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Triple Berry Crisp

Triple Berry Cobbler

It’s been a couple of fast paced weeks but I would not change a thing. Work is fairly busy as everyone is preparing to take some time off for the holidays. I am still getting acclimated to all the parameters of the job. Addressing everyone’s expectations can be quite tricky at times but at the end of the day, I think that everyone comes out feeling that they gave or got the best they had.

The daily collaborations are really inspiring and downright fun. There is always lots of laughter and discombobulated moments while being completely focused on the task at hand. I am around serious creative minds allowing me to be as well. I am still learning to let go and just go for it. Whatever "it" may be at the moment. Going for more contrast, an unexpected angle, a bold choice of color.

It’s been a little over two months since I started and I am slowly stopping to feel like I am on borrowed time. Seeing the change of season in a new place, new town is a nice way to feel anchored in new surroundings. After a few weeks of spending every evening and weekends with the windows wide open, it has finally started to be "Crisps and Cobbler Weather" around here. Time for some thick plush socks, a nice blanket or a cozy fire.

 

Berries

I have been enjoying quiet evening in the new house with the old dog but I admit, I am ready to head out to Charleston for the holidays and be with Bill. To top this good feeling off, my parents, brother, sister in law and two nieces are arriving in a week. It’s been too long since we last saw everyone! We rented a beach house for everyone, pups included and will be spending the holidays there together. To say that I can’t wait is an understatement.

I can’t wait to spend time chatting with my mom while we cook and bake together, see if my nieces are still enjoying baking as they did a couple of years ago. My brother is a fantastic cook also and it will be interesting to see what we come up with for Christmas dinner. Honestly, I just want to be with them. I’d be happy sitting in a corner watching them interact for a while.

One thing I definitely want to make when we are at the beach in a couple of weeks is this mixed berry cobbler. I dream of coming back from a long walk on the beach on a chilly afternoon and digging into a warm bowl of juicy and tangy cobbler. Maybe topped with a dollop of Chantilly. Maybe not. I plan to spend the holidays guided by the flow of the family’s rhythm. Too many people under one roof. I just want to be and enjoy them. With all their flaws and qualities and all of mine.

I am not sure the nieces ever had cobbler but I sure plan on fixing that!

 

Triple Berry Cobbler

 Thank you everyone for the great response to the food and lifestyle photography workshop I am teaching with Clare in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I am happy to say that there are a few spots left but they are going fast! If you are interested, click here for all the details.

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Mixed Berries Galettes, A Taste Of Summer

Mixed Berries Galette


This mixed berries galette has all the attributes that often make me weak in the knees when I think about an uncomplicated Summer dessert. One that is not perfect, a little tart and puckerish, refreshing and vibrant with colors. One that does not require lots of heating and whisking over a hot stove when the temperatures are already blistering outside. One that takes the best of the season and wraps in a buttery blanket of homemade pastry crust.

We are right at the prime time for peaches, plums and lots of stone fruits. Even with strawberry season coming to an end, blueberries are now in full swing, along with raspberries. While I can find all these at the farmers market, I did not expect to find golden raspberries at our neighborhood (read tiny – last minute shop stop) store.

Red currants and golden raspberries can’t ever be local, I have been told. Too hot down here apparently but I admit, I could not resist getting a couple of pints of the raspberries. It’s so rare to see them around and after sneaking in a taste, I tried to come with desserts where their sweet and mild flavor would used to their advantage. Well, beside finding their way directly into my mouth…

Berries For Galette


I am still a hard core fan of raspberries and Chantilly for dessert. Nothing else. Nothing less. Nothing more. But…I think I am the only at the house who does that. My dear husband would rather have a little crust to go along with all that berry goodness. Something to tame the pucker-up factor which I so love.

Making any kind of pastry dough is a way to relax for me. The mixing, kneading, rolling. All focused and intentional steps to have something good to share with loved one for dessert. Finding the right balance of fruits, sugar. The right amount being mounded onto a buttery crust before being enclosed, free form. The smell filling up the entire house as the berries release their juices and aromas.

There is always a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when I pull a galette out of the oven. I can’t describe it really. A peaceful second where I feel and understand years and years of family cooking and cultural belonging. It is a fleeting second, indeed. But one that anchors me in the moment and the moments to follow where we will cut right through that galette and smile.

Mixed Berries Galette


Finding peace and balance has never been as important to me as it is now. I’ve never felt the need to actively seek them. There are always in me. However, the family events of the last five months have made me dive head down into my work and not allow myself to feel negative emotions. I am aware that I need to voice things out, write them down, and scream out loud if need be.

Nurturing comes from within oneself first. For me, it has been as simple as baking. Late at night when I let myself get sad and angry. Making jam. Cutting fruits. Anything that makes me feel close to the ones I love. When we had a problem in my family, we would make a cake. Did not matter if one person or twelve would come eat it. The intent to create was a simple human attempt at conjuring the absence.

Mixed Berries Galette


So I made a galette. And another one. One morning, B. woke up to a dozen cupcakes, a banana loaf and another galette. One night, we almost had apricot tart for dinner. It’s winding down…thank goodness. It’s actually been great practice for the workshops I am teaching at Squam this week. I am also looking forward to the scenery of New Hampshire. A bit of wet weather and colder temperatures.

I am also looking forward to sharing with other students the personal reward that is to create, to make something by hand and to tell its story. To leave a trace and to find a spark within oneself. For some it is painting, knitting. For others like me, it is baking, kneading, whisking and taking a photograph. Journaling the process. Leaving a trace. A thought. An emotion or a connection.

If you are heading to Squam this weekend, come say hello!. I will make sure we have a slice of pie to share together!

