Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wrapping the little cakes

I baked brownies because my daughter was going on a small trip with her friend's family.  I wanted to give them something to eat on the road.  
If it was for us to bring along, I'd just put them in a tupperware.  But that's not cute nor inviting.  
When I bake, I do everything from scratch and spend good amount of time, so I want to make sure that will be eaten.  Therefore, I'd like to present the goods more nicely.

Recently when I brought mini cakes to friend's house, I used a basket form farmer's market.  Whoever picked the bluish green for the basket has a great sense in colors.  Colors of fruits stand out so well against the green.  My mini cakes had red and purple form raspberries and blackberries, I thought it was great box to use.

I wrapped the whole thing with wax paper and a ribbon.  It was ready to be a little gift.  
I like show what's inside.  Because it feels more casual.  It's not a fancy present so it shouldn't be so pretentious.

I wished if I had the box.  That could be thrown away easily and nice looking.  But farmers usually recycle them, so I rarely get to have them.  
I wanted to put the brownies in a open box so it's easy to grab and also visible.  But I wanted the brownies individually wrapped, so if they don't eat some of them, they still keep.  And the box has to be something disposable do they don't need to worry about returning it to me.

So I decided to make a basket with a brown paper bag.  I wrapped the brownies with wax paper and cooking string.  It's not too fancy but more inviting than plastic wrap.

This is how:

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I had never baked tart until this January.   I like tart all right, but I always preferred cakes with cream.  But I remembered that I enjoyed tarts from this nice little shop called Aux Delices in Connecticut.  However, I can't get anything like that here in my town.  Only solution is to learn how to bake it.
So I started.  I remember that some kind of filling they used was so good.  Now I know that was almond creme.  It was not too difficult make.  After I got comfortable making dough, I started to experimenting.
I like custard in tart, so I made very simple custard and fruits tartlets for afternoon snack.

It is so much fun to arrange the fruits.  Especially caramelized apple.  I like make it look like a flower.
I just love cooked fruits.  Of course fresh fruits are great, too, but I do like them cooked also.

Now when I make filling for tart, I do substitute almond with other nuts.  I like Walnuts.  It gives more down to earth feeling to the tart.  I especially like pecans.  If they are coupled with brown sugar, it becomes very "county" tasting to me.  I love making peach pecan tart.  To me it tastes Southern.  It probably doesn't to real southern people, but the all the ingredients are from this region, an taste so simple and kind so I feel that way.

Making small tartlets is fun too.  They look so cute.  I always make a few for taste testing when I make big tart.


I've been wanted to make something pretty.  Not food.  With my sewing.  But I couldn't find what to make for long time.  Doing renovation all the time brings chaos to the house and my brain.   I always had clients to tell me what they want, so without them, I felt lost.  But I think something brewing in me.  I found a scrap book that I made 20 years ago to get ideas.  I love the feeling of thinking about making something pretty.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tiny Raspberries and Long Blackberries

I started seeing berries at the farmers market.  I remember we had very big blackberries last year when we came here for closing of our house.  They made my daughter who never had liked blackberries completely change her opinion on blackberries.  So we've been looking forward to having them again.  I also found tiny raspberries.  They are half of normal raspberries in a grocery store.  They are very sweet and I can't pass them since they are so cute looking!

So I made Raspberry Custard Tart for July 4th.  

We came back from Florida 4 p.m. and I was baking the tart right away....

It was such a short trip.  We left on Friday night and drove back on Monday.  But it was really fun taking our dog to beach.  Although he is afraid of water.  I hope he will get use to it but there are no beaches where we live....  We need to look for a lake, I guess.

Besides the berries, South Carolina peaches are in season.  So I baked Peach and Blackberry Tart one day.  Instead of almond cream, I made walnut cream.  I love changing out the nuts to make cream.  My favorite is pecan cream with brown sugar.  It tastes very country-like to me.

I was happy that I used up my berries very tastefully, but I saw them again at the market yesterday.  I couldn't walk away from them....  So they were thrown into mini Lemon Cake.

I guess my baking with berries will continue for a while until they stop selling them at the farmers market.

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