Easy French seasonal recipes including many traditional dishes from my travels. Includes a database of egg yolk recipes and many gluten-free dishes, cakes and desserts.

1st Guest Post: Pineapple Curd

I am so excited.  Not only for hosting my first Guest Post but also launching a NEW SERIES of recipes entirely devoted to using egg yolks.  What better way to kick off the series than with the organic guru herself, Erin, author of BigFatBaker.com.  When I read her blog post the other day that she had found a new passion in eating and making curd, I thought: this is it! EGG YOLKS!  She’s brilliant.  As macaronivores, we’re always looking for ways to use up these yolks and what’s more, we can use curd to FILL macarons, too.

Now sit back and pay attention.  You are heading for Erin’s most tangy pineappley curd which you can use to fill your macarons for an extra special exotic touch. Coconut ones would be beautiful, for example.  Like macarons, this curd is gluten free.  Now without my further ramblings, it gives me great pleasure to hand you over to Erin…

pineapple curd egg yolk recipe

 

Erin, author of BigFatBaker.com :

I am so honored to be a guest here on MadAboutMacarons.com. When Jill invited me to share my egg yolk recipes, I was overjoyed. I can’t think of a better place to do my first guest post! This is my first, in a series of three, guest posts on curd recipes – Enjoy!

If you are new to the curd making process, do not worry. Making curd is surprisingly simple! All you have to do is follow the steps, and pay attention. What’s even better is the ingredients list for curds is short, and easy to keep organic.

When Jill initially asked me about a guest post I was in the process of making a pineapple curd. Pineapple is one of my all time favorite fruits, and I was intrigued to see if it would be tart and tangy like lemon curd, or more subdued and sweet.

Ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised with how the curd turned out. It is different from lemon curd in the sense that it doesn’t use butter. The lack of butter results in a slightly different texture, but it was still smooth and pudding like.

Remember how I said making curd is easy? It is. Promise.

PINEAPPLE CURD

1 medium sized, organic pineapple or 2 ¼ cups pineapple juice
6 large egg yolks
¾ cup white sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch

1.  First, juice your pineapple. Try and get as much juice as you can, you will need 2 ¼ cups.

Slice off the top and bottom, then carefully cut down the sides of the pineapple to remove the rind. Try and remove as little of the fruit as possible!

Cut into 1-inch pieces, and move all pineapple pieces to a blender. Add in 2-3 tbsp water, and blend. You could also use a food mill, or juicer.

You could also use the canned pineapple juice to make things even easier, but I highly recommend the fresh stuff.

2.  Next, in your saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add in the cornstarch and pineapple juice, and whisk until everything is combined.

Hey, using egg yolks now to make macarons later!

3.  Set your burner to low (between 2 and 3 on my stove), and slowly bring up the temperature of your mixture. Over the next 3 minutes gradually increase the heat to medium (about 4 ½ on my stove) while you continue to whisk.

4.  After about 10 more minutes of whisking your curd will be starting to thicken up. Once this happens turn off the burner, remove from the heat, and continue to whisk for 5 more minutes.

5.  Allow the mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes before pouring into the jars. And you are done!

You now have fresh, organic pineapple curd to fill macarons, cakes, or eat by the spoonful.

pineapple curd yolk recipe

 

Thank you so much, Erin.
Don’t forget to check out Erin’s blog at BigFatBaker.com and say bonjour from me, ok?  She has many more gorgeous organic recipes to share with you.  She also has the most delicious organic raspberry curd.  I can tell you’re going to share a curd passion, too, very shortly…

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.

Saltimbocca: Veal and Parma Ham Spirals

saltimbocca veal roll easy recipe

Spam Saltimbocca without the spam, please

A few years back, Antoine gave me a clever Christmas present: a course in Italian cooking in Paris. It was a great idea for ALL of us in the end, wasn’t it? One of the class dishes prepared was saltimbocca, but instead of using the traditional veal they used thin chicken breasts and stuffed them with sun-dried tomatoes and basil leaves.

I’d made Saltimbocca before but I learned a neat trick: instead of serving them as one long sausage type roll, simply cut them up into dainty slices and you see the beautiful spirals: it’s a no brainer. 🙂 Saltimbocca (literally “jumps in the mouth”) is a real classic but so easy to rustle up at the last minute for unexpected guests.

I learned this part not from the class but from my local butcher: to tenderise the veal, hammer the living daylights out of it. The French romantically call this, “une caresse du boucher“.  Imagine the scene chez le boucher in Le Vésinet, a posh suburb just up the road from us.  With a long queue of serious French customers looking on (and listening carefully, of course) I asked for the thinnest possible veal escalopes they could give me, along with a caresse, please. I thought I was being clever but it was a blond moment.  I didn’t go back there for a while since they’d ask me each time for une caresse.  So the best way was just to buy a cheap meat hammer from Ikea and do it yourself!

tenderizing meat with a caress du boucher

giving a tenderising “caresse du boucher”

For 4 people

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

4 veal escalopes @ 100g
4 slices Parma ham
8 sage leaves
25cl white wine (or Marsala)
4 tbsps crème fraîche

  1. Spread out each veal escalope on a chopping board and thump the living daylights out of it so that it will be beautifully tender.
  2. Place a slice of Parma ham on top of each escalope, add a sage leaf and season.
  3. Roll up each escalope and hold it together with a toothpick.  Chop up the rest of the sage leaves into thin strips.
  4. Fry the escalopes gently in a mixture of butter and olive oil plus the sage on all sides for about 15 minutes.  Glaze the pan with the wine (or Marsala if you want something a bit more fruity and gutsy) and finish off by adding the crème frâiche.
  5. Remove the escalope rolls and with a good sharp knife, slice each escalope into small slices.

