Eggs Benedict

This is Gordon’s recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 fresh eggs
  • 2 toasting muffins
  • 4 slices Parma/Serrano ham
  • hollandaise sauce

Hollandaise sauce ingredients:

  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • peppercorn, ~1 tbsp
  •  tarragon
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200ml melted and skimmed unsalted butter (from 250g butter)
  • squeeze lemon juice

Boil the vinegar together with peppercorns and tarragon, reduce by half. Strain and reserve. (Store in a bottle for next uses.)

Beat the egg yolks with 2 tsp reduced vinegar on bain-marie to get a sabayon (forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted).

Melt 250 g butter, remove the foam and separate from the liquid. Whisk the butter in the yolks, a little at a time, you’ll have a texture as thick as mayonnaise. Finally, whisk in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste plus a little warm water from the pan if the mixture is too thick.

If the sauce mixture starts to ‘split’ or curdle, immediately scrape the mixture into a clean bowl and whisk in 1 tbsp ice-cold water, then continue whisking in the remaining butter just a ladleful at a time.

Reserve the sauce over bain-marie to keep it warm.

 

Split the muffins and toast them.

Bring the water to boil with vinegar in a deep saucepan.

Break the eggs into 4 separate small bowls.

Swirl the vinegared water briskly to form a vortex and slide in an egg (one at a time). It will curl round and set to a neat round shape. Cook for 3 mins, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Spread some sauce on each muffin, scrunch a slice of ham on top, then top with an egg. Spoon over the remaining hollandaise and serve at once.

They are absolutely delicious.

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How we celebrate Easter

Christ is Risen!

We usually celebrate each Easter with red dyed eggs, pascha- a traditional tart made in Eastern Orthodox countries, and sweet bread.

Each year I am trying something new…

This year: the Italian almond paste Easter lamb, the one of Favara, the belgian Craquelin, brioche Easter bunnies…

During the Easter festivities, in Puglia, almond paste takes the shape of lambs, a tradition that derives from Christian religion.

The use of the lamb as a paschal symbol is particularly widespread in the south of Italy. The most famous is that of Favara, in the province of Agrigento, Sicily, with its pistachio paste heart.

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Appetizers and finger-food buffet: cucumber & salmon mousse, rambol, grapes & pistachio truffles, Opera foie gras, porcini & chestnut soup, meatballs with pickled onions sauce, dyed Easter eggs:

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Tomato and mozzarella bites:

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Mini bavarese roquefort on dacquoise, Wiliams pear jam & pine nuts:

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Breadsticks with tuna sauce & prosciutto crudo:

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Artisan cheese platter:

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Focaccia-colomba salata:

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Snails in garlic-herb butter/Escargots à la Bourguignonne:

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Lemony lamb chops:

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Roast rack of lamb with apricot, pistachio and pecan:

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Easter nest bread and challah bread:

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Chocolate twist brioche:

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Craquelin with pearl sugar:

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Brioche Easter bunnies:

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Heavy cream pascha:

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Chocolate pascha:

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And our guest brought cheese pascha:

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Almond paste Easter lamb of Favara:

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Birds’ nest moka & vanilla cakes:

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Manon chocolates:

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Almond cookies:

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Easter nest bread/swallows’ nests/Nids d’hirondelles

 

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Ingredients:

  • 20 g fresh yeast (7 g dry yeast)
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 lg honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 6-8 painted eggs (boiled)
  • egg wash for brushing
  • salt
  • almonds/walnuts/sugar grains for decoration

Preferment:

Mix yeast, sugar, 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup warm milk, allow to rise 30 minutes.

Combine 3,5 cups flour, honey, the egg, melted butter and salt. Add preferment and 0,5 cup milk. Knead a smooth dough and let rise 1-2 hours, until doubled in bulk.

Knead again, cut in 6 pieces. Divide each piece in 6 or 3 strands and braid them, then form a wreath of each.

Arrange them in a baking sheet, on parchment. Brush the wreaths with egg-wash, sprinkle some almonds, or sugar grains, or any nuts.

Place a dyed Easter egg in the center of each wreath; or just a boiled egg and let the children to have fun painting them, when are ready.
Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes.
Or you can choose to bake the wreaths, then to place an Easter egg in the center of each wreath.

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Or you can shape each piece into a long strand, braid in two, without cutting the strand in 2, just form a loop. Pass the ends of the braided strand into the loop to form the nest.

 

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My Easter cookies: Bird’s nest cookies

 

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Short dough ngredients:

  • 150 g butter
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 Tbs water
  • 300 g flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • rhum

 

Cream butter with sugar:

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Add flavor, water, then the yolks. Sift cocoa with flour and baking powder.

Mix to get a homogenous dough. (Add more flour if is too soft, or water if is too stiff to get  the proper consistency):

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Wrap in plastic wrap, shape a 7,5 cm diameter log and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, to cut well-defined slices.

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Cut into 0,5 cm slices:

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Place at least 3cm apart on greased baking sheet or parchment.
Bake them at 180°C, for 10 minutes.
Completely cool on wire rack.

