it’s very good Chinese restaurant quality. It can be made a day before assembling the rolls then refrigerated until ready to use.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Resting time: 3-6 hours, preferably overnight
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

2 lb pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons brown bean sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring

Mash brown bean sauce with a fork. Combine mashed beans and remaining ingredients in a small pot. Heat just to dissolve sugar. Pour marinade over pork. Let stand 3-6 hours in the refrigerator, turning occasionally. Bake at 350˚F/175˚C 35-40 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. Slice and serve.

strawberry fool

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I’ve no idea why this dessert is called a fool. I only know that it’s deliciously creamy and light. I’ve been hunting up strawberry recipes because it’s strawberry season in Thailand. The season won’t last very much longer, but in the meantime, I’ve put strawberries into  a pie, preserves, coulis, garnish (for Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cassis Cake), and now a strawberry fool. This dessert is best eaten the day it is made.

Strawberry Fool (adapted from seriouseats)

24 ounces fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and chopped
7 tablespoons superfine sugar, divided, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the compote. Put 12 ounces of strawberries into a medium saucepan with 3 tablespoons sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until the berries spring water and the syrup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Taste, and if desired, add more sugar. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Macerate the remaining strawberries. About half an hour after the compote is chilling in the refrigerator, put the remaining strawberries in a medium bowl with 3 tablespoons sugar. Mix to combine. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Make the whipped cream. Whip the whipping cream with 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the yogurt and the vanilla. This results in a stiff cream. Fold in the compote.

Cook’s Note: This is where seriouseats was seriously negligent. Do you add the syrup to the cream too? I was afraid doing so would make the cream watery, so I strained the berries and reserved the syrup.

Add the reserved syrup to the macerated strawberries.

Assemble the fool. In a pretty stem glass, put 2 tablespoons macerated strawberries with syrup in the bottom of the glass. Top with 2-3 tablespoons cream mixture. Put 1 tablespoon macerated strawberries on top of the cream. Chill and serve.

low sugar no pectin strawberry preserves (or jam)

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Strawberry Preserves
2 quarts strawberries, hulled
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
rind of 2 lemons

Put 3 metal tablespoons in the freezer. Fill 6 half-cup jars with boiling water and set aside. In a large bowl, pour boiling water on the lids to cover and set aside. Put the bowl-end of a soup ladle in the bowl too.

In a large pot combine strawberries and sugar over medium-low heat. Add lemon juice and the rind. Crush the berries being careful not to crush the lemon rind.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and mixing in the froth that forms. Continue cooking 15-18 minutes until set.

To test, take a spoon out of the freezer. Dribble a few drops on the spoon and run your finger through the drops. If the liquid separates and doesn’t run back together, the strawberries are set. Taste, and add more sugar to taste or more lemon juice to taste. Cook until the sugar is dissolved.

Carefully drain the water from a jar. Remove the soup ladle and drain. Using the ladle, spoon strawberry preserves into the drained jar. Using a pair of tongs, fish a lid out of the bowl of hot water and carefully cover the jar of preserves. Set aside to cool. Repeat

When the filled jars are cool enough to touch, put them in the refrigerator to finish setting. Eat within 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator, or freeze for 3 months.

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dim sum baked buns

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This recipe is from a cookbook that was a gift from a former colleague. I wanted to try it because it was inspired by American-style dim sum in the US, where instead of steaming the buns, they are sprinkled with sesame seeds and baked. In the original recipe, frozen dough was used; however, in Bangkok where there is no frozen bread dough, I made my own dough from a dinner roll recipe I found and adapted from allrecipes.com. I increased the filling in the dim sum recipe because the dinner roll recipe was for  24 32 rolls, not sixteen. These buns turned out tender and moist, and the filling was flavorful, redolent of hoi sin sauce and the sour-sweet taste of plum sauce.

Dim Sum Baked Buns (adapted from Chinese Cooking and More)
Makes 24 32 buns

Filling (can do ahead 1 day and refrigerate)
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, minced (I used 1 cup fresh mushrooms)
4 green onions, minced
4 tablespoons plum sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Cooking spray
1 pound ground chicken
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

Soften dried mushrooms in hot water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Cut off and discard stems. Finely chop caps. Combine mushrooms, green onions, plum sauce and hoisin sauce in large bowl.

Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to break up large pieces of meat. Add garlic and ginger; cook stirring 2 more minutes. Add mushroom mixture and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside to cool.

Cook’s Note: Filling shouldn’t be watery. Mix 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch with the raw ground chicken, and add salt and pepper.

Bread Rolls (Allrecipes.com)
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (between 110˚F to 115˚F)
2 cups warm milk (between 110˚F to 115˚F)
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
7 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. When the mixture is foamy, add the milk, shortening, eggs, sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mixture until combined on low speed, then increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Baker’s note: I used all 7 cups flour in this recipe. The dough tends to be sticky.

Change to the dough hook and knead dough (at low speed setting #2 on a KitchenAid mixer) until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. If the dough climbs up the hook, stop the machine and clear the hook. Don’t count stopping time in kneading time. The dough should mostly clear the sides. Scrape it out into a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into 32 equal pieces then shape each piece into a ball. Test a piece by pulling it. If it shrinks back on itself, let the dough balls rest 10 minutes.

