Heavenly French Custard Cakes

Hello friends,

Have you ever had a dessert that calls your name? yeah, there’s such thing I tell you…a dessert that’s perfect in every way that makes you wanna have seconds forever?…a dessert that’s creamy and perfumed with a fusion of vanilla bean and rum,  so velvety and airy that with every spoonful you wish to scream your own name?

I have many reasons to love this *heart braking* dessert but I think I made my point. French Berries Custard not only calls my name but knows my last name too.

delicious french berry custard cakes

Allow moi: My cousin who’s a cook genius (who learned from her mother who’s also a cook genius), taught me a little about her baked desserts every time I travel across the ocean to visit her. She bakes a lot and she gave me this recipe which I tweaked to my liking. But you see, sometimes I’m envious of my cousin for two reasons: she lives in Paris (that’s major) AND she has spare time to bake. a lot. Of course I want to live in Paris, who doesn’t? those who don’t are not my friends 😉

delicious french berry custard cakes

Back to baking, when I made the dessert something went terribly wrong which turned out a happy accident at the end: Normally this dessert comes with burnt sugar on top but here is the thing, remember the story about my Ex-kitchen? part of the renovation chaos was that when I prepared the custard and sprinkled raw sugar on top, put it under the broiler to give the sugar a glow, turned it on and waited…and waited. I thought my oven was slow…guess what? It was dead. The cakes just sat there, bored. I delayed dessert time (sorry dear family) and put the custards back in the refrigerator until I figure things out. No I wasn’t going to buy a torch.

french delicious berry custard cakes

The next early morning I made coffee and checked on my custards. I took one out, the sparkly raw sugar seemed to glow in the morning sun, beautiful to look at and I thought whatever. I took the first spoonful. All I heard was the chilled raw sugar crystals crackle in my mouth and my throat groan. Another spoonful…in no time I gave up my coffee and had a second custard (I only made five). I was aiming on the third one (calories shmalories, I said it was good not fat free), but then I heard my husband’s foot steps. Lucky him, because if I didn’t he would have nothing left. I told you this dessert calls my name.

delicious french berry custard cakes

Ingredients:

1 c. fresh mix of blueberries and blackberries
4 ego yolks
3 tbsp white sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 tbsp rum extract
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
raw sugar for garnish

Store the raw sugar in the coldest part of your refrigerator until ready to use. Preheat oven to 325. Put six oven proof small ramekins in a large roasting pan and fill each button with berries.
Make a slit in center of the vanilla bean and with a spoon scrape the inside. Mix it with the rum, set a side. In a small bowl combine yolks, white sugar and vanilla-rum mixture. Mix well until creamy, set aside. In a small sauce pan pour the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly add the cream to the yolk mixture, continue whisking until smooth. If the mixture is not smooth strain it through a strainer.
Divide the cream among the ramekins. Pour warm water into the roasting pan about half way up. Bake between 15-20 minutes or until the custard is set. Let cool for 10 minutes then remove dishes from the pan into the refrigerator to cool for at least 3 hours.
To serve, sprinkle an even layer of chilled raw sugar over the custards. Pretty spoons to go with, nice music in the background and you and your guests are ready to indulge into one of those unforgettable mmm moments. Bon-Appetite.

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Silky Yogurt Mousse in Honey and Saffron syrup

saffronsyrup-yogurtmousse

Let’s face it – January simply flew by and February – well to me it’s almost the middle of the month. I find myself asking the same question over and over – where has time gone? There is so much I want and need to do but it seems that I’m always busy chasing time. There are to do notes scattered around to remind me to actually get to it, including cooking which is my therapeutic activity where I find myself being 100% me, even with all the other troubles that go with it, but again, short on time. Is that an excuse?silky yogurt mousse with saffron and honey

This week I kept things simple even in cooking. I wanted to make something sweet, breakfast/dessert style that contain simple basic ingredients, uncomplicated, quick and with a twist. A dish that reminds us that time is precious and even with the most basic ingredients we can still whip up a treat we’d love to share with those around us. I’m keeping things simple. period.

saffronhoneysyrup

So I called my biggest mentor – my mother, and asked her if in her childhood she ever had any mousse, anything fluffy and sweet as a dessert besides cookies. I’m saying this because my mom is an amazing cook but her focus was solely on cooking authentic Moroccan cuisine like beef, fish and poultry but not specialty desserts accept cookies on holidays. Then she said “…oh sure…” and she started naming ingredients and desserts in Moroccan I had no clue what she meant (I couldn’t stop laughing), but I did get two words: saffron, honey. Oh, that already triggered my creative side.

saffronhoneyyogurtmousseThe conversation went on about her mother’s cooking tradition and we had a lot of good laughs. After bouncing ideas with my mom I pulled my Greek Yogurt out of the fridge and my jar of saffron. and stared at it. A long minute later I was like “…o.k. I’m ready. whatever comes out of it…it must be really good”.

