Friday, December 30, 2011

White Chocolate Bark - Merry Christmas - Belated!

Dear friends, I am so sorry I was not able to post this before, hopefully, you can use this recipe on your New Year's celebrations or even through the Winter season.

Chocolate is always good.  Now, white chocolate... it's simply delicious.  Now, pair a beautiful and velvety white chocolate with some salted pistachios, sweet and tangy apricot chunks and dried sweet cranberries... hummm the result is simply delightful!


1/2 cup whole shelled salted pistachios
16 oz. good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup medium diced dried apricots


Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Using a pencil, draw and 8x20-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper.  Turn the parchment paper over so the pencil mark doesn't get onto the chocolate and place it on a sheet pan.

Place the pistachios in one layer on another sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Place three quarters of the white chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl and put it in the microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula, return it to the microwave for another 30 seconds, then stir again.  Continue to heat and stir in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is JUST melted.  Immediately stir in the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth.  (If you need to heat it a little more, place it in the microwave for another 15 seconds.)

Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread it lightly to fill the drawn rectangle.  Sprinkle the top evenly with the cooled pistachios, the cranberries, and apricots.  Press the nuts and fruit lightly so they will set in the chocolate.  Set aside for at least 2 hours until firm or refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Cut or break the bark in 16 pieces and serve at room temperature.

Source:  Recipe Courtesy of Barefoot Contessa - How easy is that? - slightly adapted.

For more delicious Christmas inspired recipes, take a look at: "Buscador de Recetas Chilenas"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nutella Pumpkin Tart

Thanksgiving is over but still there is room for a little bit more of pumpkin!  This recipe was a complete success in our house.  We made it for some friends that came to eat with us and everybody was wowed by the nice texture and smooth flavor combination.


- For the tart shell:
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tspn. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surfice
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tspn. salt
8 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (1 stick)

- For the filling:
Nutella (Hazelnut - Chocolate spread) (about 1/2 cup or enough to cover the bottom of the tart)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can of pumpkin puree
2/3 cup light brown sugar1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups heavy whipped cream, chilled and whipped
Roasted hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted


- For the tart shell:  Whisk together the yolk, cream and vanilla in a small bowl, set aside.  Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and process briefly to combine.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses.  With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds.  Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable).  Unwrap and roll out between two lightly floured sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to a 13-inch round. (If the dough turns soft and sticky, put it back in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes more).

Transfer the dough to a tart pan by rolling the dough loosely around the rolling pin and unrolling over a 9 to 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Working around the circumference of the pan, ease the dough into the pan corners by gently lifting the edge with one hand while pressing it into the corners with the other hand.  Press the dough against the fluted sides of the pan. (If some sections of the edge are too thin, reinforce them by folding the excess dough back on itself).  Run the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to remove the excess dough.  Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375ºF.  Set the dough lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square of foil into the frozen tart shell and over the edge, and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights (I used beans).  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.  Remove the foil and weights.  Continue to bake until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes longer.  Let it cool on a wire rack.
- For the filling:  While the tart is baking, cream the cream cheese until is soft and looks like a paste.  Add the pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, spices and a pinch of salt.  In another bowl, whip the heavy whip cream until firm peaks.  Fold the cream into the pumpkin mixture and chill.

Once the tart shell is cooled, start to assemble the tart by spread a generous amount of Nutella at the bottom, don't be shy! (it has to be enough to cover the bottom of the tart).  Then, pipe or spread the pumpkin mousse and sprinkle with roasted hazelnuts.  Finish the tart by drizzling some melted chocolate on top.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.  Enjoy!

Source:  Tart shell - Recipe Courtesy of "Baking Illustrated."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thai Coconut Soup

This is such a delicious soup/appetizer.  It is full of flavor and has a good kick.  If you don't like it as spicy, you can reduce the amount of red thai curry paste to make it to your liking.  This soup has a complex flavor, that is developed by the use of authentic thai ingredients.  All of them available at International or Asian markets.


1 Tbsp.  canola oil
3 Tbsp.  lemongrass, outer sheath removed, bottom 3 inches trimmed and minced
2 Tbsp.  fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (It is very spicy)
6 cups chicken stock (I recommend homemade)
3 Tbsp.  fish sauce 
1 Tbsp.  sugar
2 (14 ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 by 1/4-inch strips
1 (15 ounce) cans straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup whole fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
3 scallions, greens only, sliced thin on an angle (optional)
Chinese chives (they have a garlic flavor)


Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the lemon grass, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.

Add 1/2 cup chicken stock to the pot and stir to dissolve the curry paste. Add the remaining stock, fish sauce, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk, chicken, mushrooms, and lime juice. Bring back to a simmer and cook until the stock is hot and the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt if desired. Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with cilantro, chives and scallions.

Variation: THAI SHRIMP AND COCONUT SOUP. Substitute 1/4 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp for the chicken.

Source:  Recipe Courtesy of "" - Slightly adapted.