I am so excited to be back baking with the Tuesdays with Dorie group! We’ve started baking through a new Dorie Greenspan book—Baking with Julia. Blog groups like this are an awesome way to discover new blogs, make new friends, and try recipes I wouldn’t otherwise try…plus, any excuse to cook a bunch of delicious Julia Child recipes is fine by me.
Today’s flower-themed shoot was inspired by a long walk I took this morning. For the past month-plus I’ve been holed up in a weird little work cave where days bled into nights and I sat for so long, my muscles would forget how to stand. I also made poor nutritional decisions regarding giant bags of kettle corn, but that’s a subject for another post. (Let us never speak of it again.)
Aaaanyhow, I finally have a little more time so I’ve started leaving the house again! The natural sunlight was a shock at first, but I’m learning to cope. It’s been absolutely gorgeous here in southern California, and on my walk this morning I was overwhelmed by all the flowers in bloom. As soon as I saw these purple lovelies on the sidewalk median, I knew they had to make an appearance on my tarts.
The tarts themselves are my favorite kind of dessert—gooey chocolate overload. They have a crisp chocolate tart shell and a filling that’s like a baked mousse, with a rich texture and pockets of melted white and milk chocolate. I also folded in some almond amaretti cookies, but I couldn’t really taste them in the final product, and probably wouldn’t bother with them next time.
I photographed and tasted them shortly after baking and they were insane. The top was set but they were still warm and semi-melted on the inside. As they cooled they got firmer and were still pretty tasty, but I have to say, nothing compares to a warm and gooey chocolate tart.
Since we’re not posting full recipes (buy the Baking with Julia book!) I thought I would share a little trick I use to make small amounts of fresh whipped cream instead. I love soft, pillowy whipped cream that barely holds its shape—I think it looks fantastic when piled on top of tarts or cakes. But I usually only need a small amount to put on one or two servings for photographs.
Instead of whipping up a bunch in my large stand mixer, I use an extremely expensive and exclusive tool: the $2 milk frother from Ikea. (Start saving your pennies now!) I’ve never actually used it to froth milk—although I’m sure it does a lovely job—but I use it to whip small amounts of cream at least once a week. It’s a complicated process so I’ve created a handy flow chart for ya:
The only secret is to use a small amount of cream—I doubt it would work with a full cup. But for an inch or so, it only takes 1 minute to whip it and it generally makes enough to top 2-3 desserts. Ikea: is there anything they can’t do?
You can find the recipe for the chocolate tarts on the host’s blogs this week! Check them out: