Sunday, May 6, 2012

Asparagus Quiche

Quiche, yummy and filling,  great lunch with salad.  Many people think that quiche is not in anymore....wrong, it's everywhere in France.  Since Asparagus is in season and so good this time of the year, I decided to make it for lunch with a friend. 



200g  (1 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
100g  (1 stick  ) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
pinch of salt
5 tablespoons of very cold water (you made need a little more to combine the crust)

1.  Combine the flour, cut up pieces of butter, salt and mix in a food processor,  add the ice water till the dough comes together.

2.  Once it it combined, remove from the processor and kneed on a floured surface. Roll out into a circle and place into a tart pan then into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  It is important that the dough cool.

3.  Preheat your oven to 175C (350F).  When the oven is up to temperature, remove the crust from the refrigerator, dock the the crust (prick it with a fork), this will prevent it from bubbling up. Place aluminum foil on the crust and fill with dry beans.  

4.  Place this into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and remove the alum foil and beans.  Return the crust to the oven to bake another 5 to 10 min till it begins to change color.  Remove when done.

5.  Fill the blind bake crust with the filling ingredients.  Mix the custard and pour onto the quiche and place into the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes.

                                            The crust filled w/beans to be blind baked


Asparagus, blanched and cut into small pieces, 1 bunch
Salt and Pepper to taste
Gruyere cheese, cut into small pieces - 100g (3.5 oz), 
a few grates of fresh nutmeg
2 pieces of green onion (scallion), cut into small pieces

Meanwhile prepare the custard, I got this recipe from a French friend of mine and it works perfect every time.


2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
fresh parsley chopped
green onion, chopped
125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream

Whisk together, and pour over the quiche filling in the crust  and bake.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara one of my favorites and it was the right day yesterday. I have seen may versions with cream etc, but this is the original that I learned many years ago in Italy.  


100g (3.5 oz) spaghetti
50g  (2oz) pancetta, cut into small pieces
100g  (3.5 oz) grated pecorino romano or parmigiano
1 egg
black pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley, optional
serano peppers, optional


Bring a pot of water to a boil.  While the water is boiling cook the pancetta in a heavy bottom fry pan, when browned all over remove to a plate.

In a bowl, add the egg and grated cheese and mix well.

When the water is boiling, add the salt and pasta and stir.  When the pasta is done, place the spaghetti into the pan that you cooked the pancetta, turn on the pan, and add just a little water from the pasta.

Add to the bowl with the egg, cheese mixture and mix well, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley, black pepper and serve

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica is a Italian Easter pie filled with ricotta cheese and meats,  here is my version of this wonderful pie.  Make sure you have a kitchen scale.

750g of all-purpose flour, more as needed
1/4 teaspoon salt
500g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 large eggs, beaten

340g prosciutto, cut into 6mm/1/4 inch dice
225g mortadella, cut into 6mm dice
225g soppressata, cut into 6mm dice
225g mozzarella, cut into 6mm dice
225g provolone, cut into 6mm dice
1kg ricotta
120g freshly grated pecorino romano
10 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon of black pepper, more if you want
1 large egg, beaten for brushing the crust

In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt.  Add the cut up butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the eggs and knead for about a minute, add 1 1/4 cups of ice water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it forms a smooth ball.  Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.

Cut up all the ingredients for the filling.  Mix all the ingredients with the 10 eggs and black pepper.

Heat the oven to 175C (350F).  This dough will make two 26cm (10inch) round pie pans.  On a floured surface roll out the dough and place into your pan, fill it with half the cheese/meat mixture.  Eggwash the sides and roll out the top crust, place the top crust onto the filling and crimp the edges to seal.  Repeat with the second pie.

Poke a few holes on top of the crust, and egg wash the crust.  Place into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Check the pies after 45 minutes and turn them around and return to the oven for 35 minutes.  Let the pie cool completely before serving.

Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cannelés de Bordeaux

Cannelés, so yummy, crunchy on the outside and moist like pudding on the inside. YUM!  I started my adventure in 2000 when I found an article in a magazine and went ahead and bought two tin lined copper molds.  However, I never made them because, I wanted to get more copper molds...and they were expensive.  Also, having been to France many times, I cannot believe that I never tried them there....a visit is in the near future

                                           These were the best so far!
The silicone molds I first purchased
                                            Broke down and purchased the copper molds

                                            Crunchy on the outside and moist & pudding
                                            like on the inside

                                            The master piece so far!!!!

Then came 2011, watching Laura Calder making them in silicone molds I thought, OMG, why not give it a try.  So, I went and bought the silicone molds from Amazon.  I thought these were good and they are, however, they did not produce the crunchy caramelized outside like the copper molds. Right after purchasing the silicone molds I went to visit a friend in California and it was there that I first made Cannelés; they were a huge hit and we proceeded to make them several times during my visit. Upon returning home, I continued to try to perfect the Cannelés in the silicone molds, till  I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the famous lined copper molds (a friend sent me several articles she found on perfecting Cannelés) ...The molds are beautiful and have to be seasoned.  I followed Paula Wolfert's suggested seasoning, she has an extensive article on Cannelé.   The molds are thickly covered with shortening in the oven for 1 hour at 175C (350F), after the hour, remove and turn upside down on a wire rack, return to the oven for 15 minutes and leave upside down till the oven is cool then wipe the inside with paper towels.  Seasoning is very important, if not done properly your Cannelés will stick to the mold, this would not be a good thing.
Cannelés are a little tricky to make and here are some of the things that I have learned in my journey to make "the perfect Cannelés".

Yes you can use the silicone, but the Cannelés will not be crunchy.  Yes the molds are expensive but worth it to achieve perfection.  You can purchase Cannelés tined lined copper molds at Amazon.Com, however, I now feel the need to return to Paris and to Dehillerin to purchase more molds.

I read many articles on the internet and  Youtube.  I found articles from Chez Pim and Paula Wolfert ( I found these the most helpful for me) the ones my friend sent to me were refreshing because it game me hope, that I could perfect these
So, if your ready for the challenge here it is!

Once you have the molds and have seasoned them your good to go.

BEESWAX:  It is important to coat the molds with equal amounts of beeswax and butter. I used 60 grams beeswax and 60 grams of unsalted butter.

BATTER:  Here is the recipe that I use

500 ml milk
2 eggs 
2 egg yolks
250 grams of sugar
125 grams all-purpose flour
rum, 1/4 cup / 60 ml
2 teaspoons vanilla
50 grams of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
12 cannelé molds
heavy tongs

For the coating of the molds you will need equal amount os beeswax and butter.
I used 60 grams of butter and 60 grams of beeswax

1.  Mix the flour and sugar together in one bowl.
2.  Beat the eggs and the egg yolks together, along with the vanilla and rum
3.  Incorporate the egg mixture into the flower sugar mixture, gently with a whisk
4.  When the butter and milk have to come to a boil and the butter is melted, remove from the heat and gently (tempering) add to the flour mixture.  Whisk gentle. Remember that air is your enemy!
5.  Place into a covered container and put into the fridge for 48 hours (yes, it is important to rest).

After the 48 hours you will want to preheat your over to 150C (300F). 

In the meantime, melt the beeswax and butter over a double boiler.  Once the oven has reached the proper temperature, place the molds on a sheet pan and place into the oven for a few minutes (maybe 5; you want to warm the molds before adding the beeswax/butter mixture).

Remove the molds from the oven and pour the melted beeswax into the mold then turn it out back into the pot, turn the mold upside down so that extra beeswax will drip out.  Once you have completed this with all the molds, place them into the refrigerator for about 30 min to 1 hour.

Preheat you oven to 230C (450F) once the oven has reached this temperature remove the batter and gently mix with a spatula, you do not want air in the batter!  Remove the cold molds and fill to 1 cm from the top.  Place them into the oven and after 15 minutes lower the oven to190C(375F) and cook for 50 minutes, turning every 15 min.

You will see the Cannelés rise and then they will fall back down.  Once cooked, remove from the oven, then from the molds.  These are best enjoyed the day prepared and it is suggested 1 to 5 hours after cooking.