World Cuisine Wednesdays Archive

Puits d’Amour Recipe

By 1800FlyEurope in World Cuisine Wednesdays | on February 14th, 2013

amour

This Valentine’s Day bake your love (or family or friends or office) a très romantique treat, which has held a sentimental place in Parisians’ hearts for almost 300 years. Puits d’Amour (translation: wells of love) have been a specialty of the Stohrer Pâtissier shop (the oldest bakery in the City of Light) since 1735. The sweet was originally served at King Louis XV’s lavish dinner parties, and a red currant jam was used for the filling. However, the pastry acquired a suggestive reputation, and vanilla custard has been subsequently used in place of the berry preserves.

If you can’t make it to Paris this Valentine’s Day, you and someone special can still share a delicious sweet that emanates a little essence of France. The following Puits d’Amour recipe combines the elements of time-honored tradition with a twist of modern day baking convenience.

Preparation and Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6

Ingredients

Pastry Cream (this can be prepared up to two days ahead of time)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Pastry Dough

  • Box of puff pastry dough from freezer section at your grocery store

Garnish

  • 6 ounce container of fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup of sugar for caramelized topping

Directions

Pastry Cream

  1. Whisk the egg yolks, corn starch and ¼ cup of sugar together in a large bowl and set aside. Do this just before you are ready to complete the next step.
  2. Stir the milk, vanilla extract and ¼ cup of sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from burner.
  3. Pour about a ½ cup of the milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolk blend and whisk. Continue to combine and whisk the rest of the milk (a ½ cup at a time) with the egg mix.
  4. Return the custard to the saucepan and heat over medium again. Let simmer for about 2-3 minutes, until it thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the butter and continue stirring until the pastry cream has cooled (until it is no longer steaming). This takes about 5 minutes.
  6. If you plan on using this for a later date, cover the bowl with cellophane. Be sure that the plastic wrap is pressed up against the custard, so it doesn’t form a skin.

Pastry Dough

  1. Preheat the oven to the temperature noted on the pastry dough box.
  2. Allow the frozen dough to completely thaw but not to room temperature. It still needs to be cold to the touch.
  3. Roll the dough out so that it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut the dough a bit larger than the muffin tin divot and press each piece into the spaces on the pan. A heart shaped cupcake pan was used in the photo at the top of the page.
  4. Poke several little air holes in each pastry with a toothpick; otherwise the dough inflates too much.
  5. Bake per product’s instructions.
  6. Once cooled, remove the pastry shells from the pan and place them on a serving plate (or within individual cupcake papers). Fill each pastry with about a ½ cup of custard.

Garnish

  1. Place a few raspberries on top of each custard.
  2. Mix a ½ cup of sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan. Stir continuously.
  3. Heat over medium until it boils. Then stop stirring.
  4. At this point, the water is evaporating and needs to simmer for another 8-10 minutes.
  5. Once the sugar takes on a golden brown tone, immediately remove the pan from the heat. (If you are concerned about overcooking the sugar, put the bottom of the pot in an ice bath for 10 seconds.)
  6. Be very careful not to touch your skin to the molten sugar. Drizzle a thin coat of caramelized sugar over each custard cup and raspberries. Enjoy!

While the above recipe is superb, nothing can top an actual puit d’amour direct from Stohrer’s pastry shop. Surprise your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day and purchase a couple flights to Paris for a romantic retreat.

 

Zabaglione Recipe

By 1800FlyEurope in World Cuisine Wednesdays | on July 26th, 2012

World Cuisine

 

Summer is in full swing in the northern hemisphere, and it is during this time of year that most people are venturing off on vacation, throwing outdoor soirees, and basking in the warm glow of the sun. If you aren’t able to jet off to Italy this summer, bring a taste of Italy to your next alfresco event. Zabaglione [zah-bahl-YOH-nay] is a delicious addition to most any dinner gathering, and it isn’t difficult to prepare.

A Little Info about Zabaglione

Also referred to as zabaione, sabayon, or zabajone, this Italian specialty is thought to have originated as far back as the 16th century, in or near the city of Florence. It is similar to custard, but the consistency is more like a fusion of eggnog and mousse. Traditionally zabaglione is prepared with Marsala wine, egg yoke, and sugar; the eggshells were used as measuring spoons. Many variations of the recipe exist today, which incorporate different dessert wines and liqueurs. The addition of whipped, heavy cream is also often used and gives the dish a richer composition.

Serves: 4

 

Prep and cook time: 30 minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 5 teaspoons of sugar
  • 5 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine (dry Marsala wine, sherry, sweet vermouth, or amaretto make nice substitutions)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (whipped) is optional, and this may be a better option if you are preparing the recipe ahead of time
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Directions:

1. Heat water in a double boiler to a slow simmer. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, and then begin warming the mixture. Continue stirring vigorously throughout the entire preparation of this recipe.

2. Add the Marsala wine and vanilla. You don’t want to overcook the eggs (curdling is a bad thing), so it is ok to remove the zabaglione from the double boiler to cool for a few seconds.

