Saturday, October 25, 2014

May 27, 2013

My nephew and Godson, Brad celebrated his 40th birthday last May.  I'm a day late and a dollar short adding this to my blog, but better late than never so they say.  Time sure flies when life is happening.  Well, of course Auntie Puma would make his cake. Two of them.  And two dozen cupcakes.  So now, the theme. Brad is a wonderful artist, so I decided to stick with that, but keep it somewhat whimsical.  As I was modeling the fondant "supplies" for the decorations on his Pina Colada cake, thoughts of other favorites of Brad's ran through my head, and I realized I'd need more than one cake.  A second, chocolate cake was now in order decorated with some fondant "signature" items.  This is what I came up with.  Brad loved both cakes, but I think the most fun was watching his daughter, Nikole, 7 at the time, and the other kids ripping the cakes apart, enjoying an edible paintbrush, sketch pad, and everything else.  Hours in the making; decimated in seconds.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I'm pretty old-fashioned when it comes to desserts.  I love the traditional favorites, adding my own twist, sometimes combining two flavors into one. 
Serve with fresh fruit of your choice...I've chosen blackberries, since I love the dark, contrasting color and the crunch of the seeds. 

This tart was featured in ENCompass Magazine, Naples, FL
Summer 2014

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup softened, unsalted butter
2 teaspoons ice-cold water

Preheat oven to 400˚F. 
In the bowl of a food processor, place flour, sugar, lemon peel, and extract.  Process until combined.  Add egg yolk and butter; pulse until butter is incorporated, but still shows pieces.  Add water, and again process just until dough forms. 
Place dough on floured counter or floured wax paper; cover with another piece of wax paper.  Roll gently into a 10" round, sprinkling with more flour if dough begins to stick.  Carefully transfer dough to a 10" tart pan with removable bottom, pressing gently to the edges of just the bottom of pan.  Prick generously all over the bottom with the tines of a fork.  Freeze for 15 minutes.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Remove to rack to cool. 

Lemon Curd:
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
   2 large eggs
   7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  Whisk together zest, lemon juice, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy   saucepan.
  Add butter all at once, and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until
  curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and bubbles begin to appear on surface,  
  about 10 minutes. Immediately pour curd through a fine sieve
  into a bowl. Cover and chill.

1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

In a medium bowl, whisk sugar, eggs, yolk, and flour until smooth.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan, bring milk and coconut to a simmer over medium heat.  Gradually add hot milk mixture to egg mixture whisking constantly.  You don't want to add it all at once, or the eggs will cook.  Return mixture to saucepan, and continuing to whisk constantly, cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the cream thickens and begins to boil.  Pour into a stainless steel bowl, and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the mixture to prevent a skin forming.  Chill for at least 2 hours and up to a day.  

Spread about 1/2 cup lemon curd on top of tart shell; spread gently and evenly.  Spoon coconut cream filling on top of lemon layer.  Cover and chill overnight. 
Top with whipped cream before serving; sprinkle with toasted coconut.  Remove tart from pan sides right before serving.
To toast coconut:  Spread desired amount on a heavy baking sheet.  Place in center of preheated 350˚F. oven for about 5 minutes.  Watch closely...coconut burns quickly!

Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chez Puma

For those who don't know, my nickname happens to be Puma.  No...not the implication of "Cougar," but a name given to me about 39 years ago when my nephew, Brad, began to talk.  My name sounded like, "Auntie Poomla," so it was shortened to Auntie Puma.  I've been Puma ever since, and I love it.

Back to the kitchen.  I LOVE a great burger.  And if there's cheese and sauteed onions involved, well...what can I say?  So, I had the urge tonight.  Went to Trader Joe's; picked up a million or so items to include ground beef, arugula, a brilliant cheese: Cheddar with Italian Truffles.  Really?  There IS such a thing?  Honestly, I love truffles...truffle oil...just the name.  I once had a Parakeet named Truffles.  But, as I always do....I digress.

Eric and Moireen sent me an incredible sampler gift they purchased at a great place they visited called, "O & Co."  Check it out at ""

My menu tonight:

Arugula Salad with a Fresh Lemon Juice, Honey, and Olive & Basil Oil
Beef Burger with Sauteed Onions and Cheddar and Italian Truffles Cheese...OMG
Accompanied by a modestly priced Amarone.

What can I say?  It was super yummy.  

Here's the photographic proof.