Pistachio and Apricot Entremet

11 Jul DSC_0491

Just finished admiring my home grown corn. It is a bright and sunny day. Okay its time to make another entremet which contained seasonal fruit.

The jaconde cake was the first thing I made. In the jaconde cake, almonds were used but I substituted pistachios instead. The result was a beautiful green colour without any food colouring. To make finely ground nuts, I first toasted the pistachio and then ground them in a coffee grounder. Next I created a pistachio bavarian. I found this recipe from one of Herme’s book. The key was the infusion of the pistachio paste to the milk long enough that it had a nutty flavour to it. Once the milk was infused with the pistachio paste, it was poured on the egg yolks and return to heat. The raspberry jelly was then made. I chose to use raspberry for a couple of reasons. Its vibrant red colour contrasted with the green pistachio jaconde. Place the cake into the fridge for setting and the last pistachio jaconde was layered on. Finally came the apricot mousse.

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Pistachio Bavarois (Herme)
250 g milk
67 g of pistachio paste
90 g egg yolks
50 g sugar
6 g of gelatin leaves
7 g of Kirsch (optional)
225 g light cream

Raspberry Jelly

50 g strawberry puree
50 g raspberry puree
75 g sugar (adjust depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
1 tsp. gelatin (bloomed with 1 Tbs. water)

Jaconde Cake

40 g flour
140 g Pistachio (grounded and toasted)
140 g Icing Sugar (I used maybe 120 g)
4 egg yolk
4 egg white
40 g sugar
22 g butter

Apricot Bavaroise

80 ml Apricot puree
1 piece Lemon juice (Optional)
60 g sugar (I used approx 40 g)
5 g gelatin sheet ( Iused 3 sheets)
100 ml whipping cream

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This is an amazing treat that I would not mind making again. Each individual component complimented each other very well. The pistachio mousse complimented the raspberry jelly. Yes an entremet can be taxing as there are many recipes combined into one; however it was well worth the time and research involved.

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice-Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

8 Jul DSC_0486

You know Summer has arrived when the mercury reaches high twenties, the birds are chipping and people basking under the sun. The city has come alive when individuals ride along the sea walls, play beach volleyball, swim and lining up for a decadent ice cream scoop. In light of the recent heat, I decided to make some ice cream again. As mentioned before, ice cream starts off with a good custard first. I can’t emphasize on the temperature enough as the custard was the key to the ice cream. Heat the custard till 82 C and immediately take off the heat. If one doesn’t the eggs will curdle. Aside from the egg yolks curdling, rest the custard overnight as it mellows out.

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Chocolate Ice Cream

400 ml milk
80 milk
4 egg yolks
75 trimoline (I used honey)
100 g sugar
200 g dark chocolate
18 g cocoa powder
240 ml whipping cream

Results, the recipe was smooth and had a prominent chocolate taste. A baked alaska would be my next project. Bon Appetit.

Hedgehogs

5 Jul DSC_0482

Time for another treat. I have always been fascinated with Hedgehogs. Now that I got the appropriate chocolate mold, I made some.

Keys:
a good chocolate mold
temperature of the chocolate
to prevent large grainy pieces, ground the nuts to a fine texture.

Making the praline was the time consuming part. First one needs to toast the hazelnuts and then grind them into a paste like consistency. Next came the molds, make sure the mold is covered by a thin layer of chocolate. Once the chocolate was set, fill the chocolate with the praline filling. Place in the fridge for setting. Finally cover the top with more filling. ***Temperature was crucial in setting the chocolate.

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Gianduja

250 g hazelnuts
100 g milk chocolate
30 g cocoa butter
250 g confectioners’ sugar

OMG, nothing taste better than homemade gianduja filling. This recipe is a keeper. I certainly hope readers will make some too as they are of better quality.

Little Genoa Loaves

1 Jun DSC_0466

I finally had some time to read over a book which I bought a while ago. Its called, “Cooking with Chocolate.” An amazing book, it was filled with detailed instructions and hints as to how the passionate home baker can home in their skills. In addition, the book houses countless recipes from distinguished pastry chiefs and chocolatiers from Paris. Hevin, Michalak and Adams to name a few. As I flipped through the pages, I found a charming recipe on genoa cake. This recipe used marzipan and chocolate to sweeten the concoction.

The trick to making the genoa cake is by making a sabayon with the eggs first. This can be achieved by placing the eggs over a baine marie. The temperature should not exceed 50 degrees. Once the egg sabayon reaches 50 C remove from heat and incorporated the marzipan. As a tip from the author, chop the marzipan into bits and warm it up thereby making it easier to beat the eggs and marzipan into a smooth mixture. Next add the dry ingredients and lastly add the melted chocolate and butter. Bake them at 325 for approximately 14 minutes for small cakes.

