Sunday, August 31, 2008

To the Daring Bakers it doens't matter if you're Black or White!

It doesn't matter to the Daring Bakers, it doesn't matter to Michael Jackson and it certainly doesn't matter to me!!!

Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé was the great challenge Meeta and Tony chose for us. Thank you both! The recipe came from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé written by Dorie Greenspan. As soon as I read the 2 words: Hermé and chocolate, I knew it was going to be good!

I love choux pastry, I specially like doing it by hand and felling the dough texture changing. This recipe called for éclairs (thin long pieces of choux) filled with dark chocolate pastry cream and glazed with a dark chocolate glaze. We could add other flavours as long as we kept one of the elements chocolatey!

Why add other flavours if we have chocolate, the greatest of all flavours? I've used only chocolate (dark & white) and created 4 different types of éclairs, in honor of my 4th month as a Daring Baker!
  • White on white
  • Black on Black
  • White on black
  • Black on white


  • ½ cup (125g) whole milk
  • ½ cup (125g) water
  • 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the doughwill be very soft and smooth. Transfer the dough into a bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon. Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined bakingsheets using a pastry bag with a wide round tip.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs. Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. The original recipe says to put a wooden spoon on the door to keep it from closing, but I didn't do that, at this point I just lowered the temperature to 350ºF (180ºC). The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.


  • 2 cups (500g) whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
  • 7 oz (200g) chocolate melted (3.5 oz/100 gr Dark + 3.5 oz/100 gr White)
  • 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz, 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided in 2

In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan. Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat). Divide mixture in 2 bowls and stir in the melted chocolates to each half. Set the bowls in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixtures at this point so that it remains smooth. Once the creams have reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments to each part. Return the creams to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry creams, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface if not using imediatly.


  • 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream, divided in
  • 3½ oz (100g) chocolate, finely chopped (1.8 oz/50 gr each of dark and white
  • 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature, divided in
  • 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature, divided in 2

Do each glaze separately. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce. It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made.


  • 4½ oz (130 g) chocolate, finely chopped (2.3 oz/65 gr of each dark and white)
  • 1 cup (250 g) water, divided in 2
  • ½ cup (125 g) heavy cream, divided in 2
  • 2 tbsp sugar (35 g) sugar (just for the dark chocolate one)

Do each one separated. Place all the ingredients (no sugar on the white chocolate one) into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens. It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.


Original recipe sayed to slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife, but I used a pastry bag with a long tip to fill the éclairs. I filled half of them with the dark chocolate pastry cream and the other half with the white chocolate pastry cream. If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water, stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. I then glazed half of each type of éclairs with the 2 different glazes, creating the 4 types. The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

They were delicious! All of them! I though the all white would be too sweet and the all dark too heavy, but no! They were both really good! My favourite was the Dark on white, the one filled with white pastry cream and glazed in dark. Sorry Pierre, but that was the best!

Check the all the other éclairs here! See you in September!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fig Fun Week-End!

And so this is the Week-end! Got it? Weekend!... Oh well, never mind...

Thank you everybody who stopped by during the last days! You really made my week a fun figtastic one! I just love the word figtastic!

Let's recapitulate: We started the week with some really nice Spiced cookie wrapped figs, on Tuesday we indulged in a Fresh fig chocolate candy bar*, to lighten things up we then had a Fig & cream cheese tartelette, Thursday brought us a Fig & anise jam and finally yesterday we closed it with the most amazing Fig, white chocolate and peanut butter iced mousse!

* As so many of you asked about my chocolate candy bar mould, here's the link from where I got it.

But I wasn't the only one going fig crazy here! During this last week I saw fig recipes popping arround everywhere. Here are my fig-findings and others that some of you were kind enough to send my way! Hope you find this helpful when you find yourself with a bag full of figs and don't know what to do with them. I'm sure that a bag won't be enough for all these delicious creations!

Although I've only provided you with sweets, figs are very popular to use in SALADS or in STARTERS. Just look at this:

Are you still hungry? Ok, let's move on to the MAIN DISHES, shall we?

