Showing posts from 2010

It's Xmas Season!

 STOLLEN Servings: 12 - Active time: 30 mn Start to finish: 2 hrs

4 cups flour 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk 1/3 cup sugar 1 package dry yeast 3/4 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup milk 1+1/2 sticks butter (160 g.) 2/3 cup raisins 2/3 cup cranberries, dried 1 cup pecan nuts, chopped 1 lemon zest ½ teaspoon almond extract Rhum Confectioner's sugar
Soak raisins in rhum. Preheat oven at 320°F. Let yeast dissolve in 1/4 cup of lukewarm milk. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and let foam and rise. Beat butter with sugar, stir in salt, egg, egg yolk, lemon zest and almond extract. In a large bowl, place remaining flour, and stir in butter-sugar mixture and yeast. Add remaining milk (lukewarm), raisins, cranberries and chopped pecan nuts. Knead well and let rise in covered bowl for 30 mn. Punch down, knead again and shape into a loaf. Let rise for 20 mn and bake for about 30-40 mn at 320°F. When still warm, brush top with butter and sprinkle generously with confectioner's sugar.

Aux trois Petits Cochons, Paris, France.

filet de daurade

Blanc manger coco
Palet chocolat, sorbet cacao et croustillant fourré à la crème au Calvados

Devil's Food Cake

DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE WITH BROWN SUGAR BUTTERCREAM Serves 10 - Active time: 1 h - Start to finish: 2 h
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
Brown sugar buttercream (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 3 (8- by 2-inch) round cake pans and line bottoms of each with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pan with flour, knocking out excess. Whisk together boiling water and cocoa powder in a bowl until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour and cocoa mixtures alternately in…


The babies chillin'

I got crabs!

I just got back from Paris where I had to go for 2 days of work-related tests, including a day of massive strikes. After the tests, I went shopping of course, armed with a long list of products and ingredients we can never find in Riga, in the best place in Paris for all sorts of exotic oddities: Tang Frères, Chinatown, in Paris' 13th arrondissement. There I filled up my basket with Hoisin Sauce, Spicy Black Bean Sauce, Plantains and Frozen Soft-Shell Crabs, which my partner turned yesterday into the most delicious dish (see pic).

Susan's Place, Paris, France.

Any American will tell you that one of the hardest things to do when living the expat life in Europe is to find decent Mexican food. Unfortunately, my partner and I get cravings for the 'South of the border' cuisine about 2 or 3 times a week! We had one of those last night and decided to make nachos (see picture). They were definitely not our best, for lack of quality ingredients mostly, but then again, when it comes to nachos, we've had more than our share of disappointments on this side of the Atlantic. When we first arrived in Paris in September 2003, my partner and I began our search for Mexican eateries in Paris with the help of a free monthly magazine called FUSAC (stands for French-USA Contact). And there it was, on one of their glossy pages, a small ad for a Mexican restaurant named Susan's Place, boasting nothing less than the best Chili Con Carne in Europe. I know what you're thinking, Chili Con Carne is not Mexican. Well, it's Tex-Mex. Close enough.…

Sept. 25th, 2010.

My newfound passion for patisserie has led me to try a new recipe from my collection of Gourmet Magazine cutouts, Devil's Food Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream. As always, I had to cut down the baking time by 10 minutes since my Latvian oven tends to overwork itself everytime. The result was amazing though. The cake came out moist with a rich cocoa flavor. The buttercream was a delightful surprise, because 'crème au beurre', as we call it in French, is traditionnally made with egg yolks. This recipe uses egg whites instead, and yields the smoothest buttercream, both light (in texture) and rich (in flavor). I do think the molasses in the dark brown sugar tend to overpower the vanilla though (next time, I'll try with white sugar). The recipe has been added under the Recipes tab. Enjoy!