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!

Passion Fruit Caramel Choux Buns & a Choux-Choux Train

I used to think that Choux pastry was complicated.  Until one day I opened up “The Black Book“. This was the recipe notebook my Scottish Granny kept, filled with simple, classic recipes from the neighbours, scribbles from the Jimmy Young Radio Show cooking program and bulging with cuttings from magazines and newspapers.

Today it’s encrusted with spatters with the proof that the recipes in her Black Book were tried and tested. I’m honoured that I was passed on her book to keep her recipes alive within the family. It’s amazing how my Granny had such a sweet tooth.  There is only ONE recipe that is savoury out of the whole repertoire. I’m particularly intrigued by newspaper cuttings of the latest trendy 1960’s hairstyles.  Why this is in a recipe cutting book beats me. Is there a recipe on the other side of this hair tinting advert? No.

Twice as fascinating? Control yourself.

Granny’s kitchen was the centre of the house and so her recipe book acts more like an agenda, telling a wee story. The only problem is it’s all scattered about and difficult to make out. I wonder if she tried this hair recipe to impress Grandpa, then? 😉

Granny had several entries for the classic Choux pastry in different forms, as they are the basis for many pastries such as éclairs, profiteroles, réligieuses, chouquettes, waffles and these choux buns.  The recipe (like many wartime recipes) used margarine instead of butter and just 250g water. Here, I’ve replaced some of it with milk and added a touch of orange blossom water.

CHOUX BUNS

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

150g water
90g milk
2 tbsp orange blossom water
4g salt
1 tbsp sugar
90g unsalted butter
150g flour
4 eggs
4 sugar lumps, crushed (optional for chouquettes)

1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Boil the water, milk, orange blossom water, salt, sugar and butter in a large saucepan.

2.  Once boiling, remove from the heat and quickly add the flour. Whisk until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the pan.

3.  Transfer to a mixing bowl (or electric mixer) and gradually add the eggs until you have a lovely smooth, sticky paste.  At this point, you can seal the pastry in a bag and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

4.  Using a piping bag, pipe out small heaps on baking trays covered in greaseproof/baking paper (or Silpat) Leave a good space between each mound, as they will spread out during baking.

5.  Brush with a glaze of one egg yolk mixed with a tablespoon of water.  If you’re making chouquettes, then sprinkle on crushed sugar lumps.  Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

TipDon’t open the oven door.  Wait until they are cooked enough, light to dark brown – otherwise they could collapse if not fully baked.

Passion Fruit Cream

(based on Manu’s filling recipe for Genovesi Ericine, Manu’s Menu):

2 egg yolks
150 g sugar
60 g cornflour
250 ml milk
juice of 3 passion fruits

1.  Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a saucepan.  In a bowl, dissolve the cornflour in a quarter of the milk and then add the remaining milk.  Stir well, add the milk to the beaten egg yolks little by little and incorporate it while whisking continuously.

2.  Gently heat the cream, whisking continuously for about 12 minutes or until it thickens.  It needs to become as thick as a pudding.  Set aside to cool for 15 minutes, covering with cling film so that no skin forms on the surface.

3.  Seive the seeds out of the passion fruits and whisk into the cooled mix.

4.  Transfer to a piping bag and, gently piercing a hole in the side of each choux bun, fill each bun with the passion fruit mixture.

Now make a salted caramel sauce (caramel au beurre salé), but instead of adding a touch of water to the sugar at the start of cooking, mix together the juice of 2 passion fruits to form a syrup with the sugar and proceed as in the caramel recipe. Dribble over the choux buns and prepare to float off to passion fruit heaven.

For some fun, why not decorate your choux buns for a different kind of birthday cake?  In this recipe, I made 12 choux buns for an adult stack above plus 12 buns below for my daughter’s fun ‘cake’:

Choux-choux!

See related post in Le Blog
on
Choux Celebrations

Lime Macarons with Marinated Mango, Coconut, Vanilla, Lemongrass & Passion Cream (gluten free dessert)

 

 

 

 

lime macaron with mango, passion fruit, coconut and lemongrass cream

 

This photo does not do justice to the flavours of this dessert.  Lighting awful, not enough time and a dinner party to serve these tout de suite!

Enough of the excuses; this gluten-free dessert was inspired by one of my favourite chefs in Paris, William Ledeuil, from Ze Kitchen Galerie.  He has a remarkable touch of fusioning Asian flavours with French cuisine.  His spectacular dishes are not too heavy and they’re typically infused with lemongrass, lime, ginger, wasabi, coconut and vanilla, to name a few.  My favourite part of his Michelin-starred restaurant is the large glass screen separating the diners from the kitchen.  The last time I was there, I was so carried away in awe watching the chefs working harmoniously together in such a small kitchen that I nearly forgot my friends at the table!

When it comes to light desserts, this is my kind of end to a meal.  It’s also dead easy to prepare so you can enjoy your guests instead of spending ages in ze kitchen.   Even easier, prepare the giant macarons in advance: the day before or reach for your stock from your macaron bank in the freezer!  It’s perhaps not the prettiest dessert to look at but believe me, the taste is divine!

Giant lime macaron shells

Prepare the giant macarons using the basic recipe in the book, adding green colouring (perhaps a bit less here than I did!) and the zest of an untreated lime to the batter.  Then pipe out in giant spirals, leave to dry as usual and bake for up to 15 minutes.

Adapted from William Ledeuil’s recipe for Marinated Mango & Pineapple in Vanilla and Coconut.

