Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Baking Pans (Vintage and New)

Following are pictures of some of my most treasured Easter baking pans, most of them are vintage but some of them are new and were modeled after the originals. I started collecting these baking pans many years ago.

These seasonal baking pans come in a variety of sizes and designs, there are sheep...

...and Easter bunnies with an Easter egg.

Some of them were are made of cast iron....

...and others are made of metal.

Then there are hens and roosters and more sheep, small one and bigger ones. But all have one thing in common, they are always two parts to each set, held together with metal clicks that have be be released after baking and in order to unmold the cakes before transferring them to the cooling racks.

Following is the translation of a recipe for a plain Marble Cake that I like to bake in these Easter baking pans. It was given to me in 1989 (the picture of the original recipe card is above) and I have been using it ever since.

Recipe for two Marble Cake Bunnies or Hens or Roosters or Sheep
(this recipe can also be baked in a Bundt pan, springform or loaf pan)

Ingredients for the Marble Cake
  • 200 grams (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) superfine (caster) sugar 
  • 1 package/2 1/2 tsp  pure vanilla sugar (or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 4 eggs, use organic or free range whenever possible 
  • finely grated zest of a lemon, use organic if possible
  • 200 grams (1 1/2 cups) AP (plain) flour, sifted
  • 1/8 tsp fine salt (I use fine sea salt)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the chocolate dough add:
  • 2 tbsp dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp superfine (caster) sugar
  • 3 tbsp dark rum or milk, room temperature

Preparation of the Marble Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Butter and flour your baking pans, knocking out the excess. Make sure to attach the metal clips to the pans before continuing with the recipe.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy.
  4. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Beat in the vanilla sugar or extract.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. Beat in the lemon zest.
  8. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, the salt and the baking powder.
  9. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix only until combined.
  10. Pour half the batter into the prepared pans.
  11. To the other half add the cocoa powder, sugar and rum or milk and mix only until combined. Do not overmix.
  12. Add the chocolate batter on top of the vanilla batter in the pans and carefully draw swirls through the batter to marbleize it. Very carefully place the filled baking pans on parchment lined baking sheets (to catch any eventual overflow) and slowly slide the baking sheets into the oven - holding onto the pans with oven mitts.
  13. Bake for about 45 to 60 minutes. Carefully take the pans out of the oven.
  14. Place on a wire racks to cool for about 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans to cool completely by releasing the metal clips first, then one side of the baking pan and then the other. Make sure to cut the cakes flush with the pans (using a serrated knife).
  15. Decorate as desired and use dark or white chocolate, just some powdered sugar or dessicated coconut for the sheep to give them that "furry" look.

These pans are just part of my ever-growing collection. And they are perfect for baking not only fabulous marble cake bunnies, but also vanilla sheep or coconut hens or chocolate roosters. The possibilties for baking delightful Easter cakes using these molds seem endless.


Friday, March 22, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - Ispahan Loaf Cake

Today´s chosen recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is the famous Ispahan Loaf Cake, inspired by the even more famous French pastry chef Pierre Hermé. This pâtissier extraordinaire is well-known for his macarons, many of which have unusual flavor combinations, such as the Macaron Isaphan, made with rose, lychee, and raspberry.

The Macaron Ispahan was meant to be an hommage to the very fragrant Rose d' Isfahan as well as  Isfahan, a city in central Iran. Hermé invented this Macaron on the occasion of  the presentation of the biography of the widow of former Shah of Persia, Farah Pahlavi. Over the period of several months, Hermé reportedly tried hundreds of different flavor combinations before settling on the lychee, raspberry, and rose combination.

This flavor combination has taken France by storm and as I looked at uncountable photos on numerous French blogs, I realized that there seems to be hardly a French food blog that does not have pictures and recipes of a Gâteau or Cake or Macaron à l´ Ispahan. And since only last Wednesday, I did a post on the occasion of my first blogiversary on Rose Petits Fours and everything rosy, I will keep this post short and sweet.

This cake with almond flour, raspberries and rose syrup is definitely suitable as a dessert for a ladies´ lunch.

