{Marble Loaf Cake} – Chec in doua culori

marble loaf cake

From time to time I feel the need of going back to my roots by baking something my mum used to make all the time – marble loaf cake. This buttery, soft cake is part of my childhood memories – my mum is a great cook and she always loved making us little treats. Saturdays were the days when she had the time to bake and spoil ourselves. And we were so looking forward to the weekend to eat all the cake and indulge on all the cookies. It was one of those days that I remember trying to bake something for the first time – unfortunately it was a meringue based cookie I wanted to surprise my mum with and it was a total fail and mess. But the experience surely made an impression on me and I worked hard to overcome that first failure.

The recipe itself is incredibly simple, but the result is reliable. rich, buttery and soft. A slice of this cake and a glass of milk is the perfect combo for a lovely afternoon, reading a book or playing with the kids. And it makes an excellent school snack as well – my son loves to find a slice in this lunch box!

{Marble Cake}
 
Author:
Ingredients:
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 250g white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 500g all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 50ml whole milk
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F - 180C and line a loaf cake pan with baking paper.
  2. Mix the butter and eggs for 5 minutes until creamy and pale in color.
  3. Add the vanilla and mix well then stir in the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
  5. Begin incorporating the flour into the batter, alternating it with 250ml milk.
  6. When done, spoon ⅔ of the batter in your prepared pan and mix the remaining batter with cocoa powder and 50ml of milk.
  7. Spoon the cocoa batter over the white one and swirl it around using a form.
  8. Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
  9. ALlow the cake to cool in the pan before slicing and serving.

ROMANIAN

Acest chec e una dintre primele retete incercate de mine de pe blogul Laurei Laurentiu. Acum ceva ani, cand blogul meu in forma actuala nu era nici macar la stadiul de proiect, activam pe un forum culinar unde o remarcasem pe Laura – nici nu aveai cum sa nu faci asta pentru ca retetele ei ieseau intotdeauna si era si o prezenta simpatica pe forum. Si ii urmaream (inca o fac) blogul cu regularitate, incercand multe dintre retetele ei de-a lungul timpului. Acest chec si aluatul fraged sunt doua retete pe care le-am refacut iar si iar de atunci si pana astazi, mereu cu acelasi succes. E genul de chec pufos, deloc innecacios si usor de facut – ce sa vrei mai mult de atat?!

Ingrediente:

  • 200g unt
  • 250g zahar alb
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 3 oua mari
  • 250ml lapte
  • 500g faina alba, cernuta
  • 2 lingurite praf de copt
  • 1/2 lingurita sare
  • 50g cacao
  • 50ml lapte

Mod de preparare:

  1. Pre-incalziti cuptorul la 175-180C si tapetati o forma de chec cu hartie de copt.
  2. Mixati untul si zaharul intr-un bol cel putin 5 minute pana compozitia se deschide la culoare si devine aerata.
  3. Adaugati vanilia si ouale, unul cate unul, mixand foarte bine dupa fiecare.
  4. Cerneti faina cu sarea si praful de copt apoi incorporati-o in compozitia de unt, alternand cu 250ml lapte.
  5. Turnati 2-3 din aluat in tava pregatita.
  6. Amestecati restul de aluat cu 50g cacao si 50ml lapte si turnati-l deasupra aluatului alb. Folosind o furculita sau scobitoare, amestecati aluatul alb cu cel cu cacao pentru a forma un model frumos in chec.
  7. Coaceti pentru 40-45 minute pana checul devine auriu si trece testul scobitorii.
  8. Lasati sa se raceasca in tava inainte de a felia.

marble loaf cake

{Coconut Flan} – Flan cu lapte de cocos

caramel flan

I have a weakness for coconut, whether it’s coconut milk, shredded coconut or fresh coconut. I’d say that after chocolate, butter and milk or cream, coconut milk and shredded coconut are the two ingredients that I have in my cupboards at all times. There’s something about the delicacy of coconut that makes me wanna go back to it as often as possible. I find it irresistible paired with chocolate, raspberries or strawberries and I often buy it fresh just to chew on it as a snack. The richness and smoothness of fresh coconut is sublime, but I love coconut milk just as much.

