Sunday, March 28, 2010


This week, Weekend Cat Blogging #251 is hosted by Pam at "Sidewalk Shoes" (USA)...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in her blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact her via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed information.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Every month I tell myself to start baking for the Daring Bakers' as early as possible, but as usual, I end up getting caught up by time and never manage to embark myself on that monthly journey into a new baking frontier before the very last moment (generally a few days prior to the deadline)...

The 2010 March Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jennifer of "Chocolate Shavings" who chose "Orange Tian" as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

I was really looking forward to making that "Orange Tian" as not only did it sound interesting, but also because it seemed not too rich and spring-like. Now, that winter has ended, we crave lighter desserts and shun away from the heavier versions on which we splurged during the cold season

Ducasse's "Orange Tian" recipe was very easy to prepare, but it was nonetheless time consuming. After two days of marmelade-, pâte sabe- and caramel-making we were finally able to indulge ourselves in the most delightful and refined fruit dessert that I have ever made.

At first, I wanted to make my tian with blood oranges, but as my favorite supermarket had none on sale, I had to take Navel oranges instead. So, I followed the recipe to the letter. I only added my personal touch to the pâte sablée which I flavored with g
round Mahlep, a Turkish and Greek spice.

This dessert is really exquisite, not too sweet and so fresh. The oranges bring a wonderfully fruity touch, the cream filling is very delicate tasting and the sweet and buttery pastry crust (pâte sablée) brings a marvelous as well as contrasting flakiness to the whole. A perfectly balanced dessert. Divine!

Many thanks to Jennifer for making me discover this "Orange Tian" that is an excellent after dinner treat...

~ Orange Tian ~

Preparation time:
Pâte Sablée - 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to rest, 15 minutes to roll out, 20 minutes to bake
Marmalade - 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to blanch
Orange segments - 20 minutes, overnight to sit
Caramel - 15 minutes, overnight to sit
Whipped Cream - 15 minutes
Assembling - 20 minutes
Freezer to Set - 10 minutes

Equipment required:
• Cookie cutters . Ideally, you should have about 6 cookie cutters to build the desserts in and cut the circles of dough (see photo). The cookie cutters will be the size of your final dessert, so they should be the size of an individually-sized tart mold. If you don’t have round cookie cutters you could use an individually-sized cheesecake mold wit hout its base.
• A food processor (although the dough could be made by hand too)
• A stand-up or hand mixer
• Parchment paper or a silicone sheet
• A baking sheet
• A rolling pin



2 Medium-sized egg yolks at room, temperature
6 Tbs + 1 Tsp (2.8 oz/80g) Granulated sugar
1/2 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1/4 Cup + 3 Tbs (3.5 oz/100g) Unsalted butter, ice cold & cubed
1/3 Tsp (2g) Sea salt
1 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbs (70z/200g) All-purpose flour
1 Tsp (4g) Baking powder
1 Tsp Ground Mahlep

1. Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
2. In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.
3. Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
5. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle. 6. Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.



1/4 Cup + 3 Tbs (3.5oz/100g) Freshly pressed orange juice
1 Large organic orange
Cold water to cook the orange slices
5 g Pectin
Granulated sugar (use the same weight as the weight of ora
nge slices once they are cooked)

1. Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
2. Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
3. Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.
4. Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
5. Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated su
gar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.
6. In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
7. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.


8 Organic oranges.

1. Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.



1 Cup (70z/200g) Granulated sugar
1 1/2 Cups + 2 Tbs (14oz/400g)

1. Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it. Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice.
2. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments (Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon - about 10 minutes. You can then spoon it over the orange tians).

Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!



1 Cup (7oz/200g) Heavy whipping cream (35% fat)
3 Tbs Hot water
1 Tsp Gelatine powder
1 Tbs Confectioner's sugar
1 Tbs Orange marmalade (see recipe above)

1. In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream.
2. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute.
3. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream.
4. Then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks.
5. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.

Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.



Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

1. Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.
2. Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.
3. Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
4. Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter (Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps and that they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart).
5. Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.
6. Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough. Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream).
7. Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
8. Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
9. Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold.
10. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.


Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteurs et blogueurs francophones!

C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur le blog mentionné ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.

Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)
Chez Isabelle de "Eat My Cake Now" (France)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


A few weeks ago, when I learnt that my Friend Jessica (from Maryland) had to go to Istanbul in order to take an exam, it was impossible for me not to ask her to buy a few goodies to bring back to Switzerland...

Being quite well documented on the rich culinary heritage of Turkey as well as being a sucker for the foods of that country, it was not hard for me to write down a detailed list (big cevze, sahlep, Turkish delights, a traditional turquoise plate, pastirma, etc...) of what I was hoping that she would find in that magnificent place which I'd love to visit one day.

