Category: Pies & Tarts

Biggest Project Yet: “Strawberry Spree”

Guys, I did it. It’s finally over. Mother’s Day 2012 at Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar was a huge (and not to mention, all-consuming, body-exhausting, & mind-blowing) success! A widespread brunch/lunch buffet of Japanese fare was followed by “Strawberry Spree” Sweets buffet (by yours truly), where 460-something voracious, yet surprisingly pleasant, guests devoured 1800-something servings of 12 different types of strawberry-themed desserts within a span of 5 hours and 3 full-seating turnovers. Let’s not forget that this was, believe it or not, after these bottomless bellies were stuffed with mountains upon mountains of sushi, tempura, udon, salad, chicken, king crab, and God knows what else. All I really want to know is, who are these thoroughly inhuman people with such exigent appetites and where on earth did they come from? Because I have this ever-growing hunch that I must be related to them. After all, there is a most uncanny resemblance between my belly and theirs.Stomach resemblance aside, there may have been little else alike between these wonderful guests and I. Though the picture doesn’t show it (thank God), I slept for a very true-to-saying, painstakingly short-and-sweet 45 minutes. The grueling fun-filled hours leading up to that nap and the even more agonizing joyous hours that followed were wholeheartedly dedicated to baking and assembling a mass amount of the greatest (and most practical) homemade desserts I could muster up and create from scratch. Exhausted as I may have been, and trust me when I say exhausted is a euphemism for the physical state I was in at the time, this project was my absolute pride and joy from unshaped, prenatal beginning to expectant, postnatal forthcoming. It was Mother’s Day, for crying out loud, and this project was my beautifully overweight newborn. Continue reading

Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil

It has become unavoidably evident to me recently that when life throws you lemons, you do not pucker your cheeks and cower in fright. Nor, do you make lemonade. Instead, you make a lemon curd tart that, in all its bright and happy glory, transforms even the most sour lemons into a delectable treat. I obviously mean this both literally and figuratively. Growing up (not that I’m all grown-up quite yet), I’ve learned the hard way that life can be a cornucopia of disappointments. You plan the precise steps and measures you must take in order to reach your envisioned nirvana, but more often than not, you find yourself in the limbo of all your hopeful dreams – not here, nor there.

It is in such equivocal moments that I find myself questioning the next step I’ll make and usually, this means taking no step at all until something (presumably a “lemon”) finally hits me. The most recent disappointment came when I found out that going off to grad school was not in the near-sighted future. This isn’t to say I won’t go to grad school eventually, because I’m earnestly looking forward to that day, but it was a devastating let-down nevertheless. I spent days and weeks pondering on what I would do once I graduated college, but my mind would draw a blank every time. I definitely have overarching dreams and a bucket list of things I must do, but when it came to the very next step I would take post-college, the answer came to me in a most unexpected way. As a matter of fact, I should really be expressing my utmost gratitude toward this frequently unheeded blog (sorry!) and its ardent(?) readers. It is from you, that I have received this opportunity to obtain….. Continue reading

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Tart

I’ve never been one to truly perfect nor master the art of baking a cake, cupcake, or tart. For some peculiar reason unknown to me (besides my pathetically undisguised clumsiness), I am never able to successfully create the highly sought after, flawlessly decorated baked good. The answer or solution to this cosmetic problem eludes me, leaving me perplexed and rather distraught. I earnestly flip through pages of Bon Appétit and trustfully scroll through various credible food blogs for some sort of fool-proof recipe or method that I may follow precisely to elicit even the most remote, but nevertheless attractive, imitations to absolutely no avail. For example, most recently, when I tried to make Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes with Mint Cream (per previous post), the Mint Cream was runny and definitely not thick enough to be a necessary or heck, even acceptable cupcake topping. It’s a curse that I am ostensibly working very hard to lift off of myself.

And, despite the fact that Valentine’s may be quite over to the dismay of some and delight of others, it’s still February and to my understanding, that still means it’s the month for Chocolate.

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Strawberry Summer.

It’s that time of year when strawberries, tarts and relaxation are in season. Combine the three and a Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Port Glaze is what you get. Or, at least it’s what I got. I absolutely love walking through grocery stores just to feast my eyes upon anything and everything that the wonderland of ingredients holds and I couldn’t resist this recipe any longer once I began to notice the flood of strawberries entering the markets.

I was especially inclined to try this recipe when I realized that hey, it’s Memorial Day weekend and I haven’t baked anything particularly thrilling in quite some time. Not since my Mother’s Day disaster, I believe. While I can’t say that strawberries are my favorite fruit *gasp* or that baking is my strongest suit, I took on the challenge  of this recipe with a resolute attitude and  then reveled in my unexpected success. especially because making this tart was a first of firsts for me. Even with all the improvising I did, I was able to produce a terrific tasting tart.

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