Wednesday, December 10, 2014

bianchini alle mandorle

ALMOND MERINGUES
bianchini di mandorle
While I was driving to work this morning, the radio was playing, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas ... that voice, oh that voice was so warm and engaging! My Christmas mood was switched right on at 7:00 am and I’ve been humming that song all day long, but the climate in Rome is moderate, birds seem to be undecided whether to migrate or not and we still have leaves on trees. There’s a chill out today, enough to have me wear my leather gloves, but snow? I don’t see that happening and I doubt I’ll be seeing a white Christmas around here. 


For now, the closest I can get to white may be these clouds of goodness.  Which, by the way, are perfect for an edible Christmas gift.  

Enjoy!
bianchini di mandorle
ALMOND MERINGUES

6 egg whites
pinch of salt
350gr raw sugar
200g rtoasted almonds roughly chopped
lemon zest 

In a stand mixer, whisk egg whites and salt, slowly add the sugar one spoonful at a time until stiff peaks form.  Fold in the the lemon zest and roughly chopped almonds.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and with the help of two spoons, scoop some of the mixture and let it fall on the tray.  Leave some space between each meringue. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 100°C for 2 hours.  They store well up to two weeks in a tin.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

discovering how to make steamed pudding

STEAMED CHOCOLATE PUDDING AND POMEGRANATE SYRUP
chocolate pudding
Thank you Emy for the pretty plate!
The pudding I’m used to making is the one that requires a spoon, the creamy texture type. Let’s call it the custard/mousse type

The one I never made in my whole entire life - and, to say it all, I don’t even think I’ve ever tasted one - is the cake type. I’m still asking myself why.  

Making pudding of this sort is all new to me.  For some reason I never paid too much attention to cake puddings, at least not until I flipped through a Food & Travel magazine.

OK…let me read through the recipe. 

Butter, check; flour, check; eggs, check; chocolate, sugar, vanilla and so on … check. Shift, mix, whisk, check.  Spoon the batter in a pudding basin, check.

Wait a minute,

“cover the top of the pudding with pleated sheets of buttered baking parchment and then foil.  Tie the foil and paper securely under the lip on the pudding basin and trim off any excess paper leaving a frill of 2 cm.  Fold this frill back on itself so that it sits on top of the covered pudding and won’t hang in the pan of water”.

???? Uh?

Bring a large saucepan or pot of water to a simmer and lower the pudding into it.  Cover with a lid and steam.

Uh?? Uh??

Pleated? Foil paper? Steam?

Well, thank you Food & Travel! As the last person on this earth to know, I just discovered that puddings, the cake type, the ones I’m not familiar with at all, are STEAMED!  Yes, steamed, boiled.  Ding dong!

Now that I’ve learned how to pleat, foil, wrap and tie, I just can’t stop making puddings, the cake type of course.  

So if there are any other ding dongs like me out there, doing this for the very first time, no worries, it’s easier than you think.  I’ve got it all straightened out for you! 
chocolate pudding
The Food & Travel issue tops the pudding with a decadent chocolate custard, needless to say that it is to drool for.  My only adaption to this pudding was the topping. I made it with this (click here) pomegranate syrup which was delightful, it soaks through the pudding and gives it a fruity tasty which I adore.  I also once made it with a crème anglaise served warm, which was also very good. 

As you can see, I've made a few since my "pudding discovery" and now, I just can't stop.



STEAMED CHOCOLATE PUDDING AND POMEGRANATE SYRUP
Adapted from Food & Travel issue 171 page 137

175g unsalted butter, softened
Plus extra for greasing
100g soft light-brown sugar
75g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1tsp pure vanilla extract
150g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
3tbsp milk

For the pomegranate sauce click here
a handful of seeds to decorate

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter together with both sugars until pale and light, scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time.  Gradually add the eggs, mixing well between each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix again.

Shift the flour, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt into the bowl, add the milk and mix until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pudding basin and level with the spatula.  Cover the top of the with pleated sheets of buttered baking parchment and then foil.  Tie the foil and the paper securely under the lip of the pudding basin and trim off any excess paper leaving a frill of 2cm. Fold this frill back on itself so that it sits on top of the covered pudding and won't hang in the pan water.

Bring a large saucepan or pot of water to a simmer over medium heat and lower the pudding into it. The water should come halfway up the side of the basin.  Cover with a lid and steam for 1 hour and a half.  You may need to top up the water after 1 hour.  Remove the steamed pudding from the pan and set aside to cool slightly.

Here's a video that explains how to pleat, wrap and tie a pudding.