They call me ‘shoe cream’… Puff cake blues.

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Les choux à la crème are probably the most successful French cake in Japan. Chou was easy to pronounce, but à la crème was too long. Everybody knew that meant cream. So the name became シュークリーム shu-kuri-mu chou cream, which is also how they say “shoe cream”.

Well we can see them everywhere from the luxury hotel tea room to the discount kombini (convenience store). They can be extraordinary, great, good, meh, abominable. The choice is huge. Some stands prepare them fresh all day.
I still find home-made fresher.

First let’s make the little choux. Then a cream at local taste including anko (azuki bean sweet paste) an ingredient borrowed from wagashi (Japanese tea sweets).

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Simple, 125 g of water, 25 g of oil, 80 g of flour. I included about 2 eggs, a little vanilla extract and sugar.

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Baked at 200 degrees, 25 minutes.

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I really love the inside still wet. So I don’t fill them, I keep the cream on the side.

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I passed boiled azuki beans through a sieve to get the creamy texture, added sugar and a little brandy. That’s koshian (‘passed’ bean paste, recipe here). More about it here.

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The whip (here veg’) plus anko bean paste mix. It is very popular now.

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Rouelle de porc braisée au vinaigre balsamique (Balsamico soft pork roast)

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An old fashioned cast-iron slow cooked roast, with its sauce and season steamed veggies. The balsamico vinegar brings the char color and some sourness that lights it up.

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That’s a meal that takes 5 minutes to throw… and 2 days to cook, but you don’t care as you have nothing to do.
The cut is called sune in Japanese, I think it corresponds to rouelle in French, a round cut in the pork leg. It’s just ideal for this type of recipes.
A grated carrot, a grated onion, 2 chunks of garlic, a handful of oregano, 1/2 of balsamico vinegar, some water.
2 hours low heat. The next day, again, 2 hours.

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The meat is easy to cut, with a pleasant soft texture.

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The sauce : everything in the pot except the meat, passed in the mixer. I’ve added, paprika powder for the color, salt, pepper, reheated.

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Steamed romanesco.

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Steamed new potatoes.

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And a little plate of stalks of spinach and mustard leaves, stir-fried with spices.

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Savarin battle

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Savarin is the crown cake.

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Well, the crown sponge. LOL.

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Blog-checking lines:Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

There will be several posts about it :

DSC01072-001 Stohrer’s old baba

DSC00238-002 baba au chocolat

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sesame Ali-Baba

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The classic French “savarin” or “brillat-savarin” was made with the help of the famous food writer Brillat-Savarin, and named like him to thank him.
It has this shape in small. The large one is a huge donut, which represents a crown, and the hole is not filled as you would not be able to serve it nicely. The syrup is kirsch (cherry liquor flavor). The chantilly (vanilla whip cream) is a decoration or can be served as a side. Creme anglaise (vanilla custard sauce) is an optional side. When it’s not a savarin, it’s a baba. Well, that doesn’t matter.

On the photo, it’s nearly classic. I had no kirsch so I’ve used crème de framboise (raspberry liquor).

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I compared Natalia’s recipe for the challenge with mine.

So this is the battle of the two savarin doughs :

*New* is the challenge’s recipe. The big difference :
The *classic* is 50 g of egg per 100 g of flour (all purpose or cake flour) and of course, hand made (light kneading). So about 1/2 the amount of egg. It’s replaced with milk. My classic batter was harder.

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I have only individual savarin molds. I’ve used a mini-cannele mold to make “babas bouchons” (cork babas), and a small kouglof mold.
They were baked the same time, which was short due to size.

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From the outside, the new is more regular, nicer, looks more pro.

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Inside that looks similar. The new is dryer. Maybe it’s convenient if you want to soak it the same day.
So the new recipe might seem better in appearance.
For the taste, the difference is big. The new one tastes of egg mostly. The classic tastes more of butter. The syrup covers most of the taste anyway. As I usually eat a few dry, I prefer the classic.

