Guest Recipe: White Chocolate and Raspberry Paris-Brest

Today is an extra special Guest Post. My lovely Irish guest, Hester Casey, is not only sharing a cracker of an egg yolk recipe with us, but it’s also the first anniversary of her blog, Alchemy in the Kitchen.  Congratulations on your first blogversary, Hester!

When Hester revealed she was making Paris-Brest, I immediately took a trip down memory lane with my girls this week to Maisons-Laffitte.  We lived there for 5 years just around the corner from THE Pâtisserie that created the Paris-Brest back in 1910.


This happy Monsieur, Louis Durand, was obviously over the moon!  What a clever idea, creating a pastry in the shape of a wheel especially for the famous bicycle race.

The girl serving in the shop saw us taking pictures outside. When I explained that I could mention it on le Blog and link up to them, she stared at me blankly with,”Oh, I don’t know if you can do that”. Well, voilà: check out the official Paris-Brest website at www.paris-brest.fr.

We bought a few mini Paris-Brests but would you believe, none of the minis were in the shape of a bicycle wheel!  They were more like a shell.  I’ll post the pic up on Facebook, if you’re interested.

These people need to market themselves, for goodness sake. Even the pastry box uses an email address rather than the website address.

They NEED YOU, Hester! Here she is now to show us her white chocolate and raspberry Paris-Brest.

Hester, Alchemy in the Kitchen

I’m Hester of Alchemy in the Kitchen. I’m one of seven siblings, and postcard Irish with auburn hair and a sprinkling of freckles. My home is Wicklow, “the garden of Ireland”, with my husband Chris, chief taster-in-residence.

Growing up in a large family meant our house was like a restaurant, with starter, soup, main and dessert each evening.  It was noisy, with everyone conducting at least three conversations simultaneously. Even though it was crowded, room could always be found for whoever happened along at mealtimes. How could I help but love food and the conviviality it brings!  To this day, I find it hard to prepare meals for fewer than 10 people.

When Jill invited me to guest post on Le Blog, I was thrilled. I’m a huge fan of Mad About Macarons and it is a real honour and pleasure to accept her invitation. Jill conveys her passion for great food and for Paris in equal measure, with a large helping of humour. I know when I read each of her posts they will have me drooling, or laughing,  or both – that gets messy. 🙂

White Chocolate and Raspberry Paris-Brest

The egg yolk challenge is a great idea because who hasn’t – at some stage – got a bowl of forlorn egg yolks sitting in the fridge. Having been parted from their whites – who have gone on to star as Magnificent Macarons, Marvellous Meringues, or Superb Soufflés – the poor old egg yolk tends to be forgotten.

Egg yolks can achieve greatness too. After all, Botticelli painted The Birth of Venus using egg yolk-based paint. Botticelli provided a feast for the eyes – here is something you can get your teeth into.  Gateau Paris-Brest is a delectable choux pastry, named after the famous Paris – Brest bicycle race. The shape represents a wheel. Here it is in miniature, my Summery version with raspberries and white chocolate pastry cream.

L’inspiration…le vélo

White Chocolate and Raspberry Paris-Brest

For 10 – 12 gorgeous little pastries you will need…

Pastry Cream (crème pâtissière)

300mls fresh milk
50g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
15g plain flour
15g cornflour
4 egg yolks
50g good quality white chocolate, chopped

  1. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until simmering.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the vanilla extract and sugar until thick and paler in colour. Add in the salt, plain flour and cornflour and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Slowly add the simmering milk to the egg yolk mixture, whisking all the time (never add cold eggs to hot liquid unless you want scrambled eggs). Mix well and return the liquid to the saucepan. Continue to whisk over a low heat until the liquid has become a thick custard. This will take about 3 or 4 minutes. Make sure not to boil the custard or it will become grainy and may scramble. The custard is thick enough when it coats the back of a wooden spoon and a finger pulled though this coating leaves a clean trail.
  4. Add in the white chocolate and stir until it has melted into the custard.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm, making sure the clingfilm makes contact with the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until ready to use. This can be prepared ahead and will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Egg yolks – with the right company – are capable of greatness too

