Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I've been on a sable kick lately. In its simplest form, a sable is essentially a shortbread cookie delightfully crisp and crumbly. I've tried quite a few recipes but this is my favorite - from Michel Roux's Book of Pastry. I like how the addition of egg yolks contribute to an enriched flavour. And of course, the possibilities are endless - I've used some orange zest here, a vanilla bean, cranberries and macadamia nuts here but it would be equally good with coffee, chocolate chunks, rose petals etc.. For my next attempt, I will try some matcha tea with lemon - I adore this combination!

Recipe: (slightly adapted)

250 g plain flour
200 g butter, slightly softened.
110 g icing sugar
2 small egg yolks
zest of two oranges
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup macadamias
scraping from one vanilla bean

In a large bowl, put together first 4 ingredients stir with a wooden spoon, when dough starts to come together, use the heel of your hands to knead the mixture until it comes in a uniform mass. if it's too sticky, add a little extra flour. Toss in remaining ingredients. Shape into 2 logs, roll each log in parchment paper. Chill for a hour. Slice into 1/2 cm rounds with a sharp knife. Bake at 160 C for 15 min. If you like them crisper, bake for a little longer.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart.

I've been meaning to make a salted caramel dessert sometime lately but just didn't have the guts because making caramel involves cooking sugar and I don't have a candy thermometer and the last few attempts I had at making fudge and praline burned badly on the stove and the kitchen smelled a real mess.
I've been meaning to get a Thermopen thermometer said to be the most accurate on the market, but it's US$96 .. eek. Anyone who wants to send me a Christmas pressie is most welcome ;)
Anyway, back to this tart. I adapted the recipe briefly from saveur.com. I used a pate brisee base with a little cocoa powder; that was simpler to do. As for the sugar, I cooked it extremely slowly and watched it until it turned a light red-brown (as a cook suggested doing) before adding the butter and cream mixture. There was supposed to be only 3 g of salt in the recipe but by mistake, I added 15 g of salt! So my first batch of salted caramel was tossed into the bin.
This is a really divine tart, a great combination of flavors and definitely a keeper! If you've not tried salted caramel before, let me tell you it's one of those things I can eat any minute of the day hehe..