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Challenge’s recipe from Daring Bakers

Savarin

Servings: 8/10

Ingredients
2½ cups (600 ml) (12-1/3 oz) (350 gm) bread flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water, lukewarm
6 (320 gm) large eggs at room temperature, separated
½ satchel (1½ teaspoons) (4 gm) instant yeast or 15 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast
4 teaspoons (20 ml) (20 gm) sugar
2/3 stick (1/3 cup) (80 ml) (75 gm) butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) orange and lemon zest (optional)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) butter for greasing the work surface, hands, dough scraper & baking pan

Directions:

Sponge
In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons (1 oz) (25 gm) flour and yeast , cover with cling film and let rise 60 minutes

Dough
1.After 30 minutes put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and start working with the paddle at low speed adding flour until you have a soft dough that sticks to the bowl (about 2 cups or 270 gm) and work until it comes together , cover with cling film and let rest 30 min
2.Add the sponge to the mixer bowl along with a tablespoon of flour and start mixing at low speed (if you wish to add the zests do it now)
3.When it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl add one yolk and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
4.Add the second yolk , the sugar and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
5.Raise the speed a little
6.Add the third yolk and the salt and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour
7.Keep on adding one yolk at the time and the flour saving a tablespoon of flour for later
8.Mix the dough until is elastic and makes threads
9.Add the butter at room temperature and as soon as the butter is adsorbed add the last tablespoon of flour
10.Keep on mixing till the dough passes the window pane test
11.Cover the dough with cling film and let it proof until it has tripled in volume 2 to 3 hours.
12.You can prepare the Pastry cream now if you chose to use it, and refrigerate it
13.While you wait prepare your baking pan buttering it very carefully not leaving too much butter on it
14.Grease your dough scraper, your hands and your work surface and put the dough on it and fold with the Dough Package Fold two or three times around (5 folds twice or three times). Cover with cling foil and let it rest 15 minutes on the counter
15.Turn the dough upside down and with the help of your buttered dough scraper shape your dough http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta2_h6Qogp0 in a rounded bun
16.Make a hole in the center with your thumb and put it in the prepared pan
17. Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm spot until the dough reaches the top of the pan about 1 hour
18.Pre-heat oven to moderate 340°F/170°C/gas mark 3
19.Bake the Savarin for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown
20.Meanwhile prepare the Syrup
21.When the Savarin is done take it out of the oven, let it cool and remove carefully out of the pan
22.You have two choices now : you can immerse it in syrup right now or you can let it dry out (so it will lose some of his moisture that will be replaced by the syrup) and soak it later on.
23.To immerse it in syrup it is a good idea to place it in the mold you baked it in (I’m afraid a spring-form one wouldn’t work for this) and keep adding ladles of syrup until you see it along the rim of the pan. Or you can just soak it in a big bowl keeping your ladle on top of it so it doesn’t float. Once the Savarin is really well soaked carefully move it on a cooling rack positioned over a pan to let the excess syrup drip
24.The soaked Savarin gains in flavor the next day
25.Whatever you decide the day you want to serve it glaze it and fill the hole with your filling of choice and decorate it. You can serve the Savarin with some filling on the side
26.Enjoy it !

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Mine (you know me, it’s shorter) :

Gourmande’s baba/savarin
A :
100 g flour (all purpose or cake or a mix. Roughly 9 or 10% protein)
50 g beaten egg
50 g milk
1 tbs honey (liquid or melted in the milk)
1/2 ts yeast in 1/4 cup of milk, 10 minutes before
1 tbs vanilla extract
(more milk)
B :
30 g butter (salted) or add a pinch of salt

Mix the ingredient A in a bowl. Let 15 minutes. Turn slowly with a pair of bamboo chopstick or a wooden spoon to knead the dough, till it gets a bubble gum texture.
Melt the butter without cooking it, combine with the dought, knead a little more. Let covered in a hot place (40 degrees),
When it raises, put in molds, let raise, bake.

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Tai no kabuto-ni. A helmet of sea bream.

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A Japanese meal with tai no kabuto ni as a main.
Yes, kabuto means helmet, and the resemblance is clear. Well think about those samurai helmets that everybody wears to ride a bicycle in Japan… er, no, but that’s this type with 2 ear flaps :

kabuto source :blog from the place where they make them (click here) . Visit the page for more details. They are display models for Little Boy Festival in May.

