Fruit Tarts Recipe

Two months ago Williams-Sonoma had a 15% off sale on bakeware so my mother and I purchased a Tartlet Baking Set with the idea that we could make tarts for our Daughters of the American Revolution meetings & activities. So the baking of tartlets commenced!!! 

I used a basic tart dough recipe from Williams-Sonoma and found a basic custard recipe online. The tart came out suuuuper buttery tasting and the custard was not too sweet. The custard complimented the natural sweetness of the fruits I selected, which were limited by Ralph's seasonal selection and my wallet.

Fruit Tartlets

Makes ~28 tartlets

Fresh fruit
Lemon juice (to prevent fruit from browning)

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
10 Tbs. or 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten with 1 Tbs. water

For the custard:
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract


In a food processor, process the flour, sugar, and salt by pulsing once. Add the butter and process for 20-25 seconds in short pulses until small crumbs form. While pulsing, add and process for 10-15 seconds, the egg yolk and water mixture until large, moist crumbs form.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball, and divide it in half. Shape each half into a 5" round, flat disk on plastic wrap. Cover the exposed side with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and flour until thick and pale. Heat the milk in a saucepan until almost boiling then remove from heat. Slowly drizzle the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously, until all of the milk has been added. Return the custard to a pot and cook over medium-low heat until custard has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5-7 minutes. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of custard to prevent a "skin" from forming and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate once cool. Custard can be made ahead of time or while the dough is "maturing."

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 400ºF. Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll the disk to 1/4" thickness. Use the tartlet dough cutter to cut 12 rounds out. Place each round into the tartlet pan and use the tartlet press to evenly spread the dough into the pan's fluted crevices. Bake until the tart shells are evenly golden and crisp, 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the tart shells from the pan and cool to room temperature.

Cheung Yao Bang or Spring Onion Pancake Recipe

In the last post I wrote about making Chinese Onion Pancakes, or Cheung Yao Bang, so I wanted to follow up with the recipe. I got the recipe from a women who resembles my aunt and makes Youtube videos in Cantonese. I translated the recipe and directions into English and the U.S. measurement system.

Cheung Yao Bang = Spring Onion Pancake

Makes ~11 Pancakes

For the pancake dough:
225 gram = 8 oz. sieved all-purpose flour
150 ml = 5 fl. oz. warm water

For the onion filling:
2 spring onions, chopped
Some oil
Some salt

Put flour into a bowl & add 2/3 of the warm water. Stir the mixture and add the rest of warm water. If the dough is too dry add some more warm water in small portions. Cover the bowl with a plate and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Spread some flour onto a flat surface & roll the dough to form a rectangle that is approximately 1/4" thick. Spread some oil onto the dough. Sprinkle salt and the spring onion onto the dough. Roll the dough and cut it into pieces, much like how you would prepare cinnamon rolls. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it. The size of each pancake is an individual preference.

Heat some oil in a pan on medium heat. Cook the flat pieces of dough in the pan until both sides are golden brown and crunchy. Add salt to flavor. 

*I recommend only cooking what you will actually eat. Microwaving or toasting the cooked pancakes doesn't do them justice. You must make them to order!*

Cultural exploration

My Chinese grandparents (Mama and Yehyeh) pretty much raised me while my parents went to work so I grew up eating a lot of Chinese food. Now that I'm older I don't really get to eat Chinese food all the time, except on weekends when I go home. Irvine has a huge asian population yet the Chinese food sucks and is a total ripoff. That's why I have proposed to several people to open an authentic and cheap restaurant, but that will probably never happen.  My conclusion to this problem is to learn to make all the different Chinese snacks and foods I enjoy. Cut to me a few weeks ago googling for recipes of Chinese cakes. In my quest for authentic recipes I found a woman on youtube who reminds me of my aunt. She makes all the Chinese foods that I love and she only speaks Cantonese which means she's legit. I started watching all her videos and translating some of the recipes to english for future use. Then 2 weeks ago I went on a crazy steaming binge and made 3 different desserts. I totally forgot to take pictures before devouring so I will post pictures when I make them for a second time, which is definitely going to happen in the next 2 or 3 weeks. I have finals next week so too bad.

