baked

Financiers (Almond Tea Cakes with Fig Jam)

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Recently, I was asked to create a recipe on behalf of Bonne Maman using their Fig Jam.  Many of you may know them by their familiar jam jars with the checkered lids.  The first thing that popped into my mind was Financiers. These delicious golden gems pair filled with this delectable jam served with tea. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed eating Bonne Maman jams with my morning baguette and salted butter.  It’s such a treat!  Just one bite transports me back to France.
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For decades, Bonne Maman has created special preserves following traditional and cherished recipes. Today, Bonne Maman continues shaping the sweetest moments by producing their preserves in France using all natural ingredients with no artificial colorings, no additives or preservatives.
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The recipe for Financiers is straightforward and requires little fuss or expertise.  As these are petit fours, you can be creative with your choice of moulds or filings.  I have used rectangular financier mounds,  savarin ring mounds as well as mini cupcake liners.  You can also use a greased mini or standard muffin tin for ease. For best results, the batter must be prepared hours in advance or best if left rested overnight in the refrigerator.

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Recipe: Financiers (Almond Tea Cakes with Fig Jam)

Makes approx 12-15 mini cakes

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup ground almonds

3/4 cup egg whites (from 6 large eggs)

2/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 vanilla bean scraped or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 drops of almond extract

1 cup Bonne Maman Fig Jam

Mini baking moulds

Method:

Brown Butter:

In a medium sized saucepan, bring the butter to a gentle boil until it turns a light golden brown. Take it off the heat and set aside to cool. Strain the browned butter into a small bowl.

Preparing the Financier Batter:

  1.  In a large saucepan mix together the sugar, ground almonds and egg whites. Place the pan over low heat and stir for approximately 2 minutes until it’s heated through and the colour has changed slightly to white without overcooking the egg whites.
  2.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, almond extract and the flour. Mix thoroughly and slowly incorporate the brown butter into the batter with a whisk.
  3.  Transfer the batter to a bowl and tightly seal with cling wrap.
  4.  Refrigerate for approximately 2 hours or overnight to allow the batter to rest and the flavors to infuse.

Baking:

  1.  Preheat oven to 410°F and if you are using silicone bake ware, you do not need to butter them. If you are using metal molds or a cupcake tin, butter the insides and dust the interior with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2.  Remove the batter from the fridge and place the contents into a large piping bag or a cookie scoop for even results and ease of preparation.
  3.  Measure 1 cup of the Bonne Maman Fig Jam and set aside until you’re ready to use.
  4. Fill the bottom of each cavity with an equal portion of the Financier batter.
  5. Pipe or scoop a thin even layer of the fig jam followed by a layer of the Financier batter.
  6. Set the molds on a large baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the Financiers are golden brown and cooked through.
  7. On a large sheet of parchment invert the molds and transfer them to a cooling rack.

Serve with your favorite cup of tea and enjoy!
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*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bonne Maman. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Sweet Ricotta Fritters with Brie Cheese and Cara Cara Oranges

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Fritters! Who doesn’t love a fresh and piping hot donut, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar on a cold day! Yum!

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If you have tried a version of fritters made with ricotta, then you’re in for a real decadent. I decided to up the ante and play with the flavours by adding Cara Cara oranges which are currently in season and some velvety Castello Brie cheese.
It’s a sinfully delicious combination, one that will have you and your guests hurrying to finish your meal so that you can share these after dinner treats.
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The fritters are best served immediately after they’re fried (as is usually the case with homemade fritters).  The addition of the Brie cheese and oranges make them extra soft, they also pair well with gelato or a silky crème anglaise sauce.
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These serve a small crowd as they make approximately 15-18 fritters, I used a small cookie scoop for measure.  If you cannot find Cara Cara Oranges, you can substitute it with a another variety of sweet oranges or clementines. Be careful when working with hot oil and melting cheese, these don’t take very long to cook and you’re looking for a nice golden brown colour and a quick toss in the cinnamon sugar.  Enjoy!
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Sweet Ricotta Fritters with Brie Cheese and Cara Cara Oranges

