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Wednesday, December 2, 2009
2 days in Paris is too short to do anything properly but as I sort through my stash of photographs, I was suprised that there is still a treasure trough of momentos.. I am stealing time off to put up this post so it will have to be a short one - lest someone at work sees that instead of working on my budget numbers and writing call reports, I am still baking in the kitchen and writing my blog.
Laduree is the only wildly famous pastry shop I managed to visit during this trip. The macarons are indeed very very good. The flavours are fascinating. I had originally frowned upon the black liquorice macaron but discovered that it was actually quite delicious. I am not a fan of liquorice but it was dosed just right - you taste the sweetness of liquorice as you bite into and chew the little biscuit. The medicinal tingle only makes its appearance after the last bit of the black morsel has been swallowed. Even that, the tingle so subtle... it felt... adult chic.
I had more fun at Mariage Freres.Somehow, I have always been more of a tea person and have a closet full of tea leaves that I never seem to be able to finish. The first Mariage Freres Tea Salon at Bourg-Tibourg is especially lovely - the aged wooden counters has the charm of an old world tea trading warehouse. Needless to say, I went crazy over the tea collection and brought back quite a number of momentos... one of which is their new tea, Yuzu Temple which is a light green tea infused with Yuzu - the bouquet hovers between that of sweet mandarin and refreshing lime. Utterly delightful.
What better way to linger over the Paris experience than baking another batch of French pastry to be enjoyed with my Mariage Frere tea. As it is with the Madeleine, the Financier is another symbolic French treat - simple but iconic. No respectable French Patisserie should be without them.
The Financier is a small, dense, buttery cake made with almond meal and browned butter. Browning the butter adds a myriad of complex flavours to the cake. Butter, when heated to the point of protein precipitation releases a nutty caramelised aroma which is amazingly comforting. However, care needs to be taken when browning the butter as the line between brown butter and burnt butter is very very fine. Hence, I always try to standby a bowl of ice water to cool down the butter immediately after the butter has browned.
These little ingots turned out really well and go really well with tea or coffee. By the time, I had finished taking the photos, I had already devoured 3 ingots.
Recipe (adapted from Keiko Ishida's Okashi)
Pastry flour 50g
Corn flour 5g
Baking powder 1/2 tsp
Egg White 130g
Castor Sugar 130g
Ground almonds 50g
Unsalted butter 130g
Green tea powder 10g
1. Preheat oven to 220C.
2. Sift flour,corn flour, baking powder and green tea powder together.
3. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat egg white with sugar and salt. Add ground almond, and flour mixture in stages.
4. In a heavy saucepan, heat butter until brown and fragrant. Once browned, transfer butter to a different bowl and cool down immediately using ice water.
5. Add browned butter gradually to flour batter and mix well to incorporate butter into flour batter.
6. Pour batter into molds and bake at 220C for 12mins.