Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Pies!

Le Petit Lapin would love to provide your thanksgiving dessert!!

Orange-Pecan Pie $19.00

Pumpkin Spice Pie $17.00

French Macaroons $1.25 each
Black Tea with Honey Buttercream
Pistachio with Vanilla Buttercream
Rose with Citrus Buttercream

The complete dessert list can be emailed... Le.Petit.Lapin.Vt@gmail if you're interested!

Hunting Season Update...and Almond Pear and Almond Raspberry Tartlettes

If you read my earlier entry about biscotti, you might recall it’s hunting season up here in Vermont. Apparently that had been bow and arrow season, which I thought that was pretty bad. Unfortunately, it only gets worse from there.

This past weekend marked the beginning of rifle season. Lovely.

The other evening while eating a hot bowl of oatmeal for dinner, I noticed a pick-up truck slowly backing up on the road abutting my property. I then saw a man standing on the road by the truck, pointing a rifle towards the grassy area to the side of my house. I looked out the sunroom window to see a large group of deer right where his rifle was pointing.

Well, that’s not happening. I'm certainly not one for confrontation or getting in the way of men with guns, but there was no way I could sit there and allow this to happen. And what good are the police when they arrive after a deer has been killed? Heart pumping, I raced to the sunroom door. Standing on the step, I started banging the door nonstop until the deer ran back into the woods behind my house.

Huge victory for the deer and me!

That could have been the dumbest thing I ever did seeing as the hunter was standing there with a rifle. Luckily he promptly got back in his truck and drove away. Hopefully he realized he was lucky I didn't call the police seeing as he was breaking the law hunting on posted property.

Once I stopped shaking from all the excitement, I enjoyed an almond-pear tartlette left over from the Waterbury Winter market to celebrate my triumph over the hunter.

Of course, you can enjoy these tartlettes on any occasion. You can half the recipe and make less or double, triple, etc to feed a crowd. They’re delicious and beautiful, yet simple to bake.

Makes six 4 inch tartlettes.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 stick sweet butter, ice cold
1 egg yolk
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream

Raspberry Tartlettes:
1 cup whole blanched almonds
1 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
Raspberries, of course!

Pear Tartlettes:
1 cup whole blanched almonds
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ pound unsalted butter
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Apricot jam
Canned pears – 2-3 cans

To make the pastry:

1. Sift the flour and sugar together in a bowl. Cut the butter into small chunks and work into the flour mixture with your hands until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Pour this into the flour mixture and use your hands to thoroughly combine. If the dough is too dry to come together, add more heavy cream until the dough forms a ball.

3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-4 hours or overnight.

4. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to warm up for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll each out into a circle to fit the Tartlette pans. Be sure to press the dough down into the sides of the pan to avoid shrinkage during baking.

5. Place the prepared pastry shells into the fridge for roughly 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F (raspberry) or 375 F (pear). The raspberry tartlette shells are pre-baked before filling and baking again. The pear tartlette shells, however, are filled with jam, almond cream and pears before baking.

Almond Raspberry Tartlettes:

1. Line the chilled tart shells with aluminum foil and fill with baking beans. Bake the covered shells for 20 min. Remove the baking beans and foil and bake for an additional 5-8 minutes, until the shells become golden brown.

2. While the shells cool, prepare the almond cream. Grind the almonds to a fine powder in a food processor. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixture then add the almonds and mix to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and mix again until combined.

3. Divide the almond cream evenly among the six tart shells and spread out in the shell. Arrange the raspberries in concentric circles on top of the almond cream. Sprinkle each tart generously with white sugar, then place in the oven for 40 minutes until the almond cream is golden brown.

Almond Pear Tartlettes:

1. Remove the chilled tart shells from the fridge. Spread a generous tablespoon of apricot jam on the bottom of each shell.

2. Prepare the almond cream. Grind the almonds in a food processor to a fine consistency then add the powdered sugar and mix. Next, add the ice cold butter in small chunks and mix until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

3. Divide the almond cream evenly among the shells and spread over the jam, being sure to cover all jam. Cut the pears into thin slices and arrange on top, entirely covering the almond cream. Bake at 375 F for roughly 50 minutes until the pears and pastry are golden.

4. Brush the cooled pear tarts with heated apricot jam to give their surface a beautiful glisten.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Waterbury Winter Farmers' Market

The first winter farmers' market in Waterbury, VT is this Saturday the 13th!!

