Sharing the love of food and trying new recipes...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Caramelized peaches & vanilla mascarpone cream

Mid-late Summer is stone fruit (apricots, peaches, cherries, plums...) season. Last week I made an apricot tart with thyme-infused honey and last year made an apricot-pistachio tart and a plum tart for Jeûne Fédéral. But so far I had never used peaches in any of my desserts so thought it was about time I try that.

I found very nice white peaches at the market and went on to caramelize them (sliced) in a pan. I served them lukewarm with a cold vanilla mascarpone cream (which was so good I could eat it with a spoon...) and some grilled pine nuts. It made for a very nice and gourmand dessert and was very easy and fast to realize. I recommend it!

Recipe for about 4 people:

125 g mascarpone
125 g whipping cream
2 tbsp powder sugar
2 vanilla pods (seeds)

3 peaches
pine nuts

2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water

In a bowl, put mascarpone, cream, and vanilla seeds. Whip it up and towards the end (before it hardens) add powder sugar and continue whipping. Once the cream is firm, refrigerate until use.
Put honey, sugar and water in a pan and heat up. Cut the peaches in quarters (I didn't peel them but you can if you prefer to) and place them on one side in the pan. Let them caramelize (4-5 min) and then place the other face down in the pan for another few minutes until the peaches have a nice golden color. If you're not serving them right away, I suggest you transfer the peaches to an oven / pyrex pan and heat them up 5 min at 75 C before serving.
Grill some pine nuts in a pan while making sure they don't burn.
In a glass cup or small bowl, place some mascarpone cream, a few caramelized peach slices on top, and finally decorate with a few grilled pine nuts. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Apricot tart with thyme-infused honey

Yesterday was my birthday so I prepared an apricot tart with thyme-infused honey to celebrate it. I had read about combining thyme with apricots in a few recipes so I thought I would try this combo along with honey. Apricots are very popular in Switzerland during Summer (well it is technically Winter this week here) and I have lots of thyme in the balcony.

I made a simple pâte sablée crust (home-made shortcrust dough is so good!), covered it with some ground almonds, added apricot halves, and finally glazed it all with thyme-infused honey and some thyme leaves. It's a very simple recipe and is great with fresh apricots. If you want to make it more simple, you can skip the thyme and honey and instead sprinkle sugar on top of the apricots before baking.

Apricot tart with thyme-infused honey:

Pâte sablée (shortcrust dough):
250 g flour
125 g butter
1 egg, beaten
1 pinch of salt
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp sugar

50 g ground almonds
1-1.5 kg apricots (I used 1 kg here but I would use more next time)
a few thyme branches
4-5 tbsp honey (use more if fruits are not very ripe or if you don't like acidity too much)
powder sugar

Mix butter and flour by making crumbs. Add all other ingredients and mix fast into a dough. Refrigerate for at least 30 min (the longer the better). Heat up the honey with some of the thyme branches in a saucepan in order to infuse the honey with thyme aroma.
Roll out the dough onto a (very) floured table (flip the dough several times so it doesn't stick to the table) and transfer to a buttered + floured tart form. Prick it with a fork and pre-bake 10 min at 200 C.

Cover the dough with ground almonds. Cut the apricots in halves and place them as to make a flower (see picture, with the interior up). Glaze the apricots with the thyme-infused honey and sprinkle some thyme leaves on top. Bake for 30 min at 200 C.
Let it cool down and then sprinkle powder sugar on top.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Update - recipes and practice

Since the past month, I have updated a few posts with new pics and recipe details on Laura's Gourmandises including:

- semlor (almond and cream filled buns)
- carrot cake
- dark chocolate mousse
- apple cake

Carrot cake
Dark chocolate mousse
Apple cake

I have added new basics recipes (marzipan, pistachio paste), and have also linked related recipes to each other such as:
- toscakaka, midsummer strawberry cake and chocolate chip cake
- blueberry, rhubarb-walnut, banana-oatmeal and chocolate chip muffins
- marzipan and kanelbullar

- pistachio paste and apricot-pistachio tart
Pistachio paste
Apricot-pistachio tart

Also, in the next few weeks I will take some time to practice certain techniques I learned at the Cours de Pâtisserie chez Benoît Violier at the Hôtel de Ville in Crissier (3-star Michelin gastronomic restaurant outside Lausanne). I received this pastry class as gift from my friends and enjoyed it a lot. Not only did I learn how to make pâte à choux and chouquettes, macarons, lemon tart, financier and ganache, but I also discovered a professional kitchen, how organized and precisely cooks work there and the superior quality of the ingredients and products used and served there. It was a great and inspiring experience!

Laura's "sablé, blanc manger et fraises guariguette" chez Benoît Violier