Strawberries and Pistachioes-Pierre Herme

18 Jun DSC_0730

In light of recent events, I am making another dessert. This time I am making something from Pierre Herme again. A couple of years ago I bought his book on Pastries and have not regretted it since. The book was filled with stunningly beautiful photos of desserts and enough to make one salivate. Amongst the post it notes tagging recipes that I wanted to try was the Montebello. In his words it is the modern rendition of the Fraisier. The recipe was a combination of two of my favorite ingredients to use, pistachios and strawberries. It was composed of a dacquoise, pistachio mousseline and strawberries. Because my family is partial to all that buttery goodness, I am making a partial montebello. I am making the dacquoise and filling it with a creme patissiere.

To make the pistachio dacquoise, I toasted some almonds and pistachios after which I grounded them with a coffee grinder. Next I measured the dry ingredients and separated the eggs. I then measured the pistachio paste and left it to warm up. The icing sugar was sifted and combined with the almonds and pistachios. *Note: in the recipe, the ratio of almonds to pistachios 2:1 but because I preferred pistachios I changed the ratio to 1:1. Next I whipped up the egg whites and added in the sugar; whipping it till stiff peaks formed. Part of the egg white mixture, not alot, was used to soften the pistachio paste. Finally I folded in the icing sugar/nut mixture. Note: Fold until it is homogenous and you do not see the dry ingredients. Pipe into a 9 inch 3/4 inch deep ring and bake at 340F for 30 minutes.

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Once the dacquoise was baked and cooled, I poured the finish pastry onto it and decorated it with strawberries and pistachios.

DSC_0730

Montbello Pastchio Dacquoise (Adapted from Pierre Herme)

1/4 cup (25g) pistachios ( I toasted and grounded mine and altered the ratio to 1:1 Pistachios and Almonds)
1 1/8 cups (135g) Icing sugar (I used only 130 icing sugar)
1 1/4 cups (115 g) ground almonds
5 egg whites
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
4 tsp (20g) pistachio paste
Extra Icing Sugar for sprinkling

Creme Patissiere

500 ml milk
100 g sugar
40 g Corn Starch
2 egg yolks
.5 piece vanilla bean

Result: It was delicious. The dacquoise was perfect, soft and crispy. It had a strong pistachio flavour and complimented the strawberries well. While it was a bit sweet, next time readers can adjust the icing sugar to 100 g instead to reduce the sweetness. I believe one the sweetness is reduce, the nuts would be more pronounced and work even better with strawberries. Pierre Herme definitely knows his flavours well!!!!

Strawberry Mango Tart

6 Jun

Baking time again. Lately Vancouverites have been enjoying on some beautiful tropical fruits such as litchee, mango, watermelon etc etc. The weather certainly bodes well for picking them at their peak. With the strawberries and mangoes in season, I decided to make a strawberry mango tart. I first started to make the crust. As always I chose the pate sucre crust by Felder. I find that his recipe has the right levels of lightness and crispness to the pastry.

Key to a light and flaky pastry.

  • work the cold butter in with the flour until sand like texture than add the remaining ingredients

DSC_0720 Next I made the pastry cream to fill the tarts once the tart was cooled.

TIPS:

  • do not over cook the pastry cream.  Take it off the heat once the cream thickens and boils.  Whisk constantly as the pastry cream will burn.
  • To prevent lumps of cornstarch, mix the sugar with the cornstarch first prior to adding it into the milk

DSC_0721 Once the pastry cream has cooled, I then set to decorate the tart. DSC_0725 Pastry Cream Recipe

1 1/4 cups milk

1 egg

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup castor sugar

1 tsp. vanilla essence. ( I chose to use a vanilla bean)

Result: This recipe is a keeper. Both strawberry and mango complimented each other. The pastry cream was light, smooth and creamy and added complexity to the dessert.

Have a lovely weekend all!!!!

Fruit Sorbet!!!

21 May DSC_0716

The mercury is definitely rising these days but no complaints there. As the days get longer and nights shorter, summer is just around the corner. Yippee!!!! Soon I be able to stay out late and watch the sunset. With the mercury rising one can see lineups for ice cream and iced treats. While the lovely thought of gorging on iced treats outside the idea of having my wallet sucked dry stopped me he he he. Yearning for the refreshing iced cold treat to waken me up from the heat I decided to make some.

This time it is pineapple and raspberry sorbet. Yummmm….To make the sorbet I first pureed the fresh fruit. Next I prepared the sugar syrup to combine the fruit with. Yeah as mystifying as it is sorbet is just sugar syrup and fresh fruit. Mystique gone, I know disappointing isn’t it. But on the bright side you know is lots of fresh fruit. Once the sugary syrup boils, let it cool and combine with the fruit. Refrigerate the mixture until cold and pour into ice cream making machine.

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Sorbet Recipe

500 ml Stock Syrup (1:1 ratio, sugar and water)
500 ml Fruit Puree (Pineapple, Raspberry)
5 ml Lemon Juice

Happy Ice Cream Making!!!

Mango Cream Cheese Mousse Entremet

18 May DSC_0713

Happy Victoria Day!!! We are blessed with the sunshine we have been getting for the long weekend. It is warm and beautiful with the chickadees chirping and the flowers in full bloom. The beautiful weather has gotten me in good spirits so much so that I decided to make another dessert.

