Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tale of two desserts

Oh I love Dickens,,,. but this is nothing to do with a novel.

Tale One



On Monday this week I made this for our Family Evening Group. Every other Monday we (20 or so empty nesters) meet at an assigned home for scripture study, church history lesson,  game or whatever. Christmas is near so we had a White Elephant gift exchange pot luck party.  I was asked to bring a dessert. This complicated Italian dessert was a bit challenging but I’m kind of glad I did because no one else in dessert department brought something home made. Others brought very familiar C brand warehouse value pack cupcakes and pies. Nothing wrong with that, just didn’t make me feel special. My husband removes the frosting on those kind of cupcakes before consuming. The name of this chocolate pie is Crostata alla crema di cioccolata con pistacchi siciliani. That sounds very importante!  In English it is Chocolate custard tart with Sicilian pistachios

Chapter 1 - Dough

  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons shelled unsalted Sicilian pistachios*
  • 1 3/4 sticks of chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  1. In a bowl - mix 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour and salt
  2. In a food processer – put the remaining 1 tablespoon flour and nuts; finely grind using Pulse button. Combine in the bowl with flour mixture above.
  3. In a electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment-combine butter and sugar. Mix on medium low speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. Add the whole egg, then egg yolk. Then add flour mixture in 2 steps, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.
  4. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface. Shape into flattened disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, roll out dough to an 11 inch round; remove and discard plastic. Fit dough into a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough into edges of pan, using knife to trim excess dough along top edge. Prick bottom of dough with fork all over. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  6. Line tart shell with foil or parchment paper, Leaving 1 inch overhang; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in oven for 15 minutes at 350 F, remove the pie weights and parchment. Continue baking until crust is dry to touch – 15 minutes or so. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Chapter 2 – Chocolate custard

  • 1/2 cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons shelled unsalted Sicilian pistachios
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate roughly chopped
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In a food processer-pulse nuts until finely chopped then spread on baking sheet and lightly toast in oven (you may have to stir few times to prevent burning). Set aside 1-1/2 table spoons toasted nuts in small bowl for garnishing.
  2. Combine bittersweet and semisweet chocolate in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine remaining nuts , cream, milk and sugar in a small saucepan; bring mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes.
  4. Strain milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Transfer back to saucepan and bring to a boil again (do not skip this process for smooth texture chocolate custard).
  5. Pour about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture over the chocolate and very gently whisk together until chocolate is melted. Add remaining milk mixture and gently whisk to combine.
  6. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Pour about 1/3 of the chocolate mixture over eggs and gently whisk just to combine. Then pour egg mixture over chocolate mixture, add salt and very gently whisk until smooth.


Fill crust with chocolate custard; put tart pan on a baking sheet. Carefully transfer to oven and bake at 275 F. until edges of custard are set but center is still jiggle about 35 minutes. Set pie on a wire rack to cool. sprinkle with reserved pistachios. Serve at room temperature.



Author’s notes

* Of course I did not use Sicilian pistachios, regular kind is fine. Due to lack of time, I also used a store bought crust. Happy ending nonetheless…

Tale 2



On Tuesday night, I attend Church’s Relief Society Christmas Party- this is a women only gathering. “My favorite things” was the theme. You’re supposed to bring your favorite whatever thing for exchange gift. Brainstorming, what  should I bring, my husband announced that he is busy tonight and I can’t bring him to the party. OK, OK. My second favorite is oil painting but I can’t paint in one day, so my third favorite thing  to do is cooking. I made this cup cake using a Japanese cup cake cook book. Closely following this recipe, I only produced  8 cupcakes. I should have known. Next time I have to double the recipe.

第一章 – The base

  • Unsalted butter 50g at room temperature
  • Sugar 80g
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • Lemon rind -  about 1 teaspoon
  • A pinch of salt
  • Milk 60ml
  • Flour 100g – sifted with 1 teaspoon of baking powder 
  1. In a electric mixer, cream butter at medium speed. Add sugar.
  2. Add salt, egg and lemon rind, mix until smooth.
  3. Add half of milk and mix.
  4. Add half of flour mixture a little at a time scraping the side of bowl once in a while.
  5. Add the rest of the milk a little at a time. Then add rest of flour mixture a little at a time, mix well until smooth.
  6. Spoon into cup cake pan lined with paper and bake at 340 F for 20 to 25 minutes until golden color, remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

第二章- Lemon curd

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Sugar 50g
  • Butter 20g
  • Lemon juice 30ml
  • A pinch of salt
Put everything in a small sauce pan, cook while stirring with whisk, stop the cooking before full boil. Strain the curd if you like more smooth texture.


With a spoon, spread lemon curd on the cooled cake. Whip 200g of heavy cream with 1 table spoon sugar, 1 teaspoon of lemon extract if you have one until peak, Pipe on top of lemon curd.


This cup cake and the made-in-Japan spatula were ‘My Favorite Things’ gift exchange items. The lady who got my gift ate it on the spot and loved it. Sweet success. Just need to remember to take pictures of the process next time.


  1. This is hilarious. I was laughing so hard.
    And I really want to make both of those things right this second. It's okay to eat chocolate at 10:40 at night, right?

  2. Ooo - hard to choose, but I'm a cake girl. LOVE it.

  3. お疲れ様でした。Both those deserts look amazing. And now I know where I get the whole "scrape off any store made frosting off the cupcake" thing. Thanks dad, I'm sure Amanda is grateful you've helped save me from type II diabetes.

  4. what a fun post. I really wish you were here in Hawaii right now. I'm in love with Mozely.