Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Handmade Oreo Cookies

Back in November, I was sifting through twitter and came across a very interesting post. The words “Adopt-a-blogger #4” dashed across the screen in a tweet by Dine and Dish which caught my attention. After clicking through the link on the tweet, I came to the Dine and Dish blog written by Kristen and learned more about the program. I left my comment on the blog post expressing interest to be involved as a “newbie” since my blog was under a year old.

In January, everyone was notified as to who their mentor would be. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil was matched with me to be my mentor. I had recently come across her blog and added her to my blog roll, since I enjoyed her writing style, recipes and authenticity.

Mentoring others is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to another person. It is imparting your knowledge, experiences and guidance to help another person be successful with their particular goals. In my career, I have the daily opportunity to mentor my team members and it is truly the best part of my job. Knowing that I can help guide someone to achieve their goals is completely satisfying. I have been fortunate enough to participate in my company’s formal leadership development program and mentor employees who want to grow with the organization. Mentoring is a lifetime activity that benefits both people who are involved.

I reached out to Lindsay and we communicated via email to get to know one another a bit. She couldn’t have been more welcoming and kind in her communication. I shared my goals and she was excited and open to helping me. I discovered that she and her husband went to college in Northern California and has family in the Bay Area. My husband Charles and I are native Bay Area residents, so it is wonderful to already have something in common already. Her and her husband have a thriving handmade pet collar business, called pattern and paw. I am going to have to order a special collar for our little doggie Max.

(Max - our 10 year old Lasha Apso and a photo of Charles and me)
We decided to start this adventure by adding one another to our blog rolls and perusing each others blogs for an eye catching recipe to introduce one another to our readers. Lindsay has so many great recipes, that it was hard to choose. One in particular caught my eye – homemade Oreo Cookies. The photo just made my mouth water. Originally from the book Retro Desserts and then Smitten Kitchen created them. I adapted the recipe just slightly. I get in the mood to make cookies, since it completely therapeutic and my husband enjoys the finished product. Truth be told, as long as I can remember, the best part of making cookies is eating the dough. Some people are afraid of the raw ingredients, mainly the egg, but that has never stopped me. My husband Charles and some of our closest neighbors were the recipients of these delicious cookies!

Starting my food blog is a complete passion of mine and I look forward to the journey ahead and learning from my new friend and mentor Lindsay. Thank you Lindsay for participating in the Adopt a blogger program!

Handmade Oreo Cookies
For the chocolate wafers:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 T. vanilla extract


Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

To make the cream, place shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. (No pastry bag? Just spoon it on). Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Patty Melt

Inspiration is that unconscious burst of creativity that hits you at various times and comes in many forms.

My husband, Charles and I were watching Check Please Bay Area this morning and one of the restaurants being reviewed was Mama’s on Washington Square in San Francisco. One of the highlights was the “Slim Joe Burger” which is served with grilled onions, ketchup, and jack cheese on a sourdough baguette. Our mouths instantly began to water and we had not yet had breakfast, just our first cup of coffee of the morning.

After work last night, I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things for the weekend, which turned out to be four stuffed bags that I brought home. (okay- I shop like tomorrow is the end of the world, but what if inspiration comes over me, I want to have ingredients - silly huh?) It is suppose to storm over the weekend and I wanted some comfort food to enjoy. Contained within the four large bags was ground beef, a fresh sourdough loaf and jarlsburg deli slices. Leaning over to Charles, I asked him – how would you feel about having patty melts for breakfast? His eyes immediately lit up and replyed with a resounding – YES!

I popped off the couch and created our patty melts for breakfast. A bit unconventional, but who says you always have to have breakfast food for breakfast.

Patty Melts

1 lb. ground beef, 80% lean
2 large onions, thinly sliced
6 T. butter
Salt and pepper
4 slices of Jarlsburg cheese
1 Sourdough loaf

Divide the ground beef into four even portions and form into patties. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter on medium heat. Be careful not to burn. Add the sliced onions along with salt and pepper. Using thongs, coat the onions with the melted butter and cook on medium until golden brown. Toss frequently for evening cooking. Should be about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off heat.