As expected, Jessica came back with a bag full of goodies. I was so happy to find most of the things I asked for (Thanks so much, Jessica!). Among the things which she bought in Instanbul was a meat speciality that I was particularly looking forward to tasting: "Pastirma".

"Pastirma" is a distinctively spicy, air-dried cured beef treat originating from Armenia that is made by pastirmacilik (pastirma butchers) all around Turkey and which is thinly sliced with a massive razor-sharp cleaver. In certain ways, it is a bit similar to our Swiss dry meat (Bündnerfleisch), the difference being that the pressed meat nuggets are covered with a very fragrant oxblood-red paste called çemen (lit., 'fenugreek') prepared with ground cumin, fenugreek, paprika and garlic.

Apparently, there are more than twenty types of "Pastirma". The most expensive pieces are cut from the fillet and sirloin as well as from the leg, shank and shoulder. The less expensive pieces are cut from the flank, neck and brisket. No matter the cut, all the meat is treated the same way (air-dried first, them smothered in çemen and left to cure). Nowadays, various meats are also used, including camel (the most prized), pork, lamb, goat and water buffalo.

According to the legend, Turkic horsemen of Central Asia used to preserve meat by placing slabs of it in the pockets on the sides of their saddles, where it would be pressed by their legs as they rode. "Pastirma" is usually considered Turkish, though it is produced and consumed in a wide area of Eastern Europe and the Middle East (Egypt, Palestine, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus).

The "Pastirma" that we tested was delicious. We really loved that unique tasting dried meat that somehow reminded us a little of Pastrami (the word pastrami, although used for a differently prepared type of meat goes back via Yiddish - פּאַסטראָמע pastrómeh - to "Pastirma") as it has a similar spicy flavor (The comparison stops there, though since texture-wise it has nothing in common with the Jewish speciality). Imagine eating Bündnerfleisch (Swiss dry cured meat) together with highly seasoned paste, well that's exactly how it tastes!

Make your own "Pastirma" (Greek: Pastourma):
Peter M. at "Kalofagas" shares his recipe with us.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


This week, Billy Sweetfeets Gingersnap "Dancing With Billy Sweetfeets" (USA) are happy to announce that they are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #250...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in his blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact him via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed information.

After his trip to the healer, Fridolin is doing well.
We have stopped giving him cortisone, but he has a lot of appetite, doesn't vomit his food anymore and is full of energy as well as sweeter than ever.
Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Last weekend, I had an irrepressible need to feed my craving for dark chocolate desserts. That happens to me quite often, although I am not a "chocolate addict". I am a big chocolate lover, but I don't have this compulsive need for it. As matter of fact, I can survive without eating any for days (though not for life)...

I felt uneasy and shifty like a tiger in a cage, roaming up and down the apartment in search of a fulfilling recipe. I wanted something transcending and soul-uplifting.

As it is many times the case, I found what I was looking for in Dorie Greespan's "Baking From My Home To Yours". As I needed to savor a chocolate-based tart with character and a strong taste of chocolate, I was naturally drawn to her "Dark chocolate Tart" recipe which's name sounded so promising to me.

This sophisticated, yet simple tart is an irresistible pastry that any dessert freak should have made at least once. The taste of chocolate is exhaliratingly heady, strong and bitter, the crust is so flaky and buttery and the filling is so sleek, rich, smooth and the cocoa nibs add a wonderfully crunchy contrast. It can't get any better!

Dorie's dangerously addictive "Dark Chocolate Tart" is definitely for amateurs of "real" chocolate in search of a cocoa fix and not for the faint of heart...

~ Dark Chocolate Tart ~
Recipe taken from "Baking From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan and slightly adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.

Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients for the "Crust":

1 1/4 Cups Plain flour
1/4 Cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 Cup Icing sugar

1/4 Tsp Sea salt
135g Very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 Large Egg yolk
Ingredients for the "Filling":
240g (8 oz) Bittersweet chocolate (min 70%), finely chopped
1 Cup plus 2 tbsp Heavy cream (35 % fat)

1/4 Stick (60g) Butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature

2 Tbs Cocoa nibs

Method for the "Crust":

1. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry mixture and pulse until you obtain small pieces of butter, the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas (if you don’t have a mixer, you can put the ingredients in a bowl and rub the butter with your fingers.)
3. Stir the yolk with a fork and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition.
4. Process in long pulses (10 seconds each) until the dough comes together in clumps and curds.

5. Turn the dough to a lightly floured surface a knead briefly in order to incorporate the dry ingredients that might have escaped the mixing.
6. Lightly butter a 9-inch (22cm or you could make several tartlets) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
7. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes (longer is preferable)
8. Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F).