silky yogurt mousse with saffron and honey

saffronsyrup

The saffron honey syrup is such a treat. Its taste is surprisingly beautiful and I mean beautiful because honestly I don’t even know how to describe it in words, which is unusual to me. You have to make it to find descriptive words and if you do – please enlight me with your findings.

saffronyogurtmousse

The mousse is elegant, creamy, fluffy and not very sweet, which is how I like my desserts. The recipe is very flexible and you can adjust its sweetness or substitute the honey or agave with sugar, but I don’t recommend it. it’s simply wont be the same.

saffronyogurtmoussedessert

So, shall we:

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2 c. low fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp white corn flour
2 tbsp water
Honey Saffron syrup* (recipe follows)

*Honey Saffron syrup:
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. light agave syrup
generous pinch of saffron

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Preparation:
Honey saffron syrup: In a small pan combine honey, agave and with your fingers crash/rub saffron, add to the pan. Low/medium heat stir ingredients until bubbly. Cook for about two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Mousse: Combine corn flour and water, stir to remove lumps. Set a side. In a medium bowl place the yogurt. Whisk until fluffy. Slowly add half the amount of Honey Saffron syrup that you’ve prepared. Fold to combine ingredients. Again, slowly, fold in the corn flour mixture. The mousse will change color to a light orange from the saffron. Pour mousse into ramekins and chill for a few hours until set.

Right before serving drizzle mousse with saffron syrup, serve.

Now deep your spoon in this creamy sweetened mousse and fill your mouth with goodness. Can it get any better than this?

And yes…why wait for a special dinner? it’s perfect for breakfast too.

Delicious dairy free apple and fig tart

 

 

It feels warm and sweet.

 

It smells amazing.

 

It’s shiny and pops with color.

 

It melts in your mouth with first bite.

 

It’s my super delicious apple and fig tatin. I make it like i mean it.

 

delicious apple and fig tart

 

I’m a sucker for anything French. And when I say french i mean delicious and decadent desserts. When i was in France this year the weather was cool. Long sleeves kept me warm, flat shoes made me comfortable and delicious fruit tatin, almost every couple of hours while exploring, kept me more than happy.

 

So I’m hooked. And for this Thanksgiving holiday I’ve decided to splurge on a French tatin dessert instead of a traditional cake. Yeah, why would you do what everybody else does? be original and cook something your own. Not that I’m cooking crazy in my kitchen for Thanksgiving which as much as I like this holiday I prefer to be invited, but my daughter makes me cook turkey every year. So I decided to spoil everybody and make my french inspired dessert only this time it’s a filling of fruit over an open top, which makes it more of a tart than a tart tatin, but my inspiration come from the French…you get the idea.alt="delicious apple and fig tart" />

 

I could make the crust myself but prefer to use my non dairy puff pastry that i always keep in my freezer. Quick and easy. You don’t even have to roll the dough just lay it flat. Fresh apples and black dried figs are not only the perfect marriage on a crust, but the contrasting colors only add to the exhilarating experience. It’s fiberlicious and unlike cake, slices are thin and loaded with fruit. The lack of butter in this recipe came from the idea that i simply didn’t think it was missing.  The apricot glaze adds a tasty bling to the final results and last time when I served this dessert to my guests, they were over the moon. Literally. Few minutes later there was nothing left. Nothing I tell you.

 

delicious apple and fig tart

 

So, shall we:

 

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2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and chilled
4 large green apples
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 whole cloves
pinch of kosher salt
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 pound black dried figs
4 tbsp tap water
1/4 c. apricot jam + t tbsp tap water (mixed in)
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delicious apple and fig tart

 

Pre-heat oven to 400º.
Peel, core and slice apples to medium thick. Place in a large bowl with lemon juice and half of the sugar. Set a side for 15 minutes. Over medium heat in a large skillet melt the remaining sugar, add water, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Stir gently. Add apple slices and lemon juice mix. Stir and cook on low for a few minutes until mixture turns light caramel color and is bubbly. You don’t want deep color, it will turn bitter, so keep an eye. Remove from heat. Let the mixture cool a little so you won’t burn yourself when arranging the apples on the crust. In the meantime, on a floured baking sheet big enough to fit the pastry unfold the sheets flat. With sharp knife score rectangles to guide you for portion size. Mine was about 2.5″x4.5″ each. No science here, just cut to smaller sections. Now, Carefully arrange apple slices on each piece of pastry however you like it and leave a small corner of each crust without apples, to accommodate one fig. I used a fork to fish out the apple slices from the pan. Brush edges of pastry and fruits with the syrup that’s been left in the pan (without the cloves). Bake 25 min, or until crust is rich golden brown. Remove and set aside.

 

Warm up apricot jam with tap water to melt. Brush apples and figs with the glaze. If there is any left, brush pastry edges. Serve warm with your favorite hot drink. I prefer hot mint tea using fresh leaves. Combination – Speechless.

 

fun fact about baking in high altitude

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL