Par le pont suspendu – Caramels au beurre salé façon tarte Tatin

PâtisserieA story about , , , , , , , Written on le Wednesday 25 March 2015.

[Through the suspended bridge – Salted butter caramels, not unlike a Tatin tart]
apple cidre caramel-2
heart house

We went for our favourite walk this morning. Usually, we’d be back by the time we left, but today was different. We woke up a bit later, under the sun we’d lost for snow over the past few days. Not that I’m complaining; just like norrsken [northern lights], I think I’ll never grow tired of days made of snowflakes and never-ending coffee cups.

We had breakfast. K. had croissants sliced lengthway in half with hard-boiled eggs and Kalles kaviar. The French in me shudders, but also not-so-secretly loves it (yes, I was the one of us to first discover this combo). I might have had a bowl of rolled oat with yoghurt and a large spoonful of äppelmos [apple compote]. With coffee, of course.

apple cidre caramel-4
promenade-2

By the time we’d done the dishes and fed Surdeg, it was well past eleven. We put our boots, hats and mittens on, and started walking through the forest. The one that follows the north side of the river until we reach the suspended bridge.

We tied our thermos with a piece of string and dipped it into the river so we’d have enough water for the three of us.

We saw rabbit and deer footprints, and beavers working their way through the trees longing the älven.

We heard the ice crack loud and strong, and K. told me it was nothing compared to what’s ahead of us, when it all breaks into pieces and goes down the flooded river, not unnoticed.

apple cidre caramel
promenade

When we reached that little house, the one with the old wooden sleigh against the wall, we sat on branches and opened paper-wrapped caramels. Made yesterday, with the cider Svante brewed last summer, instead of apple juice.

Right then, we decided that next time – tomorrow – we’ll bring slices of falukorv too, and make a fire to grill them like others grill marshmallows.

apple cidre caramel-3

Caramels au beurre salé façon tarte Tatin
I first made those caramels last November. Most likely on a rainy day. Most likely because I had apples sitting on the counter.
Why tarte Tatin caramels? Well caramel and apples. And beurre noisette which always reminds me of golden-brown puff pastry.

It’s a very simple recipe, and a nice outlook on the traditional salted butter caramel. As I’ve just said, you could replace the apple juice with cider, in fact, I think that will be my forever-move.
You start off by infusing the cream with cinnamon and vanilla, and while the spices work their magic, you make yours happen with a generous dose of beurre noisette. I recommend starting with around 200g of butter to get 160g of brown butter.
I like to use unsalted butter for these caramels and add a fat pinch of sea salt, but if like me, you’ve ended up with one kg of salted butter in your fridge because you can’t read Swedish, then simply use salted butter and leave out the extra salt.

For neat slices through the caramel slab: make sure it’s properly cooled down and lightly oil a large sharp knife.
I wish I had some of those beautiful cellophane wrappers but I had to go for little squares of baking paper, which in retrospect don’t look quite as bad as I first thought.

Caramels au beurre salé façon tarte Tatin

makes around 40 caramels

125 g double cream (50% fat)
one cinnamon stick
one vanilla pod
7 g sea salt
160 g brown butter
300 g caster sugar
30 g water
50 g glucose syrup
100 g peeled apple
, finely sliced
75 g apple juice

Line a 20x20cm tin with baking paper.

Start by infusing the cream. In a small pan, set over medium heat, bring the cream, cinnamon, vanilla pod, and salt to the boil. Take off the heat and cover with clingfilm.
Then, make the beurre noisette. In a small pan, place 200g of butter and cook over medium heat, stirring at all times with a whisk until the milk solids start to caramelise. When they reach a golden-brown colour, take off the heat and set aside. You should get around 160g of brown butter.

In a large pan, mix the sugar, glucose syrup and water. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat, and make an caramel.
While the caramel is cooking, pass the cream through a fine-mesh sieve. When the caramel is light amber, whisk in the brown butter, then add the apple slices and juice, and the cream, being careful as the caramel might splash. Bring to a rolling boil to dissolve any bits of caramel that might have seized, then off the heat, handblend until smooth.
Cook over medium heat until the caramel reaches 120°C.

