This is one of the sections of the book I was excited but also very nervous for. Tart shells are a bit finicky and I knew that this would be something that would be a challenge to get right and perhaps it would take a few tries to get right. This caramel nut tart was one of the most basic of the recipes in the section so I could focus on the basics and I knew that the filling wouldn't be hard to bring together. So let's get into it!
This tart turned out with the flavor of peanut brittle but with the softness of a caramel sauce and the toasted nuts were a gentle crunch in each bite. The recipe started with making a pâte brisée that would be the shortcrust pastry the tart would be in. The shortcrust shell was just a combination of flour, butter and a little salt mixed together to come into a ball.
After letting the crust chill in the fridge for a couple hours I took it out and rolled it so that it would be ~1" longer than the 8" tart shell ring I would be baking the crust in.
Next I set the crust into the ring, and then trimmed up the edges (since this doesn't shrink down when baking) and then covered it in parchment paper and put in some lentils (instead of rice) to blind bake the crust. Blind baking tart or pie shells are done to bake the crust without worrying about the bottom rising up too much. So first you blind bake for ~75% of the bake and then 25% without the parchment to crisp up the base.
I took a picture of the dough at various stages to see what it would look like between each stage. Left to right is after the blind bake, after the total bake (I know it's fuzzy), and then the shell cooling on the rack which needed to cool all the way to room temp.
Once the shell was baked, I turned to make the caramel jam. I had never made caramel jam before and the use of glucose (an invert sugar) made the caramel nice and soft and pliable. Once the caramel was done I put the toasted nuts in the tart shell and then poured the strained caramel jam into the shell crust filling up every crevice.
Once the caramel was finished and cool I cut into it for each slice and it was delicious!!! Definitely a quick and simple recipe that I can see myself making in the future but it's absolutely the best the day it's made!
The final cake recipe! Crepe cake!!! I was actually really excited to try this, I figured it would be really straightforward and delicious. Amanda wasn't too interested as she described it as "a stack of crepes with stuff in the between them"....which isn't technically wrong! However, she did concede it was tastier than she thought it would be and I'm very pleased with how this section closed. Without further adieu, let's get into it!
I was excited for this recipe as it called for an orange diplomat cream, and I had yet to make this before and heard how delicious it is! Since this recipe needed the cream and the crepe batter to chill overnight I started off by making the pastry cream, which is the major component to the diplomat cream. It started off with 160g of egg yolks, which if you're keeping track at home, is roughly 9 egg yolks...yeah 9!! So I separated the egg yolks, and then added the vanilla and mixed them to combine before adding in the sugar to whip them into a light but thick ribbon. Then to this I added the mass amount of milk and flour and mixed until it was well-combined. Finally, I strained this whole mix through a fine mesh sieve to catch any flour that clumped, into a pan on the stove.
It was at this point that I added the zest of two oranges to give it the orange flavor that it needed to be an orange diplomat cream. From here I whisked the cream in the pot for a couple minutes until it thickened, and I transferred it to the ice bath to chill down while I added the small amount of butter which finishes the pastry cream.
To turn this pastry cream into diplomat cream, I let the pastry cream chill for a hour before mixing in gelatin and whipped cream. the gelatin helps in adding structure to the cream and the whipped cream lightens it and makes it oh so much more delicious!
The final thing to prep the night before everything came together I threw the crepe batter together. This was shockingly simple, as they just have you throw everything into a blender, and blend before putting the mix through a fine mesh strainer and letting it chill in the fridge overnight.
The next morning was fun, and technically challenging as I realized I had to make use of of the batter extremely well to have enough crepes to stack! I have a crepe making skillet (birthday present from my sister a few years ago) that definitely came in handy as it provides a very even heat source and is easy to flip the crepes by hand in.
I set up a little station where the crepe would cool while the next was cooking and then they would get stacked once they were cool until I had made all 12 crepes to be stacked. From there I set up a little cardboard tray to stack them on (wrapped in plastic wrap) and then prepared to stack them with cream in the middle.