Assemble dim sum baked buns:
1 egg yolk, beaten, thinned with a little water
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Cover two four baking trays with parchment. Lightly flour hands and work surface. Flatten a ball and stretch the edges so that the center of the disk is thicker than the edges. The disk should be 3-3 1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat.

Place a generous tablespoon filling in centers of disks. Lift edges of dough up and around filling; pinch to seal. Place seam side down on prepared baking tray. Repeat. Place 8 buns on each baking tray.

Cover buns with a towel; let rise in a warm place 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg mixture then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 16-20 minutes or until buns are golden brown.

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christophe’s apple tart

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This is a recipe for tarte aux pommes, the classic French apple tart with a base of apple sauce. Christophe made it for us one night at dinner; it was so delicious I asked him for the recipe. I translated it from the French–with a little help from a French-English dictionary. I tweaked it somewhat, adding lime juice because I like a tart apple sauce. I left out the vanilla/cinnamon in the apple sauce, too. The result is lightly sweet with the tart fresh taste of apple on a buttery crust.

Christophe’s Apple Tart

Prep time: 50 minutes (includes refrigerator time)
Baking time: 30 minutes
Makes 2 x 7-inch tarts

For the Pâte Brisée:
200g all purpose flour (Type 55)
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar

5 medium green apples, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons sugar
juice of 1 small lime, optional
4 tablespoons water
Vanilla or cinnamon, optional

Prepare the pâte brisée. Mix together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter in small pieces. Mix in up to a 1/2 cup water, a tablespoon at a time, or just enough to make a ball, and let rest about 30 minutes in refrigerator wrapped in plastic to firm up the dough.

Baker’s Note: If you’re in a hurry, put the wrapped dough ball in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Make the apple sauce. In a small saucepan put 2 apples cut up into small pieces with the sugar, lime juice (if using), a tablespoon of water, cinnamon or 1 teaspoon vanilla (if using), and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes on low heat (8 minutes in an oven-proof casserole in the microwave), then mix the sauce. Add more water if it seems dry. Set aside to cool. Makes about 1 cup apple sauce.

Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut up the remaining apples into thin slices. Set aside.

Preheat the oven 200˚C.

Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator and roll it out onto a lightly floured board into a disk. Press dough in the tart pan. Prick the dough with a fork.

Baker’s Note: Lightly flour the board and the rolling pin. First pat the ball into a disk and turn it over to flour the other side. Roll out evenly, turning the dough over now and then to make it a circle about 2 inches wider than your tart pan. The easiest way to get the dough into the pan is to roll up the dough circle onto the pin and then roll it out on top of the tart pan. Don’t worry if it breaks apart. Just use the extra dough to patch it.

Spread the cooled apple sauce over the base of the tart. Arrange the apple slices in slightly overlapping concentric circles on top of the apple sauce. Sprinkle the top with sugar to taste. (I used demerara sugar. ) Bake 30 minutes or until the apples are cooked through and slightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

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mocha hazelnut chiffon cake

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This chiffon cake is lightly sweet, and because of the egg whites, lower in calories. It’s the perfect dessert  because you can have your cake and eat it too. I enjoy chiffon cakes. They are light and airy, and also fun to bake. What I don’t like about them is the amount of egg yolks wasted.  But I wanted to try this recipe just because there would be leftover yolks– I plan to use them to make a buttercake. You have to plan ahead when you make these chiffon cakes. So my next cake project is Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Downy Yellow Buttercake.

Mocha Hazelnut Chiffon Cake (adapted from Woman’s Day)
Serves 18-24 slices
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours.

2 1/4 cups (225g) cake flour
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided (169g, 112g)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup cold water
1/3 cup canola oil
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur/Frangelico (I used hazelnut syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
10 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

CHOCOLATE GLAZE
4 oz semisweet chocolate, broken up
1/2 cup fat free half-and-half

GARNISH (optional)
Toasted chopped hazelnuts

1. Heat oven to 325˚F. Place oven rack at position just below center. You’ll need a 10 inch tube pan with removable bottom. Whisk flour, 3/4 cup sugar (169g), baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
2. Whisk cocoa and espresso with boiling water in a large mixing bowl until dissolved. Add cold water, oil, yolks, liqueur or syrup, and vanilla. Stir cocoa mixture into flour mixture. Beat until smooth and blended.
3. Beat whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with mixer on medium high speed until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Gradually beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar (112g(. Beat until glossy and stiff peaks form.
4. Stir 1/4 of beaten whites into cocoa-flour batter to lighten it. Gently fold batter into rest of whites until no white streaks remain. Scrape into ungreased pan. Run a skewer zig zag through the batter to eliminate air bubbles.
5. Bake 60-65 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into cake comes out clean. Invert pan onto neck of a bottle or funnel if your pan doesn’t have feet. Cool completely, 1-2 hours. Insert a long thin blade in an up and down motion all around the outside of cake; remove pan side. Repeat with bottom of cake. To loosen centerpiece, use a skewer. Invert onto wire rack. Remove pan bottom. Brush crumbs from cake. If desired, trim the top to level it. Put cake in serving plate bottom up.
6. Glaze. Melt chocolate in a microwave on high about 1 minute, stirring every 15 seconds. Whisk in half-and-half. Let sit a few minutes to thicken. Pour glaze over cake, spreading top with spatula and letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle top with hazelnuts, if using.

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