Friday, December 23, 2011


"Frozen streams and vapours gray,
cold and waste the landscape lay...
Then a hale of wind

Hither - whirling, Thither - swirling,
Spin the fog and spin the mist...
Still we walked on through woods and wintry gray,
home through woods where winter lay - cold and dark...
Waiting for a change in the weather
Waiting for a shift in the air
Could we get there together, ever?
Waiting for our late, late return.

Through the woods, home, through the woods where winter lays..."
- Lyrics from the song "Wintry Grey" by the Norwegian band Arcturus
 Dreamy, immaculate landscapes looking as if they were covered in a pelicula of heavenly icing sugar, feather-like flakes enchantingly falling upon us like fairy stardust, diaphanously monocromic sceneries which seem frozen in time, nature that would have made a wonderful subject for the Flemish Renaissance painter Bruegel (See his artwork here), goddess Skadi's icy breath congealing the earth, the eerie silence of the blizzard and gloomy croaking of crows punctuating the quietness with their evil complaints, the electrifying crunch of snow under our footsteps and cosy evenings spent lazily watching Scandinavian movies while nibbling on Xmas cookies and fantasizing about majestic fjords, the grandeur of Norse wildness and desolate Arctic mountains... This is the reason why I adore the cold season and cannot get enough of winter's bewitching atmospheres. Its splendor and the frivolous as well as nostalgic mood it confers are just unparalleled...

Although the whole shebang and kitschiness of the end of year festivities is not exactly my cup of tea, tends to make me smirk and leave me cold, I have to confess that I still wish to have a white Christmas. I am no different from everybody else on this planet. I guess that snow connects me to my inner child, helps me escape the bleak reality, soothes my soul and talks to my romantic heart.

As I was born on the 25th of December and I have the blood of Norsemen flowing through my veins, it is no wonder that I feed a hunger for living in a wood cabin in the middle of Norwegian, Swedish or Finnish woods, that I love chilly weather and rejoice when frost bites the tip of my nose. After all, my genetic background programmed me to prefer cool climates and Nordic settings.

"The sun has vanished
Freezing northwind now rules the land
From the realm of ice and eternal darkness
Mother winter snow-clouds sends

White warlord rides the sky
Hundred steed pull his sledge of ice
The roaring noise follows him
It's the sign that the winter solstice have arrived
The ancient song fills the air
On the mound sacred fire burns
People dance the magic dance of rebirth
For the sun's sooner return
Here is the longest night of the year
When the evil spirits of darkness is awake
Old witch woman dances across the room
She drives whole evil spirits back in the bloom

Over the frozen field the northwind walls
Falling snow turns into the raging snowstorm."

- Lyrics from the song "Night Of The Winter Solstice" by the Latvian band Skyforger
Hence, if the Christian celebration means not much to me, I nonetheless consider this period of the year to be festive, because Yule symbolizes the return of the Sun (light) and the completion of the cycle of life (birth, life, death and rebirth), thus it brings hope and offers the promise of a new beginning.

As during any other joyful fete, eating well is a must and there is no way I'm going to refrain from stuffing myself with yummy holiday food designed to make my taste buds shiver or from busying myself around the oven. Every year, I bake a vast array of international cookies and candies for my friends, P.'s parents and ourselves. In my gift bags you'll generally find classics such as "Pfeffernüsse" (Germany), "Mailänderli" (Switzerland), "Speculoos" (Germany, France, Belgium and Netherlands), "Mexican Wedding Cookies/Russian Tea Cakes" (USA and Russia), "Chocolate Truffles" (France) and "Fudge" (UK).

Being adventuous in the kitchen and having an inclination for novelty, I decided to prepare a new speciality in order to vary things a little: "Basler Läckerli (Leckerli)". This world famous pastry composed of many ingredients such as honey, almonds, candied orange or lemon peel, kirschwasser as well as a variety of spices. It is a traditional Swiss cookie bar we enjoy all year long and which is very similar to gingerbread. This biscuit's name means "small goody" ("lecker" = yummy and the Swiss German suffix "li" indicates smallness) and it originates from Basel in Switzerland where it was created by local spice merchants around 1431, at the time of the Council of Basel. At the origin, "Lackerli" were only fabricated on the occasion of the New Year, to  sustain the assembled church dignitaries and were accompanied by mulled wine, but it became so popular that people started producing it whenever they fancied it. Before the commercialisation of professional mixers, train station porters were employed to knead the stiff dough as big muscles were needed to successfully carry out the harsh task of mixing.

