Pithivier

September 14, 2010 § 2 Comments

It has been so long since my last post it took me several attempts to remember my password to log into this blog account. Things have been getting a little crazy, which is good but I am having a little trouble keeping up with demand. Which means I have purchased a bigger and better oven, it hasn’t arrived yet but that should  give me time to sort out the other things I will need, because a bigger oven alone is pretty useless. I will also need a bigger mixer and a freezer.

I have still managed to keep challenging my self with desserts for Wednesday nights at III Bean. This and last week is the one I am most happy with in a while. I made individual pithiviers which is a type of french puff pastry pie. I filled them with almond cream and sour cherries, made spun toffee and chocolate mousse to be served on the side, a sort of nod to black forest cake. (This week I will try and cram more filling inside without them exploding).

Hand rolling that much puff pastry is a labour intensive job but not hard, and well worth the taste. I like to have the edges of the puff just starting to go black; so there is a hint of bitter and caramel to cut though all the buttery goodness. Anyway I really have loads of puff pastry to roll so I must get back to it.

Reinventing The Wheel

December 12, 2009 § 3 Comments

A few weeks ago I discovered how fun it is to make marshmallows. The first ones I made were Ottolenghi’s recipe for orange blossom and pistachio marshmallows then I made some matcha green tea ones and dipped them in chocolate. A friend suggested I should re-make the Wagon Wheel. I have fond memories of Wagon Wheels and Ovalteenies from when I was a kid, (I think they were at my height in the supermarket aisle). I recently bought a Wagon Wheel and it just didn’t live up to my expectations. I guess that makes it the perfect challenge to see if I can better that memory. Who would of thought that almond biscuits, strawberry jam, vanilla marshmallow and dark chocolate would taste so good. I just wish I hadn’t eaten all my share at once.


Orange Raspberry and Almond Tart

September 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

More frangipane variations this is a almond frangipane scented with orange zest with raspberries hidden in the bottom, topped with orange curd.

Raspberry Rhubarb Buckle

August 17, 2009 § 1 Comment

Perhaps this is the cake where it all began, back when I was at university in Canberra doing an visual arts degree. I made this cake for a picnic when my boyfriend (K) and his friend decided to ride from Canberra to Braidwood, while we followed in the car with the beer and food. I wanted to make a cake from a new recipe book I had just been given, but didn’t have enough self raising flour and no spring form cake tin. What resulted was a cake batter made from combination of almond meal and flour (to make up for the lack of flour in my pantry) topped with peaches made in a large flan tin. We devoured it in minutes, and then went skinny dipping in the creek like all good art school students do. I have been refining the recipe ever since (while dressed), and making it with seasonal fresh and frozen fruit, scented with vanilla and a citrus glaze.

It turns out since reading some American cook books recently, it is probably what is referred to as a “buckle cake“.  I like the name more than almond fruit cake (which is what I had been calling it) so from now on it will be my seasonal fruit Buckle Cake.

Oh and what is a buckle cake? It is a cake made with a batter topped with fruit, the weight of the fruit causes the cake to buckle when baked. Cute.top view rhubarb raspberry buckle

rhubarb and raspberry buckle

Frangipane

August 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

So what is frangipane? I always believed it was a batter consisting of ground nuts and flour. Upon consultation with my trusty copy of Larousse Gastronomique, I discovered the term started with a 16th-century man “Marquis Muzio Frangipane” who invented a perfume for scenting gloves. This in turn inspired pastry chefs of the time to create a scented almond pastry cream made with milk, sugar, flour, eggs and butter. It does seem that the popular definition used in current recipe books is a egg, sugar, butter, almond meal (or other ground nut) and plain flour combination baked as a tart filling.

According to the book The Mystery and Lure of Perfume By C. J. S. Thompson, the same family lends its name to the common name for the frangipani flower otherwise known as the Plumeria flower. It was Marquis Muzio Frangipane’s grandfather Mercutio Frangipane who made the family’s perfume formula into a liquid scent. He travelled with Columbus to the West Indies where he discovered the Plumeria flower.

Why it is sometimes spelled as frangipani and other times frangipane I have no idea.

Cherry and Almond Biscuits

August 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

This is the newest addition to the gluten free products I make, it has a whole maraschino cherry hidden inside.

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