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.
In the past few weeks I’ve been going through krembo fever like it’s the middle of winter. Since I started making krembo (crembo) from Swiss meringue instead of Italian meringue, it became more fun to make them and safely serve them to the people I love. Like my sister, who didn’t feel well last week and was stuck at home. I made her a ruby krembo from lemon and raspberry, so pink and sweet and fruity.
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.
Emily celebrated her second birthday last month. She was visiting from the US with her parents, and her mom, Karen, asked me to make her a colorful birthday cake (= rainbow cake!). I met Karen about 15 years ago, when I was a kid myself. Well, not really a kid, but a college student straight out of high school. Her request made me nostalgic and led me to make a birthday cake for a cute little girl I hadn’t met yet. How did I know she’s cute? Karen sent me a picture of Emily with her whole face buried inside the cake. A girl after my own heart.
Lavender Honey Macarons
Happy blogiversary to Cake Lab! My little blog is 2 years old. Two! It’s my favorite age. I mean, I don’t remember it myself, but my nephews and nieces are doing a great job showing me. I have so much fun with them at this age. It’s the age where they have already discovered how to walk and they start running. They already know how to talk and start asking questions non-stop. There are so curious, warm and full of life. And that’s what I wish for my blog this year. That it’ll behave just like my nephews and nieces at this age, just without all that crying.
Last week I traveled with my family to Turkey. While having breakfast at the hotel, my niece Jasmine brought a cake with her to the table. It was a piece of mousse cake decorated with a macaron on top. Jasmine picked the macaron off the cake, put the cake aside, and looked at the macaron. “Can you make me this for my birthday?” she asked. I had waited for that moment a long time. Finally one of my nieces or nephews asks for macarons for their birthday! In my mind, I started imagining festive birthday macarons with a fun flavor. A flavor that my nephews would sacrifice my mom’s stuffed grape leaves for: Kinder chocolate.
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!
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