Sunday, we decided to explore part of the Pelham Bay Park:
More than three times the size of Manhattan’s Central Park, Pelham Bay Park is the City’s largest park property. Visitors to the park enjoy miles of bridle paths and hiking trails, Orchard Beach, the Bartow-Pell Mansion, two golf courses, and a breathtaking 13-mile saltwater shoreline that hugs Long Island Sound. Athletes frequent its numerous fields and courts while children frolic in its playgrounds. Pelham Bay Park also has a wide and diverse range of plant and animal life and features prime locations to view one of nature’s most skillful hunters, the osprey.
We went to Orchard Beach and for a small walk in part of the park (the latter will be featured in another post).
Orchard Beach, the park’s most popular feature, is the only public beach in the borough. The 115-acre, 1.1-mile-long engineering marvel was created on Long Island Sound by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses during the 1930s. “The Riviera of New York” consists of a 13-section sandy beach, a hexagonal-block promenade, a central pavilion with food stores and specialty shops, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball.
It is sometimes called “the Bronx Riviera” today.
Sunday was also Puerto Rican Day Parade.
[Click on any picture to get a bigger view]
When I posted the first burger joint review for Five Guys some time ago, Pam who blogs at Pa-BLAM! and Omnomalicious left a comment asking if I had tried SmashBurger. I had not, but my husband and I quickly found one in our area to try it.
Although my husband still prefers Five Guys, I prefer SmashBurger. What’s different with SmashBurger?
SMASHING IS BETTER
Why? Our handcrafted burgers are smashed, seared and seasoned to order, using our fresh, premium beef. Whether you choose our Classic Smashburger or decide to create-your-own, we deliver a great-tasting, juicy burger you can taste in every bite.
Why do I like them better? Although you can make your own burger by choosing the toppings at Five Guys, SmashBurger has more options (like the avocado burger). You can also choose chicken instead of beef. The fries portions are generous but reasonable and there is also the option of sweet potato fries! Finally, the smashing of the beef makes the meat tender and juicy.
You order at the counter, then go sit down: they bring you your order at your table. Burgers are made to order so are always fresh.
- The avocado club option (for us avocado lovers), and more options in general
- The smashing of the meat
- Ingredients are tasty
- Sweet potato fries
- The option to choose chicken
- It is (also) a bit expensive. The pics below are from different times we went there, but 2 burgers, 2 sodas and 2 fries will average about $22.
The quality is worth the price in my opinion, though.
Have you heard about Manhattanhenge?
Manhattanhenge – sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice – is a circumstance which occurs twice a year, during which the setting sun aligns with the east–west streets of the main street grid in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The neologism is derived from Stonehenge, where the sun aligns with the stones on the solstices with a similarly dramatic effect. The word was popularized in 2002 by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History.
Neil deGrasse Tyson gives more details on the website of the American Museum of Natural History:
For 2013 they fall on May 28th, and July 13th, when the setting Sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid. A rare and beautiful sight. (…)
For these two days, as the Sun sets on the grid, half the disk sits above and half below the horizon. My personal preference for photographs. But the day after, May 29th, and the day before, July 12, also offer Manhattanhenge moments, but at sunset, you instead will find the entire ball of the Sun on the horizon.
The first time I heard about it was last year and it was too late to join the fun. I did join the fun yesterday (the day before, it was raining).
Well, my dear readers, don’t expect to see gorgeous pictures below, for a number of reasons: 1) I probably should have done some testing with my camera before, because I rarely take pictures of sunsets; 2) I arrived at 7 pm for the 8.15 pm show, and it was a bit late to find some valuable room left at the best spot for pictures from 42nd St (check first picture below); 3) there were many people in the streets trying to take a pic with anything from iPad to iPhone to real camera, hence the importance of 2).
As mentioned, I had chosen 42nd St because I wanted to have the Chrysler Building in the picture… which it is not, because I had to get in front of the crowd to have a potentially decent picture (meaning not with dozens of people on the picture).
Then, there was the traffic. Everyone who’s been to New York knows that honking may be forbidden, it more or less looks like the local sport in Manhattan, not to mention that taxi drivers are – how to put it nicely? – a little impatient. So when dozens of people stand in the middle of the street to take pics of the sunset, it’s a honking concert that you witness :-)
Next time is in July and if I can join the fun, I’ll try to prepare a little bit more! In the meantime, here are some pics of the crowd and the sun.
What would have been a perfect spot, was already too crowded at 7 pm (trees on each side of the street were blocking the view)…
…and was not an option anymore at 7.45 pm.