Serve immediately with pasta tossed in the sauce and decorate with crispy sage leaves.
Alternatively, serve with sweet potato and sage gnocchi for something slightly different.

saltimbocca veal rolls with sweet potato gnocchi and marsala sauce

Saltimbocca served with sweet potato gnocchi and a marsala sauce

Sweet Potato & Sage Roman Gnocchi

gnocchi romaine

Sweet potato & sage gnocchi (Roman style)

As some of you may know, I’m married to a Frenchman but whether he’s a true Frenchman can be a bit of a debate.  He’s Corsican.  Although the island of Corsica officially belongs to France, their cuisine is more Italian in spirit.  More on that subject later…  In our house, we tend to eat a lot of pasta.  The children LOVE to get covered in flour making homemade tagliatelle: I prefer that the flour coats the pasta. 😉

This has to be another of my favourite Italian-style dishes.  We all know gnocchi as the round little potato dumplings but this version is baked in the oven, Roman-style. I found this recipe for Baked Butternut Squash Gnocchi by Jean-Christophe Novelli in a magazine ages ago and since then I’ve been playing around with it, as it’s so versatile:  in place of the butternut squash I’ve used pumpkin, parsnips and here I’ve used sweet potato.  They all work wonderfully.

In summer I’ve even tried this with roasted red peppers (skins removed.) It completely transforms this dish.  Serve it as bright red gnocchi with fish for a real treat.  Don’t forget you can also chop and change the herbs – with lemon thyme, basil and rosemary, depending on your accompaniment.

Serve this as a starter or a main course, top with some good melting cheese and finish off under the grill.  Serve with a rocket salad tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and toasted pine nuts.  You could use polenta instead of the semolina but I personally find the semolina is lighter.   Use wholemeal semolina, if you’re wanting to be particularly healthy.  I love serving this as a side dish (without the cheese topping) to accompany saltimbocca or roast chicken.

Serves 4 people as a main dish or 8 as a side dish or starter.
Adapted from a recipe by Jean-Christophe Novelli

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes + 40 minutes

2 sweet potatoes (about 550g), peeled & chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
4 sage leaves, finely chopped
100g semolina
50g  Parmesan cheese, grated (or grana padano)
65g butter, softened
3 large organic eggs
125ml carton crème fraîche
Fontina, gorgonzola or taleggio (good melting cheeses)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Throw the sweet potato, garlic and sage in a roasting tin.  Cover with foil and roast for 45 minutes. There’s no need to use oil if you cover with the foil.

    No need for oil since roast covered in foil 

  3. Whiz the potato, garlic and sage in a food processor until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and add all the other ingredients.  Season to taste.
  4. Spread the mixture in a brownie tin lined with baking paper, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes (I use the roasting option on the oven).

    Spread the mixture in a brownie tin

  5. Cool in the tin then cut into squares, triangles or circles (circles are pretty but I prefer the squares as there’s no waste.)
  6. If serving as a main vegetarian dish or a starter, put the slices on a baking tray.  Cover with the cheese of your choice and grill until melted.
  7. We ate this at home thinking of Manuela’s event for the 150 years of the Unification of Italy at Manu’s Menu on 17 March but I didn’t get around to writing it up on the site.  Sorry, Manu!  Mieux vaut tard que jamais, as they say here (better late than never) 😉

roman gnocchi side dish

Crispy Sage Leaves

Crispy sage leaves with sage flowers

Crispy Sage Leaves are one of my favourite decorations to add that extra je ne sais quoi to the plate.  They are also the easiest things to make in no time.  They are ideal for decorating pastas, risottos, purées, chicken and fish dishes.  Sage also goes beautifully with pumpkin or butternut squash – as well as the traditional apple and pork dishes.  Add them to roasted veg and vegetarian dishes, too.

There’s no need for a deep frier, either. 🙂  The result is not only crispy, but the leaves still taste of beautiful sage.

Preparation Time: 1 minute

Cooking Time: 3 minutes

  1. Clean the fresh sage leaves and dry them out thoroughly using kitchen paper.
  2. Warm some vegetable oil or olive oil in a frying pan and when hot, add the leaves.  Fry them gently for about a minute on each side.
  3. Remove from the pan using tongs and drain them on more kitchen paper.  They will crisp up beautifully as they cool.

 

Delicious and stunning sage flowers

In spring, make the most of pretty sage flowers; they are edible and taste just as strong as the sage leaves!

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…