Creme Caramel

I’ve gone back to my Patisserie book this week but am still cheating a bit as I have gone straight to Creme Caramel recipe.  The reason for this is we needed a pudding for supper and Creme Caramels are one of my favourite puddings.

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Made from eggs sugar and milk they make one of the best puddings ever.

Sugar is heated in a saucepan until it has melted.  The saucepan is then dipped into cold water to stop it the caramel from cooking anymore and burning.  The mixture is then poured in to ramekins and left to cool.

Eggs are then whisked up and vanilla added for taste.  Milk is then added and the mIMG_4931ixture is poured into the ramekins and bake for about an hour when the custard mixture has set.

when the Creme Caramel has cooled turn upside down onto a plate and enjoy.

We didn’t have any ramekins so I used what I could find in the kitchen (some square pots).

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Short Crust Pastry

I got given a lovely patisserie book for Christmas full of some amazing recipes and thought it would be fun to try some on my blog and so I’m starting my year with chapter one of my book – learning about all the different pastry’s.

This week I concentrated on short crust pastry which is also known as Pâte Brisée .  With the pastry I made a plum tart and also some homemade custard to go with it.

The pastry consists of

250g plain flour

125g diced butter room temperature

40g sugar

Place all the ingredients into a bowl rub together until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Gradually add 125ml of cold water and knead the pastry into a soft ball (you may not need all the water and this is okay).

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Then cover the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for two hours.

Putting the pastry in the fridges makes it easier to work with when you are rolling it out and it also means the gluten has time to rest which stops the pastry shrinking when you bake it

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When two hours are up roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface.  The pastry should be about 3mm thick.  Then place the pastry over your greased 24cm tart case (with a removable bottom).  Cut off the excess pastry and then prick the pastry with a fork, this stops the pastry from puffing when it’s in the oven.

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For the plum tart

500g sliced plums

50g fine dried bread crumbs

25g sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

sugar to sprinkle over tart when baked

Sprinkle the breads crumbs on the base of the tart.  This prevents the plum juice from making the pastry soggy.  Arrange the plums in circles on the breadcrumbs and sprinkle the 25g of sugar and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon over the plums.  Then bake for 35 – 40 mins in a preheated oven at  200°C.

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When baked removed from the oven and sprinkle sugar on top of the tart.  Serve warm with a homemade custard.

To make the custard

300ml double or single cream

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1 level teaspoon castor sugar

2 drops vanilla essence

Heat the cream in a saucepan on  a hob until boiling.  In a separate bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour and vanilla essence.  Pour the heated cream into the egg mixture and mix together.  Then pour the custard back into the saucepan and over a low heat whisk gently until thickened the serve with the tart.

I don’t normally like fruit tarts but I really liked this one.  At first I thought the breadcrumbs were odd but they do add a nice texture to the tart.

Join me next week when I make an orange cream tart with a sweet pastry.

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Floating Islands

This weeks blog was really really hard.  I decided to bake floating islands which is a poached meringue floating on a bed of Creme anglaise (custard).  It is a clever recipe because the meringues use egg whites and the leftover egg yolks are then used for the creme anglaise.

Once I made the meringue mixture I then shaped the meringue into quenelles using two tablespoons.  The trick was to keep the spoons wet and clean so that the quenelles were smooth and could easily slip off the spoons and into the poaching liqued which was made up of cream, milk and vanilla bean paste.  The quenelles are gently poached for ten minutes and then placed on a cooling rack.

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(checking the meringue is stiff enough by turning the bowl upside down – if it’s okay it won’t fall on your head!)

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The egg yolks and sugar are then added to the poaching liqued and whisked together to over a hob until it has thickened to make the creme anglaise.

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Did you know:-

A Floating island is a French dessert, also known as ile flottante.  Crème anglaise is thought to have originated from ancient Rome where eggs were used as thickeners to create custards and creams.

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