Cut the sourdough loaf into four pieces and then cut in half. Use a griddle and melt the 2 tablespoons of butter, then coat each of the bread slices with the melted butter. Grill the bread until golden brown and soft to the touch. Remove. Add the patties to the griddle and cook on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes per side until desired doneness is obtained. When you flip the burgers, add the cheese to ensure it is melted.

When ready to assemble, divide the caramelized onions to the bottom of the four breads. Add the burger and then the top. Add either ketchup or mustard for additional seasoning as desired.

Makes four patty melts.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chinese Chicken Salad

In my opinion, one of the best salads on earth is the Chinese Chicken Salad. The variations are endless along with the combination of ingredients. It is super crunchy, full of flavor and typically extremely colorful. This recipe uses rotisserie chicken along with three kinds of cabbage to add texture and color. The secret ingredient to the dressing is the mayonnaise – adds the creamy texture, so the dressing sticks to all of the lovely ingredients.

Chinese Chicken Salad

2 C. Red cabbage, finely sliced
4 C. Green cabbage, finely sliced
2 C. Napa cabbage, finely sliced
1 C. Chinese pea pods, trimmed and cut in half
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1 small red bell pepper, julienne slices
8 Scallions cut into diagonal pieces
1 T. Cilantro, minced
½ C. Slivered almonds, toasted or dry roasted
1 ½ C. Shredded roasted chicken


2 T. Rice wine vinegar
2 T. Brown sugar
1 ½ T. Soy sauce
1 T. Siracha sauce
1 T. Ginger, minced
¼ C. Vegetable oil
1 T. Sesame oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
2T. Mayonnaise

In a jar or container that has a tight seal, add all of the above ingredients for the dressing and then shake really well until creamy and combined.  Let sit for 30 minutes or longer to develop the flavors.

In a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients and then add the dressing and toss.  You can save some chicken to garnish the top along with a few scallions. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Murray Circle in Sausalito

Located in the historic Fort Baker inside a beautiful renovated colonial-style military building, where top ranked officers used to live, is Murray Circle. Opened in 2008, Murray Circle is located at Cavallo Point – the lodge at the Golden Gate in Sausalito, California. Inside are rich hardwood floors, thick velvet drapes and an antique tin ceiling. Murray Circle is the only Marin restaurant to earn a Michelin Star – quite an accomplishment for such a relatively new establishment. Executive Chef Joseph Humphrey skillfully combines the fresh, organic and seasonal artisan ingredients in original and delicious ways.

Situated on the property are sweeping views of the Marin Headlands, the city of San Francisco and the world renowned Golden Gate Bridge. This exquisite resort has vast porches for guests to enjoy the views or simply sip a great glass of wine. The weather was perfect for our lunch visit and all of the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful.

We sat down for our 11:45 lunch reservation and the restaurant was still relatively vacant. Reviewing the menu, we noticed that the majority of the choices were centered on brunch type selections with a few lunch items scattered throughout. Right away we selected the house made breads and pastries. One word – amazing! It came with artisan butter and apple compote that was to die for. A great start, especially since we did not have breakfast and were quite famished.


I ordered a glass of Miner Family Vineyards Chardonnay from Napa, which was perfect - buttery, touch of oak, smooth and creamy. Lynette ordered a Viognier from a Winery in Napa called Grand. Brenley enjoyed bottomless ice tea. Lynette and I started with the Organic Sun choke Bisque, slow cooked winter greens, shallot confit and picnoline olives. The actual bisque was poured tableside onto the accoutrements. Brenley began with Little Gem Lettuces, creamy parmesan dressing adorned with anchovies.

