Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Croissants were one of those things that I've always wanted to make, but were afraid to. It's as if I didn't believe that even if I followed the steps in my copy of The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts, they would never turn out like those flaky, light and buttery ones from the bakery.

The other day when I was about to buy the ingredients to make the Hachis Parmentier for last week's FFwD, I realized that I didn't really want to make it, but sort of felt like I had to because I had bought the book to participate in the FFwD. Instead, I really had the urge to make croissants! Plus I didn't have to buy all those ingredients; I already had everything I needed.

There are a few things that I would change next time I make these. First I found the croissants to taste great right out of the oven, but when at room temperature, they were too sweet so I would decrease the amount of sugar. Also I didn't roll out the dough thin enough before cutting it into triangles so I only ended up with half the amount of croissants than I was supposed to. This is probably the reason why they didn't end up as light as the store-bought ones.

Making croissants wasn't very difficult, it just demands a lot of time. There's a lot of rolling and putting the dough in the fridge, then taking it out from the fridge. But the final result makes it all worth it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cran-Apple Crisps

It's cranberry season! We drink plenty of cranberry juice and dried cranberries can be found in our granola bars and cereals, but have any of you tried fresh cranberries? I just recently tried them for the first time and I have to say that... they're very sour! I stopped after one! But when combined with apples, dried cranberries, sugar and flour to make the filling, they taste sweet!

With all the members of TWD raving about this crisp and how easy it is to put together, it didn't take me long to decide to make it. I topped it with a scoop of Goat Cheese Ice Cream I made following David Lebovitz's book, The Perfect Scoop, and... Mmmm!

The Repressed Pastry Chef hosted that week's TWD so the recipe for the Cran-Apple Crisps can be found on her blog!

Friday, October 15, 2010

FFwD : Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

I made it! I was really debating if I should skip this week's FFwD since it's midterm time and all I've been doing is finance and accounting for the past week and a half... but no! It does feel good to take a break and cook up this delicious vietnamese soup! It reminded me very much of the one my boyfriend and I love having in Chinatown (except I don't think that one has any coconut milk).

I read some reviews this morning on the Dorie's group site and a couple had written that it wasn't very flavorful or spicy. I found it was a bit spicy, so I just added a bit of Sriracha (love that stuff!) and lots of lime juice and it was great! It wasn't very hard to make either... I think it took me longer to look for all the ingredients!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chocolate Matcha Cake

Matcha and chocolate in a cake! What's not to like? My only regret is that the chocolate taste took over the matcha one, so I could barely taste that. I would definitely add an extra tablespoon or so next time for a stronger taste and color!

Chocolate Matcha Cake
Adapted from Bakerella
Makes one bundt cake

Chocolate Mixture
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Matcha Mixture
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-3 tbsp matcha powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
3 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups milk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan and dust it with cocoa.

With a wire whisk, mix the dry ingredients for the chocolate mixture in a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, do the same for the matcha mixture.

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla, and mix until throughly combined. Divide the cream mixture evenly in two separate bowls.

Slowly add the chocolate mixture to 1/2 of the creamed mixture and mix throughly. Then add the matcha mixture to the other half of the creamed mixture and mix throughly.

Drop alternating spoonfuls of each mixture into the loaf pan and gently run a knife through the two batters in a swirling motion (for a marbled effect... mine failed!).

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
(I halved this recipe to make a loaf cake, the baking time still remains 1 hour and 15 minutes.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

FFwD: Gerard's Mustard Tart

When I was younger, I hated mustard! I was more of a ketchup fan. I would put ketchup on everything and anything! But as time is passing, my taste in food is changing and I now find myself eating things like Gerard's Mustard Tart!

The filling was easy to make: whip the eggs with the cream, add the mustards, whip and season with salt and pepper. It was the crust that I found a bit challenging.

The first time I made the pâte brisée by hand, the dough was very crumbly, I could hardly form a disk with it! It was impossible for me to roll it out, so I decided to remake it. The second time, I used the food processor method, that took me at most 5 minutes. The dough turned out soft and workable... Success!

This tart is something I would never had tried on my own, but I'm glad I gave it a try! It smells delicious out of the oven and I had to hold myself from cutting a slice right away. If you like mustard, you're sure to love this!

Friday, October 1, 2010

FFwD: Gougères

October 1rst has arrived and so has the first post for the French Fridays with Dorie! I am so happy that it has finally begun! Dorie Greenspan chose the recipes for the month of October from her new book Around My French Table and all members of the FFwD must post about the weekly recipe!

Before I talk about this week's recipe, Gougères, I must confess that I was debating if I should join this group mainly because I never cook anything! I've always done the baking at my house, never prepared anything that had to do with meat or fish (except that one time when I made an Italian Wedding Soup... yum!!). But then this is the perfect opportunity for me to learn! I mean, I have to learn how to cook someday, and why not start with some delicious French meals!?

Making Gougères is similar to making profiteroles except that you mix in some grated Gruyère cheese (or Cheddar) before piping/spooning the dough. This was the first time I made pâte à choux and it was a lot easier than I expected!

I decided to top the mounds of dough with the remaining Gruyère I had left so they ended up with a nice golden color. In the past, I found Gruyère to be a very strong cheese but when baked, it is unbelievably good (plus your kitchen will have a delicious aroma)!

The Gougères are best eaten warm out of the oven because they are crispy on the outside. I found that they got soft after being stored in a container, but they get crispy again when warmed up!

I am one of those weird people who don't like wine or Champagne, but I can assume that these ''cheese puffs'' would pair well with a nice glass...?