Croquembouche


 

photo 4Last week was Mother’s day and as such, it called for a fabulous dessert. But what to do??? Having seen eclairs, profiteroles at every corner of cooking magazines and facebook profiles, I could not help but making my own the night prior to Mother’s Day. So at 10 o’clock in the evening, this is what I was doing in my kitchen.

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Ingredients for 16-20 small cream puffs or croquembouches:

  • 80 ml  or 2 oz of milk
  • 80 ml or about 2 oz of water
  • 70 gr, or about 5 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 10 gr. or 2 tsp of sugar
  • 100 gr. or about 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp. of flour
  • 2 eggs

Creme Patissiere, or Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 330 gr. or 11 oz. of milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 yolks
  • 70 gr. or 1/4 cup and 1 tsp of sugar
  • 12 gr.  or about 1 tbsp of flour
  • 12 gr, or about 1 tbsp of corn starch

Caramel:

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • patience 
  1. In a saucepan, heat up the milk, water, salt, and sugar.
  2. Add the butter cut up in pieces.
  3. When the butter has completely melted, bring the mixture to boil.photo 1
  4. Remove the pan from the stove and add the flour by stirring very well.photo 4
  5. Place the pan back on the stove ( it must be turned off, but will still be warm), and stir and stir with a heat-resistant spatula until the dough starts becoming a ball and will no longer stick to the rims of the pan.
  6. Remove the pan from the stove, empty the dough into a cold bowl and add the eggs to the dough one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
  7. photo 2
  8. Place the dough in a pastry bag, with the large circular tips make large rounds of about  1 1/2 inches wide  on a large silpat that you would have previously lay on a large perforated sheet.photo 3
  9. Place the perforated sheet in a warm oven of 350 and cook the cream puffs for 20 minutes. The dough should be brown and dry on all sides. If the dough is a little bit soft, continue cooking the puffs for 1-3 more minutes. Take them out to cool. photo 5Set them aside to prepare the pastry cream or creme patissiere.
  10. In large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish.
  11. Add the flour and the corn starch to the eggs and mix.
  12. Open the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds out of the bean and put them into the milk.
  13. Warm up the milk over the stove, or in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  14. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and stir. Place the milk/ egg mixture back onto the stove and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is becoming really thick. Remove the pastry cream from the stove, and place it into a bowl. Set aside.
  15. Pour the pastry cream in a round mold..
  16. Cover the pastry cream with some plastic wrap and place it into the fridge to cool.
  17. When the cream is completely cool, make a small indentation to fill the cream puffs with the pastry cream and lay them upside down for easier access when you are going to fill them up.
  18. Fill the pastry bag with the vanilla cream and fill each cream puffs.photo 1
  19. Place the puffs back onto the silpat, and prepare the caramel.
  20. Empty the cup of sugar into  a medium-sized saucepan and place the saucepan onto the stove at a medium high temperature. DO NOT STIR!!!
  21. Only start stirring once the sugar is turning an amber color on the outside rim of the saucepan. Stir until all the sugar has turned that amber color. Reduce the heat to low, and leave the  pan on it so that the caramel will not harden.
  22. Dip the head of each cream puff into the caramel and place them back onto the silpat until the caramel has hardened, and has cooled.photo 2

Eat when they are cool. I dare you to only eat one, or two. They are so good, you will want to eat them all at once!!!photo 5Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake


imageOn Sundays I always like to indulge and fix a yummy dessert for the whole family. Today was no different, except that I decided to share this yummy dessert with my in-laws over tea. I don’t always have time to see them even though they only live a few blocks from us, but since this weekend I did not have that much to do I decided to call them up and invite myself for coffee and cake;-)

Though my mother-in-law asked that i not bring anything, I did not listen.. you know me:-) I will take any opportunity to play in my kitchen.

This cake looks very fancy, but is not at all so I hope that you will give it a try, and impress your friends and family.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe from Guy Demarle called “Bouchees Tropicales”.

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Ingredients for 15 individual portions, or 56 miniature, bite size desserts.

Ingredients for the Chocolate Cake. 

