Monday, August 20, 2018

French Raspberry Tart (#Pieathalon)

French Raspberry Tart | Tortillas and Honey

I was thrilled to be invited to participate in this year's 5th Annual Pieathalon! The premise of this Pieathalon is to make recipes from cookbooks that were published before 1990. I loved the challenge of not only being assigned a random recipe, but also the challenge of finding a cookbook pre-1990 as well as a recipe that I think would be translate well and interesting to modern eaters in order to submit for someone to be assigned to make and post. I have only a couple cookbooks that were published pre-1990, but I decided on my Grandma Veronica's The Pillsbury Family Cookbook which was published in 1963-- the recipe, Frosty Vanilla Pie, was assigned to the Battenburg Belle if you want to check it out at her blog!

5th Annual Pieathalon

The recipe that I was selected to make was French Raspberry Pie from The New York Times Cookbook, published in 1961, selected by Wendy from A Day on the Life at the Farm.

When I decided to make the recipe, I was a little concerned that the custard may not set, which is totally fine for eating (!), but a little traumatizing for a food blogger. I made this a couple weeks ago and, to my horror, the custard did not set. The pie was absolutely gorgeous and the raspberries looked like little jewels, but once I cut into the pie, the custard ran all over the plate. And my photos of the pie sliced hilariously looked like slices of pizza!

So I set out to make the pie again this weekend, which was scrunched into a massively busy weekend (girls night for a friend's birthday, a day trip to the lake, attending the Jonny Lang and Buddy Guy concert, and attending a friend's birthday party)! The back of my mind for the entire weekend was whether the custard was going to set and what I would do if I couldn't get it to thicken up. Then I thought, okay, mini custard tarts! They're small and elegant-looking where I could get away with not cutting into the tart.

The custard is luscious and is beautifully offset by the tartness of the raspberries and the currant jelly. All of the flavors work so incredibly well in this pie, my family stated that this is one of their favorite new recipes (also keeping in mind this is while they were eating version with the runny custard). So runny custard or not, this is a recipe that aims to please your taste buds! And if you're looking to impress visually, I suggest making them as mini individual tarts, which you see in the photos here.

To look at the other pie contributions, please take a look at the blogs below:

French Raspberry Tart | Tortillas and Honey

French Raspberry Tart | Tortillas and Honey

French Raspberry Tart | Tortillas and Honey

French Raspberry Tart | Tortillas and Honey

French Raspberry Tart | Tortillas and Honey

French Raspberry Tart | Tortillas and Honey

French Raspberry Tart | Tortillas and Honey

French Raspberry Tart
From New York Times Cookbook, 1961

2 c. milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 c. heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
8 miniature tart shells, baked (or 9-inch tart or pie shell, baked)
1 pint raspberries (about 2 cups)
6-oz. jar red currant jelly

In a double broiler or over low heat, scald the milk to 180 F degrees in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla extract.

Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add a little of the scalded milk, stirring until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the saucepan and continue to cook over low heat until the mixture is thickened.

Whisk together the egg yolks and whole egg. Add a little of the hot flour/milk mixture and stir until smooth. Add the egg mixture back to the hot flour/milk mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. The mixture should look like a thick pudding.

Remove from heat, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl, and cool completely.

Once the custard is cooled, fold in the whipped cream. Spoon custard evenly into baked tart shell(s).

Melt the jelly over low heat until melted, then pour or brush the jelly evenly over the raspberries. Chill for several hours until ready to serve.

Makes 8 servings

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Blitz Torte (#TheLostFamilySupperClub)

Blitz Torte | Tortillas and Honey

As you may have noticed, the blog has been on an unanticipated hiatus! I will share a little more in a separate upcoming post, but I am honored to come back to you while participating in #TheLostFamilySupperClub celebrating Jenna Blum's new novel "The Lost Family."

"The Lost Family" is centered around restaurant owner, chef, and Holocaust survivor, Peter Rashkin, who lost his first wife and twin daugthers during World War II. Peter relocated to the United States and eventually opened up Masha's and then the Claremont restaurants. Peter's haunted past not only affects him, but also affects his new wife (June) and daughter (Elsbeth) in which the novel details each of their struggles which are all connected to Peter and his past.

The Lost Family | Jenna Blum

When trying to decide on what to make, I wanted something that Peter may serve in his restaurants that either would be a nod to his German heritage or something to reflect what folks would serve when entertaining company. Looking at the Masha's menus, I was drawn towards Masha's Torte which was an inside-out German chocolate cake but decided against it because chocolate cakes are really finicky in New Mexico's high altitude. Then I settled on and originally made an apple riesling cake, which was a great idea but it failed miserably.

