Orange Blossom Madeleines

The trick to the madeleine’s characteristic bump is a chilled batter and cold madeleine pan. But bump or no bump, these classic shell-shaped teacakes are dainty and absolutely lovely with tea or coffee.

Back when I was studying in London, there were brief periods of time when all I had for breakfast was a madeleine with coffee. It became part of a daily routine: wake up, make coffee, have madeleine (Bonne Maman brand), check Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, watch an episode of Bob’s Burger or Archer, maybe have a second madeleine, and, finally, get dressed and leave room to join the rest of humanity (sometimes). Student living wasn’t the most glamorous, but the weeks when I did have madeleines on hand, even though they were store bought, just felt a little bit special.

My breakfasts have been more hearty lately. But… I do make madeleines at home now! My lovely Mom gifted me a set of madeleine pans for my birthday back in October, and I’ve made about 12 dozen madeleines since then. I think it’s about time I share them with you!

So, today, I’m sharing Bouchon Bakery’s traditional madeleines. The only tweak I made was to substitute lemon oil with orange blossom water.

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From experience, I find that my madeleines rise much better when the batter has had a long time to chill in the fridge. Freezing the madeleine pans also helps. I’m not exactly sure of the science behind this, but it does have something to do with the interaction of the cold batter and heat from the oven.

Bouchon Bakery's Traditional Madeleines

  • Servings: 12 madeleines
  • Print

From Sebastien Rouxel’s and Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery book.

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Ingredients

All-purpose flour – 68 grams | 1/4 cup + 3 1/2 tablespoons
Baking powder – 2.2 grams | 1/2 teaspoon
Salt – 0.6 gram | 1/4 teaspoon
Eggs – 83 grams | 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon  (about 2-3 large eggs, room temperature, beaten)
Granulated sugar – 55 grams | 1/4 cup + 1 1/4 teaspoons
Unsalted butter, room temperature – 66 grams | 2/3 ounces
Dark brown sugar – 9 grams | 2 teaspoons
Honey – 9 grams | 1/4 teaspoons
1 to 2 drops lemon oil OR 1 teaspoon of Orange Blossom water

Preparation

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed for about 1 minute. Gently warm the bowl to dissolve the sugar. (I do this by setting up a bain marie, placing the stand mixer bowl on top of a pot of gently boiling water.) Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the bowl back to the stand and mix on high speed for about 4 minutes, until the batter doubles in volume.

Meanwhile, melt the butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, bout 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in half of the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula. Fold in remaining dry ingredients until just combined.  Pour the warm butter mixture over the batter. Add the lemon oil and/or orange blossom water, and fold until the mixture becomes a smooth batter. Place batter in a covered container and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

While the batter is in the fridge, prepare madeleine pan. Brush the pan with butter and refrigerate or freeze to harden the butter. When ready to bake, remove the pan from the fridge and dust with flour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Spoon the batter into the molds (1 tablespoon each). Tap the bottom of the pan against table to smooth the top of the batter.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes in convection oven, 8 to 9 minutes in standard oven, until the tops are lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Immediate unmound the madeleine and cool on a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

 

Clafoutis

Clafoutis is a casual and simple dessert from Limousin, south central France.  It’s a rustic dessert, eggy and dense, made of dark cherries baked in a custard. Despite its less than artful appearance, it’s absolutely delicious and so stupendously easy–eggs, flour, milk, sugar, salt, almond extract are combined and the batter then poured over the cherries–that it would be a pity to not give it a try.

The dish’s easiness makes it perfectly suited for a lazy Sunday morning. The cherries can be replaced with any type of fruits! Apricots, apples, plums or berries would be fine substitutes.

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Cherry Clafoutis

Adapted from Recipe Link

2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2-3 cups pitted cherries
4 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp almond extact
1/2 cup sugar
Confectioner’s sugar (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 10-inch pie pan with 1 tablespoon butter.

Arrange the cherries in the bottom of the pan.

Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, eggs, milk, flour, almond extract, and sugar until smooth. Pour the batter over the cherries.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until puffed and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool slightly before dusting with confectioner’s sugar.

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Mulled Wine Poached Pear

Wine poached pears are an easy, festive holiday desserts to make.

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The first time I ever had poached pears in wine was in Paris. It was a few days into the new year (2014) and my boyfriend and I had been invited to a relative’s house for dinner on our last day. We drank a lot, ate a galette des rois, and after an excellent meal, she presented us with a bowl of blushed pears in a light and fragrant wine broth. I was amazed by how simple it was and yet…so delightful and so good.

This mulled wine poached pear is much, much richer than the one I had in Paris, and it is warmly spiced with flavours traditionally associated with Christmastime. There’s cinnamon, cloves, star anise, orange and lemon peels, a bit of vanilla, and…bayleaf! It is most definitely a very, very festive dessert, perfect for the season, perfect for lifting the spirits, and perfect for impressing.

Recipe for Mulled Wine Poached Pears from Nadia Lim. As a slight adaptation, I added whiskey to my whipped cream. 😉

Merry Christmas & a happy holiday to you!

Lemon Ricotta Yoghurt Tea Cake with Cranberries

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Fall is officially here. The trees have turned, the air is crisp, and all my sweaters have been unearthed from under my bed, all ready for their weekly rotation. It’s perfect.

So now we have cranberries.Tart, rosy, crisp cranberries. They will soon be making their way into stuffings and sauces for holiday dinners or used in delicious crumbles, muffins and cookies. How about pairing fresh cranberries with a buttery and tangy tea cake made for morning, afternoon and evening? With just a hint of lemon throughout, this could be, as my Mom declared to me after her first bite, “Your best cake yet.”

