Thursday, 19 April 2012

Piccole tartellette frangipane alla frutta

When the first flowers were born, the world was different. It was flat, for one, and much nicer than it is today, contrary to what geologists, physicists, archaeologists, conspiracists, cheesemongerologists and other -ists think. This may have been due to the fact that there were no -ists yet. The world was -ists-free, and therefore able to be itself without being constantly labelled or defined by bored, wandering -ists.
And so it was that the flowers of ancient times were very different. No -ist had yet said: "thou art a flower, and bees shall gather pollen from thee; and make honey for me." No. Flowers were much sweeter than they are today. Divine Cherry, who of course was there when flowers were still true flowers, sometimes yearns for the beginning of things. She longs for the time when the world was still itself, and when one could walk on water (because no one had yet said that water was liquid) or eat a cloud (because no one had yet said that clouds were not edible).
One day, then, when the longing became just too much to bear, she decided to make flowers the way they used to be. Now you may expect something extravagant, something weird, something grand and perhaps something mad… and you'd be right. Because flowers back then were made of glass, and the petals were made of frangipane tartelettes! In fact, if you look up from the text and focus your eyes on the magnificent picture that hovers above it, you might see a replica of that flowers used to be like. And if those were flowers, imagine what trees were like back then. Or rather don't. Focus on the tartelettes. Now some more. And some more. More still. And now stop. Look down. There. The recipe.

Pastry Adapted from"Pâtisserie!" by Christophe Felder

- 150 g plain flour
- 1 pinch of baking powder
-75 g sugar
-1 egg yolk
-75 g butter
-1/4 lemon (or orange) zest
-half a vanilla pod's seeds

Sift the flour, the baking powder and the sugar, add the soften butter. Mix the ingredients with your hands until it becomes crumbly. In the centre, add the yolk, 2 tbsp of water, the lemon zest and the vanilla seeds. Mix well until you get a nice ball. Wrap it in cling film and put it to rest in the fridge for at least 30mins.

Frangipane cream    Adapted from "il gattoghiotto" blog
-100g of peeled almonds
-100g of sugar
-100g of butter
-1/2 tbsp of rum
-1/2 tbsp of orange blossom water
-30g of cornflower
-1 egg

Ground the almonds with 2 tbsp of sugar (taken from the total) in a mixer until it turn to powder. Whip the butter with the rest of the sugar until you get a light cream, add the egg (slightly beaten), the orange blossom water and the rum. Keep mixing it with the electric whisks, add the ground almonds little at a time, as well as the cornflower. Voilà.

Tartelette  Adapted from"Pâtisserie!" by Christophe Felder
Grease a tray with butter and flour. Stretch the pastry dough thinly on a working plan. Cut it with a biscuit cutter in the same diameter as your moulds. Carefully ease the dough in the moulds, making sure that the borders stick well. Pour it in a tsp of frangipane cream.

Pear tartelettes (4 tartelettes)
-1/4 pear
-some coarsely ground almonds
Peel the pear and cut it into small pieces. Cut those in small triangles and put these, then, on the frangipane cream at the centre of your tartelette. Garnish with the almonds.

Strawberry tartelettes (8 tartelettes)
-1 small strawberry per tartelette
-some coarsely ground pistachios
Same procedure as with the pears above. Put the strawberry at the centre of your tartelette the garnish with the pistachios.

Prune tartelettes (4 tartelettes)
-1/2 prune
-raspberry jam
On the base of the pastry, before adding the frangipane cream, spread a small quantity of jam. Then cover with the frangipane cream and eventually garnish with small slices of prunes.

All tartelettes are cooked after 10mins in a preheated oven at 180°C.

Orange tartelettes
-1 unwaxed orange
-75 g of sugar
-150 ml of water
-30g of dark chocolate, chopped
- Cointreau
Prepare the oranges the day before. Cut the oranges in thin slices (with skin). In a pan, bring the water with the sugar to the boil. Turn it off as soon it starts boiling and add the chopped oranges. Leave it until the day after when you cut the slices into small pieces and drain the syrup for further use. Make sure you leave some slices uncut as you will need them for the final decoration.
Fill your pastry dough with frangipane cream and put some chocolate chips on top of it (be frugal). Bake them in the oven for 10mins at 180°C. When they are done (and are still warm), pour a tsp of Cointreau on them (again, be frugal). Since I was out of Cointreau, I mixed some of the orange syrup with rum and used that instead. When the tartelettes have cooled down, decorate them with the cut oranges (be generous this time) and form a small dome. On its top, put one of the small uncut slices to give it the final panache.

