Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tarte aux pommes, miel et amandes

Made this recipe for French class, and I've wanted to make it again ever since.


In the middle of FINALS WEEK


I made it. And will eat it tonight. Then study for my Math final. But only after I eat this.

It is so simple, it's not even baking. It's just cooking with sweet things.

Here's la recette in Français:

Tarte aux pommes, miel et amandes

Préparation : 40 mn
Cuisson : 30 mn

Ingrédients (pour 6 personnes) :
- 250 g de pâte feuilletée
- 6 petites pommes
- 70 g de beurre
- 2 cuillères à soupe de miel
- 100 g de sucre
- 100 g d'amandes effilées

Préparation :

Préchauffer le four à 210°C.

Granir un moule à tarte avec la pâte feuilletée.
Couper les pommes en lamelles moyennes et les disposer sur la pâte.

Mettre au four une vingtaine de minutes.

Dans une casserole, faire fondre le beurre à feu doux. Ajouter le miel, le sucre et les amandes.

Napper le dessus de la tarte avec l'appareil encore chaud, et remettre au four quelques minutes pour faire dorer le tout.


Apple Tart with Honey and Almonds

Preparation: 40 mins
Cooktime: 30 mins

Ingredients (for 6 people) :

- 250 grams puff pastry (about one sheet or round, depending on the size)
- 6 small apples
- 70 grams butter
- 2 T. honey
- 100 grams sugar
- 100 grams chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 210ºC (410ºF).

Lay the puff pastry in a pie pan like you would a pie crust.
Cut the apples into thin slices and lay them in the pie pan.

Bake for about twenty minutes, until lightly browned.

In a saucepan, melt the butter on low heat. Add the honey, sugar and almonds.

Pour the mixture evenly over the apples and put the tart back in the oven for a few minutes into browned and hot.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I had to watch this for French class. I love her voice; it's so cute!


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reconciliation in Cinnamon Buns

Step 1. Want to bake something

Step 2. Whine/moan/fantasize about it for three weeks (at least).

Step 3. Finally bake it at the most inconvenient time, i.e. when you have mountains of homework

Step 4. Gloat about how you baked something amazing AND got your homework done

Step 5. Finish said baked good in about two days and begin again at Step 1.

I finally finished steps 4 and 5 last week. I made cinnamon buns.

"Come ON, Gypsy, you've made cinnamon buns, like, 17392804821984 times before on here."

I know, I know. But it's comfort food, and if I'm going to get my baking groove back, I want to start with things I like and know how to make.

Recipe can be found at this previous post.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm Alive



*cricket cricket*

I've lately been getting my baking/cooking mojo back, so... we'll see.

Thanks to all of you who have commented on my previous postings. I'm glad to see that they were appreciated.

We'll see how this goes.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Long Time, No See: Hot Cross Buns

Homemade Pysanky eggs

Whoa. Jeebus christcake. Haven't been here for
 a while.

I have an excuse! I was sick, then high school started, then breaks and Disneyland and homework and dances and friends and insomnia and... life got in the way. I've also lost my cooking/baking drive a bit, so we'll see how this goes.

But this is the prominent baked good in our house at the moment. Hot Cross Buns... mmmm....

We make them every year. Usually during Lent, but we've been late this year and its closer to Easter than anything else. But my spring is not complete without them.


Makes 18-24 buns

2 packages yeast
1/2 cup very warm water (105-115ºF)
1/4 cup warm milk (90ºF)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup raisins

1 egg white
pinch of salt

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Place yeast and warm water in bowl of mixer and stir to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for three minutes.

Add milk, oil, sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. salt to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix one cup flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Stir flour ixture into yeast mixture with a whisk until well combined. Stir in the eggs. Now using a dough hook, gradually stir in 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour -- just enough to make a very soft, pliable dough.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes. Return dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 20 minutes.

Knead dough again for 1-2 minutes (until smooth and elastic but not too firm). Gently flatten dough into a rectangle one inch thick. Spread raisins over rectangle. Fold the mass into an envelope and knead just until raisins are well distributed.

Shape dough into loose ball and p;ace in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat the top with oil and cover bowl with oiled plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in volume -- about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Line two baking sheets with parchment. When sough had doubled in bulk, place it on a floured surface and divide into 18 even pieces (cut it into thirds, then in thirds again, then in half). Shape the pieces into small round buns. Place on pans. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap ad let rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume -- 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat over to 400ºF. Whisk together egg white and pinch of salt. When buns have doubled in bulk, make a shallow cross on the top of each bun with a sharp knife (try a serrated knife). Brush buns lightly with egg wash and reserve the remaining egg wash. Place pans in oven (use two ovens -- don't try to double up in one). Using a spray bottle, mist top and side of each oven with water 6-8 times and quickly close oven door. After 3 minutes, mist again.

Bake for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350ºF, and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, or until buns have turned a nice golden brown. Transfer buns to rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

Combine reserved egg wash with powdered sugar and vanilla. Add water, if needed, to make frosting workable. While rolls and still warm, use a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip to make a cross of frosting over the cross on each bun. These buns freeze well.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Watashi no "Lavu Afe-a": My Love Affair

I never did say anything about Japan, did I? Oh, yes, right... I have a one-paragraph beginning rotting in my post repository. Well, it'll never get written, I can tell you that. I am probably one of the world's worst procrastinators. Unless I have it written in front of my face in a homework log that I have to do it, it won't get done. Unless it's actually fun to do...

Oh, I'm sorry, let me introduce my lover (or lahvahhh, if you are a Sex and the City fan). This is 日本のおにぎり: Japanese Onigiri. He is my new flame, and we were inseparable for three days straight in Japan. And now, in the US, I've found him again, and even found the most sensual of delights: making onigiri myself.