As I opened the fridge the other day, there it was – a can of coconut milk – next to it there was a can of sweetened condensed milk and a spark was lit. What if I made some sort of flan or creme caramel that includes both of them?! I thought about the taste of coconut and caramel together for a second and the next thing I know I was already making caramel and preparing my mini flan molds. I knew it was going to taste great, but wasn’t expecting to be this intense. You can definitely feel the flavor of coconut as you take spoonfuls of flan.. it lingers on your palate together with the caramel sauce formed in the molds. The caramel sauce simply drips off the flan and adds extra richness and sweetness. To finish the flans I though a sprinkle of shredded coconut or coconut flakes and some spun sugar is all these flan ever need and I was right. The simplicity of this dessert is what makes it this good! It tastes great, it looks amazing, it’s delicate and creamy, yet rich and intense, it’s all you can ask for from a dessert that focuses on coconut.

coconut flan

{Coconut Flan}
 
Author:
Serves:: 4-6
Ingredients:
  • 6 medium size eggs
  • 1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 200g sugar
  • 70ml water
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 330F - 165C.
  2. Prepare 4-6 ramekins (depending on their size) by placing them in a deep dish pan.
  3. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and place over medium flame. Cook until it begins to caramelize, washing down the sides of the saucepan with a brush dipped in cold water.
  4. When the sugar reaches a golden amber color, remove from heat and pour into your prepared ramekins, swirling them around to coat the bottom and sides of the ramekins with caramelized sugar. Work carefully as the caramel is incredibly hot! Place aside.
  5. Mix the eggs, condensed milk, coconut milk, cream, vanilla and sugar in a bowl. Give it a quick mix with a whisk then pass this mixture through a fine sieve to remvoe any egg pieces that might be left.
  6. Evenly pour the mixture into your ramekins.
  7. Pour 2-3 cups of hot water in the pan surrounding the ramekins and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  8. When done, allow to cool in the pan then carefully loosen up the edges of each flan and turn them upside down on a serving platter.
  9. Top the coconut flan with shredded coconut and spun sugar before serving.

ROMANIAN

Dupa unt, ciocolata si lapte/frisca, laptele de cocos e un ingredients care rareori imi lipseste din casa. Pentru ca-mi place foarte mult aroma nucii de cocos, obisnuiesc chiar sa cumpar nuca de cocos proaspata – pulpa aceea alba, zemoasa e snack-ul perfect (aromat, sanatos, ce poti cere mai mult de atat?!). Reteta de azi e cat se poate de usoara, seaman foarte mult cu o crema de zahar ars, dar e mai onctuoasa, mai densa si cremoasa si are o aroma intensa de lapte de cocos. Sosul de caramel format in fiecare ramekin complementeza flanul perfect. Pentru decor m-am hotarat sa pastrez aceeasi idee de simplitate, astfel incat nuca de cocos razuita si fire de zahar caramelizat mi s-au parut suficiente. Merg pe ideea ca less is more, mai ales cand vorbim de deserturi si nu are rost sa complicam lucruri care sunt perfecte in simplitatea lor.

Ingrediente:

  • 6 oua medii
  • 1 conserva (300ml) lapte condensat indulcit
  • 1 conserva (400ml) lapte de cocos
  • 1/2 cana smantana pentru frisca
  • 1 1/2 lingurite extract de vanilie
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 200g zahar alb
  • 70ml apa

Mod de preparare:

  1. Preincalziti cuptorul la 165C si puneti 4-6 ramekins (in functie de marimea lor) intr-un vas adanc (flanul va fi gatit pe bain marie, de aceea aveti nevoie de un vas ori tava adanca).
  2. Combinati apa cu zaharul intr-un vas si puneti pe foc mediu. Fierbeti, spaland peretii vasului cu o pensula inmuiata in apa rece, pana zaharul incepe sa se caramelizeze si are o culoare aurie.
  3. Luati de pe foc si turnati zaharul topit in fiecare ramekin apoi miscati fiecare ramekin pentru a acoperi fundul si peretii cu zahar topit.
  4. Intr-un bol, mixati ouale, laptele condensat, laptele de cocos, smantana, vanilia si sarea. Treceti amestecul printr-o sita fina pentru a inlatura eventualele firicele de ou apoi turnati compozitia in formele tapetate cu zahar caramelizat.
  5. Turnati apa fierbinte in vasul adanc, in jurul formelor, apoi dati la cuptor pentru 35-40 minute.
  6. Cand sunt gata, lasati sa se raceasca apoi intoarceti fiecare flan pe o farfurie.
  7. Pentru decor, folosit nuca de cocos usor prajita si fire de zahar caramelizat.

coconut flan

{Introduction to Pastry} – Gelatin – Despre gelatina

 

gelatin sheets

Gelatin is part of a pastry chef’s life as much as sugar, chocolate or vanilla are, especially when you’re making entremets or creams that require a stabilizer. Gelatin is used in many confectionary products, from the very simple marshmallows to jelly bears, gum paste, mousse, cremeux or stabilized whipped cream. It can also be found in many other products, as a food additive – E441 is its code on a product’s label. Yogurt, sour cream or sorbet are just a few of the products that often use gelatin as a way of making the consistency smoother, creamier.

