Raw plant based beet brownie with chantilly and kumquat

Hi Everyone!

This is just a quick post of the recipe of my final project dessert at Matthew Kenney Culinary. I have just finished the course, and this dessert, which my husband found so amazingly good, is definitely worth a quick post here, because Valentine Day is coming… And some of you might want to make something, that is stunning, delicious, decadent, and leaves your body light after eating it….. you know, for the rest of the night 🙂

So here it is.

Beet brownie

Walnut / Chantilly / Kumquat

_dsc5186-2

This dessert has more components, you decide which parts you want to add . The beet brownie itself is rich, relatively sweet, chocolate-y.  The chantilly cream goes really well with it, the sauce adds some bright fruity flavor and the kumquat chips, which are my favorites deliver crunch, tartness, so a bit of a punch.

Beet brownie

  • 1 C walnuts (+1 Tbsp chopped to mix in)
  • 1 C soft medjool date
  • 3 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 3 Tbsp grated, dried beet. If you have no time to dry in the dehydrator, make sure you squeeze it very well with a paper towel
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Combine ingredients  (except for 1 Tbsp of the walnut, grated beet and the cocoa nibs) in a food processor until sticky and still has a bit of texture. Do not blend to smooth.  Blend in leftover cocoa nibs, grated beet and chopped walnuts.  Transfer dough into a tin, press it down and refrigerate.

For the ganache

  • 1/2 C dark agave
  • 3 Tbsp  melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup raw caco powder
  • pinch of salt

Mix agave well with coconut oil and slowly mix in cacao powder, constantly stirring until fully incorporated. Spread ganache evenly on top of chilled brownie and put back in the fridge, or freezer so it cools really well so you will be able to cut. It is a soft brownie so you need proper cooling.

 

Chantilly cream

½ C Soaked cashew
½ c coconut meat
¼ C Almond milk
¼ C agave
Squeeze Lemon juice
2 tsp Vanilla extract
½ Vanilla bean
pinch of salt
¼ C Coconut oil

Blend all the wet ingredients except for coconut oil until smooth. Gradually add coconut oil to emulsify. Keep it in fridge and either pipe, or simply scoop for plating.

Kumquat chips

Slice kumquats starting at both ends. Kumquat has the seeds in the middle of the fruit. If you slice them from both ends, you will be left with the middle part with the seeds which you can use for the puree.

Place kumquat slices on the mesh sheet and dehydrate overnight, until crispy.

Kumquat, blood orange puree

  • 1/4C chopped kumquat
  • 2-3 Tbps blood orange juice
  • 1 tsp coconut nectar
  • 1 T lemon juice

Blend kumquat with orange juice and coconut nectar until smooth.  Put in dehydrator for an hour. It will thicken, without actual cooking. Before serving push it through a mash strainer if you want a really smooth texture.

To plate put some kumquat puree on the plate, place small brownie cubes, alternated with Chantilly cream on the puree and decorate with lots of kumquat chips.

 

ENJOY!

 

Beet brownies

Beetroots

They are warm in both color and taste. Sweet, earthy and really beautiful. There are three different varieties always available at the markets here in Southern California. The golden beet with its orange color, the red beet with its dark, purple red meat and the chioggia which is a white red striped beet.

_DSC2613.jpg

A few days ago I used all three different varieties in a beet salad with walnut and rye bread crumbles and a buttermilk, sheep ricotta foam. Roasted the red and orange beet and left the chioggia raw to show off its amazing beauty.

_DSC2632.jpg

I was left with lots of red beet. Once I saw a brownie recipe from Georgina Fuggle, who is a British chef, and she used beet in her brownies. So I thought to give it a try, because I really love brownies. There is nothing different than in any other brownies, except for adding grated beets. It turned out really good. In certain spots you can actually taste the beets, and it is a really rich, gooey yummy brownie.