Choux Pastries

150mls water
50g butter
70g strong white flour/plain flour
A pinch of fine salt
2 eggs beaten

25g flaked almonds
You will also need a punnet of fresh raspberries
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (fan oven) at step 8
  1. Heat the water and butter together in a medium saucepan until the butter has melted and the liquid is simmering
  2. Carefully tip the flour and salt into the liquid in one go. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together in a soft ball of paste and no dry flour remains. Spread the ball of paste over the bottom of the saucepan and leave to cool to room temperature.
  3. When the paste has cooled, add in the beaten egg a little at a time, whisking well between additions. An electric whisk is best for this job. You want a smooth glossy soft paste that will hold its shape so check the mixture as you go along as you may not need to add all the egg.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe circles of the mixture (approximately 8cm/3 inches in diameter) onto a lightly buttered baking tray, leaving 5cm/2 inches between circles. Scatter the tops of the circles with almond flakes and transfer to the oven. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until evenly golden brown. Remove from the oven and poke 2 horizontal slits in the side of each pastry to release some steam. Return to the oven for a further 2 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Assemble the little pastries just before serving: slice them in half horizontally. Beat the cooled pastry cream until smooth. For a really decadent touch, I sometimes stir a tablespoon of mandarin brandy into the pastry cream at this stage. Pipe onto the lower half of the pastry wheel and add fresh raspberries. Replace the top and dust with icing sugar.

We taste wheel-y wheel-y delicious!

These little pastries are perfect accompaniment to a daydream where you might cycle from Paris to Brest, or perhaps paint a Renaissance masterpiece – using egg-yolk-based paint of course!

Don’t you just love it? They really look wheel-y, wheel-y light-as-a-feather gorgeous, Hester!  This “rounds” up this month’s guest posts just beautifully. Merci beaucoup!

Don’t forget to cycle over to Hester’s blog, Alchemy in the Kitchen.  She is certainly creating plenty magic: have you seen her latest simple ingredient tricks? She transformed a normal tzatziki into an apple and lime tzatziki with lamb kofte.  Would you believe she also coaxed some Bramley Apples to talk to some vanilla fudge and pastry? Agracadabra: it became a Walnut Fragipane Tart with Apple and Fudge! Enjoy her blog, and please say congratulations from me!  Happy Blogversary, Hester!

Guest Recipe: Chocolate Crunchy Trifle with Egg Yolk Buttercream Frosting

Nice driveway“, Kate had on her personal blog profile.  I was instantly intrigued.  What on earth? Then it all clicked.  Kate – or Katerina – hails from Macedonia and nice driveway is phonetic for Na Zdravje, which means “to your good health” in Macedonian.

It sums up Kate brilliantly.  She is herself a perfect picture of health and her mouth-watering recipes echo that via her blog, Diethood.com.  When I first got to know Kate, I realised just what a sincere person she is: I felt I’d known her for ages!  She had been looking at my book and asked me to do a guest post on her site, since she wanted to tell her friends about it.  I was – and still am – extremely flattered. We have a number of things in common: one of them is our love for a good trifle. Except the trifle I grew up with in Scotland is very different to the royal one she is sharing with us today. It’s not just creamy, it’s crrrrunchy!  So my friends, let me hand you over to the lovely Kate now…

Kate, at Diethood.com

A few months ago I asked my now dear friend, Jill, if she would do a guest post for me. When she accepted the invite, I was incredibly excited! I think I even did a cheer. Then, just a couple of months later, she invited me to guest post for her – How lucky am I? I was on cloud nine when I received that email. I thought, “Are you kidding me?! Of course I accept!”

Jill had only one requirement; egg yolks. I can do that!!  Or can I?!?

I went through lots of recipes, including my mom’s, but I kept coming back to the one that I always go to when I have a few egg yolks left – my egg yolk buttercream frosting! I got this recipe many years ago from my Aunt Sneshka when I was visiting my home back in Macedonia. She used this frosting as a filling for some cookies that were seriously the best cookies I had ever tasted. At that time she informed that this was a very popular frosting that was used in Macedonia during and after Easter because of the abundance of eggs.

