What a long weekend!!! Weather was absolutely wonderful. Had a chance to go the the fair and my favorite spot; watching the little chicks and ducklings swim and sleep. I don’t know why I am so attracted to them; maybe because they are babies but moreover soft and squishy and puffy. One quack or chirp I hear, I melt away. The annual fair is quite the gathering spot for locals and tourists for there was something for everyone. For me, it was cotton candy and baby animals but at last like all things, it comes to an end.
As I walk around the fare and gaze at what the vendors are offering, I realize that over abundance of sweets. It made me realize that I too have been making too much sweets lately. I have the perfect excuse; I am trying various recipes and enhancing my baking abilities. The truth is I love sweets to a detriment of cavities. To to save myself from sugar high and a growing belly,I decided to make a main dish.
Recently, a local superstore had a promotion on wings and ribs thus I bought some. Deciding to bake them I first marinated the wings and ribs. As most marinate foods, I used soy sauce, sugar and salt and BBQ sauce to bake the ribs and wings. The key to making a flavourful dish is to prepare it the night before and bake the next day. In this case, I marinated the wings and ribs the the before. Next day, I took them out to bake. Bake at 350 degrees and then glaze them with honey.
Yum was the reaction that I got. The crispy glaze sure made the dish for delicious. I think next time I will try them with bourbon or more honey.
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.
Once the pastry was cooked, the molds are be removed immediately. Through this way, the pastry was easier to be removed from the molds.
Caramelized Hazelnuts or Almonds (adapted from William Curly)
250 grams hazelnuts
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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
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
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.
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.
Chocolate Ice Cream
400 ml 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.
Time for another treat. I have always been fascinated with Hedgehogs. Now that I got the appropriate chocolate mold, I made some.
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.
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.