Thursday, December 29, 2005
Mille-feuille au chocolat et à la vanille
[Chocolate and vanilla mille-feuille]
I have an obsession with puff pastry; actually even if i had never made it before today, i've always felt very confident about it.
But i thought it was time, now, to *really* make it. And if i wanted to make puff pastry i was not ready to make any kind of puff pastry, it had to be something special. Actually i think that if i am able to do a special kind of puff pastry i can make plain puff pastry as well.
As soon as i got Pierre Hermé's Mes desserts au chocolat
, my eye has been caught by a wonderfull picture of chocolate puff pastry. It had to be THE one.
This puff pastry is made by a simple flour-butter-water dough and a butter-cocoa powder dough.
You have to give the dough 6 turns, leaving at least 2 hours between each turn.
I just advise you to roll the dough thinner than 4mm when ready to bake as it will rise a lot (see picture).
While making it, i wasn't sure how the pastry would turn out as i expected it to look like Pierre Herné's. But the white layers of mine disappeared quite quickly (after 3 turns). Thus i was reassured to see that Keiko's
were much like mine. What a relief !
After making the pastry, i had to find a way to use it and the chocolate and vanilla millefeuille which the négatif du mille-feuille au chocolat [photographic negative of the chocolate filled millefeuille] looked so perfect.
All you make is a rich crème patissière [flour enriched custard]. And though i dind't use orange zest in it, i thought it would looked pretty as a decoration.
I had a little problem with the creme patissière as it was too liquid. I guess i should have add a little more starch than the 55g stipulated in the recipe.
Anyway, i'm very happy with how the puff pastry came out. And this dessert is wonderful. You can really feel the taste of cocoa.
Labels: chocolate, entremets, favourites
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Happy Christmas Holidays
I'm going on holidays tomorrow and won't be able to post. But as soon as i'll be back home i'll give you news about what happened for xmas.
Have a merry christmas. I hope you'll get all you wanted for xmas.
Lots of love....
food - christmas - holidays - snowmen - white chocolate
Labels: christmas, random sweetness
Saturday, December 17, 2005
When i discovered that Laurent from epicurien.be
organized a contest and that the prize was Pierre Hermé's new book ph 10
, i just couldn't resist to participate.
My mind have been wondering about how to assemble an original chocolatey creation
. And i finally came up with what i called 'divine cannelle'
[divine cinnamon](nice name, no?). It's actually a milk chocolale and cinnamon mousse
on an almond dacquoise
and covered with a milk chocolate ganache
. All i can say is that this dessert is already a DO-It-AGAIN in my list. It's so good. You can feel the mousse melting in your mouth
and i love the cinnamon perfume along with the chocolate
. The dacquoise is subtle
here but add a great texture.Je pense qu'il n'y a aucun doute sur le fait que le chocolat est un des ingrédients préférés des amoureux de cuisine et de pâtisserie. Sa couleur profonde, son goût unique, son parfum divin et sa texture si versatile font de lui le compagnon idéal du pâtissier.
Ses utilisations sont infinies: ganaches, gâteaux, biscuits sont autant de variations qui le mettent en valeur. Mais pour moi la forme permettant au chocolat d'exprimer toute sa finesse et sa volupté est la mousse. Cependant j'aime une mousse légère et délicatement parfumée au chocolat.
Pour cela, j'ai choisi d'utiliser du chocolat au lait afin de lui donner les lettres de noblesse qu'il mérite entièrement. En effet, s'il a souvent été sous-estimé, à tort, le chocolat au lait est doux, fondant et tout aussi délicieux que le classique chocolat noir. Comme le chocolat est l'élément central de la recette, je vous conseille d'employer le meilleur chocolat possible: du Valrhona Lacté ou du Lindt Lait Extra Fin.
J'ai ici choisi le chocolat au lait Lindt car je n'ai pas pu me procurer le Valrhona, et le résultat a été plus que satisfaisant.
Pour mettre en valeur la douceur du chocolat, une pointe de cannelle est idéale – c'est ce qui m'a été révélé par le délicieux "Gauguin" d'une petite pâtisserie de ma ville.
Ce dessert aurait été tout aussi parfait présenté dans de jolis verres, mais je n'ai pas pu résister à utiliser les cercles à pâtisserie que j'ai récemment acheté à Londres. Il fallait donc créer une base à cette douceur. Une dacquoise aux amandes se prête joliment à ce rôle en apportant un fondant irrésistible.
[I think it's accurate that chocolate is one of the favourite ingredients for cooks and food lovers. Its deep color, it's divine perfume and its versatile texture make him the perfect ingredient for any pastry maker.
You can find a thousand ways of using it : ganache, cakes, cookies. But for me mousse
is the best way to enable the chocolate to express its delicacy. Howewer i like my mousse to be light and subtle in flavour.
To achieve that i chose to use milk chocolate as i think it deserves a full attention. Indeed if it's been, wrongly, underestimated, milk chocolate is mild, 'fondant' and as delicious as the dark kind (or shall i say king ?).
