Monthly Archives: July 2009

Almond Gnocchi in Lamb Ragu

This post is very exciting for me because it’s my first virtual potluck! The wonderful hostess’ of this potluck are Tara Desmond and Joy Manning of Almost Meatless.

The recipe I chose was the almond gnocchi in a lamb ragu. The lamb is seared and then braised in the tomato, red wine and herbs mixture for about and hour to an hour and a half. By the time you’re cooking in the gnocchi the lamb is falling off the bone.

PHOTOS: Danielle Bilton

I’ve never made gnocchi before; it just never appealed to me. But when I saw that there were almonds used in this recipe I jumped at the chance to make it. Plus, making the gnocchi is easy. Though, I would recommend getting a family member or a friend to help out as it can be a time consuming task. This also helps ensure that every piece of gnocchi has its own personality.

When it was time eat the fruits of our labor, the table was silent — in an Italian household, this is a good thing. Eating the gnocchi was like eating little puffs of almond pasta covered in lamb and saucy goodness. I topped off my ragu dish with crispy sage fried in butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Thank you again to our wonderful hostess’ Tara Desmond and Joy Manning for creating such meat lite and vegetable hearty dishes in their cookbook, Almost Meatless. You must go and check out the recipes other talented food bloggers made from their book. You can find the list of bloggers on Tara or Joy’s blog. Till my next pot luck!

Lemon Meringue Cake

This was a birthday cake for a woman who does not like buttercream. I came up with this alternative: meringue frosting with bavarian lemon cream filling and fresh raspberries.

I didn’t have the right size cake ring. So I taped clear film around the cake and just hoped for the best while I poured in the filling.  As you can see, the filling seeped out the sides, but eventually set and stayed put.

To finish off the cake I bruleed the top with a torch and placed candied lemons in the middle. The band around the bottom is fondont covered in gold sugar.

PHOTOS: Danielle Bilton

Strawberry Bavarian Tart

PHOTOS: Danielle Bilton

The aromas of strawberries at the farmers market have me dreaming of endless berry desserts. I really enjoyed this recipe because cream and strawberries go so well together. The crumbly sweet crust makes it instantly complete. One of the endless strawberry desserts!

SWEET TART DOUGH:
from tartine bakery cookbook
1 cup +2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, and salt. Mix on medium speed until smooth.
Mix in eggs one at a time and mix until smooth.
Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
Add flour all at once and mix on low speed until just incorporated.
Divide dough into 4 equal balls, 1/2 inch thick, wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or over night.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, set out your tart rings, I used 4-3 inch rings.
Once chilled, roll out dough to proper size you need to line your tart rings.
Dock shell with a fork and bake in oven at 325 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes. Make sure color is golden, about 5 more minutes. Set aside and let cool.

BAVARIAN CREAM FILLING:
from tartine bakery cookbook

1 1/2 teaspoon gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
2 1/2 cups pastry cream, cold
2 cups heavy cream

In a small dish sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand for a few minutes to soften.
Next, in a double boiler, place 1/2 cup of the pastry cream in a stainless steel bowl resting over the simmering water.
Heat the pastry cream whisking constantly, until hot to the touch (120 degrees F), about 5 minutes. Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth. Remove from water bath.
Whisk half of the remaining cold pastry cream into the hot mixture, then whisk in the rest.
In a separate bowl, whip the rest of the heavy cream until medium-stiff peaks. Immediately and gently fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula. At this point you want to fill the tart shells right away and store in the refrigerator until filling is set, about 1 hour. Top off with your favorite fruit and serve.