{twd}Mini-Creamiest Lime Cream Pies

My favorite Odwalla juice is their Summertime Lime. I love squeezing limes on fruit salad, burritos, tacos. Lime on corn on the cob rocks my world. Are you sensing a theme?

Thank you to Linda of Tender Crumb {visit her blog or buy the book for the recipe}for selecting Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie as this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie.  Relatively easy to make, it did require a loooooooong time whisking continuously over the stove. On a hot summer day. I made mini-pies using my mini-springform pan {co-workers, easy to grab and run}.

I did not make the meringue topping because I was not going to serve these the day I made them and did not want to run the risk of “weepy meringue” as Dorie Greenspan writes. Instead I topped them with candied ginger to match the fresh ginger in the lime cream. YUM.YUM.YUM.

These were very successful and enjoyed by all {hordes at home & co-workers}.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie also marks my one-year anniversary of officially baking along with the group. Inspired by Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs and THIS POST, I give you my list of the top ten TWD treats from the past year:

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ice cream sandwich

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bites

My Top Ten Dorie Recipes

  1. Tiramisu Cake
  2. Coconut Butter Thins
  3. Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread
  4. Thanksgiving Twofer Pie
  5. Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies
  6. Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte
  7. Creme Brulee
  8. Brownie Buttons
  9. Chocolate Armagnac Cake
  10. Cinnamon Squares

In comparing lists, I notice that Nancy and I only have two of the same recipes on our Top Ten Lists. And that two of my top picks are the only two recipes she “did not find tasty”. 😛

In the year, I only missed one week…my goal for the coming year is to make that one as well as baking all the recipes selected before I joined the group. You can see all the recipes I need to complete on my TWD Page {only 13 left!}.

{twd} blah mahn jhay

Oh, French. You and me have a troubled relationship. Barred from you in high school–parents made me take Spanish–I moved on. French, you’ve come tiptoeing in my life again. My problem is simple: French pronunciation kills me. I have a mental block, I try to pronounce French words the Spanish way, I think people will laugh at me.

It really wouldn’t be a big deal because on a day-to-day basis most people in California don’t speak or need to use French. However, several recent developments in my life  have brought French-learning high on the list of things I need to do. I don’t need to be fluent, but I should know a few important words and phrases.

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One reason I need to learn:  I now have the tendency to travel to French speaking countries at least twice a year. Another reason: I now have friends whose first language is French. And that’s friends with an ‘s’, multiple friends. Who I speak to/email/facebook on a regular basis. They tell me, “Wendy, you don’t need to be embarrassed or shy. We won’t laugh at you. It’s better to try than not to try. etc etc”

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And last, but not least: now that I’m cooking, eating, baking and generally involved in this food world there is  a lot of French (duh). It makes me so incredibly happy when a phonetic pronunciation is provided, like in this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection: Raspberry Blanc-Manger. Dorie Greenspan, in the introduction to the recipe, provides the pronunciation right there in the 2nd paragraph–blah mahn jhay! I’ve been saying it all week. It’s fun to say. I want to go to restaurants and order it off a menu, just so I can say it. I do realize it’s not a very practical word to know how to say, but it is very fun.

A blanc-manger is a creamy gelatin dessert flavored with almonds. It was very easy to make, involved a whole slew of dishes, and I used sheet gelatin for the first time. Another first: trying fresh red currants. I saw them at the store and decided to use them in place of the raspberries. They made a very bright red coulis (another French word!).

Keeping with the French theme, I did a TWD rewind and made the French Chocolate Brownies to use as a base for mini-blanc mangers.

This summer I had to choose between taking conversational French at the University or taking S.C.U.B.A lessons to  finish my certification. I chose S.C.U.B.A. When I go back to French Polynesia in November, I’ll be a certified diver who is slowly make progress in the French language.

Thank you so much to Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy for selecting such a fun recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog or buy the book–Baking…From My Home to Yours.

{sms} Bee Stings, omg

Bee Stings, a brioche-like doughnut filled with vanilla pastry cream and dipped in a caramel honey glaze, was this week’s recipe selection for Sweet Melissa Sundays.