Pour into the prepared tin and allow to set for at least 4 hours at room temperature.
Cut into 3x3cm squares and wrap in baking paper.

The weekend boulangerie

Boulangerie, WordsA story about , Written on le Sunday 22 March 2015.
The weekend boulangerie will feature more detailed posts that explore the world of yeast – wether natural or shop-bought. I hope you’ll love these discoveries as much as I do.
I will update this post right here as we go along, adding links to the articles I write every week (or so).

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croissant

I had planned to write a little intro to this new feature along with the first article about croissants (still in the making – both the articles and the croissants! fingers crossed for next weekend). But turns out it already counts over two thousands words, so I thought I’d explain myself here.

A few days ago, I thought of starting a rye flour. You know being in Sweden and all. I usually like to keep a 100% hydration starter, but with the rye flour, it got very thick. So I did some research. In the process, I’ve found that it’s ok to have a thicker rye starter. And I’ve also found two friends whom I had lost touch with. They now have a wonderful blog, called the Weekend Bakery, and of course I had to fall in love with the concept, thinking that the weekend boulangerie would make a great feature given that, you know, I had told you I wanted to bake a loaf of bread every week.

Yes, here are very few things more magical that turning flour, water and salt into something as beautiful as bread. It’s a subject I’ve always found fascinating, and yet, I’ve never really had time or training to explore it the way I like to explore thing. Analysing, understanding, and finding processes.

Yes, I have made bread before, but somehow it almost always felt rushed. Even though, you’ve most likely heard me half-joke about that time when I was working with Ben Spalding, and how it felt like I was making bread all day, and saving only a couple of hours before service for my pastry mise-en-place.
It might have been a few of years ago, but I remember everything. How I always started by feeding our massive starter that I kept underneath my bench. I then made the poolish for both a rosemary ciabatta and an orange marmelade ciabatta (my absolute favourite). And from then all the rest followed: red wine bread rolls topped with crunchy demerara sugar that everyone raved about, chestnut flatbreads, malt loaves and seeded little breads. By three pm I had an army of buns and rolls and loaves ready (when the red wine dough didn’t choose to be temperamental). And for the weekends, my regiment was increased with a good two hundred of apple cider English muffins. Even the bread baskets were made out of bread.
And this is what I love about Ben, how he makes pushes people, for the best.
Although I still think to this day that restaurant kitchens certainly aren’t the best environment to produce amazing breads, they do make for an exciting ride.

But now that I have more time, I do truly want to understand boulangerie: from the simplest breads to more complex viennoiseries. This week I’ve focused on croissants. Making batch after batch, modifying my recipe, adjusting hydration levels and flour protein percentages, field-noting, and breakfasting. In fact, I have two more batches in the fridge right now, waiting to be laminated tomorrow.

surdeg

In the meantime, please meet my latest starter: Surdeg, he was only thirty-two hour old when this picture was taken. Since then, he’s developed a beautiful yeasty sour aroma, and I’m terribly excited to make some bread with it.
You can also follow our real-time progress on twitter and instagram. If you wish to explore boulangerie too, please join us on this adventure.

All my love, Fanny (& Surdeg).

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The weekend boulangerie articles.

Alternatively, you can find all of them here.

04 April 2015
Kusmark sourdough: a beautiful and very simple dough with a mild flavour and a lovely chewy crumb; the recipe is adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Vermont sourdough. We also discuss starch gelatinisation and the effects of scoring and steaming.

It can only mean one thing – Cake à la banane rôtie

PâtisserieA story about , , , , , , , , Written on le Thursday 19 March 2015.

[Roasted banana cake]

banana cake polaroid

I once read that the universe didn’t need another banana cake. In that case, the universe and I might have to disagree.

We don’t disagree often though.
In fact, most of the time, we’re in a symbiotic agreement that all is in its place.

Let me tell you about a few nights ago.
It might have been Monday or Tuesday, I don’t know for sure, although I’d think it was Tuesday.

