Cherry Creme Brûlée

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This post is more about food photography and lighting than anything else. I have had trouble with creating a look with light and was looking for a mood type picture.  When I thought about what lighting I would use for a moody picture I was dumbfounded. I could not figure out how to create the light needed for the picture I wanted. I did some research but most sites inform you about  shutter speeds, aperture, white balance and ISO and not actually how to get the moody picture.

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The only way I was going to get this moody pic was trying something different.  I was always trying to add light somewhere on the food. This time I tried to remove all light and add light where I wanted it. I  use only natural light for food so I picked a nice sunny day with a window not facing the direct light but indirect light coming from my screen in porch. I purchased some large sheets of black paper and placed them on the door covering most of it except a little space about two feet by two feet. This space I covered with velum paper to prevent the the strong light from reflecting off the food. I also closed all the blinds and removed all the ambient light from the room. During the shoot I used some reflectors and dark boards to add or remove light.

On some shots I closed up on the aperture or Fstop to get a more clear picture and others opened the Fstop for a little depth of field.

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Pate Sucre

half cup or one stick chilled butter, unsalted,

one quarter cup granulated sugar

 two teaspoons cream

one cup plus four tablespoons unbleached flour

2 tablespoons ice water

half  teaspoon salt

Cut the chilled butter into tiny pieces. Place the butter in a bowl with the flour and sugar and cut the butter into the flour with a pastry knife or  two knives. When the butter resembles coarse meal or are the size of pea’s add the cream, salt and water. Mix lightly and form the dough into a ball. refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

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Spray a rectangle tart pan with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Fold the dough over and lift onto the tart pan. Unfold the dough over the tart pan. Cut the edges evenly and remove the excess.  Place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper over the dough and fill with baking weights or dry beans to keep the dough’s shape. Bake the tart shell for 30-35 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Remove the beans and paper and bake for another 10-15 minutes to give the dough some color. Remove from the oven and cool.

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Creme Brulee

Makes one tart

one quarter pound ripe cherries, pitted and cut in half

2 cups heavy cream

half cup sugar

half vanilla bean, scraped

five egg yolks

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Evenly spread the cherries over the precooked tart shell.Place cream, sugar and vanilla bean in a small sauce pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk. Take half of the hot cream and whip into the egg yolks. Take this mixture and whip it back into the hot cream and rapidly whip the mixture until it comes slightly to a simmer but do not boil or the egg yolks will curdle.

Remove the vanilla bean  and pour the custard over the cherries into the tart shell. Cool at room temperature until set. Serve and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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