The recipe
I am presenting today was adapted from a "Cuisine De Saison" magazine I possess. As usual, I had to make a few changes (ingredients- and method-wise) as I found that it could be slightly improved. So, I added more honey to the mass because I found it far too dry, for more flavor I incorporated a pinch of salt and some ground nutmeg to the mix, and confectioned my icing with cherry booze in order to give it oomph. The result was just mindblowing. My no-brainer "Basler Läckerli" turned out really great as they were marvelously chewy, exhaliratingly spicy, so pretty and above all they were mindboglingly comparable to the ones that are made by the renown Läckerli Huus  (no need to buy this expensive confection anymore).

If you are still looking for a Xmassy gift idea to bake, then you should give this confection a try as you'll not be deceived. Your friends and family will be raving about them!

Have A Merry Yuletide!
Joyeux Noël!

~ Basler Läckerli ~
Recipe adapted from "Cuisine De Saison".

Makes about 20 cookies.

Ingredients For The "Bars":
240-250g Runny honey
80g Castor sugar
100g Matchstick almonds, chopped coarsely
240g All-purpose flour (+ extra flour for rolling)
1 Tsp Baking soda
1 Tsp Ground cloves
1Tsp Ground cinnamon
1/3 Tsp Ground nutmeg
A pinch of fine sea salt
100g Candied orange peel
Ingredients For The "Icing":
1 1/2 Tbs Kirsch, lemon/orange juice or water
3 Tbs Icing sugar

Method For The "Bars":
1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
2. In big bowl (or in that of your KA), mix the honey together with the sugar until it looks pale, then add the almonds, the flour mixture and the candied peel.
3. Knead lightly in order to obtain a stiff dough.
4. Cover with clingfilm and let rest for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
6. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 0.4 inches (1cm) thick rectangle.
7. Transfer the sheet of dough to a baking pan covered with baking paper.
8. Bake for 13-16 minutes in the centre of the oven (I baked mine 16 minutes).

Method For The "Icing":
9. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the kirschwasser together with the icing sugar.
10. Brush the top of the dough with the icing and cut it into about 20 equally-sized rectangles.

When mixing, if your dough is a little dry add a bit more honey so that it comes together in ball.
As the dough is very stiff, I recommend you to knead it in a stand mixer.
When coming out of the oven, the baked läckerli must be pale in color and soft to the touch (they will harden while cooling).
The läckerli can be kept for up to a month in an airtight container.

Serving suggestion:
Eat those cookies at any time of the day and serve with a good cup of tea or an eggnog.


~Basler Läckerli ~
Recette adpatée du magazine
 "Cuisine De Saison".

Pour environ 20 läckerli.

Ingrédients Pour les "Läckerli":
240-250g de Miel liquide
80g de Sucre cristallisé
100g d’Amandes allumettes, hachées grossièrement
240g de Farine (+ un peu pour abaisser la pâte)
1 CC de Bicarbonate de sodium
1 CC de Clou de girofle en poudre
1 CC de Cannelle en poudre
1/3 de Noix de muscade en poudre
Une pincée de sel de mer fin
100g d’Orangeat
Ingrédients Por Le "Glaçage":
1 1/2 CS de Kirsch, jus de citron/d'orange ou d'eau
3 CS de Sucre en poudre

Méthode Pour les «barres»:
1. Dans un bol moyen, mélanger la farine, le bicarbonate, les épices et le sel. Mettre de côté.
2. Dans un grand bol (ou dans le bol de votre robot ménager), mélanger le miel avec le sucre jusqu'à ce que le mélange devienne pâle, puis ajouter les amandes, le mélange de farine et l'orangeat.
3. Pétrir légèrement afin d'obtenir une pâte ferme.
4. Couvrir avec un film alimentaire et laisser reposer pendant 30 minutes.
5. Préchauffer le four à 180 ° C.
6. Sur un morceau de papier sulfurisée fariné, abaisser la pâte à 0,4 cm (1 cm) d'épaisseur rectangle.
7. Transférer le tout sur une plaque de cuisson.
8. Cuire au centre du four pendant 13-16 minutes (j'ai cuits mes läckerli pendant 16 minutes).

