Halloween ghosts and spiders – pumpkin, cranberries and pecan muffins

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Pumpkin muffins:

  • 150 g flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 100 g demerara sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g pumpkin puree
  • 110 g butter
  • 50 g dried cranberries
  • 75 g chopped pecan

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

In another large bowl whisk melted butter, sugar, eggs, pumpkin.

Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until completely combined.

Stir in chopped pecans and cranberries.

Scoop batter into cupcake pan, lined with paper liners.  Fill cups about 3/4 full.  (This batter perfectly makes 24 cupcakes).

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 20- 25 minutes.

Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Then transfer cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely.

Frost with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache:

  • 500ml cream
  • 500g best quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Pour the cream into a medium pot and heat it until it is almost but not quite boiling. You’ll know it’s ready when bubbles start to form around the edge of the pot. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is fully melted into the cream. Let cool.

Whisk forms peaks. Pipe on cupcakes.

You still need:

  • chocolate sprinkles/ vermicelli
  • liquorice
  • eyes
  • sugar paste

Ghosts: Let stand until ganache is set and decorate with sugar paste.

Spiders: Sprinkle chocolate on top.

Add the liquorice for the legs and the white frosting or jelly beans for the eyes.

 

 

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Cookie crusted pistachio profiteroles/Choux sicilienne

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Short dough (to cover the choux):

  • 40g butter, softened
  • 50g sugar/cassonade
  • 50g flour
  • green food coloring

Mix well to combine.

Roll the dough out very thin, about 2mm. Let it set on the freezer.

 

Choux pastry/ pâte à choux:

  • 125 ml milk
  • 125 ml water
  • pinch of salt
  • 115g  butter, cubed
  • 175 g flour
  • ~ 5-6 eggs

Bring the water, cubed butter, sugar and salt to a boil in a saucepan, then add the flour all at once. Cook and dry the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds, until a tight dough forms and pulls away from the pan.

Change to another saucepan. When the dough is lukewarm, add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously between additions. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add more egg and mix until incorporated. When the paddle is lifted the dough should form a bird’s beak.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip. Start piping on parchment paper,  well spaced, they grow. Keep the piping bag near vertical and just squeeze (~4,5 cm ).

With a small cookie cutter, about 3,5 cm, cut the short dough and top each chou.

Bake in the preheated 230-240°C oven for about 20 minutes,until they are well puffed and a deep golden colour. Do not open the oven the first 15 minutes while the dough puff up!

Cool completely.

I made 10 eclairs and 10 profiteroles with this choux pastry.

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Pistachio Chantilly cream (for 10 choux, about 7 cm ):

  • 320 g cream 35%
  • 160 g mascarpone
  • 80 g pistachio paste
  • 85 g caster sugar

To prepare pistachio Chantilly cream, mix heavy cream, mascarpone, pistachio paste and sugar and beat until stiff.

I prepared myself pistachio paste, grinding pistachio for a relatively long time, until become oily.

First they were reduced into crumbs, then a powder, then into a thick paste. (I did not previously coat them with caramel.)

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We still need:

  • 150 g raspberry jam, seedless
  • 50 raspberry (~5 raspberry for each chou)
  • 50 g crushed pistachio

 

Cut each chou at 3/4, spoon some jam on the bottom, arrange raspberries on the edge, pipe pistachio Chantilly cream, sprinkle some pistachio and top with the other part. (I cut the top using a 4 cm cookie cutter).

Dust with icing sugar.

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And here plain, with Chantilly cream:

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Mini Black forest cakes/Demis-gâteaux forêt-noire

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Cake ingredients:

  • 3x (28×24 cm) chocolate sponge cake
  • 750 g Chantilly cream
  • 500 g chocolate Chantilly cream
  • 350 g pitted sour cherries, morello
  • soaking syrup
  • dark chocolate shavings
  • spiral of dark chocolate
  • maraschino cherry

 

Sponge cake ingredients ( for 2  28×36 cm  sheet pans):

  • 280 g egg yolks (18 egg yolks)
  • 250 g egg whites (7-8)
  • 260 g sugar (200 g + 60 g)
  • 50 g flour
  • 50 g cornstarch
  • 50 g cocoa
  • 100 g butter

Beat yolks with 200 g of sugar until the mixture becomes significantly lighter in colour.

Whisk egg whites , fold in the remaining 60 g of sugar to stiffen.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch and cocoa powder. Melt the butter.

Add a part of egg whites into egg yolk mixture, as well as the flour mixture.

Gently fold in all the egg whites and the butter.

Pour the batter evenly into prepared pan sheets (or one 40×60 cm sheet pan), and bake at 180°C for about 10 minutes.
Flip onto a wire rack and cool completely.
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Chantilly cream ingredients:

  • 750 g heavy cream ( cream min 35%)
  • 120 g icing sugar
  • vanilla

Chill the cream, bowl and beaters in the freezer before starting.

Whisk the cream until soft peaks begin to form, add vanilla and icing sugar.

 

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Soaking syrup:
  • 1/2 cup sour cherry juice
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch
Drain sour cherries, reserving 1/2 cup juice.
Mix with kirsch.
Chocolate Chantilly cream:
  • 425g heavy cream
  • 75 g chocolate 53%
  • 1 Tbs sugar
Melt the chocolate with heavy cream, add sugar and mix very well to combine.
Refrigerate the mixture for about 5 hours or overnight. ( The cream should be cooled to 5 ° C. )
Just before using it, whip to soft peaks.
How to assemble the cake:
Cut away 1/3 of each sheet cake. Set aside.
To assemble, place one cake layer on cake plate. Brush  syrup (on each layer of your cake).  Spread with 1/3 of Chantilly cream, spread the  pitted sour cherry, top with 1/3 of Chantilly cream.  Top with second cake layer (the 2 pieces of 1/3), spread chocolate Chantilly cream.  Top with third cake layer. Refrigerate 2-3 hours.
Cut into rectangles.  Frost side of cake. Pat dark chocolate shavings onto Chantilly cream on side of cake. Spoon reserved Chantilly cream into pastry bag fitted with large round tip. Pipe the Chantilly cream on the top of cake.

Decorate with a maraschino cherry and a dark chocolate spiral.

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Chocolate tiramisù

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Happy children’s day!!!!

I indulged my kids today with this rich and delicious cake.

I wanted to try it from the moment I saw it at my dear Any.  Thank you Any!

There was no other better time than today to make it.

 

For a 23cm round cake:

Chocolate cream ingredients:

  • 45 g cocoa powder
  • 45 g caster sugar
  • 150 g milk
  • 100 g chocolate, min 60%
  • 50 g butter

Mix cocoa with sugar, add milk and boil in a small saucepan until thickens. Add in the chocolate and cubed butter.

Allow to cool.

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Mascarpone cream ingredients:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 15 g caster sugar
  • 120 g sugar syrup (85 g sugar+35 g water)
  • 500 g mascarpone
  • 175 g italian meringue

Mix egg yolks with sugar untill doubled in volume, add boiled syrup at 120C. Continue mixing until cools.

Add the creamed mascarpone and the chocolate cream cooled.

At the end, fold in the meringue.

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Italian meringue ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  •  175 g+ 15 g caster sugar
  • 50 g water

Bring the water and 175 g sugar to boil. When the syrup reach 110C, start beating whites with the remaining 15 g sugar.

Pour boiling syrup at 120C in a fine stream over whites, beating constantly. Continue beating until completely cool.

You still need:

  • 3-400 ml strong espresso, cooled (you can add also Marsala or any liquor you prefer)
  • 40 packaged ladyfingers
  • cocoa for dusting

Assembling :

In a small shallow dish, add espresso and Marsala if you are using.
Dip each ladyfinger into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger to form the first layer, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the bottom.
Reserve 1/4 cream in a piping bag.Spread evenly 1/2 of remaining mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers.Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture. Arrange the third layer, spread a thin layer of mascarpone and pipe the rest of mixture on top.

Refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, dust with cocoa or chocolate shavings.
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This is really… pick me up…(italian tirami sù).

Chocolate cake/Plaisir Sucré P. Hermé

This cake is exactly as Hermé describe it: An amazing cake,  defiant and devilishly delicious.

I totally agree!

A hazelnut meringue/dacquoise aux noisettes, milk chocolate ganache, milk chocolate chantilly cream, flaky hazelnut praline, thin layers of milk chocolate.

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Hazelnut meringue/Dacquoise noisette:

  • 3 white eggs (130g)
  • 2,5 Tbs caster sugar
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 70 g hazelnuts flour
  • 140 g hazelnuts grilled & peeled, cut in 2 (I skipped them)

Sift together hazelnuts flour and icing sugar.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites, add caster sugar and continue beating until the mixture is shinny.

Fold in the hazelnuts-icing sugar mixture.

Pour the meringue on baking paper, in a 26cm square, 1,4 cm thick.

Sprinkle hazelnuts halves. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 165C, until firm to the touch.

Cool on wire rack.

I cut a heart shape.

Chocolate layers:

  • 260 g milk chocolate

Pour 1/3 of temperate milk chocolate on 3 hard plastic sheets (to avoid waving), spread immediately with a spatula. Let set and cut. I used the same heart cutter.

Ganache:

  • 190 g milk chocolate
  • 165 g cream (35-40%)

Pour boiled cream over chopped chocolate and mix well with a whisk to combine.

Cool at room temperature.

Milk chocolate chantilly cream:

  • 285 g milk chocolate
  • 435 g cream (over 35%)

Pour boiled cream over chopped chocolate and mix well with a whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight or 5-6 hours.

Flaky hazelnut praline/praliné croustillant:

  • 200 g Nutella
  • 50 g milk chocolate, temperate
  • 30 g  feuilletine (broken up pieces of crêpes dentelles/gavottes)
  • 15 g butter, melted

Mix the ingredients in the written order.

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Spread the meringue with a spatula, from middle to edges.

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Cover with one milk chocolate layer, reserve the nice looking one for top:

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Pipe ganache over chocolate layer (10 round nozzle):

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Top with another milk chocolate layer:

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Beat the chocolate cream until it forms soft peaks:

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Pipe over milk chocolate layer: (I used a 30 Saint Honoré nozzle):

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Top with the last milk chocolate layer:

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Speechless…

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Milk slices/Tranche au lait

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Biscuit ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 60 g sugar
  • 60 g honey
  • 30 g flour
  • 30 g cornstarch
  • 25 g cocoa
  • 6 g baking powder
  • 70 g oil
  • 15 ml milk

In a bowl sift together flour, cornstarch, cocoa and baking powder.

Combine honey with milk and warm to dissolve.

In a separate bowl, cream the egg yolks with sugar.

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Add oil, milk and honey, then add flour and whisked egg whites.

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Pour the batter in a 25 x 38 cm baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 175°C. (or divide batter in 2 and bake 2 biscuit sheets)

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Cool on wire rack and cut in 2.

Cream ingredients:

  • 400 g cream
  • 240 g condensed milk sweetened
  • 140 g milk
  • 50 g honey
  • 6 g gelatin

Cover gelatin with 5x cold water (30g) and let 10 minutes.

Beat cold cream until form peaks.

Melt the gelatin on bain-marie or 5 seconds on MW. Dissolve in warm milk. Add condensed milk and honey. Allow to cool, then add one spoonful of whisked cream and quickly mix to combine.

Gently fold the honey mixture in cream . Refrigerate 30 minutes, then pour onto prepared biscuit.

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Level with a spatula. Cover with the other biscuit and refrigerate 3 hours.

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Then cut in slices and enjoy:

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Banana apricot bread

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Ingredients:

  • 120 g flour
  • 120 g wholewheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 115 g butter, room temperature
  • 100 g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 mashed overripe bananas
  • 80 g dried apricot, diced
  • 60 g walnuts, coarse chopped
  • vanilla

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla. Add flour and banana at low speed, at the end add walnuts and apricots.

Pour batter into buttered 23×13 cm loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes at 175C, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.

Let bread cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

Wrap in plastic wrap and let 8 h , or overnight: this allows the banana flavor to really come through.

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