Starting at around 7.45 pm, everyone started to try and test their camera by taking pictures of the view, the crowd growing little by little. It was kind of funny, although not for cars ;-)
All these pictures were taken before the right moment.
And here are my ridiculously bad pictures of the sun. I even had to slightly alter them with Photoshop. Sigh. Next time will be better!
[click on the pics for a bigger view]
In any case, it is an event not to be missed if you are in New York City when it happens and have the leisure to wait for it. The show is wonderful!
And here is probably my favorite picture from yesterday, taken at the end:
Did I mention I love New York?
Mother’s Day in France is traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday of May. So today, two weeks after the U.S., is Mother’s Day in France.
I would like to wish my Mom a very happy and bright day for Mother’s Day! I hope the sun came back in Paris, and if not, I am able to send you some from here, today!
Thank you so much for everything you did! I love you!
Here are some flowers just for you :-)
[Sorry for the almost two weeks without posting or visiting. I was at at pet bloggers conference at the end of the previous week, as well as last weekend, and I'm only catching up!]
There is a number of places where you can get a good burger without having to go to a restaurant (as opposed to a fast food joint). My opinion is that Five Guys is one of them.
My American and Canadian readers may probably have heard, if not tried already, the food chain: Five Guys can now be found in 47 states and 6 Canadian provinces. So here is a very quick review of the place.
- You can choose what goes in your burger (choice of toppings)
- The burger is hence made on demand and fresh when you pick it up (you can actually see them being prepared)
- Ingredients are tasty
- Burgers have a good size: not too big, not too small
- One regular fries will be more than enough for two (they are VERY generous with fries)
- Too many fries guys: seriously, we either eat too many of them or have to throw a good portion away. That’s waste of good fries!
- Burgers tend too be a little too fat as far as I’m concerned
- It is a bit expensive: check the pics below (two burgers, 1 regular fries, and two cokes) –> $23.68
All in all, we like this chain and their burgers though and we’ll go back :-)
It’s been a year today since I first posted.
I shared my passion for my favorite (ever!) city: New York; some of the books I read and liked; some of the recipes I enjoyed; some of the places I love; some of my cats’ life.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by, read, commented, liked. If you do not live in NYC and haven’t visited this wonderful city yet, I hope I shared enough to make you feel like giving it a try.
This blog will continue to operate as usual for a while, and then there will be changes, although I can’t tell you more right now.
I did not post everyday – although I really wish I could have. Below is a summary of this blog’s most “successful” posts.
3 posts with most likes
- Cat’s Tongue Biscuits and a Happy Birthday to my Little Shrimp
- Simple, Classical, Delicious Grand Cru Chocolate Tart
- The Hershey Chocolate Lab – In case you still crave chocolate
In case you are wondering, this is a delicious butterscotch brown butter blondie, whose excellent recipe I found at Juanita’s Cocina, here.
One World Trade Center is about to become the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Crews are set Monday to raise the final two sections of the skyscraper’s 408-foot spire, bringing it to its final height of 1,776 feet, according to officials.
Construction on the stainless steel spire began in December, when pieces of it started coming into the city from New Jersey and Canada.
The structure contains 18 sections and weighs nearly 800 tons. The 104-story tower became the city’s tallest building about a year ago.
Here are a couple of pictures I took yesterday (a rainy day) on my way to work. In case you are wondering (well, not everyone is a New Yorker obviously!), this is the tallest one in the background.
Easy as one, two, three + breaks the monotony :-)
If you are following/have been on the Dukan diet, you probably already know about his famous galette. Below is the simple recipe. More on the diet in a later post.
Be productive, have fun along the way, and enjoy the week ahead!
For 1 galette, you will need:
- 2 tbsp oat bran
- 1 tbsp wheat bran
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp yogurt
Mix all the ingredients together and cook in a pan, a couple of minutes on each side (turn the galette once the mixture is starting to make bubbles on top). Your galette is ready!
I usually prepare those in advance and freeze them. So, to do the above, I defrosted one, used a cookie cutter to make the kitty form, put the galette back in a pan, cracked the egg above the kitty hole and cooked it this way. I had to turn the galette to cook the yolk so that it would not stay raw while the galette would burn on the other side.
Of course, you can use some bread to do that too :-) And you can add some cream cheese on your bread/galette. Look who’s suddenly interested in what I’m doing in the kitchen ;-)
For some reason, I have been craving fresh vegetable juice for some time. Maybe it’s because spring took forever to arrive…
This weekend, between typing the blog posts for my kitty and working on a philosophy paper (let’s be careful not to confuse the subjects for each…), I finally took the time to just throw some vegetables in my juicer and…
That was quite easy and nothing exceptional but the vegetable fix felt so good!
