Posts Tagged ‘Creme Fraiche’

I hope you had a lovely weekend.  Mine was fantastic, despite– or perhaps because of– the rain here in Minnesota.  I love rainy days, and we certainly needed it here in the Midwest.  Everything is finally greening up after our nearly snow-less winter.  With an eye towards the forecast, I got the family up early to head to the farmers’ market before the downpour.  It was magnificent.  I’ll try to take photographs next time to share with you.  There were pops of color everywhere!  I was able to track down our usual early spring stores– spinach, scallions, pea shoots, asparagus, eggs, radishes, and more rhubarb.

Yes, I know I wrote about rhubarb last week in this coffee cake recipe, but if you’re ready for another go, this week I’m offering up a phenomenal tart with rhubarb and cardamom.  I ate almost the entire thing the day I made it.  It’s that good.  I spotted this tart years ago on Helene’s beautiful blog, Tartlette.  Rhubarb with cardamom is one of those brilliant combinations that you really must try.  The cardamom is very subtle– a little goes a long way– but it really seems to enhance the tart flavors of the rhubarb.

I wanted to make a relatively fuss-free crust for this tart– one that doesn’t have to be rolled out, but rather just gently patted into a pan.  This one turned out perfectly.  I blind baked the crust to ensure that it was nice and firm, since there’s nothing worse than having a fabulous filling ruined by a soggy crust.  As for that filling, this one is a divine creamy custard.  It’s just a few simple ingredients, but the creme fraiche makes it spectacular.  (Honestly, I think creme fraiche makes everything spectactular).  Like a little kid, I couldn’t stop licking the spatula!  With this recipe, you will probably have leftover custard, so pour it into baking cups and bake it along-side the tart.  They’ll be little bonus desserts.  Enjoy!

The Recipe: Rhubarb and Cardamom Tart

(Makes one 9-or-10-inch round tart or a 14-x-5-inch rectangle tart)

For poaching the Rhubarb:

5 stalks rhubarb, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

squeeze of lemon juice

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon honey

For the Custard Filling:

3 eggs, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup creme fraiche (full-fat sour cream would work, too)

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

sprinkle of salt

For the Crust:

1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

sprinkle of salt

4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 6-8 pieces

1 egg, beaten

To poach the rhubarb: In a small saucepan, bring the 1/2 cup of water, honey, and squeeze of lemon to a boil.  Place the chopped rhubarb in the water and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove rhubarb from water and set aside.  This can be done a day in advance — just place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.  The water from the rhubarb is full of flavor — save it if you like and be creative with it!  Cook it down to form a syrup or mix it with a cocktail.

Meanwhile, prepare the tart crust.  Preheat an oven to 350°F.  In a large glass bowl, add the flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt.  Whisk them together to combine.  Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the  butter, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Do not let the mixture become pasty.  Stir the beaten egg into the flour mixture.  The dough should look dry and crumbly.

Press the dough evenly and gently into a buttered tart pan, using floured fingertips.  Place a piece of lightly butter parchment paper over the tart and fill with baking weights or dried beans (I use the same beans over and over).  Blind bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the tart is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.

To make the custard filling:  In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the eggs, sugar, cardamom, and sprinkle of salt.  Mix for  a couple of minutes until it is pale and airy.  Add the creme fraiche and mix until well combined.

To assemble the tart:  Distribute the poached rhubarb into the prepared tart crust.  Pour the custard filling over the rhubarb — being careful to not overfill it.  You will have leftover custard filling.  If you like, butter about 4 small ramekins and fill them with the custard.  Bake along side the tart for a bonus treat.  Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until it is a beautiful golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.  Serve with whipped cream, if desired.  Enjoy!

Source:  Custard filling adapted from Tartlette.  Crust adapted from How to Bake

Thanks for stopping in today!

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Yesterday was my first anniversary here at Relishing It.  For me, it’s a bit mind-boggling.  I remember the day I told Radd that I wanted to write a food blog.  I recall mulling over what I wanted the blog to be about, and being both excited and nervous when I finally took the plunge with that first post.  As much as I love having a visual place to keep my most-loved recipes, I really wanted share them with people.  And, of course, I wondered if anyone would read them?  Thankfully, all of you have been stopping by to share in this with me.  You’ve helped make blogging a wonderful experience.  ‘Life-changing’ may sound a bit dramatic, but for me it’s close to the truth.

