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Pete Fred

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    Yorkshire, UK

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  1. Powder Puffs from Ottolenghi 'Sweet'. These are cookies that are baked crisp (a bit like Savoiardi biscuits/Ladyfingers), sandwiched with rose cream and raspberry jam, then refrigerated for several hours where they become soft and delicate (he recommends at least five hours, but I thought them best at 24 hours). I found them delightful. Recommended.
  2. Eager to to use up some Valrhona Taïnori (64%) that was beyond its best before, I made a small (15 cm/6") chocolate tart from a Marco Pierre White recipe. (Although I think it's lifted straight from the one Joël Robuchon served at Jamin, back in the day.) I find ganache-type tarts too dense and rich, and this is much lighter, essentially being just a barely set chocolate custard.
  3. You probably can't get much more classic than Riz à l'impératrice (Empress rice pudding). It's a mid-19th Century moulded rice pudding with candied fruits - here, raisins, glacé cherries and stem ginger - that's lightened with bavarois (Bavarian cream) and whipped cream. I had no idea how to decorate it so went full retro and plonked a few tinned peaches on top. The old 'uns are still good 'uns. 😀
  4. Three pages and no hot cross buns?!? 😲 I made a couple of batches this year. The first, from Lyle's, seem to garner plenty of Insta-hype so I thought I'd give them a try. They were fine, without rocking my world... So I made Thomas Keller's, which uses quite an enriched dough... I should have proofed them closer together for a bit more height and less spread. Oops. Bizarrely, he doesn't spice the dough, so I rectified that error (sorry Mr Keller). He's also a bit stingy with the dried fruit, so more of that went in plus some stem ginger (candied ginger)... And I don't usually bother with the icing, but decided to dress one for the good folks at eGullet. 😀 Happy Easter.
  5. Another kouign with a couple of changes: swapped 20% of the flour for buckwheat flour; retarded the dough (détrempe) overnight in the fridge; a bit more sugar; and flipped the kouign during baking for a more even distribution of butter (and caramelization). Not sure the changes to the dough made much difference, but the flipping worked well, producing a flatter, more evenly textured and better tasting cake.
  6. My mad Gallic tear continues with a Kouign Amann (Breton Butter Cake). I prefer the traditional large type rather than individual kouignettes, which seems to put me at odds with the current fashion, especially on Instagram. For me, the slices taste more buttery and have a better texture.
  7. There were some leftovers from the the last couple of bakes so, continuing the French theme, I made pailles (puff pastry "straws")... filled them with either raspberry confiture or crème pâtissière... and turned the last few pastry scraps into almond and ginger arlettes...
  8. Gateau Basque. It's kind of a cake-tart hybrid, filled with either cherry jam or pastry cream (or sometimes both). The recipe is by Bruce Poole via "a good pastry chef" he employed from a three Michelin star restaurant. Perhaps that pastry chef got it from Pierre Herme because the recipes are very similar. The texture of the cake is a little shortbread-y, especially at the edge, and the pastry cream is made with semolina and flavoured with citrus, rum and vanilla. Most enjoyable.
  9. Thanks for the tips. Much appreciated. I'll do the docking next time and will try your patterning. 👍 It did get a light glaze - perhaps too light - but no return to the oven. Will be sure to do that next time. (Although next time will probably be next year, so don't hold your breath for an update. ☺️)
  10. Perhaps a little late for Epiphany, but here's this year's Galette des Rois. Those vertical indentations are due to a technique I saw where a rack is positioned above the galette to stop the puff rising too much and doming. Not sure I'll bother in future. And next time I'll be little bolder with the scoring so the design is more apparent. The pastry was an inverted puff. Highly recommended if you've never tried it; incomparably delicate and melting, and not as difficult to make as you might imagine (the butter is on the outside when laminating 😲).
  11. Dorie Greenspan's Moroccan Semolina and Almond Cookies. They look quite pretty but I don't think I'll be bothering again. Couldn't taste the citrus (lemon zest, orange blossom) and the texture was quite dry and cakey. I have no idea how the NYT could describe them as "moist and rich". Each to their own, I guess. I asked myself what would a Moroccan do in this instance, and ended up dunking them in a cup of tea, which improved matters no end.
  12. Another bite-size treat from Dana Cree... Coconut Haystack Cookies. I have no idea if I made them correctly. The method is a new one on me: make a butter/sugar emulsion, incorporate whole egg and (dessicated) coconut, cook the mixture on the hob, chill the dough, roll into balls (10g for me), bake. There was plenty of guesswork on my part as to how each step should look or feel. Anyway, I really liked them. Best served warm, I think. Initially very buttery, with caramel notes from the bottoms, then finishing strongly with coconut. Quite different from your regular macaroon. Once cooled, they're more dense and chewy, the butteriness somewhat lessened.
  13. A slab of Dana Cree's Nutterbutters (although I think they're now known as Nutterbuddys). The base is peanut butter and chocolate, with cocoa nibs and feuilletine for texture. The top is white chocolate caramel ganache (oh the bubbles! 😭). Very moreish. Highly recommended. Recipe here. (And a bit more backstory here, if you like that sort of thing).
  14. The Nutella, Sesame and Hazelnut Rolls from Ottolenghi 'Simple'. Quite tasty. I liked the orange note. Not sure the sesame seeds added much; I'll probably skip them next time. Warm out of the oven (or after a quick blast in the microwave) they're soft with a little crispness on top; once cooled, they're chewier (no bad thing).
  15. I could only find three people online who'd made it, commenting on the "natural gooey chocolate sauce", the "thin, shiny glaze" and a texture "half cake, half mousse". Either we're all doing it wrong or that's how it's supposed to be. When cooled (L) it went quite fudgy (and definitely needed cream or custard), but a quick nuking in the microwave brought the moussey-ness back (R, not that you can tell).
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