Rosewater Honeycomb with dark chocolate and lavender flower

Honeycomb1_lefermier_221115Honeycomb is a fun and simple Amuse-Bouche that is full of flavour, light and delicious . It is also a great addition to many dessert recipes like waffles, ice cream or sprinkled on top of a berry crumble. Perfect little treat to go with your coffee and tea at the end of you meal or you can also package them to give them as presents to your friend or family!!!

Ingredients:

  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 cup water, about 250ml
  • 3 tablespoon baking soda
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • Dried lavender flower, or dried edible flowers
  • 20ml rosewater

Honeycomb3_lefermier_221115Method:

  1. Line a deep stainless steel bowl with baking paper.
  2. Place the sugar and water into a saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Clean the side of the saucepan with a pastry brush and a little bit of water, to prevent the sugar from crystallising.
  3. Bring the sugar to the boil and cook it until it become slightly brown, you only want a pale caramel.
  4. Take it of the heat, put the saucepan next to the stainless steel bowl, and pour the baking soda in the caramel while whisking very quickly , Do not whisk for too long, only a few seconds. Once you add the baking soda it will rise very quickly a little like a volcano!
  5. Pour the honeycomb in the bowl as soon as you stop whisking and leave to cool down completely. It should  become hard pretty quickly.
  6. In the meantime, break down the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl and melt it over a bain-marie.
  7. Break the honeycomb into big chunks, dip half of them into the chocolate and the flowers. Leave the chocolate cool down so it hardens and they are ready to be served!

 

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Mistembec with Drunken Cherry Jam

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There is something special about working with old recipes from hundreds of years ago, it almost feels like going back in time. At least that is how I felt when I was cooking this delicious recipe for the “Mistembec”. This is a recipe that dates back to the XIV century, though it has slightly changed with the addition of the baking powder or yeast for example! Some say that the name itself mis-em-bec means put-in-mouth some say it may come from Arabic. They are a kind of doughnut or “Beignets”, like we call them in France, fried in oil and coated in honey, sugar syrup or caramel.

I paired my “Mistembec” with a drunken cherry jam. The cherry jam really complements this delicious dessert as the acidity of the cherries and rum aroma combined, give the “Mistembec” another dimension.

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel here for more!

Ingredients for the Mistembec:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 50g melted unsalted butter
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • frying oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

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Method:

  1. Mix the flour with the egg yolk, melted butter, orange blossom water salt and baking powder.
  2. Add warm water until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan to around 180 degrees.
  5. Once rested, stir the batter to loosen it a little bit.
  6. Whisk the egg white until light and fluffy like snow ( soft peak) without over whisking them and fold them through the batter
  7. Drop tablespoons of batter in the hot oil, try to give them different shape as you drop the mixture in. Don’t do more than 5-6 at a time to avoid dropping the oil temperature too much
  8. Once golden on both side, place them on paper towel.

Ingredients for the caramel:

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Method:

  1. Cook the sugar, water and vinegar until the sugar become slightly caramelized, you do not want to be dark.
  2. Before the “Beignets” are cold quickly dip them into the caramel and place on a tray to cool down. Make sure they do not touch each other otherwise they’ll stick.

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Ingredients for the Drunken cherry jam:

  • 600g pitted cherries, halved
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 120ml dark rum
  • 3 vanilla beans, seeded

Method:

  1. Cook the pitted cherries with the sugar, rum, vanilla seeds and pod on high heat until it starts boiling, then cook for about two hours on low heat to medium heat.

Serve with a Chateau “Suduiraut” Sauterne from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

Saffron and Orange Blossom Crème Caramel

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The Crème Caramel is, I think, one of the most iconic French dessert, one that you’ll find on every brasserie menu around France or French restaurants overseas. It is a dessert I used to have growing up; even the school cantine used to serve crème caramel. I like to refer to this dessert as the Tarte Tatin version of the Crème Brulée because it has the caramel at the bottom while cooking.  I decided to revisit this classic recipe and give it my own personal twist by adding some saffron and orange blossom aroma. The floral aroma and the richness of the saffron combined with the refreshing scent of the orange blossom goes perfectly with the sweetness of the caramel. It also adds a touch of spring to this classic French dessert!

