Sprinklebakes by Heather Baird – Cookbook Review (Dessert Porn)

 

Did that get your attention?  The best way I can describe Sprinklebakes, Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist is dessert porn.  I am not kidding.  The cover is not exciting or sexy, but the images inside are beautiful and sinful and I can’t stop looking at the book.  These are all the beautiful things I wish I could make but don’t have the creativity, time or patience.  Although I am inspired and there are some approachable recipes and ones which I hope to build my confidence and venture deeper into Heather’s artistry.  Heather has a sprinkle bakes blog, but unfortunately I can’t get any of the photos to load, so you’ll have to visit another time.

In looking at some of these pictures such as hand painted cookies (literally Mehndi Hand Cookies), sugar sculptures (Dale Chihuly-Inspired Candy Bowls) and outrageous “mixed media” creations (Anatomical Heart Cake) I try to make myself feel better in knowing that the author was a painter before turning her creative skills to sweets.  Thus her artistry may never be mine.  However I can aspire and learn from her text and instructions on color theory, brush strokes, sculpture molds, candy making and more.   In the meantime I’ll practice on her more simple but delicious recipes for tart shells, pastry creams, cupcakes and candies.

 

Book Review

Pros: amazing photos, comprehensive dessert cookbook for many creative and tasty recipes, thorough instructions

Cons: some recipes may be intimidating and overwhelming for some while inspirational to others,  time consuming, some items require much planning and purchasing online

I used Heather’s tart crust and pastry cream recipes and combined them to make a wonderful berry fruit tart on Memorial Day.  See my photo below.  I liked that this was using her recipes to make my own creation because I didn’t have to compete with one of her images.  And it was a big hit for looks and taste.

So my kids asked me to make it again last weekend for a friend’s dinner party and it didn’t work as well.  I don’t blame the recipe, I blame myself.  It was one of those days when there’s too much to do and you try to squeeze in making a dessert.  Do you do that too?  Yes, I was a bit ambitious for the events of the day.  I wasn’t as patient with cooking the cream, so when I went to take it out of the refrigerator it had not set properly and was quite runny.  This of course I didn’t discover until I was going to assemble the tart 15 minutes before leaving for said friends’.  We ate it anyway.  That’s what friends are for.  Kind of a shortbread cookie with berries and cream.  Still tasty, but not as lovely as Memorial Day.

Here’s the tart crust recipe which is very versatile and I will use over and over with various fillings and fruits this summer.

TART CRUST page 89 from Sprinklebakes

YIELD: Approximately 2K cups, enough for 8 to 10 small apples, 20 crab apples, or ½ pound grapesor cherries

This tart crust is remarkably easy to make and comes out perfectly every time. It takes just a couple of spins in the food processor to have beautiful buttery pastry dough.

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

3 tablespoons sugar

K teaspoon salt

½  pound (1 stick) cold butter, cut into ¼ -inch cubes

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

1. Generously grease a tart pan with vegeta­ble shortening.

2. Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined.

3. Add the butter and zest and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some small pea-size butter lumps.

4. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and water and pulse until just incorporated and the dough begins to form large clumps.

5. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Gather the dough together and form into a ball. Flatten into a disc or rectangle, depending on what shape pan you are using.

6. Press the dough over the bottom and up the sides of the pan in an even layer with well-floured fingers. Chill the shell for 45 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

8. Lightly prick the bottom of the shell many times with a fork, and bake until the sides are set and the edge is golden, about 20 minutes.

9. Cool the shell completely in the pan on a rack.

SUGGESTIONS FOR TART SHELL USE

Chocolate Tart: Fill the baked, cooled tart shell with cooled liquid chocolate ganache. Refrigerate until set and serve with fresh whipped cream and raspber­ries.

Lemon Blueberry Tart: Fill the baked, cooled tart shell with freshly made lemon curd. Refrigerate until set. Top with fresh blueberries and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Tropical Fruit Tart: Fill the baked, cooled tart shell with vanilla pastry cream. Top with slices of kiwi, pineapple, and mango and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

 

 

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I Left My Heart…

We started Valentine’s Day with something pink as requested by my daughter.  Luckily I had strawberries and blended a few with almond milk in the blender.  Voila!  Quick and tasty pink milk.

Later in the day I was stunned by what’s become school Valentine’s.  My kids and I sat down to go thru the Valentine’s one by one.  Many kids made cards and stuck a piece of candy on there.  But no apparently candy companies are trying to say the piece of candy is the actual Valentine – printing a “to” and “from” on the wrapper itself.  What?  I remember when Valentine’s day at school was about creating a beautitful “mailbox” (doilies, lace, pant, felt, show box) as well as the Valentine’s to go inside.  The only candy associated with Valentine’s was chocolates and candy hearts.  OK I know there are lots of preprinted Valentine’s with movie characters etc.  But at least there’s a bit of fun as the child picks his favorite and chooses which for each pal – writing a message and name.  But a piece of crappy candy?  No message, no creativity – but lots of chemicals.  My kids knew they weren’t eating any of this, especially when my son read the ingredients and realized he couldn’t pronounce anything.

My husband had offered to make Valentine’s dinner.  Which was so nice since it was a usual Tuesday with school and late evening Tae Kwon Do for my son.  We pleasantly came home to a grilled lamb dinner (my favorite) with roasted potatoes and salad.  He had champagne for us and sparkling cider for the kids – complete with a strawberry in each glass.  For dessert he got creative with grilled apples over vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with honey and sea salt.  We were all impressed and full.

Instead of the school candy, I came home with a box of assorted chocolates from Chocolatier Blue.  My husband was on the same wavelength as he brought me my own stash of beautiful Socola chocolates.  These are delicious and real works of art and make me forget about the school candy.

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