Happy Sweet 2013 from Paris with Galettes des Rois

So we made it to 2013. It wasn’t the end of the world after all, right? I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends and took the time to chill out, relishing in the festive atmosphere and savouring precious moments.

Just as you thought I was deserting you all, I surprised even myself with such a long computer break – even forgetting my password – and instead became an elf. I ‘desserted‘ the kitchen. Big time.
Although I’m sorry to say I didn’t take many photos. I don’t know how so many wonderful, serious blogger friends do it but as I’m not serious, here are just a few snaps to prove I’ve been testing some sweet recipes for you.

Ice creams, pastries, meringues, macarons (well you expect it here, don’t you?), brioches, éclairs – all accompanied by good friends and bubbles. Now that’s what I call the sweet life. N’est-ce pas: a meringue or am I right? (Scottish pun).

What I love about living here is that the French still have a knack of cheering you up, even as the Christmas decorations come down at Epiphany. Suddenly the Pâtisserie shop windows are decked out in Galettes des rois (King Cake.) Being a cheap-skate (or rather, obsessed home cook), I make mine at home. That way I can greedily add more creamy almond paste filling inside the puff pastry and use fancy trinkets. Being a lazy gourmet, I use store-bought puff pastry (always choose pur beurre, the full butter version, which is better quality than plain puff.)

J’aime la galette…especially with added hazelnut praline

Galette des Rois Recipe

Preparation Time : 30 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
Serves 6-8

150g softened butter
150g ground almonds
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp dark rum (or Amaretto)
*
1 tsp almond extract

2 puff pastry circles (ready-made, pure butter)
1 egg yolk

1 fève or trinket
1 crown (i.e. paper; don’t go sneeking into the Tower of London, ok?)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas 4). For the almond cream, cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl then gradually add all the other ingredients and mix together well to form a smooth cream.
  2. Place the first pastry circle on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Spread the almond mix evenly on top, leaving a space of 2-3 cm as a border and wash this border with egg yolk. Insert the porcelaine trinket well into the almond cream (if you’re not sure of the quality of the trinket, I suggest you add it at the end by pushing it up into the bottom of the pastry.)
  3. Place the second puff pastry circle on top and seal the outside edges, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Brush the top of the pastry with the rest of the egg yolk. 
  4. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes (optional but helps the decor about to be done stay intact). Make indents on the border and then criss-cross patterns using the blunt end of a knife. Pierce 4 or 5 little holes in the pastry, so that air can escape.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Serve warm with Cider.

* For those that don’t want to add alcohol, you could replace the rum or Amaretto with milk and a dash of orange flower water.

Some fancy porcelaine galette trinkets from St Germain-en-Laye

As usual in our house, Lucie – being the youngest – traditionally sits under the table and chooses who gets each slice, so there’s no favouritism in dishing out the prized portion with the fève/trinket to become crowned King or Queen. Just as well for tradition: at least I can be rest assured there’s no longer need to crouch and creek the knees below – even amongst the adult table; I married a Toy Boy. Ha! Say no more.

Well yes. There is more; much more in store for you this year on le blog. I just need to put it all together, remember the blooming passwords and get that brain gack in bear!

Happy New Year to you all and wishing you the best of health and happiness, my friends.


 Update

You can find my recipe for Pistachio and Griotte Cherry Galette des Rois in my new recipe book, Teatime in Paris!

Plombières Ice Cream: No-Churn Candied Fruit Dessert

I’d promised the children a taste of the best ice creams in Paris during the summer holidays.

Straight after our UK Roman trip, however, the unusually dismal July temperatures meant replacing ice cream with homemade vanilla macarons. But as soon as that ball o’ fire returned, it was destination Berthillon on Ile Saint-Louis.

Plombieres French Glazed Fruit no churn ice cream

Berthillon is a Parisian institution. So much so that, come August – finally in the wonderful heat of the City of Light – their doors were… closed; shut; fermé; on holidays; en vacances, like most of Paris. Luckily, their ice creams and sorbets were being served by their more commercial neighbours. One of the tempting ice creams on Berthillon’s list was Plombières ice cream, packed with candied fruits.

