August 31, 2008

Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé - Daring Bakers

This month's challenge is hosted by Meeta of What's For Lunch Honey? and Tony of Tony Tahhan. After it was announced I could hardly wait to bake them because éclairs are my favourite dessert. I knew these going to be gorgeous! It was a lot of fun preparing them, altough they were a bit wrinkled on the top, so I used the bottom for the glaze. The filling is so chocolaty, so creamy and light, perfect! The whole bunch of éclairs were gone in less than ten minutes!!! Luckily I had guests, so I did not eat all by myself, which otherwise would have definitely been the case because this is the only dessert I can not resist.

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with

waxed or parchment paper.
2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.
3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the

bottoms with the pastry cream.
3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar

• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to
medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.
3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in
the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.
4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.
5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream

• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly
begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

August 30, 2008

Cinnamon Snails

Well it is not that I have not been cooking recently, but I had no time for posting. Besides next week there is a big challenge waiting for me...but about that I am going to post later. When I moved to Switzerland I was surprised that they only sell nut snails here. Being a Hungarian I am spoiled with the huge selection of snails: cocoa, coconut, chocolate, cinnamon and so on. As cinnamon is my all time favourite spice that is why I baked my "snails" with a cinnamon-sugar filling instead of the popular cocoa snail. The recipe is from Mille from Kool Kat's Kitchen Adventures.

6 and a half tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
80 g butter
1 egg

zest of 1 orange
450 g flour (+/- 10%)
20 g fresh yeast

300 ml milk
6 tablespoon sugar and 1,5 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk. Add sugar, salt, butter and orange zest. Stir in the slightly beatn egg and add flour spoon by spoon. Knead with a help of a machine for about 10 minutes. You should get a medium soft dough. Place it in an oiled bowl and let it raise until it doubles its size, about 2 hours.
Oil a working surface and roll out dough to a rectangle. Add cinnamon-sugar and roll it up.

Slice 1,5-2 cm thick snails and let it raise for another 1 and a half hour. After you either can bake it immediately or put it into the fridge and bake for breakfast: on 180°C for 20-25 minutes.

August 22, 2008

Taglierini con salsa di noci

Finally I own a pasta machine so nothing can stop me from preparing fresh pasta! I made fresh pasta already before for a lasagne al forno, but in no way it is possible to roll out the dough as thin as it is, when using a machine.

In the blog of lamiacucina I discovered an interesting pasta sauce containing walnuts, pine nuts, parmesan, pecorino, butter, basil, garlic, heavy cream and olive oil. The recipe is really simple: roast nuts and blend everything together. It is a really delicous pasta dish...just do not think about the calories while eating.

For the taglierini I used 300 g flour, 3 eggs and 3 egg yolks. Make a hole in the middle of the flour, add eggs one by one and whisk all in with a help of a fork. When the dough is getting viscous knead it with your hands until smooth. Set it aside to the fridge for 30 to 50 minutes.

Double DB: Darkest Chocolate Crêpe Cake

I still haven't baked last month's Double DB challenge, simply because I have not found the right occasion for it, yet. Now here it is the for this month: darkest chocolate crêpe cake by Martha Stewart.

Well it is simply a bomb, I could hardly eat a half slice! I am not going to prepare it again, and if than only the crêpes with some other kind of filling. It was fun making the candied hazelnuts and playing with the caramel.

August 12, 2008

Rustic Lunch

Lately I buy ingredients without a clear idea what I am going to cook. That is exactly how it was yesterday. I have seen beautiful chanterelle mushrooms, however I have no experience with them so I also bought two beautiful king trumpet mushrooms, just to be on the safe side. There was piece of pork tenderloin in the fridge, so now I only had to combine them. I remembered that I have seen somewhen on tv that they prepared meat in salt dough. This is something that I wanted to try since long, and today it was the day to do so. To pimp it up, I decided to add some hay. The pork was very tender and harmonised beatifully with the mushrooms in an improvised sauce. I served it with polenta, but instead stirring the cheese into the polenta I added it to the mushroom sauce.

1 pork tenderloin
300 g flour
300 g coarse salt

3 egg white
2 handful of hay
200 g chanterelle mushroom
2 king trumpet mushroom
2 tablespoon butter
1 shallot

50 ml white wine
100 ml chicken stock

200 ml heavy cream
3 tablespoon grated parmesan
2-3 thyme twigs
salt, pepper

Knead a dough out of egg whites, salt and flour. Roll out and place hay, meat and hay on it. Cover with another piece of dough and bake for 40-50 minutes on 180°C. Slice mushroom.
Heat butter, add chop shallot and mushroom, fry for 3-4 minutes, add wine and let it absorb. Add chicken stock and thyme, cook for a minute, add heavy cream and parmesan, let it reduce a bit. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with polenta.

August 11, 2008

No, this is not sushi!