Versione Italiana:
Frolla - Da "Pâtisserie!" di Christophe Felder
- 150 g farina
- 1 pizzico di livito in polevere
-75 g zucchero
-1 tuorlo
-75 g butter
-1/4 buccia di limone (o di arancia)
-i semi di mezza bacca di vaniglia

Setacciare la farina, il lievito e lo zucchero, aggiungere il burro morbido a tocchetti. Lavorare con le mani in modo da formare delle briciole. Aggiungere nel mezzo il tuorlo, 2 cucchiai d'acqua e gli aromi, mescolare e ottenere una palla d'impasto. Avvolgere nella pellicola e mettere in frigorifero per un'ora almeno.

Crema frangipane - dal blog "il gattoghiotto"
- 100 g mandorle intere pelate
- 100 g zucchero semolato
- 100 g burro
- 1/2 cucchiaio di rum
- 1/2 cucchiaio di acqua di fiori d'arancio
- 30 g di fecola
- 1 uovo

Frullare le mandorle con 2 cucchiai di zucchero (presi dal totale) nel mixer fino ad ottenere una polvere. Montare il burro con lo zucchero fino ad ottenere una crema spumosa, aggiungervi l'uovo leggermente sbattuto, l'acqua di fiori di arancio e il rum sempre lavorando con le fruste, incorporare la farina di mandorle  poco per volta e la fecola (o maizena), continuando a montare.

Tartellette:  Ispirate da "Pâtisserie!" di Christophe Felder
Imburrare e infarinare una teglia per mini crostatine. Stendere la frolla molto sottile, ricavare dei cerchi con il tagliabiscotti dello stesso diametro dello stampo. adagiarlo nello stampo, facendo aderire i bordi. Mettere un cucchiaino di crema frangipane sulla frolla cruda.

Tartelletta alla pera: (4 tartellette)

- 1/4 di pera + granella di mandorle
Tagliare la pera sbucciata a fettine e ricavare da queste dei triangolini, adagiare i triangolini al centro della tartelletta farcita al frangipane, decorare con granella di mandorle.

Tartelletta alla fragola: (8 tartellette)
- 1 fragolina di bosco surgelata per ogni tartelletta + granella di pistacchi.
Mettere una fragolina al centro di una tartelletta farcita al frangipane, decorare con la granella di pistacchi.

Tartelletta alla prugna: (4 tartellette)

- 1/2 prugna + marmellata di lamponi
Spalmare un cucchiaino di marmellata sulla frolla, aggiungere un cucchiaino di crema frangipane e 2 fettine di prugna.

Cuocere le tartellette farcite e decorate per 10 minuti in forno caldo a 180°C.

 Tartelletta alla arancia: (8 tartellette)
- 1 arancia non trattata
- 75 g zucchero
- 150 g acqua
- 30 g cioccolato fondente, tritato
- Cointreau (facoltativo)

La sera prima preparare le arance. Tagliare l'arancia a fettine sottili (con la buccia). A parte portare a bollore l'acqua e lo zucchero. Spegnere appena bolle e immergervi subito le fette d'arancia. Lasciare raffreddere e trasferire in frigo per la notte. L'indomani, tagliuzzare a dadini piccoli le aranciarce scolate dallo sciroppo. lasciare da parte un paio di fettine per la decorazione finale.

Sulla tartelletta farcita con la crema frangipane, mettere qualche pezzettino di cioccolato (poco). Cuocere in forno per 10 minuti a 180°C. Quando le tartine sono cotte ma ancora calde, versare un cucchiaino di cointreau sulla superficie (io non avendolo ho mescolato un po' di rum allo sciroppo delle arance). Quando le tartellette sono fredde, decorarle con un cucchiaino abbondante di arance sciroppate, formando una cupola. Mettere sulla cima della cupola un triangolino di arancia.

Queste ricetta partecipa all MTC di Aprile.