I made a small portion, as you can see in this loaf tin. Because of the richness of the brownie I think this is easily good for 6-8 portions. Especially if you follow my lead and serve it with an eggnog (or vanilla) ice cream and a caramel sauce 🙂

_dsc2662

Ingredients for the above size:

  • 4.5 oz good quality 70% dark chocolate
  • 3.5 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp of instant good quality espresso coffee
  • 1/4 lb cleaned, grated raw red beetroot (about 2 smaller ones)
  • 2 eggs, beaten to very good foamy state
  • 7 oz caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch of salt

_dsc2682-2

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 360 F.
  • Butter a loaf tin, line it with parchment and butter the parchment too.
  • Melt dark chocolate, coffee granulates and butter on low heat, very gently.
  • When completely melted, mix in grated beets, sugar and well beaten eggs.
  • Sift in flour and cocoa powder and a pinch of salt
  • Combine very well.
  • Pour batter into the tin.
  • Place on middle rack in the oven.
  • Turn down heat to 350F after about 5 minutes.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes, but keep checking. Exterior should be crunchy, inside gooey.
  • Let it cool completely in the tin.
  • Serve it with eggnog ice cream and caramel sauce for the holidays 🙂 or just with fresh red fruits. The first version will be a pretty heavy dessert option.

_dsc2674

TIP:    You can make caramel sauce by caramelizing cane sugar in a heavy bottom pan, and adding heavy cream to it and melting them together. Or just simply adding brown sugar to heavy cream, bringing all to a boil and cook it for a little while.

 

 

 

 

Plum financier

Next to the madeleine, the financier is probably the most popular little French cake, common street food for morning or afternoon snacking. The cake’s name probably comes from the fact that a financier resembles a solid gold brick. Curiously, as popular as they are, financiers seldom appear in recipe books or in French literature.

The secret to a good financier is in the baking: For a good crust, they must begin baking in a very hot oven. Then the temperature is reduced to keep the interior moist. Placing the molds on a thick baking sheet while they are in the oven is an important baking hint from the Left Bank pastry chef Jean-Luc Poujauran, who worked for months to perfect his financiers, which are among the best in Paris.” – Epicurious

My version has plums in it, because I need to use those beautiful, flavorful market plums and it is such a great fruit when it starts baking. And it goes so perfectly with the almond taste of these little cute financiers.

You can of course experiment with any kind of fruits but make sure the one you choose will not release too much juice, and ruins the texture of the financier.

DSC_8776.jpg

Ingredients for 9 financiers

  • 3 1/4 oz unsalted butter, plus some extra for greasing the tin
  • 4 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 10 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 plums, each sliced into 8 slivers, sprinkled with cinnamon and golden cane sugar if very tart (you will have a few slivers left)
  • icing sugar and toasted almond to serve

DSC_8796

Instructions

  1. Prepare a muffin tin with at least 9 holes and grease them very well with butter. This will help in developing a nice crust on the outside of your petit financier.
  2. Melt butter completely and transfer into a small bowl and let it cool a little bit.
  3. In a bowl mix egg whites and almond extract. Don’t have to whip the egg whites, just mix properly.
  4. In another bowl add flour, almond flour, sugar and pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add egg whites to the dry mixture, mixing well.
  6. Gradually pour in the melted butter, mixing constantly, to achieve pancake batter texture.      TIP      I suggest to have some extra melted butter and almond flour by hand in case you need to adjust batter. In baking the variables are endless, and anything that works at sea level in my dry kitchen with my home grounded almond flour, will very well may not be exactly the same in your home!
  7. Pour butter in muffin tin, filling each hole only to 1/3. You want some pretty short financiers.
  8. Arrange 3-4 plum slivers in each one.
  9. Start baking in a hot oven, around 410 F. Bake only for 8 minutes, keeping an eye on it. If you see any quick browning around the edge, turn the heat down.
  10. After 8 minutes turn the temperature to 320F and finish baking. From this point they will need around 8 more minutes.

DSC_8790

You can serve the financiers warm, with a little bit of caramelized plum and tarragon sauce on the side. If you wish so, here is my version. Don’t be scared of combining plum and tarragon. It is a really great match! If it is really new for you, add just a little tarragon first, and taste after a bit of cooking and you will see if you like the combination and if you want to add more of this fragrant herb.

Ingredients for caramelized plum and tarragon sauce

  • 1 pound of black plum, pitted and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup of golden cane sugar
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced
  • chopped tarragon – according to your taste, I suggest 1 tablespoon

Instrucions

  1. Sprinkle sugar evenly in a thick bottom pan. Put on medium heat and without stirring let it melt and then caramelized. Be careful, not to burn it!
  2. Once it is caramelized, add plums and lemon juice and give it a stir.
  3. Once starts bubbling, reduce heat, add tarragon and start cooking without lid on.
  4. Cook it to a texture you want, depending on whether you want to have chunks of plum or you want it more sauce-y.
  5. Taste at some point and add more lemon juice or tarragon if needed.

 

DSC_8800.jpg

 

Ricotta and peach crepes

You will probably see from my posts that I don’t bake a lot. The reason for that is I am not the cake, cookie, biscuit type of person. If I had to chose between a savory dish and piece of perfect cake, I would take the savory dish. 100% of the time.

But this doesn’t mean I don’t eat any sweets. I just simply like other types. I love trifles, crepes, meringue roulade, layered creamy, fruity pots with caramel, chocolate, whipped cream, etc…. 🙂  And these are the kinds of desserts I make when we have dinner guests.

Now that summer is in full swing, the market is overloaded with peach and nectarine. They are not my favorite fruits, but this year they are AMAZING! Farmers at the market told me that this is the result of a cooler winter and the fruits are really great this year. They are just as good as the ones I remember from Hungary. Juicy and sweet with a touch of tartness.

Peach is really good poached, grilled, baked and matches perfectly with almond, ricotta, farmers cheese, lemon, mint. So you can come up with many things that involve these ingredients. I chose one for you which is really simple and if you listen to my advice on how to, you can make a really flavorful and balanced dessert.

The dessert will have 3 components. Crepes, peach in syrup, lemon scented ricotta.

DSC_6298.jpg

CREPES

ingredients (makes 12 small ones)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup full fat milk
  • 2 tbsp sparkling water
  • 1/2 cup flour (approximate, depends on many things. mix in just as much to get cream thickness
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbs melted butter

instructions

Mix egg, milk, sparkling water. Add sifted flour. Adjust amount to get the thickness of cream. Season with salt and sugar. Put in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, better overnight. Take batter out of the fridge 30 minutes before starting to make crepes. Before starting to make crepes add 1 tbsp of melted butter, give it a last stir. If you find it is too thick add a bit of sparkling water.

PEACH IN SYRUP

DSC_6237.jpg

ingredients ( for 12 small crepes )

  • 4 bigger, ripe but not too soft peaches, halved and pitted.
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp raw cane sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • water
  • juice of half of a lemon

instructions

Put peaches in a pot in a single layer. Try and use just as big of a pot so that the peaches can take up all the space. Otherwise you will need way too much more water and sugar. Add water, sugar and almond extract and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Do not cover! Cook on low heat until peaches cooked but will not fall into pieces. Take peaches out and continue to cook the syrup so it can get thicker. Cook until it has thickness of cream. Put peaches back in the pot, add some mint springs and lemon verbena if you have it and let it cool.

DSC_6251

RICOTTA CREAM

ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 15 oz ricotta at room temp (1/2kg tehenturo – for Hungarians)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

instructions

Mix egg yolks with sugar until fully dissolved and lightens up in color and grows a bit of volume. Add ricotta, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and mix with a fork thoroughly. Keep it in the fridge if you don’t use it immediately.

Assemble the crepes

Put 1-2 tsp of ricotta on one quarter of the crepe. Add a few slices of peach. Fold into half and half again, so you get the triangle shape. Try one, to see how much filling you like. I find that one crepe needs a little bit less than half of a peach.

To serve drizzle some syrup over the crepe, sprinkle with chopped mint and toasted, chopped almond. Almond is a must!!!!

ENJOY!

DSC_6291

 

 

 

 

Vanilla rice pudding, balsamic strawberry sauce and strawberry nectarine salad

How to make this yummy balsamic strawberry sauce?

Chop 1 pound of strawberries and cook it on low heat with about 1/2 cup of white cane sugar, juice of 1/2 lemon,  1 T very good quality, thick balsamic vinegar and approx. 1/3 cup of water.  Feel free to adjust, you have to end up with a sweet, thick sauce. Cook it until you achieve a thick consistency, the strawberries are falling apart but you still have some big pieces.

DSC_4970-2
And the fruit salad that will be sweet and fragrant?

