Egg yolk recipes that require 4 yolks

White Asparagus French Clafoutis

When the asparagus season finally pokes its head out to say bonjour, it’s time to get totally asparagused. Hearing the calls of ‘Aspergez-vous!’ at our local market just outside Paris, I do what I’m told and end up buying so much asparagus that I could open a shop with all the elastic bands they’re bound in.

Weigh-laden with our usual favourites from Monsieur Dee’s poultry stall, I couldn’t help swooning over impressively fat, fresh white asparagus spears which are first to arrive pride of place from sun-kissed Provence.

It’s time to snap these asparagus stems. Snapping asparagus is easy when they’re fresh: they should be firm, have compact heads and not look dry at the stems. Just snap them where they break naturally, about 1/3 from the bottom. Ideally, eat asparagus fresh on the day, otherwise store white asparagus in the fridge for up to 4 days in a humid kitchen towel, heads upwards.

I love tossing fresh white asparagus in sage butter and serving simply with a crunchy baguette, but this is a warmer starter to welcome this chilly Spring. I discovered the recipe in a magazine last year featuring Eric Fréchon, chef at Le Bristol, Paris. But could I find the magazine that I’d painstakingly placed in a ‘safe place’ for this season? No (don’t laugh, Mum). Luckily, I jotted it down and see he’s written a book on Clafoutis.

Macaron lovers will be glad to note that it uses up FOUR egg yolks, but don’t be fooled: this is such a light way to start a meal – and it’s gluten free, too.

White Asparagus Clafoutis Recipe

Serves 4-6

Recipe Adapted by Eric Frechon, Author of Clafoutis.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

1 bundle white asparagus (500 g /1 lb)
3 eggs
4 egg yolks
10 g (4 tsp) cornflour

300 ml /10 fl oz single cream
100 g /3 oz fresh parmesan, grated
Seasoning
Handful of pine nuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Wash the asparagus spears and snap them 2/3rds of the way down, where they break naturally. Peel them as close as possible to the spear heads. Keep the peelings!

2. Cut the asparagus in 3, reserving the spear heads.

3. Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil with the asparagus peelings, adding a tablespoon of sugar (to reduce the bitterness).
When bubbling, remove the peelings and cook only the spears for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

4. Using the same cooking water, drop in the rest of the asparagus chunks and cook for 7 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the clafoutis batter: mix the eggs, cornflour, cream, grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

6. Drain the asparagus chunks and, using a hand blender or food processor, mix the asparagus and cream together.

7. Pour into a non-stick tart dish and decorate with the asparagus spears. I like to sprinkle over some lightly toasted pine nuts for a crunchy texture.

8. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until golden.

 Note: If making individual versions, pour into 6 silicone briochette moulds and bake for only 20 minutes. Turn them out directly on guests’ plates for a posh but simple starter.

Enjoy this asparagus clafoutis either warm or hot from the oven and serve with a glass of chilled Pinot Blanc from the Alsace.

Cheers!

Now it’s your turn to snap them this Spring and become totally asparagused!

 Aspergez-vous!

How to Make a French Religieuse or a Scottish Mac Snowman

I have a confession to make. I should have made something more typically Scottish as it’s Burn’s Night this Friday. Patriotism is kicking in as the bagpipes, Stornoway black pudding and haggis are suddenly sorely missed. Don’t ask me to make the latter myself, though. You’re talking to an ex-vegetarian.

With a first mere dusting of snow last week, our lucky Scottish heather was then well and truly tucked in with a thick, snowy blanket this weekend outside Paris. We had more snow than in Scotland!

Lucie was itching to build a snowman and managed to convince her sister that it was still cool to play in the snow by repeating renditions of the Snowman’s ‘I’m Walking in the Air’ on the piano. What’s with the hat? A TGV cap was all we could find.

With a couple of lollies pour les yeux, they reminded me of the sugar eyes I’d bought at the NY Cake supply shop on my trip last summer to NYC.

Am I a Scottish or French snowman woman person with a hat like this?

More macaron madness struck. I’d just made a batch of choux dough to make les Réligieuses: that’s one small choux bun stuck on a larger bun and dribbled with fondant.

Hm. Sugar eyes…  put them together with macarons (I had some left from my freezer ‘bank’) and what have you got?

A Snowman built indoors! OK, so I’m not too old to kid around too, right? He’s a Religieuse Snowman. Hm. In French that doesn’t work since a Religieuse is feminine.

