Buche Mont d’Or

2014-12-30 23.04.06

Past couple of weeks were a crazy mixture of work and holidays. For sure I was in a real need for the later ones. I spend a week in Rome, filling my belly with wonderful food. I could easily live in that city, it’s absolutely wonderful. It would probably require stepping up with the running routine to compensate for all the deliciousness, but still, definitely would be worth it.
Back in the Netherlands the winter seems to be still holding a grip. Hopefully not for too long, I cannot wait for all the wonderful flavour that he spring will bring. Today’s recipe is actually something that should be done during Christmas period, as the original Yule Log is. It is an incredibly light cake tough and I think it’s worth making a little bit more often. The filling is a kwark based mousse – very light and easy to combine with many different flavours. Here I used the apricot jam and a passion fruit juice, but I can only guess how well it will work with fresh fruit (actually I will probably test that as soon as they are available ;)).
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I think this will be the last recipe from the “Patisserie – Mastering the Fundamentals of French Pastry” book. It starts to get more complicated in there. I will of course continue my challenge, but if you guys want to do it with me, I suggest you get the book, it’s really way easier to do with the photos and you do need to read the recipe carefully. It is very exciting, but requires quite some time in the kitchen (I am obviously not a proffessional, but every recipe that’s supposed to take an hour according to Mr. Felder, somehow takes 3 for me. I’m pretty sure not so many people are crazy enough to spend that time on one cake ;).
But don’t worry, I won’t abandon the blog. I will be happy to share with you more of my own recipes, a bit simpler one and easier to make during the working week. It will still be delicious for sure :)!

 Passion Fruit-Fromage Blanc Yule Log
adapted from Christophe Felder
For the Lemon Sponge Cake:
  • 4 eggs separated,
  • 1 lemon,
  • 100 g sugar,
  • 100 g flour.
  1. Whip the egg whites until the hold a soft peak.
  2. Grate in the lemon zest, add the sugar and whip again until stiff and glossy.
  3. Very briefly whip in the egg yolks.
  4. Fold in the sifted flour in batches.
  5. Spread the batter thinly and evenly on a lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 180 C, until lightly browned. You should rotate the baking sheet half through baking, so that it colours evenly.
  7. Cover with a damp tea towel and let cool on a baking sheet. This way the cake will remain moist and easy to roll.
For the Fromage Blanc Mousse:
  • 300 ml heavy cream,
  • 4 gelatin sheets,
  • 250 g fromage blanc (or fat free kwark),
  • 2 egg yolks,
  • 75 g sugar,
  • 1 tsp. passion fruit juice.
  1. Pour the cream in a large bowl and chill.
  2. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water until softened, around 5 minutes,
  3. Lightly whisk the fromage blank and return it to the fridge.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with sugar until pale and thick.
  5. Warm up the passion fruit juice on a low heat. Squeeze the gelatin sheets and stir into the juice until completely dissolved. Scrape into a large bowl.
  6. Whip the chilled cream until it holds a firm peak.
  7. Carefully whisk in the egg yolk and sugar mixture into the warm passion fruit juice.
  8. Beat 1/3 of the whipped cream into the passion fruit mixture to loosen it up.
  9. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. Then fold in the fromage blanc.
Assembly:
  • 150 ml of passion fruit juice,
  • 150 g apricot jam,
  • 100 g white chocolate.
  1. Remove the tea towel from the sponge cake. Invert on a sheet of a parchment paper and carefully peel off the parchment. Turn it again so that it’s right side up, with the long side facing you.
  2. Brush the cake with the passion fruit juice.
  3. Spread a thick layer of the mousse in the upper third of the cake, leaving around 7 cm on top.
  4. Fold the top of the cake over the mousse and spread a thin line of an apricot jam next to the mousse.
  5. Fold the top of the parchment over the cake and snugly tuck the paper under the cake with a piece of cardboard. Roll it tightly. Chill for 15 minutes. Chill the remaining mousse
  6. Carefully remove the parchment. Spread the remaining mousse on top of the cake.
  7. Shave the white chocolate with a serrated knife on the top and side of the rolled cake. Transfer to a serving plate and chill for an hour.
Enjoy!

Feuillete Mandarine

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I always loved puff pastry. The incredible amount of layers and an irresistible buttery taste are just on top of the list of the reasons why I like it so much. There is just one trick – if you want a really good one, you have to make it yourself. You have to use a proper 82% fat butter and spend several hours rolling the pastry and chilling it. It’s a commitment you make, but every second you spend on it will be worth, the end result is amazing. But, I don’t always have the time to make that commitment, sometimes you have to make a small short cut. I discovered this Quick Puff Pastry recipe. It is actually really simple and works perfect for both sweet and savoury pastries (I think some savoury stuff will be coming next week maybe).
The final texture is very flaky and taste taste buttery. I was honestly surprised by how good this pastry is compared to the amount of work you need to put in. I’m not saying it is a perfect replacement of a puff pastry, because I think you should take the time to make some at least once, but, it’s a good quick option. Definitely worth a try.
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Quick Clementine Neapolitans
adapted from Christophe Felder
For the Quick Puff Pastry:
  • 200 g flour,
  • 2 tbsp sugar,
  • 2 tsp salt,
  • 240 g butter, chilled and diced,
  • 90 ml ice-cold water,
  • 25 g confectioner sugar.
  1. Place the flour in a big bowl and make a well in the middle.
  2. Add the sugar, salt and butter into the well and rub the flour and butter together until you get fine crumbs.
  3. Add the cold water and knead the dough to bring it together.
  4. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth.
  5. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes in a freezer.
  6. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it’s 3-4 mm thick.
  7. Trim the tough to a 30 by 40 cm rectangle and transfer to a baking sheet
  8. Prick the dough with a fork and cover with a parchment paper. Place a wire rack or another baking sheet on top on the pastry.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes at 180 C, until golden.
  10. Remove from the oven. Turn the temperature up to 220 C.
  11. Sift confectioner sugar on top of the pastry and return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sugar is caramelised. Watch it carefully, so that it doesn’t burn.
For the Pastry Cream:
  • 250 ml whole milk,
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped,
  • 60 g sugar,
  • 3 egg yolks,
  • 25 g cornstarch,
  • 25 g butter, diced and softened.
  1. Bring the milk, vanilla seeds and half sugar to boil.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch and the rest of the sugar together in a separate bowl.
  3. Whisk the egg mixture into the milk. Cook for about a minute, until it thickens, whisking constantly.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter.
  5. Put it in a small shallow bowl and over the cream directly with a foil.
To finish:
  • 6 clementines, peeled and divided into segments.
  1. Using a serrated knife cut the pastry into 6 by 9 cm rectangles. Cut each rectangle on the diagonal into a triangle.
  2. Whisk the pastry cream until it’s smooth, pipe a strip of a pastry cream in the centre of half the triangles. Arrange clementine segments around it. Top with the remaining triangles. Serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Tarte Tatin

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It has been a while since my last post, but it was a very busy period work-wise. Hope some of you will keep reading after this big break..
A couple of months ago I went to Paris. This trip was of course connected to my big fascination with patisserie and French cuisine in general. It’s funny, but if you would ask me a couple of years ago I would most probably say that French cuisine is not really my thing. Well,  lot of things happened lately that made me change my mind about it. I decided to buy a classic cookbook, supposedly used by almost every home cook in France. It’s really great that those kind of books are being translated into English lately. I must say that “I know how to cook” by Ginette Mathiot is an amazing discovery. All recipes are very short, to the point and, so far, all deliver delicious dishes.
On of the most interesting chapters is about cakes and pastries (of course). The recipes here are completely different that at Mr. Felder book. A completely different approach. I love the Tarte Tatin recipe though. I must say it’s the simplest recipe for this pie I ever tried (not that it’s ever a difficult cake to make) and definitely the best one. I was always under the impression that you should use French pastry for the original Tarte Tatin. Turns out that it’s actually a very simple shortcrust pastry (but, this recipe works perfectly also with French pastry, so feel free to replace it). It’s a delicious cake. The total time it takes to make is around 40 min, of which 30 min it spends in the oven. Perfect for any time you crave a warm, delicious cake (and it is winter, so that’s going to happen sooner or later). Just go and make one!
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Tarte Tatin
adapted from Ginette Mathiot
For the shortcrust pastry:
  • 250 g flour,
  • 1 tbsp flavourless oil (like sunflower or rapeseed),
  • 1/2 tsp salt,
  • 125 g butter, diced and chilled,
  • 1-2 tbsp ice-cold water.
  1. Place all the flower in a bowl and make a small well inside.
  2. Add oil, salt and  butter into the well. Rub the butter into the flour.
  3. Use the water to bring the dough together. Knead a couple of times – the quicker you do it the better is the pastry.
  4. Wrap in foil and chill for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling:
  • 125 g sugar,
  • 500 g of apples (around 4),
  • 40 g butte
Use a pan or pie-dish that can be used both in the oven and on a stove.
  1. Put 100g of sugar into the pan with 1-2 tbsp of water. Place the dish on a medium low heat and make a dark caramel. Make sure that the whole base of the dish in covered with caramel and allow to cool.
  2. Peel and core the apples. Slice them thinly.
  3. Arrange the apples close to each other in the dish with caramel. Put dollops of butter on the apples.
  4. Roll out the short pastry to 5 mm thick.
  5. Cover the apples with the pastry, making sure to tuck a bit of the dough on all sides, so that the apples are completely covered.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 200 degrees, in the middle of the oven.
  7. Take out of the oven and turn out immediately onto a serving dish (the caramelised apples will be on top). Eat straight away.
Enjoy!

Christmas Cookies Jars

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For me Christmas is a time of sharing. I want to share things I can do best and things that give me pleasure with people I care about. Every year I would send Christmas cards to family and friends. It’s really nice to receive them. This year I decided to make some cookie jars instead. Making cookies takes almost no time and it will be greatly appreciated by your friends and family.
I decided to go for some Leckerlis* – gingerbread cookies with candied citrus peel and Green Anise Cookies. Both of them are very easy to make with a stand mixer and are a pretty delicious substitute for a Christmas card. You still have time to make some tomorrow 🙂
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This will be my last post before Christmas, so Happy Holidays everyone. Hope you have a wonderful time!
* To make Leckerlis you can use the same recipe as for the Gingerbread Cookie and you add 100 g of mixed lemon and orange candied peel and cover with an icing while still warm.

Green Anise Cookies
adapted from Christophe Felder
  • 3 eggs,
  • 250 g of sugar,
  • 15 g green anise seeds,
  • 250 g flour.
  1. Combine the sugar and eggs in a bowl of your stand mixer.
  2. Whip for 10 minutes at a high speed and then for 10 minutes at a medium speed.
  3. Fold the flour and anise seeds into the beaten eggs.
  4. Pipe the batter on a buttered and floured baking sheet. Make them around 2.5 cm wide, leaving around 2 cm space in between.
  5. Let them dry out on the baking sheet for around 4 hours, until a dry crust forms.
  6. bake at 180 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes, until the tops are puffed, but still pale. Let them cool on the baking sheet.
Enjoy!

Gingerbread cookies

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Every year we make some gingerbread cookies to put in the Christmas Tree. It’s always a lot of fun to cut out all the different shapes (and let’s be honest, we mostly use the cookie cutters around Christmas time anyway..).
This year I made a Gingerbread recipe from the Patisserie book. They are slightly different. You need to mix the basic dough a week in advance and let the cinnamon and honey develop an incredibly deep flavour. I think they taste great. They will be a bit tough for first few days, but give them some time and they will soften. If you decorate them with some nuts and icing you will have a wonderful Christmas decorations.