The best part is that this cake can be thrown together at any moment’s notice. No butter and sugar to be creamed or eggs that need to reach room temperature. The dry ingredients and wet ingredients are mixed separately, then folded by hand (if you want) to create a thick, viscous golden batter. The cranberries pop up here and there, like pretty little jewels.

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Lemon Ricotta Yoghurt Tea Cake with Cranberries

  • Servings: Two 9x5-inch pans
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

RicottaYoghurtCake_4Loosely adapted from Ina Garten and Bon Appetit

You can easily substitute the cranberries for blueberries or any type of berries. The cake is just as delicious with just a hint of lemon and can be made with solely ricotta or yoghurt.

Ingredients Preperation
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon flour, set aside
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar + 1 tablespoon of sugar, set aside
  • 1/2 cup plain full-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup ricotta, tightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon milk*
  • 6 large eggs
  • Zest from one large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, halved

*If you’re using regular yoghurt, you may not need to add milk. The batter should be thick like that of a pound cake.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line pans with parchment paper and lightly coat with butter and flour.
  2. Chop cranberries into halves and toss with one tablespoon of flour and sugar. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. In a larger bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon zest, ricotta and yoghurt. Slowly fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just blended. Add lemon juice, then fold in butter, followed by cranberries. Scrape batter into prepared pans.
  5. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.

Montreal: Kem CoBa

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Kem CoBa is an artisanal ice-cream shop in the ever so hip neighbourhood of Mile End, Montreal. It’s next to Fairmount Bagel, a great tactical move on the owners’ part, and serves up a wide range of flavours from around the world with a slight bent towards Southeast Asia. Between my three friends and I, we tried about seven different flavours: Soursop, Pandan (La Dua), Chai Tea, Crème Fraîche, Dulce de Leche, Mango, and Passion Fruit! (My soft serve was dulce de leche ice-cream and a mango sorbet.) After what seemed like a trek to get there — and in Montreal’s heat, walking for longer than 15 minutes becomes a struggle — it felt rewarding to just sit under some shade, eating heavenly churned cream and ice. 

Kem CoBa
60, av. Fairmount Ouest, Montreal | Website

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake

I had Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake! And it was good. The secret is to line up at eight in the morning. EIGHT IN THE MORNING. Even then, my friend only waited a mere 45 minutes — as opposed to the minimum two hours. So there you go, that was a pro-tip for your next attempt at acquiring Toronto’s latest fad.

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Before tasting it, I had balked at the idea of waiting so long for a six-inch cake, but I kinda get the appeal now. It’s very different from North American cheesecakes. It’s lighter and fluffier, many have said it’s like a cross between a sponge cake and soufflé, but it’s also very subtle tasting — plain tasting, I guess — which I liked.

Come August I imagine the line to the bakery will more than double as Uncle Tetsu will soon be introducing a matcha version of the cheesecake. (Can we just have a collective groan?) So, Toronto, there is no hope of the queue dying down by the end of summer.

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Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

If you follow Canadian food blogger Tara O’Brady’s Instagram account, you probably already know about these amazing chocolate chip cookies she’s perfected for her first book, Seven Spoons: My Favourite Recipes for Any and Every Day Cooking. Despite my history of drop cookie failures — my cookies were either hard balls of dough OR complete softies that just merged together — I couldn’t resist trying them. And lo and behold. It worked. Fantastically well. The cookies had lovely crispy edges, chewy all throughout and the right amount of chocolate at every bite.

The true beauty of Tara’s recipe though is that it’s a no-fuss, throw together dough that doesn’t require “ingredients at room temperature” (an eternity for impatient midnight bakers). You don’t even need an electric mixer (it’s all by hand, baby). Safe to say this is definitely a keeper.

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But, I did make a few changes to the original recipe: I halved the recipe and replaced the flour with homemade cashew meal.

Why cashews? Once during a baking session, my friend suggested we replace a portion of our flour with ground roasted cashew nuts. I really enjoyed the texture it produced and it’s been one of my favourite thing to do with cookies ever since. The nuttiness, aroma and the colour of using roasted cashew meal gives the cookies an oomph that regular flour doesn’t. Making the cashew meal yourself is easy. You just need a food processor or a blender with the helicopter blades. Unlike the store-bought stuff, the homemade version will have little bits and pieces of nuts, which I think adds a nice texture and speckled look to the cookies.

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Note: Because I halved the recipe, it was easier (and more accurate) to list the ingredients by their weight than volume/cups.

Continue reading “Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)”

A few favourites for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming! I’ve dug into my old blog’s archive to find some of my favourite recipes. What will you make?

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Dutch Baby Pancakes: Regular pancakes are nice, but kinda boring. Change it up with an eggy German-style pancake. For a cuter presentation, make them in muffin pans for individual mini pancakes. [Recipe.]

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Cheesy cast iron skillet scones: Because why not? Everything looks better in a cast iron skillet. [Recipe.]

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Baklava: Easy as one, two, three. You just need store-bought filo, chopped nuts (any nuts will do, but go for pistachio for something luxe), cardamom, powdered sugar, and syrup. Simply assemble and bake. [Recipe.]

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Earl Grey and Grapefruit Pound Cake: A thick slice of citrusy pound cake paired with tea. Perfect for Mother’s Day. [Recipe.]

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Tea-Infused Milk Jam/Dulce de Leche: My special occasion treat (I usually make it around Christmas time). It can be used for baking or as a topping wherever you see fit. [Recipe.]