Located in the
Thatcher Brook Primary School from 10-2, there will be winter veggies, meat, eggs, dried flowers, plants, handmade artistian cards and prepared food. Oh, and there might be some delicious treats from Le Petit Lapin! So come and check it out and support local businesses!

In case you need more persuading to stop at the market, here’s a preview of the Le Petit Lapin Winter Market Menu:

Individual Orange-Pecan and Pumpkin Pies

White Chocolate, Dried Cherry and Cashew Cookies

Fresh Brioche

French Macaroons- Black Tea with Honey and Pistachio with Raspberry

Almond Pear and Chocolate Caramel Tartlettes

Slices of Maple-Walnut Layer Cake

Rosemary-Apricot Cookies

Crunchy Orange-Pecan Cookies

Iced Butter Cookies in Leaf Shapes

Fruity Granola

Butterscotch-Coconut Cookies

And of course Chocolate Chip Cookies for traditionalists.

Hope to see you there!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

And then there was winter. And hunting season.

I’ve been so busy calling restaurants and sending out Thanksgiving Dessert Menus that I missed the memo about winter. The fall is over as the once beautiful and colorful leaves are all but shriveled brown wafts drifting through the woods. It’s been lightly snowing on and off every morning with morning temperatures in the 20s. The mountain has a fairly thick coating of snow on the trails and highest peaks, and I’m sure cars will soon be heading to the mountain toting skis on the roof.

Along with this chill also comes bow-season for the hunters. I went home to Massachusetts for a mere four days, and during this time hunters must have noticed the house was shut up and the cars gone. My neighbors spotted a van driving out of our driveway with a deer on the roof. This isn't the first time my house has been used as a shooting range for hunters.

Unfortunately, they aren’t breaking any laws. Hunters are allowed to hunt on any private property as long as there isn’t a no hunting or trespassing sign posted. I hadn’t put ours up yet, not realizing hunting season had begun. The signs are all up now, and the hunters haven't been back.

Unfortunately, hunters aren't all the deer must look out for. Last week I left the house for an early morning run only to come across a dead deer on my neighbors front lawn. Apparently it was hit by a car the previous night and dragged onto the grass. As if that wasn't enough, this very morning I came across an intact deer leg and a tangle of the rest of the deer by my mailbox. It must have met something hungry in the night.

Deer are such animals of grace and beauty, and it deeply saddens me to watch these natural yet unfortunate events happening right on my own property.

So, nothing like a hot cup of tea with crunchy biscotti to lift spirits and warm cold fingers and toes?? I think so.

Honey-Lavender Biscotti with White Chocolate Drizzle.

If you’ve ever ordered a cup of coffee or tea after dinner in an Italian restaurant, you’ve probably encountered biscotti. Biscotti are a twice-baked cookie, baked once in a log then sliced into long thin cookies and baked again to attain their infamous crunch. They beg to be dunked into your hot drink to soak up the liquid and soften their crunch.

The hardness of the biscotti depends on the fat content of the cookie. Biscotti baked with just egg whites create a hard and dry cookie. If butter is added, the cookies are softer and closer to the pre-packaged biscotti sold in grocery stores. Biscotti baked with whole eggs, and sometimes additional egg yolks, exhibit a medium level of crunch.

To bake these honey-lavender biscotti, make sure you use a good quality honey as it greatly improves the flavor. And if like most people, you don’t necessarily have dried lavender blossoms in your pantry, don’t panic. They’re fairly easy to find at gourmet food shops. I bought mine at Marty’s in Newton, MA, but they're also easy to find online.

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 ½ tablespoons good quality honey
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon dried lavender

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Sift the dry ingredients together.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine eggs and sugar and whisk on high speed until the mixture reaches a pale yellow color. Add the honey, vanilla, orange zest and lavender and mix until just combined.

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide the mixture in two (use a food scale to be exact if you have one). Form each portion of dough into a 13 by 2 inch loaf.

5. Place each loaf on the prepared baking sheet, about 4 inches apart. Bake the loaves approximately 30 minutes, when they begin to turn golden brown and start to crack on the top surface.

6. Cool the loaves about 15 minutes and lower the oven to 325 degrees F.

7. Cut the loaves into ½ inch slices, cutting at a diagonal to elongate the biscotti. Lay the biscotti cut side up on the baking sheet and return to the oven, cooking approximately 7 minutes on each side, until the cookies are golden on each side.

8. Optional- If you’re like me and think chocolate makes everything in the world better, drizzle the cooled biscotti with melted white chocolate.

9. Enjoy! crunch crunch crunch

(images - honey: bbcfoodfood, lavender:


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