Since I found a manufacturer of a variety of natural rose products in Bavaria that makes the most wonderful rose syrup, I did not have to order the Monin rose syrup as suggested by Dorie. However, when I served this cake, I was not successful in persuading any of my male taste testers to try it. Although this cake smells lovely while baking and definitely looks delightful, it does not seem to be for everyone.

To see all the other delightful versions of this very French Ispahan Loaf Cake, made by the dedicated members of the French Fridays with Dorie group, please click here.

  • Rose syrup (Rosensirup) from “Bergler-Fischer” (http://www.bergler-fischer.de)
  • Backing pan called LURCH Flexi Royal Lüneburg from "Lurch" (http://www.lurch.de)
  • Vintage cake platters with rose design and linen table cloth from my collection

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring and a Slice of Linzer Torte

Today is the first day of spring (Frühlingsanfang), so why not welcome Spring (Frühling) by baking this delightful Austrian Linzer Torte, named after the City of Linz, Austria. This famous torte has a lattice design on top of the pastry and fabulous thick homemade raspberry jam as filling.

This  wonderful cake is often said to be the oldest cake in the world and according to recent research dates back to at least 1653. There are lots of variations and the oldest known recipe is in a cookbook that was written about 350 years ago.

Recipe for the Linzer Torte

Ingredients for the Linzer Torte 
  • 150 grams (5 ½ ounces) superfine white sugar (caster sugar)
  • 150 grams (5 ½ ounces) AP (plain) flour, plus some extra for dusting
  • 150 grams (5 ½ ounces)  ground hazelnuts (you can substitute almonds or almonds and hazelnuts in equal parts)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (I always use cinnamon from Ceylon)
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 150 grams (5 ½ ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg (L) beaten (free range or organic whenever possible)
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) thick homemade or good quality raspberry jam
  • ½ tsp icing sugar, to decorate (optional)

Preparation of the Linzer Torte
  1. Put the sugar, flour, ground almonds, ground cinnamon and cloves in a large mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
  2. Add the cubes of butter and rub them into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs - you can also easily use a pastry cutter for this.
  3. Add the egg and stir until the dough comes together, then knead lightly into a ball. 
  4. Take about a quarter from the dough to use for the lattice topping. 
  5. Roll the rest of the dough into a ball and turn it out on to a well-floured surface .NOTE: if the dough is too soft at this point, place it in the fridge for about an hour, then roll it out.
  6. Flatten the ball with your hands, or a floured rolling pin, until it is about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick. 
  7. Place the dough in a 24 cm (9 ½ inch)  loose-based, fluted tart pan or other tart pan you have on hand and press it with your fingers over the base until it is about halfway up the sides of the tart pan and the tart pan is evenly covered.
  8. Then spread the raspberry jam over the dough as evenly as possible.
  9. Shape the reserved dough into a log and roll it out on a well-floured surface to make a rectangle 3 mm (⅛ inches) thick. 
  10. Then cut the dough into 1.5 cm (⅝  inch) strips - you can use a special cutter for this which will cut "wavy" dough strips but you could also use a pizza wheel or a long, sharp knife.
  11. Place the strips over the jam and create a criss-cross pattern over the filling. 
  12. Press the edges to seal, pinch off the excess pastry and mark and carefully press down the edge of the dough with the tines of a fork.
  13. Chill the tart in the fridge for about an hour.
  14. While the tart is chilling, preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit).
  15. Put the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes or until the almond pastry is pale golden brown - you can brush the lattice top with a bit of an egg wash before baking if you wish to have a bit of a shiny look to the lattice top.
  16. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool in the tart pan for about 15 minutes.
  17. Place on a nice cake platter for serving.
  18. Decorate with a light dusting of icing sugar, if you like, and cut it into wedges to serve.

Have a wonderful springtime! – Ich wünsche einen schönen Frühling!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesdays with Dorie - Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today´s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie group is for Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies. The recipe for these fabulous cookies was contributed by baker Rick Katz.

The ingredients for these cookies are plain flour, instant coffee powder (I like to use freshly ground coffee instead)…

…baking soda, some salt, unsalted butter, granulated sugar and dark brown sugar, eggs, vanilla (I like to use homemade vanilla sugar), chocolate chunks (I used only dark chocolate with 70 % cocoa solids), and coarsely chopped dried apricots – although apricots are an optional ingredient in this recipe, I decided to add the dried fruits because I found very nice, sweet and plump, dried organic apricots at my favorite health food store.

