Monday, July 27, 2009

Crème au Caramel Salé

These salted caramel custard pots were inspired by the Picasso of pastry, Pierre Hermé and his classic caramel with fleur de sel macaroons.
This flavor became a rising trend and it's not uncommon to find desserts sprinkled with this salt now.

Fleur de sel (flower of salt) is a sea salt collected only off the coast of Brittany, France, scraping just the top layer before it sinks to the bottom of the salt pan.

I've used fleur de sel salt for these; it's probably not worth buying the salt especially for this, but if you want to start using it in recipes, it's definitely something worth thinking about.

Crème au Caramel Salé
(Makes 4 pots)

For the caramel:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • A pinch of fleur de sel (or any mild sea salt if you don't have this)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
For the custard crème:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • More fleur de sel for sprinkling on top.
To make the caramel, on a medium heat add the sugar and salt to a saucepan. Add a few drops of water to the pan just to moisten a little.

Stirring constantly (don't let it burn) and allow the sugar to caramelize and bubble, it should thicken and become a rich amber color.

As soon as it has taken on that color, immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cream and the whole milk. This will cause it to bubble a lot, but keep stirring.

The caramel at this point will become quite hard and stringy, return the pan to the heat and mix until it becomes a smooth liquid.

Leave the caramel to cool down fully.

Preheat the oven to 300F.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks, 1/2 cup of sugar and vanilla extract very well until thickened.

Very slowly, add the caramel mixture to this bowl while whisking.

Allow to sit still for a minute and then skim off any foam that has developed on the surface

(they will show up in the finishing custards).

Fill 4 ramekins with the custard caramel mixture and place them on a roasting pan.

Fill the roasting pan half way up the ramekins with boiling water.

Cover the roasting pan with Aluminum foil (piercing a few holes in the foil for steam to release).

Place the pan carefully in the middle of the oven and bake the pots for 30-40 minutes. They should still be wobbly, but completely set and solid to the touch. (Check them after 30 minutes because mine were completely done then).

When they're done, take the roasting pan out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes with the foil still covering the pots.

Let the petite pots cool in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

When they are ready to be served, sprinkle a little fleur de sel on top of each pot.

These can be served with a little whipped cream on the side, but they're really good just as themselves.

Friday, July 24, 2009


An effortless french classic that is simple, yet elegant and highly delectable.
These little pastries are so quick to make, require minimal ingredients and always look very attractive.
Be sure to find a good puff pastry if you're going to buy it ready made, some store bought ones contain all kinds of ingredients that needn't be there, so look for a good brand.

I love these for breakfast with my morning coffee and they also make a great dessert.
There are various ways to shape the palmiers, I just like the heart shaped ones.

These are very addictive, you have been warned! :)

You will only need....

  • Puff pastry
  • Granulated white sugar
  • Parchment paper

Your puff pastry should measure about 10 X 12 inches.

Sprinkle granulated sugar all over your work surface and press the bottom of the puff pastry onto it so that the sugar sticks.

Coat the top layer in sugar as well and press firmly.

Make sure the longer length of the puff pastry is facing you. Begin to shape the pastry, firstly by folding each side into the center.

Then fold each side into the center of the pastry again.

Then roll one side of the pastry on top of the other. Sprinkle again with sugar.

Cover this pastry roll in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Take the roll out of the fridge and begin to cut approximately 1 1/2 inch slices all the way down the roll.

Place each palmier on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle each one with a little more sugar.

Bake them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until they are golden brown and caramelized.

The Palmiers can be eaten fresh out of the oven or when they have cooled down.

They can be stored for a few days in an air tight container.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Indian Rice Pudding

This is a classic Indian dessert that still remains a home cooked favorite.

The creamy, nutty texture and delicate flavor of cardamom give this rice pudding its unique taste.

I love the diversity of rice pudding, but I have to say that this is the only style of rice pudding I have ever made. For me, its a nostalgic thing and its so beautifully scented.

Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)
(Serves 4 people)

  • 1 cup Alborio Rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 4-5 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (or to desired sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder.
  • 2 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds
  • Optional- chopped pistachio's for sprinkling on top.

Wash the Alborio rice very well. You could use any short grain white rice, but this rice definitely gives the best results, it has a very creamy texture and works perfectly for this.

In a medium sized sauce pan, melt the butter on a medium/high heat. When the butter is sizzling, add the rice to the pan and fry for 1 minute, mixing slowly.

Add the milk to the pan and let it come to a boil, always stirring to prevent it from burning.

Reduce the heat to low/medium and let the rice and milk cook together.

Do not leave the pan unattended, it will need constant stirring to prevent the milk from burning.

The rice should be cooked, but it shouldn't be mushy and the mixture should have thickened a lot.

Add the heavy cream, mix and cook for a further minute.

Then turn off the heat.

While the rice pudding is still hot (with the heat off) add the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cardamom powder and the almonds.

Stir all together and pour into a serving dish.

Leave to cool down and then place it in the refrigerator until cold, or ready to be served.

You can serve this hot or cold, I like it cold.

Sprinkle the chopped pistachio's on top of each serving bowl.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kreativ blogger award

The lovely Paris Pastry has given me the Kreativ blogger award!!
I'm so chuffed thank you! I'm surprised because I'm fairly new to this, so I feel very honored :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rose Madeleines

Those who know me have come to terms with my true passion for rose: rose flavored desserts, rose perfume, rose tea...the list goes on.

Rose macaroons are one of my favorite things to indulge in, Laduree's of course. If there's anything that comes close to that, its rose madeleines. I've always made the classic madeleines with their delicate aroma, very Proust, but ever since I decided to experiment with rose syrup, its hard to go back.

Rose syrup is a staple in my kitchen. My favorite way to use it is to simply add it to a cold glass of milk; I've been drinking milk this way since I was very little. If you love the flavor of rose, this must be tried! You can buy rose syrup from most ethnic food stores.

In Nigella Lawson's book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, she has a recipe for 'rose bud madeleines' using rose water. I've tried this recipe and as lovely as they tasted, I was disappointed with the lack of rose flavor. I found that using rose syrup enhances the rose much more and adds a beautiful pink color. Of course, I had to limit the sugar that I would usually add to madeleines because the syrup is already very sweet.

In order to create the madeleine signature hump, these take a few hours to make, as they have to sit in the refrigerator for a while and then sit again out of the fridge. The batter can also be left in the fridge over night and then made the next day.
Rose Madeleines:

(Makes about 24)
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
- 1/4 cup of white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons rose syrup
- Madeleine molded baking tray.

Whisk the eggs, sugar and salt in bowl very well for about 5 minutes.

Hold a strainer over the bowl and sprinkle in the flour, fold this in with a spatula.

Then add the melted butter, fold this in until the batter is evenly mixed.

Add to this the lemon zest and the rose syrup.

Mix it all together and you should be left with a thick, pink batter.

Cover this with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, take the bowl out of the fridge and leave it to sit out for 30 minutes
(try not to exceed the 30 minutes as the batter should stay quite set).

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Add one heaped teaspoon of batter to each madeleine mold. Don't worry about it filling the whole shell up, it will do this by itself with the heat of the oven.

Bake these on the middle shelf of the oven at 400F for about 5-7 minutes.

Leave the madeleines to cool on a rack before serving.

You can dust these with powdered sugar before serving if you want to, I just like them the way they are.

Eating these with a cup of tea is a must! Enjoy :)
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