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 + 1 hour

4 giant green lime macarons
2 mangoes (sweet yellow varieties)
15cl coconut milk
1 vanilla pod
1 stick of lemongrass
30g sugar
250g tub of mascarpone
1 passion fruit
1 untreated lime

1.  In a saucepan, heat the coconut milk.  With a sharp knife, split the vanilla pod down the middle, scrape out the seeds and add to the milk.  Take off the outer shell of the lemongrass and cut each hard end off the stem.  Cut the lemongrass in two horizontally and also add to the coconut milk plus the sugar.  Bring to the boil then take off the heat and leave to cool.

Infuse the lemongrass with the coconut & vanilla

2.  Peel and chop the mangoes into chunks.  When the coconut infusion is cool, strain off the lemongrass, add the mangoes.  Top with cling-film and leave to marinade in the fridge for an hour.

Marinade the mango in the coconut mixture

3.  Remove the mangoes from the coconut infusion and set aside.  In a bowl, mix the mascarpone, the grated zest and juice of a lime plus the seeds and juice of a passion fruit.  Then mix in the coconut infusion.

4.  Spoon out the cream onto each giant macaron shell and top with the marinaded mangoes.  Chill for another hour until ready to serve.

Serve this with a late harvest Gewürtzraminer for a special end to a meal.

Scotch Corsican Pancakes with Chestnut Flour

Wanting something a bit different for pancake day?

Scotch Corsican Pancakes with chestnut flour

 

Scotch pancakes are also known as drop scones or griddle cakes.  To keep Corsican hubby happy, I came up with an Auld Alliance version, merging the two nations in a simple pancake. Here I’ve made them slightly different with the addition of chestnut flour, which is a typical rustic flour used in Corsican cuisine.  It just adds a nutty, rich texture and goes beautifully when paired with orange.  Serve warm with plenty of honey and/or warmed marmalade for something special. Adding a touch of Corsican liqueur just gives a subtle kick to the flavour.

Scotch Corsican Pancakes

Makes 12 pancakes

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes (put your feet up & have a cup of tea..)
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

70g plain flour
45g chestnut flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
30g butter, diced & softened
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp Corsican Chestnut Liqueur (or Grand Marnier), optional
150ml milk

  1. Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder & salt in a large bowl.  Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Make a well in the centre.  Whisk in the egg, the liqueur (if using*) and gradually add in the milk until thick and creamy.  Set aside the mixture for 30 minutes so that the glutens in the flour expand.  This will make your pancakes light and fluffy (which I didn’t do for the photos here.  I was in a rush to run the kids back to school at lunch and you can see they’re as flat as a pancake.  30 mins rest does make a difference).
  3. Lightly grease a griddle/pancake pan or heavy frying pan and preheat it.
  4. Cook in batches.  Drop the equivalent of 4 spoonfuls of the mixture spaced apart over medium heat for 3 minutes until bubbles rise to the surface and burst.
  5. Turn the pancakes over and cook for a further 2 minutes.

* If you don’t want to use alcohol, replace the liqueur with orange flower water.

 

Scotch Pancakes

Turn over the pancakes once you see the bubbles bursting

Scotch Corsican Pancakes

Scotch Pancakes (Drop Scones) with Corsican Chestnut Flour

Update: I’m still learning: I should have just lumped these Scotch Corsican Pancakes with the blethery blog post on one page. So if it’s the chatter you’re after, see le blog: Chestnuts! From Pancakes to Ice Cream to Macarons…

Salted Caramel Sauce (Caramel au beurre salé)

This has to be one of the most satisfying of homemade sauces: it’s so handy to keep in the fridge. Ever since my sweet French friend, Emmanuelle, showed me how to make it, I have been in salted caramel heaven; in Autumn and Winter there’s now a constant supply of this sticky nectar in the fridge. And I mean it’s so constant, it’s on a drip!

It can jazz up scores of desserts, adding an extra wow factor to the most simplest of sweet treats. What’s more, it keeps for up to a month sealed in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, transfer to a small milk jug, reheat gently in the microwave and dribble or zig-zag over vanilla ice cream (see p125), waffles, profiteroles, chocolate fondants, crêpes, rice puddings, poached pears, apple crumbles, apple fritters, etc.

It also makes a perfect Autumn/Winter treat served with giant caramel macarons “tatin-style” (see p113 of the book.) You can also use this sauce for filling salted caramel macarons. To make the sauce more manageable for macarons, make a ganache using 80g white cooking chocolate (I love using Valhrona) and melt together in a saucepan with 30g of whipping cream. Add half of the caramel sauce (save the rest for further pleasure) and leave to cool for a good couple of hours until an easy consistency to pipe on to your macarons.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

160g sugar
200g single cream, warmed
120g salted butter

1. Put the sugar with a few drops of water into a small saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir it now and again over a medium heat until a golden syrupy caramel forms.  This should take about 10 minutes maximum.

2. Turn down the heat and add the warm cream gradually, stirring constantly.

3. Mix in the butter, still over the gentle heat and keep stirring until thickened.

Pour the caramel into a serving jug at room temperature and set aside until needed.

The caramel can last up to 3 weeks if stored in a sterilised sealed jar in the fridge – so why not make double? 😉

UPDATE !

Passionfruit Caramel: Sieve out the seeds of a passion fruit and stir the juice in with the sugar in step 1 instead of the water.
Coffee Caramel: Add a tablespoon of granulated coffee to the caramel for a perfumed coffee caramel.
Orange Caramel: Add the zest of an orange for extra zing – or why not limes, kumquats, meyer lemon…