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That’s an economical dish as they sell fish heads cheaply. And they sell them ready for this dish. I mean the scales are grated (roughly), and it is split in two. Well veggie readers (I doubt you’re still here) sorry for the view. But for us that eat animals, it’s better to avoid wastes. That said I would eat fish heads anyway. Because there is a lot of flesh in it, and it is of finer texture and tastier.

Recipe :

-Rinse the fish. What you can do is put it on a grill and pour boiling water on it, just once. It makes the fish white and the scales very easy to notice, so you can finish the fismonger’s work. For myself I don’t care if I have scales in my plate, anyway, you need to pick the bones and bits.
-Then it’s a classic nitsuke sauce 1:1:1 , sake, mirin, shoyu soy sauce. And a small piece of kombu seaweed. Put these in a pan with a little water, bring slowly to a boil.
Add the fish. Make a foil cover. Pass to moderate heat. Cook about 15 minutes.

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The veggies are steamed separately. Here 2 colors of carrots. And I had frozen garlic stalks. Let’s get the sides :

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I had kintoki red beans, and kimchi ready.

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A grated veggie salad. A soup, a drink-soup. It’s really water, veggies and black pepper. No salt as there is enough for the meal.

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Genmai, brown rice.

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BUZZ in 2012

Here are the most popular of the past year, some Japanese, some French, some that try to be delicious and healthy. And you like original bread too…

Bonne fin d’année !
Yoi o toshi o !
Enjoy the last hours of the year and party well into next one !

So maybe that would be the ideal party dinner :
(for a photo menu click here)

JAPANESE
Casual, classic, rare and daily…


Osaka’s famous takoyaki.

Perfect Japanese rice in your cast iron pot
Awabi to kimo, abalone in buttered soy sauce
Kabocha salad, a bento lunch box hit

FRENCH
Classics…

Boeuf bourguignon
Fleischnacka, Alsace’s meat snails
Pommes soufflées (puffed potatoes)

HEALTHY FUNNY EXOTIC

Kabocha and carrot kibbeh
Korean style Taisho kintoki beans
Kuzukiri crystal noodles in creamy coriander sauce
Simple 10 minute falafels
Colorslaw

SPECIAL BREADS

Tiger bread
Black rice bread
sprouted hemp seed bread
Rice-cooker steamed black sesame bread
Buckwheat soda bread

HEALTHY TREATS

Tofu pumpkin jewel cake
Black sesame waffle and carob mousse
Red lentil crackers, two flavors

DESSERT AND TEA

Osaka yoghurt cake
Scones for tea…
Black sata andagi (Okinawan donuts)
Rising Sun melon-pan

COFFEE

Love ducks, a yin yang drink
Café au lait, so visited…
Nama choco.

Gourmande November round up

Sweet potato (satsuma imo), potato and persimmon (kaki) season is back.

That’s the album about most of my November meals : November eats. And for vegan menus here.

These are the main topics and visitors’ current obsessions :

Tian casserole with potatoes
Satsuma imo soufflées
Kakicannelle persimmon

Classic revival :
kneppes (Lorraine’s pasta)
roasted chicken
French fries
tarte orangette
simple tarte au chocolat (silky chocolate pie)

Nordic wave :

Mousse de saumon et pain polaire

Swedish bean balls

Plus :
polar bread shrimp wrap
crispbread
mini buckwheat blinis salmon bites

American mood :

Natural yummy banana pudding

raw pumpkin pie

creamy pumpkin pie
Obama pizza
Chicago pizza

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On the road to Christmas :
nutty truffles

Saint-Nicolas, Kurisumasu, Christmas, Noël on Pinterest

sesame Japanese Xmas

Christmas desserts

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Kabocha forever

Steamed rice pudding and burnt kabocha.

Kabocha pumpkin on pinterest

kabocha and hijiki

kabocha mousse

Creamed komatsuna chards, green comfort

This lovely creamy dish is…

…full of leafy greens ! That’s like Mum’s old creamed spinach, just not over-cooked.

A big bunch of komatsuna greens. A classic white sauce, flavored with laurel and cloves, that I’ve let simmer on its own 1/2 hour. To the sauce I’ve added cream cheese and sake kasu to give a stronger cheese flavor.

Cooking the komatsuna with onions.

The greens, eggs with black pepper, the sauce with grated nutmeg. Enjoy very hot !

Mmmm….

Miam miam…