Chocolate & Chestnut Pots de Crème
Last week I got a pretty awesome gift, a pastry cookbook from close, yet ever so far, Lebanon. In her book, Sweet Levantine, Lara Ariss writes about baking with an emphasis on local ingredients, like olive oil, halva and mastic, which she combines in both her Middle Eastern recipes and her classic European recipes.
Not every nephew or niece of mine gets an elaborate birthday cake. Sometimes there are constraints, and sometimes I’m just too tired. If I don’t make them a cake, their grandma usually does. But if I don’t make them a cake, I make them something else. This year for my eldest nephew’s birthday, I made mocha-vanilla krembo.
Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake
Two years ago I had a little breakdown. Not that I actually had anything to complain about, but I felt like something in my life was missing. Something small to complete a smile at the end of the day. One day, on my way to visit the family in Jaffa, I was listening on repeat to Lane Boy by Twenty One Pilot. Suddenly it struck me why I love this song so much.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Cake
One of my cool aunts asked me to make a birthday cake for her daughter. When I asked her what kind of cake she was thinking about, she sent me a picture of a Reese’s cake decorated with the peanut butter cups themselves. I took the challenge under one condition: the family must act as my guinea pigs and provide me with constructive criticism. There was another tiny condition: that they would leave me a small piece of cake to try, but somehow all the evidence disappeared after the knife started cutting the cake.
Christmas Tree Tartlets
I still remember how my siblings and I used to hear the bells approaching our neighborhood on Christmas Eve as kids. We would immediately run to the windows, hoping to get a glimpse of Santa Claus riding his reindeer-drawn sleigh his car with a huge inflatable reindeer on top. How we used to wish he’d stop by our house too, until mom got the idea eventually and invited him in!
Chocolate Meringue Tartlets
Last year my American friends invited me to their Thanksgiving dinner. I baked these chocolate meringue tartlets for the event, in addition to a pistachio tart I brought as back-up. I’m pretty sure the other guests enjoyed these tartlets, you could see it on their faces. Literally, there were traces of meringue all over their beards and noses!
Not long ago, a couple of my dear sweet friends challenged me to recreate a candy almost as sweet as them, the Mozartkugel. The candy contains pistachio marzipan at its core, covered in a layer of nougat and then coated with a layer of dark chocolate. The MozartKugel was first created in the city of Salzburg in Austria. It brought a lot of good to the world, but also some major legal disputes over its name.
Crembo season is here. I’m not sure what’s more exciting, the smell of the first rain or the bite from the first crembo, a classic local treat. When I eat a crembo, I personally like to start from the top and when I reach the cookie, I eat it too. Sometimes I feel like peeling all the chocolate off and eat the meringue separately. Indeed, there are many ways to eat a crembo, but why crembo in a pita is one of them I will never understand.
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