But first, I must backtrack months and months ago, to our class's preliminary trip to Japantown, SF, for a scavenger hunt. *cue dreamy harp music and rippling screen*

It was lunchtime... and this year's graduating class was hungry (as usual). Some went to restaurants... some went to food stands... others went to a Japanese general store. I followed my friends to the store, and stood, nonplussed, in the refrigerator aisle, looking at the bounty of choices. Should I try the strange looking rice wrapped in tofu? Or a bento box? Or those funny looking green triangles, the rice balls that all of my friends seemed to be snatching up...

Unfortunately, I stuck to safety and got a rice bowl with teriyaki chicken (always the adventurer...). But from then, my curiosity was peaked for these popular rice balls. Unfortunately, I loathe their most popular filling, salmon, and all strong fishy tastes. That plus seaweed? Ugh, forget it.

But, but, but! Fast forward to our second week in Japan, the first day of the big groups all together, after our homestays. We were set loose in a market in Osaka to find lunch, and I had my heart set of trying onigiri, or bust...

I was excited, my heart leaping with joy as two friends and I wandered up and down the marketplace, smelling delicious things, and conspicuously pointing our fingers at things that looked gross (so American). After fifteen minutes of unabashed sightseeing, we walked into a grocery store to find something we could eat in the market, so as to resume our indulgence of strange new sights.

We found ourselves in the pre-packaged section, where my friends picked up containers of tempura and sushi rolls. However, I was drawn, inexplicably to the shelves of green triangles. There were several different kinds, it seemed, for there were many different colors of wrappers. I decided to face my fears.

"Which one is edible?" I asked my friend. He frowned, and inspected the array. He pointed to a pink-wrapped one with the word "sake" on it. "Sake," besides being a strong alcoholic drink that should not be served below 90º F, means salmon. And, it's pronounced "sa-KAY" in the correct Japanese, NOT "sa-KEE," as most Americans seem to think.

Swallowing hard, I picked up the onigiri, got a drink, and purchased them. My friends followed shortly. We searched for a place to eat, and finally ended up sneaking into another restaurant, something like a Japanese Subway.

I began to unwrap the onigiri, which was hard. It turns out there's a trick to it: they give you a little plastic strip to pull, and the plastic just comes right off, leaving the seaweed wrapped neatly around the rice. But I didn't know this. Out came the ball of rice, and out came the seaweed. I gingerly wrapped the rice in the seaweed, said a prayer, took a breath, and took a bite.

It wasn't bad, I had to admit. I took another bite, then another, and another. Then I hit the salmon in the center, which was salty and perfect. I finished off my rice ball with no difficulty, except I peeled of some of the leftover seaweed, which I hate by itself. But from then on, onigiri and I were in love.

I had onigiri again the next day, and the day after that... 

The third day, we found a little shop in Takayama. We were starving, and the restaurant we were planning to go to was closed. My four-person walking group was about done walking, we were so hungry and tired, and when we finally saw the tiny little man and wife in the tiny little shop, we felt like celebrating.

We tried to make him understand that we wanted four onigiri, two with salmon, two with rice only, for out two vegetarians. My friend "C" and I struggled with our Japanese.

Me: Anou... {Ummm...} Ni? sake to onigiri kudasai? {Two (wrong form of number) onigiri with salmon?}
Man: *looked amused* Futatsu sake to? {Two (correct form of number) with salmon?}
Me: Yeah, hai, hai.
C: Chotto matte kudasai {Wait a minute, please}. To... futatsu onigiri.... gohan dake... {And...two onigiri... rice only}
Me:  Yeah, gohan only...

Finally, we got it across what we wanted. I waited for him to hand us some prepackaged onigiri, but it was to my surprise when he and his wife went to the back of the shop and began to make them by hand.

They were handed back to us in clear plastic takeout containers. We embarrassedly thanked the shopkeepers, and sat down on spindly chairs at a little table outside the booth/store. We bit into our onigiri. They were probably the best thing we'd tasted on the trip so far; the rice was still warm; the salmon seemed freshly cooked and seasoned. It was delicious.

Almost six months later, my craving for the salty delight became so overwhelming that I just had to have it again. I tried a packaged one, but it was disgusting. So, I decided to make it myself. With the help of a friend who also went to Japan with her own school, we used the molds I bought two months ago at Daiso Japan.

So, here is our rough procedure:

Cook some sushi rice according to the package (don't add anything to it; onigiri usually is made with plain rice).

Put about a tablespoon of butter on a glass baking dish and place in a hunk of salmon. Salt generously, and bake in a 350 or 400º oven (can't remember which, sorry)

Once the salmon is fully cooked, about 10 minutes, let it cool. Then flake it into a bowl.

Place some rice in the bottom of a mold and top it with about a tablespoon of salmon. Cover the rest with rice. Replace the lid of the mold and press. Unmold, and wrap in nori (seaweed).

You can shape these by hand, but this is much easier. Itadakimasu! (Japanese version of bon appètit)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What Can I Say...

My mom is having a proper luncheon, and asked me to bake some bread for it (probably not because I'm any better than her, but just because she had enough going on already). The luncheon will feature a multitude of salads: curried chicken salad, cucumber salad, fruit salad, then my bread and butter and cookies (if we can find some to bake at the last minute).

I decided do stand by an old friend, and bake some Rosemary Raisin Bread, but without the raisins. However, I used rosemary from my own garden! Whoohoo! (Please understand: I am awful at gardening, but I love herbs. It is a happy day when my five new plants actually get water, and don't almost die before I resuscitate them) I haven't tasted the bread yet, but just HAD to post these pictures:

By the by... I draw, too

Well, what can I say?

It was just so perfect and cute. Cute bread, perfect bread... Or, in Japanese: かわいいパン!

I actually kissed it once. It was that adorable.