Berthillon Ile-Saint-Louis Paris best ice creams

As my lucky French parents-in-law live in the Luberon near Apt, the world capital of candied fruits, I’ve an excuse to use Mother-in-Law’s generous bulk supply from the local Candied Fruit factory: candied orange peel strips, lemon peel cubes, glacé cherries and – my favourite – their candied ginger.

So instead of hanging around Ile Saint-Louis for Berthillon to reopen, it was easier to make Plombières ice cream at home. Reaching for my favourite French coffee-table cookbook, France: the Beautiful Cookbook by Gilles Pudlowski with recipes from the Scotto sisters, that was it. Perfect.

  • Ten egg yolks? Fabulous: whites for macarons.
  • Serve with apricot jam? Ideal: I’d just made a batch of apricot and lavender jam.
  • En plus, the recipe didn’t even require an ice cream maker – it’s no churn!

So I ‘ad-Apt-ed’ it, making individual portions for dessert rather than one giant ice cream. This will make a light, fruity, stress-free dessert – and even a handy dessert recipe to have on your Christmas menu.

Plombieres French Glazed Fruit no churn ice cream

Plombières Ice Cream Recipe

In 1858 Napoleon III met Count Cavour (Prime Minister of Sardinia) at Plombières-les-Bains in the Vosges department in Lorraine in northeastern France. As they were secretly negotiating the Treaty of Plombières, the local chef came up this dessert and has been a local speciality ever since.

Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Soaking Time: 2 hours
Freezing Time: At least 2 hours

200g (7 oz) mix of candied fruits, roughly chopped
55ml (2 oz) Kirsch
1.5 l (48 fl oz) whipping cream
250ml (8 fl oz) whole milk
10 egg yolks
200g (7 oz) sugar
1 tsp almond extract
250g (8 oz) apricot jam 

  1. Soak the candied fruits in the Kirsch for a couple of hours. Place a bowl in the fridge in preparation for whipping the cream.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks with the sugar in a large saucepan until pale and creamy. Gradually whisk in 1 litre of the cream and the milk over a moderate heat. Whisk constantly until the custard coats the spoon.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the almond extract and candied fruits with the Kirsch. Leave to cool, stirring from time to time.
  4. When the custard is completely cooled, whip the remaining 500ml of cream in the chilled bowl until it forms soft peaks.
  5. Fold into the custard then pour into silicone moulds. (Here, I used 12 briochette moulds.) Freeze until firm.
  6. When ready to serve, gently heat the jam in a small saucepan. I If you prefer it smooth, strain the bits.Turn out the ice creams directly on to dessert plates. The beauty of silicone moulds is that you don’t have to run it under warm water first. See? An easy, handy dessert to have up your sleeve.

Glazed fruit no-churn ice cream, Plombieres Lorraine Speciality

And don’t forget you can freeze your macarons too – just defrost before serving and voilà!

Plombières Ice Cream (No-Churn Candied Fruit)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Freezing Time:
2 hrs
Total Time
45 mins
 
In 1858 Napoleon III met Count Cavour (Prime Minister of Sardinia) at Plombières-les-Bains in the Vosges department in Lorraine in northeastern France. As they were secretly negotiating the Treaty of Plombières, the local chef came up this dessert and has been a local speciality ever since.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: ice cream, plombieres, candied fruit recipe, no-churn ice cream, kirsch,
Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 200 g (7oz) mix of candied fruits, roughly chopped
  • 55 ml (2oz) Kirsch liqueur
  • 1.5 l (48 fl oz) whipping cream
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz) whole milk
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 200 g (7oz) sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 250 g (8oz) apricot jam
Instructions
  1. Soak the candied fruits in the Kirsch for a couple of hours. Place a bowl in the fridge in preparation for whipping the cream.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks with the sugar in a large saucepan until pale and creamy. Gradually whisk in 1 litre of the cream and the milk over a moderate heat. Whisk constantly until the custard coats the spoon.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the almond extract and candied fruits with the Kirsch. Leave to cool, stirring from time to time.
  4. When the custard is completely cooled, whip the remaining 500ml of cream in the chilled bowl until it forms soft peaks.
  5. Fold into the custard then pour into silicone moulds. (Here, I used 12 briochette moulds.) Freeze until firm.
  6. When ready to serve, gently heat the jam in a small saucepan. I If you prefer it smooth, strain the bits.Turn out the ice creams directly on to dessert plates.
Recipe Notes

