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Putting My Spin On Things

Like dips, pasta salads aren’t something I make very often. Since only 50% of our household enjoys it, I usually opt for other pasta dishes. I don’t even make it for potlucks because, “what if EVERYONE makes pasta salad and that’s the ONLY thing at the party?!” (In Andy’s defense, this did happen once… seven years ago. He still hasn’t let me forget it.)

But when I started looking for a different way to prepare asparagus (because variety is the spice of my life), I stumbled on the idea of an asparagus salad. And then I realized that if I bulked it up with some pasta, I could get away with only making one dish for dinner. Plus, if I served it warm and called it “pasta with asparagus and feta,” Andy probably wouldn’t associate it with the chilled, mayo-slicked salads that give him flashbacks to that fateful day in 2008. It’s all in how you spin things. ;)

I made a couple changes to the original recipe. I added pasta (obviously). I roasted the asparagus since our grill is on the fritz, and I upped the lemon, adding the zest and juice from an entire lemon. I used my “good” Italian olive oil from my brother-in-law to finish off the dish, since its flavor would come through. We enjoyed it warm the first night, and I liked the leftovers at room temperature as well.

LemonAsparagusFetaPasta

 

Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad with Feta 

1 lb. of asparagus spears
8 ounces uncooked short pasta
zest and juice of one lemon
olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup feta cheese
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil. Wash the asparagus and trim off the tough, woody ends. Cut the asparagus spears into 3″ long pieces. Place the asparagus pieces in a large bowl and drizzle them with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Place the minced garlic in the bowl and toss to combine.

Spread the asparagus in an even layer on the baking sheet and roast until golden brown in spots, about 12 minutes. Hang on to the bowl – you’ll use it to mix everything together at the end.

While the asparagus is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and place it in the bowl you tossed the asparagus in earlier. Zest the lemon and squeeze the juice over the cooked pasta. When the asparagus is done, remove it from the oven and add the asparagus to the pasta. Scrape any garlicky oil from the pan into the bowl with the pasta.

Mix the feta cheese in with the pasta. If the mixture seems too dry, add another tablespoon or so of olive oil to the  bowl. Toss to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Adapted from Once Upon a Chef

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Main Dishes, Pasta, Side Dishes

 

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One Thing Leads To Another

You know the kids books “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” or “If You Give a Moose a Muffin“? Where one thing just leads to another, and before you know it, something simple has morphed into a giant project? I feel like that happens to me sometimes. An idea will pop into my head, and it won’t go away until I do something about it. And the longer it sits and stews in my mind, the more involved it gets.

I’ve been thinking about a Guinness/Bailey’s cake/cheesecake combo for several months now, but the timing hasn’t been right to make one. (The time is coming, though. I can’t wait.) Anyway, with chocolate and Irish cream thoughts floating through my head, it was only a matter of time before they came together in my ice cream maker. Especially after a baby shower cake left me with an overabundance of egg yolks.

I went back and forth about the chocolate base. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? What would go better with Irish cream? What about spiking the brownies? (The first few recipes Google turned up started with a mix. And we all know how I feel about boxed mixes.) Should I add a fudge swirl, or would that be too much? (As if there could ever be too much chocolate.) Decisions, decisions.

I decided on milk chocolate ice cream, thinking that the Irish cream in the brownies would stand out more against the milk chocolate than the dark chocolate, and since I had five egg yolks in the fridge, I upped the egg yolks to five, rather than four. I used the same fudge swirl that I used in my moose tracks ice cream, and I found a reasonable (and easy) sounding recipe for the brownies.

I began to doubt my milk chocolate decision when I tasted the ice cream base. It seemed overpoweringly sweet, and I was concerned that we were going to have some sub-par ice cream on our hands. And then I was afraid that the brownies were going to be too greasy. But the show has to go on, right? (After all, I’d already offered to bring ice cream to a friend’s house that evening.) So I churned the ice cream as planned and mixed in the brownie chunks, then swirled the fudge through the ice cream and popped it in the freezer to firm up.

