Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Tart and Crack Pie from the Daring Bakers!

Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie! :)

This is my favorite! It is decadent and a little piece goes a long way!

Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Servings: 8
Active time: 1 hour
Baking time: 35 minutes
Cooling time: approx. 2 hours


Pâte sablée

1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (75 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) granulated or powdered sugar, as you prefer
1¾ cups (420 ml) (250 gm) (8¾ oz) all-purpose flour
pinch salt
9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) (125 gm) (4 ½ oz) cold butter, diced
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) cold water


For the caramel
7 tablespoons (105 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) granulated sugar
7 tablespoons (100ml) whole cream, hot
For the chocolate mousse
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons (100ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) (75 gm) (2½ oz) powdered sugar
13 tablespoons (200ml) whole cream
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (280 ml) (200 gm) (7 oz) dark
chocolate, broken into pieces 8


Pâte sablée

  1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 9"/24cm or 10"/26cm tart pan, ideally a fluted metal one with a removable bottom.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and sugar together with a teaspoon of the water until pale and fluffy. Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour and salt together into a mound on a work surface.
  4. Scatter the diced butter over the top of the flour. Quickly toss the butter in the flour so it's all coated, then, using your fingers, rub it in until it resembles breadcrumbs. Keep repeating the operation until it has the consistency of sand.
  5. Gather the flour mixture into a mound and make a well in the center.
  6. Pour the egg mixture and the rest of the water into the well. Working quickly, incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour, first with your fingertips then with a bench scraper until just mixed but not brought together.
  7. Gently gather dough together into a rough ball between your palms. If it stays together, it is sufficiently moist. If it doesn't stay together, add a touch more water and repeat the process.
  8. Using the palm of your hand, push away from you to smear the dough across the work surface, gather it up and repeat until it comes together into a smooth, soft ball. You aren't kneading, you are using the smearing action to bind the elements of the dough without developing the gluten in the flour. The dough ball shouldn't spring back when pressed.
  9. Lightly flour your work surface and lightly roll the dough out to about 3mm thick in a circle to fit your pan. Press the dough gently into the pan, prick all over the bottom with a fork.
  10. Line the tart pan with baking paper and fill with dry beans or pie weights and bake until set, around 9 minutes. Remove pie weights and paper and bake another 6 minutes, until dry.
  11. Remove the pastry from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Leave the oven on.


For the caramel

  1. Spread the sugar evenly across the bottom of a small, heavy-based, noncoated saucepan (it needs to be metallic so you can see the color). Heat over a medium-low heat without stirring until the sugar starts to melt and becomes liquid around the edges. Once about a quarter of it has melted, gently stir continuously with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula until it turns a deep amber color, a few minutes depending on how high the heat is.
  2. Remove from heat and very slowly and carefully pour all (100ml) of the hot cream into the caramel, stirring continuously - it will splutter and steam so be very careful as it is extremely hot. The cream needs to hot and poured very slowly, otherwise the caramel will seize. Keep stirring until it stops bubbling and is well combined then set aside to cool.

  1. For the chocolate mousse
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together with the milk (and powdered sugar, if using).
  3. In a small heavy-based saucepan, bring all (200ml) of the cream to a boil.
  4. Remove cream from heat and add the broken chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. Let cool a few minutes.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg and milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula to obtain a smooth cream.
  6. Spread the cooled caramel in the bottom of the cooked tart shell.
  7. Gently pour the chocolate cream over the caramel so you don't disturb it.
  8. Place the tart into the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling has set but is still wobbly in the center.
  9. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. If using a tart pan with
  10. removable bottom, unmold before serving.

Crack pie

Crack pie is a lot like a Canadian butter tart so, of course, it is amazing! Warning: it is super sweet!

