Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Berries Cake

Advice of the day: stick to what you know, i.e using baking parchment is best!
I made a lovely cake full of berries (raspberries, cherries and blueberries). It is absolutely yummy but looks like it fell down and was turned upside down 10 times :-/
I thought I would make a presentable cake and take a beautiful picture, so I decided not to use baking paper (as  it can leave some marks if it is not put in the tin properly). I greased the tin with butter instead and covered it with flour. And taaaa-daaaa, the whole bottom stayed in the tin when taking it out. Lovely!
It is still very yummy and eatable, just not presentable (see picture).
This is normally the cake mixture I use for the rhubarb cake, but as I still haven't found rhubarb, I replaced it with a mix of berries and it is as good.

300gr berries
165gr self raising flour
175gr caster sugar
175gr butter, softened
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
1tsp flour, 2tsp sugar, 25gr butter

Preheat oven to 190°C.
Beat together the eggs, butter, flour, sugar and vanilla extract. Fold in the fruits and spoon the mixture into the tin.
For the topping, rub the butter into the flour and sugar and sprinkle over the cake (that will make a nice crust on top of the cake). Bake for 50/60min.

Monday, 5 December 2011

My Mum's Flamiche aux Poireaux (Leek Tart)

Flamiche aux poireaux is a typical dish from my region in France, Picardy. It has one main ingredient, leek.
I can not count how many times I have had it at home (Mum's is always the best), and then made it myself. At some point I loved it so much that I made it every Sunday for dinner.
You can find many different recipes of the Flamiche aux poireaux online, but none of them are like the one I use. For me, the prefect leek tart should not have any bacon, cheese and in the preparation, nothing like eggs and cream as this would make it a quiche. I only use leeks, flour and milk and it make a delicious creamy tart!
It is way better to use a homemade dough, enough for 2 tarts, because the tart should be covered with pastry too. I usually cover mine only with stripes of pastry because I think it is too much dough (but that's my preference). I served it with chicory, which is also something we eat a lot at home :-) It's a home day!

3/4 leeks
2 tbsp flour
salt, pepper and optional: paprika or nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Clean and cut the leeks very thin. Cook them slowly in a large saucepan until they get translucent and soft. You can leave a lid on and let them cook on low heat for 20 min. Once they are ready, add the flour, enough to absorb all liquid in the pan and from the leeks. Then add milk little by little and stir. The mixture should thicken. Add more milk and stir again.. repeat until you get enough mixture to cover your tart dish. Season to your taste. Another option is to add some Gruyere with the leeks and let it melt all together.
Line a tart dish with brisee pastry. Pour the leek mix onto it. Cover the leeks with another pastry (or not).
Bake for about 40-45 min, until the tart edges become golden brown. Serve right away. Bon apetit. Enjoy this "north of France" dish.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Apple and Almond Cake

Here I am, it's Saturday afternoon, the shopping is done, and I'm home, wondering what to do.. It is too early to make dinner but I want to make something.. so here it is, a cake. Apple and almond cake to be precise. Simple ingredients to make a delicious cake.
I really want to try a piece tonight, so I will have a light, healthy dinner and enjoy some cake afterwards, with a warm drink, in front of a good movie.. I think that's a good plan for a Saturday evening (especially when the movie involves Mr George Clooney and Ryan Gosling - as yummy as the cake!)

200gr plain flour
25gr ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
170gr sugar
115gr melted butter
3 eggs
almond extract or vanilla extract
2/3 apples
flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Mix in a bowl the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and sugar. Add the melted butter, almond or vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time, and beat well in between. The texture should be quite thick. Peal and cut the apples and fold them into the mix. Pour the mixture into the cake or loaf tin, sprinkle with almond flakes and bake for 1h15min, until the cake is golden brown and slightly firm. Serve it warm or at room temperature. You will need a drink, it is quite a dry cake ( and I have added an extra egg to the original recipe I add).

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Flourless Chocolate Torte

OK, more chocolate.. I was planning on doing a fruit cake, with rhubarb, but I can't find rhubarb anywhere! I went to different stores, had a look online, went to the fruit market and it is nowhere to be found... They didn't even know what it is! So my challenge is to find some and bake one of my favourite cakes.. but for the time being, I baked a flourless chocolate cake. Instead of flour, I used ground almonds. It adds a lovely taste to this yummy cake.

Here is the easy recipe to follow:

200gr dark chocolate
200gr unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 medium eggs, separated
150gr caster sugar
100gr ground almonds
50gr pure cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180C°. Grease a round tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter together, and add in the vanilla extract. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with 50gr caster sugar until pale. Then pour in the melted chocolate and butter mixture, fold in the ground almonds and cocoa powder.
Beat the egg whites until stiff, then gradually add the remaining sugar (100gr) until combined. Gently fold the egg whites in 3 times in the chocolate mix, until blended. Pour into the tin and bake for 35 minutes.
Easy and delicious!
The cake is a little bit crumbly so it is better to let it cool down before taking out of the tin.