Wow. I don’t know if it’s the contrast between the milk chocolate and the fudge swirl, or the hint of Irish cream in the brownies, or what, but we are definitely talking about the sum being greater than its parts. The ice cream is rich, for sure, but that’s never a bad thing. I keep trying to convert Andy from team vanilla bean to team chocolate, and thanks to this ice cream, I think I’m closer than ever. ;)

ChocolateBrownieIceCream

Fudge-Swirled Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with Irish Cream Brownie Bites

For the ice cream base: 
8 ounces of good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped (A shout-out to my brother-in-law, Dan, who gave us some fantastic milk chocolate for Christmas and made this possible.) 
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar

For the fudge ripple:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the Bailey’s Brownies*: 
1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Irish cream liqueur, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

First, bake the brownies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8″ square baking pan with aluminum foil. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Place the chocolate chips and butter in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate chips and butter in 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Set the chocolate mixture aside and combine the brown sugar, eggs and Irish cream in a small bowl. Pour the sugar-egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.

Whisk the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture until just combined and spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is cracked and a toothpick comes out almost clean, about 45 minutes. (The brownies will be very thick. I’m guessing you could bake them in a 9″ x 13″ pan and cut the baking time in half.) Remove the brownies from the oven. Brush the top of the brownies with the remaining tablespoon of Irish cream. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack before cutting them into bite-sized pieces.

While the brownies are cooling, make the fudge swirl. In a small saucepan, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the vanilla. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble. Let it boil for one minute, then remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool until needed, being sure that the fudge has cooled at least to room temperature before using.

To make the ice cream base, place the chocolate and the cream in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is melted and smooth. When the chocolate has melted, pour the mixture into a large glass bowl and set a fine mesh sieve over the top of the bowl. (I use my Pyrex two-quart measuring cup for this so I can easily pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker.) 

Mix the sugar, half-and-half and salt together in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl. Gradually add the warm half-and-half to the egg yolks, whisking constantly, until most of the warm milk has been combined with the eggs. Add the entire mixture back to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Pour the custard through the sieve and into the chocolate mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until the ice cream base is thoroughly chilled.

Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. When the ice cream is finished churning, stir in about 1 1/2 cups of brownie bits. Drizzle a tablespoon (or so) of the fudge across the bottom of a freezer-safe container. Spread about one-third of the ice cream on top of the fudge. Drizzle some more fudge on top of the ice cream, then top with more ice cream. Repeat until the ice cream is all in the freezer container, and then top with some additional fudge. Freeze until firm.

*Note: This brownie recipe makes an entire 8″ pan of very thick brownies. I used about 1/4 of the pan for the ice cream, which left us with plenty of brownies to enjoy alongside our ice cream – something that no one complained about. 

Ice cream from The Perfect Scoop, as seen on Annie’s Eats; Brownies from The Recipe Girl Cookbook, as seen on Eats Well With Others; Fudge swirl from the Perfect Scoop, originally seen on Annie’s Eats

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Dessert, Ice Cream

 

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Onions & Bacon – What Could Be Better?

Let’s get something out of the way, right off the bat: I don’t make a lot of dips. It’s not that I don’t like them; it’s that I like them too much. You see, I can make dinner out of a pile of chips/bread/pretzels and whatever dip happens to be nearby (salsa, guac, hummus, spinach artichoke dip… you get the idea). So what’s the problem, you ask? Well, Andy doesn’t like dip. (Not even queso! It’s melty cheese! What’s not to love?) And while I am perfectly capable of eating an entire batch of dip, I’m also trying to be a responsible adult here and exercise some self-control.

However, a few weeks ago, I decided that I WANTED DIP. I was going to make this caramelized onion dip that had been teasing me for months. And since we had friends coming over for a movie night, I knew that I wouldn’t have to eat the entire bowl myself. Andy was pretty disappointed when he discovered that the caramelized onions and the bacon were destined for dip, rather than dinner. He mourned the “waste” of such perfectly good ingredients and tried to “save” some of the onions from being smothered in sour cream. (So noble, right?)

I halved the original recipe (out of necessity – somehow, I only had a scant cup of sour cream in the fridge), which gave me a manageable amount of dip for three dip lovers and one dip hater (who did try a few bites and deem it “not terrible”). One of the best things about this dip (besides how good it tastes, both on chips and on a spoon…) is the way it makes your house smell while you’re prepping the ingredients. Onions caramelizing and bacon cooking are up there with fresh bread on my “favorite smells” list. And, like most dips, it’s easy to make, which is a good thing. Especially when the resident dip hater decides that caramelized onions and bacon make dip acceptable, which means you’ll need to make it more often. :)

Caramelized Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion & Bacon Dip 

1/2 cup caramelized onions
3 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled into pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced, some greens reserved for garnish
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, stir the onions, bacon, sour cream, vinegar, cayenne and scallions together. Taste the dip, then season with salt and pepper as necessary. Top with reserved onion greens and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Chill the dip in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Serve with your favorite chips (I used pita chips).