Chop strawberries and white nectarines into similar size. (I chopped them small, bigger one is good, but not too big) Mix it with chopped lemon verbena and anise hyssop. In case you don’t have access to these herbs you can use mint and lemon zest. Finish off with finger lime caviars, or if you don’t have this fun fruit just squeeze some lime juice on it.

Vanilla rice pudding

Cook 1C of risotto rice in an equal mixture of water and full fat milk, pinch of salt and the seeds of a vanilla pod. You need to cook it as with a risotto, continuously adding small amount and stirring. When you feel the rice is cooked add a good 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream and keep stirring on low heat until all the cream soaked in. Add 1-2 T white cane sugar. Taste. It shouldn’t be very sweet because you will have a really sweet strawberry sauce to go with it!!!

 

DSC_5024

And what is that beautiful blue flower on top?

I decorated the pot with tiny anise hyssop and lemon verbena leaves, borage flower and bachelor button petals.

This is borage. Its flower is used for decoration, it has a sweet, fresh taste, really special. The leaves can be used in tea and cooked as stinging nettle!

DSC_4815

Farmer’s cheese dumpling and strawberry textures

This idea came as a result of my love for farmer’s cheese which is the closest dairy product to the very popular Hungarian “tehenturo”. We, Hungarians love our “tehenturo” which, if I really want to try to describe, I would say it is more like a curdled soft cheese. We consume a huge amount in both savory and sweet dishes. One of its most popular use is to make it into a dumpling using wheat farina. It is almost like a gnudi which is ricotta, flour and egg but instead of the flour we use the creamy wheat farina. After cooking it in water it is usually drenged in toasted breadcrumb. Instead of the breadcrumb I used ground pistachio but you can also make it with toasted ground almond or a mixture of ground almond and breadcrumb.

To make it a fresh and summer-y dessert I served it with a thick strawberry sauce and summer fruit salad. You will have a well-balanced, light dessert with the sweet sauce, lemony cheese dumpling and a sweet-tart, bright fruit salad.DSC_4918

When you make the dumpling there is one important thing. You have to mix the ingredients well in advance and let it rest 3-4 hours in the fridge to make sure the wheat farina, which is coarse, will have time to soak the egg and farmer’s cheese mix so the dumpling will not fall into parts when cooking.

FIRST.    Start making the strawberry coulis. Chop 1 pound of strawberries and cook it on low heat with about 1/2 cup of white cane sugar, juice of 1/2 lemon,  1 T very good quality, thick balsamic vinegar and approx. 1/3 cup of water.  Feel free to adjust, you have to end up with a sweet, thick sauce. Cook it until you achieve a tick consistency, the strawberries are falling apart but you still have some big pieces.

DSC_4970-2
While the coulis is cooking prepare the fruit salad. Chop strawberries and white nectarines into similar size. (I chopped them small, bigger one is good, but not too big) Mix it with chopped lemon verbena and anise hyssop. In case you don’t have access to these herbs you can use mint and lemon zest.

DSC_4910

I also added finger lime. Inside the shell there are tiny lime caviar drops. Nature practiced molecular gastronomy, in particular spherification :). The reason I like using this because it will not make your whole salad taste lime but you will have the sweetness of strawberries and nectarine and you get the pops of tartness and fragrance from the finger lime when you bite on those caviars.

DSC_5028

 

Ingredients for the cheese dumpling:

  • 8 oz farmer’s cheese (1 box of Bellwether Farms farmer’s cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 T creamy wheat farina ( I buy Bob’s Red Mill, available at Wholefoods at cereal section)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 T white fine cane sugar or caster sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon

Instruction and plating

  1. Mix egg yolk, lemon zest, sugar, salt and farmer’s cheese.
  2. Add creamy wheat farina
  3. Whip egg whites into hard peaks.
  4. Carefully mix egg whites into the cheese mixture.
  5. Cover and let it rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours so that the wheat farina can soak the moisture.
  6. Boil water with 1t salt.
  7. Wet your hands, form balls (not bigger than a golf ball) and cook them in the boiling water. They will need at least 5 minutes, do not take them out when they come to surface. Try one to make sure.
  8. Have your toasted breadcrumb/nuts ready, warm and while the dumplings still warm dredge them in it.
  9. Plate them on top of strawberry coulis with some fruit salad and some edible flowers and leaves of mint/anise  hyssop if you have these.

DSC_4917