Tag Archives: French

Pumpkin Pie Macarons

Pumpkin Pie MacaronsWhile Thanksgiving is now past us it is still the season of pumpkin still here and these macarons are the perfect thing to make to enjoy that pumpkin-y goodness. I decided to make these for a friendsgiving my friends were having the day after thanksgiving. I though everyone would be sick of pie but these are the perfect pumpkin treat with out being too overwhelming but still tasting like everyone’s favorite autumn treat.

For the filling I followed the Pumpkin Ganache recipe from the Momofuku Milk Cookbook, this recipe makes way more than you need but it is to hard to make any less. With the full recipe you should have enough filling for 3 recipes worth of Macarons. With the extra you can always make some crepes and use it as filling.. which is always good 🙂

PUMPKIN PIE MACARONS

1 Recipe of Cinnamon Nutmeg Macaron Shells

1 Recipe of Pumpkin Ganache

Food Coloring of your choice (I used the cheap liquid stuff in Yellow and Red)

Offset Spatula

Silicon Basting Brush or Pasty Paint Brush

TO ASSEMBLE

Using an offset spatula spread an even layer of the pumpkin ganache on one of the macarons

Place a second macaron on top of the macaron with the ganache

Once you prepare all your macarons you can decorate the top if you want

For the brush lines that I did, I combined red and yellow liquid food coloring and used a silicon basting brush. Instead of using a real brush using the silicon brush gives you a interesting variation. I swiped the brush back a few  times to get an affect I wanted. You can do whatever you want or just not decorate the top.

Pumpkin Pie Macarons

CINNAMON NUTMEG MACARON SHELLS

Recipe from Brave Tart’s Macaron Recipe check out her recipe for the full detailed instructions and tips. My below info is only of the ingredients required and my small modification. As her recipe is so great and practically full proof I don’t want to lead anyone astray with less than stellar directions.

40z Blanched Almonds (or almond flour)

8oz Powder Sugar

5oz Egg White

2 1/2oz Sugar

1/2Tsp Kosher Salt

1/2Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg (preferably fresh)

Flour Sifter

Stand Mixer with Whisk attachment

Food Processor

2 Half Sheet Pans

Large Pastry Bag w/ a standard tip

Parchment Paper

TO PREPARE

Follow the Brave Tart recipe all the way through to the point where you add in food coloring or other additives this is when you should add in the Ground Cinnamon and Nutmeg. I suggest sifting it first for the best incorporation.

Pumpkin Pie Macarons

PUMPKIN GANACHE

from Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook

I adapted this recipe to not need to use a microwave since I just don’t have one… but I included the original instructions as well.

150g White Chocolate

25g Butter

50g Corn Syrup (or Glucose)

55g Cold Heavy Cream

75g Canned Pumpkin Puree

1Tsp Kosher Salt

1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

Microwave safe container or metal bowl for double boiler

Tall and narrow container (like a 1 quart plastic soup container)

Immersion hand blender

Pumpkin Pie Macarons

TO PREPARE

Combine the white chocolate and butter in either a microwave safe container (or as I did in a metal bowl that fits over my stock pot which I was using as a double boiler).

Gently melt the white chocolate and butter together in 15 second bursts if using the microwave stirring after each burst or over lightly boiling water if doing this double boiler style. The result should be slightly warm and homogenous.

Transfer the chocolate mix to your tall container

Warm your corn syrup or glucose in the microwave or with a quick dip in the hot water in a small metal container

Pour the corn syrup into your chocolate mixture and buzz with the hand blender for 1 minute

After the minute pour the cream in a steady stream into the mix with the blender running. The mix will come together into a smooth and shiny mix

Blend in the pumpkin puree, salt, and cinnamon into the chocolate mix until everything is mixed and smooth

Put the ganache in the refrigerator to firm up for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.