I was a bit fearful that I’d be doing this solo– sequestered in my kitchen cooking/baking away then writing to no one about it.  Instead, blogging has opened up a whole new social world.  I had no idea there were so many MN food bloggers.  And I was surprised to see how close-knit, and accepting they all were.  In the last year, I’ve made friendships through blogging that mean the world to me.  I’ve also been lucky enough to “meet” so many wonderful people through Twitter.  People who are as excited about food, health, and the environment as I am.  I’ve had the opportunity to chat with chefs and writers that I admire in the culinary world– people who have taken the time to help with advice and support.  The internet can really close those vast spaces between people, and I’m thankful that through Relishing It, my world has expanded beyond our little neighborhood in St. Paul, MN.

I will say, there are definite ups and downs to food blogging.  It’s a huge commitment.  Testing the recipes, taking the photographs, and then writing about the experience often takes a colossal amount of time.  And it’s not exactly convenient.  As I write this, I chuckle when I think about how many times I’ve cursed at having to open the kitchen door in mid-January to try to squeeze the last bit of sunlight into the room for a decent photo.  And trying to keep two small children entertained while frosting a multi-layer cake always makes things ‘interesting’.  Even so, it’s been such a wonderful experience for me.

As a thank you to you readers who stop by my little corner of the internet to see what I have to say; and to my wonderful friends and family who are always so encouraging, I’m giving away a prize to mark my first anniversary!  By now you all know that I love cookbooks.  One lucky reader will get to choose one of these lovely cookbooks that I often turn to for inspiration:  “In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite”  by Melissa Clark,Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi, and “Super Natural Every Day”, by Heidi Swanson.  A crisp new one, of course (I wouldn’t dream of parting with mine.)  To enter the contest just leave a comment– say whatever you want– at the end of this post.  If you follow me on  twitter , and tweet about my giveaway, you’ll get a second entry.  You must come back to the comment section here and tell me you did so in a separate comment.  Here’s a sample tweet.  “Enter to win a cookbook from @LaurieJKul to celebrate “Relishing It’s”  first blogiversary!  Enter here: https://relishingit.com/2012/03/16/tres-leche-cake-one-year-of-blogging-and-a-giveaway/ #giveaway”.  You can even enter a third time if you subscribe to Relishing It– again, just tell me in a separate comment on this blog post.  The contest ends on March 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.  It’s is only open to US residents (sorry).  Please be sure to leave your email in the appropriate spot in the comment section, so that I may contact the winner.  Allow roughly 4 weeks to receive your cookbook.  (I’m just being realistic folks — why is it so hard to get to the post office?)  Good Luck!

UPDATE:  The winner of the cookbook giveaway is Tammy Kimbler!  Congratulations Tammy!  The winner was chosen using Random.org.  Thank you All for the very kind and wonderful comments.  I enjoyed reading through all of them.

And since we’re celebrating, I thought it fitting to share my family’s go-to celebration cake.  This is the King of the Cakes in our house– all four of use would pick this beauty over anything else.  The is cake layered in three different types of milk…well, actually four.  It’s a simple whipped cream “frosting” with a bit of creme fraiche mixed in to help it hold its shape.  If you can’t find creme fraiche, just make it without it.  The extra fat content in creme fraiche helps the whipped cream keep it’s shape longer, but will certainly be delicious without it.  This cake can last for about 2 days in the refrigerator if covered, but for optimum results should be eaten right away.   The best part?  It’s quite easy to make.  I hope you give it a try!

The Recipe:  Tres Leche Cake

For the Cake:

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup (5 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup,  canola oil

1 cup all-purpose flour (4 1/2 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (or microwaved a few seconds)

For the Soaking Liquid:

1/2 can (7 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup half and half

For the Topping:

1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

4 cups heavy cream, cold

1/3 cup creme fraiche, cold

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Prepare a 8-inch round cake pan by buttering it, lining with parchment paper, buttering the parchment, and lightly coating it with flour.  Tap out any excess.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Mix on medium for about 2-3 minutes, or until there is a bit of volume and the mixture is a light pale color.  Add the oil, and mix for a minute longer, until it is thoroughly combined.  Scrape down the sides, as needed.  Sprinkle dry ingredients over the wet and mix until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined — do not over mix.  Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out with almost no crumbs.  Cool completely in the pan.

When the cake has cooled, begin making the soaking liquid.  Mix the sweetened condensed milk, half and half, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside.

