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Crepe Layer Cake


(serves 8-12)
If you are without an oven, this is the cake for you. Strictly speaking, the Crepe Layer Cake is not a real cake. It matters not, since it looks and tastes like a cake. We achieve the cake effect by sandwiching layers of cream and apple glazing between crepes that are stacked. This particular recipe is only a starting recipe and it uses only very basic flavours, but the the Crepe Layer Cake is versatile animal and you can easily modify it to taste of almost anything you like. 

Ingredients

  1. Crepes (16)
  2. Whipping Cream (200ml)
  3. Raisins (1 cup)
  4. Apple Juice (1/2 cup)
  5. Brandy
  6. Corn Starch
  7. Corn Syrup
  8. Golden Syrup
  9. Cinnamon

For this recipe, you will require 2 batches of the crepes made according to my bouncy crepe recipe. Make the crepes first, up to a day ahead in time.

Preparation – Apple Glazing 

  1. Soak a cup of raisins in 1/4 cup of brandy. Use a shallow container or only the raisins at the bottom will get soaked.
  2. Boil 1/2 cup of apple juice in a small pot and dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar in it.
  3. Fully dissolve 1T cornstarch in 1/4 cup of cold water and stir this into the boiling juice. When the mixture begins to thicken, stir in 1T of corn syrup and turn off the heat.
  4. The glazing will thicken as it cools and should have the consistency of syrup when it is at room temperature.
  5. You should do all this at least an hour ahead of time. The raisins need time to soak in the brandy and the glazing needs time to cool.

Preparation – Cake

  1. Beat 200ml of cream till you get stiff peaks. Stir in 3T of golden syrup into the cream.
  2. Find a plate that is about an inch smaller in diameter than your crepes. Use a pointed knife to trim off the the parts of each crepes not covered by the plate. This will make them all identical in size.
  3. You should have 16 crepes to start off with. Find the crepe with the best looking pattern and reserve this as the top layer.
  4. Place one crepe on a wax or foil base and apply a thin layer of cream on the crepe. Place a second crepe over the first one and brush on a layer of the apple flavoured glazing. Simply put, apply cream on odd number crepes and glazing on even numbered crepes as you stack up the cake. This will keep each crepe (except the bottom one) in contact with both cream and glazing.
  5. Don’t worry about keeping the edges neat when applying the cream. The center of your cake will have a tendency to bulge if you apply less cream to the periphery.
  6. On crepes 3,7 and 11 arrange 1/3 of the soaked raisins after you apply the cream, and on crepes 5, and 13 sprinkle on a layer of powdered cinnamon on the cream.
  7. When you have placed the last crepe on, press down on the cake in the middle and then use a butter knife to scrape off all the excess cream along the side of the cake. Paint the entire cake, top and sides with glazing to seal the moisture in. You can decorate the top of the cake with some left over cream if you have a piping syringe but this is optional.
  8. The crepes will still be able to slide over each other at this stage so place the cake in the fridge to allow it to set. This will also give the crepes time to absorb moisture and flavour from the sandwich layers.    

Notes

  • For variety: You can experiment with canned, pureed or cooked fruit in place of the raisins. You can use chocolate or another type of sauce in the cream. Or you can use custard instead of cream. You can use different juices for the glazing. You can sprinkle nutmeg, chocolate rice, green tea powder in place of the cinnamon. Your options are endless.
  • If you intend to drizzle syrup over cut pieces of your cake like in the first photo, you might want to reduce the golden syrup in the cream to 2T.
  • Don’t be stingy and pick a plate that is too big. The edges of crepes tend to be thinner, you want to make sure those parts are trimmed off, as shown here.
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Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Desserts, French, Japanese, Recipe

 

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Foie Gras in Apple and Red Wine Reduction


(serves 3)
In my opinion, pan seared foie gras is the pièce de résistance of French Cuisine. When cooked in this method, you’ll find your foie gras smooth and creamy on the inside while wrapped in a thin crispy shell. It is probably the only instance where liver can actually taste delicious. For this particular version, I have chosen to use a combination of red wine, apple and marmalade to balance out the slightly oily taste of hot foie gras. 

Ingredients 

  1. Fresh Goose Foie Gras (200g)
  2. Apple (1)
  3. Onion (1/2)
  4. Pork Stock Cube
  5. Coarse Cut Marmalade 
  6. Fennel Seeds
  7. Red Wine (1/2 cup)
  8. Woustershire Sauce
  9. Butter
  10. Nutmeg
  11. Corn Flour    

