Delicate, creamy pots of loveliness. Don’t try to make these with synthetic vanilla, it won’t work.
The original recipe asks you to whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and thick, but if you do that, the pots will deflate a lot during the baking. I think it is best to either don’t whisk the eggs until pale and thick, but just to incorporate everything. Or beating them till pale and thick, but setting aside the mixture to let the bubbles settle before baking. The photo shows the pots before baking, you can see the foaminess on top.
Petit Pots de Crème Vanille (makes 2-4 servings)
Adapted from “Ripailles – Stéphane Reynaud”
125 ml cream
150 ml milk
1/2 vanilla pod
40 g sugar
Whisk the eggs with the sugar.
Heat the milk and cream. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod, add these and add the pod too.
Take the vanilla pod from the boiling milk and pour over the egg mixture while whisking.
Pour into ramekins and bake for 20 minutes au bain marie in a 180C oven, making sure the water comes high enough up the sides of the ramekin. You can cover the ramekins with tinfoil to prevent browning.
Serve at room temperature or cold.
A firm but light and airy cake with a good flavour that is really easy to prepare. It also freezes well. Try different fruits for variation.
Apricot Yoghurt Cake (12-16 pieces)
From “Das Grosse Backbuch – Kochen & Genießen”
1 can apricot halves (850 ml)
75 ml oil (something neutral, like rapeseed, or rice bran)
75 g yoghurt
150 g sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
150 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
Grease and flour a 28 cm springform.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Let the apricots drip out in a sieve over a bowl. If they are whole, half them, so the bit of liquid in the middle will leak away too.
Mix eggs, oil, yoghurt, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the flour and baking powder and fold through. Pour into the prepared tin and spread out. Divide the apricots over the batter, with the round side up.
Cook for about 35 minutes in the preheated oven.
Lussekatter are Swedish saffron buns made with a brioche-type enriched dough. They are traditionally made for advent, and especially eaten on December 13th (Saint Lucy’s Day). But don’t let that stop you, they are delicious any day.
Making the snake shapes is quite a bit of work, so if you’re not up to that, make them round instead. Or play around with some other shapes.
Lussekatter (makes 20)
Slightly adapted from Joe Pastry
0,5 g saffron threads (not needed, but the buns will be paler without saffron)
225 g milk
500 g flour
60 g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 sachet dry yeast
115 g quark, room temperature (or use mascarpone, crème fraîche or sour cream as substitution)
50 g soft butter
egg wash (use a yolk for the best colour and shine)
Crush the saffron threads. Warm the milk to just simmerring and add the saffron. Stir it, then leave to cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add the milk and quark. Stir with a spoon until roughly mixed, then dump out onto your workbench and knead for about 7 minutes, until a smooth and supple dough forms. Then add the butter about a tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. Alternatively, use a standing mixer with a dough hook.
Place the dough in a large bowl, cover and let it rise for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Dump out onto your workbench and cut into 20 pieces. Roll out into snakes (about 35 cm), flatten slightly with your hands or a rolling pin, then roll one end inwards to about halfway, turn the whole thing over and roll the other end inwards – you’re making an S shape. Or, if you don’t have much time, just shape them into little balls. Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, to proof for 30 minutes. Halfway, brush with the egg-wash and preheat the oven to 240C. Brush the buns again before baking. Bake 8-12 minutes.
They are best freshly baked, but the day after they are still delicious. After that, they get a bit stale.
Leche frita, literally meaning fried milk, is a thick vanilla custard coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, and sometimes coated with cinnamon sugar. The crispy outside contrasts lovely with the oozy soft inside, it is as much about the texture as about the flavour. It is rather indulgent, so I only make it as a special treat. It is a dessert, but you could also serve it as a snack with coffee, or something like that. As with all deep-fried things, serve them straight away after frying.
Leche Frita (serves 6)
Adapted from “Rick Stein’s Spain”
500 ml full fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla pod)
4 egg yolks
100 g sugar
30 g flour
40 g cornflour
oil for deep-frying
flour, egg and breadcrumbs for crumbing
Optional: cinnamon sugar to serve
Grease a shallow 19 cm square baking tin with a little oil (or use a silicon form instead).
Mix sugar, flour and cornflour in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks and a splash of milk, and mix it to a smooth paste. Bring the rest of the milk to the boil. Pour slowly onto the egg mixture, while whisking. Pour back into the pan, on medium heat, and cook for about 5 minutes while stirring continuous, until you have a very thick custard. Pour the mixture in the prepared tin, press a sheet of clingfilm on the surface, and cool for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
Turn the set custard out on a board and cut into small triangles (or another shape that you fancy). Put flour, egg and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow dishes. Dip a triangle in flour, then in the egg, and then in the breadcrumbs. Lower in the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Leave to drain on some kitchen paper, then serve (dusted with cinnamon sugar if you like).
A simple, plain pudding. Tasty warm, but also nice cold from the fridge. Even when cold, it has a nice, soft texture. Top with fruit, caramel sauce, bits of chocolate or cookie crumbles as variation.
Plain Vanilla Pudding (4 ramekins)
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
100 g sugar
20 g cornstarch (or unsweetened custard powder)
pinch of salt
500 ml milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract (use less when using custard powder)
15 g butter
Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large, heatproof bowl. Gradually add half of the milk, while whisking. Then whisk in the egg. Bring the other half of the milk to the boil and gradually add to the mix, while whisking constantly. Pour into the pan, and cook on medium heat until it thickens, while stirring continuously. Take from the heat and pour back into the bowl, then mix in the vanilla extract and butter. Divide over ramekins and eat hot, or place at least 2 hours in the fridge (covered with clingfilm).
Using yoghurt and light cream cheese instead of butter makes this muffins a lot lighter, it makes them very moist and give them a nice tang. They are not too sweet. I used a mixture of raspberries and blueberries for this recipe, but you could use other fruit instead, for example cherries, peach (cubed) or mango (cubed).
Officially, the recipe is for 12 muffins. But as you can see on my photo, this was a bit optimistic… quite some batter ended up on the baking tray, because the muffin cups overflowed. I think the recipe will work a lot better if you make 16 muffins with it. But probably I will make half of the batter and divide it over 12 muffin cups next time. Part of the reason they overflowed was the great amount of baking powder in the original recipe, they just grew too much, changing them into volcanoes. I reduced the amount of baking powder in the recipe below.
Raspberry-Blueberry Muffins (makes 16)
Adapted from “Buiten Eten – Rose Marie Donhauser”
2 egg yolks
100 g sugar
250 ml yoghurt
150 g light cream cheese
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 g flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
2 egg whites
200 g fruit
Preheat the oven to 200C. Prepare 2 muffin tins.
Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, yoghurt, light cream cheese, salt and vanilla extract. Fold through the flour and baking powder. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, and carefully fold through. Then fold through the fruit. Divide over the muffin cups and cook for about 35 minutes. Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then leave to cool further on a wire rack. Can be frozen.
Quite a close-textured bread, but not heavy or dry at all. A slightly sweet flavour, that works well with a smear of cream cheese, but also nice with some jam and butter. I expect it would make very nice pain perdu, but haven’t tried it yet.
Whole Grain Milk Bread (1 loaf)
Adapted from “Recepten van Moeder Aarde”
2 1/2 cup whole grain flour
1 packet dry yeast (7 gram)
1/2 cup milk powder (=60 g)
1 cup water
40 g butter
40 g honey
1/2 tsp salt
Mix the flour, yeast and milk powder in a large bowl. Melt the butter and honey in the microwave in a separate jug or bowl. Add the water and salt, and mix well. You should have a lukewarm liquid mixture. Add this to the flour mixture, stir around with a fork or spatula until it is crudely mixed, then leave to rest for a few minutes. Scoop the dough from the bowl onto your workspace, and knead for 10-15 minutes. Form into a ball, place back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 1,5 hours.
Take the dough from the bowl, knead through lightly, then form back into a ball. Place onto a greased or lined baking tray and leave to rise for another 45 minutes, covered with the bowl.