Mixed Berries Galette



Mixed Berries Galettes:

Makes three 6-inch galettes (enough for 6 to 8 people depending on size)

Notes: the crust is taken (and slightly adapted) from Holly Herrick’s book Tart Love which I recommend to everyone who has issues with making pie crust. Techniques, tips and troubleshooting ideas are well explained by Holly and the recipes are creative and delicious. And I can safely vouch for them since I also happen to have made and photograph 45 of them for the book…No plug intended… I just love that book…

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (or regular all purpose flour if not gluten free such as While Lilly)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
110 gr cold butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup cold milk beaten with 1 egg yolk

For the filling:
1 cup each raspberries, golden raspberries, strawberries (hulled and cut small), blueberries
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
1/4 cup honey

Directions:
Prepare the crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, (or follow the same instructions if doing by hand), pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse until the butter resembles small peas and is evenly incorporated. Gradually, stream in the cold mil & egg yolk mixture until the flour just comes together. Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and form into a 2-inch thick, round disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before rolling out.

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.

Prepare the filling:
In a large bowl, combine all the berries with the lemon zest and juice, cornstarch (or arrowroot) and honey. Fold gently until everything is incorporated. Let stand while you roll the crust.

On a large surface area, well floured, roll out the pastry dough to 1/8-inch thick and cut out three 8-inch circles from it. Transfer right away to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mound half the fruit filling on one circle and repeat with the other one going close but not all the way to the edge. Leave a 2-inch border of pastry all around. Gather the edges of the pastry dough, pleating as you go with your fingertips (don’t worry about being even – these are free form. Imperfections are wonderful anyways…). Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the galettes are golden brown

Berries Sorbet & Lavender Shortbread Cookies Sorbet Sandwiches

Triple Berry Sorbet


Since Winter never really got here, we are and have been in Spring like mode for quite a few weeks over here. Local seasonal produce has been changing rapidly. Peas are sprouting, winter squash are disappearing. Asparagus are in, wild blackberries and raspberries are popping out in by the marsh behind our house. Strawberries are just a couple of weeks away.

Berry Heaven


Along with the produce, my whole being makes a little switch. In that time in between mosquitoes and scalding heat, I wake up and immediately open up the windows, I go to bed without pulling the mosquito screens. I continuously check for the progress of the seedlings I planted. Impatiently.

Berry Sorbet and Lavender Shortbread Sandwiches


You can feel a natural tingling in the air, to everything and everyone at Spring is approaching. It always gives me inspiration and energy. At home, it means a thorough clean out of the studio and re-organizing equipment and files. Recycling, giving, de-cluttering. Making a space that allows my thoughts to grow even wilder.

Lavender


In the kitchen, recipes change less than the ingredients they use but soups tend to get lighter and colder, salads take on many more fresh herbs and sprouts. Cakes, cupcakes and such make ways for lots more custards, creams and sorbets. A lot more berries are popping in desserts and sometimes in salads lately.

Hautes Alpes


This time of year always make me long for home. The valleys and mountains of Provence and the Hautes Alpes where I grew up. Lavender, thistle, thyme, rosemary. Picking blackberries and raspberries on the side of the roads with my parents. Making lots and lots of blackberry tarts for my dad. Watching my mom stir a long wooden spoon in a heavy copper jam pot. Watching her pull out her sorbetiere to churn homemade treats.

Berry Sorbet and Lavender Shortbread Sandwiches


I picked enough blackberries the other day to have enough for a cobbler or a tart but I was really craving sorbet instead. With raspberries and blueberries left over from a shoot the other day, I had plenty to make that sorbet I so desired. I made two small batches, one I left with nice bits of fruits in it and one I pureed smooth to sandwich with lavender shortbread cookies.

Hautes Alpes


Lavender, berries, cookies, sorbet. A fabulous trip down memory lane. And lots of nice treats to share with our neighbors.

Before I leave you, I wanted to share with you two little big things that I had the privilege to do this past month. One was to have some of my photographs used as a backdrop during a Donna Karan’s event for her non profit foundation, Urban Zen. I was in good company with fellow photographers Matt Armendariz and Lindsay Morris. You can see pictures of the event by clicking here and a recap of the foundation’s event here.

I am also extremely honored to have been asked by Heirloom Book Bo. to have my photography on exhibit for the next couple of months. The opening reception took place recently and it was an awesome thing to share with friends. You can find pictures and more info about the exhibit here and here. None of this, work and accolades, would be possible without your constant support and appreciation. Thank you!

Triple Berry Sorbet



Berries Sorbet and Lavender Cookies:

Makes 4 cups (sorbet) and about 1 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
zest and juice of one lemon

Directions:
In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, place the berries and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Puree until smooth in a blender or food processor and then strain through a fine mesh chinois (strainer). Process in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
You can also let the mixture cool completely and churn without pureeing it smooth. It will give you a chunkier sorbet.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies:

Makes 12 cookies for sandwiches

1& 3/4 cups all-purpose flour or Jeanne’s Gluten Free All Purpose Mix
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons fresh edible lavender
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Position a rack in the middle.
In a bowl stir together flour, sugar, and cornmeal. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in lavender. Add milk. Stir with fork to combine and form into ball. Knead until smooth and divide in half.
On lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time to 1/4-inch thickness. Using 2-inch square cookie cutter, cut out dough.
Place cutouts 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack. Cool.
To store: Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature up to 3 days. Or freeze unfilled cookies up to 3 months.

To make sorbet sandwiches:
Spread about 2 cups of the sorbet in a 8×8 square pan and freeze until firm. With the same cookie cutter used for the lavender shortbread, cut out square of sorbet. Sandwich between two lavender cookies and freeze again until firm.

Mixed Berries Sorbet with Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Berry Sorbet


When I called my mother yesterday I had a burning question to ask her. As soon as we started talking, I completely forgot. I was outside on the deck and heard a plane over my head. Felt a cool breeze through the pecan tree and just sat there. It took me back to our chalet in the Alps on a hot summer day. Gliders brushing the mountain sides, kids biking furiously to the pool. I got pensive. Mostly I had a smile on my face.

I got quiet for a little while and she asked if I was getting sad as we talked about summers, the cousins growing up, their travel plans, etc… I mumbled "I’m fine! I am testing the mixed berries sorbet I just made!" She asked if I could focus on the conversation to which I replied "no can’t do. Do you still have your T-Fal sorbet maker?" I had remembered my, well at least to me, burning question.