The pumpkin ganache will keep fresh in the fridge for a week.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

A Bastille Day for the Memories

Eiffel Tower
Last year for Bastille Day I was lucky enough to be in Paris for a reunion of a bunch of my friends that live abroad. Bastille Day was the occasion in which our trip was planned around and the center piece of the trip was a picnic at Champ de Mars, which is the park at the base of the Eiffel tower, where they have a big firework display to mark the occasion. Bastille Day (the 14th of July) was a delightful day of wandering about Paris, soaking in the sights, and catching up with my lovely friends most of which I had not seen in over 2 years. We enjoyed catching some rays at The Jardin de Tuileries, eating at brassieres, and chatting about the going ons of the past years. As the day wore on it was time to collect the rest of the group in order to prep for our picnic. We were a bit worried that it was going to rain for the big event since the weather could not make up it’s mind between sunshine and down pours (which luckily only happened as we ate). Thankfully for our plans the sky decided to clear up for us just as we were on the way to go shopping. Once we collected the rest of our group all 15 of us headed off to the local grocery store to split up and buy supplies. We ended up with a large array of meats, cheese, bread, and plenty of other snacks, of course what we got was not the best Paris has to offer but for the prices and the fact it was all from a supermarket it was quite great. We of course also picked up some wine, you know only 13 bottles worth and a few other drinks, since we knew this was going to be a risky move because we had heard that during the festivities that alcohol is not allowed in the park we decided to not risk getting a mini Heineken keg (that was the dutch boys idea in the first place). We knew it would be a risk but we figured we might as well try because what is a holiday picnic with out wine, at the very least we could always locate ourselves somewhere a bit further away from the action.
Eiffel Tower

When we reached the park, as expected, there were Police checking everyone’s bags as they entered the main area, we figured that we should move on to somewhere where it was okay to have our wine but as we were coordinating where we go someone in the group found an entry point where no one was checking bags. Magically we were able to sneak into the park all the wine which was quite an amazingly hilarious thing. Of course through the whole time we had to be on guard and hide what we were drinking since the police were patrolling the park for this particular reason but that made it extra fun and memorable. Thankfully fate was endlessly on our side on this day and we were never found out even though there were a few close calls.
Eiffel Tower
After a few hours of eating, drinking, and chatting dusk turned into night and the fireworks began. I have to say that the fireworks were some of the best I have seen and I have been to some impressive displays, though part of it could have been the fact the majestic Eiffel Tower was a part of the view. The Eiffel tower was even dressed up for the day with a disco ball hanging from it’s peak and lights that were a part of the show. To accompany the fireworks there of course was a speakers around the park playing euro pop/ electronic music. It was a truly epic day and evening in every respect and sealed my forever love for Paris.
Eiffel Tower
This particular Bastille Day will forever live in my memories and I feel that I should commemorate it by celebrating my own way back home this year. So I am hoping that everything works out and that I am able to plan a Picnic/ Barbeque at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. As I was out of town for 4th of July (Travel Post about the Oregon Coast coming soon) and was unable to contribute to our picnic I want to go all out for Bastille day but we will see what happens but for now I am planning to make a few different tapas for snacking and a Blue Cheese Frozen Yougurt number for dessert. So stay tuned in for that.
Eiffel Tower

Tagged , , , , , , ,

From the Sea Pt 1: Mussels

Mussel DinnerThis past week has been a long and painful one. It started with a great trip to Atlantic City for my sisters birthday but I managed to catch a bit too much sun at the beach and got the most awkward sunburn ever and I never used to burn… I guess I have been spending too much time indoors over these past few years that my body does not know how to react to the sun! Then on Thursday I managed to loose my wallet while taking my jacket out of my bag while crossing the street after work. I have dropped things on the street before and I have always had someone point it out to me but not this time. I notice when I was going down to the subway with the plan in my head to go to Whole Foods and get Mussels for dinner but the lack of money and a metro card but a huge damper in that. I still have not had anyone contact me about my wallet so I figure at this point it is as good as gone. Thankfully I had no cash in my wallet and the only real important thing I lost was my drivers license but I have a passport until I deal with getting a new one which is bound to be a big pain since I had a CA ID but I now live in NY…. but that is life I guess.

