Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Bocconotti Mini Italian Cookie Tarts

These cookies are the ones that look like mini pies.
I also filled some with apricot and orange marmalade.

Bocconotti means tiny bites in Italian and is traditionally served during Christmas.  This recipe is made in many regions of Italy and traditionally are filled with jams, ricotta cheese or almond chocolate fillings.  You can cover tops of mini pies with dough or leave open top.

This Recipe is Chocolate Filling
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Pastry Dough:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into slices

1 cup sliced almonds
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces mini chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Plus another 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips for topping

Dust with powder sugar

To make the pastry dough:
In a food processor combine all dough ingredients process until dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Make filling.

To make the filling:
Put the almonds in a food processor and grind them until finely chopped.
Add the sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and cinnamon. Process until finely chopped and mixed well.

In a bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Fold the almond mixture into the beaten egg whites, in 3 increments.
When the mixture is well combined, fold in the vanilla.

To form and bake the Bocconotti:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
You will need 36 individual mini tart molds that are approximately 1-1/2 inches wide.  I used a Wilton mini muffin pan. 

Take a walnut size amount of dough and roll it into a ball.  Use your fingers and press down into the mini muffin form to form a shell.  Form and press to form a mini pie in each mini muffin form.  Trim the excess off the top and clean edge of each tart. Place a teaspoon of filling in each tart shell and sprinkle with extra mini chocolate chips.  Place all the filled tarts on a sheet pan and bake for 12-15 minutes bake until lightly golden.

Remove from oven and cool tarts on wire rack. When cool, remove the tarts from the molds.  Dust with confectioners' sugar.  Can be stored in airtight container for a few days. Great with cup of espresso coffee!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Blue Berry Pie

    This was delicious and the recipe is from one of my favorite TV Chefs Alton Brown.  I used a basic pie crust recipe.  It is awesome.  

    Blue Berry Pie
    4 cups blueberries
    1/2 cups sugar
    1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    5 tablespoons Tapioca Flour
    1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
    1 teaspoon orange zest
    2 (9-inch) store-bought pie doughs or( homemade)
    1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon water
                             Wash the berries and pat dry. Mash up half of the blueberries
                             in a small bowl.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and tapioca flour. Add the mashed blueberries, orange juice and orange zest and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Fold in the whole berries.

    Line a 9-inch pie plate with aluminum foil. Place the blueberry mixture into the foil and place in the freezer until solid, approximately 6 to 8 hours.

    Once the filling is frozen, remove from the aluminum foil and wrap in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months
           TO BAKE
    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

    Unroll first piece of dough and place into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the dough reaches to the lip of the pie pan. Trim excess, if necessary. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork.

    Remove the frozen pie filling from the freezer and place into the prepared dough in the pan. Lightly brush the edge of the crust with the egg yolk.
    either use a full top crust or a lattice crust... seal edges

    Place on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes. The pie should be bubbling lightly around the edges. If the lattice is not browned enough in the center, place under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.

    Place the pie on a rack and allow to cool to room temperature before serving, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

    Never Fail Pie Crust

    3 cups flour
    1 tsp. salt
    1 T. sugar
    1 1/4 cups soft butter
    1 egg
    1/3 cold water
    1 T. Vodka

    In a food processor, add flour, sugar, salt and pulse to combine.  Add soft butter, egg and pulse to a meal.  Combine vodka with water.  Turn on processor add liquids in a steady stream to form a ball.  Remove from machine.  Flatten into 2 disks wrapped in clear wrap.  Place in fridge for one hour.  Roll out on floured board to desired size.  I usually egg wash my pie crust after I add slits to top of dough and sprinkle with demerra sugar.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Anthony and Lucas's Birthday Bash!

Another great family party.  Lucas's Dinosaur cake was blackberry and poppy-seed cake with blackberry mousse, and Anthony's cake was chocolate salted caramel.  We had a beautiful day and a lot of fun. 

Made a Gum paste cake topper
My daughter made gum paste clocks and keyhole
Made mini cheese cakes for party

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Koliva Orthodox Commemorations

Used fondant for Initials and cross.
Painted with silver edible paint and sprinkles.

Piped a border of royal icing on my Koliva.
Fondant Initials with sprinkles.
Koliva, is a dish based on boiled wheat that is used liturgically in the Eastern Orthodox Church for commemorations of the dead. I found this recipe on I pretty much used their recipe but added some of cranberries, finely chopped dried apricots, etc....  This is a recipe you can improvise.

Greek Orthodox Memorial Service (Koliva)
recipe source:
4 cups wheat grain, shelled
1 1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds, lightly toasted
3/4 cup golden raisins
2 cups finely ground Zweiback, graham crackers, or paximadia
2 cups powdered sugar
.5 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sesame seeds lightly toasted
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

Almonds, powdered sugar, silver candies, walnuts or white raisins for decoration (optional)
How to Make Koliva:

Wash the wheat thoroughly to get rid of any grit or sand. Add the wheat to a large pot. Fill the pot with water, add a few pinches of salt, and bring the water to a boil.
Cook the wheat until it’s fluffy and tender – this should take about 20 minutes.
Strain the wheat and let the water drain out thoroughly.

Special note:  Do not skip this step
Berries need to be thoroughly dry

Prepare a surface by layering some towels or a large clean table cloth down. Spread the wheat thinly on the towels or cloth and allow drying overnight.

Add the wheat, walnuts, almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, pomegranate seeds and 2 tablespoons of the ground toast/crackers to a large mixing bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Place the mixture in a tray or bowl that you would like to use. Press the mixture down to smooth it out and shape it (mound for tray or flat for bowl). Sprinkle some of the remaining toast/crackers on the top of the mixture to cover (no need to use all the crackers).

Sprinkle the powdered sugar generously on top.

Decorate the top with any of the ingredients you choose. It is traditional to adorn the top with a cross.

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