I know you saved room for DESSERT! But a room won't be enough, you should have saved a whole house!

  • Let's start with my virtual PT Adam that joined me in the fig fun by making this Fig thumbprint sugar cookies. Thumbs up Adam! You gotta like a guy that bakes, even if he uses Dynamite!

  • I loved seeing Jude's Pan de higo (Spanish fig cake), it's not your tipical cake but it's very popular in Spain and Portugal, specially around Christmas. Hers, found at Apple Pie, Patis & Patê, look really great!

Have you seen the great recipes all this people made?! Maybe I'll do this kind of thing every season with a different fruit, what do you think?

But now, I'm so done with figs! Enough with them for a long time! From tomorrow I'll have Fig-free normal posts!

I'm pretty sure you won't see a fig here any time soon!

GO AWAY!!!!!

Sorry about that...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fig, White Chocolate & Peanut Butter Iced Mousse

This week went by really fast! I don't know if I'll be able to eat more figs in the next days, but I'm glad I still have room for this wonderful dessert!

From all the fig recipes I've been doing lately I'll have to say this is probably my favourite! Plain white chocolate mousse can be overly sweet, but now add the freshness of figs and the nutiness of peanut butter and you've got yourself something truly special!


  • 120 gr (4.3 oz) white chocolate
  • 50 gr (3.5 oz) cream
  • 50 gr (3.5 oz) chilled cream
  • 10 figs
  • 2 tsp peanut butter (I've used crunchy)

Melt the chocolate with the 1st part of the cream and peanut butter. Mix well until you have a well blended cream without unmelted pieces of chocolate. Leave to cool. Whip the 2nd part of the cream, the one that's chilled. Carefully mix the whipped cream into the cold white chocolate ganache. Peel the figs and mashed them with a fork. Add the fig puree to the mousse and mix gently. Put into 4 cups or glasses and take to the freezer. It's better to eat after 2 hours in the freezer, but if you left it longer and it's too hard, leave it out for 10-15 m before eating.

For the fig lovers out there this will be the dessert for you, for the fig non-lovers or non-finders do it with other fruits, I'm thinking peaches, raspberries, blueberries, bananas... Anything really!

You know you want it!

This has been really a lot of fun! I think it's nice to have a bunch of recipes with the same ingredient all collected in one place. I might do it again in the future using other fruits or ingredients. Ideas anyone?

This week the Fig Gods must have been with me, because I found so many "figtastic" recipes, both using fresh and dried figs. Thanks everyone who sent me links! I'll be sharing all of them with you tomorrow, so come back for a serious overfigose!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fig & Anise Jam

So did you think we were going to have a full fig week without a Fig Jam? Well you were wrong...

I'm not really a jam maker, in fact I'm not even a jam eater. There's something about jam that doesn't convince me totally. I like to smell it, I like to use it in my sweets, I even like to look at it, I just don't really like to eat it. My mom on the other hand, pass her a jam jar and a spoon and she's a happy woman! This was for her.

Finding impossible to eat all the figs I have, making a jam was probably a clever option. To the figs I've added the classics cinnamon and lemon, but what made this jam a bit more interesting were some anise seeds that I decided to threw in at the last moment. It gave the jam an awesome flavour that had me (the non-jam eater) licking my fingers while testing for the consistency. Don't worry I washed them after!


  • 1100 gr (2 lb 7 oz) figs (half peeled, half unpeeled)
  • 500 (17.9 oz)gr sugar
  • Lemon rind (1/2 lemon without the white)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ½ tsp anise seeds
  • 1 apple

I couldn't decide if I was going to use the figs peeled or unpeeled, so I did what my strange logic told me to do: use half of each. The weight in the recipe is from the figs allready cut and ready to go, so I'm gessing I started with about 1,5 kgs (3 lb 5 oz).

