6th Recipe: Frou-Frou

The book’s subtitle for this recipe is….”Fancy Treats for Fancy People.” Well I don’t know about THAT, but it IS a pretty simple dessert that really looks inviting. Here’s how it looks in the book…..

Again….another crème legere. This time with white chocolate added to it, and then it was folded into an Italian meringue. An Italian meringue is different from a regular one, because the eggs whites are actually cooked by adding a very hot sugar syrup while beating. The fanciness comes completely from the placement of the fruit, and the slight torching of the top. Pretty, tasty and fun ! Here’s how mine looked….

5th Recipe : Pistachio Picnic Cake

Well, here we are at the first of the harder recipes. And it definitely was more difficult. The recipe called for a dense nut cake, consisting of very little flour, no sugar, and a whole lot of nut paste, both almond and pistachio. (Odd, but tasty) The cake was then topped with a layer of fresh raspberries, covered by vanilla bean crème legere. Creme legere is soft pastry cream made from cream, eggs, and cornstarch. It has a rich pudding-like texture, and is then folded into whipped cream. That cream is to be piped over the raspberries in a decorative fashion. Should look like this…..

Only mine didn’t. In my case, the cream did not set up properly, and when piped, just sagged. It simply wasn’t stiff enough. Now don’t laugh….. this is how mine turned out…

Not quite the same ! Taste-wise, everyone enjoyed it. Especially the crème legere, since that added the needed sweetness and lightness to the cake. I guess every one can’t be a complete success !

4th Recipe: Earl Grey Napoleons

First off, I apologize for the delay! No-it wasn’t the difficulty of the Napoleons. Just the difficulty of writing about pastries when you have the flu! But bear with me, and I’m sure my zest will return! Here is the picture in the book……

These Napoleons consist of an almond/chocolate pastry crust paired with an earl grey tea infused chocolate ganache, with a layer of candied orange peel tucked just under the top cookie. Here is how mine turned out…….

This recipe was particularly challenging for me. My hands are not what they used to be; so instead of the 3/4″ x 2″ size, I opted to make them slightly larger. 1″ x 2 1/2″. This made for easier handling, but harder eating. (Picture crispy wafers with a soft mousse-like cream. Squish!) There was no recipe included for the candied orange peel, so I used my mother’s. And my first attempt at the ganache turned into chocolate butter. Not surprising, since the ganache is just chocolate whipped cream, and reacts to overbeating the same as whipped cream. The flavor of the tea was present, but not overbearing. I must admit that none of these recipes are overly sweet, which to me is a desirable trait.

In the beginning, I explained that these recipes were rated in the book by difficulty. Actually, a system of Macarons , 1/2 macaron being the very easiest, all the way up to 3 Macarons being the most difficult. Well, this recipe represented the last of the 1/2 Macarons. So now we up the ante and move into the 1 Macaron category!

3rd Recipe: Raspberry Almond Tea Cakes

Now these little gems…..really are something wonderful ! Sooooo easy to make , and a real explosion of taste. There is very little flour in this recipe, and a lot of ground almonds. Which makes for a beautifully heavy almond presence, which pairs so well with the brightness of the fresh raspberry. Besides the raspberry pieces, each one contains a surprise of a whole fresh raspberry tucked into the center. The books picture…….

And now mine….

Did I say they were easy to make ???? Mere minutes. They are very tender, and taste better when warm. So far they are the fan favorite !!!

2nd recipe: Crème Brulee Cookies

This recipe involves making a sweet pie crust or tart crust basically; called a “pate sucree” and topping it with a dome of crème brulee. after another trip to the liquor store, (the brulee calls for a touch of Grand Marnier), I made them with surprising ease, considering the visual impact they make. Here is how they look in the book….

Mine looked like this…

I could imagine dozens of ways to decorate them! So, although they are hard to store, they were a resounding success, with rave reviews from all that tasted them. Creamy and not-too-sweet !

1st recipe: “get the door. Pedro’s here.”

This recipe is named after “Pedro Ximenez” sherry poured over a blue cheese and dark choclate ice cream. This is the picture from the book:

Well, Pedro couldn’t make it. My first problem was finding the sherry. So I subbed a good sweet sherry.The blue cheese type was not specified, so I left that up to my husband, since I dislike blue cheese. Turns out, rich, custardy, egg centric, ice creams like this one are not so easy to make. 1 or 2 degrees can turn your beautiful, creamy mixture into scrambled eggs. So…after a trip to the store for a better thermometer, lots of tears, and a real drop in confidence, (after all, this was supposed to be the easiest recipe in the book !) I finally managed to produce this.

My tasters were my wonderful husband and my lovely sister, again…who like blue cheese. The general consensus was that this is a “sophisticated” dessert. The sherry was just alright though, with the agreement that perhaps I should have looked harder for the correct sherry.