Almond purée

I often find recipes that require almond purée as a healthier alternative to butter but unfortunately, it is not an ingredient easily available in Ireland. However, I have a powerful tool that can do almost everything so a little search on the web and I got the recipe to make this wonderful ingredient!

You can use almond purée in many recipes: replace tahini in your homemade hummus or aubergine dip, use to make mayonnaise (replaces the egg yolk and some of the oil), use in dips (guacamole, tapenade…),  in sauces as a replacement to butter (béchamel, rémoulade…). Add into your risottos, purées and soups. In desserts, use in cakes, creams and pastry. To know how much almond purée is equivalent to the butter in a recipe, follow the ratios below:

Cold butter -> use 100% weight almond purée

Softened butter -> use 80% of the butter weight in almond purée and 20% oil

Melted butter -> use 50% weight almond purée and 50% oil or vegetal milk

(source: Cléa)

AlmondPuree_007

Source: Pause cuisine

Ingredients

300g blanched almonds (you can also use almonds with the skin on but the colour will be brown and the taste more rustic)

Method

  1. Place the almonds (or ground almonds) in the TM bowl and mix 1 min/speed 5, then 30 sec/speed 6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix another 30sec/speed 6.AlmondPuree_001
  2. Pause for 5 minutes to let it cool down, scrape down the sides and mix 30 sec/speed 7. Leave to rest 15 minutes.AlmondPuree_002
  3. Scrape down the sides and mix 1 min/speed 6. Leave to rest 30 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix another 1 min 30/speed 5. The texture of the almond paste is turning oily. Leave to rest 10 minutes.AlmondPuree_003
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix 30 sec/speed 5. Scrape down the sides and mix 30 sec /speed 5 again. Leave to rest 5 minutes.AlmondPuree_004
  6. Mix 1 min/speed 6. Now the almond purée est ready to use. Tip it onto a sterilised jar (to sterilise, place 10 minutes in an oven at 150C).AlmondPuree_005
  7. Don’t wash the bowl! Add 300 g of water in it and mix 20 sec/speed 6, then 20 sec/speed 10 and voilá! Almond milk ready to use (as suggested in the recipe, I made some clafoutis with the almond milk and the purée to replace the butter).AlmondPuree_008AlmondPuree_009
  8. Keep at room temperature for up to a week or in the fridge for a month.

AlmondPuree_006

White chocolate, Vanilla and olive oil macarons

I love making macarons. They are beautiful, tasty and you can fill them with an infinite variety of ganaches and fillings. Since teaching how to make them at my Kitchen Complements cookery classes, I have found a great fail-safe recipe, which I am giving you today. For ideas to fill these, you can choose from my raspberry and rose or my dark chocolate ganaches. Maybe you prefer the salted butter caramel filling or for a tangy taste, lemon curd would get your preference. If none of these tickle your fancy, then why not a beautiful white chocolate and olive oil emulsion infused with vanilla seeds?

Please refer to my previous post on macarons shells for some tips on how to make successful macarons before making the recipe.

VanillaMacarons_001

Source: Macarons inratables for the shells and A 2 mains Cap délice for the ganache

Ingredients

Macarons shells
Makes about 100 shells

160g ground almond
160g icing sugar
140g egg whites
180g caster sugar
Food colouring of your choice (preferably in powder or gel form to avoid changing the texture of the mixture)

Ganache
200g white chocolate
75g single cream
85g Extra virgin olive oil (choose a very good quality olive oil with a mild taste)
1/2 vanilla pod