Gelatin is translucent, comes in a dried form and it doesn’t have a particular color or odour. The process of making gelatin is not that complex, but it can take up to a few weeks, depending on the strength of the final product – pork and cattle bones are processed to extract collagen, but this also means that vegans or vegetarians can’t eat gelatin. They have a few alternatives, such as: agar agar which is derived from a seaweed, pectin, extracted from apples or citrus, or guar gums, derived from various beans.

Gelatin comes in two forms:

  • granulated gelatin – also knows as powdered gelatin, it can be found in small (or larger) packages and you simply weight it when using it.
  • sheet or leaf gelatin – it is found in 2g sheets and it has a milder color and taste compared to granulated gelatin, although it is also more expensive.

How to Use Gelatin

After being weighted down, gelatin – both granulated and leaf – needs to be bloomed. The rules are as follows:

  • Always use cold water (or a similar liquid, such as milk or fruit juice, except kiwi, papaya and pineapple juice – these three have certain enzymes that destroy gelatin)
  • 10 minutes is the average blooming time – often, a short blooming time doesn’t allow the gelatin to bloom properly, therefore it won’t melt evenly and you might end up with a mousse that has a grainy texture or a cream that doesn’t set.
  • Once bloomed, gelatin must be melted at about 60C – powdered gelatin absorbs liquid and it’s melted in the water/liquid it’s been bloomed into, while leaf gelatin is squeeze out of water and used in a warm liquid/cream.
  • Gelatin doesn’t set right away and it needs a chilled environment in order to set – usually it takes a few hours for the gelatin to set properly which is why I always say leave the cake in the fridge overnight!
  • Don’t boil gelatin as it might destroy its bloom/gelling power.
  • Keep in mind that acidic mixtures can reduce the gelling power of gelatin.
  • Salt reduces the gelling power, but milk or cream enhance the bloom.
  • To find out how much liquid is needed to bloom the gelatin, all you need to do is multiply the gelatin quantity with 5. For example: to bloom 5g of gelatin, 25ml cold water are needed.

How To Clasify Gelatin

Gelatin is classified by its bloom or better said its gelling power. Gelatin bloom ranges between 125 and 265 and it is being set by a scientific test called simply bloom. The higher the bloom of a gelatin, the higher its gelling powder – in other words, the higher the bloom, the smaller the quantity needed to set your product. The Bloom is crucial in professional kitchens, not so much in households – for that reason, the gelatin packages found in supermarkets don’t have any information on how high the bloom is, but rumors has it that this kind of gelatin has between 200 and 250 bloom power.

Taking the bloom into consideration, gelatin is classified into:

  • Bronze gelatin – with a bloom of 125-155
  • Silver gelatin – with a bloom of 160
  • Gold gelatin – with a bloom of 190-220
  • Platinum gelatin – with a bloom of 220-265

However, the strength of gelatin depends on brand. For instance, Knox brand has a bloom of 225, while Dr. Oetker has a bloom of 250.

Converting between certain types of gelatin is difficult because there’s so many things to keep in mind when doing the conversion, therefore any formula known so far only give an approximation. The best way to use the right gelatin is to just buy the specified bloom, although do keep in mind that the higher the bloom, the less quantity of gelatin is needed to set the same amount of liquid.

If different bloom gelatin can’t really be substituted, not the same can be said about powdered and leaf gelatin. They can be substituted weight by weight without problems so if a recipe calls for leaf gelatin and you only have granulated, just use it without worries.

Interesting enough, gelatin is reversible – once it has set, the gelatin can be heated back up slightly until it melts then placed back in a cold environment to set. This process can be done several times if the product you are re-heating allows it. Also, gelatin is said to never spoil – certain manufacturers claim that the expiration date found on packages it has to do with the degradation of the package and not the gelatin found inside.

When it comes to gelatin, I’ve always said that less is more, therefore I avoid adding too much gelatin to desserts simply because I don’t like the texture of a mousse if it’s set too much or a cremeux that become a jelly. As a rule, keep in mind that 1 sheet of gelatin – 2g –  will set 100 ml of liquid into a soft texture that can be turned upside down on a plate. The same amount of gelatin can set 125ml of liquid into a wobbly consistency that needs to be eaten with a spoon from a glass. But this only applies to liquids – when it comes to a mousse I prefer to reduce it to half because we’re not talking about a liquid anymore, but also because cream enhances the bloom of gelatin (unless it’s an acidic mousse such as berry or lemon – acids reduce the properties of gelatin, therefore more gelatin is needed to get the desired effects).


 ROMANIAN

Gelatina face parte din viata unui cofetar asa cum fac parte si zaharul, ciocolata si vanilia, in special cand vorbim de creme, mousse-uri sau entremets. Gelatina este un ingredient folosit intr-o varietate de deserturi sau alte produse, precum bezele moi, ursuleti de jeleu, pasta de zahar, mousse, cremeux ori frisca batuta, dar si iaurturi sau alte produse care necesita un agent stabilizator (E441 este codul gelatinei pe etichetele produselor).