The combination of granulated and dark brown sugar is a common one, the former adding crunch, the latter a caramel flavor. And the addition of bicarbonate of soda is the most common raising agent in chocolate chip cookies. Overall, a nice and easy recipe.

Of course, you should go for good quality dark chocolate too – the more cocoa there is in it, the more cocoa butter content you will have and the uneven chunks created by chopping your own chocolate gives a better result than even chocolate chips.

These are the ultimate comfort cookies, they are crisp on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside and the addition of dried apricots is quite nice, the dried fruit adds a nice flavor and texture to these cookies. And they are really simple to make with ingredients that, maybe except for the dried fruits, you usually have in your pantry.

To see how the other Doristas fared with this recipe, please do click here.

The recipe can be found at Peggy´s blog - Galettista - "Thank you for hosting today´s recipe, Peggy"!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chocolate Almond Biscotti - Schokoladen Mandel Biscotti

We all love Biscotti.

Those oblong-shaped biscuits are made dry and crunchy through cutting the loaf of dough while still hot and fresh from baking in the oven and then baking it for a second time.

I have blogged about two wonderful Biscotti recipes in the past, once about delicious Almond Biscotti (Mandel Biscotti) and then about the wonderful Gingerbread Biscotti (Lebkuchen Biscotti) that contain a whole range of  fantastic warm spices.

These crunchy Chocolate Almond Biscotti contain whole as well as ground almonds and cocoa powder as well as chopped chocolate. They are just the thing to accompany a silky dessert or a strong espresso. As fancy coffee shops become more and more popular across the world, to enjoy Biscottis with a cup of coffee has also become very  fashionable.

The name "biscotti" is Italian and literally means "twice baked". Biscotti can be found in all sorts of flavors, but the most common contain anise, hazelnuts, and almonds. In this recipe you will enjoy the delicious flavors of almonds and dark, good quality chocolate. Make sure to use dark cocoa powder as well as your favorite dark chocolate when baking these.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
(Schokoladen Mandel Biscotti)

Ingredients for  the Biscotti
  • 1 1/2 cups (8 ounces/200 grams) whole unblanched almonds – if you like, substitute hazelnuts or even pistachios for almonds
  • 3 cups (13.2 ounces/375 grams) AP (plain) flour
  • 2/3 cup (3.5 ounces/100 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (I used “Sarotti” cocoa powder)
  • 1 tsp (0.2 ounces/6 grams) baking soda
  • 1 tsp  (0.2 ounces/6 grams) baking powder
  • a pinch of fine salt (I used French sea salt)
  • 2 sticks  (1 cup/226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (14 ounces/400 grams) superfine white sugar
  • 3 eggs (L), organic or free range whenever possible
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla sugar (I used homemade)
  • 1 cup (4.6 ounces/130 grams) dark chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt Excellence 70% - try to use a chocolate with 70 % or above cacao solids, then you get more chocolate and less sugar)

Preparation of the Biscotti
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius).
  2. Line heavy large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. 
  3. Grind 1/2 cup almonds in the food processor and set aside. 
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 
  5. With your electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar to blend. 
  6. To the butter mixture, add the eggs and vanilla sugar and beat until well blended. 
  7. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
  8. Mix in 1 cup whole almonds, chopped chocolate and 1/2 cup ground almonds.
  9. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. 
  10. Shape each piece on baking sheet into 2 1/2 inch (6.3 cm) - wide by 14 inch (35.5 cm) - long log. NOTE: At this stage, you can wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two weeks. Bring it back to room temperature before baking.
  11. Place logs on prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 1/2 inches (6.3 cm) apart (logs will spread during baking). 
  12. Bake until logs feel firm when tops are gently pressed, about 35 minutes. 
  13. Cool logs on baking sheet about 10 to 15 minutes and maintain oven temperature in the meantime.
  14. Carefully transfer the baked logs to a large cutting board. 
  15. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch (1 cm) -thick slices. NOTE: If you do this while the biscotti are still a bit warm, they will not crumble.
  16. Arrange slices, cut side down, on the two baking sheets. NOTE: You can either place each Biscotti slice directly on the parchment onto the baking sheet OR onto cooling racks that you place onto the baking sheets thereby allowing for the hot air to circulate around each Biscotti cookie slice.
  17. Return the baking sheets to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp, golden-brown and cooked through.
  18. Transfer to racks and cool completely. 

