Mint Chocolate Pie, for PI Day


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Some of you probably know that I teach school in my spare time;-) Yes, I have a job, a real job that helps me pay my bills;-) I teach French to children aged 5 to 14. I love it!!! Well this week, has certainly been an interesting week with some of my students talking about  Pi day. Every time they came to my room, they kept asking if I knew that Friday was Pi Day, and telling me how crazy it would be. I remembered that when my children were in Middle school, they had a huge celebration at the end of their Pi Unit and were invited to bring in pies to share….Friday turned out to be a normal day, I was worried that they would be crazy coming to my class after eating pies, but the day went unnoticed;-) Yeah!!!

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I did not really paid attention to that Pi Day until this morning, when I looked at all the e-mails that mentioned this historical moment???

So I looked it up…

Did you know that this year March 14 is a very special Pi Day, become it only comes once in a century.

Why, because the number Pi is 3.141592653589793. And today being the 14th of March 2015 at 9:26 and 53 is closer to that number;-)

So what to do on this special day, well of course we need to bake some forms of pie, since we are celebrating the first five digits in the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

In this special day, I will share with you a fun, easy recipe that are to please the little and the big ones: Chocolate Mint Pies.

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Ingredients for 30-32 Medium Sized Tartlets

  • 5 oz. of bitter-sweet chocolate Chips ( I used Ghiradhelli)
  • 5 oz. of Andes Chocolate Chips
  • 5 oz. of Heavy cream
  • 1 pack of sugar cookie dough ( I used Pillsbury’s)
  1. I guess you can use a mini muffin pan, but I used the Demarle Medium Tartlet Silpain  that I placed on a medium perforated sheet for even cooking. The dough does not stick and makes a beautiful finish when you use the silpain;-). IMG_1330
  2. Cut the sugar cookie dough with a sharp knife in rounds of about 1/6 to 1/4 of an inch.IMG_1322
  3. Place each round in each tartlet opening, and press them down gently. If you want to use the whole log of sugar cookie, you will need to make two batches. IMG_1324
  4. Cook the cookie dough at 400 for 7 minutes. IMG_1327
  5. When the cookie dough is baked, remove the pan from the oven, and with a very narrow shot glass, or a shaper press the dough down so you will have  a perfectly shaped and deep pie shell. IMG_1328IMG_1329
  6. Let the pie shells cool down at room temperature.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the filling which is a sort of ganache. In a small bowl, place the chocolate chips and the andes chips.IMG_1323
  8. Warm the cream either over the stove top, or in the microwave until it boils.  I warmed mine up in the microwave because it only takes 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
  9. When the cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate chips, but DO NOT STIR!! IMG_1325The chocolate chips will need to melt on their own. After 1 minute, start stirring either with a fork or a small whisk and stir until it becomes an even smooth texture. If you still see a few grains or the ganache is not completely smooth, warm it up over a bath of boiling water for a few minutes, or back in the microwave for 30 seconds. IMG_1326
  10. Pour the ganache into a ziploc bag, cut the corner and carefully fill the pies.
  11. Place the pies in the fridge to cool and for the chocolate ganache to take. IMG_1331
  12. When they are completely cold, put a dab of frosting into a small zilpoc bag and decorate to make the Pi Sign. Et Voila!!! Yum, easy 😉
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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Chocolate Mint Pi

  • Servings: 10 people
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for 30-32 Medium Sized Tartlets

  • 5 oz. of bitter sweet chocolate Chips ( I used Ghiradhelli)
  • 5 oz. of Andes Chocolate Chips
  • 5 oz. of Heavy cream
  • 1 pack of sugar cookie dough ( I used Pillsbury’s)
  1. I guess you can use a mini muffin pan, but I used the Demarle Medium Tartlet Silpain. The dough does not stick and makes a beautiful finish when you use the silpain;-).
  2. Cut the sugar cookie dough with a sharp knife in rounds of about 1/6 to 1/4 of an inch. Place each round in each tartlet opening, and press them down gently. If you want to use the whole log of sugar cookie, you will need to make two batches.
  3. Cook the cookie dough at 400 for 7 minutes.
  4. When the cookie dough is baked, remove the pan from the oven, and with a very narrow shot glass, or a shaper, press the dough down so you will have a perfectly shaped and deep pie shell.
  5. Let the pie shells cool down at room temperature.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling which is a sort of ganache. In a small bowl, place the chocolate chips and the andes chips. Warm the cream either over the stove top, or in the microwave until it boils. I warmed mine up in the microwave because it only takes 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
  7. When the cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate chips, but DO NOT STIR!! The chocolate chips will need to melt on their own. After 1 minute, start stirring either with a fork or a small whisk and stir until it becomes an even smooth texture. If you still see a few grains or the ganache is not completely smooth, warm it up over a bath of boiling water for a few minutes, or back in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  8. Pour the ganache into a ziploc bag, cut the corner and carefully fill the pies.
  9. Place the pies in the fridge to cool and for the chocolate ganache to take.
  10. When they are completely cold, put a dab of frosting into a small zilpoc bag and decorate to make the Pi Sign. Et Voila!!! Yum, easy 😉

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

 If you like to see, or read this recipe, please share. Merci Beaucoup!!!

Lady Fingers or Biscuits Cuilleres


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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….

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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Lady Fingers or Biscuits Cuilleres

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • Print

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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!!!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!!!


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I hope that you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I did. I had a great time with my family. As I worked a lot, it was wonderful to stop, and enjoy some times with my loved one.