Gelatina este translucida, uscata si nu are culoare ori vreun gust pronuntat. Procesul de fabricare a gelatinei nu este extrem de complex, insa poate dura chiar si cateva saptamani, in functie de cat de puternica este gelatina finala – oase de porc sau vita sunt procesate pentru a extrage o cantitate cat mai mare de colagen, ceea ce inseamna ca veganii sau vegetarienii nu pot consuma gelatina. Pentru ei exista cateva alternative, incepand cu agar agar, un derivat din alge de mare, pectina, ce provine din mere sau citrice sau guma guar, derivata din tot felul de boabe.

Gelatina se gaseste sub doua forme:

  • gelatina granulata sau pudra – se gaseste in pachetele mici in mai toate magazinele ori supermarketurile.
  • gelatina foi – se gaseste in foi ce cantaresc de obicei 2g si are un gust si o culoare mai putin intense in comparatie cu gelatina granule, dar este si mai scumpa.

Cum se foloseste gelatina

Dupa ce este cantarita, gelatina, atat cea granule, cat si cea foi, trebuie hidratata. Regulile sunt dupa cum urmeaza:

  • Cantitatea de lichid folosita pentru a hidratat gelatina (se aplica in special pentru gelatina granulr) se determina astfel: cantitatea de gelatina dorita se inmulteste cu 5. Asadar, pentru 5g gelatina granule, aveti nevoie de 25ml lichid.
  • Intotdeauna folositi apa (sau alt lichid) rece.
  • Puteti folosi aproape orice alt lichid pentru a hidratat gelatina, mai putin sucul proaspat de kiwi, papaya sau ananas – aceste fructe contin enzime care distrug gelatina si trebuie gatite inainte de a fi folosite. De asemenea, sunt de evitat lichidele acide pentru ca reduc eficacitatea gelatinei.
  • 10 minute e timpul necesar pentru a hidratat gelatina suficient de bine. Daca gelatina nu e hidratata suficient, nu se va topi cum trebuie si veti obtine o crema granuloasa, taiata sau una care nu se incheaga.
  • Odata hidratata, gelatina trebuie topita – gelatina granule/pudra va fi topita in lichidul in care a fost hidratata, in timp ce gelatina foi va fi scursa bine, abia poi topita.
  • Nu fierbeti gelatina niciodata pentru ca s-ar putea sa-i distrugeti proprietatile.
  • Gelatina nu se incheaga imediat si are nevoie de un mediu racoros pentru a se inchega – de aceea un tort sau mousse are nevoie de cel putin 8 ore la rece (abia dupa 24 ore gelatina inceteaza procesul de inchegare).
  • Mediile acide reduc proprietatile de inchegare ale gelatinei.
  • Sarea reduce si ea proprietatile gelatinei, in timp ce frisca sau laptele amplifica aceste proprietati.

Cum se clasifica gelatina

Gelatina se clasifica in functie de puterea ei de gelificare, numita bloom in engleza (nu cred sa existe termen perfect trauds la noi, ma gandesc sa-i spun concentratie). Bloom-ul gelatinei urca de la 125 la 265 si este stabilit printr-un test stiintific. Cu cat bloom-ul e mai mare, cu atat puterea de gelificare a gelatinei e mai mare si e nevoie de o cantitate mai mica. In bucatariile profesionale, bloom-ul esteimportante de stiut, insa in cele de acasa nu are o importanta asa de mare. De fapt, gelatina gasita in supermarketuri nici nu are trecuta aceasta informatie pe pachet – ca idee generala, gelatina gasita in pachetele mici in magazinele mari sau mici are un bloom de 200-250.

In functie de bloom – putere de gelificare – gelatina se clasifica in:

  • Gelatina Bronze – cu un bloom de 125-155
  • Gelatina Silver – cu un bloom de 160
  • Gelatina Gold – cu un bloom de 160-220
  • Gelatina Platinum – cu un bloom de 220-265

Cu toate acestea, e doar o clasificare generalista, intrucat puterea de gelificare a unei gelatine depinde de brand. Eu folosesc gelatina Dr. Oetker care, din ce inteleg, are un bloom de 250, adica e gelatina Platinum. Daca voi folositi alt brand de gelatina, e posibil sa nu va iasa cremele mele cum trebuie din simplul motiv ca gelatina ar putea avea o concentratie/bloom diferita si nu se va inchega la fel.

Conversia intre diferite tipuri de gelatina care au o concentratie diferita e destul de greu de facut – formulele gasite pana acum de diversi cofetari sau patiseri nu dau rezultate chiar exacte, de aceea e recomandat sa cumparati gelatina in concentratia ceruta de reteta de la bun inceput.

