Clafoutis

Clafoutis

Bruno
Clafoutis is by definition a seasonal baked desert of French origins using fresh black cherries. My Clafoutis (clafouti) recipe uses frozen cherries as these are available year round and so is no longer confined to be a seasonal desert. Clafoutis was among one of Monet's favourite deserts.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Pie dish, Ø of about 24 cm

Ingredients
  

  • 600 g Cherries frozen, 1 bag
  • 125 g Flour all purpose or pastry
  • 150 g Sugar superfine
  • 2 Eggs
  • 100 ml Milk
  • 8 g Vanilla sugar 1 sachet
  • 1 tbsp Butter softened, for greasing pie dish
  • 1 pinch Salt

Instructions
 

Cherries

  • Thaw cherries overnight in refrigerator
  • Strain cherries keeping liquid and setting aside in a small sauce pan

Batter

  • Add flour to a medium sized bowl
  • Add 50 grams of the sugar, the vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt, then stir to combine
  • Add milk to a small bowl and break the eggs into the milk
  • Scramble the eggs and milk with a fork until well blended
  • Add egg and milk mixture to flour and whisk to obtain a smooth pancake like batter

Pie

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Grease the pie dish with the butter
  • Place the strained cherries into the pie dish in a single layer
  • Pour the batter evenly over the cherries
  • Sprinkle 50 grams of the sugar evenly over the top of the pie
  • Bake for 45 minutes

Coulis

  • Add the remaining 50 grams of the sugar to the sauce pan with the cherry juices
  • Simmer on low heat until all the sugar is dissolved and he juices have reduced and thickened to a fairly thick syrup (think honey)
  • Set aside to cool
  • Drizzle artistically over servings of Clafoutis and serving dish

Notes

If cherries are in season, by all means use about 500 grams of fresh cherries with stems removed and pitted, although leaving the pits in is permissible and, according to tradition, even desirable as it is said to enhance the flavours and aromas of the Clafoutis. Alas, in that case serve this dessert with a warning and, please, no cherry pit spitting contests 🙂
In any event, use black cherries if available.
If using fresh cherries you will not have the juices to make the coulis. Of course you can always take a handful of cherries, turn them into a puree with a blender and strain out the juices to make the coulis.
Keyword cafloutis, dried cherries, easy, flan

The original source for this recipe came from the book “The Monet Cookbook – Recipes from Giverny” available from Amazon.

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Chocolatey Pear And Amaretto Cheesecake

This cheesecake has to be my all time favourite cheesecake and will impress your guests and make them beg for seconds. It takes a bit of time but is actually easy to make and requires no baking.

Chocolatey Pear And Amaretto Cheesecake

Bruno
This decadent and somewhat exotic cheesecake is like no other and is suitable for the highest level of gourmet entertaining. The ingredients are fairly common but also easily substituted. The fact that it does not require any baking might be a welcome change too.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Setting Times 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine International
Servings 10

Equipment

  • Spring Form of about 24 cm Ø.

Ingredients
  

Poached Pears

  • 2 Pears large, ripe, preferably Bosc
  • 50 g Sugar Super Fine or Caster
  • 100 ml Water
  • 1 Vanilla Pod

Cake Bottom

  • 150 g Graham Cracker Crumbs see notes
  • 50 g Butter unsalted
  • 4 tbsp Nutella see notes

Filling

  • 300 g Cream Cheese Philadelphia type
  • 125 g Sugar Super Fine or Caster
  • 550 ml Whipping Cream 35%
  • 3 tbsp Amaretto Liqueur e.g. Disaronno
  • 100 g Amaretti Biscuits see notes

Decoration

  • 60 g Chocolate Dark or Semi Sweet
  • 1 tbsp Icing Sugar

Instructions
 

Poached Pears

  • Peal and quarter pears
  • Core the quarters
  • Slice quarters in half lengthwise to end up with ⅛ slices
  • Chop the slices into 4-5 mm chunks
  • In a small saucepan dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat
  • Split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into a large bowl
  • Cut the pod halves in two and add to the sugar syrup simmering 5 minutes to infuse
  • Remove the vanilla pod pieces and add the pears
  • Simmer for 10 minutes
  • Strain, set aside and let pears cool off

Cake Bottom

  • Add Graham Cracker Crumbs to a medium sized bowl
  • In a small sauce pan melt the butter
  • Add the Nutella and stir to dissolve
  • Add this mixture to the Graham Cracker Crumbs and mix really well
  • Tip this mix into the spring form and distribute evenly over the bottom pressing it down firmly
  • Place in refrigerator for 45 minutes

Filling

  • Crush the Amaretti Bisquits using a rolling pin until you get crumbs about the size of Panko crumbs
  • Add the cream cheese to the bowl with the vanilla seeds
  • Add the sugar
  • Using a hand mixer or a whisk beat the mixture until evenly mixed and creamy
  • Slowly add 450 ml of the cream while continuing to mix
  • Add the Amaretto liqueur
  • Continue to beat the mixture at an increased speed until you get a soft peaks consistency
  • Fold in the Amaretti crumbs and the poached pear chunks
  • Remove the spring form from the fridge
  • Ladle the filling over the cake bottom and level the surface
  • Chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes until well set
  • Pour the remaining 50 ml of cream over top in a thin layer
  • Chill again for a minimum of 30 minutes
  • Unmold the cake by running a thin-bladed knife around the edges of the cake and pop off the spring form rim
  • Use a palette or pastry knife slid under the cake and transfer to a suitable flat serving plate or cake bell

Decoration

  • Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl (see notes)
  • Spread the chocolate in a thin, even layer over a smooth surface such as a marble slab, Corian type countertop or the underside of a clean baking sheet
  • Let cool off until set
  • Using a sharp knife held at an angle of about 25° and working quickly, draw it across the surface to shave the chocolate into good sized curls
  • Arrange the chocolate curls on top of the cake
  • Finish this masterpiece by dusting it with icing sugar

Notes

Instead of using Graham Cracker Crumbs you can also use digestive biscuits turned into fine crumbs using a blender or food processor.
Nutella can be substituted with any other chocolate spread especially if you have allergies to nuts.
If you can’t find Amaretti biscuits in your local supermarket just make your own a day ahead (See my recipe here).
Melting chocolate the traditional way over a hot water bath has never worked well for me so I use the microwave as follows (adjust process according to how powerful your microwave is – my current one is not):
  • Blast chocolate at full power for 30 seconds
  • Let sit for 60 seconds
  • Repeat
  • Test chocolate with a clean wooden or silicone spatula
  • If you can easily stir the chocolate, you’re done. If not, repeat the process until you can
Times given in this recipe are only approximate and the total time needed depends on how well you are organized or how good you are at multitasking as you can overlap some processes and have them going simultaneously.
Keyword amaretti, amaretto, bosc pears, cheesecake, chocolate, pears

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I found in Gordon Ramseys book “Christmas with Gordon”.

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Pear Torte Ticinese

Pear Torte Ticinese

Bruno
This pear torte has its origins in the Italian speaking Canton of Ticino in Switzerland. The Italian name of this torte would then be "Torta di pere alla Ticinese"
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Dough 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Swiss
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Spring Form (see end of post)

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 250 g Flour All Purpose
  • 150 g Butter unsalted, cold
  • 50 g Sugar
  • 2 ml Salt
  • 5 tbsp Water

Filling

  • 1 kg Pears Bosc, about 5-6
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 100 g Sugar
  • 200 g Amaretti Cookies See notes
  • 150 ml Heavy cream 35%, Whipping cream

Instructions
 

For Dough

  • In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt
  • Cut butter into 1 – 2 cm cubes and add
  • Using your hands, quickly form into a crumbly dough mix
  • Continue to knead dough until you get a nice smooth consistency
  • Form dough into a ball, place on a plate and flatten it down a bit into a half round
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour

Tarte assembly

  • Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a diameter 5-6 cm larger than your spring form
  • Line form with dough pulling up dough on rim about 4-5 cm
  • Press dough carefully against rim and even out height
  • Using your thumb to make decorative impressions along the top of the dough rim
  • Use a fork to prick the dough bottom all over
  • Peel the pears, cut them in half and core them
  • Score the pear halves along their outside length spaced about 5mm and being careful not to cut all the way through
  • Arrange the pear halves radially on the tart bottom using a trimmed half for the middle piece

Filling

  • Using a rolling pin, crush and grind the Amaretti to about the size of coarse salt
  • In a medium bowl beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy
  • Add the crushed Amaretti and fold in the cream
  • Pour and distribute the filling over the pears

To Bake

  • Preheat stove to 200°C
  • Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes
  • Cool and let set before slicing

Notes

If you can’t find Amaretti cookies, you can make them yourself with this quick and super easy recipe found HERE
You can make the dough for this recipe by combining all ingredients in a food processor and pulsing it until you get to the “crumbly” stage and then finishing it by hand.
The tart crust can also be formed by by using half the dough just for the bottom and the other half cut into thirds, rolled and formed into the rim.
Keyword amaretti, pears, torte

The spring forms I use are “Wilton Excelle” in 24 cm (9″) or 26.7 cm (10″) size as per below.

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My “Easy Sunday Cake”

As the name says, the “Easy Sunday Cake” is incredibly easy to make and requires only a few ingredients, very little time to make and yet, is always a great hit with family and guests alike. Credit for the original recipe goes to my mother.

Jump to Recipe

Easy Sunday Cake

The “Easy Sunday Cake” is a light dessert that goes well with an after dinner coffee or digestive.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Swiss
Servings 12
Calories 347 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g (8 oz) Flour Pastry or all purpose
  • 250 g (8 oz) Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Milk
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) Oil e.g. vegetable but NOT Olive oil
  • 1/2 package of Vanilla sugar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) Baking powder
  • 100 g (3 – 4 oz) Hazelnuts or Filberts ground
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) Cocoa powder
  • Icing sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F)
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until foamy with a hand mixer.
  • Add milk and oil while continuing to mix on low speed
  • Incorporate flour, hazelnuts, baking powder, vanilla sugar and Cocoa powder
  • Pour mixture into a suitable baking pan (loaf, spring form, Bundt etc.)
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean
  • Let cake cool of and then finish with a dusting of icing sugar
Keyword cake, easy

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Linzer Torte

Another one of my mother’s recipes, the Linzer Torte is a torte that has its origins in Austria but is made in all neighbouring countries in various styles. The major differences are in the nuts ( hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds) and the filling used (redcurrant jam, raspberry jam, apricot jam, or even plum butter). My recipe uses filberts (the closest thing to hazelnuts we get in local supermarkets) and raspberry jam (because that’s what my mother used and she went to cooking school ;-). In reality, pretty much any kind of jam can be used, even marmalade, but tradition sort of calls for raspberry or redcurrant.

Linzer Torte

This is a pretty rich and filling torte. Servings should be fairly small slices. You can always get a second helping.
Prep Time 55 mins
Cook Time 27 mins
Total Time 1 hr 22 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Austrian, German, Swiss
Servings 8
Calories 435 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g Flour
  • 200 g Sugar
  • 200 g Hazelnuts or Filberts ground
  • 150 g Butter
  • 1 tbsp “Birnenbrot” spice baking spice
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 500 g Raspberry jam

Instructions
 

  • Add flour to a large bowl
  • Cut butter into small cubes and toss into the flour
  • Using your hands, mix the flour and the butter into a nice crumbly texture
  • Add the sugar, grated nuts, baking powder, lemon zest and mix thoroughly
  • Beat the eggs and add along with the lemon juice
  • Knead the dough thoroughly. then let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge
  • Divide the dough into thirds
  • Roll out the first third into a spring form bottom and set up the form
  • Take the second third and roll it into a sausage long enough to go around the inside rim and press it into the side of the form
  • Using a fork, puncture the bottom evenly all accross, then set the whole thing aside in the fridge
  • Taking the last third of the dough, roll it out into a rectangle big enough to make the lattices
  • Here comes one of Bruno’s tricks
  • Put this rolled out dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stick it into the freezer for 20 minutes; it will make it a whole lot easier to make and handle the lattice work.
  • Remove the spring form from the fridge and cover the bottom with the raspberry jam
  • Take the lattice dough and cut it into strips
  • Place a series of strips across the torte spacing them the witdth of the strips and trimming them as necessary
  • Fold back every other strip in such a way that you can place the first opposing strip at an angle of about 60
  • Fold the folded back strips back to where they belong and fold back their countereparts
  • Repeat the above steps until you have completed the lattice work across the torte
  • Bake the torte in the oven, preheated to 180 – 200 °C, until you get a nice golden brown
Keyword hazelnuts, raspberry, torte
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Pear Crostata

This tart appeals to me because of its fee form and organic shape. It has the look of freedom and spontaneity. It looks artistic and has a certain wow factor.

