Sea ice around us

MemoriesA story about , , , , , Written on le Saturday 07 February 2015.

Let’s rewind to the exact moment when the clocks didn’t even notice when one minute past midnight happened. We didn’t either, really. And that’s why this article is here. One month and seven days too late. So much is about to happen though that I just couldn’t not tell you. Have a wonderful not-so-new year. xx






























Things I’ve started to do again:
– drawing. It all started with mushrooms drawn with ink and watercolours as I sat on the patio of K.’s summer house. And really, I never want it to stop.
collecting flowers for an herbier. Although I’ve forgotten to keep on doing it, I now have beautiful flowers from the little park around the corner. The one where we took so many walks. The one where he took my hand as my feet were a little unsteady on a longboard. The one that will always remind me of our last year in London.
– making a photo album, that I hope will last us for ever.

Moments to remember for ever:
– that night when we’d just arrived to K.’s friend summer house in Lappland. We ran to the boat house and dug through safety jackets to find the paddles. We set off on the lake to the midnight sun, and a thermo of coffee to keep us warm. The water was so still it felt like we were moving through the clouds. I fell asleep on the bow, but I will tell you more about it all when I – finally! – share my kanelbullar recipe with you.
– those quiet afternoons in Åsen spent drawing and baking in a wood-oven to the sound of the forest around us.
– days at the beach in the south of France. Jumping into waves, not unlike two children in love. I might have lost my bikini-top more than just a few times.
the morning before my book came out. Paris Pastry Club got featured in the Observer Food Monthly and I couldn’t have been any happier.
– walking through Greenwich park on an early autumn day, with a plastic-bag-ful of chestnuts.
– watching K. clean the trout he’d just caught on our last day in Sweden. And noticing how precise and full of love his moves were. Almost as if he’d been doing it everyday of his life. Also, the dinner Svante made us that night.
– the long walks we had by kågealven. Dreaming about the changes about to happen.
– a rainy day, perhaps it was in spring. Perhaps at the end of the winter. We put warm clothes on and gumboots too. And walked to that wild garden where snails are everywhere. I could have stayed there for hours; observing their little merry-go-round. We might have actually.

Things I did wrong:
– not take enough time off for the launch of Paris Pastry Club.
– or to blog.
– or to take pictures.
– bottom line is: not take enough time. Pretty difficult when your daily schedule involves a six o’clock wake up and a three am bedtime. But I’ll make it happen!

Things I did right:
say no when things didn’t feel right.
– kanelbulle. Anytime I got the chance. In fact, I even made some kanelbulle-ish croissants. Remind me to show you the real deal: kanelknut.
– baking Christmas cookies. So many.
– making grand-mère beautiful chocolate loaf cake.
– finding a home of some kind. With rye chocolate chip cookies too.

The not-so official list of 2015.
1. Start writing another book.
2. Visit my grand-mère. Or better yet, make her come to Sweden.
3. Swim in the Bottniska viken. Yes, that’s right, we’re moving to the north of Sweden. In February. Expect a lot of forest pictures and snowy roads. Perhaps, I’ll even see the gulf being covered in sea ice (what a wonderful word juxtaposition).
4. Swim in the Mediterranean too.
5. Start yoga again. Go for runs in the forest.
6. Learn: about gluten-free baking, Swedish, calligraphy. And most importantly, learn how to appreciate free time for what it is.
7. Make a loaf of bread every week (so much for gluten-free baking).
8. Take one picture everyday. And keep on doing my photo album.
9. Fall in love. Over and over again every time I look at K.
10. Visit: Iceland, Copehangen, and the Norway fjords.
11. Celebrate the launch of the German alter-ego of Paris Pastry Club: Fanny’s Pâtisserie :)
12. Snow around us, norrsken [northern lights] above us. Perhaps, the Milky Way too. Dream on!

A few notes on blind-baking tarts

PâtisserieA story about , , , Written on le Wednesday 28 January 2015.

blind baking tarts-5

Butter the rings

I like to butter my rings before lining with dough. It will slide down the ring more easily and won’t ever ever stick to it once baked.


How to roll and cut the dough

These days I always roll my dough in betwen two sheets of feuille guitare, a thin acetate. If you can get your hands on it, it’s much better than baking paper, as the dough won’t crease.

If I’m using pâte sucrée or as I show you here my favourite biscuit dough (any kind of soft dough that patches well, really; I can’t think of any aside from pâte brisée or feuilletée), I like to cut strips to the height I want my tart to be and a disk for the bottom.
This is way easier to handle and creates a flawless tart case with perfect corners.


To calculate how long the strips that goes around the ring should be, it’s very simple.

circumference = diametre x 3.14

And then, for the bottom-disk: just cut it one cm smaller than your ring.

To line the ring, simply place the strip of dough on the inside, sealing with your fingers where the two ends meet. And then place the disk of dough in the centre, pushing it slightly so that it reaches the sides. Run your finger to smooth out and seal.


