Tag Archive for Pastry

Buñuelos de Queso

Buñuelos de Queso, or deep-fried cheese puffs. A delicious appetizer (maybe for your new years eve party?), lovely cheesy and with a spicy, smoky kick from the pimentón. But you must eat them fresh from the fryer, otherwise they will be very sad and deflated, instead of lovely crisp and puffy. Because the recipe is basically choux pastry flavoured with cheese and pimentón, I imagine you could also bake them in the oven instead of deep-frying them, I haven’t tried this and it will give a different result, but it is a bit healthier and you don’t have to deep-fry that way. With all the beating involved, it is one of those recipes that does need a bit of elbow grease.


Buñuelos de Queso (serves 6 as a tapas)
Adapted from “Rick Stein’s Spain”

100 g butter, cubed
250 ml water
150 g flour
1 tsp pimentón dulce
pinch of pimentón picante (or more, if you like it spicy)
4 eggs, beaten
200 g finely grated Manchego
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for deep-frying

Put the butter and water in a pan on medium heat, until the butter is melted. Then bring to the boil and add the flour and pimentón. Beat (with a spatula) until the flour is incorporated and the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Then place back on low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Then add the egg bit by bit while whisking to make a smooth, glossy paste. Stir through the cheese and the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat your fryer (or oil in a pan) to 180C. Drop heaped teaspoons of the batter in the hot oil. Make sure you don’t crowd them, they will puff up quite a bit. Fry for about 4-5 minutes, or until puffed up, crisp and golden. They should turn over themselves, but if not, give them a nudge. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately, piping hot.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Usually, these kinds of tarts have a lemon curd-like filling, that has to be cooked before pouring into the pastry case. This one you can just mix and pour in. Even though it is made with condensed milk, it doesn’t have that sickly sweetness that is associated with sweetened condensed milk. It makes a lovely fresh, lemony, soft filling that just holds it’s shape. I love it together with the crisp pastry and the fluffy meringue.

Once baked, the pie can be eaten warm or cold. The meringue will shrink a little after a while. Also, it might ooze some sugar syrup, which isn’t pretty, but doesn’t impair the flavour. The pie can be kept up to 2 days (refridgerated).


Lemon Meringue Pie
Adapted from “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”

pastry for 1 crust

1 can condensed milk
3 egg yolks
finely grated rind and juice of 3 lemons

3 egg whites
175 g sugar

Preheat the oven to 220C. Roll out the dough. Line a pie-dish with it. Take a sheet of baking paper, crumble it, then smooth it out again. Use this to line the dough, then pour in pie weights or dry beans. Place in the oven, bake 12-15 minutes (the edges should be lightly golden). Remove baking paper and weights, and return the crust to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing the condensed milk, egg yolks, lemon rind and lemon juice. Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add the sugar, a spoon at the time, whisking well between each addition. Whisk until very stiff and all the sugar has been added.
Turn down the oven to 190C. Pour the lemon filling in the crust. Dollop the meringue on top and swirl a little, or use a piping bag to pipe it on. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the meringue is light brown. Leave to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.

Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne

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.

TarteAuxPommesà l'Alsacienne2

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
1 egg
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
4 apples
200 ml cream
100 ml milk
100 g brown sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
3 eggs

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.

The quest for homemade croissants – part 2

I’ve tried making croissants before, but didn’t really succeed. It is still something I really want to learn, so I tried again, with yet another recipe. Which wasn’t complete success either… They were nice, but had some trouble with proofing properly and baking well (which are probably correlated). I’ve got another recipe I want to try, that might be the solution. If not, I’ll have to tweak the rising and baking process of the recipe I like best. And meanwhile enjoy the not perfect but still very tasty croissants.


Dutch Food: Cheese Rolls

Sausage rolls are a bit difficult to eat when you are a vegetarian. Luckily, the Dutch have found a solution for that, one that suits many non-vegetarians as well: cheese rolls, crispy puff pastry filled with a savoury, creamy, cheesy filling. You can buy these cheese rolls hot at some bakeries, on (train) stations and at food courts in department stores; sausage rolls, and sometimes ham-cheese rolls, are sold there as well. People usually eat them as snack or lunch. Beware: because they are made with puff pastry and loads of cheese, so they are quite fat. I prefer to eat them warm and fresh from the oven, but they are still nice at room temperature a while after baking. But don’t keep them for too long, or they will get too soggy.

Cheese Rolls

Cheese rolls (8 rolls)
25 g butter
1/4-1/2 tsp curry powder
25 g flour
200 ml milk
100 g grated cheese (medium aged Gouda)
8 squares all butter puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
25 g grated cheese (aged Gouda or parmesan)

Melt the butter in a pan, add the curry powder and fry until fragrant. Add the flour, fry for a minute. Gradually add the milk, while stirring continuously. Keep stirring until a thick sauce has formed, and leave to bubble for a few minutes. Take from the heat and stir through the sauce. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Half the puff pastry squares. Slice half of them, but keep the edges together, to form a raster. Scoop the cheese mixture on the other half of them, keep 1 cm around the edge free. Brush the edges with water and place the ones you sliced on top of them. This explanation is a bit cryptic, but I guess it is manageable together with the photo of the finished thing. Seal the edges well. Brush the tops with water and sprinkle the old cheese over.
Transfer to the baking tray and bake about 20 minutes, until golden and puffed.

Note: to make this recipe truly vegetarian, choose cheeses that are suitable for vegetarians.

Liege waffles with warm cherry sauce and whipped cream

Liège waffles (Gaufres de Liège) are amazing. They are made with a batter similar to brioche dough, containing pearl sugar that caramelizes on the outside when baked. Inside, they are rich, thick, dense, sweet and chewy, with pockets of sugar. They can be made plain, with vanilla, or with cinnamon, and they can be served plain, with warm cherries and whipped cream, or with other sauces/garnishes. In Belgium (and sometimes in the Netherlands) you can buy these as street food. Because they are so rich, they are very filling. They are great as an indulgent lunch, as an afternoon snack after a long walk in the snow, or as dessert after a very light main. Or of course, when you fancy them.
Just as with a sugar loaf, you need pearl sugar for this recipe. It is available online and in some stores, if you can’t find it you can use tiny sugar cubes as substitute, or you can smash up normal sugar cubes. Also, making this recipe by hand is possible, but it takes lots of elbow grease and makes quite a mess (video which shows the technique of kneading wet/sticky dough), it is even worse than normal sticky dough (like ciabatta) because of the egg and the butter and the almost-batter consistency, so I use a mixer. It is best to use a real Liège waffle maker, which can be turned over, but I’ve made it in my standard waffle maker and it turned out fine. Your waffle maker does need to have enough space for the dough to get the thickness and chewiness it needs, so a waffle maker that makes thin waffles will not work.

Liege waffles with warm cherry sauce and whipped cream

Liege waffles with warm cherry sauce and whipped cream (serves 6, size and amound of waffles depends on your waffle maker – real Liège waffle makers usually make quite large waffles)
Adapted from Butter Baking

1/2 packet of dry yeast
1/6 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cups flour
2 eggs
110 g butter, softened
1/3 cup of pearl sugar

1 jar of pitted cherries on juice
corn starch (10 g per 400 ml juice)
250 ml whipping cream
1.5 tbsp sugar
vanilla (optional)

Place flour in a large bowl, add the yeast, sugar, salt and water. Use a mixer with a dough hook to knead for 5 minutes. Then add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Next, add the butter about 2 tbsp at a time, each time mixing until incorporated. Finally, mix for another 2 minutes to ensure that everything is mixed well. It should look like a quite liquid brioche dough.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size (about 1.5 hours).
Gently mix in the pearl sugar and let it rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat your waffle maker.
Once the waffle maker is hot and the dough rested, scoop a couple of tablespoons of dough onto each waffle plate. Cook the waffles for about 5 minutes, until golden brown, crunchy and caramelized. Turn the waffle maker halfway if you have the real Liège waffle maker. Repeat to use up all the batter.
Meanwhile, separate the cherries and the juice and measure how much juice you have. Calculate how much corn starch you need (10 g per 400 ml juice), measure it out in a small cup, add a splash of the juice and mix well. Bring the rest of the juice to the boil, add the cornstarch in a small stream while mixing, add the cherries and bring to the boil again, then turn of the heat. Whip the cream with the sugar, and the vanilla if using.
Serve the waffles with a spoonful of cherry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. I like the waffles best when they are freshly baked and still warm, but they are still very delicious when cold.

Chicken ragout

I love to make bouillon in weekends or holidays. The long, slow process has something relaxing, and as a bonus you end up with a lovely smelling house and a delicious meal. Because were only with 2 at home, I either have to make several things with the bouillon, or I have to freeze some. This time I used part of it for a lovely chicken soup, and part of it for a ragout. I don’t think there are many people making this at home, because you can buy tins of it in the Netherlands, but it is delicious to make it yourself and fun as well. This time I served it in vol-au-vents (shopbought) but it is also delicious served over rice.

Important for a good bouillon is a good, flavoursome chicken. In the past I used to use chicken legs from the supermarket or the market, but those are from young chickens, so they don’t have a strong flavour. Buying a real soup chicken, which is old, tough and not suitable for anything other than cooking it for a long time to make bouillon, gives you a bouillon with lots and lots more flavour. It’s worth it to look for it, but shop around for it a bit, because at some spots soup chickens are extremely expensive, and at some places they are insanely cheap.

Chicken bouillon, soup and ragout (serves 2 people twice)

1 small soup chicken
1 large onion, peeled and chopped in large chunks
1 leek, cleaned and chopped in large chunks
1 medium carrot, washed and chopped in large chunks
3 ribs celery, washed and chopped in large chunks
2 bay leaves
12 pepper corns, crushed
piece of mace
1 clove
few sprigs of thyme
few sprigs of parsley
2 tsp salt (this is not enough, but you can always add more later in the process)

1/2 of the meat from the chicken
300 g soup vegetables

4 vol-au-vents
1/2 of the meat from the chicken
60 g butter
50 g flour
250 ml bouillon
250 ml white wine (can be substituted by more bouillon)
50 ml cream
salt and pepper
lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped herbs (like parsley, chives, chervil)

Place all the ingredients for the bouillon in a large pan and cover with 2 liter cold water. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer for a few hours.
Take out the chicken and set aside. Pour the bouillon through a sieve into another pan, press the liquid from the vegetables (not too much, that will cloud the bouillon), then throw away. I usually boil down the bouillon a little further to intensify the flavour.
Take a clean tea towel and rinse under cold water. Wring out and use it to line a sieve. Pour the bouillon through the towel and sieve into another pan. This will filter out the fine sediment and most of the fat. The bouillon is now ready to use.

Set aside the amount of bouillon you need for the ragout and use the rest for the bouillon.

Peel the skin from the chicken and discard. Pick all the flesh from the chicken and discard the bones, sinewy bits and other bits that are not nice to eat. Shred or slice the meat into chunks, mix up the dark and the light meat and divide in two.

For the soup, bring the bouillon to the boil, add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes (until tender but still slightly crisp). Season with salt to taste. Add the chicken and cook for another minute to heat through. Serve hot.

For the ragout, prepare the vol-au-vents according to package instructions. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and add the flour. Stir well. Cook on low heat while stirring for a few minutes. Gradually add the stock and wine, while stirring to prevent lumps. Cook to heat through and thicken for a few minutes. Add the cream, stir well. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste and the green herbs. Add the chicken and cook for another minute to heat through. Serve immediately with the vol-au-vents.

Petit choux aux fromage

This dish was inspired by one of the recent episodes of Masterchef: the Professional on BBC. In this show, professional chefs battle to win the title of Professional Masterchef 2013. One of the first tests the chefs have to do (after an invention test and a technical challenge) is cooking a classic recipe from the hand of Michel Roux (a great chef and one of the presenters of the show). Usually the recipe is not very detailed and the chefs have to use their own knowledge and instincts to come to a good result, but for the viewers at home there usually is a recipe available on the BBC website. These choux were part of one of the classic recipes, but unfortunately the recipe is not available (or not yet) online… so I had to improvise myself, with great results. These choux are delicious, little, savoury, flavoursome bites, perfect as snack or appetizer. You can sprinkle some cheese on top of the choux before baking, but I always find it very messy and not adding much to the choux. You can also add some herbs or spices if you like.