Pear Crostata

A Crostata is an Italian baked tart or pie. More specifically, it is a rustic, free-form version of an open fruit tart. It can be made with a variety of fruits. Here we use bosc pears, one of my favourite pears.
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian, Italian
Servings 8
Calories 424 kcal

Ingredients
  

Pastry

  • 425 ml (1 3/4 cups) All purpose flour
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 150 g (6 oz) butter room temperature, cut in small pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) water, cold

Filling

  • 6 pears bosc, ripe, peeled and cored
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar, granulated
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) butter

Glaze

  • 1 egg white slightly beaten
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar, Turbinado

Instructions
 

  • Place flour, sugar and salt into a food processor and add the butter pieces
  • Pulse on and off until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • Mix egg yolk and water and with food processor running, add to the mixture
  • Turn off after a few seconds and turn mixture out onto a floured board
  • Gently knead dough into a ball, flatten into a half dome and refrigerate for 1 hour
  • Preheat oven to 200 °C (400 °F)
  • Slice pears into 8 sections, place into a baking dish, sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar and dot with butter
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until crispy tender
  • Let cool off
  • Remove dough from fridge and roll out on a floured surface to a circle of about 33 cm (13 in)
  • Carefully transfer onto the back of a floured baking sheet
  • Using a fork, pick up pear slices and arrange on the pastry dough in a circular fashion starting in the middle, leaving a clear border of about 7-8 cm (3 in)
  • Reserve remaining pear juices
  • Fold the border over the fruit in a loose fashion, leaving the centre open
  • Glaze the pastry with the egg white and sprinkle Turbinado sugar over pastry and fruit
  • Bake on middle rack for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is a nice golden brown
  • Boil the pear juices down to a lightly syrupy consistency, about 5 min., and pour into the centre of the tart.
  • Serve warm or cold
Keyword fruit, pears, tart
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Apple Torte Normandie

The actual French name for this torte is “Tarte normande aux pommes”. This has to be one of my all-time favourite recipes for making “Apple Pie”.Of course the people of the Normany would know how to do this really well because apples is one of the main agricultural products they produce. Think Calvados while you’re at it.

Apple Torte Normandie

Bruno
An exquisite apple torte using finely sliced apples, ground almond and honey.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 8
Calories 280 kcal

Equipment

  • Spring Form (see bottom of post)

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g Pastry dough preferably all butter pastry dough
  • Butter for the mold spring form
  • 60 g Butter liquified
  • 60 g Sugar
  • 60 g Almond ground
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp Heavy cream whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp Honey lavender if you can get it
  • 3-4 Apples ripe and firm cooking, e.g. Mac’s, Gala, Imperial etc.
  • 1 tbsp Turbinado sugar
  • 1 tbsp Apricot jam or puré

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 200 °C
  • Grease the spring form with butter
  • Roll out dough and line the spring form
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  • In a glass mixing bowl, melt the butter and then beat in the sugar with a hand mixer until you get a nice creamy mixture
  • Add the egg yolk and keep mixing vigorously
  • Add the almonds and the cream, continuing to mix until well combined
  • Remove the spring form from the fridge and using a fork, evenly puncture the bottom of the dough
  • Spread the honey over the bottom
  • Add the almond mixture and spread evenly over bottom
  • Peel, quarter and core the apples
  • Slice the apple quarters into very thin wedges, about 3 mm on the outside
  • Arrange apple slices in 2 concentric circles starting on the outside and overlapping sliced about 5 mm.
  • For the middle, you can place a half an apple scored to look like it’s sliced or use any remaining slices to fill in the middle as you wish
  • Sprinkle top with Turbinado and slide into the oven
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C and continue baking for another 40 – 45 minutes or until you achieve a lovely colour
  • Remove the torte from the oven and let cool off a bit
  • Remove the torte from the form finish off by carefully brushing the torte all over with the apricot puré or jam
    Apple Torte Normandie
Keyword almonds, apples, honey, torte

The spring forms I use are “Wilton Excelle” in 24 cm (9″) or 26.7 cm (10″) size as per below.

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