celebrate the quiet

The kids started school yesterday.

first day of school

One child refused to smile so this is our back to school pic.  It was a half day and it flew by.  This morning I got together with friends to celebrate the return of the quiet.  There was strata, fresh, fruit, coffee for people who don’t really like coffee (the secret is ice cream), cheese danish, and laughs, there were lots of laughs.

cheese danish on plate

cheese danish

one package of puff pastry thawed (I use Dufour)

filling

8 oz. cream cheese – softened

egg yolk

4 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch salt

egg wash

egg white mixed with couple Tablespoons of water

icing

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons milk (add more as needed)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  (check temp on puff pastry packaging some are better at 400)

In a small bowl mix filling ingredients together until smooth using a rubber spatula.  Set aside.

On a well floured surface, roll out puff pastry and trim edges so you have a fresh cut on each side.  Cut into 4″ squares.  Place pastry on parchment lined baking sheet and scoop spoonful of filling in to center.  Brush edges of pastry with egg wash and fold over corners to seal.  You can draw in two or four corners depending on your preference.  You can also seal with a tiny square of left over puff pastry “glued” with egg wash where all the corners meet.  Sometimes despite all your best efforts, they burst open while baking.  Don’t worry, those are great for taste testing.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden. Keep an eye on them since different brands of pastry tend to vary in cooking times.

Once cooled, they can be iced.  I mix the icing with a fork and simply drizzle it over the danish.

(If you like you can glaze the danish with warmed jam as soon as you remove them from the oven)

empty cake stand

 

a delayed fourth of July post

At the risk of sounding like one of those people who is always saying “oh my, where has the time gone, these summers just keep flying by”.  Oh my, where has the time gone, these summers just keep flying by!

sparklers

We have a tradition of getting together with friends for a big bbq every year to celebrate the Fourth of July.  In keeping with theme, I made another red, white, and blue dessert this year.

berry covered top of brown sugar pavlova

It’s a layered berry and brown sugar pavlova and you should make it!  It was as good as it looked.

Fourth of July means Antiques Extravaganza around here.

antique show

I was up early and power shopped my way through the fields of booths.  I found a tablecloth with the greatest four leaf clovers all over it.  It still had the tag on it.

four leaf clover tablecloth

The seller seamed a bit surprised that I was planning to take the tag off, but I do my best to use the things I buy.  What’s the point if these things are just going to hide in a closet?

back of tag on clover tablecloth

I also found this beauty.  She’s a Singer 99K and she’s mine now.

singer at sale

This photo makes me laugh because I instinctively had my hand on the machine while I was taking it – as in “back off everybody because until I can find out more, this hand means I have dibs on this baby!”

I hope everyone is having a great summer.  I just finished the cutest paper pieced tablecloth so I’ll be back with more soon.

sewing retreat with a side of iced mocha cheesecake

At the end of June, I had the chance to spend some quality sewing time with friends.  Holly, Jeni, Jacey, Anna, Faith and I met up in Wisconsin at the most amazing vacation house.

view from the loft of the chalet

charley harper poster

table in loft at chalet

We talked about everything, we ate giant pretzels and amazing belgian frites, we checked out Madison (including a chance to meet George), we dyed fabric, we even managed to fit in a whole lot of stitching.

I finished up a new york beauty that will soon be shipped off to someone special.

new york beauty quilt

I tried fabric dying for the first time.  We used an indigo kit and learned a lot about what works well and what doesn’t.  These are my pieces before the dye bath.

ready to dye

Here’s the top piece after dying.  I will most definitely be doing more with this technique.

indigo

It was fun to see what everyone was working on.  There were a lot of secret projects that I’m sure you will see popping up soon.

jeni's basket of strips

I brought along a cheesecake.  I didn’t want us to go without sweets while we were sewing in the middle of nowhere.

iced mocha cheesecake on plate

iced mocha cheesecake

crust

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 stick butter (softened at room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cheesecake filling

3 bricks (8oz. each) of cream cheese at room temp

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon coffee extract

ganache

1 1/4  cup heavy cream

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)

1/4 teaspoon espresso powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.

Mix crust ingredients in bowl of food processor until combined.  Use a straight sided glass or measuring cup to press crumb mixture along the bottom and up the side of a springform pan.  Chill crust while preparing the filling.

Combine cream cheese and sugar in bowl of food processor or mixer until creamy and smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each egg.  Add heavy cream, vanilla, and coffee extract and blend until smooth and creamy.

Wrap pan tightly in multiple layers of aluminum foil to make water tight for water bath.  Pour batter into prepared crust.  Place pan in larger pan (I use an oversized skillet) and pour hot water into the larger pan until it comes about half way up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake 45-55 minutes,until almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together , but still have a lot of jiggle in the center.  You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage.  Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let it rest in the cooling oven for one hour.  This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently and reduce chances of it cracking on the top.  After one hour, removed the cheesecake from the oven and lift it carefully out of the water bath.  Let it finish cooling off on a rack on the counter.

Once cooled, cover with ganache.

To make the ganache, mix the espresso powder and cream and bring to a boil.. Pour cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and let sift for 45 seconds then begin to mix.  It will become creamy when fully incorporated.  Pour in center of cheesecake.  Allow ganache to cool, then cover and put in refrigerator to cool overnight.

top of iced mocha cheese cake on plateI was thrilled when Jeni mentioned she could bring along some of her homemade salted caramel sauce because this cheesecake is extra delicious topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

It was a blast of a weekend that flew by so quickly, so I can’t wait to do it again!

hashtag chalet sewing rock