Profiteroles are amongst my favorite desserts. I always order them in the restaurant if they are on the menu, but there are huge differences in the preparation and not all of them are equally nice. What you want is dark bitter chocolate over cold and creamy vanilla ice. To often one get puff pastry soaked in something like mousse au chocolat.

We had our annual coeur de sel xmas dinner this saturday and I decided to try to make profiteroles. ( as you already now I always need chocolate in my desserts ). It looks as if I'm into Pastry bags these days. For every other recipe I try you need one. Must be because of fannys lovely pastry blog.

The thought of making puff pastry made me a bit nervous. I remember years ago I tried to make a gateau saint Honoré which turned out horrible in the first attempt because of the puffs. I started with looking for a recipe. I found several in my cookbook collection. Every one of them was completely different concerning the puff pastry. Some used milk others only water and the quantities were totally different in each one of them - which made me think of julian barns book "Pedant in the kitchen" . A very funny book indeed. A must for everybody who likes cookbooks.

The puffs turned out quite nice in the end. Really funny it got when I tried to make the chocolate sauce. My recipe said I should make the sauce with 250 gr unsweetened cocoa powder, 100 gr sugar and 200ml water and 2 tbs starch. I tried. It's like spitting into sand. The tiny bit of cocoa who got moist stuck to the wooden spoon like it would be afraid of drowning the big rest dusted all over the place, also on the hot stove. At this point I decided not to use any starch and added lot more water. I ended up with a lovely chocolate sauce, enough for a whole army though.
Next time I'll use just plain dark chocolate.

ready for the ovenfilled with vanilla ice
say hi to the chocolatehere you go

Cream Puff Shells:
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (90 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup (135 gram) flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Glaze: 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon milk
Place 1 cup water, butter and salt in saucepan. Bring to boil. As soon as butter has melted, stir in 1 cup flour and continue stirring vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture has pulled away from sides of pan and formed a ball. Let the dough cool for five minutes, then briskly beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the dough is smooth and shiny. [At this point you can cover the pot and chill it in the fridge for up to a day.]
Using a pastry bag or 2 teaspoons, make small 1-inch mounds of dough on a baking sheet. Bake (on 220° ) the cream puffs for 20 to 35 minutes, or until puffed and well-bronzed.
Chocolate sauce:
200 gr dark chocolate
20 gr butter
3 tbs water
Melt the chocolate, butter and water In a water bath.
Let the puffs cool down cut them into half an fill with vanilla ice. Douse with the chocolate sauce and serve.

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Tarte Tatin

Certainly one of my favorite desserts, warm apples a hint of caramel and double cream.... yummy.
But somehow I never mange to make it. Often I make the dough but then I am busy cooking dinner and have not time to cook the apples and after dinner when everyone wants a dessert it would just takes to long to cook and bake the cake....
I suggest it's better to make tarte tatin for afternoon tea and not as a dessert after a whole menu when you have guests.
Anyway, it's definitely worth making especially now that it's cold and grey outside.

Pastry :
200gr plain flour
50 gr icing sugar
125 gr Butter chilled and cubed
1 medium egg yolk

Begin by making the pastry. Stir the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl or food processor. Add the butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour or pulse the ingredients in the processor until the mixture resembles brad crumbs. Mix the egg yolk with 2 tbs water, then using a blunt knife, stir just enough of this mixture into the dough to make it come together. Wrap the pastry into cling film, pat it down into a flat disc so that it will be easier to roll out later and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

50 gr Butter softened
125 gr caster sugar
6 large dessert apples
1 lemon finely grated zest

To make the filling spread the butter over the cold oven proof frying pan and sprinkle the sugar over the top. Place the apples around the edge, round side down. Tilt them slightly, allowing them to overlap, as they will shrink later. Place over low flame and cook for 10 minutes so the sugar dissolves slowly. Once it has dissolved, turn up the heat to a medium high flame and cook for 15 - 20 minutes, occasionally giving the pan a light shake to prevent the apples burning. The juices will start to turn a glorious rich, amber colour. Be brave you want the apples to hold their shape, but you also want the juices to darken to a colour that will give the tart that rich caramel flavor with a slight hint of burnt sugar.
Like Mahogany .
Take the frying pan off the heat, scatter with the lemon zest - a must to stop it from being too sickly - and allow it to cool for 10 minutes so the pastry doesn't melt.

Preheat the oven to 200°. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to a thickness of 3 mm - make it the size of your frying pan.  Place it over the apples. Patch together any cracks that appear. Place it on a backing sheet, to catch any drips - and cook for 25  -  30 minutes until the pastry is golden and dry.

Remove from the oven with proper oven gloves, the sugar will be dangerously hot and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Run a knife around it. Place a large plate over the top and flip over . If any apples are left in the pan simply scoop them out and replace them on the tart. Serve it as it is or with double cream or vanilla ice.

The perfect cake to be eaten after a long walk through winter landscapes or  a foggy autumn afternoon.

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Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Still in a baking mood and at home with a heavy cold. I decided to try something I have never done before, a Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake. Inspired by a post on smittenkitchen. I like cheese cake but have not done one for ages. But chocolate cheesecake? Incited by debs declaration  "And I know, I know, everyone’s got a chocolate cheesecake recipe that they or their cousin-in-law swears by, but I’m going have to, yet again, brashly step forward and pronounce this one better than all of them." I went into the kitchen, not to convinced because the americans always use cream cheese (philadelphia this is) Here in europe we use curd=quark and that sort of cake is called curd cake = Quarktorte. The mix of philadelphia cream cheese and chocolate seemed repulsive to me. But the thought of a Chocolate Caramel cake sounded so delicious that I had to try anyway.

