Shortbread cookies

7 ½ oz. (1 and 2/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

6 oz. (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-in pieces

3 tablespoons honey

1 drop pure Lavender oil, or Bergamot or Sweet Orange

1 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Lightly butter a 9 ½-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, briefly pulse the flour and sugar.
  3. Add the butter and pulse until incorporated and the mixture is sandy and uniform.
  4. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan with your fingers. There will be some loose crumbs around the edges, but most of the dough should be solid and compact. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  5. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350F. Make holes all over the cookie dough by using a fork. Bake the shortbread until golden in the center, 35-40 minutes.
  6. Heat the honey in the microwave until warm and liquid but not boiling, about 10 seconds. Add the oil of your choice. Pour the honey over the shortbread and spread with a pastry brush over the entire surface. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the honey.
  7. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the shortbread cool slightly, about 15 minutes. While still warm, remove the tart pan ring and cut the shortbread into squares using a sharp knife. Cool completely before serving.

Pacanes grillées au gingembre

Ingrédients

2 lbs                  moitiés de pacanes

250 ml              blancs d’oeufs (disponible prêt à l’emploi dans plusieurs épiceries)

1 ½  tasse         sucre blanc

1 ½  tasse         gingembre frais râpé (environ 3 grosses racines)

Préparation

  1. Faire chauffer le four a 250F.
  2. Peler et râper (au robot ou à la main mais là attention aux éraflures !) le gingembre. Pour un goût plus piquant, employez plus de gingembre.
  3. Dans un grand bol, faire mousser légèrement les blancs d’oeufs.
  4. Ajouter le sucre et le gingembre, bien mélanger.
  5. Ajouter les moitiés de pacanes et bien mélanger de sorte que chaque moitié de pacane soit bien humectée du mélange.
  6. Recouvrir une tôle à biscuit de papier d’aluminium (à moins que vous aimiez frotter pendant des heures !).
  7. Disposer uniformément les noix humectées sur la tôle.
  8. Mettre au four.
  9. Remuer régulièrement aux 5 minutes de façon à bien faire sécher les noix. Le temps de cette opération peut varier. Ne pas trop s’éloigner du four vers la fin car les noix peuvent facilement brûler à ce moment de la cuisson.
  10. Retirer du four, laissez refroidir. Une fois séchées, les noix peuvent se conserver dans des sacs ou récipients hermétiques.

Apple Cheesecake

Ingredients

500 grams          cream cheese (that’s two 250gr packages, please do not use the light version!)

¾ cup                  sugar

1                            egg yolk

1 tea spoon         vanilla extract (the white extract, but brown will do otherwise)

2 or 3                   apples, peeled, halved and sliced (about ½ in thick slices)

½ cup                  sugar

to taste                 cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

1                             Graham cracker pie crust from the always-reliable Keebler Elves

Directions

  1. I recommend taking the cream cheese out of the fridge and its wrapper about 1 hour before doing this, it makes it easier but will still be good otherwise.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. In food processor, whip cream cheese, yolk, sugar and vanilla extract until you reach a smooth, lump-free consistency.
  4. As cream cheese is processing, place apple slices in bowl with sugar and spices. Mix so to cover slices with the spice/sugar.
  5. Poor cream cheese mixture in pie crust, arrange apple slices on top.
  6. Bake for 30 min or until nice and golden brown. Turn the oven off, let cool and serve.

Chocolate Half Baked Cake

Serves 10-15 (depends on the appetite and sweet tooth of your guests!)

This has to be one of the easiest chocolate cakes to make. It takes all but 10 minutes to prepare, exactly 17 minutes to bake, but you need to let it rest at least 3 hours before serving. So best to make it in the morning and enjoy it with friends at dinnertime.

You will need:

500 grams of bitter sweet chocolate*

300 ml butter (a bit more than half a pound)**

500 ml sugar (about 2 cups, less if you like it less sweet)

8 eggs

125 ml flour (about ¾ cup) sifted

*   I use Cacao Barry’s 75% dark chocolate called Tanzania; it comes in easy to melt pellets. 18$ for 1Kg, available at Gourmet Laurier (1042 Laurier St. West, west of Park) and in some Première Moison stores.

**       I use salted butter, it adds a je-ne-sais quoi, but you can use unsalted if you want

  • Melt chocolate and butter in a double-boiler. Use a large enough bowl to be able to add other ingredients. When melted, remove from heat.
  • In separate bowl, mix eggs and sugar. Slowly add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate, mixing as you add. Then add sifted flour, mix well but do not over mix.
  • Pour in rectangular lasagna-like dish. I line mine with parchment paper that I spray with Pam, but you can simply grease and flour your baking dish and it will be fine. The parchment paper makes it easier and less messy to unmold the entire cake.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: make sure to leave a generous amount of batter in the bowl… half the fun is licking it… ya, just like when you were a kid!)
  • Bake at 425F for 5 minutes, then at 400 for 12 minutes. Do not over cook. Important:  Do not cut the cake when coming out of the over: at this point the center is still all liquid!
  • Remove and let cool for at least 3 hours before serving, can easily be made the night before.
  • For a slight twist: pour half the batter in dish, then spread thin layer of marmelade or raspberry jam over the batter, then pour remaining half of the batter.

Serving tip: you can serve with whipped cream. I like to serve mine with Bing cherries stewed for about 30 minutes with a bit of sugar, a cinnamon stick, and a split vanilla bean (remove cinnamon and bean before serving).

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 5 ounces (155 g) chopped semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (185 g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Garnish: chocolate curls

Instructions:

  1. For the Filling: In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the milk and chocolate. Whisk them occasionally until the chocolate is melted. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar, whisking them until pale yellow. Add cornstarch, salt and vanilla.
  2. Slowly pour the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking them well.
  3. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and cook over medium heat until it thickens and begins to bubble slowly, about 7 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir the mixture until it’s smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the chocolate filling into the cookie crust, and smooth it with a spatula. Cover it with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface, and refrigerate it for 2 hours.
  5. For the Chocolate Curls: Microwave a medium-size chunk of chocolate on low for about 5 seconds. Using a vegetable peeler, slowly and evenly scrape the edge of the chunk until curls form. (If it’s too cold, the peeler will make ragged shavings instead of curls, so repeat warming the chocolate as necessary.) Refrigerate the curls until ready to use.
  6. For the Topping: Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk (whip) attachment, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
  7. Spoon the whipped cream onto the pie, and use a spatula to spread it evenly, being careful not to disturb the chocolate pudding underneath.
  8. Decorate with chocolate curls.
  9. Refrigerate the pie until ready to serve, but let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.