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Baking time: 18 + 50 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour + 2 hours, approx.
Chilling time: overnight


Oat Cookie Crust

9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tbsp) (135 ml) (4½ oz) (125g) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided (6
& 3 tbsp; 85gm & 40gm)
5 1/2 tablespoons (85 ml)(2½ oz) (70 gm) (packed) light brown sugar, divided (4 & 1½ tbsp; 50 gm & 20 gm)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) white sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 ml) (80 gm) (2¾ oz) old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup (120 ml) (2½ oz) (70 gm) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 gm) baking powder
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 gm) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (1½ gm) salt


3/4 cup (160 ml) (170 gm) (6 oz) white sugar
1/2 cup (packed) (120 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (8 gm) (¼ oz) dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon (1½ gm) salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) (120mlk) (4 oz) (115gm) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
6 1/2 tablespoons (100ml) heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting 5


Oat Cookie Crust

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Line a 13x9x2 inch/33x22x5cm metal baking pan with parchment (baking) paper. Lightly spray or butter a 9 inch/22cm diameter glass or ceramic pie dish.
  2. Combine 6 tablespoons (85 gm) of the softened butter, 4 tablespoons (50 gm) of the brown sugar and the white sugar in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add egg and beat until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.
  5. Dump oat mixture into prepared baking pan and press out evenly to edges of pan.
  6. Bake until light golden, 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to wire rack and cool cookie completely, about an hour.
  7. Using your fingertips, crumble the cookie a into large bowl - there should be no identifiable pieces of cookie remaining. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons (45 gm) butter and 1-1/2 tablespoons (20 gm) brown sugar. Rub in with your fingertips until the mixture is moist and sticks together when pressed between your fingers.
  8. Transfer cookie crust mixture to pie dish. Using your fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish (about 1 inch/2.5cm up the sides if your pie dish is deep). If your pie dish is shallow, place it on a baking sheet in case of overflow.


  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. If possible, use bottom-only heat, or the filling may brown too quickly.
  2. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Add melted butter and whisk until blended.
  4. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended.
  5. Pour filling into crust.
  6. Bake 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble up). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3. Continue to bake until filling is brown on top and set around edges but center still jiggles slightly, about 20 minutes longer.
  7. Cool pie completely in pie dish on wire rack. Chill uncovered overnight.
  8. Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into thin wedges and serve cold.

Crack pie: Bon Appetit
Chocolate and caramel tart: Pastry from chefsimon, filling
from Valéry Drouet's "Chocolat"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fruit and yogurt muesli parfaits

My kids love breakfast! Their go to requests are cereal and yogurt for my son and yogurt and fruit for my daughter. When I combined both in a 'fancy' wine glass they thought I had created 'the best thing ever'. Lol. Yes, they are easy to impress! Now they both want parfaits or 'parfets' as my daughter calls them every morning! The best thing about it is when I use muesli (my son is loving Dorset Cereals 'super cranberry, cherry, and almond' muesli right now), I can make them the night before and leave them in the fridge for them to grab when they wake up (and possibly grab a few more minutes of sleep for me)!

How to make them is pretty obvious, just layer your favorite yogurt, muesli or granola, and fruit in a bowl or fancy glass. I recommend eating granola parfaits right away or the granola will get soggy. Go the muesli route is you want to make them the night before. Also, you can use frozen fruit if you make them ahead of time so they can thaw a bit before eating.

If you REALLY need a recipe...

Makes 2.


2 cups yogourt
2/3 cup muesli or granola
1 cup fruit


Place 1/3 c yogurt on bottom of glass/bowl, sprinkle 1/3 cup muesli/granola over yogurt, spread 1/3 cup yogurt over muesli/granola, place 1/4 cup of fruit on top, layer another 1/3 c of yogurt, add 1/4 cup fruit.

Repeat in second glass/bowl.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Whenever I want a lunch that is quick, fresh and healthy I head over to the Food Fair at a mall close to where I work. Once there, I go straight to the Vietnamese kiosk to order a  prawn salad roll or two or gỏi cuốn. The rolls are filling and the peanut dipping sauce is fantastic.

I also, occasionally, make them at home. I'd by lying  if I said these were easy to make. The rice paper wrappers are delicate and will take a few tries to get right and tight. But the effort is worth. I usually make only a peanut-hoisin sauce to go with them but as you can see in the top photo I also made a sweet chili sauce this time. BUT I didn't like it - too much fish sauce in it - which is why I am not including that sauce in the recipe below!