Run a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the cake.  Invert cake onto a flat surface, such as a plate.  Using a serrated knife, horizontally cut the cake into two equal halves.  Place each half, cut side up, into it’s own rimmed baking sheet, or anything flat that it will fit into.  Slowly pour the liquid equally over each of the cake halves.   Let it soak in while you prepare the whipped topping.

In a cold bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the cold whisk attachment, add the heavy cream.  Start on low and slowly increase the speed to medium-high.  After about a minute, add the creme fraiche.  Continue beating and when it’s about half-way whipped  slowly sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar into the cream.  Continue beating on medium-high until it is fully whipped, is smooth and has shape.  Be careful not to over-whip or it will look curdled.

On a cake stand place the bottom layer of cake, cut side up.  At this point, it’s a good idea to tuck waxed paper under the edges of the cake.  It will catch any topping and make clean-up a cinch.   Mound 1/3 of the topping onto it and smooth it out with an offset spatula.  Place the other layer of cake, cut side down on top of that.  Place 1/3 of the topping on the sides, and 1/3 on the top.  Smooth out with an offset spatula. Garnish with raspberries.  Best if eaten right away, but will keep fairly well covered in the refrigerator for 2 days.  3 days is pushing it, but I’ve certainly devoured a piece at that point.

Source:  Adapted from this recipe originally from Cafe Latté in St. Paul, MN

A special thank you to my husband, Radd, for all of his help on this blog this past year — I truly appreciate it.  To Radd and our kids — thank you all for being so patient as I snap picture of our dinner before we devour it.  And thanks for always being excited (or pretending to be ) to try new things.  Thanks to my readers, once again for always stopping by to say hello!  I can’t wait to see where this next year will take us!


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Here’s a little insight into what’s going on in my head– and I realize this is not normal– but the highlight of my week usually involves hitting the local farmers’ markets with my family.  Aria, my two-year-old daughter, loves it as much as I do.  We pretty much have to drag the home-body boys (Aanen and Radd), who protest all the way.  Well, maybe not all the way.  Once they’re out of the  house, I think they enjoy it, too.    

Anyway, late Summer is when the market really shines– so many different varieties of produce to choose from!  Last weekend I snagged these gorgeous purple potatoes.  Look at how vibrant they are!  This is nature.  This is food.  And it still amazes me.  Despite what some sources say– and I know it’s probably just in my head– I feel like purple potatoes have a more earthy flavor that a plain-old white ones.  If not, well then they’re just more interesting.

This potato salad keeps it simple, yet looks fantastic.  The point is to let the beautiful colors and fresh flavors be the center of attraction, rather than cover everything up with a glop of mayo.  The addition of the herbs (especially the mint, do NOT omit the mint!) make this salad taste like Summer.  The subtle flavor of creme fraiche lets the produce shine, yet adds that creaminess you expect in a potato salad.  The radishes give a contrasting delightful crunch.  If you don’t have creme fraiche, you can use sour cream, but you’ll notice a bit more of a tang.  I love to finish this salad with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.  It just works and it’s one of my favorite potato salads.

The Recipe:  Creme Fraiche, Herb, and Purple Potato Salad

1 – 1 1/2 pounds new purple potatoes

handful of parsley, mint, and basil chopped (around 3/4 cup total)

5-6 green onions, chopped

6  large radishes, chopped

1/2  lemon

1/3 – 1/2 cup creme fraiche

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked blacked pepper, to taste

To steam the potatoes:  I prefer steaming to boiling– the potatoes retain less water this way.  Put potatoes in a steamer basket placed in a saucepan with a tight lid.  Make sure to put enough water into it.  Steam potatoes until nearly done, then turn off heat and let them sit for 10 more minutes.  The potatoes will continue to cook with the heat turned off.  The cooking time will vary based upon the size of your potatoes, so be sure to check it.  I steamed mine for 25 minutes, and let them sit for another 10 minutes.  Yours may take less time.  Just be sure to check them by inserting a sharp knife into them.  Be sure your saucepan doesn’t run out of water.

Sprinkle potatoes with a bit of salt and let them cool.  Meanwhile, chop the herbs, radishes,  and green onions.  Add them to the cooled potatoes, along with the creme fraiche, olive oil, and a squeeze of the lemon juice.  Don’t squeeze the full amount right away.  Taste as you go along, and definitely feel free to adjust measurements to your liking.  You may want a bit more creme fraiche and olive oil.   Be sure to season with salt appropriately, as the salt really brings all of these flavors together.    Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today.  Have a great weekend!


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