45g all purpose flour
26g raw sugar
1 Cara Cara orange, (just the zest + 2 tblsp juice)
145g (3/4 cup) full fat Ricotta cheese
1 extra large egg
40g Castello Brie Cheese, diced (rind removed)
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of vanilla bean powder or (3 drops of vanilla extract)
Vegetable oil for frying

Cinnamon Sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Method

1. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta and the egg until combined. Slowly add the remaining ingredients and set aside while you get your deep fryer or pot of oil ready.

2. Test the oil by dropping a spoonful of the batter in, it should float to the top and you should see tiny bubbles around it. Fry for approx 2 minutes or until golden.

3.Repeat with the remaining batter using a small cookie scoop measure for the remaing fritters, taking care not to overcrowd the pot. Fry and drain on paper towels and quickly toss into a bowl with sugar/cinnamon and serve immediately. Enjoy!

*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Castello Cheese. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Bûche de Noël

Are you looking for the perfect holiday dessert?  Look no more!  I created this exquisite Chocolate Bûche de Noël just in time for the Holiday season!
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A very simple and elegant cake to put together and you can make some of the components ahead of time.  From start to finish, if you have all the ingredients on hand; it shouldn’t take more than a few hours to prepare and decorate.
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A few notes about this cake: I make many cakes for the holiday season and there is no limit to the variations possible.  I like to add rum and/or a shot of espresso to my simple syrup as it goes very nicely with chocolate.  If you don’t like alcohol, leave it out as I have in the recipe below. Also, try to use the best cocoa and chocolate couveture possible as the flavours are very pronounced in this type of cake.
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I hope you enjoy the recipe and please leave a note in the comments if you try it as I would love to hear from you.
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Wishing you a safe and happy Holiday Season, Enjoy!

Asima 🙂

Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Bûche de Noël 

Serves 8

Bakers half sheet (13 x 18) lined with parchment paper or silpat

Preheat oven to 400F

Ingredients:

Chocolate Sponge Cake:

3 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

80 grams of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

30 grams of cocoa

Method:

In a small bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and set aside.

In a stand mixer or large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar on high speed for 8 minutes until tripled in volume and you have a thick ribbon-like texture.  Whisk in the vanilla and then slowly incorporate the flour mixture by folding it into the batter with a spatula with quick movments and becareful not to deflate the batter.

Spread the batter evenly on the lined baking sheet and bake on 400F  for approx 6 minutes.  Allow it to cool while you prepare the buttercream.

Flip the sponge over onto a clean parchment sheet, set aside until you’re ready to assemble.

Chocolate Buttercream Filling:

120 grams or 3/4 cup chocolate couveture melted

115 grams of softened butter

125 grams icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

In a stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk the softened butter and icing sugar for a few minutes until no lumps remain.  Add the vanilla and cooled melted chocolate and whisk until combined. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble the cake.

Simple Syrup:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup boiling water

coffee extract or one shot espresso

Method:

In a small pot bring the water and sugar to a boil.  Take it off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.  Add the espresso or coffee extract and set aside.

Chocolate Ganache/Glaze:

1.5 cups of dark chocolate couvture melted

3/4 cup heavy cream (35%)

8 Ferrero Rocher Chocolates or more (to decorate the top)

Method:

In a large heatproof glass bowl boil the heavy cream (microwave on high for 2 minutes) or bring to a gentle boil in a small pot.  Add the chopped chocolate and let it stand for 1 minute.  Whisk until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth and silky.

Assembly:

Working with the sponge cake first leaving it on the parchment. With a pastry brush, gentlely brush the syrup all over the cake until it is absorbed.  Spread the prepared buttercream evenly across the entire sponge.