Mango season is here!!!! Nothing beats the sweet juicy flesh of the fruit. It is quite versatile as well as you can put it into salads and desserts. Today I am making a cream cheese mango mousse cake again. It is one of the better cakes I have tried and the recipe is to die for as the flavour combinations compliment each other.

For this cake, I am making a dacquoise as a base. Tony Wong’s recipe calls for a coconut/almond base for the mango mousse. So here goes. I first started to measure the ingredients of icing sugar, almond and coconut. I then sift the icing sugar, almond and coconut together. Next step, I beated the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks formed and then added the icing sugar coconut mixture. Folding gently was the key otherwise the volume will deflate easily. Then I piped out the dacquoise onto ready made circle templates.

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Bake at 350 for roughly 20 minutes until the dacquoise is firm to touch. Mmmmmmmm….I can say this could not be a better choice by the chef. Wonderful aromas of coconut filled the room as the dacquoise baked.

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Now for the cream cheese mousse part, and nothing beats fresh fruit puree. Mangoes were pureed and combined with the cream cheese and sugar. Beat until smooth. Soak the gelatin in cold water to soften and warm up until it melts and add to the mango mixture. Next whip up some cream and fold in the mango cream cheese mixture to the whipped cream. Voila.

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Coconut Dacquoise

Ground almond 57g
Dessicated coconut 55g
Icing Sugar 112g
Egg White 150g
Sugar 50g

Mango Cheese Mousse

Fresh Mango Puree 100 g
Granulated Sugar 50 g
Cream Cheese 150 g
Whipping Cream 150 g
Gelatin Leaf 6g

Result: This recipe is definitely a keeper. Like mentioned before all the flavour elements compliment each other. It is a combination of rich and creamy with soft and crispy. As an addition, one could cut chunks of mango into the dessert for an added punch.

Happy Victoria Day All!!!!

Cinnamon Buns II

16 May DSC_0717

Happy Long Weekend. Hmmmmm….what to make this weekend. Cinnamon Buns it is. This time I added more butter to the dough for a moister texture. It would be delicious for breakfast. DSC_0713 DSC_0715 DSC_0716 DSC_0717 Cinnamon Buns

Dough 1 teasp. yeast ( I used active yeast)

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups warm milk

2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 teasp. vanilla extract

4 cups flour plus extra for flouring work surface

1 teasp. salt

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter

Filling

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons cinnamon ( I used 1 tbsp)

1 stick unsalted butter softened

Happy Baking!!!

Green Tea Cakes-Curley

13 May DSC_0711

Baking time1!! I usually switch to seasonal fruits this time of year but despite the warm weather Vancouverites have been getting, the farms are not opned yet as the fruits aren’t optimal. As a result, I decided to make something that can be prepared anytime of the year. Intending to make something from Curley, I flipped through his book. The green tea cake captured me eyes. These are similar to financiers as it uses a beurre noisette or browned butter, almonds, and hazelnuts. Like mentioned the beurre noisette gives off a nutty and caramel scent when done properly.

To make the cakes, first brown the butter and cool it. While the butter is cooling, whip the eggs with the sugar until soft peaks form. Add the flour, nuts and matcha. Mix until smooth and then add the butter. Curley noted to leave the batter in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to baking. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

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Green Tea Cakes
125 g unsalted butter
115 g egg whites approx 4 eggs
125 g sugar ( I used 100 g berry sugar)
115 g ground almonds
15 g hazelnuts ( I used coconut)
5 g matcha powder
40 g plain flour ( I use 60 g cake and pastry flour)

When baked, the cakes had a touch of sweetness and had a nice matcha taste coupled with hints of coconut. It is definitely a keeper. As an alternative one can add/sprinkle black and white sesame on top for crunch.

Bouchon Oatmeal Cookies

27 Apr DSC_0707

Cookies….mmmmm….I am referred to by some friends as the cookie monster minus big eyes and blue hair. I love cookies and better yet eating them. Recently I found the best chocolate cookies in town from Creme de la Crumb and it was melt in your mouth goodness. Because of this craving for crunchy and chewy cookies I decided to make some. I have been flipping through recipe books again as my appetite for sugar and baking is high. As I gazed over the pages of tantalizing desserts, my gaze stopped at the oatmeal raisin cookies from Bouchon.

Most of you know oatmeal cookies are a tradition and I am a fan of tradition….so here we go. Key to making cookies are the creaming of butter and sugar and the incorporating of eggs one at a time. Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy and then add in the eggs until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients next. The recipe calls to refrigerate the dough but I skipped the step. Spoon and roll the dough into balls and flatten and bake at a preheated oven of 325F for 15-17 minutes.

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Here is what they looked like once baked.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

144 g all purpose flour ( I used 160 grams flour)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
140 g light brown sugar
69 g granulated sugar (I used only brown sugar and used 150 g sugar and it was sufficient)
155 g unsalted butter ( I used 150 g)
1/4 cup or 62 g eggs ( 1 large egg)
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste ( I used homemade vanilla extract)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raisin ( I used cranberries)
Opt chocolate chips

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This recipe is a keeper as the cookies were chewy and crispy. The chocolate and cranberries added complexity to the recipe but if it were raisins it too would have been an awesome cookie. Next time as an alternative nuts will be added as well. Eat cookies!!!!

gretacooks

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