Berries


Her turn to get quiet for a while "I have no idea. Why do you ask?". I knew I had piqued her curiosity. "No reason. Everytime I make sorbet I think about that darn sorbetiere and how much we’d crank it up in the summers. It was cool. It was special." It was special indeed. I’ll always remember the day my mother brought that sorbet make home. Homemade sorbet anytime we wanted? As kids it was like Christmas in July!

See, in France, desserts eaten at home during the week are not buttery flaky pastries bought at the corner bakery on the way home from work. Those are for Sundays. No, desserts often consist of a dairy product and a fruit. I grew up on homemade yogurt and fruit for dessert. Ice creams and sorbets were not only specials, they were a once a year kind of thing. They spelled Summer.

Berry Sorbet


It was a special thing indeed to have sorbet or ice cream or pastries back home. I do the exact same thing here. The weekends and dinner with friends are meant for special treats. And for good reasons. Time on slower motion is something to be celebrated (I’m always on even when I’m off. Can’t help it). Time spent with friends is celebrated. The generosity of their sharing our table, their time and stories with us. I want to acknowledge that by making them something special.

Enter sorbets, ice cream, tarts, mousses, and all sorts of goodies I enjoy making. I enjoy seeing their shoulders drop and their pupils scintillate as they dig in the first bites. I enjoy that pause as the flavors wraps around their taste buds, the scents and aromas arousing their senses. I am at my happiest when I gather people I love and respect around food. I know that’d make my grandmother smile.

Berries


There were so many luscious berry baskets at the farmers market this past week that I got a lot of everything. Blueberries, blackberries (twice), strawberries (again), raspberries (always). Stone fruits and rhubarb also ended up in our basket but that’s for another get together later this week. It’s summer! The house is open to anyone with a good story and a smile.

This sorbet is my go-to recipe as I can change the fruit according to the season and always get the same delicious result. Tart and sweet flavors. You can really taste them all separately and together with every bite. Paired with a simple vanilla shortbread cookies and you have one of our favorite summer treats.

Berry Sorbet


Now…I need to fly home and find that sorbetiere my mom bough when we were kids…!

Berry Sorbet



Mixed Berries Sorbet, adapted from Richard Leach in Sweet Seasons:

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients:
3 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries of your choice
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
zest and juice of one lemon

Directions:
In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, place the berries and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Puree until smooth in a blender or food processor and then strain through a fine mesh chinois (strainer). Process in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies:

Makes about twenty 2-inch round cookies.

Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
2 egg yolks
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup milk (optional)

Directions:
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and egg yolks together on medium speed until creamy looking. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds with the back of a knife and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix for 10 seconds. Add the millet and sweet rice flour with the mixer still on low speed. If the mixture feels too crumbly add a little bit of milk to obtain a smooth but not too wet dough. Start with one tablespoon at a time.
Gather the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
When ready to bake, turn the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Roll the dough in between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll to about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Cut cookies out in the dough and place them on a parchment lined baing sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
Serve with the sorbet.

Fontainebleau: Faisselle Mousse With Fresh Berries

Fontainebleau


My parents flew back to France yesterday and everyone in the house woke up a little different. Even the pups who kept going up and down the stairs looking for them. We made coffee, went on the back deck and sat in silence. Heard the clap of the oysters around us. Something my mom would have inquired about. Something my father would have turned into a story.

We had a wonderful time together. It always takes a few days for everyone to find their marks and settle into a groove. That’s a given. Each of us has a different schedules, different responsibilities and timing. We all have one thing in common though: we like food. More importantly, we like everything about it.

Strawberries


We like to head out early to the farmers market and get our groceries for the week. We like to prepare it, chop it, cook it, grill it, all the while catching up about the rest of the family news. We like to sit down and share a meal together where we have put forth the textures, scents and flavors of the foods we made.

By doing do, we pay homage to the people who cared to grow it and the people who taught us how to love it and share it with friends and family. So even if my parents and I need a little adjusting at first, we know we always have meals to come together around something we all understand and appreciate.

Faisselle


I was happy to make some time to truly enjoy my parents' visit, after the last few months of a frantic schedule. It’s sometimes difficult to explain that time spent on the computer writing proposals and looking over shooting schedules is not time spent noodling around. That’s a generation thing. That’s part of sharing space and time for a few weeks. It requires patience and understanding from everyone.

Cooking and baking also requires patience and understanding, reinforcing this idea of a common ground for everyone to share.

Fontainebleau


Nothing is truer in my opinion than when making fresh cheese, yogurt or fromage blanc. Anything with live cultures (bread too) has a wonderful way to show us how to slow down a bit and enjoy the process, the evolution and transformation of what we make.

Everytime my parents are here, I make faisselle for my dad. I often try to describe it properly but it is truly one of those dairy products that is unique. Not yogurt, not fromage blanc, not cottage cheese. Faisselle refers to both the fresh cheese made as well as the container used to make it. The molds have lots of tiny holes in which the milk mixture is placed to drain as much whey as desired. Some people like their faisselle drier than others so the container allows you to control how much moisture to keep.

Fontainebleau


The making process of faisselle is really darn easy and can be made with either cow or goat milk, a few drops of rennet, and a bit of fromage blanc or Greek yogurt for more live cultures. That’s it! Once mixed, I let it do its thing overnight and we wake up to wonderful big curds of faisselle. So far I have not tried with non-dairy milk but if you do let me know how it turned out.

Some people like it at the end of the meal with some salt, pepper and freshly chopped chives, some appreciate it with some brown sugar or a touch of honey. With us, it all depends on our mood. Sometimes we drain the heck out of it and end up with something very close to fresh crumbly cheese. Sometimes we’ll just grab a bigger spoon and eat as moist as possible.

