David Lebovitz’s Dulce de Leche Tart

I would like to thank my friend in Berlin for sending me the recipe for this delicious tart. I am sorry that I didn’t do such a good job with the photos, but it tasted really good! I pinky swear it!

The fact that you can now buy cheap, ready made Dulce de Leche from Rewe was the reason I decided to make this tart for my birthday. And I wanted to test my brand new mixer 😀  Since I didn’t have a pie dish with a detachable bottom, I had to make peace with the fact that I wasn’t gonna lift perfect slices, despite oiling the pie dish very heavily.

If you don’t have pie weights, you could use dried beans, like chickpea. I used mung beans, which you could in turn make into guinataang munggo (remind me to share you the recipe one day).

The recipe was published in David’s book My Paris Kitchen. This is how I made this tart

For the Crust: 6 Tablespoons/ 85 g butter (preferably salted) at room temperature or softer, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 large egg yolk, 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp. flaky sea salt, and 1 Tablespoon water (optional)

Filling: 230 g chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, 2 large eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 cup (240 g) dulce de leche, and flaky sea salt for sprinkling.

Make the crust before the filling. Using a stand or hand-held mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with the powdered sugar at low speed, until smooth. Mix in the yolk, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the flour and the cocoa powder together, and add to the butter mixture until the dough comes together. If it looks dry, add a tablespoon of water (which I did). Roll into a ball. Pull a plate- sized (about 15 inches by 15 inches) portion of saran wrap (cling film) on a flat surface, place the dough ball on it, flatten a bit with the heel of your hand and wrap the dough in the film.  Set aside for 30 minutes. You can also use a clean plastic bag, it is probably easier.

After 30 minutes, roll the dough relatively flat in the bag or unwrap the dough, place another sheet of cling film over it, and roll with a rolling pin. When the dough is wide enough to cover a 9 inch (23 cm) pie or tart ring with a removable bottom, remove the top sheet, place the dough in the tart ring by flipping it in using the plastic film for stability, and try to evenly cover the walls of the dish by pressing your fingers at the dough located at the bottom and sides of the dish and pushing the dough up the walls, until the rim. Sprinkle the sea salt over the dough and press it into the pastry. Cover the tart ring with the wrap you used to roll it in, and freeze for 30 minutes. Colder temperatures means that I could just open the balcony door and let it rest outside.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Once the 30 minutes are up, line the dough with aluminum foil and cover the bottom with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and the weights, and bake for 5 more minutes, until the shell feels set. Take the shell out of the oven and reduce the heat to 150°C.

During the waiting/baking period you can get cracking on the filling. Melt the chocolate in a bain-Marie, remove the bowl from heat once melted, and set a strainer on top.

Whisk the eggs into a bowl. Heat the milk in a saucepan until just warm, and whisk the milk into the eggs. Not too warm, we don’t want the eggs to scramble! Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula or a wire whisk, until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Pour the custard through the strainer into the chocolate, and add the vanilla, stirring until smooth.

Carefully spread the Dulce de Leche over the hot tart shell in an even layer. It helps to let the Dulce sit for 30 seconds before spreading, the warmth of the tart bottom will soften the cream enough, making it easier to spread. Set the tart sheet on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, then carefully pur the chocolate custard over the dulce de leche. Smooth the top, and sprinkle with more salt.

Bake the tart for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the tart with the door closed for 25 minutes more.

You can remove it from the oven and let cool before serving. I just let the tart in the oven overnight and served it to my guests the day after.

David recommends serving it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but the tart is so filling, I don’t think you will need more sweet! The crust tastes a lot like Oreo cookies, so it was really addictive.

French Toast

These are a beloved childhood favorite. These are special treats made by my dear departed grandma when we had pan de sal left over from the day before. Her recipe was to dip the halved rolls in a mixture that consisted of  two eggs, a tablespoon of sugar, and a bit of evaporated milk whisked together, then fried in oil.

I still make french toast when I have too many pieces of toast left over to prevent them from going bad, which was the case last weekend. So in lieu of pancake Saturday, we had french toast 🙂 I’ve tried many recipes, but I’ve stuck with Nigella’s because 1) I am pretty traditionalist with my french toast;  and 2) the ingredients are all things I have lying around the house, and I don’t have to do extra shopping to whip up a batch.

The only thing I would change about Nigella’s recipe is her technique: I do not soak my french toast for five minutes at each side, since it soaks up too much egg and the bread slices break up when you put them in a pan.

