Monthly Archives: August 2015

Mini Apple Tarts

I was looking into my freezer this morning, trying to plan for dinner. Then I realized I still have half a box of phyllo pastry ! So, I came up with the idea of making these mini tarts.  As for dinner tonight ?  I still don’t know what to make?????

Makes about 8 tarts

  • 4 sheets of phyllo pastry, thawed
  • 2 apples
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Wash, peel, core and cut apples in small pieces
  3. Put 1 tablespoon of butter, apples, brown sugar and cinnamon in a non-stick pot over medium heat
  4. Cook until apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes, set aside
  5. Place 1 sheet of phyllo sheet flat, brush lightly with remaining melted butter, put a second sheet on top and brush again with butter. Repeat with 2 more sheets of phyllo
  6. Cut phyllo stack into squares, (about 4 inch x 4 inch each), place each piece into a muffin cup
  7. Bake for about 5-6 minutes or until golden
  8. Spoon apple fillings into tart shell, serve warm

Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala or Macintosh apples would work well.

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream (without an ice cream maker)

Can’t believe summer is almost over ! So I thought I would treat my kids and myself with some homemade ice cream.  With a few rejected tubs still sitting in my freezer, I finally got the right taste !  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Makes about 1 L

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Put a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl in freezer for about 15 minutes
  2. Put chocolate, condensed milk and cocoa powder in a bowl over a pot of simmering water
  3. Stir until chocolate melted and smooth, cool slightly
  4. Whisk cream in cold mixing bowl using an electric mixer at medium speed until frothy, add in vanilla
  5. Increase speed to high and beat until creamy and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes
  6. Gently whisk in 1/2 cup of cream into chocolate mixture, then the remaining in 2 to 3 portions, mix well, texture should look like melted ice cream
  7. Pour into container and freeze until set

No Bake Granola Bites

A quick, easy and healthy snack. You can use any dried fruits or nuts that you like.  If you don’t want to use peanut butter, you can substitute it with almond or sunflower butter.

Makes about 16 bites

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  1. Mix melted butter, peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract
  2. Mix oats, rice cereal, chocolate chips, cranberries and flaxseed
  3. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until blended
  4. Roll into small balls, place on parchment paper
  5. Keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week

Blueberry Flaxseed Smoothie

I love blueberries !  They are so tasty and healthy.  You can eat them fresh or put them in muffins, pies, smoothies, jam, etc.  I also like to freeze some at  the end of summer, so I can still enjoy them during the winter months.  I have added some ground flaxseed in this recipe.  Flaxseed is an excellent source of omega fatty acids and fibre.  It makes a great nutritious drink after my workout. 

Makes 2-3 servings

  • 200 g fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup vanilla flavour Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

Blend all ingredients together,  serve immediately

Chocolate Meringue Cookies

I was trying to make 2 batches of macarons today. The first batch didn’t come out as good as I expected.  Feeling a bit frustrated, I decided to change plan. I started making some meringue cookies. They came out nice but not yummy enough. So I drizzled some chocolate on top…..and wow ! What a difference ! Not only are they scrumptious, they are also low in calories and flourless ! What a treat !

Makes about 2 dozens

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 225°F
  2. Using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until frothy
  3. Increase speed to high and slowly add in sugar
  4. Whisk until a stiff peak is formed
  5. Pour into piping bag with star or round tip
  6. Pipe onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, 2 inches apart
  7. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, cookies should be dry to touch, turn off oven
  8. Leave cookies in oven for about 2 more hours to dry
  9. Remove from oven to cool completely on rack
  10. On stove, melt chocolate in a small pot over a pan of simmering water at medium heat
  11. Drizzle chocolate over cookies with a fork
  12. Let sit until chocolate is dry

Easy Creme Brulee (without a blow torch)

Whether you like the creamy custard or the crunchy sugar on top, creme brulee is sure an irresistible delicacy, and you maybe surprised how easy it is to make.  Most of us don’t have a blow torch at home, but you don’t need one to make this tasty dessert.  All you need is an oven with the broiler setting.  As for the crunchy sugar on top, after a few experiments, I found that caramelized sugar (recipe below) works the best.  Regular sugar takes longer to brown and may cause the custard to overheat and crack. 

Makes about 4-6 servings

For the custard

  • 2 cups half and half cream or heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • pot of hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF
  2. Cut and scrape vanilla beans out of bean pod
  3. In a non-stick pot, heat cream, vanilla beans and bean pod over low to medium heat until just starting to boil, stirring occasionally
  4. Remove pot from heat, remove bean pod, let sit for about 15 minutes
  5. Beat egg yolks and sugar until light and pale
  6. Slowly add the cream, a little at a time, stirring continually 
  7. Pour mixture through strainer twice to get a smooth mixture, skim off bubbles on top
  8. Pour mixture into ramekins, place ramekins in baking dish filled with hot water, water should be about halfway up side of ramekins
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes until custard just set
  10. Let cool completely, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight

For the caramelized sugar top

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. Place sugar and water in a small non-stick pot over medium heat
  2. Stir slightly until sugar dissolves, after that, do not stir anymore, swirl the pot gently, otherwise crystals will form
  3. Sugar will bubble and change from clear to caramel colour, keep a close eye on it, be careful not to let it burn
  4. Remove from heat, pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  5. Let cool and harden, it will form a sheet of caramel  
  6. Break sheet into small pieces, then pulverize in a food processor or a chopper
  7. Store in dry, air-tight container

When ready to serve

  1. Take custard out from fridge, sprinkle evenly with caramelized sugar
  2. Adjust oven to broiler setting (usually at about 450ºF – 500ºF), place ramekins on top rack, heat until sugar start to brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, do not heat more than 2 minutes, custard may start to crack and melt
  3. Cool slightly and is ready !