24 April 2014

Sweet & Vicious

As you know from this blog, we love confiture, eggs, and French cuisine.  If you write a book about French eggs and jam, we are so there.  Baking, not so much.  Basically we are the one-trick-pony's of baking. For layer cake we like Red Velvet and Chocolate.  We like chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.  And chocolate chunk cookies, and peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies, and peanut butter blossoms...you follow us.  So baking, we are a bit less enthusiastic.

It is true that we follow Salted and Styled, Libbie Summers' blog, but we were still not convinced we wanted a baking book by her, even though she was a Southerner. Then one day we saw this youtube video of Summers demonstrating 20 pie crimping techniques in 120 seconds.  

We figured bake/smake we would buy any cookbook she wanted to write.  

AN ASIDE: Baking has always kinda been a girl thing.  But when guys start getting involved they tended to take things too seriously.  Now that "food" is such a big, macho guy thing, and chefs are traveling the world to kill live chickens, and get written up in TIME Magazine, cookbooks are becoming painfully serious and often as technical as nuclear launch codes and about that interesting. Just saying...

First, Sweet & Vicious has lovely pink edged paper.  Again, any cookbook with pink paper edges would be on our "must get" list.  Most importantly, if you never cook a single thing from the book you will have a blast just reading it and looking at the pictures, by Salted and Styled accomplice, Chia Chong.  (There is a Red Velvet Cake recipe, so we are in luck.)  

We have a baking drawer where we store the chocolate in various stages of chip and chunk for our peanut butter cookies.  We also keep all those little mini candy bars that are prevalent during Halloween and Easter.  We keep them there and use them as decoration and add-ins to recipes, just in case we run out of chips and chunks.  Well, Summers just loves to add candy bars and other sweet treats to her recipes.  Did we mention she is a Southerner?

She even has a section for dog treats.  There is even a Red Velvet doggie snack. (Alas, there are never cat treats and that is just not right.) So who wouldn't love this book.  Here is a nifty tart recipe for the tart in you.

 Stoned Tart

(rum, stone fruits, + pistachio cream)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

1/4  cup plus 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

3/4 cup shelled pistachios

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon S & V House Blend Almond Extract

5 stone fruits (any mixture of apricots, peaches, nectarines or plums) pitted and sliced, skins on

2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Gosling’s Black Seal rum

1/2 teaspoon S & V House Blend Citrus Extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving (optional)

1) In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and 1/4 cup vanilla sugar.  Cut in the butter using your fingers or two knives.  Add 2 tablespoons ice water to the dough and stir to combine.  Continue to add ice water by the tablespoon until the dough comes together (this should take no more than 4 tablespoons).  Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap well, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2) In a food processor with the blade attachment, pulse the pistachios until roughly chopped.  Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar, heavy cream, and almond extract.  Pulse until a thick paste forms.  Set aside.

3) In a large mixing bowl, stir the fruit slices together with the brown sugar, lemon juice, rum, citrus extract, cinnamon, and salt.
4) Spray 9 1/2 -inch round, 9-inch square, or 13 3/4-inch rectangular tart pan with removable bottom wit nonstick baking spray.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap it.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick.  Drape and press the dough into the prepared pan, covering the bottom and sides, with some overhang.
5) Roll a rolling pin over the edges of the tart pan to clearly cut off the excess dough.  Spread the pistachio mixture over the bottom of the dough and arrange the fruit slices on top.  Refrigerate to firm up the dough while the oven is preheating.
6) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.
7) Transfer the tart from the refrigerator to the baking sheet and bake in the lower third of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until the fruit begins to bubble.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

 We are so glad that we branched out for some sweet and vicious baking.  You should do the same.  Now get into that kitchen and trow some frosting.

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