Bouchon Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

So naturally after a healthy post I follow up with something on the other end of the scale. My mom got me Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook and having heard really great things about it I was excited to try something. I started off with the TKO cookies and the Nutter Butter’s but thought a more unique thing to share would be the Flan Tart! I slightly adapted it by omitting the apricots and adding a chocolate ganache to the top of it.

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Look at that thing. I personally love flan, crème brûlée and all sorts of custard based desserts. This filling isn’t exactly flan per se as it does not include condensed milk which is typical of flan but more of a simple custard based simply on whole milk, eggs, vanilla and sugar. It has a pâte brisée crust and you can use Bouchon Bakery’s recipe or one that you are more familiar with, as long as it fits a 9 inch round pan.

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

The recipe’s in Bouchon Bakery are very exact and contain a lot of useful information. If you follow directions closely you will end up with a great product. One of the tips I really liked is to let muffin batter sit for a day as this soaks the flour and produces a more moist final product. Having made countless batches of dry-ish muffins despite vast amounts of oil or buttermilk this might be the clue I’ve been missing all these years! I plan on trying one of the muffin recipes and reporting back here to see how that goes 🙂

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

One important thing to note is that they call for Bird’s Custard Powder for the recipe. Coincidentally had this as I had been to Cost Plus World Market and they had this in their section of international foods a while ago (custard powder is quite popular in the UK). If you don’t have it I looked at the ingredients and it is entirely cornstarch with flavoring and food coloring. So you can most likely sub cornstarch for it and maybe add some extra vanilla. Your final custard might be less yellow but taste should not be too highly affected.

INSTRUCTIONS:

FOR THE PATE BRISEE RECIPE SEE INSIDE THE BOOK HERE

FOR THE FLAN TART RECIPE SEE INSIDE THE BOOK HERE

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

INGREDIENTS:

– 8 oz dark chocolate, chopped
– 1/2 cup whole milk or cream

1. Melt the chocolate and milk together over a double boiler or by microwaving for 30 second increments with whisking in between.
2. Spread over the cooled flan tart.

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

TIPS:
– As before, if you do not have Bird’s Custard Powder you can order it online, find it at Cost Plus World Market or substitute for cornstarch and extra vanilla flavoring.
– Incorporating coconut in this, whether by subbing in coconut milk or topping with toasted coconut would be quite good.
– Another option is omitting the chocolate ganache and topping with fresh berries.

Slice

Slice

Easy Apricot & Honey Cobbler

So even though we had an apricot tree in our yard growing up I believe this is the first time I’ve had fresh apricots. As far as that tree goes the birds always got to the apricots first. So it was about time I secured some of these guys to do as I please with them.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricots are really good fresh, if you mind the skin like I do it is a bit of a hassle to peel them and sizing up this recipe might be a bit cumbersome. But fear not, there are ways to do it faster by dropping them into boiling water and then ice water so the peels just rub off (see here).

Apricots

Apricots

Apricot is a wonderful little fruit that goes very well with spices (cinnamon, cloves, you name it) and chillier weather food. But since its been so sunny and hot out I decided to forgo any wintry ingredients and go with something that would bring out more fresh and summer-y flavors. Quite simply I thought it was best to thus let the apricots stand out on their own and the only other major flavoring I added was buckwheat honey. Apricot is tart and sweet and this darker honey has deep caramel but at the same time floral notes that play well with the apricot.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Spoonful of Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Spoonful of Apricot & Honey Cobbler

This recipe is designed to be a) super easy and b) for one person. I imagine you would be hard pressed to prepare a cobbler for one if it wasn’t dreadfully easy and peeling those little guys was really a rate limiting step that discouraged me from attempting to size this up. But perhaps you are a more generous person than I am 🙂

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

INGREDIENTS:

6 apricots, peeled and halved
3 tablespoons of buckwheat honey
4 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of cold butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon oats

