recipe blog


Mystère

It’s been a while since my last blog post, over a year, I know! Once again, it’s a “recreation” recipe.

Mystère is an ice cream dessert that you buy in supermarkets in France. I used to love them so much when I was little, but I didn’t get to eat so many as I think they were quite pricey.
Somehow, recently I thought about it and wondered if I could pull it off.

The Mystère is a meringue covered with a thick layer of vanilla ice cream then smothered in sweet hazelnuts.
It’s one of the easiest impressive desserts ever. You don’t have to make all the ingredients from scratch if you don’t have time or don’t have the equipment. However, homemade ice cream really takes it to the next level.

I made the ice cream myself so I can’t really say how much there was but probably around half a tub of shop bought ice cream.

For 4-6 Mysteres you’ll need:

– 1 tub of vanilla ice cream
– 4-6 mini meringues
– 100g of dark chocolate (optional)
– 100g of sugar
– 100g of roasted hazelnuts

First, you’ll need to make a praline by heating the sugar in a saucepan, on its own until nice and golden-brown.

Immediately add the hazelnuts and stir them in.

Empty the saucepan onto a tray lined with baking paper.

Leave until completely cooled.

When the nuts are cooled down, roughly break them apart and pulse them in your food processor or grinder until you have a rough powder. You don’t want it too fine, small chunks add texture.

Melt the chocolate and, with a pastry brush, brush it on the meringues. You could dip them in but it’s going to be a lot of chocolate, probably too much. This step is optional but will ensure that the meringues don’t get soggy in the ice cream.

Line small ramequins with cling film and fill them 3/4 of the way with soft ice cream.

Take your meringue (the chocolate should be set) and press it gently into the ice cream until everything is level.

Leave to set in the freezer for a couple of hours.

When the ice cream is set, take it out of the ramequin and roll it into the praline. The whole thing should be completely covered.

You can serve them straight away or store them in the freezer until you need them.

Enjoy!

Mylene

Traditional tiramisu

Video link

This is definitly a favourite of our household. It never lasts very long and is enjoyed with lots of “mmmhhhh” and “thish ish sho delishous”.

The recipe is traditional but I added my own little touches.

Some notes…

Regarding the use of raw eggs, the subject seems to be very controversial but I honestly don’t mind. These days, raw egg related diseases are almost non-existent so… it’s up to you if you feel comfortable with eating uncooked eggs.

If you don’t have amaretto, don’t panic, you can replace it with rum or other alcohol. Just think if the alcohol you have would work with the flavours of the tiramisu, or if you’re in doubt, just leave it out altogether.

I’ve seen some people “soaking” the sponge fingers for only 1-2 seconds.
If you like your tiramisu very mild and the biscuits to be still quite chewy, then don’t soak them for very long. I personally prefer to soak them for longer but that’s just me!

Anyway, here’s the recipe.

For about 5 servings, you’ll need:

– 3 eggs
– 250g (1 tub) of mascarpone
– 100g of sugar
– 1 bowl of very strong coffee
– 1 tbsp of cocoa powder + 2 more for dusting
– 3 tbsp of amaretto
– 1 packet of sponge fingers
– vanilla extract (optional)

First, make the coffee and stir in the cocoa powder and amaretto. The cocoa powder might sink at the bottom of the bowl so make sure you stir it often.

Separate the eggs yolks from the egg whites. Whisk the egg whites with half of the sugar until firm.

Whisk the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until pale and creamy. Add the room temperature mascarpone and whisk until smooth.
Add a little bit of the egg whites to the egg yolks-mascarpone and fold it in. Then add the rest of the egg whites in one go. If you’re using vanilla extract, add it now.

layers

Soak half of the sponge fingers in the coffee and lay them on the bottom of your dish.
Depending on how strong you like the tiramisu, you can soak them a tiny bit of leave them until soft. Add half of the creamy mixture and then repeat the layers one more time.

Leave in the fridge for at least 3h. Before serving, dust with coca powder.

If you’re going to make double, you can double the layers too.

smoothing

YouTube video link

Mylène

Pecan biscuits

I know, it’s been a while (or should I say ages) since my last blog post.
I’ve been so busy in the last couple of months, I didn’t have any time to write. The other reason is that I’m always quite strict about the sort of recipes that I share, they have to be really good ones that I love, not just some random stuff that I thought was ok.

I have been baking a lot since my last post but none of the stuff I made blew my mind. Until… The pecan biscuits.

