Puff Pastry with Caramelized Gianduja Mousse

18 Aug DSC_0516

Wow August so soon!!! It’s almost like July blazed through and I did not do anything. Well that’s a lie, I actually went to pick berries at its best.

With steady sunlight and warmth, it is always a joy visiting the farms and bask in the warm sun light while picking. The farms which I normally or Vancouverites visit are Emma Lea Farms or Krause Berry Farms. Though it can be tiring at times crouching under the hot sun but the reward will be all smiles, relaxation and a bucket full of round plump blue berries. They are huge in comparison with store bought berries. After a hard afternoon of berry picking, a delicious strawberry milkshake hit the spot. I will distributing my pick with family. Blue berry muffins will be coming shortly :) but prior to that, I decided to make puff pastry.

Over the course of the summer, I bought a couple of books. As I sifted through the pages, I found a recipe on Caramelized Gianduja. Being low on gianduja, and being adventurous I decided to beat up some inverted puff pastry and use the gianduja as a basis to form a mousse.

Keys to Puff Pastry Inverted

-as the butter is hard, chop or dice it to a size from which one can handle

-French inverted puff pastry has the butter dough outside while the dough is inside.

-once ready, roll the dough into a rectangle.

-if the butter becomes to warm or unworkable, place it back to the fridge allowing the butter dough as hardened again.

-do not roll too thin

-do not over fold 3-5 folds is good enough

-for every turn and fold one takes make sure to allow the dough to rest in the fridge. It will prevent the softening of the dough

-when rolling and folding the turns, make sure to be gentle with the dough.

-As an extra step, place the finished dough in the freezer to allow it to rest and solidify the butter a bit.  Putting the pastry in the freezer to rest while waiting for the oven to reach 400 F is a plus.  Think warm air as it expands in the layers; as air expands, it will raise the pastry as well resulting in better volumes.  it will raise the pastry as well.
-Bake about 20-25 mins at 390-410 degrees F.

Puff Pastry Rolls

Once the pastry was cooked, the molds are be removed immediately. Through this way, the pastry was easier to be removed from the molds.

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Next came the caramelized praline.

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Caramelized Hazelnuts or Almonds (adapted from William Curly)

250 grams hazelnuts

100 sugar

40 ml water

Once the caramelized hazelnuts where done and cooled, they were ground in a processer until fine. Melted chocolate was then incorporated with the ground nuts until smooth and let cooled. With the gianduja cooling, I then whipped up some cream and folded in the gianduja and pipped into the cooled pastry rolls. When making the mousse, make sure the gianduja is cooled or it will melt the whipped cream. Place it in the fridge and allow the mousse to set.

Finish by pipping it inside the cone and decorate with pistachio and icing sugar.

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Result: When ones buy puff pastry, recommended ones come with a pastry or whipped cream in the middle. I experiemented with flavours and made a Gianduga Mousse instead. While different from a typical puff pastry cone, the gianduja for me made a hit. 

Bon Appetit.

White Chocolate Strawberry and Pistachio Entremet

4 Aug DSC_0497

What warm weather!!! As a vacouverite, I am blessed with good weather and as always, whenever there is warm weather, my garden laps it up. The peaches and cream corn I planted about a month ago has started to form husks. It was a joy seeing my labor and hard work come into fruition. Every Vancouverite loves the summer. For me, I concentrate my time to the berry farms. Nothing tastes like fresh barries from a vine and visiting a farm to rejuvenate. To blast the heat while savouring on a delicious treat, I decided to make another entremet. This time, I made a Strawberry and White Chocolate entremet.

To start off I made the jaconde cake first. As the second step, I made the strawberry mousse. To add a contrast to the light pink, strawberry jelly was made. I topped it off with white chocolate mousse.

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Strawberry Mousse

160 ml Strawberry Puree
1 lemon juice
60 g sugar
5 g gelatin sheet (Gelatin in this form tend to be more stable.
200 ml whipping cream.

Result. This entremet for me was fabulous. it was quite light and the flavours complimented one other. One can never go wrong with strawberries, pistachio and white chocolate on a warm sunny day. The pistachio and strawberry was the star of this entremet.

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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!!!

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