So I opened my grandmother's first edition copy of "Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book" which was published around the time of Masha's. (Ironically, "Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book" was also quoted in Jenna's novel.) I found a recipe for Blitz Torte or Lightning Cake which, when researching, is believed to originate from Germany or Austria and also become popular due to the very cookbook where I got the recipe! This was the recipe to make for this book! As soon as the cake came out of the oven, I knew this recipe was going to be divine and I had made the right choice. The cake layers were thin with a beautiful meringue layer on top with a luscious custard layer in the middle..

The cake is relatively easy to make and everything is made from scratch. The cake batter only takes minutes to prepare while the meringue takes a little longer but is extremely worth the extra effort. While the cake bakes and cools, you can make your custard, and when everything is assembled and complete, you have a cake that shines which Peter would be proud to serve in his restaurants.

Please try out this cake whether you want to impress yourself or others! And please check out Jenna's The Lost Family and #TheLostFamilySupperClub to see what other bloggers are contributing for her novel!

Blitz Torte | Tortillas and Honey

Blitz Torte | Tortillas and Honey

Blitz Torte | Tortillas and Honey

Blitz Torte | Tortillas and Honey

Blitz Torte | Tortillas and Honey

Blitz Torte | Tortillas and Honey

Blitz Torte | Tortillas and Honey

Blitz Torte | Tortillas and Honey

Blitz Torte
from Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook, 1st edition (pages 231-232)

For the cake:
1/2 c. soft shortening
3/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
4 large egg yolks, well beaten
1 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. milk
1/2 c. sliced almonds, for sprinkling
2 Tbs. granulated sugar, for sprinkling

For the meringue:
4 large egg whites
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar

For the custard:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole milk
4 egg yolks (or two large eggs), beaten
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.

For the cake:
Prepare two 8-inch cake pans, by greasing bottom of pans, lining each bottom with parchment paper, then greasing and flouring the parchment and sides of the pan.

Mix the shortening and powdered sugar together thoroughly in a large bowl, then beat in the egg yolks. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the milk until incorporated.

Split the batter between the two prepared cake pans, and set aside. The batter should be very thick.

For the meringue:
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy using the whisk attachment. Then gradually beat in the powdered and granulated sugar. Continue to beat the mixture on high speed 5-10 minutes until the meringue forms; it should be thick and shiny, forming soft peaks. (Note: you can also add in some cream of tartar if the meringue has a hard time coming together.)

Spread half the meringue over batter in each of the pans. Sprinkle the almonds and granulated sugar equally over the meringues.

Bake 35-40 minutes until the meringue is set and the cake is cooked. Set aside to cool completely. While the cakes bake and cool, make the custard.

For the custard:
In a medium saucepan, mix together sugar, salt, and flour. Stir in milk and cook over low heat until mixture comes to a boil, and boil for one minute. Remove from heat.

Stir in about 1/4 cup of the custard into the beaten egg yolks and stir well. Mix the egg mixture back into the custard and bring custard back to a boil. Remove from heat again, add vanilla, and cool completely.

To assemble:
Carefully remove one of the cakes from its pan, making sure to remove the parchment paper, and place it meringue side-up on a cake plate. Spread the custard evenly over the bottom layer of the cake. Then carefully remove the second cake from its pan, making sure to remove the parchment paper, and place it meringue side-up on top of the bottom cake layer and custard layer. Place in fridge until ready to serve.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tonkatsu (#JapaneseHomeCooking)

Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey

This week, bloggers along with myself are celebrating the release of Masaharu Morimoto’s new cookbook “Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking” with a #Japanese HomeCooking Blog Party, which is being sponsored by authors of The Book Club Cook Book.

Morimoto acknowledges that people are intimidated by Japanese cooking and provides tips and encouragement. Morimoto also provides some history of cuisine and his relationship with Japanese food. Japanese food incorporates different cultures into its cuisine and they love to do renditions of different types of food, which you can see reflected in his book.

I love that Morimoto shows his readers how to make the perfect white rice. Even though I’m part Chinese and Filipino, I’m not that good at making rice. Until now. While I thought the secret was rinsing the rice until the water runs clear (which is part of it), I think the real secret is letting the rice dry out after rinsing and before cooking. I can now make a pot of rice that I can be proud of, which isn’t mushy or sticking to the bottom of the pan!

While Morimoto considers rice to be a staple in his cookbook, I also would like to add dashi or kelp dashi as a staple to his cookbook. Several of his recipes use dashi, which only takes about 15 minutes to make and I’m looking forward to learning how to make it so I can cook my way through the book.

For this post, I was debating between two recipes, tonkatsu or the Japanese-style curry, because both recipes bring back fond memories! But I ultimately decided on tonkatsu because of the ease of the recipe and lack of time as I was preparing to leave for vacation.

