Happy Holidays ! Best Wishes to all for 2013.
In this very busy end of the year, I would like to leave you with my best holiday wishes as well as with a recipe that might come in handy in the next few days.
This recipe is one of a simple, delicious treat to share with your friends and family. Without further ado, I will let you experiment with the instructions below. I am adding some images of the preparation process for an easy understanding of the different steps.
You need :
280 g (10 oz) of finely chopped dark chocolate,
340 g (12 oz) of baking flour,
60 g (2 oz) of cocoa powder,
2 tsp of baking soda,
200 g (7 oz) of butter at room temperature,
230 g (8 oz) of raw sugar,
6 tbsp of sugar
fleur de sel
You will need a rolling pin, a round pastry-cutter and parchment paper to execute this recipe.
Preheat the oven at 350 F.
In a stand mixer, using the dough paddle, cream the butter, then add all the dry ingredients leaving the chopped chocolate for the end. Start with a low speed, then increase it slowly up to medium speed. Stop once or twice to scrape the borders, then mix again. You should stop when you obtain a nice and homogenous chocolate crumble.
Prepare a large rectangle of parchment paper on your work suface (I use sheets that are at least 11′x16′). Fold the paper in half. Pour half of the chocolate crumble inside the fold and spread it evenly throughout the lower rectangle. Cover with the top part of the parchment paper. Try to form a nice rectangle with the crumbs, so that none will fall outside of the paper. Roll your rolling pin over the paper to form a nice compact sheet of chocolate dough.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Cut out the top part of the paper and transfer to a baking sheet.
Bake for 7 minutes at 350F. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Cut out circles with the pastry cutter and sprinkle the fleur de sel on each cookie.
Bake for another 7 minutes then remove from heat. After 30 minutes, separate the cookies and use the rest as chocolate crumbs for an apple crumble or any other fruit dessert.
These can be kept in an airtight container for a maximum of a week.
I recently came up with a new caviar recipe that was borrowed from a childhood memory of a dish called “pâté à la pomme de terre ». Unlike the traditional meat preparation, this pâté is vegetarian. It was invented in my region called « Le Bourbonnais » at the end of the 18th century – at a time of great famine – to serve in lieu of fish on Fridays. Indeed, the few lakes and ponds being the property of the « bourgeoisie », thus off limits to the people, the latter were left with a small variety of simple ingredients.
Pâté à la pomme de terre is made of short pastry or puff pastry dough, potatoes, parsley, onions (optional) and crème fraiche. The potatoes are cut in thin layers, then mixed with the other ingredients and snuggled in tight layers in the shape of a pie.
I deconstructed the potato pie because I thought it would complement one of our dishes nicely. The layers of potato and cream serve as a base to caviar, which brings a salty, delicate texture to the simple ingredients. For texture contrast, and to stay with the idea of crust and potatoes, I added a layer of brik dough :
Recipe of the traditional “pâté à la pomme de terre” :
You need :
- 2 lbs of peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
- 1 onion, sliced
- short crust or puff pastry dough : 2 round pieces
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- 1 cup of chopped parsley
- a few fresh thyme sprigs, and a bay leaf
- Salt, pepper
You will need parchment paper, a brush, and a baking tray.
- Preheat your oven at 325°F,
- In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the chopped onion, parsley, and thyme,
- Lay the parchment paper in the baking tray,
- Place the short crust dough on top,
- Add the potatoes on top to for a 1 inch mound, leaving ½ inch of space around the potatoes to fold in the top layer of dough. Brush that space lightly with water.
- Cover with the second layer of dough, making sure that the two layers are sealed properly.
- Cut out a small hole in the middle of the pie to make a chimney.
- Whisk the egg yolk with a tbsp. of water then brush the mixture on the pie.
- Bake it at 350°F for about 45 minutes or unil till the potato is cooked.
- Once the pie is cooked, cut a larger circle on the top crust . Pour in the crème fraîche, cover with the cutout piece and leave in the warm –but switched off- oven until the crème fraiche settles in the pie.
It’s a seasonal tradition. Each summer, every serious food magazine or blog waxes at length about the many reasons why tomatoes are to be enjoyed right then and there. You will read about the sad, unripened winter/spring fruit being picked too early, then shipped across the seas. You will learn about loss of flavor and nutritional value, about tomatoes that are bred for appearance rather than flavor, and of course about the terrible carbon footprint of this whole process.
So, before the season ends, I would like to leave you with a quick, easy and delicious recipe for preserving the fragrant, flavorful Summer tomatoes – picked locally and in season – so that you can enjoy them throughout the rest of the year.
The first step is to go to your favorite farmers’ market, and buy a few pounds of the best tasting tomatoes that you can find. I like early girls or heirlooms here in California.
Then, prepare your preserve jars by boiling them or putting them in the dish washer at high temperature. For the sauce itself, you will need a large metal dish (you can use a turkey pan) and a good size grater. Cut the tomatoes horizontally in halves and remove the seeds (or, if you are in a hurry, you can remove them later when you actually use the tomato sauce).