Onto the main event – we all selected different items so that we could have a small sample of each dish. I ordered the “fried chicken & waffles” with buttermilk brined game hen, herb gravy and southern style greens. It was tasty but a bit disappointing on the “chicken” portion – basically four small bites of meat. I had never has this dish and always wanted to try it. Lynette enjoyed the shaved fennel, apple and cucumber salad, wood grilled prawns with juniper vinaigrette. Brenley selected the Dungeness crab “BLT” with smoked bacon, avocado, sundried tomato pesto and chips and dip. The dip was interesting and sort of resembled a mound of slightly flavored cream cheese – a mystery dip indeed.

Dessert was definitely the highlight of the lunch and the pastry chef is to be commended on the wonderful  pastries and the divine dessert. We chose the Sticky toffee pudding with whipped crème fraiche. It was rich, decadent, flavorful, and creamy and worth each bite of calories.

Overall, the service was wonderful, the scenery was spectacular, the food was good just not great and the dessert was divine. Not to mention the company was spectacular as always. Next time we are off to Healdsburg to Charlie Palmers Dry Creek Kitchen along with a bit of shopping thrown in for good measure.

Murray Circle
Cavallo Point
602 Murray Circle
Fort Baker – Sausalito, Ca 94965

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Grilled Gorgonzola and Fig Jam Sandwiches

Love is in the air this weekend with Valentines Day being celebrated around the world tomorrow. Whether you choose to create an intimate dinner at home for your loved one or celebrate by dining at your favorite restaurant, being with the one you love is the most important thing.

A typical Friday night is wine night at our house. Charles and I are tired from the long work week and just want to be with one another, unwind, enjoy a great bottle of wine, watch a few shows that are on tivo and have appetizers. To kick off the Valentine’s Day weekend, I created these divine little appetizers for us to enjoy with a bottle of 2002 Del Dotto CabernetDel Dotto is a spectacular winery in Napa Valley that I highly recommend visiting.  There is a great 90 minute tour available where you are able to barrel taste and reservations are highly encouraged.

These appetizers are great anytime of the year, just choose an appropriate shape. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Grilled Gorgonzola and Fig Jam Sandwiches

Hearty white sandwich bread
Fig Jam
Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbled

Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut shapes from the bread. Spread one side of each cut out with butter. Use room temp butter to make it easy to spread. Spread the unbuttered side of half of the bread cut outs with fig jam. Top preserves with the crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Top remaining bread slice, and butter the top.

Grill on a large skillet or stove top griddle on medium heat, turning once, until the cheese melts and the bread is golden brown on each side. Garnish with a dollop of fig jam and a pinch of finely diced chives.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sloppy Joe Sliders

Retro, scrumptious, tangy, sweet, hearty, satisfying  – those words describe a Sloppy Joe sandwich. That leads me to my next thought, is it really a sandwich or a burger of sorts? Whatever it is, one thing I know, they are delicious.

Sloppy Joes Bar in Key West Florida is known to be the originator of this yummy delight. In the past, I would make these from the Manwich canned sauce and thought, no more. Researched the ingredients and recipes and came up with this. With the slider sensation currently in full swing, I combined the two together to make – Sloppy Joe Sliders. Enjoy!

Sloppy Joe Sliders


1 T. Olive oil
½ C. Red bell pepper, fine dice
1 Medium onion, finely diced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. Ground beef – 90% fat free
½ C. Ketchup
1- 15oz. Can Tomato Sauce
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
5 t. Red wine vinegar
2 T. Brown sugar
1 t. Thyme, dried
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Mini hamburger buns or similar

In a large skillet with heat on medium, add the olive oil and crumble the meat. Cook until brown. Drain any excess oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the red peppers and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer on medium low for about 15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.

Spoon onto the toasted buns and serve.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blueberry and Banana Pancakes

When I was a kid, pancakes were not my favorite breakfast item. As I have evolved my palate, I have grown to actually love and appreciate them. With such a variety of pancake combinations ranging from ricotta, chocolate chip to baked apple pancake, they are now a gourmet treat. Don’t get me started on toppings – fresh fruit, homemade compotes, maple syrup to just plain butter, the choices are endless.