Preheat the oven to 225C. Place the baking tray with the risen bread into the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes. Place on a rack and leave to cool completely before slicing.
A French apple pie with custard. Crisp short pastry, creamy rich custard and juicy apples. It looks very fancy, but can be made in the same time as a Dutch apple pie.
Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne (serves 8)
Adapted from “Ripailles – Stéphane Reynaud”
Pâte Brisée (enough for 2 crusts, freeze half)
250 g flour
125 g butter
50 ml cream
Sift the flour, make a hollow and add the egg, the cream and the softened butter.
Knead the mixture together, pushing down hard with the palm of your hand to completely incorporate the flour. Add a little water if necessary.
Form into 2 disks and wrap with cling film. Place the first one in the fridge for 30 minutes. Wrap the second one with a second layer of cling film and place in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Move from the freezer to the fridge the evening before you want to use it.
Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne
1/2 recipe pâte brisée
200 ml cream
100 ml milk
100 g brown sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Roll out the chilled pastry and use it to line a deep pie dish.
Peel the apples, cut them into quarters and core. Slice them, but leave the bottom attached. Arrange pretty on the pastry.
Whisk the eggs with the cream and milk, and add the sugar and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the tart, it is easiest to do this when you already placed the pie dish in the oven, this prevents spilling.
Cook the pie for 30 minutes, or until the top has browned and the custard still has a slight wobble.
When we returned from France, we had 2 baguettes leftover. As you may know, French bread is best on the day it is baked; it turns stale very quickly. And these baguettes were already 2 days old. I hate to throw away food, so I decided to make them into bread and butter pudding. A classic oven-baked British dessert, in which the bread is smeared with butter, scattered with raisins and soaked with custard. Officially it is dessert, but I rather have it as a (luxurious) weekend breakfast, since it is quite heavy. The recipe below is a mix of ones I found in several of my cookbooks, tweaked to my liking.
Pretty classic bread and butter pudding (serves 6-8)
2 stale baguettes, sliced, ends used for something else
25 g butter, melted
75 g sugar
100 g raisins
250 ml cream
350 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar, to sprinkle on top.
Grease a large, deep ovenproof dish (18×23 cm) with a little of the butter.
Cover the base of the dish with about 1/3 of the slices of bread. Brush with 1/3 of the butter. Sprinkle with 1/2 the sugar and 1/2 the raisins. Layer the 2nd 1/3 of bread on top, brush again with butter and sprinkle the other half of the sugar and raisins over. Cover with the remaining portion of bread.
Mix cream, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, eggs and yolks. Pour over the pudding and leave to stand for 1 hour (can be kept overnight covered in the fridge).
Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the top of the pudding with the remaining butter, then sprinkle over the sugar.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, crisp and slightly puffy. Serve immediately, don’t let it get cold.
Variation: you can used (white/brown) sliced bread with the crusts removed, or use brioche/croissants to make it extra luxurious.
The meringue is soft and marshmallowy on the inside and crisp on the outside. Together with the creaminess of the cream and the freshness of the strawberries, this make a lovely dessert. You can use any fruit you like instead of the strawberries.
Strawberry Pavlova (serves 6)
Slightly adapted from “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”
4 egg whites
225 g caster sugar or fine sugar (no icing sugar)
2 tsp corn starch
2 tsp white wine vinegar
300 ml cream, whipped with 2 tbsp sugar and if you like, a drop of vanilla extract
350 g strawberries, de-hulled and halved/quartered
Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whip to soft peaks. Then add the sugar spoon by spoon, while whisking. Keep whisking until the sugar is completely dissolved. Test this by rubbing a little of the mix between your fingers: if it feels sandy/grainy, the sugar has not yet dissolved completely. Blend the corn starch with the vinegar, add to the meringue and mix well.
Dollop the meringue on the baking tray, into a circle of about 23 cm, with higher sides than the middle. It should look quite rough, peaky and rustic. Place in the oven and bake for about 1 hour. Leave to cool in the oven (that you turned off!) with the door closed.
Place the pavlova on a serving plate. Top with the whipped cream and strawberries, then serve. Can be kept for 1 hour in the fridge before serving.