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

Cannelé de Bordeaux

1872

 

A Cannelé is a small French pastry with a soft, custard centre and a dark, caramelised crust. Modern versions are cooked using special moulds, ideally made from copper that are sort of a circular shape with a scallop-edge. This shape is widely thought to come from the fact that the word Cannelé in French is very similar to the word “cannelure” which translates to corrugation (think of a classic Aussie tin roof).

The origin of the Cannelé dates back to 1519 when nuns from a Bordeaux convent started to make cakes from flour they’d found on the quay, rhum from the islands and egg yolk left over from winemaking because they used egg white to purify the wine so they would have a lot of egg yolk left over in Bordeaux.

The dish, which is a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France, is made from eggs, sugar, milk and flour, and flavored with rum and vanilla. Today, cannelés are so popular that they can be even bought at Bordeaux McDonald’s!

As you might assume, Cannelés are often served for dessert but mini versions also make the perfect canapé to serve with champagne at a cocktail soirée.

This dish can be a challenging one to make, as put too much mix in the mold and you will get oddly shaped muffins instead of delicate fresh pastries, or put your oven at the wrong temperature and your caramel will go too far (charcoal Cannelé, anyone?). However, the crusty exterior texture and the almost unexpected soft, “vanillary” inner make it worth all the effort!

Ingredients:

  • 1L full cream milk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 280g plain flour
  • 475g caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 10cL rum
  • 2 tbsps vanilla extract
  • 2 vanilla beans

1821                     1835                    1866

Method:

  • Add the milk, butter, rum, vanilla extract and vanilla beans (seeds removed and placed to the side) all to a medium saucepan and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the gas off when it starts boiling and leave on the stove to infuse for 15 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl add the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds. Whisk the eggs and sugar until the mix become slightly white.
  • Reheat the milk mix in your saucepan on a medium heat until it starts to simmer, turn the gas off again to let it cool down just a little (the milk needs to be quite hot, but not boiling, when you pour it in as this will slightly cook the eggs, giving the Cannelés the perfect consistency)
  • Add about 1/5 of the liquid to the mixing bowl with the eggs and sugar, while whisking.
  • Whisk well, then add the flour, then whisk again and finally add the rest of the milk (by doing it this way you’ll avoid having lumps in the mix).
  • Leave the combined mixture to rest in the fridge for 24 hours.
  • While the mix is finishing its resting, grease the moulds with melted butter, put them upside down to get rid of excess butter, let it set and repeat the process one more time
  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius. The Cannelés have to be baked at 2 different temperatures. The cooking starts at a high temperature to caramelise the outside, then lower to cook the inside.
  • For a 5cm high cannelé mould, fill the mould with mixture up to the 4cm mark, and no more. Filling the Cannelé moulds precisely is critical to the success of the finished product.The cannelé mixture will rise in the first stage of the cooking process and if the mixture rises above the lip of the mould it will get stuck and you’ll end up with a “rustic” looking cannelé muffin instead.
  • Place the Cannelé into the oven and cook at 250 degrees Celsius for 12 minutes, then lower temperature to 200 degrees Celsius and cook for another 35 minutes.
  • Take the Cannelé out of the oven and unmould them straight away and place them on a cooling rack, leaving to rest for 2 hours before tasting.

Pain d’épices

 

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Pain d’épices was originally a sourdough bread without added leavening; it was left in a wooden trough to rest in a cool place for months, during which the honeyed rye flour experienced fermentation. When ready the dough was cooked in loaf moulds. The modern product usually rises with baking soda, or with baking powder, developed in the nineteenth century.

Because traditional pain d’épices is sweetened entirely with honey, honey merchants in France often stock loaves of it for sale. La Collective des Biscuits et Gâteaux de France reserves the name pain d’épices pur miel (French for: “pure honey spice bread”) for pain d’épices sweetened only with honey

 

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Pain d’épices :

Ingredients :

  • 500 g flour
  • 250 g honey
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 400 ml milk
  • 2 whole egg
  • 4 yolk (in total)
  • 4 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon bi carb soda
  • 4 tea spoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2 cloves (grounded)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 140 g melted butter

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Place flour, spices, baking powder and bi carb soda in a bowl• In a different bowl place the honey and sugar, warm up your milk and add it to the honey, whisk the until dissolve• Stir the flour mixture, then add the honey and milk mixture, whisked eggs and butter• Whisk vigorously until all the ingredient are well mixed.  Line the cake mould with grease proof paper then pour the mixture in a rectangle cake mould, and bake for 1 hour at 190 degree Celsius.

 

 

 

 

 

Bearnaise sauce

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Béarnaise sauce comes from a region called “Béarn”  in the South-West of France not far from the border of Spain. This delicious sauce dates back to the 19th century and is one of the most popular sauces for steaks worldwide, but is also delicious with grilled salmon.

For the Clarified Butter:  Put 150g of butter in a sauce pan and melt on a really low heat, scooping off the foam that appears at the top. You should see the milk separate from the rest (Fat). Once separated you should have a gold looking liquid (this is clarified butter), which can also be used to make Hollandaise sauce .

 

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For the Bearnaise sauce : Chop 2 shallots and ½ bunch of tarragon and put half of it in a sauce pan with 100 ml of white wine vinegar, reduce the liquid on medium heat to a 1/3 of its original volume• Once reduced, strain the reduction into a bowl and throw away the shallots and tarragon• Pour the reduction back into the sauce pan and add the fresh tarragon and shallots• On a low heat add your egg yolk one by one while whisking, if it starts to scramble take it off the heat and whisk for a little bit to stop it from overcooking, cook the sauce until you get a mayonnaise like consistency• Turn the heat off, and slowly add the clarified butter while whisking, if it gets too thick add a little bit of warm water to loosen it and stop it from splitting. If it does split add a bit of warm water and whisk, which should bring it back.

 

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