As chocolate is the main ingredient of the recipe i advise you to use the best milk chocolate you can find : valrhona lacte or lindt extra fin.
I couldn't find valrhona, so i used lindt and the result was just breath-taking.
Cinnamon is ideal to highlight the mildness of milk chocolate - as i learned from a delicious pastry called 'gauguin' i find in town.
This dessert would be excellent served in nice martini glasses, but i could resist to use the new cooking rings i brought back from london. So i had to create a base for the mousse : an almond dacquoise does the job with great success.]DIVINE CANNELLEPour 4 personnes
[serves 4]Dacquoise aux amandes
[Almond dacquoise]2 blancs d'œufs (environ 75g), à température ambiante
[2 egg whites at room temperature]85g de sucre blanc extra fin
[85g caster sugar]70g d'amandes moulues
[70g ground almonds]Préchauffez le four à 160°C.
Dans un bol en inox sec et propre, battez en neige ferme les blancs d'œufs. Puis ajoutez le sucre cuillérée après cuillérée, jusqu'à obtention d'une meringue brillante et ferme.
A l'aide d'une large cuillère en métal, incorporez délicatement les amandes moulues.
Chemisez une plaque à pâtisserie de papier sulfurisé et versez l'appareil à dacquoise sur cette plaque en formant un rectangle d'environ 15cm sur 20cm et d'une hauteur de 1 à 2cm.
Cuire dans le four préchauffé pendant 20 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que la dacquoise soit joliment dorée mais toujours souple.
Laissez refroidir complètement avant de continuer.
Découpez quatre disques de la taille des cercles à pâtisserie. Posez les disques de dacquoise sur une plaque à pâtisserie recouverte de papier sulfurisé et placez les cercles à pâtisserie sur les disques.
[Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a baking sheet.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add the sugar one spoonful at a time while you continue beating.
Then gently fold in the ground almonds with a metal spoon.
Pour the mixture over the baking sheet; it should be 2cm high.
Bake for 20min or until nicely golden but still soft.
Allow to cool completely before going on with the rest.
Cut out 4 disks out of the size of the cooking rings you're using and put these on another lined baking sheet. Place the cooking rings over the disks.]Mousse au chocolat au lait et à la cannelle
[Cinnamon and milk chocolate mousse]3 feuilles de gélatine
[3 gelatin leaves]150ml de lait entier
[150ml full fat milk]200g de chocolat au lait de qualité (voir la note ci-dessus)
[200g high quality milk chocolate (see note above)]
1 cuillère à café bombée de cannelle en poudre [a teaspoon of ground cinnamon]
200ml de crème entière [200ml whipping cream]Faites tremper les feuilles de gélatine dans un bol rempli d'eau froide.
Portez le lait à ébullition et retirez du feu. Ajoutez la gélatine égouttée, le chocolat, coupé en fins copeaux et la canelle. Puis mélangez à l'aide d'une spatule en silicone. Laissez refroidir pendant une dizaine de minutes.
Battez la crème en chantilly et incorporez-la délicatement à la ganache.
Remplissez les cercles à pâtisserie préparés de cet appareil.
Laissez au réfrigérateur au moins 6 heures, ou mieux la nuit entière.
Démoulez les mousses avec leur base de dacquoise et posez-les sur une grille afin de procéder au glaçage.
[Soak the gelatin leavs in cold water for 5 minutes.
Bring the milk to the boil and turn off the heat. Add the drained gelatine, chocolate (cut into small pieces) and cinnamon and mix with a spatula. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks and fold into the chocolate mixture.
Fill the dacquoise-based cooking rings with this mousse and chill for at least 6 hours or better overnight.
Unmould the mousses with their dcquoise bases and place them or a wire rack to cover them with the ganache (below).]Ganache pour la couverture
[Icing ganche]2 feuilles de gélatine
[2 gelatin leaves]200g de crème liquide
[200g double cream]200g de chocolat au lait de qualité
[200g high quality milk chocolate]Faites tremper les feuilles de gélatine dans un bol rempli d'eau froide.
Portez la crème à ébullition. Hors du feu, faites-y fondre les feuilles de gélatine préalablement égouttées et ajoutez le chocolat coupé en copeaux. Mélangez sans incorporer d'air. Laissez quelques minutes et recouvrez les gâteaux de cette ganache.
Mettez au frais pendant 2 heures au minimum.
[Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.
Bring the cream to the boil and take off the heat. Add the gelatine and chocolate and mix until mooth. But take care not to incorporate air (as i did). Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and ice the mousses. Chill for at least 2 hours.]
Note : you can make some chocolate petals to decorate the iced mousses.
Labels: chocolate, entremets, recipe inside
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Perfect chewy chocolate chip cookies, melting brownies and gingerbread snowflakes
I love to cook. It's a fact. But when i meet someone that loves to cook as much as i do, guess what we do. WE COOK. For days, literally.
And we tend to use each occasion as an excuse to cook. Saturday we made a great dinner for our girlfriends and yesterday we baked.