Sunday morning rolled around quickly, as it seems to each weekend. Our typical Sunday morning routine is to either dine at a restaurant or make a hearty breakfast at home. We flipped a coin and dining at home was the outcome. I had a ripe banana and a pint of fresh plump blueberries, and was in the mood for pancakes. I prefer them with syrup where my husband Charles, likes a pat of butter on each cake. For an extra richness to the pancakes, I added sour cream. It gave them extra moistness, fluff, richness and texture.

Blueberry and Banana Pancakes

2 C. Flour
¼ C. Sugar
1 t. Salt
1 T. Baking powder
1 t. Baking soda
2 Eggs
1 C. Milk
½ C. Sour Cream
1 Ripe banana, mashed
1 t. Vanilla
Pinch of nutmeg
1 ½ C. Fresh blueberries
Vegetable oil for cooking

Makes 12 to 14 large pancakes

In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix. In another bowl, add the wet ingredients and whisk gently until combined. Add the mashed banana to the wet ingredients and stir. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Gently fold in the blueberries. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes.

Turn burner on medium heat. Using a large griddle or skillet, add a bit of vegetable oil to the pan to prevent the cakes from sticking. You will want to add more oil as needed for each batch. Place about 3 tablespoons of the pancake batter to the griddle. Let cook until the top develops bubbles. Using a spatula, gently flip the cake over and continue cooking until batter is fully cooked. About 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Serve with your favorite topping and enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Entertaining with Individual Cheese Plates

Entertaining and cheese are synonymous in my home. How often do you see a cheese platter at a party? I bet the answer is pretty frequently. The reason is that it is easy to prepare, tastes great and makes entertaining a snap. Recently we had our good friends, Jim and Heather over for wine and small plates. Decided to break out of the routine and put a new twist and spin on the cheese platter and served individual cheese plates. I guarantee the presentation will impress your guests along with showcasing the different pairing accoutrements for each of the cheeses.

We enjoyed Marie Stuart Champagne with the cheese plate. Produced in France, this champagne has a pale gold appearance, wood and quince undertones along with a rounded and strong finish of lasting fruit and a slight mineral after taste. This champagne is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Perfect with all of the cheese selections.  Here are the four cheeses and parings I selected for the evening:

St. Agur Blue Cheese: Made from pasteurized cow’s milk from the mountainous Auvergne region of central France. It is enriched with cream and aged for two months in cellars which gives a spicy and creamy texture. Not quite as salty as a traditional blue, melts well and similar taste to a fine Roquefort. Paired the blue cheese with honey and a lightly toasted, buttery & nutty walnut.

Cypress Grove – Truffle Tremor: Classic truffle flavors meet the creamy perfection of ripened goat milk cheese. This cheese is earthy, elegant, and sophisticated with hints of black truffles. It is simply divine without any pairing!

Mimolette: A cow’s milk cheese that is traditionally produced in France which looks like a cantaloupe and has a bright, deep tangerine color. The color comes from the natural dye, annatto. The cheese is firm, compact and slightly oily with a subtle fruity aroma and a mellow nutty flavor. It is best aged between 18 and 24 months, but can eaten at different stages of aging. With the nutty flavors, I paired this one with a touch of good fig jam.

Manchego: A sheep’s milk cheese that is produced in La Mancha and is made from Manchega sheep. The rich, semi-firm product is aged in natural caves for three to six months. The shape of this cheese is very characteristic and defined, due to the traditional use of esparto grass molds which imprints a zigzag pattern along the side of the cheese. The small wooden boards used for pressing the cheese, also imprints the typical wheat ear pattern on the top and bottom.

