Makes 6Active time: 15 minutesCooking time: 1minutesSetting time: At least 2 hoursStorage: Up to 4 days in an airtight container
Instant-read thermometerPastry bag6 × 2¾in (7cm) baking rings
Caramelised cashews ¼ cup (2oz/50g)superfine sugar 3½ tbsp (5ml)waterSeeds of ½ vanilla beanGenerous ½ cup (2¼oz/65g) cashewsChocolate coating 3½oz (100g)dark couverture chocolate, 64% cacao (preferably Valrhona Manjari), chopped.
Preparing the caramelised cashews: Place the sugar, water, vanilla seeds and cashews in a saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves and the temperature of the syrup reaches 270°F (130°C). Lower the heat and cook until the syrup crystallises and has a sandy appearance, stirring continuously with a spatula. Immediately turn out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Working in two batches for even cooking, return the cashews to the saucepan and cook until the sugar dissolves, coats the nuts, and turns a golden caramel colour. Turn out onto a clean sheet of parchment paper, leaving space between the nuts, and let cool completely. Preparing the chocolate coating: Temper the chocolate. Transfer to the pastry bag.
ASSEMBLING THE MENDIANTS
Place the baking rings on a lined baking sheet and pipe a thin layer of chocolate, about 1/8 in. (3-4 mm) thick, into each ring. Cover the chocolate with the caramelised cashews. Let set for at least 2 hours before removing the rings.
Serves 4Active time: 2minutesCooking time: 2 hours 2minutesStorage: Up to 2 days in the refrigerator
Oven-safe sauté panTagine dish
5oz (140g) carrots7¾oz (220g) waxy potatoes6 baby carrots6 baby turnips2½oz (70g) fennel1/5 oz (5g) garlic (about 1 large clove)2½ oz (70g) white onions1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil¾ tsp (2g) ground ginger½ tsp (1g) green anise seedsScant ½ tsp (1g) ground cinnamonScant ¼ tsp (0.5g) Sichuan peppercornsGenerous ½ tsp (1.5g) turmericScant ½ tsp (1g) ground cuminScant 3 cups (70ml) blood orange juice14oz (400g) monkfish fillet skinned and cut into pieces
4¼oz (120g) pitted prunes
Sliced almondsCilantro leavesAngel hair (Chinese long chillies, dried and finely shredded)
Preparing the vegetables and monkfish:
1 Wash the vegetables. Peel the carrots and cut them into approximately 2in (5cm) lengths. Halve or quarter them lengthwise, depending on the size. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Turn each quarter using a paring knife to trim off a little of the outer flesh; work from top to bottom and turn the potato as you do so, until an elongated oval shape is obtained.
2 Scrub the baby carrots and turnips and cut the fennel into 1in (2cm) wedges. Peel and halve the garlic and remove the germ. Peel the onion and chop it finely.
3 Sweat the onion in the sauté pan with the olive oil. Add the garlic, followed by the ginger, anise seeds, cinnamon, peppercorns, turmeric, and cumin. Cook briefly until fragrant. Add the orange juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, then let simmer for 1 hour. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add the remaining vegetables, cover the pan, and cook over low heat for 1 hour until the vegetables can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife.
4 When the vegetables are nearly tender, preheat the oven to 200°F (100°C/Gas Mark ¼) on steam setting, if available. Remove the sauté pan from the heat and, using a skimmer, drain the vegetables from the broth. Place them on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature until serving.
5 Add the monkfish and prunes to the hot broth and place the sauté pan in the oven. If you are using a steam oven, let the fish cook uncovered for 8 minutes. If not, cover the pan and cook the fish for 1minutes. Immediately remove the fish from the broth to avoid overcooking it. Keep the oven switched on for the next step.
TO SERVEArrange the vegetables attractively in the base of the tagine dish. Add the monkfish and prunes and pour in the broth. Put the cover on the dish and place in the oven for 8 minutes. Immediately before serving, sprinkle the tagine with the sliced almonds, cilantro and angel hair chillies.
