The Elegant Cook

M-J de Mesterton

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M-J's Cream-Filled Almond Cake

 M-J's Filled Almond Cake, Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009

M-J’s Cream-Filled Almond Cake

1 1/3 cups of granulated white sugar

3/4 cup of raw almonds, finely ground

One tablespoon of almond butter or paste

4 ounces (one stick) of butter, at room temperature

6 large egg whites, at room temperature (reserve egg yolks in a separate bowl for crème pâtissière cake-filling)

½ cup of cream (regular or heavy)

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of all-purpose flour or brown rice flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the middle. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch cake pans with waxed or parchment paper, or butter the pans and dust them with flour.

2. Beat together the sugar and almonds, the tablespoon of vanilla and tablespoon of almond butter until they are well-integrated.

3. Add the room-temperature butter and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Whip the egg-whites with the ¼ teaspoon of salt, and fold them into the almond and butter mixture when they are white. The egg-whites do not have to be very stiff for this batter.

4. Mix together the flour and baking powder with a fork. Gently beat this mixture into the batter.

5. Fill up halfway the two prepared 9” round cake pans. Bake at 350* for about 40 minutes. Cool the cake layers and then release from pans.

Make crème pâtissière with the egg-yolks (recipe follows), and when it is cooled, top one layer of cake with it and place the other layer on top of it. Dust the assembled layer-cake with powdered sugar.

~~Recipe Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009 

 

Crème Pâtissière, or Pastry Cream:


In a 3-quart mixing bowl, beat
One cup of granulated white sugar into
6 egg yolks. Continue beating until the mixture is pale yellow.
Add one half cup of full-fat milk.
Beat in one cup of sifted white all-purpose flour. Mix this very vigorously until the small lumps of egg-yolk disappear into the flour and sugar.

Boil 4 cups of full-fat milk. Add it gradually, in a small stream, to the egg and flour mixture, while stirring. Pour the mass into a heavy 6-quart saucepan and set the stove burner on medium high heat. Stir with a wire-whisk or an electric mixer, careful to include the mixture at bottom of pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula at intervals. When this reaches the boiling-point, turn down the heat to low, continue to beat for 2 to 3 minutes in order to cook the flour thoroughly. Don't let the custard at the bottom of the pot get scorched.

Remove from heat, and incorporate one tablespoon of butter and one teaspoon of vanilla.~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008

 

I made this classic Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba) cake using Julia Child's recipe, which I found in The French Chef Cookbook, page 285. I believe it is also somewhere on the web. ©M-J de Mesterton 

Elegant Lemon-Coconut Pudding
Low-Carb Lemon-Coconut Pudding
Ingredients: instant sugar-free lemon pudding mix, made with coconut milk and unsweetened almond milk instead of the cow's milk recommended on the box, with the addition of some sugar-substitute and a few drops of vanilla. Of course, you could use the sugared variety of instant pudding.
©M-J de Mesterton 2010

 

 

M-J’s Low-Carb Faerie Cakes

M-J's Original Almond-Lemon Flavoured Faerie Cakes, an Elegant Low-Carb Dessert or Tea Offering

3 egg whites, beaten until stiff
1/2 cup of ground plain almonds
Two tablespoons of white flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
One teaspoon of lemon juice
One half-teaspoon of very fine lemon zest (optional)
1/2 cup of cream
1/2cup of plain or vanilla  almond milk, unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
6 tablespoons of Zulko Moreno Sugar, or Splenda

Combine all ingredients except the egg-whites in a mixing bowl and beat together until relatively smooth (almonds will be visible in tiny particles). Fold in beaten egg-whites. Ladle this batter into mini-muffin cups that have been greased with butter. Bake until golden brown in a medium-hot oven, 180°C, (350°F), gas-mark 4 for approximately fifteen minutes. Frosting is optional.
©M-J de Mesterton 2010

Elegant Homemade Brioche

SEE ELEGANT BREAD PAGE for M-J'S ORIGINAL BRIOCHE PICTORIAL-RECIPE

Simply Elegant: Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Everybody loves strawberries with whipped cream, a classic dessert.  Whip fresh cream with powdered confectioners’ sugar according to your taste, or with your choice of alternate sweetener. I used a pastry-bag to pipe the cream in the photo, but you may also put it into a plastic zip-bag with a corner snipped off to squeeze out the wonderful stuff. This gorgeous red-and-white combination may be served alone or set atop a piece of pound cake, or the American favourite, shortcake. Another variation is to drench the fresh strawberries in a reduction of sweetened pomegranate juice for more colour and flavour. Of course, you could serve your strawberries and cream as my English grandfather preferred– just use cream straight from the bottle, pour it over your fresh strawberries, and sprinkle it all with a bit of sugar.

