Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

  • Blog Stats

    • 20,294 hits
  • Meta

  • Categories

  • Proud Member of the Daring Bakers

  • Bread Baking Day

    BreadBakingDay #28 - last day of submission April 1, 2010
  • Sources of Inspiration

    Professional Baking
    Wayne Gisslen

    Chocolates and Confectionery
    Peter P. Greweling

    Elisabeth Prueitt

    Dessert Fourplay
    Johnny Iuzzini

    Claire Clark

    Frozen Desserts
    Francisco J. Migoya

    The Sweet Spot
    Pichet Ong

    Chocolate Epiphany
    Francois Payard

    The Sweet Life
    Kate Zuckerman

    Demolition Desserts
    Elizabeth Falkner

    Pure Desserts
    Alice Medrich

  • Advertisements

Archive for the ‘Tarts’ Category

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 »

Rosemary Caramel Pine Nut Tart

Posted by osakaben41 on March 7, 2010

It’s March, what the hell am I doing baking with Rosemary?  

It’s over 50 degrees outside, the kids played on the monkey bars without their coats, and I’m looking at the sad state of our yard and all the work it’ll need before we can cook outside again.  Spring is coming to Boston and I’m cooking a Christmas dinner?  Anybody with a lick of sense is going citrus crazy right now, if they aren’t scrounging early spring berries that is. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lemon, Nuts, Sauce, Tarts | Leave a Comment »

Chocolate Creme Chiboust Fail (and a giveaway)

Posted by osakaben41 on January 26, 2010

The pre-fail shot

There have been a few baking fails along the way, most of which I try to ignore and pretend they never happened.  Except of course when they’re really spectacular and noteworthy.  Under those standards have I got a whopper for you.

The idea was to recreate another Johnny Iuzzuni creation, which Aran did so beautifully some time ago  (how is it that every time I get inspired it turns out she’s already beat me to it?).  It’s a chocolate tart shell filled with a lemon custard and topped with a Chocolate Chiboust (Chocolate meringue stabilized with some gelatin, baked ever so briefly).  Having never had chocolate and lemon together I was initially skeptical, but there are some examples out there to look to. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, dough, Lemon, Tarts | Leave a 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 »

Honey Maple Pecan Tart

Posted by osakaben41 on October 18, 2009

H-M-P Tart

Just a quickie here.  We were invited over to for dinner tonight, so of course I offered to bring dessert.  With just enough tart dough left over, it was a fairly simple thing to throw together a pecan tart, this one from the always inspiring Baking Obsession.

It was very similar to the Walnut-Cranberry I just finished, with a sugary sludge poured over some toasted nuts.  whereas the last recipe relied more on an egg + a yolk for the body, I wasn’t sure what exactly was going to hold this one together.  There’s some butter in the mix which presumably would firm up once the tart is chilled, but for the most part it’s Honey, Maple Syrup and brown sugar.

HMP Tart2

It held up well though and sliced nicely, served it with some left over Cranberry ice cream.  I’ll call this more of a utilitarian exercise though than a pure experiment.  There are times when I’m just dying to try baking something with a nice quince, or infuse a creme brulee with bay leaves, but more often than not our friends want something more familiar.  For slapping something together in under an hour though, this ones a keeper.

Posted in Nuts, Tarts | 1 Comment »

Cranberry-Walnut Tarts

Posted by osakaben41 on October 17, 2009

c-w tart

This month the majority of my baking energies have been poured into the October Daring Baker’s Challenge, the results of which are not to be published until the 27th.  Considering that as well as a general lack of sleep from trying to sleep train my 18-month-old son, I just haven’t had the energy for a serious project in awhile. 

That said, if a week goes by without something sweet and new coming out of our kitchen, my hands start to shake and I get fidgety.  To scratch this persistent itch I’ve resorted to the quick, small experiments, leaving the multilayered entremet cakes for when I’m not quite so drowsy (has anybody else ever fallen asleep standing up in the shower?)   The other night I ripped out some quick Madelines, which felt good just to get back in the groove.  To that end, I came across in our freezer some left over Citrus Tart dough from the Pear-Flan Tart a few weeks back. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in dough, Ice Cream, Nuts, Recipes, 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 »

Chocolate / Coffee Tarts with Hazelnut Brittle

Posted by osakaben41 on August 13, 2009

Chocolate Tarts

With each experiment I put out there, the constant refrain has been, “nice, but where’s the chocolate?”  I’ve got an ever-growing list of exotic things to play with from Lychee nuts to Passion Fruit (if I could ever find some in Boston that is), but I haven’t done much with Chocolate yet.

I’ll admit to being somewhat intimidated of getting into tempering and shaping decorations.  There might have been some unfortunate experiments years back involving painting leaves with chocolate, but it never looks as good as the picture, and I end up with melted chocolate covering everything.  The tools get wildly expensive pretty quickly, and perhaps August isn’t the best time to start down this road.  Sometimes though you just have to give the people what they want.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Tarts | 1 Comment »

Red Currants

Posted by osakaben41 on August 3, 2009


One of the first things that became apparent when I started frequenting food blogs was the prevalence of red currents.  It could have been that so many great bloggers were writing from the UK, Singapore, or Paris, where I suppose these are more readily available.  So imagine my surprise when I stumble on what I assumed were fresh red currants near my office the other day.  Without any plan, I just had to buy some.

Currants 2

So what do people do with these then?  I looked all over and came across a bunch of fantastic pictures of them used in plated desserts, mixed with strawberries for pink bavarian/mousses, or reduced into a jam.  In short, a supporting role, rarely a main star.  It seemed a shame to take something so inherently beautiful and hide it behind a strawberry, but after eating a few, I realized they were very very tart, and had seeds like a pomegranate.  Serving them raw was not an option.  My son may be allergic to Strawberries, so that was a dead end also.  Lastly, I could use a break from making mousses.

The matter actually resolved itself as we stumbled into having friends over for dinner tonight, and I still had a good deal of tart crust left over from the Lemon Cream Tart experiment.  So we picked up some fruit from the local farmer’s market, whipped up a berry tart, and reduced the currants with a little (ok, actually a lot) of sugar, some lemon juice and water into a quick sauce.  The tart was actually pretty pedestrian, and I didn’t use nearly enough sauce to let it come through, but what I was able to taste, when I tasted it, was quite unique.


So call it a quickie experiment, but at least I know what they taste like now.  If anybody out there has some great ideas on how to use these, drop a line.  Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.

Posted in dough, Tarts | Leave a Comment »