VanillaMacarons_002

Method

  1. Line the baking trays with baking paper or silicone sheet (you need 4 baking trays)
  2. Take out all the ingredients (egg whites a few hours in advance) and tools needed: silicone spatula, piping bag + round nozzle, pastry scraper, scale and a big bowl.
  3. Mix together the ground almond and the icing sugar in the food processor (Thermomix: 5 sec/speed 6). Don’t overheat the powder though! Alternatively, sieve the mixture. Tip out and reserve in the big bowl.
  4. Beat the egg whites until they start to foam and there’s no more liquid at the bottom of the bowl, and then add 1/2 of the sugar. Continue whisking until the whites start to firm up and form soft peaks Add the other 1/2 of sugar. Continue whisking until the sugar is totally dissolved (taste a little bit to check) and add the food colouring (quantity is up to you but add a small amount at a time until you’re satisfied with the result).
    Stop whisking at this stage and add the ground almond and icing sugar.
  5. Now use a silicone spatula to fold in the almond mixture. Cut in the middle of the bowl with the spatula and turn the bowl a 1/4 to the left (if you’re left-handed, then to the right) while lifting the mixture. Once the almond/sugar is roughly mixed in, change the spatula motion to a fold and then scrape gently the top of the mixture. Continue doing this until all the almond is mixed in. Now you don’t have to be too delicate here as you want the mixture to be well mixed and it should form a ribbon when pouring it from a height.
  6. As soon as this is done, put the mixture in a piping bag with a round nozzle (about 1 cm wide). Evacuate any air out of the opening of the piping bag using your hand or pastry scraper and push the mixture towards the nozzle to remove air bubbles.
  7. Hold the piping bag firmly in your hand as shown in the picture and move to your ready lined baking tray
    With the nozzle about 1 cm away from the tray (at a 45 degree angle) pipe out a small amount of the macaron mixture (about a walnut size). You should have 25 to 30 shells per tray.
  8. Continue piping a line of macarons well spaced (they will spread out while resting). Tap the tray firmly against the workbench to remove any air bubble trapped.
  9. Let the macarons rest for up to 1 hour at room temperature. Check it is dry by slightly touching one macaron: it shouldn’t stick to the finger.
  10. Preheat your oven at 150C (even less if your oven tends to overheat).
  11. Add the tray with the macarons and cook for about 10 minutes (again, check them through the window to make sure they don’t get yellow). You don’t need to use 2 tray in this recipe as it is fail-safe and the feet will form with just one tray.
  12. To see if they are cooked, slightly move the top with your finger. If it moves away from the feet, it’s not done. If both stay together, they are cooked.
  13. When they’re cooked, leave them out for a few minutes before carefully lifting them out with a thin spatula.
  14. Ganache: heat the olive oil with the seeds of the vanilla pod 5 min/70C/speed 2. Leave to cool completely (you can leave the pod in the oil and remove when cool). Tip out and reserve.
  15. Melt the white chocolate and the cream in the TM bowl 5 min/50C/speed 2.
  16. Add the olive oil and mix 1 min/speed 3.
  17. Place in a piping bag and leave to cool in the fridge for 20 minutes before piping into your macarons shells.
  18. Store the macarons in an air-tight container in the fridge for at least 1 day before eating (I know it’s torture but they are much, much better after a day or 2 as the flavours will have developed!). They also freeze very well…
  19. Tip: to make the golden shimmer look on the shells, I have sprayed them with an edible shimmer bronze spray (I used gold shimmer for the paler ones), available in specialised shops. Place them in a cardboard box before spraying to avoid redecorating your kitchen!

VanillaMacarons_003

Asian rice and prawn salad

This is a quick and super tasty dish to make with Thermomix (which comes in handy to prepare all the components of this dish). I got the idea for the salad from Mamina in her blog “La table de Mina” and the dressing is the secret dressing recipe from Wagamama, a chain of Asian restaurants in the UK and Ireland (curtesy of C’est ma fournée for the recipe). When I say secret, it’s not anymore since Wagamama revealed the recipe in their latest cookbook after being so jealously guarded for so long (it’s THE dressing that gets the customers coming back for more!).

AsianRiceSalad_001

AsianRiceSalad_003

Source: La table de Mina and C’est ma fournée

Ingredients

Rice Salad
Serves 4 people
200g Basmati rice
500g jumbo prawns (I used fresh but if frozen, thaw them first)
1 mango
1 courgette
1 handful of fresh coriander
1 small red chilli
2 garlic cloves

Dressing
1/2 shallot
2.5 cm fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove
1 tbsp Ketchup
1 tbsp water
90g sunflower oil
10g sesame oil
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar

Method

  1. Place the rice in the internal basket with 1 L water in the bowl. Place the basket in the TM bowl and rinse the rice 5 sec/speed 5.
  2. Cook 10 min/Varoma/speed 1.
  3. Wash the courgette and cut it into ribbons lengthways using a Y peeler or a mandoline. Place on the Varoma tray.
  4. When the 10 minutes are up, remove the measuring cup and place the Varoma on the lid. Cook for a further 10 min/Varoma/speed 1.
  5. Meanwhile, peel and cut the mango and peel the garlic and ginger. De-seed the chilli.
  6. When the rice is cooked, set it aside. Rinse the bowl in cold water and run the blades at speed 8 while dropping the garlic and ginger for the dressing. Scrape down the side of the bowl.
  7. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and blend 15 sec/speed 6.
  8. Pour into a small bottle (you’ll have enough dressing for a few dishes). Keep the leftover in the fridge for up to a week.
  9. Rinse the bowl and drop the chilli,  the remaining garlic and ginger for the salad on speed 8.
  10. Add some oil and cook 3 min/100C/speed 1.
  11. Add the defrosted prawns and cook 3 min/100C/speed 1. Test to check the prawns are cooked or add 1 minute if not.
  12. Place the rice into a serving bowl. Tip out the prawns and mix in. Add the pieces of mango, the chopped coriander and pour over the dressing. Enjoy!

