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!!!

Raspberry and Rose Napoleon


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I love living here in the States. I love the weather, the people, the opportunity, everything.

If there is something that I miss, though, it is my family. Luckily as a teacher I have my summer off which gives me the time and opportunity to travel. So every year for the past 10 years, Lisa, Theo and myself ( or les Trois Mousquetaires, as we like to call each others) we travel, visit family and sightsee France and Europe.

This year it was the surrounding of Paris with all its beautiful cattles: Fountainebleau, Chantilly, VilleComte…
photoand Berlin. photoIf our trip is different every year, there is one thing  that stays constant, it is our usual lunch at La duree. We have made it our yearly treat. we love to go there because the setting is beautiful, the food is wonderful and it is just fun to be there;-). Plus the desserts over there are always out of this world!!!

I am sure that you can already guess what i order each time?!? Yes, it is chocolate, of course. My dessert this year looked like this… pretty?! right;-)photo

Theo ordered a very fancy ice-cream, and lisa ordered a rose and raspberry napoleon.

I did not say a word when she ordered that dessert because i did not want to dissuade her from her choice, but I did not think that she would like the rose flavor since she does not like my rose macaron. But to my surprise, she loved it, loved it.

Well this Sunday, for our dessert treat I decided to make that for our dessert. I somewhat followed the recipe that Stephane Glacier propose in his book Tartes, Gouters, et Entremets, but I changed a few things to make it easier. 

This dessert looks very hard to make, BUT IT IS NOT so I hope that you will give it a try. It is worth it. Yes!!!

Proof??? my daughter asked I made two so that she would not have to share hers;-)

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Ingredients for a square for 4 people:

  • 1 puff pastry package thawed at room temperature for 40 minutes.
  • 1 box of raspberry box of about 6 oz. 
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar for the puff pastries.

Ingredients for the Creme Patissiere, or Pastry cream:

  • 250 gr. or 1 1/4 cup of whole milk,
  • 3 egg yolks,
  • 40 gr. or 3 tbsp of granulated sugar,
  • 10 gr. or 3 tsp. of flour,
  • 10 gr. or 3 tsp. of corn flour,
  • a pinch of salt,
  • 1 stick of butter.
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp of rose extract.
  1. Place the puff pastry sheet on the roulpat and with a rolling-pin, spread the dough out to make a rectangle of 13″ by 9.5″.
  2. Place the pastry onto a silpat that you would have previously placed on a perforated sheet. With a fork, prick the pastry. photo 2
  3.  Place another silpat on top, and place it in the fridge. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Turn the oven to 356.
  5. Remove the pastry from the fridge. When the oven is at temperature, place another perforated sheet above the silpat to prevent the dough from rising when it will cook in the oven.
  6. Bake the puff pastry for 30 minutes. It should be golden.photo 3
  7. Remove the puff pastry from the oven.
  8. Turn the oven to 450.
  9. Sprinkle some sugar all over the baked pastries and when the oven is at 450, place the pastry back into the oven for 6-7 minutes or until the sugar has completely melted and has become caramel. Be careful to watch that the sugar is not burning. photo 2
  10. While the puff pastry is cooking, prepare the mousseline cream.
  11. In a small saucepan warm up the milk and bring the mixture to boil.
  12. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish.
  13. Add the flour and the corn starch to the eggs and mix.
  14. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and stir.
  15. 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, place it into a bowl, add the vanilla and stir well.
  16. Cover it tightly with a plastic wrap and let it cool.
  17. When the cream is completly cool, place it in kitchen mixer. Add the soft butter and whip until the mixture is fluffy. Add the 1/2 tsp of rose extract. Set aside.
  18. Remove the pastry from the oven, and let it cool completly.
  19. Let the puff pastries cool completely before assembling the dessert.
  20. With a sharp knife, cut each pastry into 2 rectangles of 9″ by 6″.photo 3
  21. Place one rectangle on a plate, and place rasberries all around the rectangle. Pipe the cream inside the rectangle of raspberry. photo 2Place a few more rasberry in the middle of the rectangle to create leverage for the top tier of the cake.
  22. Top the cream with another rectangle of cooked pastry.photo 5
  23. With the piping bag and the small round tip, pipe the cream all over the second rectangle.  photo 1
  24. Place another rectangle atop the cream.
  25. Cut a waxed paper, or aluminium a bit smaller than the top rectangle.photo 2
  26. Lay it on the top puff pastry, and with a  powdered sugar sifter, sprinkle some sugar for decoration. Add a few fruits et voila!!!photo 3photo 4photo 5

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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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

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Out of This World Chocolate Eclairs