The beauty of silicone moulds is that you don't have to run it under warm water first. So easy!

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

The Heat is on: Pistachio Vanilla Wasabi Ice Cream

Are you feeling the heat? You’re lucky. Mid July in Paris and we’re thinking of putting the heating on indoors as we watch the torrential rain. At least there’s no need to worry about sunburn and slapping on the sunscreen. On the other hand, I’m seeing poor friends having to deal with soaring, sky-high, sweltering temperatures.

While our American friends are enduring the worst drought since 1956, they’re hopefully enjoying National Ice Cream month, at least. Although we’re not craving ice cream just now as much as we should in Paris, I have a solution for our differences in temperatures. Needing something ice cold? Needing ice cream but with some heat? Here’s my solution with an intriguingly delicious Pistachio Vanilla Wasabi Ice Cream.

One of my favourite French chefs is William Ledeuil of Ze Kitchen Galérie in Paris (and KGB). He makes the most incredible dessert consisting of a white chocolate and wasabi ice cream and serves it with a pistachio and green tea sauce, fresh strawberries and either crumble or wasabi meringues. The flavour combination is simply incredible!

I have been experimenting with the flavours that he concocts in his grand finale but twiddling with my own recipes at home. First I made pistachio, coconut and wasabi macarons (recipe in Mad About Macarons). This time, I’ve put the flavours together into just one ice cream to make it simple – after all, I’m a lazy gourmet!  I replaced the white chocolate with egg yolks (as macaronivores, we need the whites for macarons!) The result is a gluten free dessert, full of interesting flavours.

Pistachio-wasabi ice cream. Are you making a face?

Pistachio Vanilla Wasabi Ice Cream

200ml coconut milk (small carton)
300ml whole milk
50g ground pistachios
1 vanilla pod
1 tsp pistachio extract
pinch green and brown food colouring
(3 parts green, 1 brown)
5 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
4 tsp powdered milk
15g wasabi paste

1. Heat the milk, coconut milk and pistachios in a heavy-based pan with the vanilla pod which is cut in two lengthways. Bring to the boil, and turn off the heat for the vanilla to infuse in the creamy milk for 5-10 minutes.

2. Cream together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the powdered milk, wasabi paste and pistachio extract and mix well.

3. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the yolk cream. Discard the pod from the warmed coconut-milk and add the food colouring.

3. Pour the creamy milk onto the egg mixture whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan on a medium heat, whisking constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Set the mixture aside to cool.

4. Once cool, place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before pouring into an ice cream maker to churn according to your ice cream maker.

Serve on fresh strawberries with pistachio macarons on the side.

Pistachio Vanilla Wasabi Ice Cream recipe

If you feel like a double intriguing wasabi wham – enjoy this with Pistachio, White Chocolate and Wasabi macarons (recipe on p65 of my first book, Mad About Macarons.)

