Sweets for my sweet

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey.
The Searchers had a song with that title back in the 60's. I wasn't born in the 60's and as far as I remember my mum didn't care about them, so I have no clue why I would sing this over and over since I was a teen... This sweet clafoutis done in a heart bit called for a proper soundtrack. My kitchen got full with Sweets for my sweet playing out loud!

This recipe will join Bron's Donna Day, if I can still send it on time!

Red & Green Clafoutis

1 Granny Smith apple, sliced
1 cup raspberries and blueberries
4 eggs
75 grs caster sugar
2 cups cream cheese (or heavy cream)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, sifted
butter and extra sugar for the plate
icing sugar (optional)

Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sifted flour, one tablespoon at a time, not over mixing.
Pour in 2/3 batter into a plate greased and dusted with sugar. Bake at 160ºC for 5 minutes or until solid. Remove from the oven, arrange sliced apple, raspberries and blueberries on top and cover with the remaining batter. Bake for another 15-20 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Check the great roundup at Bron's and vote for your favourite.


DB#18 or How Murphy's Law didn't apply!

"Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong". April has been packed with extra activities at work, new projects, a tennis tournament around the corner and a full planning for a trip to East Europe - all scheduled for a long time. Where was I going to fix Cheesecake Pops? From the beginning of the month, I waited for the opportunity (that eventually never came) to complete this month DB challenge... 16 hours before the posting deadline, a Saturday at 8 am, I sneaked out of bed, kissed my sweet love who turned to the other side with some unintelligible complains and moved to my kitchen to bake a cheesecake. Not even my cat cared to join me in my crazy crusade. Don't ask me how I've done it... I recall little from this step or anything else before my shower whilst the cheesecake was in the oven. When my coffee kicked in, the cheesecake looked great, golden and puffy!! I now had 5 hours before driving out of town. Considering the recipe previewed over 6 hours, plus time to mold, dip, garnish and freeze, I'd need several miracles to complete this on time...

I like to have a contingency plan. Not that I plan to use it but it gives me extra confidence to know that I always have a way out of unexpected issues. No, not this time. Any little bump on the way would have ruined everything. And in a multi step recipe that is expected to happen. For this one I've beaten the odds: the cheesecake pops recipe worked like a charm! Thank you so much Deborah and Elle for such an adorable challenge - you girls rock!!

I'm really sorry there was no extra miracle to allow me to add some fancy confetti or coloured ribbons or to make pretty photos. However, I'm more than happy with my completed challenge of a perfect recipe to welcome the spring and celebrate the new Daring Bakers forum! Go check out our bakery that Ivonne and Lisa, the brilliant minds behind this huge group, created for all of us!


HHDD#19 - Clafoutis!

My days seem way too short for what I want to do. Not much of a surprise since it's like that since... oh well, since always! But lately I just can't find enough time for all that requires my attention: family, friends, students, co-workers. And then there's the tennis - my other addiction. It's not everyday the n.1 player in the world (aka The Mighty Federer) does his way to play at my 'backyard'. So I went to Estoril, got soaked (several times) and had a sunburned nose by the end of the week... How cool is that? All for the price of one! The good thing is I got to spend time with friends I don't usually see, chitchat for hours, shot tons of pictures - oh I LOVE outdoors! - and in the end my favourite won!

Game over. Back to kitchen. It's Hay Hay it’s Donna Day time! Bron is hosting this month’s event and the super-theme she chose was clafoutis! This is my entry for this month’s Hay Hay it’s Donna Day food blogging event.

Bacon & Fig Clafoutis

For 6 small individual plates

2 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup Parmesan, coarsely grated
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
12 dried figs, halved
1/4 cup Porto Wine
bacon (about 1 cup), cubed
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360ºF).

Soak dried figs in wine for at least 1 hour to hydrate.

In a non-stick saucepan, cook bacon with a little water until golden. Add dried figs and sliced red onion, mixing to combine. Allow to cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine. When resumed, remove from heat. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs with the grated Parmesan. Pour in the milk, and whisk until combined. Add in the flour, mixing continuously. Season with pepper and a pinch of salt (depending on how salty the bacon is). Place the bacon mixture evenly into 6 individual greased heatproof plates. Pour the bater on top. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Serve immediately, with a rocket salad.