From here it was pretty straightforward, I just put one crepe down, put the cream on, and then spread it out to the edges with an offset spatula, leaving a 1/4" space on the outside.
From there it was simple to keep stacking and spreading until all the crepes were stacked, and I trimmed it and wrapped it to chill for several hours before taking it out, and brûlée'ing it to finish it off and give it a nice crispy top! A simple, but tasty treat and a very pleasing way to finish off the cake section of the bouchon project! Now begins the challenge of the tart section coming up!
Oh Oh's! A simple roulette cake roll that was incredibly delicious! I wasn't entirely that excited to make this recipe because it looked so simple and one-dimensional, however it proved me wrong!
For a bouchon recipe it was pretty straightforward! It started with the making of the "chocolate biscuit" layer which would be the base. This, like all the others was a simple genoise sponge cake. It started with a prep of the dry ingredients, and then whisking the eggs and yolks with the sugar until they gained some volume.
From here, I folded the ingredients together, being careful not to deflate the volume, and then I poured it onto a sheet tray and ensured it reached the edges.
Next, I wrapped up the cake once it was baked and cooled and then made a sweetened whip cream to spread across the cake as the filling for the roll.
The final step before coating with chocolate was to roll up from the short end to the middle from both sides and then cut and let it freeze overnight wrapped up in parchment paper overnight. The final day I took it out, melted down some chocolate and tried to apply as even a coat as I could. After letting it chill and set properly they were ready to eat! Simple yet incredibly delicious and a very light treat from the fridge whenever I wanted it (for the 2 days it lasted).
Okay so I missed last week, but it's a busy time!!! So many life events going around but in the craziness I wanted to post about one of my favorite desserts that I was so glad was in this book. The lemon meringue tart! I know I'm still in the cake section but this recipe doubles as a tart and cake recipe since it has a layer of madeleine cake (which was the next recipe), so it still works! Okay, now to get into the recipe!
The first thing I had to do was to make the pate brisee (tart shell dough) for the bottom. It was a new technique that I hadn't tried before and I was excited to try this method! It started with mixing together flour and powdered sugar and then creaming a fair amount of butter to be incorporated with the flour.
The next step was to use the new method for complete incorporation of the butter into the dough by pushing with the heel of my hand until it was completely together. From that point I put the dough into rectangles and saved it for later use.
From here I moved on to the madeleine cake layer. It's a very simple cake recipe of whipped egg yolks and butter and flour. Once the batter came together (much like the madeleines I've posted about before), I poured it out on to a half sheet pan as instructed (as much as it would spread out), and then baked it quickly as it was incredibly thin and wouldn't take long to bake. Having just needed enough to serve as a layer in the cake, I checked the cake in the oven until the middle had set (I know that the edges are burnt but I needed the middle to be done).
Once this layer was done I wrapped it up to chill while I turned my attention to the lemon curd. I have made curd before but never with this method and it turned out to be my favorite so far. The main difference in this recipe compared to the other was the use of sheet gelatin to act as the stabilizer. The rest of the recipe was fairly straightforward cooking egg yolks and lemon juice and zest over the stove and then the book recommended putting the curd through a high speed blender before letting it chill down slightly for later use.
Once this was done I moved to roll the tart dough out to fit into the mold.
Since this tart dough wouldn't be baked again I baked it completely through with rice inside to keep the bubbles from forming while baking on the bottom, while still baking it through till it was golden brown. Once it was completely baked I took the cake out of the freezer and cut out the disc that would be layered on top of the curd.
The final component to come together was going to be the meringue. The meringue that the book had you make for this recipe was an Italian meringue where I cooked the egg whites over a double boiler until they reached 160C.
Immediately after the meringue cooked to the right temperature, I put it into the stand mixer and whisked it until stiff peaks, where I then put it into a piping bag. Finally I was ready to assemble everything together!
