Tag Archives: Thermomix

Choux and choux!

As we would say in French: “There are choux and choux”, as in : not two are necessarily the same, though they might be called the same…

I thought I knew all about choux, chouquettes, gougères and the lot…  I had even made my own overfilled éclairs a few Christmasses ago ( in my trusted Thermomix) and I have to admit I had felt quite pleased with myself. See below!

Hello Boys!

Boy I feel smug!

…That was before I met  “Maître Choux” in Harrington road, South Kensington, and a whole new level of Choux making appeared before me! Shaming my paltry efforts but titillating my taste buds so wildly that I can only forgive and not forget…

IMG_9969 IMG_9616 IMG_0255 “Maître Choux” is a brand new French pastry shop that has opened in the “French Quarter”, between a French Bookshop and a Saturday farmers market, in the most Parisian of London roads… And the mastery shines in a dazzling variety of “petits choux” and éclairs that can only have been dreamed up in a Palace of Dame Tartine or in some kind of foodie fantasy written up for Babette’s Feast! To try any flavour is to get hooked. My favourite is their lemon “petit chou” with a crispy craquelin covering a springy choux base and encasing a tangy  Greek yogurt and lemon filling.

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Me with Jérémie and Joackim at Maître Choux

Myself with Jérémie and Joakim at Maître Choux

“Maître Choux” concept is simple: Just choux, only choux and soon all of them choux! Chef Joakim is an “artiste pâtissier”, ex-Robuchon and The Greenhouse, and his precious little wonders are inspired by fashion, jewellery designers or or simply the London street. The flavours are bold but classic like an éclair in violet and blueberry presented in glorious purple livery or a choux filled with the finest Vanilla beans and topped with a smooth white disc. They use the very best ingredients in foundation flavours such are Vanilla, Pistachio or Salted caramel and hence their opening a few weeks ago was greeted by passer-bys who came to congratulate them, thank them and even bring gifts to celebrate! In an area spoilt with choice and home to some great food outlets, this says something about how different and innovative their offer looks and tastes like.

What do Jérémie and Joakim enjoy about being in London?

They love the creative energy of the city and reckon it is currently Europe’s food capital! So they are striving  to raise the standards for an equally artful and creative fine patisserie scene. No wonder they are busy!

Their little parcels of happiness, in their prettily dotted box,  do not come in cheap though, but believe me it is well worth the spend. Yet because this blog is about democratic cooking and baking, and especially affordable home cooking goodness, I have asked them for one of their best sellers recipe and here it is for you readers in all of its simplicity and perfection. I tried it last week in my kitchen (Thermomix at the ready) and served it to a posse of yummy mummy friends  and babies – verdict was unanimous and very appreciative ! Thank you all at Maître Choux for a very delicious (and affordable) treat.

JoackimTHIS IS THE RECIPE FOR THE LEMON ECLAIR – Kindly gifted by @chefjoakim:

We are listing all the ingredients in order of use during the recipes to give you a clearer view of the process from the start. In order to make things easier for yourself and minimize potential mistakes, weigh and prepare each ingredient in its own bowl before you begin.

Lemon Meringue Éclair

(20 pieces)

Choux Pastry

Before we start, please preheat your oven at 180 degrees, fan off, minimum humidity setting.

Ingredients list:

  • 200g whole milk
  • 300g water
  • 240g butter
  • 10g sugar
  • 8g salt
  • 375g Flour
  • 500g of eggs (approx. 10 eggs)

Bring to boil the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt and watch over the pan. AS SOON AS IT IS BOILING, add the flour and stir firmly with the spatula for one minute or so, until the mix doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan any more. When it does not stick to the sides of the pan any more it means it is ready.

Now take the pan off the heat and add the eggs little by little and one by one until the mix is smooth but not too runny. The hard part in making choux pastry for an untrained eye is in this step: if the mix is too thick it needs more eggs, however the eggs must be added slowly as if it becomes too runny then it will not raise in the oven.

Chef’s tip: Trace a deep line into the choux pastry with your spatula. If the line closes up slowly, then it’s ready!

Lemon Cream

Ingredients list:

  • 250g Lemon Juice (approx. 5 lemons)
  • 220g Sugar
  • Zest of 5 lemons
  • 270g Eggs
  • 300g Butter
  • 100g Greek Yogurt
  • 5g of soaked vegetable gelatin leaves

Before you start, soak the gelatin in cold water.

To make the lemon cream, bring to boil together the lemon juice the sugar and the lemon zests. Once it is boiling, add the eggs and cook for 3 minutes until boiling while mixing sharply with a whisk.

