Apricot Jam Crumb Tart

Tarte Em Tony IMG_0613

Isn’t something to have a recipe after your name? Fettucini Alftedo,  Béchamel sauce or cake Savarin! I wonder if these people knew that one day their name would be remembered and taught for hundred years later.

Most of us have special recipes passed to us thru our parents, relatives or neighbors. Recipes that are famous in the family and even sometimes in the neighborhood! But how is it possible to make a recipe internationally recognized and adapted for the next generations?

I invited my friend Carole to spend the day with us. She got us with her a box filled with apricot crumble tart cut in squares.

I tasted one and it was the best buttery shortbread-style cookie ever with a soft crumbly texture that just melts in your mouth. Totally delicious! And when I asked for the recipe, Carole answered with confidence: “Tart Em Tony” (translated from Arabic to Tony’s mama), as if I was supposed to know what does that mean and what’s inside. She continued: ” Everybody on the block knows Tart Em Tony. That was our favorite dessert when we were kids”.

My face turned pale, it must be jealousy! Who on Earth is Em Tony and has a recipe after her name? A recipe that all the neighborhood shared at a time when food blogger wasn’t even a word.

I requested the recipe and instantly Carole whatsaped it to me. It was a picture from a recipe book handwritten just like the old days. How many of you remember his mom writing all her recipes in an old agenda notebook. The trend was to copy recipes into our books, while now we take snapshots with our smart phones and share digital copies effortlessly with friends or on the Whatsapp family group.

EM TONY tart

I know that many of my recipes have been tried all over the country. I know that my pumpkin sweet potato soup is a hit and have been passed to many people on the five continents, but would I ever have one recipe that will outlive me? A recipe recognized as the Oryana recipe, and for decades from now? I will call that an achievement!

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup apricot jam

Preparation

Grease or line a 9-inch square pan. In the bowl of the stand mixer cream the butter and the icing sugar on medium speed. Beat in the egg and vanilla and mix further until light and fluffy.

In a separate bow, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add it slowly to the butter mixture, mixing until the dough comes together.

Push half of the dough into the pan so it covers it evenly. Let it chill in the fridge along with the other half of the dough for about an hour.

Take it off the fridge and spread the jam on the top.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

To make the crumble topping, grate the remaining dough over the jam to cover it all.

Bake the tart in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let it cool completely before cutting.

It can be sliced into squares using a knife or cut into circles using a cookie-cutter.

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Le Choux A La Creme

MayaOryan-IMG_9842-RLast week I came back home to find a beautiful gift from POLYGEL HOME BAKER waiting for me on my desk office.

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A jam-packed goody bag has always an enjoyable impact on me, especially when it’s from a brand that I love. I rummaged through the bags to find many baking accessories, party items, 65% dark INAYA chocolate from Cocoa Barry ideal for my ganache, Spanish almond flakes and a lovely cake mould that I will try soon. But the one item I was thrilled about the most was the star cream, which is a ready mix to make crème pâtissière. I’ve been craving for a choux a la crème for a while and this came handy at the right time.

I love choux because the dough on its own is not too sweet so it really goes with any flavor you fill in. It can be catered to your liking. The most popular is to have a custard cream inside, but some recipes include caramel, coffee, strawberries, banana,… so the options are really unlimited.

The choux a la crème and éclair dough are the same, they are just piped in a different way. I prefer the choux pastries because it’s a bite size treat picked up and devoured in a single mouthful. These little sweets dole out an irresistible dose of rich flavor and will soon become your next favorite treat.

As per the rest of the items found in my goody bag, I know now I have few weeks worth of testing and evaluation. Checkout Polygel Home Baker website, many of their fabulous products can be ordered online.