Preparation 

  1. For this recipe you need half a cup of pork stock(salted), which is really an inconveniently small amount of stock. What I usually do is place half a pork stock cube, 1t of fennel seeds and 3/4 cup of boiling water in the microwave for 2 minutes. I then leave it covered for an hour for the seeds to release their flavour. If you can’t get pork stock cubes, you’ll just need to make the stock the old fashioned way, with pork bones.
  2. Your foie gras should be fresh, the type that is sealed in a chilled vacuum pack. Give some thought as to how its best to divide it equally into 3 while maintaining 1/2 inch thick pieces. You’ll normally need to slice diagonally. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper on both sides and then dust the pieces of foie gras thoroughly with corn flour. The foie gras is delicate and I find its best to do the cutting/seasoning/dusting on a cutting board. Leave to dry in the fridge.
  3. Peel and cut one (red) apple into 1/4 inch cubes and do the same with half an onion. Pan fry these with a knob of butter for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  4. Next, add half a cup of red wine, the half cup of stock (minus the fennel seeds), a dash of woustershire sauce and 3t (heaping) of coarse cut marmalade. Continue to simmer. When the liquid begins to bubble on the pan surface, adjust heat to the minimum and occasionally lift the pan off the heat to avoid getting a burnt taste. Stop when you have reduced the liquid to a thin syrup-like consistency.
  5. When the wine reduction is done, preheat a second pan with a light drizzle of olive oil. When this pan is searing hot, place your foie gras in straight from the fridge. Fry for one minute on each side and then thirty seconds on each side (i.e. 3 minutes in total). Remove immediately onto your serving plate, but leave the drippings in the pan.
  6. While the pan is still very hot, pour the apple wine reduction into the pan and mix well. Sprinkle in some black pepper and nutmeg, then check for taste. If your stock wasn’t salty enough, you might need to add some salt. Spoon the finished apple and wine reduction on and around your plated foie gras and you’re ready to impress.

Notes

  • You fry the foie gras straight from the fridge for two reasons. Firstly, this is the best way to get the outside crispy without overcooking the inside. Secondly, when left at room temperature, raw fois gras wil lose its shape.
  • If you like the inside to be soft and juicy, make your foie gras pieces 3/4 inch thick instead.
  • As you are reducing red wine without meat, do not use high tannin wines like cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.
  • For this recipe, it doesn’t matter whether you use Corn Flour or Corn Starch. The idea is to give an attractive sheen and a nice crisp exterior to the foie gras. The only time you need to worry is if you use corn flour as a thickening agent, in which case if there is some flour mixed into the starch, it will leave an after taste.
  • If you like foie gras, check out my Foie Gras Creme Brulee. 
 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Appetizers, French, Poultry, Recipe

 

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Apple Granola Crumble


(serves 6)
The combination of fruit, butter, rum and ice cream is a magical one, and the secret behind all time favourites such as Crepe Suzette and Cherries Jubilee. Here I have applied the same magic to an unlikely candidate, Apple Crumble. You’ll find its a fairly easy recipe compared to the standard apple crumble, requiring no baking. Enjoy.   
 
Ingredients
  1. Green Apples (3)
  2. Apple Juice (0.5 cup)
  3. Granola Cereal (1.5 cups)
  4. Ice Cream (1.5 cups)
  5. Soft Brown Sugar (4T)
  6. Dark Soya Sauce 
  7. Cinnamon
  8. Cardamon 
  9. Dark Rum
  10. Butter (40g)

Preparation

  1. Start by peeling the apples and then dicing them into finger tip sized pieces.
  2. Melt the butter and 4T of soft brown sugar in a saucepan. Throw in the apple pieces and fry them for about 10 minutes at medium heat, at which point they will start to brown.
  3. Pour in 1/2 cup of apple juice and 1/2 cup of water. Sprinkle in 0.5t cardamon, 1t powdered cinnamon and 2t dark soya sauce. Reduce to a tenth of the volume by using a low simmer for about fifteen minutes. Then set aside to allow to cool.
  4. Place 1.5 cups of granola cereal (I usually use Kellog’s low fat Granola, with or without raisins) into a ziploc bag and hammer gently with a meat mallet till you get uniformly small pieces.
  5. When you intend to serve the dessert,  reheat the apple stew (by microwave is ok). Divide  the ice cream into your ramekins or similar serving containers. My favourite flavours for this recipe are cookies & cream and the nutty ones like maple walnut, butter pecan. Flatten the ice cream with a spoon.
  6. Pack the crushed granola tightly on top of the ice cream as an insulating second layer against the hot stewed apple bits, which you  arrange on top. Drizzle on any of the remaining apple stew syrup.
  7. Put 1/4 cup of dark run in a metal ladle and heat the ladle directly. When the rum is almost boiling, tip the ladle so that a drop of rum drips off the ladle’s edge into the fire. This will ignite the rum (use a lighter if you have a flameless cooker). Flambe the apple crumble by pouring (perhaps in front of your guests?) the burning rum evenly into ramekins.

Notes 

The 3 layers: Apple, Granola and Ice Cream

  • Have everything ready for the last bit. You’ll need to work fast as the ice cream will start melting as soon as it leaves the freezer. If the weather is hot, use ice cubes to pre-cool the bottoms of the ramekins first.
  • Soya Sauce? Sometimes a bit of saltiness will bring out the flavour of a sweet dish. If you remind yourself butter is salted, this will make sense. Besides, the soya sauce makes the apples darker.
  • Red or Green Apples. It depends on your preferences. Green apples stay firm and hold their shape after cooking but are a tad tart. Red apples are sweeter but become limp after some cooking.  
  • Brown or White Sugar. The soft sugars have a distinctive cane taste which is why they are served with coffee. I usually use Demerara or Muscovado. White and other crystal sugars would work, but I’d consider them a second choice.
  • Rum or no rum. If you have young kids or abstain from drink for whatever reason, just add the rum with the apple juice and all the alcohol will burn off during the simmer. It doesn’t taste as good as adding it at the end, but its better than skipping the rum altogether.
 
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Posted by on October 29, 2010 in Desserts, Recipe

 

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