Sunday, April 27, 2008

Croissants Parisiens

what a perfect way to start a morning with a flaky, buttery croissant coming right from.....................your oven! I love croissants and viennoiseries in general. I've been trying many recipes hoping desperately to get the best result, until I bought Jacques Torres cookbook "Dessert Circus" I think it's the best purchase I ever made in my life:) This book is unbelievable not to mention his writer who is the best pastry chef in the whole world!

The making of croissant is not an easy task I must admit. It is a long process that needs patience. Aaaah patience!!!!!!!!!! I'm not a patient person especially when I'm in the kitchen. I can't wait to unmold my cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, I don't let my custard cool completely before unmolding it, I eat it warm..........and the list goes on. But in the case of croissants, I have to make sacrifices, just have to! " make your dough ready for tomorrow, you'll have fresh croissants for breakfast"

Although this dough doesn't have to stay in the fridge overnight, the result is much better if you do so. When you let the dough (and any yeast based one) sit overnight, this will allow for a slow fermentation which helps develop the distinctif flavor found in bakery goods.


3 1/2 cups bread flour (all purpose flour can be substitued)
3 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk.
1 cup + 2 TBsp (9oz) soft unsalted butter

Egg wash

2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 cup whole milk

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water along with the sugar. In a bowl of a stand mixer, place the flour, salt, milk and melted butter. Mix on medium speed until combined. Add the dissolved yeast and mix until the dough is well combined and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 mn.Roll out the dough to an 8 by 15 inch rectangle. wrap the rectangle and let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours.Remove the dough from the fridge. Spread the soft butter over the two thirds of the dough. Give the dough a single fold: fold the left butterless third over the center, then the other third to the right. the dough should ressemble a folded letter. Roll it out to a 10 by 30 inch rectangle. Give the dough a book fold: Fold each short end to the middle so they meet but do not overlap. then, fold one half over the other. wrap the dough and let it set in the fridge for at least 2 hours or even overnight.remove the dough from the fridge and give it another single fold. wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mn.On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 10 by 36 inch rectangle. Cut out triangles and shape into croissants. Let the croissants rise until doubled in volume, from 1 1/2 to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Make the egg wash by mixing the yolks, whole egg and the milk. Brush the croissant with the egg wash and bake until golden brow 10 nto 12 minutes.

Chocolate chocolate.......!!

When I saw this recipe from "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home" I knew it would be the best chocoalte roulade I would ever make! I have to admit that I ADMIRE Jacques Pepin. His way of playing with food amazes me. I used to watch his show on PBS "Fast Food My Way" and I enjoyed watching him make dishes that were simple and elegant, the French way!!

His recipe for this roulade is so simple yet so sinfully delicious. The batter is a soufflee batter: a ganache folded into egg whites. It is so light ( I'm not talking calorie wise though!) and chocolaty and rich and.....well just scrumptious!!
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate cut into small pieces
7 egg whites
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 11-by-17 or 13-by-18 jelly roll pan with buttered parchment paper.
Heat the cream to the simmer in a sauce pan. Add the chocolate and stir until melted thoroughly. Let cool for a few minutes. Whip the egg whites with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Scoop some of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and stir to blend. Gently fold in the rest of the whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 10 to 12 mn. Cool in the pan to room temperature.Prepare the filling by whipping the heavy cream with the sugar and the vanilla. Spread the cream over the cake and roll. Enjoy!
Just to mention, this roulade has a very intense chocolate flavor, I personally make it with semi-sweet chocolate, but if you're a real chocloholic use bittersweet chocolate.

Pistachio Lime Cake

This cake is so moist and flavorful. when you bite into it, you get this burst of lemon and lime flavors along with the nutty rich flavor of the pistachios. I love citrus flavored baked goods: lemon, lime, orange.....I can add them to any dessert!!
People may get intimidated by "pistachio Paste".....what is pistachio paste anyway??!!! just like almond paste , pistachio paste is a mixture of ground pistachios and sugar. The sugar is cooked with some water, brought to a quick boil and added to the pistachios. You'll end up with a green paste. In this recipe I added some food coloring to get a more greenish color. This cake can be made with almond paste, therefore, you can add any food coloring to the paste since almond has a neutral color.


3 eggs
150 g Granulated sugar
180 g All purpose flour
70g melted butter
100 ml Heavy cream
50g pistachio paste (recipe follow)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons chopped candied lemons
zest of 2 large limes
1 tablespoon lime syrup


1-Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a 9 by 5 loaf pan.
2- Combine the eggs, sugar, candied lemon and lime zest. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the heavy cream.
3- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Add the melted butter.
4- Heat the pistachio paste with the lemon syrup (you might use less or more depend on the paste) until soft (do not overheat). Mix the paste with 1/3 of the batter. Spread half of the white batter, then the pistachio batter then the remaining white batter.Bake for 15 mn then reduce to 350 and bake until golden brown and delicious!

Pistachio Paste

100g finely ground pistachios
50 g granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
Powdered sugar.

Over medium high heat, bring the sugar and the water to a quick boil. The sugar should be all melted. Meanwhile, put the pistachios in the food processor. Add the hot syrup and process until it forms a paste. If the mixture is too dry add more water a teaspoon at a time. If the mixture seems too liquid add powdered sugar. You should end up with a smooth lightly firm dough. Cover in plastic wrap. It can be kept at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or refrigerated for a longer period.