So on Friday I decided to try again and went a bought Mussels to make for dinner. I really enjoy the simple preparation of mussels with white wine and bread so that is what I decided to make and while it will no bring my wallet back to me it did end my work week on the upside. So Next time you have a bad week maybe you will think about making this super simple recipe that is both fancy seeming and delicious. The perfect pick me up for whatever is keeping you down.

MUSSELS IN WHITE WINE

Serves 2 for dinner

Adapted from ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’

2lb bag of Mussels (make sure to choose mussels that are stored on ice and are mostly closed if they are open see if they will close and stay closed)

1 1/4 cup of your favorite reasonable priced white wine ( I used a nice Pinot Grigio)

7 Sprigs of Fresh Parsley (2 Sprigs chiffonaded for garnish)

3 Cloves Garlic Chopped

2 Bay Leaves

1 Large Stock Pot w/ lid

Bread to serve with the mussels

Mussel Dinner

The Procedure

Clean your mussels off by scrubbing them with a brush under cold water and removing any of the ‘beard’ that is on them

In a large stock pot combine the white wine, 5 whole sprigs of parsley, Garlic, and Bay Leaves.

Turn the stove on high and let the wine mix come to a boil and let it boil for a minute or two.

Pour in the mussels and cover with the lid.

Let the mussels steam for about 4-5min

Check to see if the mussels are all open and turn off the heat. If any mussels did not open throw those away.

Serve portion mussels into 2 large shallow bowls and pour over the mussel broth, garnish with parsley and serve with bread.

Mussel Dinner

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Almond Cream Crepe Cake

Crepe Cake

My sister’s friend was hosting dinner for Easter at her apartment and since she was cooking I felt like I needed to bring something because I always feel so weird if I am not the one cooking. Since I had left over Frangipane (Almond Cream Filling) from my Matcha Macarons I made the other day I thought it would be a great and delicate dessert to make a crepe cake with it. It was a great hit at the dinner and I will defiantly be working on more flavor combinations and layers in the future. I defiantly recommend making a crepe cake for your next social function it makes for a fantastic presentation and takes much less effort than you would think!

ALMOND CREAM CREPE CAKE

1 Recipe of Frangipane (Almond Cream Filling)

1 Recipe of Crepes (see below)

Some Powdered Sugar and Almond Flour for finishing

Sifter

Decorative serving plate or tray

Offset spatula

Crepe Cake

TO ASSEMBLE

On your serving vessel place one crepe down and take about 2-3 tbsp of the Frangipane with the offset spatula and spread out the almond cream on the crepe.

Lay another crepe down and spread out another 2-3 tbsp of the Frangipane with the offset spatula, continue with all the layers of crepe until you get to the last layer.

On the last layer use your sifter and cover the crepe cake with some powdered sugar and almond flour.

Cut into slices and serve, or store in the refrigerator until later.

Crepe Cake

CREPES

Makes 6 Crepes

This crepe recipe is based on my two favorite crepe recipes the one in Ratio by Michael Ruhlman and the Crepe Recipe from the Good Eats Episode ‘Crepe Expectations‘.

4oz Egg (2 Large)

3oz Almond Milk

1oz Water

3oz Flour

3 Tbsp Melted Butter

1/4 Tsp Salt

TO ASSEMBLE

As I live in a small New York apartment I don’t have a lot of appliances like a blender since I don’t have room for them but this batter can be made quickly in a blender if you have one.

Mix the eggs, milk, water, butter, and salt together very well with a whisk. If whisking by hand sift the flour into the wet mix if using the blender just mix everything together.