They tasted as good as they looked. When was the last time you made french toast?

 

Sauce Hollandaise ala Julia Child

I have tried many sauce hollandaise recipes, but Julia Child’s is the only one that gets me the same results and the same consistency every single time. I tell you, go grab her cookbook. The damned thing is foolproof, I tell you.

You would need:

A 225 or 250 g block of butter, the yolks of 3 eggs, salt and white pepper (preferably freshly ground), 1 Tbsp. cold water, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. A wire whisk. If you are doing this for the first time, I recommend a tub (palanggana) of cold water big enough for your saucepan to fit into be on standby.

Slice the butter into 1/4-3/4, or into 50 g/200 g halves. Set aside the 50 g butter, and cut the 200 g butter into smaller squares. Melt them over low heat either in a cup in the microwave or in a saucepan. Set this aside. Separate the eggs. You can freeze the whites for later use.

In the inner saucepan of a bain marie or a small saucepan, beat the egg yolks until they become thick and sticky. Add the water, lemon juice, and salt, then beat about 30 seconds more.

Cut a square from the 1/4 part of the cold butter, about a tablespoon of butter. Place it in the yolk mixture. Place the saucepan over very low heat (in bain marie: over barely simmering water, 75°-80° C). whisk the egg yolks until it turns into a cream. At the slightest sign that the yolks are starting to curdle, immerse the bottom of the pan in the tub of cold water, mixing the whole time, and re-place over heat once the pan is cold enough. If the mixture is thick enough that you can see the bottom of the pan between whisks, and sticks to the wires of the whisk, then remove from the heat and place another tablespoon of the cold butter in the yolk mix to halt the cooking process.

Using a spoon, ladle the melted butter into the sauce with your left hand, slowly letting it trickle into the mixture.(DO NOT dump it in by the tablespoon! You need to coax the yolks to absorb the oil!) Simultaneously whisk the sauce with your right hand. When the sauce thickens into a heavy cream, you can pour in the butter a bit more rapidly. Do not add the buttermilk at the bottom. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. I like adding cayenne pepper in my sauce to give it an extra kick, and use the buttermilk the next day in my pancake batter.

The sauce is so thick it seems like mayo. This can only serve 3 people, so you can extend it with stiff-beaten egg whites, the water from the boiled asparagus, and garnished with tarragon or chervil.

The Perfect Egg

Germans are egg connoiseurs. I once heard a hilarious Toastmasters speech about how Germans have all sorts of gadgets in the market with one goal in mind: To engineer the perfect breakfast egg.

While foreigners scratch their heads about what is the big deal about boiled eggs, for Germans it is a matter of national interest every Sunday. Egg piercers, egg guillotines, egg cookers, egg timers…and the list goes on.

eggThe German idea of the perfect boiled egg is neither hard-boiled nor soft-boiled. It is somewhere in between. It should be a gelatinous mass, deep yellow. It can be molten at the center. It is a mortal sin to serve hard-boiled eggs with light yellow yolks. Serving such eggs does not speak well of your establishment, according to the Germans.

 

So how do you go about cooking the perfect egg? You could read a thousand recipes online, and truly, every single person has their own style of boiling eggs. My mother-in-law’s technique involves piercing an egg at the bottom part, where the air pocket is located, and placing it in a pot of water in a rolling boil for precisely 2.31 minutes, then putting the egg under cold running water for 30 seconds.

My technique is much more simple. First, I always take refrigerated, medium-sized eggs (it says so on the carton, so we don’t have any argument what constitutes a medium-sized egg). I pierce them at the bottom part to prevent them from cracking in the heat. I fill a small pot with enough cold water from the tap to cover the eggs. I place the eggs in the pot, pot on the hob, turn the heat up to 9 (The maximum allowable heat!), then wait until the water comes to a rolling boil (meaning seriously big bubbles, not tiny soda bubbles).

When the water comes to a rolling boil, I turn the heat off and let the eggs sit in there for three minutes. Comes in handy when preparing breakfast. Then I take the eggs out of the pan and into the egg cups. If using L or XL, I lengthen the time to four minutes then place them under cold running water for 30 seconds to stop the eggs from cooking.

I was so glad to see that the technique I developed to be validated by Slate. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who thought about this. I mean, it is common sense not to place eggs in boiling water, and scalding yourself in the process.

Germans normally eat this with salt, or if you have it, supermarket caviar. It may seem luxurious to people outside of Europe, but caviar is widely available here. Beluga caviar, on the other hand…