I probably haven't ever had that much fun making a cake. First the caramelizing of the sugar and then throwing in the cold cream and everything bubbling very angrily and getting stiff again :-) was nice.
Into this very hot mixture you just drop the chocolate which melts right away. And then you ad the white sour cream ...
A recipe full of relish !

The 6 hours the cake had to rest were quite a torture. I was so curious, could one really eat this cake? Not that I doubt deb's judgement but ...
After six hours I carefully cut a tiny slice and tried -  well let me tell you the cake is fantastic! And if I "the queen of chocolate cakes" ( There are men who want to marry just because of my chocolate cake) says this it has to be true. As deb says: "Be warned, however: this is not a cake you get away with only making once."

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Serves 8 to 10
1 crumb crust (recipe below)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped

1/2 cup sour cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Make crumb crust as directed in separate recipe, using chocolate wafer cookies instead of graham crackers.
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook sugar in a dry heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork, until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Remove from heat and carefully add heavy cream (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden).
Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Stir in sour cream.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 55 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.
Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on a rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.

Crumb Crust
I actually double crumb crusts; I can never get enough cookie.
Makes enough for a 24 centimeter cheesecake.
1 1/2 cups (5 ounces) finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter springform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

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pêches rôties à la vanille et aux myrtilles


Petite recette simple mais trop bonne (si on aime les fruits).

3dl d'eau

6cs de sucre de canne

4 pêches

1cc de beurre

1 gousse de vanille

250gr de myrtilles

2cs de sucre

1dl de demi-crème fraîche ou acidulée

Bouillir l'eau avec un tiers du sucre, couper les pêche en deux puis les mettre dans le liquide  env. 1min, retirer les pêches  et détacher la peau (ne pas jeter le liquide) .

Mettre les pêches dans un plat à gratin.

Faire fondre le beurre avec le reste de sucre puis mouiller avec la moitier du liquide des pêches et ajouter la gousse de vanille coupée un quatre.

Laisser réduire jusqu'à consistance sirupeuse. (comme du sirop)

Verser sûr les pêche et faire rôtir dans le four préchauffé à 220° pendant 10 à 15 min en les arrosant régulièrement du reste du sirop.

Tourner les myrtilles dans un peu de sucre.

Mettre le reste du sucre dans la crème.

retirer les pêches du four et les garnir de myrtilles avec la crème en accompagnement.

prép. env. 15 min

cuisson au four env. 15 min

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Creme brulé with lavender

The garden here in sardinia is full of heavenly scented Lavender. The big stone table where we usually eat our extended breakfast is surrounded by lavender and the smell accompanies our meal.
It was only a question of time till we started to think about ways to use this lavender.

My first  attempt is this Creme brulé with lavender.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup plus 8 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Combine the cream and the lavender leaves in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.

Whisk egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla in a medium sized bowl until well blended. Slowly add the cream mixture and whisk constantly until it is blended. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve then divide the mixture between 4 6-oz ramekins. ( you can also us one bigger but not to deep oven tray) Place the ramekins in a baking pan and add enough hot water come half way up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set, approximately 1 hour. Do not overbook or the custard will be "tough". I suggest checking quite often, what you really don't want is a flaky texture.

Let it cool.

If you like creme brulé and plan on doing this more than once I suggest you buy gas torch. This it the easiest way to make caramelize the sugar. Just sprinkle some sugar over the creme and heat till caramelized.

If you don't have a gas torch you can try this but attention not to cook the whole creme again.

Two hours before serving:
Preheat broiler. Sprinkle 2 teaspoon sugar atop each custard. Place dishes on small baking sheet. Broil until sugar just starts to caramelize, rotating sheet for even browning, about 2 minutes. Chill until caramelized sugar hardens, about 2 hours.

creme brule

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The Pavlova is  just one of the nicest desserts I know.

the pavlova

Is basically a meringue with lot's of cream and fruit on top. The recipe I have comes from Nigel Slater (with lot's a adjustments ) and the special thing about it is that you use passionfruit with it. This is a combination made in heaven. The crunchy and sweet meringues with the soft cream and the sour passionfruit go are just delicious together.

The recipe is actually easy it's just a bit trick to get the egg stiff enough. But even if you don't manage to get it really stiff you end up with a great dessert. Though it might not look like this. It's a good idea to use egg whites that have been separated 1-2 day ago. They get a lot stiffer. I usually keep spare eqq whites in a jar in the freezer they can be kept for up to a week. 

6 large free range egg whites
350 gr caster sugar
3 tsp cronflower
300 ml whipping cream
Lot's of passionfruit

Beat the egg whites, shiny, thick and well risen. Now start adding the sugar, little by little. Beat until it is really really stiff. Fold in the corn flour.

If your mixture is really stiff : make a 25 cm diameter circle on oven paper and scoop the meringue on, making a little dell in the middle for the toppings.

If the mixture can not "stand" by itself you can use a round cake tin. Paper at the bottom.

Prehet the oven on 180 ° . Lower the temperature to 120 and bake the meringue for 1.30 h.

Take out and let sit till cold.

Cover with the cream and the passionfruit.

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some sweets from japan


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in't veld chocolate



The new bagel shop in our neighborhood carries a nice selection of very special chocolate.
in't veld is one of them, of course I could not resist this wrapping.
We tried the blood-orange and goat milk one. It's very nice, the blood-orange gives it a slight acidity, next I try a black chocolate variety.

in't veld comes from Berlin, read more about the company here.

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Chocolate fondant

One hell of a dessert - Chocolate fondant with saffron filling à la locatelli.
I've fancied this dessert ever since I bought the locatelli cook book, today I finally tried.

flour, cacaostirring

and mix it

out of the oven

et voila

good things inside

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