AsianRiceSalad_002

 

 

 

Chocolate chestnut fondant

You should know by now that I love chocolate. Another thing that is sure to tickle my taste buds is chestnut. Add them together and you have a winner.

ChestnutChocCake_002

Source: inspired by a recipe from Martine bichonne son menu  and Recette de cuisine

Ingredients

Homemade chestnut purée
500g cooked chestnuts
1 vanilla pod
300g sugar
300g water

Fondant
500g chestnut purée
100g dark chocolate
3 eggs
100g unsalted butter

ChestnutChocCake_001

Method

  1. First make the chestnut purée: heat the water and sugar in the TM bowl 9 min/Varoma/speed 3.
  2. Add the chestnuts, the vanilla seeds and heat 22 min/100C/speed 3.
  3. Blend 30 sec/speed 9.
  4. Pour into a sterilised jar.
  5. To make the fondant: preheat the oven at 150C. Melt the chocolate and butter 4 min/50C/speed 2, scraping the sides of the bowl half way through.
  6. Set the Thermomix to speed 3 and add the eggs through the hole in the lid.
  7. Add the chestnut purée and mix 15 sec/speed 4.
  8. Pour out into a buttered and floured cake tin or silicone mould.
  9. Bake for 30 to 45 min depending on the size of the tin.

 

Semolina cake

Most French children have a memory of semolina cake, either made by their mum or bough from the shop. I have this fond memory of a semolina cake with chocolate ganache from the brand Yabon that I just couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, nowadays we can’t find decent semolina cakes in France anymore as they have “changed” the recipe (replacing natural ingredients with cheap processed ones to increase their bottom line as usual). But anyway, nothing beats homemade so here is a nice recipe to turn back the time…

SemolinaCake_001

Source: Espace Recettes Thermomix

Ingredients

125 g fine semolina
90g sugar
1000g whole fat milk
1/2 vanilla pod
2 eggs
Pinch of salt

Chocolate ganache:
90g dark chocolate
90g cream

Method

  1. Put the butterfly whisk in the bowl.
  2. Add the milk, sugar, semolina, seeds scraped from the vanilla pod and salt.
  3. Cook for 11 min/100c/speed 1.
  4. Add the eggs and cook a further 4 min/100C/speed 3.
  5. Pour out into a dish and let it cool down before refrigerating a couple of hours to set.
  6. Meanwhile, make the ganache: in a clean and dry TM bowl, break the chocolate into chunks and grate 5 sec/speed 6.
  7. Add the cream and melt for 3 min/50C/speed 2, scraping down the sides half way through.
  8. Let it cool and thicken before pouring over the semolina cake.

Chocolate financiers

I had a lot of egg whites in my fridge and some chocolate craving after seeing my daughter gorging herself on her Easter chocolates and not wanting to share (how shocking!). So, I looked for a chocolate financiers recipe and just came across this one. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into: they are wickedly addictive! They are so moist and chocolatey with just the right balance of sweetness. I must have eaten the whole batch within a day (my husband just about managed to rescue one before they were all gone).

ChocFinanciers_001

Source: Gateau.com

Ingredients

150g dark chocolate (I used 58% cocoa)
80g sugar
80g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
40g ground almond
4 egg whites (or 125g)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 200C and butter your financier moulds (I used silicone so no need to butter)
  2. Grate the chocolate in the TM bowl 5 sec/speed 6. Scrape down the sides.
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate 3 min/50C/speed 2. Scrape down half way through. Add another minute if not completely melted.
  4. Pour out the chocolate into a bowl and add all the other ingredients except the egg whites to the TM bowl (no need to wash).
  5. Turn on the blades to speed 3 and add the egg whites through the whole in the lid until just combined.
  6. Add the chocolate back into the TM bowl and mix 10 sec/speed 4. Finish with the spatula to make sure everything is well combined ( you don’t want to overmix).
  7. Pour into your financier moulds and bake for 15 minutes (check with a skewer that must come out clean).
  8. Leave to cool and use your will power not to have second servings – don’t say I didn’t warn you!

ChocFinanciers_002

Feta Filo cakes

The weather is getting summery again so it’s time for some light salads and Mediterranean dishes. This Greek inspired dish is using filo pastry as a case for the Feta filling. It’s easy to make and delicious with a green salad.

