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Pistachio Rum Creme Brulee

3 Apr

Pistachio Rum Creme Brulee (recipe adapted from here)

6 egg yolks
2 cups heavy whipping cream ( I think I will have a coronary here-substitute 1 cup milk less fat)
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon rum
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (I used pistachio paste)

1. Preheat oven to 330F.
2. In a medium sauce pan, heat whipping cream and vanilla pulp scraped from the bean until almost boiling over medium heat.
3. While cream is heating, take a medium mixing bowl and beat egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar and pistachio paste until light in color
4 . When cream is about to boil, remove from heat and pour 1/2 cup hot cream to eggs and mix quickly
5. Pour the rest of the cream mixture into the eggs until combined
6. Add rum
7. Pour into 6 ramekins and place onto baking tray
8. Pour warm water into pan to create hot water bath and bake for 30 minutes until slightly set
9. Take out from oven to cool.
10. Divide remaining sugar on top of each dish.
11. Brown sugar using a torch.

Result: Delicious, rich and lightly sweetened.

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The sweet scent of Canele de Bordeaux-Bachour

4 Feb

Wow it is February now! Can’t believe its almost Valentines. Over the course of the last few weeks, my chocolate making hobby started about again. It is also known as Adventures in chocolate making. In this adventure, I take courses at pastry school or patisseries in order to perfect the craft. It was only last week that I went to chocolate making class at a patisserie. The experience was fascinating as I got to work with chocolate, cast chocolate, decorate chocolate and lastly make the ganache filling. A joyous moment indeed when I finally got to use the airbrush to coat the chocolate molds with coloured cocoa butter. Amazingly it was not as horrific as I thought; there were no accidents. When the class was done, students were given chocolates to bring home. I think I shall play with the airbrush and experiment but that will be the next adventure.

As the title had indicated, I made caneles recently. They are one of my favorite desserts. The first words that come to mind when describing the canele are custardy, rich, sweet and fragrant. If not mistaken, the canele pastry comes from the French region of Bordeaux. They are baked custard cakes flavoured with rum and vanilla; they are caramelized on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Keys:
-for optimal results and flavour, rest the batter in the fridge for 24 hours
-to achieve the desired caramelization on the outside of the cakes, butter the sides of the fluted molds.
-they will rise out of the molds during baking and when they do, use a knife and insert it in them to release the steam
-rotate them during baking

While the caneles are time consuming to make, they are well worth the effort. Voila.

Caneles Recipe
500 g whole milk (I used 2 percent milk)
30 g unsalted butter, diced
1 vanilla pod
105 g all purpose flour
180 g sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
75 g dark rum

Result: This was my first try at Antonio Bachour’s recipes. So far I am happy with the results.

~Bon Appetit!!!

A Friend and Vanilla Eclairs-Christophe Adam

25 Nov

This week has been a blur. I have been busy doing absolutely nothing :). Actually that is not true. Yesterday, I had went to a church group to record festive songs. It was fun. While there was laughter there is also sadness.

A member of our church community/friend will be heading back to her hometown to follow up on some preliminary results of a recent MRI scan. It’s tragic that within the few months I have known her, she has been through many trails and tribulations. All of which met with laughter and bravery. Despite the adversities she has faced, she always bounced back up to face the world again with renewed courage, tenacity and vivacity. This friend always looked toward the Lord for grace and support and as always the Lord never ceased to provide for her and to be her rock. It was very encouraging to witness it. She radiated energy and joie de vivre on our gatherings and won the hearts of many in our church community. You will be missed by many, SMJ Choi.

My friend had a knack for sweets and good company, not saying that I am good company ha ha. I hope to make some pastries (Christophe Adam) for her on our next meeting.

Christophe Adam’s Vanilla Eclair is comprised of a choux paste, Vanilla Cream, Caramelized Pecans and a Vanilla Glaze. I opted out the vanilla glaze and decided to do a white chocolate coating instead.

