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Frenchie and Apple Brownies

23 Nov

I’m not going to hide it.

I’m currently planning the last details of a big Thanksgiving meal and feast – busy week ahead.

But I am also finishing up the last crumbs of a second apple brownie square – and in my humble opinion, it disappeared way too quickly.

You know, when you wet your finger to make the last crumbs on the plate stick to it.

Yes, it would be a crime to leave crumbs on the plate.

I’d even consider it a waste!

Oui, oui!

Lately, the oven has seen pesto croutons, dense and moist coconut almond cakes, caramelized roasted fall vegetables with herbs and olive oil and so much more.

A busy oven as well.

But if my oven could talk – oh the things it would confess! – I am pretty sure it would say the brownies are an all-time favorite.

Call them apple squares or apple blondies.

I like to think of them as apple brownies without chocolate.

Perfect in the morning. Perfect as a snack. Perfect on your Thanksgiving table.

And let’s not pretend this recipe was foolproof after the first attempt.

Of course, I had to test and make several batches!

Pour essayer, pour goûter.

Oh the joys of fall cooking!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Spiced Apple and Brown Butter Brownies

makes a 9 x 9-inch ( 23 x 23 cm) pan – about 16 squares

6 Tbsp butter (85 g), plus more for the dish

⅓ cup (40 g) tapioca flour/starch

 

½ cup (70 g) brown rice flour

 

⅓ cup (35 g) almond flour

 

1.5 Tbsp coconut flour

 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

 

⅛ teaspoon ground star anise

 

½ teaspoon baking powder

 

½ teaspoon sea salt

 

⅛ teaspoon baking soda

 

⅓ cup (110 g) honey

 

¼ cup (25 g) dark Muscovado sugar

 

1 egg

 

⅔ cup (70 g) pecans, roughly chopped

 

2 medium organic Golden Delicious apples, cored and roughly cubed (use 1.5 apple if they are on the larger side)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).

 

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook it over medium heat until it starts to bubble, brown and smell like hazelnuts. Scrape the bottom of the pan and pour the brown butter in a bowl. Set aside.

 

In a medium bowl, mix and whisk together the tapioca, brown rice, almond and coconut flours with the cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, star anise, baking powder, sea salt and baking soda. Set aside.

 

In a big bowl, whisk together the honey, Muscovado sugar and the egg until smooth. Add the brown butter and continue mixing until well combined.

 

Add the flours and spices mix to the wet ingredients and fold with a spatula until you get a smooth batter.

 

Add the chopped pecans, the apple cubes. Stir until combined.

 

Generously butter the baking dish. Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

 

Wait for the apple brownies to cool and cut into 16 squares.
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Frenchie and Summer Memories

16 Jul

The light is brighter, the air feels lighter, this must be summer.

And a lazy summer spent slouched on a blue couch is ok by me!

Merci Mayà.

It’s the sweet appetizing smell of the ripe apricots waiting in a green bowl on the counter in my kitchen that reminded me how much I love apricot tarts.

And summer is a great time to reminisce and remember.

Like the apricot tart my grandpa used to lovingly prepare for me and my brother when we came to see him either for lunch or after school in his townhouse located three skips away from our school.

I still remember the noises inside this old house. And the smell in the kitchen.

And I know where he used to put away his spices and his sugar, or where his boxes of fragrant teas were lined up.

An apricot tart always waited for us in the summer.

La tarte aux abricots, c’est une tradition !

I suddenly realized the last time I posted a recipe for a summer tart was a very long time ago.

Une très bonne occasion.

A new crust recipe I worked on last month.

Who knew that adding baking powder to your crust could lift it and make it so much lighter? Thanks Fine Cooking for the tip.

And of course, pairing apricots with my favorite summer scent – lavender.

A bit of cuisine de Provence on a plate.

Enjoy! The result is truly unique and one that made trial tarts disappear within seconds into hungry guinea pig mouths.

Happy summer. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Apricot Lavender Tart

makes a 9-inch tart

 

for the gluten-free crust

½ cup (90 g) white rice flour

⅓ cup plus 1 Tbsp (45 g) gluten-free oat flour

½ cup (60 g) tapioca flour

⅓ cup plus 1 Tbsp (45 g) of powdered sugar

1½ teaspoon of xantham gum

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers

a pinch of sea salt

1 stick or 8 Tbsp (115 g) butter – chilled and cubed

4-5 Tbsp iced water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift the white rice, oat and tapioca flours with the powdered sugar, xantham gum and baking powder. Add the sea salt and dried lavender and mix well on medium speed with the paddle blade.