Let the batter rest for about an hour in the refrigerator. It is important to let the bubbles settle so the crepes do not gain any volume while cooking.

After the batter has rested set up your crepe making station.  I keep my mixing bowl with the batter right on the stove with my measuring cup for transferring my batter to the pan near by.

Start by preheating your oven to about 200 degrees F and prepare your sheet pan by laying a piece of parchment down and having a clean kitchen towel near by. This is how the crepes will be stored while you are cooking the rest.

Right before making the crepes I gently mix the batter with a spoon to make sure that anything that settled to the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. Be careful to not introduce a lot of bubbles when doing this.

Grease your pan with some oil or butter and let it heat up on a medium high burner once it is warm (not too hot as it is non stick and you should not let it heat to a high temperature with out something on it) take your pan off the heat in and hold in one and take your scoop of batter (for my pan almost a 1/3 of a cup is the perfect amount) and pour in the middle of the pan and swirl around to coat the whole pan in a thin layer. Just remember the first crepe will always be funny due to too much oil or to cool/ hot of a pan.

Place your pan back on the heat and let cook for about a minute depending on the heat of your pan, when you start seeing the edges brown you know you are ready to flip.

To flip your crepe there are many ways to do it, as advised in Mastering the Art of French Cooking they suggest 2 spatulas or using your fingers. I failed at both these methods, for me it is just easier to give the pan a good shake and flip the crepe, it takes a little practice by the showmanship of it is fun too.

Cook the crepe for about 30 seconds on the second side just until it starts to be a bit spotty brown.

Then take your crepe and put it on your sheet pan, cover with the kitchen towel and put in the oven to keep warm (as my oven gets too hot this is when I usually turn it off as the radiant heat will keep it plenty warm. Do what works best for your particular kitchen set up)

Continue until you are out of batter, keeping all the crepes warm in the oven until you are ready to use.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Matcha Macarons with Almond Cream Filling

Matcha Macaron

I have been obsessed with making Macarons lately (as obvious by my Espresso Macarons and my first attempt) and I have been wanting to work on different flavors which is the fun part of Macarons. So since I got off  work a little early this past Friday for Good Friday I thought it would be perfect to make some Macarons for Easter. I have had some Culinary grade Matcha kicking around my apartment for a little while now and I thought this would be the perfect application for it. Some how the more Macarons I make the crazier they are starting to look… I need a lot of practice which my pastry bag skills and maybe grinding the almond flour a bit smoother could have helped these look less crazy, but as with anything practice makes perfect and as long as they still taste good all is well!

Macaron_Matcha_004

MATCHA MACARONS

For the Macarons I used the technique and recipe from Brave Tart, same as my last 2 attempts.

4oz Sifted Almond Flour

8oz Powdered Sugar

1 Tbsp Sifted Culinary Grade Matcha Powered

1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt

5oz Egg Whites

2 1/2 oz Sugar

For the filling wanted to do a Almond Cream filling for the Matcha cookies because I thought it would be a good compliment to the Matcha and since Macarons are made with almond flour it made sense that the flavors would go together. When I was researching types of almond cream on the internet I decided to do a traditional French Frangipane (Almond Custard Filling) and decided to use the recipe from ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck.

FRANGIPANE

Adapted from ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’

This makes way more than you will need for 1 batch of Macarons, use extra for a filling for a Gâteau de Crêpes (a crepe cake like I did with the left overs check out the recipe here)  or a tart

1 Egg

1 Egg Yolk

6oz Granulated Sugar (approx 3/4 Cup)

2oz All Purpose Flour (approx 1/2 Cup)

1 Cup Almond Milk (Boiling Hot)

3Tbsp Butter

2 Tsp Vanilla

2oz Ground Almonds, more chunky than that ground for almond flour (approx 1/2 Cup)

Mixing Bowl

Whisk

1 Medium Sauce Pan

Wooden Spoon

TO ASSEMBLE

Beat the egg and the yolk with the whisk in the mixing bowl, slowly adding the sugar while mixing and continue mixing until the mix is pale yellow and the sugar is fully incorporated.