Vanilla Glaze
1 3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
2 tbsp cold water
2 vanilla beans
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 1/2 tbsp glucose syrup (I will use honey)
300 g white chochocolate
1 1/2 tsp rice starch

Vanilla Cream
2 vanilla beans
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
7 tbsp butter

Choux Pastry
150 ml water
150 ml whole milk
8 ml pure vanilla extract
7 ml sugar
175 ml unsalted butter
3 ml salt
295 ml all purpose flour
5 large eggs

Caramelized Pecans
175 ml chopped pecans
90 ml icing sugar

Results: Christophe Adam is known for his eclairs. In fact this recipe was one of his top ten recipes. It so goes to say, the eclairs did not disappoint. Light, crispy, velvety, fragrant and rich in vanilla, it is a symphony on the taste buds. Another winner of a recipe.

Holiday Cake Project II: Gateau St. Honore

4 Jan

Nothing says winter quite like being snowed in and resting up wih a nice cup of milk tea while watching the snow come down. Yes it is New Years Eve. Ha ha you might wonder why it took longer to write this. I’ve got no answer except been busy baking. As the holidays are coming to an end, I decided to add in a couple of baking projects with the first being a Gateau St. Honore. With a batch of freshly made puff pastry dough in the fridge, I decided to revisit this classic.

To make the base I used inverted puff pastry. The dough was rolled out, circle and placed in the fridge to rest. By resting, the dough relaxes. While the dough is resting I made the choux paste. When that was done I piped it over the puff pastry. I also made smaller choux puffs to decorate the gateau with.

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I baked it at 385 for 30-35 minutes.

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Once the puff pastry/choux paste base had baked, I proceeded to make the pastry cream. When done, I cooled the pastry cream and spread it one the gateau. I made a dry caramel. The caramel was ready when it reached a golden amber colour. The little choux were then dipped into the hot caramel. Once the caramel has hardened, pastry cream was piped into the choux and then dipped into the caramel again to stick on the gateau. Lastly, I whipped up some whipped cream and pipped in on pastry cream.

Voila

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Recipes:
Pate a Choux

All purpose flour ( I used bread flour) 175 g
Granuated Sugar 33 g
Water 240 g
Unsalted Butter 120 g
Salt 2.5 g
Egg 250 g

Inverted Puff Pastry

340 g bread flour
220 ml Water
10 g butter

6 g Salt
450 g Butter
150 Bread Flour

Pastry Creme: Vanilla
500 ml Milk
100 g Sugar
40 g Corn Starch
2 piece Egg Yolks
.5 piece Vanilla.

Result: Stunning. This cake has the flakiness from the puff pastry as well as the softness from the cream puff. It is creamy and fragrant. While it is time consuming to make the results are well worth it.

Fresh Strawberry Eclair

2 Jun

Summer is almost here. With that being said, the market is full of seasonal delicious fruit again. What are those beauties you may ask? Well none other than fresh succulent and sweet strawberries. Yes I am a strawberry fan as it livens up any dessert with a beautiful red colour.

Today I am making the eclair again. Nothing can go wrong with fresh strawberry eclairs. I am using Keller’s eclair recipe and pairing it up with fresh pastry cream and strawberries.

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Ingredients

Thomas Keller Eclair

All purpose flour 175 g
Granulated sugar 33 g
Water 240 g ( I used a combination of water and milk)
Unsalted butter 120 g
Kosher salt 2.5 g
Eggs 250 g (approx 5 eggs)

Pastry Cream
500 ml milk
100 g sugar
40 g corn starch
2 egg yolks
1/2 a vanilla bean

Rsaults: Yum!!!! Bon Appeptit

Hazelnut Praline Eclairs

24 Mar

Hello!!!! Another overcast day in Vancouver hopefully this Easter long weekend is good. Since it is a rainy day, I decided to make another eclair recipe again. I have always been intrigued about praline eclairs as it seems to be in about every pastry book I have. I have always loved hedgehogs as they have the praline paste in them but not in eclairs. Being adventurous that I am I decided to try.