Drop the butter cubes in the bowl and work until it becomes crumbly and sandy.

Drop the iced water in the bowl one tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to come together and form a ball.

Flatten the ball, cover and wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

 

for the vanilla apricot compote

5 oz (140 g) ripe apricots – about 2

2 Tbsp natural cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

While the dough is chilling in the fridge, place all the ingredients for the compote together in a small saucepan and cook until thick – about 4-6 minutes. Set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).

Roll out the dough to fill a 9-inch tart pan (22-23 cm). I use some of the tapioca flour to roll it. Line the dough with the pan, press in the corners, and trim it without any overhang.

This crust recipe does not leave much overhang. Leave the crust thick to absorb the apricot juices as much as possible.

Place the dough and tart pan back in the fridge for 30 min.

 

for the filling

¼ cup (50 g) natural cane sugar

1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers

1 Tbsp almond flour

1.25 lb (565 g) ripe apricots – about 7

Combine the sugar and dried lavender in a small bowl. Work with your fingers to mix it well and rub the lavender with the sugar to release its scent and flavor the sugar. Set aside.

Cut each apricot in half and each half lengthwise in half-moons.

Sprinkle the almond flour on the crust. Spread the vanilla apricot compote on the crust mixing it with the almond flour.

Drop the apricot half-moons on the compote. Arrange them neatly in a circle or drop them randomly. There is beauty in the disorganized random placement of the fruit.

Sprinkle the lavender sugar all over the tart.

Bake for 10 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 375 °F (190 °C) and bake for another 40 minutes.

Let the tart cool for 20 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Frenchie and a Memorable Year

23 Dec

Farewell to a memorable year.

2014 is closing its doors soon and the time to look back at a year’s worth of pictures, recipes, family, colors, friends and food has come.

Ending the year feeling thankful.

Thankful for the people met along the way, the friendships that became stronger, the food and joys of cooking shared with many, the family visits and trips that continue to make me look at the world in a different way.

But also ending the year on a fun note with the interview Lindsey at Lost in Cheeseland wrote last month about Frenchie and the Yankee as part of her Franco File Friday column. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read the interview here.

Lindsey is an incredibly talented blogger and a wonderful friend. I wish we lived in the same city so we could eat chocolate regularly over tea and coffee.

And lastly, the fun assignment to work on an exclusive Thanksgiving recipe last month for the November issue of the Charlotte Observer/South Park Magazine team.

To tell you the truth, I could see myself making this recipe during the Holiday Season as well so I included it below.

A happy and merry end of 2014 to all.

Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

<Note to the readers outside of the U.S.: I wrote the recipe for an American magazine and did not include the conversions as I usually do on the blog. Please email me for details.>

Bourbon-flavored Cranberry Clafoutis

for a 9″ round 1-quart shallow baking dish

1⅓ cup (6 oz.) fresh cranberries, divided into 1 heaping cup (5 oz.) and ⅓ cup (1 oz.)

½ cup (2.5 oz.) dried cranberries

⅔ cup plus 1 Tbsp. Bourbon

½ cup Grand Marnier

2 tsp. vanilla extract

unsalted butter, for the mold

½ cup natural cane sugar plus 2 Tbsp., for the mold

4 Tbsp. quinoa flour

2 Tbsp. almond meal

2 Tbsp. finely ground tapioca flour

½ tsp. sea salt

finely grated zest of ½ organic orange

3 eggs

⅔ cup whole milk

¾ cup heavy cream

½ Tbsp. turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

Bring 1 heaping cup (5 oz.) of the fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, ⅔ cup of the Bourbon, Grand Marnier and 1 tsp. of the vanilla extract to a boil in an 11″ sauté pan. When boiling, continue to simmer over medium to low heat for 8-10 min stirring often or until the juice is reduced to about 1 Tbsp. Transfer in a small bowl and set aside to let the cranberries and juice cool.

Generously butter the baking dish and sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of the sugar all over the bottom and sides. Tap the excess out.

In a bowl, combine ½ cup of the sugar, quinoa flour, almond meal, tapioca flour, sea salt and orange zest. Beat in the eggs until well combined. Add and stir in the milk, heavy cream, 1 Tbsp. of the Bourbon, and 1 tsp. of the vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

Pour the cooked cranberries and the remaining juice into the baking dish. Arrange them to cover the bottom. Pour the batter on top. Scatter the ⅓ cup (1 oz.) of fresh uncooked cranberries evenly on top. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake the clafoutis for 35-40 min until the center is set and the top is golden brown.

Serve at room temperature or cold.

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