Wash the figs, cut the top and bottom of all and peel half of them. Cut in half and put in a pan. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the cinnamon stick, lemon rind, anise seeds and the apple washed and cut into chunks (with the skin and piths). Let cook for about 30 m at medium low heat, stearing often. You can leave yours with chunks but I chose to make it smooth by pureeing it with an inmersion blender. Keep cooking testing for consistency, placing a bit of jam in a plate, it will be ready when you can leave a clear trace with your finger. Makes 5 medium jars.

Is your toast ready?

Tomorrow the last fig recipe! Are you sad? Don't be, it's a really good one! Might even be my favourite!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fig & Cream Cheese Tartelette

Are you tired of figs yet? And we're just in the middle of the week!

Don't worry today this will be short and sweet and light as well! Sharon left a comment yesterday saying "who needs something light?..." but I think she can handle this one! What about you? Are you up for some fresh cream cheese-fig tartelettes?

These are very fast to make if you happened to have some pastry sweet dough. I had some leftover from when I made these, and that's what I've used. You can use your favourite or even a store bought one.


For the Pastry:

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 100 gr butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder

Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat more until the they're completely incorporated in the butter-sugar mixture. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and the chinese five spice, and add to the first mixture. Mix just until all comes together. Form a ball, wrapp in cling film and take to the fridge at least 2 hours. When it's time to use roll the dough and place on little tartelette tart molds or alternatively you can do a big tart. Pierce with a fork and blind bake at 180ºC (350ºF) until it's golden brown.

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup low fat cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp artificial sweetener (or sugar)
  • 1/2 cup fig puree (made with peeled figs mashed with a fork)
  • More fig puree to use as topping

Mix the cream cheese, sweetener (or sugar) and fig puree until all is combined. Place inside the cooked and cooled tart shells. Cover completely with more fig puree and take to the fridge until eating time!

See how good I am, I've saved you half of one!

I was surprised by the amount of people that left comments saying that they never had a fresh fig! Such a shame they're not available everywhere!... Anyway if you want to give this a try and don't have figs, my friend Linda from the Netherlands made a similar tart using strawberries.

If you think you can deal with about a 1 kg (2lbs) of figs come back tomorrow for some more fun!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fresh Fig Chocolate Candy Bar

Hello there! You have arrived to Day 2 of Fig Fun Week! And today I've got some chocolate for you!

A while ago I saw how Lisa dipped some fresh figs in chocolate and I loved that idea so much that I decided to do the same thing! Well, not exactly...

Last week I got that chocolate candy bar mold from the picture and I really really had to use it. You know the felling when you have a new toy, right? I'm not the only one like that, am I?

You know what? Fresh figs and dark chocolate are gooooooood! But again, can you please tell me what's not good with chocolate?! What did you say? Shoes? Oh well, you can allways just lick the chocolate and leave the shoe! Can you please ignore that, I must be high on chocolate...

Anyway, you've gotta love a recipe with just 2 ingredients! Even if you don't have a chocolate candy bar mold, you can do as Lisa did or do bonbons with small paper cups, as you would do if you were to make peanut butter cups. You don't wanna bother? Just get a chocolate bar and some fresh figs, eat them together and you'll be done!

Me, I've put dark chocolate on the bottom and sides of the mold, let the chocolate set, filled with fresh figs mashed with a fork and then covered the all thing with chocolate. My mold is quite thin, so there's not a lot of fig filling but it was still very good. I think next time I'll do molded bonbons. The good thing is that figs don't oxidIZE, so they keep that gorgeous pink color inside the dark chocolate. I like that!

Go on, open your mouth! Carefull don't bite my fingers!

Meeta from What's for lunch honey? is hosting the Monthly Mingle August 2008: Fruit & Chocolate, so I'm sending this her way.

Too much chocolate today! Something lighter tomorrow, ok?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Spiced Cookie Wrapped Figs

Welcome to Day 1 of the Fig Fun Week!

Let's start with a Cookie Wrapped Fig, think of it as a blanket wrapping a naked fig! These are pretty simple to make but you'll end up with great looking special cookies that you can dress up as you like. I don't even know if they should be called cookies or micro pies or what, but either way you want to call them, they are delicious!

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 100 gr butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp Chinese Five Spice *
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Fresh figs
  • Icing sugar
  • Milk
  • Chopped pistachios (optional)

Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat more until the they're completely incorporated in the butter-sugar mixture. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and the chinese five spice, and add to the first mixture. Mix just until all comes together. Form a ball, wrapp in cling film and take to the fridge at least 2 hours. You can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze.

Peel some figs (the amount will depend on the size of them, but you can start with about 12). Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it as you would to make cut-out cookies. Place the figs spread-out on top of the rolled dough and cut circles around them that could be big enough to wrap them. Wrap the dough arround each fig, rolling it in between your hands to mantain the fig shape. You'll have a lot of dough at the top, just cut it and shape it a bit thinner, like the top of real figs. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180ºC (350ºF) until golden brown.

You can leave them plain, but I did a thin icing to give them a nice shine. You can go crazy and do a green icing to make them really similar to real figs, I know they'll be super cool in green because green is really popular right now!

For the icing just mix powder sugar with milk until you have a consistence that you're happy with. There's no going wrong here, you can make a thicker one and roll the fig cookies in it or you can make a thinner one and poor it over them. The one that I made had the consistency of liquid yogurt and I applied it with a small brush. I then put some chopped pistachios on top of each cookie/fig while the icing was still wet.

* I love to use Chinese Five Spice in sweets and I think it was a good way to say goodbye to the Chinese Olympics! It worked really well with the figs, but if you don't have it just use any spices you fancy. Chinese Five Spice is a blend of 5 spices that usually are cinnamon (or cassia), anise seeds, star anise, ginger and cloves, so you can even make your own if you want.

I was very happy with these! Imagine bitting into a crumbly spiced cookie and finding a soft but still kind of fresh fig. Are you imagining it allready? Don't you wanna eat it? So, go! Go make yourself some! What? You don't have figs? Try with other fruits and let me know!

Just look at that fig inside!

Was this fig fun or what? Do you like chocolate? So come back tomorrow then, for Day 2 of Fig Fun Week!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fig Fun!

Do you like figs?

I have almost 4 kg (8 lb) of gorgeous figs, courtesy of the fig tree down the road (they accidentaly fell into 2 bags I had with me)... So I'm going to have some Fig Fun!

During next week, everyday there will be a recipe using figs. Be prepared for some serious fig overdose!

But before I start biting into those figs I'll take this opportunity to thank 2 yummy friends that recently gave me nice blog awards. Thank you girls!

  • Yummy Food gave me the Wylde Woman Award
  • Lina from My Life is Yummy gave me not one but two awards: The Best Blog Darts Award and the Beautiful Site Award

As I'm feeling generous today I'll pass the 3 awards to all my Daring Bakers friends!

Join me in the Fig Fun Week, give me fig ideas, send me your fig recipes, let's make this the "figiest" week of all! If you have made recipes using fresh figs recently or you're planning to use them during next week, just shoot me an email or leave a comment if you want, with a link to your recipe so by the end of the week we can have a big collection of fig recipes! So what do you say, let's have some fun? Some Fig Fun?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Green is the new Brown!

So let's eat Greenies instead of Brownies!

According to the latest fashion news the color brown is completely updated and out of style. The new color to use is green! So paint your house green, buy green clothes and most of all cook and bake green goodies!

Well I just made that up, but I allways felt bownies should be allowed to have other colors other than brown (and no, blonde is not an actual color)!

I get a lot of ideas constantly, I usually carry arround a small notebook where I write ideas for future sweet creations. Sometimes I'm inspired by an ingredient, a book, a smell, a person... Sometimes I have a clear image of what I want to do, sometimes improvisation is my commis. Sometimes I don't know what to name the ideas I have , sometimes the name itself is the idea...

For these greenies I just had the name. I just wanted to make a green brownie just so I could name it greenie! And in my world that's a perfectly good reason to bake something!

GREENIES (White chocolate & Pistachio brownies)

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup ground pistachios (in the food processor)
  • 60 gr butter (2.1 oz – ½ stick)
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) white chocolate
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • A few drops green food colouring (optional)
  • A handful whole toasted pistachios (optional)

Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave. Be careful because white chocolate burns very easily, so make sure you check it often. Once melted add the sugar and almond extract and mix well, then add the eggs, one by one. Combine the flour, salt and pistachios and mix in, just until it’s all incorporated. Add now the whole pistachios and food colouring if using. Bake in preheated oven at 180ºC (350ºF) until done but still moist in the center.

This is a small batch and I’ve baked it in a loaf pan (with oil spray), so it was probably half an usual brownie recipe. Just double everything to bake it in a square pan if you'd like.

I loved them! I was worried they would be too sweet because of the white chocolate, but no. The texture and flavour given by the pistachios was really what I was expecting, plus I love their Shrek look! Next time I'll add chocolate chunks and maybe some orange zest... Oh my I can't wait!

Green is the color of hope, so I hope you like them!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And the Cake Lifters go to...

Hello wonderful people! Thank you all for your comments and for participating in the Giveaway! I had so much fun reading about your favourite pans and since a lot of you asked about my tiny collection, I actually went to count them and I can tell you I'm the happy owner of 42 pans! Do you think that's a lot?

I had a friend visiting from Spain and he helped me pick the 2 lucky winners. And they are...

Congratulations girls! Please send me an email and the Cake Lifters will be on your way soon!

And now a couple more things:

Shreya from Mom's Cooking tagged me for a meme. The rule was to pick up the nearest book, open to page 123, find the 5th sentence and post the next three sentences. The nearest book I had was Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice cream & Dessert Book (aren't you surprised that my nearest book was food related?). I opened it on page 123 but there was no text there, it's just the begining of the Drinks's chapter. I wonder why I feel like having a milkshake now?!

Also the sweet Lori (aka The Recipe Girl) gave me the Arte y Pico award! Thank you so much Lori! I'll pass it to 2 girls that have wondeful blogs : Mandy from Fresh from the Oven and Alexandra from Addicted Sweet Tooth!

And now something not food related:

And what do you say about my haircut? I just had it cut this morning and I'm still getting used to it. I've cut 25 cm (10 inches) that I'll be happy to send to Locks of Love. If you don't know about this wonderful organization please go check it out!

I'll be back with a recipe soon!

Monday, August 11, 2008


What’s up with Oreo Cookies? Is it their chocolate wafer that doesn’t even taste like chocolate? Is it their vanilla filling that just tastes like sugar? I don’t know, but what I know is that when you eat an oreo cookie they taste like… well, they taste like Oreo… I think what’s up with them is that they’ve created the a new flavour: the oreo flavour! And let’s face it, oreo flavour tastes good!

Is this a triple Oreo Cookie?

And so if Jenny can use them to make cookies and Emiline can use them to make brownies, I can use them to make tiramisu, or should I say Oreomisu?!

Let me just have a taste...

OREOMISU (for 2)

  • 6 oreo cookies
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 2 drops vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk

Break apart the oreo cookies and scrape the filling to a bowl and set aside the wafers. To the oreo fillings add the mascarpone and icing sugar and mix well with a small wisk. Mix the milk and the vanilla extract and make crumbs out of 2 wafers (you can do this with your fingers or press them with the bottom of a glass or roling pin).

In small serving plates arrange alternatively the chocolate wafers dipped in the milk and the mascarpone cream. Start with a wafer and use 5 for each oreomisu, finish with mascarpone cream. Top with the wafer crumbs and refrigerate.

Who ate half of it allready?

Good thing about this is that you can make it while you prepare dinner and have it in time for dessert. Also you can do little plated portions like I did or just multiply the recipe and make it in a bowl with layers of oreo wafers next to each other, like you would use ladyfingers in a normal tiramisu.

I didn't use coffee because I wanted to have that clear oreo flavour I was talking about before, but I'm sure it would work great as well. If you like Oreos and tiramisu, you'll love this!

Who's going to have that spoon?

You don't need a Cake Lifter to do the Oreomisu, but if you want one don't forget to enter the Giveaway!