Baking | Dorie Greenspans PEAR VANILLA & ALMOND FRANGIPANE TART … Thanksgiving

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”
Henry Van Dyke

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartI really haven’t had time enough to despair that stone fruit disappeared so soon. Even before I could sit back and lament that a good season had passed us rather quickly, the market was flooded with pip fruit. Pip fruit? Yes indeed, fruit of fall or autumn – apples, pears – any fruit with a ‘pip’! We’ve had a bumper crop of apples in the Himalayan belt, and that means a virtual explosion of native fruit on the shelves in the bazaar!Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartPears, apples, naqs {small Chinese pear I think} are literally rolling off shelves, tempting you to buy them. I found some great looking pears the other day, bought 4 and rushed home. I had a tart in mind – A Pear Frangipane Tart from Dorie Greenspans book Baking From My Home to Yours. That book was a winner in it’s own right, and a few years ago, saw an online baking group Tuesdays with Dorie get formed. Dorie recently released book Around My French Table is currently creating waves in the culinary world, and is on my wishlist. It’s a pleasure to see blogs from across the world enthusiastically ‘cooking the book!’ Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartThe lady herself is a pleasure to meet as I have enviably heard from so many of my twitter friends who have attended her latest book signing tour across the Americas. She seems so down to Earth, large hearted and FUN! About this particular tart, when I tweeted about how much I loved it, she replied…

doriegreenspan: @vindee I learned to make the pear-almond tart more than 20 years ago and everytime I’ve made it since, it transports me to France. {Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/doriegreenspan/statuses/29275428767}

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartThere is a childlike exuberance in what I read about her, and that reflects in her recipes. They are warm, they are doable, they are from the heart. I used a part of Dorie’s recipe in these Apple Cinnamon Walnut Parcels. Was a wonder that something so simple could taste so special! I have a hunch she loves fall, because her repertoire has some quintessential fall recipes … endearing, warming, comforting! The house smelt of a boulangerie as this tart baked … cinnamon wafted through the kitchen into the living room, carrying with it the rich aromas of the butter tart. I was immediately transported the the streets of Paris, a city I long to visit, to sit at a road side cafe, a rustic boulangerie, enjoy a pain chocolat or crosissant, a pie slice, an apple turnover … with espresso!Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartThere was everything good about the tart. I ♥ frangipane, though I am still egg-phobic to some extent, so I added a scraped vanilla bean to the tart base or the pâte sablée. In my hurry to get it into the oven, I misread the recipe and forgot to bake it blind! I just chilled the unbaked shell in the freezer after lining my tart pan, and then turned the frangipane into it, topped it with the sliced poached pears and baked it.  Was still as good a crust as could be. Maybe I discovered a short cut. Maybe? {The recipe might look a little long, but if you poach the fruit in advance, it’s quick!}

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartThe tart has all the possible warm and comforting flavours about it. As we were virtually talking a short while ago, a group of my foodie friends on Yahoo food groups decided to do a linky post for Thanksgiving {Amanda’s brilliant idea}, and I wasn’t too sure I would fit in.

Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving was a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation to God, family and friends for which all have been blessed of material possessions and relationships. Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. This holiday has since moved away from its religious roots.

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane Tart I thought this just might fit in; time to give thanks to our bountiful harvest of pip fruit this fall. More importantly to express thankfulness for being here, being able to enjoy food and blogging, for being able to get healthy and delicious food to our table. Appreciation for all the inspiration that food blogs and cookbooks offer every single day! I am truly grateful for all of this … and also to Dorie for this fantastic recipe! We LOVED it!

This tart is another entry for the Monthly Mingle that I am guest hosting for my spicy-sweet friend Meeta. If you are BAKING WITH FRUIT this month, do send it in to Monthly Mingle posted HERE. You have until the 22nd of November to get the entries in!

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartPear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane Tart
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
Makes one 9-inch tart {I made a 10″ tart}
Pâte Sablée
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered vanilla sugar / confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoon butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolkPear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane Tart Poached Pears
4 ripe medium pears
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 cinnamon stick
5-6 cloves
1 vanilla bean scraped
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1 vanilla bean scraped {or 1 tsp vanilla extract}
1 teaspoons almond extract
For the pears :
Combine the water, sugar, lime juice, cinnamon stick, cloves, vanilla bean including scraped portion, and salt in a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, cut the pears in half, remove the seed core and fibrous cores at either end, then peel the pears.
Add the pear halves to the simmering syrup and reduce heat to low. Cover, and let pears poach for about 10 minutes, turning them halfway. The pears will become slightly translucent, very tender, and easily pierced with a knife or skewer. {Make sure they don’t get overstewed}
Let the pears cool in the liquid until room temperature before using; or, you can store them in their liquid in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartFor the tart shell
Put the flour, vanilla sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of cold butter and pulse until the butter is cut into pea-sized pieces. Add the egg yolk and combine in several pulses until the dough starts to turn from dry to clumpy. Do not let the dough form one giant ball or it will be be overworked – just keep checking after every pulse and when the dough pieces looks like they will stick when you press them together, stop.
Tart shell:
Butter a 9-in tart tin with removable bottom. Turn the dough out into the tin and press into the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. You probably will not need all the dough – save the extra for patching the shell after you bake it. Do not press the dough too hard or it will become tough – just enough for it to form to the tin.
Freeze the tart shell for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 190C.
To partially bake the tart shell, take a piece of foil and butter the shiny side, then press the buttered side tightly to the shell. You do not need pie weights. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, until the shell is dry and lightly colored. If any places have cracked, repair with the extra dough. Let cool on a rack until room temperature.
For the frangipane:
Combine the butter and sugar in the food processor and combine until smooth. Add the ground almonds and blend together. Add the flour and cornstarch, and then the scraped innards of the vanilla bean, almond extract, egg and egg white. Process the mixture until it is very smooth.The frangipane can be used immediately or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If it becomes too firm in the fridge, let it sit at room temperature for a while to soften before using.
To finish the tart:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Spread the frangipane evenly into the cooled tart shell {It should be liquid enough to smooth out on its own so you don’t need to work to much on it}.
Take the poached pears out of their liquid and drain them on paper towels. You don’t want too much excess liquid or they will make the frangipane soggy. Cut each pear half crosswise into 3/8 in thick slices. Do not separate the pear half yet.
Slide a spatula or other flat utensil underneath the pear so you can transfer the entire half onto the tart. Press on the pear to fan the slices toward the top narrow end of the pear.
Slide the pear half onto the frangipane carefully – you can move the pear after you place it, but not much.
Repeat with the other pear halves until they are evenly spaced.
Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, until the frangipane is puffed, golden brown, and firm to the touch. Cool the tart on a wire rack.

Before serving, you can brush the pears with some warmed apple jelly to glaze, or dust confectioner’s sugar over the tart. {As you can see, I didn’t have time to do that. I set the timer for the tart to bake, and rushed off on ‘driver’ duty!}

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

~
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{Baking} STRAWBERRY & VANILLA BEAN MASCARPONE CAKE … PINK for Pinktober

“Almost all words do have color and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone’s eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her too.”
Gladys Taber

Yes, it’s the PINK month of the year again, PINKTOBER, or October as the calender says it. October is officially known as the Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this pink ribbon flies its colour. I support the cause and do my little bit to chip in towards social awareness every year, October being kicked off pretty early {on the 3rd} by Mr PABs birthday. { I got an early morning groggy picture of him and junior below}.

Year after year, he gets a cake with some, or sometimes a LOT, of PINK! He is a  good sport, and doesn’t mind the PINK at all. There was a time over the past years that the kids would question the pink? “Why is Papas cake pink? That’s a feminine colour. Why don’t we make it blue“… etc, etc! I’m glad to say they learnt the cancer awareness message, and now enjoy the pink with the rest of the PAB bunch, no questions askedPINK rules October in my mind!

October 1st marks the beginning of breast cancer awareness month all over the world. American Cancer Society uses this time to boost their campaign to raise awareness to breast cancer and to inform people that there is now a 98 percent rate of survival if the cancer is detected early. October is the month where you will see pink ribbons everywhere, which has been the national symbol for breast cancer awareness since it was first introduced back in 1991.

I picked some pink off my blog today! I have to admit I was never a pink person by any stretch of imagination, and steered clear of the colour for as long as I remember. White, black, beige, blue are more me, and I almost hated the very sight of pink.  So much so, that my daughter was hardly seen in pink in her toddler years. As time went by, I began to soften my attitude to many things in life, and my first Pinktober experience had me warming to the colour. It’s strange how rigid and stubborn one can be, and then comes along a different perspective, through blogging as in my case, and teaches you how to accept things more easily. Dislike for a colour seems so  trivial, especially when there are so many serious issues around.

Of course I had grand plans, with PINK and frozen strawberry reduction syrup etc for the cake, but my plans went very wrong. A new oven, new baking tins,  and a new recipe are not the perfect combination, and before I knew it I was in a corner, cooling my heels. My baking prowess took a larger than life beating, and I sulked as I looked at the two flat as pancakes strawberry genoise cakes. It was a horror of a day, and even though I thought hmm, trifle pudding, the cakes looked no good, so sadly were binned. I was quite relieved I had made the mascarpone two days ago.