Fontainebleau


Sometimes, I sneak around and put some faisselle aside to make something special like these little jars of Fontainebleau, a mousse made with faisselle, whipped cream and fresh berries. It is really the kind of dessert we enjoy all year long by letting the seasons guide our choice of fruit. Caramelized pear or bananas easily replace fresh berries during the winter months and fresh figs with a touch of honey make a perfect topping in the deep of summer.

We went strawberry picking one day with my parents and even after jamming 16 pounds worth of berries, we still had extras that we used in the Fontainebleau along with some freshly picked raspberries from a friend’s garden. Feel free to use any fruit, berries or addition that strike your fancy. Crumbled shortbread on top is darn good too…!

By the way, these are also fantastic frozen, poured in shot glasses or lollipop molds. Trust me…

Fontainebleau



Fontainebleau:

Makes 6 to 8

Notes: when our farmers market is open (April through December) I will use raw goat’s or cow’s milk. The rest of the time, I use whole, non homogenized, organic milk. I use liquid vegetarian rennet by habit but tablets work just as well.

Ingredients:

For the (fresh cheese) faisselle:
8 drops liquid rennet
1 quart whole milk ( 4 cups – 946ml)(I like to use raw when I can but that is up to your own preference) (goat or cow)
100 gr Greek yogurt or fromage blanc (a little over 3 oz)

Remaining ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to medium stiff peaks
1 to 2 cups fresh berries

Directions:
Place the rennet in a clean glass or ceramic large bowl. In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk and Greek yogurt and bring the mixture to 85F. Remove from the heat and slowly pour over the rennet. Do not stir. Let cool, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit undisturbed for 4 hours. Place in the refrigerator and let sit overnight to develop more taste.

The next day, take out about 2 cups of the faisselle and drain in a cheesecloth over a pan or the sink (attached to the faucet works great) until most of the liquid is gone (takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours). When ready to use, slowly fold in the whipped cream and divide in jars by layering the mousse and the berries. You can also, mix the berries as you mix the faisselle and whipped cream. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Mixed Berry Trifle & Lending A Helping Hand

Mixed Berries Trifle


All week I have been wanting to come here and post, chat and just have a bit of normalcy. All week nothing felt normal. Things that were big to me meant nothing once the television was turned on. Natural tragedies, political and social changes. The words I was dissecting were just that. Words. Yes, posting seemed trivial. Yes, meeting clients and working on shoots felt awkward.

At the same time, it was what I had to do. What I must do in order to help others. When thousands of people In Japan could use a lending hand, now is not the time to sit and be idle. Now is the time to work, work more and as much, often, … so that one can participate in the rebuilding efforts through donations, raffles, organized to help people who right now face the most gutt wrenching uncertainties of their lives.

Raspberries


Yes, I can do my part. I have given and I will again when asked. So can you. We all can. We can show our humanities. Aside from various events I am participating in, I also would like to do extend the way I contribute by involving you guys.

For each of my prints purchased through my etsy shop, I will donate $20 of its amount to the Red Cross for Japan. My goal is to raise at least $1000. That’s 50 prints. We can do this! You’ll help a great organization and receive a professionally printed picture for your home. If you want to help me, head over here: Tartelette on etsy.

Mixed Berries Trifle


Like most of you, every daily activity, every bit of work done this past week was tinted with a strong feeling of compassion and heartache for everyone out there in the world facing hardship. The one way I found to honor the memory of the missing was to keep up with that daily routine and once again count my blessings and hug my loved ones a little stronger while saying good morning.

It meant paying close attention to keeping a positive attitude and quiet inner peace while at work on difficult projects. It also made me react the same way I do when things are off kilter with the world, I gather friends and family for dinner. I do what I know to do well. Sitting everyone down around a good meal and listen to their story. Letting people unload around a sweet little nosh and a glass of wine is one of the best therapies I know.

Spring Is Right Around The Corner


It’s been a busy week but I still wanted to come up with something refreshing that would pair well with the gorgeous weather and warm weather we are having here. It is Spring after all. It does get from warm to hot in days however, which is quite perfect timing for something as light and airy as a Mixed Berry Trifle.

Layers of homemade almond lemon cake, clouds of fresh whipped cream, and the mild tang of raspberries and blueberries. No one seemed to have issues making their spoons cling all the way to the bottom in appreciation. Appreciate the little things in life. Something I am quite fond of.

Mixed Berries Trifle


One more thing before the recipe: the winner of "Macarons: Authentic French Cookie Recipes from the Macaron Cafe" by Cecile Cannone is…Janelle from Leemaemarie. Email me your snail mail info at mytartelette at gmail dot come and I’ll get the book off to you!


Mixed Berry Trifle with Almond Lemon Cake:

Makes enough for 4 to 6 and you’ll have some leftover cake which is great toasted for breakfast!

Almond Lemon Cake:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (112gr) unblanched sliced almonds
3/4 cup plus 2.5 tablespoons (180gr) sugar, divided
6 large eggs
2 large egg whites
zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons white rice flour

Preheat the oven to 325F/160C.
Line a 8 to 9-inch round cake pan with a piece of parchment paper and lightly grease with some melted butter or cooking spray. Reserve.

Toast the almonds on a separate baking sheet until pale golden, about 7 minutes.
Cool completely and pulse the almonds with 2.5 tablespoons sugar until finely ground. Stop before the nuts start to form a paste.
Place the eggs into a 2-cup measure with a spout and whisk them just to break them up.
In a stand mixer fitter with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium low speed until foamy. Increase the speed and whisk until soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining cup of sugar. Continue beating until the meringue is thick and glossy. With the beater off, stir in the almond mixture until evenly incorporated.

Re-attach the whisk and with the mixer on medium speed, add the beaten eggs to the meringue, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. It should take a total of 20-25 minutes but be sure to beat for a minimum of 20 minutes. Add the lemon zest.
Sprinkle the flour over the batter and fold until completely incorporated. Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and immediately poke holes in the cake with a fork. Pour the lemon juice over the holes and let the cake cool completely before using it.