Once it is cooked and still hot, add the gelatin and the butter, then use your hand blender until the mixture is soft

Once it is cold, add the Greek yogurt to the mix and stir with the spatula. It is now ready to use.

Lemon Meringue (optional)

  • 100g Egg White
  • 180g Sugar (divided in 3 portions of 60 g)
  • 10g Lemon Juice
  • Zest of 2 Lemons

Whisk the egg whites then add the sugar. Carry on whisking until the texture is thick then add the lemon juice and the lemon zests.

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Choux Pastry

 Before we start, please preheat your oven at 180 degrees, fan off, minimum humidity setting.

Ingredients list:

  • 200g whole milk
  • 300g water
  • 240g butter
  • 10g sugar
  • 8g salt
  • 375g Flour
  • 500g of eggs (approx. 10 eggs)

Personally, I halved the quantities and so the list looked like this:

Ingredients list B:

  • 100g whole milk
  • 150ml water
  • 120g butter
  • 5g sugar
  • 4g salt
  • 190g Flour
  • 6 medium eggs

Bring to boil the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt and watch over the pan. AS SOON AS IT IS BOILING, add the flour and stir firmly with the spatula for one minute or so, until the mix doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan any more. When it does not stick to the sides of the pan any more it means it is ready. Note : make sure the mix is not too runny or it will not raise but also not too dry or it will collapse soon after! This is where experience comes into… Dry it in the pan or add a bit of water until you get it right.

Now take the pan off the heat and add the eggs little by little and one by one until the mix is smooth but not too runny. The hard part in making choux pastry for an untrained eye is in this step: if the mix is too thick it needs more eggs, however the eggs must be added slowly as if it becomes too runny then it will not raise in the oven.

Chef’s tip: Trace a deep line into the choux pastry with your spatula. If the line closes up slowly, then it’s ready!

Transfer the choux pastry into your pastry bag and pipe into an éclair shape. Do not pipe them too close together as they need space to rise Then keep inside the oven at 180c for 35 minutes until golden.

Have a lovely sunny week!

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Raw banana and hazelnut butter ice-cream in a croissant

 

Just landing back from a week-end in Venice, I am giving you here the quickest and easiest ice-cream recipe. It only takes two ingredients – plus the croissant into which you will nest your ice-cream balls, in true venetian style (see photo)!

Ingredients list:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • Hazelnut butter (with ou without cocoa) , 100gr

About the two ingredients:

I buy my hazelnut and cocoa butter from Wholefoods but you can make your own or use any favourite nut butter. To make it yourself you just need a tough blender, chuck hazelnuts in with a spoonful of melted 90 percent cocoa chocolate and whizz to a paste. You might add a teaspoon of water if too sticky.

The frozen bananas are something I always keep in my freezer for smoothie making – or ice-cream as in here, or  for my rum raisin  frozen yogurt. A real good way of using up ripe bananas nobody wants to eat…

Anyway, using a blender or a thermomix, just blend both ingredients until smooth and eat straightway and gelato-cold in a crispy croissant or a soft brioche, as they do in Sicily. This is the best way to eat ice-cream! Trust an Italian to know this : It is million times better than the dry cones we usually have to make do with everywhere else…

This recipe is raw, natural and tastes hyper indulgent…

Of course there is much more to food in Venice than ice-cream but starting there is not a bad starting point…IMG_9283

A brioche fit for the Kings

Monday is the Epiphany, the arrival of the Kings and the last of the Christmas festivities.  For the occasion, the tradition in France is to choose a king by way of eating a crown-shaped-cake where a little figure (in older times a bean) has been hidden. Whoever has the symbol is the king for the day!

Half of France eats a cake made of frangipane and half eats a brioche based one. Being from the South, I chose this year to go for the brioche version. It is a moist brioche, filled with lemon peel, candied fruits and flavoured with orange blossom water. You can decorated it with more crystallised fruit or ground up  sugar.

Crown for the Epiphany

Crown for the Epiphany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients list:

  • Fine flour (00), 300g
  • eggs, 4
  • Sugar, 75g
  • Bakers yeast, 1 tsp (or 15 gr of fresh yeast)
  • Butter, 150g
  • Orange blossom water, 2 capful
  • Milk, 100g
  • Candied peel and fruit, one cupful
  • one egg yolk

This is so easy to do in the Thermomix, I can’t resist to give you the step by step here but you can always make it in a bowl if you like!

Mix all the ingredients (but the egg yolk and candied fruit) in the Thermomix for 5 or 6 minutes on dough setting then empty the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film to raise for 1 hour.

