Monday, 25 November 2013

Meyer Citron Macarons

Today is nearly the end of!  I haven't been update my blog for quite and now I am back :) Last few months was really busy for me doing my another job but now I am good and ready again to start-up fire baking again! Meyer lemon is one of my favorite citrus fruit for cooking and baking, a bit sweeter than normal lemon, they used to be not easy to get hold of but now many places carry them. Meyer lemon tart is one of my lovely treats.... but today I am going to make a small and cute sweetie.... Meyer Citron macarons. I really can't wait after such a long time of making macarons and ready to jump in my kitchen now!

First thing first is to make my macaron shells. There is no change at all for my tant pout tant , however weather is getting much colder now and I have to adjust my oven temperature a bit in order to make my shells come out nicely. Also, I have to be extra careful not overbake them... a brownish-lemony-macaron will looks a bit weird. Hmm, they look nice and so cute and are ready to be filled up with my lovely Meyer lemon ganache.

I have tried a few different fillings for lemony macarons like la crème de citron (lemon cream)crème au beurre de citron (lemon butter cream) .... La crème de citron taste great but have to eat them fast otherwise they will become soggy, crème au beurre de citron taste good too but somewhat heavy for my liking.  Finally I settle with a lovely Meyer lemon ganache, infused with Meyer lemon and its zest.  Let me fill them up quickly and they looks so lovely, bright and light.... as usual, let them sit a bit before I can taste them!

Haven't tried any new macarons come out of my oven for a while and I am super super excited! Let me try one bite now....hmm fantastic texture with a lovely Meyer lemon flavor, not very sweet and a bit brightness from lemon zest... I can have five in a row!!!


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Charlotte aux Fraises

I am feeling so bad I have not been updating since June! Last month was so so busy busy for me.... holidays, family, friends get together.... amazing time! I can't believe is August already, time really flies! I am thinking what should I make.... hmmm maybe a Charlotte aux Fraises. I was inspired by a kind-of-deconstructed-strawberry-shortcake while I was in PEI on holidays. Of course I love my cake pretty... so no deconstruction cake for me but a beautiful one. This cake is quite simple to make, good for me to start baking after my amazing holiday and here we are....

you need
  • boudoirs (home made ladyfingers)
  • pistache crème au beurre (pistachio buttercream)
  • crème fouettée (whipped cream)
  • fraises (strawberries)
  • nappage

My first step for this delicious cake is quite easy...I lined my five inches cake mold with acetate and a layer of ladyfingers on side and bottom. Then I spread a thin layer of pistachio butter cream (my favorite!) on bottom to give more support.

Next step is making crème fouettée. I use 35% whipped cream, a bit sugar, vanille, tiny bit of Kirsch and gelatin. I find its important to have whipped cream stabilize so my cake will not collapse nor become soggy. Final touch is to fold in some fresh strawberries. Wow, my crème fouettée looks really amazing, I can't wait and taste test it a bit!
Next step is much faster than I expected. I place my crème fouettée into the middle, even it out and decorate with some fresh strawberries. This step should be quick because crème fouettée with gelatin will set in about 15 to 20 minutes.  Last thing to do is to glaze my lovely strawberries with nappage and my cake is ready to go!
Now take a look of my cake.... I add a ribbon and a bow... it looks like a pretty gift, what a beauty! I can't wait to taste it!!! Its perfect to have this cake for a hot summer day, light and fruity.... and I can lying under the sun and enjoy this cake the same time....

Time for tasting now, let me slice a piece of this lovely charlotte. Hmm.... airy and lightly sweet ladyfingers, velvet and silky cream, fresh strawberries and nutty pistachio buttercream... taste amazing!  I should make a bigger version next time cause this wonderful cake finish so so fast!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Daring Bakers' June, 2013 Challenge: Life of Pie

Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! For a chocolate and caramel lover like me, of course I pick chocolate and caramel pie (or chocolat et caramel tarte). Although I have made similar tarts before, this recipe is totally different from mine and I would love to take the challenge....and of course another treat for this week. I have all the ingredients in hand and the recipe is good enough to make two, let me start one first and save some for next week!

you need
  • pâte sablée
  • caramel
  • mousse au chocolat (chocolate mousse filling)
  • la poudre de cacao (cocoa powder)
  • one Callebaut marble callet

Instead of using tart pan in the suggested recipe, I used a 180 mm tart ring. Since I've started learning to use tart ring, I use them nearly for all kinds of tarts and pies, big or small. I had my pâte sablée dough rest a bit in fridge, then rolled it on marble and transferred it carefully to my ring, trimmed my shell nicely, docked its bottom and its ready to bake. See... my pie shell looks great, it should come out nicely very soon... after baking I let my shell rest a bit and I have second step waiting...