Desserts from France: Nougat Blanc and Calissons de Provence

 

M-J’s Almond Cookies are low in carbohydrates, and high in protein.  Mix together in a large bowl:

Ground Almonds, 2 cups

1 tablespoon of flour

Almond or Peanut Butter, three tablespoons

Egg Whites, 2

Pomegranate Juice or water, 1/4 cup

Ground Flax-Seed, 1/4 cup

One tablespoon of coconut oil or sesame oil

A sweetener such as Nectresse or stevia,  to-taste (if you are on the macrobiotic diet, you may wish to use brown rice syrup or barley malt)

Aluminum-Free Baking Powder, 1 teaspoon

Ginger, 1 teaspoon

Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon

Shape dough into balls and flatten them on an un-greased cookie sheet, and bake in moderately hot oven. Watch cookies carefully; they will brown quickly on the bottom, so it may be necessary to move them to a higher oven rack during the last few minutes of baking.

©M-J de Mesterton 2012

Click Here to Read M-J’s Main Website, Elegant Survival

 

Elegant, nutritious sorbet is easily made at home with frozen fruit. I made this one with frozen strawberries and canned pineapple, a little bit of honey, all processed in a Cuisinart and frozen again for an hour.
©M-J de Mesterton
 

M-J's Classic Christmas Cookies

I have been enjoying these festive shortbread biscuits since I was a child. 

One half-pound of butter

Two and a half cups of flour

One cup of powdered sugar

One tablespoon of milk (full-fat, of course)

One teaspoon of vanilla (imitation vanilla is just as good as the real thing)

One egg yolk mixed with two tablespoons of cream (to brush on top, as a base for sprinkles–adds nice flavour, believe it or not)
If you are going to use icing and a piping bag to decorate these Christmas cookies, skip this.

Method:

The ingredients, except for the egg yolk and cream, are mixed together and rolled out to a quarter (1/4) inch thickness. Then cookie-cutters are employed; the things are brushed with egg yolk/cream and sprinkled with coloured sugar. Sometimes I prefer to decorate the cookies with Swedish pärlsokker, or white pearl sugar. Transfer the cut-out cookies to an upside-down cookie-sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

©2007

M-J de Mesterton   

 

Royal or "seven-minute" icing is cooked in the top level of a double-boiler. This classic, elegant frosting recipe contains four egg-whites, three cups of granulated white sugar, two tablespoons of light corn syrup (Karo brand), a dash of salt, and two-thirds-cup of water. An electric mixer is employed while water simmers underneath the bowl or double-boiler top. I use a Pyrex mixing bowl with handles, hooked up over a Creuset dutch oven. Beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. Frost a cooled cake with it five minutes after the icing has been removed from the cooker.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011 
 
M-J's Elegant White Cake

M-J's Recipe for White Cake


This is a true white cake, which is why I use shortening instead of butter, and egg whites instead of whole eggs. Your egg yolks may be used for custard or creme patissiere.

3/4 cup of white vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups of granulated white sugar
2 cups of bleached, plain all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup)
1 cup of buttermilk
or
regular milk plus 1 teaspoon of white vinegar if you don't have buttermilk
Set your oven's rack at the middle level, and preheat it to 350* Fahrenheit.

Butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper, which you can make by tracing the bottom of pan onto waxed paper with a pencil and then cutting it out with scissors. You can cut out two at a time on layers of paper.

In a large bowl, cream the vegetable shortening and sugar together for about 3 minutes, beating until light and fluffy. I use an electric, hand-held mixer at high speed. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed shortening, then add half of the milk mixture. Continue to alternate, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold this together with a rubber spatula, so that when you begin using the mixer, the flour doesn't fly around the kitchen. Beat until smooth, for about one minute. Stop and scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat your cake batter again for another minute.

