You might wonder what a Carambar is, and no, it’s not an exotic city nor is it a Mexican expression. It’s in fact a brand of chewy, sticky caramels that most French kids ruined their teeth on at one stage in their life. Their flavour is quite distinctive (and addictive) but fear not, you will still be able to make these yummy cakes if you can put your hands on your local brand of sticky caramels (anything with a dark colour would do like Werther’s). I prefer using them in desserts rather than eating them as they are because let’s say that I didn’t inherit a great set of teeth from my parents and, well there has been some casualties from devouring sweets like these when I was younger. At least, the melted version still retains the taste without sticking to whatever is left of my teeth!
Source: Ma p’tite cuisine by Audrey
20 Carambar (or 150g sticky dark caramel sweets of your choice)
150g plain flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
100g brown sugar
1 pinch salt
Optional: 2 ripe bananas (I added these as I had them handy but it’s not necessary)
- Preheat the oven at 160C
- Melt 120g of Carambars, milk and butter in the TM bowl for 4 min/90C/speed 2.
- Sieve the flour over the bowl with the baking powder (you can sit the sieve on the bowl, press the scale button and weigh the flour that way).
- Add the sugar, salt and eggs and mix 20 sec/speed 6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula.
- Cut 30g of Carambar into chunks and add to the mix.
- Add the bananas in chunks if using and mix for 10 sec/speed 3/reverse blade direction.
- Butter a cake tin (if using a non silicone one) and pour the mixture into it.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the cake.
Lentils are often overlooked because people don’t know how to cook them or have had bad experience in the past. This dish is not only tasty but it’s also very good for you with all the vegetables. It’s best eaten warm served in a salad dressing, which brings out all the flavours of this delicious vegetarian dish. Only use Puy lentils as they keep their shape when cooked and have a nice flavour.
Source: Barefoot Contessa
For 6 people as a starter or 4 people as a main course
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups of dried puy lentils
4 cups of water
2 carrots, cut in chunks
2 leeks, washed thoroughly and cut in chunks
1 small turnip or half a big one, peeled
1 onion, kept whole, peeled and pricked with 6 cloves
2 tsp butter
For the dressing:
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Place the carrot and leeks chunks, garlic and 2 tbsp of olive oil in the TM bowl and chop 2 to 3 sec/speed 5. The vegetables shouldn’t be chopped too small as you want to see them in the dish!
- Sauté 4 min/100C/speed 1.
- Meanwhile, place the lentils, water, onion pricked with the cloves and the turnip in a cast iron pan or a large saucepan.
- Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and add the sautéed carrots/leeks.
- Let simmer, uncovered for 40 min (add hot water if the level goes too low).
- The lentils are cooked when they are tender but still have a little bit of a bite. Drain the lentils, discard the turnip and onion and mix in some butter.
- While the lentils are cooking, mix all the dressing ingredients in a large salad bowl.
- Add the drained lentils to it while it’s still hot and mix with a spoon.
- Serve at once. Can be reheated the next day.
I bought a recipe book entirely dedicated to meringues, which I love cooking, especially when I always seem to have a stash of egg whites sitting in the fridge or freezer. This book has lots of wonderful recipes, including surprising savoury meringues with Indian spices and chilli! This one is a little more traditional but totally addictive with the luscious dark chocolate adding a beautiful contrast in colour and taste to the meringues. The centre is soft and melts in the mouth, sending you back for more…
Source: Meringues Magic by Alisa Morov
90g egg whites (3 egg whites)
120g icing sugar (use granulated that you have mixed in your Thermomix 20 sec/speed 10)
140g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 90C.
- Beat the egg whites until they start to foam (if using Thermomix, place the butterfly whisk, leave the measuring cup off and mix for 30 sec/speed 3.5).
- Add the icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time while still beating, only adding the next tablespoon when the first one is completely mixed in.
- When all the sugar has been incorporated, the whites should be stiff and glossy. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate in the Thermomix (first blitz a few seconds on speed 6 to reduce the chunks to small pieces) for 4 min/50C/speed 1.
- Pour onto the egg whites and, using a spatula, lightly mix (not too much as you want to see streaks of white and chocolate coming through).
- Scoop onto the baking tray lined with baking parchment or greaseproof paper (about 2 heaped tablespoons per meringue) and bake for 1 hour.
- Take out of the oven and let to cool before eating.
Madeleines are delicious little spongy cakes with a distinctive shell shape. They are often flavoured with lemon zest but can be done using any flavour you like really, there are even savoury versions that can be served as canapés. I love their very light and soft texture and they are delicious with tea or coffee. This version is dipped in dark chocolate as I remember eating those as a child and they were my favourite!