Next step is making caramel. I used to kind of stay away from caramel or something alike. Because in my past time I always thought its kind of difficult and dangerous! But now I am quite comfortable making it. For this caramel, I use a simple dry method and heavy cream. Wow, its amber colour looks really amazing!
Let me pick up the pace and fast forward my steps a bit... I filled my already lightly baked pie shell with caramel, then mousse au chocolat on top and back into oven for another 30 minutes... I use 72% Valrhona Araguani for this mousse, I love its dark yet fruity flavor! When the pie is done, its may still looks a bit jiggling a bit. I let it cool off and decorated it with cocoa powder and a marble chocolate callet.

I really want to taste my pie now but I am too tired to move....even pick up my knife how about chocolate pie for breakfast?  Sounds like a great idea... when I woke up its next morning already! I feel I have so much energy and refresh now... Okay, tasting time.... hmm rich and decadent dark chocolate mousse, amazing caramel with a light and crumbly crust!  I can have this pie for my daily breakfast!!


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Framboise Macarons.....French meringue version

Me and my friends were talking about making macarons the other day... and we went through about French meringue method. Our conservation reminds me I haven't use this method for ages... now I only use sucré cuit (or Italian meringue) method for my macarons. But why not make some with French meringue for fun? I spare no time and like old memories... French meringue macarons again! I should say this method takes less time since I don't have to cook sugar but macaronage sometimes maybe nerve let me start!

First thing first is to make my tant pout tant, I incorporated a bit raspberry into it and my shells look nice! Since there is no cooked sugar, my macarons shells look a bit coarse compare to those make with sucré cuit. Actually the macaronage is quite straight forward, I fold my TPT until right consistency then that's it... my experince is don't over or under work my tant pour tant. See, they look nice on my silpat now and ready to bake.

Baking French meringue based macarons is similar to those with sucré cuit. I just have to keep an eye on them, cause their color may change more easily. Let see how they looks, wow amazing shells! However, they usually looks not as smooth as those made with sucré cuit, but this method realy save time and hassle to handle hot sugar! Okay, I let my macaron shells cooling rack and ready to be filled with raspberry ganache.

Tasting time now! Hmm... they are amazing! Other than methods, French meringue based macarons do taste a bit different from sucré cuit ones... French one's shells are a bit thinner and inside a tiny bit softer too, vs sucré cuit ones has crispier, smoother and more pretty shells yet still chewy. Anyway, its okay for me as long as I have my treats!


Friday, 7 June 2013

Eden - Framboise et Pistache Gâteau

Eden... Garden of Eden, paradise, ultimate happiness... long list of definition, I think I will choose all of them for this cake. Since last time I had my macaron-based cake Harmonie... this is the one I will keep in my recipe book! An amazing cake made with all flavors I love, raspberries, pistachios, crème au beurre, ganache... a paradise for me! If making macaron is challenging, making a macaron cake is even more challenging, but luckily I succeed! I have tried a few times but they didn't look pretty to me at and I just ate them as snack. Also, to get it ready at its peak time to enjoy is another whole story... I can say this Eden cake is amazing and I will definitely make it again for some special occasions!

You need

two 12 cm raspberry macaron discs
pistache ganache
pistache crème au beurre (pistachio butter cream)
framboise gelée (raspberry gelee)
fresh raspberries
one pinkpeppercorn raspberry macaron (or your choice)

First thing to do is to bake two raspberry macaron discs. I use a bit raspberry in my tant pour tant to enhance my cake flavor, however the batter has to be a bit thicker than that for normal macarons. See, I piped a giant pink-flattened-snail on my Silpat! Looks kind of funny... I let them rest for a while and  bake them as usual.

After my macaron discs cooled off, next step is to assemble my cake. I got my mise en place first and laid down one disc and piped a small ring of pistachio ganache. Then a circle of fresh raspberries was laid gently and secured on on top of it. Don't know why this picture turns out a bit yellowish... hmm maybe the light???

