Archive for the ‘goûter’ Category

My Grandmother’s Clafoutis

April 26, 2009

Uhm. Hi. Yeah… I know. But, let’s not talk about it, mkay?

Instead, let’s talk about SPRING! And Cake! and my Grandmother! This grandmother, to be exact. The one whose understanding of cooking and baking is close to mine, because it’s about making something very good very fast and with little effort. She is a true homecook and has herself spawned a few more homecooks in my mother and uncle and their children in turn aaaand before I scare you away with more genealogy, let’s get back to the mention of cake made at the beginning of the post.

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One of the desserts my Grandmother used to make for us regularly, was a Clafoutis. The Clafoutis is a cross between a cake and a baked custard to which you add fresh fruits*. As a child we used to be a bit bummed when she made Clafoutis, because it seemed incredibly boring and plain, but now, come SPRING, I could practically make it all the time. It comes to together in seconds and bakes fast, too. You can eat it warm or cold. There really is nothing not to like about it!

My favourite way to make it is to use rhubarb (see also: SPRING!) and to add a teaspoonful of homemade vanilla extract**. The last time I made this, the five of us destroyed it in seconds: the two little ones were howling for more and J. just quietly ate one piece after another while L. and I tried hard to practice moderation. Our friend who was visiting was quickly given seconds before the whole thing vanished. That’s what it’s like at our house: eat it now or someone else will!

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Rhubarb Clafoutis

Prep Time: 5 min cooking time: 35 min

4 stalks of rhubarb (just short of a kilo), peeled and chopped in trunks
3 eggs
6 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp flour
1 Tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
200 ml cream
more sugar to sprinkle on the rhubarb

mixing bowl, wire whisk, 1 gratin dish (23 x 23 cm)

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Preheat the oven to 190°.
Wash, peel and chop the rhubarb. Sprinkle with enough sugar to cover each stalk and set aside in the baking dish.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and cream whisking and mixing until well combined. Pour over the rhubarb and bake for 35 min or until set.
Enjoy warm or cold.

* Some fruits worth mentioning are cherries (please pit them, nothing more annoying than pits keeping you from scarfing down enjoying your delicious dessert), tiny yellow plums, apricots, anything really! Some people are partial to apples in a Clafoutis, personally i’m not a big fan but go ahead and try it out for yourself.

** go make this, right now. it’s really easy and the results are spectacular, especially if you use good vanilla, as I did. Come to think of it, I used vanilla sent to me by my grandmother!

A Quarter Pounder By Any Other Name

March 22, 2008
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Hmm, ok, maybe the title is a bit misleading, since the photo is clearly showing a cake! This cake is called a four quarter cake in french, and a pound cake in english and it’s so simple, a child can do it.

And a child did, since the big boy was instrumental in bringing you this cake today: his poor little hands replaced the coveted kitchenaid standmixer as he was allowed to hold the whizzing and mixing machine ALL BY HIMSELF, all the while telling me that he was a BIG BOY NOW!

Despite warnings by She Who Shall Not Be Named (my self-appointed blog consultant — you know who you are), that it was a boring cake and recipe, I actually really really like the quatre-quart. It’s simple in taste, you can use it as a replacement for bread at breakfast, have it with tea in the afternoon and use it as backdrop for layered trifles of any kind.

It’s also the perfect recipe for someone who has never baked anything before, because there is no way that you can mess it up! You can also add some vanilla, lemon zest or dried fruit, but then it wouldn’t really be a pound cake anymore, or would it?

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Simple Pound Cake

prep time: 10min, baking time: 50 min

mixing bowl, loaf pan

4 eggs
weight of the eggs in butter plus more for the pan
weight of the eggs in sugar
weight of the eggs in flour
half a pack of baking powder (about 7 g)

Preheat the oven to 180° and butter and flour your loaf pan. Mix the butter and the sugar until fluffy and white. Add the eggs one by one with the handmixer still running. Sift the flour and baking powder over the Mix and fold in. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 min or until a knife inserted in the center stays clean. Let cool in the pan before unmolding. The cake is great warm, cold, the next day and even toasted!

In Honor of the Upcoming World Nutella Day… Chocolate Pizza and Basic Pizza Dough

January 30, 2008

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Did you know, that there is a World Nutella Day? I read about it on Ms. Adventures in Italy, and I had to applaud the initiative. An entire day to celebrate Nutella is only right and proper!

As a child, we were never allowed to have nutella, which resulted in me developing a lifelong addiction to it – so much so, that one of the first things of my own that I bought when I moved into my own apartment, was a giant jar of nutella. Because I polished it off much too quickly, I have since tried to restrict myself to desperate times only. Hence, the appeal of a World Nutella Day.

I’ve had this recipe in my must-try folder for about a year and it seemed to be just the thing for this celebration: chocolate pizza.

Pizza, Nutella, and more chocolate to top it off sounded like my idea of a good time — but while it did not disappoint, it is not quite the dessert it was said to be. In my opinion, it is much better suited for goûter (the snack that most french children take after school, around 4 pm) or maybe even for a decadent breakfast.

It’s very quick and easy to make, I used my go-to basic pizza dough recipe, nutella and subsituted ribboned orange zest for the hazelnuts which gave it a more refreshing taste.

Basic Pizza Dough

Prep Time: 30 min baking time: 15 min

2/3 cup of lukewarm water
1/ Tbsp active dry yeast (amounts to one envelope)
1 Tsp of sugar
2 cups of flour
1/2 Tsp of salt
3 Tbsp of olive oil

baking sheet

In a mixing bowl, mix the water, yeast and sugar together and set aside in a warm place until bubbles form at the surface (5 min)
Add the flour, salt and olive oil to the yeast-preparation and beat with the wirehooks of your handmixer until an elastic dough forms (5 min). You can of course mix the dough by hand, but it will take about 5x longer.
When the dough has come together, roll it into a ball in the mixing bowl, cover with a teatowel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (20 min).
Preheat the oven to 200° and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
You will have enough dough for either 4 small pizzas, 2 medium sized ones, or one big one. If you are making pizza, proceed to top the rolled out dough with the topping of your choice and bake for about 20 min.

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Chocolate Pizza

Prep Time: 2 min baking time: 22 min

1 Tbsp of melted butter
about 1/4 cup of Nutella or to taste
2 Tbsp white chocolate chunks
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chunks
1 Tbsp of orange zest

baking sheet

When your dough is done and rolled out into the desired size, prick it with a fork and brush the top with the melted butter. Bake it in the oven until golden and baked through – for about 15 min
When the pizza is done, take it out of the oven and spread it with your choice amount of nutella. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks and the orange zest on top. Bake it in the oven for another 2 min, or until all the chocolate has melted. Serve warm.