From Smells Like Home, who adapted it from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.

Click here for a printable version.

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2015 in Appetizer

 

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Back in the Kitchen!

I am officially back in action, and man, does it feel good! I’m still asking Andy to drain heavy pots of pasta for me, and I’m still a little slower at chopping things, but I am making dinner and (perhaps more importantly) dessert again. For which Andy is very grateful. He did say that he’s going to keep helping with the dishes, something I’m very grateful for. There’s nothing like a broken bone to make you appreciate the little things in life. :)

Last Saturday was the first day that I not only felt good enough to get back into the swings of things, but also had enough time to play around in the kitchen. I started the day with blueberry pancakes, made a lemon-asparagus-feta salad for dinner, whipped up some caramelized onion dip and baked some fantastic strawberry-rhubarb bars for dessert. The kitchen was a mess. It was fantastic. I was even able to take pictures of three of the four items! That’s a personal best for me! (The strawberry rhubarb bars didn’t last long enough for pictures. I know Deb says that you’ll get 8-16 servings, but I have to disagree. One 8″ pan feeds four adults, which is slightly embarrassing when you realize that those same four adults also did a number on the onion dip before they got anywhere near the bars. Ahem. Moving on.) 

So, let’s start at the beginning and talk about pancakes, OK? I’m normally more of a waffle or French toast girl, but for some reason, I really wanted pancakes Saturday morning, and not just any pancakes. Blueberry pancakes. So while Andy slept in, I hit up the internet for a good pancake recipe. Of course, we were completely out of buttermilk, so that eliminated an entire category of pancakes for me, since I didn’t feel like “faking it” with milk and vinegar. A little more searching turned up multigrain blueberry yogurt pancakes on Annie’s Eats, which led me to the original recipe over at Smitten Kitchen.

I liked the idea of a pancake that wasn’t completely like eating dessert for breakfast, but I didn’t have rye or barley flour in the house. Hmm. Then I noticed that someone had commented on Annie’s site and said that they ground up oatmeal in the blender and used it as “oat flour” instead. That sounded do-able, especially since Andy was awake by this point and wouldn’t be disturbed by the jet engine food processor in the kitchen. That was it. I was out of bed and in the kitchen.

The batter was really thick, which meant that my first few pancakes weren’t the prettiest, but they tasted fantastic, especially with maple syrup. I added extra blueberries (because there’s no such thing as too many blueberries in your pancakes). Between the two of us, we ate almost the entire batch. Maybe I’m more of a pancake girl than I realized. :)

Blueberry Pancakes

Multigrain Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes

2 eggs
1 cup Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra for the pan
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I didn’t measure this…) 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, processed into a powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups blueberries (I used some of my frozen blueberries and didn’t bother to thaw them.)

Whisk the yogurt, eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Whisk the lemon zest, vanilla and melted butter into the yogurt/egg mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk the flours, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt together.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in about 3/4 cup of blueberries.

Unless you feel like a short-order cook, preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven. This allows you to keep the first pancakes warm until the rest of the batch is done.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or griddle over medium heat. (I used my cast iron skillet.) Melt a pat of butter in the pan. When the pan is hot, spoon a few tablespoons of pancake batter into the pan and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula. Sprinkle a few additional blueberries on top of the pancake batter. When bubbles have formed and the pancakes appear dry around the edges, carefully flip the pancake over. Cook the pancake until the underside is golden and the center is cooked through. (Here’s a plus for using the oven as a warmer: It will help finish any pancakes whose middles weren’t quite done on top of the stove. Win-win!) Remove the cooked pancakes from the skillet and place on the sheet in the warm oven.

Add more butter to the skillet as necessary and continue frying pancakes until the batter is gone, snacking on frozen blueberries while you wait. Serve warm with maple syrup.

Barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in Breakfast

 

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Catching Up…

Has anyone noticed that things have been a little quite around here lately? No? Hmm. (That could have something to do with my already-infrequent writing schedule, I suppose.) Well, I actually have a valid reason this time, rather than another “we’ve just been so busy” excuse. It turns out that hurrying across an icy driveway isn’t always the wisest idea. Especially when you wipe out and land on your right wrist. Whoops.

