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French desserts…

FABIEN.jpgSalut !

Today, I’ll share with you a few recipes that you can use to have some French dessert at home.

Some of the desserts I’ll be speaking about will be available during the French night of the International Food Week organized by the Language Learning Center (LLC) and Goudy, from March 4th to March 9th. The others could be in your own kitchen as early as tonight… ;)

Mousse au chocolat à la Fred (from the name of the cook who gave me his recipe) for 6

Ingredients:

- ½ pound of chocolate

- ¼ pound of butter

- 10 eggs

- 4 ounces of sugar

Preparation:

- Heat some water in a big saucepan. Place a smaller saucepan, filled with the chocolate and the butter, on top of the big saucepan, floating on the water. Let the chocolate and the butter melt, stir once in awhile.

- Separate the yolk from the white of the eggs: place six yolks in one bowl, and the ten whites in a big bowl.

- Once the chocolate is melted, let it rest.

- Meanwhile, whisk the whites and the sugar into very thick foam.

- Mix the six yolks together with the melted chocolate, in another big bowl.

- Integrate ¼ of the foam into the chocolate by slowly stirring it all in a way that allows the air to get in (gentle kind of vertical stirring)

- Integrate the rest the same way (not with a whisk, but with something like a big wooden spoon, if possible)

- Place the result in little glasses or any other individual recipient.

- Let it rest for 1 to 2 hours.

- Decorate with a chocolate chip on top, or a berry, etc…

Crêpes – recipe for 16 crêpes (from France, Brittany)

Ingredients:

- 4 large eggs

- 1 ½ cup of milk

- 1 ½ teaspoon of sugar

- 1 pinch of salt

- 1 cup of all-purpose flour

- 1 tablespoon of melted unsalted butter (+ more for the cooking)

Preparation:

- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, ½ cup of milk, the sugar, the flour and the salt until the batter is smooth.

- Whisk one tablespoon of melted butter and the remaining cup of milk into the batter.

- Let it rest at room temperature for one hour.

- Heat the pan (moderate heat, brush with butter)

- Cook the crêpes: each crêpe should be a thin layer, cooked for a couple minutes on each side (sometimes, it can take five minutes for the first side). To turn it to the other side, use a spatula or simply flip it in the air.

- Serve accompanied with a choice of toppings: strawberry jam, nutella, salted caramel, cocoa powder and sugar are traditional favorites, but anything works (even salted toppings).

Floating island (“île flottante”) for 4

Ingredients:

- 1 quart of milk

- 2 pods of vanilla

- 8 eggs

- ¾ pound of sugar

Preparation:

- Slice the vanilla pods open (lengthways) and heat them up with the milk.

- Set aside when the milk starts boiling.

- Whisk the eight yolks (keep the whites in a different bowl) together with about half of the sugar.

- After taking the cloves out of the milk, gently pour the milk on top of the yolks while whisking them

- Cook slowly again while stirring once in awhile

- When the foam disappears, set aside: you have the custard, which you can then pour into individual recipients.

- For the “floating island”, now: whisk the whites of the eggs together with a pinch of salt, until you have a very thick foam (see picture above)

- Add the rest of the sugar, and whisk again for a minute or two (the foam must stay thick)

- Add a little bit of foam on top of the custard in each of the individual recipients.

- For the caramel: you can melt a little bit of sugar with a tablespoon of water, and pour the result directly on top of the floating islands. Add decoration if you want to.

French toast (“pain perdu” or “lost bread”) for 4

Ingredients:

- ½ quarter of milk

- 2 eggs

- 2 ounces of sugar

- 2 tablespoons of sugar with vanilla

- 4 ounces of butter

- Cinnamon

- 6 slices of bread

Preparation:

- Whisk together the eggs, the milk and the 2 tablespoons of sugar with vanilla

- Dip the slices of bread in the mixture

- Heat the butter in a pan

- Cook the bread in the butter on both sides.

- When it takes a golden color, take it off the pan and add sugar on it.

Crème brûlée for 6

Ingredients:
- 500ml (18fl oz) double cream
- 1 fat juicy vanilla pod
- 100g (4oz) caster sugar (plus extra for topping)
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs

Preparation:
- Pre-heat the oven to gas Mk 3/4 (115C°/250°F)
- Pour the cream into a saucepan.
- Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the cream. Chop the empty pod into bits, and add these too.

- Add the sugar. Bring to boiling point, then turn off the heat and put a lid on.
- Leave to infuse for five to ten minutes.
- Bring the cream back to boiling point, then pour over the eggs, whisking vigorously all the time until thickened – this indicates that the eggs have begun to cook slightly (you should have a smooth custard the consistency of double cream – a grainy texture means it’s been over-cooked).
- Strain through a fine sieve into a large jug, then use this to fill 6 ramekins about two thirds full.
- Place the ramekins in a large roasting tray and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up their sides.
- Place on the centre shelf and bake for 40 minutes to one hour, or until the custards are just set and still a bit wobbly in the middle.
- Remove from the water and allow to cool to room temperature.
- When you’re ready to serve, evenly sprinkle one level teaspoon of caster sugar over the surface of each Crème, then caramelise with a blowtorch. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes.

Banane flambée for 2 guests (from: La Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean)

Ingredients:

- 1/2 stick butter

- 1/2 cup brown sugar

- Pinch ground cinnamon

- 2 bananas, sliced in rounds and tossed with the juice of 1/2 a lemon

- 1/2 cup dark rum (recommended: Meyers)

- Vanilla ice cream

Preparation:

- Melt the butter gently in a large sauté pan.

- Add the brown sugar and stir to combine.

- Add the cinnamon and cook until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Toss in the bananas.

- Turn the heat up to high, pull the pan off the burner and add the rum and tip into the flame to allow the flame to “JUMP” into the pan and set on fire! Have fun turning the flame around (while still being cautious, of course). It’s all about the show.

- When the flame goes off, serve in a small bowl or plate with vanilla ice-cream.

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