K. and I took a walk at dusk. With very diffuse clouds above our heads. And right after K. told me they might – perhaps – be northern lights not clouds, the sky turned into a beautiful firework of magnetic fields. Greens and purples. Right above. Reflecting in the snow around us.

And just like last week, when I saw norrsken for the very first time, I stayed there. Looking up until they melted back into the sky, leaving place to constellations and satellites.

On our way back, we could still see them in the distance. And as a truck drove past – carrying wood that would become something else – it smelled of walks in the forest. Those of the kind I cherish so much now that the snow is slowly melting, uncovering – everyday a bit more – grass and bushes. Yes, I never want to forget the snow.

bananas polaroid

I don’t want to forget this morning either. When I sat in the sun, with a cup of coffee and a slice of banana cake. I was wearing leggings and a thick sweater, oh, and the scarf my mum gave me right before we left France.
Because, you see, I had bananas on the kitchen counter – the one made of the somewhat retro plywood – ripe and spotted. And we all know it can only mean one thing: banana cake.

Yes, perhaps the universe doesn’t need another banana cake. But I did.

banana cake

Cake à la banane rôtie
This cake will keep for days, well wrapped in clingfilm. In fact, I think it’s even better a day or two after. In fact, it keeps so well, that I almost always make a double batch to have cake all week long.

Some of you might want to skip the roasted banana purée if you’re in a hurry, and although I love the combination of roasted and fresh bananas, it will work almost as well if you choose to use only mashed fresh bananas. In this case, simply use three large ones, around 300-320g.
You could also make a rum glaze or a mascarpone frosting, but I think banana cake is one of the many things that are better eaten naked.

A few notes on method, the honey, piped butter, and baking temperature:
I do not let the butter come at room temperature whenever I cream it, as it will soften as you work it. And especially, in this recipe, because we add the warm banana purée which makes the whole softening process much faster.

The honey in this recipe, because it is an invert sugar, is used to bind with the water contained in the bananas, and make sure the cake will keep moist but not soggy for almost ever.
The flavour of honey is fairly subtle and complements the banana well.

banana cake ingredients polaroid

As you now know, I’m very fond of this technique to get a neat crack on top of loaf cakes. I always pipe a thin line of soft butter on top of my unbaked loaf, using either a piping bag or even easier a paper cornet (remind me to show you how to fold one).
When the batter starts to rise, the butter will sink in, creating a neat crack.

When it comes to loaf cakes, I always like to bake them at high temperature and then reduce to finish the baking. I usually do 5 minutes at 180°C, 10 minutes at 170°C, and 25-30 minutes at 160°C.
For this banana cake, given how much moisture there is, I’ve found I get better results with 20 minutes at 180°C and then around 30 minutes at 160°C.

Cake à la banane rôtie

makes one large loaf cake

for the roasted banana purée
2 large bananas, with skin on
50 g caster sugar

for the caramelised roasted bananas
160 g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt

180 g butter
130 g light brown sugar
50 g creamy honey
200 g roasted banana purée
1 banana
, (approximately 100 g) mashed with a fork
3 eggs, at room temperature

10 g butter, at room temperature, to pipe on top of the cake

Start by making the roasted banana purée.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and place the bananas – skin-on – on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Prick a few holes into the fruits using a small paring knife and roast for 15 minutes, or until black with juices coming out. Allow to cold down until cold enough to handle.
In a small pan, cook the sugar over low heat to make a light caramel. While the sugar is cooking, peel the bananas, being careful not to burn your fingers.
When the caramel is just light brown. Take off the heat and add the bananas. Return to the stove, and cook slowly – stirring frequently to dissolve any bits of caramel that might have seized – until you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir, not unlike jam. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool down for 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, butter and line a 1L loaf tin.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Place the cubed butter, sugar and honey in a large bowl, and cream for around 3 minutes. Add the banana purée and the mashed banana, and mix for a further minute.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a minute after each addition.
Add the flour and mix until just smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin, pipe a line of soft butter on top of the cake.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 160°C and bake for another 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Unmould immediately, placing the cake on its side. Cool down completely.