Méthode Pour Le "Glaçage":
9. Laisser refroidir pendant 10 minutes. Pendant ce temps, mélanger le kirsch avec le sucre glace.
10. Badigeonner la pâte cuite avec le glaçage et la couper en ~ 20 rectangles égaux.
Lors de l'assemblage de votre pâte, si cette dernière est trop sèche, alors ajouter un peu plus de miel afin d'obtenir une boule qui ne colle pas, mais n'est pas sèche non plus.
Une fois cuite, la pâte à läckerli doit être claire et molle (elle durcira en refroidissant).
Les läckerli peuvent être conservés pendant un mois dans une boîte hermétique.

Idées de présentation:

Mangez ces cookies quand cela vous chante et accompagnez-les d'un thé ou d'un lait de poule.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I very seldom endorse goods or promote brands on this platform and would definitely not like Rosa's Yummy Yums to become a blog which's sole reason for existing is adverts, but when I see fit to brag about something worthy of attention, then I have no qualms about doing so.

Writing an article and speaking about a sample I was gracefully offered certainly doesn't make me any richer. In reality, it brings me absolutely nothing apart from the pleasure of sharing with you my latest foodie-oriented discoveries which I believe could interest you. You see, I only agree to feature products that I sincerely enjoy, stand behind 100% and buy myself, so you can be assured that my opinions are not biased.

I accept to write reviews for companies whose philosophy I embrace as well as can relate to. Hence, when Le Palais Des Thés from France proposed me to test two of their newest  creations, I could not refuse their offer. I am a really a big fan of them and find their fabulous teas extremely addictive. As a matter of fact, not one day passes without me drinking one of them...

Tea PDT 1 1 bis

Lately, I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to taste one of their latest and exclusive "Thé Des Vahiné" - both the green and black versions. The two recipes contain rosebuds, combine the suave scents of vanilla and almond together with that of marigold petals and delight the senses with their exhaliratingly smooth, sophisticated, warm, heady as well as delicate bouquet.

Those brews are really unique and would make a perfect gift for lovers of exotic beverages or foodies in search of cutting-edge flavors and can be used for baking wonderful goodies or cooking extraordinarily perfumed dishes.

I hope you'll enjoy this selection!

Teat LPT 2 2 bis

Friday, December 16, 2011


The 25th of December and the 1st of January are dangerously nearing and I guess that most of you have already planned their entire Xmas as well as New Year meals since a while. If a majority of people are organized like G.I.'s on an important mission and are ready to rock the festivities, it has to be said that a minority of us "losers" never manage to get prepared for the big day before the very last minute, tend to panic at the prospect of hosting the celebrations and run around like headless hens on bad acid trip...

This time of the year is special and the magic of it should not be destroyed by our chaotic lack of method, anxiety and procrastination behaviour. We all want to have a mesmerizing and richly decorated table graced with lots of beautiful dishes and spend some valuable moments with those who count for us. There is no way we want our family reunion or party to be spoiled by our disastrous planning incompetence.

As there are surely many messy and clueless individuals out there who are burrying their heads in the sand in order to avoid hystery and be oblivious to the fact that they haven't even yet thought about the food they'll present to their guests, I thought that my recipe roundup might come in handy, take some weight off their shoulders and help them reduce their stress level.

You want relaxed holidays? Then, please have a look at my recipes. You might find something interesting and will not lose any precious time thinking about your menus. Take it easy and don't wrack your brains as we bloggers are here to help you and make your life a lot easier!

