Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Julia Child: Caramel Almond Cream

Since a few months I'm the proud owner of Mastering the Art of French Cooking from Julia Child, a cooking bible written in the sixties.
I think Julia Child is one of the most famous tv-cooks I've known and she even got her own biography and film: Julia and Juliette.

In the upcoming months I'm trying to make a lot of recipes from these books (there are two volumes). To make a great start I've begun with a dessert. A caramel almond cream. I've made it child friendly, so I left out the rum.
And because the recipe contains raw eggs be careful with children until 4, pregnant women, elderly and sick people

I've put all the ingredients in one list, unlike Julia Childs method, because that works better for me.

The result: a real nutty, slightly crunchy creme, full of sweetness. Yes the first recipe is a winner!

Ingredients (for 6 persons), adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child):

  • lady fingers;
  • 4 tablespoons coffee;
  • 4 egg yolks;
  • 170 grams sugar + 1 tablespoon;
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour;
  • 600 mL boiling milk;
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla-extract;
  • 1 tablespoon butter;
  • 4 egg whites;
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons almond slivers;
  • 2 tablespoons water.

Boil 100 grams of sugar with 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan until the sugar caramelises. When the sugar has got an amber colour, toss in the almonds. Bring to a boil and spread the mixture on a baking plate which is covered with baking paper. After 15 minutes the mixture cooled down and you can break it into small peaces. When you want to make a crumble use a blender. 

Caramel almond cream
Arrange the lady fingers in a bowl and sprinkle 4 tablespoons coffee on them. Get a second bowl and whisk 4 egg yolks with 70 grams of sugar until they are fluffy. The mixture has the right texture when it's slightly thicken and the egg yolks colored from the intense yellow color to a pale colour.  Take the pan with boiling milk in your left hand and the whisk in your right hand. Poor the milk, very slowly in the egg yolk mixture while you whisk. When all the milk is whisked in poor back into the pan and boil for another two minutes on low heat. Remain whisking with a wooden spoon. Turn of the heat and add the vanilla-extract and the butter. Mix everything well. Make sure for this step that everything is very clean. Egg whites don't set when there is fat in your equipment (and egg yolks got a lot of fat, so clean very well). Take a second bowl and beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar on top and beat until stiff peaks are formed. You know when the egg whites are stiffen enough when you can hold the bowl upside down and nothing drips out. Take a spatula and mix 3 tablespoons of praline through the egg whites. With a spatula mix the egg whites through the hot cream. Don't whisk but mix gently to contain the fluffiness.
Use 6 small bowls or 1 big bowl. Layer the bottom with the lady fingers. Spoon the cream on top. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Just before serving sprinkle praline on top.

4Pure: Caramel almond cream

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