Grate the tomatoes holding the flesh side against the grater. Grate each half until you are left with the skin only. Compost the skins.
Add a couple of tablespoons of salt (to taste) and one tablespoon of sugar per 3 pounds. Your sauce is ready for preserving at this point. Transfer it to your jars, close them tightly, and place them in a large sauce pan over a cloth. Pour water until it covers the jars by one inch then let it boil for 40min.
Et voila! your sauce is ready to be used as is, mixed with spices and herbs, olive oil, etc.
Before being an artisan in Moulins, my father was enrolled in the French military in Tunisia. One of his rare culinary memories of those times was an egg cooked in brick dough. For a long time after he returned, he could not find the equivalent texture in any French crepe or dough recipes. If it took a couple of decades for the French food market to adopt the recipe, I was fortunate enough as a chef to experiment with it earlier and serve my father his long missed dish.
Brick dough – also spelled Brik or called Warqa – is made of durum flour, water, olive oil, salt and a few drops of lemon juice. The liquid batter is brushed onto a non-stick pan, and turns into a paper thin crepe. Traditionally, the dough is filled with and egg, onions, tuna or ham, harissa (optional), and cilantro or parsley then folded in a triangular or a rectangular shape and pan fried :
I deconstructed the concept, refined the use of ingredients, the cooking process of the brik itself and added a few subtle accents and textures.
This is one of our recent version of the 62 degree Egg :
A few of you have been asking me about an accent called Umeboshi. I would like to give you a little more information about this ingredient that I have been using in several of my newest dishes.
Fifteen years ago, while living in Japan, I was eating according to macrobiotic principles. One of them was to eat one umeboshi per day, for digestion purposes and salt supply. This year, the beginning of the stone fruit season conjured up memories from that time, so I decided to use it in my cuisine.
Umeboshi is Japanese for dried plum. It is the central area of Wakayama that is the most renown for its production of ume and umeboshi, though the fruit – ume – is cultivated in Asia, and is known both as Chinese Plum, or Japanese Apricot.
The salted fruit looks like this :
Umeboshi can take on various appearances, from smooth to very wrinkled. Usually they taste salty, and are extremely sour due to high citric acid content.
At Baumé, we use it either as an accent or as a condiment. As you know, I like to explore ingredients, transforming them into various forms, and looking for uncommon directions. Below are some of the dishes that contain umeboshi. Let’s see if you can spot it on these plates…
Our new signature dessert is about chocolate and “espuma”, along with a carrousel of other flavors and textures that I subtly weaved in and change with the seasons. Our most current version is made with apricots and cinnamon basil. It looks like this :
One additional flavor stands out this month : the “pain d’épices”. A loose English translation would be gingerbread, a literal one would be spiced bread. It is a cake or a bread made with honey and different spices like cinnamon, cardamom, anise, cloves, ginger, etc. The variety of interpretations of what it is pertains to its multiple origins. Some say it comes from China, where a similar bread, called Mi-Kong, was baked during the Middle Ages. A similar recipe is also found in Egypt, Greece, Germany (called lebkuchen), and later in France – Dijon, and Reims. And of course each place uses its own spices and types of flour. That leaves us with endless possibilities to explore which version will be our personal favorite.
I mainly remember pain d’épices as a treat that I would get at my grand-parent’s home and that – surprisingly – I did not always enjoy. To my defense, this kind of “bread” could easily be too dry or not sweet enough to a child’s taste. But mixed used as an accent and mixed with other flavors and textures, its own becomes much more interesting.
I would like to share my home recipe of the pain d’épices:
You will need :
300g of honey (I like to use clover honey)
100g of butter
50g almond meal
10g baking powder
1/2 of a teaspoon of each one of these spices : powdered ginger, cinnamon, green anise, nutmeg
a pinch of salt
Preheat oven at 335 F. Butter a deep loaf pan.
Place the butter and honey in a bowl then melt them in the microwave (until butter is completely melted, but not boiling).
Sift the flour, then mix in the other dry ingredients.
Add the melted butter and honey, then add the eggs and mix until you obtain a homogenous batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the oven, first for 10 minutes at 325, then for approximately 30 minutes at 305.
After a month away from this blog I wanted to share a dessert recipe that would be :
a – very close to the restaurant’s version
b – easy to make at home with a handful of ingredients and tools.
Before you dive into it, here are some interesting facts about this recipe. It is a frozen dessert inspired by a candy called “nougat” -an ancient delicacy that was made with nuts (often pine nuts, walnuts and almonds) and candied fruit, honey and caramel . It came to France in the 17th century through the city of Marseilles. Today, its French home is Montelimar.
Nougat glace is a frozen dessert inspired by this candy. The classic recipe calls for an Italian meringue mixed with whipped cream, caramelized nuts and candied fruit.
In our deconstructed version of this dessert we decided to use toasted sesame seeds, raspberry and fresh cherries.