All in all, it wasn’t too bad, as they sent me home with my arm in a splint and instructions to take it easy for four weeks. I’ve gotten pretty good at working a mouse with my left hand, and I’m able to zip my coat and tie my own shoes again, so things are definitely looking up. One of the hardest things has been the forced “vacation” from the kitchen. I cannot wait to get back to making dinner again after work, and I’m pretty sure that Andy is more than ready for me to get back to cooking as well.

So, what have we been eating for the last three weeks? When this happened, I told Andy that bones don’t heal on bachelor food, so there was no way we were eating frozen pizza and canned soup for a month. ;) He’s done a great job of picking up the slack and keeping us fed. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve eaten over the last few weeks (along with some Subway sandwiches, Papa Murphy’s pizza, blizzards from DQ and dinners out with friends):

Meanwhile, I have been catching up on my blog reading and making mental lists of all of the things I want to make as soon as I can wield a knife again. (Trust me, this is just the tip of the iceberg…) 

 

With any luck, I’ll take some pictures and share some things with everyone here!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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This One’s a Keeper!

So, out of all of the cookies that I made this past Christmas, these were my favorite. I realize that seems like a backhanded compliment, since I only made a couple batches of cookies, but it’s not. I promise. What I’m trying to say is that these were good enough to make the cut on an incredibly short list of baked goods during a hectic December. :)

I had a stockpile of fresh cranberries in the freezer and a lemon in the fridge, and the recipe looked simple enough for my crazy schedule. The only change I made was to use my KA mixer to combine the lemon zest and the sugar – it does a better job than I ever could do by hand! I used my small cookie scoop, which meant I ended up with one-to-two-bite cookies (one bite for Andy, two for me).

They’re the perfect combination of sweet and tart, and the cranberries give them such a festive look. Of course, there’s no reason to save these guys for Christmas (good thing too, since I’m sharing this at the end of January). They’re the perfect cookie for lots of occasions: Ohio State parties, Valentine’s Day… they’d even be a good addition to a Super Bowl spread – on the New England side of the table, of course. ;)

LemonCranberryCookiesCranberry Lemon Cookies 

For the cookies: 
2 1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped

For the glaze: 
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and the lemon zest. Turn the mixer on to medium and beat the sugar and lemon zest until well combined and fragrant. (Alternatively, you could put the sugar and zest in a bowl and rub it together with your fingers until it’s fragrant, but that takes a lot longer.) Add the butter to the lemon sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped cranberries. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it chill for about 30 minutes. (This is when I get caught up on my dishes.) 

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop, form the dough into balls about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Place the balls on the prepared sheets and bake until lightly golden brown. (Mine took about 10 minutes; the original recipe recommends 13.) Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool slightly before removing them from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

When the cookies have cooled completely, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice for the glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies. When the glaze has hardened, store the cookies in an airtight container.

From What Megan’s Making

Click here for a printable version.

 

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Cookies, Dessert

 

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Going to the Dark Side

It’s no secret that I’m stuck in an ongoing argument battle debate about the greatness of chocolate over vanilla. Why more people don’t come to the dark side, I’ll never understand. After all, we have chocolate. (Side note: If you’re here for healthy January food, you probably want to click away now. I’m an “everything in moderation” girl, which means I like my veggies and refuse to give up dessert in January.)

Back in November, I celebrated “Friendsgiving” with some of my girlfriends. We had such a good time (and so much good food) that we decided to do it again a month later and call it Christmas. :) (Plus, this gave us a chance to redeem ourselves – we left our husbands at home for Friendsgiving, and Andy wasn’t going to let me forget it.) Since I’d appeased the vanilla crowd with creme brulee in November, I knew that I had to go dark for Christmas. Dark and rich. 11 ounces of chocolate dark. More than 1 1/2 cups of cream rich. Cook’s Illustrated simply calls this a “rich chocolate tart,” and they aren’t kidding. It was phenomenal, if you’re into over-the-top chocolate things.

To make things easier (this is a CI recipe, after all), I made the crust Friday night, made the filling and baked the tart Saturday morning, and then glazed it right before we left for dinner Saturday night. Other than cheating a bit on the final chilling time, I followed the recipe to the letter. I was slightly concerned that I overbaked the crust, but it turned out just fine.

