Creme Brûlée


IMG_1189

I am a very picky eater. I have been spoiled by my upbringing ( it is difficult to beat my mom, aunt and grandmother’s cooking), and as a result, I am not easily content with my meal. While some of my friend may be happy with a warm meal, I am more satisfied with one that will open my senses and will pleasure my sight. The same goes with dessert. In fact, I can even say that it gets worse. As I worry of my size, and my health, I don’t always indulge. It has to look appealing and it has to sound amazing before I will venture to take a bite. My most favorite dessert are, I am sorry ( or not;0) to say French. I like the delicateness of French desserts and the airiness. I am fan of mousse, and cream dessert more than cakes. Among my most favorite desserts you will find Creme Caramel and Creme Brûlée.

IMG_1186

 

This Sunday as I was getting ready to make Pistachio Macarons for my sister-in-law, I was left with a dozen of yolks. What do you do with yolks… well mostly cream;-) Though the answers can be endless, as many French desserts require yolks only ( creme anglaise, creme patisserie, Cream puffs, Bavarois, Charlotte, Custard…) I decided to go with Creme Brûlée as they are my daughter’s boyfriend favorite and he was coming for dinner….

Do you know that Creme Brûlée is one of the easiest dessert there is?!?! The key is to have the right ingredients:-” and the right recipe and everything is easy from there.

Ingredients for 8-10 individual portions of creme brûlée:

  • 3 cream of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 9 yolks
  • 3/4 cups of sugar + more sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla paste ( or vanilla extract)
  1. Mix the cream with the vanilla paste, pour the mixture into a large pot and bring it to boil.
    IMG_1175
  2. After it has come to boil, let it cool down a bit.
  3. Turn the oven to 325.
  4. While, the cream is cooling, place the egg yolks in a large bowl, add the 3/4 cup of sugar and beat well until the mixture whitens.IMG_1174
  5. Slowly, pour the milk over the mixture and mix well.IMG_1176
  6. Place the containers inside the deep flexiflat that you would have placed over the medium perforated sheet.
  7. Pour the cream in each container. Pour water around the individual containers. Place the pans in the oven in the medium rack of your oven and cook the cream for 30-35 minutes.IMG_1178
  8. When the cream has baked for 30-35 minutes, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before placing them in the fridge to cool ( they will need to cool for at least 1 hour).IMG_1182
  9. Keep the cream in the fridge until you are ready to serve them.
  10. When it is time to serve them, sprinkle some sugar over each cream,IMG_1184
  11. and with a torch burn the sugar to cake the caramel crust.IMG_1185
  12. Serve and enjoy this scrumptious dessert…IMG_1191

 

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Creme Brûlée

  • Servings: 8-10 people
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

IMG_1189

Ingredients for 8-10 individual portions of creme brûlée:

  • 3 cream of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 9 yolks
  • 3/4 cups of sugar + more sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla paste ( or vanilla extract)
  1. Mix the cream with the vanilla paste, pour the mixture into a large pot and bring it to boil.
  2. After it has come to boil, let it cool down a bit.
  3. Turn the oven to 325.
  4. While, the cream is cooling, place the egg yolks in a large bowl, add the 3/4 cup of sugar and beat well until the mixture whitens. Slowly, pour the milk over the mixture and mix well.
  5. Place the containers inside the deep flexiflat that you would have placed over the medium perforated sheet.
  6. Pour the cream in each container. Pour water around the individual containers. Place the pans in the oven in the medium rack of your oven and cook the cream for 30-35 minutes.
  7. When the cream has baked for 30-35 minutes, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before placing them in the fridge to cool ( they will need to cool for at least 1 hour). Keep the cream in the fridge until you are ready to serve them.
  8. When it is time to serve them, sprinkle some sugar over each cream, and with a torch burn the sugar to cake the caramel crust. Serve and enjoy a piece of scrumptiousness…….

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

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.

photo 3

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!!!

Vanilla Panna Cotta


photo 2

Tomorrow will be my birthday. Ouch… another year, another wrinkle;-( and to make matter worse I will be returning back to work on Monday. I really love teaching, but getting up so early to be at school at 7:15 is hard!!! and I am not looking forward to it. I am sure that I am not the only one.

Because my birthday fell on Monday and my husband is on Friday, we had a few friends over for hors d’oeuvres on Saturday. Not a big fuss, just a few friends we had not seen over the summer and the chance to catch up. Of course, we needed to have food… because a party at the Wagner’s is never without food so I prepared a few things.

photo 4

On the menu we had:

  • Beef tenderloin
  • Marinated Shrimps
  • Quiches
  • Lasagna cupcakes
  • Wonton purse,
  • Texas caviar
  • Tomato Caprese
  • Deviled Eggs
  • and for dessert, mini chocolate darlings, and vanilla Panna cotta.

photo 4

I love to entertain and have friends over, but because it was so so nice on Saturday and I wanted to enjoy my pool for a while, I decided to do easy things for dinner. And it was the same with my desserts, i did not want to spend an hour making desserts so I decided to make mini chocolate darlings that cooked in 12 minutes and vanilla panna cotta ( less than 5 minutes).

Today I will share the recipe of Vanilla Panna Cotta. It is so so easy to make, it costs nothing and, and it is decadent;-)

Basically, the perfect dessert;-)

photo 3

photo 4Ingredients for 12 size cupcakes or about 20 shot glasses:

  • 2 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 envelope of gelatin from Knox
  • 1 tbsp of water
  1. Empty the content of the envelope into a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp of water and stir. Set it aside to let the gelatin thickens.photo 5
  2. Pour the cream and the milk into a small saucepan and set it aside.
  3. Meanwhile place the vanilla bean onto a cutting board,  photo 1
  4. and with a sharp knife, open the side of the bean as shown.photo 2
  5. With the knife, or the spoon scrape the inside of the bean to get the seeds.photo 3
  6. Empty the seed into the cream. Throw the opened bean as well.photo 4
  7. Cook the cream until it comes to boil.
  8. Add the gelatin, turn the heat down and cook for another 5 minutes until the gelatin has completely dissolved.
  9. Sieve the mixture into a very fine sieve to remove some of the vanilla bean residue.photo 1
  10. Pour the mixture into a recipient of your choice. Sometimes I use my fancy flexipan, but today I used small shot glasses for a fun display.photo 2
  11. Place the panna cotta in the fridge for at least 6 hours. You may also place them into the freezer so that they will congeal much faster.
  12. Decorate as you wish. I chose the place a fresh raspberry but you could add a fresh fruit coulis instead or chocolate ….
  13. Enjoy!!! And it is okay to have more than one;-)))
  14. photo 3

If you decide to use a flexipan, freeze the panna cotta and unmold it as it is forzen, it will be much easier to remove from the flexipan;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Vanilla-Flavored Eclairs or Salambos


Well today is Sunday, and it is my day to indulge in a dessert. I could have done a cake but I wanted something creamy and light so I decided on a Salambo. Salambos are a vanilla flavored eclairs with a caramel icing. For those of you, who are afraid to make eclairs, you should try this recipe. It works almost every time! The recipe is taken from the book Eclairs By the Marabout Editions ( found in France).

First you will want to prepare the creme patissiere.

Ingredients:  

  • 325 gr or 1 1/3 cup of 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,
  • 1/2 vanilla bean,
  • 1-2 tbsp of grand marnier ( optional).

With a knife, cut the vanilla bean in its length. Then with the back of knife, push the vanilla seeds out of the beans and place them into the milk. In a small saucepan warm up the milk with the vanilla bean, and the vanilla seeds and bring the mixture to boil. Meanwhile, in  large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish. Add the flour and the corn starch to the eggs and mix. 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, place it into a bowl. Cover it tightly with a plastic wrap and let it cool.

Now let’s prepare the eclairs, this recipe yields about 8 normal size eclairs ( about 3 inch long):

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,
  • 2 large eggs.

In the saucepan, heat up the milk, salt, and sugar. Add the butter cut up in pieces. When the butter has completely melted, bring the mixture to boil. Remove the pan from the stove and add the flour by stirring very well. 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. 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. 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. Sprinkle the eclairs with some confectioner’s sugar and cook them in a warm oven at 350 for 15 minutes for the small ones or about 25 minutes for the large ones. The dough should become 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.

Now prepare the caramel icing: 2 cup of sugar.

Place the sugar into a large saucepan and place it on the stove on medium-high temperature. Cook until the sugar is burning and becoming caramel. Then start stirring and remove the caramel from the stove when it is becoming an amber color. With thongs, dip each eclairs into the caramel and place them on a silpat or roulpat to cool. If the caramel is becoming too hard and it is becoming too difficult to coat the eclairs, place the caramel back on the stove for a minute or two.

With a sharp knife, cut each eclair in its length. Flavor the vanilla cream with Grand Marnier ( I did not flavor the whole cream because I do not care for the alcohol), and place the cream into a pastry bag with a star opening. Pipe the cream into the eclairs and place the top back onto the eclairs.

Et voila!!!

Serve as they are, or add whipped cream and fruit.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Easy Breakfast: Belgium Waffle


My children had friends over last night, and though we have always plenty to eat for breakfast with me being French and my husband being German. We have a large array of things to choose from cold cuts, to scrambled eggs to croissants, it is always difficult to know what those kids will eat. Pancakes or waffles are usually well received by most children so I thought I would fix some waffles for breakfast. This recipe is the one that comes with my Belgium Waffle Maker:

Ingredients for about 12 waffles:

  • 2 cups of flour,
  • 2 cups of milk ( I used skim milk),
  • 1/3 cup of sugar,
  • 2 tsp of baking powder,
  • 2 eggs separated,
  • 1/2 tsp of salt,
  • 1 tbsp of butter melted,
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract.
  1. Turn the waffle maker on.
  2. In a bowl,  sift the flour and the baking powder. Add the sugar, the milk, vanilla and the egg yolks and mix well.
  3. In another bowl, place the 2 egg whites and the salt and beat well until the egg whites make soft peaks.
  4. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg batter until it is well incorporated.
  5. When the light of the waffle maker goes off, start making the waffles.
  6. First melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds until it is completely melted.
  7. With a pastry brush, brush the waffle grids. Empty 1/4 cup of batter on each waffle grid.
  8. Bake the waffles for 90 seconds or more ( depending on the way you eat your waffles). Open the waffle maker and with a plastic spatula, lift the waffles and place them on  a plate to serve.
  9. Sprinkle some sugar.

To eat, children can sprinkle  powder sugar, spread Nutella chocolate butter, drizzle maple syrup or add some whipped cream. Et voila!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Maple Glazed Salmon with Vanilla Emulsion


I always stay busy. But when I finally find a minute to relax, I love to read culinary magazines, and flip through the pages of various cookbooks in search of inspiring recipes. Yesterday, I had seen a recipe of fish served with a vanilla sauce. It sparked my interest so much that today it was all I thought of. I imagined the type of fish I could use, and the vegetables to accompany it. So as soon as I got out of work, I went to the Fresh Market, and bought fresh corn on the cob and salmon. I was determined to cook that recipe. I actually followed the recipe to the letter even though some of the ingredients were somewhat surprising: vanilla, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, bourbon, broth and cream. I was a little sceptic, but the picture was really appetizing so I decided to go ahead.

What a disaster. That was awful! So much for a yummy dinner. I was not beaten though. I was determined to fix my fish with a vanilla sauce. And so I improvised.

Whoah… that combination of flavor was amazing!  I was almost in heaven. I totally loved the mixture of tastes. You need to try!!!

Ingredients for 2 persons:

  • 1 salmon filet of about 3-4 inches.
  • maple syrup
  • salt
  • pepper

Ingredients for the cream of corn:

  • 1 tbsp of butter,
  • 1/4 sweet onion diced,
  • 4 corn husks,
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • salt
  • and pepper to taste,
  • (1 tsp of vanilla extract if wanted)
  • 1/3 cup of water.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/3 of a vanilla bean 

A. Salmon:

  1. Place the salmon on the flexipan.
  2. Pour some maple syrup in a little container, and with a brush, glaze the filet.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake in a warm oven at 350 for 8 minutes.
  5. While the salmon is cooking, place the corn on the cob ( 4)  in a large round mold, cover it with the octogonal silpat, and cook in microwave for 5 minutes or for 10 minutes in the oven.
  6. Remove the corn from the husk with a knife. You may season with salt and pepper or not ( I did not).

You may also fix a cream of corn instead: 1 tbsp of butter, 1/4 sweet onion diced, 4 corn husks, 1/4 heavy cream. salt and pepper to taste, (1 tsp of vanilla extract if wanted). 1/3 cup of water.

  1.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan and saute the onions until they become translucent and golden.
  2. Throw in the corn kernels that you would have previously removed from the cob with a knife.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of water. Bring to boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the 1/4 cup of heavy cream and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  5. For the sauce, Pour 1/4 cup of heavy cream in a saucepan and place 1/3 of a vanilla bean that you would have previously cut in half and remove the seeds.
  6. Bring to boil, and let it simmer until the cream has reduced to half and has become thicker.

To serve, spoon the corn on the plate, place the filet on top of the corn, and drizzle the vanilla sauce over it.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!!