Remaining ingredients:
1 generous cup fresh raspberries (if using frozen, thaw them before using)
1 tablespoon honey
1 generous cup fresh blueberries (same as above if frozen)
1 cup heavy cream whipped to soft peaks with one tablespoon honey

Reserve some raspberries and blueberries for decoration purposes and mash the rest with one tablespoon of honey in a small non reactive bowl. Divide the mixture among 4 glasses. Cut 2 or 3 slices of cake in small 1/2-inch cubes and layer some pieces over the raspberry puree. Add a layer of whipped cream. Add a layer of blueberries. Add a layer of cake and a final layer of whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Decorate with fresh berries if desired.

Rhubarb And Red Berry Crumbles

Rhubarb & Red Berry Crumbles


I get giddy pretty often. I can’t help it. It’s my self defense mechanism against discontent, routine, hardship. My heart does a happy dance reading a friend’s book feeling so proud of her as I realize the depths of her talent. My toes start moving in my shoes while listening to a perfect piece of music. I get giddy pulling out a perfectly moist and tender gluten free banana bread out of the oven. The little things deserve inner celebrating. I get giddy.

This week it was finding rhubarb for the first time this year. Yes, I know. I am easy. Making Rhubarb and Red Berry Crumbles was even easier.

Rhubarb & Red Berry Crumbles


It’s a bit early still to have outdoor cultivated rhubarb over here (April/May) and I knew by the intense red color that this one was hothouse rhubarb (grown in heated greenhouses). I also knew it would be sweeter than its outdoor sister which was perfect on so many levels mixed in with berries in a crumble. B. wondered if he would have to drown his crumble under a mound of vanilla ice cream to offset all that tartness. Nope.

As I was mixing the crumble topping, I started going over my reasonning with him and that’s when my husband looked at me as if I were the biggest baking geek out there. This type of rhubarb would be tart enough to make you notice it but would round the tartness of the raspberries while boosting up the flavor of the blueberries. Add a gluten free crumble topping with a pinch of cardamom and you have the perfect dessert to brighten any day.

Rhubarb & Red Berry Crumbles


Come to think of it we are big geeks. We start on a topic and bounce off ideas, questions and solutions all the time. Can be his trombone playing, my baking, writing, photography, vintage car fixing, the moon, the stars and everything in between. Absolute fun but it drives my parents insane when they come visit as they are trying to keep up.

Speaking of which…I know I will be making these crumbles again very soon when my parents come to visit. They will be here in just three weeks! They arrive 2 days after my return from teaching baking and photography workshops in Los Angeles and Seattle. Talk about timing! No time to noodle around to get the house ready and the fridge full! It’s been over a year since they have come to visit. Oh! I just can’t wait!

Rhubarb & Red Berry Crumbles


My mom loves stewed fruits of any kind. That’s the fate we usually reserve for over ripe fruits back home. Growing up it was my breakfast and dessert of choice: stewed fruits over her homemade yogurt and a sprinkle of muesli for crunch. I guess that’s why I love crumbles so much. Similar in texture, contrasting soft fruits and crunchy topping. Yet a tad more decadent with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. One night I even got fancy and candied some rhubarb peel on top. Inner happy dance…

One more thing: my friend Valentina who is an insanely talented photographer is teaching young kids the art of photography but the school needs a little help either in the form of used cameras or donations to purchase cards. It would only take 150 of us giving $10 each to help them meet their goal. That’s not much. I love the idea of teaching children such crafts and arts at an early age. They can learn so much more than just how to take a picture: architecture, technology, discipline, community, etc… Click here for more information on how to help.

Rhubarb & Red Berry Crumbles



Rhubarb and Red Berry Crumbles:

Serves 6-8

Notes: I start by preparing the crumble first so I can freeze it while I prepare the fruit and preheat the oven. This way, I can easily grate it over the ramekins or baking dish before baking and not get it too soft in between my fingers as I top the fruits with it. If you tolerate gluten, replace all the gf flours with 1.5 cups of all purpose or soft whole wheat flour.

For the topping:
3/4 cup (90gr) millet flour
3/4 cup (120gr) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (65gr) tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of salt
1 stick (115gr) unsalted butter, cold, in small pieces
1/4 cup (80gr) honey

For the fruits:
3 cups (365gr) rhubarb, fresh or frozen
1 cup (125gr) raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup blueberries (150gr) fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons (16gr) cornstarch
juice and zest of half a lemon
2 tablespoons (40gr) honey

Prepare the crumble topping:
In a large bowl, stir together all the flours, cardamom and pinch of salt. Add the butter and honey and start mixing everything together with your fingertips. You want to form a few large clusters of dough. It will be easier to grate once cold. Freeze the mixture while you prepare the fruits.

Preheat the oven at 350F and position a rack in the middle.

Prepare the fruits:
If you are using fresh rhubarb, peel it first then cut it in small pieces (about one inch). Use frozen as it is.
In a large bowl, mix together the rhubarb and berries along with the cornstarch, lemon juice and zest and honey. Stir the whole mix delicately as not to break the raspberries too much. Divide the mixture into lightly buttered ramekins or one 13×9-inch baking pan.

Assemble:
Grate the cold crumble mixture right over the fruits with either a cheese grater or a microplane with large holes.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the fruits start to bubble and the topping is golden brown. Handle with care – bubbling juices are very sneaky!

If you desire to candy and twirl some rhubarb strips, it’s pretty easy actually:
Start by heating on the stove on medium high, equal parts sugar and water until the sugar dissolves (simple syrup.
Preheat the oven at 200F.
With a vegetable peeler remove long strips from the rhubarb stem. Dip them in the simple syrup and lay them flat on a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone mat and let dry in the oven for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and quickly twirl the rhubarb strips around wooden spoons, skewers, etc..let cool completely.

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Le P’tit Coin Francais:

Crumble Rhubarbe Et Fruits Rouges:

Pour 6 a 8 personnes

Notes: je prepare le crumble avant les fruits car je le mets au congelateur pour pouvoir le gratter a meme les ramekins avant la cuisson. Une gratte a fromage ou une "microplane" a grands trous suffisent. Si vous ne desirez pas utiliser de farines sans gluten, remplacer les par 190gr de farine normale.