This step is more fun part... I piped a thin layer of pistachio butter cream inside my raspberries circle, and put a small disc of raspberry gelée in the centre. My cake is coming to shape now! I prefer to have my filling have a nice mouth feel, so my raspberry gelée is made of fresh raspberry puree, sugar and gellan. This gelée may looks a bit firm but when I bite into it, it just get soft and become liquify... hard to describe it but taste amazing!

Okay, my cake is nearly finish. I piped more butter cream on top of the gelée, another circle of pistachio ganache on the raspberries, then I gently laid another macaron disc on top. Another dot of ganache on top, last but not least, I decorated my cake with a small pinkpeppercorn raspberry macaron and my Eden cake is done! But still, I need to wait a bit to let its flavors blend together before I can taste it. Story continues, my friend came over for dessert after dinner and I can finally taste my cake. Omg, its wonderful... all the flavors and different textures blend together taste like paradise. I should have take a picture but it finished very fast.....


Monday, 3 June 2013

Lavande et Earl Grey Macarons

Earl Grey tea is one of my favorites. I think I make Earl Grey tea nearly everyday. But so far I have tried many different brands and I love Kusmi and Mariage Frères the most. I make this special macaron which combines two of my flavors I love into a harmony... lavande and Earl Grey. Its amazing to have the strong Earl Grey go with aroma of lavender... like having a small pretty tea treats in my hands, and they looks so pretty...another plus. I can't wait and head straight to kitchen now!

Its my first time using my new food processor bowl, it arrived just in time. I think I can still use my old one to make something not as delicate as macarons. This time I use dried lavender for my tant pout tant for some really nice lavander aroma. I also tint them a bit for a nice lavender color. Wow, they look nice on my silpat now and ready to go.... into my oven.

Baking this amazing macarons shells is same as my other macarons, just have to be careful not to burn or brown them... not only lighter color, some color like lavender seems to change a bit more during baking, its important to keep an eye on them... Yeah, amazing macarons shells line-up on my cooling rack and ready to be filled.

For my Earl Grey ganache, I infused it with my favorite Kusmi Earl Grey noir... the flavor of tea is strong and yet not overpowering, just perfect with a bit aroma from my lavender shells. See how pretty they looks! Let me taste them, a pack of amazing tea flavor, like a cup of tea in my fingers, only one word - fantastique! I should have a few more with my tea...


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Gâteau Breton

Gâteau Breton or Brittany butter cake has become one my latest favorite cakes. When I first saw this recipe, I think hmm.. maybe its just another butter cake but I am glad I was wrong. Its much more than that, taste exceptional rich in butter and has a texture in between shortbread and pound cake. Kind of hard to describe, crumbly and a bit chewy.... but I can only say this cake is amazingly delicious. Although it look kind of huge but it stays good at room temperature for couple weeks and its buttery flavor gets better with time too. Okay let me start some baking now!

Ingredients of this cake is really simple, I have flour, sugar, egg yolks, pinch of baking powder,  vanilla extract and beurre salé (salted butter). The most important thing is to use a high percentage butterfat butter, luckily I have some 84% fat salted butter in hand. First thing is to blend everything in a large bowl, I use a scraper to mix everything together. Its better to use a scraper than a standing mixer, but at the end my hands are a bit tired... that's the traditional way.

Next step is a easy step. I scrape my cake dough into an eight inch fluted tart pan (a traditional shape) and smooth the top. Then glaze the top with some reserved egg yolks and use a fork to make lines on top. My Gâteau Breton looks very pretty now... everything is ready and time for baking. I baked mine in 350 F oven for about 35 to 40 minutes until the top of my cake looks crispy brown (or lighter color depends on what you would like) and its side starts pulled away from my tart pan.

My buzzer went off and now its time to get my cake out of oven. Hmm..its smells so good! I let it sits for about thirty minutes and release it from my pan. Wow! Looks perfectly pretty with a shiny layer on top, see its crumbly side too? I can't wait to try it now but have to let it cool completely. I better go do something to take my mind off about my lovely Gâteau Breton for now. What I am going to do ....?

Yeah, tasting time now! I have my coffee ready, let me cut a slice to see how my cake looks. Oh, it looks perfect and smell so so good. Its rich yellow color from creamy-rich butter and egg yolks is really attractive, I can't wait and have a bite.  Hmm, taste amazing... crumbly yet a bit cakey, plus a bit caramelized outer shell make this Gâteau Breton fantastic! I hope it can last for a while...


