Butterfly Chocolate Tart

Butterfly Chocolate Tart

I have come to the conclusion of late that my favourite medium to work with is royal icing. Yes, it is annoying trying to get the consistency right but once you do it is such a rewarding experience!

I made this chocolate tart recently and decided I would jazz it up with a royal icing butterfly. I chopped and changed the recipe so much that I can’t even remember what I did but there are plenty of chocolate tart recipes out on the internet to choose from.

For the royal icing butterfly, I piped the right and left wing separately on waxed paper and left it to completely dry. Template for the butterfly wings available here. Once they were dry I carefully peeled them off and attached them together with royal icing and left them to rest propped up between books at the desired angle.

I would have taken progress shots but I forgot to do so. Maybe next time. I have since made a video tutorial on how to make these butterflies:

Eton Mess

Strawberries were on sale for $2 a punnet and I could not resist buying a few. They were so beautiful! I decided to make Eton Mess and use my striped tea towel that I have been dying to use as a prop.

Eton Mess 2

Recipe as follows (makes 2):

150ml cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
6 strawberries, chopped into desire size
10 meringue drops, crushed
1 tablespoon strawberry liquor
2 whole strawberries (to garnish)

1. Whip cream to soft peaks together with the vanilla essence.
2. Add chopped strawberries and crushed meringues and stir until well mixed.
3. Add strawberry liquor and stir gently until red swirls are visible.
4. Pour into martini glasses and top with a strawberry.

Eton Mess

I’ve been pretty busy this weekend and I’m actually making one of my first paid orders for a friend so it’s been extremely hectic! Hoping everything turns out as planned. As they say, it never rains but pours. Well, according to Anne of Green Gables anyway.

Lion Tart

Lion Tart

I was browsing aimlessly around the internet and came across a pie that had a cat face done with pastry. Immediately, I was drawn to it. A few days later and several YouTube videos on how to draw lions and hundreds of Google Images of ‘kind lion’ and ‘wise lion’ and ‘Aslan’, I decided that I would dip my toe into template making after years of using what was available out there. Can you tell that I am not a risk taker?

Let me tell you it was no easy task for me – I have no natural talent in drawing. I’m great a replicating something that’s in front of me but coming up with something on my own is a nightmare. My housemate was very helpful though – after a few pointers on how I had to look at objects as shapes rather than things and copy the shape I finally came up with a reasonable template that I was happy with. Template now available for download here.

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Then came the actual tart baking. I had some leftover lemon curd from my previous project and decided to make another lemon tart – this time with a sweet shortcrust pastry – recipe as shown here.

After making the tart the usual way, it was time for the fun part – the lion! To make him, I first decided that I would cut everything free hand and just refer to the template. Results below.

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It took a long time. I suggest you start early in the morning if you want to photograph your project in daylight.

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I decided the pieces for the face did not cut it and I was bad a free-hand shortcrust pastry cutting. Decided to cut out pieces of the template to use as a stencil and remade his face.

The lion’s face still was not how I envisioned him after all of that effort! In my template I felt his expression was exactly right but I just could not for the life of me replicate it in pastry. I am sorry to say that I was a quitter – I stopped at two tries. I plonked all the pieces onto my lemon tart and voila – lion tart. Kinda.

Lion Tart

Overall, not perfect but it was a great learning project. I usually shy away from drawing and creating so this really pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I am also suddenly very strangely drawn to animals as inspiration now. Hopefully I do the next animal justice.

Green Tea Rose Cupcake

I made this cupcake a while back for some reason I did not post it and I have no idea why. I think it was because I went on a baking spree and had too many projects to talk about and this one somehow slipped through the cracks.
Green Tea Rose Cupcake

 

This is a green tea cupcake with honey buttercream, garnished with a real dried rose – the type that is sold as a tea but I think looks stunning as a garnish. It’s really simple as well but I was very happy with the outcome. I paired it with one of my favourite books of all time – Pride and Prejudice – as well as a odd little guide book that my friend gave to my housemate  as a joke that matched the theme.

I cannot for the life of me find the recipe for the green tea cupcake but there are millions out there to choose from.

The buttercream was made with just a plain buttercream icing with 2-3 tablespoons of honey instead of the milk.

For the swirl, there is a great YouTube video that explains how to do it in detail so I won’t bore you with my substandard version.

Lemon Tart with Coconut Pastry

They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. I branched out and decided to make a lemon tart.

 


Sparkling lemon tart

I was actually very pleased the image I managed to capture. Word of caution though – your food will be covered in a fine layer of sparkler dust at the end of the exercise!

Rectangular lemon tart

Do you like my lemon juicer? It only took me several years to decide on which to get. I love it to bits – it was worth every penny.

The actual baking of the lemon tart was not too difficult either and the result was pleasing – smooth, creamy curd that cut cleanly, candied lemon that was intense and a coconut flavour through the tart pastry. Recipe below:

Crust

1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 1/2 sticks chilled butter, cut into half inch cubes
1-2 tablespoons of chilled water, as needed.

1. Preheat oven to 160 Celcius (fan-forced).
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water and mix again until mixture comes together. Wrap pastry in cling wrap and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.
3. Roll pastry into a sheet large enough to fit into the pastry pan. Cut off excess.
4. Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly brown.

Lemon filling from here

Candied lemon from here