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I fist made the choux paste then proceeded to make the pastry cream. In most recipes the pastry cream is similar except for the flavoring. In this case it was the gianduja. Once I made the pastry cream, I incorporated some gianduja I had freshly made. When the pastry cream had cooled I pipped it into the eclairs.

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Hazelnut Praline Cream

500 ml milk
100 g sugar
40 g corn starch
2 eggs
1/2 piece vanilla
150 g hazelnut paste

Result: OMG eclair was delicious. It was bitting into a little piece of heaven. The soft eclair casing complimented the smooth hazelnut filling superbly. This recipe is certainly a keeper. For all the hazelnut praline lovers a praline eclair will hit the spot everytime.

J’adore Eclairs

27 Feb

Booo another overcast weekend in Vancouver and no doubt with rain coming. I have been baking lots lately on an certain pastry. Continuously trying and retrying, researching and researching some more, I finally have some luck with this elusive pastry. Sssssshhhhhh what is this pastry? A pastry that is a welcomed addition to most pastry shops in Vancouver. When done properly they are wonderfully light as air on the outside and usually encased with a perfect creamy middle. What is this pastry? The eclair of course. That is right I love making and eating cream puffs.

Comprehensive Research and Tips:
Tips can be found here as well.
-bread flour is considered the better choice when making eclairs because it has more proteins in it allowing it to hold its from when baking.
-on a simmer at medium heat mix milk/water and butter until combined and melted. Remove from heat and then add the flour. To avoid lumps sift the flour, sugar and salt.
-cook the dough until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot and forms a ball
-you want to get as much moisture out of the flour dough so cook the dough and stir until you see a film at the bottom of the pot
Keller mentioned to further mix the dough for another 30 seconds to evaporate as much moisture once off the heat
-add eggs to the choux only when the dough has cooled as the heat will cook the eggs. When adding the eggs, in the beginning, it will look like scrambled eggs but the dough will come together
pastry school instructor instructed to fold the eggs into the mixture to create pockets of air
-the dough should be soft and paste like and not runny. If it is too wet, when baking, the eclair will not rise properly, spread out and remain flat thus at your discretion add the eggs one at a time and check the consistency of the dough. It may need more eggs or less eggs.
-the dough is ready when you wet a finger and run it through the dough and it forms a soft through that peaks but holds its shape

Pipping
-pipe at 45 degree angle and maintain pressure through out the pipping

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-Once pipped spray water on the choux pastry to create steam. Steam helps the choux to rise
Aoki suggested instead of putting egg wash on the choux paste, sift icing sugar on the eclair for an extra crunch
Baking
-depending on the caliber of your oven bake at a high temperature to puff them up and gradually lower the temperature to dry them out. Both Herme and Keller suggested around the 375 to 390 degree ranges.
-the choux must be thoroughly baked, if the sides of the walls are moist, when removed from oven, the steam will condense back into water and the still-wet walls will recoil. This will cause the choux pastry to collapse/ and flattened itself. To avoid this mishap use a toothpick or knife and make a incision in the eclairs so they can dry out properly.

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Filling
The eclair is quite versatile as it can take on all sorts of fillings but for me I was always fascinated by Sadaharu Aoki’s creations especially his matcha eclair. Matcha eclair it is.

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Voila

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Kellers Pate a Choux
All purpose flour ( I used bread flour) 175 g
Granulated sugar 33 g
Water 240 g ( I used combination of milk and water at 1/2 each)
Unsalted Butter 120 g
Salt 2.5 g
Eggs 250 g ( I used 6 eggs and half recipe at 3 eggs)

Matcha Pastry Cream
500 ml Milk
100 g sugar (increase sugar to your taste as the matcha is bitter)
40 g corn starch
3 g matcha
2 piece egg yolks
.5 piece vanilla bean

Result: The choux pastry was light and airy. They had risen quite nicely and made it able to pipe the pastry cream into it. My research and findings finally paid off. The Matcha had a strong taste and complimented the whipped cream. Thank You for all the tips from fellow bakers!!!!

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