  • 50 gr. of chocolate chips
  • 20 gr. of butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 gr. of granulated sugar

Ingredients for the raspberry Mousse:

  • 1 pack of gelatin from Knox
  • 325 gr. of seedless raspberry jam
  • 3 eggs
  • 80 gr. of sugar
  • 15 gr. of cornstarch
  • 150 gr. of butter

Ingredients for the Chocolate Mousse:

  • 240 gr. of chocolate chips of good quality ( i used ghiradhelli)
  • 360 gr. of heavy cream
  • Fresh fruit for decoration, I used blueberries.

This cake is  really easy to make, but requires a bit of time as they are 4 steps to it: the cake, the raspberry mousse, the chocolate mousse and finally the decoration.

  1. Turn the oven to 350.
  2. Place the chocolate chips for the chocolate cake into a small container and melt it into the microwave for 60 seconds. Add the butter and mix it in. Set it aside.
  3. Meanwhile divide the eggs into yolks and egg whites. Place the egg whites into a kitchen mixer and beat them until they are foamy.
  4. Add the sugar and continue beating the egg whites until they are firm.image
  5. Add the egg yolks into the beaten egg whites and beat them for a few seconds.image
  6. Slowly mix in the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix it until the cake batter is smooth.
  7. Spread this cake batter over a deep flexipan and cook it for 8 minutes.image
  8. When the cake is cooked, set it aside to let it cool and prepare the raspberry mousse.image
  9. Empty the gelatin into a small container and pour a tbsp of water over it. Let the gelatin soak and set it aside for a few minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, pour the content of the jelly into a small saucepan and warm it up over medium temperature.
  11. While the jelly is warming up, beat the eggs with the sugar just enough so that the sugar is no longer visible.image
  12. Add the cornstarch and mix well. Pour a few tablespoons of the jelly into the egg mixture and mix well.
  13. Empty the gelatin into the jelly and cook for a few minutes. Add the butter and mix well.image
  14. Add the jelly mixture  to the egg mixture. Mix well and cook over low medium heat until the mixture is boiling.
  15. Pour this mixture over the cake. Shake the pan against your countertop so that the raspberry mixture will spread out evenly and be smooth.image
  16. Place the tray into the freezer for a minimum of one hour.
  17. To prepare the last layer, you will need all the ingredients for the chocolate mousse.
  18. Place the chocolate chips into a bowl and microwave it for 2 minutes. Stir. And cook for another 30 seconds if needed, continue cooking until the chocolate is completely melted and is free of lumps.
  19. Meanwhile place the cream into a large mixer and whip the cream until it is thicker but has still soft peaks.
  20. Add 1/4 of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate and mix well. Then add the rest and slowly mix well until the mixture is a smooth texture.
  21. Spread the chocolate mousse over the raspberry mousse and place the tray back into the freezer for another hour.
  22. Keep the remainder of the mousse into a piping bag and place it into the fridge for later use. You will need it to decorate the cake before serving it.image
  23. To make individual mini portions, you will want to cut 1 1/4 inch squares and pipe a flower on each square. Serve as it or with coffee or tea like we did this week-end;-)image
  24. Let the cake warm up at room temperature for 15 minutes to 30 minutes before eating it. It will be very soft and will melt in your mouth;-) Yum Yum!!image

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Extraordinaire Tarte Au Chocolat


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Fruit is good but Chocolate is Better. Wouldn’t you agree???

Those Strawberry Tarts did not last long with the little ogres that I have at my house and since I am at home not doing a whole lot, I decided to make another dessert from Stephane Glassier. His desserts are so fantastique. They can be a bit of a challenge as they involve many steps but I had plenty of time on hands so that did not scare me. Here we go…photo 2

Ingredients for 7-8 3 inches Individual Tartlets:

Almond Pie Crust:

  • 250 gr. of flour
  • 150 gr. of butter at room temperature
  • 2.5 gr.  of salt
  • 93.75 gr. of powdered sugar
  • 31.25 gr. of almond mill/ or flour
  • 55 gr. of whole eggs ( which is about 1 egg)
  1. In a large bowl, mix the butter and the flour until the mixture looks like sand.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and kneed with your hands, or use a mixer.
  3. Place the dough onto a plastic wrap and shape into a log of about 3 inches. Place the log into the fridge and let it rest for at least an hour.
  4. When the dough has rested, take it out of the fridge.
  5. Cut 1 inch disc, and place it onto a roulpat. Fold the roulpat over the disc, and with a rolling pin, roll the dough into a disc of about 5 inches wide, and 3 mm. thick.
  6. The dough will be too soft to pick up, so lay the roulpat with the dough upside down as shown, and slowly pull the roulpat off the dough.
  7. Push the dough inside the tartlet mold and with your fingers, push the dough so that it will fit perfectly inside.
  8. Repeat steps 5 thru 7 until you have exhausted all the pie crust.
  9. Place the tray back into the fridge to cool again for 1-2 hours.
  10. After the crust has rested, turn the oven to 320 and cook the pastries for 15-20 minutes.
  11. When the pastries are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely.