Apperitive Food & Starters:
Brazilian Toasts (see recipe)
Caribbean Banana Soup (see recipe)
Chedar, Bacon & Egg Scone Sandwiches (see recipe)
Chopped Liver (see recipe)
Curried Parsnip And Apple Soup (see recipe)
Falafels (see recipe)
Foie Gras Terrine (see recipe)
Flammeküche Pizza (see recipe)
Fried Ricotta (see recipe)
Gravlax - Salt Cured Salmon (see recipe)
Ham And Parmesan Cake (see recipe)
Italian Wine Biscuits (see recipe)
Kipper Rillettes (see recipe)
Lavash Crackers (see recipe)
Lemon Parmesan Dip (see recipe)
Lobster Salad (see recipe)
Oat Cakes (see recipe)
Ostrich Steak Tartar (see recipe)
Parmesan And Gorgonzola Cheesecake (see recipe)
Parmesan And Italian Herbs Shortbread Cookies (see recipe)
Potato Chips/Crisps (see recipe)
Ricotta With Za'Atar (see recipe)
Smoked Haddock And Gruyère Tartlets (see recipe)
Smoked Salmon And Cream Cheese Bagels (see recipe)
Smoky Chili Crackers (see recipe)
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas (see recipe)
Spinach And Feta Strudel (see recipe)
Sweet And Savory Italian Meatballs (see recipe)
Tahitian Poisson Cru Made With Salmon (see recipe)
Tiny Curry Scones (see recipe)
Vietnamese Chicken And Grapefruit Salad (see recipe)

Main Courses:
Blueberry Pork Chops (see recipe)
Brazilian Xinxim De Galinha (see recipe)
Chicken And Mushrooms In Saint Marcellin Sauce (see recipe)
Chicken In Vanilla Sauce (see recipe)
Chinese Lemon Chicken (see recipe)
Greek Pork Stew With Quinces (see recipe)
Lasagne (see recipe)
Lemony Beef And Potato Tajine (see recipe)
Lump Egg Pasta With Saffron Sauce (see recipe)
Meatballs Brazilian Style (see recipe)
Pulled Pork (see recipe)
Raclette (see recipe)
Stuffed Quinces (see recipe)
Swiss Fondue (see recipe)

Side Dishes & Accompaniments:
Almond And Curry Bread (see recipe)
Barberry Pilaf (see recipe)
Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes (see recipe)
Homemade Orecchiette Pasta (see recipe)
Hot Italian-Style Tagliatelle (see recipe)
Jerusalem Artichoke Gratins (see recipe)
Maluns (see recipe)
Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts And Potatoes (see recipe)
Homemade Orechiette (see recipe)
Parsnip Puree (see recipe)
Potato Kugel (see recipe)
Potatoes Baked With Parmiggiano (see recipe)
Pumpkin Latkes (see recipe)
Spätzlis (see recipe)
Tahini, Pomegranate & Coriander Salad (see recipe)
Toad In The Hole (see recipe)
Warm Beetroot With Sour Cream (see recipe)

Xmas Cranberries 1 3 bis
Festive Desserts, Cakes, Breads & Cookies:
Almond Cake From Reims (see recipe)
Alsatian New Year Chocolate Chip Brioche (see recipe)
Amaretti, Apricot Jam & Coconut Bars (see recipe)
Apple Challah (see recipe)
Apple Latkes (see recipe)
Apple Tart With Hazelnut Frangipani (see recipe)
Bakewell Tart (see recipe)
Banana Bread Pudding (see recipe)
Banana Walnut Bread (see recipe)
Basboussa - Egyptian Syrup Cake (see recipe)
Basler Brunsli Cookies (see recipe)
Birnenbrot (see recipe)
Bostoni Cream Pie (see recipe)
Brazilian Coffee Cookies (see recipe)
Canoli (see recipe)
Cantuccini - Biscotti Cookies (see recipe)
Caramel Cake With Caramelized Butter Fosting (see recipe)
Caramel Walnut Tart (see recipe)
Caraway Seed Cake (see recipe)
Cardamom Crumb Cake (see recipe)