Manchego's flavor is very distinctive, slightly salty but not too strong. It is creamy with a slight piquancy, and leaves the characteristic aftertaste of sheep’s milk; it tastes very similar to feta cheese, though not as salty and with a chewier texture. Manchego cheese is distinctly Spanish and paired with traditional elements of marcona almonds, quince paste and a small slice of fig cake (pan forte).

11 Cheese Tips:
  • Ask the cheese monger at your local cheese shop or high end grocery store for his or her favorite cheeses along with choices you may not have considered. This will broaden your knowledge of cheeses.
  • Set your cheese out one hour prior to serving to let the flavors fully develop.
  • Limit your cheese platter or plate to 3 to 4 choices – otherwise it is a bit overwhelming for your guests.
  • Diversify your presentation by paying attention to appearance, textures, milk source and flavors. Try having a cow, sheep and goat type represented.
  • You can choose to select cheeses from all one variety, country or state to show off the differences. Or choose all from one milk source but different types.
  • Provide appropriate implements for the cheeses. Choose a sharp knife for harder cheeses and a butter type knife for soft cheeses.
  • Showcase the cheeses true self by not removing any of the rinds.
  • Choose your accompaniments for your selections of cheeses. A rustic country bread, baguette or simple cracker is a good choice.
  • Pairing options include: Honey, dried fruits such as apricots, dates, olives, nuts, grapes, jams, chutneys, fresh fruits such as apples or pears.
  • Best beverages to serve with cheeses are champagne, sparkling wines and sauvignon blanc. You can also consider a nice fruity pinot noir.
  • Storing cheeses in wax paper or parchment paper is preferred over plastic wrap. Cheeses prefer a humid, cool environment, so store them in a bin in your refrigerator which has a higher humidity factor.

After our cheese plates, we enjoyed a Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with date, almond and salty crackers. Paired the Grgich Hills 2007 Chardonnay which is a pure chardonnay crafted from organic grapes. A very aromatic wine with aromas of ripe peach, mango and tropical flowers, plus a hint of minerality.
  Heather and Jim brought along a lovely bottle of Melanson Vineyards 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon. Melanson Vineyards produces small lot, handcrafted estate wines. The wines are grown on Pritchard Hill in the Napa Valley. This terroir produces superb, reserve style wines that are outstanding. This wine has aromatics of black cherry, plum, dark chocolate, roast coffee and smoke segue to lush mouth-coating flavors of ripe berries, red currant, anise, vanilla, nutmeg and cedar. The wine is structured with soft tannins but enough acidity to pair perfectly with the triple slider plate. Created three slider combinations: Caprese with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, Caramelized onion and blue cheese and finally mushroom pate with sharp cheddar cheese.
We finished the evening with a handcrafted Almond Tart and homemade Crème Fraiche Ice Cream. A wonderful evening filled with good friends, lots of laughs, flowing wine and food.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Afternoon Tea at Lovejoy's Tea Room

Several years ago, I enjoyed high tea at Brown’s Hotel and The Savoy, both in London, and both were memorable, traditional and enjoyable experiences. I felt like the Queen could walk in at any time, sit down and join us for a scone. Lovejoy’s is on the opposite spectrum, with a very eclectic, quirky and playful setting. Perhaps Alice in Wonderland might stop by for a cup of tea. Walking into Lovejoy’s I did not know what to expect, yet it is a true feast for the eyes the minute you open the door. With mismatched antique furniture, one of a kind tea pots and cups along with packed tables of mostly ladies enjoying the art of taking tea.

Lovejoy’s was born in the early 90’s and is located in Noe Valley on Church Street. The name Lovejoy’s was inspired by Jonathan’s Gash’s series of novel about an antique dealer named Lovejoy. We ventured to Lovejoy’s to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. My sister Cathy, my sister-in-law Therese and I decided that this would be a wonderful present to give to her. In the process, we learned that she had wanted to go there for several years, so that made it even more special.

