TARTE TATIN

22 June 2010

TARTE TATIN

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:

TARTE TATIN

APPLE CRUMBLE

11 March 2010

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

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:

Apple Crumble

Oreo

17 February 2010

Thomas Keller OREO

TKO – Thomas Keller Oreo Recipe

What makes these cookies so drop dead gorgeous is the sublime duo of salty chocolate cookies sandwiching a perfect white chocolate ganache cream. And for those of you who are less than ecstatic when it comes to white chocolate, not to worry, the taste is so subtle you will find yourself converted.

So it is no wonder that my colleague Claire was, and still is addicted to TKO‘s: Thomas Keller‘s ‘grown-up’ Oreo cookies. This my friends is no small food craving, we are talking about a woman making a bee-line to the Bouchon Bakery once a day, 5 days a week to buy not 1 but 2 of these pancake sized cookies. You are getting the picture here…

As  I apparently have not lived until I’ve tried a TKO, and short of asking Bouchon to FedEx me a care package, I thought I’d make them myself.  This is Thomas Keller’s original recipe from the ‘Essence of Chocolate‘ cookbook.

See link ‘Oreo‘ below for the recipe:

Oreo

CHOCOLATE TART

12 February 2010

In love with a tart!

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:

CHOCOLATE TART

OATMEAL

20 January 2010

Oatmeal

OATMEAL

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

OATMEAL

BAKED APPLES

12 January 2010

Baked Apples

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.

BAKED APPLES

FIG JAM

8 October 2009

SP-fig-jam-detail
SP-fig-jam
FIG JAMWhile I was in England I also managed to fit in a little jam making, and not just any jam making, but fig jam, my favourite. As luck would have it my uncle had made friends with one of the local sellers at his fruits & veg market. They just happened to have some figs that were passing their prime, but were just perfect for jam making. We bought almost 2kg for under a fiver!

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!

FIG JAM

CREPE Recipe

14 September 2009

SP-Crèpes

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!

RECIPE

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