We also added some crunchiness with cherry “tuiles”.
1- 350 g heavy whipping cream
2- 6 egg whites
3- 100 g sugar
4- 30 ml water
5- 70 g honey
6 – 200 g raw sesame seeds
7- 70 g sugar
300 g red fruit (you could use pitted cherries, thinly diced or raspberries cut in small pieces)
1-Whip Egg whites until soft peak.
2- In a saucepan, combine 75 g of sugar and 30 ml of water and heat until the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F (121 C). Pour sugar into the whipped egg whites slowly and keep beating until the mixture is homogenous.
3- Heat the honey in a microwave for a few seconds so that it becomes more liquid. Then whip into the mixture until it is homogenous.
This method is great for keeping you nougat glace in the freezer for a few days. If you know you will eat your nougat glace right away, there is no reason to go into the trouble of making an Italian meringue. A French meringue should suffice. For that, instead of melting your sugar with water, you can directly pour it into the whipped whites.
4-In a medium sized pan, toast the sesame seeds for a few minutes, until they reach a nice brown color.
5- Oil a medium size parchment paper.
6- In a small saucepan, prepare a caramel by heating the 70g sugar with a couple of tablespoons of water until they turn dark brown but not burnt. I find the dark brown caramel more flavorful than the light, but that is up to your taste. During this process, make sure to remove the crystallized sugar that forms on the side of the saucepan. For that you can use a wet brush.
Once your caramel is ready, mix in the toasted seeds and pour the mixture the oiled parchment paper.
Once cooled, you can cut the caramelized seeds into small pieces.
7- Whip the cream and mix with the meringue. Mix in the sesame seeds, diced fruit and leave in the freezer for 4 hours before serving.
We have been very busy in the kitchen developing and testing new recipes. One of them is an old classic that we reinterpret every year : the canard à l’orange – duck with oranges. As mentioned before, the traditional recipe calls for an oven roasted duck, a sauce gastrique (caramel, vinegar, duck stock and orange juice and zest reduced) and fresh oranges. The duck is usually served in two times : the breasts with the sauce and oranges, then the legs are roasted for a longer time and served over fresh salad.
Keeping this elements in mind, we came up with this new design. First, we spread a layer of julienned fresh yellow beets – reminding of the salad – tossed in orange vinaigrette, we add cooked and cubed red beets, legs confits, sous-vide duck breast that we caramelize with honey and spices. Lastly, we add a couple of orange segments and blood orange pulp explosions.
Canard à l’orange
Pan-seared duck breast- crispy skin, balsamic-orange gastrique, orange gelee agar agar, beets, potatoes and baby carrots.
Yield: 6 servings
3 duck magrets (breasts)
1 cup of sugar, divided (1/3 cup for simple syrup +2/3 cup for gastrique)
1 teaspoon white pepper
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cups orange juice
2 cups of brown duck stock
1/8 ounce or 4g of agar agar (you need to buy it in a form of a thread)
3 medium beets
12 small or 6 medium Yukon gold potatoes
18 baby carrots
½ cup of olive oil
Ground spices (fennel seeds, cardamom, anise)
Micro-greens for garnish
- Prepare a citrus marinade by combining 2 teaspoons of orange zest, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, salt, 2 tablespoons of honey, white pepper and spices; set aside.
- Place duck breasts on a cutting board. Score the fat side of the duck in a criss-cross pattern. Season the with salt. Warm a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat without any oil. Place the duck breasts, fat side down in the skillet to render off the fat – about 6 min. It is better to cover if you can and remove the melted fat a couple of times during this time. Turn the breast over then sear for about 30 seconds. Just before plating brush the fat side with honey and ground spices and caramelize fat side for about 2 minutes.
- For gastrique sauce, make dark -almost burnt- caramel with sugar and deglaze with balsamic vinegar. Add orange juice and duck stock. Reduce until the sauce is à la nappe (thick enough to cover the back of a spoon). Finish the sauce: salt and pepper to taste, check consistency and flavor.
- Prepare agar agar : mix 1 cup of water with the agar agar and bring to a boil.
- Create simple syrup – called Baumé 30 degrees- by cooking 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water until clear; boil for 1 minute. Peel the oranges (keep the peels of one orange), add orange pulp (remove skin) to syrup, and cook for 3 minutes. Mix in the agar agar and pour into a square-shaped silicon mold (you can use a mold for ice-cubes). Cool at room temperature. When set, you should obtain small dice.
- Slice the orange peel into thin segments. Add segments to the gastrique sauce.
- For vegetables: tourné potatoes; steam. Reserve for garnish. Prep baby carrots batonets; steam. Reserve for garnish. Prep beets, steam, reserve for garnish.
- To plate: On a plate, spread a tablespoon of room temperature gastrique sauce, display slices of duck magret on top. Place all vegetables and orange confit cubes. Add a few micro-greens. Serve immediately.
Kudos to my team for earning a second Michelin star this year!
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