Friday, December 30, 2011

From one obsession to another

Now that my quince obsession has been quenched (sort of), it has move on to another, making jam. It has all the fitting of something I would obsess about--something old-fashion, long and somewhat complicated process, handmade and can be experimental. So now I'm a bit jam crazy.

The funny thing is I don't usually eat jam or jelly, too sweet. But I like using it in cookies or recently have been using it as filling for my cakes and cupcakes. I've been envisioning what groupings I can make with cake flavors and jams.

My jam list is beginning to grow. So far I have: quince [done--need to wait for next year], raspberry[done last weekend for holiday gifts], blackberries were a good deal @ costco and some kind of citrus fruit [I have grapefruit in refrig and I just bought meyer lemons] marmalade.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Test Baking

UPDATE: I found the where I got the pear tat recipe. Here's the link: And made a second one for the restaurant, pears not as ripe. Would have been better if I waited a couple days. My suggestions is to wait to the pears are really ripe, like "juice run down your arm if you bite into" ripe. It will totally be worth it.

Been testing a few things past few months when I can fit things into restaurant baking schedule. A few needs more testing, one winner on first try. I'm sure the people at work are happy with me testing as many recipes as I can. Got a few pictures to share.

Pear Tart [looks more like a cake]
Been wanting to try out this recipe for ages. Simple, with the minimum of ingredients and I had the perfectly ripen pears for it. The problem is I can't remember where I got this recipe. I'm trying my best to find because it was such a hit at work.

It's has 3 very ripe anjou pears cut into 8ths then smushed into this buttery batter. It takes a long time to bake (about an hour) and in the beginning I thought it was a disaster. Batter looked so soupy from all the juice of the pears, the batter wasn't rising and it wasn't browning. But then about 1/2 way into the baking time, the batter start enveloping the pears and the browning begins. The finish result is a cake-like tart with creamy, custardy, chucky pear center. So delicious.
Pear tart cake

Cooking measurements

Just in case, you ever never to convert measurements, I just found this site to help me figure out approx. how much sugar was in my sweet potato pie per slice. Cool.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Quince Obsession

UPDATE: I just realized I never said what it tasted like. When it was cooking up, the smell was very wine-y and intense. The taste is very hard to describe--sweet, wine, port, prunes are few words that come to my mind when I taste it. But the taste isn't intense like what the smell when it was cooking up. Texture is a little chunky. I can see how it would go well with some cheese as the Spanish would do.

has been quiet, in the background of my ever crazy mind since I heard the story on npr [Reading up on it, find bath products scented with it, never in the stores, never getting to the farmers' market to see if they have any]. I recently spotted a lonely scrubby quince tree near my route to the restaurant and have been plotting how I could pick me some [on private property, no where to park without getting noticed]. So when someone at work told me she got some from our office fruit/veggie people, I jumped at the chance to buy some.

If you never heard or seen a quince, it looks like a bumpy pear/apple in a yellow green color as you can see above. It's scent is incredible when it is ripe, can be almost too sweet of a scent. It can't be eaten raw, tastes horrible. But has lots of pectin in it, to make it perfect for jams and jellies. Now I have  2 lbs in my hands and I will cook up some jam this weekend to add to vanilla cake or maybe some Earl Grey Tea cake with vanilla buttercream.