Peach Galette with Rye and Spelt Flour

DSC_0057 copySummer is here and that means an abundance of sweet summer fruits! And using seasonal fruit means that you don’t need to do much to make the most of them. Galette is a great way to showcase the ingredients and it can look so professional just by the way the filling is arranged, even though it’s deceptively easy to make!
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The pastry for galette is pate brisée, which is wonderfully flaky and buttery. For this recipe, I’ve used a combination of rye, spelt and wholemeal flour for nutritional value, and it creates a very slight earthy flavour to accompany the tartness of the fruit.
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Pastry, fruit and a sprinkle of vanilla sugar and maybe a drizzle of honey…that’s it! Easy.
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There are several types of “pate” doughs, so their uses can be confusing. Here is a quick guide to the most common:

  • Pate Brisée (flaky pastry – used for pies and galettes)
  • Pate Sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry – used for tarts)
  • Pate Sable (sweet with a sandy texture, from the addition of egg and ground almonds – used for tart bases and biscuits)
  • Pâte feuilletée (puff pastry – used for mille feuille)

DSC_0117 copyPâte Brisée
Yields 1 large galette

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
  • 3 large peaches, sliced
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • egg, beaten
  • honey, optional
Method
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and sugar. Add the chilled, cubed butter and, squeeze the cubed butter between your fingertips until it resembles coarse sand.
  2. Add 1/8 cup of ice water and mix together the dough with your hands until it holds together when squeezed. If needed, add more ice water by the tablespoon until the dough reaches this consistency.
  3. Form dough into a disk, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using. Dough may be stored up to 1 month when frozen.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  5. Roll out the refrigerated dough to a circle about 3mm thick. It is easier if you roll it out on parchment paper so it can go straight into the oven.
  6. Arrange the sliced peaches on the dough, fold the edges in, egg wash the edges, and sprinkle vanilla sugar all over.
  7. Bake for 40 mins until pastry is golden. Serve with a drizzle of honey.
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Best bites in Amsterdam

Here’s a guide to some of the best bites in Amsterdam – enjoy!

DSC_0093 copyWinkel
Apple pie should be on the top of your list of things to eat in Amsterdam and this cute cafe is the best place for it. It’s recommended by the locals, and at the rate that they churn out these pies, it is definitely popular. Although it’s not a looker, it is by far the best apple pie I’ve tried. Crunchy, sugary exterior, perfectly textured sweet apples – it’s a cross between a cake, a crumble and a pie. All-in-one, what more could you want?

IMG_1648 copyTwo For Joy Coffee Roasters
This relaxed, trendy cafe is known to serve the best coffee in Amsterdam – even recommended by a local we met at Winkel.

Zuivere Koffie
A great local place for a brunch, cake and coffee near our Airbnb. Salmon, cream cheese and avocado bagel – you can’t go wrong with this simple combination.

Dutch Homemade
Treat yourself to beautiful chocolates and colourful macarons. The range of unique flavours will make you spoilt for choice. My raspberry macaron had such a great texture flavour.

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Senses Restaurant
Lars Bertelsen at Senses has created a surprise menu concept, so you simply pick 2, 3 or 4 courses and leave it to hands of the very capable chefs. True to the name of the restaurant, each course plays with the senses in terms of taste, colour and texture. Our 3 course meal started with the most intriguing amuse-bouche of liquid beetroot carpaccio encased in white chocolate and dusted with raspberry powder. A delightful burst of juice as you bite into the creamy chocolate, and a strange flavour combination that somehow worked. The starter was my favourite for presentation – the colours and patterns were just spot on! Flavourwise, it was too mild – raw mackerel, tomato, pickled radish, tapioca cracker with squid ink. The main course was rump of lamb with sweet potato pie, crispy pastry filled with harissa lamb neck, aubergine tapenade, basil crumble and onion sauce. A good, rich sauce but the dish needed some bolder flavours – the basil was not evident. The dessert redeemed the meal for flavours, although a bit too much! Strong, citrusy yuzu cremeux with sweet meringue, pandan ice cream, pandan cake, basil sauce, sable biscuit and fried dough. A lot of flavours and textures that didn’t all work together but each element was delicious.
Senses is a great restaurant if you like to be adventurous with your food and it is such good value for the quality of ingredients and execution (€32.50 for the 3 course lunch).

IMG_1661 copyTrattoria Toto
This homely restaurant near Vondelpark and the museums is a little piece of Italy in Amsterdam. Popular with locals and a good choice of pizza, pasta and risotto. The 4 Stagioni pizza was crisp and flavourful, the salmon tagliatelle and octopus pastas were also tasty and served al dente.

Matcha, Canary Melon Entremet

After being drawn into the craze of matcha desserts online, I bought a few bags of the stuff a while back, and although it is touted for its antioxidant powers and various health benefits, I’m not a huge matcha tea drinker. The extremely fine powder is difficult to dissolve so I’m always left with lumps of powder at the bottom of the cup…

Matcha1So with the abundance of matcha powder sitting at home, I decided to make a matcha entremet: matcha genoise sponge, Canary melon, and matcha mousse.

I love experimenting with not-so-obvious flavour combinations, so I paired the matcha with melon. The melon that I used, and is always mistakenly labeled as Honeydew melon in the supermarkets, is in fact a Canary melon. It is the rugby shaped, yellow melon with a white-ish flesh. In this dessert, it adds a nice sweetness to balance the bitterness of the matcha.