Soon it was late evening, and with the next day being a busy one, I just whipped up my tried and tested old faithful sponge recipe. Things looked more PINK and happy soon, but no time for pictures of the making of course. Old recipe, single baking tin and new oven worked better. But the sink full of dishes, and next days lunch preparation made me over-bake my sponge slightly. Had I taken it out 5 minutes earlier, it would have been the perfect one! Yet nothing that some vanilla mascarpone filling couldn’t fix! Pictures taken in a hurry as we had folk over for lunch … huff puff!

As you can see, it was pink all the way. I had dried strawberries for the top, which I forgot all about and they still lie in my fridge. I barely had time to hurriedly pipe on squiggles on the top, but the strawberry flavours and the vanilla bean mascarpone combined well and saved the day! In the end I was just glad I was able to go PINK!

Strawberry & Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Cake
Sponge
The sponge recipe is based on the weight of the eggs. Each egg weighs approx 50gms.
6 eggs {300gms}
125gms sugar(little less than half the weight of the eggs)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
150gms flour {half the weight of the eggs}
1tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 tsp strawberry extract/essence
2-3 drops red food colour
Filling/Topping
600gm mascarpone (homemade recipe here)
200ml cream, chilled (25% fat, that’s all we get here)
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 cup icing sugar for filling { adjust if required}
50gms dark chocolate ganache, optional
Method:
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 190C. {I reduce it to 180C after 10 minutes of putting the cake in} Grease and line a 8″ spring form cake tin.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt thrice. Reserve.
Beat the eggs and sugar well with hand beater till very thick ribbon falls and holds in place for at least 5 seconds {beat for approximately 10minutes}.  Add vanilla extract and strawberry extract and beat for another minute.
Gently fold in the sifted flour; mix lightly so that air doesn’t escape.
Turn gently into tin and bake for 35-45 minutes till done. Don’t over-bake it or the sponge will be dry.
Once done, remove from tin after 5 minutes and leave on rack to cool completely. Cut horizontally into 4 layers.

Filling:
Whip the mascarpone with almost all the powdered sugar and the scraped vanilla bean until thick and holds peaks. Divide and keep 1/3 for topping.
Sandwich the layers with the remaining 2/3rds of cream.
Topping:
Whip the chilled cream till it holds peaks, and gently fold into the reserved beaten vanilla mascarpone cream.
Reserve 1-2 tbsp for piping designs on top. Frost the top and sides, pipe some designs on top {see video here} and drizzle some dark chocolate ganache down the edges if desired. Chill well before serving.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

{Baking / Eggless Cake} VANILLA & CHOCOLATE and CHOCOLATE & WALNUT EGGLESS CAKE

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
John Wooden
It’s time for the Daring Bakers and this time I have to say I’m sorry I couldn’t keep a date with the challenge. My kitchen is ‘under attack‘ {read renovation}, and things are still in disarray. What should have been completed last week is yet to be done, dragging on frustratingly. That’s not to say I haven’t managed to sneak in a bake now and then, but I couldn’t manage the chocolate dipping stage etc of the challenge. I did have a LMP {last minute plan} with some clarified butter on hand. Thought I could manage the brown butter pound cake, but bad store-keeping meant that the jar was empty, and my plans fell through. Fate maybe?
I did however set up a personal challenge for myself, something I have always vehemently denied as possible, an EGGLESS CAKE! No es posible has been my standard response to the many mails I have received in the past. A cake sans eggs? You kidding me? How in the world would it get a crumb, find rise, be good to eat etc! Eventually ate my words with this beautiful cake from Sailu’s Kitchen. {Gear up dear readers for a longish post because I tried 2 versions, with butter and with olive oil, and both were wonderful!}
I tread the kitchen floor mildly, in mortal fear that the cake would not be a cake. Never baked one without eggs. The other surprise ingredient was home made yogurt. I set yogurt at home every other day, and bake with it often, but eggs always keep the yogurt company. I watched in childlike fascination when the cake began to rise, rejoicing wildly, thankfully in solitude! Who would be able to understand the sheer joy of an eggless cake rising? I {almost} followed each step religiously, something I don’t often do, but…
… expectedly had a last minute ‘moment of panic‘, and added butter instead of oil to make sure the guinea pigs wouldn’t reject it outright! Oil sans eggs was just not convincing at the time, and I thought the luxury of butter might rescue my cake from rejection. I needn’t have been so skeptical, and the next time I used my stash of Borges olive oil from here. The cake exceeded all expectations! It was moist, it was flavourful, and above all, it was an eggless cake with a beautiful crumb! Beautiful enough to disappear very fast, some stashed away by the daughter for friends who don’t eat eggs, the rest enjoyed on a rainy day!

