Posts Tagged 'France'

Rando Tuesdays: Leftovers – Tarte Au Citron

There aren’t many moments in my life in which I think to myself, “I have arrived. I have actually arrived,” but let me tell you. Eating a lemon meringue tart in my very own hotel room overlooking the streets of Paris after a day full of shopping was one of those moments. I don’t even feel foolish telling you that.

Ok, I feel a little foolish telling you that, but come on! It was awesome! And just to clarify, I have definitely not arrived. Mostly in every sense of that phrase.

I had tart dough left over from yesterday, and I was so pleased with the way the rhubarb tart turned out that I couldn’t even wait to continue trying out recipes. This tart was just a mini experiment, so don’t mind the pastry edges. Also, the meringue was not as perfect as yesterday’s. I think my bowl was not clean (Lauren 3 Meringues 3). The filling itself was divine, and you get to use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue. Everyone loves a kitchen torch. Surrously.

Enjoi,

L

Tarte Au Citron

Patched together from The Great British Bake Off

For the crust:

See yesterday’s recipe.

For the lemon tart filling:

5 free-range eggs
125ml/4fl oz double cream
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 lemons, juice and zest
icing sugar, for dusting

For the meringue:

See yesterday’s recipe.

Roll out the pastry dough until it is bigger than your tart pan. Carefully lift the tin base off the work surface, drop it into the tin, then ease the pastry into the corners and up the sides of the tin, pressing the overhang lightly over the rim. If the pastry has cracked at all, simply press it together to seal. Press the pastry into the flutes of the tin then lightly prick the base with a fork, but not quite all the way through. Place the pastry-lined tin on a baking tray, cover loosely with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Remove the cling film from the pastry case and line with foil so it supports the sides, then fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 12-15 minutes, until the pastry is set, then lift out the foil and beans. Carefully trim the excess pastry from the sides using a sharp knife, holding the knife at a sharp angle and slicing away from you. Remove the trimmings from the sheet. Return the empty pastry case to the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until it is pale golden and completely dry. Set aside to cool while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

For the filling, break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together with a wire whisk. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and whisk again until they are all well combined. Pour the filling mixture into a jug, then into the cooled baked pastry case. To prevent it spilling as it goes in the oven, pour in most of the filling so it almost fills the tart, carefully sit the baking sheet and tart on the oven shelf, then top up with the rest of the filling to completely fill it. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until just set but with a slight wobble in the centre.

Once cool, remove the tart from the pastry case and pipe meringue over the top in shells. Use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue slightly. Serve.

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Pipe Dream #124: To Spare No Expense – Menton

Cost of the bus traveling through Monaco, Cannes and Menton: 1 euro.

Cost of the pair of tights that got wrecked because I walked in the ocean: 2 euros.

Visiting Menton: Priceless.

Ya’ll know I gotta drop cents when I travel.

L

Rando Tuesdays: Fake Frugality Continued – Quick Cherry Clafoutis

In my ongoing attempt to rid myself of various cans of fruit pie filling and find the perfect crumble, I present to you Quick Cherry Clafoutis.

A clafoutis is like crepe batter poured over fruit and baked. The batter sinks all the way down through the fruit and puffs up like a dense pancake. It is French, and it is yummy. One suggestion, I tried to rid the cherries in the filling from as much of the goo as I could. Clafoutis is better made with fresh fruit, probably, but this recipe is by no means substandard.

Salut,

L

Quick Cherry Clafoutis

1 21 ounce can of cherry pie filling

1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar

3/4 (180 milliliters) milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Dump the cherry pie filling into a bowl, the transfer cherries to another bowl with to separate them from as much of the gel as possible. A little will still cling on, but that is ok, I guess. It is my recipe, after all. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until well mixed.

Spread separated cherries in the bottom of a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, and pour prepared batter over top of the cherries.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes, checking at 30 minutes. clafouti is ready when the edges are golden and knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream.

Favorite Shots: Golden Alley

I have to admit. I’ve been holding out on you. I know I showed you all those Nice shots yesterday. But I saved one. My favorite one. For today. Because today is favorite shots day. So. Hope you like it.

Pipe Dream #117: To Be Golden – Nice

Nice, France is a place that will live forever golden in my memory. It was beautiful and fresh and warm and fragrant. Which is why I have chosen to edit the photos this way. In this golden and fragrant sort of way. I hope you get a feel for it.

L

P.s. I will never really be golden. Maybe someday I will get one of those fake tan things, but for now, it’s all frecks.

