Vanilla Creme Brulee

Absolutely amazing what a little cream, a little sugar and couple of eggs can turn into….  Perfect restaurant quality dessert. A rich custard topped with a hard layer of caramel.  This Vanilla creme brulee is very easy to make if you follow all the steps correctly.

It will perfectly complete your  cafe gourmand if the crème brûlée is served in small ramekins.

Look at this short video ! 🙂

Vanilla Crème brûlée

Natalija
Use vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean, if you don’t have vanilla bean. You could add 2 Tbsp. of rum into the cream if desired. If you don’t own a blow torch, you can always use your broiler as well. You will need to move the top rack in your oven up as high as it will go.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 min
Total Time 6 hrs 11 mins
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 120 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 640 ml whipping cream
  • 6 tsp granulated sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the cream. In a medium bowl, combine together sugar, eggs yolks, vanilla and whisk.
  • Add the cream a little at a time and stir. Remove the scum with a tea spoon.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and pour it into the ramekins. Divide cream mixture among ramekins (about 6 ramekins).
  • Arrange the ramekins in a baking pan with deep sides. And carefully pour water around ramekins so that the water level must reach about 2/3 of the ramekins.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. You will know its ready when the custard is wobbly and jiggle from side to side when nudged (it looks like jello).
  • Remove the custard from the water bath and let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours (overnight).
  • Before serving, cover each cold creme brulee evenly with sugar (1 tsp). Caramelize using a propane torch. If you don’t have one propane torch, use the broiler: put the oven rack about 6 inches away from the broiler. Place the custards on the baking sheet and broil for about 3-5 minutes, or until sugar bubbles and turns golden brown. (Keep a close eye on them, they can burn quickly)

Notes

With remaining eggs white, you could make some Coconut cookies.

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Salmon Теrrine

Make a Salmon Terrine with fresh and smoked salmon, eggs, sour cream, and parsley. This elegant french recipe is a refined and delicious appetizer and it is perfect for cold buffets. Serve the terrine with mayonnaise, vegetables, or a green salad.

Salmon Terrine

Natalija
This Salmon Terrine is served cold and gets even better the next day. Very convenient to prepare in advance.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g salmon fillet with no skin or bones
  • 5 eggs
  • 250 г sour cream
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped
  • 250 g smoked salmon cut into small pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 390° F (180°C). Grease a loaf pan using cooking oil.
  • Cut the fresh salmon into pieces and mix with a food processor.
  • Add the eggs and mix well.
  • Add the sour cream and parsley.
  • Add the smoked salmon, salt and pepper. Mix with a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.
  • Allow the salmon terrine to cool before removing it from the pan. Serve the dish chilled.
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Pumpkin Soup

French recipe for a silky and smooth Pumpkin Soup with two main ingredients. Healthy, colorful, and easy to make. If you have a blender, you have to try this recipe as soon as pumpkins are in season.
To impress your guests, serve this soup in individual pumpkins.

Pumpkin Soup

Natalija
This soup is delicious and silky even without any cream. I add very little, just to make it look beautiful.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 leeks (white part only)
  • 1 medium pie pumpkin or sugar pumpkin (about 1.5 kg)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Some heavy whipping cream or sour cream (optional)
  • Some fresh herbs (cilantro, green onion, parsley) to garnish

Instructions
 

  • Wash and chop the leeks.
  • Wash the pumpkin and cut it in half horizontally. Scrape the inside of the pumpkin clean with the spoon or ice cream scoop (you can use the seeds for another recipe).
  • Peel and cut into regular cubes.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook and stir leeks until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add pumpkin cubes and cook for 5-7 more minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Transfer the veggies into a large pot. Add just enough water to cover them, and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Simmer about 15 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked.
  • Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Add a little more boiling water if the soup is too thick. Taste for flavor, and feel free to add more salt or pepper.
  • Serve hot, with sour or heavy whipping cream and fresh herbs.