I was stung. I followed the recipe {i thought} and my results were disastrous. Maybe disastrous is too strong of of word. Instead of cute little doughnut-like puffs I got hockey pucks. The taste was there, but the they were flat and dense. Into the garbage they went. This was were I planned to end it. I tried and failed.

First batch--dense hockey pucks

First batch--dense hockey pucks

Then I took a shower and ate lunch {it’s amazing what food can do!} and felt re-energized. I read the brioche section of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. In a side bar, Peter Reinhart writes it is especially important to allow the dough to rest to allow for gluten development before adding the fat. It turns out that the fat coats the protein and can prevent or hinder the gluten from developing which is bad when you need to help yeasted breads.

I decided to try to make the Bee Stings again. In between I made the Middle-Class Brioche dough for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. The brioche dough came together like butter {ha ha}. I decided to apply the techniques from the BBA to the Bee Stings.

Here are my tips for successful Bee Stings:

  • Mix milk, sour cream, egg, vanilla, & half of flour using the paddle attachment for your stand mixer (not whisk).
  • Add rest of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt and mix using the paddle attachment. Do not switch to dough hook. Once ingredients are well mixed and hydrated. Turn machine off and let dough rest for at least 5 minutes to allow for gluten development.
  • After rest, turn mixer back on to medium speed and add butter in tablespoon chunks one at a time. Make sure each chunk is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  • Continue using paddle attachment and turn machine to medium-high. Mix for 10 to 15 minutes (could be longer), occasionally scraping down sides.
  • If you follow these steps, the dough will come together and not stick to the sides. Whatever you do, Do NOT Add more flour. You will get dense hockey pucks if you do.
  • When the dough is ready, it will be smooth and shiny and elastic and want to stick together.
  • Also, I would make the pastry cream using the direct method as opposed to the double-boiler method used in the book. It took way too long to make using the double-boiler.

Thanks to Jaime of  Good Eats and Sweet Treats for selecting this tasty treat. Once I got it right, they were wonderful! If you would like the recipe, please visit Jaime’s blog.

{SMS} Lemon Icebox Cake with Fresh Blackberry Sauce

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there! I hope you have a good one.

lemon-icebox

This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays selection is a Lemon Icebox Cake with Fresh Strawberry Sauce. I’ve never made an icebox cake, which seems to me (correct me if I’m wrong) to be frozen custard with a meringue topping and a vanilla wafer crust. You separate the eggs, cook the yolks with sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour it into the crust. Whip the egg whites and place them on top of the custard base and bake in the oven for a few minutes.  Once cooled to room temperature you place in the freezer. When ready to serve you take it out of the freezer and  top it with the strawberry sauce, or in my case, blackberry sauce.

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Jennifer of Keep Passing the Open Windows chose this delicious recipe. Give it a try and visit her blog for the reicpe.

Olive, Tomato, & Millet-Stuffed Zucchini

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I chose this recipe for Vegan Tuesday because I had all the ingredients. I won’t say it was quick (I’m a super slow prep cook), but it was definitely easy. The recipe comes from Vegan with a Vengeance and you can find the recipe HERE.

Because my zucchini were on the smaller side–not the monster zucchini you can get in the summer–I have a some filling left over. I think it would be great on a baked potato or over pasta. It’s very delicious!

Using my camera phone

Using my camera phone

I also made vegan Chai Rice Pudding using a recipe from the March/April 2009 issue of VegNews. I rushed and made it before work. Well, really, you can’t rush rice pudding. What I meant to write was that I made it for work and then had to rush to work because I was running late. I took a picture using my Blackberry because I didn’t have time to grab my camera.

The recipe uses plain almond milk and basmati rice. It is sweetened with agave syrup and spiced with cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, and ginger. Chopped dates and raisins add some more sweetness. YUM!

Chai Rice Pudding

From VegNews

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 cups unsweetened almond milk, divided
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 /2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  1. In a medium pot, bring water and 2 cups almond milk to a boil. Add rice, agave nectar, and salt. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add remaining almond milk, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until rice is very soft.
  3. Remove from heat, add dates and raisins, cover, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Dust with additional cinnamon and cardamon and serve warm or at room temperature.