July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July America!!

I'm not exactly part of the patriotism ... national pride; ...celebration of freedom.. and the sort; but I was definitely game for the 'party'-ing bits that goes along with the 4th of July.
Barbeques; beer; music; sunshine and fireworks.... I wanted to be in the middle of it all.Here was what went on downtown last night @ Lake Eola. I met a fair number of new charming individuals with intriguing personalities; had a couple of good wines; shared a delicious spread of food by everyone and topped it off with breathtaking fireworks viewed from an arms length away.
Adorable pooches were out to play at the lake too.
I've NEVER seen fireworks from such close proximity ever before. They were ridiculously humongous!
The Americans went all out to celebrate with smoking hot pits topped with succulent meats, deck chairs, cool sunglasses, hefty crates of liquor and colourful umbrellas popping up everywhere along the sidewalks. At 5pm, the City of Orlando was ready to party!
I pitched in with red, white and blue tartlets. Cute golden raspberries huh? They really are incredibly rare. I'm happy I discovered them recently... perfect for my 4th of July fruit tarts.
The centers were filled with mousseline cream; which basically is regular pastry cream lightened with a good portion of whipped cream.

Creme Patissiere (Pastry Cream) - fills 10-15 small tarts.
500g milk
1 vanilla bean/3 tsp vanilla extract
62.5 g sugar
2 yolks
1 egg
37.5g cornstarch
62.5 sugar
30g butter

Bring first 3 ingredients to a low simmer in a pot. Beat egg, yolks, cornstarch and second portion of sugar in separate bowl with a whisk. When milk is finally lightly bubbling; temper the egg mixture by pouring it in a slow thin stream into the whipped eggs; whipping constantly as you add. Return the liquid mixture into the pot and place over low heat, stirring repeatedly till the creamy mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. At this point; if it looks lumpy...you have failed. :P hehe. Make sure the stove top isn't too hot and it should take less than 5-10 minutes for it to thicken; don't forget to keep stirring it. When almost done; pour the hot custard out immediately onto a wide mouth bowl placed over an ice bath to ease its cooling down and to stop it from continuing to cook in the heated pot. (an ice bath is a bowl of ice topped with some water). Allow mixture to cool completely before using; it should thicken as it chills. You may then fold in some whipped cream to lighten it or add in other flavouring/fruit you wish.