Pour le crumble:
90gr farine de millet
120gr farine de riz brun
65gr farine de tapioca
une pincee de cardamome
pincee de sel
115gr beurre non sale, froid, coupe en petits morceaux
80gr de miel

Pour les fruits:
365gr rhubarbe, fraiche our surgelee
125gr framboises, fraiches ou surgelees
150gr myrtilles, fraiches ou surgelles
16gr maizena
jus et zeste d’un demi citron
40gr miel

Prepare le crumble:
Dans un grand bol, melangez les farines, cardamome et le sel. Ajoutez le beurre en des et le miel et melanger le tout du bout des doigts. Formez de larges boules de pate et mettez les au congelateur pendant que vous preparez les fruits.

Prechauffer le four a 180C et positionnez une grille au milieu.

Pour les fruits:
Si vous utilisez de la rhubarbe fraiche, epluchez-la d’abord et coupez la ensuite en petits morceaux.
dans un grand bol, melangez la rhubarbe et les fruits rouges. Ajoutez la maizena, le zeste et jus de citron et le miel. Melangez doucement pour ne pas casser les framboises. Repartissez les fruits dans des ramequins legerement beurres ou dans un plat rectangular de taille moyenne.

Assembler:
Sortez le crumble du congelateur et grattez le au dessus des fruits pour bien les recouvrir. Cuire le tout 20 a 30 minutes ou jusq’a ce que le crumble soit d’une belle couleur doree.

Pour les accordeons de rhubarbe: faites un sirop simple en diluant la meme quantite d’eau et de sucre a feu moyen. Trempez dedans de longue bandes d’epluchures de rhubarbe et les mettres sur une plaque recouverte d’une feuille de papier sulfurise ou de silicone. Faire secher a feu tres doux pendant une heure. A la sortie du four, les tortilloner autour de cuillieres en bois ou autre les laissez refroidir completement.

Goat Cheese And Fresh Berries Tarts

Fresh Berries Tartelettes


Bill says that he is over the whole "birthday week" idea and that he’s been feeling that way since his last 30th birthday. Good thing I am not because as it gives me the opportunity to post about these Goat Cheese and Berries Tarts that were part of his dessert table a couple of weeks ago. Actually, I made these on three separate occasions prior to his birthday. Each time they disappeared as fast as the donuts.

They are good. They are pretty. They are a breeze to make. Simple pleasure. Sexy too. Indeed, as soon as I put these on the table the other day, our dear friend T. exclaimed "sexy tarts for SPOC!" And this is where I have to backtrack a little and explained why the entire room bursted out laughing, except Bill.

A couple of years ago, my dear husband was voted "SPOC", short for Sexiest Professor On Campus, by the College newspaper. (makes me wonder if the writers of Star Trek had something else in mind). That evening, Bill walked through the door furiously waving the paper in the air, red as a carp and exclaiming "I am SPOC! I am SPOC! I am ruined!"

Berries Before The Rain


I picked up the paper from his hand and started reading, half smiling, half laughing the whole way through. Actually, I thought it was pretty darn cool! I was married to the Sexiest Professor On Campus! Hello?!! Mine is what younger women refer to as "seasoned gentleman", you see. Told him I totally agreed with their hotness rating and that it was just a light topic to read during exams. No one said it was international news they were writing about. I could not figure why he was so upset.

"People voted for my looks and not my academic capabilities. How will I ever be taken seriously by my peers now? Looks over content! That’s terrible!" (notice the drama bit here). He went on and on like that for a couple of minutes until I broke his rant by saying "Is that all? You don’t find it demeaning? You don’t feel cheated, cheap?" He looked at me completely surprised by my last comment, adding "well, geez! Thanks! You sure know how to make me feel better!"

I called him over to the kitchen, handed him a slice of cake and said "Dude! First, by looking at the other professors in the running, they would have been out of their minds not to pick you! Second, it’s all meant in good fun. Third, well, shiz Bill, you are sexy so shut up and eat! Dang you make it really hard to pay you a compliment!"

Goat Cheese And Berries Tarts


I thought we were done with this mini crisis (Oy! My girlfriends' seem easy all of a sudden!) until his bestfriend T. put his hands on a copy of the paper, circled SPOC in red, framed the article and presented it to Bill for his 50th birthday that same week. We knew it was meant as a joke but I could hear Bill sigh as he tore open the wrapping paper. I quickly brought over a piece of cake, said "shushh and eat up! You sexy thing" and made a popping "SPOC" sound with my hand and my mouth. He did not find funny. At all.

To this day, whether we want to brush his ego or push his button, depending on the mood and occasion, we all insert SPOC anywhere we can in the conversation and make popping SPOC sounds whenever we can throughout the day. And most often we like to add "shushh and eat up!" And you know what, even after a gazillion desserts, Bill still retains his sexy figure. Men…Not fair!

One thing he asks me to make about every other week is these tarts, filled with a mild goat cheese mousse and topped with berries during the Spring and Summer or caramelized apple during the winter (they would be great with roasted quince too, come to think of it). We love goat cheese and berries together, especially goat cheese ice cream and cherries so we tend to use medium bodied cheese but if you are hesitant regarding the final taste, try with a mild one first. I have tried all sorts of different pastry doughs for these but I always go back to a short crust. It tends to stay crisper longer while filled with moist cheese or mousses.

Goat Cheese And Berries Tarts


Two years ago: Marbled Ricotta Cheesecake Brownies

Goat Cheese And Berries Tarts.

