Homemade weekend croissants!
Hmm, the smell of fresh baked croissants. Honestly, who doesn’t like that?
These are flaky, extra crispy on the ends, soft in the middle and with a nice caramelized and buttery taste.
Making your own croissants can be very satisfying. Yes, it is labour intensive but once you got the process (and temperatures) under control it is all worth it. I usually start by making a rich dough in the evening and leave this dough to ferment overnight in the fridge. Slow fermenting adds a lot of flavour to the final product. Next morning I start with the “tourage” (the technique to properly fold croissant dough to achieve nice lamination). For these croissants I created 36 layers of butter and dough. Some say there should be a lot more layers, some say that just 16 layers is already enough for a good croissant. I will try both techniques in the future to see what works best for me.
I like my croissant plain, no butter or jam. It is good enough the way it is.
Ok, just with an espresso on the side, I’ll have to admit that!
Tonka, coffee, caramel and hazelnut tart
Tonka is one of my favourite pastry ingredients. It combines very well with the rich flavours of coffee, caramel and hazelnut. Inspired by Joost Arijs I created this tart. The tart is made with a shortbread crust filled with a creamy milk chocolate ganache and crushed hazelnuts for a crunch. On top of this I added a light genoise moistened with my homemade vanilla-rum syrup. And here’s the best part: a rich tonka, coffee (fresh brewed espresso) and caramel mascarpone mousse is added and finished with a caramel glaze.
The individual desserts were made for a summer barbecue. They consist of the same components and flavours but in a different shape.
Everybody enjoyed these delicious pastries!
Joost Arijs Pastry & Chocolates at Gent, Belgium
Joost Arijs is a young pastry chef and owner of a beatiful pastry shop in the centre of Gent. He’s known for his creativity and he makes absolutely delicious tarts. According to Gault-Millau, Joost Arijs is the best Patissier in Belgium.
I tried the pastries on the pictures above and they were absolutely stunning!
Especially the Tonka entremet is a real winner (top picture on the left and the picture in the middle). It consists of a rich chocolate mousse, a tonka and vanilla cremeux, chocolate cake and an orange coulis. And also a delicious pecan crumble.
Whenever you plan a trip to Gent, make sure to visit his shop and buy some delicious pastries, chocolates, cookies or whatever they have!
Make sure to get his book with lots of recipes and nice pictures!
'Speculaas' profiteroles with a cinnamon crumble
Profiteroles with a twist!
The batter is mixed with 'Speculaaskruiden'. This way we get delicious speculaas profiteroles. In the Netherlands, speculaas is a very popular flavor. It is a blend of various spices. I made them extra delicious with a cinnamon topping. This topping has 2 benefits (actually 3!).
First, it will give the profiterole a crunchy topping. Standard profiteroles are delicious on their own but they lack some type of crunch.
The second advantage is that the topping will keep the steam inside the profiterole during baking and therefore they will expand more!
Third, don’t they look irresistible?
The profiteroles are filled with a Creme Chantilly. But how about a cinnamon bavarian cream? Or a delicious speculaas creme chiboust?
with strawberry and pistachio
This tart was made for a tart competition. The top layer is a vanilla-mascarpone mousse (a classic!). This layer sits on top of a homemade pistachio Bavarian cream. In the middle is a refreshing strawberry compote floater with lemon and vanilla. Underneath this compote I put a so called: ‘biscuit cuillere’ or ‘ladyfinger biscuit’ drenched with homemade rum-vanilla syrup, surrounded by a smooth and silky white chocolate vanilla ganache. The bottom is made of a thin and buttery shortbread crust.
On one picture you can see the jury for this competition. On the left is a Sous-Chef from a Michelin star restaurant. In the middle a talented baker and on the right the winner of the Dutch equivalent of ‘The great British bake off’. I tried to pamper the judges with a strawberry wine ;-), made from 100% strawberries. I became 5th in this competition with 22 competitors. Not bad for a first attempt!
The best mix possible with fresh roasted hazelnuts and raspberries is for sure the Linzer Torte. It is named after the city of Linz, Austria. It is a delicious rich hazelnut cake with refreshing raspberries. It is said to be the oldest known cake in the world.
Here is quick and easy recipe for a Linzer Torte. Maybe not the original one but for sure very tasty! This recipe is good for 2 large cakes.
