healthy

Blueberry and Hazelnut Crostata 

Crostata evokes many memories of a summer semester I spent in Bologna, Italy when I was backpacking in Europe as a university student. I spent most of my hard-earned money on eating and sightseeing and I fondly remember all the bakeries serving many variations of this infamous Italian Tart. Plums, berries, apples, grapes all made their way into these traditional crostatas bursting with homemade jams, flaky and buttery crusts liberally dusted with icing sugar.

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I used to walk through the streets sightseeing and eating my crostata with icing sugar dusting my face, a happy memory! I had a sweet tooth and couldn’t resist trying all the delicacies in the dozens of pastry shops that lined the streets.

When E.D.SMITH contacted me to collaborate on their fall campaign to celebrate their 135th birthday, I was delighted as it brought back memories of baking as a child with my mum. We used to love using their pie fillings and their jams were a staple in our house.

E.D.SMITH is an iconic Canadian food brand with roots dating back to 1882 and is currently the #1 pie filling in Canada and the largest Canadian manufacturer of jams and fruit spreads.

For their fall campaign, E.D.SMITH is inspiring the newest generation of Canadian home cooks to look past traditional jam on toast and plain pies to get creative with E.D.SMITH’s products.

My mission is to inspire you to explore the versatility of their products and show you how E.D.SMITH’s pie fillings and Triple Fruits spreads can fit within your lifestyle and today’s food trends.

I love a good challenge and what better way than to recreate one of my favourite desserts, a fruit filled crostata! A traditional crostata is an open-faced fruit tart, often with a decorative lattice top and made with a homemade jam.

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I particularly enjoy E.D.SMITH’s Blueberry Pie Filling and thought it would be a great swap out for a traditional blueberry jam. As we head into the fall season, I made this crostata with the addition of ground hazelnuts as it gives the crust a gently nutty bite and it complements the Blueberry Pie Filling nicely. If hazelnuts are not to your liking, they can easily be replaced with ground almonds.

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The addition of nuts in the pastry dough, coupled with the yolks creates a well rounded, rich crust that pairs nicely with the pie filling making you want to savour each bite.

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This Blueberry and Hazelnut Crostata is sure to become your favourite too. It’s a delicious twist on a traditional, familiar dessert with a delicate lattice topping. I hope you enjoy making it as much as I do.

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Blueberry and Hazelnut Crostata Recipe

Pastry Crust Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup ground hazelnuts (or almonds)

3 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp citrus zest (lemon, orange or grapefruit)

1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean (or extract)

Pinch of ground cinnamon

3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, chopped

1 large egg + 1 yolk

3/4 can of E.D.SMITH Blueberry Pie Filling

Egg wash (1 egg + 2 tsp water)

9″ Fluted round tart pan with a removal bottom

Directions:

  1. In a stand up mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, add the flour, ground hazelnuts, sugar, salt, zest, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix on low until combined.
  2. Add the chopped butter and egg yolk, and mix until combined. Do not overmix as you still want to see bits of butter throughout.
  3. On a clean surface roll out 2 sheets of cling wrap and place the dough in the centre and gently form a disk. Flatten, cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F
  5. Roll out the pastry dough on a floured surface to approximately 14-16″ in diameter and l/2” thickness. Gently transfer it to the tart pan and press into the pan, bringing the dough up to the sides.
  6. With a sharp knife, cut off the excess dough and reserve to make a lattice top.
  7. Add the E.D.SMITH Blueberry Pie Filling into the base.
  8. Roll out the excess dough and using a fluted pastry wheel cut strips to place over top the filled pastry.
  9. In a crisscross pattern overlap the strips and crimp the edges.
  10. *Alternate method; on a flour dusted parchment sheet you can create your lattice top pattern and chill it for 15 minutes. Gently flip it over-top the tart, sealing the edges and discarding any excess dough.
  11. Brush with the egg wash and bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes or until golden.
  12. Remove and place on a baking rack to completely cool.
  13. Remove the tart ring and dust generously with icing sugar and cut into slices. Enjoy!

*The Crostata will keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container, refrigerated.

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DARK CHOCOLATE TART WITH TOASTED SESAME CARAMEL

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Chocolate is one of my favourite ingredients to bake with and this deliciously easy tart is no exception.  I used dark chocolate as it pairs amazingly well with the Toasted Sesame Caramel Dessert Sauce from #PresidentsChoice.