Pour the batter into your wax-papered pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.

Cool cake-pans on a rack for 10 minutes, remove cake layers, remove waxed paper and allow the two cake layers to cool completely before frosting. This cooling takes about forty-five minutes. If you frost the cake while it is still warm, your icing will run. This white cake is good with traditional buttercream frosting, coconut, or royal icing. You will frost the top of one cake layer, put the other layer on top of that, and continue icing the whole assembled cake.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008

 

Seven-Minute Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients

Two raw egg-whites
1-1/2 cups of powdered (confectioner's) sugar
5 Tbsp water
A dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
or
1-1/2 teaspoon of light corn syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preparation

Combine the egg whites, sugar, water, cream of tartar, and corn syrup in the top of a double boiler, or in a heat-proof mixing bowl, and mix until thoroughly blended. Place the top portion of the double-boiler, or the mixing bowl, over rapidly boiling water and beat with an electric hand mixer for 7 minutes, or longer at high altitudes, until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and continue beating for another minute. Use the frosting before it hardens.
Spanish Almond Cake

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of raw, dry blanched almonds, skins removed

One small strip of orange or lemon zest

2 tablespoons of lard (manteca)

1 tablespoon of regular white flour

6 eggs

3/4 cup of powdered or super-fine sugar

Method:

Crush the almonds in a food processor or meat-grinder, incorporating the citrus zest of your choice until these ingredients reach a fine, flour-like consistency. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (a high-temperature oven). Grease a shallow spring-form or cake pan (about 13 inches across and 3 inches deep) with lard and then dust it with flour (I use a small, fine-meshed sieve to do this). Separate the egg-yolks from the whites in two bowls. Beat together the yolks, sugar and ground almond mixture. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then gently fold them into the egg-yolk-sugar-almond mixture. Pour this batter into your greased and floured cake-pan. Put the cake into your pre-heated oven, then lower the temperature to 300*  and bake for a half hour or until a matchstick or skewer slipped into the cake comes out clean. Once it has cooled, decorate your almond cake with powdered sugar or flower-shaped dots of icing.

M-J de Mesterton

M-J's Walnut Shortbread Cookies

 

Ingredients

One half-pound of butter (two sticks)

Two and a half cups of flour

One cup of powdered sugar

One third-cup of granulated sugar

One half-teaspoon of salt

One third cup of buttermilk or regular milk

One teaspoon of vanilla (imitation vanilla is just as good as the real thing)

One cup of ground walnuts (I use a food-processor)

Method

Soften butter till just before melting point. Add and incorporate rest of ingredients. Form small balls of dough, set them on a cookie sheet, and flatten with a fork, or any tool you prefer which will put a texture on top of the cookies. A metal cookie-baller, much like a meat or melon-baller, could be useful for forming the cookies. Bake at 350* Fahrenheit for  half an hour.

~~Copyright M-J de  Mesterton 2009

 

Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is believed to have originated in ancient Persia. The Persians' method of creating an ultra-fine and crisp dough eventually spread to Greece and France. The medieval French concoctions, gâteaux feuilletés were so well-loved that Robert, Bishop of Amiens wrote about them in the Charter of 1311. Claude Lorrain, who was to become a famous French landscape painter, is credited with simplifying the process of making puff pastry during his brief stint as a patissièr during the 1600s.~~M-J

 Ingredients:

2 cups of unsalted butter (unsalted butter contains less moisture that the salted variety)

4 cups of unbleached white flour

 1 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 cups of water

Method:

Knead all the butter until it is waxy. Shape it into a flat, square shape, wrap it in plastic or aluminium foil and refrigerate.With a flour-sifter or a fine, hand-held sieve, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Gradually add the water, 1 1/2 cups of it or less, depending upon the phase of the moon, and create a dough that you will now knead for about 25 minutes on a lightly floured, hard surface (a marble slab or kitchen counter), until it is smooth and elastic.Wrap this dough in foil or a damp tea-towel, and chill it for a half-hour.