If I only had the recipe for those cookies…sigh. But we’re in luck because at least I have the recipe for the frosting!  I use this frosting for cupcakes, cakes, cookies – whatever needs to be frosted or filled, this is the recipe I will use 99% of the time when I have some yolks that need to be used up.

Today I will share a dessert with you that I usually make when I need something creamy, something crunchy, and something delicious!  This is a three part recipe, and it may seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s not! Please trust me.

chocolate crunchy trifle egg yolk recipe

Chocolate Crunchy Trifle with Egg Yolk Buttercream Frosting

You will need:

For the Cake:
2 ½ cups graham crackers (or digestive biscuits), ground
1 cup walnuts, finely ground
Orange zest from 1 orange
1 orange, juiced
1 stick of butter
4 squares of Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, melted with 1 tablespoon Vegetable Spread

For the Egg Yolk Buttercream:
1 stick of butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
4 egg yolks, poached
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Pudding Topping:
1 (5.1 ounces) package Jell-O Instant Pudding, Vanilla Flavored
1 (8 ounces) tub Whipped Topping (Cool Whip)

Directions:

First we are going to make the graham cracker/digestive crust.

In a large bowl put in all the ingredients for the cake and let your hands do the work. Or the wooden spoon. Mix well and combine. Set aside.

Poach the egg yolks by dropping the yolks, one by one, into almost boiling water; allow the yolk to cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let the yolk sit for another 4 minutes. Do this with the rest of the yolks. Set aside.

Into the bowl of your mixer cream together the butter and the powdered sugar; cream for 5 minutes. Add in the poached yolks, one by one, and the vanilla extract, and cream together for another 10 minutes.

Take out some aluminum foil and spread the graham crackers mixture on it. With your fingers press the graham crackers tightly together, just as you would do for a pie or a cheesecake.

Spread the frosting on top of the graham cracker crust.


At this point you can do one of two things; you can roll the cake like a log and put it in the freezer, or you can lay it flat and put it in the freezer. I usually roll it into a log because there is no room in my freezer to put it in flat. If you roll it into a log you also have the choice of cutting the cake into cookies! I do that, too, sometimes.

You can leave it in the freezer for at least 3 hours, or up to 1 day.  When ready to use, take out the cake and let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, you can make the pudding.

In the bowl of your mixer prepare the vanilla pudding per the instructions on the package.

Add in the whipped topping and beat until well combined. Set aside.

Begin by crumbling the cake into a trifle bowl. Just break it off – don’t need to be fancy. It will be covered up with the pudding. 😉

Spread the pudding mixture over the top.

Put it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Before serving, add chocolate shavings on top and serve with berries (optional).

Kate trifle 3

 

Before I go, I just want to thank my beautiful friend Jill for inviting me to do a guest post for her; I am truly honored! Thank you, my dear! xoxo

That looks one incredible trifle, Kate!  With 4 egg yolks in this, there are lovely egg whites left over for our macarons.  Thank you so much for sharing this.  Fabulous trifle and nice driveway! 🙂

Don’t forget to click over to Kate’s blog, Diethood, for many more delicious recipes and say cheers from me, will you?  I see she’s just made a batch of the most scrumptious strawberry cheesecake ice-cream…

Guest Recipe: Chocolate Pots de Crème

It has been a while since we’ve seen chocolate on the site.  Passing by a few chocolate shops this week, it has been uplifting to see beautiful pots of lily-of-the-valley arrangements, traditionally associated with 1st May to bring good luck. When my friend, Liz Berg told me that she had a recipe for chocolate pots to share for today’s guest post, I was so excited. It was just perfect!

Lily-of-the-valley pots in chocolate shops, Paris

A self-confessed chocoholic, one look at Liz’s blog, “That Skinny Chick Can Bake” and it’s confirmed.  She has – to date – 85 recipes for chocolate and more recipes including chocolate chips.  That can’t be bad for a skinny chick, n’est-ce pas?

Liz is not just a blogger but a friend to us as well.  Injected with humour, through her blog she shares her enthusiasm for cooking and baking in the family (even the dog isn’t left out!)  Liz is also so generous with her recipe tips and suggestions, and tempts us with her drool-worthy photos.

I am so proud that she has come today to share her pots of chocolately deliciousness for the egg yolk recipe series.  On top of that, they contain not just one or two but SIX egg yolks!  Topped with raspberries and white chocolate whipping cream.  No more from me – it’s over to Liz.

Liz of “That Skinny Chick Can Bake

I was delighted to receive an invitation from Jill to write a guest blog.  Jill is such a delightful blogger and friend…her warmth and good humor shine with every word she posts.  She’s seen me crank out dessert after dessert, so it was fun to be challenged to dig up a recipe which utilizes a lot of egg yolks.

Chocolate pots de crème are often found on our Christmas menu…and today’s version was for Easter.  I live in a household of chocoholics, so every holiday must have a chocolate dessert. You can serve these plain or, for special occasions, top them with a luscious white chocolate whipped cream.  If you use smaller dishes as I did, check for doneness early and often by doing a jiggle test…the outer edges should be set, though the middle may still wiggle when you gently tap the ramekin.

These make a stunning dessert…and use up 6 egg yolks.  I think I may have to whip up some macarons this week! Hope you all enjoy…thanks for this opportunity, Jill.

chocolate pots egg yolk recipe

Chocolate Pots de Crème

…loosely adapted from Bon Appetit

2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 300º. Place six 6-ounce ramekins in large baking dish.
2.  Add cream to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat and add chocolate.  Stir till chocolate is melted.
3.  Whisk eggs and sugar in a large bowl, till thick and pale.  Drizzle a bit of the hot chocolate mixture into eggs to temper, whisking constantly.  Continue slowly adding hot liquid while whisking till all liquid is incorporated.  Avoid incorporating air into mixture if possible. If you find you have some small, unmelted particles of chocolate at the bottom of the saucepan, gently heat till melted and add to bowl.
4.  Place a fine mesh sieve over a large measuring cup.  Strain custard.  Pour custard into the ramekins, then pour enough hot water into pan to reach halfway up ramekins.  Cover pan with foil and poke a few holes in foil to allow steam to escape.  Bake 25-30 minutes or till outer inch of custard is set.  Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate till serving time.
Serve with a dollop of white chocolate whipped cream and garnish with berries.

custard set in the ramekins

Now for the white chocolate cream…

White Chocolate Whipped Cream

…adapted from Bon Appetit

2 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup whipping cream

Combine chocolate and the 2 tablespoons whipped cream in small microwave safe bowl.  Gently microwave stopping and stirring frequently, till chocolate is melted and smooth.  Cool 10 minutes.  Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks.  Whisk in white chocolate.  Cover and refrigerate.
Et voilà: Chocolate Pots de Creme

Et voilà: Chocolate Pots de Creme

Many thanks to you, Liz, for sharing such a scrumptious yolky chocolatey dessert with us.  Now you’ve given us plenty of egg whites to put aside for macarons!

Don’t forget to pop by “That Skinny Chick Can Bake!” for many more tempting and delicious recipes from Liz and say hello from me!

Rose & White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Cherry & Cardamom Coulis

Love is in the air. I have fallen in love with this dessert for St Valentine’s Day.

rose pannacotta and cherry cardamom coulis

rose & white chocolate panna cotta with cherry cardamom coulis

What I love about the Panna cotta is it’s so simple.  It’s the kind of dessert you can rattle out when in a rush and don’t have time to think of anything over the top or fancy.  It does the job.  Once you have the basic recipe you can make all sorts of flavour combinations – even savoury.