FetaFiloCakes_001 FetaFiloCakes_002

Source: Cuisine A á Z

Ingredients

Filo pastry
150g Feta cheese
150g Philadelphia
3 eggs
30g butter
25g pine nuts
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 200C
  2. Place the eggs, Feta, Philadelphia or cream cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper in the TM bowl. Mix 15 sec/speed 6.
  3. Add the pine nuts and mix 5 sec/speed 3.
  4. Melt the butter (in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove).
  5. Butter a muffin tray(I used a silicone muffins sheet)
  6. Take out a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with some melted butter. Cut out bands of filo the width of 1 muffin case.
  7. Line each muffin with the bands of filo, changing the angle with each band to fill the whole muffin case.
  8. Do the same with the remaining filo pastry and muffin cases.
  9. Pour the content of the TM bowl in each muffin until filled almost to the top.
  10. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  11. Serve hot or warm with a salad and extra Feta.

 

Simnel cake

This recipe is on our Thermomix calendar, given to customers who hosted a demonstration in January and February. It looked so amazing that I couldn’t resist making it. It’s a traditional cake in United Kingdom and Ireland dating from the Victorian era. It should have 11 little eggs on top that represent the 11 disciples of Christ at Easter (I didn’t judge too well, so only managed to fit 10 eggs).

SimnelCake_001 SimnelCake_003

Source: Beverley Dunkley for I love chocolate, I love Thermomix

Ingredients

150g chopped candied fruit
150g currant
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp real vanilla extract
30g Brandy
200g dark chocolate in small pieces or callets
50g unsalted butter, diced
3 large eggs
100g caster sugar
110g plain flour
15g cocoa powder

Marzipan
110g blanched almonds (I used ground)
120g granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp orange flower water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Chocolate ganache
150g double cream
11 small eggs

Method

  1. Make the Marzipan: weigh 50g sugar into the TM bowl and grind to caster sugar 5 sec/speed 10. Tip out and set aside.
  2. Weigh the remaining 70g sugar into the TM bowl, grind to icing sugar 1 min/speed 10. Set aside in a flat bowl or on a plate.
  3. Weigh the blanched almonds (they must be dry) into the TM bowl and grind until fine 10 sec/speed 10 (no need if using ground almonds).
  4. Add the caster sugar and most of the icing sugar (save 1 tbsp for step 6). Mix 10 sec/speed 3.
  5. Add the egg yolk and flavourings. Knead 1 min/dough setting until a rough paste is formed. If it looks crumbly, press it together with your fingers, it should make a dough.
  6. Taste and add more almond extract if needed (knead 30 sec/dough setting if that’s the case). Turn out the TM bowl and use the remaining icing sugar to roll out the Marzipan.
  7. Make the cake: preheat the oven at 180C and line a 18cm round deep cake tin with baking parchment. Place a bowl on top of the TM lid and weigh in the fruits, then add the lemon zest, vanilla and Brandy. Stir then leave to soak for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Melt 50g chocolate with the butter 2 min/50C/speed 3, pausing half way through to scrape down the sides. It should be fully melted and smooth. Heat 1 minute longer if needed.
  9. Mix in the eggs, sugar, flour and cocoa powder 30 sec/speed 5 then stir into the soaked fruits with the spatula. Pour half the batter into the prepared tin.
  10. Roll the Marzipan into a disc about 18cm diameter x 1cm thick. Place on top of the cake batter. Cover completely with the remaining batter. Bake 50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  11. Ganache: melt the remaining 150g chocolate with the double cream in a clean TM bowl 2 min/50C/speed 2 until 3/4 of the chocolate is melted, pausing to scrape down the TM bowl once.
  12. Scrape down the sides of the TM bowl and mix without heat until completely melted and smooth. Spread half the glaze on top of the cake with a palette knife, allowing it to drizzle down the sides slightly.
  13. Cool the rest of the glaze in a bowl until almost fully set, then aerate by hand with a balloon whisk until thick enough to pipe. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe 11 rosettes around the top of the cake and place a small Easter egg on each.

SimnelCake_004 SimnelCake_002

Matcha tea marbled cake

I hear you saying “oh, here’s another matcha tea cake recipe”. Well, I must admit, I find the colour so pretty that whenever I find a recipe online that uses Matcha tea, I want to make it. This cake uses a basic quatre quarts recipe but rather than baking in a loaf tin, it uses a savarin cake tin for a prettier look.

