When you have a craving, at least in my mind, you should satisfy it, if not you'll be thinking about more and more and more. Madeleines were on my mind all week, they go superb with tea and coffee. They're exceptionally simple to make and cute. This is a recipe from Julia Child's book which really needs no changing and the only thing I did was introduce new flavors. I've been wanting to play with perfumes more and more this year and this heavenly mix is hard to pin down as one scent so I'm going to go with "scented Madeleines". I used a metal mold that I found at a thrift store in North Carolina many years ago.Read More
Cannelés are one of those pastries that I love to eat but don't make as often as I'd like to. I've tried to make them in silicone molds a few years ago and the results were consistently not that good. (I've never used aluminum and can't speak about them but check out this experiment by Serious Eats) But a few months ago, M took a work trip to Paris and I asked/begged him to get a couple of copper Cannelé molds from Dehillerin. I fell in love with my little copper molds, perfectly shaped with their ridges just waiting to be seasoned with warm, melted beeswax before they could be used.
So once you have the molds, we definitely need to talk about seasoning them. This is as important as the molds because it will allow the mold to release the pastry with ease. Some folk use beeswax while others a mixture (1:1 ratio) of unsalted butter and wax. I used Dominique Ansel's method of seasoning the molds before they can be used. Try and find edible beeswax pellets because they're easier to melt than the block I have in the photo below (you have to chop it up to bits and then use as much as you need).
The next part is the actual batter for the pastry. You will need to prepare it a day in advance to allow the flour to hydrate and the sugar to dissolve. I've used a combination of cardamom and orange zest which are steeped in the hot milk, eventually the zest is removed through straining the batter and let it sit overnight. The rest of the steps are pretty straightforward. Though Cannelés are best eaten the day they're made, I have found freezing the cooled pastries in a ziptop bag for 2 to 3 weeks to be pretty efficient. You just need to thaw them before and you can also warm them up in the microwave.
cardamom and orange Cannelés - adapted from Dominique Ansel's - The Secret Recipes (Simon and Schuster - 2014)
Makes 10 medium cannelés (about 2¾ ounces or 80 grams each)
Time: 20 minutes one day before (plus 45 minutes if using brand-new cannelé molds); 1 hour 30 minutes the day of
10 cannelé molds 2 inches tall by 2 inches diameter (5 cm tall by 5 cm diameter)
Pastry brush (optional)
Instant-read thermometer (recommended)
Beeswax (for the molds) as needed
1½ cups (352 grams) whole milk
3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter (84 per cent butterfat)
1 tsp ground green cardamom
1 tsp fresh orange zest or orange extract
3 egg yolks (large)
3 tablespoons (38 grams) dark rum
½ cup + 2 tablespoons (94 grams) all-purpose flour
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (180 grams) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt
Purchasing, preparing, and caring for cannelé molds
– There are several options when picking out cannelé molds, but I would recommend using copper molds. Copper conducts heat extremely well and ensures a crispy exterior and moist flan-like interior as the cannelés bake.
– If you are using copper cannelé molds for the first time, it is important to season them properly. The traditional way is to use beeswax. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C) for conventional or 375°F (190°C) for convection. Melt beeswax in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Brush the inside of the molds with melted wax and place them on a sheet pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and invert on a wire rack over a sheet pan to let excess wax drain out. When the molds cool, repeat this process three more times. Seasoning the molds in this manner ensures that your cannelés will have a shiny and smooth exterior. It also prevents them from sticking to the molds. Ideally, this process should be repeated each time you bake cannelés, but it can be done every other time after the first five bakes if the cannelés are unmolding easily.
– Beeswax can generally be found at specialty stores or online at several retailers. It comes in blocks or chips. I recommend chips simply because they are easier to melt; otherwise they are the same.
– Copper cannelé molds do not need to be washed. To clean, wipe with a dry towel.
One day before: Season molds
Prepare cannelé molds in the method described above.
1. Combine the milk, butter, and cardamom and orange zest in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let cool to about 100°F (38°C), or lukewarm to the touch.*
2. Whisk the egg yolks into the milk mixture. When they have been incorporated, whisk in the rum.
3. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the warm milk one-third at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions. Some air bubbles will form, but keep these to a minimum. When finished, the batter will have the consistency of heavy cream.**
4. Strain the batter through a medium sieve into an airtight container. Before closing, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the batter, to prevent a skin from forming. Press the lid of the airtight container on tightly. Refrigerate overnight to rest the batter.
The day of: Bake
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) for conventional or 425°F (220°C) for convection.
2. Warm the molds in the oven for 15 minutes before filling. Preheating the molds helps ensure that the cannelés will have a crunchy, caramelized exterior.
3. Brush the molds with a thin layer of melted beeswax. (Too much wax will cause the mixture to spill out of the mold during the baking process.) Gently mix the batter to reincorporate ingredients that may have settled overnight. Be careful not to overmix, or you risk incorporating too much air into the batter. The more uniform the batter is, the better the final product will be.
4. Fill each mold to about ¼ inch (6 mm) from the top, about 2¾ ounces (80 grams) of batter each. When the cannelé bakes, it will rise slightly, then sink, so it is important to leave a small space to account for this rise.
5. Place the molds on a sheet pan and bake on the center rack for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) for conventional or 325°F (160°C) for convection, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes more.***
6. Let the cannelés, still in their molds, cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cannelé molds upside down and gently tap the top until the cannelé drops out onto the wire rack. Let cool completely before serving.
Happy 2017!!! I spent much of the past few weeks celebrating Christmas and NYE with my mom and sister who were visiting us from India. Now that they've gone back to India, the house feels quiet even with our beloved pets, both of whom who can be loud at times. We ate a lot of good food, took a few trips, saw a few movies but most of all, it was great to spend some one-on-one time with my mom who I get to see once, perhaps every two years.