Blind-baking with clingfilm

I usually go for clingfilm whenever I’m blind-baking a large tart (bigger than 10cm-wide), as it’s the most convenient.
Simply layer two large pieces of clingfilm, smoothing out with a tea towel, then place over your unbaked tart case and add rice or pulses up to the rim. Press with your hands to compress your baking weights, making sure they go well into the corners of your tart. Loosely close your clingfilm. If you wrap it too tight, the clingfilm as it shrinks a little with the heat, won’t be in contact with the sides of your tart anymore.

blind baking tarts-3

blind baking tarts-4

This technique is amazing as it bakes the dough much more evenly than any other. But it can be a bit of a pain at times, with the clingfilm breaking and spilling rice everywhere. Yes, it’s happened before ;)


Blind-baking with cupcake papers

blind baking tarts-2
blind baking tarts

This is my go-to method, one that I learnt at Pierre Hermé, back in 2007. Using your fingers you “break” cupcake paper so that they are the size of your ring. Fill with rice or pulses. And you’re pretty much set. It’s incredibly easy, reusable for almost-ever and the fastest.

This method has only one downside: it will leave imprints on the baked tart case.

blind baking tarts-6


The baking temperature

At the restaurant I always go for 155°C, but at home, in my not so amazing oven, I’ve found that 165°C works perfectly.
Of course it also depends on the kind of dough you’re using. The best is to experiment, until you’re happy with the results.

As a general rule though, 150-160°C for fan-assisted ovens, and 165-170°C for traditional ovens.


Peel your tart

blind baking tarts-3-2

This is my absolute favourite trick to make tart cases neater than neat. Simply trim any bits of dough that might have popped out a little out from the rings, either at the base or the top with a peeler.

Do this when your tart case is completely cold. And ever so gently.


Ceramic baking weights?

No thank you. They’re too big: don’t get in the corners. Too heavy: break the delicate structure of your dough, leave imprints. Too expensive.

If you have any other question, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer. Also, if there is any technique or ingredient you would like to see broken down, tell me. x

Une histoire de tarte au chocolat et oranges sanguines

PâtisserieA story about , , , , , , , , , , Written on le Saturday 24 January 2015.

[A story of chocolate tart and blood oranges]

chocolate tart orange

The story of this chocolate tart is a simple one. It all started when a friend asked me to show him how to make one.

So we mixed butter and sugar. Added eggs and flour and cocoa powder. And of course salt, because a chocolate tart can never be perfect without salt. We lined an entremet ring (this is the only way I like my tarts these days: allowing way more control over the height of the filling) with the dough and blind-baked it until the shiny pâte sucrée became matte and crisp. We lowered the oven temperature and got on with the chocolate crémeux. Cream and milk (and salt) brought to the boil and poured over milk and dark chocolate, which magically turned into a beautiful ganache. And eggs, just so.

chocolate tart naked

We had a slice. And with just a few other elements, we turned it into a du jour dessert.

That was months ago. And really, I knew that as soon as the first blood oranges would be around, this tart would have to come back. Just so I could show you.

Just like its story, it is a very simple dessert. One that could be made at home, for a birthday or a little unofficial dinner party.
In fact, you could make the tart alone. A Sunday afternoon sort of indulgence. Or the confit, for a glorious breakfast made of crêpes generously layered with the slightly bitter jam-ish.

In any case, here is the recipe. A celebration of an often overlook January. The Monday of the months, some even say. Well, I only have one thing to answer: blood oranges. Everywhere.

chocolate tart orange-2

Tarte au chocolat et oranges sanguines
This dessert might be simple but it has become a favourite with its good balance of rich and light, sour and sweet, creamy and sharp.


It has a few elements:
– the chocolate tart
– the blood orange confit
– the compote
– the blood orange segments
– the hazelnut streusel
– the salted hazelnuts
– the vanilla ice-cream

As I’ve just told you, you could make the tart alone. Perhaps serve it with segments and a scoop of ice-cream. Maybe you would have some tempered chocolate decors or a piece of cocoa nib nougatine. Just consider it as a blueprint for your own dessert.

I do realise, however, that it can seem a bit exhausting to make so many components at home. But really, many of them can be done well in advance (up to a month as I suggest below), and on the day when you want to serve the tart it will just be a matter of assembling.

chocolate tart case

The chocolate pâte sucrée: the dough is made, cut and frozen. Later that day, you can line your ring with the dough and keep it frozen until needed. The hazelnut streusel can be made and frozen; and the salted hazelnuts will keep for weeks in an airtight container.
The blood orange confit can be made and kept in the fridge for a good week. And the vanilla ice-cream, if you choose to make it (a high-quality ice-cream from the shop would do just fine too) can keep in the freezer for almost-ever.


So really, on the day you’ll just have to:
– blind-bake the tart case.
– make the chocolate crémeux and bake it.
– allow to the tart to cool down to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, then slice it using a knife dipped in hot water and dried with a cloth.
– bake the hazelnut streusel.
– cut the salted hazelnuts in half.
– make the blood orange compote, although this is barely necessary, I’ve offered two recipes: one with pectine NH nappage which can be a bit difficult to source and one with agar agar.
– segment a few oranges.