I grew up eating Japanese-style curry, which my parents used to make and Morimoto’s recipe is nearly the exact recipe I grew up with. Because my dad is from Hawaii, he grew up eating this curry and so I grew up eating this curry. Hawaii, like Japan, is influenced by many different cultures in its cuisine. The only reason I decided against making this recipe is that it calls for curry-roux blocks, which contain wheat, and I did not have the time to make this recipe gluten-free before I left on vacation. I was able to find Japanese curry powder, which I plan on using to adapt this recipe in the future so that it’s gluten-free. 

Tonkatsu was my favorite meal while visiting Japan 10 years ago (along with Japanese ramen). One of my best friends, Nicole, and her now husband, Lucas, both lived there for two years and I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to visit them for a week and a half. They introduced me to tonkatsu my very first day and we ate it nearly every day I was there. The sauces were all slightly different, but my favorite restaurant was where we could choose the types of sauces and crush our own sesame seeds. You crush sesame seeds in this recipe, which reminds me of my visit to Japan. You can even provide your guests a mortar and pestle for them to crush their own seeds and add as many as they’d like! It’s a simple interactivity with your food that makes it a little fun.

Nicole and me in Nara, Japan (2006)

Nicole and Lucas preparing their tonkatsu sauce

Tonkatsu, one of our favorite meals in Japan

What I like about tonkatsu is that while the recipe itself isn’t really versatile, you can use the fried cutlet in other recipes. Morimoto uses leftover tonkatsu in his Katsu Don recipe, which is a pork cutlet and egg rice bowl. And while I was in Japan, one of the restaurants we went to poured Japanese-style curry on the cutlet with rice instead of serving it with tonkatsu sauce. For this recipe, I used gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and it was very successful!

Another recipe that is used throughout this cookbook is his teriyaki sauce. While Morimoto offers a traditional chicken teriyaki recipe, he also uses the sauce to make a chicken teriyaki spaghetti, steak bowls with spicy teriyaki sauce, chicken meatballs with teriyaki sauce, and slow cooked pork belly with beer-teriyaki sauce.

My only wish for this cookbook is that the steam and stir fry sections were a little bit longer because they only contained three or four recipes. But that’s my only complaint, if that can even be considered a complaint.  

Please check out the rest of the #JapaneseHomeCooking Blog Party to see what other bloggers are contributing for this cookbook!

Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey

Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey

Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey

Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey

Tonkatsu (Japanese Fried Pork Cutlet)
from "Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking" by Masaharu Morimoto, pgs. 215-217

For the cutlets:
Vegetable oil for deep-frying (about 10 cups-- I only used about 2 cups)
4 1/2-inch thick pork loin cutlets, preferably with fat cap attached
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
About 1 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free panko works)
About 1 c. all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour works)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 c. very thinly sliced white cabbage
lemon wedges, for serving

For the tonkatsu sauce:
1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds
1/2 c. seeded, cored, finely chopped canned whole tomatoes
3 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. molasses (not blackstrap)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste

For the cutlets:
Pour about 2 inches of vegetable oil into a medium pot and set it over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 F on a deep-fry thermometer.

Use the tip of a sharp knife to score the cutlets, making about a dozen short, shallow cuts all over each side. This keeps the cutlets from curling when they fry. Season both sides lightly with salt and pepper.

Put the panko, flour, and eggs into three separate wide bowls. Working with one cutlet at a time, add it to the flour and turn to coat it, shaking off any excess. Transfer it to the egg and turn to coat, letting any excess egg drip off. Finally, transfer it to the panko, turning to coat well and piling on some of the panko and pressing lightly with your hands. The goal is to get as much panko to adhere as you can. Transfer the breaded cutlets to a plate and repeat with the remaining cutlets. Discard any leftover flour, egg, and panko.

Soak the cabbage in icy water for 10 minutes and drain well.

Just before you fry, stir the oil well. Fry the cutlets two at a time, adjusting the heat it necessary to maintain the oil temperature and turning the pieces over occasionally, until the cutlets are golden brown and crispy, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and fry the remaining cutlets. Let the cutlets rest for a few minutes, then cut them into 3/4-inch slices and serve with cabbage, lemon, and sauce for dipping.

For the tonkatsu sauce:
Put the sesame seeds in a medium pan, set over medium heat, and toast, stirring and tossing frequently, until thy're a few shades darker, about 3 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and let them cool.

Combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a small saucepan, stir, and set over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors come together, about 10 minutes. Season to taste. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and let it come to room temperature. It keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week.

When you're ready to serve, pound the seeds to a powder in a mortar or grind them in a spice grinder and serve in a bowl at the table, instructing your guests to mix the paste into the sauce to taste.

Tonaksu makes 4 servings, sauce makes 3/4 cup


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