Pipe Dream #116: To Pick Right – Truffled Parmesan Biscuits with Ham, Asparagus and Pesto

It just so happened that I celebrated my birthday when I visited Nice this last April (pictures to come this week). Clearly, I’ve never had it so good. I didn’t make myself a cake, I didn’t plan my own party. I just had to choose the restaurant, which is actually kind of a big deal if you are on vacation with your friends. I mean, if the biggest thing you have to worry about is which fabulous restaurant to pick among hundreds, I’d say you’re doing pretty well, but it’s still a lot of pressure, trying to make everyone happy and all that. But I didn’t worry too much. It was my birthday.

Anyway, we went to this place called Terre de Truffes (Earth of Truffles, I think) that was totally dead (it was a Wednesday night). After debating outside for a few minutes, we decided to chance it and walked in. And we were glad.

I’ll just say this. After a full thirty minutes of poring over the menu and exclaiming over the food and gasping repeatedly at the bountiful subtler-than-garlic-but-better-than-garlic-if-you-can-believe-that offerings (things like fresh sea scallops with shaved truffles, truffle saffron reduction and truffled romano potatoes and truffled caramel baba au rhum), we finally decided. And really, there was no way we could have gone wrong. I had never had truffles before, and it is likely that I will never have such a truffle experience ever again. Especially considering the bill for three…but it was totally worth it.

So imagine my surprise when I got home. My mother had bough a whole bottle of truffle oil without even knowing my newfound truffle love! Needless to say, I was very pleased and even more pleased when I found this truffle biscuit recipe.

These biscuits are easy to prepare and turn out very flaky. Make sure your biscuit dough is cold, and you’re golden. Add some accompanying flavors and you have a whole meal deal. Plus the experience of a truffle lifetime. I’m sure you could make them with regular olive oil too, but really, just get some truffle oil. It will change you for the better.

OH,

L

Truffled Parmesan Biscuits with Ham, Asparagus and Pesto

Adapted from aspicyperspective

For the biscuits:

2 cups  all-purpose flour
1-½ tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to sprinkle on top
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into cubes
¾ cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon shaved truffle (or 1 teaspoon truffle oil)
⅓ cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter, or egg wash

For the rest of it:

1 cup pesto, fresh or jarred (I used a dehydrated sundried tomato pesto)

12 slices ham, proscuitto, or whatever else you have around

4 or 5 asparagus spears, cut into 2 inch pieces

Heat oven to 450ºF with the rack in the center.

Using a food processor, pulse all the dry ingredients together. Add the butter and shortening, then pulse until it resembles course chopped nuts. Add the buttermilk, truffles and Parmesan, then pulse again until it forms moist clumps.

Dump the wet dough onto a well floured surface. Flour your hands and press the dough into an even rectangle, 1 1/4 inch high. Use a 2-inch cutter to cut the biscuits. Gather the scraps, press and cut again; you should have 12 biscuits all together. (Try to cut as many in the first round as possible. The second batch will be slightly tougher.)

Using the melted butter or egg wash, brush the top of each biscuits and place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Lightly sprinkle them with sea salt and bake for 10-12 minutes.

While the biscuits are baking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil (or truffle oil) in a frying pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, chuck in the asparagus and season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until the spears have turned bright green and are slightly tender. They should not be super soft.

While the biscuits are warm, crack them open and smear them with pesto. Then layer a piece of prosciutto and three asparagus chunks on each biscuit and place the top back on.

Pipe Dream #114: To Stay Flated – Choux Chantilly (Cream Puffs)

I will tell you tomorrow how obsessed I was with these pastries. But until I reveal my ultimate shame, I suggest you find out for yourself how easy this pastry is to work with and how addicting these little babies can become.

Especially if you have some spare strawberries lying around.

I have to say, pastry dough in any form is usually pretty intimidating to me. You know, don’t chill it for long enough or handle it too much and it’s all to waste. But all you really need to watch with choux dough is its consistency. It should be really soft, but not so soft that you can’t pipe it into shapes. They key is to add the eggs slowly and test the consistency often. If you pull a spoon out of the dough, the tip of the peak should fall over. If it stands up, you need more eggs.

Also make sure to bake the choux to an even golden brown–no light sides. They’ll deflate like a week-old birthday balloon if they have light sides. Sad, really. But once that is out of the way, you’re really golden any way you look at it.

Oh dear,

L

Choux Chantilly

Adapted from Food Network

1 cup water
3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon salt (for sweet)
1 teaspoon salt (for savory)
5 3/4 ounces flour
1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Boil water, butter, and salt or sugar. Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together and return to heat. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 or 4 minutes.

With mixer on stir or lowest speed add eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing. Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth put dough into piping bag fitted with a round tip.

Pipe immediately into golfball-size shapes, 2 inches apart onto parchment lined sheet pans. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Once they are removed from the oven pierce with a paring knife immediately to release steam.

When cool, whip 1 cup (or more as needed) heavy cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. When ready to serve, cut the cream puffs in half and pipe cream onto the bottom halves of the pastries. Replace top half and dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately, as the pastry will become soggy once it is filled.


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