Butter 550 grams
Sugar 275 grams
Cream 50 grams
A.P. flour 500 grams
Roasted hazelnuts 200 grams
Raw hazelnuts 50 grams
Baking powder 5 grams
Cinnamon 3 gram
Raspberry jam 50 grams
Ground the roasted hazelnuts and set aside. Cream the butter with the sugar. Add one egg at the time, add the cream and mix. Add the ground hazelnuts, sift the flour with the baking powder and cinnamon. Mix it with the butter, sugar and hazelnut mixture just until combined. Pipe 2/3 of the batter in a fluted tart ring and spread the mixture evenly. Spread a layer of raspberry jam on top and make sure to leave a 2 cm border all the way around the edge. Pipe the remaining batter in a lattice pattern on top. Crush the raw hazelnuts and put them on the batter. Littly press them to make them stick. Cool the cake 20 minutes in the fridge before baking. Bake for about 50 minutes at 180 °C.
Cool down the cake and dust the edges with ‘non melting’ icing sugar.
Here`s a new version of my Tropical Dutch. The original on the top left, made in Vancouver, consists of a white chocolate mousse with a crunchy coconut bottom. In the middle a pineapple rum compote, topped with a passionfruit coconut gelée.
My new version consists of a coconut-almond cream filling, baked in a coconut sablee crust. After baking it was brushed with a rum vanilla syrup to add some extra flavour and to moisten the tart. On top I added a vanilla mascarpone mousse with a roasted pineapple compote. The pineapple was roasted one hour at 180°C with vanilla, star anise and cinnamon. After roasting the pineapple it was sliced and grilled. I finished the tart with a refreshing tropical fruitsalad with pomegranate, pineapple and mango, mixed with a rum vanilla syrup. Below a recipe for the sweet and rich coconut-almond cream filling.
Coconut almond cream
ground almonds 75 gram
dessicated coconut 75 gram
sugar 120 gram
butter 60 gram
Mix all the ingredients with a blender until you receive a smooth paste. Pipe the filling in the fluted tart ring lined with the coconut sablee. Bake for approx. 40 minutes at 180°C.
For my colleagues I made 4 tarts, 2 chocolate hazelnut mousse tarts and 2 vanilla mascarpone tarts. My inspiration for this last tart comes from Pierre Herme, as you can see in my previous post. The recipe for this delicious tart can be found here.
The chocolate hazelnut tart consists of a dark chocolate mousse with creamy vanilla caramel on a shortbread bottom with praline. In the middle we have a chocolate genoise layer, moistened with a coffee Frangelico syrup.
With homemade Gianduja (so easy to make and so good) I made a silky Gianduja cremeux. This gives the tart a delicious silky touch. It was quite a challenge to make 4 tarts with just one tiny little freezing compartment. But what is baking without a challenge?
Milk chocolate 100 gram
Hazelnuts (fresh roasted) 100 gram
Put the milk chocolate with the hazelnuts in the blender until you receive a smooth mixture. Because of the friction the chocolate will melt and blend perfectly with the hazelnuts.
The recipe for the gianduja cremeux can be found here. Try this recipe, you won’t regret it!
If there is one city you need to go if you want some really good pastries than Paris it is!
I went there for 4 days and of course I want to visit as much pastry shops as possible. My special thanks goes out to Adam from www.parispatisseries.com who made this journey a lot easier. On his website you can see a lot of reviews from pastry shops in Paris.
I bought a Saint Honoré and a Tarte Citron from la Pâtisserie des Rêves. This shop is one of a kind. Just look at the pictures and you see what I mean. Owner Philippe Conticini understands that the design of the shop is very important. And of course the pastries were delicious.
Another pastry that I bought was the Tarte Infiniment Vanille from Pierre Herme. He defines an ideal vanilla to be a combination of vanilla from several different origins; Mexico, Tahiti and Madagascar, thereby creating his version of a “house vanilla”. The tart consists of a sweet tart crust with a very rich, dense filling of white chocolate vanilla ganache and a rich vanilla mascarpone cream. And a biscuit moistened with vanilla syrup. On top there is a silky vanilla glaze. Try to get one of these! It is incredibly good!
I wish everyone a joyful 2013!
It’s time for a French classic! The Tarte Bourdaloue. I am in the French mood right now because I am heading to Paris this week. It is quite simple to make this tart and so delicious.
Creamy and rich frangipane, soft poached pears and a crispy crust, what is not to love about that?
The pears are poached in a mixture of white wine, water, vanilla, cinnamon and star anise. I left the pears in this syrup for a day. This will make the pears taste even better!
The leftover poaching liquid is reduced until I got a thick syrup. The water will evaporate but the all the delicious flavours will stay and intensify. I used this syrup to brush the tarts after baking. I will serve the Tarte Bourdaloue with a sabayon made with the pear syrup.
Merry Christmas everyone!