Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pumpkin Roulade with Mascrapone and Amaretti Cream

Yule logs have always been a central part of holiday treats for my family. I've spent most of my Christmas holidays in the South of France and, although the menu changed for Christmas eve every year, the two real staples have always been starting with some homemade foie gras, and ending with a traditional 'buche de Noel', or yule log. This cake is my twist on the classic yule log using festive pumpkin. I love the color it gives to the cake, and with a creamy mascarpone and amaretti cookie filling it's really beautiful to serve during the holiday season.

Pumpkin Roulade with Mascrapone and Amaretti Cream

3/4 cup of flour
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3 eggs
2/4 cups of sugar
2/3 cup of pumpkin puree

1 cup of mascarpone
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tbl confectioner’s sugar
5 small amaretti cookies

Preheat your oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper should completely cover the sheet.
In a bowl, swift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add in the sugar and beat until mixed. Fold in the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture. Pour the mixture on top of the parchment paper. Using an offset spatula, spread the mixture to create an even layer of batter and get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 10-12 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, dust a kitchen towel with confectioner sugar and place on a baking sheet or tray. As soon as the cake is cooked, carefully invert it onto the towel and peel off the parchment. Immediately roll the cake into a log shape keeping the last fold down on the baking sheet. If you don’t roll the cake immediately it will become less malleable and difficult to work with.

Leave the cake in the fridge while you make the filling. Beat the mascarpone, sugar and confectioner sugar until smooth (about 2 minutes). Using a grater, grate the amaretti cookies. Fold until fully incorporated.

Un-roll the cake and leave flat on the baking sheet. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, add the marscarpone filling and spread in an even layer. Leave 1/8 inch border uncovered. Roll the cake again as tightly as possible making sure the filling stays smoothly inside the cake. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Easy Creamy Tiramisu

There has been a lot of desserts on this blog lately! There's something about the holidays that make you want that touch of sweetness in the kitchen, isn't there? Tiramisu was one of the first desserts I learned how to make as a teenager, and it's a recipe I always turn to when I'm looking for something familiar, traditional and comforting. To me, tiramisu is much like risotto in that it looks so much more evolved and complicated to make than it is. I love the mix of creamy mascarpone, coffee and chocolate in this dessert and although it's a year-long delight, it really works well at this time of year.

So here it is, my easy, fail-safe tiramisu. I hope you will cherish this recipe as much as I do. I have made little tweaks and changes over the years and this is now my ultimate tiramisu. I'm sure Tyler Florence would agree!

Easy Creamy Tiramisu

Serves 6-8

2 containers of Mascarpone
6 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1/2 vanilla bean seeds or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of rum
1 big pot of strong espresso coffee (the coffee should be stronger than the one you would drink)
1 box of ladyfingers
A couple squares of good quality bittersweet chocolate

Place the coffee in a bowl at room temperature to allow it to cool down while you prepare the rest of the dessert. Mix the egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Set aside.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt (using an electric mixer) until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a big bowl, add the mascarpone. If the mascarpone seems a little stiff, beat for 1-2 minutes to lighten it and make it easy to work with. Gently fold in the whites making sure that the mixture stays airy. When smooth, add the sugar and yolk mixture. Add the vanilla and stir.
Take your serving bowls and line them up on your working surface. Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee making sure each side gets properly dipped. The ladyfingers should just hold together. Arrange 2 ladyfingers at the bottom of the bowls (you may have to cut them in half beforehand depending on the size of your serving bowls). Add 2-3 ladles of the mascarpone mixture into each bowl. Top with another 2 coffee-dipped ladyfingers and top with another couple ladles of mascarpone mixture. Place in the fridge to set for 4 hours or overnight. Right before serving, grate the chocolate over the tiramisu. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some of my Christmas Favourites

As we're getting closer and closer to Christmas I wanted to share with you some of my favourite Holiday treats. Whether it's edible ornaments, some cakey ricotta cookies, some tiny meringues, snowy coconut and chocolate squares,a classic yule log or some indulgent truffles- there are dozens of ways to make it feel like the holidays in your home. These are some of my all-time favourite - I especially love how easily packageable the meringues and ricotta cookies are: they really make wonderful gift!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lemon Bundt Cake with Chocolaty Topping and a Christmas Giveaway

As the holiday season is upon us, it's time for Chocolate Shaving's very first Christmas giveaway! Growing up in Paris, I used to visit London a lot. It was there, as a young teenager that I discovered Wagamama. If you've never been, you must! It's a fun, low-key restaurant with tasty noodles dishes and other Asian-inspired treats. While I was working at the BBC this summer, I made my way back to Wagamama. I sadly found that the food wasn't as carefully executed as it once was (it has become a real mega-chain now so that may come with the territory) but I've always adored their cookbook.

