Friday, July 29, 2011

Almond croissants




I used the same basic recipe for this as I did for the chocolate croissants, however, I wasn't entirely happy with the results last time, so I made some adjustments to the recipe. These were definitely much better. I also added some process photos as it's quite difficult to actually visualise some of the steps.


For the dough:
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling 
140ml cold water 
140ml whole milk 
55 grams granulated sugar 
40 grams soft unsalted butter 
1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. instant yeast 
2 1/4 tsp. table salt 

For the butter layer:
280 cold unsalted butter 

For the top:
1 large egg 

Flaked almonds

For the almond crème:
100g sugar
100g ground almonds
a pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs

Make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. If the dough is too try add another tablespoon of milk, the dough should be soft, smooth and non-sticky. Lightly flour the top of the dough and wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.
Make the butter layer: The next day, cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1.5cm-thick slabs. Arrange the pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to form a 15cm square, cutting the butter crosswise as necessary to fit. Top with another piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to adhere, use more force. Pound the butter until it’s about 20cm square and then trim the edges of the butter. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin. Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

Make the almond crème: Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the dry ingredients and continue mixing. Add the eggs one by one, beating after each addition, until you achieve a creamy mixture.
Laminate the dough:  Unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 25cm square. Brush excess flour off the dough. Remove the butter from the refrigerator—it should be pliable but cold. If not, refrigerate a bit longer. Unwrap and place the butter on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough (i.e. there should be a triangle of dough exposed at each side of the butter square). 

Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the center of the butter. Repeat with the other flaps. Then press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough. (It should look like a square envelope.)

Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press the dough to elongate it slightly and then begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.
Roll the dough until it’s 20x30cm, then put on a baking sheet, cover with cling film so no part is exposed, and refrigerate for 2 hours (this is to harden the butter so it doesn’t seep out).


First turn: Roll the dough until it’s 20x60cm. If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your hands. Brush any flour off the dough. Fold the dough into itself like a book. This is the famous double turn, also known as “the wallet”. Put the dough on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 25 minutes to relax and chill the dough.
the double turn
Second turn: Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends until the dough is about 20x60cm. Do another double turn, brushing off excess flour. Cover and freeze for another 25 minutes.
Third turn: This time do a single roll - pick up one short end of the dough and fold it back over the dough, leaving one-third of the other end of dough exposed. Then fold over the exposed side. Put the dough on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic under all four sides. Refrigerate for 2 hours..
the single turn
Divide the dough: Unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. Cut the dough horizontally into two pieces; chill one piece in the fridge. 
the horizontal cut
Roll the other piece of dough into a long and narrow strip, 20x50cm. The dough may stick as you roll so keep flouring it (flip it over once in a while so that the bottom doesn't stick to the surface). Once the dough is about half to two-thirds of its final length, it may start to resist rolling and even shrink back. If this happens, fold the dough in thirds, cover, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes; then unfold the dough and finish rolling. Lift the dough an inch or so off the table at its midpoint and allow it to shrink from both sides—this helps prevent the dough from shrinking when it’s cut. Check that there’s enough excess dough on either end to allow you to trim the ends so they’re straight and the strip of dough is 42cm long. Trim the dough.
Lay a large ruler or tape measure lengthwise along the top of the dough. With a knife, mark the top of the dough at 12cm intervals along the length. Position the ruler along the bottom of the dough. Make a mark 6cm in from the end of the dough. Make marks at 12cm intervals from this point all along the bottom of the dough.

Make diagonal cuts by positioning the ruler at the top corner and the first bottom mark. With a knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough along this line. Repeat along the entire length of dough. You’ll end up with 6 full triangles and a small scrap of dough at each end.
Repeat with the other half of dough in the fridge.

