Cranberry and Apple Normand Tart


 

IMG_0212

I never have to pleasure to host Thanksgiving, because I am in charge of Christmas dinner every year, but also because my sister-in-law, the only born American in our family, wants to make sure that by hosting it, it will be a true one, with a Turkey, and the potatoes and the dressing.

So this leaves me with making appetizers, desserts and sometimes sides. Every year, I scratch my head trying to figure out what I will be bringing. I have yet to think about the appetizers, but I think that I know what I will be bringing: Feuille d’automne, Tart Tatin and Apple and Cranberry Normand Tart.

This evening, I would like to share with you the Apple and Cranberry tart that I will be serving. It is very different that anything I have eaten before, but it is very good, very filling however. The great part about this dessert is that you can substitute the apples with any fruits that strike you fancy. The recipe was adapted from a recipe from Stephane Glacier called Tarte Normande.

IMG_0215

Ingredients for a large tart of about 12-16 persons:

Ingredients for the pie shell:

  • 250 gr. of flour
  • 188 gr. of butter at room temperature ( should be soft to the touch).
  • 7.5 gr. of salt
  • 50 gr. of milk
  • 10 gr. of egg yolks
  • 15 gr. of sugar

Ingredients for the apple mixture:

  • 1000 gr. of apples peeled and sliced in 8. 
  • 80 gr of butter
  • 120 gr. of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon 

Ingredients for the normande filling:

also 1 cup of cranberry

  • 225 gr. of eggs
  • 275 gr. of sugar
  • 38 gr. of sugar
  • 190 gr. of melted butter

Ingredients for Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 of a mascarpone container ( if you do not have container, substitute with 1/2 cup of cream cheese).
  • seeds of a vanilla bean, or 1 tbsp of vanilla extract. 
  • 2-4 tbsp  of sugar.

IMG_0213

  1. You will want to get the pie crust done first. In a mixer place the flour, salt and soft butter and mix well until you have a crumble texture.IMG_0180
  2. Then add the other ingredients and mix well until you have an even texture dough.IMG_0181
  3. Place the dough into a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.IMG_0182
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the apples. Peel and slice the apples and set them aside.IMG_0185
  5. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and when the butter is sizzling, add the sliced apples.
  6. Then add the cinnamon and the sugar and bring to boil.IMG_0187
  7. Cook the apples for 10 minutes. Then pour the apples into the large round mold and place them into the oven at a temperature 450 of  for another 10 minutes.IMG_0188
  8. When the apples have cooked, remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  9. Take the dough out, place it in between two roulpats (or in between 2 plastic wrap if you do not have a roulpat) and roll it out in a 12-14 inch circle. Place it back into the fridge to cool before placing it into the tart pan.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the mixture that you will be drizzling over the apples. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the normande filling. Set aside.IMG_0190
  11. Take the dough back out, and gently peel the pie crust off the roulpat and place it onto the grande round ( if you do have a grande round, use a 12 inch round tart mold) that you would have placed onto a medium perforated sheet. Pat the dough down to make sure that it is fitting perfectly inside the tart pan. With a fork, prick the dough all over.
  12. Drain the apples from its juice, and spread them out evenly onto the pie crust.IMG_0189
  13. Disperse 1 cup of fresh cranberries on top of the apples.
  14. Pour the normande mixture over the apples, and cook the tart for 50 minutes at 350.IMG_0191IMG_0212
  15. Prepare the mascarpone whipped cream. In a mixer, place the cream, the vanilla seeds and the sugar, and beat the cream until it is getting thicker, but it is still runny. Add the mascarpone cheese, or the softened cream cheese and beat until it makes hard peaks. Place the cream into a container and keep it cool until you are ready to serve the pie.IMG_0192
  16. Let the tart cool completely before eating. Serve with Mascarpone Whipped Cream. Yum, Yum!!!IMG_0214

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

 

Cranberry and Apple Normande Tart

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print
IMG_0214

Ingredients for a large tart of about 12-16 persons:

Ingredients for the pie shell:

  • 250 gr. of flour
  • 188 gr. of butter at room temperature ( should be soft to the touch).
  • 7.5 gr. of salt
  • 50 gr. of milk
  • 10 gr. of egg yolks
  • 15 gr. of sugar

Ingredients for the apple mixture:

  • 1000 gr. of apples peeled and sliced in 8.
  • 80 gr of butter
  • 120 gr. of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon

Ingredients for the normande filling:

also 1 cup of cranberries

  • 225 gr. of eggs
  • 275 gr. of sugar
  • 38 gr. of sugar
  • 190 gr. of melted butter