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Saturday evening I had guests for dinner. What to fix for desserts??? The choices are endless…but it had been a while since I had eaten eclairs and I really did not want to make a cake. What I knew that it needed to be chocolate so I made chocolate eclairs:

Ingredients for 8 normal-size eclairs or 16 small ones:

For the choux pastry:

  • 8 cl  or 1/4 cup,1 tbsp and 1 tsp of milk,
  • 8 cl or 1/4 cup,1 tbsp and 1 tsp of water,
  • 1/16 tsp of salt, 2 tsp of sugar,
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp of butter,
  • 1/2 cup of flour,
  • 1 pinch of salt, 
  • 2 large eggs.
  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.
  4. Remove the pan from the stove and add the flour by stirring very well.
  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. Place the dough in a pastry bag, with the large circular opening make long sticks of about 5 inches or 2 inches for small ones on a large silpat that you would have previously lay on a large perforated sheet.
  8. Place the perforated sheet in a warm oven of 350 and cook the eclairs for 15 minutes for the small ones or about 25 minutes for the large ones. The dough should be brown and dry on all sides. If the dough is a little bit soft, continue cooking the eclairs for 1-3 more minutes. Take them out to cool.
  9. When they are cold, or cool enough, cut the top off at about 2/3 high of the eclairs. Set aside.

Ingredients for the Pastry Cream:  

  • 325 gr or 1 1/3 cup of whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks,  
  • 65 gr or 4.5 tbsp of sugar,
  • 15 gr. or 3 tsp of flour,
  • 15 gr. or 3 tsp of corn starch,
  • a pinch of salt,
  • 200 gr. of bittersweet chocolate chips ( Ghiradhelli Preferably)
  • 80 gr. of butter
  1. In  large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish.
  2. Add the flour and the corn starch to the eggs and mix.
  3. Warm up the milk over the stove, or in the microwave for 2 minutes,
  4. 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.
  5. Pour the pastry cream in the flexipan.
  6. Cover the pastry cream with some plastic wrap and place it into the fridge to cool.
  7. Place the chocolate chips and the butter into a microwable bowl and microwave for 2 minutes or until the chocolate is completely melted.
  8. With a small whisk, mix the butter and the chocolate until you have a homogeneous mixture.
  9. Pour this mixture into the bowl.
  10. Pour the pastry cream into the same bowl, mix well.
  11. Pour this mixture into a pastry bag and fill each eclairs as shown below.

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Now let’s prepare the ganache for the glacage of the eclairs. This recipe yields more than you will need but you can freeze the rest for later use.

Ganache:

  • 100 gr. of chocolate chips
  • 100 gr. of heavy cream
  • 40 gr. of butter
  • 32 gr. of honey
  1. Place the chocolate and the butter in a large bowl.
  2. Pour the cream and the honey in a microwable container and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and butter and mix well until the chocolate and butter have become a smooth ganache. If the chocolate is not completely melted, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and free of lumps.
  4. Take each top and dip them into the ganache.
  5. Place each top on the roulpat in case of any drippings and leave them there until the ganache is cured.
  6. Place the top on each eclairs.

Et voila!!!

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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Clafouti aux Poires


What are you ? a chocolate addict or a fruit junkie. I am a chocolate addict, and would rather have chocolate over any other desserts out there except maybe French fruit desserts such as charlotte, tarts and clafoutis.  AAah those clafoutis…I can still picture my mom making them on Sundays. See.. In France Sunday often equates lavish lunches and yummy teas in the afternoon. If we had nothing planned, mom would spend her morning making sumptuous cakes, but if she only had a limited time she would make easy desserts such as tarts, meringues, and clafoutis. And we would gather as a family in the afternoon to eat those cakes…Where does time go?!?!

Clafoutis are easy desserts because they need only a few ingredients, they cook in a flash and you can add any fruit that you like. I had intended to fix a pear dessert for one of my cooking class, but when I found out that many people would be attending, I decided to make something easy, fast and yummy like a flan which made me think of a clafouti. It had been such a long time since I had eaten one.. In fact, I think that the last time I ate one was in France at least 10 years ago.

There are many recipes out there, but this one is one that my mom used to make.

Ingredients for a larger cake or 12 cupcakes: 4 eggs, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 3 pears peeled and diced in a small cubes.

In a bowl, add the eggs, the sugar, the flour and the vanilla and beat well to mix. Fill up the fluted cupcakes tray or the daisy mold with the pear to half their capacity. Then pour the dough over the pear to almost the top of each cupcakes. Sprinkle some granulated sugar over the top of the cake and cook at 400 for 15 minutes for the little cupcakes, and 30 minutes for a cake.

This cake can be eaten warm right out of the oven, or cold. You may drizzle warm chocolate over the clafouti for added flavors, add a scoop of ice-cream or eat it as it. Yum!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!