Cardamom, Matcha & Chestnut Mont Blancs (see recipe)
Carrot Bundt Cake (see recipe)
Challah Bread (see recipe 1 & recipe 2)
Cheesecake & Jelly (see recipe)
Cheesecake Marbled Brownies (see recipe)
Chestnut Bites (see recipe)
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (see recipe)
Chocolate & Pistachio Tartlets (see recipe)
Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake (see recipe)
Chocolate Eclairs (see recipe)
Chocolate Intensity Cake (see recipe)
Chocolate Mousse/Delight (see recipe 1 & recipe 2)
Chocolate Pavlovas (see recipe)
Chocolate Valentino (see recipe)
Chocolate Salted Whoopie Pies (see recipe)
Chocolate Walnut Fudge (see recipe)
Cinnamon Chestnut Persimmon Muffins (see recipe)
Cinnamon Granola (see recipe)
Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts (see recipe)
Coffee Kisses Cookies (see recipe)
Croquembouche (see recipe)
Cuchaule (see recipe)
Danish Braid (see recipe)
Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cupcakes (see recipe)
Dark Chocolate Tart (see recipe)
Date Bars (see recipe)
Deadly Blondies (see recipe)
Decorated Cookies (see recipe)
Deluxe Traditional English Trifle (see recipe)
Dobos Torte (see recipe)
Dream Bars (see recipe)
Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse (see recipe)
Eggnog Mousse (see recipe)
Festive Winter Challah (see recipe)
Filbert Cake (see recipe)
Five Spice Ice Cream petits Fours (see recipe)
Fragrant Swedish Rye Bread (see recipe)
Frosted Spicy Rock Cakes (see recipe)
Fudgy Low-Fat Cocoa Cookies (see recipe)
Ginger Flavored Banana Cake (see recipe)
Gingerbread House (see recipe)
Gingered Carrot Cake Cookies (see recipe)
Grittibänz Breads (see recipe)
Hazelnut Nougatine (see recipe)
Honey & Coffee Panna Cotta (see recipe)
Honey Cinnamon Graham Cookies (see recipe)
Ice Cream Cake (see recipe)
Italian Ricotta Cookies (see recipe)
Kalbura Basti (see recipe)
Koulourakia - Greek Cookies (see recipe)
Kriegskuchen/War Cake (see recipe)
Lamingtons (see recipe)
Lemon Buttermilk Tart (see recipe)
Lemon Curd (see recipe)
Lemon Honey Cookies (see recipe)
Lemon Mousse Verrines (see recipe)
Luscious Lemon Bars (see recipe)
Luscious Pumpkin Jam (see recipe)
Macadamia Nut Cookies (see recipe)
Macarons With Chocolate & Peanut Better Ganache (see recipe)
Magenbrot Cookies (see recipe)
Mallows (see recipe)
Melting Moments Cookies (see recipe)
Milanais/Mailänderli Cookies (see recipe)
Milk Chocolate And Caramel Tart (see recipe)
Mincemeat For mince Pies (see recipe)
Mince pies (see recipe)
Moist Orange Syrup Cake (see recipe)
Moroccan-Jewish Truffles (see recipe)
Mouhalabieh (see recipe)
Namoura (see recipe)
Nanaimo Bars (see recipe)
Nian-Gao (see recipe)
Norwegian Mountain Bread (see recipe)

 Oatmeal Coconut Cookies (see recipe)
Oatmeal Florentines (see recipe)
Opéra Cake (see recipe)
Orange Cornmeal Cake (see recipe)
Orange Tian (see recipe)
Panettone (see recipe)
Perfect Party Cake (see recipe)
Pfeffernüsse Cookies (see recipe)
Portuguese Sweet Bread/Massa Sovada (see recipe)
Praliné Chocolates (see recipe)
Profiteroles (see recipe)
Pumpkin Apple Bread (see recipe)
Pumpkin Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce (see recipe)
Pumpkin Challah (see recipe)
Peanut Butter & Tonka Ice Cream (see recipe)
Pecan Sandies (see recipe)
Pfeffernüsse Cookies (see recipe)
Profiteroles (see recipe)
Quarktorte With Raisins (see recipe)
Rose And Honey Madeleines (see recipe)
Rosemary And Vinefruit Bloomer (see recipe)
Salée A La crème (see recipe)
Scones (see recipe)
Sesame Cookies (see recipe)
Sienese Panforte (see recipe)
Suet Pudding (see recipe)
Swiss Brunslis (see recipe)
Swiss Mailänderli - Milan Cookies (see recipe)
Swiss Saffron Bread (see recipe)
Swiss Zimsterne (see recipe)
Tartine Bakery Pumpkin Pie (see recipe)
Tahinopitta - Tahini Cake (see recipe)
Tiramisù (see recipe)
Tiramisù Mousse & Lemon Curd Tart (see recipe)
Tiramisù Mousse & Lemon Curd Verrine (see recipe)
Triflemisù (see recipe)
Tuiles With Orange Praline Filling (see recipe)
Upside-Down Honey Cheescakes (see recipe)
Vanilla And Lemon Cupcakes With Buttercream Frosting (see recipe)
Vols-Au-Vent (see recipe)
Walnut Ma'amouls (see recipe)
Walnut Tart (see recipe)
Wicked Bacon And Turkish Coffee Brownies (see recipe)
Yule Log (see recipe)
Zesty Ricotta Tart (see recipe)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Terrace 2 7 bis
~ Coffee In The Sunshine ~
"La Clémence", Old Town, Geneva.

