December 19, 2012

Poppy seed meringue kisses

Somehow I have the feeling, that until Christmas I won't have time for the blog, but I hope to be back shortly after, if not on the blog, for sure you'll find me here. The reason is pretty simple: there are still a lot of things that need to be organised. The plan is to bake some cookies on Friday, then on Saturday I am going to get all the ingredients I need  for the menu, that is still haven't been planned... Not to mention that the traditional beigli is also have to be baked, but that is gonna be done on Sunday. Only snow is missing! So therefore I baked these tiny meringue kisses, that remind me in some way of snow. Altough, I am not big fan of meringue, but I know already now, that these are going to be great on one or the other dessert during the holidays. Merry Christmas to everyone!

60 g egg whites
60 g sugar
50 g icing sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Preheat the oven to 100°C. Beat egg white with a pinch of sugar until half stiff, then keep on beating and while that add sugar in small portions. Once the egg white is stiff fold in the icing sugar, cornstarch and poppy seeds. Pipe meringue in any shape you like onto a baking paper covered sheet and bake for 1-2 hours depending on the size you have choosen. Once ready, turn off the oven and leave the meringue kisses to cool down inside it.

December 14, 2012

Speculoos Cookies

A spicy and crunchy cookie that you can't resist! With a glass of cold milk is just perfect, as most of the cookies, but still there is something special about speculoos. These thin biscuits are made of brown sugar, butter, flour and that glorious spice mixture containing: cinnamon, clove, ginger, white pepper, cardamom, nutmeg. If you want it to be really heavy add some anise and coriander seeds as well, like it is common in the Netherlands and Germany. The Belgian version is a lot less spicy, sometimes even no spices at all. There is also a version with almond flour and thinly sliced almonds. Once the cookies start baking your whole house is going to smell like a gingerbread house!

for the spice mixture:
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon anise
1/2 teaspoon coriander
for the speculoos:
(based on a recipe by Alain Ducasse)
140 g butter, room temperature
250 g brown sugar
250 g flour
2 g baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon spice mixture
1-2 tablespoons water

To make the spice mixture ground coriander, anise seeds and white pepper. Once done blend it with the rest of the spices. For the pastry whisk butter with brown sugar until fluffy, then add the rest of the ingredients and knead a dough. Chill for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out pastry about 2 mm thick and cut it with any type of cookie cutter. Bake for about 10 minutes and store in an air-thight container.

December 12, 2012

Chocolate mousse entremets with mango cream on coconut joconde

There is still plenty of time to test some ideas before the holidays, so I decided to try the crème anglaise based chocolate mousse. I also found a mango in the fridge and prepared a crème pâtissière based mango cream that it is hidden in the middle of the entremets. I must say, that the pate a bombe based mousse is still my favourite chocolate mousse, this one is very very intense, almost like a truffle, but still very light and fluffy. Therefore I really suggest to serve these little cakes with a nice portion of mango coulis.


for 8 round moulds á 7,5x5,5 cm

for the coconut joconde:
3 egg whites
15 g sugar
100 g ground almond
100 g shredded coconut
125 g icing sugar
3 eggs
40 g flour
for the mango cream:
150 g mango
150 g cream
3 egg yolks
50 g sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 g powdered gelatin
for the chocolate mousse:
125 ml milk
125 ml cream
3 egg yolks
20 g sugar
350 g dark chocolate
400 g cream
2 gelatine sheets

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Beat egg whites to soft peaks, add sugar and beat until stiff. Ground almond together with the coconut. Beat eggs with icing sugar until fluffy, stir in the coconut-almond mixture and the flour. Finally fold in the beaten egg white and pour batter onto a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Bake for 7-10 minutes, then let it cool on a wrack. Cut 8 rounds out of it and place them into the bottom of the cake rings.
Puree mango. Mix powdered gelatin with 1-2 tablespoons of water and let it stand for 10 minutes. Bring cream with vanilla to the boil. Whisk sugar with egg yolks until pale and add hot cream while whisking. Put it back to the stove and stir once in a while until it reaches
85°C. Then whisk in the gelatine, remove from the stove and stir in the mango puree. Pour it into about 5 cm diameter hemisphere silicon forms and chill, then freeze for 20 minutes, unmold and put it onto the bottom of the coconut joconde. 
To make the mousse: whisk egg yolks with sugar until fluffy. Bring cream and milk to the boil, then add it to the beaten egg yolks while whisking. Put it back to the stove and when it reaches 85°C add chopped chocolate and the previously soaked gelatine and whisk until everything is molten. Finally fold in the beaten cream. The next day put it into the freezer for 2 hours and unmold cakes with a help of a hair drier, that way it is going to slip out of the ring smoothly.

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