Sunday, February 8, 2009

Be Still My Heart!!!

Being ADD (ADD DRAMA DAILY) I’ve been all over the map preparing to submit to my first Foodie Blog contests. The choices are endless & the competition is fierce. Let me just say Foodies are a cult to be reckoned with. Usually one with nerves of steel, I am a nervous wreck. My heart is palpitating like a whore in church. Haven’t been this worked up since I tried out for Jr. High Cheerleading.

Have narrowed the field & will enter The Alchemist Chef’s Valentine’s Day Recipe Competition & A Southern Grace’s Cinnamon Celebration. Totally changed gears from last week where I was considering my S’mores Brownies as the entry. Decided I needed an edge with the judges….

Put my investigative skills to work & did a little digging into how to get the attention of the Alchemist Chef. Discovered from snooping around her blog she is a sucker for blood oranges. Also noticed she likes her some lemon curd, hmmm? Bingo! Going with Hearts Afire Blood Orange Curd Meringues. Obviously I consider butter a food group….. another staple in my life is lemon curd; tweaked it by making it with the current darling of the Foodie World; blood oranges.

Sidebar; while doing research on The Alchemist Chef ran across her recipe for Blood Orange Martini. Felt compelled to test last night as I had all the ingredients and figured it would be a bonding experience for me & AC. Fast forward; had to rush out this AM to get more oranges when I awoke to one lone blood orange sitting on the counter next to an empty bottle of Grey Goose. Did I mention the bloody headache?? Inside voice pleeezzzz. The martinis were well worth the mad dash to Whole Paycheck.

For the Cinnamon Celebration over at A Southern Grace I am going to submit Sugar & Spice & Everything Naughty Pastry Hearts. These are loaded up with cinnamon; the key ingredient to get me in the door. Pecans have a special place in my heart & will add the perfect touch. A Southern Grace is a Southern born gal, got my fingers crossed the pecans will capture her heartstrings. She is now residing above the Mason Dixon so I added a little maple syrup as it is made up there somewhere ….

I am shamelessly “sucking up” to the judges….

Blood Orange Curd
4 eggs room temp.
1 egg yolk room temp.
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Juice of 2 lemons
½ tsp lemon rind
Juice of 3 blood oranges
½ tsp orange rind
1 stick butter

Whisk eggs, sugar & salt in metal bowl or pan for double boiler. Place over simmering water. Whisk in juices & rinds. Whisk constantly (not too fast) till thick; 7 to 10 minutes. Don’t freak at the foam that forms; it will reincorporate into curd later. Curd will become a lovely blush color.

Remove from heat & add butter 1 Tbsp at time; whisk till melted & blend thoroughly.

Cool slightly, place in container & cover surface with plastic wrap; chill for several hours.

Meringue Hearts
Do not attempt on humid days as they will be weepy & gooey

4 large egg whites- room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup superfine sugar or 1 cup regular sugar
Preheat oven to 250°F.
I traced 4 hearts around a large heart shaped cookie cutter onto baking liner paper & flipped over.

Beat egg whites until foamy in large bowl with electric mixer. Mix in cream of tartar & salt. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at medium speed until stiff peaks form about 10/15 minutes.

Spread a small amount of meringue within each heart about ½ inch high. Put remaining meringue into pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe meringue in heart shape up outer edge; I went around twice. For plain shells, shape a cloud bowl using the back of a large spoon.

Bake 1 hour until firm. Turn oven off and let dry several hours or overnight. Do not open oven or they will turn brown.
Made 4 hearts

Assembly Hearts Afire

Spoon curd into hearts; try not to eat much so you can fill 4 hearts; I filled 2 ½…..
Hearts are syrup with blood orange juice & cinnamon red hearts; added a little water & melted. Reduced to a syrup. Drop round ½ teaspoonful of syrup on curd & drag a wooden skewer/toothpick through top to below bottom of circle trailing off to make heart.

Option II
Blushing Heart Meringues
Serve with whipped cream & adorn with sliced blood orange quarter to pretty it up.

Sugar & Spice & Everything Naughty Pastry Hearts

These are a spin on Sugar & Spice Straws at Puff

1 sheet Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)

1 egg, beaten with a dash salt
2 Tbs. maple Syrup
2 tbs. melted butter

2/3 cup finely chopped pecans – this is important – you will see why when you roll the dough second time….
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Thaw pastry at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 350°F. Set rack at the middle level of the oven. Line a 15"x10" jelly-roll pan with parchment paper.

Mix egg and salt. Mix sugar, nuts & cinnamon

Open pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 12" square. Brush pastry with egg mixture, maple syrup & butter. Sprinkle nut mixture over half of pastry. Fold other pastry half over nut filling. Slide onto a pan and refrigerate 30 min. or until pastry is firm.

Roll pastry on lightly floured surface into 12" square. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough crosswise into 24 (1/2: wide) strips. Twist the top of each strip in one direction and the bottom in an opposite direction several times to form a corkscrew shape. Place each twist into a circle pinching the ends into a pointed tip; Push in center opposite side of tips & press into heart shape, pressing center of heart firmly into pan. Place hearts opposite directions across pan so tips are going in opposite direction across the width of pan. Original recipe says to refrigerate again till firm; I did not, seemed fine…. Probably want to do if weather is warm.

Bake about 20 min. or until well puffed and well caramelized. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 min. Store hearts between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container. Makes 24 hearts.

Off to dip the pastry hearts into the blood orange curd; lawzy I feel a food coma coming on.

Be Still my Heart!!!


  1. This heart meringue is gorgeous!

  2. the best way to improve upon puff pastry is to add cinnamon. i love your hearts, butterball!

  3. Good luck with your entries. I'm sure you'll be a shoe-in.
    I too share your love affair with lemon curd. So, when I saw the recipe for blood orange curd, it gave me heart palpatations!

  4. You're so funny! Those sugar and spice hearts look super cutey pie-alicious.

  5. Your meringues look delicious! Blood orange curd sounds fantastic. Good luck with your entries.

  6. Nice Valentine theme you have going. Love the blood orange curd meringues. It looks delicious!!!

  7. Bless your butter lov'in heart girl, I love your site! Can you *eyelashes batting* just for me put a 'Follow This Blog' button on here, I cannot do the 'Feed' things for some reason, so I might not think about coming here as often as I would like...Thanks!

  8. Hi BB, just dropping by from FoodBuzz to say hi, and all the best to your competition entry! I'm sure all that research will pay off somehow :)

    Sidetrack : I second your choice in using Grey Goose for the Martini. I always have two bottles on hand in case one bottle runs out!

  9. Found your blog and wanted to say hi!

  10. This sounds wonderful. Found your blog through the cinnamon contest, also on foodbuzz. Love it!