When I received this month’s box I was delighted to see 2 ingredients that I really love, which are Passion fruit and Caramel.  The PC Black Label Passion Fruit Condiment is quite heavenly in the sense that it works well as a vinaigrette poured onto salad or glazed on your BBQ shrimp.

 

The Toasted Sesame Caramel Dessert Sauce is the perfect consistency of a runny caramel speckled with flecks of toasted sesame seeds (genius!) and pairs well with so many desserts including pouring it on your favorite ice cream, spread on crepes and my personal favourite used as a filling for a dark chocolate tart.

When I opened  jar of toasted sesame caramel, I was amazed how smooth the texture was and the right amount of sesame. Instantaneously, a thought of a traditional chocolate tart with caramel center emerged and I became challenged to make a tart that would compliment the sesame flavor. The idea of using dark chocolate was my first option as it is not overly sweet and would complement the sweet caramel. The toasted sesame hardly gets the attention it deserves as it flavor is not overbearing. The caramel sauce inspired me to decorate the tart with a hard set caramel, but can be served on its own or dusted with cocoa powder.

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Another suggestion if your willing to take a chance is to add espresso and cinnamon to the tart mixture.  I have fond memories of travelling through Italy and being served a dark chocolate square with my shot of espresso. The espresso’s bitterness is followed by a sweet but not having the fatty texture of milk chocolate to remove the after taste of the espresso. In this recipe, I have added both ingredients.

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As we roll into the second month of #PlayWithYourFood #PCBlackLabel campaign with #PresidentsChoice, I want to share some exciting news!  President’s Choice has offered to giveaway a #PCBLACKLABEL BLACK BOX for you to win on my Instagram account! You can win 2 delicious #PCBlackLabel products in addition to a $50 gift card! How exciting is that?  In order to enter the contest, you will need to go to my Instagram page

    The contest will run until June 28th at which time a winner will be selected randomly. Good luck!  *This contest is open to Canadian residents only.

    Whether you’re a home chef or an aspiring foodie, the PC Black Label Collection makes it easy to unleash your culinary curiosity and get creative. Discover the entire collection and be inspired to #PlayWithYourFood at pc.ca/blacklabel.

     

    DARK CHOCOLATE TART WITH TOASTED SESAME CARAMEL RECIPE

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    *  This recipe makes enough for a standard 8 to 9 inch round tart pan.

    It’s important to use a spring form pan (or tart ring) with a removal base for easy baking and removal of the tart and source out high quality ingredients as it produces the best flavours and will quickly get noticed by your guests.

    The steps are very straightforward and relatively easy to put together.  Just be sure to chill the tart dough until its firm enough for you to roll out. Once it’s baked, be sure it is completely cooled before adding the caramel sauce.  Finally, another important note is to ensure that the caramel is hardened (slightly) or really cold before adding the layer of chocolate ganache otherwise the chocolate will mix into the caramel.

    Ingredients:

    Tart Shell:

    1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

    1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

    1/2 cup cocoa powder
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp fleur de sel or kosher salt
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    Pinch of baking powder
    Pinch of ground cinnamon
    Pinch of ground espresso

    Chocolate Ganache (Recipe below)

    1 jar of  PC BLACK LABEL Toasted Sesame Caramel Dessert Sauce

    Instructions:

    1. Whisk all the ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
    2. Chop the butter and add it to the flour bowl mixture, crumbling it into the flour making pea sized crumbs.
    3. Work the ingredients quickly until they come together creating a pliable dough.  Do not over mix, you should still see little pats of butter throughout.
    4. Shape the dough into a disk and flatten
    5. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.

    Chocolate Ganache:

    1 cup cold whipping cream
    2 cups dark chocolate, chopped

    1. In a microwave safe bowl, warm the cream until just boiling – about 1-2 minutes, depending on your microwave.
    2. Carefully remove and add the chopped chocolate.
    3. Let it sit for 1 minute.
    4. Whisk gently until incorporated and set aside.

    Bake the Tart:

    Preheat oven to 375°F

    Butter an 8″ or 9″ spring form pan or tart ring and set aside.

    1. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1″ thickness and line the tart ring or pan. Ensure you bring up the dough on the sides that’s deep enough to hold the caramel filling and the chocolate ganache, approximately 2-3 inches in height.
    2. Use a fork and gently indent the dough all over to create tiny little holes.
    3. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until cooked through.
    4. With the back of a spoon, push down the base of the tart to ensure it is flat and no holes remain (they should be baked through).
    5. Let the tart shell cool completely.