Roll the chilled dough out into a 1/2 inch-thick square on your well-floured working surface, making sure that the edges are a bit thinner than 1/2-inch.Then, taking your square of chilled butter from the refrigerator and out of its wrapper, dust it with flour and lay it onto the centre of the aforementioned flat dough. Picking up the edges of the dough, cover the butter completely as to envelop it, sealing the edges. Roll out the assemblage, in one direction only, with a floured rolling pin, until it is an 8" X 16"  rectangle. Make sure there are no breaks in the dough's surface that would expose butter.Now, fold 1/3 of the dough onto itself, and lift the other end over this to make three layers.Press down the edges lightly with a rolling pin to seal them.Repeat the rolling and folding process once more. Wrap and then refrigerate this dough for a half-hour. Take it out and repeat the rolling, folding and refrigerating process, in sequence, four more times, doing it the last two required times just before the pastry is going to be used in a recipe.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton  

Semlor, an Elegant Swedish Dessert Bun

Swedish Semlor

This is a traditional Swedish sweet bun that is baked for Shrove Tuesday or Fettisdagen, the second Tuesday in February. It is similar to cardamom braid, but baked in bun-form, split-open and filled with both an almond cream and whipped cream. I believe that semlor were the inspiration for the very popular “Beard Papa" brand dessert of contemporary Japan. Some Swedes put the semla (singular for semlor, the plural) in a bowl with warm milk, also known as ‘hetvägg,’which means ‘hot wall’.  I prefer to eat semlor buns with coffee. An accompanying cup of  light-to-medium roast coffee is a must.

Yield: 16 -20 Semlor Buns


Ingredients for the Buns
75 g butter (about 3/4 stick)
1 cup of milk
One tablespoon (15 ml) or about 25 g of yeast
A half-teaspoon of salt 2.50 ml
10 teaspoons (50 ml) of sugar
3 cups (720 ml) of white or unbleached flour
1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
2 eggs, beaten in a small bowl (you will need a pastry brush to apply this egg-wash to the buns before baking)

The Fillings


300 g (10.5 oz.) of almond paste
1/2 cup of milk (120 ml)
Crumbs from interiors of the baked buns (you will make these after the buns are baked)
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) of heavy whipping cream
One-half cup of confectioners' sugar for adding to the whipped cream and dusting the finished semlorna

Method

  •  Melt the butter in a saucepan, pour in the milk and cook the mixture until lukewarm (99° F).

  •  Put the yeast in a bowl and, adding a little of the warmed butter and milk, whisk until the yeast is completely dissolved.

  •  Add the rest of the butter, milk, salt, sugar, cardamom and most of the flour (set aside a little flour for the work-surface). Knead the dough until it is smooth, shiny, and will not stick to other surfaces, then place it in a large mixing-bowl. Cover the ball of dough with a tea-towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

  • Dust your work-surface and place the dough there. Gently divide it into about 16 to 20 balls that will fit in the cupped palm of your hand.

  •  Place the semlor buns on a baking sheet, and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 440° Fahrenheit.

  • Brush the semlorna with the beaten egg, then bake them for about 10 minutes in the middle of the oven. Let these buns cool on a rack.

  • Cut the tops off of the buns, and remove from them some of their inner crumb, and put this in a mixing-bowl. Mix the moist crumbs with almond paste and 1/2 cup of milk until a soft cream has been created.

  •  Distribute the filling into the buns. Whip the cream with a half-cup of powdered sugar until it is quite stiff, and put a large spoonful  of it on top of each filled bun.
  •  Replace the bun-tops, and dust some powdered (confectioners’) sugar over your finished Swedish semlor buns.

©M-Jde Mesterton 2009
Elegant Baking, Elegant Dessert, Elegant Buns, Elegant Sweet Rolls, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, Elegant Swedish

Croquembouche


Two Cups Makes about Forty Choux or Puff Shells

In a two-quart, heavy saucepan, boil one cup of water,
Six tablespoons of butter,
One teaspoon of salt,
One teaspoon of sugar (OR one 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, depending upon whether the choux-paste will be used for cream puffs or savoury cocktail offerings),
and a pinch of nutmeg.

When butter has melted, remove pot from heat.
Pour into the mixture one cup of flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until the lot is blended.
Put pot back on cooker at high heat, and continue to beat until the contents separate from the sides of the pot. Remove pot from heat again.

Now, you will need four large eggs.
Making a well in the potful of paste, break one egg into it. Beat it into the mixture, and repeat with the following three eggs, one at a time. Continue beating by hand until the paste is smooth.