Somehow a Mrs Snow-woman doesn’t sound right, so apologies to my French friends for the Religieuse recipe title – I’d love to hear your ideas for a more fitting title. No surprise why Mrs Snowman looks a bit grumpy: I didn’t wait for the fondant to slightly set before dipping in the choux buns and so she’s dribbling fondant down her cheek. Next time I’ll be more patient.

Does this fondant coat make my bun look big?

Snowman Religieuse Recipe (Choux Buns with Pastry Cream)

Makes 20

CHOUX DOUGH

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Follow the recipe for choux buns. Using a piping bag with a plain tip (about 10mm), pipe out large heaps on baking trays covered in greaseproof/baking paper (or Silpat mat.) Leave a good space between each mound, as they will spread out during baking. No need to glaze. Bake in a 180°C oven for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile make a second batch of choux buns but pipe out much smaller heaps (as you would for chouquettes) and bake in the oven for only 15 minutes.

VANILLA PASTRY CREAM (Crème Pâtissière)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

500ml full milk
1 vanilla pod (split down the middle)
4 egg yolks
50g cornflour
80g sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Boil the milk with the vanilla pod in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Remove the pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the milk.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar and gradually add the cornflour. Whisk until light and creamy. Gradually add the milk and extract, whisking continuously until thickened.

3. Leave to cool, whisking now and again, then transfer to a piping bag with a thin, plain tip (8mm) so that you can pierce the buns without too much leakage!

4. Pipe the cream into the buns by piercing a hole at the bottom of each bun and squeeze in the vanilla cream.

DECORATION

Gently melt the fondant in a bowl (white fondant is available from many speciality baking stores but if you can’t find it just make a classic icing using icing/confectioners sugar and some water.)  Once the fondant starts to cool, dip the buns upside down into the bowl until there’s no excess on the buns. Leave to set on a wire rack but first stick on the eyes (you could use smarties), pierce Mikado sticks for arms and stick on a macaron.

If I’m a snow-woman I’ll eat my hat!

I forgot to take a photo of the vanilla cream inside. It was too good. You’ll just have to make them for yourselves! Here’s another reason why it’s handy to keep some macarons in your freezer. And now you’ve used up 4 egg yolks you have a good supply of whites for your macarons!

Perhaps this is a Scottish post after all: could we call it a MacSnowman?

Strawberry Eclairs with Poppy and Vanilla Pastry Cream

What on earth has been going on?  I have not wanted to cook – or even bake. Do you ever get this feeling but times ten? Has it been a gradual form of French strike following the Elections? The weather could also be blamed, but as a Scot one should be used to torrential rain, winds and colder temperatures in June, n’est-ce pas? As you’ve seen recently, I have helped curb this crêpey feeling by sampling macarons, chocolate and delectable pastries around Paris. The only thing that has started to feel lighter is my purse.

Then this weekend I could have drifted off on a petal tasting these luscious strawberries from the market.

Antoine seemed relieved that our favourite restaurants were fully booked; I had forgotten the Roland Garros tennis finals, the Euro Football, then more Euro Football. Instead of being the perfect wife – joining in the banter, shouting hysterically at the screen – I footed it to the sombre kitchen as another deluge drowned my dreary pansies on the windowsill. Checking the football schedule, I can now guarantee a surge and return to home cooking until 1st July.

Macarons? I had no egg whites ready so needed to use up some yolks. What about crème pâtissière but with a twist to the classic? Inspired by the strawberry and poppy macarons from Ladurée and Gérard Mulot last week, I still had some poppy aroma left from my rhubarb and poppy macarons. So here’s a pink poppy crème pâtissière/pastry cream recipe for the egg yolk collection. Use any aroma of your choice in place of the poppy and if you prefer the classic vanilla cream, omit the colouring and aroma and add another vanilla pod. Do you think football fans will notice the girly pink?

Strawberry and Poppy Eclairs

Makes 12

48 strawberries (the sweetest you can find)

CHOUX DOUGH

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Follow the recipe for choux buns then using a piping bag with a serrated tip (about 10mm), pipe out long éclairs on baking trays covered in greaseproof/baking paper (or Silpat mat) Leave a good space between each mound, as they will spread out during baking. No need to glaze. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack then cut the tops off horizontally.