We served it with whipped cream, and the 10 of us ate about three quarters of the tart Saturday night, even after we’d stuffed ourselves on turkey, stuffing, two kinds of potatoes, green bean casserole, salad and cranberry sauce. :) Of course, that meant that someone had to step up and eat the leftover tart the next day. We all have to make sacrifices, right? ;)

RichChocolateTart

Rich Chocolate Tart

for the crust: 
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 /4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 cup (5 ounces) AP flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces

for the filling: 
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped  (I used the CI recommended Ghirardelli 60% cacao baking bar.) 
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into thin slices and softened
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

for the glaze:
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot water

for serving
whipped cream, optional

First, prepare the crust. Beat the egg yolk and the cream together in a small bowl. In a food processor, process the almonds and the sugar until the almonds are finely ground. Add the flour and salt, then pulse briefly to combine. Put the butter chunks to the food processor, then pulse the mixture until the butter is cut in and the mixture looks like coarse meal. (CI says it will take about 15 pulses, but I didn’t pay attention to how long it took.) With the food processor running, add the egg/cream mixture and process until the dough comes together in a ball. Place the dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap and roll it out into a 6″ disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, but still workable. (If you refrigerate it overnight, like I did, take it out of the fridge and let it warm up so it’s workable before rolling it out.)

When you’re ready to bake the crust, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9″ tart pan with a removable bottom with non-stick cooking spray. Roll the dough into an 11″ circle between two sheets of plastic wrap. Keep the dough between the plastic and slide it onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes. Remove the dough from the fridge and peel off the top piece of plastic wrap. Leave the dough on the baking sheet and invert the tart pan on top of the dough. Press the tart pan down hard enough to cut the dough. Pick up the baking sheet and invert the tart pan onto the counter. Remove the baking sheet and peel off the remaining piece of plastic wrap. Reserve the remaining piece of plastic wrap.

Roll a rolling pin over the edges of the now-right-side-up tart pan, cutting through any remaining dough. Reserve the scraps. Roll the dough scraps into ropes that are 3/4″ thick.Press the ropes of dough onto the sides of the tart pan. Line the tart pan with the plastic wrap that you saved, and using the bottom of a measuring cup, gently press the dough into an even thickness all the way around the sides of the pan. Trim off any remaining scraps of dough that hang over the edges and remove the plastic wrap. Put the tart pan and baking sheet in the freezer and freezer until firm, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan and baking sheet from the freezer. Cut a 12″ piece of aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray. Press the foil, oiled side down, onto the surface of the tart, and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake until dough is dry and light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through the baking time. Carefully remove the foil and pie weights, and then return the pan to the oven and bake until the pastry is rich golden brown, about 8 to 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack.

While your crust is cooling, prepare your filling. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the cream, espresso powder and salt. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour the cream mixture over the chopped chocolate. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, then gently stir the mixture with a whisk until it is smooth. (Try not to whisk too hard, as this will incorporate air into the filling, which leads to little air bubbles on the surface of the tart. On the other hand, you’re going to cover the tart with glaze, so no one will be the wiser if you get carried away with the whisk.) Add the butter and continue to whisk until the butter melts.

Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl of chocolate. Pour the beaten eggs through the strainer and whisk until the mixture comes together and becomes glossy. Pour the filling into the baked crust. Gently shake the mixture to evenly distribute the filling. Use a toothpick to poke any air bubbles that make their way to the surface.

Bake the tart on a baking sheet until the outer edge of the filling appears set, with very faint cracks in the surface, about 30-35 minutes. (The filling will still be wobbly when it’s done.) Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack. Refrigerate, uncovered, until filling is chilled and set, at least three hours. (I rushed this, since it took me longer than I had expected to bake the crust.) 

Remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you’re ready to glaze the tart. (Don’t ask me why. This is another one of CI’s extra steps that I don’t get.) Bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate to the cream mixture. Let the chocolate stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until combined. When the mixture is smooth, whisk in the hot water until the glaze is smooth and pourable. Working quickly, pour the glaze over the tart. Tilt the tart back and forth to spread the glaze over the surface. Let the tart stand for at least one hour before serving. Cut into wedges and garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

From Cook’s Illustrated, November/December 2013

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2015 in Dessert

 

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