Ca fapt divers, gelatina este considerata reversibila – asta inseamna ca, odata inchegata, poate fi topita si inchegata din nou. Acest proces poate fi repetat de cateva ori atata timp cat produsul pe care il reincalziti suporta asta (un mousse de exemplu se distruge prin incalzire, dar un cremeux poate fi usor reincalzit fara probleme). De asemenea, producatorii sustin ca gelatina nu expira niciodata si ca data trecuta pe pachet se refera mai degraba la degradarea ambalajului si nu la continutul acestuia.

Intodeauna am crezut ca atunci cand vine vorba de gelatina, mai putin e mai bine. Prea multa gelatina intr-o reteta ditruge textura – practic orice crema ai avea, daca ii adaugi gelatina in exces, devine jeleu. Ca o regula, tineti minte ca 2g gelatina sunt suficiente pentru a inchega 100ml lichid astfel incat sa poata fi intors cu susul in jos pe o farfurie, dar daca crestem cantitatea de lichid la 125ml, nu veti mai putea intoarce desertul pe o farfurie, va trebui mancat din pahar. Aceasta regula e valabila doar pentru lichide. Pentru creme (mousse, cremeux, bavarois) eu reduc cantitatea de gelatina aproximativ la jumatate din doua motive: unul, nu mai vorbim de un lichid aici, ci de o crema aerata, mai groasa si doi, frisca si lactatele in general potenteaza procesul de gelificare (mai putin in cazul in care vorbim de un mousse sau crema acide – acidul reduce proprietatile gelatine, asadar este nevoie de mai multa pentru a obtine efectul scontat – ma refer aici la creme precum mousse de fructe de padure sau de lamaie). As vrea sa inchei acest articol cu un apel catre toti cei care posteaza retete pe bloguri, youtube sau oriunde alt undeva: va rog, nu mai postati retete gresite, nu mai folositi gelatina in cantitati greu de imaginat, nu dati mai departe astfel de retete – rolul vostru este de a educa publicul printre altele, dar asta nu se poate face decat daca va educati pe voi inainte. Cititi, invatati, nu publicati retete la ochi si nu va mai simtiti atacati atunci cand cineva va atrage atentia asupra vreunei greseli in reteta!

{Carrement au Chocolat}

carrement au chocolat

There’s two people I absolutely love and admire when it comes to desserts: one is the brilliant Antonio Bachour, whose work I can’t stop staring at and one is the amazing Pierre Herme, the Picasso of modern pastry, the man who totally revamped the way pastries look and taste. I couldn’t choose between the two of them – they have in common a solid technique, but their style is so different from each other. I’ve learnt a lot from both of them, but there’s one thing I heard from Pierre Herme and has become my motto as it totally applies to my baking style – Herme considers sugar a spice and thinks it should be used with good measure, just to enhance the other flavors of a dessert, not to overpower them. I knew what he meant from the beginning, but then I made the Riviera Cake after one of his recipes and it totally blew me away – it was delicious, it was rich, creamy, everything you ever wanted from a cake and more! And then I decided to make the one and only Carrement au Chocolat and now I don’t know which of them I prefer. They’re both high end cakes, both packed with chocolate, both rich and creamy, both speak a lot about Pierre Herme’s style and both are fairly easy to make compared to other Herme recipes.

carrement au chocolat

I followed Herme’s recipe until my chocolate mousse almost failed. The thing is Herme’s recipe asks for egg whites only and for the first time in my life, the meringue didn’t whip properly, it just didn’t whip – I was in a hurry to finish the cake and made a few beginner’s mistake whick obviously led to a fail. So I decided to replace them with whipped cream, adding just a touch of gelatin to keep the mousse together. I’m going to write the recipe with my own changes, but if you’re looking for the original one, do yourself a favor and buy Herme’s books – they are a great investment regardless of what recipe you are after. The changes I made refer to the quantities I used mainly – I needed a 20-22cm diameter cake for my brother’s birthday and I didn’t think Herme’s original cake would be enough for the amount of family and friends we had to sweeten up.