This version is filled with chicken, mango, basil, carrots, peppers and noodles. But you could add or sub any ingredient that suits your fancy - prawn, pork, etc. Just have a little patience if this is your first time making it. Words of advice - have everything chopped, sliced and diced before you begin. Place ingredients on separate plates and have your pie plate of warm water ready to go. It's like wrapping a burrito - tuck in the ends and roll gently yet firmly. Ready? Go!

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Ready time: 40 minutes
Servings: Makes 12 rolls

Peanut Sauce


4 tbsp hoisin sauce
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1-2 tsp hot sauce (I use sriracha)
1/3 cup warm water
1 tsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 2 limes


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into individual dishes for dipping or into a bigger bowl if everyone is sharing the same bowl.
  3. Set aside. You can refrigerate if making ahead.

Chicken & Mango Wraps


100g (4 oz) thin rice vermicelli
12 8-inch rice papers
2 cups shredded or sliced cooked chicken breast
4 carrots, shredded or cut into matchsticks (I use precut matchstick carrots)
2 red peppers, julienned
2 mangoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 large bunch of basil and/or cilantro
24 chives


  1. Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Rinse under cool water, drain and put aside.
  2. Fill a pie plate or bowl large enough to fit entire rice paper with very warm water.
  3. Take one rice paper and carefully submerge into water. Soak until it is soft and pliable but not disintegrating. About 1 minute.
  4. Place paper on a damp tea towel.
  5. Leaving 1-1/2 inches on each side of the rice paper and working length-wise, place about 2 or 3 tbsp noodles, 2 or 3 slices of chicken, mango, red pepper, a few carrots sticks and basil/cilantro about 2 inches from one edge of rice paper.
  6. Fold in the two (1-1/2 inch) sides of the rice paper.
  7. Tightly yet gently roll the rice paper into a burrito like roll. Just before you finish rolling it add a chive or two so that it sticks out of the final roll.
  8. Place on another damp towel and cover with another damp towel.
  9. Repeat with remaining rice papers.
  10. Serve with sauce.

Best if served fresh but can be refrigerated for a few hours.

Makes 12.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam

Freezer jam is so easy and so delicious. Since you either don't cook the fruit or, as in the case of rhubarb, cook it only slightly, the fruit really is the star of the show. I also LOVE that it uses less sugar than cooked jam. My first freezer jam recipe is my most viewed page on this blog so I think other people have been enjoying freezer jam too!

Since I've been seeing rhubarb at our local fruit stands this week, this is the perfect time to share another freezer jam recipe. This strawberry rhubarb jam is sweet but still just a little tart thanks to the rhubarb. You do have to stew the rhubarb for about 10 minutes to soften it but the strawberries don't need to be cooked. I also added a little bit of cardamom. Although it's optional, try it if you have it on hand as it goes really well with both fruits. This jam is great on toast but also amazing on ice cream!


1 -1/2 cups (375 ml) berry sugar 
1 lb strawberries
1 pouch (45 g) Freezer Jam Pectin (I use BERNARDIN®)
2 lbs rhubarb
1 tsp cardamon
zest of one lemon


  1. Wash and hull strawberries. Place in a large bowl and mash. If they are not soft you could pulse them in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped.
  2. Wash rhubarb and leave wet. Trim the ends of the rhubarb and chop. Place in a stainless steel saucepan, cover and  bring to a slow boil. Boil gently for about 10 minutes to stew. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Measure 3 cups. 
  3. Mix two fruits together in the strawberry bowl. Add lemon zest and cardamon. Stir. (You should have about 4 cups of prepared prepared fruit in total.)
  4. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together Freezer Jam Pectin and sugar. Stir fruit mixture into pectin-sugar mixture for 3 minutes.
  5. Ladle jam into containers, leaving approximately 1/2 inch (1 cm) headspace. Wipe the jar rims. Close with your lids. Let stand until thickened, about 30 minutes.Jam can be stored for up to 3 weeks in the fridge or in the freezer for up to 1 year.

Makes about 5 x 250 ml jars.

Try my raspberry lime freezer jam too- it's one of my favorites!