Maple Pumpkin Tart


Life. Is. Stressful. Between SAT studying, which is October 6th, being an editor for yearbook with deadlines looming ahead, and a paper due for my college english class, life is busy this weekend. So of course I have to take time and wind down. So I bake! And y’all get to see the results and make it for yourself!

Maple Pumpkin Tart with Shortbread Crust
Source: Hannaford Fresh Magazine

servings: serves 8
prep time: 25 minutes
cook time: 75 minutes

ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoon dark brown sugar, plus 1/4 cup
2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 each large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
15 oz canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

directions:

The requisite holiday pumpkin pie takes on a sophisticated look in the form of a tart. Make sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Tart may be frozen, tightly covered, then thawed in the refrigerator prior to serving.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie pan or a 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

2. Prepare crust. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla on medium speed until blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt and add to bowl. Mix on low speed just until dough forms crumbs and flour is blended, about 15 seconds.

3. Transfer crumbs to prepared pan. With clean dry hands, press dough smoothly and evenly onto bottom and sides of pan. Using a fork, prick top of dough lightly. Bake crust 15 to 18 minutes, until firm and lightly colored; edges should not begin to brown. Let crust cool for 20 minutes before filling. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

4. Make filling. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, brown sugar and maple syrup, until smooth. Add cream, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt, whisking just to incorporate. Use a whisk to blend pumpkin in thoroughly. Pour into partially baked crust.

5. Bake tart until filling is just set in center and edges are firm, about 52 to 57 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours up to overnight. To serve, carefully slide a small knife around edges of crust to loosen it. Serve chilled or at room temperature, topping each slice with a drizzle of maple syrup and a spoonful of whipped cream, if desired.

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American Cancer Society: Cupcake Competition



Yay!!!! I won my first cupcake competition!


The Judging Room


My pecan pie cupcakes in the judging room.


A youth contestant named Jacob Eagle made these “spaghetti and meatball cupcakes”. He entered the “Special Occasion” category.


Yummy Shrimp and Grits cupcakes made by an Amateur Contestant


Vegan Strawberry Cupcakes made by Whole Foods

Mushroom Kale Rice Bowl


I have been on a vegetarian kick this week if you haven’t noticed. It is just too hot here in South Carolina to sit down to a meal of meat and mashed potatoes. And honestly, I’m not feeling meat lately (sorry to my meat lover followers). The vegetarian dishes I’ve been making this week have been SO good and it doesn’t have anything weird in it like tofu (sorry to my tofu lovers but it is a little too bouncy for me). Anyways what I am trying to say is that I think many people would love this if they would venture out a little and try some awesome veggie dishes!

Also, as you may have noticed, I plated my dish without rice. I was really hungry, ok? It was good with out, but if you need some extra carbs to fill you up, go ahead and eat the rice with it!

Mushroom Kale Rice Bowl
Adapted from: Blog Babble

Serves 4
4 cups cooked white rice
2 bunches of kale, chopped
2 portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt/pepper for mushrooms
2 tbsp peanuts

Prepare rice in rice cooker and cook according to directions. Slice portabella mushrooms and chop up kale. In a large soup pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add kale over medium high until done (not too soggy, not too crunchy) Prepare Spicy Peanut Sauce (below). In a skillet, saute onions in 1 tbsp olive oil until tender. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender. Add salt and pepper and toss in pan.

Spicy Peanut Sauce
2 Tbsp creamy salted peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp rice vinegar (yuzu flavored or add 1 tsp lemon juice)
5 dashes cayenne
fine black pepper to taste

Place a small pot over med-high heat on your stove top. Add all the sauce ingredients and stir briskly until they melt and blend together. Reduce heat to medium and simmer/stir for about two minutes. Turn heat to low.

Final Directions:
Add sauteed mushrooms, onions, 1 tsp soy sauce and spicy peanut sauce to the large pot with the kale. Toss until well mixed and garnish with peanuts.

Thanks for visiting achefinthyme.com!

Vanilla Roasted Peaches


I am going to admit right now that I am not very proud of this dish. But I felt I had to put it up because it is one of my first desserts of many to come. It tasted phenomenal but I am not happy with the plating, the lighting and the angle of the picture. But I will say that this is my first venture into making desserts other than cupcakes, so I will give myself that much. I will definitely be venturing into making more desserts and pastries because I have chosen to and already applied for a baking and pastry degree at Johnson and Wales. I guess I have a lot to learn about the plating of desserts. The lighting is not so much my fault but Mother Nature’s. We got a heavy rainstorm today so it was dark and cloudy.

On a good note, as I said earlier these roasted peaches were absolutely amazing! I had two of them. 🙂 I will definitely be making these again. So when I do, I will post a hopefully improved picture of this dish. On another note, what would you rather see for my next post, meringues or french macarons? Leave a comment below with your choice.

Johnson and Wales Application


I have been so busy lately creating The Danielle Fund and keeping up with promoting it that I forgot to tell you all my good news! I have submitted my first college application to Johnson and Wales: The Charlotte Campus. I am so excited because I absolutely love everything about the school! I love the size because it is only about 3000 students. It is small for a college but not so small that you will know every single person. The class size for labs is about 30 students, labs meaning the kitchen. And the class size for my academic classes are about 60 students, I believe. I love the location, it is in the Uptown Charlotte. I have never lived in a city so this is kind of exciting for me! The baking and pastry classes have big windows so passerbys can look through the window to see what we are making. Just talking about the campus makes me so excited to go there in one year!

There is so much to do at Johnson and Wales and in Charlotte. Johnson and Wales offers lots of clubs and sports. They also offer some dance classes like Zumba and yoga. And we all know that Charlotte is a top spot for concerts! I can hardly wait until I get my acceptance letter!

The Danielle Fund: Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting



This is my official first order for the Danielle Fund. As many of you know, I’m raising money for my friend’s sister who was diagnosed with neurocytoma. I’ve been taking cupcake orders to raise money and I’m going to the bank this week to set up an account for the online fund for those who would like to make a money donation. Thank you to all who support my friend’s cause.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield 12
Edited recipe from: Martha Stewart

Cupcakes:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners. In a bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and eggs. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and salt. Add flour; mix. Stir in carrots, walnuts, and coconut. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Frost cupcakes, and garnish with chopped walnuts.

Open Faced Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Olive Walnut Relish


Open Faced Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Olive Walnut Relish
Recipe from: Fine Cooking

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for brushing
2 Tbs. minced fresh mint, plus small leaves for garnish
2 Tbs. minced shallot
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
2 Tbs. toasted walnuts, finely chopped
1 to 1-1/4 lb. globe eggplant (2 small or 1 slender large), peeled if you like, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
4-1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices crusty, artisanstyle white bread
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 oz. mixed baby greens
1 8-oz. package burrata (or fresh mozzarella), drained
Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire. In a small bowl, combine the oil, mint, shallot, and vinegar. In another small bowl, combine the olives and walnuts. Beat the vinaigrette with a fork to blend, and then mix 2 tsp. into the olive mixture.

Arrange the eggplant and bread on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the eggplant on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush the bread slices on one side with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill the eggplant, covered, until tender, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Grill the bread, covered, until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Arrange the grilled bread on a cutting board, oiled side up. Top each slice with some of the mixed greens. Arrange the eggplant rounds atop the greens. Beat the vinaigrette with a fork to blend, and then spoon about 1 tsp. over each round. Slice the burrata about 1/2 inch thick and arrange over the eggplant. Sprinkle lightly with salt and spoon about 1 tsp. of the olive relish over each burrata slice. Cut the sandwiches in half and transfer to plates. Garnish with small mint leaves and serve.