carrement au chocolat

5.0 from 2 reviews
Carrement au Chocolat
 
Author:
Serves:: 1 20-22cm diameter cake
Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake:
  • 125g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 125g butter, cubed
  • 110g white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 35g all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
Smooth Chocolate Cream:
  • 140g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 80 ml whole milk
  • 120ml heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Mousse:
  • 250g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 120ml heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40g sugar
  • 3g gelatin + 15ml cold water
  • 350ml heavy cream, whipped
Chocolate Sauce:
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 95ml water
  • 35g sugar
  • 50ml heavy cream
Chocolate Glaze:
  • The chocolate sauce from above
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 80ml heavy cream
  • 20g butter
  • 3g gelatin + 15ml cold water
Directions:
Chocolate Cake:
  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a hot water bath then stir in the butter and mix well.
  2. Add the eggs, sugar, flour and salt, mixing quickly just until smooth.
  3. Pour the batter in a round cake pan (20-22cm diameter) and bake in the preheated oven at 400F - 200C for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool then place the cake in a round cake ring lined with acetate sheets. Place aside.
Smooth Chocolate Cream:
  1. Combine the milk and cream and heat them up to the boiling point.
  2. In the meantime, whip the egg yolks with sugar until cream. Pour in the hot milk and cream then return in the pan and place over low heat.
  3. Cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, stirring all the time to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate.
  4. Add the vanilla then allow the cream to cool to room temperature. Pour the cream over the chocolate cake and place in the fridge to set properly.
Chocolate Mousse:
  1. Melt the chocolate over a hot water bath or in the microwave. Place aside.
  2. Bloom the gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat 120ml heavy cream over low heat.
  4. Whip the egg yolks with sugar until creamy. Add the hot cream and place back on heat to cook for a few minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and gradually pour this mixture over the melted chocolate, mixing well until smooth.
  5. Melt the gelatin and stir it in. Allow to cool to room temperature then fold in the whipped cream.
  6. Pour the mousse over the smooth chocolate cream and place in the fridge for a few hours, preferably over night.
Chocolate Sauce:
  1. Combine the water, sugar and cream in a saucepan and place over low heat. Bring to the boiling point then add the chocolate. Mix well until smooth then place back on heat and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Chocolate Glaze:
  1. Bloom the gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat 80ml heavy cream to the boiling point. Add the chocolate and mix until smooth.
  3. Stir in the chocolate sauce and mix well then add the butter and melted gelatin.
  4. Allow the glaze to cool to room temperature.
  5. Remove the cake from the ring and freeze it at least 1 hour before glazing.
  6. Place the cake on a wire rack and pour the glaze carefully over the cake, first on the center, then on the edges.
  7. Decorate the cake with chocolate or leave it simple, as you wish.
Notes
Use chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa content.
These quantities are enough for a 20-22cm diameter cake.

ROMANIAN

Admiratia mea pentru Antonio Bachour si Pierre Herme e mai mult decat evidenta, cu toate ca ambii au stiluri diferite. Daca Bachour e un exemplu de creativitate si modernism in cofetarie, Herme e putin mai old school, dar pune la fel de mult accent pe tehnica. Pe Bachour l-am descoperit relativ de curand, dar de Herme am auzit inca de cand am inceput a invata eu mai multe despre cofetarie – considerat Picasso al cofetariei, Herme are o vorba care pe mine m-a fascinat si care e motto-ul meu cand vine vorba de cat de mult zahar se foloseste intr-o reteta, cat de dulce trebuie sa fie un desert si care sunt limitele. Ceea ce sustine el e ca zaharul e mai mult un condiment intr-un desert, si nu un ingredient de baza – trebuie folosit cu masura pentru ca scopul lui nu e altul decat acela de a evidentia celelalte arome, si nu de a le acoperi cu gustul lui puternic. Lasand la o parte faptul ca zaharul in exces (ca orice altceva folosit in exces, de altfel) nu e sanatos, un desert cu prea mult zahar e dulce si atat, un desert cu zahar peste masura nu are nicio alta caracteristica de gust si adesea nici textura nu e cea care trebuie, isi pierde orice personalitate, isi pierde esenta (treaba asta ma duce putin cu gandul la teoria formelor fara fond 😛 ). Asa ca nu uitati – mai putin e adesea mai mult, mai ales cand vine vorba de deserturi. Ori un desert reusit e suma unor factori care il alcatuiesc – arome, forma, culori, texturi, si nu faptul ca ai pus zahar si atat! De asemenea, va rog sa nu cadeti in extrema cealalta si sa incepeti sa combinati 10 arome intr-o prajitura decat daca aveti ani de experienta in spate si stiti clar ca acele gusturi merg impreuna, stiti cum sa le dozati intensitatea, stiti ce caracteristici are fiecare.

Tortul Riviera a fost una dintre primele retete ale lui Pierre Herme incercate si mi-a dat lumea peste cap la propriu – pana la acel tort eu nu vedeam lamaia si ciocolata impreuna intr-un desert, dar Herme mi-a dovedit exact contrariul prin acel tort. Asa ca am mers la sigur cu acest tort! Carrement au chocolat e un ciocolatos in adevaratul sens al cuvantului. O cantitate impresionanta de ciocolata e folosita in reteta si numai un iubitor de ciocolata inrait ii poate aprecia gustul – atat de fin, atat de cremos si bogat, cu adevarat decadent! Reteta de mai jos are cateva modificari spre deosebire de reteta lui Herme, principala schimbare fiind cantitatile folosite, dar si faptul ca pentru mousse-ul de ciocolata am folosit frisca in loc de albus batut (din doua motive: primul – e prea cald afara ca sa folosesc oua crude si al doilea – pentru prima oara in viata nu mi-a iesit bezeaua, stiu ce am gresit uitandu-ma acum inapoi, e o lectie invatata, dar nu mi-a picat tocmai bine in momentul respectiv; cu toate acestea, m-am reprofilat repede si am batut frisca pe care am stabilizat-o cu putina gelatina si a iesit perfect!). De asemenea, glazura a folosit cateva modificari minore, dar a iesit excelenta chiar si asa.