We had a table right in the front which had a darling sign that read “Reserved for the Queen’s” – I thought it was a very special touch. The menu is extensive, ranging from the wide assortment of teas to the type of tea service. You could select the high tea for two, light tea or Queen’s tea plus many more choices. We opted to swing out and chose the Queen’s Tea for all of us. Per person this included: two sandwiches, served with coleslaw, organic spring greens, a Scone with Preserves and double Devon cream, a crumpet with lemon curd, fresh fruit, a petit four and Shortbread tea biscuit plus bottomless pot of tea.

We selected the following tea sandwiches to enjoy: cucumber and cream cheese, roast beef and horseradish, chicken, apple, walnut salad, chutney and cheese, tomato and cheese, “Lovejoy’s special”, cream cheese and apple, and pear and stilton. The sandwiches sit on top of the organic spring greens with a small pitcher of dressing.

Afternoon tea is such a ritual of sorts, where there a particular protocols but at Lovejoy’s the pretentiousness is taken out of the equation. We had such a lovely time celebrating my Mom’s birthday and enjoying each others company. Conversation was flowing along with the tea. I would highly encourage you to try the blood orange tea – very unique, full of flavor with a vivid orange hue. I highly recommend going to Lovejoy's with friends or family to enjoy a San Francisco treat!

Lovejoy’s Tea Room
1351 Church Street
San Francisco, CA 94114

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Almond Tart with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

Every time I travel to the farmers market in San Francisco at the Ferry building, there is a directional pull to the Downtown Bakery booth, which is located in Healdsburg and travels to San Francisco for the Saturday farmers market.  Among the many absolutley mouthwatering treats there, one thing is ONE must have.  It is the almond tart!  It is flaky, rich, buttery, crunchy and full of almond flavor.  Decided that homemade creme fraiche ice cream would be the perfect compliment to this divine dessert!

Almond Tart

One 9 inch Tart

1 ½ cup flour
1 T. plus 1 ½ t. sugar
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into little cubes
1 T. plus 1 ½ t. ice water
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Mix the flour and sugar in a standing electric mixer. Add the butter and mix until the butter is in very small pieces, the size of oatmeal. Add the water and extracts and mix until the dough is smooth and comes together.

To put the pastry in the pan, press the dough into a tart shell using your hands. Put the tart shell in the freezer and chill for about 30 minutes.

Bake the shell, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until it is light golden brown.

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced almonds (dry roasted)
2 teaspoon almond extract

To bake the tart, place on a cookie sheet.

Heat the cream, sugar, and salt in a big, wide heavy-duty pot, until it begins to boil.

Continue to cook and when it starts to foam up, remove it from the heat and stir in the almonds and the almond extract. Fill just to the ¼ inch below the shell and make sure it is smooth before putting into the oven.

After the first ten minutes, check the tart. Take a heatproof spatula and smooth the filling. Tap the tart to prevent un even cooking.

Continue to cook, checking the tart every 5-8 minutes, and break up any dry crust that may be forming. As it begins to caramelize, stop tapping it and let the tart continue to bake.

Remove the tart from the oven when the filling is the color of coffee with a light touch of cream in it and there are no large pockets of sticky white filling, about 30 minutes. Let the tart cool a few minutes on a cooling rack. Loosen from ring with a sharp knife.

(Adapted from David Lebovitz)

Cream Fraiche Ice Cream

1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 t. vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
Yolks of 6 large eggs
1 cup crème fraîche

Place half-and-half and cream in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod into the cream mixture, then add the pod halves as well. Bring mixture to a simmer over moderate heat, remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.

With a whisk in a large bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks until mixture is pale and forms a ribbon when whisk is lifted. Gradually beat in hot cream mixture.

Return to saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture visibly thickens, about 3 minutes. Do not let it boil or it will curdle. Cool 15 minutes, then add crème fraîche, whisking until smooth. Remove vanilla bean. Cover and chill mixture thoroughly. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.