22 June 2010
TARTE TATIN: an upside down apple pie – but why?
Rumour has it that French Tatin sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline had a small crisis in the kitchen….The result: a traditional apple tart served upside-down. Whatever the truth, this ranks among one of my favourite desserts – the pastry on top stays golden and crispy, while the apples caramelise below.
We christened my father’s Emile Henry tatin set the last time I was in Provence. This one ceramic dish does everything: first make the caramel directly on the stove top using butter and sugar, add the apple slices, cover with pastry and bake until golden brown. When done, the tarte tatin turns out easily onto the matching plate.
Caramel: Getting the caramel recipe to work can take a little practice, click on the link ‘Tarte Tatin‘ below for more on this and the tarte tatin recipe:
11 March 2010
I think certain deserts are underestimated; an easy recipe can be just as delicious as a complicated one. In fact chefs nowadays seem to be signing the praises of just such an idea.
I have always loved apple crumble, all the wonderful taste of apple pie, without fiddling around with rolled-out pastry. The crumble for this recipe actually comes from Ottolenghi’s carrot muffins. I think it is the addition of black sesame seeds and honey that makes this buttery crumble so fabulous. Your taste buds will thank you!
You can adapt this recipe using white sesame seeds if you don’t have black ones, pears instead of apples and cook the crumble for 10 minutes longer at 150°C if you prefer a softer fruit texture.
See link ‘apple crumble’ below for recipe:
12 February 2010
CHOCOLATE TART : a great chocolate recipe
Valentine’s Day – whether you are a fan or not, it is always a good excuse to make something sweet. And what could be better than chocolate.
This is an ideal desert as it is simple, can be made in advance, and is sinfully delicious. The slightly sweet pastry has a buttery tender crumb combined with the rich, unctuous chocolate ganache filling, that is not too sweet nor too dark – it is a match made in heaven.
Though I must confess I have stage fright when it comes to making pastry. This requires summoning up the courage to attack the recipe (yes attack… I am going into battle) who will win is anyone’s guess. But have no fear, here you are safe. This recipe is tried, tested and true.
The pastry tart shells are made in advance after which no more baking is needed. The chocolate ganache is just heated cream poured over chopped chocolate, then spooned into the pastry shells and left to set. For the original recipe using orange zest see The Ulterior Epiqure
See link ‘Chocolate tart‘ below for recipe:
20 January 2010
An unctuous, warm, stick to your ribs breakfast cereal, made from an easy recipe that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes and eaten with a vartiety of spices, fruits, nuts or just brown sugar.
With all this going for it, why did I avoid oatmeal like the plague when I was little… I mean to the point that you couldn’t force the spoon down my throat! I think it came down to the texture, which with years and maturity…. I have come to like.
A few TIPS for making oatmeal :
- add the salt at the end for a creamy texture
- the finer the oats the faster they cook
- heat your bowls
- serve with warm milk
- Scottish superstition - stir clockwise with your right hand to avoid evil
12 January 2010
Baked Apples seemed to be an appropriate welcome back, New Years resolution, apple desert recipe. What better way to satisfy your sweet tooth while watching your waist line. Plus baked apples are a cinch to make… core, stuff, bake. That’s it. No fuss no muss.
Olivier’s parents have an apple orchard in France and this year they were overwhelmed with the yield. There were enough apples for the Russian army I tell you. So each week we receive a top up, which means I continuously have a bag of these golden red globes in my fridge. I would be complaining except that they are absolutely delicious and make wonderful apple sauce, pies, cakes, muffins not to mention baked apples.
8 October 2009
Kip does not mess around when it comes to jam. The figs were washed, mashed, cooked, bottles and voilà – fig jam. And to be honest it should be that easy. No muss no fuss. What I liked best is that the jam is not too sweet, he avoids the trap of saturating it with sugar, so that you can still taste the fruit. And just wait till your try this on a piece of hot bread, or with yogurt as a desert.
Here is another fig desert recipe to try!
14 September 2009
Russian crêpes – I used to think that a crêpe was a crêpes was a crêpe. That was until Katya made me her Russian recipe. While the basic ingredients are the same – flour, eggs, milk and butter, the taste and texture are soooo much better! I am convinced that the secret lies in warming the milk and melting the butter, to which the dry ingredients are then added. The result is an unctuous wonderful batter that makes perfect crêpes.
The second key factors is to be one with your crêpe – out with the spatula and in with your fingers, just be careful not to burn them while slowly peeling back the crêpe to flip it onto the other side. This adds a whole new meaning to hands on cooking!
17 August 2009
‘Same Same, But Different’.….This was the slogan written on the shirts my brother brought back from South-East Asia for Olivier’s stag party. Odd that this phrase should pop into my head when cooking but it really does answer the question “What is the difference between clafouti and flognard???”
For the purists in this world clafoutis is a desert made with whole cherries and a sweet batter poured over the top. A clafouti made using any other type of fruit ie) peaches is called a flognard or flaugnarde.
I often make this dish as it is a quick and easy summer desert. If you are pressed for time, don’t bother peeling the peaches or substitute them for red plums! This recipe calls for standard ingredients that you should have on hand, and if you are without cream just use extra milk. A dusting of powdered sugar (icing sugar) adds a nice touch for serving.