3. Cooking time should take anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes. The volume will eventually triple in size and the liquid will thicken. When the texture lightens and appears to have almost a meringue-like quality to it, remove pan from the burner. Whisk the contents for another 1 to 2 minutes.

4. If you would like to add the 1/2 cup of whipped, heavy cream, fold it into the mixture at this point.

5. Ladle the sauce over the berries; it is delicious served either warm or chilled. If you are preparing this beforehand, keep the zabaglione and fruit separate until you are ready to dish it up. This dessert looks especially nice when presented in a trifle bowl.

If you would like to experience the most authentic Italian cuisine possible, book flights to Florence and create your own taste of Italy tour. Buon Appetito and enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

 

Hurrah for Baklava!

By 1800FlyEurope in World Cuisine Wednesdays | on April 18th, 2012

World Cuisine Wednesday

History of Baklava

In the states, we commonly associate Baklava with having originated from Greece. Although the Greeks did play an important roll in the forming of the sticky sweet, nut-filled treat that we all love and know today, it is believed that it emerged from Turkic routes. The pastry dates back to the 8th century BC., and depending on whom you ask, you will likely get people from each respective country (particularly those from Eastern Europe and the Middle East) laying claim to its heritage. Circa 3rd century BC, Greek mariners brought Baklava to Athens from their travels, and the flakey baked good was a hit. It was at this point in history that an important modification was applied to the dough. The Athenians created phyllo dough by taking the original crust recipe and rolling it into paper thin sheets. Make your own syrupy layered treats that are chock full of  nutty goodness by preparing the following recipe.

Yield: 2 dozen

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Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelette)

By 1800FlyEurope in World Cuisine Wednesdays | on March 21st, 2012

World Cuisine Wednesday

When I think back to the amazing semester that I spent studying in Spain years ago, memories of chatting with friends around a small patio table set on a cobblestone sidewalk and sipping a refreshing glass of wine instantly rush to mind. What a delightful surprise it was to learn that many of the privately owned cafes/bars in Seville offered a free tapa (similar to a single size serving/appetizer) with your drink!

One of the most common pintsize meals that are brought to the table is the tortilla de patatas (Spanish Omelette); this is a simple potato and egg dish that is cut into bite size squares, and then each piece is garnished with a toothpick. It may be served room temperature or warm. If you would like the tortilla to go, the bocadillo (sandwich made with fresh baguette) is a great companion to bring with you on a train ride.

Yield: 6 servings

Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes

You will need:

  • Medium size, nonstick frying pan
  • Large colander

Ingredients:

  • Salt
  • 5 Medium Potatoes (such as russet or Yukon)
  • Optional: 1 Medium Onion (white or red are fine)

Note: Often the tortilla is prepared without onion but if you like onions, you won’t regret adding it to this recipe.

  • About 1 cup of olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Optional: baguette

Directions:

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them in half, lengthwise. Then, slice into 1/8 thick pieces, or use a mandolin.
  2. Peel and dice the onion.
  3. Crack the eggs, mix well, and set aside the large bowl for the time being.
  4. Heat the oil on medium-low. Add the potatoes first, and make sure the olive oil almost covers them. (It may seem like a lot of oil, but don’t worry, you will be straining most of it out after this step.) Sprinkle a dash of salt to taste. You don’t want to cook the spuds too quickly or brown them (if it can be helped). Traditionally, the Spanish tortilla isn’t prepared with golden brown potatoes or caramelized onions. Continue to fry for about 5 minutes and add the onions. Regularly stir the mixture, and it should take about 10 minutes (total) to reach the desired consistency. It’s ok if the potatoes break apart, and you will know that they are ready when a piece can easily be split with a spatula.
  5. Remove the pan from the burner and carefully drain the contents into the large colander over another pan. Dispose of the oil properly, don’t dump the oil down the kitchen sink.
  6. Stir the potatoes and onions into the large bowl of eggs.
  7. You will use the same skillet to fry up the tortilla. The pan should have enough oil left in it from the previous steps, but add a little more if the interior surface looks dry. Keep the heat set on medium-low. Pour the ingredients into the pan, level and smooth out the potatoes so that they evenly cover the skillet bottom. Allow the tortilla to cook for about 5-6 minutes, until the center is cooked all the way through (the egg should be firm and should spring back to form when pressed). Use the spatula to check that the base of the omelette is golden brown in color.
  8. Remove from heat and place a large plate over the top of the pan. Flip the tortilla onto the plate. Make sure that the skillet is well covered with the olive oil, and slide the omelette from the plate back into the frying pan.
  9. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the other side is nicely browned.
  10. Serve as a hearty sandwich on a piece of baguette, or cut the tortilla into ¬Ω inch squares and place a toothpick in the center of each cube.

Impress your guests and pair this tapa with a side dish aceitunas (olives) and a large pitcher of Sangria. What finer way is there to start off a dinner/garden party this spring? Except for maybe booking flights to Seville for yourself, family and friends to experience the real deal in Spain. However, if I shut my eyes for a moment, take a sip of sangria, and listen to my friends’ jubilant chitchat in the background, my imagination can sweep me right back to an open-air café in Spain, and I have the next best thing.

 

 

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Fare Type Round Trip     One Way
Passengers  Adults
  Children under 11