9. Butter a piece of parchment paper and fit the paper, buttered side down, tightly against the crust.
10. Put the tart pan on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.

11. Carefully remove the paper. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.

12. Bake for another 8 minutes or so.
13. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust completely before filling.

Method for the "Filling":
1. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk at hand.
2. Bring the cream to a boil, then pour half of it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Working with the whisk, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at the centre of the bowl and working your way out.
3. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motion.
4. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece and add the cocoa nibs.
5. Pour the ganache into the crust and gently turn the pan from side to side to even the ganache.
6. Refrigerate the tart for 30-40 minutes to set the ganache.

7. Remove the tart from the fridge and keep it at room temperature until serving.

Always remember to use the best chocolate as the taste of your tart will depend on it.
Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients – the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.
Purists will want to enj
oy the tart at room temperature and au naturel, but you can of course serve it cold, served straight out of the fridge.

Serving suggestions:
Serve that tart the day it is made or latest the next day.
Eat it alone or accompanied by whipped cream or ice cream (vanilla, peanut butter, pecan, walnut, caramel, etc...).


~ Tarte au Chocolat Noir ~
Recette tirée du livre "Baking From My Home To Yours" par Dorie Greenspan et légèrement adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.

Pour 8 parts.

Ingrédients pour la "Croûte Au Chocolat":
160g de Farine blanche

22.5g de Cacao en poudre non sucré
30g de Sucre en poudre
1/4 CC de Sel marin
135g de Beurre non-salé, très froid et coupé en petits morceaux
Le jaune d'un gros oeufs
Ingrédients pour la "Garniture":
240g de Chocolat mi-sucré (je recommande l'utilisation de chocolat à 70%), haché finement
270ml/g de Crème à 35%
60g de Beurre non-salé, coupé en 4 morceaux
2 CS de Grué de cacao

Méthode Pour la "Croûte":
1. Mettre la farine, la poudre de cacao, le sucre et le sel dans un mixer et pulser afin de bien mélanger.
2. Ajouter le beurre et pulser jusqu'à ce que vous obteniez des petits morceaux de beurre (certains de la taille d'un flocon d'avoine et d'autres de la taille d'en petit pois).

3. Mélanger le jaune d'oeuf à la fourchettte et l'ajouter au mélange petit à petit, en pulsant après chaque ajout.
4. Pulser plusieurs fois pendant 10 secondes, jusqu'à ce que la pâte commence à se rassembler.
5. Mettre la pâte sur une surface de travail farinée et pétrir légèrement afin d'incorporer tous les ingrédients qui se sraient échappés lors du mixage.
6. Beurrer
légèrement une plaque flûtée (avec fond amovible) de 22cm (ou plusieurs moules à tartelettes) et presser la pâte dans le moule afin de bien le tapisser.
7. Mettre le moule au congélateur pendant 30 minutes ou plus.
8. Placer une grille au centre du four et le préchauffer à 180° C.
9. Beurrer une feuille de papier sulfurisé et mettre le côté beurrer sur la croûte(bien recouvrir).
10. Mettre la pâte à cuire pendant 25 minutes.

11. Enlever délicatement la feuille de papier sulfurisé. Si la pâte à gonflé, l'applatir avec le dos d'une cuillère.

12. La cuire encore pendant 8 minutes ou plus.
13. Mettre la pâte à refroidir (complétement) sur une grille.

pour la "Garniture":
1. Mettre le chocolat haché dans un bol moyen et préparer un fouet.
2. Faire bouillir la crème et verser la moitié sur le chocolat. Le laisser reposer 30 secondes, puis bien mélanger au fouet de manière circulaire (ne pas battre/voir remarques).

3. Verser le reste de crème et bien l'incorporer au mélange chocolatté, en mélangeant de manière circulaire.
. Quand la ganache est lisse et brillante, ajouter le beurre morceau par morceau, puis le grué de cacao.
5. Verser la ganache dans la croûte et secouer légèrement afin de lisser.

6. Mettre au frigo pendant 30-40 minutes afin que la ganache se solidifie.
7. Retirer du frigo et laisser la tarte à température ambiante avant de servir.


Achetez toujours du chocolat de bonne qualité. La saveur de votre tarte en dépendra.

Ne mélangez pas trop la ganache autrement elle perdra de sa couleur foncée et ne sera plus lisse et brillante.
Les puristes voudront consommer cette tarte à température ambiante, mais vous pouvez aussi la consommer froide.

Idées de présentation:
Servir cette tarte le jour de sa fabrication ou au plus tard le jours suivant.
Vous pouvez la manger seule, avec de la crème chantilly ou avec de la glace (à la vanille, au beurre de cacahuète, aux pécans, aux noix, caramel, etc...).