Other Clafoutis recipes:
Curd Cheese Clafoutis with Cherry Tomatoes
Courgette and Feta Clafoutis

Check the great roundup at Bron's and vote for your favourite!


Pot Pies

I often struggle with my Portuguese to English translations. Because I own cookbooks in either language, I sometimes start in Portuguese and later post in English or the way around. Portuguese is a rich, more complex language when compared to English - it's not just that we have too many words for one meaning (which often happens) but also the fact that each word presents several possible meanings. And that is, from my experience, a much bigger problem! To add to that, food wise, Portuguese have the same name for different recipes depending on what part of the country you're at... I couldn't help but smile when blogging about a pot pie recipe in my Portuguese blog, I found out that there isn't a simple expression in Portuguese to name those dishes! Remember when I posted about saudade, the portuguese word that doesn't have a match in Shakespeare language? Seems like we have a tie: saudade 1 - pot pie 1!!

6 individual pot pies

1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, chopped
1 large carrot, minced
6 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 cup corn
1 cup soya beans (frozen)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (good quality)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme (leafs only)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1-2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
nutmeg, grounded
salt and black pepper
6 squares ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten to brush

Preheat oven to 180ºC. In a saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil with 1 chopped garlic glove. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in thyme and white wine. Cook until liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove into a bowl. Set aside.

Using the same saucepan (no need to clean it), heat remaining olive oil, onion and garlic with the bay leaf. Sautee for 1-2 minutes. Add the carrot and soya beans. Pour in 1 cup of vegetable stock. Cook for 4-5 minutes, adding stock as necessary until vegetables are tender. Mix in corn and the mushroom mixture. Remove the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stirring, sift flour over the vegetables (liquid should be gone by now). Season with a little nutmeg. Stir with a spoon whilst adding the butter. Gradually, pour in the milk, whisking continuously. Simmer, stirring, until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, then add the mascarpone cheese.

Divide the vegetable mixture between the 6 ramekins. Cover each top with the pastry (the squares should be large enough to cover the dishes with a little overhang). Use any leftover pastry to decorate. Don't forget to make a little hole on top of each pot pie to allow steam to come out. I've placed little pastry flowers to cover that and use the remaining pastry. Brush with the beaten egg, transfer to a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until pastry is golden.

Finished pot pies can be kept in the fridge covered for 2 days or can be frozen in their dishes with the pastry on top. Keep them covered with plastic wrap or put them into a closed recipient. Brush with beaten egg when cooking. Pot pies keep for up to 2 months.


Madeleines, madame?

Madeleines are shell-shaped little cakes with tiny depressions that bring a special aura to them. They're lovely tiny cakes that always make me smile. According to some stories, madeleines are named after Madeleine Paulmier, a pastry cook who worked in Lorraine in the nineteenth century. These small, feather-light, spongy cakes are eaten like a cookie. Proust loved his madeleines with tea, I love mine dipped in coffee. This recipe was baked a while ago, shortly after my adventure française to use the madeleine pans I bought in Paris.

Madeleines au Chocolat

18 unidades

100 grs dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 medium eggs, separated
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 Tbsp honey
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
pinch of salt
icing sugar to dust

In a heatproof bowl, mix chopped chocolate with butter over a pan with boiling water. The water should not reach the bowl. Remove from the heat immediately after the chocolate melts. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, until batter is fluffy and roughly double in volume. Mix in the chocolate mixture and honey. With a spatula fold in sifted flour. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt in soft peaks. Fold in carefully. Cover with film. Refrigerate for at least an hour or (best) overnight.

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and dust the madeleine pans, if using mettalic ones. Fill each mold almost completely full. Bake for 9 minutos or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. (Madeleines should not over bake or will get dry). Remove from oven. Cool in pan for 2 minutes. Carefully remove madeleines from pan and allow them cool completely on a rack. Sprinkle with icing sugar.