How did you spend your Easter weekend?
I was cooking up a meal for ten over the Easter weekend. It was quite a feat to cook so many items for so many people but J and I managed to pull it off pretty successfully ( I must add!) I think we also made enough food to serve fifteen!
We cooked Heston Blumenthal’s pumpkin soup (half with roasted pumpkin, half with sweated mandolin pumpkin slices), braised short ribs in red wine, roasted a whole chicken, cooked Provencal style baby potatoes, cooked an Ottolenghi inspired pilaf rice, made panko-crusted asparagus and threw together a charcuterie board with our very own smoked rosemary cheddar and pickled julienned beetroot, and finally ending the meal with a passion fruit meringue tart. Phew, that was quite a mouthful.
Everything went as smoothly as it possibly could, though at certain points, the kitchen seemed much like a battlefield (that I’m not proud of).
I made these chocolate and hazelnut friands for Easter as well. I’ve just tweaked my favourite friands (or financiers) recipe for a chocolate and hazelnut version. I like friands because they are chewy and the flavour of the almond or hazelnut meal really comes through. You can also check out other variations in the following links: my matcha and raspberry friands recipe and my lavender and blueberry friands recipe.
I made it a little more fun by piping chocolate ganache on the top with chocolate shavings and Cadbury mini eggs, just like a bird’s nest on the top of a friand.
This is a easy recipe that yields a delicious result. You just need a pot, a mixing bowl and a whisk. If you have kids, I think it would be a fun activity for them to “build” the birds nest on their own.
I’ll be heading to Greece in a week or so and I’m looking forward to it! Greece has been my dream destination for a long time and I’m so glad that I am finally heading there. J and I would be visiting Athens, Santorini, Naxos and Milos. If you have any travel tips or eating recommendations, I would (very much) love to hear from you!
Recipe: Chocolate and hazelnut friands (financiers)
Makes 9 small friands (using regular muffin moulds)
I filled them up to the 2/3 mark so they are pretty small as they don’t rise too much but that’s the way I want them to be.
95g unsalted butter, cubed
135g egg whites
150g granulated sugar
100g hazelnut meal (or you can use almond meal)
60g plain flour
15g dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
pinch of salt
handful of whole hazelnuts, toasted
1. Grease your muffin tins thoroughly with butter.
2. Prepare a Beurre Noisette (French for “browned butter”): Heat the butter in a pan over low-medium fire and allow it to cook until it is golden brown in colour. Turn off the fire and take it off the heat once it is golden brown, otherwise, it will go from golden brown to black very quickly. Allow the beurre noisette to cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
3. In a bowl, place sugar, flour and ground almond, cocoa powder and salt together. Whisk the dry ingredients a little. Add in the (cooled) beurre noisette (including the brown sediments) and whisk to combine.
4. Add in the egg whites slowly while whisking till incorporated. You do not need to create too much volume in the egg whites. I do all this by hand as you just need the batter to come together.
5. Spoon the friands batter into the greased muffin moulds. Place two hazelnuts (or more) into the center of each of the friands. Bake in a 190 degrees preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until it springs back to touch.
6. Allow it to cool slightly in the muffin tins before unmoulding. Cool them completely on wire racks before serving.
Whipped chocolate ganache
100g dark chocolate, chopped.
100ml cream, at least 33% fat
1. Heat the cream in a small pot over medium-low heat. When it comes to a boil, take it off the heat and pour it over the chopped up chocolate.
2. Using a silicon spatula, stir the mixture until it is well incorporated. Allow it to cool in the fridge (or freezer, if you want it to cool down a lot quicker. You would need to keep an eye on it though). Start to whisk the chocolate ganache once it is cool. You should get a buttercream consistency.
3. Pipe the whipped chocolate ganache onto the friands.
To assemble the Easter friands:
You will need:
mini chocolate eggs
1. To make the chocolate shavings, melt some chocolate over a bain marie (or in a microwave, in 10 seconds bursts). Spread it the melted chocolate on a flat surface. Using a bench scrapper, use a scrapping motion to make chocolate shavings. Alternatively, if you have a large block of chocolate, use a sharp knife to shave off the sides of the block.
2. Arrange mini Easter eggs on the top of the piped ganache.