POPPY and VANILLA PASTRY CREAM (Crème Pâtissière)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

500ml full milk
1 vanilla pod (split down the middle)
4 egg yolks
50g cornflour
80g sugar
1/2 tsp poppy aroma
pinch of red powdered colouring

1. Boil the milk with the vanilla pod in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Remove the pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the milk.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar and gradually add the cornflour. Whisk until light and creamy. Gradually add the milk, food colouring and aroma, whisking continuously until thickened.

3. Leave to cool, whisking now and again.

4. Pipe the cream into the éclairs adding hulled strawberries to decorate, place on the éclair tops and dust with icing sugar plus a light sprinkling of poppy seeds.

Hint:

Use half (for 6 portions) and keep the extra choux dough in the fridge for the next couple of days to make :

 

It’s Mardi from Eat. Live. Travel. Write and a Raspberry Curd Recipe

Surprise! It’s mardi. It’s Tuesday. It’s Mardi Gras, and I’m so pleased to welcome Mardi Michels. You know: The Mardi from Eat.Live.Travel.Write. I’m sure you know how famous she is in the blogosphere as well as her macaron talents from Toronto’s foodie world, making her way to Paris this summer to share in more sweet treats. No more introductions needed. Take it away, Mardi…

I am thrilled to be posting over here at Mad about Macarons, especially on this, my “fête” 😉 Well, I mean, EVERY Tuesday is my “fête” but today is extra special. So I thought I would whip up a little something to celebrate. Something that, you know, uses up the many many egg yolks that making macarons tends to leave me with. I mean, there’s only so much custard and ice cream you can make, right?

I recently made Meyer lemon macarons filled with a blackberry jam and Meyer lemon curd which, in itself, is a great way to use up the yolks – fill the macs with them! But as I was making that lemon curd, I wondered how well another type of curd would do. Like, raspberry curd. We have a lot of raspberries in our freezer that I froze in the summer begging to be used so I figured I would give it a shot. Once I had the curd figured out, I needed a vessel for it – and not macarons! Not everyone is as “Mad about Macarons” as Jill and I! For me, raspberry is a match made in heaven for dark chocolate so I came up with the idea of a chocolate tart shell filled with raspberry curd and topped with fresh raspberries and a drizzle of melted dark chocolate. I can’t totally take all the credit for this idea – we used to have a bakery called “The Queen of Tarts” at the end of our street (dangerous!) which sold the dearest little individual-sized tarts and they used to feature all manner of fillings. I was a huge fan of their chocolate tart shells so was pleased to figure out one that closely resembled the ones which sadly only exist in my memory now….

The chocolate tart dough is taken from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (pp 500-501). As I am cooking and baking my way through this book, I knew it would be a sure bet. If you don’t own this book (why not?) it’s a basic sweet tart dough recipe where you substitute half the powdered sugar for cocoa powder. Her recipe makes one large 9″ tart shell, I halved the recipe to make four individual 4″ tarts.

The curd was a little bit of experimentation but I like the way this one came out in the end.

Raspberry Curd

(enough for four 4″ individual tarts) inspired by the McCormick Meyer lemon curd that I used in my macarons

Ingredients
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raspberry purée *
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold

Method

  1. Mix egg yolks, sugar and raspberry purée in heavy saucepan with a wire whisk until well blended and smooth.
  2. Continue to whisk as you cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the curd is thick and will coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Remove saucepan from the heat and whisk the butter in, one piece at a time. Once all the butter is combined in the curd, transfer the mixture to another bowl.
  4. Cover the mix with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the surface of the curd and cool to room temperature.

* for the raspberry purée, I blend fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries with an immersion (stick) blender then pass the mix through a metal sieve to remove the seeds.

Once the curd is at room temperature, you’ll fill the tart shells and place them in the fridge, covering them loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight. The following day, you can decorate the tarts with fresh raspberries and drizzles of melted dark chocolate.

The result? A dessert that’s not too sweet which means you can drizzle as much chocolate on top of the tarts as you like. The curd is a different flavour from jam – more tart, less sweet which works in a rich dessert like this! I love that not only the filling but also the tart shell used up my always-lurking-in-my-fridge-yolks – it’s a macaron maker’s dream dessert!