Ingredients for Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 of a mascarpone container ( if you do not have container, substitute with 1/2 cup of cream cheese).
  • seeds of a vanilla bean, or 1 tbsp of vanilla extract.
  • 2-4 tbsp of sugar.
  1. You will want to get the pie crust done first. In a mixer place the flour, salt and soft butter and mix well until you have a crumble texture.
  2. Then add the other ingredients and mix well until you have an even texture dough.
  3. Place the dough into a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the apples. Peel and slice the apples and set them aside.
  5. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and when the butter is sizzling, add the sliced apples. Then add the cinnamon and the sugar and bring to boil.
  6. Cook the apples for 10 minutes. Then pour the apples into the large round mold and place them into the oven at a temperature 450 of for another 10 minutes.
  7. When the apples have cooked, remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  8. Take the dough out, place it in between two roulpat, or in between 2 plastic wrap if you do not have a roulpat, and roll it out in a 12-14 inch circle. Place it back into the fridge to cool before placing it into the tart pan.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare the mixture that you will be drizzling over the apples. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the normande filling and set it aside until you are ready to use it.
  10. Take the dough back out, gently peel it off the roulpat, and place it onto the grande round ( if you do have a grande round, use a 12 inch round tart mold). Pat the dough down to make sure that it is fitting perfectly inside the tart pan. With a fork, prick the dough all over. Drain the apples from its juice, and spread them out evenly onto the pie crust.
  11. Disperse 1 cup of fresh cranberries on top of the apples.
  12. Pour the normande mixture over the apples, and cook the tart for 50 minutes at 350.
  13. Prepare the mascarpone whipped cream. In a mixer, place the cream the vanilla seeds and the sugar, and beat the cream until it is getting thicker, but it is runny. Add the mascarpone cheese, or the softened cream cheese and beat until it makes hard peaks. Place the cream into a container and keep it cool until ready to serve the pie.
  14. Let the tart cool completely before eating. Serve with Mascarpone Whipped Cream. Yum, Yum!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

 

Brie Tartlets with Confit Tomatoes


IMG_2644

A friend of mine gave me some baby tomato plants last year, and despite me doing anything this year, they all came back and have given me many tomatoes. Ordinary I would eat the tomatoes off the wine because they are so good, but this particular tomato plant makes tomatoes that are not sweet and so I have to cook them, or accommodate them to eat them. As I was browsing easy vegetables appetizers, I came across a candied tomato recipe from the Power of Family Meal. I changed a few things and here it is:

IMG_2646

Ingredients for 20 medium sized tartlets:

  • 1 box of small baby tomatoes of about 1 pint ( the smaller the better- you really need 20 small tomatoes),
  • 250 gr. or about 10 oz of brie cheese,
  • 1 pie crust,
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar ( I used the Mediterranean Balsamic with Fig),
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp of olive oil.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan, warm up the oil and when it is sizzling,
  2. Add the tomatoes that you would have cut in half.IMG_2630
  3. Cook them for a minutes or two.IMG_2631
  4. Then add the vinegar and the sugar, a dash of salt and pepper and bring to boil.IMG_2635
  5. Cook for another 1 or 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. With a cutter, cut the dough to fit the tartlet pan ( you will want to use the medium or the mini muffin pan because the cheese may over flow).
  7. With a shaper, push the dough down. Then with a fork, prick the dough so that the tartlet will stay flat and a pocket will not form at the bottom.
  8. Cut the cheese in 1/2 inch thick slices, then in rectangles of about 1 inch wide.
  9. Squeeze them and place them in each tartlet.
  10. Spoon two halves of tomatoes in each brie tartlets.IMG_2530
  11. Cook the tartlets in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile place the saucepan back on the stove to reduce the liquid to about half. When the tartlets are cooked, and removed from the oven, drizzle some of that juice on top of the tartlets and eat ;-))IMG_2645

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Brie Tartlets with Confit Tomatoes

  • Servings: 7-10 people
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Super easy
  • Print

IMG_2646

Ingredients for 20 medium sized tartlets:

  • 1 box of small baby tomatoes of about 1 pint ( the smaller the better- you really need 20 small tomatoes),
  • 250 gr. or about 10 oz of brie cheese,
  • 1 pie crust,
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar ( I used the Mediterranean Balsamic with Fig),
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp of olive oil.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan, warm up the oil and when it is sizzling,
  2. Add the tomatoes that you would have cut in half.
  3. Cook them for a minutes or two.
  4. Then add the vinegar and the sugar, a dash of salt and pepper and bring to boil.
  5. Cook for another 1 or 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. With a cutter, cut the dough to fit the tartlet pan ( you will want to use the medium or the mini muffin pan because the cheese may over flow),
  7. With a shaper, push the dough down. Then with a fork, prick the dough so that the tartlet will stay flat and a pocket will not form at the bottom.
  8. Cut the cheese in 1/2 inch thick slices, then in rectangles of about 1 inch wide. Squeeze them and place them in each tartlet.
  9. Spoon two halves of tomatoes in each brie tartlets.
  10. Cook the tartlets in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile place the saucepan back on the stove to reduce the liquid to about half.
  12. When the tartlets are cooked, and removed from the oven, drizzle some of that juice on top of the tartlets and eat ;-))

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Lady Fingers or Biscuits Cuilleres


IMG_0328

When you live in Europe or France, and you need an ingredient for a recipe, you can go to any supermarket and just get it because they would have the item that the recipe demands. Unfortunately, most American supermarkets does not carry all the ingredients that i was accustomed to work with, or play with in Europe which can make your cooking experience a bit of a challenge or a scavenger hunt. Over the years that I have been in the USA, I have learned to either bring those coveted items back with me, or find internet sites that either sell them, or explain how I can make them myself.

So this is how, I learned to make pistachio paste, Pralin, Chestnut Puree.

This weekend I wanted to make a Buche de Noel ( Yule Log) and the recipe called for Boudoirs, or Lady Fingers… But I could not find them in any store so I had to make them.

So here is the recipe. It is one of the easiest thing to make, it is fast and you make lots of cookies at once that keep really well in an airtight container.

Ingredients for about 50 individual cookies:

  • 3 eggs separated
  • 63 grams of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract ( I am using the vanilla bean Paste from Nielsen Massey found at the Fresh Market)
  • 32 gr. of flour
  • 32 gr. of corn starch or even potato starch
  • powdered sugar
  1. Separate the eggs and place the egg whites into a mixer. Beat the egg whites into hard peaks.
  2. When you have reached this texture, add the egg yolks and blend them in.
  3. Then sift the corn starch and the flour and add it gently to the egg whites.
  4. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  5. Fill a pastry bag and draw small sticks of about 1/2 inch by 2 inches on  large silpat that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet.
  6. Dust some powdered sugar all over the “cookies”.
  7. Bake the cookies in the oven for 12 minutes  at 338 or until they become a very pale yellow.
  8. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down at room temperature. Keep in an airtight container so that they will stay hard ( can keep for several weeks).

And with those wonderful cookies, I was able to make my Vanilla and Chocolate Buche de Noel. Yum….

IMG_0315

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Lady Fingers or Biscuits Cuilleres

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • Print

IMG_0328

Ingredients for about 50 individual cookies:

  • 3 eggs separated
  • 63 grams of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract ( i am using the vanilla bean)
  • 32 gr. of flour
  • 32 gr. of corn starch or even potato starch
  • powdered sugar
  1. Separate the eggs and place the egg whites into a mixer. Beat the egg whites into hard peaks.
  2. When you have reached this texture, add the egg yolks and blend them in.
  3. Then sift the corn starch and the flour and add it gently to the egg whites.
  4. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  5. Fill a pastry bag, and draw small sticks of about 1/2 inch by 2 inches on large perforated sheet that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet.
  6. Dust some powdered sugar all over the “cookies”.
  7. Bake the cookies in the oven for 12 minutes at 338 or until they become a very pale yellow.
  8. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down at room temperature. Keep in a airtight container so that they will stay hard ( can keep for several weeks).

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Please share this post if you like it and post your comments. Merci Beaucoup!!!

Le Praline Ou Pralin


photo 2What is Pralin? It is like a peanut butter but made with sugar and hazelnut. Pralin is normally used to make the filling of many chocolate truffles and the layers of some European cakes. Pralin is really easy to use. You basically add it to other ingredients to make either layers of cakes or chocolate truffles. You add to chocolate to make the filling of chocolate truffles and you mix it with various other ingredients such as hazelnut oil, feuillantine and chocolate to make a delicious crusty cake layer.

In France, pralin can be bought in all the grocery stores. But if you are leaving in the US, it is basically impossible to find it unless you buy it from Professional websites and it can be very expensive.

Well, the busy person that I am did not think to look at the ingredients for Lisa’s birthday cake so i was in  a bit of jam when I realized that I needed some pralin for the recipe.