Shape the croissants: Working one-by-one, widen the base of each triangle by stretching slightly, then hold the base in one hand, and hand the other hand to the point of the triangle to elongate it (you should pull it to twice its length). Lay the croissant on the work surface so its pointing towards you. Put a dollop of almond crème at the base of the triangle and with one hand on each side, begin to roll the dough towards you (towards the pointed end).
Flare your hands outward as you roll so that the “legs” become longer. Press down on the dough with enough force to make the layers stick together, but avoid excess compression, which could smear the layers. Roll the dough all the way down its length until the pointed end of the triangle is directly underneath the croissant.
Arrange them on two large parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Keep as much space as possible between them, as they will rise during the final proofing and again when baked.
before proofing
Proof the croissants: Make the egg wash by whisking the egg with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl until very smooth. Lightly brush it on each croissant.
Put the croissants in a draft-free spot at about 25 degrees C. Wherever you proof them, be sure the temperature is not so warm that the butter melts out of the dough. I proofed them in the oven with a bowl of boiling water at the bottom of the oven. They will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours to fully proof. You’ll know they’re ready if you can see the layers of dough when the croissants are viewed from the side, and if you shake the sheets, the croissants will wiggle. Finally, the croissants will be distinctly larger (though not doubled) than they were when first shaped.

Lightly brush each croissant with egg wash again, and top with flaked almonds.
Bake the croissants: Shortly before the croissants are fully proofed heat it to 200° degrees C. Put the sheet in the oven. After 10 minutes, rotate the sheet. Continue baking until the bottoms are an even brown, the tops richly browned, and the edges show signs of coloring, another 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets on a rack.




Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nutella Cupcakes





I have an obsession with nutella that many have described as unhealthy. I love it with waffles, pancakes, fruit, peanut butter, and most importantly, for eating with a spoon out of the jar. Anyway, I thought it was about time I incorporated it into my cupcakes. The result was delicious - I renounce all other cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:
Makes 12 large cupcakes or 18 small cupcakes

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup (110gr) honey or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground coffee
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup Nutella
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Place 12 muffin liners inside a muffin pan and lightly brush with melted butter (or cooking spray).
In an electric mixer, whip the butter and honey until fluffy at medium speed, 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the coffee, milk and Nutella. Still on low, add the eggs, one at time and scraping the bowl after each addition. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt and slowly fold this in with the butter - Nutella mixture until the mixture is smooth. Divide evenly among the muffin liners (they should be half-filled) and bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.




For the nutella buttercream:

115g butter, room temperature
1 cup Nutella
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

Beat butter until smooth. Add Nutella and beat together until thoroughly combined. Slowly add powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of milk. Add additional milk or powdered sugar as needed to reach desired consistency.

Sources: Tartelette, 52 Kitchen Adventures

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Raspberry mille feuille





This is the rare dessert that's easier to make than it is to eat. Do you cut it, do you pick it up and bite it...either way the cream seems to gush out from the sides. My tried and tested method is to topple it sideways and cut from the side, but let me know if you have something better.
The dessert is named after the pastry used to make it, and literally means "thousand leaf" in French (a slightly exaggerated way of suggesting that puff pastry has many layers). You can make the mille feuille yourself  to feel a sense of added satisfaction. Alternatively, puff pastry is available ready rolled in stores, so all you need is to make some crème patisserie, and voilà! (it's a French dessert so I think I should be allowed blend in some casual French).


For the crème patisserie: 
1 ¼ cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is completely smooth.

Once the milk is steaming, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg mixture. Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk, continue stirring, and heat it for 1-2 minutes, until the custard is very thick. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and chill before filling pastry.



For the pastry:
1 packet of puff pastry - thawed
1 bowl of fresh raspberry
Icing sugar
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the pastry on the lined tray. Top the pastry with another sheet of baking paper and another baking tray. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Turn the trays over and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool completely.
Use a large serrated knife to trim the edges of the pastry. Cut the pastry in half lengthways to make a few rectangles. Place 1 piece of pastry on a large serving platter. Spread with half the crème mixture and top with half the raspberries. Repeat with the remaining pastry, crème mixture and raspberries. Sprinkle the top of the pastry with icing sugar.


Source: Famille Benziane



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chocolate and praline raspberry tart





I had some praline left over from yesterday's profiterole as well as raspberries in the fridge, and this seemed like a natural way to put them together. I love raspberries in dessert, both in terms of taste and look. 