I used a handful of kale, about 15 regular and heirloom cherry tomatoes, one yellow bell pepper, some pea shoots and the juice of one lemon.
I put everything but the lemon juice into the juicer. Look at those colors!
Then I added the lemon juice, mixed everything, put some more pea shoot for decoration and… enjoyed!
What a bizarre title!… I heard that!
For those who are new to this blog, welcome! Also, I am a cat person. I am a cat lover. My husband and I are currently owned by three kitties.
(Like the name of this blog isn’t giving me away…)
Among those three is Texas. When I adopted him, he was so cute and small that I nicknamed him “my little shrimp.”
The little shrimp has grown up to be a beautiful kitty, and is now – today – 7.
Happy Birthday, Texas!
My dear Texas, you’ve been my most loyal, truthful and lovely friend ever. The most furry one too. My black pants know about that ;-) But who cares about black pants when one knows you! I don’t!
In honor of his birthday, I baked something related to kitties: cat’s tongue biscuits or “langues de chat.”
I tried cooking treats for our kitties before, but those were not always a success, so Texas will have his favorite food today and some new toys. You can never have enough nip toys, right? The humans are having cookies.
The “langues de chat” are very easy to bake and only require a little time if you want to put some chocolate on them like I did.
I used and adapted a recipe from the lovely book “La Cuisine des Fées” (“Faeries Cooking”).
For about 100 biscuits (I doubled the proportions from the original recipe, so you can divide in two), you will need:
–For the biscuits–
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 2 egg whites
- some more butter
–For the chocolate–
- 3.5 oz good chocolate (57% cacao min.)
1. Pre-heat your oven to 400F.
2. Mix the sugar with the butter in a large bowl, until it looks creamy.
3. Add the egg whites. Beat. Sieve the flour and add it slowly to the mixture, while still beating. Mix until the batter is combined.
4. Put the additional butter (1 tbsp will do) in the microwave to melt it. On a cooking sheet, add some parchment paper. Using a brush, put a very thin layer of the melted butter on the parchment paper.
5. Using a pastry bag, create little sticks (about 1 inch long) of batter on your parchment paper.
6. Bake for 5-6 minutes. Let cool on the parchment paper.
Your cat’s tongues or langues de chat are ready to eat if you don’t want to add anything on them.
Now what if you want to add the chocolate? The recipe in the book says you should temper the chocolate. I was a little lazy on that one, I admit, and simply melted the chocolate, but if you want a better looking result, go for tempering!
So once you have either your tempered or melted chocolate, apply a thin layer on the bottom of each “tongue.”
Let the chocolate dry and solidify. Et voilà !
Did you have enough chocolate the past weekend? I know, one can never have enough chocolate.
That’s why I am bringing you this post not too long after Easter ;-)
Last Friday, we went to visit a place I have been longing to visit for a some time. We went to “the sweetest place on earth.”
We went to Hershey, PA, where Hershey chocolate is made. The entire town is built and living around the brand and the chocolate. But I’ll post about this later.
Today, I concentrate on the Chocolate Lab. What is the Chocolate Lab? It is a laboratory inside the Hersey Story Museum, when you can experiment making chocolate products.
There are different experiences to try and we chose the “Build a Bar” program. It’s a 45-minute experience in which you build your own chocolate bar.
The 45 minutes are divided into 3 parts. The first one is for a little history on Milton S. Hershey. The second one is the building of the bar itself.
You get a little mold to build your bar.
Then comes the chocolate. You can lick the spoon at the end if you want ;-)
After pouring some chocolate into the mold, you add the ingredients you want to put in your bar. I added mini marshmallows, and cute sugar flowers.
Then you add some more chocolate.
My husband put white chocolate chips and rice krispies, with some chocolate nibs in his.
While the bars are put in a fridge to solidify, we learn a little about chocolate.
Did you know that a cacao pod is a fruit, and it contains just enough beans to make a 5-oz Hershey chocolate bar?
Then comes the time to go: chocolate bars are ready… Look at this! But no eating just yet. We wrap them to take home.
We thanked our lovely hosts and said goodbye.
We savored the bars at home. They were VERY good. And I’m sure all the fun making them added to the taste!
Hershey is a very interesting place to visit and I’ll post more later about it. If you have the occasion to visit, it’s plenty of fun guaranteed!
