Monthly Archives: June 2014

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)

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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