I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with pecan nuts. I seem to have a massive ideal in my mind about how they’re going to taste like, mainly because when I was a teenager, I wasn’t really allowed to buy any because they’re so expensive.
They became a sort of luxury baking product to me. The thing is that my “pecan bakes” never taste as good as I thought they would. Until…

The pecan biscuits recipe:

For about 15 biscuits/cookies, you’ll need:

– 115g of butter
– 75g of sugar
– 130g of plain flour
– 100g of finely chopped pecan nuts

Cream butter and sugar together until light and pale. Add the flour and nuts.

Refrigirate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven at 170C.

Shape balls with the dough and place on your baking sheet or tray, lined with baking paper.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the base of the biscuit starts to go brown.

You could eat them as they are or roll them in icing sugar.

Wait until cool before eating.

They’re really buttery and subtly nutty. Very crumbly too. I would say quite similar to a shortbread but 10 times better.

Mylène

Receiving our new Kenwood products

We’ve just moved premises and I desperately needed some new equipment for the kitchen. Kenwood has been kind enough to send us some vital pieces.

I don’t know what it is about new kitchen equipment/gadgets/anything that has to do with cooking but I get very excited by it all. If you leave me in a kitchen shop alone with a credit card, it can be very dangerous.
When asked about what I would buy if I won the lottery, I always think “A massive kitchen with all the utensils and all the equipment I’d like”. That’s how bad it is.

food processor

Anyway, I knew I’d get the stuff on Thursday so all week I built up my excitement and on THE day, at 10am, someone knocked at the door… I ran to open the door and it was…. Jehovah’s witnesses. I’m not joking.

The Kenwood stuff arrived a couple of hours later and I got to open the boxes. It felt like Christmas, even though I knew exactly what was in the boxes, I was still very excited.

So we got 3 pieces of the Kmix range. A stand mixer, a hand mixer and a food processor. I’m very familiar with the stand mixer already as I have been using one for the last couple of years (I had to give it back) but I didn’t know anything about the two other products.

hand mixer

What I really like about them is that they are very steady and you get a sense of quality, you can really tell it’s going to last you forever. And they are not just high quality, they look the business too.
They’re designed to stay on your worktop so they’re very “storage efficient” as well. For example, the hand mixer comes with a stand and the food processor comes with suction cups underneath to secure it to the worktop and a bowl to put on the top of it especially designed to fit all the bits and pieces that come with it. It’s really clever.

I had a closer look at the rest of the Kmix range and you can buy all sorts of attachments seperately, especially for the stand mixer. For example there is a pasta machine that can be stuck at the end of the machine…

All their products have been designed so well, they’re incredibly practical and look the part.

Very sadly, I won’t be able to show off the food processor or the hand mixer on my worktop because I have to store them away otherwise I don’t have enough space to cook… I need a bigger kitchen.

attachments

More information about all products can be found at the Kenwood World Website.

Mylène

Which kind of vanilla to use in your recipe

Vanilla is one of those things I take very seriously.
I think I’m a little bit obsessed about it but that’s ok. I used to think about it as a very bland and a bit too safe flavour, something you give to a fussy eater but since a couple of years, I’ve been experimenting a lot and realised that it’s maybe a simple flavour that everybody knows but it can be a very complex one too.

Over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with it more and more with different recipes and combinations with other flavours. I’m going to tell you what are the big differences between all the commercial forms of vanilla and what I think is the best for your usual recipes.

Vanilla extract

extract

It’s probably the most used form of vanilla in the UK and US. It’s mainly made from alcohol (so you can’t buy it if you’re under the legal age, I know, vanilla extract binge drinking…). I find that even the really good quality ones still tastes fake. I almost never use it but I think the best way to cook with it is to bake it in cookies, combined with other flavours like chocolate and brown sugar.

Vanilla paste

paste

This is the strongest form I’ve used so far. It’s highly concentrated and still has vanilla bean inside. The taste is quite similar to the vanilla extract but tastes a little bit more real. It’s great in cakes. I would use it with care as it can overpower other flavours.

Vanilla powder

powder

This is the form I use the most in my everyday cooking. It’s strong but not as much as the vanilla paste. It’s basically vanilla pods that have been grinded so it’s a mix of seeds and bits of vanilla pod. I put it almost everywhere.
It’s very good value as well, one little pot will last you ages.

Vanilla sugar

sugar

I make my own vanilla sugar with leftover pods that are already scraped, you only need to put them in a container with ordinary sugar. The vanilla will infuse the sugar and the leftover seeds you couldn’t srape properly are going to give loads of flavour too. It’s great sprinkled on pancakes or with my pain perdu recipe. You can use it to bake as well, it just doesn’t have the strength to stand out amongst other flavours.

