Little pumpkins

By Mélanie, on Thursday, February 26, 2009


A few weeks ago, I went to Stephane Martin’s restaurant with a friend, and I had the most amazing lava cake ever. As I told you, I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, and I’d rather have a fruit tart than… well, anything. This lava cake was made for me : not a chocolate one, as you would usually see (although they have one in the restaurant too, and they’re even renowned for it), but made with pumpkin. We spend the whole time wondering how to get the same result, this moist biscuit shell protecting a runny and sweet pumpkin cream (like a crème anglaise).

So we asked (if you know me, then you’ll know that this must have been very good, for me to ask something…). It’s supposed to be prepared exactly like a chocolate lava cake, but with pumpkin. Of course I tried to reproduce it, without success.


So with the rest of the puree I made, I choose to stick with a safer choice. Some spices to remind the taste of a pumpkin pie, some ricotta for it’s mild flavour, and there you go : mini-cheesecakes! Who could say no to their gingerbread base? With their sizes and all the squash packed inside, you can even argue that they are good for you : the ricotta is there for calcium, eggs for the proteins, pumpkin for fibres and dietary minerals. Hum, maybe you wanna skip the sugar in this list… Hey, we all need some sweet moments in life…

Pumpkin and gingerbread cheesecakes
For 6 small cheesecakes

3 oz. gingerbread
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin spices

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Crumble gingerbread in your mixer. Stir with melted butter until moist clumps form. Press cookie mixture firmly onto bottom of 6 mini-pans.Bake crust until firm and beginning to darken, about 10 minutes. Cool crust.

Beat eggs, ricotta and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in pumpkin and spices until just blended. Pour batter over crust in pans. Place the 6 pans in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of pans. Bake cakes uncovered until filling is puffed around edges and moves slightly in center when pan is gently shaken, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove pan from water, let cool. Place hot cheesecake uncovered in refrigerator overnight before serving.

Petits cheesecakes épicés au potiron
Pour 6 petits gateaux

100g de pain d'épice
2 cuillères de beurre fondu
2 œufs
120g de sucre
100g de ricotta
150g de potiron cuit et réduit en purée
1 cuillère de 4 epices

Préchauffez le four à 170°.

Reduisez le pain d'épice en miettes dans un hachoir. Ajoutez le beurre fondu pour obtenir une pâte un peu collante. Repartissez au fond de vos ramequins et pressez bien au fond avec les doigts. Faites cuire 10 minutes et laissez refroidir (sinon vos ramequins risquent de se casser lorsque vous verserez le mélange froid dedans).

Dans un bol, fouettez les oeufs avec le sucre jusqu'à ce que le mélange blanchisse. Ajoutez la ricotta, puis le potiron et les épices, et mélangez bien. Versez la préparation dans les ramequins , et placez les dans un grand plat à rotir. Remplissez le plat d'eau de manière à atteindre la moitié de la hauteur des ramequins. Remettez au four et faites cuire 35 à 40 minutes.

Laissez refroidir les cheesecakes en dehors du bain marie et mettez les au frigo pour la nuit avant de servir.

La suite, please

Cake or bonbons, yours to choose

By Mélanie, on Monday, February 16, 2009


Like for a lot of people, February seems to have won over me : after one week of fighting against the headache, I think a virus stoke back yesterday, when I didn't except it. I feel dizzy and my head is so heavy I wonder how it stands up on my neck, so no wonder my time out of the office is spent… in my bed, and not in the kitchen! However, since it’s already been one week, I thought I could make you wait with some chocolate.


The recipe is quite basic, a one-bowl chocolate cake, and simply upgraded with some candied orange peels. It tastes like orangettes, but with the smooth texture of a chocolate fondant. Like a bonbon, worthwhile of a party, but less time consuming…
So, a quick note for a quick recipe, but this cake will quickly disappear too!

Orangette Chocolate cake

2 oz. candied orange peels
1 ½ stick butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
5.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup flour

Decoration (optional)
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 oz. candied orange peels

Preheat oven to 375° F, and butter an 8-inch round cake pan.
Finely chop the candied orange peels.
Beat the butter with the orange until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave and add to the butter-egg mixture. Whisk well before adding the flour.
Pour batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake looks set and the top is crackled.
Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes; then carefully turn the cake out of the pan and revert it, so that the crackly side is facing upward. Allow to cool completely. The cake will deflate slightly as it cools.