You are now ready to fill a pastry bag and squeeze the paste onto abuttered baking sheet. In the absence of a pastry bag, you may use a gallon-sized, disposable zipper-bag like Zip-Lock, cutting off a 1/2 inch at one corner of it to emit pâte à choux. If this is still a problem, you may use a spoon to drop the paste onto the baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 425* Fahrenheit.

Use the pâte à choux while it is still warm.

Form the pâte à choux into one-inch diameter circular mounds, 1/2 inch high. Space them two inches apart.

Brush each mound very lightly with beaten egg.

Bake for about twenty minutes. When the puffs are double their original size, golden brown and crusty, they may be removed from the oven. Make a 1/2 inch slit on the side of each puff to release steam.


I like to fill these puffs with Crème Pâtissière, or pastry cream:

In a 3-quart mixing bowl, beat
One cup of granulated white sugar into
6 egg yolks. Continue beating until the mixture is pale yellow.
Add one half cup of full-fat milk.
Beat in one cup of sifted white all-purpose flour. Mix this very vigorously until the small lumps of egg-yolk disappear into the flour and sugar.

Boil 4 cups of full-fat milk. Add it gradually, in a small stream, to the egg and flour mixture, while stirring. Pour the mass into a heavy 6-quart saucepan and set the stove burner on medium high heat. Stir with a wire-whisk or an electric mixer, careful to include the mixture at bottom of pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula at intervals. When this reaches the boiling-point, turn down the heat to low, continue to beat for 2 to 3 minutes in order to cook the flour thoroughly. Don't let the custard at the bottom of the pot get scorched.

Remove from heat, and incorporate one tablespoon of butter and one teaspoon of vanilla.

Choux à la Crème

When the crème patissière is cool enough, use it to fill choux. Dust choux with powdered sugar, drizzle with melted chocolate or with hot caramel sauce.

Crème patissière
 will keep in the refrigerator for a week, or may be frozen.

Petits Choux au Fromage

To make savoury cheese puffs: omit the sugar, add a half-teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and add a cup of grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese to the warm pâte à choux. Bake at 425*F for about twenty minutes or until golden brown. Pierce to release steam from each cheese-puff.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008

 
Elegant Brownies

M-J's Elegant Brownies
One cup of flour 
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
One stick (8 tablespoons) of salted butter
One teaspoon of baking soda
Half cup of boiling water
One cup of sugar
One tablespoon of vanilla 
Two eggs 
One half-cup of chopped walnuts
Optional: one half-cup of chocolate chips 
Pre-heat oven to about 350 Fahrenheit (medium high temperature). Mix the first seven ingredients together with a wooden spoon, add the eggs and walnuts, then transfer the lot onto a baking sheet or into a square pan, depending upon your preference (the brownies in my photo were cooked on a baking sheet). Spread the brownie batter to about 3/4 inch thick. 
Bake for about thirty minutes, or until top of brownies cracks open a bit.
©M-J de Mesterton 2006
 
 
Elegant Dessert Bread and Pies

CANDINAVIAN CARDAMOM BRAID, "Pulla"

Finnish Pulla (Cardamom Bread)

1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk
2 packets active dry yeast
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
4 eggs, beaten
9 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons white sugar
Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (approximately 2 cups). Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add about 3 cups of the flour and beat well; the dough should be smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter or margarine, and stir well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff.
Turn out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down, and let rise again until almost doubled.
Turn out again on to a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 3 again. Roll each piece into a 12 to 16 inch strip. Braid 3 strips into a loaf. You should get 3 large braided loaves. Lift the braids onto greased baking sheets. Let rise for 20 minutes.
Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. I use Swedish pearl sugar, or parlsöcker.
Bake at 375* for 25 to 30 minutes. Check occasionally because the bottom burns easily.
 