Starting lenthwise with wet hands, start rolling the cake towards the opposite end keeping it fairly tight, but not so tight that the filling comes out.  Roll it over and ensure that the end seam is underneath.

If you have any syrup left, you can brush the remaining on the top of the cake.

You have two options here.  You can either simply glaze or ganache style frosting and decorate the cake into a log.  Glaze the cake while the chocolate is warm by pouring the warm ganache over the cake using a cake rack with a ladle and allowing it to cool and then frosted it again with an offset spatula as the ganache firms up.

Just before the ganache hardens, adorn the top with whole pieces of Ferrero Rocher Chocolates so that each cake slice will have a piece on top. You can further design the cake however you like with crushed Ferrero Rocher Chocolates on the top or around the bottom.  Dust the set cake with icing sugar (optional).  Enjoy!

Raspberry & Nectarine Oat Crumble

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Raspberry & Nectarine Oat Crumble

4 nectarines,  sliced
1.5 cups raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup butter, chopped
1/4 cup Raw sugar

Toppings:

Raw pistachios, sliced
Roasted coconut chips

Preheat oven to 375°F

In a large ovenproof dish, add the nectarines, sugar, ground cinnamon,  and salt. Toss with your hands. Sprinkle the raspberries over top.

Sprinkle the oats overtop, covering the fruit.  Evenly place the chopped butter overtop and then sprinkle with the raw sugar.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.   Uncover and bake until golden, about 10-15 minutes more.

Serve warm with some ice cream or cold with plain greek yogurt.
I like to add sliced pistachios and roasted coconut chips.  Enjoy!

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Blueberry and Lemon Yogurt Cake

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I love blueberries.  I have fond summer memories of eating them by the basket full,  juices dripping down my chin.  So irresistibly sweet and the perfect pairing with fresh squeezed lemonade.  If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you know  how much I love berries!

I make a lot of cakes,  but this has got to be one of my absolute favourites, by far.

I made this cake on a whim, craving a not too sweet cake with lemon icing and lots of blueberries. I took this to a bbq and it was a real hit!

It reminds me of a cake my mother used to make for us when we were little, a simple vanilla cake with a fantastic crust and perfect crumb.  I still dream about that cake…!

In this recipe I use cake and pastry  flour, with the addition of some ground almonds for a slightly denser texture.  I just want to note that it’s not absolutely essential to use cake flour or the almonds.  If you only have all purpose flour, it will still work.
Also, this is a very soft and moist cake.  Please allow it to cool completely before icing.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.  It has become a requested favourite!

Blueberry and Lemon Yogurt Cake

2 cups cake flour
*1/4 cup ground almonds (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 extra large eggs (organic + farm fresh, if possible)
1 cup 2% yogurt
Lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9″ round baking pan.

In a small bowl whisk the flour, ground almonds if using,  salt, baking powder, lemon zest and 3/4 cup sugar.  Set aside.

In a large bowl,  whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until frothy.
Add the olive oil,  vanilla extract, and yogurt.
Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet mix. Do not overmix.
Gently spread the mixture into the pan with a small offset spatula.
Bake for approx 30 min.

Let it completely cool down before flipping onto a rack.  *Because this cake is very soft and moist, I suggest removing it from the pan when cool, onto a parchment lined sheet or directly onto your serving plate before icing. 
Ensure that the cake is cold enough before proceeding with the icing,  otherwise it will be a hot mess!

Icing:

2 cups powdered icing sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
*Few drops of water (if needed)

1 pint (or more) blueberries

Combine the powdered icing sugar and the lemon juice until it’s slightly runny, but pliable.
*You do not want it to be too runny! If this happens,  simply adjust by adding more powdered icing sugar.

Spread a thin layer over the cooled cake and arrange your blueberries.   You can pile them on and let them arrange themselves or create a nice pattern. (I prefer the tousled look with this type of cake!)
Drizzle the remaining icing sugar over the berries, top with the lemon zest and refrigerate until set.

Enjoy!

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