And Spread the Mess

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Brownie Cupcakes

Easter Saga 2

The next chapter in this Easter Saga is the dessert: chocolate brownies. I am aware that I am not complying with the Aristotelian law of time and space (as one would, after the amuse-bouche, usually find oneself in front of the first course), but then again Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon themselves stand above Aristotle's law. In fact, they were the ones who suggested it to him. It happened many years ago, in a land far, far away.
Back then, Aristotle was but a young lad. He was running after girls in the same ways satyrs do, smoked in secret, and was fond of drag-racing his friends in his parents' 2bhp, 5 mph horse cart (which he simply, for the life of him, couldn't park properly). One day, at the end of one of those races, he saw a couple of travellers on the road. As he was trying to park the horse cart, he didn't pay them much attention but focused on his vehicle instead. As such, he constantly looked back and forth, up and down the street and the curb of the pavement in order to better judge his position. Being a bright boy, however, he soon noticed that he saw the two travellers whether he was looking forwards or backwards. He was very much confused. When Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry noticed the small boy's bewilderment (for, as you will have surmised by now, the two travellers were our two divines), they went up to him in order to try and explain the impossibility of what he'd just seen and so talk some sense into him. And so it was that they were, the three of them, soon discussing the inherent inconsistency of theatre, in which an action might take place, in the logic of the play, over a longer period of time and an impossible geographical distance than the actual play being performed does. Young Aristotle was very confused. He didn't understand a single word. And so Divine Cherry brought forth a mouth-watering chocolate brownie and said: "See this brownie? In your time, and in your world, this brownie does not yet exist. Indeed, chocolate has not been brought to Europe yet. But in the future, this brownie will be delicious, and I will bake it for one of my Easter Lunches. Of course, you don't even know what Easter is, but that's the point." Aristotle was now utterly bewildered. Celestial Dragon then stepped in and made him forget everything. Except for one small thing: a fading, glimmering image of a brown, sweet-smelling and utterly amazing brownie...

Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes (12 mini cupcakes + 6 regular cupcakes)
-100g of dark chocolate cut in small pieces
-125g of unsalter butter, cubed
-220g of sugar
-3 medium-sized eggs
-85g of plain flour
-2 tablespoons of cocoa

Melt the chocolate in the microwave at medium strength. When it's half molten, add the pieces of butter and melt everything together. Be careful not to heat the mixture too much or the chocolate will be ruined.
In another bowl, use a hand whisk to mix together the eggs and the sugar. Add then the flour and the cocoa, as well as the molten chocolate and butter. Mix well until you get a smooth, non-grainy mixture.
Pour everything in muffin moulds patted with paper cases. Instead of using paper cases you can just need to butter anf flour the surface of the moulds a bit. Put in the preheated oven at 180°C for +- 30mins.

-50g of dark chocolate
-25g of butter
-3 mini eggs per brownie

Melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave - just like you did earlier. Stir the mixture with a spoon in order to cool it down a bit (once it's reached room temperature it will become less liquid and easier to handle). Pour a teaspoon of molten chocolate on a brownie and balance the three mini eggs on top of it. The chocolate frosting will act as a glue.

Tortine di cioccolato (per 12 tortine piccole + 7 tortine grandi)
-100 g cioccolato fondente, tagliato in piccoli pezzetti
- 125 g burro a pezzetti
- 220 g zucchero
- 3 uova medie
- 85 g farina
- 2 cucchiai di cacao

Fondere al microonde il cioccolato a potenza media. Quando è sciolto a metà, aggiungere il burro a pezzetti e fondere il tutto insieme. Attenzione a non scaldare troppo altrimenti il cioccolato sarà rovinato.
In un'altra ciotola, mescolare con una frusta zucchero e uova, aggiungere la farina e il cacao e il cioccolato fuso con il  burro, mescolare bene per non avere grumi ma non troppo a lungo.
Versare il composto negli stampini da muffin foderati con i pirottini di carta (i pirottini sono facoltativi, se i vostri stampi sono in silicone non servono oppure se sono in metallo potete anche semplicemente imburrare e infarinarli bene). Cuocere in forno già caldo (180°C) per 30 minuti circa.

- 50 g cioccolato fondente
- 25 g burro
 - 3 ovetti per ogni tortino

Fondere il cioccolato con il burro nel microonde come prima. Girare il composto con un cucchiaio per farlo raffreddare un po' (quando è a temperatura ambiente è meno liquido e non scivolerà da tutte le parti). Versare un cucchiaino di composto su ogni tortino e incollare 3 ovetti di cioccolato.

