Thursday, 13 October 2011
"Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this son of yolk", as Shakespeare did not quite write. But discontent was indeed in Divine Cherry's heart, and eggs were truly in her hands. Her dissatisfaction came from Small Perfect Cloud's newfound habit of chewing and gnawing at the herbs she and Celestial Dragon had planted earlier that century – not unlike a mouse, which is odd for a cat. And the eggs in her hands came from the supermarket. So there she was. What to do, what to do? It so happened that Divine Cherry was curious to try something new. It also so happened that Celestial Dragon had recently brought form one of his innumerable travels a small and quite delicious delicacy he claimed was called "small ovens". Figures.
But as Desire is Despair's twin, and Delight its younger sister, Divine Cherry took her discontent and her eggs and set about to transform them, to transmute them, to transcend them even by replicating one of the loveliest "small ovens" (or petit fours in French) of all times: the Visitandines. It was exactly what she needed: their softness appealed to her; their sweetness gladdened her spirit; their fluffiness warmed the cockles of her heart; and their sheer deliciousness induced in her imagination such a forceful ecstasy that she could refrain herself no more. She therefore produced forth her trusty grimoire and set about to prepare these petit fours (which were later also used to perfume the palace).
This is how she did it:
Visitandines (recipe taken from "Le Larousse des Desserts" by Pierre Hermé)
-4 egg whites (from medium-sized eggs)
-40g of flour
-185g of butter
-125g of granulated sugar
-125g of almond flour (or extremely finely grounded almonds)
Preheat the oven at 200°C. Put 3 egg whites in a bowl and whisk them to snow – but not too firm. Leave the remaining egg white in the fridge. Mix the sugar with the ground almonds, then add the flour and the 3 beaten whites. Incorporate the (previously) molten butter. Now vigorously whip the last egg white to firm snow and add it carefully to the mixture.
Grease 12 muffin moulds (or 6 normal muffin moulds and 12 mini-muffin moulds in order to get smaller visitandines like the ones shown in the picture) with butter, fill them with the mixture and put them in the oven for 8-10mins. You know they're ready when they're golden on the outside and still soft on the inside.
Ricetta in italiano:
Visitandines (Ricetta tratta da "Le Larousse des Desserts" di Pierre Hermé)
-4 albumi (uova medie)
-125g zucchero semolato
-125g farina di mandorle
Accendere il forno a 220° C. Mettere in una ciotola 3 albumi e sbatterli senza montarli completamente. Lasciare l'altro albume in frigorifero. Mescolare lo zucchero con le mandorle ridotte in polvere, aggiungere la farina e i 3 albumi sbattuti. Incorporare il burro fuso aglia altri ingredienti. A parte montare a neve molto ferma l'albume rimasto e aggiungerlo con delicatezza al composto.
Imburrare 12 stampini da muffin (o 6 da muffin e 12 da mini-muffin per avere delle tortine piu' piccole come ho fatto io), versare il composto e infornare per 8-10 minuti, finche' risulteranno dorati all'esterno e ancora morbidi all'interno.
And Spread the Mess