MatchaMarbledCak_001

MatchaMarbledCak_002

Source: La popotte de Manue

Ingredients

3 eggs
150g butter, melted
150g sugar
150g self raising flour
2 tsp Matcha tea
1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing
3 tbsp Limoncello or lemon juice
Icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C.
  2. Place the butterfly whisk in the TM bowl and add the eggs and sugar to it.
  3. Whisk 5 min/speed 4 measuring cup OFF.
  4. On running blades at speed 3, add 1/3 of the butter and a 1/3 of the flour in alternance until they are all used up.
  5. Take out the butterfly whisk, scrape down any flour stuck on the sides and mix in the batter.
  6. Separate the batter in 2 equal parts. Mix the Matcha tea to one half (add 1 tbsp milk if too thick).
  7. Mix the vanilla extract to the other half.
  8. Butter and flour a cake tin (or use silicone) and alternate spoons of both batters.
  9. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the tin size (I used a 20cm Bundt cake tin and baked for 30 min).
  10. Leave to cool, then mix the Limoncello or lemon juice with enough icing sugar to make a fluid enough icing  but not too liquid.
  11. Pour over the cake.

Chocolate charlotte

Charlottes are a French dessert made with special biscuits (called biscuits á la cuillere) and a mousse inside. I have already published an Orange charlotte a while ago but this time I made a chocoholic version, which is very rich and decadent. Forget about dieting and your beach figure for the time being and indulge yourself with some of this delicious Charlotte. Yummy.

ChocCharlotte_001_01 ChocCharlotte_Coll

Source: La popotte de Manue

Ingredients

For a 20cm Charlotte, serves 6

Biscuits

Makes about 28 biscuits

2 eggs
180g sugar
95g flour
12g unsweetened cocoa powder
Icing sugar

Bavarois cream
250g milk
100g sugar
50g egg yolks
100g dark chocolate
3 gelatine leaves (2g each)
250g cream

Rum syrup
50g water
45g sugar
20g rum

 Method

  1. Make the biscuits: preheat the oven at 200C.
  2. Separate the whites from the yolks and whisk the whites until foamy, then add the sugar in 3 thirds while whisking until firm and glossy.
  3. Add the egg yolks and whisk for 5 seconds to combine.
  4. Add the sieved flour and cocoa powder and fold in gently.
  5. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. You will need the biscuits to be the same length so draw lines on the paper 8 cm apart using a pencil (I was able to mark 3 rows of 8 cm bands, each band separated by 2 cm). Turn the paper upside-down.
  6. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round nozzle with the biscuit mixture. Pipe the biscuits using the bands as delimiters and leaving space between each biscuit.ChocCharlotte_001
  7. Dust with icing sugar.ChocCharlotte_002
  8. Bake for 10 minutes (watch during the cooking).
  9. The syrup: while the biscuits are cooking, place the sugar and water in a saucepan. Boil for 3 minutes and take out of the heat. Add the rum and set aside to cool.
  10. When the biscuits are cooked, take out of the oven and leave to cool before lifting them gently with a flat spatula (be careful as they are quite brittle).ChocCharlotte_003
  11. Make the Bavarois cream: place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water to soften.
  12. Place the milk, sugar and egg yolks in the TM bowl and cook 8 min/80C/speed 4 to make a custard.
  13. Add the drained gelatine through the whole in the lid on running blades at speed 3 until melted.
  14. Add the chocolate and mix 20sec/speed 8. Tip out into a bowl to cool.
  15. Clean and thoroughly dry the TM bowl. Insert the butterfly whisk and add the cream to the bowl.
  16. Whisk on speed 4 measuring cup OFF peeping through the whole as you will need to stop as soon as it looks softly whipped (underneath will be firmer).
  17. Add the whipped cream to the cooled custard (no more than 37C to avoid thermal choc). Mix using a whisk.ChocCharlotte_005
  18. Cut about 15 biscuits to 6cm high.
  19. Line the bottom of a 20 cm springform cake tin with some baking parchment. Place the biscuits around the tin, icing sugar side facing out and cut side down.
  20. Brush the rum syrup over 3 or 4 biscuits and line them at the bottom of the tin.ChocCharlotte_004
  21. Pour half the custard over the biscuit base.
  22. Brush 4 more biscuits with the syrup and place them on top of the custard. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.ChocCharlotte_006
  23. Pour the remaining custard over the slightly frozen Charlotte and freeze again for another 2 hours (or overnight).
  24. Take out of the freezer and heat the outside of the tin with a blowtorch or a hairdryer so you are able to release the sprinform tin gently. Lift out the frozen Charlotte and place on a plate.
  25. Sprinkle with grated chocolate or vermicelli.
  26. Defrost 3 hours in the fridge before serving.