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June 2014 COTM - My Paris Kitchen: Desserts (Les desserts), Pantry (Ingrédients de base)

Greetings all!

Please use this thread to post your reviews of the following:

Desserts (Les desserts)
Pantry (Ingrédients de base)

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  1. Spiced Speculoos Flan, p256

    I actually made this back in April when I first got the book, but thought I'd put the report here. I had a half a jar of speculoos paste left and when I saw this recipe I thought it would be a good way to use it up.

    I liked these. It was a good way to use up the speculoos paste, but I'm not going to run out and get another jar. I did really like the five spice powder in the caramel. Although I probably won't make this again, I liked the simple technique of mixing the flan in a blender and also covering with aluminum foil while baking in the future. The flans were perfectly set.

    1. For some odd reason I've really been into making tarts lately. I still haven't found 'the' pastry recipe for me, so when I bought My Paris Kitchen I knew the first thing I would do is head for one of his tart recipes. I used the Apricot Crumble Tart recipe from page 309 but substituted rhubarb and strawberries as they were seasonal. You can read all about it here:
      http://dishnthekitchen.wordpress.com/...

       
      1. The individual warm chocolate cakes with salted caramel are fantastic. I've made them several times since getting the book in April.

        24 Replies
        1. re: jordanhamons

          I've had my eye on these. Not usually a huge dessert person but they sound wonderful. Can you give more info?

          1. re: LulusMom

            Sure!

            The easy-to-follow recipe suggests making these in either ceramic ramekins or aluminum cake molds, however, I used a silicone mold and it works great. This cake uses salted butter which gives it a nice flavor. I used a mixture of dark and semi-sweet chocolate.

            You melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler and stir until smooth. In a stand mixer, beat the eggs and powdered sugar until fluffy and doubled. Then, sprinkle in the flour and mix until combine. This step is the only that has given me trouble. Granted, I was making these in big batches for a party but it seemed difficult to get the flour mixed in properly. I was a bit timid to avoid over mixing but I ended up having to mix quite a bit. Make sure you add the flour VERY gradually or you will have a clumpy mess. Next, you fold the chocolate and the egg mixture together until uniform. The batter is then divided among the pans and left to rest for 24 hours (however, you can bake them after 3 hours). You will notice the batter really sets up nicely. Before letting them rest, I bang the pans a few times against the counter to get out any air pockets.

            The cakes bake at 350 for 12-13 minutes. You want the centers to be soft and not fully set, but not raw and runny.

            The salted caramel recipe is basic but a great recipe nonetheless. Caramelize your sugar with water, let turn amber brown, take off the heat, whisk in the butter and cream, put back on heat and stir until smooth. Delicious. You may want to add a little more salt, depending on how salty your butter was and how you like your caramel.

            I've served these topped with the caramel and with both vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream. I also like to sprinkle a little Maldon salt on top.

            1. re: jordanhamons

              Thanks so much - I'm without the book, and although there is a link (I think?) to the recipe, your description helps very much.

              1. re: LulusMom

                LLM, if you're thinking of the links delys77 supplied in the announcement thread, I think there's only a link to the individual chocolate cakes with dulce de leche and fleur de sel, which is the one that caught my eye - molten chocolate cakes with a dollop of dulce de leche baked into the middle. The titles are awfully close, as is the concept.

                I can't find a link to the ones jordanhamons has made, though I did find one for the sauce, and I'd be willing to paraphrase the cake recipe for you. Here's the sauce: http://www.cbc.ca/nxnw/SaltedButterCa...

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Thanks Caitlin - that is what I needed!

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Let me know if you'd like a paraphrase (I'm not clear), and I'll do it when I have a chance. In the warm chocolate/caramel/salt realm, the linked dulce de leche cakes are certainly less fussy sounding to make, but I don't doubt these are as fantastic as jordanhamons says they are.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Sorry for the confusion. Once I thought about it I realized that what I was most interested in was the salted butter caramel chocolate mousse recipe, which I found: http://www.scribd.com/doc/215578644/M...

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Salted Butter Caramel Mousse.

                        Anyone make this yet? It's calling my name and I'm thinking of bringing it to book group.

