Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers September Challenge - Lavash Crackers & Toppings

September Challenge - Lavash Crackers & Toppings

Thank you Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and co-host Shel, of Musings From the Fishbowl for chosing the recipe for Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice (pp 178 - 180).
This is a great challenge!

The Challenge: Make Lavash Crackers and create a dip/spread/salsa/relish to accompany it. This challenge allows for large helpings of creativity and personality, with the crackers, your flavor choices for the crackers, and with your dip/spread choice. You can create your own dip/spread recipe, use one of your favorites, or use one of the recipes we’ve provided at the bottom of this post. Get crazy ! Just be sure to post the recipe along with your challenge crackers so we can see what you made and how you made it (so we can try it, too!).

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe) or 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup millet flour, 1/2 cup arrowroot starch, 1 tsp chia seed meal
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature

My option: 2 teaspoons chopped orange zest
¼ cup chopped walnuts
were mixed with the dough

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed. Mix the orange zest and walnuts.

2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering with Espelette Pepper, dried basil, sea salt, walnuts finely chopped.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Artichoke dip• 2 cups of frozen artichokes
• 2 cups of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 cup of Greek Yogurt
• Salt and pepper
1 Drain the artichokes from the can. Coarsely chop them.
2 Combine chopped chokes, Parmesan, and Yogurt into a microwave or oven-proof serving dish.
3 Microwave on high heat for 5 minutes, pausing occassionally to stir, to ensure that the dip gets heated evenly. Add fresh ground pepper and salt to taste.

Une Quiche tout simplement!

Pie crust- Pate a tarte
1 cup Organic flour
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp hard butter, cut in chunks
3 tbsp cold water (approx)

1. In bowl, combine flour & salt. With fingers or
pastry blender, cup or cut in butter until
mixture is crumbly.
2. Sprinkle with cold water, tossing with fork to
mix. Gather dough together and from into ball,
wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
3. Roll out on lightly floured surface and fit into
9-inch (23 cm) pie plate.


8" pie crust (homemade- see above the recipe)
4 fresh organic eggs
1/2 cup shredded 3 cheeses
1 Cup Organic heavy cream
1 cup pancetta cut and diced ( bough at TJ’s)
½ cup red/ yellow/green bell pepper diced
1 small onion diced and cut in very small pieces
olive oil
fresh pepper

1. Brown the pie crust by piercing with a fork
several times and bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 min.
2. Saute the pancetta first, then add the onions, then the peppers until cooked
3. Beat eggs, add the heavy cream
4. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of shredded
5. Add pancetta/onion/ pepper.
6. Mix together eggs, cream, pepper, onion, pancetta
6. Pour in the lightly cooked pie crust
Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 for 30-45 minutes
or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out
clean. Serve with a side salad

*While cooking, eggs will rise like a soufflé and
settle again when taken out of the oven.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Leftover Savory Bread

I hate throwing away leftovers. Usually I use all leftovers in frittata, omelet, to stuffed crepes.... I had some brocoli, Tuna, Tomatoes left in the fridge from the kids lunch.
After talking to Sophie my Yoga Teacher and friend, she said she will make some " savory cake" for super served with salad. I thought it will be a great idea to do the same with my leftovers....

Leftover Savory Bread... called " Cake" in France...yes we call this a "cake" used as a French word

4 Tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 cup freshly grated Gruyère
1 cup cooked brocolis
1/2 cup Tuna ( Tuna can with olive oil)
1/2 cup of fresh tomatoes
Fresh herbs : chives, parsley, basil from my garden

Dip- 2 avocados soft
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- salt
- pepper
- 1 cup Greek Yogurt

Mix all ingredients in a blender.

Butter a loaf pan and set aside.
Combine the flour baking powder and salt and stir to blend.
Using a whisk, slowly whisk in the eggs.
Whisk in the milk, cheese, brocolis, tomatoes and tuna and oil.
Set aside for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Stir the batter to blend and pour into the prepared loaf pan.
Place in the center of the oven and bake 30 minutes or until firm and golden.
Allow to cool to room temperature.

To serve:
Slice the cake. Arrange on a serving tray and serve with a Avocado , mustard and Greek Yogurt Dip.