And Spread the Mess

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Oeufs farcis – Uova ripiene

Easter Saga 1

There is, of course, something inherently Easter-y about eggs. Some say that eggs were in fact invented by the First Bunnies, who were in fact Kangaroos and carried them in their pouches on their way to small gardens that were invariable visited by even smaller children. Some even say that the hens, when they saw the Kangoo-Bunnies, decided that they wanted to have eggs as well, and that, after having realised that they lacked the quintessential pouch, they decided to use another storage chamber. Independently of the biological and evolutionary nature of eggs, they somehow seem to crop up mostly around Easter. Which has led some scientists to believe that they actually grow on trees.
But we are not concerned with such petty ontological questions. What we are concerned with is rather what Divine Cherry managed to concoct for this year's Easter feast. And what a feast it was! However, since it's been such a success, Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon were at first reluctant to divulge their menu. But fear not, for they have agreed eventually (coaxed mainly by some of the guests) to let the world in on their heavenly Easter feast. The next few recipes will be part of the Easter Saga, so increase your meditation sessions in order to stay tuned to the food-waves that will, invariably, be emanating from your screens.

For 9 eggs: 3 per filling. Put the eggs in cold water and boil for 7 mins counting form when the water starts to boil. Peel the eggs and cut them in half. Then extract the yolks and prepare the following filling:

Eggs and Peas
-2 handfuls of green peas
-3 hard-boiled yolks
-2 tbsp of mayonnaise
-10-15 capers, washed and dried

Boil the peas in water, drain, add salt and put them in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients (keep 18 for later). Blend all the ingredients with an electric belnder. Fill the eggs (as shown in the picture) and garnish with three peas.

Eggs and Anchovies
-2 anchovies
-1 table spoon of mayonnaise
-3 hard-boiled yolks

Cut the anchovies finely, squash the yolks with a fork and mix everything with the mayo. Fill the eggs and decorate with a slice of tomato and one of zucchini.

Eggs and Olives&Basil
-10-20 black olives
-1 generous table spoon of full-fat soft cheese
-3 hard-boiled yolks
-1 tea spoon of chopped basil
-1 tea spoon of extra virgin olive oil

Cut the olives into small pieces, squash the yolks with a fork and mix everything with the remaining ingredients. Salt to taste. As usual, fill the boiled egg whites and decorate with an olive.

Per 9 uova: 3 uova per ogni ripieno. Mettere le uova in acqua fredda e farle cuocere per 7 minuti dal bollore.
Spellare le uova e tagliarle a metà, togliere i tuorli e preparare i ripieni:

Uova ai piselli ( 3 uova)
- 2 manciate di piselli
- 3 tuorli sodi
- 2 cucchiai di maionese
- 10-15 capperi sotto sale, sciacquati e asciugati

Lessare i piselli, scolarli, salarli e metterli in una ciotola con gli altri ingredienti (tenerne da parte 18), frullare bene il tutto. Riempire le uova con il ripieno e decorarle con 3 pisellini.

Uova alle acciughe (3 uova)
- 2 acciughe
- 1 cucchiaio di maionese
- 3 tuorli sodi

Spezzettare le acciughe, schiacciare i tuorli e mescolare il tutto con la maionese. Riempire le uova e decorare con un pezzetto di pomodoro e un pezzetto di zucchina.

Uova alle olive e basilico (3 uova)
- 15- 20 olive nere
- un cucchiaio abbondante di formaggio cremoso
- 3 tuorli sodi
- un cucchiaino di basilico tritato
-un cucchiaino di olio evo

Tagliare a pezzetti le olive, schiacciare i tuorli con una forchetta e mescolare con gli altri ingredienti, aggiustare di sale. Riempire le uova con il ripieno e decorare con un'oliva nera.