Makes 4

For the pate sablee:
2 tablespoons (20gr) slivered almonds
1/4 cup (50gr) cup sugar, divided
1/2 stick (56.5gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup (90gr) all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the goat cheese mousse:
200 ml heavy cream, cold
4 oz (120gr) goat cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (25gr) to 1/4 cup (50gr) sugar, depending on your preference
juice and zest of half a lemon

2 cups assorted berries such as raspberries, red currants, blueberries, etc…

Prepare the pate sablee:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place almonds and 2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, vanilla bean seeds, ground nuts and salt on medium speed until well-combined. Slowly add remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and flour and mix well. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Place the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out four 6- inch rounds and fit them inside four 4- inch tartlet rings, patting the dough in with your fingertips if it breaks on you as you transfer the rounds. Gather the scraps and set aside.
Prick the dough with a fork and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place a piece of parchment paper inside the tart shells, fill with beans or pie weights. Bake the shells for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks and remove the pie weights.

Prepare the goat cheese mousse:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to medium stiff peaks and reserve it in the refrigerator while you prepare the mousse.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the goat cheese and sugar with a spatula (if the goat cheese is soft enough there is no need to put your mixer to use on that one). Add the lemon zest and juice and mix thoroughly until incorporated.
Carefully fold the reserved whipped cream into the goat cheese base by placing your spatula in the center of the bowl, scooping the bottom over the top. Give your bowl a 45 degree turn and repeat until the batter is smooth. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse and divide it evenly among all tart cooled tart shells.

Divide the berries evenly over the mousse and refrigerate the tarts until ready to serve.

A Pavlova And A Guest

Pavlova5

It’s "Share Your Space Friday" here again!! I have never posted that much in a week and the fun part is that I only had to write an intro!!

I am loving having guest bloggers and not only because it gives me time to frolic in the sun (ugh…no not really…!) but mainly because it is like having a friend stop by and share with you a bit of their day, their personality, etc… And if personality had a name, it would be Kelly from Sass and Veracity. I knew from the first post that I’d be reading forever…I think it was her post on creme brulee and I found myself almost hugging the computer screen just staring at her stove. Meeting her last Fall was the icing on the cake….if only my mom and mother-in-law would let me be adopted by this sassy gal…sigh… She’s got verbage, she’s got class, she’s got ethics and an amazing sense of humor. Most of all, I don’t know better person to cheer anybody on in anything they venture doing.

I am thrilled to have Kelly pop by and share with you this amazingly refreshing pavlova. Read on for the recipe.
Now….doesn’t this look amazing for Spring! Happy Easter everyone!


I’m one of those cooks who is notorious for preparing recipes I’ve never tried before when there’s a special occasion looming. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for family, close friends, or a party for 40, I can guarantee that everything I make will be new to me. I’m sure that to some, I’m either grossly egotistic, or to others, a complete fool. I’d say adventuresome — or a glutton for punishment. The thrill of discovery during the planning process far exceeds any worry I could have about screwing something up. I love sifting through my magazines, cookbooks, and favorite web sites looking for the perfect recipe — especially if it’s something totally new.

So when Helen contacted me about doing this guest post, after initially grinning like a sap, I felt as if I’d been given permission to create the biggest planning mess I’ve made in a while. Cookbooks and magazines everywhere. A bookmarking frenzy on my Mac. Silly questions about "which recipe would be best" posed to my 16-year-old son who patiently indulged me with a more than one-syllable response. It was as if I’d been invited to a lovely party and then realized I didn’t have anything to wear. Even if I actually had a particular recipe in mind, and said recipe came out perfectly, I’d have to take photos.

Ah, the photos. I’ve all but swooned over Helen’s ethereal photos at one point or another. Light and airy, softly beckoning me to linger over what she has prepared, each photo taunts me with a "just you go ahead and try to make this, girlie!" And I think, in time — all in good time after kicking my procrastination skills into high gear. I met Helen last last Fall at the wedding of a mutual friend, and it took no time at all to learn just why her work is as flawless as it appears. She’s patiently persistent, works hard, is extremely focused, works hard, and has a seemingly bottomless reservoir of energy. Did I mention how hard she works? Meeting her was an absolute pleasure. Clearly, I had to make something that would have a chance of gracing the page, right?

Pavlova

Ironically, I came very close to baking a Paris Brest, something I’ve made before, but at the last minute, changed my mind. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the last time I made pate a choux, I was less than thrilled with the outcome. Instead, I’ll blame it on the photograph I saw in this month’s issue of Gourmet of the "Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berries." Its imperfect, simple appearance reminded me of a galette and prodded me to reconsider the long standing issue I’ve had with meringue. Not the meringue on pies — meringue that’s baked. For some reason, I’ve always steered clear of it, not quite relishing the sensation it causes in my teeth when I bite into it. Or maybe it’s the near weightlessness of it. Surely something so light can’t have much substance. Excuses, excuses.

But I was mesmerized by the Pavlova, a dessert named after the famous Russian ballerina who, after touring Australia and New Zealand in the 1930’s, is said to have had this dessert named after her. Although it’s the "light and airy" aspect of her dancing that the dessert was created to mimic, I’m reminded more of a flouncy tutu, fluffed high with tuille. Just beautiful.

I’ve been savoring this dessert since yesterday, marveling over extreme contrasts in texture and flavor. The meringue crust, so delicate that touching it causes it to shatter, melts on my tongue. In the center, the meringue is a creamy, marshmallow treat, its sweetness tempered by the tartness of the lemon cream. The combination of the berries and grapes add a perfect crunch that brings it all together. Whimsical, unpredictable, and oh so delicious.

Here’s to you, Helen. You’re an inspiration to me in many ways and I’m quite honored to have done this for you.

Pavlova7


Pavlova with Lemon Cream, Berries, and Grapes

For the meringue…
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

For the filling…
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups mixed berries
2 cups grapes

Preheat oven to 300ºF and position a rack in the center.
To prepare the lemon cream, stir sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Add the lemon juice and butter, bringing the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat. Continue to whisk at a simmer, about 1 minute. Whisk about 1/4 of the mixture into the beaten egg yolks, then transfer the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Over low heat, continue to cook, but make sure not to boil, whisking constantly until the lemon curd is thick, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a shallow bowl, stir in the lemon zest, and place a piece of parchment over the surface. Refrigerate for about 1-1/2 hours.

