Catching up and Chocolate Tarts

I’ve had a busy few weeks. That doesn’t really explain my lack of posting, because it really doesn’t take me long to write up a blog post. It might explain some of the lack of baking, though?  To catch up a little bit this week, I’m posting about the ChocolaTea cake, the blueberry buckle, and the mini chocolate ganache tartlets, all from The Baking Bible. I’ll also give you a little bit of a rundown on the stuff I’ve been up to outside of the kitchen, lately.

First up, the ChocolaTea cake. Last weekend, I got to participate in what I’m pretty sure was my first ever bachelorette party. A colleague is getting married to another colleague, so several of the ladies from work spent the afternoon together, then most of the rest of the ladies from work came out later in the evening.

The first activity was archery, which is perfect, if you know the bride! I haven’t held a bow and arrow since grade 6, and I think it might be something worth taking lessons on. I had a lot of fun. 🙂

Archery!
Archery!

My contribution to the party later in the evening was the ChocolaTea cake. I found this really straightforward to make. I actually did the baking on Thursday night, then assembly on Friday after work, before delivering it to the party location, where Jay and I helped put up decorations. It’s a chocolate chiffon cake, with a cognac and tea syrup, then a cognac and tea chocolate ganache.

ChocolaTea Bachelorette Party Cake
ChocolaTea Bachelorette Party Cake

Note to self: Jello shooters are dangerous.

At work, I’ve been tasked with coming up with the content for one of the booths for our user conference in June. The booth is a joint venture between our academic department (in conjunction with FIRST robotics) and the ALM team. In the booth, attendees will be invited to help build a robot, where the build has been broken down into user stories, promoting the use of agile development methodologies for hardware. We’ll be using the software that our teams are currently building in order to plan the sprints, and show the task break down. Of course, in order to make this work, a colleague and I have had to assemble, disassemble, and re-assemble a robot several times. My job is awesome, some days. 🙂

Robots!
Robots!

The weekend before last (May 1), some friends of Jay’s were in Toronto for work, so we picked them up and took them to Niagara Falls for the day. On the way back, we stopped at a small batch distillery, where they make vodka, gin, and white rye… along with various other things from those bases. I picked up some bitters that looked interesting, including this one – lime. I figured this might add a little citrus to the batter for the blueberry buckle. I made this one yesterday to take with us to play board games with good friends last night. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have added enough to make a flavour difference. No worries, I’ll try again!

Yummy
Yummy

The buckle was really quick and easy to put together. Basically, blueberry pie filling with a sour cream cake on top. I poked around my freezer and found a bag of blueberries, so I ended up using frozen berries for this, but I don’t think it did any harm at all (other than taking a rather long time to cook through)!

Blueberry buckle
Blueberry buckle

We got so caught up in the snacks that Kelly had made that we completely forgot about the cake. I ended up leaving about a third of it with one of the couples that came out, had some for breakfast this morning, then more for dessert just now. 🙂

Finally, I made the chocolate ganache mini tartlets today. I halved the recipe, partly because I only have one mini tart pan, and partly because 46 of these things seemed like a ridiculous number, and partly because I wanted to just use up the leftover chocolate ganache from the ChocolaTea cake.

Tart shell dough
Tart shell dough

Those of you that halve recipes all the time – is it just me, or is a food processor almost completely useless with tiny quantities, no matter whether you use the small bowl or not? I adore my food processor, but it really didn’t get anywhere with reducing the size of the grains of turbinado sugar, and I had to pretty much mix the clarified butter in by hand. I eventually got things to come together, but I’m wondering if there’s a trick I’m missing.

Kneaded
Kneaded

After the dough chilled for a bit, I pressed it into the bottom of my mini muffin pan, squishing it up the sides to make “shells.” Since the bottom puffed up a bit in the oven, I pressed it back round a bit with the back of a melon baller so that it would have a little bit more of a cavity.

Reshaping the baked shells
Reshaping the baked shells

Side note: I don’t think my melon baller has ever been used to “ball” melons. Makes a great apple corer, though!

I took the ganache leftover from last weekend out of the fridge to warm up a bit, then piped it into the cooled shells.

Using up leftovers!
Using up leftovers!

I like it when things come together like this, and I can use the leftovers from one project with the next one! Jay and I each had one of these, this afternoon. Quite tasty, though the ganache I used might be a bit dark for this purpose. I’m not sure if the one in the recipe has more or less cocoa than this one. I’ll take the rest of these in to work tomorrow and share them with my team. Probably do the same with the blueberry buckle, too.

That’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to, in my baking/posting hiatus. More to come. Next weekend’s a long weekend, and also Jay’s 42nd birthday. He’s starting a new job tomorrow, so there’s lots going on around here! Have a great week!

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