Category Archives: Bakes

Sweet Bretzels

As I am writing this, the scent of freshly baked Bretzels has filled the room and it’s very hard to resist having a bite! To give you an idea, it smells of  brioche with a hint of orange flower water and it’s just heavenly. These goodies will take a bit of time to make (mostly waiting time) but you will be rewarded I promise.

Bretzels_001

Source: Christophe Felder

Bretzels_002

Ingredients

Starter dough
15g fresh yeast or 7g dried instant yeast
75g milk
70g + 255g plain flour

Dough
3 eggs
75g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
1 tsp fine sea salt
115g softened butter, cut into cubes
80g candied peel
1 tbsp orange flower water

Eggwash
1 egg and 1 tbsp milk

Glaze
35g sugar
35g water
1 tbsp orange flower water

Method

  1. In the Thermomix bowl, warm the yeast and milk 2 min/37C/speed 1.
  2. Add the 70g flour and mix 10 sec/speed 3.
  3. Add the 255g flour on top (don’t mix) and leave to rest in the TM bowl, lid closed, for 30 minutes or until the starter doubles in size.
  4. Add the 3 eggs, sugar and salt and knead 2 minutes.
  5. Knead for another 5 minutes and add the butter through the hole in the lid, orange flower water and candied peel.
  6. When the timer stops, check the consistency (it should be very soft and sticky dough but not runny. If it looks too much like cake batter, add a couple of tbsp of flour and knead again for 1 minute.
  7. Tip out into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge to firm up.
  8. Divide the dough in 4 equal parts and roll each into a snake shape making the ends slightly narrower than the center.
  9. Cross the ends twice and fold them over the loop. Turn the bretzel upside-down (to have the ends tucked in underneath) on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Do likewise with the other 3 doughs. You have those steps in images on the website Smittenkitchen.com (I forgot to take the pictures while making it).

    Image from Smittenkitchen.com

    Image from Smittenkitchen.com

  10. Place in a warm place (25C) and leave to rise for 40 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 180C.
  12. Brush the bretzels with eggwash.
  13. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce to 170C and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Watch while it cooks and turn around the trays if one side gets browner (often the case with ovens with hot spots). Place aluminium foil over them if they darken too fast.
  14. While they bake, prepare the glaze by heating the water, sugar and orange flower water in the TM bowl 5 minutes/Varoma/speed 1/Measuring cup OFF.
  15. Brush the glaze over the Bretzels as soon as they are out of the oven. Leave to cool slightly before tucking in!

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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.

 

Huevos rancheros

I love Mexican food. The classic ingredients that go into Mexican dishes such as chillies, coriander, avocadoes, lime juice and tomatoes really tingle my taste buds. I know this blog is mostly about french (and sweet) food but once in a while, I allow myself to steer out of the beaten track!! I have long wanted to try huevos rancheros (ranch eggs) but never got around to it, however last week, this was about to change. I was flicking through Ainsley Harriott’s “100 meals in minutes” cookbook and there it was, a quick and tasty recipe of huevos rancheros, in Ainsley’s flamboyant style. It was everything I was expecting to be: spicy, tomatoey and egg-gooey with the cumin and coriander flavours coming through. Heaven!

HuevosRancheros_001

Source: Ainsley Harriott “100 meals in minutes”

Ingredients
Serves 4 as part of a brunch or 2 for a main.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 red and yellow pepper (I peeled them using my Zyliss soft skin red peeler), deseeded and quartered
1 red chilli
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
4 eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
Coriander or chives, chopped and crusty bread

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C/350F/gas 4
  2. Thermomix version: place the peppers, onion, garlic, chilli and oil in the TM bowl.Chop 3 sec/speed 5.
  3. Cook for 5 min/100C/speed 1.
  4. Add oregano, cumin, sugar and chopped tomatoes. Cook for 20 min/Varoma temp/speed 1 measuring cup OFF and internal basket sitting on the lid to reduce the sauce. Season to taste. Follow the recipe from step 7 onward.
  5. Non Thermomix version: heat the oil in a fry pan, add chopped onions, garlic, chilli and peppers and fry over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in the oregano, cumin, sugar and chopped tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and reduce for 15 minutes until the peppers are cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened. Season to taste.
  7. Pour the sauce in a gratin dish (or individual ramequins) and using the back of a tablespoon, make 4 holes in the pepper mixture just large enough to fit the eggs.
  8. Carefully crack one egg into each hole, season and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny. If using a mini casserole like I did, bake for 8 minutes instead as the lid will make the egg cook quicker.
  9. Scatter over the coriander or chives to garnish and serve straight away with plenty of crusty bread.

Pear and Roquefort tart

If you are one who hesitates between cheese or dessert, why not do both? This recipe allies the sweetness of pears with the sharpness of Roquefort cheese and the walnuts add a nice crunch. It’s wonderful served with a simple green salad!

Source: Tartes, quiches et cakes salés from Sylvie Ait Ali

Ingredients

For 6 people

100g Roquefort
4 pears
A handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
1 puff pastry

 Method

  1. Butter and flour a tart tin.
  2. Roll the puff pastry and place in the tin. Prick with a fork and refrigerate.
  3. Preheat the oven at 200C.
  4. Peel and quarter the pears. Core them if necessary.
  5. Crumble the Roquefort cheese.
  6. Take the tart tin out of the fridge and harmoniously place the pear quarters on the pastry. Add the crumbled evenly cheese between each pear quarter and finish by sprinkling the chopped walnuts on top.
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (watch the walnuts so they don’t burn).
  8. Serve hot with a salad of your choice.

 

Autumn Cheesecake

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

Ingredients

400g Philadelphia
200g butternut squash
150g dark chocolate coated digestive biscuits (or any biscuits you like)
30g butter
160g sugar
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1 tbsp cornflour
1 gelatine leaf (optional)

50g dark chocolate for decoration

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 160C
  2. Melt the butter in the Thermomix, 3min/60C/speed 1.
  3. Add the biscuits, and process 30 sec/speed 4 or until it’s all crumbed and mixed together.
  4. 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.
  5. Rince the TM bowl with warm water and add the Philadelphia, 100g sugar and 2 eggs and mix 1 min/speed 4.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until there is only a slight wobble in the centre.
  7. Leave out to cool
  8. Peel and roughly chop 200g of butternut squash and place in the internal basket.
  9. Add 1 L water to the bowl, place the internal basket inside and cook for 25 min/Varoma/speed 2.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Leave to cool a little, then spread on top of the cheesecake.
  13. Refrigerate once completely cooled down for 2 hours minimum.
  14. To make the chocolate pieces, melt 50g dark chocolate in the TM for 3 min/50C/speed 2.
  15. 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).
  16. 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.
  17. Sprinkle with the chocolate pieces and serve.

 

Croques soufflés

This is a recipe I got from my mother. It’s a posher version of the simple croque-monsieur. The great thing about this is that you can use the leftover soufflé mixture to make soufflés (but you have to make these at once as the beaten egg whites won’t stay fluffy for long).

Makes 8 croques

Ingredients

Cheese soufflé mixture

100g cheese (Cheddar, Emmenthal, Comté…) cut in chunks
30g butter
30g flour
300g milk (or half cow’s milk and half soja milk for a lighter version)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites

Croques monsieur

8 slices of bread (white or brown)
8 slices of ham
Butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 200C
  2. Put all the ingredients except the milk and the eggs into the TM bowl and mix 10 seconds, speed 5 to chop the cheese.
  3. Add the milk and cook for 7 minutes, 90C, speed 4.
  4. Add the 2 egg yolks to the cheese sauce and stir 20 sec, speed 3.
  5. Pour out the sauce into a bowl and leave it to cool slightly.
  6. Clean the TM bowl thoroughly with soapy water (you can self-clean the bowl first by covering the blades with hot water, add a drop of washing liquid and mix 20 sec, speed 10 and clean out the residues of sauce by taking out the blades from the unit and clean them with a small brush).
  7. Put the 2 egg whites in the bowl and add a pinch of salt.
  8. Add the butterfly whisk and whisk for 3 minutes, speed 3, measuring cup off.
  9. Gently fold the whites to the cheese sauce mixture until combined but careful to not overmix.
  10. Put the the slices of bread on a baking tray (line it with baking parchment as the soufflé mixture tends to spread)
  11. Butter each slice and add a slice of ham on each (or several slices if the ham is thinly cut).
  12. Spoon in the soufflé mixture but make sure to leave the edges of the bread free as the soufflé will expand.
  13. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes and serve at once.
  14. Use the leftover soufflé mixture if any to make those gorgeous smoked salmon soufflés.