Mardi is a full-time French teacher at the elementary-school level in Toronto. She blogs at eat. live. travel. write. where she documents her culinary adventures (more than macarons, though sometimes you wouldn’t know it) near and far. She’s a serious Francophile who spends as much time in Paris as she can. This summer, she’ll be there again, organising a foodie trip in partnership with Le Dolci Studio (Toronto) – where she teaches macaron classes – and La Cuisine Paris. Check out all the delicious details here.

Thank you so much, Mardi, for guest posting today and for sharing your yolky raspberry curd with us. These chocolatey tarts look absolutely delicious. Good luck with your foodie trip to Paris this summer – it’s a great way for anyone to learn more about the City of Light and its sweet life. It will be a huge success! Don’t forget to check out many more recipes like this on Mardi’s blog and follow her at Eat.Live.Travel.Write.

Guest Recipe: Rum and Toasted Coconut Ice Cream (low carb/gluten free)

How often do you dream about food?  Do you think about lunch at breakfast, dinner at lunch and breakfast at dinner – and then continue dreaming of recipes in between meals?

Let me present you to my friend, Carolyn, who is otherwise known as FoodDreamer.  When I first discovered her blog, All Day I Dream About Food, there were a number of names that kept ringing out. Sugar was replaced with interesting names such as erythritol and stevia, for example.

What baffles me about Carolyn, is that each time I see her beautifully sweet and mouthwatering photos of cakes, cookies, tarts, bread, and candies, you wouldn’t even bat an eyelid.  They all look stunning.  But study each recipe carefully and there’s also something extra special behind each and every one she produces. They are ALL low carb and/or gluten free. You see, Carolyn is diabetic and has been ever since giving birth to her third child. It’s amazing how she has relearned how to cook all of our favourite treats but transformed them into low carb / gluten free masterpieces.

I am so honoured to have her on MadAboutMacarons, to concoct another stunning low carb recipe for us.  Let me hand you over to the sweet – but with no sugar added 😉 – Carolyn Ketchum.

FoodDreamer: All Day I Dream About Food

When Jill asked me to guest post on her blog, I may or may not have let out a squeal of delight.  I am not saying I did, but I am also not saying I didn’t.  See, if you are a regular reader of Mad About Macarons, you already know that Jill is brilliant.  She is an amazing cook, and has taken on the world of French cooking and that now infamous treat, the macaron.  She has written a cookbook devoted to them, and for those of us who are wildly scared of actually attempting to make macarons, she assures us that it’s really not that difficult.  I have promised myself to put her assurances to the test and make some very soon, but I haven’t quite worked up the courage.

So you can see why I was so delighted to be asked to guest post on such a wonderful blog.  But that delight was also tinged with a little fear.  Would I be able to come up with something that was Mad About Macaron-worthy? Jill requested that I develop a recipe that uses egg yolks.  I love that most of her guest posters do this, it makes so much sense.  After all, macarons use the whites, and we can’t let those leftover yolks go to waste.  I’ve made plenty of things that use yolks, and I am not one who fears undercooked or raw eggs, so I figured I was up for the challenge.

But what to make?  Mousse or crème brulee seemed too obvious, too…French.  I love both these desserts, but I thought if I made them, I might look like I was trying too hard to belong on Jill’s blog.  My mind kept circling back to ice cream, but I dismissed the idea several times.  Ice cream was just too unsophisticated, too child-like for Jill’s lovely blog.  But I couldn’t shake the idea.  It’s hot here in New England and ice cream is fun to make. Besides, I really wanted to try making it with some coconut milk, and the idea of coconuts made me think of rum.  And adding rum to ice cream takes it to a whole new level, so maybe it was Mad About Macaron-worthy after all?

If you happen to follow my blog too, you know that I am a diabetic and most of what I make is low carb and gluten free.  This ice cream is no exception, as I sweetened it with a stevia  blend called Stevia In The Raw.  But you could easily use whatever you like to sweeten it, it’s very versatile.  It’s also incredibly rich, as I used full-fat cream as the base.  But once again, you can change that up and use whole milk or a combination of cream and milk.  Adding the rum is up to you.  I find that a few tablespoons of alcohol in any homemade ice cream gives it a better texture and keeps it from freezing too hard.  And the dark rum in this particular recipe gives it a distinctive edge and flavor that is unmistakeable.

Rum and Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

2 cups cream, whole milk or a combination thereof
½ cup Stevia In The Raw* (or sugar, honey, splenda)
4 large egg yolks
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
½ cup unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted
3 tablespoons dark rum

Set a medium bowl in a large container of ice water.