It's a beautiful book with most of the restaurant's staples and will make you want to make all the dishes at home. For those of you who aren't used to cooking with Asian ingredients, it's really a great way to start. Now, for the giveaway rules. You have 2 ways to enter the contest. One by writing a comment on this blog post, and a second chance by writing a comment on Chocolate Shaving's facebook page. You can write a comment on both and your name will be entered in the contest twice! Simply let me know what your favourite holiday sweet treat is. The contest ends December 18th, at midnight and you must be a Canadian or American resident to enter. I will draw the winner at random. Good luck!

As for today's recipe: this is another easy recipe to entertain with. It's the perfect option for a Christmas or new year's party. The ganache and pistachio topping on top of the cake gives this dessert that extra special holiday feel.

Lemon Bundt Cake with Chocolatey Topping
Fits a 10 cup bundt cake

3 cups of cake flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1 cup of sour cream
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbl of lemon juice
4 eggs
3/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 cups of sugar

For the Ganache:
6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (70%)
2/3 cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of corn syrup
1/4 cup of shelled pistachios, cut into small pieces

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, add the sour cream, lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract. Mix until the mixture just comes together. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Whisk in the oil. Add in the sour cream mixture being careful not to over-mix.

Fold in the flour mixture and mix until just homogeneous. Grease a 10 cup bundt pan and carefully pour the mixture inside, making sure it’s evenly distributed. Bake for 50 min to 1 hour or until the cake just pulls away from the sides of the pan. Unmold and leave to rest on a cooling rack. In the meantime, make the ganache.

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Add the cream to a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring the cream to a boil and immediately remove from the heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk until the cream and chocolate are completely smooth. Add the corn syrup and whisk again. Using a small bowl with a beak, gently pour the ganache over the cake. Top with the chopped pistachios. Set on a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Orange and Chocolate Mousse

We've had a lot, a lot of snow in Montreal in the past few days. Every year, when the first real snow comes, the city calms down for a few hours as the roofs and trees lend their backs to a layer of cotton-like froth. I find it magical. No matter how many times I've seen those specks of snow falling from the sky I get so giddy when it happens. The snow has been the perfect beginning to the holiday season as I'm putting together all the sweet treats I'll be making leading up to Christmas.

When I have people over during this time of year, the last thing I want to be doing is spending all my time in the kitchen putting a meal together and miss out on the fun-filled night. These chocolate mousses have always been a real staple for me. They are just perfect for entertaining as you make them in advance so they can set in the fridge. I like add orange zest and Grand Marnier to these to make them extra special, and top them with thin candied orange slices and chocolate shavings. They really are perfect for any holiday celebration. The mix of chocolate and orange is always pretty perfect and the two flavors mingle wonderfully in this concoction. I hope you give it a try!

Orange and Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4-6 people

5.5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa)
350 ml of heavy whipping cream
3 large egg whites
2 tbl + 1 tsp of sugar
Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
1 1/2 tsp of Grand Marnier
4 pieces of candied orange, to garnish
4 squares of bittersweet chocolate, to garnish

Chop the chocolate and melt using a double boiler. Once the chocolate is melted, reserve and let cool while you prepare the rest of the mousse.

Place the cream in a bowl making sure the cream is very cold as well as the bowl. You can place both in the fridge for 20 minutes if needed. Beat the cream until light peaks form, making sure the mixture is still light and airy and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they just form stiff peaks. Beat in the sugar.

Add the orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier to the chocolate and gently fold it into the cream. Once the mixture is homogeneous, gently fold in the egg whites in 2 batches making sure to keep the mixture airy and light. Place the mousse to set in the fridge for 2 hours. Spoon the mousse into ramekins. Grate the chocolate over the mousse to garnish and top with thin strips of candied orange.
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