Ingredients for the Caramel

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 5cl water

Method:

  1. Mix the sugar and water together in saucepan and cook until the sugar becomes golden in colour. Then pour the caramel at the bottom of deep round baking dish, preferably glass or ceramic, and leave to set.

Ingredients:

  • 1 l full fat milk
  • 7 free range eggs
  • 10g saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 250 g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius and boil the kettle for the bain-marie.
  2. Bring the milk, saffron and orange blossom to the boil and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk the egg and sugar together until slightly white and foamy.
  4. Pour the hot milk over the eggs through a strainer, and whisk until all the ingredients are dissolved.
  5. Pour the mixture over the caramel, place the dish in a deep tray and cook in the bain-marie for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Let the crème caramel cool in the dish before you take it out as it may collapse if you do it when it’s still hot.
  7. To unmold the crème, gently run a small knife around the edge of the dish. Then place a serving plate slightly bigger than the baking dish over the crème caramel upside down and quickly flip it around while holding both plate. Reserve in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel here for more!

 

 

Back to Basics: Choux Pastry

Back to Basics: Choux Pastry

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As we know them today, Choux pastry was created by a pâtissier named Avice in the 18th century. They were named as such because they looked like little cabbages and the French word for cabbage is “choux”. The original recipe though is thought to have been created in the mid-sixteenth century by an Italian chef in the service of Catherine de Medici.

Choux pastry is one of the quintessential French recipes. The pastry itself is quite easy to make but it’s what you do with it that contains the ‘WOW’ factor. The show-stopping French wedding cake, the Croquembouche, is a tower made of choux pastries, covered with caramel and spun sugar. Profiteroles, éclairs and churros all use the same basic choux recipe and as well as gougères, which are a savoury option, filled with cheese.

For something simpler, why not try filling them with my delicious orange and vanilla crème pâtissière and coating them in a crunchy caramel topping. They will make the perfect dessert to share with friends or family after a delicious meal or to entertain guests at an afternoon tea party!

To watch the how to video on my YouTube channel, click Here

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Makes approx. 36 Choux

Ingredients:

  • 500ml water
  • 200g Butter (unsalted), diced
  • 300g Plain Flour
  • 8 Eggs

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Method:

  1. Bring the water and butter to the boil.
  2. Once the butter is completely melted, reduce the heat to medium, add the flour and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Cook the dough for a few minutes to dry it a little bit, this process take should take about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Transfer the dough into an electric mixer bowl and mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment to cool it down. The dough should just warm before you add the eggs.
  5. Start adding the eggs one at a time while mixing.
  6. Once the eggs are all mixed through, transfer the mix into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
  7. Line a couple of flat baking tray with greaseproof paper and pipe 2cm circle on the tray, make sure you leave about 1cm between each choux.
  8. Bake at 200 degrees for 20-25 minutes, the choux should sound hollow and feel a little hard when you press them between your fingers.
  9. Once cooked place them on a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Crème Patissière (French Custard)

Ingredients:

  • 40g Plain flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 500ml Full Fat milk
  • 4 free range egg yolks
  • 2 vanilla pods, seeds out
  • 2 orange zest
  • 20ml cointreau

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Method:

  1. Bring the milk, orange zest, Cointreau and vanilla pods to the boil.
  2. In the meantime, whisk the yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds together. Then add the flour and whisk until combined.
  3. Pour the milk over the egg mixture and whisk well until everything is mixed through.
  4. Return the pot to the stove and cook on medium heat while whisking until it thickens up. Once it starts boiling cook it for about 3 minutes more.
  5. Pour the crème patissière into a bowl, place a layer of glad wrap directly on top of it and leave to cool completely in the fridge.

Caramel:

Ingredients:

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 15cl water
  • 100g pearl or hail sugar (for the finishing)

Method:

  1. Mix the water and sugar together in small saucepan and cook the sugar until it becomes golden brown, and then take it off the heat.

