Tag Archives: Martha Stewart

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I wanted to do something special for my mom, as we all do.  My parents moved to Ottawa when I was in university and have since retired and have spent most of their time traveling the world.  While I’m super happy that they’re healthy and able to do so, they aren’t around for most holidays and I only see them a few times a year. I miss them a lot and Mother’s Day is no exception.  But this year my parents were going to be in town, so I want to go all out!  Except…I’m in between contracts at the moment and am on a tight budget.  All the fancy high tea spots are ch-ching!  So, I decided to do my own tea party at home.  Time to bust open my go-to baking book: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.  I decided to tackle her Petits Fours recipe: mini almond cakes covered in a white chocolate glaze.  I’ll show you how to make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours…or at least, how I tried to make them…

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

The first problem I faced was that I couldn’t find almond paste anywhere.  I guess it’s more of a specialty baking ingredient?  But none of the major supermarkets in Toronto had this paste.  So, I made some myself and it was quick and easy.  I found this recipe on the Taste of Home site – now I need to find more desserts that use almond paste ’cause I have a whole block of the stuff!

Making the almond cake went smoothly.  I made sure my butter was at room temperature, and carefully added the ingredients one at a time.  I timed the butter exactly for two minutes and the mixture became nice and fluffy.  I used a big spatula when adding the yolks and vanilla and added the flour in three parts.  Things were going well!

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

For the next step, I started to feel intimidated…egg whites!  Peaks and foam!  But I had faith in my trusted Kitchen Aid mixer and soon I saw some foamy whites start to form.  I carefully added the sugar and low and behold – peaks!  Ever so gently I folded a third of this fluffy mixture into the egg yolk mixture and then spread it evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. I made sure to rotate the pan halfway, and out came a heavenly almond cake!

Man, I love the smell of almond.  Everything smells so lovely, like a sweet, nutty dream.  I could just close my eyes, and take a wonderful cozy, nap…

But there is still more work to do!

The next step is the chocolate part.  As in, the most expensive ingredient that I CANNOT BURN part. The glaze was actually the easy step, because the cream is poured over the chocolate to melt it. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled by this point or they will melt the chocolate!  I found glazing the cakes to be a bit tricky.  Even though I worked quickly, my glaze was pretty thick.  It tasted delish, but I don’t know how to get the glaze thin and evenly spooned over the cakes.  In the photos her glaze looks almost transparent.  I almost feel as though it would be easier to dip them?  But in any case, my cakes are glazed.

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

The final step was to make the white chocolate cut outs.  I found this stage to be the most difficult, and gosh darn it I did end up burning some chocolate!  Luckily there was a lot leftover but initially I had wanted to make blue and pink Petits Fours.  The blue unfortunately turned a little, urm darker then I would have liked.  Do not let your eyes off the chocolate people!  Work quickly and stir, stir, stir!  

This part is tricky because you need to keep the chocolate warm enough to work with, and not burn it.  I would advise to stick to one colour and try to avoid fiddling around with the tint.  Just melt the chocolate until the texture is smooth and runny, tint and pour.  My shapes turned out a bit too thick because I was trying to get the “perfect shade of pink” so by the time I poured into the pan the chocolate had cooled quite a bit.

However, the other issue is that if the chocolate is two thin, the shapes will crack.  The shapes that worked out best for me were the thicker ones.  Whenever I tried to cut out thinner areas the chocolate would break.  I think the problem was that I might have chilled the sheet of chocolate for too long. I would recommend chilling for no longer then 10 minutes, so hopefully this way you can have thin cut outs that will hold.

For the finishing touch you can use some Royal Icing to design pretty patterns on top.  I thought the cakes were sweet enough and I liked the cool textured patterns that the chocolate created.

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

Ta-Da!  There you have it – some delightful Petits Fours for your Mother’s Day tea party.  No problem right?  Phew!  That was actually quite a lot of work.  Martha likes to keep you on your toes!  And how do they taste?  Well I absolutely LOVE the almond cake.  Yum, yum, yum, I had to restrain myself from eating all the cut out remains!  The white chocolate glaze in addition to the cut outs does make this a very sweet dessert.  Personally, I would be happy with just the glaze, but then again, I also have to perfect my glazing and cutout skills.

 

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours
Print

Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

These delectable little almond cakes are topped with white chocolate and are a pretty addition to any tea party.