Chocolate Genoa Loaf

75 g milk chocolate
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
160 g almond paste
3 eggs
2 tsp anise flavored liquor
70 g pearl sugar or coarse sugar grains

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Result: I found this cake quite light, moist and enjoyable. It was not too sweet and the almond paste certainly added to the flavour of the cake. I had used pearl sugar this time but will use sanding sugar next time. As an alternative, individuals could add apples to it as well to bring it up a notch. Bon Appetit!!!

Refreshing Ice Cream for Warm Wonderful Weather

28 May DSC_0460

Summer is around the corner as literally every beach is adorned with sunbathers, vball players, runners and strollers. The landscape was beautiful as flowers bloomed at every corner, as the water glistened like diamonds under the brilliant blue sky while birds playfully but gracefully glided like kites. What a majestic scenery it was as onlookers took photos that detailed every inch of Vancouver’s beauty. Even the buildings were sunkissed as their white siding reflected the sun’s rays. Soon the restaurant patios and ice cream parlors will be filled with Vancouverites lining up for a refreshing scoop of ice cream treat or a ice cold cup of juice to accompany a wonderful dinner in the summer sun.

As a prequel in anticipation to the smoldering heat, I decided to undust my ice cream maker to make some refreshing ice cream to combat the warm weather.

Keys to Making Ice Cream:
1. Make sure the custard base when cooked does not exceed 82 degrees celsius. The eggs will curdle with the temperature goes higher.
2. A tip from, ” the Perfect Scoop,” if indeed the eggs curdle, beat with a egg beater and strain for a smoother consistency.
3. Liquors have a lower freezing temperature, so if one wants soft ice cream, add liquor into the ice cream base.
4. Add the whipping cream into the custard as the last step, preferably when the custard base has rested overnight.
5. For a richer and smoother ice cream consistency, leave overnight.

French Vanilla Ice Cream
720 ml milk
1 piece Vanilla Bean
150 ml milk
40 g glucose syrup (prevents crystalization) ( I used honey)
8 egg yolks
280 g sugar
450 ml whipping cream

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This was a wonderful recipe. Nothing tastes better than fresh ice cream. It was creamy, smooth and had a hint of bourbon vanilla. Definitely will hit the spot for some hot and sunny weather Vancouver has ahead. Happy Ice Cream Making!!!

Afternoon Tea and Victoria Long Weekend

17 May DSC_0458

Let all the Vancouverites rejoice as another long weekend as come again. The weather certainly held up as the mercury hit the twenties all week. To start off the the long weekend, I was invited to afternoon tea by a college friend. A tantalizing tea gathering it turned out to be as friends sipped fragrant tea and savoured delicious desserts while catching up.

For the gathering I made some mango tarts. Mangoes were in season and I thought what better way than to bake with seasonal fruits. I first made the pate sucre. It has been a staple recipe for all my tarts. Next came the pastry cream. HK Pasty Chef Tony Wong had an amazing tip. He suggested that in order minimize lumpy pastry cream, caused by the corn starch cooking first without dissolving, combine it with the sugar first. Works every time!!!

Once the tarts were baked, a think layer of chocolate was spread onto the crust. When the pastry cream had cooled, I poured it into the crust. Sliced mangoes were added next and the final step was sprinkling of the toasted coconut. Voila!!!

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Pastry Cream
1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 egg yolk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp flour
1/4 sugar

Result: I found that the custard complimented the Mangoes quite nicely. Simplicity wins again with the Mangoes being the star of this dessert. I certainly hope the tart was well received at the afternoon tea gathering!!!

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Happy Victoria Day Everyone!!!!

Easter Eggs

10 May Photo-0312

It has been a while that easter has past but I’ve finally picked up my socks and do some writing. Thinking of Easter nothing fills me up with joy then scouring the stores for chocolate easter eggs and bunnies. My favorite places would be either Thomas Haas or Chez Christophe for inspiration. In the recent years, chocolate easter goodies take taken off to the next level in terms of creativity. As a result, I decided to push my own boundaries based on the numerous times I visited both bakeries.

In past I have only created chocolate eggs from simpler moulds. Needless to say, I had difficulty creating larger eggs with decorations. As a result I scoured the net and found some amazing tips to create a egg with minimal flaws.

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Keys to make a good chocolate easter egg:
-chocolate easter mold-washed
-tempered chocolate
-once the chocolate was removed from mold, warm up metal sheet and melt chocolate eggs for even edges

To decorate I just painted it with chocolate velvet. In the future I hope to improve on the decorations but in the mean time I hope all readers that a good easter!!!

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