For a special presentation:

  • Cut off the top of a small pumpkin and scrape the inside.
  • Before adding the soup, heat the pumpkin for few minutes in the oven, then add the hot soup and serve immediately.
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Cheese and Garlic Stuffed Tomatoes

You can serve this Cheese and garlic stuffed tomatoes as a starter or as a salad.

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Cheese and Garlic Stuffed Tomatoes

Course Appetizers
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Natalija

Ingredients

  • 18 large cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup grated cheese american, cheddar, etc.
  • fresh herbs chives, parsley, basil leaves
  • 2-3 Tbs mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cut off the top of cherry tomatoes. Keep the tops for presentation.
  • Using a small spoon, scoop out the insides of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes upside-down on a paper towel.
  • Remove juice and seeds from the pulp. Mince the pulp.
  • Press garlic using a garlic press. Mix the cheese and garlic together.
  • Add mayonnaise, finely chopped herbs and tomato pulp. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  • Using a spoon, add cheese filling to the tomatoes and place the tops back on top of your cherry tomatoes.
  • Refrigerate tomatoes before serving.

French Chocolate Mousse

Only 2 ingredients are needed to prepare this delicious French chocolate mousse. No dairy products and no sugar added; all you need is dark chocolate and eggs. So simple and so tasty! The only downside is that you should allocate about 4 hours to chill the mousse before serving.

In small individual glasses, the chocolate mousse will be perfect for a cafe gourmand!

French Chocolate Mousse

Natalija
Use very fresh eggs and do not refrigerate the mousse for more than 24 hours. I recommend keeping the mousse in the freezer if it needs to be stored for an extended period of time.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 17 mins
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g dark chocolate chips (60-70% cocoa) or break dark chocolate into small pieces
  • 6 fresh eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions
 

  • Melt chocolate in a microwave (or use a double boiler) until the chocolate is completely melted. If you use a microwave: put the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave for 25 seconds, then stir. Microwave for 25 more seconds and stir again. Continue microwaving and stirring until the chocolate is liquid, smooth, and shiny.
  • Separate egg yolks from the egg whites. Add egg yolks in melted chocolate and mix well.
  • Whisk egg whites with salt until stiff.
  • Carefully fold the egg whites into chocolate using a spatula.
  • You should have a smooth and fluffy mousse.
  • Divide the mousse among individual glasses. Refrigerate your dessert for 4-6 hours.
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Lemon Infused Vodka

This is my home-made lemon infused vodka. This strong alcoholic drink has a pleasant lemon aroma. You can either drink on its own or use it to make cocktails. Please consume with moderation.

Lemon Infused Vodka

Natalija
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 12 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 organic lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 l vodka

Instructions
 

  • Peel the lemon then slice it.
  • Place the lemon slices into the jar then add sugar and vodka.
  • Cover and keep 7 days at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.
  • Discard the lemon slices, strain the infused vodka thru a fine mesh. Transfer vodka into a bottle. Serve chilled or use for the cocktail.
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Pâte brisée Pie shell

Shortbread dough is very popular when making quiche, pie, tart and tartelettes. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to make this unsweetened pie shell. It turns out light, crumbly, crunchy and deliciously buttery. After trying making this recipe you will never go back to store-bought crust again.

Pâte brisée Pie shell

Natalija
Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, then freeze. It can last up to 3 months.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 240 g all purpose flour
  • 2-3 pinches of salt
  • 125 g softened unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-3 Tbsp water

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl or on the clean table surface combine salt and flour together. Add chunks of softened butter.
  • Use finger to combine until crumbly.
  • Add egg yolks and start to knead the dough, only add as much water as dough needs. Do not over-knead.
  • Shape into a ball.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 380°F. Unwrap dough and roll into a thin circle between two pieces of parchment paper.
  • Fit dough into a tart pan, press firmly on bottom and sides. Trim any extra dough. Pick all over with a fork.
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until pie shell is lightly golden.
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Tuna pate with smoked salmon

Delicious Tuna and Smoked Salmon Pate is an amazing appetizer served with fresh or toasted bread.

