6th Adaptation: Confetti

Remember this?

These Pate a Choux balls were served on a sweet tart crust with a mint pastry cream. I thought they looked so festive when I made them for the tart….so this time I just filled them with a little raspberry jam and made them solo.

They maybe aren’t as vibrant as I would have liked …but cute ,and I’m thinking about putting silver luster dust on a mini marshmallow, and attaching it. Christmas Ornament??? Well maybe not one of my best ideas….

5th Adaptation: Cancale

This was sooo pretty the first time I did it, but sooo time consuming. I rounded off some corners, but yeah. Still time consuming. Here’s what they looked like after my first attempt…


And before I cut them…

I used a cake mix on this one with a layer of premade pie crust in there just for texture. Then make the basic mirror glaze for the top, cut it, and your done. In the first one , you made a gelee, a cream cheese pastry cream, and of course the cake, and finally… the mirror glaze. Well .. a cake mix, a good quality raspberry preserve, and a cream cheese ganache all helped to cut the time and effort, but I think the wow factor is still there! A little hard to pack in terms of sharing….but pretty, and tasty .

4th Adaptation: Earl grey Napoleons

Remember these ?

They were one of the first recipes I tried. There was whipped ganache infused with tea, chocolate almond tart dough and candied orange peel. Not terribly difficult, but who really has that kind of time? These were fun to remake because I really made them easy and my hubby LOVED them. First….skip the making, rolling out, and baking. Think chocolate grahams! Second , mix a little canned cream cheese frosting with a little chocolate frosting, and melted Andes Mints ! Sprinkle with crushed candy canes, and Boom! Here’s how they look….

The grahams soften up a bit, and the deep chocolate works well with the minty-ness of the filling. Very easy and very Christmasy !!!

3rd Adaptation: Raspberry Almond Tea Cakes

Remember these little gems? They were one of this first recipes I attempted. Not very hard…but I still thought I could improve on the time and effort level. Here’s how they originally looked like in the book, followed by the way they turned out the first time I made them…..

Kind of Christmasy all on their own right? Well here’s my new and improved version….

Still cute ! And instead of mixing almond paste, and using lots of butter(and dishes !) , I used a yellow cake mix, mixed with some almond meal (ground Almonds) and still used the frozen raspberry pieces and the single fresh raspberry tucked into the middle of each. Easy-Peasy ! Plus…it had the added bonus of making many more than the original recipe !!! Truly going to be one of our favorites !

2nd Adaptation: Blue Cheese Truffles

Again.. Blue cheese is not my friend. But if my husband had his way, he would make it a relative if he could ! So as a nod to those who loved these treats…(and want them again for Christmas), I redid this recipe to make it easier and prettier. Remember the way they looked? ….

Now the new (and improved) version….

Pretty enough for Christmas ! Instead of the recipe, which called for a lot of chocolate and cream and butter, with an exorbitant amount of stirring and temperature taking……I opted for a recipe that I know is easy-peasy and no-fail! And it makes great fudge to boot ! You simply take 1 pkg of white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave, and mix it with 1 can of vanilla frosting. In this case add a small container of Blue Cheese Crumbles while still warm so that they partially melt but still have some chunks. Then cover them with a coat of white chocolate and some sprinkles. Voila ! Soooo much easier ! My husband took them to work and they got rave reviews! Very creamy. You can actually use any flavor of chocolate, and any flavor frosting mix. It works every time.

1st Adaptation: Nougatine

Sorry it’s been so long guys….hope there’s still some of you hangin’ with me ! We are showing our home to prospective buyers these days, and that means a CLEAN kitchen ! And writing this blog is anything but a clean endeavor !

In the first recipe I decided to tackle , The challenge was to make the hard candy easier. To refresh your memories here’s a picture of how they looked in the book, followed by the picture of how mine turned out.

Back then, the recipe called for cooking and stirring the sugar until just the right hue and temperature .So to make this easier…I found a recipe for peanut brittle made in the microwave. I adapted this by not adding the baking soda at the end..which makes the candy foam up and have that light texture that peanut brittle has. I of course substituted the toasted almonds for the peanuts, and to Christmas-fy it…..decorated it with white chocolate ! They turned out beautifully, and only took about 1/2 hour to make. Success ! Here they are….

Actually…I think the color is more appealing…and they taste great .The internet is full of these recipes , generally titled ” 10 minute microwave brittle”. Definitely recommend trying this for a quick and simple candy !

41st Recipe: A Moment of Zen

Well friends…this is it! The dessert on the cover of the book, that ultimately lured me into this journey ! My final recipe. It seems so sad. But truthfully, I intend to pick 12 recipes that I can change by making them lighter, easier, and appropriate for Christmas. So let’s get back to the business at hand. This is what the dessert should look like…..