In large saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and sweetener and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 170F on a candy or instant-read thermometer.

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks until light yellow and thickened, about 3 minutes.  Very slowly whisk ½ cup of the hot cream into the yolks to temper them, then gradually whisk tempered yolks back into the saucepan.  Continue to cook mixture, stirring continuously, until it reaches 175F to 180F.  Do not let it come to a boil.

Stir in the coconut milk and toasted coconut.  Pour mixture into the bowl set into the ice bath and let cool 10 minutes, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill until cold, at least 3 hours.

Stir in rum and pour into canister of an ice cream maker.  Churn according to manufacturer’s directions until thickened and creamy, about the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  Transfer to an air-tight container and press plastic wrap flush to the surface.  Chill until firm but not rock hard, about 2 more hours.   Serve immediately.

If you will be freezing the leftovers for later use, be sure to let them warm in the fridge or on your counter to make them soft enough to serve.

* Stevia In The Raw is a stevia blend that is meant to be measured cup for cup like sugar.  Pure stevia extract (liquid or powder) is much stronger and a little goes a long way, so sweeten to taste.

Thank you so much, Carolyn, for not only such a deliciously melting-in-the mouth rum and toasted coconut ice cream but you’ve done it again.  It’s not just ice cream but low-carb-with-no -sugar ice cream!  It’s high time I tried out baking without sugar – you have inspired me so much.

Don’t forget that Carolyn is on Facebook via ‘All Day I Dream About Food’ and don’t forget to drop in to her blog, All Day I Dream About Food to check out many more fabulous gluten-free and/or low carb recipes and say bonjour from me!

Peppermint Millefeuille with Fraises des Bois

 

Last weekend these little wild strawberry jewels were just beckoning in the sun along with redcurrants and mint from the garden. It didn’t take long to find inspiration for a quick dessert from Bernard Loiseau’s “Cuisine en Famille; I love this book (also as it’s signed by his wife, Dominique), even if the only problem is that there are absolutely no photos: you have to imagine in your head what the final result should be for each recipe. On the other hand, there’s no “pressure” – just use your creativity and imagination and you’re doing fine. It’s the flavour that counts.

 

This started out as his peppermint ice-cream with strawberries but as I began making the cream, another horrible migraine decided to interrupt the recipe. As it had the same quantities initially, it was quickly adapted as a crème pâtissière (pastry cream) and sandwiched between ready-made puff pastry cut into rounds using a cookie cutter.  (OK, I cheated with ready-made pastry, but there are times when it’s essential.)  The result was a pastry dessert ready in no time.  It’s perhaps not top of the fashionable pastry boutique parade in Paris, but the taste certainly made up for it!

Peppermint Millefeuille with Fraises des Bois

Serves 8

Preparation Time: 15 minutes (+1 hour infusion)
Cooking Time:
15 minutes

50cl whole milk
4 egg yolks
1 large branch of peppermint
70g sugar
50g cornflour
500g pure butter puff pastry
(or 2 packets ready rolled pastry rounds)

  1. Take the leaves off the peppermint branch, wash and dry them carefully.
  2. Boil the milk with the mint leaves, take off the heat and leave the leaves to infuse for 1 hour with the lid on.
  3. Beat together the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy, then whisk in the cornflour.
  4. Remove the leaves from the milk with a slotted spoon then beat some of the milk into the egg mixture.  Transfer this to the milk and over a medium heat, continue to whisk for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  6. Set aside the custard to cool, whisking every so often so that no skin forms on top.  Once cool, transfer the cream to a piping bag.
  7. Meanwhile, cut small rounds from a pre-rolled sheet of puff pastry (or roll a block of puff pastry to about 2mm) using a 7cm cookie/scone cutter.  For one round I could get 15 discs: you shall need 3 per person.
  8. Place each disc on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Place another sheet of baking parchment over the discs and top with another baking sheet to stop the pastry discs from puffing in the oven.
  9. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden (I cooked mine for 15 which was a bit too much, as you can see.)
  10. Leave the pastry discs to cool, then pipe out the pastry cream on each layer and top with the fruits.
  11. Finish off with a dusting of icing sugar.

 

Store the egg whites in a sterilised jam jar with the lid on and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days until you’re ready to make your macarons…

See Mad About Macarons, Wimbledon and Wild Strawberrieson Le Blog.