After googling how to make it, this is what i found. It is perfect and can be made in large batch and kept frozen for later usages.

photo 1

Ingredients:

  • 200 gr. of hazelnuts, or almonds or a mixture of both
  • 200 gr. of sugar
  1. Place the almond and halzelnuts on a deep flexipan and roast them 15 minutes in a warm oven of 400.photo 2
  2. Let them cool completly.
  3. Place them into a plastic bag and rub plastic bags in between your hands to make the skin fall off the hazelbuts.photo 3
  4. Empty the bag of all the nuts carefully so as to keep the “skin” still in the bag. Set aside.
  5. In a small saucepan, cook 200 gr. of sugar over medium temperature until the sugar on the edges of the pan start to turn a golden brown. Then with a wooden spoon or a heat resistant spoon, start turning until the mixture is an amber color.photo 4
  6. Add the roastd nuts to it and pour the mixture onto the deep flexipat or the silpat to cool.photo 5
  7. When it is completly cool, place it into a chopper and chop until the mixture is looking like a peanut butter texture. Stop. Use it for your recipe.photo 3Keep the rest in a ziploc container in the freezer. It will keep for a long time.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Poire Belle-Helene Revisited


photo 3

One of my dad’s favorite was Poire Belle-Helene, or Pear Belle Helene. It is a dessert made of Poached Pears atop vanilla ice-cream, and covered with Chocolate Syrup and toasted almond. It is delicious and really easy to do.

According to Wikepedia, “Poire belle Hélène was created around 1864 by Auguste Escoffier and named after the operetta La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach.” The original  Simpler versions replace poached pears with canned pears and crystallized violets with sliced almonds.

I love the combination of vanilla, chocolate and pear. It is a comforting dessert, warm and delicious.

This past Saturday I was in the mood for those combinations, but was also craving cheesecake instead of ice-cream so that is when I decided to combine all those ingredients to make this dessert.

photo 1

Ingredients for 12 people: 

Ingredients for the Pear Compote:

  • 3 pears peeled and cored
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/8 tsp of tonka powder, if you can’t find any replace with cardamom
  1. After coring and peeling the pears, slice them in half and cube them very small.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and when the butter is sizzling, add the diced pears. Mix well.photo 1
  3. Add the sugar, the water and the tonka or cardamom spice.
  4. Bring to a boil and when it is boiling, reduce the heat down and cook until the liquid has reduced to half.
  5. When it is done, remove it from the heat and let it cook completely.

Ingredients for the Chocolate Syrup:

  • 1 cup of chocolate of good quality ( I use Ghiradhelli)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  1. Place the heavy cream into a microwable safe bowl and cook the cream for 2 minutes or until it is really hot. ( you may cook the cream over the stove if you do not want to use the microwave).
  2. Place the chocolate chips into a small bowl. Pour the hot cream over it and let it sit for a few minutes.photo 4
  3. After a few minutes mix the cream and the ganache will be perfect, free of lumps;-)photo 5

Ingredients for 12 individual lingot cheesecakes:

  • ▪ 387.5 gr  or about 14 oz of cream cheese at room temperature ( about 1 1/2 cream cheese bar)
  • 110 gr.  or about 1/2 cup of sugar
  • ▪100 gr.  or about 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 80 gr.  or about 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 13 gr. , or about 3 tsp of egg yolks
  • 13 gr. , or about 3 tsp of corn starch
  • 70 gr. , or about 1/4 cup and 1 tsp of heavy cream
  • a vanilla bean
  1. Place the cream cheese in a kitchen mixer and beat it.
  2. Add the sour cream and mix again.
  3. Add the sugar, egg yolks, eggs and beat it again until the texture is free of lumps.
  4. remove the vanilla seeds from the bean with a sharp knife and mix it with the heavy cream. Add the corn starch and beat until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into a fleximold of your choice. I chose the lingot tray.
  6. Cook in the oven for 50 minutes at 194.
  7. When the cheesecakes are cooked, let them cool and place them in the fridge to cool for a few hours ( overnight is better).photo 2
  8. The following day, remove the cheesecake one at a time and dip them into the warm chocolate ganache to half.photo 3
  9. Place the cheesecake on individual plates.
  10. Place a few tablespoons of the pear compote on top of the cheesecake and drizzle of bit of the chocolate on the side of the cheesecake for added decoration. Et voila!

photo 3

If you wish to serve more pear compote, spoon the pear compote on the plate, place the cheesecake on top of it, drizzle some chocolate over the cheesecake et voila!

photo 2

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Les Tendresses… or Chocolate Darlings


photo 3

Two weeks ago I went to the Demarle Convention in Santa Ana. As a consultant for the company I always get energized by going to such event. I connect with other consultant and we share tips and ideas on becoming more successful.photo 2

They are so many meetings,  workshops and speakers that I always learn so so much. The event usually last 4 days. Even though it is meetings and workshops for 4 days, it is much fun because it is a bit of ” me time”;-), no husband to answer to, or children to take care of. Nice!!!

photo

photo 3Four days in between girls would have been nice on itself, but to top it off the company  hired a World Known Chef of the name of Stephane Glacier to do several cooking workshops during the event. What a treat! We learned so much!!!

photo 1

Today i would like to share with you  one of the recipe he was so courteous to share. It is a quick recipe, very easy to make, to adapt and to dress up. In my eyes, a winner.