Mont-Blanc 1 13 bis
 ~ Chantilly Art ~

Carouge Market Place 1 8 bis
~ Empty ~
Non-market day in "Place Du Marché", Carouge, Geneva.

All three pictures were submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook".

Friday, December 9, 2011


"From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it."
- Katharine Whitehorn
I must say that even if it saddens me not to be surrounded by my kin-folk and to have no contact with the very few relatives left (including my parents and sister - very small family and a lot of psycho-drama and toxic behavior which I prefer to steer clear of if I want to be the master of my life, stay sane and be healthy in body and mind), I have to admit that sometimes there are advantages to leading a lonely existence and not being vampirized by others anymore.

You see, with the level of stress rising in society due to the Christmas preparations and the ominous launch of the end of year festivities (or shall we say madness/frenzy - LOL), I am thankful and happy that I'll be going through that odd period in a pressure-free mode. It is really nice to have no worries and be totally detached from all the fuss as well as the hype that surrounds us constantly. In that manner, it is possible to fully appreciate the magic of Xmas and winter.

I haven't been brought up in a religious environment (I belong to no church nor movement) and my boyfriend P. is also furiously against organized belief systems, so since we believe in other values (the power of the Universe & Nature), we will not be celebrating the 25th of December in a Christian way. In place of that we'll feast and party on the occasion of the winter solstice and of my birthday (I was born on the 25th of December).

"The Christmas season has come to mean the period when the public plays Santa Claus to the merchants."
- John Andrew Holmes
As we are not people who like overdoing things, it'll only be the three of us (P., Maruschka, our black kitty, and me) having a casual, yet lovely meal in a relaxed mood and listening to good music, far from the mass hysteria and feverish materialistic peocupations generated by the multiple obligations and oppressive social expectations that go hand in hand with our modern version of this fete (read this article I wrote in order to know what I think about Christmas).

Panicking or nervous breakdowns are not on the program! I have only very few gifts to make or cards to write, have nobody coming home for dinner and don't need to put on a fake smile on my face because I am not forced to attend any freakishly, artificially and kitschily gay/joyful family reunions where everbody is trying to be polite with one another when, in fact, they are just holding back any hard feelings for the sake of this "sacred" day are simply not my cup of tea (I am too honest for that kind of game - either there is a connection or there is none).

"I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays--let them overtake me unexpectedly--waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: 'Why this is Christmas Day!"
- Ray Stannard Baker, pseud. David Grayson (1870-1946), American author, journalist.
Anyhow, no matter how humbly we will be spend this very short weekend (no long weekend for us - in Geneva the 24th and 26th of December are normal working days), I can assure you that we will nonetheless try to make the most of it; we have the intention of organizing a little banquet for two and spending a cosy time together. I plan on making my famous bozy and nutty "Foie Gras Terrine" that we will savor on the 23rd with some homemade bread or crackers, quince jelly and dessert wine (surely a Vin Santo), then on the 24th, as I love to honor my British roots, I'll prepare a 100% English classic Christmas dinner made from scratch and composed of roasted turkey, sage stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts with chestnuts and shallots as well as gravy.

Even if we like to have a traditional fare, the dishes never succeed each other at our table and no sugary treat ends the repast. We don't go crazy. Generally, a small apéro opens the supper, but we seldom ingest more than the bird and its accompaniments. After having stuffed ourselves with such nourishing foods, we rarely have any space left for anything else. How do you guys do to not explode when you stuff yourselves for hours?

