Fresh Mint & Dark Chocolate Tart

For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to truly enjoy a mint-flavored anything. Whether it’s ice cream, cookies, or candy, I have always steered clear of mint chip, thin mints, and peppermint patties, respectively. If it registers as the same flavor of my toothpaste, I’m not into it. However, I will say that the difference between the flavors of fresh mint and bottled peppermint oil or tictacs is too immense not to call them by completely different names. The fact that all mint is considered to be on the same playing field is devastating, my point being that I enjoy desserts made with fresh mint, and do not enjoy desserts made with artificial mint flavoring. In the title, I made it my business to clarify: this is strictly fresh mint and nothing else.

Make sure the pastry of your tart shell is cooked all the way through before filling, or you’ll have a hard time making clean slices. Also be sure to leave some excess dough around the edges, as the puff pastry will shrink as it bakes.

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Make the tart:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy cream (+ more for whipped cream)
  • 10 oz dark chocolate, chopped (or 10 oz chocolate chips/chunks)
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 cup of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out a sheet of thawed puff pastry dough and lay it in a 9 in pie plate, then bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. (The middle will puff up, but once removed from the oven, press it down with a spoon.
  2. To make the mint syrup, crush the chopped mint with the sugar in a small saucepan with a wooden spoon. Add 1/2 cup of water and turn the stove on medium-low. Let the mixture simmer until it’s thickened slightly and is tinted light green. Strain the syrup through a sieve and set aside.
  3. In another saucepan, heat the cream with the corn syrup until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes, then stir until smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of the mint syrup and stir until combined.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the puff pastry shell, cover and refrigerate for an hour (or until completely cool). Make whipped cream and add 3 tablespoons of mint syrup to the cream before whipping. Spread the whipped cream over the tart and refrigerate until set.

Enjoy! <3, B

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Peach Basil Pie

(Almost award winning.) A few weeks ago, I entered my application for this year’s Beverly Hills Piesta pie bake competition. Although I didn’t come out triumphant with the $275 first place prize, I did make a pretty awesome pie. It’s full of summer time flavor.

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Make the pie

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 fresh yellow or white peaches, peeled and thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup of white sugar (adjust amount depending on the sweetness of the peaches)

  • 1 meyer lemon (I get mine from my neighbor’s tree)

  • 8 large fresh basil leaves, chopped into small ribbons

Make the pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.

  2. Zest and juice the lemon, then combine in a bowl with the peaches, basil, and sugar.

  3. Roll out 1 pie crust disk into a 9-inch pie plate. Prick a few holes in the dish, then pour in the filling (if the filling is overly juicy, you might need to strain it before putting it in the crust.)

  4. Cover the pie with the second crust and prick more holes in the top with a fork.

  5. Brush the top with egg wash, then bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pie is golden.

Enjoy! <3, B

Coconut Cream Pie Cups

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I’ve sort of been on a coconut kick lately. I guess you really wouldn’t have noticed since I’ve only expressed my love in the fluffy coconut cupcakes recipe I posted a while back. In any case, I really really really love coconut. My first attempt at this invention/creation was a failure. During the simmering phase it jellified and became meringuey. My second attempt, however, turned out pretty well. The filling was smooth and pudding-like. These are simple and delicious, much like coconut itself.

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Make the coconut cream filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup half & half
  • drop of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of corn starch
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut (plus more for topping)
  • 1 9-inch pie crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out the pie crust just a little bit until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Flour both sides of the dough, then punch out 6 circles with a wide-mouth glass and stretch each disc with your fingers. Butter a 6 cup muffin tin and press each disc into the tin. Bake for 9 minutes, or until light golden and slightly crisp.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch, yolk, sugar, half and half, and vanilla. Put the bowl over simmering water and whisk until smooth. Continue to whisk over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and has the consistency of custard or pudding. 
  3. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Wait a few minutes, then add the coconut.
  4. Drop 1-2 tbsp. of filling into each cooled pie crust cup, then refrigerate until the filling is set and firm (about 1 /2 hours.)

Enjoy! <3, B

Fresh Apple Pie

Nothing’s better than the sweet combination of cinnamon and apple, so I thought I’d express my love for even more autumn spices in another dessert. Grab 4 pounds of mixed apples and make your own (or cheat n buy) flaky, buttery pie crust. Then, whip up some fresh cream and enjoy your all-American dessert with a dollop of whip cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!

NOTE: I just edited this recipe! There was way too much ground cloves, resulting in a spicy mess. My bad!

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Simple ingredients ~

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^pie crust

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The finished product!

Here’s my recipe(s) for pie crust and Fresh Apple Pie:

Pie Crust (two 9-inch pies)

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 sticks of butter (1 cup, cut into chunks)
  • 6-8 tbsp. of either ice water or vodka (Vodka can be used in making pie crust because it makes the crust flakier)
  • Dash of sugar
  1. In a food processor, or with clean hands in a medium-sized bowl, pulse or mush the flour and butter together. Stop when the mix resembles coarse sand and the butter pieces are sort of small. 
  2. Add water (or vodka) one tablespoon at a time, pulsing well after each addition. Don’t pulse the mixture too much! Only add the water until the dough starts to hold together, but is still a little crumbly. 
  3. Separate the dough into two disks, and wrap them in plastic wrap. Put them in the fridge for at least one hour, or until firm. (You can freeze the dough for up to 2 months.)
  4. Once the dough is firm, unwrap one of the disks and roll it out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin using floured hands… Then fit the disk into a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges if you wish. 
  5. Fill up the crust and use the other 1/2 of the dough to decorate, make a lattice top, cover, etc. Coming Soon: Pie Decorating Tips

Make the pie:

  • Two 9-inch pie dough disks

 For the Filling:

  • 4 lbs of mixed apples (gala, green, red, etc etc etc…)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (depending on the apples’ sweetness)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • Butter
  • Egg wash (1 tbsp. water + 1 egg yolk)
  1. Roll out your pie crusts and place one of them in a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Peal, core, and slice your apples. Depending on your taste, you may like thick-cut or thin.
  3. Add apples to a large bowl. Sprinkle on sugar and spices, then add lemon juice.
  4. Fill the crust with filling, then dot with butter.
  5. Roll out 2nd pie crust and cover the top of the pie with it, making a few slits in the top for steam. Brush the pie with egg wash. 
  6. Bake until the pie crust is golden and the apples inside are tender, about 30 minutes.