To prepare the meringue, line a baking sheet with parchment and trace a circle about 7″ in diameter in the center. Turn the parchment over.
Whisk superfine sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat whites with a pinch of salt at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the water and beat until whites hold soft peaks once again.
On medium-high, beat in sugar mixture 1 Tbsp at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute longer. Add vinegar, then beat at high speed until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes (longer if using hand-held mixer). The meringue will be extremely thick.
Spread meringue carefully to cover the circle on the parchment, creating a cavity in the center (for the filling). Bake until meringue is pale golden and has a crust, about 45 minutes. Avoid opening the oven door! Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringue in oven 1 hour. The exterior will be dry and possibly cracked, the inside more like the consistency of marshmallow.

To assemble the pavlova, beat the heavy cream just as it holds stiff peaks, then 1/4 cup at a time, whisk cream into the lemon curd. Check consistency each time before adding more cream. It should be able to mound. Spoon lemon cream into cooled meringue and mound fruit in the center. Serve with extra whipped cream if desired.

Guest Post: Almond Blancmange

Surprise! I am here but I am not really here…. At the beginning of the year I mentionned that there would be some new and familiar faces coming by to mend the fort while I would focus on deadlines for the cookbook. The support these people have given me is beyond any expectations whether it be a "hey! Whassup?!", a "dude! Calm down and breathe!" or a single image they took or post they wrote moved me in many different ways. I also thought that asking them to guest post would let you discover amazing people if you don’t know them already. They won’t all be food bloggers, but they do have a couple of things in common: talent and a love of all things sweet. I’ll be back next post!

Today, it’s my very own hero Jen of Use Real Butter keeping you company. I discovered Jen through the Daring Bakers and our friendship has grown in the most delicious way this past year. She is funny, bubbly, and sincere. She gives it to you as it is, has a very opiniated opinion (her words), a mouth watering blog and brilliant food photography. We have a say in our house "Jen’s…that’s what for dinner!"

I am positive I will go to my grave with a long list of desserts trailing behind me… I don’t mean my gluteus maximus (hey, I’m keeping it clean since this isn’t my blog), I mean a list of dessert recipes that I want to make. For every new recipe I master, there are at least three or four that I add to the list. Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t master recipes, I just make them, shoot them, post them, and pawn them off on friends and neighbors. Despite this sisyphean endeavor to work my way through The List, imagine my delight and astonishment when I am introduced to a completely new dessert.


sprinkle gelatin over cream and water


I think Tartelette will laugh when she learns that the first time I ever heard of Blancmange was when I was in junior high and listened to the British synthpop band by that very name. It wasn’t until 20+ years later *gasp* that I sunk my teeth into the dessert, blancmange, at my aunt’s house. Utterly delightful stuff.



ground almonds and sugar



If you told me that I could not eat chocolate ever again, I would not be heart-broken. I like to make things with chocolate, but I am okay without eating it. Now, if you said the same thing about cream-based desserts, I might sit down and have a cry because I actually enjoy eating them almost as much as I enjoy making them.

add some amaretto to the cream (you boozehounds, you)



Having tried blancmange once before, I found a recipe for a modern variation on the dessert in one of my cookbooks. This one contains ground almonds – enticing! Based on other recipes I’ve perused, it looks as if blancmange is typically very smooth – a thickened cream-based dessert that is served unmolded. I ran into one discrepancy in the recipe, which was to use 1.5 cups of blanched almonds and in parentheses, the recipe said 4.5 ounces. That’s not right at all. 1.5 cups yielded 7.5 ounces. In hindsight, I think I’d go with 4.5 ounces and I’ll make a note of that in the recipe.

folding whipped cream into the almond cream mixture



Even with a lot more almond than I think the recipe should have had, it was delightful. I would probably grind the almonds down finer than I did for a creamier consistency in the future. The process of folding in the whipped cream lends to the airy texture of the dessert. I made individual servings in ramekins, which unmolded with some stubborness. That may have been due to the high almond content.

these will set in a couple of hours in the refrigerator



The resulting texture was slightly thicker than mousse. If unmolding had not worked, I could have easily served the blancmange in lovely quenelles (although I’m not sure that would fly if I had made the recipe with less almonds). Either way, the important accompaniment is the fruit. Any combination of berries, drupes, you name it, pairs lovingly with the almond and cream. It also looks as stunning as it tastes. A simple and elegant recipe to serve.

et voilà



Modern Almond Blancmange Recipe:
from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax

1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup cold water
1 envelope (2 1/2 tsps) unflavored gelatin (powder)
4 1/2 oz. almonds, blanched, sliced or slivered (just under 1 cup)*
2/3 cup sugar
4 tsps kirsch or Amaretto (ummm, I think I could definitely use more of this)

*the recipe says to use 1 1/2 cups which 66% more than 4 1/2 ounces, so if you want a really almondy dessert, go for it, otherwise I think 1 cup is sufficient.

In a small saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup of cream and the cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface and let stand for about 5 minutes. Stir over low heat until the gelatin dissolves. Set aside. Pulse the almonds and the sugar in a food processor until the almonds are very finely ground. When the gelatin mixture has cooled slightly, stir in the kirsch or Amaretto. Add the ground almond mixture and stir until combined. Whip the remaining 1 1/4 cups cream to soft peaks (do not overbeat). Fold the cream into the almond mixture in thirds. Rinse a 6-8 cup mold or 8 4-ounce ramekins (I did 6 6-ounce ramekins) in cold water. Pour in the mixture and cover with plastic wrap (but don’t let the wrap touch the mixture). Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of the mold. Dip the mold quickly in and out of hot water. Invert the mold onto a moistened plate and unmold. [Or, if you’re me, cover the ramekin with plastic wrap after loosening the sides and dipping in hot water, then turn it over and smack it on a kitchen towel on the counter several times. When it finally comes out, use another piece of plastic to cover the top, then invert it again, remove the first piece of plastic, then invert it once more onto the serving plate.] Garnish with lots of fresh fruit (berries, peaches, etc.).