It was already late in the evening and I wanted to fall asleep, when suddenly I have seen this dish in front of my eyes. I had no idea what to cook the next day, so I was more than happy about this unexpected inspiration. I was not sure if it is going to work out: a piece of pork filled with spinach, fried, after covered with a slice of goat cheese and sesame seeds. I was worried that the cheese going to melt and the dish will be ruined. Because the meat part of the dish was a risk I decided to serve it with something simple like mashed potatoes, but to make it more decorative I roasted slices of potato with some parmesan and piped the mashed potatoes between the slices. The whole thing needed a sauce for that I have no recipe because it was completly improvised and delicious: a bottle of red wine, chicken stock, herbs, mustard and some heavy cream.

8 slices pork cutlet
300 g spinach
piece of leek
chicken stock
salt, pepper, nutmeg
8 slices goat cheese

black and white sesame
2 eggs

Heat oil, fry leek for a minute. Add spinach and stock and let it reduce. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Fill pork and fry until ready, let it cool. Cover each roll with a sliece of cheese, flour, egg and sesame. Fry in oil while turning it often.

Say cheese!

Yesterday we made a trip to Glarus. The Canton of Glarus is a canton in east central Switzerland. The capital is Glarus. There are 25 municipalities in the canton.

The canton of Glarus is dominated by the deep valley of the Linth River. Most of the area is mountainous.

The highest peak in the Glarus Alps is the Tödi with 3614m. Other mountains include the Hausstock (3158m) and the Glärnisch (2910m). The history of this canton is dominated by religion. The inhabitants of the Linth Valley were converted to Christianity in the 6th century by the Irish monk Saint Fridolin, who is still featured in the coat of arms of the canton today. He founded Säckingen Abbey near Basel. From the 9th century, the area around Glarus was owned by the abbey. By 1288 the Habsburgs, bit by bit, claimed all the abbey's rights. This resulted in the people of Glarus joining the Swiss Confederation in 1352. (source:wikipedia)

On the way up the mountains you find sings showing the way to the cheese paradise, where farmers sell their selfmade Alp cheese. Of course one may not get back home without a tasty
piece of cheese.

August 10, 2008


Aranygaluska is a rich yeast-raised Hungarian dessert flavored with walnuts served with vanilla sauce. The yeast-raised dumplings are squished together in a baking pan, brushed with melted butter, sprinkled with grated walnut and vanilla sugar. I think it is best eaten lukewarm with ice cold vanilla sauce.


For the vanilla sauce:
500 ml milk
2 egg yolk

50 g sugar
1 teaspoon flour
1 vanilla pod

For the vanilla sauce mix egg yolk with 100 ml milk, sugar and flour. Bring the rest of the milk with the vanilla pod and vanilla to boil and add to the egg yolk mixture hot. Put back to the stove and stir as long as you see it gets thick. Let it cool.

For the aranygaluska:

500 g flour
20 g fresh yeast
2 egg yolks
300 ml milk
60 g butter
50 g powder sugar
200 g walnut
150 g sugar
80 g butter

Mix 100 ml lukewarm milk with 1/4 teaspoon sugar, yeast and 3 tablespoon flour. Whisk sugar with egg yolks, add milk and salt. Make a mold in the flour, add milk-yeast mixture and the egg yolk mixture. Knead a dough and knead in lukewarm, melted butter. Let it raise for an hour. Butter a baking form and sprinkle with sugar and walnut. With a help of a spoon cut small chuncks and roll in walnut-sugar. Sprinkle sugar and walnut and melted butter on each layer. Bake for 55 minutes on 160°C.

August 9, 2008

Pimp your fish 'n' chips!

Pacific cod caught by trawl or Atlantic cod

Pacific cod caught by longline

The plan was: fish 'n' chips, but unexpected some guests were standing in the door and I did not want to serve this dish in the traditional way. So I figured out an emergency plan: use wein instead of beer, slice potato thin, yeah sounds good so far--I thought, okay what else? some vegetables and so my pimped fish 'n' chips was born.

4 cod fillet
240 g flour
250 ml white wine
2 eggs
2-3 thyme twigs
salt, pepper
200 g bacon

250 g green and purple beans
1 carrot
150 g pea
vegetable stock
juice of 1 lemon

lemon pepper


Cook beans in salted water. Heat butter, fry bacon until nice and crispy. Set aside Add sliced carrot, peas and beans. Add some stock and let it absorb. Season with lemon juice and lemon pepper. Add fried bacon.
Whisk egg yolk, flour, wine, salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Stir in beaten egg white. Cover fish with batter and deep fry in oil. Slice potato thin and deep fry in oil.

Beans, eggs and berries

In an earlier post I wrote about the villages where many farmers sell their goodies, and I could not wait to get back there.

This time I could not resist and bought a lot of green and purple beans. The green beans were so tender and had a wonderful taste. These were the best I have ever ate!

In search for some milk, which I did not get because it was already too late, I found a beautiful piece of bacon and cheese from the Alps. Of course a bunch of eggs must have been taken home among some berries.

Plum Jam

I bought some beautiful plums, however they were very sour, so that is why I decided to cook some jam.

800 g plum
350 g sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Slice plum and bring it to boil, cook for 15 mintues on low heat. Add sugar and cinnamon stick. Cook for another 45 minutes while stirring it often. Before putting it into a jar puree with a help of a mixer and cook for another 10 mintues.

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