I’ve wanted to review this place for the longest time. In fact, I have eaten there several times – I love the place. But for some reason, this review was always pushed back.
The other day I was mentioning it to Daisy of coolcookstyle, and I decided it was high time.
In the heart of Tribeca, the place is rather small but very welcoming. The staff is professional and extremely polite. There are tables in the back, next to which you can see part of the kitchen with cooks working.
That’s after you’ve gone through the choice of food. On your right: salads, soups, sandwiches, buns, Japanese-inspired, or not…
On your left are pastries: danishes, matcha croissants, miso-almond cookies…
Beyond the cashier, and before you reach the tables: macarons, including matcha macarons, matcha crepes (a specialty of the bakery), or more traditional desserts…
Prices are not inexpensive and portions are rather small, but as far as I am concerned, the quality and originality of the delicacies were worth it.
My favorite treats are definitely the sweet ones (but I have a sweet tooth too), especially the Green Tea Koshi An Croissant and the Almond-Miso Cookie (which I tried to bake at home, unsuccessfully). The Matcha Crepe was original and yummy but a little too big to my taste. But it is good to share!
In conclusion, I highly recommend the place to everyone I know :-)
25 Murray St
(Between Church St & Broadway)
New York, NY 10007
Tel: (212) 791-5550
[move your mouse over the pictures for the name of the treats; click on any picture to open the slideshow]
And as mentioned on the box, unfortunately, this little guy below wasn’t for sale!
It’s amazing how many blog posts I read lately about people from all over the north hemisphere complaining about winter and snow still being here and there, despite the fact that this is spring.
Hello! This is spring. Yes, really. Well no, not really.
I complain too. I think we need the light, the singing birds, the burgeoning trees, the blooming flowers, the fruits…
But I like to experiment and change from time to time. So as a twist, I used golden beets, and Crottin goat cheese (the natural one, from Trader Joe’s 3 pack).
I made a simple vinaigrette to go with it: olive oil, lemon, a little garlic and red pepper flakes.
It was tasty and it looked fresh. Almost like spring ;-)
Here’s some spring for you my dear readers:
Dandelions in my kitchen.
Yes. That IS my transition with the award :-) I know I am really late in acknowledging and transmitting awards, but I’ll start with the most recent anyway (I promise, others will come).
I was nominated by Carole at Charonbelli’s. Her blog is in French and she talks about fashion, make-up, food, travel. I like that she deals about all of this with humor and originality. Thanks for nominating the French version of this blog!
The award was originally created by another blog that I like, Flavie‘s blog.
Here is the rule: use the award pic above, thank the blog that nominated you for this award by linking to it, and answer the following prompts.
1. If you were…
- If you were an animal, you would be…? A cat (obviously!)
- If you were a dessert, you would be…? Now that’s difficult. I’d have to say a chocolate éclair.
- If you were a city, you would be…? I know it might come as a surprise, but I have to say… New York City :-)
- If you were a song, you would be…? Again, it’s difficult to choose just one. I would say Uprising by Muse
- If you were a movie, you would be…? Can I pick a TV series instead? That would let me choose Friends :-)
- If you were a piece of fashion, you would be…? Shoes!!
- If you were a plant, you would be…? A violet.
2. The nominated blog must nominate 7 other blogs, give their name and web address and describe them with an adjective.
- Fiammisday: Fashionably cute – A blog about children fashion. Cute, adorable, classy.
- For The Love of Nike: Nike-y – If you like Nike shoes, you must visit this blog.
- MichellesWordpressYay: Artistic – A New Yorker with an artistic touch.
- Conceptualist Hic: Bright – Beauty tips and encounters in Paris, recipes, the bright side of life.
- Grenobloise: Grenobloise ;-) – An American artist in Grenoble.
- Le Blog des Surprises: Surprising – Recipes, kneading, and other projects.
- Berlin Cat Lady: Berliner – Kitties, shopping, X-Files… all from Berlin.
3. Finally, link to a blog that has nothing to do with fashion, beauty or shopping…
Chokadelika – Plenty of recipes and great health, cooking – and much more – advice.
Those blogs are either written in English or French. I invite you to click on their links to discover them :-)
Now I know not everyone is doing the award thing on the blogosphere. I completely understand. Don’t feel forced to accept it :-)
Yesterday, we decided to go out and try our luck at one of the several parks in Westchester County. The sun was shining most of the day, and I am yearning so badly to see some spring flowers (enough with the snow!). Since I had seen some crocus here and there, I was hoping that maybe – maybe – I could see some signs of spring coming (did I say “enough with the snow!” already?).