For the chocolate pastry:

115 grams softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder



Beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.  Use a spatula to scrape down the bowl and beat another minute if there are any lumps of butter left.  Add the egg yolk, beat well, and scrape down the sides again.
Add the flour and cocoa powder, beat on the lowest speed until dough has just come together (but still has small to medium clumps) and looks moist with a dark uniform color.  Scrape down the bowl and use the spatula to incorporate anything that isn’t mixed in.
Spread the dough into a tart pan.  Use the heel of your hand to evenly press dough and spread along the bottom of the pan and up the sides. ( if you’re having trouble, refrigerate the dough 15 minutes before pressing).
Use a knife to cut off any dough the rises above the top of the pan, and save dough for repairs.  Place the dough filled pans into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  (It can keep 3 days in fridge and 6 weeks in freezer).
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C with a rack in the lower third.  Cover the dough with baking paper and fill with beans (so that it's covered evenly), and bake in lower third for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and use leftover dough to repair any cracks.  Bake another 8 minutes.
Remove tart pans to a cooling rack and use the rounded side of a spoon to press the center down and make more room for filling.  Let cool completely (you can do this in refrigerator for faster results).
Praline recipe from before.
Raspberries and icing sugar for the topping.
Source: Dianasaur Dishes 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Caramel Praline Profiteroles





These are really decadent, even for profiteroles. Also, it was a more painful experience than expected because I burnt my hand twice on the hot caramel, and am in agony even as I type this. Other than that they turned out well, though really I was in too much pain to enjoy them. 


For the choux pastry:
1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) (60 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside. 
Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly add the flour mixture. Return to heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about a minute or two). Transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat on low speed a minute or two to release the steam from the dough. Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick sticky paste. Spoon or pipe 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart. Beat together the egg and salt for the glaze. With a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze on the tops of the dough. 
Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 175 degrees C. Bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are dry inside. Turn the oven off and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells dry out for a further 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. 

For the praline filling and caramel sauce:
200 grams sugar
1/4 water
70 grams dark chocolate, melted
50 grams hazelnuts
50 grams almonds
1 cup + 2 tablespoons double cream

Ice cream to serve

Spread the hazelnuts and almond over parchment paper. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, and let it bubble until it becomes caramel (takes about 5 mins). Pour half of this caramel onto the hazelnuts and almonds and leave to cool. Add two spoons of double cream to the rest of the caramel and stir to make the caramel sauce.
When the nut and caramel mixture cools, split it and put it into a food processor. Add the melted chocolate and process until it becomes paste. Whip the cup of double cream until you get peaks and mix it with the praline paste for the praline filling.


Source: Recipe for choux pastry from Joy of Baking




Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tiramisu


A friend asked me to post a recipe for tiramisu, and I jumped at the chance because it's one my favourite desserts and so easy to make. All you need to make is some custard, which you mix with cream cheese to make the filling. The rest is assemblage. It's really that simple. The only caveat is that you can't eat it immediately, you need to refrigerate it overnight after you make it.




For the cream filling:
2 cups milk
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
6 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
60 grams unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
250 grams cream cheese (I use mascarpone)

In a medium sized saucepan heat 1 3/4 cups milk and 1/2 cup sugar just until boiling. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, flour, and egg yolks. When the milk comes to a boil, gradually whisk it into the egg yolk mixture. Transfer this mixture into another clean large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. When it boils, continue to whisk the mixture constantly for another minute or so or until it thickens. Remove from heat and strain into a large bowl. (This will remove any lumps that may have formed.) Whisk in the vanilla extract, and butter. Immediately cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Refrigerate until cold, approximately two hours.

Once the custard has cooled sufficiently, remove from the refrigerator. In a separate bowl, with a wooden spoon, beat the mascarpone cheese until it is soft and smooth. Gently fold, or whisk, the mascarpone into the cold custard until smooth.

To assemble:
600-700 grams ladyfingers
1.5 cups very strong coffee
Cocoa powder and icing sugar

Use a cake or loaf pan. Dip the ladyfingers in the coffee and place them inside the pan so as not to leave any gaps. Spread a layer of the cream filling, then another layer of ladyfingers. You can have 3 or 4 layers of ladyfingers depending on the size of the pan you're using. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
Next day, invert the tiramisu onto a serving dish. Garnish with cocoa powder and icing sugar. You can also place the remaining ladyfingers around it to decorate.

Source: Joy of baking



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chocolate and coconut cookie monster cupcakes







After all the pretentious French pastry I've been baking I wanted a break to make something fun (and easy!), and I think these are adorable. The decoration is easier than it looks (all you need is some coconut shreddings, food colouring and chocolate) and the base cupcake can be anything you like. I opted for a chocolate coconut cake with vanilla frosting, which went quite well with the coconut topping.


For the chocolate coconut cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup boiling water

Heat the oven to175 degrees C. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and coconut extract; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Fold in shredded coconut.

