Honey Cardamom Mousse with Mango Gelée and Pistachio Apricot Kernel Toasts

Desserts served in glasses (or any other vessels) are stress-free for entertaining hosts. All you have to do on the day you are having guests over is to transfer these glasses from the fridge onto the table. It is very nice not to slice or plate anything for a change, just try to relax and enjoy the company.

The toasts themselves, I suspect, originated from Australia (correct me, if I’m wrong). I saw similar cookies in Australian cooking books and magazines. The cookies are thinner and even leaner relatives of Italian biscotti; basically fat-free besides the fat contained in the nuts. If you are uncertain about using apricot kernels due to safety issues, substitute for whole almonds instead.

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Bakewell Mini Tarts

Here’s another Daring Bakers’ Challenge. This month it’s a British Bakewell Tart – buttery shortcrust shell filled with jam and frangipane. We were given a complete freedom to choose any jam flavor for the filling. And that’s where I got carried away. The thing is I love making jams. I could do it all day long, it really does relax me. I also like the sight of jewel-like glowing little jars lined on my counter near the window. So, I made 4 varieties of jam plus banana-caramel for a company.

Respectively, there are five different kinds of mini tarts as follows:

  • Peppery tomato jam with rosemary and almond frangipane (I sprinkled the bottom of each tart shell with a tiny pinch of fresh rosemary before filling them)
  • Strawberry Cointreau jam and pistachio frangipane
  • Carrot citrus jam (it really tastes more like a marmalade) with almond frangipane
  • Pear vanilla bean jam with hazelnut frangipane; to some of them I added a bit of finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Salted banana-caramel and almond (some were hazelnut) frangipane

I played with marzipan a bit (had some leftovers after the recent project) and made fruits and vegetables for garnishing the tartlets.

Thanks to  Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar for hosting the challenge.

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Monkey and Ten Dozen Bananas Cake

I made this cake for a little boy’s birthday celebration party who loves everything related to Curious George.

Fondant was not a decorating option in this case, so I used it only for a board covering and message cut-outs. For everything else I went with freshly made marzipan instead – just a little bit over a kilo :) All these bananas, as well as the monkey, were glued to a buttercream frosting while it was still soft. The cake itself was chocolate-banana, filled with whipped milk chocolate ganache.

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Rhubarb/Strawberry Compote Yogurt and Homemade Granola Parfait

I often call it a breakfast. That means I have an excuse to have a dessert afterwards with my morning espresso.  Yes, I believe every meal should be followed by a sweet course.

I prefer to bake rhubarb instead of cooking on a stove since it lessens the chance of overcooking. The rhubarb is such a sneaky veggie; one minute it’s raw and not even remotely done, the next moment – it’s already a puree.

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Trompe L’oeil “Soft Boiled Egg”

This is the same lemon pudding I posted earlier, but presented differently. The illusion is very realistic due to the color and consistency of the pudding and a lemon curd “yolks”. For the toast, there’s an anise seed génoise-sort-of-cake, baked in a loaf pan and toasted before serving. The texture of these “toasts” is nice, not even close to hard or difficult to bite in; they don’t need to be dunked before eating – they melt in the mouth.

Adapted from the Gourmet magazine

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Cereal Date Streusel Cake

Recently, I’ve been asked to develop a recipe for Nestlé, the recipe utilizing their cereal flakes.

The first thing that comes to my mind when cereals are mentioned is something simple and homey, wholesome, nutritious and worthy to be packed into kids’ lunchboxes. To meet all these requirements I’ve come up with the following recipe.

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