But, don't get alarmed, that doesn't mean that we don't enjoy desserts. It is just that we don't serve them after the pièce de résistance. We prefer to indulge in that kind of delicacy when our stomachs are not overexpanded and our taste buds have not been numbed by an excess of flavors. In our house, last courses are enjoyed at tea time or later in the evening...

ell, this Friday, I have decided to present one of those sweet confections instead of blogging about the usual Yuletide cookies or candy. Don't get me wrong, I am the biggest sucker for those goodies, but in December, magazines and blogs already offer enough recipes for biscuits, bonbons and bars. It is the reason why I thought that it would be great to share something a bit different than what you usually see everywhere when Noël is around the corner.

See Online Store
I wanted to create a special dessert with the Matcha Pâtissier that the Palais Des Thés graciously offered me back in September and sublimate it, so after a certain amount of brainstorming I came up with a wonderful idea: I'd bake "Mont Blancs" (also known as "Monte Bianco in Italy) or rather a modernized version of a that luxurious and festive classic worthy of gracing the Italian table of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia during the 15th and 16th century, and that of France's noblest families during Louis XIV's reign.

In order to update the original recipe and spike it up a little, I added cardamom to the meringue batter, gave the vermicelli additional oomph by incorporating Kirschwasser to the chestnut puree and upgraded the Chantilly by blending some matcha to the cream. Now, that sounds a lot more exciting, don't you think?! 

As you can imagine, my luscious holiday "Chestnut, Cardamom & Matcha Mont Blancs" didn't last long and were gobbled at the speed of light. The pavlovas were light, crispy and their centre was delightfully soft and chewy, the chestnut puree was silky and the whipped cream divinely fluffy. Taste-wise, the aromas are not overwhelming, instead they are complementary, refined and work well together, each being distinguishable. A fantastic blend of dissimilar textures and of matching savors.To-die-for!!!

~ Chestnut, Cardamom & Matcha Mont Blancs ~
Recipe for the "Meringues" adapted from "Bon Appétit" magazine. Conception of this dessert as well as the "Chestnut Puree" and "Matcha Cream" recipes by Rosa Mayland, December 2011.

Makes 6 big "Mont Blancs":

Ingredients for the "Meringues":
4 Large egg whites
1/4 Tsp Cream of tartar
1 Cup (210g) Castor sugar
2 Tsps Cornstarch
1/2 Tsp Apple vinegar
1/2 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1/4 Tsp Ground cardamom

Ingredients For The "Chestnut Puree":
400g Sweetened chestnut puree (no jam/spread)
3-4 Tbs Kirschwasser
Ingredients for the "Matcha Whipped Cream":
1 Cup (250ml) Double/heavy cream (35%)
2 Tbs Icing/conditioner's sugar
1 Tsp Palais Des Thés "Matcha Pâtissier" (powdered green tea)

Mont-Blanc 11 3 bis

 Method For The "Meringues":
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
3. Using your stand mixer (or electric mixer + a big bowl), whisk the egg whites for 1 minute. 4. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks appear.
5. Then, gradually incorporate the sugar, while continuously whisking until the whites are thick, really firm and resemble marshmallow creme, about 5 minutes.
6. Beat in the cornstarch, vinegar, vanilla, and cardamom.
7. Drop the heaps of meringue batter onto the prepared sheet (create 6 mounds, spaced 3 inches/8cm apart).
8. Using the back of a tablespoon, make a depression in the center of each meringue.
9. Transfer to the oven and immediately reduce temperature to 250° F (120° C).

10. Bake until the meringues are dry outside (but centers remain soft), have a pale straw color and lift easily from the parchment, about 80 - 110 minutes.
11. Cool completely on a rack.
Method For The "Chestnut Puree":

1. Mix the puree together with the kirsch. Set aside.

Mont-Blanc 1 4 bis

Method For The "Matcha Whipped Cream":
1. Make sure your stand mixer bowl, beaters and cream are very cold.
2. Add the matcha to the cream and beat until soft peaks form.
3. Then, add the sugar and continue whisking until firm peaks appear.
Method For Assembling The "Mont-Blancs":
1. Arrange the meringues on a serving platter and press the chestnut puree (with a potato press or chestnut puree press) in bird's nest shape around edge and center of the meringue shells.
2. Pipe the whipped cream on top of the puree, piling it high.
3. Sprinkle with edible silver pearls, then serve immediately.