Course Dessert, Tea Party
Cuisine French
Prep Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 36 cakes
Author Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup) room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond paste (not marzipan)
  • 6 large eggs separated
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds white chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • White Chocolate Cutouts
  • Royal Icing, for decorating

For the White Chocolate Cutouts

  • 2 1/4 pounds best-quality white chocolate finely chopped
  • liquid or gel-paste food colouring

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter a 17x 12" baking sheet and line with parchment paper.  Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping off the excess.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 1/4 cups sugar and the almond paste on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add butter, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla; mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.

  3. Prep sugar.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy.  With the mixer running, gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and beat until soft peaks form.  Add a third of the egg-white mixture to the egg-yolk mixture and fold with a whisk.  Gently fold in remaining whites.

  4. Spread batter evenly on prepared sheet, and bake, turning pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

  5. Invert the cake onto a large work surface, and peel off parchment paper.  Using assorted 2-inch cookie cutters, cut out cakes.  Place cakes on wire racks set over rimmed baking sheets; set aside.

  6. Place the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour over white chocolate, and let sit for 1 minute.  Stir until mixture is smooth.  Spoon melted chocolate over cakes, letting some run down the sides; spread with a small offset spatula to coat completely.  Transfer glazed cakes to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  Place a White Chocolate Cutouts on top of each cake; decorate with Royal Icing, if desired.  Cakes can be refiderated in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

White Chocolate Cutouts

  1. Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment; set aside.  In a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water, melt white chocolate, stirring constantly.  Divide melted chocolate evenly among three small bowls; tint each with food colouring to desired shade.  Pour a coloured chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it with an offset spatula into a layer about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to the refrigerator; chill until chocolate is firm, 10-15 minutes.  Repeat with remaining coloured chocolates.

  2. Working with one colour at a time, cut out shapes; leave shapes in place on the sheet.  (If chocolate is still soft in any area, return to the fridge to harden, 1-2 minutes).  Refrigerate until completely firm.  Separate the shapes from borders with a small offset spatula.  (Scraps can be discarded or remelted and used again.) Cutouts can be refrigerated, between sheets or parchment paper, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all those amazing moms out there!  It’s a hard job and I greatly admire all my friends who have taken on the responsibility.  You deserve all the Petits Fours in the world!

 Have you made Petits Fours before?  Can you give me some tips?  How did you find glazing the cakes?  Did your cutouts crack?  

What did you make your mom for Mother’s Day, I want to know!

Phantasm Pasta Birthday Dinner

Phantasm Birthday Dinner: duck terrine bruschetta, homemade spinach linguine with sausage broccoli basil sauce

Phantasm Birthday Dinner: duck terrine bruschetta, homemade spinach linguine with sausage broccoli basil sauce

For my boyfriend’s birthday, I wanted to make him something special.  He often jokes that I haven’t made him homemade pasta since our third date.  He is half Italian, so I was totally trying to impress him, and I guess it worked!  In any case, I decided to bring out the pasta maker for his birthday.  My go-to recipe is Martha Stewart’s spinach pasta, which I turn into linguine.  The dough is very easy to make, the pasta is a bit time consuming but it’s SO worth it.  The difference between box pasta and fresh pasta is like night and day.  Make sure you have a lot of baking sheets, wire racks and wax paper handy – you need plenty of space to lay out and dry the sheets of pasta in between each stage.  Be careful not to over boil fresh pasta, it only needs a few minutes before the noodles starts to float to surface.

Martha Stewart's Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough

51

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 1 pound fresh pasta dough

Martha Stewart's Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 block of frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • coarse salt

Instructions

  1. Squeeze out excess liquid from spinach using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Puree with hand blender or food processor.
  2. Add eggs and yolk to puree in food processor and process until combined. Or us a mixer on the lowest setting. Add flour and 1 heaping teaspoon salt, and process until dough just comes together, about 20 seconds (10 seconds in the mixer).
  3. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes, adding up to 2 tablespoons flour if dough is too sticky, or a tablespoon water if dough is too dry. Place on a piece of parchment, and cover with an inverted bowl, or wrap tightly in plastic; let rest for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Cut dough into 8 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (keep the remaining pieces covered with the inverted bowl), flatten dough into an oblong shape slightly thinner than the pasta machine's widest setting (number 1). Dust dough very lightly with flour, and feed through machine. Fold lengthwise into thirds and rotate 90 degrees. Repeat twice on same setting to smooth dough and increase its elasticity.
  5. Turn the dial to next narrower setting. Pass dough through twice, gently supporting it with your palm. Continue to press dough, passing it through ever-finer settings, two passes on each setting, until sheet is almost translucent and very thin but still intact (number 5 of 8 on a KitchenAid pasta roller). The dough will stretch to about 16 inches long. If dough bubbles or tears, pass it through again, and dust with flour if the dough is sticking.
  6. Place dough on a drying rack until slightly tacky, 10 to 15 minutes, and then use a pasta machine or cutting attachment to cut into strands. Drape over rack until strands are semi-dry and won't stick together, about 20 minutes.
  7. Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil.
  8. Shake pasta loose and gently place in boiling water using tongs. Cook approximately 1.5-2 minutes or until pasta floats to surface.
  9. Remove from water and drain immediately. Toss pasta with some olive oil.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/05/02/phantasm-pasta-birthday-dinner/

