Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tarte Tropezienne -- whole recipe

Just posting so I have it on hand, if you want to know how it all turned out, here is my post on that.

From this website

1 loaf brioche, approx 12 - 14" in diameter 
(I use this no-knead recipe)

For the pastry cream:
1 quart milk (4 cups)
7 oz. sugar
8 eggs
5 oz. flour
2 vanilla beans (can substitute 2 teaspoons good vanilla)
9 oz. butter
-- powdered sugar for topping
1. Cook the brioche.
2. To make the pastry cream:
  • Put the milk and the vanilla bean, which has been cut lengthwise, into an enamel (or non-reactive metal) pan.
  • Bring to a slight boil and remove from the heat to let the vanilla bean infuse the milk.
  • During this infusion time, separate the eggs, keeping the yolks. Put the whites in a separate bowl and save for another use. In a mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy (5 min). Add the sifted flour, beating lightly until all the flour is incorporated.
  • Remove the vanilla bean from the milk. Scrape out the seeds and put back into the milk (to give a stronger vanilla flavor).
  • Add milk to the egg/flour mixture gradually.
  • Cook this mixture at high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan continuously with a wisk or wooden spoon to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom until the mixture becomes very thick and difficult to stir. This should take about 2 minutes. Note: the cooking, and burning happens in a flash so be ware! The first time I did this I got a brown film of cooked egg that I had to strain out of my cream.  
  • After the pastry cream is cooked, put it into a clean bowl. Before the cream has cooled all the way down, add butter which has been kneaded to soften. Beat the mixture energetically by hand or with a mixer.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Final assembly:

  • Cut the brioche tarte in half horizontally.
  • Spread the pastry cream on the bottom layer.
  • Arrange halved strawberries or raspberries on the cream layer and replace the final top layer of the brioche. (we never had one with berries in france so I will skip this step)
  • Add powdered sugar if the brioche doesn't already have sugar on it.
  • Refrigerate until served.

Tropizenne part one: no-knead Brioche

The other day we received an invite to a pot-luck dinner which was very interesting. "We're asking each person (family) to bring a dish that reminds them of some special place they've been to or lived in the world," it read.

I started wracking my brain to think of something we could bring that was interesting and vegetarian, as usually no one else brings a vegetarian main dish to these types of dinners and I wanted to make sure Mahesh had something to eat.

After a lot of thinking, the dish I wanted to make the most was a dessert called Tropizenne. It's a pastry we discovered in the south of france, basically pastry cream sandwiched inside of a brioche bun with sugar sprinkled on top. (Brioche bread is just a rich bread made with eggs, butter, and honey). So simple but really the most memorable sweet thing we ate on our last trip to France. I've never seen it in any restaurant or pastry shop here in Vancouver, so in order to ever eat it again, short of going to France I would have to learn how to make it. This sounded like the perfect opportunity.

When I told Mahesh I wanted to make it, brioche bread and all, and he thought I was crazy. But I found a no-knead Brioche recipe, and I decided to make a sample brioche just to see if I could. If I could do that, the rest will be easy.

I almost threw out the dough because the yeast granules didn't look like they dissolved and I was afraid the final bread wouldn't rise, but I decided that it would be just as easy to throw it out after I baked it. I am happy to report that the final brioche turned out great! I will share the recipe below, and next week try and make the whole pastry.

No-knead Brioche

makes 1 Brioche loaf

250 g French Type 55 flour / all purpose flour / plain flour
100 g fresh dairy butter, melted
70 g water at room temperature
2 organic eggs (medium, about 110 g)
50 g runny honey (flower /acacia)
5.5 g / 1 teaspoon salt
3 g / 1 teaspoon instant yeast

-- egg yolk for brushing

-- 1 handful of pearl sugar (or sliced almonds) -- This is a special kind of "puffed" sugar used is French pastries. It looks like "rice crispies" and has about the same light texture and crunch. It's very difficult to find this type of sugar, but worth the effort to make your Tarte Tropézienne look authentic. The only luck I've had in San Francisco is buying some from a local French bakery.

Making the Brioche

1) If you use granulated yeast like I do, put the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes to dissolve a bit.
2) In a larger bowl, combine eggs, honey, salt and melted butter, yeast/water mixture and whisk, somewhat vigorously, for about 30 seconds. Sift the flour into the mixture. Again, with enthusiasm, whisk for 30 seconds until your dough looks smooth and homogeneous. Cover your bowl and let the dough rest for two hours at room temperature.
3) Take the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured work surface and do one or two stretch and folds (full fold ones, left over right, right over left, bottom over top, top over bottom; see Weekend Bakery's bread movies to observe this technique if you are not familiar with it). If your dough is very ‘elastic’ and cooperative, do a few, if it starts to resist you can just stop.

4) Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with clingfilm and take it to the fridge where it will stay for 24 to 48 hours.

5)  Take the dough out of the fridge. Now it is time to shape. You can choose any shape you want but for tropizenne you want EITHER 4 inch buns, or one large flat round loaf. I am doing one large flat round loaf, so I made a circle about 8" around and 1" high, on a silpat-covered baking sheet.

6) Cover and leave to proof for 2 to 3 hours, depending on the temperature of the dough and of the room.You are looking for it to double in volume. It is best to cover the brioche with something that does not stick to the dough or weighs it down.

7) When dough has risen, brush it with egg yolk and sprinkle the top with the crystallized sugar if using.

7) Preheat your oven at 190ºC / 375ºF. Brush the brioche with some egg wash before you put it in the oven. Bake at 190ºC / 375ºF for about 10 minutes, then turn down the thermostat to 160ºC / 320ºF and bake for another 15 minutes. If the top browns too quickly or gets too dark, cover it with some aluminum foil to protect it.

8) After taking it out of the oven, brush it, with some melted butter directly after baking. Then leave to cool completely before slicing it. The brioche keeps very well for a few days (in container or bag) and even after that it can be given some oomph by toasting it lightly.

I thought it was great, and I wasn't the only one. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mahesh's favorite garbanzo salad

This is a salad I just made up one day with stuff we had on hand, Mahesh loved it and asked me to make it again and I had to rack my brain to remember what was in there. I am writing it down so I don't forget next time.

Mix in a bowl:

-- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
-- 3 small cucumbers, cubed (about 2 cups)
-- 3 T. finely minced onion
-- 3 T. finely minced cilantro
-- 3 T. mashed avocado
-- 2 T. Annie's Organics Goddess dressing
-- 3 drops habanero hot sauce, more or less to taste
-- salt and pepper to taste

That's it!