For the buttercream frosting:
2 cups icing sugar
125 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed.






To decorate:
3 cups shredded coconut
Blue flavouring (I used liquid)
White chocolate buttons
Chocolate chips
Chocolate chip cookies


Dye the shredded coconut with the colouring - make sure the dye is evenly distributed (I had to use my hands). Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost them with the buttercream frosting, and cover them with the blue coconut shreddings. Place the buttons and chocolate chips on the top to look like eyes. Halve the cookies and also place them on top.  



Source: Joy of baking, Hersley's

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chocolate croissants




I always thought macarons required a lot of effort to make. That was until I made croissants. The recipe basically involves making the dough then rolling it out 3 separate times, freezing and refrigerating in between, including twice overnight, which prompted my sister to say "You know we could have just bought those right?". I think they turned out OK, but I think I could have proofed them better. Basically, the better they rise during proofing (i.e. before going in the oven) the fluffier they turn out. 

(Note: I have an updated croissant recipe)


For the dough:
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
140ml cold water
140ml whole milk
55 grams granulated sugar
40 grams soft unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
2 1/4 tsp. table salt

For the butter layer:
280 cold unsalted butter

For the egg wash:
1 large egg

Make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Lightly flour the top of the dough and wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.

Make the butter layer: The next day, cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1.5cm-thick slabs. Arrange the pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to form a 15cm square, cutting the butter crosswise as necessary to fit. Top with another piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to adhere, use more force. Pound the butter until it’s about 20cm square and then trim the edges of the butter. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin. Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.


Laminate the dough:  Unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 25cm square. Brush excess flour off the dough. Remove the butter from the refrigerator—it should be pliable but cold. If not, refrigerate a bit longer. Unwrap and place the butter on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough (i.e. there should be a triangle of dough exposed at each side of the butter square). Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the center of the butter. Repeat with the other flaps . Then press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough. (It should look like a square envelope.)


Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press the dough to elongate it slightly and then begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.


Roll the dough until it’s 20x60cm. If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your hands. Brush any flour off the dough. Pick up one short end of the dough and fold it back over the dough, leaving one-third of the other end of dough exposed. Brush the flour off and then fold the exposed dough over the folded side. Put the dough on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.

Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends until the dough is about 20x60cm. Fold the dough in thirds again, brushing off excess flour and turning under any rounded edges or short ends with exposed or smeared layers. Cover and freeze for another 20 minutes. Give the dough a third rolling and folding. Put the dough on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic under all four sides. Refrigerate overnight.

Divide the dough: The next day, unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. Roll the dough into a long and narrow strip, 20x110cm. The dough may stick as you roll so keep flouring it (flip it over once in a while so that the bottom doesn't stick to the surface). Once the dough is about half to two-thirds of its final length, it may start to resist rolling and even shrink back. If this happens, fold the dough in thirds, cover, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes; then unfold the dough and finish rolling. Lift the dough an inch or so off the table at its midpoint and allow it to shrink from both sides—this helps prevent the dough from shrinking when it’s cut. Check that there’s enough excess dough on either end to allow you to trim the ends so they’re straight and the strip of dough is 100cm long. Trim the dough.


Lay a large ruler or tape measure lengthwise along the top of the dough. With a knife, mark the top of the dough at 12cm intervals along the length. Position the ruler along the bottom of the dough. Make a mark 6cm in from the end of the dough. Make marks at 12cm intervals from this point all along the bottom of the dough.


Make diagonal cuts by positioning the ruler at the top corner and the first bottom mark. With a knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough along this line. Repeat along the entire length of dough. You’ll end up with 15 triangles and a small scrap of dough at each end.


Shape the croissants: Lay the croissant on the work surface with the long side closest to you. Put small pieces of the chocolate on the dough and with one hand on each side, begin to roll the dough away from you, towards the pointed end.

Flare your hands outward as you roll so that the “legs” become longer. Press down on the dough with enough force to make the layers stick together, but avoid excess compression, which could smear the layers. Roll the dough all the way down its length until the pointed end of the triangle is directly underneath the croissant.

Arrange them on two large parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Keep as much space as possible between them, as they will rise during the final proofing and again when baked.

Proof the croissants: Make the egg wash by whisking the egg with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl until very smooth. Lightly brush it on each croissant.