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Macaron à la Rose

Macaron à la Rose... sounds like a magic tune to me! A tune that will make me happy :) I think I will never get tired of making them, they look so pretty, smell and taste so good. Whenever I am low in stock of rose macarons, its time to make another batch no matter how busy I am. This time I would like to have more intense rose with a bit fruity tease for my rose macarons. Hopefully, I make enough for this coming long-weekend... maybe have only one a day!

Its always fun and delightful to make these cute rose macarons, more the better. But I need to get another food processor to grind my almonds, maybe just to replace my old one or help me to speed up my time. I use organic rose petals for my tant pout tant as they always give me best rose flavor and a little hint of slight pink to my shells. They look nice on my silpat now and soon ready to bake... can't wait!

This couple days we have some pretty nice weather which help for baking, especially for macarons, they don't like humid weather at all.... Okay, baking is done, wow! A perfect army of rosy macaron shells are ready for service! In the mean time, let me get my fruity tease ready for them...
This time I use an intense rose ganache which has rose water and natural rose extract, but I have to be careful not making it taste like hand cream... although I love rose hand cream. To balance out sweetness of my ganache, I have raspberry gelée as my fruity tease. I really like Pierre Hermé's philosophy of playing and balancing out flavors... I love to incorporate it in my version... Lets see how my macaron à la Rose taste... hmm.. wonderful intense rose flavor... taste so amazing that make me smile!


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Canelés de Bordeaux, copper episode...

Here is my other post about lovely Canelés. As promised from my other post about making them with silicone mold, this time I finally get my hands on these copper molds for Canelés. Cause they are not easy to locate locally, I ordered these fantastic two inches standard Mauviel canelé molds with tinned interior online. Couldn't wait to open the box when they arrived... looks fantastic and much bigger than the mini silicone ones I use... maybe one or two is good enough for my tea time. 

See how nice the molds are... they looks so shiny, perfect and heavy too! But before I can bake anything, I have to season them first. I need to bake them with some oil in my oven for about an hour....then they are ready! 

Next step is a bit more tricky. Traditional Canelés not only have to use copper mold, and also use a kind of beewax coating in order to bake perfect Canelés. I have been struggled a bit about using beewax or not cause some recipes called for just plain butter for lining the molds. As to stick to tradition and my desire for perfect Canelés, I go with beewax coating.  Luckily, I get some organic food grade beewax... have my beewax coating ready and coat the molds slightly... they looks really nice and ready to bake.

Let me fast forward a bit... after making batter, baking for high temperature for a while and its time to see my Canelés. Since they need to be turned out rightaway after baking, I make sure I won't burn myself as the molds are extremely hot... Wow, my Canelés looks perfect! Nice dark brown colour and they smell really wonderful! Okay, let them sit a bit on the rack before I get a bite...

Omg! They taste soooo... good! A very crispy shells with rich caramelized flavor and extremely creamy custardy inner fluffy texture. I can't just have one and I ate two... hmm so satisfying! I think my copper molds really pay off for these perfect, cute and delicious Canelés, although they are expensive but worth my money. From now on... copper mold  is my way for Canelés! Maybe I should get some more molds...


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Japonais Sésame Noir Grillées Macarons

Roasted Japanese black sesame... a very interesting ingredient, I should say you either love it or not crazy about it. But I really love it, an amazing seeds which taste both good for savory and sweet stuff. Of course for an adventurous girl like me I would definitely try it in my favorite treats... macarons... and this wonderful ingredient turn out into a great, bold and amazing taste!

Making this asian flavor macaron shells is fun and exciting. In order to have strong flavor, I incorporate enough roasted black sesame in my tant pout tant. Let me sprinkle more on top, maybe a little overkill but they do looks nice!

Baking these little cuties is straight forward, but I need to keep and eye don't let them burnt! Okay, here they are! My roasted Japanese black sesame macaron shells looks perfect, let me assemble them together and I can taste them very soon... 
Making filling for these cuties took me a while to figure out what will be good. Eventually, I find roasted black sesame ganache goes really well with these amazing shells. Now, tasting time... just a small bite... a huge burst of roasted Japanese black sesame is dancing in my mouth! Let me make a green tea to go with this little treat!