This was my first attempt at a genoise sponge and you can’t go wrong with Pierre Herme’s recipe. It’s the perfect basic recipe. I just replaced some of the flour for matcha powder and reduced the sugar by a smidge. The texture of genoise is drier than most cakes since it is usually brushed with syrup. It is a good, sturdy base for stacked cakes and had just the right amount of sweetness, but since I sliced the sponge in half, one side had a messy jagged edge.

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I had a little trouble with the mousse, involving curdled egg yolks, so I improvised with what I had, and the flavour turned out amazing. In many store-bought matcha mousse desserts, the green tea flavour is lost in all of the creaminess, but this mousse had a very strong matcha flavour.Matcha3

Notes for my next attempt:

  • Be aware of the texture of each layer – use firmer layers at the bottom, which will make cutting the entremet neater. I would not use melon slices next time, it made the cutting very messy! Possibly substitute with melon puree, syrup, mousse or jelly.
  • Brush a syrup (matcha flavour) to soften the genoise sponge and enhance the matcha flavour.
  • Use 3 gelatin leaves for a firmer mousse.
  • Bake the sponge in individual layers so the edges are more defined.

Genoise sponge

Adapted from Pierre Herme’s Desserts. This makes double the amount needed for this recipe, so I baked and then froze the other half

  • 56g unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (I eyeballed it and used about 5/6th of a cup)
  • 165g all purpose flour
  • 8g matcha powder
  1. Line a 30cm square pan with parchment.
  2. Bring a pot of water to simmer. Melt butter and set aside. It should be warm when you need it
  3. Whisk egg and sugar together and place bowl over simmering water. Keep whisking until temperature reaches 130-140F/54-60c. About 4 minutes.
  4. Take off heat and whisk on high for 5-8 minutes until triple in volume, light and airy. It should form ribbons when lifted from the bowl
  5. Stir 2 tbsp of batter into the butter to prevent the butter from sinking in the batter.
  6. Sift flour into the egg batter and gently fold
  7. Then fold in the butter
  8. Bake at 350F/176C for 20 minutes until top is golden, springy and toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Unmold after 5 minutes and cool completely
  10. Slice in sponge into two layers, then cut 3 equal rectangles – giving you 6 equal rectangles. Since we only need 3 layers, freeze the other 3 layers for another time.

Matcha mousse

  • 300ml milk
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 gelatin leaves (next time I would use 3 leaves, see notes)
  • 330ml double cream
  • 10g matcha powder
  1. Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.
  2. Whip the double cream until stiff peaks form and place in the fridge.
  3. Heat the milk, matcha powder and sugar until boiling. Remove from heat.
  4. Squeeze out excess liquid from the gelatin leaves and place in the matcha mixture. Stir to dissolve, and let it cool completely until it is set.
  5. Whisk matcha mixture with the whipped cream.

Assemble:

Layer genoise sponge, then melon slices, then matcha mousse, and repeat. Top with last sponge and a layer of mousse. I used sifted matcha powder and white chocolate for decoration.

Mont Blanc

French pastries seem to be the epitomise the skills of a baker. So I have been longing to try as many as possible – just to prove to myself that I can do it.

This week was the Mont Blanc – traditionally, a meringue base, with whipped cream and piped sweet chestnut cream. But as my family are not a huge fan of meringue, I’ve altered the traditional pastry to include pate sucree (sweet shortcrust pastry) and chocolate.

Mont blanc3The addition of chocolate add a richer flavour to the milder flavours of the cream and chestnut, and the pate sucree holds it together and gives a more substantial mouthful.

I used dried chestnuts, which were soaked overnight, boiled in the pressure cooker for 25 minutes, drained, then food processed with the drained juices, and sugar, to a pipeable consistency.

Pate Sucree

Adapted from Pierre Herme’s Desserts. This recipe makes 4 times more pastry than for my 12 muffin sized tarts. Extra dough can be frozen.

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 169g sifted confectioners sugar
  • 49g ground blanched almonds
  • 2 large eggs, room temp lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 396g all purpose flour
  • 50g, chocolate chopped

 

  1. Beat butter on low with paddle attachment until creamy. Add sugar, almonds, egg, salt. It may looked curdled, which is alright. Add the flour in 3 additions, whilst mixer is still on low, until dough just comes together. This happens in a matter of seconds. Do not overbeat.
  2. Divide into 3 or 4 pieces depending on size of tart. Press into a disk and refrigerate for 4 hrs-2days (or frozen for 2 months)
  3. Butter a tart ring and place on parchment paper
  4. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/16 to 1/8 inch (0.16-0.3cm) thick. Lift dough often and ensure surface is floured. Alternatively, roll out between cling film. Roll dough onto rolling pin and into tart tin. Do not stretch the dough as it will shrink later. Patch up any cracks with off cuts.
  5. Prick dough all over with fork (unless tart is to be filled with runny filling), and chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Bake blind with parchment extending over the top of the tart for 18-20minutes in preheated oven at 350F/176C. Remove baking beans, add chopped chocolate and bake for another 5-7minutes.

Vanilla whipped cream

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, scraped
  • 1.5 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

Ensure the cream and bowl are very cold. Whip all ingredients until stiff. Be careful not to overwhip, otherwise the texture of the cream splits. This can happen in a matter of seconds.

Assemble:

Pipe a mound of vanilla cream onto the middle of the pate sucree, leaving an edge for the chestnut cream. Using a wilton 233 piping tip, pipe the chestnut cream around the vanilla cream.