Thursday, March 22, 2012

Boursin Gougère

Gougère (pronounced goo-zhair) is a cheese flavored cream puff pastry, which I have adapted from the Land O Lakes website. I love this website; so many yummy recipes and beautiful photos.
My in-laws were coming over for lunch and I made these to serve with soup and salad.  They were a huge hit. Even my husband, whom does not like anything biscuit-y, loved these and approved them for future consumption. 

Boursin Gougère
1 cup water
½ cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
4 eggs
1 150g package Boursin
2 TBSP. chopped fresh chives or green onion
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone mats or grease baking sheets lightly.
Combine water and butter in a 3 quart heavy sauce pan or dutch oven.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil (5 to 7 minutes).  Add flour, Italian seasoning, garlic,  and salt.  Stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Add 1 egg at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Stir in Boursin and chives. 

Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto prepared baking sheets. Top each with parmesean cheese. Bake for 18 – 22 minutes or until puffed and browned. Serve warm.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte

Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte
So around Christmas time Andre and I were watching the Food Network when a show came on called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. There was a chef named Judy Joo who talked about a Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte that she had at the Lovin’ Oven in New Jersey.  Andre asked if I could make it, so I quickly wrote down a few notes from watching the episode and it was a good thing I did, because when I went on the Food Network website they did not post the recipe. 
So for the next two months I slowly amassed the needed items to make this torte.  I picked up a fluted torte pan and some pink Himalayan salt from Winners.  I researched the internets and Pinterest for some basic ideas for creating the perfect caramel filling.  I already had in my repertoire a really great chocolate ganache recipe. 

So Valentine’s Day was upon us and I was ready to attempt this. So I made the crust – no problem. I made the caramel and burned it, so I made the caramel again and burned it. Third time’s a charm – right? I watched that pot like a hawk and turned it off a little too early, but the caramel was not burned so I forged ahead.  The good news is I made this again the next week for some friends who were coming to town and let the caramel cook to a deep rich colour and got it just right.  Woohoo!!
The Crust

1 ½ cups Chocolate Cookie crumbs
3 – 4 Tbs. melted butter
1 pkg. Starbucks Via (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and press into a 10 inch round torte or springform pan.   Bake for 10 minutes in a 350°F oven.  Now the first time I made this I did not use the coffee and it was really good.  The second time I made this I thought I would try the coffee to add another level of flavour.  It was really good, but I had trouble falling asleep both nights that I ate a piece, so I would not recommend adding the coffee if you want to go to sleep early. 

Salted Caramel
1 ½ cups sugar
3 Tbs. corn syrup
¼ tsp. sea salt, finely ground
6 Tbs. water
6 Tbs. unsalted butter
6 Tbs. heavy cream
1 Tbs. sour cream

In a heavy duty saucepan or dutch oven, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water and bring to a boil.  Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 340°F (this is where I ran into problems – in Calgary, the temperature on the thermometer only needs to reach just under 300°F or it will burn) so take into account your location to sea level. 
Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, cream, and sour cream (the mixture will bubble up) until smooth. Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm 4 -5 hours.  Make sure when you put it into your fridge that it is level or the caramel will be uneven. 

Chocolate Ganache
½ cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped – I used Bernard Callebaut
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Only make this once the caramel has set.  Bring cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth.  Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate until set, 4 – 5 hours.  Sprinkle tart with sea salt, slice, and serve.