    Assembly:

    1. Pour the caramel in an even layer in the tart base and refrigerate or freeze until set and it’s no longer runny.
    2. Once chilled completely, remove and pour the chocolate ganache over top the caramel and smooth out with a spatula quickly as it will start immediately.
    3. Return to the refrigerator until completely set.
    4. Remove 20 minutes before serving and use a hot knife to slice through the tart.  Rinse the knife and repeat.  This ensures you get clean slices each time you cut into it.

    Enjoy!

    If you make this recipe please share and use my hashtag, #hautesucre on the social media channels, as I would love to see them!

     

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     (This post is sponsored by President’s Choice.  I used their PC Black Label Toasted Sesame Caramel Dessert Sauce to make this easy Dark Chocolate Tart.)

    Brioche French Toast Recipe 


    Brioche French Toast Recipe

    Ingredients:

    1 large egg, whisked

    1/3 cup heavy cream

    1/4 cup sugar

    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

    Pinch of sea salt

    3-4 sliced brioche (or reg bread)

    Directions:

    1. In a shallow bowl, whisk all the ingredients
    2. let bread soak up mixture and place in a hot, buttered pan.
    3. Cook until crunchy + golden.
    4. Serve with maple syrup, whipped cream and fresh berries

    Enjoy!!🍓


    Spicy Eggs with Peperoncini Piccanti

    (This post is sponsored by President’s Choice.  I used their PC Black Label Peperoncini Piccanti to make these Spicy Eggs)

    If you know me, spicy eggs are my favourite!  I can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I love eggs! But this post isn’t about my love of eggs but of a recipe I created just for you using this amazing #PCBlackLabel Peperoncini Picante. The heat in these chili’s is unbelievably hot and complements this egg dish superbly.

    When #PresidentsChoice asked me to partner with them for their #PCBlackLabel products, I knew it would be a good fit as I love to try new products and incorporate them into new recipes.  It allows me to be CREATIVE and it’s always fun to #PlayWithYourFood!

    As I opened the PC Black Label black box, I was delighted to see Caponata Eggplant Antipasto and Peperoncini Chopped Hot Chili Peppers.  I was immediately drawn to the Peperoncicni Piccanti as I love chili peppers.

    Spicy Eggs with Peperoncini Piccanti

     

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 large potato, diced
    • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tblsp olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp raw sugar
    • 1 small shallot, diced
    • 1 cup spinach, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • 1 tblsp PC Black Label Peperoncini Piccanti Chopped Chili Peppers in Oil
    •  1 tblsp heavy cream
    • 2-3 large eggs, organic or farm fresh, if possible
    • salt and pepper to taste

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. In a large skillet add the olive oil, cumin seeds and diced potatoes and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat or until cooked through.
    2. Add the raw sugar and shallots and cook 5 more minutes.
    3. Lower the heat and add the spinach, crushed garlic clove,  PC Black Label Peperoncini Piccanti Chopped Chili Peppers in Oil and heavy cream. Cook for 2 minutes and mix thoroughly.
    4. Lower the heat to the minimum setting and spread the mixture evenly in the pan, creating 2-3 wells or indents for the eggs.
    5. Crack the eggs into the indents and cover the pan with the lid. Poach the eggs on low heat for 3-4 minutes until the eggs are cooked though but the yolks are still runny. Transfer to a plate and enjoy!


    Spinach and Goat Cheese Tart with a Quinoa Crust *gluten-free 

    I love this tart! It’s easy, simple and delicious.  And did I mention it’s vegetarian?

    I’ll be honest, I was skeptical of my 6 year old son liking this tart due to the ‘green spinach’ layer under all that goat cheese but he devoured it for dinner alongside a vegetable soup. Yay!

    It’s relatively easy if you follow my steps below and the pastry is quick and you can press it into the tart pan without having to fuss about rolling it out.  Easy peasy weeknight dinner sorted, great for meatless Mondays!

    It’s the perfect main course served with a nice side salad or sliced into small squares or wedges and served as appetizers.
    I hope you’ll enjoy it!