I chose Cranberry Lake Preserve, near the Kensico Reservoir, mostly because of the name :-) No cranberry involved though!
Well, we saw no flower, unfortunately. What we found looked more like a winter landscape. As you will see, Sandy, and probably Irene too, visited the preserve and left a mess behind.
[you can click on pictures to get a bigger size]
We did see some interesting signs of life though, like this spider…
Sorry for the bad composition. The spider was next to the floor and I had no intention to crawl on the floor to take the picture – being a little arachnophobe… Does anyone know the name of this spider? It’s not evident on the pictures but she was doing a nice job almost camouflaging herself on this dead tree branch.
We also saw this mushroom that looked a bit like a shellfish to me :-)
In the not-alive department, we were impressed by this huge, dead vine, hanging above the ground:
The most interesting part was a little pond full of… frogs. Very noisy frogs. I put up a little video at the end of the post for you to see and hear them up, close, and personal (almost).
Here’s the video. If you are patient, you’ll be able to see a close-up on one of the little frogs.
[If you cannot see the video on this blog, click here]
As mentioned in my post on Japan Week, I did buy some little things.
One thing that always fascinated me regarding Japan is the preciousness used to wrap and present food. And yes, I admit it, the cuteness of the lucky neko and other kitties.
There wasn’t too much food to buy at the exhibition but my attention was caught by kitties on pretty boxes.
This one contains yogurt-flavored candy individually packed in sushi-like wrapping (No, Texas, these are not real raw fish).
The following one contains nori chips. I chose the sesame flavor because this was the box I preferred but the yuzu-honey flavor was really really good (Yeah, nice kitty box over flavor – next time yuzu-honey).
The lucky Neko was sold by Azuma Foods and the nori chips by Yamamoto Noriten.
Additionally, from Azuma Foods I bought a little grocery bag that you can fold in a little red octopus to keep in your handbag.
One day, I hope I can learn Japanese and travel to Japan. Not just for the kitties ;-)
Welcome to Japan Week! From March 19th – 21st, join us in the annual celebration of Japanese culture and cuisine in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. In honor of Grand Central Terminal’s centennial, Japan Week 2013 will be driven by the Japanese “on-the-go” lifestyle theme. Look forward to being introduced to the nuances of Japanese travel culture, including ekiben, or special train station bento containing regional dishes, and tachinomiya, standing bars featuring a range of sake and shochu. Entertainment includes cultural performances scheduled throughout the three days.
I was there at lunch time yesterday, so conditions to take pictures were not the best. It’s worth a visit, if you have the time.
I’ll showcase some of the food I found and bought in a later post.
I love this time of the year, when the light is there earlier in the morning, and longer in the evening… Little flowers start to show up…
Oh and Easter decorations and sweets bring Spring colors all over supermarket aisles and home pantries. Like this:
It helps us remember that tomorrow is Spring… despite the heavy rain falling on yesterday’s snow.
cupcakes, food photography, Grand Central Market, Grand Central Terminal, green cupcakes, Ireland, Irish, Manhattan, new york, New York City, NYC, photography, Saint Patrick, Saint Patrick's Day, Zaro's, Zaro's Bakery
Today is Saint Patrick’s Day! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to my Irish and American-of-Irish-descent readers!
Although I have lived about six months in Ireland, my only experiences with Saint Patrick’s Day were in New York City (surprisingly not ;-). Please forgive the trivial quality of what follows: Saint Patrick’s Day to me always meant missing on a certain “green cake.”
Let me explain.
Back in 2003, my mother and I were visiting New York City for a week. It was the week of Saint Patrick’s Day. We had enjoyed the NYC parade and I had noticed the special decorations everywhere, but in particular, a special green cupcake in the Grand Central Market at Zaro’s Bakery. Unfortunately, we did not buy it when we saw it and never returned before leaving NYC.
Yes, my dear readers: Grand Central Market remained in my mind the place of the missed opportunity to try a green cupcake, Saint Patrick’s Day in NYC forever linked to this missed occasion!
The past week, I went to the Grand Central Market and took a picture of Zaro’s window:
And of course, I tried to make some green cupcakes.
The cupcakes were delicious… without the green frosting :-/ I used this recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes (made with yogurt and quite some butter). But unfortunately, I chose the easy way for the frosting: I tried Duncan Hines’ Frosting Creations, more specifically, the Mint Chocolate Flavor Mix.