And Spread the Mess

Friday, 6 April 2012

Baked Cheesecake

Once in a while, as if it actually were a good thing, somebody celebrates their coming into this world. These celebrations usually involve a lot of food that symbolises the deep relationship the being in question has with the physical and life-sustaining world, and a lot of booze, which symbolises nothing really but opens the gates of oblivion (and thus allows for a however brief escape from reality and age).
One day, it was one of those once-in-a-whiles. Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon had been invited to join the celebration of the 3000st year of life of a dear friend of theirs. Let's call that friend Baldie. And so it was that they both readied themselves: Celestial Dragon filed his claws and waxed his scales, as well as performed some preliminary party tricks like breathing cold fire or blowing rainbow-smoke from his nostrils. Divine Cherry, however, did not occupy herself with such trivial pursuits. Rather, she gave herself a thorough shine, so that her heavenly loveliness would outshine even the three thousand candles on the ca-- the cake! She had forgotten the cake! Well... not really forgotten, merely omitted to take it out of the oven. Thankfully, however, the thought had come to her just in time and the cake turned out to be all right. Actually, it turned out to be a-ma-zing (as Baldie will be able to confirm should you meet him in the street one day). And so it was that both Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon went to Baldie's party. It was a big success, especially Divine Cherry's cake. In fact, it was so successful that, by popular demand, the very recipe for this fantastic cake can be found below. You're welcome. And happy birthday Baldie.

Baked Cheesecake inspired by GoodFood
For the cake
- 900g of full-fat soft cheese (full-fat is very important, a light version of the cheese will compromise the result!!)
- 3table spoons of plain flour
- 200g of caster sugar
- 85g of white chocolate, finely grated
- 1 vanilla pod seeds
- 4 eggs, beaten
- chocolate stars for decorate (or anything else you fancy)

For the base
-12 dark chocolate digestives
-85g of butter (melted)
-2 tsp of cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon of caster sugar

Heat the oven to 180°C.
Start by making the base: finely crush the biscuits by putting them in a plastic bag and bashing it with a rolling pin. Other methods are allowed. Avoid using a sledgehammer. Mix with the melted butter, cocoa and sugar, then tip into a 23cm springform tin that has been greased with butter and flour. Press the mix down well with the back of a spoon, then bake for 5mins. Cool. (Note, let it cool. Not "cool" as in "great".)

Using an electric whisk, mix together the soft cheese, flour, sugar, chocolate, vanilla extract and eggs until well blended. Pour into the tin and bake for 40-50mins until almost firm, but with a slight wobble in the centre. Cool in the tin. (I reckon you got it this time). The top may crack a little, but don't worry as this is normal.

The decoration is to anybody's preference, really. You may want to break some chocolate flakes into pieces and scatter them over the cake. You may also want to manufacture a chocolate and caramel swan and balance it on a lemon meringue that is being supported by ice-sculpted elephants that have been placed on a bed of whisky-sogged pastry on the wobbly centre of the cake. Or you may desire to cover it entirely in rose-scented fondant chocolate. The choice is yours. We used stars because that's where we come from. And because we can.

Cheesecake al forno  adattata da GoodFood
- 900g di formaggio morbido tipo filadelfia. (evitate le versioni "light", la torta altrimenti non rassoderà)
- 3cucchiai di farina
- 200g zucchero
- 85g cioccolato bianco, tritato finemente
- i semi di 1 bacca di vaniglia
- 4 uova sbattute leggermente
- stelline di cioccolato per decorare (o qualunque altra cosa vogliate...)

Per la base:
- 12 biscotti digestives coperti di cioccolato
- 85g di burro fuso
-2 cucchiaini di cacao in povere
-1 cucchiaino di zucchero

Scaldare il forno a 180.
Preprare la base: Sbriciolare i biscotti finemente (mixer o metterli dentro ad un sacchetto e passarci sopra il mattarello). Mescolare con il burro fuso,il cacao e lo zucchero. Pore il composto nella teglia precedentemente imburrata e infarinata. Schiacciare bene con il doso di un cucchiaio per ottenere uno spessore uniforme. Cuocere per 5 minuti. Raffreddare.

Con le fruste elettriche mescolare tutti gli ingredienti del ripieno, fino ad ottenere un composto omogeneo. Versare sulla base dei biscotti e cuocere in forno per circa 50 minuti. La torta è cotta quando è soda ma ancora leggermente tremolante al centro. Lasciar raffreddare nello stampo. Quando è fredda, probabilmente creperà sulla superficie: è normale, per ridurre le crepe, spegnere il forno e lasciare la torta dentro fino al completo raffreddamento.

Eventualmente decorare con quello che preferite.

And Spread the Mess