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375.
1. Toss the apricot halves with the honey and 1 tablespoon of flour until coated well with no obvious lumps of flour. Add this to a small ramekin that can go in the oven.
2. In a separate bowl combine the remaining, flour, butter, brown sugar and oats.
3. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it’s in big crumbles.
4. Add this to the top of your fruit mixture
5. Bake for 15 minutes in a 375 F degree oven.
6. Serve with ice cream, creme anglaise or greek yogurt.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Perhaps the most important thing I could tell you is that this needs to be eaten hot out of the oven. Give it a couple minutes until its not bubbling lava but as soon as its reasonably still hot you must put a scoop of ice cream over it or dig a little hole in the middle of it and pour some creme anglaise or greek yogurt right in the center of it and watch it as it seeps into all the little nooks and crannies. I chose greek yogurt as I was sort of being healthy but mostly and very sadly did not have ice cream in the house. Worry not though, it was still amazing.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

TIPS:
– Other dark honeys like avocado honey can be used. Really any honey would be great and they would all change the final flavor a little. I think orange blossom honey and sage honey would be lovely lighter honey alternatives to buckwheat.
– Other fruit could be used; namely peaches, nectarines, any berry or whatever your heart desires. Maybe not bananas though I don’t know how a banana cobbler would fare.
– Do not “over rub” the crumble as you can warm the butter too much, you need cold bits of butter in your dough so its flaky and crumbly.

PB & BCH Toast

If you are currently at a loss for breakfast we have the simplest recipe for you. It involves no cooking (is toasting cooking?) and it will be ready in about 5 minutes, depending on how fast your slicing skills are.

As much as we would love to have a full breakfast everyday, one rarely finds the time to make rashers of bacon, crispy potatoes and scrambled eggs on weekday mornings. And breakfast is, as most of us are tired of hearing, the most important meal of the day. Although we too are guilty of occasionally skipping breakfast, many studies have shown that people who eat breakfast eat less throughout the whole day. Almost on par with skipping breakfast is having an unsatisfying breakfast. Although many times cereal will do just fine, if you are pressed for time and want something hot you need nothing more than 4 or 5 ingredients.

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Honey Toast

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Honey Toast

INGREDIENTS:
Loaf of country whole wheat bread (We like Trader Joe’s Demi Miche bread)
Peanut butter (we are partial to crunchy but we know this is a controversial topic)
1 banana
Honey
Shredded or flaked coconut (or any other topping of your choice!)
Coconut oil

Directions:
1. Slice some of the bread to your desired thickness.
2. Toast. Spread coconut oil on both sides then pan fry until golden on each side.
3. Spread the peanut butter generously on one side.
4. Slice the banana and layer on top of the peanut butter.
5. Drizzle with honey.
6. Top with coconut flakes.

Should you follow these ridiculously simple (almost to the point of being unnecessary) directions: The toast will be hot, crunchy on the outside, and will smell coconut-y and butter-y at the same time. The peanut butter will begin to melt where it touches the bread and ooze over. The bananas and honey will add sweetness and lastly you’ll have some more texture and flavor from the coconut. So good! This would also be a perfect afternoon snack.

TIPS:
– If you are allergic to coconut you can use butter instead of coconut oil and omit the coconut flakes.
– This would be also delicious with just plain white bread or super dark rye bread.
– This is what the Trader Joe’s Demi Miche bread looks like (here).
– Instead of the coconut flakes you could also top this with dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dates…), chocolate chips, cinnamon, nuts, or berries!

Easy Roast Chicken Dinner

There is a show on Food Network where a lady layers ready made Jell-O cup filling with fruits and cookies to make makeshift trifles. Although we have never done this and cannot attest to how good it would taste, we like the concept of the show of mixing ready-made ingredients with cooking from scratch in order to make fast meals that don’t come straight from a box (only a little from a box).

For days when all you want to do is stop by Chipotle and get a burrito or order in pizza we have an alternate solution. Instead of Chipotle, stop by your local grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, boxed mac and cheese, brussel sprouts, mushrooms and shallots. You’ll have a lovely meal in no time.