The first dessert was "ma lai go" a yellow sponge cake. The taste was good but the texture wasn't right. I got the recipe from a Chinese woman speaking english so I probably should have expected the thing to turn out wrong. I'll try again using the youtube recipe from the dependable chinese auntie. 

The second dessert I made was  "leen go" a brown sugar jelly-like cake that you steam, dip in egg, and then fry in a pan. It came out perfectly. Once cooked it was nice and crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Perfection!

The third dessert I made was a coconut jelly-like cake. It's cooked the same away and eaten the same way as the leen go. My dad enjoyed this one the most.

This past Memorial Day weekend I decided to make "chung yao bang" or scallion pancakes. Note to self, don't put so many scallions in it next time. I had to add so much extra flour to accommodate the scallions moisture and collapse of my dough. Still everything came out perfect. 

Beach Pit Again - Tustin, CA

Can I just say that Beach Pit has the best food ever? It's reliable and not too expensive. Perfect place to go on a student's budget.

So this time George got beef ribs with mac n cheese. Yummy. Falling off the bone yummy! For $10.95 a half rack it was a steal. Would have been more of a steal if George got the full rack for $14.95. Since he only could eat 2 ribs due to our $1 frozen yogurt indulgence at IKEA right before, I think it was a good idea that he only got the half rack.

I got my same-old-same-old meal...pulled pork sandwich and french fries. Tender, juicy, tangy, salty, savory, and everything you would crave in a pulled pork sandwich. 

Food Truck Brigade, Irvine

It's been awhile, but I have a good excuse. School is crazzzy! Anyways, today was a wonderful day! Sunny, breezy, and easy. My roommate and I decided to head down to the Foodtruck Brigade on Teller near the intersection of Teller and Michelson off of Jamboree in Irvine. We got lost because I didn't make a left off Teller and ended up going towards the airport. Probably should have double checked the directions, but OH well. There were maybe 9 food trucks there and a LOT of people, mostly the business lunch crowd and some college students. My roommate and I tried out 3 of the trucks.

The first truck we stopped at was called Ranchan Ramen. Since it was so hot and sunny, we didn't really want ramen and decided to opt for the Shrimp Ball Yakitori which was $2 for one stick. WHAT A RIP OFF! It literally was a shrimp fish ball from 99 ranch or any asian market, put on a stick, and dumped on a grill. A pack of 10 shrimp balls costs $2 and they only put 3 on a stick! It tasted just as boring as it sounds.

The second truck we had was called Rancho A Go Go Barbeque. I ordered the Carolina Pulled Pork Sliders ($5) and my roommate ordered the BBQ Beef Sliders ($6). The truck advertised the pork was slow cooked for something like 12 hours, and indeed the pulled pork was sooo soft and tasty. It melted in my mouth... (that's what she said). The sauce was really sweet, just how I like it. 

The last truck we ate from was called The Lime Truck. I was between the Carnitas Fries ($7) and the Ultimate Taco ($3 each) but I ended up going for the Ultimate Taco (cue fire explosions and lightning bolts). I also got the Crispy Gnocchi with kale and Spicy Parmesan Sauce ($7). The guys at The Lime Truck are the BEST! First, my total was $10.87 so I handed the guy $11 but he gave back my dollar because he didn't want to deal with change. CHA-CHING! Then the guy manning the pick-up window gave my gnocchi to some other lady by accident. So he decided to give me 2 free Ultimate Tacos for his mistake and my waiting time. CHA-CHING CHA-CHING. So basically I paid $10 for food that should have cost $17!! The guy kept apologizing because he felt bad. A+ for service!
The tacos were the first thing I ate. They had a slight kick because there were peppers in the pulled pork and the slaw had a bit of paprika. I don't normally enjoy spicy foods, but this had the perfect amount of spice. YUM. I had a bit of the gnocchi but I saved the rest for dinner tonight. The gnocchi was so cheesy, garlic-y, and yummy. My boyfriend, George, would have loved it.

I didn't realize how many food trucks are based out of Orange County. Tonight at the Irvine Lanes there will be another food truck gathering. Then tomorrow in some business technology center there will be yet another food truck gathering.

There's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy...