Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

Orange Tian (sort of) – March DB Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on March 27, 2010

  It’s a strange thing, the places an idle mind will go.  I had every intention of sticking close to this months challenge recipe, but one thing leads to another and here we are.  The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.  

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Cookies, DB Challenge, Fruit, Ice Cream, Recipes | 10 Comments »

Wine Poached Grape Tart

Posted by osakaben41 on March 21, 2010

Some time ago I was asked, “what’s your take on liquor in desserts?”  At that time, my only association was a series of retirement/baby shower/engagement celebration cakes that my workplace would occasionally offer.  Yellow cake with a good inch and a half of white frosting, soaked in rum.  If the sugar overload didn’t send you spinning the illicit two shots in the bottom layer would. 

Lately though, I’m thinking of liquor, or wine in this case, as a way to add another layer of complexity, something that’s not as easy to pin down as ‘lemon’, ‘maple syrup’, or ‘chocolate’.  Besides, it’s how I justify to myself this hobby as a think for adults, otherwise, why not just recreate Reese’s Peanut Butter cups all week long. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Fruit, Tarts | 1 Comment »

Mango-Hibiscus Macarons – MacAttack V

Posted by osakaben41 on March 9, 2010



Mango shells filled with hibiscus tapioca, candied hibiscus garnish


That time again, when folks start inexplicably making Macarons again.  MacAttack V is upon us, now with instructions to bake something floral, something bespeaking of the glory of spring, something to get us through the cruel taunting New England March that takes us from shorts and spf 50 to snow-pants and wind chapped cheeks from one day to the next.

Rather than try to shape macs like a daisy (wow is that hard), or serve them on ‘stems‘ (though this is something to come back to later), I wanted to revisit my earlier failure with hibiscus.  That time I ground up dried flowers as finely as I could (not fine enough it turned out), added them to the dry ingredients and went from there.  As I’m starting to learn, the shells will almost always taste of almond though, so how best to get a hibiscus flavor in there? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Fruit, Macaron, Tropical Fruit | 6 Comments »

Lemon-Chevre Cheescake

Posted by osakaben41 on March 1, 2010

(Updated below)

One of the first ‘high end’ restaurants my wife and I tried in Boston, Rialto, stood out for two reasons.  It was her introduction to how good a well built martini could taste, and I discovered goat-cheese cheesecake.  Many years then pass before Helen at Tartelette casually throws one out there, bringing me right back to that night.  The other night some friends – for us, they happened to be big fans of all things lemon, so really what choice did I actually have?  What a perfect thank you gift. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cake, Fruit, Lemon | Leave a Comment »

Pear Cardamom Butter

Posted by osakaben41 on January 24, 2010

Another quick one again, and not even a dessert this time.  We had friends over for brunch this morning, so in the search for something fun to make I came across a great idea over at The Travelers Lunchbox, a very simple, straightforward Pear and Cardamom butter.

With the promise that Pear and cardamom go together like Apple and Cinnamon, this proved too tempting, and too easy to pass up.  We went through a jam phase some years back, even making the apple butter that served as a filling for our wedding cake, so had some experience with the process.  Cutting this recipe in third though means we don’t have to go through the waterbath and the bell jars etc.

And what good is the best jam without something equally decent to put it on?  A favorite go-to bread recipe has been the NY Times version of 18 hour bread (AKA, “No-Knead” bread).  I love the color I get out of this approach, and the tender crumb really worked well here.

As for the taste, I am now a HUGE fan of this pairing.  I’m sure at some point this is going to pop up again in either a Macaron, mousse, or panna cotta form, but for now I’m officially on a Caradmom kick.

Posted in Fruit, Jam | 1 Comment »

Cherry Almond Financier

Posted by osakaben41 on January 23, 2010

For better or worse the January Daring Bakers Challenge (to be posted on the 27th, the official “reveal date”) took a lot out of me, lots of components, new techniques, big fun.  I love these large complicated projects, but needed something ‘one-note’ to clean the palette.

The hope was to try to recreate what I thought was a new idea, but as with so many things had already been done, and done better by Aran at Cannelle et Vanilla, Candied Kumquat and Pistachio Financiers.  For some reason though I’ve had the hardest time finding Kumquats.  After the 5th place I tried over three days proved fruitless (bad pun intended), I abandoned the plan and went instead with an Almond Cherry approach.   Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cake, Fruit | 3 Comments »

Apple Danish Braid

Posted by osakaben41 on January 9, 2010

A few weeks before starting this blog I tried out a Julia Child inspired Danish Braid, filled with apricot puree and pastry cream.  It was a great success for a first attempt, but way way too sweet to call brunch  We had friends over this morning though, so I took the opportunity to try it out again, just with a toned down apple filling.

I was given a fantastic Pastry textbook for Christmas from the CIA,Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft that I wanted to use this time.  The most obvious difference though between a professional formula and a lay-persons is one of scale.  Perhaps someday I’ll need 10.5 lbs of Danish dough, but not this weekend.  Rather than sweat through the math, it was back to Julia again. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in dough, Fruit, Nuts, Pastry | 1 Comment »

Orange Custard Tarts

Posted by osakaben41 on November 1, 2009

Orange Custard Tart

Sometimes a picture is just too good to be ignored.  A quick glance was all it took, but I just couldn’t get these tarts out of my head.  I’m going to have to keep myself from visiting Flagrante Delicia too often or I’m just going to keep recreating everything she does, just not as well.

And I tried, I really tried to put my own spin on this one.  She did an Orange custard, I’d make it with Pomelo.  Couldn’t find any though, so what about Yuzu.  Couldn’t find any of that either.  I thought about just doing this with pink grapefruit, but my father in law was coming to town and he’s not a grapefruit fan.  Back to Orange it was then. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cookies, dough, Fruit, Ice Cream, Nuts, Tarts | Leave a Comment »

Pear-Flan Tart

Posted by osakaben41 on October 5, 2009


If you want to get better at something I suppose you just need to keep working outside your comfort zone.  There are some wonderfully complicated recipes out there and the list keeps getting bigger, but until recently I had avoided Johnny Izzuni for anything other than inspiring pictures.

His website is actually a great resource, as he posts two recipes each month, an “advanced”, and a “beginner”.  The advanced ones invariably involve some obscure form of molecular gastronomy and ingredients I would probably only find at an MIT lab.  The beginner ones are still more involved than anything you’ll find in a Barefoot Contessa book (seriously, who out there has poached a pear Sou vide?) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in dough, Fruit, Ice Cream, Pastry, Recipes, Tarts | 4 Comments »

Cinnamon-Peach Ganache Tarts

Posted by osakaben41 on September 28, 2009

Cinnamon Peach Tarts1

This was a quick experiment in making flavor infused chocolate ganache.  As a technique, it’s fairly simple.  A standard ganache is just adding some warmed heavy cream to chopped pieces of chocolate until it’s all melted together.  Here we’re just adding something to the cream to add a little kick before straining it over the chocolate.  This works well with coffee, or lavender (with white chocolate).  The other day, while researching Macarons, I came across the idea of a Cinnamon-Peach Ganache, from Syrup & Tang. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, dough, Fruit, Peach, Tarts | 1 Comment »