Verdict: The beautiful corlorful Savory cake looks so beautiful with a light green velvety dip! It was yummy my husband and myself ate averything for diner with a salad.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stuffed Organic Zucchinis

I love zucchinis. I love most of Summer vegetables, but Zuchinis are light and delicious. We use a lot of zuchinis in my family's recipes. From sauteed in Olive oil, then topping with creme fraiche and swiss cheese! or stuffed with crumbled eggs with tomatoes and peppers... recipes are from my mom.
In my fridge I always have Ricotta cheese, I use it for savory or sweet recipes. It gives a moist, sweet and delicious texture. Last evening I had only 15 minutes to prepare them before heading to the local library.

Stuffed Zuchinis

- 5 small Organic zucchinis
- 2 thin slice of cooked ham or prosciutto ( I tried with Salmon and it was delicious too!)
- 3 cups Ricotta cheese ( I got mine at TJ's)
- salt
- Pepper
- 3 cheese shedded
- Mint
1 small onion, cut in small pieces
- 1 garlic clove pressed
- 1 Egg Yolk

Clean your zuchinis. Cut them in half and empty the inside with a small spoon, put aside ( the inside you just took off) and sauted with olive oil, onion, garlic.
When cooked, put in a blender add the ham and blend together until you obtain a smooth constitancy. Add salt and pepper.
Mix together the mixture with riccotta and egg yolk. Adjust seasonning.
Stuff the zucchinis with it. Top with shrinded cheese and mint.

Preheat your oven at 375 F. Cook the zuchinis until tender between 25 - 35 minutes.

Delicous with a Frisee salad, bacon bits , homemade croutons and a warm-vinaigrette.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pink Ice cream for Autumn Day

On my Calendar there is a note saying : Fall Begins! Oh No already! Summer 08' went so fast. Time is flying.Right. Kids are back to school. I have done some Catering in Torrance. My Cooking Classes will start with Murrieta Park and recreation on October 2 at the Murrieta Seniors Center. I have a Cooking Party with Living Valley Editors coming up and my last ad with my new logo will be displayed in the October Living Valley magazine...
I am looking 10 times at my Calendar.. so many things to do and to organize.
But hey I had some time to make a delicious Ice Cream with all fruits I could find: pineaples, grapes, strawberries. I blent the Strawberries with sugar and Yogurt. Then pour the other fruits cut in small pieces. On the top I add some white tiny small meringues find at Trader Joe's.
The Ice cream/ Frozen yogurt was delicious veru fruity and velvety!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pierre Herme's Chocolate Eclairs Daring Bakers August Challenge

This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge is hosted by Meeta K of What's for Lunch, Honey? and Tony Tahhan. They have chosen Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé our Famous Parisien Star Patissier. He is the best. I remember discovering Pierre Herme in a "Special" French " Apostrophes" TV show about books and literrature, hosted with another star Bernard Pivot. One episode was about Good French Living in France. He invited some wine makers, some bakers, Chefs and Pierre Herme was there. He was young and Bernard Pivot could not say enough about how talented he was. I rememberred he was shy. At this time we were living in NYC ( we had a Cable with French TV) and I was wondering if one day I could taste Pierre Herme delicious pastries and creations. Actually I never done, because when we go back to France we do not stop for one day or 2 in Paris as we used to do. With the kids now we want to be in our home in the South of France the quickest way we can. So no stop over in Paris.
I was so happy when I discovered this challenge. I skipped the last one for many reasons explained in the post related to it. But I was reasy for this one


I love everything with chocolate in it. But Eclairs au chocolat are one of my favorites. Infortunately every Patries shop I have visited in SO-cal even the best do not have real eclairs au chocolat. The filling is done with wipp cream, with chocolate glaze but the filling with Chocolate the way we eat in France.
So yes, yes I am so happy.
I have done them pretty quickly Sunday morning, while my kids were playing.
verdict.... DELICIOUS. I am a Chocolate Girl my husband is a Coffee Boy.
So I split chocolate and Coffee Eclairs.
I had hard time fiding Coffee extract so it was a challenge to make the the Coffee cream filling and the Coffee glaze. Actually the coffee glaze was done with caramel melange.. in order to be sticky.
Here is only the Chocolate eclairs recipe, I will provide the Coffee one in the next days.

NB: did I mention that since I joined the DB I gained 6 pounds?

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.

1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water, stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé
• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.