Finnish Cardamom Bread "Pulla"

Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008


M-J'S CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE TART 

M-J’s Chocolate Truffle Tart

One cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
One tablespoon of butter

One can of evaporated milk

Four tablespoons of cocoa powder

One tablespoon of vanilla

One cup of powdered sugar

1 and a half tablespoons of cornstarch

One half-cup of heavy whipping cream

One egg

Crumb-crust as described below

In a stainless steel pot, heat the chocolate chips, butter and cocoa powder, stirring with a wooden spoon until they are mixed together. Add one can of evaporated milk gradually, incorporating it into the chocolate mass with the help of a wire-whisk. Dump the cup of powdered sugar into this, again using the whisk to mix it into the other ingredients. In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, mix the cornstarch with a little of the cream, then add all cream to the mixture, together with one raw egg, and beat all of this together before adding it to the pot. Once you have poured this mixture into the pot of now-lukewarm milk and chocolate, whisk continuously and cook for twenty minutes over low heat until thick. Cool this pudding slightly and pour it into a 9-inch spring-form or cake pan that has been prepared with a cookie-or-graham cracker crust. Refrigerate for about two hours.

 

Crumb-Crust

One and a half cups of ground cookies or graham cracker crumbs, which can be made in a food-processor or blender. The cookies should not contain chocolate pieces, though almonds and other nuts are good additives. The flavour of your tart's crust will depend upon that of your crumbs.

One third-cup of cream

Three tablespoons of butter

One half-teaspoon of baking powder

One tablespoon of flour

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl until they form a dough-like ball. Coat the entire  inside of a spring-form or cake pan with this dough, using your hands and some waxed paper for pressing it in evenly. Bake the crust for twenty minutes at 350* Fahrenheit.

 

 Below: M-J's Crumb-Crust, Baked and Ready for Filling

 

 

Top this chocolate truffle tart with whipped cream when serving it. Alternatively, cover it with meringue and bake in a hot oven for a few minutes until the meringue peaks are light brown.

 

Pictured below is my finished product. I used my own almond cookies ground up for the crumb-crust. A couple of hours after filling and cooling it, I inverted my baked   and cooled tarte onto a piece of waxed paper, and then inverted it again onto a platter. A spring-form pan, which I didn't use, will allow you to make M-J's Chocolate Truffle Tart without those steps, and it will look much more attractive. This recipe was created and developed on Thanksgiving Day 2006. Copyright 2006 © M-J de Mesterton

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M-J's Elegant Low Carbohydrate Walnut Torte
Original Recipe by M-J de Mesterton
6 Egg whites, brought to room temperature and whipped until stiff (add a sprinkling of salt to accelerate action; also, egg whites stiffen more swiftly in a copper bowl)
One cup of walnuts, shelled and ground (I grind them in a blender on “pulse” setting)
Two tablespoons of butter, softened
One-fourth cup of heavy dairy cream
One teaspoon of aluminum-free baking powder (in the absence of this, use a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda)
One half-teaspoon of Himalayan (or regular) Salt
Ten packets of Splenda or Stevia sugar-substitute
One tablespoon of vanilla
One tablespoon of dark corn syrup or treacle. In the absence of this, use a tablespoon of brown sugar.
Fold ingredients together to create a batter, being careful not to overwork it.

Grease a pie-pan with shortening, lard or butter. Pre-heat oven to moderate high (350*F or its equivalent). Pour batter into pan, and bake for about thirty minutes. Cake will have turned from a pale batter to a warm medium brown. This torte is excellent with coffee as-is, or topped with whipped cream for dessert. TIP: You can serve pieces of this cake to guests who love sweets. Just pierce the cake and pour maple syrup over it. Then what you will have is a maple-walnut torte.
You can convert my recipe into a “low-fat, high-sugar” torte by eliminating the Splenda and adding instead one cup of sugar (if you like, you can use brown sugar and skip the treacle) and one tablespoon of flour. Omit the cream and one tablespoon of butter. Walnut torte is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to one's health.
©M-J de Mesterton 2006
Original Recipe by M-J de Mesterton

6 Egg whites, brought to room temperature and whipped until stiff (add a sprinkling of salt to accelerate action; also, egg whites stiffen more swiftly in a copper bowl)

One cup of walnuts, shelled and ground (I grind them in a blender on “pulse” setting)

Two tablespoons of butter, softened

One-fourth cup of heavy dairy cream

One teaspoon of aluminum-free baking powder (in the absence of this, use a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

One half-teaspoon of Himalayan (or regular) Salt (see my health page for the most economical source)

Ten packets of Splenda sugar-substitute

One tablespoon of vanilla

One tablespoon of dark corn syrup or treacle. In the absence of this, use a tbs. of brown sugar.