Ingredients for 12 mini desserts:

  • 190 gr. or 6.7 oz. of almond powder ( 3/4 cup)
  • 190 gr. or about 6.7 oz of sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 190 gr. or about 3 eggs 
  • 100 gr. or about 7 tbsp. of butter 
  • 25 gr. or about 1 oz. of flour (1 tbsp + 2 tsp)

For the chocolate Ganache:

  • 100 gr. or about 7 oz. of heavy cream
  • 15 gr. or about 0.5 oz. of honey
  • 100 gr. or about 7 oz. of chocolate chips ( preferably European or Ghiradhelli)
  • 15 gr. or about 0.5 oz of butter

Soaking Syrup:

  • 200 gr. or about 7 oz. of water
  • 100 gr. or about 3.5 oz of sugar
  1. Turn the oven to 400.
  2. In a regular-sized bowl, mix the almond and the sugar.
  3. Then add the eggs a bit at a time. Add the flour and the melted butter. Don’t over beat!photo 1
  4. Pour the content of the bowl into a large ziploc bag. Cut the corner of the bag with scissors and fill in the flexipan of your choice. photo 2I used the doughnut tray.photo 5
  5. Place a silpat flat to cover the flexipan. ( it will prevent the cake from rising too much).photo 3
  6. Place the flexipan onto a medium perforated sheet and cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Then turn the flexipan around to even out the baking and cook for another 10-12 minutes.
  7. While the darlings are cooking, prepare the ganache and the syrup.
  8. In a small saucepan, cook the water and the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. ( if you want to add a yummy orange flavor, add a tablespoon of the Blood orange olive oil in the syrup if you do not have orange extract).Set aside.
  9. Place the chocolate chips into a small bowl. Then microwave the cream and the honey for 1 minute and pour the hot cream over the chips. ( Add 1 tablespoon of orange flavored olive oil again in the ganache to flavor it).Let it sit a while.
  10. With a small whisk, mix the cream slowly to make the ganache. Add the soft butter and let the mixture cool at room temperature.
  11.  When baked, remove the flexipan from the oven and let it cool before removing the silpat and unmolding the cakes.photo 1
  12. Dip the warm cakes into the syrup and place them onto a cooling rack to drain and cool.
  13. Pour the ganache into a piping bag and pipe rosette on top of the litlle cake. Et voila!!! Un vrai Delice;-)

photo 4

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Apricot Tart


photo 4

Fridges are fun to look into. By looking at someone’s fridge you can tell if that person cooks, loves to cook or just dine out. Generally a person who cooks will have an array of things to use at all times. Things like cheeses, pie crust, and raw ingredients.

I like to keep things like pie crust, puff pastry, phillo dough, wonton wraps because they are medium that can help you get dinner on the table quite fast. I love to use wontons to make fun appetizers. The pie crust of course can help you make tartlets, quiches and pies.

This past Friday, some friends of ours decided to come by unexpectedly to pick up some things at the house, and since it was close to diner time, I quickly ran to the store to get some meats to grill. We made a salad, some vegetable flan a tart for dessert. Not too bad for an unexpected dinner;-) Of course it is easy if you already have everything on hand.

For dessert, I made an Apricot tart because it is easy to do and I had no other fruits than apricots on hand. Of course, you can do this recipe with pear, apple, plum and strawberry.

Ingredients for a tart for 8 people:

  • 1 puff pastry dough thawed at room temperature for 15 mns.
  • about 24 fresh apricots 
  • sugar
  1. Turn the oven to 450.
  2. Place the puff pastry dough onto the roulpat and with the rolling pin, roll the dough so that it will fit the flexipat ( 12 x 15in”).
  3. With a fork, perforate the bottom of the pie.photo 1
  4. Cut each apricots in  8 quarters and lay them out onto the phyllo dough.photo 2
  5. Sprinkle some granulated sugar and cook the pie for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle more sugar so that it will caramelized the apricots a bit and cook for another 5 minutes.photo 2
  7. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool a bit before serving.photo 5
  8. Serve cold, or warm with or without ice-cream. Et voila!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!