Cantitatile de mai jos sunt pentru un tort de 20-22cm diametru. Pentru un tort reusit, folositi ciocolata cu cel putin 70% continut de cacao si nu faceti rabat de la calitate – cu cat e mai buna ciocolata folosita, cu atat e mai bun tortul – intr-o reteta care se bazeaza pe o singura aroma, calitatea e cea mai importanta ori o ciocolata cu un continut de cacao sub 70% nu va ofera nici gust, nici textura. Nici nu va obositi sa faceti aceasta reteta fara o ciocolata de buna calitate, ar fi o risipa de ingrediente si timp si e pacat.

Ingrediente:

Blat de ciocolata:

  • 125g ciocolata, tocata
  • 125g unt, cuburi
  • 110g zahar alb
  • 2 oua
  • 35g faina alba
  • 1 praf de sare

Crema de ciocolata:

  • 140g ciocolata neagra, tocata
  • 80ml lapte
  • 120ml smantana pentru frisca
  • 2 galbenusuri
  • 100g zahar
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie

Mousse de ciocolata:

  • 250g ciocolata neagra, tocata
  • 120ml smantana pentru frisca
  • 2 galbenusuri
  • 40g zahar
  • 3g gelatina + 15ml apa rece
  • 350ml smantana pentru frisca, batuta

Sos de ciocolata:

  • 50g ciocolata neagra, tocata
  • 95ml apa
  • 35g zahar
  • 50ml smantana pentru frisca

Glazura de ciocolata:

  • Sosul de ciocolata de mai sus
  • 100g ciocolata neagra, tocata
  • 80ml smantana pentru frisca
  • 20g unt
  • 3g gelatina + 15ml apa rece

Mod de preparare:

Blat de ciocolata:

  1. Topiti ciocolata pe baie de aburi apoi adaugati untul si amestecati bine.
  2. Adaugati ouale, zaharul, faina si un praf de sare si amestecati doar pana la incorporare.
  3. Turnati aluatul intr-o tava rotunda si coaceti la 180C pentru 8-10 minute.
  4. Lasati sa se raceasca in tava apoi transferati blatul intr-un inel de tort tapetat cu folie de acetat. Dati deoparte.

Crema de ciocolata:

  1. Combinati laptele si smantana si infierbantati-le pe foc mic.
  2. Intre timp, mixati galbenusurile cu zaharul si sarea pana devin cremoase. Adaugati laptele si frisca fierbinti si puneti iar pe foc.
  3. Gatiti pana amestecul incepe sa se ingroase si acopera spatele unei linguri.
  4. Luati de pe foc si adaugati ciocolata. Amestecati bine si lasati sa se raceasca la temepratura camerei. Adaugati vanilia si turnati crema peste blat. Dati la rece.

Mousse de ciocolata:

  1. Topiti ciocolata pe baie de aburi sau in microunde. Dati deoparte.
  2. Hidratati gelatina in apa rece pentru 10 minute.
  3. Infierbantati smantana pentru frisca intr-un vas. Intre timp, mixati galbenusurile cu zaharul pana devin cremoase. Adaugati smantana si gatiti pe foc mic pana amestecul incepe sa se ingroase. Luati de pe foc si turnati acest amestec treptat peste ciocolata topita, amestecand bine. Adaugati si gelatina topita apoi lasati sa vina la temperatura camerei.
  4. Incorporati frisca batuta apoi turnati mousse-ul peste crema de ciocolata.
  5. Dati la rece cateva ore, preferabil peste noapte.

Sos de ciocolata:

  1. Combinati apa, zaharul si frisca intr-un bol. Dati in clocot apoi adaugati ciocolata. Amestecati bine si puneti iar pe foc mic. Gatiti pentru un minut apoi luati de pe foc si dati deoparte.

