Praliné

It’s been a quite exciting last few weeks; we’ve done summer fairs, created new biscuit designs, got a new toy (an air gun to give an edge to my biscuits and macarons), worked a couple of days in a deli (St Giles cheese), been approached by companies to sell our stuff…
Everything is going very well!

I didn’t have much time to try new recipes to share with you but I have that old classic that I’m going to write about: praliné!

It’s something very versatile that I use in a lot of things. It gives a nutty, caramel and vanilla flavour.
I use it in macarons with buttercream, home made chocolates, in ice-creams, chocolate spreads, flavoured crème brûlée, cakes, muffins… It can basically be used in any sweet thing.

It’s very easy to make, the main difficulty is in the grinding as lots of food processors can’t make it right. If you’ve got a fairly new one that can resist ice cubes, it would work fine. If you’ve got a coffee grinder, it’s even better, you just have to make sure you can wash it under the tap afterwards otherwise you’ll hate me forever for that recipe.

For 500g of praliné, you’ll need:

– 250g of sugar
– 250g of roasted hazelnuts (or almonds)
– 1 vanilla pod, scratched

Heat the sugar and vanilla seeds in a pan on their own until it melts and becomes golden.

Never stir the sugar, especially when it’s just starting to melts, you will ruin the caramel.

When you have your caramel, take it off the heat and mix the nuts in.

When they’re all covered in caramel, pour the mixture onto a tray layed with baking paper.
Let it cool down for 2 hours or until cool.

Break the nutty caramel in medium pieces by chopping it. Put everything in your food processor or grinder and grind until it makes a paste or, even better, a liquid mixture.

That step will take you a while, depending on how powerful and tough your equipment is.
Your praliné should now be ready to use! It will keep a while in a jar in the fridge or in the freezer, just take it out when needed and mix the desired amount into your preparations….

Mylene

Halloween

As you know, Halloween is here and it doesn’t only mean kids coming to knock at your door for treats . It means an other occasion to make seasonal and fun recipes.

When I think about Halloween, I especially think about pumpkins. They are wonderful for loads of things. Pies, soups, toasted seeds for a healthy snack, muffins, ice cream, cupcakes, cheesecakes,…

I couldn’t wait to try some recipes. So let’s buy pumpkins!

The first recipe I tried was a pie.

It was a “normal” pumpkin pie recipe that I found in one of my vegetable cook books. I used very dark sugar instead of light brown and all I could taste was the sugar and the spices. I couldn’t taste the pumpkin at all. It was still good but not wonderful. Well, maybe it’s only personal taste.

I wasn’t totally impressed by the pie so I had to try something else. I then made cupcakes. I used a recipe found on the internet, very easy to find. I made them and they looked really good and tasted great!

 

I was glad with the result of the cupcakes but I still had half a pumpkin to use.

I didn’t even think about it for one second, it had to be soup otherwise the kitchen would have been full of goodies and I would have been too tempted to resist eating them!

The soup was very nice, especially the texture but if I could have had another variety of pumpkin, it would have been much better (the one I had was grown for the size and shape and not for the taste). Anyway, here is the recipe…

You’ll need

:

– 1kg of pumpkin
– 2 sweet potatoes
– 2 onions
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 800ml of vegetable stock
– a pinch of cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg
– 200ml of cream (less or more, depends of your taste)

Chop all the vegetables. Cook for 5 min the onions in some olive oil. Add the other vegetables and cook for 2 min. Add the stock and the spices. Cook until the pumpkin is tender.

When it’s cooked, blend the vegetables and add the cream. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!