Alfajores Tartlets

Recently I discovered that the Argentinian cookies Alfajores have Middle Eastern roots with origins from an ancient cooking book from Baghdad of the Middle Ages, just a little over 1000 years ago. (I know, sounds like One Thousand and One Recipes.) The origin of the name in Arabic is al-fakher (الفَاخِر), which means “fine” or “quality” or maybe “praised”.

Ruby Berry Pralines

Tempering chocolate to make pralines on hot summer days is doomed to fail. I was naïve enough to think that the AC would solve the problem. I mean, it’s cool and nice enough in the house with it turned on… for me, not for the chocolate. Tempering chocolate requires a specific room temperature. 18-20 °C / 64-68 °F to be exact.

Chocolate Passion Fruit Pralines

A while back, I met friends from France and we talked about macarons. (What else would you talk about with French people?) We didn’t just talk about any macarons, we talked about Pierre Hermé’s macarons. We all agreed that his best is without a doubt the “Mogador”, a macaron filled with passion fruit and milk chocolate ganache.

Sicilian Cassatina

The pistachios I brought from Bronte in Sicily last summer are just about to end. I bought 4 kilograms that I used in a variety of desserts. I saved the very last pistachios for a special dessert that won my heart (and stomach) at the end of the trip: cassatina. A festive Sicilian cake filled with sweet ricotta cream, covered by green pistachio marzipan and decorated with candied fruits.

Persian Love Cake

Not long ago, I traveled to the US and came back with a lot of baking cookbooks, as usual after a trip abroad. Three of the cookbooks I acquired are full of gluten free recipes – vegan too. I looked for an interesting recipe to try, but the list of ingredients was too complicated. Then I started flipping through Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Go’s Sweet, and found a few gluten free recipes fit to my taste. One recipe looked especially inviting, full of Persian love, whatever that may be.

Linzer Cookies with Maple Cream

A while ago, I stumbled upon a magical video that shows how to make maple cream from maple syrup. In one sentence, you heat the syrup, let it cool and then stir, for about an hour! That’s it. In the video, they take pride in stirring by hand using a wooden spoon. Not me. I take pride in my standing mixer, capable doing the same thing while I drink a cup of coffee and prepare the dough for the cookies.

Pistachio Tart with Poached Pears

I love tarts. I make them all the time and write about them here. Once I managed to figure out how to make the crust properly, I fell in love with them even more. For Betty and David’s goodbye party I made two tarts. One was an excellent lemon berry tart that I wrote about the day after. The second was a pistachio tart with poached pears that made me proud. I consider it a little win over a similar tart that I made with mediocre results for a semi-final exam at my pastry school.

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