Posted on Monday, 17th May 2010 by Grace Massa Langlois
Great news, my great niece, Charlotte, entered the world on Saturday. That makes 23 nieces and nephews and 12 great nieces and nephews. Mom and baby Charlotte are doing fantastic and I believe they will be going home today. I was so excited, yet very disappointed, I wasn’t able to visit and touch her little fingers and toes or hold her this weekend, I am still fighting this terrible cold. Hope to visit later this week.
I was busy in the kitchen all weekend but didn’t accomplish much. I think I would have been better off waiting until I felt better to bake cookies for the bridal shower. One cookie batter, if you could call it a batter, was a crumbly mess. I did get one tray in the oven but they tasted awful and I threw them in the bin. Thought I would take a break from cookies and I moved on to crème brûlée. Liana and I both love this dessert. I have eaten many in my day. If you are lucky enough to eat a really well made brûlée, the experience is fantastic.
After watching MasterChef Australia’s masterclass on Friday I was determined to perfect my crème brûlée. I was curious to see if the tips George provided really made a difference; whiter egg yolks provide a creamier crème brûlée instead of an eggy one; using demerara sugar caramelize one layer and then repeat with a second layer to provide a crispier caramel crust.
It was the best crème brûlée I have ever made! The sound of my spoon breaking through that amazing caramel crust is one I will soon not forget. The vanilla custard was so light, velvety and creamy. I had to stop myself from eating more than one. The texture of the demerara sugar and the creamy custard together was to die for.
Learning new tips and tricks along the way can really make a difference in a recipe. Having a good recipe is a good foundation but the method in which you put the ingredients together and the techniques you use are more important in attaining a fabulous dessert or dish and can set your dish above the others.
I was still determined to bake a few varieties of cookies and decided to make Lemon Madeleines, small little cakes with just the right hint of lemon. I have made this recipe so many times without any problems but this weekend just wasn’t my weekend, I forgot to melt the butter before adding it to the egg mixture. I couldn’t believe it and I was back to square one. Liana said, “Mom take a bit of a breather and start again in a little bit”. I did just that and the second and third batch came out beautifully. With a little fancy footwork I was able to save the first batch. These will be a great addition to the cookie tray. Madeleines are also a perfect accompaniment to serve guests with tea or coffee.
I also made another cookie batter, Hazelnut-Orange Rochers. The batter needed to rest overnight in the refrigerator. I am planning to bake them later this morning and I am keeping my fingers crossed that they come out beautifully.
Check back later this week to see how I made out with this batch of cookies.
I am very happy to have this weekend behind me and I am hoping I fair better in the kitchen this week.
Classic Crème Brûlée and Lemon Madeleines
- Classic Crème Brûlée
- Lemon Madeleines
Classic Crème Brûlée
(from George Calombaris, MasterChef Australia)
- 600 ml thickened cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 120 g demerara sugar
- Preheat oven to 120° C (248° F).
- Place the cream, the vanilla bean and the seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to scalding point, then remove from heat. Remove the vanilla bean and discard.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and the caster sugar in a bowl for 2-3 minutes or until pale.
- Pour the hot cream over the egg yolk mixture, continuing to whisk until well combined. Strain mixture into a jug, evenly divide between 4 X 200 ml ramekins.
- Carefully place the ramekins in a deep roasting pan lined with a folded tea towel. Pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with foil.
- Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the custard has just set. Remove the ramekins from the water bath, and set aside to cool.
- Sprinkle demerara sugar evenly over the surface of the baked custards. Run a kitchen blowtorch over the custards, or place under a preheated grill until the sugar bubbles and caramelizes. Repeat a second time if desired to create a crisper crust. Serve.
(from Martha Stewart’s Cookies)
Makes 2 dozen
- 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (not self rising)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
- Put eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, vanilla and lemon zest and juice in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and thickened, about 5 minutes. Mix in butter. Using a spatula, fold flour mixture into egg mixture. Let batter rest 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter 2 madeleine pans.
- Pour batter into prepared pans, filling the molds three-quarters full. Bake cookies, rotating pans halfway through, until edges are crisp and golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cookies cool slightly in pans on wire racks. Invert, and unmold. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 day.
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, baked pudding, cake, cakes, Christmas Cookies, creme brulee, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, French cakes, french cookies, french pastries, Holiday Cookies, holiday entertaining, lemon madeleines, madeleines, mini cakes, small cakes
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