September 28, 2011

Elderberry Tartelettes

Sunday mornings usually we take our dog to a creek so that she has the possibility to swim. However, she have never swum so far, but still she enjoys chasing the ball in the water, at least as long as she can feel the bottom under her feet. Last weekened, I have discovered an elder shrub with a lot of gorgeous purple berries. Of course I had to collect a few!  I was wondering for quite a while about what I should prepare, because I had too little for cooking a jam or making syrup. Luckily, once more some leftover shortcrust pastry saved me and brought me the idea of elderberry tartelettes.

(for 8 12 cm tartelettes)
150 g elderberry
70 ml apple juice
50 g icing sugar
2 leaves gelatine
100 g mascarpone
100 g cream

Bring elderberries with the apple juice and sugar to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes, then puree and strain it through a fine sieve. Stir in the previously soaked gelatine and whisk until it melts. Let the puree cool. Beat cream and stir it to the mascarpone, then mix it together with the eldeberry puree. Fill the prebaked tartalettes shelles and chill for a few hours before serving.

September 27, 2011

Béarnaise sauce

Sometimes it is just impossible to resist a piece of beef served with the classic sauce Béarnaise. The sauce was probably first made by the chef Collinet and was served at the  opening of "Le Pavillon Henri IV" in 1836. Like Hollandaise sauce, Béarnaise sauce is an emulsion of butter in egg yolks. Such emulsions require some practice to prepare properly, so if you want to be on the safe side then use a bain marie. The prime dangers are curdling the egg yolk mixture through excessive heat, and separation of the emulsion by rushing the addition of clarified butter.

150 g butter
4 egg yolks
1 shallot
5-6 white peppercors
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons fresh tarragon
lemon juice
salt, pepper

Chop shallot, crush pepercorns and cook it together with the vinegar until you have about a tablespoon. Sieve it and let it cool. Add water, egg yolks and whisk it together over low heat until it has emulsified. Then remove it from from the heat and stir in clarifed, molten butter. If you want your sauce less thick, reduce the amount of butter. Season with salt, pepper, a touch of lemon juice and freshly chopped tarragon.

September 23, 2011

Spicy Fig Chutney

If I am not mistaking, last autumn figs were everywhere available, however this year I had some trouble finding fresh and good quality figs. Last weekend all of a sudden I've found myself in the fig paradise, and noone could stop me! I love figs, such a gorgeous fruit! I was even lucky enough to find some fresh dates. I have been seeking for those for ages! After wondering how I should combine the two delicious fruits, I had the idea of a spicy fig chutney with dates. And it indeed was a great one! It goes just perfectly well with cheese!

450 g figs
100 g fresh dates
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
5-6 coriander seeds
star anise
piece of cinnamon
150 ml whie port wine
50 ml sherry vinegar
50 g sugar

Chop the figs and the dates. Melt sugar over low heat, add fruit and caramelise. Pour vinegar over it, let it reduce, then add wine, spices and cook for 25-30 minutes. Pour it hot into jars.

September 22, 2011

Coffee-Marsala Fig Tartelettes

Well, that is more than obivious that lately desserts are dominating my blog, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are a few reasons for that, one is that I am pretty uninspired at the moment, on the other hand I simply have no time. But still there is hope! Yesterday, I was kissed by a muse, that means that at least now I have an idea, now I only have to work it out. Anyway, now let's see the tartelettes. I prepared them using leftovers, even the cream was a leftover, but I have made a few changes. The pâte brisée recipe I used this time is by Pierre Hermé. I have no idea if I have ever made that one before, but it rocks. But feel free to use your favourite.


So, the tartelettes are filled with a coffe-marsala and mascarpone cream. The cream is based on a pastry cream to which I added a coffee-marsala sabayon, mascarpone and some whipped cream. As far as the figs are concerned feel free to use it in any way you desire. For example you can use fresh figs, or some caramelised, or in Marsala marinated. The highlight could be a caramlised fig which is flambéed with Marsala. At the end I sprinkled it with chopped pistachios and decorated with coffee meringue.

for the pastry cream:
55 g sugar
8 g flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
175 m milk
for the sabayon:
2 egg yolks
50 g sugar
30 ml Marsala
30 ml coffee
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 g mascarpone
100 ml cream


In a heavy bottomed saucepan whisk together the sugar, flour, vanilla extract, egg yolk and half of the milk. When it is mixed well, add the rest of the milk and bring it to cook over low heat and cook it until it has thickened. Set aside and let it cool. For the sabayon prepare a bain marie, then whisk together all the ingredients and beat it over steam until it thickens and become shiny and creamy. Mix it with the pastry cream, stir in the mascarpone and the beaten cream. You may beat the cream with some sugar if desired. Pour cream into the blind baked tartelette shells and chill for a few hours. Serve with fresh figs, meringue and chopped pistachios.