The frosting was indeed easy and quick to prepare. But I chose the only green I could find… and we are not big fans of the mint-chocolate flavor.
So I’ll have to wait a little longer to get to the perfect green cake ;-)
Below are some pictures of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, back in 2006.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Here is a slight variation of the carambar-rhubarb cake recipe. I used persimmons instead of rhubarb (or apples, in the original recipe).
The result wasn’t bad at all, and quite original. I also substituted milk with buttermilk.
I still have no idea which kind of sweet could be used instead of the Carambar in the U.S. Caramels should do though (I indicated the weight needed if you don’t have carambars).
So if you wish to try it, here is the recipe. You will need:
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 10 tbsp butter
- 20 carambars (5.5 oz caramels)
- 3.5 fl oz buttermilk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 7 medium persimmons
1. Start by preheating your oven to 350F and taking the 20 carambars (or the caramels) out of their wrappings.
2. In a saucepan, melt the carambars/caramels with the buttermilk and butter on medium heat, stirring regularly.
3. In the meantime, grease a cake pan with a little butter. Take the leaves off the persimmons and peal them, then put them in the cake pan.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs. Add the flour, baking powder and salt.
5. Once your carambar/caramel melt is ready, add it to the big bowl and mix well.
6. Pour the batter over the persimmons, in the cake pan. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
7. Wait at least 10 minutes to take it out of the mold. Enjoy!
On February 1, 2013, Grand Central Terminal celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The beautiful train station, the “world’s loveliest” according to some, welcomes millions of commuters and tourists each year.
It’s architectural beauty made it the world’s 6th most visited tourist attraction.
I wonder how many pictures are taken every day – every year – of Vanderbilt’s vision.
An exhibition in Vanderbild Hall, inside Grand Central Terminal, recounts the history of the station. Grand By Design: A Centennial Celebration Of Grand Central Terminal runs until March 13.
Below are some pictures of the exhibition.
If you are visiting NYC (before or after the exhibition ends), be sure to include Grand Central Terminal in your visit.
Click on any picture to get a bigger version.
I have not given up on this blog (yet!) and I haven’t forgotten you.
I haven’t been hibernating either (although some mornings, I wish I could).
Things have been a little bit hectic, surprising and, at times, disappointing.
But I am back (hopefully).
I apologize for the long silence and I hope everyone has been doing as fine as possible.
Now without further ado, let’s go back to blogging!
And actually, no, I don’t wish I were a groundhog, because life is so much more exciting when lived to the fullest :-)
For Christmas, I wanted to bake a dessert that was at the same time good, kind of Christmasy (in the sense that it was a beautiful dessert, not just a cake – no offense meant to cakes) and simple. I didn’t have either the time nor courage to prepare a traditional Christmas log (and these things are generally so expensive to buy all done that it is ridiculous).
Being the chocoholic that I am, I decided to try a recipe that I had found in the issue of the Elle à Table I mentioned here.
Don’t let the “grand cru” part scare you. The tart is really simple to prepare. You just have to take into consideration the time for the dough, and then the tart itself, to stay in the fridge, to get ready. And also, you need excellent chocolate.
The following recipe is adapted from the recipe of Tarte au Chocolat Grand Cru of the Elle à Table #85.
For an 11″ tart , you will need:
- 6 + 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 + 1/2 egg
- 1 + 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 + 1/2 3.5 oz of excellent chocolate (I used 2.5, 71% cocoa, Valrhona chocolate bars, that you can easily find at Trader Joe’s)
- 7 (more) tbsp butter, diced
1. Mix together the 6 + 1/2 tbsp of butter, the almond flour, and the confectioner’s sugar.
2. Add 1 egg + 1/2 egg (to get 1/2 an egg, slightly beat one with a fork in a bowl and only add half of it to the batter).
3. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
4. Reserve the pastry for one hour in the fridge.
5. After an hour, preheat your oven to 300F.
6. Work with the pastry to create a circle to lay in a 11″ tart pan. Bake for about 20 minutes (I used ceramic pie weights). Let cool.
7. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate filling. In a large bow, put together the chocolate and the 7 tbsp butter, diced.
8. Bring the cream to a boil and immediately but slowly pour onto the chocolate and butter. Mix until the chocolate and butter have completely melted, everything is combined and batter is shiny.
9. Pour the filling into the tart (do not let the filling cool) and reserve the tart in the fridge for about an hour, or until ready to serve.
10. You can decorate the tart with gold leaves (as suggested in the original recipe). I used little sugary Christmas tree decorations for the occasion.