For 27 madeleines
125g melted butter (salted or not)
130g caster sugar
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)
Flavouring: zest of a lemon or 1 tsp vanilla extract
100g dark chocolate for the casing
- Preheat the oven at 180C
- Mix the sugar and eggs in the TM bowl 1 min/speed 4
- Add the flour, salt, baking powder, butter and flavouring and mix 15 sec/speed 6.
- If using non silicone madeleine pan, butter it first, then pour 1 tbsp of mixture into each madeleine case (or fill them to 3/4).
- Bake for 10 to 12 min
- Leave to cool and take out of the moulds.
- If you have silicone moulds, pour some melted chocolate in each one (about a 1 tsp), spread with the spoon so the chocolate coats the case evenly and place a madeleine on top. Leave to cool then lift the madeleines off their mould.
- If you don’t have a silicone pan, just dip each madeleine in the melted chocolate and let it cool upside down.
- Will keep in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
Recently, Madame Thermomix from Why is there air was talking about her mum’s apple pie and how to her, it was simply the best in the world. In my case, my dad’s apple tarte was equally the best in the world for us and we were always anticipating his tarts with great excitement when we could smell the delicious sweet vanilla and apple fragrances coming out of the oven while it was cooking.
For 4 people
3 or 4 Granny Smith apples (or any apple you like but it should keep its shape after cooking)
1 puff pastry
4 tbsp sugar (white or brown, as you like)
Vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
A few drops of lemon juice
Apple jelly or apricot jam to glaze
- Butter and lightly flour a tart tin.
- Roll the puff pastry and place in the tin. Remove excess pastry and refrigerate for 10 minutes (this will stop the pastry from shrinking when cooking).
- Peel and core the apples and place them in a bowl of cold water with a splash of lemon juice to stop them from browning.
- Take out the pastry from the fridge and preheat the oven at 200C (fan assisted ovens) or 220C (for conventional ovens).
- Turn the sugar into icing sugar in the Thermomix for 20 sec/speed 10.
- Melt the butter gently on the stove and add the sugar and vanilla flavour.
- Use a mandoline or a knife to cut thin slices of apples. Place them neatly on the pastry.
- One the whole tart tin is filled with one layer of apples, brush them with the butter mixture then continues layering the apples slices. After each layer, brush with butter & sugar and so on.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Check that the apples are not caramelising too much, if they do, place a piece of foil on top.
- Glaze with apple jelly or apricot jam reheated in a pan for easy spreading.
- Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum!
I’ve seen this very seasonal cheesecake in my friend Maiwenn’s blog La main á la pate . I love to use unusual ingredients so having butternut squash in a dessert somewhat appealed to me. Of course, butternut squash is a member of the fruit family (remember, if it has seeds, it’s a fruit, otherwise, it’s a vegetable) so it shouldn’t be surprising to use it in desserts, however, I had never done anything else than soups with it. That was in the past, now I can see the light!
Source: La main á la pate
200g butternut squash
150g dark chocolate coated digestive biscuits (or any biscuits you like)
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1 tbsp cornflour
1 gelatine leaf (optional)
50g dark chocolate for decoration
- Preheat the oven at 160C
- Melt the butter in the Thermomix, 3min/60C/speed 1.
- Add the biscuits, and process 30 sec/speed 4 or until it’s all crumbed and mixed together.
- Line a springform tin (20cm) with greaseproof paper and tip out the biscuit crumbs onto it. Use your hands to flatten the biscuit base evenly to cover the bottom of the cake tin.
- Rince the TM bowl with warm water and add the Philadelphia, 100g sugar and 2 eggs and mix 1 min/speed 4.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until there is only a slight wobble in the centre.
- Leave out to cool
- Peel and roughly chop 200g of butternut squash and place in the internal basket.
- Add 1 L water to the bowl, place the internal basket inside and cook for 25 min/Varoma/speed 2.
- Drain the butternut, discard the water from the bowl and tip out the squash back into it. Add the cornflour, 60g sugar and the egg yolk and cook 7 min/90C/speed 4.
- Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaf if using in cold water, frain and add to the butternut squash 30 seconds before the end of the cooking time.
- Leave to cool a little, then spread on top of the cheesecake.
- Refrigerate once completely cooled down for 2 hours minimum.
- To make the chocolate pieces, melt 50g dark chocolate in the TM for 3 min/50C/speed 2.
- Pour onto a marble slab or a tray and spread evenly with a flat spatula until you get a 2mm thick chocolate sheet. Leave to cool and use a flat scraping tool to scrape piece of chocolate (don’t worry if they are not even, we are after a messy look).
- Remove the ring from the springform tin, use a spatula to carefully lift the biscuit base from the greaseproof paper and place on a serving dish. I cut out all around the edges of the cheesecake to reveal the white cheesecake colour and make it look neater but you don’t have to.
- Sprinkle with the chocolate pieces and serve.