The Chocolate Almond Biscotti are not only wonderful with coffee or espresso but also with a cup of  tea or a small glass of sweet dessert wine at the end of a meal – or anytime, really. They do keep very well in an airtight cookie tin/container at room temperature for two to three weeks.

Biscottis make formidable gifts – pack them in pretty cellophane bags and add a nice ribbon or bow to the package, with a tag indicating what kind of Biscottis you baked. Or collect coffee cans and once you have enjoyed the coffee, keep the can as "gift boxes" and "stand" the cooled Biscotti in the cans - ecco - a perfect gift!

Friday, March 15, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - Orange-Scented Lentil Soup

Today the recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie Group is Orange-Scented Lentil Soup.

Dorie suggests lentils du Puy for this soup, a small slate-green lentil with a delicate blue marbling.

Puy lentils have enjoyed a big comeback lately and as this delicious and nutritious soup shows, with good reason. Puy lentils are considered by many to be the best lentils because of their unique peppery flavor and the fact they hold their shape during cooking. They are the only lentil to be identified by area of cultivation, grown in the Le Puy region of France.

Serve the Puy lentils hot or cold as a salad starter or as an accompaniment to poultry, meat or fish dishes, or use them in soups (as for this recipe) or casseroles.

However, I think that the Puy lentils could also successfully be replaced by Green lentils. They also retain their shape well during cooking and their mild flavor and soft, mealy texture make them suitable for many dishes such as soups, casseroles, vegetable bakes and stuffed vegetables. Green lentils are the ones that I choose when I cook my traditional German version of lentil soup, the "Linsensuppe".

These days, lentils grace the menus of many high-end restaurants. But still we do not seem to use them enough. They are cheap, nutritious (protein, carbs, fibre, vitamin B and iron) and versatile and very tasty. In my house, I will use them at least twice a month. They are especially valuable in winter, when fresh homegrown vegetables are not so abundant.

The building blocks of Dorie´s lentil soup are onion, celery, carrots, chicken stock (preferably homemade), orange peel (organic, of course), black peppercorns, coriander seeds, a clove, and some fresh ginger. This lentil soup is very comforting with all those warming spices that are given a delicious lift by a topping of some nice and thick Greek yogurt or some sour cream or crème fraîche.

The mouth-watering, crisp bacon slices that you should serve alongside the soup by placing them on the rim of the soup bowl, also make a wonderful addition. Hearty and delicious, this Orange-Scented Lentil Soup will warm you up from head to toe.

 Dorie states in her recipe that the soup should be (partially) puréed but I would never purée my lentil soup completely, only a very small portion of it because we love our lentil soup, be it French or Italian or German, with lots of chunks of vegetables.

The last thing before serving the soup is the above-mentioned dollop of crème fraîche, the bacon slice and some organic orange rind…

….and together with a loaf of good crusty sourdough bread you will have a full meal.

Warming and substantial, this makes a very satisfying meal and to see how this hearty Orange-Scented Lentil Soup was prepared by the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group, please click here.

  • Soup bowl with deer design  from “Jet by Ter Steege” (http://www.worldofjet.com)
  • Deer figurines called "Rothirsch" (red deer) and "Rothirschkuh" (red doe) from "Schleich" (http://www.schleich-s.com)
  • Checkered tablecloth  from "Dille Kamille" ( http://www.dille-kamille.nl)
  • Silver soup spoons, wooden platter, wooden napkin rings all "vintage" and part of my collection

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rose Petits Fours - Rosen-Petits-Fours

About a year ago I started blogging and there does not seem to be a better occasion than this first blogiversary to feature these wonderful and delicate Rose Petits Fours (Rosen-Petits-Fours).