One of the things, my mom and I like to do is, snack. We snack a lot and if there was one way to mark the start of the new year here, an appetizer or some sort of snack would be fitting. And so I have an easy hazelnut and walnut based pâté flavored with mushrooms, tea and a few aromatics for you.
To make a nut based pâté, you'll need a blender with a bit of oomph to grind those nuts down and the powerful new Ascent blender from Vitamixdoes just that! With a few short pulses in a few seconds, I ended up with an impressive smooth and creamy nut based paste that was ready to be absorb the umami of the mushrooms and tea. The only annoying part was having a little patience to let the pâté stiffen a little in the refrigerator but that is something I can live with.
Note, that I've said portabello/portabella mushrooms in the ingredient list, it honestly just depends on what you can find, the male mushrooms have the "bello" while the females have the "bella" in their names. It shouldn't make a big difference in taste.
vegetarian pâté (with mushrooms, nuts and tea)
makes: about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup (76 grams)hazelnuts
1/2 cup (46 grams) walnuts
1/4 cup (59 ml) melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons black tea such as Darjeeling
1/4 cup (59 ml) boiling water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 teaspoons garlic cloves minced
1/4 lb chopped crimini mushrooms
1/4 lb chopped portobello/portabella mushrooms
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
4 to 5 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the nuts on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes until they just start to release the aroma and turn light brown. Remove from oven and transfer the nuts to the blender along with the melted butter. Pulse the nuts for a few seconds until they start to form a coarse powder. You might need to scrape the sides of the jug, just in case the nut bits move up to the sides.
2. Add the tea leaves to the boiling water in a small bowl and allow to steep for 4 minutes. Strain and discard the leaves, reserve the liquid.
3. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until they just start to turn translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, thyme and peppercorns and salt. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the ground nuts and the reserved tea liquid to the blender. Place the lid and pulse until you get a smooth and creamy mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer the pâté to a clean air-tight container and refrigerate for at least four to six hours before use. Serve the pâté with slices of fresh bread such as a baguette.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Vitamix, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.
We suck at hanging art work at home, it's one of the hardest things to do and the commercials of course make it looks easy. And clearly, it's one of the most stressful things you can do together as a couple! Getting equal spacing between random pieces of art on wall, maintaining some sort of uniformity and to keep it pleasing, is anxiety on my soul. And though M says no one will notice, I know I will. A slightly crooked frame will be an eye sore for eternity. So there we were, measuring tape, pencil, nails and a hammer. 4 frames, each hung at least twice! And we still have 12 more to go... and spots and stains to fix and repaint...
I've taken a lot of liberties with this fricassee and if you see my notes below, though the technique is similar, I've adapted it to make it easier and a little lighter and tried to give the dish a little Indian vibe. There's a pinch of saffron threads and smoky coriander for that rich color and flavor. A fricassee is a richly flavored one-pot French dish that gets flavored at different levels, the mirepoix, the herbs and spice add their magic to the chicken. There are a few steps to making it but it's one of the large batch dishes that you can make it in advance and save yourself some time during the week!
Usually, you should cook a fricasse in a medium-size heavy Dutch oven. Honestly, it does wonders for this dish because of it's heavy cast iron base and lid. The chicken cooks fast due to the uniform heat distribution and the steam, the chicken will have a tender texture once it is cooked. I used Le Creuset's new mix and match cast-iron dutch oven that comes with either a red or blue lid to match the colors of the French flag!
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this fricassee;
- I cheat a little in this fricassee. I've skipped the boquet garni and the liasion. A fricassee can be pretty rich and heavy with cream and eggs, I skipped all of this and made the sauce creamy by emulsifying the liquid in the Dutch oven to give a creamy and silky sauce.
- If I'm craving a little bit of heat, I'll add a teaspoon of red chili flakes to the Dutch oven when I add the coriander.
- This is a great one pot meal, one you can prepare in advance and eat during the week. I also sometimes throw in a can of beans or some chopped char.
saffron and coriander chicken fricassee
yields: 6 servings
4 lbs chicken legs with bone and skin, whole
1 tablespoon kosher sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup white onion, diced
1 cup celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
1 cup white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc)
1 quart chicken broth, unsalted
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons tarragon, fresh chopped
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. Pat the chicken dry with clean paper towels. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Melt the butter and the olive oil in a medium-sized Dutch oven (5.5 quarts) on medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, place the chicken skin down and brown on each side for about 5 minutes. The chicken pieces can be fried in batches. Remove from Dutch oven and keep the chicken aside on a clean plate.
2. Reduce the heat to low and to the same Dutch oven, add the diced carrots, onions and celery. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until almost the vegetables start to just brown. Then add coriander and saffron and cook for another 30 seconds with constant stirring. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix until the no visible flecks of flour can be seen.
3. Pour the wine and chicken broth into the Dutch oven and stir to mix. Increase heat to high and bring the contents to a a boil. Now return the browned chicken pieces to the Dutch oven along with the bay leaves. Cover with the lid and reduced heat to medium-high. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked (internal temperature 165F). Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove the chicken pieces and bay leaves. Now transfer 3/4 of this liquid left in the Dutch oven to a blender and pulse until almost smooth. Return the liquid to the Dutch oven, stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Now return the chicken back to the Dutch oven. Garnish with the chopped tarragon and parsley. Serve hot with a good rustic country bread.
Disclaimer: This post sponsored by Le Creuset and Williams Sonoma. All opinions expressed are solely my own.