Vegetable flan

In France, a flan can be either a sweet or a savoury dish. The sweet version usually involves a mixture of eggs, sugar and milk and is cooked in a bain marie in the oven and served with caramel. The savoury dish is more versatile and is usually made with vegetables or fish. Some flan recipes use a shortcrust pastry as a base although mostly the flan is cooked on its own. The recipe featured today is of the latter kind. I cook them in silicone moulds so I don’t need a bain-marie. However, you can use ramekin dishes or a big oven dish (preferably made of ceramic or pyrex) and cook in a deep tray filled with water so the water reached 2/3 of the flan dish. if you use a big dish, cook the flan for 1 hour.

(source : Demarle)

Ingredients

200g tomatoes (about 2 tomatoes)
500g courgettes (2 courgettes)
1 onion
Parsley
200g cream
35g corn flour
4 eggs
70g cheese (emmenthal, comté or gruyère)
Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat your oven at 160C
  2. To peel the tomatoes, immerse them in a bowl of boiled water for 30 sec, then run them under cold tap water to stop them from cooking and using a sharp knife, peel the skin off
  3. Cut the tomato in 4 and scoop out the seeds
  4. Cut the tomatoes and the washed unpeeled courgettes in small cubes and reserve
  5. Put the cheese and parsley in the Thermomix bowl and chop for 5 sec on speed 5. Tip out and reserve.
  6. Peel and cut the onion in quarters and put them in the TM bowl
  7. Chop them 3 sec, speed5
  8. Add the eggs and grated cheese/parsley and weigh in the cream and corn flour
  9. Mix 15 sec speed 3 or until well combined
  10. Add the cubed vegetables and mix again 10 sec, reverse speed, speed 1
  11. Pour into your dish and cook  in a bain-marie for 35 minutes for ramekin dishes and 1 hour for a big dish

Tomates farcies (stuffed tomatoes)

Ingredients

6 tomatoes
300g cooked beef cut into 3 cm chunks
2 slices of ham
2 slices stale bread, crust off
100ml milk
1 egg
1 onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 handful of parsley
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven 190C
  2. In a bowl, pour 100ml of milk and soak the 2 slices of bread in it and leave to the side
  3. Cut the top off the tomatoes (reserve the tops) and using a spoon, scoop out the flesh. Reserve the flesh
  4. Put the emptied tomatoes in an oven dish and set aside
  5. Lock the Thermomix bowl lid and turn on at speed 8. Take off the measuring cup and drop the garlic and parsley on the running blades, then turn off the speed dial after a couple of seconds
  6. Open the lid and put the beef and ham in the bowl (leave the parsley mixture in).
  7. Lock the lid again and press the Turbo button 2 or 3 times, holding it for 1 sec each time until the beef and ham are minced finely. Tip out and reserve
  8. Peel and quarter the onion and put into the TM bowl. Chop 3 sec, speed 5
  9. Add 10g of oil and sauté 3 min 100C, speed 1
  10. Add the tomato flesh and juice to the onion and reduce Varoma temperature, 5 min, speed 1
  11. Add the minced beef/ham/parsley/garlic mixture, the egg and salt and pepper.
  12. Sponge off the excess milk from the slices of bread and add to the beef in the TM bowl
  13. Mix on Reverse blade, speed 3, for 10 sec until the mixture is well combined and looking moist
  14. Spoon the beef mixture inside each tomato, press down with the spoon to allow more mixture in and fill as much above the top of the tomato as possible
  15. Put the top of the tomatoes back on and cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the beef has browned and the tomatoes are well cooked