What we propose is serving the rotisserie chicken as is (the main part of the meal is completely ready), adding some mushroom bechamel sauce to your mac and cheese to kick it up a notch and then make a quick brussel sprout hash. Easy and delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

CHICKEN:
1 rotisserie chicken

Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie Chicken

MAC AND CHEESE:
1 box of mac and cheese mix (we like Trader Joe’s Organic White Cheddar Mac n Cheese)
1 cup of milk (heated)
1 sprig of thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of sliced mushrooms (we like baby portobello for this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite!)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup of shredded sharp white Cheddar
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

Directions:
1. In a small pan, saute the mushrooms with the olive oil and thyme until brown (about 4-5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper
2. Melt the butter in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming.
4. Whisk the milk it into the butter and flour mixture.
5. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is smooth.
6. Stir in the the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese.
7. Add the mushrooms then season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
8. Prepare the boxed mac and cheese according to instructions.
9. Add the mushroom bechamel sauce to the prepared mac and cheese.

Mushroom White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Mushroom White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

INGREDIENTS:

BRUSSEL SPROUT HASH WITH CARAMELIZED SHALLOTS:
3 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
Coarse kosher salt
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water

Directions:
1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat.
2. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper.
3. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
4. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.
5. Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices.
6. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
7. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes.
8. Add 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon of butter.
9. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes.
10. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper.

Brussel Sprout Hash

Brussel Sprout Hash

Now just assemble everything together and you have dinner! It definitely still feels like a home cooked meal but without all the effort.

Dinner!

Dinner!

Mac and cheese sauce inspired by Tyler Florence’s Mac and Cheese Recipe
Brussel Sprout Hash recipe from epicurious

TIPS:
– The mac and cheese would also be wonderful with wild mushrooms and maybe a dash of truffle oil if you’re feeling fancy.
– We suggest you use mac and cheese that’s a tad nicer than the bright orange stuff, there are many boxed mac and cheese mixes that are tasty without using that many artificial ingredients.
– Other cheeses that would be good in the bechamel sauce are subbing some of the cheddar for mozzarella (for melty stretchiness) and maybe adding some parmesan for taste.
– Finding brussel sprouts that are already sliced thinly would make the brussel sprout hash prep quite speedy.

Triple-Whiskey Double-Chocolate Cupcakes

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we wanted to come up with an appropriate recipe to celebrate this holiday with. At first we thought of chocolate and Bailey’s since that’s a classic pairing but ultimately decided there were enough of these recipes so came up with this Triple-Whiskey Double-Chocolate Cupcake: Chocolate cupcakes filled with whiskey simple syrup, whiskey cream and topped with chocolate ganache and whiskey caramel.

Whiskey Chocolate Cupcake

Whiskey Chocolate Cupcake

You can adjust how much whiskey you want to add and this recipe definitely works for bourbon or rum as well.

Whiskey Custard Filling

Whiskey Custard Filling

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:

Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Whiskey Simple Syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup whiskey

Whiskey Custard:
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 sugar
2 egg yolks
1 heaped tbsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup of heavy cream
8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate

Whiskey Caramel:
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup of heavy cream, warmed
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp whiskey

Procedures:
Chocolate Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Fit the 12 molds of a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.
2.Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 3. With a stand mixer or a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for two minutes, until it is blended into the butter.
4. Add the egg, then the yolk, beating for 1 minute between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. Beat in the vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear.
6. Scrape down the bowl and add the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.
7. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate, and mix it in by hand with a rubber spatula.
8. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared molds. Bake for 22 – 25 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are springy and a tester inserted in the centers comes out clean. Transfer the muffin pan to a cooling rack and allow the cakes to cool.

Whiskey Simple Syrup:
1. In a saucepan, heat the whiskey and the sugar until thesugar is fully dissolved, stirring occasionally.
2. Let it cool.

Whiskey Custard:
1. Whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl.
2. Mix the cream and milk in a heavy medium saucepan under medium heat and heat until its close to boiling.
3. Lower heat then slowly whisk cream and milk into egg mixture. Return mixture to saucepan.
4. Stir over low heat until the mixture thickens, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to
bowl.
5. Stir in whiskey and vanilla. Cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate.