Chocolate Filling:

  • 100 gr. of heavy cream
  • 195 gr. of milk
  • 50 gr. of sugar
  • 50 gr. of egg yolks or about 2 1/2 egg yolks
  • 145 gr. of chocolate chips ( preferably Ghiradhelli Bittersweet)
  1. Pour the cream and the milk into a small saucepan and bring it to boil.
  2. Meanwhile in a bowl, beat the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture become thicker and whitens.photo 2
  3. Pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture and stir.
  4. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat while constantly stirring until the mixture thickens and can coat the soon as shown below.photo 1
  5. Pour the custard thru a fine sieve over the chocolate chips. Stir with a spoon or a whisk to have a homogeneous mixture.photo 2
  6. Cover the container with plastic wrap. Place the custard into the fridge to cool.

Meanwhile prepare the Chocolate Glaze:

  •  125 gr. of heavy cream
  • 100 gr. of Beaume Syrup ( which is 50 gr. of water and 50 gr. of sugar)
  • 50 gr. of glucose. ( you can substitute with corn syrup)
  • 50 gr. of bittersweet chocolate ( ghiradhelli)
  • 250 gr. of chocolate coating
  1. In a small saucepan, put the water, and the sugar and bring to boil until it is becoming a thick syrup.photo
  2. Add the glucose/ or the corn syrup to the syrup, the cream and the chocolate. photo 1
  3. Cook this mixture over a medium heat until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir well. Set aside to cool.photo 3

To assemble the tartlets:

  1. Fill the chocolate Mousse into the pastry shells. Place them into the fridge to cool and congeal.photo 5
  2. Pour the chocolate glaze over the chocolate mousse.
  3. Place into the fridge to cool, and then decorate the tartlets with chocolate ribbons, macarons and other decorations. I used Candied Meyer Lemons Slices and Sugar Coated Hazelnuts.
  4. Make Candied Lemon Slices,
    1. In a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar and cook until the sugar has dissolved but does not come to boil. Add 1 -2 Sliced Meyer Lemon and cook at low temperature for 15 minutes until the lemon looks translucent. Let them cool before using them.
  5. photo 3

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photo 4

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

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Raspberry Macaron with Lemon Mousseline


People celebrate birthdays.

Me… I hide and mourn because it is another year that has gone by, and a year older that i become;-(

I usually do not like to celebrate my birthday. i don’t like the attention and I don’t like the idea of celebrating another year that has slipped by;-( On that day, I like to just disappear. This year however, i had a very special birthday ( no longer in my 20th;-( booh whooh). To celebrate the occasion, a large portion of my family came to visit from France:-). So of course, this time I really could not hide, or pretend it was not be.

Instead we decided to offer a small dinner party. FUN!!! Since i love to cook. The kick though, I was not allowed to cook (per my family and my husband) so we went to a venue here in Spartanburg. The place offered good food, but since I never was able to find a dessert there, I thought I would bring my very own on my birthday.

I wanted to offer something elegant, delicious and not too heavy. Originally i wanted to make a chocolate dome, but since several of my guests do not like chocolate i decided to offer un Framboisier. It is a fairly easy dessert if you know how to make macarons, and it is a very impressive dessert.

( I would like to apologize for not offering a recipe using ounces and cups, but this dessert needs to be very precised in order to work).

The recipe of macaron was adapted from La cuisine de Mercotte, and the lemon mousse from the very reknown French pastry maker Stephane Glacier ( with whom I had the privilege to work with this past month).

Ingredients for 15 large macarons: 22o gr of egg white at room temperature, 450 gr. of powdered sugar, 250 gr. of almond mill/ or almond flour, 60 gr. of granulated sugar, 1 pinch of salt, 2 drops of red coloring, 2 drops of lemon juice.