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Finishing the choux:

  • Make a small hole in the bottom of each choux using the end a pen.
  • Pipe the custard in the choux using a piping bag fitted with a nozzle.
  • Dip the top of the choux in the caramel and the Pearl sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

Apricot Tarte Tatin

 

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The story of the Tarte Tartin gives hope to everyone who is absent-minded in the kitchen. This “accidental” dessert is credited to the sisters Tartin who ran a hotel in the town of Lamotte-Beuvron, in France’s Loire Valley. One of the sisters, Stephanie, was known as an excellent cook but also a bit of a scatterbrain. As the most popular version of the story goes, one day she left the apples for her apple pie in the pan for too long and so they over-caramelised.

Not wanting to waste the apples, but wanting to hide the mishap, she covered them with tart pastry and placed the whole pan in the oven to bake. Once cooked, she flipped her concoction back over to serve in order to make it look like a normal tart.

If only every kitchen disaster could be such a hit with guests!

The great thing about this recipe is that it works just as well with any fruit that caramelises nicely. I was lucky enough this summer to have a bumper crop of apricots on my tree and they worked beautifully for this Tarte Tartin. Peaches also work a treat and for the savoury lover, some juicy cherry tomatoes rival their sweeter cousins.

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Ingredient:

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 50 ml water
  • 15-20 apricots
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 50 ml rum
  • 1 sheet butter puff pastry

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Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Put the sugar and water in a medium sauce pan, give it a stir and cook the sugar until it caramelize.
  3. Pour the caramel into a tart dish, glass or non stick is preferable, and make sure it covers the entire base.
  4. Cut the apricot in half, remove the stone and place them on top of the caramel cut side towards you. Once you’ve layed down the first layer of apricots, repeat the process once more. When you flip the Tatin you’ll see the nicer side of the apricots.
  5. Dice the butter and place it on top of the apricots. Pour the rum on top of the fruit.
  6. Place the pastry over the apricots, tuck the sides in and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Once cooked, leave it cool down a little bit then carefully flip it over. A good way to do it is to place a tray on top of the tart and using two towel flip in one move.
  8. I suggest you serve the Tarte Tatin with a delicious vanilla bean ice cream and a glass of Chateau “Suduiraut” Sauterne available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au .

Blood Orange and Vanilla Crème Brûlée

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Crème Brûlée | Le Fermier

Crème brûlée…just saying the words out loud is enough to glaze over the eyes of most dessert lovers as they start to daydream about the <crack> of the toffee crust as it’s tapped with their spoon, or how the velvety vanilla cream almost dissolves as it hits their tongue, and the surprising <crunch> every now and again as their teeth find a shard of toffee.

Having grown up and studied cooking in France, this quintessential dessert has always been a big part of my life – both the cooking of and eating of it (eating it is definitely my favourite of the two).

Though the origins of this dish may not in fact be French at all (there are strong claims from both the English and the Catalans and its inventors), it’s safe to say the crème brûlée as it exists today is almost so synonymous with French dessert, it could be considered cliché.

I really enjoy making this dish for family and friends as there is an anticipation that builds up when guests know it’s on the menu, a kind of gastronomic foreplay if you will that makes the air feel electric. Thankfully, this little ramekin of decadence always satisfies, while still managing to leave the diner longing for just one more spoonful…

Ingredients:

  • 600 ml Thickened Cream
  • 2 orange zest and segments ( blood orange if in season)
  • 1 vanilla bean ( cut in half and seeded)
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 8 egg yolks

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Method : In a medium saucepan bring the cream and vanilla bean to the boil. In the meantime, in a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla seeds and the orange zest until the mixture become slightly white. Once the cream has boiled pour it over the egg mixture while whisking. Mix well for about a minute to make sure everything is dissolve. Pour the mix back into the saucepan and cook over a medium to low heat while stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon, occasionally whisking as well. Cook until you see a swirl of fat at the top, or, using a digital thermometer, until the mixture reaches 85 degrees Celsius. Then, pour the crème brûlée mix into a clean bowl and whisk for 2-3 minutes to cool it down. Put a couple of orange segments at the bottom of some ramequins and pour the mix over the top and leave to rest overnight. Just before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of caster sugar over the top of the crème brûlée and caramelise it using a cooking blow torch. A glass of chilled sweet white wine would compliment this wonderful dessert perfectly.

Bon Appétit,
Le fermier