Put the croissants in a draft-free spot at about 25 degrees C. Wherever you proof them, be sure the temperature is not so warm that the butter melts out of the dough. They will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours to fully proof. You’ll know they’re ready if you can see the layers of dough when the croissants are viewed from the side, and if you shake the sheets, the croissants will wiggle. Finally, the croissants will be distinctly larger (though not doubled) than they were when first shaped.


Bake the croissants: Shortly before the croissants are fully proofed heat it to 200° degrees C. Put the sheet in the oven. After 10 minutes, rotate the sheet. Continue baking until the bottoms are an even brown, the tops richly browned, and the edges show signs of coloring, another 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets on a rack.


Source: Jeffrey Hamelman

Sunday, July 3, 2011

rose petal macarons


Macarons come in some interesting flavours and some of which I've tried include lavender and rose. I really like the taste of rose in almost anything I've tried with it, and although it may seem odd to make dessert with rose petals in ("Ew! I don't eat flowers!" says my sister) I think it turned out pretty well. I did feel somewhat bad desecrating a rose for the purposes of decoration, but that it seemed like a necessary sacrifice. The recipe I used is a basic macaron recipe with pink food colouring. The filling is made with whipping cream, sugar and rose water. I also added some lychees so it resembled the filling for Ispahan (which is basically a giant rose macaron with raspberries inside), but I actually think it would have tasted better without them because the rose taste was masked somewhat.

For the shells:
90 gr egg whites (about 3) - preferably separated the night before
30 gr sugar
200 gr icing sugar
110 gr almonds
red food colouring

Whisk the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Add the food colouring and continue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be dry. Put the icing sugar and almonds through a food processor until the nuts are finely ground. Sift them into the meringue, give it a quick fold initially to get it mixed and then start folding carefully until you obtain a batter that smooths itself after about 15 seconds. 

Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Note: if the mixture flattens too quickly you've over-mixed it.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe small rounds of the batter (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Let the macarons sit out for 45 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool before you remove them from the tray.

For the filling: 
250ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons rosewater

Whisk whipping cream will frothy, add caster sugar and continue to whisk till thick and of piping consistency. Do not over-whip the cream as it will split. Add the rosewater and gently whisk to combine. 

Sources: Tartelette, the Pleasure Monger

Saturday, July 2, 2011

fraisier.




Of my most prominent memories of Paris from 3 years ago is the fraisier. I can substitute dessert for any meal of the day, including breakfast, so about 80% of what I ate when I was in France was cakes (yes I ended up poorer and fatter), and at the time I thought fraisier was a light and fruity cake, perfect for the summer. Having actually made the fraisier I realise half of it is butter! Although that does explain the amazing taste. 


For the cake:
300g unsalted butter, softened
300g caster sugar
5 medium eggs, beaten
350g plain flour, sifted
1½ tsp baking powder, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 tbsp milk

For the crème mousseline:
3 medium eggs
120g caster sugar
25g flour
250ml milk
125g unsalted butter
2 drops vanilla extract

For the decoration:
600g strawberries
Various berries
20g dark chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 150°C. To make the vanilla sponge, butter and line a 20cm round cake tin. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well. Fold in the flour and baking powder, along with the vanilla extract and milk. Transfer the cake mixture into the tin and bake in the preheated oven for 75-90 minutes. The cake is cooked when it is a golden brown colour and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before turning on to a wire rack to finish cooling.
When the cake is finally cool, split the cake in half. If the top isn’t flat cut it off so it is. If you do this invert the cake so you have the bottom at the top.

Mix the eggs, sugar, flour in a pan. Then slowly add the milk and heat gently. When the mixture is thickened, add half of the soft butter and mix well. Leave to cool. When the mixture has cooled, incorporate the rest of the butter and vanilla essence, and hand whisk at full speed until you have a smooth crème mousseline.

Place the bottom layer of cake in the tin, assemble the halved strawberries around the side, and then fill with the crème. Chop the rest of the strawberries and place them in the centre and place the other layer of cake on top. Refrigerate for an hour or two.

To decorate, fold some baking paper into a cone shape so that it has a very fine tip, and fill it with the melted chocolate, then make some chocolate swirls on the top of the cake. Place the berries on top (I used strawberries, raspberries and blackberries because that’s what I could find, but I think red currants and gooseberries would also work well).

Source: Eric Lanlard