Diced! Dessert Bracket – Pairing 5 – Choose who should move on to the next round.

To my fellow bloggers- Please vote for my wonderful cheesecake to move onto the next round. While you are at it, The Ranting Chef’s blog has many amazing recipes for meals, desserts, and various product reviews as well 🙂 Thank you for your time and support.



Rantings of an Amateur Chef

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Quick, Simple- Chocolate Tart



Just a quick post of a nice simple dessert. They are nice because they don’t take all that long to do, and the individuality of each one means if you have a varied crowd you can tailor to individual tastes/preferences. These I made a chocolate cream and then a quick homemade cream to top with a strawberry slice.

Mille-feuille- or for the many Americans… Napoleon

This falls under the list of one of my favorite pastries I’ve had from growing up. I remember years ago when my grandfather was still around it was one his favorites so that desire got imparted onto me. The problem these days though is, where exactly in Southern New Jersey can you find a “legit” fresh version of one. Well, I haven’t come across one, so I did the next best thing…I consulted my Bouchon Bakery cookbook and started from square one.


Now, I am sure there are manyb recipes and ways of creating this pastry- for everything from how to make a nice laminated dough variations in making the cream(s). But, like anything else, if you want the best, you may have to put in quite a bit of time and effort.

The laminated dough concept is not too difficult to start up. There are some tricks and things to look out for. When doing the turns you want to make sure the dough is nice and solid as the butter block in the middle if it gets to soft will make it harder to fold and get the distinct layers you want when it bakes. Overall, the process is not difficult, but to do ir properly to “Bouchon perfection” takes quite a bit of time.

For the cream, which the end point is a nice mousseline cream, there are two bases- start off with a buttercream and also a pastry cream and then blend the two together. As it is something I had not necessarily seen in the grocery stores (I had purchased on Amazon) for the pastry cream go with using custard powder). Upon completion of blending these items, then spread out on a sheet pan and freeze the rectangular block.

After the dough is baked, it gets cut into strips which then the frozen cream is cut to fit and then it is alternating layers. Personal preference for topping, I made a fresh whipped cream as well as a nice chocolate-cream sauce.



Hybrid Paris Brest

This particular dessert has combined elements from a few traditional pastries. The choux pastry and the shaping style come from the Paris Brest which has its shape to represent a wheel to commemorate the Paris-Brest bicycle race. The chocolate cream I had made would be more reminiscent of an eclair style filling versus the traditional praline flavored cream used in the pastry.


For the top, I had also made a chocolate glaze as well as piping on some fresh sweet cream and threw on some crushed hazelnuts. The rich chocolate bodes well with the complimenting flavor of the cream as well as the added element of the hazelnuts.



Been moving…Here’s some food

To everyone who follows my blog I would like to thank you and to apologize for a short period away. I was in the moving process earlier in the month which took a fair amount of time and effort and am now settled in between the forests and farms in Southern New Jersey. With a nice large and updated kitchen I can now get back to one of my favorite hobbies.

This past weekend, I had a few friends come down and stay for the weekend- sort of a house/ apartment warming type of deal and to just hang out. Along the way a few of the things I had made over the weekend were as follows (nice fall themed):


This was the main dish. I had made roasted pheasant in my 5 quart Le Creuset. I had done them in a combination of apple cider, shallots, fennel, tarragon, salt, pepper and topped with thinly sliced apple. I had also roasted potatoes in a variety of spices and truffle infused oil and sauteed green beans with citrusy accents.


A nice simple Apple tart with fresh blackberries and a nice pairing with a berry-brandy (one of my dad’s friends makes various brandys and spirits). The other dessert I had created went rather quickly and thus no pictures. But they were over-sized macarons (red) filled with a chocolate Chantilly-style cream and fresh strawberry slices.


Need to have breakfast the next morning. Made up some homemade French toast with the main flavorings coming from vanilla, brown sugar, and cardamom. I then topped it off with a fresh berry-honey sauce (pictured) as well as a pear-caramel sauce). Also topped off with some powdered sugar.


Borrowed Idea— Apple Strudel

One of the many things I love about having the blog is interacting with fellow bloggers and coming across many ideas which may be good as they are to try or in some cases tailoring recipes to your own liking/cravings.

In this particular case, I had borrowed the recipe by Liz over at MY FAVOURITE PASTIME and made some tweaks to an already amazing apple strudel.


If you are following the original recipe, nothing really changes with the dough except I added a little vanilla extract at that point. To make it easier for you, here is the original dough:

  • 225g (13/4 cup, 8oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
  • 4-5 tablespoons tepid water (I added 4 tablespoons water)
  • ½ teaspoon cider vinegar—

I did not use the vinegar instead I just poured in some vanilla extract.

The major changes in my version came a little but in the way of making the filling. To make it easier for you here is Liz’ original filling:

  • 450g (1Ib) cooking apples (I used 4 apples, granny smith)
  • 75g sugar (⅓ cup, 3oz) If you want it sweeter, please suit your palate and double or triple
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 40g (1½oz) flaked almonds
  • 50g (⅓ cup, 2oz) seedless raisins
  • I tablespoon grated lemon or lime rind (I used lime rind)

In my case, I went with Granny Smith apples as well (they are by far my favorite) and in the realm of sugar I did a combination of plain old sugar and some brown sugar. I’m also not a big raisin guy but I do love cranberries so I switched to Craisins. My next major change is how/when I prepared my filling. The original recipe called for making it as close to filling time as possible. Me, I like things to marinate and ferment, so before letting the dough rest for an hour, I prepared the apples (put in bowl with some lemon juice so they do not brown), added the craisins, the almonds, and besides cinnamon I added some ground clove and some nutmeg. To really strengthen what I will call my “fall flavors” I added in a few teaspoons of pot-distilled rum, mixed well and set covered in fridge for close to an hour and a half. I then took the recipe through to the end from that point with using melted butter to close up the strudels and to baste before cooking in the oven.


Thanks again Liz for a creation worth remaking. Looking forward to many more.


*Post Edit: Forgot to mention, after the baking time, I knocked off the roasted almonds off the top, brushed with honey and stuck them back on. Yes I know I could have roasted them on the side however, it was a post baking thought that popped to mind. 🙂

Made a whole meal..but you only get to see the dessert.

This past week I had went back down to Atlantic City to help finish on a couple of houses (are only a few left and then some of the people will be going to other areas to help out). I figured it would be a nice thing for one of the nights to make a nice dinner. Well since we had a long day and everyone was hungry, was no real time to take pictures of the dinner itself. If you love grilled chicken and grilled potatoes, then Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction is the book for you. Both the Mustard-Aoli grilled potatoes and the Grilled Red Chile-Buttermilk Brined Chicken with a spicy mango-honey glaze were phenomenal. But on with the dessert which I had come up with based on a variety of different ideas. It is a very nice summer dessert because the whipped filling isn’t overly heavy and raspberries and chocolate are good any time of the year.


To start, I made a thin chocolate souffle type cake in a 12×16 inch pan. Really a combination of making a simple meringue and then in a separate bowl a chocolate-whiskey combination then folding in and pouring-then bake. For the filling, I made a simple whipped cream with mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract. After the initial cake was baked and sliced into rectangles, I then put layers of cream with raspberries on top between layers of the chocolate cake. It is then topped with powdered sugar. To finish, I made a chocolate-whiskey sauce to drizzle over and serve. The nice thing was besides a little bit of baking time, it is not time consuming at all and only requires a few ingredients and is not too hard to make.


Unrelated, I also must say from a photographic perspective I love the countertop and tiled wall where we are staying at while down there. Love to have that in my own kitchen someday.