Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Two Tarts Vs Two Tunes

Little chocolate boats:


For ganache
100g dark chocolate (cut into pieces)
1/2 tsp instant coffee
1tsp rum
120g double cream
80g butter
20 almonds for decoration

For pastry
330g plain flour
100g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
180g cold butter (diced into cubes)
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water

makes approx. 20 tartlets

First start off with your pastry and sieve your flour, icing sugar in a bowl and add your salt and lemon zest. Mix together in an electric mixer with the paddle setting and whilst mixing slowly add the cubes of butter. Next add the yolk and the dough should come together nicely rolling into a ball. If it looks a little dry you can add a table spoon or two of cold water. Cover with some cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. When it's had time to chill take out of fridge and while it's softening up again set your oven to 150 and lightly butter some tart cases. Roll out the dough and line the cases with your pastry and cook for about 12-15 minutes. They should be a light golden colour and then leave on a cooling rack. 

For the ganache, heat the double cream and butter on a medium heat stirring until it starts to bubble and pour over the chocolate which should be in a heatproof bowl. Use a whisk to mix until all is melted and you have lovely gooey truffle filling. Stir in the rum and sieve in the coffee so there are no lumps. Leave this to cool for about 1-2 hours then it should be ready to spoon into the cases with an almond on top. Et Voila!

Apricot and cream tart:

250ml whole milk
60ml egg yolk
25g caster sugar
50g plain flour
150ml whipping cream
25g icing sugar
1 vanilla pod

For the apricots
6 apricots
25g sugar

For pastry
330g plain flour
100g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1tbsp of poppy seeds
180g cold butter (diced into cubes)
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water

Make your pastry exactly the same as the first recipe except with this one I've added a table spoon of poppy seeds in when mixing the dry ingredients. When it's cooled roll out and fit into your buttered baking tin and blind bake depending on the size of your tin for about 20 mins at 150 degrees. It needs to be a light golden colour.

Next cut your apricots into halves and simmer with the 25g of sugar in a saucepan until softened as you still want them to retain their shape and not turn into mush. Leave these to cool completely.

Now make your creamy filling by heating the milk in a saucepan. While the milk is heating whisk the yolk, sugar and flour in a bowl and while still mixing slowly add the hot milk until it is all combined and then quickly pour it back into the saucepan to heat again. It's important here to whisk vigorously to avoid lumps and you want the mixture to thicken and to start to bubble. This should take about 1-2 mins and when this happens remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover with cling film so that it touches the cream and prevents a skin forming. While this cools to room temperature (takes about an hour) in a mixer whisk the whipping cream, sugar, seeds from the vanilla pod until the cream is fluffy. Come back to your now cooled pastry cream and work it with a spatula as it can become quite stiff. Gently fold in your whipped cream.

To assemble it is important that everything is at room temperature otherwise the cream with melt. Spoon the cream onto your pastry and display your apricot halves side by side. A simple tart but so yummy!

These are two of my best Carnival tunes:

Friday, 24 August 2012

St Tropez OH LA LA !!!!!

So I've just come back from one of my favourite places. The south of France is bursting with delicious dishes, beach restaurants and pretty much everything that your bouche desires. Here is a look at some of the best bits.

New to the little seaside town is a Laduree and it fits in perfectly. http://www.laduree.fr/en/maisons/paris

Dior has opened a shop in a beautiful town house and they have also created a relaxing terrace with a cafe offering a simple Dior style breakfast. Pas mal!

There is plenty of choice with ice cream, sadly my favourite one at Senequier isn't there anymore so my second choice is Barbarac in the port.

That's Tony, Tony Parker. Not the basket ball player!

The fish market.

Senequier is the ultimate bakery for me with my favourite La Tarte Tropezienne.

There they are.

Senequier also has a great bar over looking the port and is perfect for a drink at pretty much anytime of day.

A waffle with whipped cream and Nutella.

A lovely lunchtime beach restaurant, Les Graniers.

Above was a new discovery, La plage des Salins on Pampalonne beach has just opened a new pizza and pasta place with an awesome view.

The best kind of menu, a simple one.

The Grand Marnier crepe place, nothing beats it.

La Pause Douceur is an amazing little chocolatier where you can buy marshmallows to chocolate eggs to praline flying saucers.

These were just two yummy looking spreads for breakfast. One chestnut and one milky.

Le Cafe de L'ormeau is in the nearby town of Ramatuelle that time has not touched for about 40 years. I love it and although the breakfasts are simple and nothing fancy you cannot beat this traditional french experience.