                        I think I should be able to double the recipe with no problem. Does anyone see any issues if I were to do that?

                        http://www.scribd.com/doc/215578644/M...

                        Thanks.

                        1. re: beetlebug

                          It's on my list too. I don't see any issue with doubling. Just use a big enough pan to brown all the sugar like he recommends for the Carmel. Let me know if it really needs 8 hrs to set. I was ready to make it Sat eve but didn't have the required 8 hours before dessert.

                          1. re: Sfspicegirl

                            Thanks. I'm planning on making this Wednesday afternoon to be served for Thursday dinner. But, maybe I'll take a little bite Wednesday night.

                            1. re: beetlebug

                              Let us know. I'm sure it will be A+

                          2. re: beetlebug

                            I can't wait to hear how it turns out. I don't have the biggest sweet tooth, but this makes me salivate.

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              I have a salt and sweet tooth. Often combined (hello chocolate covered pretzels). This recipe looks delicious and here's hoping I don't screw up the sugar part.

                              1. re: beetlebug

                                Yeah, totally get that - the salt is what makes the sweet so good.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  I made this on Friday. It's quite easy to make and does not take much time at all. It tastes nice but I did not love how it set up. I think the caramel makes it a little more syrupy/runny and less fluffy, like a traditional mousse. I let it set up overnight and I do think this step is necessary.

                                  I'm interested to see how this turns out for you. Please let me know about the texture of your final product.

                            2. re: beetlebug

                              It's resting in the fridge now but I don't have high hopes. Despite the longer instructions for this short recipe, I don't think it's well laid out.

                              To start, melt the sugar and when it gets liquidly, stir until the sugar melts. Add the salted butter and stir until it melts.

                              Then I ran into some trouble. After the butter is melted (pan is off heat), whisk in the heavy cream. Well, part of my melty goodness became this congealed, hard caramel mess. It was just glopped in places and there was no way that it was going to dissolve. I suspect I poured the cream in faster then my whisking hand. Anyway, I turned the heat on low to try and dissolve the mess and was mostly successful.

                              Add chocolate until melted and then let the mixture cool. When it's cooled, add the egg yolks and then the whipped egg whites with the salt. Rest in the fridge.

                              When I poured the mixture in the bowl, I had a couple of tablespoons of caramel goop stuck on the pan.

                              This was more watery then I anticipated. I suspect it will need the full 8 hours for it to firm up. I did make the recipe as written (v. doubling it). Fingers crossed that it tastes ok since I don't have time to make a back up dessert. Good thing I have leftover cashew sesame bars from a picnic this weekend.

                              I'll report back to taste and texture after serving it tomorrow night.

                              1. re: beetlebug

                                Oh no. I'll keep my fingers crossed that somehow it comes out better than you're expecting.

                                1. re: beetlebug

                                  It doesn't sound like this recipe is included on this list, but I thought I'd post a link for the errata's for DL's book:

                                  http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2014/05/...

                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                    I jus checked on it and it seems like the right consistency. It doesn't move when I shake the bowl. I suspect it needs the full 8 hours in the fridge to get it to this state.

                                    I would try it but it seems wrong to bring a dessert with an obvious bite out of it.

                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                      heehee.... too bad you can't just fill that hole in with whipped cream or chocolate shavings.

                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                        Well, you Have to taste it to make sure it's worthy for your fellow club members. Just a thin sliver of a slice. Surely they will understand knowing you did it for them. [cough, cough]

                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                          Salted butter caramel mousse (link above somewhere)

                                          This turned out to be a hit with the group. I made the recipe as is (no doubling) and it served 11 comfortably. I also had leftover sesame cashew bars in case the mousse didn't turn out well.

                                          There was only a faint taste of the salted caramel. I'm not sure if it is supposed to be that subtle or bc there was some still at the bottom of the pot. I also think a darker chocolate would be better (I used Lindt discs which I think were 66%) and a tad more salt.

                                          Other then the 8 hour resting time, this was a quick and easy recipe.

                                      2. re: beetlebug

                                        Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse, p. 258.

                                        Served this last night in eight little brandy-snifter glasses. The mousse is quite rich and could be stretched to serve 10 if I used my smaller liqueur shot-glasses, especially if one served a little cookie or some other treat with it.