Eggless Chocolate and Vanilla Cake with Cherries
Adapted minimally from Sailu’s Kitchen
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sieved
1 cup yogurt {home made}
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted {or oil}
1/2 vanilla bean {optional}
1/2 cup frozen cherries {optional}
1 heaped tbsp cocoa {I used Valrhona}
1 sachet vanilla sugar
 

Method:
Preheat oven to 200 C for 10 minutes. Grease a 6″ round tin, and line the bottom.
Beat the vanilla sugar, scraped vanilla bean and yogurt for 5 minutes on high speed. Add baking powder and baking soda, beat in on low, and allow to stand for 3 minutes. You will find that bubbles appear.
Beat in the melted butter and vanilla essence. Next, slowly add the flour in 4 lots, blending in well after each addition.
Take 1/3 of the dough in a separate bowl and stir in the cocoa. {You can make just vanilla as well, in which case, omit this step}
Add 1/2 the vanilla batter to the bottom of the tin, smooth it out to spread across the whole surface. Add all the chocolate batter, and smoothen it out too. It might be pretty thick, as mine was. Top with the remaining vanilla batter to make a third layer. Top with frozen cherries if using, and sprinkle over the sachet of vanilla sugar.
Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 175C and bake for 40-45 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. {Original recipe uses a ring mold I think, and the baking time at 175C was 20-25 minutes. Mine took a lot longer, so test before taking it out of the o}.
Cool the cake for 20-30 minutes and then overturn onto a plate.
Wait for an hour or two before slicing it else it doesn’t slice neatly. {My kids couldn’t wait}. The cake was very good the next day too, and sliced beautifully!

I would suggest the use of a good quality dark cocoa, having recently discovered that it can make a huge difference. I used Valrhona that Shayma from The Spice Spoon sent for me, and after experiencing it’s virtues first hand in this Chocolate Almond Biscotti, I am totally sold on it! I added a scraped vanilla bean to the batter as I love the depth of flavour vanilla offers to baked goods, and some frozen cherries to give the cake a cheerful face-lift. Also a smattering of vanilla sugar on top, just because …

Small piece of advicemake sure you let the cake sit in the tin to cool for 30 minutes before turning it out. Also try and resist the temptation to slice it when warm. We couldn’t of course, but I found later that it sliced beautifully after 3-4 hours, or even the next day as it firmed up. This is a nice basic recipe to have on hand for folk who need an eggless cake for various reasons whether health, allergic, religious etc.

I had to get back to try the oil version soon enough as the Borges bottles on my shelf tempted me yet again. Time for eggless cake version 2, and this time around I enjoyed myself thoroughly, baking in careless abandon, knowing that things would work out well. I made the cake early in the morning, the minute the kids left for school, and then chilled it for a couple of hours after it had cooled down. Moist, deep, chocolaty and to die for! The walnuts scattered on top got nicely toasted, and added to the flavours.
The idea of making an eggless cake, without any compulsions, came to me whenever I looked at PAB’s search results on Lijit. Do you give your stats a second look? I’ve recently started looking at them for direction, inspiration, ideas etc and found several searches for an eggless cake. I was recently inspired from there to make a Mango Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake. Todays view looks something like this -

Passionate About Baking

You have been searched 1498 times about chocolate sauce pudding, kebabs, strawberry bread, pie, tandoori roti
View your search stats.
and I can already feel a ‘kebab inspiration‘ coming in!!

The thought of an eggless cake crossed my mind often, but I never did come across a recipe that tempted me out of my ignorance. Until I saw this post. It intrigued me and I looked at it in disbelief … Was it possible that an eggless cake could look so good and picture perfect? I had to give it a go, and am darned glad I did! You will be too if you are looking for a good eggless cake recipe. This was fabulous, and gone in a day between the kids and their friends! Without further ado, here is the 2nd version, using olive oil!
Lesson learnt … ‘Anything is possible, and fear needs to be conquered!’

Eggless Chocolate Walnut Cake
Adapted minimally from Sailu’s Kitchen
1 cup all-purpose flour,
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder {I used Valrhona}
1 cup yogurt {home made}
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil {I used Borges from here}
1/2 vanilla bean {optional}
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 sachet vanilla sugar

Method:
Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a 6″ round tin, and line the bottom.
Beat the vanilla sugar, scraped vanilla bean and yogurt for 5 minutes on high speed. Add baking powder and baking soda, beat in on low, and allow to stand for 3 minutes. You will find that bubbles appear.
Sift the flour and cocoa 2-3 times. Reserve in bowl.
Beat in the olive oil. Slowly add the flour mix in 3-4 lots, blending in well after each addition.
Sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts, followed by a sprinkling of vanilla sugar from the sachet.
Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 175C and bake for 40-45 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. {The original recipe used a ring mold I think, and the baking time at 175C was 20-25 minutes. Mine took a lot longer}.
Cool the cake for 20-30 minutes and then overturn onto a plate.

 ♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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