My boyfriend is a big horror fan, but had never seen Phantasm, a must-see horror cult classic.  So I added the film to the menu.  When Phantasm was released in 1979, the film was ahead of it’s time in terms of how bizarre and surreal the premise was.  Two orphaned brothers live in a small town in Oregon that is plagued by mysterious deaths.  The local ice cream vendor Reggie, teams up with the brothers to pursue their suspicions that the local mortician, nicknamed the Tall Man is the one responsible for the unexplained deaths, including the deaths of their parents.  Throughout their investigation they are pursued by shrunken dwarf-like minions, discover a gateway to another planet and try to take down the Tall Man without getting killed by flying Sentinel Spheres.  These flying, metallic spheres contain the shrunken brains of the Tall Man’s victims that allow them to be controlled with his mind, and kill whomever is in their path with any number of drills, blades and lasers.

The film was a labour of love for the director, Don Coscarelli who also wrote, shot and edited the film.  The budget was estimated at $300,000 and was filmed over weekends for a year, with the script changing frequently or being re-written on set.  The process was as indie as you can get with even Coscarelli’s mother helping out with costumes, special effects and makeup.  Despite the film’s many flaws, Phantasm became a cult film because of the way it dealt with the themes of death and mourning, themes that were unexplored in horror at the time, and for the use of iconic imagery from Angus Scrimm’s haunting portrayal of the Tall Man to his uniquely deadly Sentinel Spheres.

For appetizers I drizzled some olive oil over a toasted French baguette and topped it with duck terrine and a tomato, lemon, basil & olive oil mixture. I served the spinach linguine with a tomato based sauce that included broccoli, sausage and basil.  I paired our dinner with a Hillier Creek Estates 2012 Gamay Noir – a bottle I had been saving for a special occasion.  This slightly sweet Gamay paired well with the bruschetta, and the ripe acidity cut through the richness of the pasta sauce with hints of black pepper and blackberry tying the whole meal together.

We had a fun, relaxing evening and my boyfriend loved his special birthday dinner.  One can never go wrong with homemade pasta, the Tall Man, flying hooded dwarves and deadly drilling spheres!

 

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

With the holidays just around the corner, I started planning out my Christmas gift list. My parents are easy – Scotch or beer for my dad and a facial or pedicure for my mother. They’re in the process of moving so I really didn’t want to add to their junk! But my boyfriend has a big family with quite a few elderly who are staying away from sugar so my homemade jam was off the list. I had to think of something else to make them, a treat that would be yummy but not too sweet.

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart’s Banana-Nut Bread from her Baking Handbook cookbook. To make the loaf a bit healthier, I altered and replaced many of the ingredients adding oats and flax seed for fiber and sweetening with brown sugar, maple syrup and applesauce. I also brought out the coconut flavour by using coconut oil and coconut milk. The resulting banana bread tastes wholesome with just enough sweetness to make it a treat. Firm, moist with hints of maple and coconut this banana bread is a nutritious gift to give to those who can’t completely indulge in the holiday season.

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Healthy Maple         Coconut       Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup milled flax seeds
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cups packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 113g unsweetened apple sauce (snack pack)
  • ½ cup organic coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure coconut extract
  • 2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9x5” loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, rolled oats, flax seeds, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, maple syrup, apple sauce and coconut oil on medium-low speed until combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Add the coconut and maple syrup extracts, banana and almond milk. Beat until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into loaf pan and evenly smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 60 minutes , rotating pan halfway through until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and cool completely. Banana bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic for up to a week.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2015/11/02/healthy-maple-coconut-banana-bread/

 

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

What are you making the ones you love this holiday season?

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread