Chocolate and creme fraiche tart

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My colleagues are serious chocoholics so I try to bake something chocolatey for them every time I bring cakes into the offices. Last time it was this chocolate and creme fraiche tart that really went down well, and no wonder – it’s delicious!

The sweet pastry dough is the same as I always use nowadays; Raymond Blanc’s. It has never let me down and this time I defrosted a piece from the freezer and it was as easy to roll as the fresh dough.

The chocolate filling is from Rachel Khoo’s wonderful book  My Little French Kitchen and consists only of chocolate, creme fraiche and milk. It’s a little tart which nicely contrasts the sweet pastry.

Chocolate and creme fraiche tart, serves 10-12

Adapted from Rachel Khoo’s My Little French Kitchen.

1/2 batch sweet pastry dough

150 g mörk choklad

50 g mjölkchoklad

250 g creme fraiche

1/2 dl mjölk

en nypa salt

On a lightly floured work surface, evenly roll out the pastry into a circle 3 mm thick. Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll it over a 24 cm loose-bottomed tart tin. With one hand lift the pastry and with the other gently tuck it into the bottom edge of the tin so that it fits tightly. Be careful not to stretch it. Cut off excess pastry by rolling the pin over the top edge of the tin. Take a small ball of pastry and gently press it all around the base of the tart to ensure a snug fit. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (this helps prevent shrinkage during cooking). Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

Line the pastry case with aluminium foil and fill with baking beans, pushing them against the side. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out both foil and beans. Return the tart tin to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes. Leave to cool completely. 

Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl over a bain marie with the creme fraiche, milk and salt. Stir occasionally until melted. Leave to cool a little then pour into the pastry case. Leave to cool completely then place in the fridge to set. 

Lavender chicken

Here’s another recipe with inspiration from The Little Paris Kitchen. Unfortunately the recipe is not to be found on the BBC website, only in Rachel Khoo’s cookbook, but after seeing the program it was quite easy to make my own version. It worked really well, my dinner guests can certainly guarantee that.

I served it with simple sides so the chicken took centre stage. Green beans and new potatoes also work with the French theme. For the sauce I just reduced the juices from the pan and added some butter to it. Truly delicious!

Lavendel chicken, serves 4

With inspiration from Rachel Khoo.
 

1 whole organic cornfed chicken, 1.5 kg approx

Marinade:

3 tsp dried lavender

2-3 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 lemon, the zest and juice

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp mild olive oil

salt

black pepper

For the sauce:

2 tbsp butter

Cut the chicken into any pieces you like. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a big mixing bowl and cover the chicken with it. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge for 24-48 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200C and remove the chicken from the fridge. Place the chicken pieces in a roasting tray and cook in the oven until the meat juices are clear, approx 40 minutes. Let the meat rest under tin foil while making the sauce. Pour all the juices from the roasting dish into a saucepan and reduce till about half. Whisk in the butter and serve with green beans and new potatoes.

Perfect madeleines

In the budding beginning of this blog I was trying to find the perfect recipe for Madeleines. I tried two recipes and have since then been reading every madeleines recipe I could find, but they just didn’t seem right.

But then I saw Rachel Khoo making madeleines with lemoncurd and raspberries in The Little Paris Kitchen and I thought to myself, that this might be it.

I didn’t bother with the lemoncurd and berries; it was the basic recipe I wanted, and since it is courtesy of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris it was just as good as I’d hoped. All was right in the world.

The first time I made them I omitted the lemon, because I was ditsy enough not to buy it when in the supermarket. The second time I made them I used the lemon zest and although both batches were good I actually felt the lemon overpowered the flavours of honey and butter a little, so one could definitely use less lemon zest or not use it at all.

And although the baking instructions might strike you as odd (they did me) – they work. I noticed that lowering the temperature as described made the madeleines slightly more crustier on the outside so they come out absolutely perfect.

They are buttery, lightly sweet from the honey and just moist and delicious while still warm. Do try these, folks!

Madeleines, makes 20-25

From Rachel Khoo’s recipe.
 
3 eggs
130 g caster sugar
200 g plain flour
10 g (2 tsp) baking powder
1 lemon, the zest – can be omitted
20 g honey
4 tbsp milk
200 g melted and cooled butter
Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and frothy. Put the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and add the lemon zest.

Mix the honey and milk with the cooled butter, then add to the eggs. In two batches, fold in the flour. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.

Put a heaped tablespoon of batter into each madeleine shell and press a raspberry deep into the batter.

Bake for five minutes and turn the oven off for one minute (the madeleines will get their signature peaks), then turn the oven on to 160C/325F/Gas 3 and bake for a further five minutes. Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack and leave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, wash and dry the tin, then repeat the baking as for the first batch.

 

Oeufs en cocotte with creme fraiche

The newest foodie to join the BBC is Rache Khoo in The Little Paris Kitchen. på BBC. She trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, opened up her small flat as a restaurant and is now cooking away in this series where she focusses on Parisian food, often with a little twist.

In one episode she made oeuf en cocotte, which I have made before too, but she used creme fraiche instead of cream. I had to try this because I adore creme fraiche and always have some at hand in the fridge. However, you do need to like creme fraiche a lot I think to appreciate this recipe as it is a little sour. Instead of serving the cocottes with salmon roe and dill I used truffle oil to flavour mine.

Oeuf en cocotte with creme fraiche and truffle oil, 1 portion

1 egg

50-100 ml creme fraiche (full fat)

salt & pepper

grated nutmeg

a few drops truffle oil

Spoon most of the creme fraiche into a ramekin and season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Crack the egg on top and place another dollop of creme fraiche on top. Add the truffle oil and place in a roasting tray. Pour lukewarm water into the roasting tray so it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekin. Place in 160C oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Longer if you want your eggs more set. Serve with soldiers.