Once the dough has raised, punch it back into shape by kneading air out of it. Mix the candied fruit into the dough and shape it into a crown. Use a silpat re-usable mat or a tray covered in oven proof paper. Decorate with crushed sugar and more fruit. Don’t forget to hide a “fève” or porcelaine figure in the cake and leave it to raise again for about one hour under a loose plastic bag – cling film would stick to the surface and ruin the look.

When it is risen, brush the top with a little yolk, decorate and bake at 160° for 25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven.

PS: I have to warn my readers it is pretty difficult to get good quality candied fruit in London, apart from lemon or orange peel and even that is hard to come by… I import mine from Provence where they produce the very best ones: Lilamand in Saint Remy de Provence or Maison Villaret in Nimes sell the “crème de la crème”: th variety is impressive, from apricots o chesnuts to wonderful melons. Though I have found good candied oranges or clementines in Italy too…  A good excuse for a bit of shopping abroad.

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These food-borne traditions are wonderful and  I am a sucker for all of them: I have to confess I do enjoy every one of them, from Christmas to Epiphany! I especially love sharing it all  with children around this time, especially the younger nephews and nieces for whom Christmas is still a new, fresh and magical time…

A beautiful wreath make for us by Peppermint Poppy alias Kenza

A beautiful wreath made for us by Peppermint Poppy alias Kenza

Almond milk rice pudding with lemon zest and cinnamon

A warming and regressive pud, perfectly pitched against the cold and grey weather that is still lingering on in the April month… This will comfort your soul and make the world suddenly feel like a cosy and reassuring place! Don’t sue me if it fails though: can’t be held accountable for freak weather…

I love the spanish style rice pudding my grand-mother used to make for us, but I made mine with almond milk for a change and it fitted beautifully. Lately, I have enjoyed using almond milk for its subtle taste as much as its health benefits. It was delicious in Panacotta and today it sings away in humble rice pudding.

Soft, pillowy rice pudding covered in warming cinnamon

Soft, pillowy rice pudding covered in warming cinnamon

Ingredients list:

  •  Almond milk (or full fat milk) 1L
  • Round or short grain rice, 170g
  • Zest of one lemon cut in big strips
  • Ground cinnamon, 1tsp
  • Brown sugar (or vergeoise) 140g
  • Butter, 50g
  • Vanilla bean, one scraped

Warm the milk in a pan and sprinkle the rice and spices and the lemon skin. When I peel the skin off my lemon (organic and unwaxed for this), I like those strips to be large and uneven: this is proper family food, not dainty party pudding.

Turn and check the rice often but the cooking should take about 45 min to an hour- sometime I put it in the oven for 1h30 at 150degrees. Towards the end, you add the sugar and the butter and mix it all in.

Alternatively, you can use a Thermomix and here is the step by step- this produces a lovely soft and pillowy result:

First insert the butterfly whisk and add the milk, rice, lemon zest, vanilla and cinnamon.

Cook 45 min at 90° speed 1.

The great advantage of course of the Thermomix over the oven version is you don’t have to watch it : just set the timer and go for a half hour run!

When you come back:

Add the sugar and butter and cook 10 minutes at 90° speed 1.

Remove the butterfly whisk and turn into a serving dish to cool. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve at room temperature or cold the next day.

It’s heavenly! A spoonful of it and you get this happy, contented-baby, feeling all around the table… Regressive possibly but so good…

Yogurt with orange blossom

Last year, I gave you my recipe for a homemade yogurt without yogurt maker. This year, I have perfected it by using my Thermomix and here is the adapted version. Of course, if you don’t have the machine, you can use last year recipe and still produce a lovely, creamy yogurt with just hob and oven. But the 2013 model is just a bit quicker!

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My set but fluffy yogurt…

  • Fresh full fat milk 1L
  • Live unsweetened yogurt 1 pot
  • Powder semi skimmed milk 1 potful (use the empty pot!)
  • Orange blossom water 2 Tbsp

Heat the milk for 20 min. at 80 degrees. Let it cool down to about 40 degrees (or touch warm if you have not got a jam thermometer).

Add the live yogurt, the powdered milk and the orange blossom. Mix 3 min at speed 3.

Re-heat at 37 degrees for 10 min. speed 2.

Transfer the mix into glass or ceramic jars and leave overnight in the oven heated at 40/45 degrees. You will need about 8 jars.

And that is it . You will have creamy, freshly churned yogurt ready for you in the morning! You can adjust the oven time depending on wether you like it more set or more liquid.

I take mine with a sprinkling of fruit and nuts and a dash of agave syrup. This yogurt will keep easily for a few days in the fridge.