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,Β  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 πŸ˜‰

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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Lemon Mousse she made in no time

lemon mousse she madeLast week we had friends over for an intimate dinner in which I prepared a scrumptious Moroccan meal they loved, loaded with flavors and colors. On the look out for a dessert I wanted to surprise my guests just a bit and offer something opposite to my Moroccan tradition. I wanted something light, fluffy, dairy free and lemony.

Bouncing ideas with my sister over the phone and a little Google research the word lemony kept repeating in my head and I’ve decided – Lemon Mousse – something I had never done before let alone eaten before. I was willing to take the risk not because it’s hard (so easy it’s ridiculous), but because it’s different and I’m always inspired by these glamorous mini French desserts and how they are served, that I was already armed with an idea for the presentation.

I’m not a double-boiler kind of girl (simply for the lack of patience) but this recipe which I find it light and quick, requires it so I decided to ignore the “inconvenience”. I’m glad I did.

lemon mousse she madeI was surprised to find that the citrusy flavor didn’t take over at all and it was absolutely a delight to eat.

Shall we:

ingredients:

3/4 c. white granulated sugar
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest
4 eggs at room temperature
pinch kosher salt
fresh red raspberries for garnish

preparations:

In a double-boiler of simmering water over medium heat combine all the ingredients except for the raspberries. Whisk it all up. Do not stop whisking or you will end up with scrambled eggs in no time. Keep whisking (about five minutes? or more), and you will witness the magic process of how the mixture thickens and becomes smooth and and frothy almost like a high-end facial cream. To test: if the mixture coats the back of a spoon – it’s done. Remove from heat and gently pour the hot mixture through a strainer into a clean bowl to get rid of bits and pieces. Yes, you should notice the lemony aroma happening.

Arrange mini cups (glass cups are best so you can see through them) and pour into them the fluffy mousse you just made. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Before serving garnish each cup with fresh raspberries for added color and texture. You’d be surprised and your guests too, how airy and shockingly delicious this dessert feels and tastes.

Bon appetite

Shockingly simple, fluffy and delicious cinnamon rolls

Imagine this:

It’s Saturday morning, or Sunday (why not), you’re waking up slowly to something that smells…well…you’re not sure but it’s good. You’re stretching…looking outside the soft sun rays are peaking through…no rush today. Your nose tickles…you make a “sniffing” face…you smell something. Is someone in the kitchen? You’re getting out of bed…wild big bed-head is sitting on your shoulders (happens to me every time). You’re dragging your feet and follow the tantalizing aroma. The closer you get to the kitchen the stronger it is. It’s warm, it’s fragrant, it’s a smell you wanna hug.

You’re in the kitchen now and you see this:

baked crunchy cinnamon rollsNow the world looks so much…sweeter. Isn’t it?

These cinnamon buns are so fluffy and light they literally disappear in your mouth. The frosting adds a beautiful gentle touch because it’s so light and airy and it wont make you feel guilty. Well…maybe a little bit.

My mother bakes this gorgeous challah bread every Jewish new year and fills it up with nuts and goodies. I took her recipe and twisted it a bit: I used ready-made bread dough but divided it into little “bread” rolls, reduced the amount of sugar usually found in traditional rolls and for the frosting I used low-fat yogurt with a touch of sugar. My frosting recipe is so light and fluffy you can eat it on its own or spread it on a toasted bread. But here – it’s the cinnamon rolls’ best friend. And it can be yours too.

shall we:

The images below shows how easy, simple and fun it was to make:

spicy roasted nuts I made a simple mixture of roasted hazelnuts and spices

baked cinnamon rolls

I then unrolled the thawed bread dough to a rectangle and sprinkled on the nut mix.

baked cinnamon rolls with nutsI rolled dough and with a sharp knife I divided the roll into 2″ thick pieces.

baked cinnamon rolls

I then placed the mini rolls in a 9″ oven proof baking pan and sprinkled brown sugar on top.

home made cinnamon rollsWith the yogurt frosting drizzled I just couldn’t wait.

I like just a hint of cinnamon so only a bit was used. It’s lightly sweetened and spiced (I mean it) so it’s not overpowering. This recipe feels just right but it’s flexible and you can adjust quantities if you wish.

ingredients:
store-bought frozen bread dough, thawed
3/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar (for garnish)
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter
for the icing:
1/2 a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

preparation:

Heat oven to 350ΒΊ. With a rolling-pin roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 9″x14″. No science here just roll even to a square, about 1/4″ thick. I happened to get a rectangular. Brush with melted butter. In a medium bowl combine nuts, sugar, salt and spices. Mix with a fork. Spread mixture on rolled dough. Begin rolling the dough from top to bottom creating a log. Seal edges by pressing log gently and leave it seal side down. With a sharp knife slice dough to pieces about 2″ thick (see photo above).

In a greased 9″, or larger if you like, oven proof pan place rolls cut side down (see picture above), close to each other. Be gentle – nuts get a little naughty and may slide out. Stuff them back in. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover with a clean towel and let it rise for 40 minutes. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until rolls turn dark golden color or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Frosting: combine all ingredients and whisk for about a min. Refrigerate to thicken and until use.

Let rolls cool in pan until warm then with a spoon pour yogurt frosting on top in a swirling motion. Show it off and eat.

Bon apetite.