Petits Fours are small French fancy biscuits or cakes often served at the end of a meal. Strictly speaking they are oven-baked little cakes ("four" is French for "oven") and were classically made with choux pastry or flan pastry. However, a selection of Petits Fours these days covers a wide variety of sweet things not necessarily cooked and made with meringue, marzipan or chocolate.

These Rose Petits Fours are wonderful and delicious layers of sponge cake, marzipan, and rose jelly all in a mouthful.

These delicious rose-scented little cakes have a bit of rose water (Rosenwasser) or rose syrup (Rosensirup) in the icing and rose jelly (Rosengelee) in the filling. And although they seem to be a bit of a fancy and decadent treat, they are wonderful any time of the year.

Rose water is a flavored water made by steeping rose petals in water. It has been used as a flavoring for centuries in Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese cuisines and it can be added to jellies and syrups, and it is often sprinkled over cakes and puddings.

When using rose water or rose syrup in baking you have to make sure to use a high quality product, otherwise the cake will not have a delicate taste of roses but will  be overpowered by their flavor. I found a manufacturer in Bavaria that uses only roses that they planted themselves to produce a whole range of delicious rose products such as rose jelly, rose sugar, rose salt, rose syrup, and rose liqueur to name but a few.

Recipe for the Rose Petits Fours

Ingredients for the Sponge Cake
  • 4 eggs (M), free range or organic if possible
  • 50 grams superfine white sugar 
  • 80 grams AP(plain) flour
  • 20 grams potato starch
  • 3 to 4 tbsp orange liqueur (for example Grand Marnier, you can substitute orange juice)

Ingredients for the Filling, Icing and Decoration
  • 100 grams rose jelly (I used a rose jelly/"Rosengelee" from "Bergler-Fischer")
  • 150 grams marzipan 
  • 250 grams powdered sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  • a few drops red food coloring or alternatively a few drops of raspberry juice (which is what I like to use)
  • a few drops of a good quality rose water or rose syrup (I used a rose syrup/"Rosensirup" from "Bergler-Fischer")
  • about 75 grams  white chocolate (I used white Lindt chocolate called "Lindor Weiss")

  • baking sheet (30x40 centimeters)
  • parchment paper
  • plastic wrap (clingfilm)

Preparation of the Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whisk the eggs with the sugar for about five minutes or until light in color and fluffy 
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour and starch.
  5. Using a spatula, carefully fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
  6. Spread the dough in an even layer as possible onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about fifteen minutes.
  7. Take the cake out of the oven, turn onto a clean kitchen towel covered with some powdered sugar, peel off the parchment paper – taking care not  to tear the baked sponge cake. Let the cake cool completely.
  8. Drip some orange liqueur over the entire cake.
  9. Cut off a third of the cake. 
  10. Spread the rose jelly on the remaining piece in an even and thin layer.
  11. Knead the marzipan with about 50 grams of the powdered sugar and roll out between sheets of plastic wrap to a 2 mm  thickness – the rolled out marzipan should have the same size as the cut cake.
  12. Take off the plastic wrap and carefully place the rolled-out marzipan on top of the jelly.
  13. Now cut the cake into two pieces and place one third on top of the other third and place the piece that you cut off earlier on top – you will now have three layers.
  14. Cover the cake layers with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about one hour (if you want you can place a plate on top of the cake pieces to “weight them down” a bit while cooling.
  15. Take out of the fridge and cut the cake into squares.
  16. For the icing, mix together the remaining powdered sugar and the lemon juice plus a few drops of food coloring or red juice (if using).  and the rose water (if using) and stir until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a few drops of warm water to 16. Cut the cake into equal sized squares and place them on cake racks.
  17. Cover the cake squares with the pink icing and let it dry. .
  18. Cut the white chocolate into small pieces using a serrated knife and melt in a water bath. Fill into paper cones and decorate the Rose Petits Fours as desired – you could also just decorate with some white powdered sugar icing.
  19. Place organic dried roses on top of the white chocolate and let set completely before serving.

These dainty Petits Fours require patience and a bit of a steady hand but they are certainly well worth the effort.