Petit choux au fromage

55 g butter
125 ml water
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
70 g flour
2 eggs

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
250 ml milk (can be a bit less or more, depending on the desired consistency)
100 g cheese, grated (I used gouda, but something like parmesan, cheddar or emmentaler would work well too)
100 g jamon serrano, very finely chopped (you need to be able to pipe the mix into the choux, so the bits need to be small enough to not clog the piping tip)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 220C. Combine the butter, water, salt and sugar in a sauce pan (I like to use an anti-stick one). Bring to the boil. Take off the heat, add the flour and stir well. Place back on low heat and keep stirring for 3 minutes. Take off the heat, pour over into a bowl and add the eggs one by one, stirring well until incorporated in between. Scoop into a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe small blobs (about 1/2 tbsp) of batter on a lined baking sheet. Use a wet finger to press down any pointy bits, otherwise they will burn. Place in the preheated oven, bake for 10 minutes at 220C, then turn down to 190C and bake for another 15 minutes (because these are very small you don’t need to prick a hole in the bottom and dry them out on a very low temperature to prevent collapsing). Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the cheese filling. Melt the butter in a sauce pan (I like to use an anti-stick one). Add the flour and stir until a paste forms and cook, while stirring, on low heat for about 1 minute to cook the flour. Gradually add the milk, bit by bit, while stirring, to get a smooth sauce. It should be quite thin, because the cheese will make it thicker and when it cools it will be thicker as well. Add the cheese and stir until incorporated and melted. Immediately take off the heat, and add the jamon serrano. Taste, and add some salt and/or pepper if necessary.
To finish, scoop the cheese sauce into a piping bag fitted with a small, round tip and pipe the sauce into the choux (use the piping bag/tip to make a small hole in the bottom of the choux). Serve immediately. You can make the choux and the sauce in advance and do the piping just before serving.

Choux Gnocchi

Little pillows of deliciousness, nom! I never knew you could make gnocchi from choux dough, and that is a pity, because they are amazing. They are a lot lighter than potato gnocchi, and even lighter than ricotta gnocchi (but just as easy to prepare). They are great as a side dish with all sorts of things, for example roast chicken, pork or beef, but they actually go with virtually anything.

Choux Gnocchi (serves 2 generously)
Slightly adapted from Joe Pastry

55 g butter
125 ml water
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
70 g flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup grated cheese (I used parmesan, but all strong, hard cheeses work well)
1.5 tbsp chopped herbs (I like a combination of parsley and chives)
knob of butter (optional)
extra cheese, to serve (optional)

Combine the butter, water, salt and sugar in a sauce pan (I like to use an anti-stick one). Bring to the boil. Take off the heat, add the flour and stir well. Place back on low heat and keep stirring for 3 minutes. Take off the heat, pour over into a bowl and add the eggs one by one, stirring well until incorporated in between. Add the cheese and the herbs, stir well. Scoop into a pastry bag with only a coupler, or snip of the tip so that a hole of about 1 cm forms.
Bring a pan of water to the boil (it doesn’t have to be a very large one, since you’ll work in batches). Generously add salt. Hold the pastry bag over the boiling water, press about 1,5 cm batter out and “cut” it of with a knife. Repeat this until you have about 25 gnocchi in the water. This procedure is certainly the tricky part of the recipe, the steam is hot and dropping the choux pastry can cause a bit of a splash… so be careful! Boil the gnocchi for 3 minutes, then take them out and repeat with the rest of the batter.
Before serving you can either bake them in the oven with some cheese on top, or saute them with some butter. Both will make them even more puffy and will make the outside crispy.

Choux tower

This is the first of a few posts about choux. People are daunted by making choux, but if you follow a good recipe and know a few tips and tricks, they can’t go wrong. Furthermore, they are incredibly versatile. You can make them small or large, and everything in between, and when you make them elongated instead of round, you get eclairs. You can fill them with chantilly cream, pastry cream, flavoured (pastry) cream, ganache or whatever you fancy, and dip or drizzle them with caramel, chocolate or fondant. And they don’t have to be sweet, for example gougeres (crispy cheese choux) or choux filled with a cheese-ham bechamel filling. Of course, there are also many savoury variations to be thought off.

This recipe is for a choux tower with a coffee filling and caramel. Stacking choux gives them a stunning presentation perfect when you need a dessert to impress, but it is a lot easier (and more stable!) than making a real croquembouche (which is hollow inside). It also gives you a more edible finish with just a little caramel instead of the rock-hard tooth breaking croquembouche (all that caramel is needed to stabilize the thing).

Choux tower (64 choux)
Choux recipe slightly adapted from Joe Pastry

Choux – make this recipe twice (2 separate small batches are easier to work with than one large one)
110 g butter
250 ml water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
140 g flour
4 eggs

coffee cream
140 g milk
140 g very strong coffee (make coffee with 500 ml water at double strength, then let it condense to 140 g in a pan on very low heat; don’t boil because this makes the coffee bitter)
15 g sugar
20 g corn starch
50 g sugar
2 egg yolks
500 ml cream
2 bags whipped cream stabilizer (klopfix in the Netherlands)
2 tbsp of sugar

sugar, for the caramel

Choux freeze excellent, so you can make them in advance and freeze them until needed (up to a few weeks). Make sure they are completely cooled before placing in the freezer. When ready to use them, leave to defrost at room temperature for an hour, then place in a preheated oven at 220C for about 5 minutes. Then tend to get a little soggy in the freezer, by baking them they will crisp up again. Leave to cool completely on a rack before filling.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
Heat the butter, water, salt and sugar together until it comes to the boil. Don’t leave it boiling too long, because this will evaporate some of the water, which causes an imbalance in the recipe. Take the pan from the heat and add the flour to the butter-water mixture. Stir until the flour is completely incorporated. Place the pan back on medium heat and cook the dough while stirring 3 minutes on medium heat. Set a timer, because this step is essential for a good end result. Take the pan from the heat and tip the dough into a bowl. Leave to cool a little, then add an egg. Stir until well incorporated before adding the next egg. Repeat this with the other two eggs.
Scoop the dough into a piping bag with the tip snipped of to create an opening of about 1 cm diameter. Pipe blobs of about 1,5-2 tbsp equally spaced on the prepared baking sheets, they puff up quite a bit so leave enough room. I can fit 16 blobs on my baking sheets and bake two sheets at once, so I can bake this batch in one go.
Place the baking sheets in the oven. Bake them for 10 minutes at 220C, then reduce the temperature to 190C and bake them another 15 minutes. Take the baking sheets out, turn each bun on its side and stick a knife in the bottom to let the steam escape. Place the sheets back in the oven at 120C and stick a wooden spoon between the oven and the door to keep it open slightly. Keep them in there for 20 minutes, then take them out and leave to cool on a rack.
Repeat the steps above for the second batch of choux.

Make the pastry cream the day before serving the choux tower, because it needs time to get completely cool. Mix the milk, coffee and first measure of sugar in a pan and bring it to the boil. Meanwhile, mix the corn starch and second measure of sugar. Add the egg yolks and whisk to mix. Pour a little of the boiling milk-coffee mixture on top and mix well, then add the rest of the boiling milk-coffee mixture while whisking continuously. Pour the whole mixture back into the pan and place it on medium heat. Bring it slowly to the boil to thicken it. It should bubble very gently for 45 seconds to 1 minute to thicken completely. Then take it from the heat and pour it into a bowl. Cover with cling film directly on top to prevent a skin from forming. Leave to cool at room temperature for about an hour, then place it in the fridge to cool it completely.
Pour the cold cream in a cold bowl. Add the sugar and start mixing (I use an electric hand mixer for this). Gradually sprinkle in the stabilizer. Keep whipping until the cream is stiff, but not too stiff. Add about 1/3 of the cream to the pastry cream and stir it trough. Add the rest of the cream and fold gently until mixed. Scoop into a piping bag fitted with a bismark tip.

Make the caramel by sprinkling sugar in a pan (I like to use non-stick), adding a splash of water and cooking on medium heat until it turns to a caramel colour.

To assemble the choux tower, start with a large plate or serving platter. Take a choux, stick the bismark tip into the knife hole you made in the bottom and fill it up with the coffee cream. Place on the plate and repeat until you have a nice base. For the second tier, fill a choux, dip it into the caramel (careful, it is VERY hot and will give nasty burns) and place it on top of the first layer of choux. Repeat until you finished this layer, and go further with additional layers. The goal is to make a nice conical tower, finishing with 1 bun as the top. When the caramel cools too much it will be difficult to dip the buns, in that case gently reheat it.

Serve immediately, or within 2 hours. I like to let people tear of their preferred amount of choux themselves, but of course you can plate them out if you like. Unfortunately, I was not able to photograph my choux tower before it was devoured.