National Pot de Creme Day

Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme garnished with fresh figs and cherries.

As it turns out, today is National Pot de Creme Day. I’m not sure who decides these sorts of things but who am I to argue. Pots de Creme are super easy custards that are a versatile dessert to have in your repertoire. I love their simplicity and that they don’t have a lot of ingredients. So here is my take on Pot de Creme.

Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme

  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Over medium low heat, bring the evaporated milk and heavy cream to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot, While the milk is heating up, whisk egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla paste together in a large bowl and set aside. Once the cream and evaporated has come to a boil, remove from heat. Slowly add the warm cream to the egg sugar mixture a ladleful at a time while continuously whisking to temper the egg mixture. Once all the cream has been added to the cream, set the mixture aside for 10 minutes. Skim and discard any foam from that settles on the top. Even distribute the mixture into 4 ramekins and bake in a water bath at 325F for 50 minutes or until set.  Chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fresh fruit and whipped cream or whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.

Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme with a dusting of cocoa powder.

Give this a try and let me know what you think

 

 

 

Apple and Pear Tart with Brûléed Top

Apple and Pear Tart with Bruleed top and a scoop of French Vanilla Ice Cream

This weeks recipe is quick and easy and uses store bought puff pastry and fall fruits. In this instance pears and apples since we had quit a few of then delivered with our produce order this week.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of peeled and sliced apples and pears
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice
  • pinch of salt
  • caster or sanding sugar for bruleeing
  • 2 thawed puff pastry sheets

Preheat oven to 425F. In a medium bowl melt butter and add spices and brown sugar. Peel and slice fruit and add to the butter sugar mixture.

Apples and pears tossed with melted butter, brown sugar and spices

Toss the fruit with the butter and sugar then pour into a glass baking dish.

fruit in baking dish waiting to go into the oven

Bake in a 425F oven for 10-15 minutes until fruit softens and starts to caramelize.

While the fruits baking. spread thawed puff pastry onto a floured surface and cut into squares or circles. Make a shallow incision about 1/2 inch from the edge all the way around the puff pastry. This will score it. Dock the center of the dough several times with a fork, which will prevent the interior portion of the dough from puffing up too much and will allow it to easily form a cup once the dough is baked for 10 minutes.   Place the puff pastry shells onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Remove the apples from the oven and let cool while the puff pastry bakes for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes push the centers of the puff pastry down. This should be easy to do where it was scored. Fill the shells with a layer of fruit and sprinkle with a little salt and return to the over for another 5-7 minutes.

layer of fruit lining puff pastry shells

Remove the shell from the oven and let cool. When ready to serve, add sanding or caster sugar to the top and heat with a kitchen torch to for a burnt sugar crust on top.

Salad Days (some assembly required)

boiled eggs, olive, fingerling potatoes, green beans, shallots, tuna and tomatoes make up this salad

Its another hot one here in Southern California, which puts me in the mood for some lighter food and given the richness of last weeks duck tacos a few salad days might do me some good. Keeping with the Mediterranean theme that was discussed a few posts back, Salad Niçois with Seared Tuna seemed like a good way to make use of some of the freshly ripened tomatoes from our garden and produce that we’ve received this past week from Imperfect Produce. My local Sprouts has a decent selection of frozen sustainably caught fish and we try to keep some tuna and salmon in the freezer for leaner, lighter protein options.

Salad Niçois is a composed salad with greens, olives (usually Niçois), scallions, tomatoes and boiled eggs with either anchovies or tuna and dressed with olive oil. Sometime back in the 30s recipes started to appear for Salad Niçois with boiled potatoes and green beans. Which I’ve added to my version as well.  Putting the salad together involved a little bit of chopping, making the vinaigrette and searing the tuna. I used some leftover fried fingerling potatoes and then boiled eggs for about 6 minutes. During the last few minutes of the eggs boiling, I tossed in some chopped green beans along with a teaspoon of salt to blanch. Then I drained the eggs and green beans and put them into ice cold water to stop the cooking. After a few minutes, I drained the water and added more cold water.

Salad Niçois with Seared Tuna 

(serves 2)

6 cups cleaned and chopped greens ( we had hearts of romaine so that’s what I used)

2 scallions chopped

1 cup sliced and cooked fingerling potatoes

⅓ cup olives

2 tomatoes cut into quarters

2 boiled eggs

½ cup cooked chopped green beans

2 4-6 oz tuna steaks

salt and pepper

1 garlic clove

1 tsp dried oregano

1 TBS olive oil

lemon juice

4 TBS Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

To start, put the garlic clove, salt and pepper, oregano and lemon juice into a mortar and pestle and crush together until a paste forms.  Put into a  zip top freezer bag and then add the olive oil. Place the tuna steaks into the bag and rub with the marinade until all sides of the tuna are coved and set aside.  Lightly dress the tomatoes, green beans and potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and let sit while you sear off the tuna. Using a dry non stick skillet on medium high (or on the grill if you have a wire grilling basket), sear the tuna. Don’t try to move the tuna around, when its sufficiently seared it should easily come off the pan to flip on a gas flame this is usually after about 2 minutes. Sear the other. side for about a minute if you prefer your tuna medium rare. Remove from heat and let rest on a cutting board. Assemble the salad either on individual plates or in a large bowl and dress the greens with the remaining dressing. Slice the tuna and add to the salad and serve.

 

Vinaigrette 

1 part cider vinegar

2 parts extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil

Juice of ½ a lemon

½ tsp anchovy paste or 1 anchovy filet

1 crushed garlic clove

1 tsp mayonaise

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp peppercorns

½ tsp dried oregano

In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, oregano and salt together until a past forms. Then move to a small bowl and whisk with all the other ingredients until everything is well combined.