Informal? Serve them in funky little yogurt pots or shot glasses for parties with some fruit or purée dolloped on top. Something more formal? Pour into silicone moulds and turn them out on serving plates surrounded with a fruit purée and be creative on decor.  For a touch of Parisian elegance, mes amis, add a rose macaron or two, serve with a glass of bubbly and feel the toes curl…

Talking of bubbles, I needed a flute of pink Champagne just for the sake of a romantic shot.  In the end, the bottle and stem of the flute are barely visible.  I tried to get the Champagne in view but the angle was wrong; drank some more to see if a lower level would work.  No use.  Drank the whole lot and it still didn’t show.  In fact, there’s maybe a bit of camera shake?  Never mind.  It was deliciously fun!

rose, cardamom and white chocolate panna cotta

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours

Panna Cotta:

3 gelatine leaves @ 2g each
400ml single cream (min 30% fat)
100ml rosewater*
few drops of red colouring
80g white cooking chocolate
3 tbsp caster sugar

Coulis:

2 cups cherries, pitted
2 tbsp water
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Seeds from 2 cardamom pods

1.  Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.

2.  Heat together the cream, rosewater*, colouring and sugar in a saucepan and gradually melt in the white chocolate.  Stir until smooth.
(* Rosewater: I normally use half litre bottles of light rosewater from North Africa that I get in France.  When I was in Scotland this week I could only find small 60ml bottles, which was so much more concentrated.  I would suggest the smaller the bottle, the smaller the dose needed. Ideally it should be water with essence of rose no more than about 6%)

squeeze gelatine

3.  Squeeze in the gelatine and stir to dissolve into the warm cream.

4.  Pour into non-stick silicone moulds.  Here I used briochette moulds but you could use muffin moulds.

5.  Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

cherries and cardamom

6.  Meanwhile, make the coulis: place the cherries in a saucepan with water (no need for water if your cherries are frozen since not in season), sugar, lemon juice and the cardamom seeds.

7.  Cook for about 10 minutes until the cherries are soft.  Transfer to a blender and blitz to a smooth sauce.

cherry and cardamom sauce

8.  When ready to serve, run the underside of the moulds briefly under hot water then carefully turn them out directly on to the serving plates and pour around the coulis.

rose and white chocolate panna cotta with cherry and cardamom coulis

Et voilà !


 

This dessert recipe was featured as a Guest Post for St. Valentine’s on Kate’s blog at Diethood.com


Chocolate Beetroot Flourless Fondants

Why is it that most people pull a face when you mention chocolate-beetroot and ask, “Can you taste the beetroot?” Well in a carrot cake, can you taste the carrot? Well no, you can’t really taste the beetroot as such, but it gives the chocolate a luxurious, natural red velvet colour, adds that perfect moisture and gives a fudgy sensation to the fondants.

Chocolate beet flourless fondant cakes and praline macarons with chocolate-beet fondants

 

I just love the combination of dark chocolate and beetroot (beet).  I’d read about it a couple of years ago in my aunt’s health book for beating cancer. I never noted the recipe down as the cake seemed a bit too dry and not good quality chocolate – but the idea stuck with me. As a Scot, we love our beetroots. As a gourmande, I love my squidgy chocolate cake.  This is based on a simple, classic French flourless chocolate cake but the added beetroot gives it that moist, extra squidginess.

They can be served warm as a dessert with vanilla ice-cream; or add a touch of ginger or orange to some Chantilly for alternative combinations. I personally love them on their own without any extras: served at room temperature with a noisette (espresso coffee with a dash of milk). Don’t forget they always taste better after some maturing, just like wine and macarons…

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Maturing Time: Minimum 24 hours

225g dark chocolate (min 64% cocoa solids)
few drops of coffee essence
200g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
150g pre-cooked beetroot, grated (but not cooked in vinegar!)
4 eggs
1 tbsp ground almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Set a bowl with the broken chocolate pieces over a pan of boiling water. Add the coffee essence and melt in the butter.
  2. Continue to stir then add the sugar. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the beetroot then add the grated beetroot to the mix. Gradually break the eggs into the mixture, stirring well after each addition, then mix in the almonds.
  3. Pour the mixture into non-stick silicon mini muffin moulds and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cakes should still be quite moist in the middle but cooked enough on the outside to come clean out of the moulds when cool. Leave to cool completely before turning them out.
  4. Now the hard part! Wrap the cakes in foil and set aside for at least a day to mature them.

See? It’s not just macarons that need maturing time. Patience…

This recipe accompanies the blog post, “Blushing Beetroot Flirting with Chocolate