Serves 6Active time: 1 hourChilling time: 10–2minutesCooking time: 4minutesStorage: Up to 5 days in a dry place, covered in plastic wrap, or up to 3 months in the freezer.
EQUIPMENTFood processor2 pastry bags + plain ½in (12mm) and 1/3in (10mm) tips6 × 3in (16 × 8cm) loaf pan.
INGREDIENTSDried apricot jam3½ tbsp (5ml) water1½oz (45g) dried apricots2½oz (70g) apricot purée
Cake batterGenerous ½ cup (4¾oz/135g) lightly beaten egg (about 2¾ eggs)¾ cup (4¾oz/135g) superfine sugar1 stick plus 1 tbsp (4¾oz/135g) butter, diced and softened½ cup less 1 tbsp (1¾oz/50g) all-purpose flourGenerous 2 tbsp (22g) custard powder½ tsp (2g) baking powderScant 1 cup (3oz/90g) almond flour2oz (55g) dried apricot jam (see above)1½oz (40g) dried apricots, finely chopped
Gradually whisk in the superfine sugar until the peaks are firm and glossy. Sift the almond flour, confectioners’ sugar and all-purpose flour together. Gradually sprinkle over the meringue, folding in each addition using a flexible spatula before adding the next. When combined, spoon the batter into a pastry bag using the ½in (12mm) tip.
ASSEMBLING AND BAKING THE CAKEPreheat the oven to 340°F (170°C/Gas Mark 3). Grease the loaf pan with butter and cover the base and sides with the sliced almonds, lining them up end to end in neat rows. Freeze for 1minutes or refrigerate for 2minutes, so the butter firms up and holds the almonds in place. Pipe the dacquoise batter over the base and up the sides of the pan to cover the almonds. Pour the cake batter into the centre. Bake for 4 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C), covering the cake with a sheet of parchment paper and a wire rack, and continue to bake for an additional 3minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
DECORATING THE CAKEWhen the cake has cooled to room temperature, trim the ends. Brush the warm apricot glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Spoon some of the remaining dried apricot jam into a pastry bag with the 1/3in (10mm) tip and pipe a line down one side of the top of the cake. Arrange the candied apricot strips attractively over the jam.
Serves 5Active time: 15 minutesCooking time: 3minutesStorage: Up to 2 days in the refrigerator
EQUIPMENT7in (18cm) round baking dish, 2 in (5 cm) deep
INGREDIENTS1 tbsp (20g) lightly salted butter, softened¼ cup (1¾oz/50g) superfine sugarFruit and clafoutis batter1¼ lb (540g) yellow plums1½ eggs¼ cup (1¾oz/50g) superfine sugarSeeds of 1 vanilla bean½ cup (1¾oz/50g) almond flour½ cup (2¼oz/65g) all-purpose flour2/3 cup (16ml) whole milkScant 3 tbsp (1½oz/40g) crème fraîche3 tbsp (1½oz/40g) lightly salted butter, melted and cooledConfectioners’ sugar for dusting
METHODPreparing the baking dish: Grease the inside of the baking dish with the softened butter and dust with the sugar until evenly coated. Preparing the fruit and clafoutis batter Wash and halve the plums, removing the pits. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla seeds and almond flour until they are just combined. Whisk in the all-purpose flour, followed by the milk and crème fraîche. Finally, whisk in the melted butter.
BAKING THE CLAFOUTISPreheat the oven to 400°F (210°C/Gas Mark 6). Arrange the plum halves in a single layer over the base of the baking dish, rounded sides up. Carefully pour the batter over the plums and bake for 1minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C/Gas Mark 4) and continue to bake for an additional 2minutes. Serve at room temperature lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
CHEF’S NOTESThe clafoutis is delicious accompanied with vanilla whipped cream. To make this, simply whip 2/3 cup (15ml) heavy (double) cream (with a minimum of 35% fat) with 4 tsp (10g) confectioners’ sugar and the seeds scraped from one vanilla bean. Be sure to whisk just until the cream holds its shape, no more. Spoon the vanilla whipped cream into a separate serving dish and serve immediately at the table with the clafoutis.
From France Today magazine