    *And don’t forget, if you make this tart using my recipe below, please tag it #hautesucre on your social media accounts as I would love to see it!😊

    Spinach and Goat Cheese Tart with a Quinoa Crust Recipe

    Ingredients:

    Crust:

    1 cup quinoa flour

    3/4 cup all purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)

    3/4 cup cold butter, chopped

    3-4 tablespoons cold water

    1 tsp salt

    1 tsp sugar

    1 4×14 tart pan with a removable bottom 

    Method:

    1. Combine all the ingredients into a small food processor and pulse into a dough has formed.

    2. Roll onto a flour surface or press the dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Set aside.

    3. Preheat oven to 425°F

    Filling:

    Ingredients:

    2 cups baby spinach

    3 garlic cloves

    1 large egg

    1/4 cup cream

    Salt

    Pepper

    Fresh thyme

    200 grams fresh goat’s cheese

    *Dried shallots (optional garnish or add to filling)

    Method:

    1. In a small food processor, add the spinach, garlic, egg and cream.  Pulse until the spinach breaks down and the egg is combined. Add the salt, pepper and fresh thyme.

    2. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth evenly.

    3. Crumble the goat cheese over top the filling covering completely.

    4. Bake for 30 minutes.

    5. Remove and let cool 15 minute before cutting.

    Enjoy!😊

    Havarti Cheese Puff Pastry Sticks

    The lovely folks at Arla Dofino contacted me to create a delicious holiday recipe and how could I refuse given its for one of my favorite cheeses, Havarti!

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    I decided to go with a classic appetizer that’s easy to eat and fun to serve! I tried the Havarti Inferno Cheese with Chipotle and Habanero.  If you follow my posts on Instagram, then you know my love of spice.  This cheese is the perfect balance of creamy and delicious with a kick of heat! Yum!

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    Puff pastry is easy entertaining and you can have these Havarti Cheese twists ready in no time. In addition to the cheese, I also added my favourite fresh herb, thyme and my current favourite spice, nigella seeds.  Nigella seeds are a mysterious spice with a crunchy texture and with a flavour of toasted onions.  They’re often used in Indian cooking and adorn the tops of flatbreads such as naan. If you cannot find them, you can leave them out and replace with black sesame seeds, but they’re well worth getting and really highlight the flavour profile of these cheeses.

    Havarti Cheese Puff Pastry Sticks Recipe
    Makes approximately 24 sticks

    Ingredients:
    2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
    300 grams Havarti Cheese (any variety) I used a blend of Creamy and Inferno
    6 sprigs fresh thyme
    Sea salt
    Fresh cracked pepper
    Nigella seeds or black sesame seeds
    Egg wash (1 beaten egg + 2 tblsp water)

    Instructions:

    Preheat the oven at 425°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpat mats.

    1. On a dusted surface, roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry at a time and brush with egg wash.

    2. Sprinkle the cheese over top evenly and gently

    3. Sprinkle the fresh thyme, salt and pepper on top of the cheese.

    4. With a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut 12 puff pastry strips.

    5. Roll each strip gently starting from the top and overlapping to create a spiraled strip. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining strips.

    6. Once you have all of your twists ready, brush them gently with egg wash and sprinkle the nigella seeds over top. You can add more salt and pepper if you’d like.

    7. Bake at 425°F for 15- 20 minutes until golden.

    Let cool before serving. Enjoy!

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    Tips for Hosting a Successful Dinner Party

    I recently held a backyard bbq dinner party to celebrate the changing of the seasons in partnership with Cascade Platinum #sparklingclean.

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    I had the opportunity to put the product to the test and I must say, I’m impressed! Not only did it remove the hard, cooked on food residue, it left all of my dishes sparking clean!

    In order to host a successful dinner party, there are a few rules that are important to follow in my repertoire.  I’ve hosted numerous parties, whether they’re fancy affairs or simple gatherings, it all boils down to a few essential steps and making sure you’re always prepared.  I share my views with fellow Chef, Michael Smith who offers a few essential entertaining tips below:

    1. Spend Time To Save Time:
    Prep as much as you can in advance, from setting the table to prepping food. This allows you      to spend more time with your guests entertaining, instead of being in the kitchen.

    2. Make Your Guests Feel Special:
    It’s important to go the extra mile in making your guests feel special.  I love to decorate the house with fresh flowers, music, lovely table setting and sparkling dishes.

    3. Clean As You Go:
    While cooking, load the dishwasher so that you don’t have to do all the clean up after. This saves time and with Cascade Platinum, you don’t need to worry about pre-rinsing.

    4. Share The Work:
    Lighten the load and enlist the help of your guests if possible, this will help ensure the party runs smoothly between courses.

    5. Grand Finale:
    End the evening with a bang! Perhaps with a spectacular dessert, sparkling Champagne or a little gift for your guests, making the night memorable.