Serve these pretty Petits Fours with coffee at the end of a dinner party, or as special tea time treats.


A rose is a rose is a rose...

(1913 "Sacred Emily", Gertrude Stein)

Friday, March 8, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - Cheesy Crème Brûlée

Today the recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Cheesy Crème Brûlée, a savory version of a French classic sweet dessert - little pots of deliciously creamy cheesy custards topped with fabulous broiled and melted cheese.

Traditionally, Crème Brûlée is a classic bistro dish of chilled creamy custard under a layer of crackling burnt sugar. It is an an important dessert for pastry chefs to master. Dorie´s version, however, has a somewhat different cooking method and the ingredients are savory rather than sweet.

Dorie´s recipe calls for a total of five ounces (140 grams) of cheese, a combination of Parmigiano Reggiano (a hard, granular cheese, cooked but not pressed, named after the producing areas near Parma, Italy) and Comté (a French cheese made from unpasteurized cow's milk in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France), fresh heavy cream (I used 35%), whole milk, and three large egg yolks, plus salt and freshly ground nutmeg and pepper. The Comté cheese is often referred to as the French equivalent of the Swiss Gruyère cheese and it can be found at every good cheese store around here – I always appreciate an excuse to go to my favorite cheese store and marvel at the display while I am waiting to get served – the promise of a delicious Cheesy Crème Brûlée was indeed a fabulous reason to stand in line at the cheese store.

For the baking of these cheesy custards, you will need some shallow ovenproof dishes or  brûlée dishes or large/wide ramekins. And unless you use the broiler in your oven, you will also need a mini blowtorch to brown the cheese on top of the custard. After you lined the brulée dishes with very small cubes of cheese (actually I ended up grating the two cheeses instead of cutting minitaure cubes), you prepare the custard, fill it into the dishes, bake the custard for about fifty minutes, let cool, sprinkle grated cheese on top and either brown the tops using a mini blowtorch or run the custard under the broiler.

The two cheeses used in this recipe taste wonderful together - I often use Comté and appreciate the fact that it melts so nicely for example in a cheese fondue. But I think that Swiss Gruyère would also be perfect in this custard as well. Dorie also suggests Cheddar cheese as an alternative, a cheese not often used around here and since I can easily find good French cheeses, I opted for a fabulous Comté AOC Bronze.

Predictably, I had some Comté and Parmigiano Reggiano left over. So I decided to bake a few savory Cheesy Palmiers. Those pastries are thought to have originated in France around the turn of the 20th century. Around here they are known as "Schweineöhrchen" which can be literally translated as "pig's ears".

Palmiers are made from puff pastry, a laminated dough similar to the dough used for Croissants but without the yeast. Since I am still “recovering” from the two day task of baking the Croissants for the TwD group, I decided to use store bought all butter puff pastry. For the Cheesy Palmiers, you simply roll out the pastry and coat it with grated cheeses of choice, a tiny bit of sea salt, and freshly ground pepper and nutmeg to taste. Then the two sides are rolled up together so that they meet in the middle, making a roll that is best frozen for a good thirty minutes and then simply cut into about 1/4" (0.6 centimeter) slices and baked until nicely browned and really crisp.

For a fun presentation, very carefully thread a nice ribbon through the top of the Cheesy Palmiers and place together with the serving spoon on top of some pretty napkins.

Except for the youngest taste tester (who is all but four years of age), this cheesy creamy custard with the slightly browned cheese top was very well received at our house. And they all happily munched away on those Palmiers. The Cheesy Crème Brulée will certainly be a wonderful dish to serve to guests and I really appreciate the fact that the custards can be baked well in advance, kept in the fridge and quickly be ran under the broiler just before serving. A wonderful and elegant recipe to keep in mind for example at Easter time.

To see how delicious the Cheesy Crème Brûlée made by the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group turned out, please click here.

  • Crème brûlée dishes from "TCM" (http://www.tchibo.de) 
  • Linen napkins (checkered, dolka dot and mushroom design) and checkered ribbon from "Butlers" (http://www.butlers.de) and "Depot" (http://www.depot-online.com)
  • Cutlery and spoons with fairy tale designs from "WMF" (http://www.wmf.de)