Mix the flour into the egg and sugar mix until fully incorporated then slowly pour in the boiling almond milk while whisking.

Pour the mix into your sauce pan and set over medium heat. Stir slowly until the mix begins to thicken and then beat it quickly until it smooths outs and becomes a thick paste.

Once thickened mix with a wooden spoon over low heat for 2-3 minutes allowing the flour to cook through, being careful to make sure that the mix does not burn.

Take the pan off the heat and mix in the butter and vanilla extract until incorporated, then mix in the ground almonds until everything is fully incorporated.

Use as desired, if saving for later cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze.

If using for Macarons pipe or spread the filling into the cookies and sandwich them together.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Great Macaron: The First Attempt

Macaron
I recently bought the Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel and while browsing the beautiful pages of the book I came across the Macaron recipe and was re-inspired to finally attempt them. I have been meaning to make them forever because of the normal reasons that they are so cute and you can make them in a million different flavor and flavor combinations. I was always hesitant because of everything I read about them being so temperamental, but have always wanted to make them so this weekend I decided to just go for it I mean what could really go wrong? Its just food. So before I set out to buy supplies I did some extra research on the web for tips and tricks to make sure I got the best results possible and I found this wonderful post on Macrons by The Brave Tart.  Once I found this recipe and technique I decided to go with it since it was a lot less fussy than the Bouchon version and since I am not a fussy person at all this really appealed a lot to me.

While in this recipe you do not have to age the egg whites I did leave mine out for a bit while I was making french buttercream for the filling. I thought since I am doing this by hand leaving the eggs out a bit might make my whisking job easier. I do not have a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer so I had to do everything totally by hand which was an effort but not as bad as I would have thought it would be. When piping the cookies out they became a little off shaped because my pastry bag skills need to be improved upon but otherwise they did not come out too bad. The first tray were hollow because I accidentally overcooked them. The cookies were not releasing from the parchment because I accidentally used the less slick side of the parchment which I now know not to do in the future. The second tray of cookies were better in terms of hollowness but the shells cracked, I don’t think I rapped the pan enough and that pan in particular is cheap and has its own issues to begin with.

For this first attempt I did not add any flavoring or coloring to the mix to really focus on the technique. I filled them with a buttercream mixed with a blueberry/ pomegranate preserve for simplicity sake. I can’t wait to make the next round more exciting and even better than the first attempt!

Check out these wonderful posts for some more hints and tricks for Macarons and remember that Macarons are only as scary as you make them out to be and even ‘failure’ is tasty!

Hollow Pursuits by the Brave Tart

How to make macarons: what’s working for me right now by eat. live. travel. write.

Why do my macarons have hollow shells? A work in progress. by eat. live. travel. write.

Tagged , , , ,

Southwest Chicken Gâteau de Crêpes

southwest gateaudecrepe_1

While I was going through a busy point at work with out much time to cook the thoughts of crepes entered my head. I became obsessed with the idea of making them and what I would do with them once I made them. I also for some reason have had a non stick crepe pan that my parents gave me for some reason that I had never used which made making crepes inevitable. So on my first day off in a few weeks I made some regular crepes and tried some filling combinations that turned out not as great as I planed (that is another post…) but from that cooking session I perfected my crepe technique. For that session I followed the Crepe Recipe from the Good Eats Episode ‘Crepe Expectations‘.

Since I now had the crepe technique down I started looking into other things to do with crepes and  decided that making a ‘crepe cake’ in a similar fashion to the Gâteau de Crêpes recipe in The Art of French Cooking (Volume 1) by Julia Child was a great idea. I decided to make my own take on the Gâteau de Crêpes on Mardi Gras aka Pancake Day, that was southwest inspired using my Taco Truck Chicken as one of the fillings.