Pistachio, Vanilla and Wasabi Ice Cream
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

The perfect summer ice cream with fresh strawberries - pistachio and wasabi ice cream with coconut and vanilla (this recipe requires an ice cream maker)

Servings: 10
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 200 ml / 7 fl oz coconut milk small carton
  • 300 ml / 11 fl oz whole milk
  • 50 g / 1.75 oz ground pistachios
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 tsp pistachio extract
  • pinch green and brown food colouring 3 parts green, 1 brown
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz caster sugar
  • 4 tsp powdered milk
  • 15 g / 0.5 oz wasabi paste
Instructions
  1. Heat the milk, coconut milk and pistachios in a heavy-based pan with the vanilla pod which is cut in two lengthways. Bring to the boil, and turn off the heat for the vanilla to infuse in the creamy milk for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Cream together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the powdered milk, wasabi paste and pistachio extract and mix well.
  3. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the yolk cream. Discard the pod from the warmed coconut-milk and add the food colouring.
  4. Pour the creamy milk onto the egg mixture whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan on a medium heat, whisking constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Set the mixture aside to cool.
  5. Once cool, place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before pouring into an ice cream maker to churn according to your ice cream maker.
Recipe Notes

Serve on fresh strawberries with pistachio macarons on the side.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

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.

Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream

Baby it’s cold outside. I’ve been humming this song most of the week, although now we’re singing in the rain outside Paris. While singing, this Chestnut Vanilla ice cream has been churning for a light and easy dessert to finish off a big holiday menu.

chestnut vanilla ice cream

My youngest daughter is mad about chestnuts in all forms. If I mention this magic word, Lucie’s smile makes me melt quicker than the contents of this bowl. She’s obsessed about roasted chestnuts: either simply tossed along with pumpkin, bacon, or with green beans, or willing to sacrifice precious pocket money for an expensive poke at the exit of a Paris metro station.

She nibbles at luxury marrons glacés as if she was Charlie with a golden-ticketed chocolate bar, and pleads for marrons glacés macarons. She also craves the sweetened chestnut spread that is so common in France, by way of Clément Faugier. But I won’t ramble since that’s already covered in my blog post: Chestnuts! From Pancakes to Ice Cream to Macarons.

 Then I realised that I hadn’t yet posted this recipe for chestnut vanilla ice cream. Mon Dieu!

When you’re as mad about macarons as I am (and I know I’m not alone on this one – come on, own up), you need to use up plenty of egg yolks while you’re ageing your whites for making them. Ice cream is one of my favourite egg yolk recipes, as it uses up 8 yolks in this easy, classic recipe. Ideally, it’s best to have an ice cream machine. I don’t have one, but use the ice cream attachment for my Kitchen Aid that still does the job well.  If you don’t have a machine, then just take the cream out of the freezer every 30 minutes (about 5 times) and mix up the partially frozen mixture well.

Chestnut vanilla ice cream with macarons

 

Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Makes 1 litre

8 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
400ml whole milk
200ml whipping cream
1 vanilla pod
pinch of caramel powdered colouring (optional)
2 small 100g tins of sweetened chestnut purée
a handful of broken marrons glacés (or whole ones if you’re feeling posh)

1. Cream together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

2. Heat the milk and cream in a heavy-based pan with the vanilla pod, cut in two lengthways. Bring to the boil, and turn off the heat for the vanilla to infuse in the creamy milk for 5-10 minutes. Scrape out the seeds from the pod and add to the cream.

3. Pour the creamy milk onto the egg mixture whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan on a medium heat, whisking constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the vanilla pod and set the mixture aside to cool.

4. Once cool, place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before pouring into an ice cream maker to churn.

Serve with marrons glacés and macarons, but of course.

Which leads me to apologise to many friends for appearing as cold as ice cream when it comes to saying hello just now. Truth be told, I’m struggling to keep up with the normal Mum duties, plus a couple of extra projects. Do you find you can do nearly everything on your daily list, except there’s always at least one biggie that constantly nags at you? It’s feeling hard to please everyone. But hey, just trying to stay cool – and eat ice cream.

There are also a few upgrades currently underway on the website, since wouldn’t it be useful if you could actually do a search on the blog plus recipes and find stuff?  New pages are also coming. Bigger pics. Ouff! Lots to look forward to.

Until my next blether, macaronivores.

Bonne semaine!

chestnut vanilla ice cream recipe