                                        For me the recipe came together surprisingly quickly. I lucked out and did not have stubborn carmel bits that refused to dissolve--I did follow DL's advice to whisk in the cream slowly. But the 8-hours chilling time is necessary--I think overnight might even be better, because the texture is rather loose and needs to set up.

                                        I and our guests liked this but we weren't "speechless after one bite" as DL predicted. The caramel-salty flavor is not particularly pronounced. In fact, it could have used a bit more salt. I'm glad I used a good-quality bittersweet chocolate. I'm not sure why, but the texture turned out more like chocolate pudding than the usual mousse-like fluffiness I expected.

                                        I say good but not extraordinary (which I had expected.) Perhaps some toasted almonds or a few chocolate-coated coffee beans on top--something to add interest to the texture. . .

                                        But those little brandy-snifters were darn cute.

                        2. re: jordanhamons

                          oooh! I bet they are :) Do I want to go down that road? I may never come back...

                        3. Merveilleux, p. 281

                          Before you get too impressed that I made this recipe - I didn't. I did tab it, I was thinking about making it but....ironically, a bakery just opened near me that bakes and sells only Merveilleux. It is called Le Mervetty, at 319 N. Canon in Beverly Hills. Thought those who live in LA would appreciate the heads up.

                          They are marvelous, by the way.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: dkennedy

                            For those of us who don't have this book yet, what are they?

                            1. re: roxlet

                              Basically stacks of baked meringues discs, if you will, each layer is covered in especially thick whipped cream then the whole stack is rolled in shaved chocolate. It almost feels as if one should genuflect.

                              https://www.google.com/search?q=Merve...

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  I made these. They were marvelous! I'm a sucker for crispy meringue treats.

                                  1. re: Becca Porter

                                    I had a meringue, whipped cream and chocolate confection in Florence many years ago that I still can't get out of my head. Will need to make this recipe.

                          2. Chocolate chip, hazelnut, and dried sour cherry fougasse, p. 266

                            When I first looked through the book in a bookstore, this recipe jumped out as something I felt I must make. Although it's in the dessert chapter, the bread itself is not a rich or sweet one, but a simple, softish yeast bread studded with the title ingredients, well suited to breakfast, brunch, or snacking.

                            To make it, water, yeast, a tablespoon of sugar, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and AP flour are stirred together and set aside for a 15-minute rest, after which more flour and salt are added. The dough is then kneaded using a stand mixer with dough hook or by hand (I used the mixer, though not at the medium-high speed he calls for, as my Breville has a kneading level at lower speed). Here, I thought a bit more detail could add clarity, because the recipe simply says to knead for 5 minutes, with no description of how the dough should feel, which would be helpful in particular for kneading by hand. At any rate, it's a rather sticky dough that really wanted to climb the hook, necessitating stopping and scraping it down several times. After the initial kneading, chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I used 72% bittersweet), chopped toasted hazelnuts, chopped dried sour cherries, and orange zest are kneaded in. This I had to do by hand, as the volume of the additions was so high relative to the volume of dough that much of it stayed at the bottom of the mixer bowl as it ran.

                            After the dough has risen in the bowl (second photo), it's divided in two and shaped. Each piece gets rolled into an oval, into which slits are cut that are meant to resemble the veins of a leaf. After another rising, the dough is brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with flaky salt before it goes in the oven (third photo). My leaf was certainly less symmetrical than those found in nature (or at the local bakery!).

                            The result is a nice little treat. As noted, the bread itself isn't sweet, but studded with nutty and just slightly sweet bits (especially given I used high-cocoa-content chocolate and unsweetened tart cherries), which to me is much nicer than something sugary. And the flavors work wonderfully together.

                            The texture was nicest the day it was baked, but while a bit less soft it was perfectly fine after sitting loosely wrapped overnight. The recipe makes two fougasse, and though DL suggests that it will keep well frozen, I decided I'd prefer it freshly baked so I froze half the dough after gently deflating following the first rise. I'll see how it goes when I get around to defrosting it.

                             
                             
                             
                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              Im impressed-- i have been looking at this-- and i think I'll try it--