Tarte au chocolat et oranges sanguines

serves 16

up to a month ahead

for the chocolate pâte sucrée
125 g butter, at room temperature
125 g icing sugar
5 g salt
one egg
one egg yolk
250 g plain flour
50 g cocoa powder

Cream the butter, icing sugar and salt. Add the eggs and yolks. Finally add the flour. Roll in between two sheets of feuille guitare to around 4mm thick. Using your ring, cut out a 24cm wide disk. And 3 long strips, 3cm wide. Place in the freezer for at least a couple of hours.
Later that day, take the dough out from the freezer. Butter a 24cm ring, place it on a tray lined with paper and arrange the dough strips on the sides of the ring. Pressing slightly where two ends meet to close the dough in a perfect cylinder.
Trim the disk of dough slightly, perhaps a few mm around so that it fits in the ring. Don’t worry if you’ve cut too much as you can always push the dough so that it meets the edges. Run your finger around the corner to seal the case. Place it back in the freezer until ready to use.

for the hazelnut streusel
100 g plain flour
50 g ground almonds
50 g ground hazelnuts
100 g butter
75 g caster sugar
25 g demerara sugar
5 g salt
50 g chopped blanched hazelnuts

Mix all the ingredients together in the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until it just starts to form a dough. Grate using a rack and freeze.

for the salted hazelnuts
500 g water
20 g coarse salt
250 g whole blanched hazelnuts

Bring the water and salt to the boil. Add the hazelnuts and simmer for 20 minutes. Roast at 150°C for around 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.


up to a week ahead

for the blood orange confit
250 g blood oranges
120 g caster sugar
100 g blood orange juice
25 g glucose syrup
one vanilla pod
, sliced in half
20 g Grand Marnier

Blanch the oranges three times for 3 minutes in boiling water, refreshing in iced water in between each. Place the oranges in the fridge overnight. Slice thinly, around 3 to 4mm thick, then cut each slice in half. Place in a pan along with the sugar, juice, glucose syrup and vanilla pod. Bring to the boil, and simmer until it reaches 103°C. Chill, then add the Grand Marnier.

for the vanilla ice-cream
860 g milk
275 g UHT cream
80 g skimmed milk powder
7 g sea salt
3 vanilla pods
140 g caster sugar
80 g dehydrated glucose
50 g dextrose
8 g stab 2000

Scrape the vanilla pods, then chop the pods into 5mm segments. Warm milk, cream and vanilla to 40°C. Mix all the dry ingredients together and whisk in the milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 min. Handblend. Chill overnight and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Churn according to your ice-cream machine manufacturer’s instructions.


on the morning

for the chocolate crémeux
270 g Valrhona Jivara 40%
230 g Valrhona Andoa 70%
300 g UHT whipping cream
200 g milk
5 g salt
150 g eggs
(around 3)

Blind bake the tart case at 160°C for 20 minutes, then remove the baking weight and add 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 90°C.

Place the chocolates in a large bowl. Bring the milk, cream and salt to the boil. Pour onto the chocolate in 3 times, emulsifying with a maryse. Handblend without incoporating any air. Add the eggs and handblend until smooth. Weigh out 1kg, and pour into the blindbaked case when it’s still hot. Bake at 90°C, fan 2 for around 55 minutes, until just set and barely jiggly. Allow the tart to cool down to room temperature and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to firm up.

for the blood orange compote
250 g blood orange juice
20 g trimoline
10 g caster sugar
3 g pectine NH nappage

Bring the juice and trimoline to 40°C. Combine the caster sugar and pectine. Add to the juice and bring to the boil. Simmer for 4 minutes. Chill.

250 g blood orange juice
10 g caster sugar
2.5 g agar agar

Bring the juice to 40°C. In a bowl, combine the sugar and agar agar. Add to the juice and bring to the boil. Simmer for 4 minutes. And transfer into a plastic container to set. Once chilled, blitz in a blender until smooth.


for the blood orange segments
3 blood oranges

Bake the streusel.
Bake at 155°C for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown.

Cut the hazelnut in half.
Using the tip of a small paring knife, break the hazelnuts in half.


to serve
Fill your sink with hot water and dip your knife in it for a few seconds. Wipe the blade clean making sure the sharp egde isn’t facing your fingers, and slice the tart in sixteen, rinsing and wiping your knife in between each slice. Ideally, keep the slices at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

Smudge some compote onto a plate, then place a slice of tart on top. You might want to give the tart a quick flash with a blowtorch to make it shiny again.
Arrange some segments around the compote, then a few pieces of streusel and salted hazelnuts. Finally, arrange three of four strands of confit, and place a small quenelle of vanilla ice-cream onto crumbled streusel (so that the ice-cream won’t move around).

PS. Let me know if you enjoy this kind of articles, and I might tell you more dessert stories. x