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The recipe for: Choux a la creme

Makes around 50

Ingredients:

  • 100g / 1 cup butter, diced
  • 300ml water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3-4 eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling:

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. In a medium size pan, melt the butter with water and bring to simmer.
  2. Add the flour and the sugar, whisking constantly and remove from the heat and continue beating until the mixture forms a paste that doesn’t stick to the pan. Let the paste cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs a little at a time and beat until you have a glossy smooth dough.
  4. Using two teaspoons (I prefer piping), place blobs of the dough onto the lined baking sheet, leaving space between them as they will puff up. If you use a piping bag, dip your finger in water and flatten down the little tips on the top.
  5. Bake the buns in the middle rack of your oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Leave to completely cool on a rack.
  6. To make the filling, mix 350g of Laped Starcream Vanilla (crème pâtissière) with 1 liter of cold milk and whip for 3 minutes until glossy and fluffy or use the whole pack (400g) with 1 liter of water and whip vigorously.
  7. Fill the choux pastries with the chilled mixture of crème pâtissière and dust with Laped Powdered Sugar, ideal for usage in pastries and decorations.

 

Note: Alternatively, you can fill these choux with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or any other filling of your choice.

Angel Food Cake

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How many of you believe that his mom is the greatest mom in the whole world raise his hand! I agree. Raising my hand too:)

I am blessed with a wonderful mom, who has always been there for me, present at every milestone I reached. She is soft, smart, fun, talented and absolutely patient. In fact, if patience had a face it would be my mom’s.

I love you mom and so proud of you and proud to apply in my life, all the beautiful things you taught me.

My daughters, Axel and Kaia, have been drawing me and making me cards all this week for Mother’s day so cute of them but I need a bigger house now with more walls to hang all their little masterpieces;-)

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I wanted to bake a cake for my mom and started browsing the net for inspiration when I saw Angel Food cake. I love Angel cakes and I love the name!! Angel Food! Of course ANGELS this is what moms stand for:)

There’s a reason angel food cake is a favorite vanilla sponge cake, it’s fluffy as air, fat-free as it uses no butter or oil and tastes like heaven. It’s simple and best served with vanilla sauce, but can also be consumed with whipping cream and strawberries.

Here below I’m sharing the Angel Food Cake recipe, I found online. I actually found this same 6-ingredients-recipe  almost everywhere. I prepared my cake as per LovetoKnow‘s instructions and turned out to be a success!!. Hope you’ll get the same results and get to bake your own Angel food cake.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Angel Food Cake Recipe

By Cheryl Cirelli

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 170 C / 350 F degrees.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Using a mixer, beat egg whites until they become foamy. This should take 1 minute.
  4. To the egg whites, add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks begin to form.
  5. Continuing beating mixture on low and slowly add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. This takes about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  7. Transfer the egg white mixture to a large bowl and begin sifting in the flour mixture.
  8. Gently fold until the two mixtures combine.
  9. Spoon the batter into an ungreased cake pan.
  10. To release air bubbles, run a small knife through the batter once it is in the pan.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed lightly.
  12. Allow cake to cool in pan for an hour before removing.
  13. To remove from pan, run a knife along the edges to release and invert cake onto a plate.

About Last Night

“I promised Wael to join him at the spinning class this evening, but I think I’m going to take a rain check, as I really don’t regret any of the calories that made their way –amusingly- to my hips through my sophisticated palate, over dinner last night. It will be like cheating on your husband with Jason Statham, will you really regret it? Naa!”.

1 day earlier

My husband and I left the car with the valet and entered RARE, a charming restaurant, nestled in Ashrafieh.

For its 10th anniversary the menu has been re-invented by The Chef Cynthia Bitar, daughter of Nazira Bitar, and graduated from Chef Paul Bocuse school in Lyon. The new menu features an indulgent selection of starters and main courses accompanied by a rich wine list and an exemplary service.

Our host Wael Haddad recommended I try the oven-baked tomato and goat cheese tart as a starter. It was impossible to resist this flavorsome piece of heaven, lay on a crispy golden pastry and served with a delicious side salad. A star dish!

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As for the main course, he suggested I have the oven-baked sea-bass with black rice calamari and chorizo. OMG! I it was so delicious I could lick the plate clean. What a creative combination of ingredients, a delectable choice worth every bite.

SeaBass

While clinking glasses with Cedric and Rania, -our friends- who joined us over this beautiful occasion, I stared with eyes wide open at Wael coming our way showing off with a banoffee pie, guaranteed to impress. Thumbs up!

I always wanted to eat at Rare restaurant, but was always postponing it, well in case there are other procrastinators out there looking for a one-of-a kind-meal, stop searching and book your table at Rare.

Below recipe was among my first posts and I proudly share it back!

Banoffee Pie Verrine Style

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Ingredients

  • For the base: 60g butter, melted
  • 250g digestive bicuits
  • For the caramel: 100g butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 can of Condensed Milk
  • For the topping: 4 bananas, sliced
  • Cocoa Powder, to dust
  • Chocolate curls, to decorate
  • Whipping Cream (optional)

Preparation

  • Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin. Transfer to a bowl and add the melted butter and stir. Divide the mixture into 12 small glasses and press into an even layer. Chill the base while you make the filling.
  • In a non-stick saucepan place the butter and sugar. When the butter melts and the sugar dissolves add the condensed milk and stir continuously. Bring gently to the boil. As soon as it thickens, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Spread the caramel on the biscuit base evenly and chill for about 1 hour or until firm.
  • Slice the bananas, dust liberally with cocoa powder and layer over the caramel.
  • Finish with whipping cream and some grated chocolate. Serve.

Watermelon Granita and a memory shared from summer

MayaOryan-Watermelon Granita

No matter what, I anticipate the summer’s arrival with equal measures of happiness and zeal. I plan each week significantly making sure not a single journey goes wasted. While filing the past couple of months pictures earlier today, I smiled and thought what a great job I did!!

Pictures of relaxed family meals and get-togethers, cheerful wedding parties, fun-filled friends gathering and beach barbecues, carefree night clubbing, leisurely kids playdates and park visits and lots of family selfies!

Well my favorite album is the one about the road trips we take during the weekends. Lebanon offers much to see. Our culture has been shaped over the years by a strategic location and intense historical events to spread worldwide and inspire so many. I try to show my kids the beauty that their seven thousands years old little country holds.

Sadly, many of my friends and my children’s friends have been to Louvre but never to Beirut National Museum, where visitors can admire a world class collection ranging from Prehistory to the 19th century AD. I sure want to travel the world with my daughters, but I also have a keen desire to show them as well all the Lebanese regions and traditions.

And what is a better way than having this over a fabulous event and lots of traditional food. This year marked the 25th anniversary of Mymoune. Mymoune produces all-natural specialties such as jams, preserves, syrups, seasonings, flower waters and other refined products made the traditional authentic way, in a small village called Ain-El-Kabou, at the foot of Mount Sannine in Lebanon and where the event was held.

The invitation was sent in a beautiful hamper full of goodies from Mymoune and a thyme plant smelling like heaven.

Mymoune Invitation

As soon as we arrived we were overwhelmed with a sumptuous outdoor venue, set in a fragrant garden surrounding an authentic Lebanese mansion where Mymoune has preserved a great history of Lebanese traditions. The stone house has an arch topped by a steep, red tiled roof, overlooking mountains and valleys. Tables were decorated with a centerpiece of seasonal yellow wildflowers (wezzal) and guests, were entertained by a live band playing local music. An array of traditional food was served, from bite size saj manakeesh, to lavish pork shawarma prepared by Michelin-starred chef Greg Malouf using Mymoune products. We drank Mymoune’s Mulberry Syrup & Arak cocktail, and finished it off with Lebanese style areesheh and candied pumpkin.

Our host Amine Ghorayeb made sure we leave with another goody bag from Mymoune products that I placed fondly in my kitchen next to the rest of the range.

The ideal way to beat the heat this week was a watermelon granita using Mymoune orange blossom water. A fresh recipe and a fun bite worthy of most any celebration. I hope you love it!

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Watermelon Granita

Ingredients

  • 6 cups seedless watermelon chunks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tbsp Mymoune Orange Blossom water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Mint, to garnish (optional)

Directions

In a small saucepan, warm water over medium heat, add sugar and whisk until it has completely dissolved. Stir in lemon juice. Remove from heat and wait to cool.

Process watermelon chunks in a blender to a slush. Mix in the sugar syrup and the orange blossom water.

Pour into a shallow or a baking pan and freeze mixture for 1 hour. Rake mixture with fork and freeze for another hour. Repeat the procedure and freeze for one more hour.

Scrape vigorously into icy chunks and serve immediately in individual cups garnished with mint leaves.

Your Lebanese husband will never tell you that your food tastes better than his mom’s

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam by Maya Oryan

Photography Serge Oryan

I have to admit, that no matter how hard I try, it’s never better. It happened to my mother before me and to her mother before. For some reason most of the men will never give their wives this pleasure. There’s always GOOD… BUT… – you could have added more saltor reduced saltthe pieces of vegetables are too bigit’s not juicy enough it’s still crispyI prefer short grain rice, etc. My friend made a whole list and a calendar to keep a track of her husband’s daily comments and she is one of the best cook I know;-) So why men can never make an exception to a couple of meals and let their wives enjoy this privilege!! I know my husband will never do that. He goes bragging telling everybody that my food is delicious, but when it comes to one of the recipes that his mom cooks, then the best I can do is a tie for first place. A compliment for him is when he tells me, it’s not better, it’s same. WE ARE EQUAL IN THE CONTEST! I have to say that I’m writing this blog and laughing out loud, because deep inside I know that the apricot jam I did last week finished in 5 days, and here I am doing my second batch. While my mom’s in law apricot jam jars “who happens to be the same taste” are still lying on the shelf waiting for mine to be exhausted first. So in my dead heat struggle somehow I managed to share the recipe with you with the exact amount I used, nevertheless I’d like to highlight the following:

  1. Any traditional apricot jam recipe uses at least 600g to 900g of sugar for each kilo of fruits. I never use this much especially if the apricots are ripe and sweets. Also because I always make a little quantity to consume within the next couple of weeks.
  2. I learnt that French warm the sugar in the oven for 7-10 minutes and throw it warm on the fruits; you may want to try that.
  3. Most of the recipes uses 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, so feel free to add it if you like.
  4. Some housewives crush few pits and add the kernel inside to the confiture while boiling.
  5. Remember, to make a good jam, use nice firm ripe fruits and not green or overripe fruits.

Apricot Jam Yield: 3 jars, 370g each Ingredients

  • 1 kg fresh ripe apricots; cut in half and pits extracted
  • 450g / 2 cups brown sugar

Preparation Place the apricots in a big salad bowl and cover with sugar. Let it rest for 7-10 hours, preferably in the fridge if the weather is hot. In a heavy based saucepan transfer the apricots and bring to boil for 10mn. Reduce the heat to low and remove any scum from the surface. Let it simmer for about 25mn or until a small amount of the juice gels on a chilled plate. Ladle carefully in jars and keep refrigerated. Consume within 3 weeks.

Black Treacle Cake

Photography Serge Oryan

Photography Serge Oryan

This is one of those recipes that just came together in my head in 3 minutes.

1. I wanted to bake a cake.

2. I didn’t want it to contain eggs, milk or butter.

3. A cake that uses black treacle.

You may wonder, what’s the occasion? I have friends visiting me tomorrow.

Why no eggs – no milk – no butter? Because during Lent many friends abstain from eating meat and dairy, therefore my guests will have no reason to say no to my cake.

Why black treacle? Well for the simple reason that I still have a bottle since Christmas and I want to finish it;-)

The resulting DELICIOUS cake had a dark color, strong flavor and viscous consistency. The combination of treacle and aniseed is the secret to this succulent cake. There’s something flavorful about this blend that lights up my mood even on bad days. For some the taste of treacle, might be very strong and for those who love this taste, close to licorice if I may say, will fall in love with this recipe.

You can always use milk instead of water or if desired, use half milk and half water. You may also substitute the black treacle with date molasses. And if you decide to use all-purpose-flour then I suggest you add 2 teaspoons of baking flower. Many options can be explored but my one-advise is not to skip the aniseed addition!

Black Treacle Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tbsp ground aniseed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups black treacle
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl, mix flour and aniseed. Add oil and stir to make a paste.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine treacle and water. Add gradually to the flour paste and mix.
  3. Grease a cake mold and pour batter. Make sure it’s flat and even. Sprinkle with almonds.
  4. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before transferring to a plate.