This year i've got an awesome english teacher
: he's fun and wants us to speak as much as possible. So whenever we want we can plan to talk about a topic; and this week Maud and i decided to plan a cookie swap for the english class.We made :
- perfect chewy chocolate chip cookies (following MY recipe but with some changes - see below)
- melting brownies
- gingerbread snowflakesPerfect milk chocolate chip cookiesJust a short note: thank you Maud for helping improving my cookie recipe.
Indeed this time the cookies were exactly what i wanted them to be; which means as chewy as mine were, but also *thick*
They were a pure delight.
Slighty crispy outside
and oozing inside
. With big chunks
of milk chocolate. Yum delicious !You can find the recipe here
, but i'll give you some good (and new) tips:
- we used 1 1/2 cup caster sugar and 1 1/2 cup light muscovado sugar
: increasing the muscovado sugar ratio helps the cookies getting chewier and with a lovely golden colour.
- we replaced the butter by vegetable shortening
as we did not have enough butter. I think it might have an influence on the texture but truth to be told i prefer my cookies with a great butter taste
. So i think the kind of fat you use don't have much influence.
- but what's important is not to add the fat melted as my first recipe stipulated but cold and diced. So what i do now is: first put flour, baking powder, sugars and vanilla seeds in a bowl. Add the butter (cold and diced) and rub it into the flour mixture. Add the eggs. Add the chocolate chips (here we used milk chocolate chip only).
The dough won't be as smooth as the old one, it'll be more like a pate sablée [shortcrust pastry]. So you'll have to form small disks of 1/4 cup worth and 2cm thick.Melting brownies
We used the recipe from Nigella Lawson's Feast : snowflaked brownies but leaving out the white chocolate chips.
We ended with delicious plain brownies, perfectly cooked.
Maud prefered to reduce the sugar to 300g, but i think that 350g (as stipulated in the recipe) wouldn't have been too much. Blame my sweet tooth for that.Gingerbread cookies
Due to popular request (*Tiphaine*),
i'll write down the recipe we used to make these wonderful gingerbread cookies.
Just remember these are better the day after they are made
(december), page 178makes 18
(but we made at least 36 - small shapes)
380g plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger (we used cinnamon instead)
1 tsp mixed spice
125g unsalted butter (we used vegetable shortening - no flavour modifications)
175g dark muscovado sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
4 tbsp maple syrup (we used honey)
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Sift the flour, ginger and spice into a bowl. Rub the butter and ugar, removing any sugar lumps. Stir in the egg and maple syrup and mix well.
Tip onto a floured surface and roll out to 5mm thick.
Cut out shapes using festive cookie cutters and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Decorate with icing (see the recipe for royal icing here.
Keep on an airtight box until the next day.
Labels: cakes of all kind, chocolate, cookies, favourites, recipe inside
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Cooking solutions for busy students - Delicious ONE minute molten chocolate muffins
I am a busy student, but i like to eat fresh food and not ready-made-full-of-fat food. Am i the only one? I guess not.
So here i am starting a new series for busy people who don't have time to cook but love to eat good food.
I had this idea about a month ago because of two people i deeply love :
1. David, my lovely boyfriend always asks me for some quick but good thing to cook. Recently he made super-easy vol-au-vent and the post is on its way.
2. Anna-Sarah, a great friend of mine that i can't see often anymore but still adores her. Last week or so she told me she was going to eat (shall i tell you or not?) canned chili con carne (i'm not blamming her at all as it really proves WE don't have time to cook - i even eat ready cooked chicken wings...).
So now let's come to today's solution.
I have been craving for moist chocolate cakes for weeks, but sadly i don't have an oven so i thought "no baking till xmas...".
But then i recalled that carrot cake recipe that must be made in a microwave. And thought : if a carrot cake can be made in a microwave, why other cakes couldn't.
And i thought of that recipe Nigella gave for a "seven minute steamed chocolate pudding" in How to Eat. I tried it and throw it to the bin. It was dry and not chocolatey enough.
But today i decided all cakes can be made in a microwave so i tried Nigella's Molten chocolate baby cakes from How to be a domestic goddess and the result was just stunning!I baked them in muffin paper cases to prevent them from sticking as i noticed that microwave cooked cakes tends to stick.
Just a short note : don't bake the muffins in classic muffin tins as they rise (even if they don't have any baking powder in the dough).
I advise you to put the mufin liners in mugs and then to fill them to the top of the muffin cases.
Then cook for just ONE minute and that's it. Delicious ONE minute molten chocolate muffins
makes 8 to 10 muffins
80g soft unsalted butter (fanny: the recipe uses 50g but as microwave ovens tends to dry the food, i think that a little more fat helps the muffins staying moist)
350g best dark chocolate
150g caster sugar
4 large eggs
50g plain flour (fanny: i used a little more - 70g)
Melt the chocolate in the microwave and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar (tip: if your butter isn't soft enough, a quick turn in the micrwave does miracles). Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Now add the flour and when all is smoothly combined scrape in the cooled chocolate, blending it to a smooth batter.
Divide between the 8 muffin cases each in one mug and put in the microwave.
"Bake" for one minute on high.
Labels: chocolate, cupcakes and muffins, recipe inside