If you wish so, you can glaze the cake with melted chocolate and pieces of candied orange peels as in the picture.

Gâteau au chocolat façon orangette

50 g d’écorces d’oranges confites
150g de beurre à température ambiante
120g de sucre
3 œufs
150g de chocolat
40g de farine

Décoration (facultative)
50g de chocolat noir
25g d’écorces d’oranges confites

Préchauffez le four à 180°.
Hachez les écorces d’oranges.
Crémez le beurre avec les écorces d’orange en battant pendant plusieurs minutes. Ajoutez ensuite le sucre, puis les œufs, un à un, en battant après chaque addition.
Faites fondre le chocolat dans une casserole au bain marie, ou dans le micro-ondes (ajoutez 1 cuillère à soupe d’eau et faites fondre sur une puissance de 500W max).
Ajoutez le chocolat fondu et fouettez jusqu’à obtenir un mélange homogène, puis rajoutez la farine, sans trop mélanger cette fois.
Versez votre préparation dans un moule à manqué beurré et fariné, et faites cuire 25 minutes. Laissez refroidir avant de démouler.

Si vous le souhaitez, vous pouvez glacer le gâteau avec du chocolat fondu et le décorer de morceaux d’oranges confites.
Pour tempérer le chocolat simplement, je ne mets que la moitié du chocolat dans un bain marie. Dès que le chocolat est fondu (et donc à environ 55°), je le retire du feu, et je rajoute le reste des carrés. Il suffit de mélanger à la cuillère jusqu’à ce que tout soit fondu (ce rajout a fait baisser la température).

La suite, please

Valentine's day...

By Mélanie, on Saturday, February 14, 2009

La suite, please

Quick raspberry trifle

By Mélanie, on Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Big confession : sometimes, I don't want to hear anything about food. I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, whisking, mesuring, rolling (ok, that's pretty unusual. In a normal state of mind, this only evocation would look like fun to me!), cleaning the dishes (and that's the constant part...).
I was in this lazy mood last time I had friends over for dinner, but I still wanted to serve them something good and (at least partially) homemade. So I cheated, and used some store-bought cookies, and very common ingredients.
I've learned that that’s ok to keep it simple. Maybe you'll be lazy too, or in a hurry, and you’ll be glad to have this dessert ready in 10 minutes (no cheating in this time approximation, I swear).

6 shortbread cookies – pure butter, like those. Or, if you want to make them, here is the recipe.
8 Tbsp raspberry preserves
2.8 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen
6 oz. mascarpone
2 eggs
3 Tbsp + 1 teaspoon sugar
½ tsp pistachio paste

Put a shortbread cookie in each glass.
Save 6 raspberries for the decoration and divide the rest into the glasses, along with the preserve.
Combine egg yolks and sugar and whisk until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in mascarpone and pistachio paste and whisk firmly until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they have firm peak. Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture using a large rubber spatula (carefully lift cream from the bottom of the bowl and pull it over the top, turning the bowl and repeating this until no foam remains visible). Divide cream between the 6 glasses, over the raspberries.
Sprinkle with shortbread crumbs and one raspberry, and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Verrine framboise pistache
Pour 6 personnes

6 sablés bretons
8 cuillères à soupe de confiture de framboise
80g de framboises
175g de mascarpone
2 œufs
40g de sucre
½ cuillère à café de pâte de pistache

Placez un sablé breton dans le fond de chaque verre.
Réservez 6 framboises et répartissez ensuite le reste mélangé à la confiture.
Battez les 2 blancs en neige ferme. Dans un second bol, fouettez vigoureusement les jaunes avec le sucre jusqu’à ce que le mélange blanchisse. Ajoutez ensuite le mascarpone et la pâte de pistache en fouettant pour obtenir un mélange homogène. Incorporez ensuite délicatement les deux blancs à l’aide d’une spatule, en procédant en plusieurs fois. Versez cette crème dans chaque verrine, et laissez au réfrigérateur jusqu’au moment de servir. Décorez avec une framboise ou des miettes de sablé.
La suite, please