Baking · Biscuits

Tranche Noix de Coco

French term for coconut biscuits. This recipe is taken from the patisserie textbook for Le Cordon Bleu and the biscuits are described as having  influences from Southeast Asia and India (due to the use of coconut), but the overall style is definitely French Classical regardless of the ingredients.

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It also includes several techniques including the  making of a sweet pastry and a Swiss meringue. However, the most stressful aspect had to be dipping the biscuits in chocolate – Oh my goodness. They just kept falling apart! However, even if they do, the end result still tastes good!

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Tranche Noix de Coco

Ingredients:

Sweet pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 125g icing sugar
  • Apricot (or Raspberry) jam, melted.

Swiss meringue:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 200g dessicated coconut
  • 15g plain flour
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 300g dark chocolate, melted.

Instructions:

Mix the powdered sugar and salt together and make a well. Add the softened butter to the centre of the well and start working the sugar into the butter with your fingers until the mixture is creamy. Using a wooden spoon, mix the egg yolks and vanilla essence into the butter/sugar mix and beat to combine. Start adding the flour gradually until a smooth paste is formed, mixing to create a loose dough. Smear the dough away from yourself (against the side of the bowl) until no lumps are left in the mixture. Wrap the mixture in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer.

Roll the dough out on a lined baking sheet, pricking all over with a fork and bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for about 20 minutes (until just starting to turn golden brown). At this point, remove from the oven and spread with the melted fruit jam. Leave to cool and then brush with another layer of the jam. Reduce the oven to 130°C.

Make the Swiss meringue by placing the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and beat until the mixture is hot to the touch (about 55°C if you have a sugar thermometer). remove from the heat and continue whisking until cool. Mix the coconut, flour and vanilla essence and then fold into the meringue mixture, then spread onto the pastry base. Bake in the cooler oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Once cool, cut into bars or shapes and dip into the melted chocolate.

 

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Bread · Europe · Nation Cake Challenge · Uncategorized

France: Pain Brié

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Much as I hate to say it, there is only so much cake that you can eat. Particularly as a baking blogger, the question of what to do with the remaining cakes. I’m lucky in that I have a very hungry younger brother who is a willing tester for many of the recipes when he is back from university, but otherwise it can come down to just Max and I to eat it, which can leave you feeling very fat. The problem was partially solved when my mum provided me with some lovely small round baking tins which belonged to my grandmother, but even so!

Every so often then I make something else, and today that something is bread. I have mixed feelings towards bread – I love tiger bread and could quite happily eat half a loaf in one sitting, but as much of the bread around these days is plastic white sliced sandwich bread, I don’t tend to eat much of it. Homemade bread is a different matter, but my house is not made for baking bread, and I find it almost impossible to make it rise! The only way I’ve managed to successfully get dough to rise is to place the bowl on a pile of books stacked under the bathrooms heated towel rail – not the best situation to be in!

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However, when I make bread, I remember why it’s worth all the hassle! This loaf is a prime example of how good proper bread can be – a Normandy-style bread, filled with both black and green olives and rosemary. Delicious for a picnic, and very simple to make! It can be served either hot or cold, and does not need any topping to improve it – the ultimate one hand snack! The recipe is taken from Rachel Khoo’s book The Little Paris Kitchen

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Pain Brié

Ingredients:

Fermented Dough:

  • 10g yeast
  • 10ml warm water
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 generous pinches of salt

The bread:

  • 5g dried yeast
  • 4 tbsp warm water
  • 85g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • a knob of butter
  • 300g fermented dough

The filling:

  • 50g green olives, chopped
  • 50g black olives, chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 20ml olive oil

Instructions:

First make the fermented dough, something that must be done the night before. Mix the yeast and warm water and stir until all the yeast has dissolved. Place the flour and salt in the bowl and quickly mix before adding the yeast mixture. Stir to combine before turning out onto a floured surface and knead until it forms a smooth dough. Place in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight before continuing.

The next day, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, before mixing the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, fermented dough and butter before bringing together to form a ball. On a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes until smooth, and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Make the filling by mixing together the olives, rosemary and oil. Roll out the risen dough so that is it 1 inch thick and about the size of a piece of A4 paper. Spread the olive mixture on top of the dough, and roll up lengthways into a long roll. Place join-side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Us a sharp knife to cut deep slits in the dough (ensuring that you d not cut all the way through!)  and cover with a damp tea towel before allowing to rise for 1 hour (it should have doubled in size).

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 9/240°C/475°F with a baking tray in the middle and a roasting tin in the bottom. Once hot, slide the roll (still on the baking paper) onto the hot baking tray, and pour a galss of water into the roasting tin. Bake for 5 minutes before reducing the heat to gas mark 7/210°C/425°F and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.