The first layer down was the lemon curd into the cooked and cooled base. Following that I put down the disc of madeleine cake that I had cut and cooled and it fit just snug enough. Finally I piped the meringue on top and then sculpted it to get some nice peaks that I could blowtorch!
This is honestly one of my favorite tarts to eat and so I was incredibly excited to make and eat this! It took quite a while to make but it was so worth it and I know I'll be making it again this summer!
This was a fairly involved recipe. I looked at it originally and only saw one page! But then I saw in the ingredients it referenced 4 other recipes that had been outlined in other parts of the book. The reason why this one is in the cake section is due to the middle two layers of olive oil cake. This recipe while involved, was incredibly delicious and I can't wait to finish off all the leftovers! Let's get into the recipe!
As I said, this recipe had a variety of parts. The first thing I made was the olive oil cake. I was a bit anxious about this recipe never having tried olive oil cake and thinking that it didn't sound too appetizing. The good thing about making the parfait was that I got to put the olive oil cake in the company of some delicious flavors. It came together pretty simply, the only major difference being olive oil being used as the fat instead of butter. It started off with whipping eggs and sugar together until they were light and formed a ribbon in the bowl of the stand mixer. Then it was adding half the olive oil and half the dry ingredients at a time as the mixer folded together the cake batter.
Then just like the other sponge cakes I've made so far for this recipe, I poured the batter into a silpat-lined sheet pan and baked for 15 minutes, until the cake was done. Then once the cake was cooled off I flipped it over and gently peeled the silpat off to show the perfect doneness. Once this step was done I wrapped it tightly in cling wrap and froze it so I could cut out shapes later.
Next, I moved on to the pastry cream section. To make the creme mousseline, I had to make pastry cream and buttercream to combine them together. I had never made this before so was excited to try out a new texture and flavor. For this recipe, they have you whip eggs yolks into sugar, and then add the flour and heavy cream before whisking the mix over the stove.
I whisked the mix over the stove for a couple minutes or so until the mixture thickened up into the consistency that I wanted, where I then took it off and whisked it over an ice bath to cool it slightly. Then finally to finish it I added the couple tbsp of butter to finish it and let it cool in the fridge for a hour.
Once I had this done, I moved to work on the buttercream, which uses an Italian meringue method. So I made a sugar syrup while the egg whites were being whipped and then added the sugar once it made it to 120C while the egg whites were at soft peaks, and then let it whisk for 15 minutes until it became stiff peaks and glossy. Once this was done, I added the butter a couple tbsp at a time, letting the butter emulsify before adding more until the buttercream was finished.
Once this component was done, I let it sit while the pastry cream was still cooling while I turned my attention to the raspberry jam. I know this is a strawberry parfait but the recipe called for a raspberry jam so that's what I made! The store didn't have frozen raspberry puree like the recipe called for, so I bought some frozen raspberries and then I blitzed them in our blender adding a tbsp of water at a time until it had the consistency of a frozen puree. Once this was done, I placed it in a small pan and put it on the stove to cook down with some sugar.
Finally I cooked down the rapsberry:sugar mix on the stove until it started to boil, and then I added the last bit of sugar and the pectin. from there I let it boil for 3 minutes before pouring it out on to a baking sheet with silpat to let it cool to room temp.
Now that all of the pieces were done, I was finally ready to start combining everything together. To finish the creme mousseline, I mixed the equal parts butter cream and pastry cream together and then started to stack the dessert together. I took the relatively frozen olive oil cake from the freezer and cut it into circles for the glass.
To finish, I started to stack the dessert and first was the jam layer at the bottom of the glass. Second was to put the cake ring down on top and then to stack the ring of strawberries around the exterior of the glass, cut side facing out. Then I chopped up some extra strawberry to place in the center and then filled the space with the creme mousseline and another layer of cake.