September 20, 2011

Almond Milk Panna Cotta

The other day, while listening to the pouring rain, I was wondering what dessert should I prepare that contains no eggs. Not that I'd had any problems with eggs, in fact my fridge is full with eggs, but those are already planned to be used for something else. Suddenly, I had the idea of a panna cotta, but the cream bothered me a tiny bit. I did not want to use too much cream, after all once in a while one should care about those calories, right? So I decided to use almond milk in order to reduce the fat and also to taste that elegant fragrance of the almonds served simply with some fresh raspberries.

200 ml almond milk
100 ml cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons amaretto
2 sheets gelatine

Soak gelatine in cold water. Bring almond milk, cream and sugar to the boil. When boiling remove it from the heat and stir in gelatine. Add amaretto and pour it into four ramequins or coffee cups. Chill for at least 3 hours or over night.

September 8, 2011

Tea Custard and Mousse au Chocolat Tarte

Well, I was not quite sure if I should post this tarte or rather leave it. The truth is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the tarte, but I just do not like the photos of the slices. And all because I am such an impatient person! But let's start this short story at the begining. Somewhen in August I had this post about a white tea sorbet with a rich chocolate ganache, and as I loved this combination so much, I wanted to repeat it in a different way. It was one of those hot summer days when I baked this tarte and prepared the short crust pastry. I bet many of you know how difficult it is to work with a short crust pastry when it is really hot! Anyway, it worked out pretty well, so no need to complain about that. However, thanks to my impatientness the mousse au chocolat started to melt away! I have prepared the mousse hours before, then piped it on the cooled tarte. The hot weather and my warm hands made the mousse to lose its consistency, so I should have put the tarte back to the fridge. But I was so curios about the the tea custard, that I could not wait another hour for the mousse to settle again. No, no, impatient me had to slice the tarte immediately! After this kind of disastrous photo shooting, I put back the tart to the fridge and oh wonder, the mousse just was perfect in the evening. That's exactly how it supposed to look like, well next time I might have more patience! 

(for a 24 cm form)
600 ml milk
4-5 tablespoons tea leaves (any kind you prefer)
100 g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
4 eggs

Pour milk into a saucepan, add tealeaves and bring it to the boil. Remove it from the heat and let it stand for 15 minutes. Whisk egg yolks with sugar until pale, stir in cornstarch. Sieve milk and pour it over the egg yolk mixture and whisk it together. Fold in halfly beaten egg whites and pour mixture onto a blind baked tart shell. Bake it for 45-60 minutes on 110°C or until it sets.

September 7, 2011

Cream of Chanterelle Soup

Slowly, after spending a little bit more than a week in Budapest, I am getting back on track. At least I am on my way to find back to my old self. After all during the time in Hungary I enjoyed my mom's food, that of course the best on the whole world and I have almost forget to cook. Well, not quite, but still it takes some time to get back to the old routine. So this is kind of a warming up phase. I was totally happy to find these tiny chanterelle mushrooms, but I have only realised at home that those are not as cute as I saw at first sight. Therefore I decided to make a soup, instead my first plans. In this cold weather some fried bacon would go perfect with this creamy soup, but if you feel fancy serve it with Serrano or Parma have or even with Pata Negra. I absolutely had no lust to clean the mushrooms with a brush one by one so I washed them quickly in some floury water. I have seen that once in a professional kitchen, though I would not recommand this way of cleaning with any other type of mushrooms. The soup is pimped with some Marsala, lemon juice and thyme. I have added these ingredients almost right before serving.

1 onion or shallot
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons butter
400 g chanterelle mushroom
500 ml chicken stock
100 ml cream
2 twigs fresh thyme
3-4 tablespoons Marsala
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
salt, pepper

Chop onion and garlic and sautée in a tablespoon butter. Add cleaned mushroom and sautée for a few minutes, then add chicken stock and cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir in cream and puree in a mixer together with a tablespoon butter. Add thyme and let it infuse for 5-7 minutes, then remove. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and Marsala.

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