Cherry Clafoutis

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Early summertime is cherry season and traditionally this means adorning the top of a freshly baked pavlova with these juicy little jewels for Christmas day dessert. But if you want to try something a little different (and you wouldn’t be food lovers without a sense of culinary adventure) then may I introduce a dainty little dish called the clafoutis.

This fabulous flan-like dessert is a traditional dish of the Limousin region of France and is rather peculiar in that it contains cherries that are unpitted. It may sound odd and like a lot of work to ensure you don’t chip a tooth with every bite, but believe me when I say that the pips add an extra nutty nuance that makes it worth the effort. Just make sure you let your guests know before they tuck in!

Traditional cherry clafoutis:

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Ingredients:

  •  185 mL thickened cream
  • 125 mL full fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 30g almond meal
  • 400g cherries
  • 1 Tbsp Kirsch

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 F).
  2. Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in two, scrape out the seeds and add both to the cream.
  3. Heat the cream gently for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, add the milk and leave to cool. Take the vanilla pod out.
  4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mixture becomes slightly white and foamy.
  5. Sieve the flour, mix it with the almond meal and then add it to the egg mix. Whisk well to avoid lumps.
  6. Gently add the cooled cream and whisk until combined.
  7. Arrange the cherries at the bottom of your cake tray (use a 23cm or so baking tray), pour the mix over the cherries to about ¾ of the tray.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden on top. A good trick to check if your Clafoutis is cooked is to plant a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean then it’s cook!
  9. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of cream while still warm.

With this delicious dessert i recommend a Chateau Coutet “Sauternes” available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

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Christmas Day Lunch “Aussie Style”: Part 3

Christmas Triffle:

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Ingredients for the custard:

  •  1 L full fat milk
  • 250 g Caster sugar
  • 55 g plain flour
  • 6 free range eggs

Method:

  1.  Bring the milk to the boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile whisk together the eggs and sugar. Sieve the flour and add it to the egg mix. Whisk until combined.
  3. Add the hot milk to the egg mix and whisk until dissolved.
  4. Pour the mix back in the saucepan and cook on medium heat, while whisking. The custard will start to thicken up when it get close to the boil. Once it starts boiling cook it for about 3 minute on medium heat while whisking.
  5. Pour the custard in clean bowl and leave to cool.

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Ingredient for the jelly:

  •  1 L water
  • 200 ml black currant cordial
  • 7 Teaspoon gelatin powder

 

Method:

  1. Combine the cordial and water.
  2. Bring the water to the boil, then slowly sprinkle the gelatin on the water while whisking.
  3. Make sure all the gelatin has dissolved, and then divide the gelatin mix in two trays, and place in the fridge to set.

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Ingredients for the Triffle:

  •  1 sponge roll
  • ½ cup port
  • 2 nectarine
  • 1 punnet blueberries
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1 punnet raspberries
  • 1 punnet blackberries
  • 1 tin peach in syrup

Method:

  1. Thickly slice the sponge and arrange it at the bottom of the triffle bowl.
  2. Drizzle the sponge with the port and 1/3 of the half set jelly. The sponge will soak the jelly giving it an even better texture.
  3. Arrange the custard over the sponge, you want your custard to be a little looser than usual to keep the trifle saucy and not dry.
  4. Then dispose the fruit on top of the custard and finish by adding the jelly for the last layer!

I recommend a Chateau Coutet 2006 (Sauternes) available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

 

 

Christmas Day Lunch “Aussie Style”: Part 2

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Turkey breast with a Fig, Hazelnut and orange stuffing:

Ingredients:

  •  1 turkey breast (around 2 kg)
  • 90 g dried figs
  • 90 g hazelnuts
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 200 g almond meal
  • 1 egg
  • 300 ml Limoncello

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F).
  2. Roughly chop up the figs, hazelnuts, orange and parsley.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Using a sharp knife, open up the turkey breast on the flesh side and flatten it. Season the meat with salt and pepper, and then arrange the stuffing evenly in the middle.
  5. Wrap the turkey tightly around the stuffing, and tie it all up using cooking string.
  6. Cook in the hot oven for 2 ½ hours, cover it with foil for the first half of the cooking to keep it juicy and moist. Take the foil off for the last part of the cooking to crisp up the skin.

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Ingredients for the cranberry relish:

  •  300 g dried cranberries
  • 1 orange peel
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium size sauce and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, then lower the heat and cook until you obtain a glossy looking mixture almost like a jam. You want the relish to still be quiet saucy.
  2. Check the seasoning, you can add a bit more vinegar if you want your relish to have a bit more kick!
  3. Serve hot with the turkey breast.

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Any left over turkey will make the perfect filling for a sandwich or a cold meat platter the next day!

I recommend a Chateau Coutet “Opalie” with this delicious Christmas Recipe, available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

 

Christmas Eve Dinner “à la Française”: Part 3

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Classic Bûche de Noël

Ingredients for the Génoise (sponge):

  •  4 eggs
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 125 g plain flour

Method:

  1.  Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F ).
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until it triple in size. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
  3. Sieve the flour. Slowly fold in the flour with the egg/sugar mix using a rubber spatula. Make sure you scrape the side and bottom of the bowl and that all the flour is mixed through.
  4. Line a flat baking tray with greaseproof paper and evenly spread the mixture on the tray.
  5. Bake for about 12 minutes, until golden on top. Once cooked put the sponge on a cooling rack and leave to cool.

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Ingredient for the “ Crème au Beurre” (butter cream):

  •  4 egg whites
  • 130 ml water
  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 440 unsalted butter

Method:

  1.  Put the sugar and water in a medium size saucepan and cook to 118 degrees Celsius (244.4 F).
  2. Start whisking the white on medium speed when the sugar reaches 110 degrees Celsius (230 F). When the sugar is ready, slowly poor it over the white and whisk on high speed until cooled down (almost room temperature).
  3. Add the butter little bit a the time while whisking, make sure the meringue has cooled down enough before you add the butter, otherwise it will split and turn into a soup!
  4. Once you’ve added the butter, whisk for a couple of minutes and keep aside.

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For the sugar syrup:

  •  200 g caster sugar
  • 200 ml water
  • 30 ml rum

Method:

  1. Bring the sugar, water and rum to the boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Place the sponge on the bench. Using a pastry brush slightly wet the sponge with the sugar syrup.
  3. Using a pallet knife evenly spread the “Crème au Beurre”. Sprinkle shaved coconut and finely grated white chocolate on top. Roll the sponge on itself, make sure you roll it tightly to avoid it from collapsing later on!
  4. Cut a piece of cardboard half the width of the “Bûche”, wrap it in foil and place it under the Christmas cake.
  5. Using a pallet knife evenly spread the “Crème au Beurre” on top and around the sponge.
  6. Take the Bûche out of the fridge 30 minutes before dessert time!

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With this delicious Christmas dessert I recommend a chateau Chateau “Coutet” Sauternes-Barsac 2006 available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au