    Here are a few highlights from our delicious backyard bbq dinner party. I’m so happy that my cleanup was made easy with the help of Cascade!

    Rhubarb Lemonade:
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    Marinated Garlic and Rosemary Lamb:
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    Roasted Potatoes:
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    Papaya Chicken with Roasted Cashews:
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    Roasted Vegetables:
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    Mexican Corn:
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    Fire Grilled Jumbo Shrimps with Cilantro and Chipotle:
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    Fresh Feta Salad:
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    Mint and Cilantro Gremolata:
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    *This post was sponsored by Cascade. All opinions are my own.

    Blueberry Ricotta Waffles

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    Ricotta Waffles

    2/3 cup All purpose flour
    1/4 cup raw sugar
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    Pinch of cinnamon powder
    1/4 tsp kosher salt
    1 egg
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    2/3 cup milk
    2 tsp melted butter
    3/4 cup TreStelle ricotta, crumbled
    Blueberries

    Makes approx 4-6 waffles

    Recipe:

    1. In a small bowl whisk to combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder salt.

    2. In another small bowl mix together the egg, milk, butter and vanilla.

    3. Slowly incorporate the egg mixture into the flour by folding briskly.

    4. Fold in the ricotta and handful of berries if using. Keep the remaining blueberries to serve alongside your waffles.

    5. Warm up your waffle iron and place approx 1/2 cup of batter abd proceed with your waffle iron directions until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter.

    6. Serve with a dallop of whipped cream, fresh berries and dust the tops with icing sugar. Enjoy! 🙂

    *Disclosure: This post is sponsored by TreStelle Cheese. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

    Gougères with Gruyère Cheese

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    Gougères Recipe

    Choux:

    125 ml milk
    125 ml water
    100g room temp butter, diced
    5g salt
    15g sugar
    150g flour
    4 eggs
    2 tsp fresh thyme or very finely minced fresh rosemary

    1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

    1/2 tsp red chili powder (you may omit)

    Good sea salt (to sprinkle on top)

    1 cup grated Gruyère cheese (or any other hard cheese you like – but, it should have a pronounced flavour)

    Preheat oven 425°F and line 2 sheets with parchment or silpats

    1. In a saucepan, combine milk, water and cubed butter.  Combine and stir in salt and sugar – bring to a rolling boil.

    2. Sift flour into a separate bowl

    3. Crack eggs into a small bowl

    4. Once mixture has boiled, add flour and stir vigorously to form a paste. (Do this in intervals on/off the heat). When the paste dries out (no longer sticks to spatula), it’s ready. Do not brown

    5. Add paste to stand mixer bowl and add eggs one by one, on med speed – approx 3 min (when it’s all combined)
    6. Add in black and red pepper, thyme or rosemary and cheese.

    7. Add to piping bag and pipe 1″mounds, 1/2 ” high onto sheets
    Brush with eggwash and slightly flatten tops with a fork – sprinkle tops with rosemary and sea salt.

    8. Bake for approx 25 – 30 min ~ until they have doubled and are golden brown.
    Makes approx 30 Gougéres.

    *can be filled or served warm as is.  They also freeze well.

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    Roasted Mushroom and Chèvre Tart

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    This recipe was originally featured on The Society.

    Roasted Mushroom and Chèvre Tart Recipe:

    1 sheet of Puff pastry (you can use store bought, thawed)
    1 1/2 cups white mushrooms, rinsed and bottoms trimmed, (thinly sliced)
    1 cup cremini mushrooms, rinsed and bottoms trimmed, (thinly sliced)
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    350g goats cheese (Chèvre)
    2 tblsp Olive oil
    Fresh cracked pepper
    Maldon sea salt or fleur de sel
    Sprigs of fresh thyme
    Flat leaf parsley, chopped

    Preheat oven to 425°F

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper

    1. Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle and place on parchment lined sheet.

    2. In a small bowl combine half of the goats cheese and the crushed garlic and then spread a thin layer on top of the puff pastry.

    3. Arrange the sliced mushrooms lengthwise (in approx 5 columns, as shown in the picture) on top of the goat cheese and sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1 tblsp olive oil and thyme.

    4. Spirnkle the remaining goat’s cheese on top (in small dallops) and lightly drizzle the entire tart with olive oil.

    5. Top with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

    Bake approx 30 min until puff pastry has risen and the tart is golden brown.

    Just before serving, top with fresh, chopped parsley. Enjoy!

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