Fold ingredients together to create a batter, being careful not to overwork it.

Grease a pie-pan with manteca, shortening, lard or butter. Pre-heat oven to moderate high (350*F or its equivalent). Pour batter into pan, and bake for about thirty minutes. Cake will have turned from a pale batter to a warm medium brown. This torte is excellent with coffee as-is, or topped with whipped cream for dessert. TIP: You can serve pieces of this cake to guests who love sweets. Just pierce the cake and pour maple syrup over it. Then what you will have is a maple-walnut torte.

 

M-J's Elegant Low Carbohydrate Walnut Torte

Original Recipe by M-J de Mesterton

6 Egg whites, brought to room temperature and whipped until stiff (add a sprinkling of salt to accelerate action; also, egg whites stiffen more swiftly in a copper bowl)

One cup of walnuts, shelled and ground (I grind them in a blender on “pulse” setting)

Two tablespoons of butter, softened

One-fourth cup of heavy dairy cream

One teaspoon of aluminum-free baking powder (in the absence of this, use a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

One half-teaspoon of Himalayan (or regular) Salt (see my health page for the most economical source)

Ten packets of Splenda sugar-substitute

One tablespoon of vanilla

One tablespoon of dark corn syrup or treacle. In the absence of this, use a tbs. of brown sugar.

Fold ingredients together to create a batter, being careful not to overwork it.

Grease a pie-pan with manteca, shortening, lard or butter. Pre-heat oven to moderate high (350*F or its equivalent). Pour batter into pan, and bake for about thirty minutes. Cake will have turned from a pale batter to a warm medium brown. This torte is excellent with coffee as-is, or topped with whipped cream for dessert. TIP: You can serve pieces of this cake to guests who love sweets. Just pierce the cake and pour maple syrup over it. Then what you will have is a maple-walnut torte.

You can convert my recipe into a “low-fat, high-sugar” torte by eliminating the Splenda and adding instead one cup of sugar (if you like, you can use brown sugar and skip the treacle) and one tablespoon of flour. Omit the cream and one tablespoon of butter. Walnut torte is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial t

 

 
 
M-J's Elegant Apple Pie Recipe

4 cups of white flour (I prefer unbleached flour for a more richly coloured crust)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of salted butter, cut into 8 pieces
¾ cup of lard (“manteca”)
7 Fuji apples--cored, peeled, and thinly sliced (reserve peels and cores)
2 tablespoons of cornstarch (corn flour)
1/4 cup light-brown sugar (or more, according to your taste)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup of cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 additional half stick of butter
An extra 2 tablespoons of sugar, either white or brown
One cup of water
Directions
1. Make the dough: put one stick of cold butter into a large mixing bowl, together with the 3/4 cup of chilled lard and a teaspoon of salt. Add flour gradually, working it into the butter and lard. Add approximately 3/4 cup of cold water, then cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms small pea-shaped balls, and when formed into a large mound, it holds together. Sometimes less cold water is required--believe it or not, the amount needed to make a pie dough with this recipe depends upon the moon.'s current phase. Mix this by hand, since using machines will create a tough pie crust.  I use an old-fashioned wire potato masher and a wooden spoon. When the dough sticks together but doesn't stick to your hands, shape it into 2 balls, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Put all of your apple peelings and cores into a saucepan on the stove with a cup of water and two tablespoons of sugar, and boil until the liquid becomes syrup. Strain liquid from solids and reserve it. The peelings can then be eaten or ground into applesauce--it's important not to waste any edible part of your apples.
3. Assemble the pie: heat your oven to 425°F. Roll out one ball of dough into a 12-inch round about 1/8-inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Fit the dough into a 9 or 10-inch pie pan (I use an old, white Corning glass one). Place one layer of apple slices into the dough-lined pan. Cover them with two tablespoons of cornstarch and a quarter-cup of brown sugar. Repeat this process with apples, sugars and cinnamon. Distribute the half-stick of butter on top of the apples after slicing it into bits. Add your apple syrup over the top of the pie. Alternatively, I sometimes skip the step of creating syrup from my apple peelings, and just use some apple juice concentrate (found in grocery frozen juice section).
Roll out the second ball of dough for the top crust. Brush the edges of the bottom crust with water or milk, and lay the top crust down, pressing the edges together to form a tight seal. Use your imagination to pierce or slice a design into the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for ten minutes at 425*F, then lower your oven heat to 350* and bake for another hour. Let the apple pie cool for a minimum of two hours before serving.
Elegant Apple Pie Recipe Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008
Alternatively, a quiche pan maybe used to create an apple tart as shown below.