Whiskey Caramel:
1. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan; stir to mix and melt.
2. Cook over low heat, using the handle of the pan to swirl the liquid and ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved. (From this stage forward, do not touch the caramel with a spoon or spatula until the final step.) It should be absolutely clear. This takes about 4 minutes
3. Raise the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil and cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the caramel turns a dark amber color, like maple syrup (about 10 to 12 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat.
4. Carefully add the warm cream to the caramel; the caramel will froth and steam.
5. Return the pan to low heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to dissolve any solidified caramel until the sauce is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and whiskey.
6. Let cool.

Chocolate Ganache:
1. Cook the heavy cream and chocolate on the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

ASSEMBLY:
1. Cut cones in the cooled cupcakes and slice off the end of the cones so you only have a “cap” like so .
2. Use a pastry brush to brush the inside of the cupcakes with the whiskey simple syrup.
3. Use a teaspoon or pastry bag to fill the cavity in the cupcake with whiskey custard.
4. Cap the cupcakes.
5. Use a spatula or knife to spread the ganache on the cupcakes.
6. Lastly, use a spoon to swirl glaze onto the top of the cupcakes (if the caramel hardened microwave it for a couple seconds to loosen it again).

whiskeycaramelcupcakes2

TIPS:
1. Feel free to adjust the amount of whiskey (or whatever alcohol you want to use) according to taste. You can add less whiskey to the custard or substitute water for some of the whiskey in the simple syrup for example.
2. You can make the custard, caramel and ganache the day before to make it easier.
3. If you’re feeling lazy you can make the ganache in the microwave: mix the cream and chocolate and microwave for 35 second increments, mixing in between until its all melted.

Whiskey Caramel based on this recipe.

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe based on this recipe

Strawberry Vanilla Pound Cake with Almond Crumble

There are certain flavors that can really take a dish the extra mile and at the same time it’s hard to put your finger on what’s missing when it’s not there; nutmeg in cream sauces, a squeeze of lemon to brighten up roasted asparagus, and almond in vanilla-based baked goods. This pound cake is a simple pound cake recipe to which we add fresh strawberries, almond extract, a glaze and almond crumble. Nice to serve with ice cream for dessert or just lightly toasted for breakfast.

Strawberry Vanilla Poundcake

Strawberry Vanilla Pound Cake

RECIPE:

STRAWBERRY VANILLA POUND CAKE WITH ALMOND CRUMBLE

Pound Cake & Glaze:
1 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups self-rising cake flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup of chopped strawberries tossed with 2 tablespoons of flour
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of almond extract

Almond Crumble:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cold butter, diced
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sugar

– Preheat the oven to 350C and grease a loaf pan.
– In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the lemon zest.
– Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each.
– Then gently mix in the rest of the flour.
– Add the lemon juice (saving 2 tbsp for glaze), vanilla, and finally almond extract.
– Mix in the chopped strawberries then add to the loaf pan.
– Pulse all the ingredients for the crumble in a food processor until you have a crumbly/granola consistency. Set aside.
– Sprinkle the loaf with caster sugar (about 2 tablespoons should do it) and then the crumble as it goes into the oven. Then bake for 1 hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
– Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.
– Whisk the confectioner’s sugar with 2 tbsp of lemon juice until the glaze is smooth. Add lemon juice/sugar as needed to adjust the consistency.
– Once its cooled swirl the glaze on top.

Based on Nigella’s Madeira Cake

The final product is a nice mix of rich pound cake with tartness from the strawberries, extra sweetness from the glaze and crunchy texture from the crumble. The almond perfumes the loaf and the strawberries get the tiniest bit jammy from being in the oven. Try it out 🙂

TIPS:

– You can sub out the strawberries for other berries, fresh or frozen.
– Be sure to toss the fruit in flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
– You could also use dried strawberries if you don’t like how fresh/frozen fruit can bleed into the cake.
– Tastes even better the day after.