I finished it by adding more of the creme mousseline on top of the cake and then some diced strawberries to finish. It took quite a long time to make but it was incredibly delicious and fresh and I look forward to finishing up all the extras and scraps!
This week's bake is rum cake! After the mixed bake from last week I was a bit wary of this week's recipe however it turned out better than I thought it would! It is just sweet enough, just enough rum flavor and incredibly moist and delicious!
This cake had a quite different ratio of ingredients than I was accustomed to and when reading through it I realized it was going to use roughly 11 eggs and 2.5 sticks of butter! This already told me it was going to likely be a fairly large cake and seeing how much almond flour and AP flour, I was excited to see how it would come together.
It started out simply by preparing the cake mold by buttering the interior and freezing it before dusting it with sugar to help take the cake out once it was baked. Then I started to prepare all of the ingredients, whipping the butter in the stand mixer before creaming the sugar together.
The next step was to add the eggs while the mixer was going slowly 1/3 at a time, making sure not to whip too much or it would add too much height in baking. Once the wet ingredients were finished incorporating, I added the flour mix 1/3 at a time, again not over-mixing. Finally it was time to introduce the final ingredient of the batter....the rum!
The method of incorporation was similar to that of a soufflé. I took roughly a cup of the batter and stirred it into the rum to incorporate it before adding that mix back into the rest of the batter, stirring with a silicone spatula to incorporate fully. This finished the batter and then it was time to bake!
The book said to bake for 65-70 minutes for a standard oven at 350F and I found it to be fairly close. I ended up having to bake for ~75 minutes or so before I was able to put a cake tester in to come out clean. The one point that worried me was how dark the top was getting and I was worried the inside would be dry. The last thing to do was to make a simple syrup to drizzle on top once it was out of the mold and cooling off. I added this before letting the cake cool overnight.
Finally the next morning I made the rum icing and drizzled it on top before cutting into it. It was incredibly moist and delicious and while I didn't expect to like it too much I was pleasantly surprised!
This is one of those times where you're going to have to trust me that it tasted A LOT better than it looked. I had such high hopes for this bake, having seen the beautiful photo in the book and seeing how simple the recipe looked. In actuality, there were a couple issues I had with this recipe but I didn't have enough time to make it again for it to potentially look better so you're stuck with this view.
For the recipe, like I said it was incredibly simple and straightforward to put together. It started with butter being whipped into soft peaks before sugar was added to cream together for a couple minutes until it was "fluffy". Then I added in the eggs and vanilla, and mixed just to incorporate those parts together. This part always looks a bit broken as all the fats haven't properly emulsified but that's okay, it always works itself out when the rest of the ingredients are included.
The one interesting part about this recipe was the amount of creme fraiche that was included. When I read 200+ grams it didn't really hit me how much that would be. But the next part of the recipe was to add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1/3 of the creme fraiche and then back and forth until the whole mix was incorporated. After 2/3 of the dry and wet ingredients were mixed it started to come together, and then the last 1/3 really helped to bring it all together. Once the mix was made, it went to the fridge to chill and hydrate for 30 minutes to really come together. While that was going on, I threw together the brown sugar and cocoa powder that would be dusted between the layers of cake batter in the baking paper.
Once the batter was set, I put it in the piping bag and realized the first issue with this recipe that I had. This was supposed to be enough for 6 personal size cakes. I had bought slightly bigger baking paper cups because I couldn't find the smaller sizes, but still, I imagined I would get 2/3 out of the batter.....I didn't. I moved forward though with the instructions and thought I'd at least get 1 good looking cake out of it. The first step was to pipe a base, and then dust the cocoa powder:brown sugar mix on top of the first ring.
Then, I piped another layer of batter on top of the first and then even though the book didn't say to, I dusted more cocoa and brown sugar on top of the final ring. Finally, I topped the whole thing with almond streusel. Here comes the final issue that I had with the recipe. It said to leave 1/4" at the top for baking and I did just that. I figured they accounted for the amount of rise it would get in the oven. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way. I had to put a pan under it to catch the drippings and it messed up the overall look of the cake. I took it out of the oven when it was baked through and let it cool before cutting into it. While it didn't look like it was supposed to, it absolutely tasted delicious. I will likely make it again, but I'm going to make some adjustments to it next time!
Gingerbread! I was a bit confused when I saw this in the cake section obviously jumping to gingerbread houses and Christmas cookies. When I read a bit more into it, it was apparent that it was more of a quick bread spice loaf than anything else. I love quick breads so figured it was going to be a tasty recipe!
It started off fairly normally, as the dry ingredients (flour and the various spices used) were sifted together before the "sugar" was creamed. I hadn't made a cake before where the sugar component was all molasses but this was the case for this recipe! After the dry ingredients came together, I then whipped the large amount of molasses together with brown sugar until it was entirely incorporated. This lightened the color of the sugar mixture before I then poured in the canola oil and eggs to finish off the wet ingredients.
At this point, I mixed in the eggs and then folded in the dry ingredients in a couple additions. The recipe took another unfamiliar turn when I then incorporated boiling water slowly into the batter to complete the mix.
Prior to the addition of the boiling water I thought the batter had a great consistency but then when the water was added, it seemed far too loose for what I had expected. I poured the batter into the pans just like the recipe said and then baked them in a 350F oven for ~50 minutes, checking every 5 min near the end for doneness. I then let them cool before wrapping them up and letting them sit overnight at room temp as the book instructed for the best flavor.
The next day, I mixed together a quick royal icing recipe and drizzled across the loaf before cutting myself off a couple slices for dessert. The flavor wasn't as intensely ginger as I thought it might be, but it turned out as a wonderful spice loaf! I'll definitely be considering this quick and tasty recipe for the next winter holiday season!
I know that this is later than my usual one post every Sunday but it was my birthday this past Sunday so I decided to make something special from the book that I'd really enjoy for a dinner I had with some friends. I flipped through the cake section and decided to make the Palet d'Or as it was something similar to a cake I'd made before but also looked incredibly delicious. Wow it didn't disappoint. It was a fairly involved process so let's jump right in!
There were mainly three parts to this cake so that's how I'm going to break it up in terms of explanation. The first part was the actual cake layer. For this cake, it was instructed to use the devil's food cake recipe to make a thin sheet cake and then cut out circles from that to use inside the cake itself. When I looked through the recipe for the devil's food cake the biggest shock to me was that it called for mayonnaise in the recipe! I read on because I was so confused and apparently they introduced it to add a bit of richness without adding an oily or greasy texture. I'm personally not a huge fan of mayonnaise but obviously I couldn't taste it in the cake and it was delicious!
The lift of this cake comes from whipping the eggs and sugar together before folding in the mayo, and then folding in the dry mix and water (this created quite a loose batter which made me worried but it turned out well).
The next step was simply to pour it out onto a rimmed baking sheet to the edges and bake it off for 8 minutes. I was happy to see that despite it being very loose and easy to spread around, the cake baked off really well.
From here, I let it cool before attempting to free hand cut circles out of the sheet. Now I knew there was going to be a lot of chocolate in this but I didn't expect to also be melting some chocolate to put on top of each cake layer (which turned out to be a really nice textural element). Next was to put one of the circles into the cake ring and the other next to it to freeze solid so that I could make the chocolate cream.
Now that the cake layer was done, I moved on to the chocolate cream layer. There were three components to this...heavy cream, melted chocolate, and then an egg:sugar part. The cream was simply whipped to soft peaks, the chocolate gently melted over a double boiler, and then the eggs were first cooked gently over a double boiler with some sugar, whisking to make sure the eggs didn't cook. Then once they reached 183F, they were put on to the stand mixer and whisked vigorously for 7 minutes to give plenty of lift. After this, the three parts were ready to be incorporated together.