Glazura de ciocolata:

  1. Hidratati gelatina in apa rece pentru 10 minute.
  2. Incalziti cei 80ml smantana pentru frisca apoi adaugati ciocolata si amestecati bine.
  3. Adaugati sosul de ciocolata de mai sus, apoi incorporati untul si gelatina topita.
  4. Lasati glazura sa vina la temperatura camerei, apoi scoateti tortul din inel, puneti-l pe un gratar si glazurati-l cu grija, incepand din centru spre margini. Pentru o glazurare eficienta, uniforma, dati tortul la congelator cel putin 1 ora inainte.
  5. Pentru decor eu am topit si temperat 50g ciocolata. Fiti cat mai creativi la decor – merge orice decor din ciocolata, foita de aur sau fructe proaspete.

carrement au chocolat

{Peach Lavender Cobbler} – Cobbler cu piersici si levantica

peach lavender cobbler

Summer seems to be living its last days here in Romania. From 32C to 15C is a huge temperature drop during the day, although I hope we will get to see the sun a bit more before fall gets comfy over here. This weather, although perfect for baking, is somehow depressing, especially when you expect it to be warm and sunny, like the perfect August ever. But here’s me trying to cheer myself up with what else than a dessert. And not just any dessert, but one that says “summer” all the way. Beautiful, ripe peaches and vibrant lavender are the two main flavors of this peach lavender cobbler – how delicious does that sound?!

peach lavender cobbler

From where I sit, cobbler seems to be the sibling of crumble. It’s fluffy and soft, it’s rich and just as easy as crumble. To be honest, I’m not sure which one I prefer. Crumble is probably easier and straight forward, whilst cobbler feels a bit like an upside down muffin. Crumble is crispier, cobbler is like a cake with a juicy fruit filling. The cakey topping is versatile and matches perfectly any juicy fruit you can think of, from peaches to pears, apples, pumpkin or berries.

{Peach Lavender Cobbler}
 
Author:
Ingredients:
Filling:
  • 500g peeled and pitted peaches, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lavender buds
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping:
  • 140g all-purpose flour
  • 50g white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 100g butter, chilled and cubed
  • 70ml buttermilk, chilled
Directions:
Filling:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F - 180C and slightly grease a deep dish pie pan with butter.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in the deep dish pie pan and mix gently until the peach slices are evenly coated.
Topping:
  1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and butter in a bowl.
  2. Mix with your fingertips until you get a sandy, chunky mixture.
  3. Add the chilled buttermilk and mix quickly with a fork. Mix just a few times, the batter is supposed to be chunkier, not a smooth and silky batter.
  4. Spoon the batter over the fruits and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden and the fruits look soft,
  5. The cobbler is best served slightly warm, topped with ice cream, or chilled.

peach lavender cobbler ROMANIAN

Toamna incepe sa-si intre in drepturi, desi inca e august. Vremea a fost atat de urata ultimele zile incat sincer nici de gatit nu prea am avut chef. Prea ne-a trecut de la canicula la frig, extreme care nu sunt placute nicicum.. dar atunci cand soarele lipseste cu prisosinta zile la rand, intru intr-o usoara stare de melancolie. Tot ce-mi doresc acum e putin soare, putina caldura, nu sunt pregatita sa trec la haine de toamna si nici sa fac fata zilelor lungi si ploioase de toamna. Asa ca eu tin cu dintii de vara pe cat posibil si incerc sa alung melancolia toamnei cu un desert aromat, varatic, intens – cobbler cu piersici si levantica.

Acest cobbler e frate bun cu crumble, cu diferenta cu acesta din urma are un topping mult mai crocant. Ambele sunt extrem de simplu de facut si totul tine de preferinta voastra – daca vreti un topping cu textura de blat de tort, cobbler e perfect, daca va doriti ceva crocant, faceti crumble. Cat despre umplutura, e aceeasi la ambele si puteti practic folosi orice fructe, in orice combinatie va doriti.

Ingrediente:

Umplutura:

  • 500g piersici curatate si feliate
  • 1 lingura zeama de lamaie
  • 50g zahar brun (sau alb)
  • 1 lingurita leventica culinara (sau mai putin daca va doriti doar o aroma subtila – levantica are un gust intense si mai putin e mai bine)
  • 1 lingura amidon
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie

Topping:

  • 140g faina alba
  • 50g zahar
  • 1 lingurita praf de copr
  • 1/4 lingurita sare
  • 100g unt rece, cuburi
  • 70ml lapte batut, rece

Mod de preparare:

Umplutura:

  1. Pre-incalziti cuptorul la 180C si ungeti o tava adanca cu putin unt.
  2. Combinati toate ingredientele pentru umplutura in tava pregatita si amestecati usor.

Topping:

  1. Combinati faina, zaharul, praful de copt, sarea si untul intr-un bol. Amestecati cu varfurile degetelor sau o furculita pana obtineti o compozitie nisipoasa.
  2. Adaugati laptele batut si amestecati putin doar pana aluatul e umed, dar nu omogen.
  3. Puneti aluatul peste fructe si coaceti pentru 25-30 minute pana cobbler-ul devine auriu si parfumat.
  4. Serviti usor cald cu inghetata sau rece.
peach lavender cobbler