Obviously this one needed a very specialized mold. What the picture doesn’t show, is that there is a tart shell supporting all this fruit and of course the Zen paisley. The tart shell is filled with a cherry flavored liquor pastry cream, with a layer of Blackberry coulis, topped by more of the pastry cream. The paisley mold was filled with Raspberry mousse, and covered with a Raspberry glaze. then the other “side” is filled by fruit of all kinds and edible flowers. Here’s mine……

Not as smooth as the original. What you also don’t see in the pics, is that the paisley is about 2 to 2 1/2 inches high. So getting all that fruit to pile up and stay is a challenge in itself ! Also hard to cut and serve. A whole segment of tasters won’t even get a slice of Raspberry mousse… just a pile of fruit on a thin tart. Very tricky. I feel as though I can honestly say I pretty much rose to the challenges of this recipe book…..and had a lot of fun doing it. Thank you to all that have read these posts and supported my efforts! I hope you come back and check out my Christmas Alterations !

40th Recipe: Not Your Grandmother’s Buche de Noel

The traditional Buche de Noel is made to represent a log…remember ? (Recipe # 31) . This one is meant to bring it into the 21st century. This Christmas dessert is a mousse rather than a jelly roll cake. Here’s the picture from the book….

Gorgeous, uh ? There’s a thin chocolate cake on the bottom, a Chocolate Mousse as the filling, and see that dark center with the white cloud above it? That’s a row of brandied cherries , with a piped cloud of cannoli (ricotta cheese) with cinnamon, orange, and chocolate chip in it. Very Christmas-type flavors. The glaze is dark chocolate, with pistachio decorations. Before I show you my picture…let’s discuss the problems. AGAIN….another mold. She suggests cutting a shipping tube in half, and closing off the ends. Done. Not a problem. The decorative balls on top are to be made from different colors of cocoa butter (and just where do you find that?) and luster dust. We must have had different gold luster dusts, because mine just left a grainy finish. Here’s how mine turned out….

The glaze did not want to stick to the mousse. Perhaps I had it too warm, since it seemed to want to melt the underlying mousse. I finally ended up using some gold balls as decoration, since I couldn’t seem to get the colored ones to look right. Very difficult, but very tasty. There seems to be a trend here….all the recipes seem to taste great. It’s just a matter of getting them to look spectacular ! Next week, as my final recipe, I will tackle the most difficult recipe in the book. The one on the cover. I’ve been anticipating this one for a long time !

39th Recipe: Rabelo

This one certainly lived up to the “challenging” difficulty level. But oh so pretty !!!! I personally was not impressed with the taste…I’m not a fig and spice cake kinda girl. But my husband and some of my friends loved it. Here’s how it looked in the book….

Stunning, uh? Well, my first challenge was finding something to decorate them. Since it is August…in Mid Wisconsin, fresh pansies were out. So I found these little white roses made out of edible wafers (not particularly tasty though!) by the Wilton company, and I colored them with food color. The inside of these beauties consist of a heavily spiced cake, topped with mission figs soaked in port wine and then blended. On top of that rests the port wine mousse. What she doesn’t explain is that the beautiful glaze doesn’t want to stick to the very cold mousse, and keeps running off. I had to repour mine several times. Here’s how mine turned out….

The molds were a challenge also. I took heavy plastic, cut and hot glued them…then lined them with food grade acetate. So now I have 12 ring molds and I didn’t have to buy ANOTHER mold. You know for Christmas, these would be stunning done with a champagne mousse, gold dust swirled glaze, and oh ! can you imagine the decoration possibilities ???? Hmmmm…….

38th Recipe: Bye, Bye Pumpkin Pie

This recipe was a new take on an old classic. Pumpkin pie. The bottom “crust” had a chocolate almond cake, and the side “crust” was an almond cake with pepitas embedded in it. Then there was a layer of caramel, topped with a layer of spiced pecans. The main body of the “pie?” was a pumpkin bavarois ,which is a Frenchy way of saying mousse. On the very top was an apricot glaze, and it was decorated with macarons. Yipee! My third chance to get them right. (And I DID !!) Here’s the version from the book…..

See how the macarons are shiny with that little rim at the bottom (called the “foot”) ? Well…mine finally got there. Here’s my picture….

Alright…so my glaze with the gold dust doesn’t look so perfect, and my almond cake maybe a little overdone, and a little of the caramel might be seeping out of the bottom; but I STILL feel like a proud parent!!! The spiced pecans were made with garam masala, and if you are familiar at all with those spices, you know there are a thousand and one blends of spices called “Garam Masala”. I picked a recipe that sounded good to me and I blended my own. And it turned out great. I put a bowl of extra nuts on the counter that night, and my husband couldn’t stop eating them. The flecks in the macarons are because I didn’t use a blanched almond flour. Using an unblenched of course, leaves a more natural coloring. They still turned out great, didn’t they ????

I can’t believe we have only three recipes left ! Since they are the most difficult in the book…I hope they all go this well.