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Showing posts from 2015

Thanksgiving

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I discovered Thanksgiving when I spent my first year in Louisiana. There is nothing more reminiscent of Thanksgiving to me than a pecan pie. One bite into the buttery crust, the gooey custard, and the crunchy nuts, and I'm transported back in time, around a table filled with mashed sweet potatoes, sausage and oyster stuffing, and home-baked sourdough bread.







PASTRY DOUGH
2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil or butter, softened
1/3 cup  warm water

FILLING
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs

DIRECTIONS
Make the crust. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together and knead just long enough to combine them well. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie pl…

Lemon Almond Pound Cake (with Streusel)

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The following recipe makes 2 bundt cakes, or one large round cake. I only made half the recipe today and used a loaf pan. This is definitely not your average pound cake, but its texture is both dense and moist. The apple is completely optional. I dice it very finely so that the pieces almost melt into the batter. The crumble on top (streusel) is also optional. I just love the crunchy layer it adds this dessert. 



CAKE
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely diced (optional)

STREUSEL
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven at 325°F. Butter and flour two loaf or bundt cake pans.
For the cake batter, cream together sugar and butter. Then add yogurt (I used a Greek yogurt) and oil.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt, and add to the wet mixture alt…

Black Forest Cake (sans Kirsch)

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Here's my take on the classic Black Forest cake. Instead of the typical chocolate sponge though, I used my dark chocolate cake recipe as a base, because it always comes out so moist and flavorful. I didn't have any cherry liquor (Kirsch) in my pantry, but I did have a jar of my mom's delicious dark cherries in syrup. And I made the chantilly cream a bit denser, as I usually do, by adding cream cheese to the mix. So, like I said, not the purest form of Black Forest out there, but my own version, and it seems to please others as well!




DARK CHOCOLATE CAKE 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups granulated sugar 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1 cup strong black coffee 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
FILLING AND TOPPING
1 jar of dark cherries (preferably stoned) in syrup 1 1/3 cups liquid heavy cream (at least 30% fat), chilled 5 oz. cream cheese (or 150 grams), chil…

Decadent dark chocolate pie with fresh whipped cream

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This one's for the dark chocolate lovers out there who really want to indulge. It doesn't get better than this.



CRUST
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4cupsugar
1teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/3cupsall-purpose flour

FILLING
2 1/4cupswhole milk, divided
5large egg yolks
2/3cupwhite sugar
1teaspoonvanilla extract
6tablespoonsunsweetened cocoa powder

4teaspoonscornstarch
4ouncesbittersweet chocolate (at least 55% cocoa), chopped
3tablespoonsunsalted butter

TOPPING
2/3 cup heavy cream
5 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish.
Mix melted butter, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add flour and mix until well blended. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Bake crust until golden brown and cooked through, 18-20 minutes. Cool crust completely on rack.


Bring 2 cups milk to simmer in heavy medium saucepan; remove from heat. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 cup milk to blend i…

Pear and Almond Tart (Tarte Bourdaloue)

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This is a classic French recipe, usually made with canned pear halves in syrup. Since I found some beautiful poires Williams at the market yesterday, I decided to poach them in a simple homemade syrup instead.




CRUST
2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil or butter, softened
1/3 cup  warm water

PEARS POACHED IN SYRUP (optional)
5 firm pears
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon

FILLING
 2 eggs
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar (I used half white sugar and half dark brown sugar)
1 tablespoon of rhum


DIRECTIONS

Make the crust. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together and knead just long enough to combine them well. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Poach the pears in syrup (skip this step if you are using canned pear halves in syrup).
In a saucepan, mix together sugar, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat just so…

Cheesecake with Blueberry Coulis

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For this recipe, I used a classic New York cheesecake recipe, which I had to adapt to the European market, because if Philadelphia cream cheese is now found everywhere on this side of the pond, graham crackers are unheard of on the French riviera (well, in Menton anyway). I replaced them with Speculoos cookies, because their cinnamon-brown sugar flavor works wonderfully with cream cheese. The classic recipe calls for 2 lbs of cream cheese. I used 2/3 of that (600 grams) and reduced the other ingredients accordingly, which explains why the cheesecake doesn't look as high as it normally does (FIY, I used a 9-inch springform cake tin).




CHEESECAKE
150 grams of Speculoos cookies (if you use Graham crackers, add sugar)
70 grams of unsalted butter, melted
600 grams of PHILADELPHIA cream cheese
160 grams of white sugar
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 eggs
160 ml of sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used almond extract instead)

BLUEB…

Blueberry Coffee Cake

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A word of advice: non-coffee drinkers, don't run away! As my American readers already know, a "coffee cake" does not contain coffee at all (well it can occasionally, but this one doesn't), it only means that it is meant to be enjoyed WITH coffee. I made this one with fresh blueberries (in season now) purchased at the farmers'market in Ventimiglia, Italy. I topped it with a crunchy layer of cinnamon streusel, because really, who doesn't like a delicious crumble on top of their coffee cake?




CAKE
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used one vanilla pod instead)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2/3 cup milk (not non-fat)
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

STREUSEL TOPPING
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven at 350°F (180°C).
Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan (I always place a circle of bak…

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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As far as I can remember, my mom always started this cake by coating the bottom of a pan with a dark brown caramel. This recipe is more Southern in the sense that it calls for a mix of butter and brown sugar, which caramelised the pineapple nicely and gave the cake a wonderfully-rich buttery flavor. Sorry Mom, I like it better this way.




INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 can sliced pineapple, drained
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (not non-fat)
1/3 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F. 
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Pour it into a 9-inch cake pan. Tilt the pan to coat sides with butter. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter. Add 1 whole pineapple slice to the center of the pan. Halve the remaining slices. Place them in a fan-like shape around center piece.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, white s…

Strawberry Bavarois with a twist

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Traditionally, a strawberry bavarois is a light strawberry mousse on top of a thin layer of génoise (sponge cake). As I love the contrast between the smoothness of the filling and the texture of the crumbly crust found in the cheesecake, I decided to replace the traditional sponge cake base by a crunchy chocolate cookie crust. I am very pleased with the result: the dark chocolate crust adds a rich depth and works wonderfully with the airy strawberry mousse.


CRUST
150 grams of Oreo-style cookies (about 6 oz.)
50 grams of butter, melted
pinch of salt

FILLING
500 grams of fresh strawberries
1 lemon
6 leaves of gelatin (11 or 12 grams)
40 cl. of liquid heavy cream (at least 30% fat), chilled
200 to 220 grams of white sugar (1 cup)





Preheat oven at 350°F.
To make the crust, place cookies in a mixer and pulse to obtain a sandy texture (20 to 30 seconds). Pour into a bowl, add salt and melted butter. Stir to combine ingredients and spread evenly at the bottom of a 9-inch round springform cake pan. Bake f…

Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting

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This is one of Mark's favorite cakes, and there are not that many. Since Smith & Wollensky in New Orleans does not share their famous dessert's recipe, I've experimented with several recipes online. This one is based on a yogurt cake recipe which gives it a dense and moist texture. 



CAKE
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest 3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 large eggs 6 slices of canned pineapple + 2 tablespoons juice (save the rest of the juice for later)
FROSTING
10 oz. cream cheese (PHILADELPHIA)
10 fl. oz. heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a standard 9-inch round pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Whisk 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, mix 1 cup…