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Tuna pate with smoked salmon

Course Appetizers
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Natalija

Ingredients

  • 160 g tuna in water drained
  • 5-6 slices smoked salmon
  • 160 g mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh dill to taste

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine together mascarpone cheese and tuna, mash it with fork.
  • Add chopped dill and minced onion, salt and pepper.
  • Add finely chopped smoked salmon and stir together.
  • Transfer to a small dish and garnish with chopped fresh dill or with thin slices of salmon. Cover with food plastic wrap.
  • Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

Lemon Cake

I’ve always had a sweet tooth. Whether it be a plain piece of dark chocolate or a decadent caramel cheesecake, I can’t remember the last time I turned down dessert. My mouth  waters every time I see or think of this Lemon Cake. Each time I’m at Starbucks, I know what I will be ordering. I can’t guarantee  this Lemon loaf tastes exactly like Starbucks, I personally think it’s better. You tell me. 🙂

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Lemon Cake

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Irina

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup yogurt (I use Greek yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Icing

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
  • Combine eggs and sugar.
  • Add lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract.
  • Add vegetable oil and mix.
  • Gradually add greek yogurt and mix until combined.
  • Stir in baking powder.
  • Slowly add flour. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly cover the pan with aluminum foil, and return to the oven, for the last 10 minutes, to prevent excess browning.
  • Cool the loaf in a pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Whisk confectioners' sugar with lemon juice until smooth. Spoon evenly over the loaf and let sit for about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Yule Log (Bûche de Noël)

Chocolate Yule Log (Bûche de Noël) is the French roll cake very popular during the Holiday season. This is a delicious version of Yule Log you can make at home using very simple ingredients you can find in every store.

Chocolate Yule Log (Bûche de Noël)

Natalija
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 6 hrs 55 mins
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients
  

Sugar syrup

  • 150 g sugar
  • 300 ml water

Chocolate ganache

  • 200 ml heavy whipping cream ( 35%)
  • 200 g dark chocolate (60-70% cacao)
  • 15 g unsalted butter

Biscuit

  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 120 g sugar
  • 120 g all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder

Chantilly cream

  • 200 ml heavy whipping cream ( 35%) very cold
  • 25 g mascarpone cheese
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

Decoration

  • Few meringues, pieces of chocolat

Instructions
 

Sugar syrup

  • In a small pot, bring cold water and sugar to the boil. Keep boiling for a few minutes, stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool down. When the syrup is cold, you may add vanilla or the Triple Sec liqueur (optional).

Biscuit

  • Preheat oven to 380 degrees F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until the mixture becomes thick, fluffy, and triples in volume.
  • Using a spatula, gently fold in flour and cocoa powder.
  • Spread the batter evenly in thin layer into the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in center of biscuit comes out clean.
  • Turn upside down onto clean kitchen towel and carefully remove parchment paper. Let cool down.

Chocolate ganache

  • Boil the heavy whipping cream. Pour the boiling cream over the dark chocolate. Wait for one minute.
  • Then mix it until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add butter and mix until this is fully dissolved.
  • Let cool the ganache for about 30 minutes in the fridge. Mix and check frequently: the ganache is ready when it’s not anymore liquid and has a spreadable texture.

Chantilly cream

  • Beat together very cold heavy cream and cold mascarpone cheese until this is whipped. Keep gradually adding sugar.

Assemblage

  • Paint the biscuit with sugar syrup.
  • Spread the chantilly cream evenly over the biscuit.
  • Roll up firmly.
  • Tightly cover with plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge until chocolate ganache is ready.
  • Remove the plastic wrap. Spread the ganache over the cake. Using a fork make lines to look like a log. Transfer the cake to a serving platter and let stand in the fridge for a night or at least 3 hours.
  • Before serving, dust with cacao cocoa powder and decorate with meringues or pieces of chocolate.
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