Turn the oven to 293. Place two large silpats on 2 large perforated sheets. In a large bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and the almond flour. In the bowl of a large mixer, place the eggs, the salt and the lemon juice and start beating the egg whites until they are foaming. Then add the sugar slowly, 2 drops of red coloring,  and beat until the egg whites form hard peaks.

Slowly add the almond mill/sugar mixture into the egg mixture with a spatula by slowly folding the flour mixture into the egg. Stir slowly until the egg/ sugar mixture starts making a shiny, even dough.

Place the macaron “paste” into” a pastry bag and pipe 2 inches circles at 1 inch interval on the silpat. Bake the macarons for 17 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool before peeling them off from the silpat.

Lemon Mousseline: 500 gr. of milk, 1 lemon zest, 125 gr. of sugar, 50 gr. eggs, 75  gr. egg yolks, 45 gr. of corn starch, 2 stick of butter, 4 boxes of raspberry.

Warm up the milk until is hot, and almost at a boiling point. Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix the eggs, egg yolks and the sugar. Then add the cornstarch. Slowly pour on the milk onto the egg mixture and stir. Empty this mixture into a large pot and cook at medium-high until the mixture thickens and starts making a few bubbles. Remove the pot from the stove, add the lemon zest and mix well. Empty this mixture onto a large flexipan, cover the flexipan with a plastic wrap tightly so a skin will not form, and let it cool at room temperature before placing it into the fridge.

When the pastry cream is cold, empty it into the bowl of a large mixer and beat in the soft butter a little at a time. When all the butter has been added, pulse the mixer to a faster speed for 1-2 minutes. Fill a pastry bag with the mousseline cream, and pipe the mousse on a macaron in the center of the macaron at a distance of 1/3 of an inch off the border of the macaron. Place fresh raspberry around the cream, and place another macaron on top of the cream and the raspberry. Pipe a star on the middle of the macaron, and top the star with a raspberry. Et voila!!!

Isn’t it magnifique????

maintenant c’est votre tour.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Strawberry Napoleon



I love desserts… and I love chocolate but I try not to eat too many so as to not negate the workout I do everyday. But sometimes, the temptation is too grand like today. As I was browsing through one of my latest acquisition, I just could not resist those recipes I was seeing. So instead of drulling about them, I just decided to pick one, and make it into reality. The recipe is called Harmonie in “La Duree”book, but since I altered it quite a bit I will call it strawberry napoleon. It is fairly easy I think, though the macarons may give some problems to a few people.

For this recipe you will need: 6 oz. of almond mill, 8 oz. of powdered sugar, 5 egg whites, 10 oz. of granulated sugar, fresh strawberries, 3 oz. of butter, 2 cups of milk, 4 egg yolks, 1 Tbsp. of corn starch, seedless strawberry jam, strawberry flavoring, food coloring.

Place the milk into a middle-sized saucepan, and cook the milk until it boils. In a large bowl, beat the 4 egg yolks with 4 oz. of sugar, and beat until it doubles in volume and changes color. Add the cornstarch and mix well. Pour in the warm milk and blend well. Place the content in a saucepan and bring to boil until the milk is becoming a cream, a pudding. Add 2 Tbsp of strawberry jam, the butter, 2 drops of red food coloring, and 1 tsp of strawberry flavoring. Mix well, and set aside.

While the cream is cooling, fix the base of the cake: The Macarons. This recipe yields about 12-14  big size macarons.

First turn your oven to 320. In the bowl of your mixer, put the 5 egg whites and turn your mixer to high speed. When the egg whites start foaming, slowly add the 7 oz of granulated sugar. Keep beating the egg whites until they start making stiff peaks.  In another bowl, mix the powdered sugar and the almond mill until it is well blended. Slowly add this mixture to the egg whites dusting it a bit at a time and mixing. Be careful not to overmix so that the egg whites won’t deflate. Add 2 drops of red food coloring, and mix.

Draw 12 to 14 circles of 3 inches on a parchment paper. Place that paper on a baking sheet. Fill up a pastry bag with  the egg whites mixture, and pipe the meringue onto those circles. Bake in warm oven between 15 to 20 minutes. The macarons should not be sticking to the paper when you lift them. If they do, cook them a little longer.

To assemble, place one macaron upside down on a small plate, pipe the cream in it, cover with another macaron, pipe more cream and lay your strawberry slices on top to your liking. Yum Yum!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!