SOUTHWEST CHICKEN GATEAU DE CREPES

You will need

1 Chicken Breast cooked per my Taco Truck Chicken Recipe, for best results I would suggest shredding the chicken I cut mine into small pieces but shredding would be better

1 Recipe of Corn Crepes (See Below)

1 Cup Grated White Cheese (Monterey Jack would be a good choice)

1 Sheet Pan

Parchment Paper to line the pan

Southwest Gateau de Crepes

TO ASSEMBLE

Preheat your Broiler

Layer a piece of parchment paper and lay it on your sheet pan

Layer 2 crepes down on top of each other

Cover the crepe with some of the shredded chicken, making an even layer and sprinkle with a generous amount of cheese

Continue until you are out of crepes making sure your top layer is a single crepe

Cover the top with some of the remaining cheese and place in the broiler for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and brown.

Cut into wedges and serve.

Southwest Gateau de Crepes

CORN CREPES

As I was making a southwest inspired meal I thought making the crepes with an addition of some corn four would give them a bit more flavor and make the finished Gâteau a more elaborate riff on a Quesadilla.

4oz All Purpose Flour

1oz Corn Flour

3/4 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Water

2 Eggs

3Tbsp Melted Butter

2Tsp Salt

1 Crepe pan or 8″ Non stick saute pan

A Whisk or Blender

A large mixing bowl

A flour sifter (not necessary if you are going the blender route with the crepe batter)

A Sheet Pan lined with parchment

Clean kitchen towel

Crepe

The Procedure

As I live in a small New York apartment I don’t have a lot of appliances like a blender since I don’tt have room for them but this batter can be made quickly in a blender if you have one. My instructions are for if you don’t have one.

Mix the eggs, milk, water, butter, and salt together very well with a whisk.

In a separate bowl sift the flours together making sure you remove all clumps, I prefer measuring by weight but if you prefer volume you need a cup in total of flour before sifting.

While whisking the wet mix in the dry slowly making sure that the flour is fully incorporated into the wet.

Let the batter rest for about an hour in the refrigerator. It is important to let the bubbles settle so the crepes do not gain any volume while cooking.

After the batter has rested set up your crepe making station. As you can see from the above photo I keep my mixing bowl with the batter right on the stove with my measuring cup for transferring my batter to the pan near by.

Start by preheating your oven to about 200 degrees F and prepare your sheet pan by laying a piece of parchment down and having a clean kitchen towel near by. This is how the crepes will be stored while you are cooking the rest.

Right before making the crepes I gently mix the batter with a spoon to make sure that anything that settled to the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. Be careful to not introduce a lot of bubbles when doing this.

Grease your pan with some oil or butter and let it heat up on a medium high burner once it is warm (not too hot as it is non stick and you should not let it heat to a high temperature with out something on it) take your pan off the heat in and hold in one and take your scoop of batter (for my pan almost a 1/3 of a cup is the perfect amount) and pour in the middle of the pan and swirl around to coat the whole pan in a thin layer. Just remember the first crepe will always be funny due to too much oil or to cool/ hot of a pan.

Place your pan back on the heat and let cook for about a minute depending on the heat of your pan, when you start seeing the edges brown you know you are ready to flip.

To flip your crepe there are many ways to do it, as advised in Mastering the Art of French Cooking they suggest 2 spatulas or using your fingers. I failed at both these methods, for me it is just easier to give the pan a good shake and flip the crepe, it takes a little practice by the showmanship of it is fun too.

Cook the crepe for about 30 seconds on the second side just until it starts to be a bit spotty brown.

Then take your crepe and put it on your sheet pan, cover with the kitchen towel and put in the oven to keep warm (as my oven gets too hot this is when I usually turn it off as the radiant heat will keep it plenty warm. Do what works best for your particular kitchen set up)

Continue until you are out of batter, keeping all the crepes warm in the oven until you are ready to use.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,