Gingerbread cookies
adapted from Christophe Felder
For tha basic dough:
  • 250 g strong dark honey,
  • 200 g flour,
  • 50 g whole wheat flour,
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
For the final dough:
  • 1 egg yolk,
  • 1 tsp. baking powder,
  • 1 pinch cinnamon,
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice,
  • 1 tbsp. sherry.
Prepare the basic dough 1 week before you plan to bake the cookies.
  1. Warm the honey in a small saucepan over a low heat.
  2. Sift both flours with cinnamon.
  3. Add the warm honey and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is thick and smooth.
  4. Cover it and let stand at room temperature for a week.
After a week mix the final dough
  1. Place the egg yolk on a work surface. Spread the baking powder around it. Smear the baking powder with the flat part of a knife until smooth.
  2. Add the mixture to the basic dough mix with the cinnamon, allspice and sherry and knead the dough in a stand mixer at a low speed for about 5 minutes.
  3. Shape into a ball and flatten. Wrap in a plastic and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170 C. Butter baking sheets and dust them with flour.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 3 mm thick.
  6. Cut out the shapes you have.
  7. Bake fr 15 to 20 minutes, until barely firm and slightly browned. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet.
Decorate as you wish!

Gingerbread cake

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There are certain flavours and aromas that I will always associate with Christmas. Like cinnamon, oranges, anise, honey.. And a good gingerbread is a perfect combination of them all. This cake is quite extraordinary as it contains mainly rye flour. It makes it a bit denser, but it is a delicious cake. The combination of flavours will make everyone happy that Christmas is coming, even if it rains outside. It is an easy cake and it’s perfect to make when you are waiting for a recipe for an aged gingerbread (coming next week!) or to change into muffins and take for your work Christmas party.
This weekend I go fully on with baking gift cookies and will share the results very soon. It’s about time to start after all 🙂

Gingerbread cake
adapted from Christophe Felder
For the cake:
  • 100 ml milk,
  • 1 tbsp. star anise,
  • 240 g honey,
  • 25 g all-purpose flour,
  • 150 g rye flour,
  • 25 g potato starch,
  • 11 g baking powder,
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon,
  • 1 tsp. allspice,
  • 240 g orange marmalade,
  • 2 eggs,
  • 80 g butter, softened,
  • 1 tsp. salt.
For the glaze:
  • 200 g apricot preserve,
  • 3 tbsp. orange marmalade.
  1. Bring the milk to boil in a small pan. Add the star anise, remove from the heat and infuse for 10 minutes.
  2. Warm the honey over a small heat.
  3. Whisk both types of flour, potato starch, baking powder, cinnamon and allspice in a big bowl.
  4. Add warm honey and marmalade to the dry ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  5. Stir in the eggs, butter and salt.
  6. Strain the milk to the mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into a 24 cm rectangular baking shape.
  8. Bake for an hour at 170 degrees in the middle of an oven. Check if it’s ready with a wooden skewer.
  9. Let it cool for 5 minutes in a shape.
  10. When cooled, spread the apricot jam mixed with orange marmalade on top.
Enjoy!

Pate a Choux

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Last week I promised that as soon as the December starts I will prepare you all (or nobody) for Christmas with some nice holiday recipes. But, the oven I ordered a couple of weeks ago arrived (finally!) and I just had to test it. It’s an oven in which I can actually be sure that the temperature I’m setting is the temperature inside is what I set it to be. But the best of it all is that I can actually see the baking process (my previous oven didn’t have a light inside – it was an ancient model..). Being able to add all those new variables to my recipe I decided to go for something a tiny bit more complicated – a choux pastry. I really like choux, they are so light and by them self are quite plain it’s all about the filling in this case.

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The classic dutch way is to fill the with a whipped cream. I don’t really liked whipped cream tough, never did (and as a kid I would take it very seriously to remove all the whipped cream from any dessert I would be served, even if it meant that my ice cream will be almost completely melted by that time..). So I decided to go for a vanilla pastry cream (check the recipe here). It’s perfect. If you use cornstarch it will be quite light. I made tarlettes from the cinnamon short pastry (short pastry from here with a tsp. of cinnamon and a finely grated zest from 1 orange) and filled them with the pastry cream and topped with filled choux. It was delicious. I think another great filling would be the orange cream I made here. Anyway, you can stuff them with anything. I’m really tempted to try something more savoury now and stuff them with a blue cheese cream.. Will let you know how it goes 🙂

P.S. I made the small tarlettes and have a couple leftover afterwards. They worked as a pretty awesome dessert when filled with an orange cream and covered with a caramelised sugar on top. Yum!