Vanilla pod

vanilla

I kept the best for last. It is definetly the best form of vanilla to use. If you want a clean vanilla flavour, this is the one to use.
I don’t even combine it with another flavour, I love to put it in custard, ice cream, rice pudding… Something that will really show off the flavour.
I know it’s a luxury as it’s quite pricey but it’s 100% worth it. And don’t forget to make vanilla sugar with your leftovers.

Mylène

Pâte sablée

In France, you can find quite a big range of pre-made pastries in supermarkets.
Most of them are already rolled out in a circle for you and it becomes harder and harder to find a block of pastry to roll in the shape you want.

You can find 3 different sorts of pastry: the “pâte feuilletée” which is puff pastry, the “pâte brisée” which is the equivalent of shortcrust but a bit different (I find it a bit more crispy and buttery) and then you have the “pâte sablée” which translates to “sanded pastry”, that pastry is used for sweet tarts and pies only. It’s very crumbly and buttery and a bit harder to work with as it contains less flour and more sugar than the two others.

I really like the pâte sablée because it gives a really crisp and sweet result, it tastes and looks much more like “French patisseries” than the other pastries.

I have made it myself since a while now. I normally use it for individual little tarts and I’ve used it a couple of times for big ones. The only down side is that it’s harder to work with.
When you actually make the pastry, it looks like cookie dough; it’s very sticky.
You’ll also need to chill it before you use it and the rolling requires a lot of flour on your worktop.

Tip:

If you’re planning to make a large tart, I highly recommend using a loose bottom tin: when you roll out your pastry, take the loose bottom part of the tin and slide it underneath your rolled pastry.
Fold the edges of the pastry inside the edges of the loose bottom and return it to the tin, then you only have to unfold the edges to make the sides. This way your pastry won’t break away too much.

For 500g of pastry or pâte sablée (1 large tart), you’ll need:

– 140g of butter
– 100g of sugar
– 1 egg
– 200g of flour
– 50g of ground almonds
– vanilla powder or extract

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.

Add the flour and ground almonds and mix until well combined but do not overwork it otherwise you’ll end up with tough pastry.

Put it in cling film and leave it in the fridge for 1h before using it.

You need to refrigerate it after it’s been rolled out in your tin.

The colder it is before you put it in the oven, the better it is.

If you’re planning on blind baking it, don’t forget to stab it with a fork in the tin and to use baking beans.

This pastry freezes really well. I usually make a lot of it and freeze it in little portions.

For a recipe on our blog using this type of pastry click the image below…

banoffee pie

Mylène

How to make a good sorbet

The last couple of weeks have been so hot that I’ve been craving for sorbet.
I own an ice cream machine but use it rarely because I don’t usually have time to make ice cream or sorbet.

We’re going on holiday in a couple of days so I had to empty the fridge and our perishable food. I happened to have quite a lot of strawberries and cherries. I also had a bottle of limoncello I’ve been waiting to try in recipes since a while. All the omens were there: I had to do a sorbet.

I’ve made sorbets in the past but never really got it right. It was always rock hard or it would melt away after 2 minutes in a cup. So I had a look on-line for advice and found out how easy it is to master a sorbet.

You’ll need a few ingredients (for the measures, I used US cups):

– 3 measures of juice of your choice or fruit puree, relatively thin.

If you’re planning on making a lemon or lime sorbet, use 2 measures of juice and one of water otherwise your sorbet will be too sharp.

– (Sugar Syrup) 1 measure of sugar, boiled until the sugar has disolved, with 1 measure of water

– 2 to 3 tablespoons of a fruity alcohol

First make the sugar syrup and leave it to cool completely.

Pour your fruit juice in a tall and shallow container.
Add an egg to it (a whole egg, still in its shell). This may sound weird but as you add your sugar syrup to the fruit juice, the egg will float to the surface.

Add the syrup little bit by little bit, you may not need the whole quantity.

When the egg floats, it means that the amount of syrup is enough to make your sorbet the right texture.

Add the alcohol, it will help the sorbet not to become rock hard as the alcohol won’t freeze.

Taste your mixture.
It should be slightly too sweet. Once frozen, you’ll taste it less as it’s so cold. Don’t worry if you can taste the booze, I thought I put too much in mine but couldn’t taste any of it once frozen.

sorbet with mint

Mylène