For the tarte tatin pictured below, I pre-baked the crust in a flan pan, turned it out, filled it with apples, brown sugar, concentrated apple juice, a small amount of cornstarch (corn flour), butter bits, then dusted the surface with cinnamon-sugar and baked the tart forty-five minutes in a very hot oven. I served it for a four-person dinner party, and offered home-made, vanilla-flavoured whipped cream as a topping.

 

 

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M-J's Elegant Baked Alaska Dessert 

 

Baked Alaska, an Elegant Dessert Individual Baked Alaska desserts were prepared on oven-proof McCoy "brown drip" plates.
M-J's Simple Instructions:

Classic pound-cake is hollowed-out in the middle, filled with vanilla ice cream, topped with meringue, and baked for a few minutes until the edges are lightly-browned.  

 ©M-J de Mesterton 2011 

 

Tarte aux Figues

TARTE AUX FIGUES

Pour 6 personnes:

800 g de petites figues fraîches

75 g d'amandes en poudre

75 g de sucre en poudre

200 g de farine

120 g de beurre sel.

Dans une terrine mélangez intimement 100 g de beurre coupé en petits morceaux la farine et 2 pincées de sel. Ajoutez juste assez d'eau (de 6 à 8 cl selon la farine) pour obtenir une pâte souple mais non collante; travaillez assez rapidement du bout des doigts. Roulez cette pâte en boule et laissez-la reposer au moins 1 h. Faites chauffer le four (th 7 1/2 220øC).

Beurrez un moule à tarte. Essuyer soigneusement les figues puis équeutez-les fendez légèrement en croix la partie pointue. Mélangez sucre et amandes en poudre pilez pour bien amalgamer le tout. Etalez la pâte avec un rouleau à pâtisserie et tapissez-en le moule. Saupoudrez uniformément le fond les 2/3 du mélange sucre-amandes. Rangez très régulièrement les figues par-dessus bien serrées côté pointu tourné vers le haut. Saupoudrez-les avec le reste du mélange aux amandes. Enfournez pour 40 mn. Démoulez chaud sur une grille. Servez tiède ou froid selon votre goût.

M-J's Elegant Christmas Cookies

M-J's Christmas Cookies

 

One half-pound of butter

Two and a half cups of flour

One cup of powdered sugar

One tablespoon of milk (full-fat, of course)

One teaspoon of vanilla (imitation vanilla is just as good as the real thing)

One egg yolk mixed with two tablespoons of cream (to brush on top, as a base for sprinkles–adds nice flavor, believe it or not)
If you are going to use icing and a piping bag to decorate these Christmas cookies, skip this.

Method:

The ingredients, except for the egg yolk and cream, are mixed together and rolled out to a quarter (1/4) inch thickness. Then cookie-cutters are employed; the things are brushed with egg yolk/cream and sprinkled with colored sugar. Sometimes I prefer to decorate the cookies with Swedish pärlsokker, or white pearl sugar. Transfer the cut-out cookies to an upside-down cookie-sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

©2007

M-J de Mesterton 

 

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Elegant Orange-Vanilla Parfait for Low-Carb Diets

 M-J's Orange-Vanilla Low-Carb Dessert

 Sugar-free orange gelatine (two small .3 ounce/8.5 g boxes or one .6 oz./17 g box) mixed with two cups  of boiling water, 8 ounces (one packet) of cream cheese, one tablespoon of vanilla and calorie-free sweetener to-taste, whisked together in a stainless steel measuring cup.  The cream cheese replaces the two cups of cold water that two small boxes of gelatine usually require. This  carb-free parfait was refrigerated in the Swedish stainless steel measuring cup that it was mixed in, and 8 hours later released onto a plate by running some hot water over the outside  of it. Top with whipped cream for a fancier presentation.

© M-J de Mesterton 2010