 

Ganache:

  • 350 g dark chocolate
  • 500 ml cream, over 35%
  •  2 Tbs instant coffee/barley coffee (orzo)

Melt cream with chocolate, add coffee, then cool. Beat until forms peaks.

Decoration:

  • small chocolate eggs or candies

Pipe ganache to form the nest. I used a Multi-Opening Decorating Tip 233 from Wilton, the one for grass/fur.

Fill the nest with eggs.

 

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Another way to make the nests:

Decoration:

  • 2 cup shredded coconut
  •  marzipan eggs&chicks

Pipe ganache around each cookie using a large tip, then sprinkle shredded coconut.

You can also turn the cookie up-side down and press into shredded coconut to make it stick onto ganache.

Fill the nest with eggs& chicks.

 

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Follow the pictures if you want to play with marzipan or powdered milk paste.

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Tarte of St. Tropez/Tarte tropézienne

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This tart consist in a brioche, cut in half, like a sandwich, with a thick layer of mousseline cream in between.

The creator of the tart is Alexandre Micka, a famous Polish pastry chef, who brought with him, in Saint-Tropez, his grandmother’s recipe.

Micka was asked to cater for a film crew working in nearby Ramatuelle, on a film called “And God Created Woman” with, then unknown, actress Brigitte Bardot. His cream pastries were a hit, and Micka was asked to produce more and more each day. Rumor has it that it was Bardot herself who suggested Micka rename his dessert. She suggested ‘The Tarte of St. Tropez’, and voila, La Tarte Tropézienne was born.

Dough ingredients:

  • 300g flour
  • 30 g fresh yeast
  • 70 g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 25 g sugar
  • 100 ml milk
  • 5 g salt
  • egg wash and grain sugar

Knead a smooth and soft dough. Cover and let it rise 15 minutes, covered.

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Pat the dough into a ~1 cm thick round. Brush with egg-wash and let it rise 1 hour, covered.

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In the meantime, prepare the cream.

Mousseline cream  (german buttercream):

  • 400 g milk
  • 200 g de sugar
  • 2-3 egg yolks
  • 40 g cornstarch
  • 200 g de butter
  • 2 Tbs rose water
  • 150 g whipped cream

(German buttercream is a mix of 2/3 pastry cream with 1/3 buttercream. I added whipped cream also.)

Bring the milk mixed with 100 g sugar, to boil.

Meanwhile in a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and 100 g sugar and whisk together. Add cornstarch.

Once the milk has boiled temper your egg mixture (slowly drizzle the hot milk in the egg mixture while whisking constantly) and return the mixture back to the stove. Whisk it constantly until it thickens. At this point you have the pastry cream base. Add rose water. Cool at room temperature. Add softened butter

If the custard is too hot, it will melt the butter.

Conversely, if you decide to chill it in the fridge make sure it is warmed to room temperature because it will seize or curdle when the butter is added.

If you have any issues, just cool or warm up (depending on the issue) the buttercream and try whipping it up again.

At the end add whipped cream. Refrigerate.

Brush again the dough, sprinkle sugar grains and bake 15 minutes at 210°C.

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Completely cool on wire rack, cut in two and put mousseline cream between two layers.

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You can choose to make them individual size, following the same procedure:

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Red beet mousse and rucola chantilly/Mousse de roquette sur lit de betterave

5Ingredients:

  • 60 g cream cheese
  • 60 g chevre
  • 200 g beet cooked/boiled
  • 2 g gelatin (optional)
  • 300 ml cream 35%
  • rucola
  • 15 g butter
  • salt

Blend 120 g red beet, chevre and cream cheese. Add hydrated, then melted gelatin. Add 100 g whipped cream.

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Finely chop 80 g of beet and cover the bottom of the cups. Pour the chevre mixture in cups, about 3/4. Refrigerate few hours or overnight.

Melt butter, add rucola (you can add 1 Tbs finely chopped onion) and let few minutes.

In a blender, mix 100 g cream with rucola. Mix with 100 g whipped cream.

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Make a rose with this chantilly, over red beet mousse, using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.

Decorate with rucola leaves and a red beet small cube.

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Jam tart/ Tarte à la confiture/Crostata di marmellata

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Ingredients:

  • 200 g flour
  • 175 g icing sugar
  • 150 g butter
  • 200 g fresh ricotta
  • 7 g baking powder
  • vanilla
  • jam (~400 ml)

Cream butter with sugar, add ricotta and vanilla.

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Add sifted flour with baking powder.

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Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

Roll the dough into a sheet.

For small tarts, cut with a cutter and cover the base and 2 cm in sides. Spoon jam and cover with a star.

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For a big tart, roll 2/3 of dough into a rectangle to cover the baking sheet, 25x35cm.

Roll the rest 1/3 of dough, cut stripes and arrange them on top, over jam. (here with pineapple jam, apricot, strawberry, cherry and plums jam)

Bake according to their size, until golden, at 180° C.

Apricot jam:

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Pineapple jam:

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Cherry jam:

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Plum jam:

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