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Choux pastry
adapted from Christophe Felder

For the pastry:

  • 125 ml water,
  • 125 ml full fat milk,
  • 115 g of butter,
  • 1 tbsp. sugar,
  • 1 tbsp. salt,
  • 140 g of flour,
  • 5 eggs.
  1. Mix water, milk, butter sugar and salt and bring to boil over medium heat.
  2. When the mixture is boiling take it off the heat and quickly beat in the flour with a wooden spoon. Return to the heat and dry it out over medium heat for about 30 seconds, mixing constantly.
  3. Transfer the dough to a bowl to stop cooking. Let it cool a couple of minutes.
  4. Add one egg at a time to the mixture, beating it with a wooden spoon. Make sure one is fully incorporated before you add the next one. The finale dough should be really shiny and just fall out from the spoon.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag and pipe 2.5 cm circles leaving around 2.5 cm space in between.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven with bottom & top heat (don’t use the convective heat, they need to dry out) for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.
  7. When they are completely cooled use a piping bag to put the filling of your choice through the whole at the back.

Enjoy!

Gateau Basque

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Over the past weeks I explored quite some recipes for the tart pastry. They were all great and all work best for a specific purpose. One thing I learned that works perfect every time is to soften the butter. It makes mixing the pastry way easier and if you give it an at least 2 hour chilling time after mixing, you will still end up with a crumbly tart. It actually works best to make the pastry one day ahead, if you like planning your meals like I do 😉
This is the last last recipe for a tart pastry. It’s a very crumbly, almost shortbread like, pastry with an addition of ground almonds. Traditionally this cake is made in the Basque part of France. It can have two filling: a classic pastry cream or a cherry preserve. I used them both in one cake, keeping the cherries on the inside and cream on the outside of the filling.
This cake has a very nostalgic feel to it (not only to French people) and is filled with well known and comforting aromas. It’s perfect for the upcoming winter evenings.
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One more note: you will use more egg yolks than egg whites (as usually). Hold on to the whites, you can store them safely in the fridge for up to 3 days. I will soon post a nice cake recipe to use all the leftover whites 🙂

Buttery Basque Cake
adapted from Christophe Felder
For the Basque Pastry:
  • 175 g of butter, softened,
  • 125 g of sugar,
  • 85 g of ground almonds,
  • zest from 1/2 lemon, finely grated,
  • 1 egg yolk,
  • 25 g of a beaten egg (reserve the other half of the whole beaten egg for the egg glaze),
  • 225 g of flour,
  • pinch of salt.
  1. Beat together butter, sugar and ground almonds with a spatula.
  2. Mix in the lemon zest.
  3. Beat in the egg yolk and 1/2 egg.
  4. Add flour and salt and beat until smooth.
  5. Form into a flat disk, wrap in a plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
For the fillings:
  • 250 ml full fat milk,
  • 3 egg yolks,
  • 45 g of sugar,
  • 20 g of flour,
  • 30 ml of dark rum,
  • 120 g cherry preserve (not too sweet).
  1. Bring the milk to boil over a medium heat.
  2. Whisk the egg yolk with the sugar and flour. Mix until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Slowly add the egg mixture to the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until it thickens.
  4. Add the rum and continue cooking for a minute (still whisking). Take off the heat.
  5. Cover the cream directly with a plastic wrap and cool in a room temperature.
Assemble the cake:
  1. Cut the dough in a half. Roll out one half to about 4 mm thick. Transfer into a 24 cm tart pan with a removable bottom. Cut the sides to the tart form (Note: You should make the sides a bit thicker, so that you can glue the top and the bottom of the cake together easily – do that by making a rope from the leftover dough and place it around the tart form).
  2. Dip you finger in water and lightly moisten the edge of the crust (the top of the rope). Prick the base with a fork.
  3.  Spoon the pastry cream on the outside of the tart.
  4. Spread the cherry preserve in the centre.
  5. Roll out the second piece of pastry (until 4 mm thick).
  6. Place it delicately on the top of the tart and trim the edge with a side of the rolling pin.
  7. Brush the top of the cake with an egg glaze.
  8. If you want you can make a pattern with a fork.
  9. Bake for 30 min at 180 degrees in the middle of an oven.
  10. Cool in the tart form.
Enjoy!
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