I meant to write you guys a BIG Thank you yesterday, but I was so busy with cooking that I did not have time to send you my best wishes for the day.

Since Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. I wanted to thank you for being part of my life if only in my blog. As you know I truly love cooking, but i love to share my recipes and it is a pleasure to see that many of you are now following my blog.  I really appreciate all the comments, and questions you have shared with me over this year, and the past. It is a great compliment to know that  you are enjoying my recipes, and that you look forward my recipes. So thank you!!

I really value your insights and your comments, so please continue responding to my entries with comments and questions.

For now, again un Grand Merci a vous tous ( a big thank you to you all) and Happy Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Easy Appetizers: Potato Skins


I had a  party to cater this past Sunday, and one of the item that I was asked to cook was  double-baked potatoes. This is one of the easiest appetizers in the world! and it is so yummy. Moreover it is the perfect appetizer for Super Bowl, and Thanksgiving football;-)

How do you prepare your double-baked potatoes? I cooked them in the microwave first, cut the top off and scoop the inside of the potato out to make mashed potatoes that I later use to refill the potato skins. Well every time I make double baked potatoes I am left with a choice to make: keep the tops and make Potato Skins or scoop up the potato out of each top and trash the skin.

Of course, if you wanted to ONLY make potato skins, you would need to bake potatoes and cut 3 potato skins out of one potato.So this is the recipe that I am proposing now.

Ingredients for 15 potato skins:

  • 5 large baked potatoes or russet potatoes
  • 1 cup of bacon bits 
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese ( I like Sharp)
  • Sour cream and chopped chives ( optional)

Clean the potatoes by rinsing them under running water and scrubbing them with a sponge. Make a tiny slit on the top side of the potato as shown below to prevent the potato from exploding. Place 4 potatoes in the large round mold, place the octogonal silpat on top of the round mold and cook the potato for 18 minutes. If you are making baked potatoes, you will only cut the top of each potato, and use the top to make potato skins. If you are only making Potato Skins, then you will  slice the top of the potato, turn the potato on its side and cut another top, and repeat. You should be able to cut 3 “potato skins” per potato.

Turn on the oven at 475. Lay the potato skins on the large silpat or a flexipat that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet and place each skin face up. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp of bacon on each skin, then sprinkle 1 tbsp of cheddar cheese.

Place the tray in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and is crispy. Remove them from the oven, place them on a tray with a small bowl of sour cream and another bowl of chopped chives and let your guest help themselves to the sour cream. Or you can just add a dollop of sour cream to the Potato skin, top the sour cream with chopped chives and serve. Et voila! So yummy!!!

Bon Appetit and happy Cooking!!!

 

An Easy and Healthy Dinner Option: Spring Roll


I don’t know how people eat out everyday. Do they just pick up food and eat at home or they just eat out? I must be disorganized or something because I can’t seem to find the time to go out for dinner, do all that needs to be done at the house and have the kids do homework. As a result, I find it easier to pick up things at the grocery store and prepare my dinner while the kids are studying or are doing what is expected of them.
This evening I was in the mood for spring roll. They do require a bit of patience and a bit of organization but they are quite easy to make.

There are a few rules, however, that you should follow and this will provide you with success and not frustration;-).
1. Have all the ingredients chopped and sliced in small bowls around your working place.
2. Only soak 1 rice paper sheet at a time, or it will get too wet, too soggy and will rip.
3. Lay a wet paper towel on your working area so that the rice paper will not stick to the surface of your working area.

Ingredients for 4-6:

  • 12 Rice paper ( you will need one per spring roll)
  •  2 oz. of Rice noodle 
  • 60 Medium sized shrimp cooked and cut in half
  • A small head of Boston lettuce
  • 1 / 2 of English cucumber cut in very thin slices.
  • 2 carrots grated in julienne
  • Fresh mint

Peanut Dipping Sauce ( yields about 1 1/2 cup)

  •  1 Tbsp. of Low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of Thai Red Curry past
  • 1/2 cup of Coarse Peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp of light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup of lower salt chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp of lime juice
  • 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 8 basil leaves minced

In a small saucepan, warm up the oil and add the curry. Cook the curry until it is starting to become fragrant. Add the peanut butter and cook until it is becoming a darker color. Then add the sugar and stir until it is caramelized. Add the coconut milk, broth, lime juice, hoisin sauce, fish sauce and mix well. Cook on medium temperature for about 20 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to half. Remove the sauce from the stove and add the basil. Et voila!

While the sauce is cooking, get ready to make the spring rolls. Pour some water in a small pot, add some salt, and bring to boil. When the water is boiling, add the rice noodles and cook for a few minutes or until they are pliable. When they are cooked, scoop them out with the colander and run some water over them so that they will not stick. Drain the water, transfer them to a bowl and set them aside. Prepare the rest of your ingredients and place them into bowls around your working area.

Whenever you are all ready. Place a soup plate near your working area, and add some lukewarm water. Also place a wet paper towel over your working area.

Place a rice paper into the plate and let it soak for a few seconds until it is soft.

Lay the rice paper onto the wet towel, and lay 6 shrimps halves.

 Cover the shrimp with one boston lettuce and fill the boston lettuce with cucumber, carrots, more shrimps, mint and rice noodles. Fold the boston lettuce onto itself ( it should not be thicker than 1 inch), fold the rice noodle onto the lettuce and roll it. Fold the sides and continue rolling and should have a tube like spring roll. Remove the spring roll from your working area, place it onto a tray that has also been covered with a wet paper towel. Repeat this process until you have used all rice paper.

Eat or devour with the sauce. YUM;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!