Then to finish the cream, I folded a third of the whipped cream into the chocolate to temper it a bit before I folded the egg mixture in. Then to finish it off, I folded the last bit of the whipped cream in and it was done! Finally I used a silicone spatula to put it in a piping bag to assemble the cake.
The next part was the fun part. Assembly! I took the cake out of the freezer and the first step was to pipe around the remaining space between the cake and mold, and then fill the first layer before putting the next layer of cake on top. The final step was to put the last layer of cream on top and then smooth the top out with an offset spatula.
Then the cake went into the freezer to solidify overnight. The final step was to make the glaze which would be poured over the whole cake. This final step was where things went a little sideways for me. One of the things I love about the bouchon book is the level of detail in the instructions. As a scientist I love how accurate it tries to be. In this ONE instance though, there was a shocking lack of detail which led to it not working nearly as well as it should. Anyways, I digress, you'll see what happened.
Having made a glaze that was very similar to this one in ingredients before, I was familiar with the technique of heating up the cream, sugar, and water in a pan while the gelatin softened in ice water, bringing the mix to a boil. Then, this recipe had me whisk in sifted cocoa powder and then let it reduce down to thicken up.
The test to see if it was done was to run the glaze on a plate and then swipe your finger through it to see if it would leave an intact track or whether it would close back up. Once the recommended 15 minutes of time went by, my glaze was ready to be taken off from the heat and for the gelatin to be mixed in (although I didn't think so). This is where everything went weird. The last time I made a glaze for a cake it was recommended to glaze the cake (a mousse cake) at 83-95F for the glaze. When I finished this glaze, it was well over 140. Obviously I took into account how much more gelatin this one had than the last but I still figured it must be too hot to pour, and I didn't want it to be runny or for it to melt the cream. The book simply said "pour when it's hot" without giving any specific temperature to look out for or anything. So I used my immersion blender to make sure the glaze was smooth and then I put it through a fine mesh sieve before letting it cool to 110F. While this was cooling I went through the stressful task of taking the ring mold out from the cake without damaging the cake too terribly. I was shocked that it came off with the least amount of fuss. All that was left to do was to pour the glaze on top (which looked a bit like chocolate pudding), and then attempt to smooth it out without wrecking the chocolate cream underneath it. I did this as smoothly as I could, however the next time I make this cake, I know I'm going to pour the glaze over almost as soon as it's done.
The final element to finish it all off was to put some gold leaf on it to really give it that fancy elegant touch! I was surprised how cheap you can buy gold leaf online and it was definitely worth it to have it on the cake and take it up that last step! A very rewarding and flavorful birthday cake this year and one that I'm sure I'll be making in the near future!
Chocolate financiers!!! I'd heard of these cakes before but I'd never had them or made them and I wasn't quite sure what to expect! I was happy to find out that these basic cakes packed a powerful punch!
These cakes actually were fairly different than I thought. They started out by sifting together the dry ingredients (which included almond flour), and then pouring egg whites into the middle where there was a well.
From there, I whisked the egg whites into the dry ingredients until fully incorporated while the brown butter was cooking the sauce pan. Finally when the brown butter was done, I added in the chocolate chips to melt along with the rest of the wet ingredients.
The rest of the batter came together incredibly fast as the chocolate brown butter was poured into the egg white:dry ingredient mix to finish the batter. From there, I put the batter into a piping bag and immediately put them into the prepared molds and baked them in a preheated oven.
From start to finish, these cakes only took 1 hour and I was so happy how simple and quick they were to put together. Having tried a couple of them fresh out of the oven, they were so incredibly moist and chocolatey and delicious. The best way to describe them is a chocolate lava cake without the ganache, but still just as moist. Absolutely going to turn to these in the future when I need a quick and easy chocolate cake recipe.