Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Raspberry and Pistachio Divin

divin, adjectif Féminin
Sens 1 Qui appartient à Dieu ou à une divinité.
(Meaning: referring to God or something holy).

Well, they got that right!

This has been my most challenging Ladurée effort to put together so far. With my hands up, I'll admit it – this was my second attempt! The first time, nothing worked. This time, it all fell into place!

I began by making the mousseline cream, a thickened custard which would eventually sandwich this confection together. This needed to chill overnight to become the right consistency to work with – one of the contributory factors to the last disaster!

The recipe called for nougat cream, but you can't find any for love nor money in the supermarkets, and with the cheapest on offer being £5.99 for a jar of 250g, I decided to experiment and find an alternative. What's delicious and goes with raspberries?


No, it's not a bad joke. It's a GREAT joke. It's pistachios!

I whizzed up some pistachios in my blender with a few teaspoons of water, and added them into the custard, then chilled overnight.

The next morning, I made the two almond sponges to form the 'sandwich' of the cake. They're made using ground almonds and a meringue base.

A word to the wise – if you're lucky enough to own a KitchenAid, or any other stand mixer for that matter, be VERY careful making meringues in them – it's so, so easy to overwhip them. I don't do it any more. A hand-held whisk is the way forward here!

Pipe the mixture into two 9-inch discs, and bake.



Cool on wire racks.

Now for the jellied raspberry coulis filling. Soak the gelatin in cold water.


Blend raspberries and sugar and push through a sieve. Use a couple of tablespoons of water to rinse any remaining juice through.



Gently heat about a quarter of the raspberries in a saucepan and dissolve the soaked gelatin. Pour into a dish to cool. The bigger the dish, the quicker it will cool!. Don't cool for more than 30 minutes though!


Now for the assemblage.
Turn one of the discs upside down and pipe the mousseline, again in a spiral formation, over the top, leaving about a 2cm gap around the edge. Smooth with a palette knife. Stud this with raspberries and press them down.



Now pipe another ring of mousseline around the edge of the first layer to form a bowl, and pour in the jellied coulis. Pop this in the freezer for about 20 mins.

Stud the edge with raspberries and place the other disk on top. Et voilà!



What I changed: I used blended pistachios instead of nougat cream. Nom! The texture wasn't completely smooth, but it added a certain bite. The recipe also calls for nougat pieces to be put into the mousseline, but I didn't feel that clicked with the texture of the pistachios.

I completely forgot to take a decent photo of a cross-section of the Divin, so here is a photo, taken mid dessert, on my Blackberry.



Blackberry: great phones – crappy cameras.

Another post soon, I promise – apologies for the delays, but I've got nursing placement at the moment – it's a killer!

Steph xx

**Disclaimer - I'm sorry that I won't be posting the full recipes, but as it's my aim to cook through all the recipes of the book, I don't want to end up getting sued! On the occasions when I'm making my own recipes, or when they're from sources other than the Ladurée book, they will be posted!**



Monday, 2 May 2011

Brioche

"Let them eat cake!" - a phrase (dubiously) attributed to Marie Antoinette. And the French do eat it - for breakfast! (Sort of.)

I'll explain. Brioche is a cross between cake and bread. It's made with flour, butter, and eggs - but where cake would have baking powder as its raising agent, brioche uses yeast.

Start by sifting some flour. Ladurée recommend using cake flour, which is bleached and has a lower gluten content than all-purpose flour. (NB: Not self-raising flour - cake flour doesn't contain a raising agent!) You don't see it too much in the UK - it can be replicated by replacing 1 tbsp of each 100g of plain flour with 1 tbsp corn flour. This should give cakes a lighter texture.



Add sugar and salt, and mix in the yeast. (The recipe called for live yeast - I used one packet of dried.)

Cut butter into cubes, and allow to soften.



Beat eggs together, and pour gradually over the flour, working in bit by bit. Once the eggs are incorparated, add the softened butter. The dough should be just about handle-able - the wetter, the better! It will dry out as it leavens - and if your dough is too dry, you will be left with a really dry, crumbly loaf. Your dough will have a rich, yellow colour from the butter and eggs.


Put the dough into a new, greased bowl, and cover with greased cling film. Leave at room temperature until doubled in size (about 2 hours).



Knock the dough back by stretching and folding in half, then leave in the fridge for a further 2 hours. Knock back a final time, and form a log shape. Place in a greased loaf tin. After two hours more, glaze with egg, and bake.
 
This is a long, drawn out process. Time enough to tidy up my mess! ;)



The finished product will have a moist and firm texture, and should slice easily.



At its best - toasted, with Bonne Maman jam!


What I changed: I used dry yeast, instead of fresh. Didn't seem to do it any harm!


**Disclaimer - I'm sorry that I won't be posting the full recipes, but as it's my aim to cook through all the recipes of the book, I don't want to end up getting sued! On the occasions when I'm making my own recipes, or when they're from sources other than the Ladurée book, they will be posted!**