If your chestnut puree already contains some kirsch, then you might want to add less extra kirsch to it.
The meringues can be made a day ahead and kept in an airtight container for about 12-24 hours,  at room temperature.
The puree can also be made a few days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
The whipped cream and assembling can only be made at the last minute.

Serving suggestions:
Serve for dessert or for afternoon tea with some dessert wine, liqueur or a pot of jasmine tea.


Mont-Blanc 3 1 bis

~ Mont-Blanc A La Cardamome Et Au Thé Matcha ~
Recette pour le "Meringues" adapté du magazine "Bon Appétit" (US). La conception générale du dessert ainsi que les recettes pour la "Purée De Châtaignes" et la "Chantilly Au Matcha" par Rosa Mayland, Décembre 2011.
Pour 6 gros "Mont Blancs".

Ingrédients Pour Les "Meringues":
4 Blancs d'œufs (oeufs de ~63g)
1 CC de Crème de tartre
210g de Sucre cristallisé
2 CC de Fécule de maïs (maizena)
1/2 CC de Vinaigre de pomme
1/2 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure
1/4 de CC de Cardamome en poudre
Ingrédients Pour La "Purée De Châtaignes":
400g de Purée de marrons sucrée/vermicelles (pas de confiture)
3-4 CS de Kirsch
Ingrédients Pour La "Chantilly Au Matcha": 

250ml de Crème double (35%)
2 CS de Sucre glace
1 CC de
"Matcha Pâtissier" du Palais Des Thés

Mont-Blanc 7 8 bis

Méthode Pour Les "Meringues":
1. Préchauffer le four à 350 ° F (180 ° C).
2. Recouvrir une grande plaque à pâtisserie de papier sulfurisé.
3. A l'aide de votre batteur (ou au batteur manuel + un grand bol), fouetter les blancs d'oeufs pendant 1 minute.

4. Ajouter la crème de tartre et continuer de battre jusqu'à formation de pics mous.
5. Puis, incorporer progressivement le sucre, tout en continuant de fouetter pendant encore 5 minutes, jusqu'à ce que les blancs soient épais, très fermes et ressemblent à de la crème de guimauve.
6. Incorporer la fécule de maïs, le vinaigre, la vanille et de cardamome tout en fouettant.
7. Faire des tas avec l'appareil à meringue (créer 6 monticules, à 8cm d'intervalle).
8. Avec le dos d'une cuillère à soupe, faire une dépression au centre de chaque meringue.
9. Enfourner et réduire immédiatement la température à 120 ° C.
10. Cuire jusqu'à ce que les meringues soient sèches à l'extérieur (les centres doivent être mous), aient une couleur jaune paille et se décollent facilement du papier sulfurisé, environ 80-110 minutes.
11. Laisser refroidir complètement sur une grille.
Méthode Pour La "Purée De Châtaignes»:
1. Mélanger la purée avec le kirsch. Mettre de côté.

Méthode Pour La "Chantilly Au Matcha":
1. Assurez-vous que votre bol mélangeur, vos batteurs et votre crème soient très froids.
2. Ajouter le matcha à la crème et battre jusqu'à formation de pics mous.
3. Puis, ajouter le sucre et continuer de fouetter jusqu'à la formation de pics fermes.
Méthode Pour "L'Assemblage Des Mont-Blancs":
1. Disposer les meringues sur une assiette de présentation et
garnir le dessus de chaque meringue avec 1/6 de crème de marrons (utiliser un presse pommes de terre ou un appareil spécialisé).
Décorer avec la chantilly.
3. Parsemer de perles argentées, puis servir immédiatement.


Si voutre purée de marrons contient déjà du kirsch, alors faites attention de ne pas en rajouter trop. 
Les meringues peuvent être faites la veille et conservée pendant pas plus de 24 heures dans une boîte hermétique, à température ambiante.
La purée peut également être faite quelques jours à l'avance et conservées dans un récipient hermétique au réfrigérateur.
La crème fouettée et la chantilly doivent être faites à la dernière minute.

Idées De Présentation:
Servir à l'heure du dessert ou du thé avec un vin liquoureux, une liqueur ou du thé au jasmin.

Mont-Blanc 10 3 bis